BOBCATS NOTEBOOK: “Q & A” with new assistant Scott Burrell
By Michael T. Lyle, Jr.
July 16, 2007
Since Tom Moore became the new head coach of the Quinnipiac men’s basketball program a few months back, he’s made a huge impact both with the recruiting process and within his coaching unit. Recently, the staff got a big boost when former University of Connecticut standout and Hamden native Scott Burrell was hired as an assistant to Moore.
Last week, I had a chance to sit down with Burrell—who also won an NBA Championship with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1998—for a Q&A session on him returning home and what he intends to bring to the program through his experience playing at UConn and in the pros.
Q: So you’re back home now and helping with the rebuilding process. How do you feel about returning to the area and with a program that’s expected to improve dramatically?
SB: I feel great. I’m happy to be here and to be coaching at a Division I school. It’s a great opportunity for me to get my foot in the door in coaching because, to be honest, I said I always wanted to coach here when I was done playing basketball. Now that I’m here, it’s a great opportunity.
Q: Who came to you about this position?
SB: No one came to me. I called Tom about four or five times just to set up an interview with him. First, he told me that the job was already taken, so I don’t think he wanted me at first. Then I talked to my old coaches and teammates and they encouraged me to keep battling and fighting to get the job. I did so and eventually Tom gave it to me.
Q: How do you feel about all the expectations of this team up to this point?
SB: I think we’re so new here I don’t know of how much talent we have yet. That might be a thought of other people. I know that the coaching staff is going to work as hard as possible to make a run at the NCAA Tournament and that’s going to be our goal each year.
Q: How’s the recruiting going and what’s it been like with the guys that recently committed to the program? Have they earned their spots on the roster yet?
SB: Everyone is definitely going to have to earn their spots. I and the rest of the coaching staff are watching video to see if we can find some young talent. We’re looking to bring in the best guys we can and get this talent level up to be a team on top of the Northeast Conference every year.
Q: It seems this program is turning into a smaller version of UConn. How does that make you feel that the administration is hiring and bringing in a lot of former Husky standouts and alumni to help turning this team around?
SB: I think it’s always good when you come from a successful program like Connecticut I think the opportunity for this school can be such as that. At one point, UConn wasn’t good as they are now. They built themselves into a powerhouse, and with the new arena, this beautiful school, beautiful campus and the great academics here, Quinnipiac could be another powerhouse in Connecticut.
Q: Speaking of which, what are your thoughts on the campus and the TD Banknorth Sports Center?
SB: The campus is beautiful and the arena is one of the best I’ve ever seen. The view, the courts and the hockey rink are all incredible. You couldn’t ask for a better facility on a college campus. What’s crazy about it is that this is not even a major Division I program, yet they’ve put this much effort into it. That’s why you want to give the same effort back to the program and the school to make this a powerhouse like the president and the athletic director want it to be.
Q: If last year was any indication, do you think that Quinnipiac is going to be capable of running with UConn in the near future?
SB: That’s a goal of ours, but it’s going to take some time. We have a great player in DeMario Anderson, but we only have one year to work with him and get him to gel with the team. You just have to find the right mix of guys that want to come in here to win and turn this program around.
Q: Speaking of DeMario, what’s your impression on him?
SB: He’s a big, strong kid. I’ve watched on tape how talented he is and I think he has a lot of talent to take to the next level. He’s powerful, he can shoot and he can score. I definitely see him being the “Player of the Year” in our conference.
Q: Playing UConn in December, what are your emotions going to be like when you have to go across the court, shake Jim Calhoun’s hand and then walk back to the other side of the court and help Tom Moore coach against the man that you played for before going pro?
SB: With much respect, I owe Coach Calhoun for giving me an opportunity to play there. I helped build that school into becoming a powerhouse and I appreciate that with the chance I was given. They’ll be a lot of emotions running and we just hope to get a “W” somehow, someway. It’s going to be fun.