Ivy Interview: Princeton's Joe Scott

October 7th, 2006
Jon Teitel chats with Princeton head coach Joe Scott as part of an interview series with all eight Ivy League coaches.


1. What are your team’s goals for this season?

A: We have one goal: to improve every day.  We started getting better during the 2nd half of last year, and we hope to continue that this season.


2. What facet of the game is most important to your team’s success this season?

A: We must have a knowledge of how to win.  The key to that is the execution of our half-court offense, as well as our defense.  We need to have consistency on every single possession.


3. Who do you think will be your team’s most improved player this season?

A: All of our returning upperclassmen have gotten better, as they continue to understand their roles on the team.


4. Which non-conference opponent do you think will be your biggest challenge this year?

A: We have a very hard non-conference schedule this year: Rutgers, Seton Hall, South Carolina, Manhattan, Iona, etc.


5. Which of your 6 incoming freshmen (Pawel Buczak, Zach Finley, Lincoln Gunn, Chris Petrie, Marcus Schroeder, and Blake Wilson) do you expect to make the biggest impact this season?

A: Schroeder will get to play a lot at the point.  Gunn should get some time in the backcourt, and Finley at center has all the tools.  The more the upperclassmen can show them the ropes, the easier it will be for the freshmen.


6. In light of the success of Ivy players from other countries, do you think it is crucial to specifically recruit foreign-born players, or do you just want to get the guys who can best help your team win?

A: Some people might target players from abroad, but we do not.  Sometimes it can be hard to get them into school, so we just look for the best guys we can find who can do the things that we want them to do.


7. Do you consider this season to be the usual two-team race between Penn and Princeton, or do you think another team can win the conference title this season?

A: Penn is the preseason favorite, and we finished second last year.  We both have a lot of guys back, but that does not guarantee that we will finish that high again.  Columbia has a lot of guys back, and if they improve, then they will be tough.


8. How do you think the loss of Scott Greenman (All-Ivy 1st-team) will affect your team?

A: It will be a big loss for us: he was terrific after coming back from his injury.  It is very important for the guys who played with him to ease the adjustment for the freshmen.  We will miss him a lot, but I like our chances to make the adjustment, which will be a compliment to both him as well as us.


9. Is there any difference in coaching a player whose relatives played college and/or pro basketball (Kevin Steuerer’s father Mickey played on Princeton’s 1975 NIT title team, Zach Woolridge’s father Orlando played 13 years in the NBA, and Chris Petrie’s uncle Geoff averaged over 20 PPG in his own NBA career) versus a player whose relatives did not?

A: I do not see a big difference.  Kevin’s improvement over the past two years has been unbelievable, and we will look for him to make a big contribution.  Tradition is important here at Princeton, but in the end it comes down to each individual to make their own contribution.


10. Do you feel a need to recruit more in the middle of America, or are you content with your current focus on the Eastern and Western time zones (where most of your players hail from)?

A: I have only had 2 years of recruiting here, so I thick it is just a coincidence.  Regardless of their hometown, we want guys who understand our tradition and want to be a part of it.


11. How has Ivy League basketball changed since your own playing days (Scott was a 3‑year starter at point guard for Princeton, and team captain/2nd-team All-Ivy in 1986‑87)?


A: College basketball has gotten bigger in general.  The NCAA Tournament has become a huge thing, with greater visibility and more opportunity for exposure.  However, that can be bad if the kids do not realize what is necessary every day in order to get to the tournament: it comes down to who can compete every Friday and Saturday.  I had forgotten about that when I left, but I have re-learned those things since returning, so in a way nothing has changed.


12. Who do you consider to be the favorite for Ivy Player of the Year?

A: Ibby Jaaber at Penn showed last year that he was the best, so unless someone can show that they are better than him, he is the favorite.