Oats & Hurley to cross paths Friday in NCAA Tournament

UB Bulls

4 Notable Quotes: Nate Oats

UB will take on Arizona State on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The matchup will feature a pair of head coaches who are very familiar with each other. Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley hired UB’s Nate Oats as an assistant back in 2013. Hurley left for ASU in 2015 and Oats was promoted. Their paths will cross once again in Tulsa on Friday. Oat’s addressed that and more during his press conference on Thursday.

Q. Do you see any similarities

between your program and Arizona State and what

differences do you see between them?

NATE OATS: Similarities, we’re both kind of gritty,

tough, hard-nosed. Bobby obviously a Jersey City guy.

Kind of get his guards to get after. We have really

good defensive guards. Kid like Dort is who all

defensive team in the PAC-12 as a freshman. I think

we both — Remy Martin plays is a lot of flare, and he’s

kind of their heart and soul and got a toughness to him.

If you look at our guard play, I think we both have pretty

tough, gritty guards that like to get after it and play with

some freedom. We both give our guards a lot of

freedom. They have little bit deeper, more athletic front

line. We’re probably a little deeper in the backcourt.

But for the most part, both teams play man-to-man.

He’s probably a little bit more zone and probably due to

the fact that he’s got lot more depth in the front line,

wants to play them more, and Saint John’s, they have

more perimeter job. We play fast, they play fast. We’re

probably a tad faster. That may be due to more depth

in our backcourt.

There’s not — it’s not like one team is all zone or one

team is pulling it in every time. One team is shooting a

bunch of 3s. When I coached under him, we had pretty

similar philosophies and I didn’t change a whole lot

when he left. Personnel change but philosophies

haven’t changed a whole lot.

Q. What did you learn from

Bobby when you coached underneath him?

NATE OATS: My first Division 1 experience, I learned

the whole how it’s done Division 1. I also learned how

competitive he is. I’m pretty competitive. I think a lot of

people, especially coaches, think they’re competitive. I

don’t think anybody realizes how competitive the

Hurleys are and that’s Danny and Bobby both.

Bobby — I haven’t coached under Danny. I’m guessing

he’s similar. You know what I learned? I learned why

he was such a good player. Because when you look at

him, he’s not taller than me. He’s not — he was athletic

back in the day to a point, but you just know after

coaching with him, you knew why he was so good

because he just wasn’t going to take any losses.

It was not fun when we had losses around there but the

point was made that I don’t accept losing and we’re not

going to be a losing program. Got it turned around

quick. That’s why he got Arizona State turned around

quick. He refuses to accept anything that deals with

losing.

As far as basketball goes, you obviously talk a lot

different stuff. I learned some point guards — I wasn’t

really a point guard. He was the best point guard

arguably in college basketball history.

I learned a lot about how he thinks as a point guard

and Coach and I listened a lot as he coached the

guards. I became a much better coach for guards and

point guards in particular, what you’re looking at here

and all that stuff.

Q. What are a couple of things that you sell players

on in terms of trying to get them to come to

Buffalo?

NATE OATS: The weather, number one (laughter). No,

we do say this: The temperature in the gym in Buffalo

is the same as the temperature in the gym in Miami

during the winter seasons. Right up-front, if you’re

worried about what the weather is outside during the

basketball season, probably recruiting the wrong kid.

Tell me right up front if you’re going to try to go to the

beach or actually go in the gym and get yourself better.

In the gym the temperature is all the same.

The things we sell the most obviously, we’ve been

winning. Kids want to be associated with winners. We

go to the tournament, fourth in the last five years. Kids

want to play in this tournament. Our style of play is

one kids want to play. Third fastest team in the country

right now. We play a style it’s open, lot more like the

NBA guys. We’re big on player development. Guys

are able to use what they work on in the gym. You

build a relationship. That’s the bottom line, build

relationships. Kids trust you, we’ll make them better.

Q. NCAA Tournament, it’s been a lot since April of

2015. What was it like for you the day you found

out were you getting hired to know you had to

succeed Bobby Hurley and put your stamp on this

program using what Bobby set as a foundation?

NATE OATS: We wanted to continue to build. I had a

great relationship with the players that stayed. They

said something to Danny White, they would like to see

me get the head job. We had to recruit. At the time

when I was a recruit, I saw Bobby Hurley because

Buffalo didn’t have any tradition. Now I had to sell

Buffalo basketball. I couldn’t sell myself. I had no

name in the business.

We build relationships, been to the tournament. I put

my head down and started grinding in like early —

Bobby was good. I stayed in touch with him and Danny

as well. Those guys helped me through the first few

months. Both them had just gone through it, not that

recently, and I was only two years removed from high

school. Danny went straight from high school to

Wagner. Bobby had just been through it himself. They

both talked me through a lot of that stuff. Danny White

the AD was great. He helped me with everything. It

was a stressful couple months, but it was a good

couple months, too.

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