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Q&A With Dick Bender

Q&A With Dick Bender

April 30, 2010

Q: What are your thoughts on being reunited with Coach Brownell? A: “Having coached Brad at DePauw, I’m extremely excited about being a part of his staff. We’ve had a good relationship for many years. As an assistant coach at DePauw, it was always about a lifetime commitment to the players. We’ve remained extremely close. Throughout his career, we’ve called each other for advice. The fact that he’s earned his way to this job at this level makes me very excited for him. I’m just elated he’s kept me in mind enough to think that I could help his staff at Clemson.”

Q: Why do you think Coach Brownell is a good fit at Clemson, and what credentials does he bring to the table? A: “I think the main reason he fits is because he wants to be here. Any person that is enthused about their job feels a certain excitement about the opportunity. He hasn’t been to this level before. He’s a Midwestern guy, so he’s got that blue-collar appeal that will relate to the people in the community. He’s got a “roll up your sleeves” type mentality, which I believe is what the people of Clemson have. That’s why he’s been successful. That’s why I feel he’s the perfect fit.

“His coaching mantra is the three P’s: purpose, pride and passion. If you walk around Clemson’s campus or around town, it resonates.”

Q: What are your initial impressions of the returning players? A: “It will be for them to understand what kind of work we want to accomplish with each individual workout. There’s a level of talent there that we’ve been impressed with. We’ve got to strive to get more out of that talent. We have to continue to develop more of a culture of winning here, not that it hasn’t been done before. We want to increase and develop that. We’ve got some potential leaders here, but we’ve got to get them to be more vocal. You look at a player like a Devin Booker; he wasn’t as much of a contributor this past year. But now he’s got a chance to step up and have more of an opportunity to play. Our charge is to get the pieces to fit into a team that can be successful.”

Q: Having worked extensively with guards over your career, what are your thoughts on Clemson’s players at those positions? A: “I’ve really been impressed with Andre (Young) and Tanner (Smith) here in the early going. They’re really coachable; they’ll do anything you ask them to. Andre can be more vocal. Tanner has to work harder before he gets his shot. He can shoot the basketball, but sometimes he doesn’t work as hard before he has a shot opportunity. Both of those guys are very interested and excited about what we’ve done with them to this point. I think they are the kind of guys that do the work off the court – both of them have fantastic grades – that make them very much respected within the team.”