Catching up with Basketball's Sam Scholl

Aug. 4, 2009

This week we checked in with Assistant Basketball Coach Sam Scholl (SS), who just returned from a month on the road recruiting players from across the country in the month of July. Scholl talked about the strongest part of the WCC, how the team's style of play will change this season and what the toughest part of recruiting is.

Scholl joined Coach Keating's staff as an assistant coach on April 9, 2007 and Scholl is entering his third season with the Broncos.

SCU: As a young coach who has been at two WCC schools (Santa Clara and San Diego as a player and a coach), what are the strengths of the conference?

SS: I would say that the coaches are the strongest part of the WCC. There is a high level of coaching all the way through. There are a lot of strong assistant coaches and up and coming coaches. The level of coaching from the head coach all the way down is very strong. The basketball is getting better because recruiting is getting better, which starts with the coaches.

SCU: We are talking to each Bronco assistant coach about a couple of players. After spring workouts what part of Nate Mensah and Phillip Bach's games do you thing have improved the most?

SS: They both have improved in their confidence and their abilities to help us on a daily basis. Through their efforts and their daily work in the weight room and conditioning, their confidence has grown and they are playing better. They are both important parts of our team and they are starting to realize their importance. They are not just walk-ons at the end of the bench, they are important to our success. Nate has a huge heart and a really smart mind. He sees what other teams are doing and what we need to do to get better.

SCU: Will the loss of John Bryant, a huge force in the paint, change the way the team plays this year? Will you incorporate a more run-and-gun style?

SS: We are going to have to change the way we play. With someone that big and dominant inside it didn't make sense to push the ball and get a quick shot before he gets down the floor. We are going to miss him tremendously, but I think our new style will be very enjoyable for our guys to play and for fans to watch. We are going to press, push the ball, and open up the floor.

SCU: What would you say has been your biggest coaching achievement?

SS: The relationship with players through the years, still being able to talk to them and keeping in contact with them after they graduate. The relationships with the players and their families are something that I cherish the most.

SCU: What is the toughest part of recruiting?

SS: Having the ability to really know somebody from watching them a few times. We try our hardest to really get to know the person. More times than not we feel that we know the player really well. We want to know how the player's family sees him, how opposing teams see him, and how his coaches see him.

SCU: You are married with a young daugther and family is very important to you. Talk a little about the family atmosphere at Santa Clara.

SS: One of the neat things about working here at Santa Clara is the family atmosphere of the whole department. There are so many people that work here that are doing a great job in the office and on the athletic fields; and at home as a mother or father as well. It's been a lot of fun for my wife, Heather, and I to have our 19 month old daughter Riley continue to grow up around the large number of great men on our basketball team. She will always be around a number of really good role models here at Santa Clara.

SCU: A couple 'favorite' questions for you to end:

SS:

Favorite athlete: LeBron James. I love his approach, his competitiveness and his hunger to win.

Favorite sport (not basketball): Football to watch and golf to play. I'm in my third year of learning how to play golf. It is the one sport I will play that I am not very good at.