Q & A With Coach Corey Gaines

By Stefan Swiat, PhoenixMercury.com
Posted: April 21, 2008

PhoenixMercury.com caught up with Coach Corey Gaines to talk to him about the first week of training camp and the upcoming season. The rookie coach, who doesn't have a returning player in camp yet, believes that his squad will have a bulls-eye on their backs all season.

PhoenixMercury.com: How is it different not having the usual players around for training camp yet?

Coach Corey Gaines: The players that arenít here right now: Dee, Cappie, Tangela, Mazz all know what we do already, so I wouldnít be doing the type of stuff that weíre doing with them here. Iíd be working on the type of stuff we need to improve or add stuff to our system. So now Iím starting from the base. And itís good for me to get a refresher and itís good for me to see some kinks in the old stuff and work on that.

PhoenixMercury.com: Is there anything you are going to be tweaking this year now that you are running the show?

Coach Corey Gaines: The tweaks are already built in. If you notice from my first year we changed to the second year. We change every year. But, itís not like Iím going to come up with some new brain trust. Iíve been with Coach (Westhead) long enough to know the base and what to add as the season goes along. You start off the season with 10 things and by the end of the season you have 60. You just keep adding onto that. Itís an adding type of system or offense and you adjust to what the defense does.

PhoenixMercury.com: So how does it feel after a few days of running the show?

Coach Corey Gaines: Itís not so bad because Coach let me do a lot of talking already. It wasnít like I was in the background not saying anything. I met with Coach weekly during the off times to talk about stuff. I kind of just learned from him and just saw how the adjustments I made worked and how to counter whatever the defense did.

PhoenixMercury.com: Do you feel like you were well-groomed by Coach Westhead for this position?

Coach Corey Gaines: He started that when I was back in college when I played point guard for him. His point guard is the type of person that is a coach on the court and who he gives control to. He ran things a little differently here, whereas in college we didnít call any plays. It was whatever I thought the situation needed at the time. It was all done on ball position. So he started me back then and then we changed when we came here to a different type of system. Itís an ongoing thing and we still talk weekly. I talk to him about the Sonics and about their players, and he asks about how everybody is doing here. Dee won another Euroleague championship and things are going well.

PhoenixMercury.com: Are any of the free agents showing any promise?

Coach Corey Gaines: Amy (Lewis), who is sick with a stomach virus, is an Aussie. Those Aussies are tough. ďShin,Ē the Japanese player (Yuko Oga) and Leilani are playing well too. Leilani is definitely like a Steve Nash-type of prober that can pass and shoot those little runners, can see the floor excellently, handles traps by dribbling out of them or splitting them and find the right person like itís easy. Like itís nothing. ďShinĒ uses her speed to get up and down the court and get to spots where she is open. They are two contrasting players that can do the same type of job. It all depends on what you need and how you look at it.

PhoenixMercury.com: So are you excited about the prospects of the season when youíve seen the way other teams have adjusted?

Coach Corey Gaines: They have adjusted and theyíve stacked themselves. Weíve got a bulls-eye on our backs. Thereís nothing wrong with that. Iíd rather have a bulls-eye on our backs than having people doubting whether or not we could win. ĎOh, that style will never work. You canít do that in the womenís game.í Now they canít say that anymore.

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