Oct. 30, 2009
View the Wildcats at Big Ten Media Day
McKeown transcript from Big Ten Media Day
EVANSTON, Ill. -- As part of our weekly "10 Questions" edition, NUsports.com sat down with junior Meshia Reed to get the upperclassman's take on how things are going so far. Reed accompanied fellow classmate Amy Jaeschke and freshman Kendall Hackney to Big Ten Media Day on Thursday (Oct. 29). To continue in the spirit of interrogation, Reed shared her thoughts on playing for Coach McKeown, her excitement about the freshmen class and her favorite class this quarter--printmaking.
The person who has impressed me the most so far this season is ...
"Maggie Mocchi. I feel like she was challenged a lot last year. During the offseason, she put in a lot of work with both her conditioning level and with her game. She has buckled down and been a great example for the incoming class."
What is the biggest improvement you have tried to make in your game?
"Shooting. I tried to get in the gym a lot this summer and put up a lot of shots, specifically working on my form. I also tried to focus on coming back in better shape. Coach always says champions are made between April and October and I really tried to make use of his advice and to come back ready to play."
What have the guards been focusing on so far in practice?
"Really, we've been working on our overall game and becoming better passers. We're not focusing on playing a certain position, but being interchangeable and ready to take on any role we are asked to. In case something happens to one of the starters, we can hop in and seamlessly fill that hole."
What kind of impact have the freshmen had so far this season?
"They definitely add to the team's personality. We all fit in and mesh together and they make the chemistry we had a little stronger. They've also added to the depth of our team. I think they are going to contribute right away, especially Kendall [Hackney] and Dannielle [Diamant]."
Describe the feeling on the team right now?
"It's really energetic. We are excited to play with each other. It's completely different because going into last season, we know what to expect. Now we do. The only major concern right now is to not be complacent and continue to push ourselves."
How much has it helped to have one year under your belt playing for Coach McKeown?
"It helps a lot. It was nerve-wracking and frustrating last season because we started out in one system [under former NU Head Coach Beth Combs] and then moved into another system under Coach McKeown. Now, we know what to expect and it eases the pressure on everyone."
One word that describes practice so far is ...
"Competitive. Last year, we looked at it [practice] as just being there. It was just a game. Over the course of the year, we developed so much more respect for the game, the coaches and ourselves. It's almost been a rebirth or rejuvenation for some of us, to be honest. For me, I was kind of complacent my freshman year, and then going to Coach McKeown's system, it was like I had to become a different kind of person, but in a good way. It influenced everything from the time I put in at the gym, to being a considerate person, to thinking about what I do off the court and how it effects my teammates to just setting goals for myself on and off the court. And then, figuring out how I achieve those goals."
I'm most excited about the season because...
"It's a new year. Last season, we did some good things and this year, we want to do even more. Being an upper classman, I have a sense of urgency to go out and make a statement. We want to put Northwestern on the basketball map again."
My favorite class this quarter is...
"Printmaking. I'm an art major and it's required, but I like it because it's different from drawing, which is my favorite part of art. Ink is our medium and we use stencils to make numerous amounts of prints. I like it because it's different from using pencil or anything else I've ever done before. I'm new to it, but I'm really enjoying it. I've done sculpture, drawing and stencil classes, but I'm totally new to this one. For me, art is a way to express myself. When I'm really frustrated, I'll start drawing or I'll think of an idea--sometimes a project or a complex drawing--that will take me a week to finish just because I need something to take my mind off whatever is stressing me out."
Coach McKeown ...
"Is very intelligent when it comes to the game of basketball. He knows his x's and o's. He's very good at pushing his players to a new level mentally. Those are probably the two things I like the most about him. And, I will say that I like the fact that he's a family man. The way he interacts with his kids, and especially the way he takes care of Joey [McKeown's son who is autistic] is really cool. I think our society could use more men like him."
To get an inside look at the Wildcats' experience at Big Ten Media Day, click on the video above.
Fans can check out the Wildcats on Sunday, Nov. 1 when they face Robert Morris in a 2 p.m. exhibition contest at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Admission is free and there will be a pre-game clinic for youth at noon. For more information about the clinic, please contact email@example.com.