“We have to kick that door down,” Dana Ford told the press at Missouri State basketball media day.
“We haven’t won this league since 2012….until we kick that door down, I have a hard time voting for someone to do something they haven’t done.”
The Bears were given 29 of 44 first place votes in the preseason men’s basketball poll with Bradley second and Northern Iowa third.
“It’s like someone else heard someone say something is really good and they just jump on it,” Ford told reporters. “There’s not a lot of substance to it. We need to use a better level of knowledge when we make these types of decisions. That’s just my honest truth about it.”
Ford noted the team was “a half court shot away from a play-in game last year.”
Ford did say that the poll means it’s almost time for the season to begin and he’s ready for that.
He said that the team’s practice approach isn’t really at the level it needs to be yet in his view; he said that there’s “still a lot of time” but the players need to do more than play hard.
“We haven’t had enough time to do what you gotta do,” Ford said.
Ford talked positively about the new members of the team and the way they provide new energy in the gym. He noted their competitiveness and that he found them “very coachable.”
When he talked with OI, Coach Ford noted the second year of his time with Missouri State is bringing a comfort level to the program in terms of his system being in place.
“When you think about having the opportunity to have total control over your schedule, your roster, your staff, to where you have what you want in place, you feel more comfortable,” Ford said.
Ford noted, however, that having a player focused approach meant coming in the first year to players he didn’t recruit brought challenges.
“There’s no player [that first year] who understands how you want it to be,” Ford said. “But now, you get returners, and they understand how you want them to be. Each year you get a little more comfortable. We have a little more direction about where we’re headed and we have a more solid foundation.”