Almost 2 months ago now, new men's basketball coach Rick Ray completed his staff with the hiring of North Colorado Director of Basketball Operations Adam Gordon. Gordon, who we've already professed is our new favorite coach, has had some time to settle in Starkville and begin working with this year's squad, and he was kind enough to take some time out of his schedule to talk about his work and time so far at MSU.
Q1 - How have you enjoyed your first month in Starkville?
Love it. The campus is beautiful, the facilities are big time and I've really enjoyed getting to know our players and our coaching staff. It's been unbelievably busy and a little bit of a whirlwind but at the same time it's really exciting. Especially because you're starting from square one with this staff, and these early stages are really laying the foundation for what we want our program to become.
Q2 - Any favorite restaurants so far?
We've been eating out for almost every meal since none of us are really settled in and people's families haven't moved down yet. I'm really big on food and trying new places. I was a little surprised. There's actually some really good restaurants in town. I think Jay Yates does an awesome job at the Veranda. Old Venice is really good, Petty's BBQ, Mugshots. I still haven't been to Tyler but it's next on my list.
Q3 - What has been the biggest difference between Greeley and Starkville so far?
Colorado is unlike any other state I've ever lived. People are so into the outdoors and health and extreme sports out there. Everytime you meet someone they're just coming back from climbing a mountain or they're about to go snowboarding or something. It's almost like a whole different way of life. It's great to be back in the South though. People are so welcoming and friendly out here. There's really nothing like it.
Q4 - Talk about your relationship with Coach Ray, and how that affected your decision to come to MSU.
I worked with Coach Ray at Clemson for a year. I was at Clemson for three years and Coach Ray came in my last season. We hit it off right away. We worked really well together and just really got along.
He's one of the best I've been around. He genuinely cares about people, and always makes time and listens no matter who it is.
The players love him. Those guys at Clemson would've run through a wall for him. He's really good at building relationships with them, and he's so good with them on the court. Just really clear and concise with his instructions, and then when it's time to compete he gets everyone in the gym hyped. It's hilarious. You kind of have to see it, but he loves being out there and it's really evident and it's infectious.
And then in the office he's the most efficient person I've ever seen. He just comes in and gets it done... everyday. I never really see him piddling around or killing time surfing the web like most human-beings do. He's just really organized and really disciplined. It's pretty impressive to be around.
Q5 - With the players you guys have signed at this point and the players coming back, what are your expectations for this team in 2012-13?
Well we're always going to expect our teams to be able to guard and to play unbelievably hard. I mean flying all over the court, snatching rebounds and diving on loose balls. We will be young and inexperienced but we are going to battle.
It will be interesting though because all of these guys will be stepping into new roles. Jalen and Wendell both played a lot last year but now they're going to be counted on to be our leaders. I don't think they had to do that in the past. None of the other returners have really played extended minutes, so they're looking at this as an opportunity to break through. It will be interesting to see how they all react.
Q6 - Have you bought and/or rang a cowbell yet?
I got in a day before the other assistants did. Our GA Drew Bernd got me into the office and I was able to spend the whole day in there by myself. I was pretty ecstatic and kind of in awe of the Mize pavilion and just being at Mississippi St. I was kind of walking around and checking everything out, then I saw that big old cowbell sitting on Coach Ray's desk. I looked around and made sure no one was there, and rang that thing pretty good!
Q7 - Will you invite the Commissioner to any games this fall?
It's funny, I've had different nicknames everywhere I've been. Gordy, Gordo, AG, the commish. they all work.
Many thanks to Coach Gordon for talking with us. Make sure to follow him on the twitters @CoachAdamGordon.