JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) -Ever since he was fired by LSU last year, John Brady has been in a rush.
He could have taken some time off to relax - maybe hang around a television studio for a year. Instead, he jumped at the chance to coach at Arkansas State.
Now he's hoping to turn the Red Wolves around, sooner rather than later.
``Regardless of how it may look on the surface, I think when you dig deeper that there are things here that we're doing that are going to make the program better and pay off as soon as next year,'' Brady said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press.
``Somebody says, 'Well, it takes you three years.' I'm not looking at three years. I'm ready to do it. We could have done it this year had we had a couple things go our way.''
Not much went Brady's way after he took LSU to the 2006 Final Four, and the Tigers let him go last year. Arkansas State started this season well, but the Red Wolves have dropped several close games in Sun Belt Conference play.
rady can point to some silver linings from his first season in Jonesboro, which included an early six-game winning streak.
``Early on, we had it going a little bit,'' he said. ``We have found ways to lose games. Hopefully that's something you go through. We've got a good recruiting class. We've got a couple of good players sitting out. We're going to sign one more player. We've got a good nucleus coming back. I think what we're going through now will make us better for next year.''
Arkansas State (13-14, 5-11) faces North Texas (16-11, 9-7) on Thursday night. Donald Boone and Eric McKinney, the team's top two scorers, are both juniors.
Brady was fired by LSU last February after more than a decade there. After speaking to former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson about the job, Arkansas State hired Brady.
``I just wanted to get back into coaching. I didn't want to sit out. The TV thing, I had never even pursued anything like that. I never even really gave that much consideration,'' Brady said. ``My wife and I just decided we wanted to get back into coaching and do it as quickly as possible and find a situation we could be comfortable in and go see what we could do. Build something else.''
eam.
To Brady, LSU's success is some vindication.
``They know how to defend. They understand what winning's about. ... They can't help but have a good team,'' Brady said. ``Whether they liked John Brady or not - two or three people that count - that's another issue. But in terms of the program and where I left it and the players that they have there from a talent standpoint, obviously by the way they're playing, there was nothing wrong with the talent at LSU, and I'm proud of that.''
At Arkansas State, Brady faced early adversity when an NCAA ruling forced forward Yima Chia-Kur out of the lineup for an extended stretch. The Red Wolves overcame that and started 11-4 before a triple-overtime loss at North Texas on Jan. 10.
Since then, Arkansas State has slumped. The Red Wolves are currently on a seven-game losing streak that includes four defeats by five points or fewer.
Although this season isn't over, Brady is already looking ahead a bit. Despite the recent skid, Arkansas State has eclipsed its win total from 2007-08, when the team went 10-20.
Brady says he'd like the Red Wolves to become the type of team that can make a run to the NCAA round of 16, like Western Kentucky of the Sun Belt did a season ago.
e've established a way to do things in terms of the day-to-day operation, the culture of the team. I've suspended a couple players for class attendance, or not meeting with the academic center as they should.
``Just establishing a way to do things, holding your players accountable - I think those things pay off down the road.''

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