New Coaches Baranczyk and Giacoletti Talk Basketball


Drake fans are eager to learn what the new season has in store for women’s and men’s basketball. Head coaches Jennie Baranczyk (bah-RAHN-check) and Ray Giacoletti (jack-o-LET-ee) share their insight and goals:

Larry Shank, a 45-year ticket holder: What kind of players are you looking for? I know and understand they must be strong in the classroom, but what do you like to see on the floor?

Baranczyk: Competitors with a high basketball IQ. When we’re looking at our system, players need to possess one of three traits: You either have to love to compete, love the game of basketball, or love your team to the point you’re willing to do whatever it takes to be successful.

Giacoletti: The three things we’re going to build this program with are character, academics, and, obviously, the talent to win Missouri Valley Conference championships. In terms of basketball, it’s skill, a feel for the game, and toughness.

Gene Irelan, parent of a Drake student: How does a student-athlete excel both on the court and in the classroom?

Baranczyk: We obviously have to recruit players that not only fit Drake in the classroom but also in the community. Those players must have an inner drive to compete and stay motivated in order to be successful in both areas and achieve the vision we have for this program.

Giacoletti: It takes high-character people who understand what it means to be a student-athlete, a strong work ethic, and a commitment to being successful in both athletic and academic pursuits.

David Beall, BN’81, member of the National Alumni Association Board of Directors: What major changes can
fans expect to see in Drake basketball?

Baranczyk: We were third in the Missouri Valley Conference in attendance this year, and we want to be No. 1. That’s a change I hope we see in our crowd.

Giacoletti: That’s a hard question because I can’t speak for the past. Moving forward, I want our style to be defensively sound, create easy baskets, and win the battle of the boards every night.

Matthew Mitchell, assistant professor of international business: Who should take the last shot in a Drake basketball game—the star or the open player?

Baranczyk: Obviously, your goal is to create a situation where your best player has the ball in her hands and is able to take that shot. But if she’s covered by multiple people and there’s a better open shot, then the open shot is the best shot we’re going to get at the end of a game.

Giacoletti: If your team is good enough, you want the open player to take it. Even if it’s LeBron James, if he’s closely guarded and it’s not a good opportunity to shoot, then he shouldn’t take it.

Eduardo Tamez Zamarripa, AS’12, JO’12: For Jennie Baranczyk, who would win in a one-on-one battle between you and Rachael Hackbarth?

Baranczyk: Rachael Hackbarth. Today.

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