Drew's Views

October 13, 2003

New men's basketball coach Scott Drew comes to Baylor from Valparaiso University, where he coached the last 10 years, nine as assistant coach under his father, Homer Drew. During that time, the Crusaders earned six NCAA Tournament berths, making five straight appearances from 1996-2000. One of the youngest Division I coaches in the nation, Drew is considered a savvy recruiter, responsible for three national top-20 recruiting classes in the last five years. 
Soon after moving to Waco, Drew took some time to visit with Baylor Magazine and the University's weekly television show "Inside Baylor Sports" about his coaching style, his players and his vision for Baylor basketball.

Baylor Magazine:

Q: You've been described with words such as "reputation," "values," "beliefs" and "integrity." What is your response to that? 
A: Those are the important things with me, and they were instilled from my family. A lot of the things I do come from my dad, and he was known for that. A lot of people call him the nicest coach in Division I basketball, and there's a reason for it. He was very positive, optimistic, and that's what I try to be.
Q: How do you define integrity, and how do you instill that value in your players? 
A: Integrity is doing the right thing in the right way. First of all, we recruit players who have integrity; the second thing is, when the players are here, you try to make sure that the right things are always explained to them so they understand the differences between the right path and the wrong path. [With] today's college student, communication is so key. If they understand why it's a better way and what needs to be done, I think they are very receptive. 
Q: Some fellow basketball coaches have commented on your strong relationship with your players. What is your ideal coach/player relationship, and how do you plan on developing that with current and future players? 
A: "It's a family atmosphere-based relationship, something where I know what's important to them and how they need to be coached -- a situation where I need to know if they're having a bad day, if they're sick. It's like if you're coaching your son. You have to know what he likes and dislikes because we're all working for the same thing -- the best for them, the best for us, the best for the team, the best for Baylor. The more time you spend with someone, the more you get to know them. 
Q: How concerned are you about the pressure within the Big 12 to win, and how do you plan on handling that pressure? 
A: Any good coach puts pressure on himself. It doesn't matter if he's playing in a park league or Y league or in the Big 12. We all want to win, and the key is to make sure you do it in the right way. 
I think a lot of coaches feel that the outside pressure is always greater, but I still go back to a great coach always puts pressure on himself. How they've handled it in the past is usually how they'll handle it in the future. Again, winning is important, but not winning at all costs. 
Q: How long, realistically, do you expect it will take for Baylor to become a contender in men's basketball? 
A: I'm optimistic, so I look sooner rather than later. But at the same time, I'm realistic and I know when you only have seven players, you better not have any injuries or illnesses. As far as a certain timetable, I can't give that. But I can say that the sooner we bring in players that compete to win the title and the sooner the players we have now bond together and can grow and improve, the sooner we can compete. 
Q: What would you like to tell Baylor fans? 
A: From talking to the players and asking them why they stayed this year, everyone in a roundabout way had the same answer -- because of the fans. They just loved the community and loved the people and loved the support. 

"Inside Baylor Sports":

Q: Why did you choose to come here, and what is your forecast for the future of Baylor basketball? 
A: I'm here because of what the University stands for -- integrity, morals and what they value here in the academics. The next thing is the people here are very similar to where I came from -- outstanding people, starting with the leaders of this school and the vision they have for this school. By 2012, it's going to be amazing here. Our plan for basketball, hopefully, is a little quicker than 2012, but the end result is the same, and that is success. 
Q: Obviously, it's got to be a pretty tough decision for you to leave a place where you've been for close to 10 years. 
A: That's where faith comes in, because you have security, you have comfort. But at the same time, Baylor has a great opportunity, and I see very similar paths. Ten years ago, Valpo was where Baylor is now, as far as Valpo hadn't had a winning season. Now, in the last nine years, we've won conference championships -- nine straight rings. We've gone to the tournament more than any team in the SEC except for Kentucky. [Valpo had] the winningest percentage in the state of Indiana in the last 10 years. ... I see a lot of things we can do here to do the same. 
Q: You're known as a recruiter. Do you think it will be easier in some circumstances to recruit to Baylor because it's in the Big 12? 
A: Most definitely, in some areas. At the same time, you are recruiting against some pretty tough schools with a lot of tradition. I think Baylor has a great niche being a private school ... . I definitely think there are players out there that want go to the Dukes, the Stanfords, the Notre Dames and will want to go to the Baylors. 
Q: Looking at the players you know are going to be on your team this year, how much confidence do you have that you can put together a quality basketball team for 2003? 
A: I know the players who stayed here stayed for the right reasons. They stayed for the fans, they stayed for the school, and I know they are anxious to play ... and represent the school. 
Q: You joked during your press conference about people in the stands coming on the court. How serious were you about that? 
A: This year, a perk for coming to Baylor is that you have a chance to play in the Big 12, and I don't know if you would have that at other schools. With seven scholarship players, you need at least 12-13 on the team, so half of your team is going to be made up of walk-ons. The student body, like I said -- one minute you're cheering with your friend, the next minute he's on the floor playing. So, there's no better reason to yell and support. 
Q: You talked about the facilities in your press conference. Have you had a chance to step out of your office and see where you are? 
A: Each day, I try to learn a little more, see a little more. ... I joke with recruits that it's like going to Walt Disney World when you look out the window and you have those softball and baseball facilities.

Q: How do you expect what's been happening in the last couple of months with the program to affect what's coming up? 
A: I'm sure it will affect people different ways. The biggest thing to me is my job -- to get people to come to Baylor. When they come to Baylor, then I think the people take over -- the kindness, the hospitality -- that sells itself here. My job is to get them on campus, and everybody on campus will take care of the rest. 
Q: In the past couple of years, Baylor has been very much a three-point shooting team, very offensive-minded. What type of a coach are you? What type of system are you going to bring? 
A: This philosophy goes back to my dad -- a good coach adapts to the players. If you have a fast team, a running team, you better run and you better be fast with the ball. If you have a team that can't win in an uptempo game and needs a half-court game, then you have to become a half-court coach. You do what you have to do to give yourselves a chance to win. That's what we'll see with our players this year and see what style gives them a chance at the end of the game to win, and that's what we'll adapt to.