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HBU Head Coach Ron Cottrell at 2018 Southland Conference Basketball Media Day: "gets us ready for Southland play"

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October 10, 2018 -- 9:23 p.m.

The Southland Conference held its Basketball Media Day at Toyota Center today. Houston Baptist University Head Coach Ron Cottrell took a few minutes to discuss the Preseason SLC Poll; HBU practices thus far; helping people in North Carolina impacted by Hurricane Florence; HBU's non-conference schedule; and more.

Here's the Q&A:

Anything in the Southland Conference Preseason Poll surprise you?

"Not really. I haven't looked at it and studied it real close, yet. I think the people that we anticipated that have a lot of players returning were up near the top. I think the people, those of us, that are replacing quite a bit kind of got bumped down because you just don't know who everybody has. So, that is kind of the nature of how these preseason polls go.

"I don't put a whole lot of stock in them. You have to really spend some time and look at who people recruited and how they're going to fit into each team's system before you can really decide if they're in the right spot in the poll or not."

Have you ever used the poll, in any season, as a motivating factor for your team?

"I don't know if now-a-days you have to really. I think the kids see it. They can understand it. They see what's going on. The information is out there. I don't think we, as coaches, have to do that nearly like you would 10 or 15 years ago where it wasn't as publicized and as open as it is now with social media about where people are picked.

"I think certainly guys, among themselves, and in the locker room, you hear the talk about where we were picked and how we think we're better than that or 'why is someone ahead of us?' or whatever. But, at the end of the day, you've got to get out on the court and prove that you're worthy of being able to be in the top tier of the league."

How has practice gone so far?

"Really good. We've had good practices. I like the way our guys have come in and focused in. I think summer was really good for us particularly with the new guys coming in and being able to do some summer workouts. But, I think our guys really get what it takes because most of the guys have been there and done it now. We have a lot of guys that are still young and sophomores but have been through the league now and kind of know what to expect. So, our focus level has been really good?"

How has Josh Ibarra looked in practice?

"Josh is one of those guys you have to monitor everyday with his health. Make sure you keep him on the right track. He is a guy that will overdo it in a heartbeat because he wants to be on the court so badly. He wants to contribute to the team. It's not a selfish thing. He's all about winning ball games; and, sometimes he'll go overboard. We've got to make sure he stays healthy because conference play isn't until January and that's what we're worried about right now is where are we come January and making sure Josh Ibarra is a part of that."

Take a few moments to talk about the money raised for Hurricane Florence victims in North Carolina.

"We felt very strongly that was something that we, as a program, in particular needed to do with our connection in North Carolina. We have so many guys in our program that are from North Carolina and were affected by this. And, obviously, those families went through that when their sons being here last year with Hurricane Harvey. They saw what we went through and what their sons went through here. Now, a year later, it turns around and they're going through the same thing out there.

"We felt very led to do everything to try to support out there with Florence. I think it's important to go above and beyond basketball when we get to these types of situations and show our support to those folks."

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Discuss your non-conference schedule

"We open up with Arizona. Obviously, that's going to be a difficult game in McKale Center. They're going to be ready to go and excited about the season starting. It's going to be a packed house; so, that's going to be fun.

"Then, we've got Fordham coming to our place. That's home-and-home series beginning here. We're excited about having them come down and play us here.

"And, then, we run the gauntlet. We go to Wisconsin; Miami; Wake Forest; Louisiana Tech. But, we do have two home-and-home series that are continuing this year: UTSA comes to our place after we played there last year and then, Texas State. We played them at home last year; and, we're going up to San Marcos this year.

"It's a great non-conference schedule. Anybody can't get excited about who we're playing doesn't like college basketball; but, the main thing is it really gets us ready for Southland play. That's what's the most important thing."

Invite people to Sharp Gym to see you guys play.

"Sharp Gym is a special place. I was just talking with some other coaches about it a while ago. It is a really, really neat place to watch college basketball. It's very intimate. You're very close. You're going to be on top of the action. The crowd is very involved in the game. It makes it a fun environment. I would encourage someone that's never been to Sharp to come watch a college basketball game.

"Sharp, Texas. It's a special place."

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