April 18, 2014
Last week, Golden Gopher women’s basketball asked fans on its social media platforms to submit their questions for Minnesota head women’s basketball coach Marlene Stollings. Gophersports.com picked its favorites and sat down with Coach Marlene Friday morning to get her answers.
Gary Knox (Facebook): Minnesota is becoming a hotbed for girl’s basketball. Will you be busy attending local games, both AAU and high school?
Marlene Stollings: Our first priority is to recruit the state of Minnesota harder and heavier than any of our competitors. If you can play, we will find you. You will see our staff on the recruiting trail as much as NCAA compliance allows.
@ColinNelson79 (twitter): Marlene, how do you plan on using your guards to your advantage?
MS: We want to be in superior condition and we want to have the strongest work ethic. I think those things put our young ladies in a position to be better than the competition. We will implement the jab series for our players. In addition, we will put great emphasis on repitiion, in particular when they are training on their own. We will also work on their ability to be versatile with how they score. We don’t want them to be one-dimensional and easy to guard.
joelecarlson (Instagram): What kind of offense do you plan to run?
MS: No. 1, we want to put a product on the floor that our student-athletes enjoy playing. No. 2, we want to put a product on the floor that our fans enjoy watching. No. 3, we want to play a very competitive brand of basketball. . We want to be an explosive, offensive-minded team. We will get up and down the floor, score a lot of points and we will certainly value defense.
Barbara Bakal (Facebook): Will we see you actively involved in the community outside of Minnesota basketball? I believe that your visibility will help girls from around the state want to at least consider coming to the U.
MS: We will be very visible in the community. We do things very seasonally, so outside of our absolute busiest months, we will be more noticeable. In season, we will be a little less active outside of basketball, simply because of the demands on our student-athletes’ time. Our staff, however, will certainly be very visible and accommodate as many requests as we can for appearances.
@jhd9953 (twitter): What’s the #1 opportunity for improvement to create a program that will consistently compete in the NCAA Tournament?
MS: It starts with players. We are excited about the team that we have inherited and we are going to put a very strong support system around those young ladies as we bring in new student-athletes to the program. It is about talent and getting the highest caliber student-athlete that we can get into our program. From that, we can take this program back to national prominence and be a top-25 team year in and year out. It is a process and it will take time, but that is the direction that we are heading with this program.
@TimEllefson (twitter): Coach, do you recruit for your system or do you recruit best talent and adapt for your system?
MS: I think there is a little bit of both. You certainly recruit talent. The way I like to look at it is if a young lady can play, we will find a spot for her. What we are looking for is the best talent that can take us to the next level. Then our job as coaches becomes about putting those young ladies in the best position for them to succeed.
@defarley (twitter): What do you look for when recruiting? And what changes are you going to make in the current lineup?
MS: In terms of recruiting, we break down what we are looking for into two categories – an on-the-court piece and an off-the-court piece. They are what we call non-negotiables. Our non-negotiables on the floor are work-ethic, basketball IQ, ability to score and toughness. When we look at a recruit off of the court, we look at if she can help this program win, if she is a good person and if she can succeed here academically. Those are the things we evaluate in each recruit that we will bring into this program.
@KylaRadha (twitter): What kind of defense do you use? Up-tempo like your offense? @MNCoachPitino is all about creating turnovers!
MS: We will certainly generate offense from our defense. The specific type of defense will be based upon the personnel we have here this year. We do like to play some match-up zone, trap and do different things out of it. We like to create some havoc and do things that teams necessarily aren’t used to seeing on a nightly basis. We do like to mix up defenses to keep our opponent’s offense off-balance.
sboo98 (Instagram): Being a new coach at Minnesota, how will you handle the pressure to win? Also, will you let the girls sign autographs to their fans?
MS: I put an extraordinary amount of pressure on myself to succeed at the highest levels, and there really aren’t any outside factors that could put more pressure and expectations on me than I have on myself. That is an environment that I have been used to since an early age of competing and I will treat this opportunity no different than I have each of the opportunities that I have been presented my entire life with basketball.
We will certainly allow our players to be available for autograph sessions after games and other venues when the opportunity presents itself. We want our players to be very visible to the fans in the region and very accessible when appropriate to sign autographs.
Kristi Peterson (Facebook): Outside of basketball, what are some of your favorite things to do?
MS: I do spend the majority of my time with basketball because it is certainly my love and my passion, but I do enjoy golfing, shopping and I like to travel for leisure to new places. Each May, during our vacation time, I like to go to a new place that I haven’t been before and explore. I really enjoy doing that.
Game Preview: Purdue
Minnesota will celebrate senior night on Thursday at Williams Arena. The game will be on BTN at 8 p.m.
Video: Sights and Sounds Ep. 3
Go inside the huddle with behind-the-scenes footage from recent Golden Gophers home games.
Black History Month: Sonja Robinson
In honor of Black History Month, Gopher Athletics is celebrating those who made us great.