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5 Good Minutes with Kent State Head Coach Rob Senderoff

Coach Senderoff talks offensive philosophy, analytics, what he would tell NBA scouts about Jimmy Hall and much more

NCAA Basketball: Las Vegas Classic-Southern Methodist vs Kent State Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

Kent State’s Rob Senderoff is in his 6th season as the Flashes head hoach. During his 12 seasons as a part of Kent State’s program, he has helped lead the Golden Flashes to 10 post-season appearances, while chalking up 251 victories. The 43-year-old is 113-78 as the Flashes head coach and has been coaching for 22 years. The Flashes are currently 13-11 overall with a 5-6 record in MAC play this season. They won four games out of five before losing to Bowling Green on Tuesday night at home. Kent State travels to Toledo on Saturday for a 2 PM EST tip. I was able to catch up with Coach Senderoff on Thursday morning and here is what he had to say during our “5 Good Minutes.”

The Rest Of The Season

Q: Coach, with seven games to play before the MAC tournament and the conference standings where they stand, what is your focus for this team the rest of the way?

Coach: Truthfully, every game (we are) just trying to play the best we can play in that game. We really can’t even look at the standings. Just playing as well as we can play Saturday against Toledo...win or lose, then(look to) the next game against Miami, OH and just move (on) from there.

Q: So you really don’t have a goal as far as seeding goes? You guys are just a game out of second place.

Coach: Yeah, and a game out of 11th place right? (laughs) Really, I think that’s energy expended on the wrong thing. I’m not worrying about anything other than Toledo right now....And on Sunday the only thing I will be worrying about is Miami, OH.

Saturday at Toledo

Q: You mentioned Toledo, on January 21st you guys beat them pretty handily at home, probably one of your better wins this year, and it started a string of four wins in five games. What did you do well in that meeting that you are hoping to duplicate on Saturday?

Coach: Yeah, we probably did play our best overall game of the year (against Toledo) the first time. We are trying to do the same thing, which is take care of the ball, play inside-out and try to put as much pressure on their perimeter players and their team (as a whole)...Make them uncomfortable, they have a very good offense with some very good players. In order to beat them we have to do a good job all (the way) across the board.

The Emergence of Senior Deon Edwin

Q: Coach, Deon Edwin has really came on strong here in his senior season and is now starting for you. What do you attribute his recent success to?

Coach: His work, the more you put into this the more you get out of it. Since he has gotten here, he has worked very hard...as you look through our roster over the years a lot of our seniors have had really good senior years...We’ve had a number of guys whose production has jumped liked Deon’s (this year). Dev Manley and Chris Evans are two that come to mind, and Deon has had a really big impact on our team this year.

Youth On The Roster

Q: Along the lines of your roster Coach, you only have the three seniors this year. You have a number of younger guys contributing. Do you see a future leader emerging from your underclassmen?

Coach: At different points in time, we have had different guys who have been really good leaders...Right now, we are trying to send our seniors off with the best end of the year that we can have. Obviously, we have a really challenging schedule in front of us...we play two seniors, which is Jimmy (Hall) and Deon...two of our best players if not our two best players right now, but there are a lot of guys getting experience and getting opportunities, which I do think, for the future, will help them and help our program.

Offensive Philosophy

Q: Coach, you were a part of the 2008-2009 Kent State team that led the MAC in scoring and the 2010-2011 team that has the second highest season point total in school history. This year’s team has scored over 80 points nine times so far, has your offensive philosophy changed at all over the years?

Coach: We try and score in transition and in the half court. We have been fortunate for a number of years, almost every one of my years here, we’ve had a really good inside player that we have been able to play through in the half-court. At the same time we try to give our perimeter guys some freedom to play off ball-screens, to make plays and to play with confidence. The other thing that we’ve tried to do and, I think this year we are one of the best in the country, is be a good offensive rebounding team. We allow our guards to go offensive rebound which to me is part of that. We allow four guys to go to the offensive glass.

Analytics

Q: With the introduction of advanced statistics and analytics over the past few years, is that something that you have implemented or plays a role in your program?

Coach: Really good question, we certainly utilize that and we do look at all of those things. I don’t know if in the game or during the game, am I thinking about the advanced statistics? The answer is no, but after the games and as we are evaluating who to play or what combinations play well together, what other teams do well, what you need to try to take away from other teams. In (our) preparation we certainly utilize those advanced statistics a ton.

Jimmy Hall’s NBA Prospects

Q: Jimmy Hall declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft after last season, didn’t hire an agent and ultimately came back to school. If I was an NBA scout calling to ask about Jimmy, what would you tell me?

Coach: I would tell you that he has gotten better each year that he has been here, that he works really really hard, that he is a great teammate. He has had one of the best, if not the best career here, in the last 10-15 years, probably since Antonio Gates. And if they (NBA) were to give him an opportunity, he would run through a wall to try to help the team win.