How do you balance the pressure to win with the need to build strong relationships with your players?
MT: We have a rule that [each player] has to come through the office three days a week, sign in and spend five minutes talking about anything—school, family, problems he might be having. I think if you let them know that you care more about them as a person than as a player, then they want to play harder for you.
After four years at Texas A&M, is it good to be back at a school where basketball comes first?
MT: There's no question that football is huge in Texas, but people were passionate about basketball at A&M. Here they're extremely passionate. [The program] gets a lot of respect because of what Lefty [Driesell] and Gary [Williams] have done.
SI: WHAT ADVICE DOES YOUR FORMER COACH AT KANSAS, LARRY BROWN, GIVE YOU?
MT: HE TELLS ME TO BE MYSELF, DO THINGS MY WAY AND TO SURROUND MYSELF WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE. BEING MYSELF AND BEING A GOOD LEADER ARE THINGS I TAKE VERY SERIOUSLY.
Which teams, aside from Duke and North Carolina, make you nervous?
MT: There are some teams on the rise in our league that have a bit of a head start on us, but I don't want to say anything positive about anyone because I gotta recruit against them! [Laughs.]