HOUSTON - University of Houston women's basketball head coach Todd Buchanan met with local and national media on Tuesday at Conference USA Media Day in Dallas, Texas. Below is a transcript of his interview with Ron Thulin at the FOX Sports studio.
On how tough last season was mentally with all of the injuries
"Words can't describe it. It was one of those situations where I lose my starting backcourt in the same game at Georgetown in Porsche Landry and Tasha Tubbs. I'm most proud of the fact that we made a commitment that we wouldn't let circumstances change us and the focus and vision of where we're going. Although the record didn't pan out to what we wanted it to, I know that we stayed true to that course."
On teaching the current team lessons from last season
"The whole mindset has completely changed. Two years ago we went 26-6 and last season we were 3-26, but we're still the same coaching staff. We instill those same philosophies, not only on basketball, but on life as well."
On Porsche Landry's season-ending injury and return this season
"We went straight to the hospital after the game and I didn't leave her. After talking to the neurologist, I had a lot of doubts myself (about her ever returning). It was devastating. She couldn't even go to class or be in light. She had to stay at home and in bed. From the point of time from us flying back 48 hours later to watching her now, it does our hearts a lot of good."
On Porsche being tentative on coming back from a serious injury
"Not Porsche. She has that gift of knowing one speed and one speed only, and it's a gear most don't have."
On what newcomers take from Porsche coming back
"Without question it sets the bar high. I think it shows the things that you can't coach; the intangibles of the mental toughness. You may take something for granted is the big lesson you learn as an athlete. Don't take a practice for granted. Don't take your freshman year or your sophomore year for granted. To see what Porsche has done and how she's handled it and the lesson that's been learned and that she continues to teach to our youngsters, they all look at her and say, `wow.'"
On the highly-touted incoming recruiting class
"I hate to leave anybody out because I'm extremely proud of the whole class. Coach Ravon Justice, my recruiting coordinator, along with (assistant coach) Leah Foster and associate head coach Wade Scott have done a phenomenal job. Jessieka Palmer is as good as anybody; she just has to be that next level player on the defensive and offensive side. Bianca Winslow has that famous name of former Cougar great, Rickie Winslow. Marche' Amerson, who I think will be absolutely phenomenal, is long and athletic. The Gilbert twins will have a chance to put their signature on the foundation of Houston Women's Basketball for a long time. Alecia Smith may be the next Porsche, which is a huge compliment. She only knows one speed and she works unbelievably hard. I'm very proud of Yasmeen Thompson, a 6-2 kid out of Paris Junior College in Texas. Te'onna Campbell was an All-American at the junior college level out of New Mexico, and she has been as advertised. She's a specimen of an athlete, and a lot of times in this business you see great athletes that don't have the work ethic that you would like, but she brings all of the above."
On what he learned about himself last season
"To appreciate the good moments. Enjoy them a little longer and take time to let it soak in and enjoy the moments and really the teaching part of it, which I still love tremendously. Stop and smell the roses a little more often is probably what I took away the most, as well as never stop learning. We had to put all of our heads together and find a way, and with the depletion of players, to win some of the games we won was a tremendous compliment to not only my staff but also the players that hung in there with us."