October 16, 2007

Assistant Ken McDonald talks Texas basketball

Assistant coach Ken McDonald is entering his fourth season on Rick Barnes' staff at Texas and has a key role not only in recruiting, but individual workouts and player development. McDonald is recognized as one of the best with individual instruction and player development. Coach McDonald sat down with Orangebloods.com and talked about the off-season and how the team is shaping up for the 2007-08 season.

What are you looking for on a daily basis in individuals and who has impressed heading into the season?

I think our program has pretty much set itself up by improvement in the off season. A lot of players and a lot of our team's gains each year seem to come from our players jumping with their skill work. You can pretty much say that they all had great summers, but there are a few that really stick out.

Justin Mason has really, really improved his game. I think a year ago, he was a player that was out there with great energy, but not much of a game per se. Sometimes he wasn't sure what to do with his skills, but he's really worked on his ball handling and shooting. It's helped him gain some confidence with his game, how he plays and some of the things he can do with the basketball.

D.J. Augustin, even though he had an incredible freshman year, has taken it to another level, so he has also improved. Especially from a leadership standpoint. He's talking more than ever, which is not really in his personality, but he's taking it on knowing that it's for the good of the team and important as a point guard.

Dexter Pittman has had a great off season. Last year he was in a situation where he probably couldn't play more that a couple of minutes at a time. He's built on that. He's definitely built on that. His weight has come down and you forget where he was maybe four months ago to now physically. He's really improved himself to where he can probably play more minutes at a higher level. After that, once again everybody has had very good gains that we're excited about.

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