In the second half of our interview, Coach Tyndall focuses on his players. One of the key characteristics about him when he was brought in was that he worked well with and developed players well.
It easily comes across when talking with him that he is all about his players.
Here is part two of my interview with Coach Tyndall, the new head man of the basketball program at Southern Miss.
Q: Before we get into talking about the team itself, can you give us an overview of what the summer will look like for you guys? I know it is an important summer as you try and get to know your players.
A: "This summer is unique in that this is the first summer in the history of the NCAA that they have allowed men's basketball eight hours a week of actual practice on the floor.
"That is going to be great especially because I don't know my team very well, so we'll actually have our first work-out tonight. They have been lifting and conditioning a little bit on their own, but we'll have a taxing summer and strength program where some guys will try to put on some weight. We have a couple that need to change their body dramatically.
"The program we had at Morehead State was fantastic and we changed some guys and really made a difference in their play. We want to do the same thing here. One the floor, probably two thirds of our summer will be offensive orientated and we'll do some defensive stuff, but we'll do so much defensively in the fall that this summer I really want to develop guys from an offensive skill set standpoint.
"Finally, I want them working hard in the classroom and getting ahead by taking some summer classes and moving toward graduation. In July we'll start back up with summer recruiting, and then we get started with school in August.
"I'm like a kid at Christmas today, I can't wait to get these guys on the floor and working out together to see what we have. I want to see how receptive our guys are, and that's a term you'll hear me say a lot, receptive. They will work hard in our program and they will become better basketball players and people."
Q: Well, Coach, I know they are anxious to get out on the floor. Have you been able to have many meetings with the players? Where do you feel this team is at as far as adjusting to your system? Do you think this team has the personnel to play your style?
A: "I think any good coach is going to try to adjust the way they play to what they have, but from what I've seen the personnel coming back and the guys we've recruited will fit in very well with the style of play that we are going to try and adapt here.
"I've just tried to meet with the guys and get to know them as people and let them see the other side of me in regard of how we are going to operate off the floor. Once we hit the floor they will all think I am crazy and yelling and driving them to be better. I think its good that we've been able to get to know each other as people and I've gotten to know their families and girlfriends and that type of thing.
"I am trying to emphasize the importance of being in shape and staying in shape. I want them to be mentally tough which I think the guys we have returning will be after playing under Coach Eustachy. I told them that the last 10 minutes of games our conditioning and our toughness will win games for us. With all that being said, they need to understand how important this summer work-out season is.
"One kid that I really expect a lot out of, and I'm going to put some pressure on him early is Rashard McGill. I think he is going to really surprise some people. I can tell he is going to be my type of guy. I am calling him my energy guy because I have some plans for using him all over the court and I think we can utilize him to do some great things for us. I'll tell you this, I'd be shocked if he didn't have a great season as a senior this year.
Q: Is Keith Dewitt going to be able to go this year?
A: "Yeah Keith is with us right now and working out and in summer school. He has a lot of work to do to be where he needs to be. The bottom line is that he is hungry for an opportunity. I think, I think that he is going to do what we ask him to do, but I'll be honest, he is on a short leash. He was told exactly what I expect and there can't be any slippage on what he's supposed to do academically, he cannot miss any class. If he does those things I think the basketball side will take care of itself and he's gonna have to be committed to be a student athlete, and if he does that we'll give him a chance. If he doesn't then we'll play without Keith next season."
Q: You have some guys that seem like they will fit in well to your system and give maximum effort like Watson and Mills and some other guys. Can you comment on how you see them fitting in?
A: "The entire game we will play up tempo and we will press the issue, always. We will play a match-up zone that is unique because it is a pressure zone in the way we'll pressure the ball and short corners. In my 20 years of coaching every kid wants to press and wants to play full up tempo but then after 10 minutes in practice they are looking around sucking wind and wondering when practice is going to be over.
"I tell them if you want to play at the pace we want to play, then I tell them it all sounds good and it is fun but you have to have very physically demanding practices to get you ready for that. Right now, these guys don't know what they are in store for to get in that condition. I think they are athletic enough, and I think they are long and we have some rangy guys but they are really going to have to get after it this summer and into practice next fall.
"I've been encouraged by their enthusiasm and want to up to this point, but we'll see if they still have that and we'll find out quickly who is willing to pay the price."
Q: Southern Miss has always been a school that is not afraid to play anyone anywhere, and it looks like we have another challenging schedule ahead. What type of schedule do you want to play and how can that benefit our program?
\ A: "We don't have our schedule complete yet because there are a few things we have to finalize but it looks like we'll play in a tournament where we will go to Georgia and play them and a few others that will be a nice one. We'll also go to Sam Houston State and play in a tournament there against some quality mid-major programs, then we'll go to Arizona which is a top notch program.
"We'll play New Mexico State again and Louisiana Tech, Western Kentucky and some other really, really good basketball program. Fans always ask where are the LSU's and the Tennessee's and teams of that nature and I tell them we'll be picking up those over the next few years as well. The teams we have on our schedule are really good basketball programs and we'll focus on playing the best and we won't be afraid to play the best. I guarantee you we'll have a good quality non-conference schedule every year."