Men's Basketball

    Tom Crean Post Game Quotes

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    Feb. 22, 2009

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    Tom Crean Press Conference
    Indiana at Purdue
    February 21, 2009

    Opening Statement:

    "I am proud of the way we responded since Thursday night. Because Thursday night we didn't play very well at all and we had to come back in a hurry. And I thought these guys did. I thought they were locked into preparation. And really more than anything we went through Purdue but we had to get our focus back where it needed to be, so that's what we spent most of our time on. We went in and battled and the bottom line in this game is in this game when you're sitting where we're at there's no doubt in any of our minds that Purdue is going to bring an all out get into battle mindset to the game and we had to do the same thing. For the most part we did, you know play with that kind of spirit and toughness. We didn't always obviously make the best decisions and everything, but that's part of the game. To come in here and be resilient, to battle with them and to understand for most of us, a great majority of us that have never been in this game, the impact of it, I'm proud that they came in here and they battled. They didn't flinch. We couldn't get enough key things to happen for us to really jump back in to make it nip and tuck at the end, but it wasn't for lack of trying and it wasn't for lack of toughness. Go ahead."

    Talk about your first time in West Lafayette as a head coach:

    "Well I never stayed at a hotel that had a Borders connected to it. That was kind of cool last night at the Hilton. I can't drive by one of those book stores without going in. We came in here and practiced last night and it's a great place, there's no question about it. We were serenaded by some of the students, 100 to 150 of them singing the fight song when we pulled up. That got our guy's attention I know that. It's a great rivalry. It transcends players, does. I'm really happy that we're going to have a chance to be a part of this for hopefully a long time. But I wanted our players more than anything to understand that it does not matter what you think when you come in with this jersey on, I said the same thing to them, I'm not trying to be corny, but when you come in with this Indiana jersey on you got a lot of things you got to lay on the line. And it all starts with your own personal accountability. I think for the most part we did that."



    Tom, it seemed like every time you got it to eight or nine they always had an answer:

    "At least we were able to put it into that situation. Our guys had to make a lot of basketball plays today. That's what Purdue does to you. They make you make plays. It's not about your past, it's about you making a play. And that's a tribute to how well they play and what their pressure is like. And our guys did that in a lot senses, but they just had too many people that could make plays. They do an excellent job of sharing the ball. We knew that. It wasn't like there were any surprises on how good they are. You get...there's a big strong team. Their guards are very strong obviously. And they have enough guys that can make things happen. But we continued to battle in it we're going to try and take some of these positives out of this, take them home and try to build on it for the next one with Northwestern."

    Tom, as well you were crashing the boards in the first half and getting some good put backs, Terry asked you about it, you couldn't get into it because of Purdue making basketball plays. E'tuan Moore' start:

    "We made...I think...they make a lot of basketball plays obviously. We had to make them. We're not...a lot of our stuff sometimes has got to be manufactured right now. That's what I meant by that. They make a lot of basketball plays."

    Moore's start getting them going:

    "They made some shots. When they got the offensive rebound and the kick-out passes, that's...I was dead shocked that we had a two rebound lead at halftime. I would have never envisioned that. They made their rebounds count. They're good in all facets. They really are. People, when they get ready to play them in the tournament, you're not going to be able to look and say we can really take them out of this because they don't have players to do that. They're not like that. He's done a great job building this. Great job."

    What are your thoughts on JaJuan Johnson now that you've had a chance to go head-to-head with him?

    "I wish Indiana would have signed him. I know that. We've always liked JaJuan. We recruited him at Marquette. We didn't get very far. That was one of those guys you just looked at that athleticism and you knew that once the weight and strength started to come then the instincts and the toughness and all those things were going to come out to. He's certainly one of the most versatile...I don't look at him as a center, I look at him as a big forward. He's one of the most versatile guys around. Certainly a strong candidate for player of the year in this league, and is going to garner some all-American attention I would think. Maybe not first or second team, but that's on the horizon for him. He's good. He is so much better. He's so much better. And they really want to play through him and they do a good job of that."

    Talk about the play of Verdell Jones:

    "Well, I think he's just a product of coming to practice every day trying to make it as competitive as can be. A lot of extra shooting inside of the practices and just gaining confidence. A big thing with Purdue, it's been this since Coach (Gene) Keady was here, if you try to go too far underneath the rim they're going to draw a charge on you, so we really had to trust our pull-up. And he's becoming a very good pull-up shooter. He's making a lot of progress. There's no reason to think he's not going to continue to go and make that same kind of progress the rest of the season."

    Talk about the play of Tom Pritchard today:

    Yeah, I thought he did a very good job. I mean he had a tough assignment. He had to play through some foul issues. But he was on the glass. He was aggressive. He made some moves which we want him to make. He's looking for his jump shot more and more, which is what we want. He was a force and that's good to see because he's fully capable. It bewilders me sometimes that we can come back as fast as we did from how poorly we played Thursday night to come out this way, but I guess that's part of this whole youth thing that we're going through. But they were resilient and he was a big part of that."

    Can you talk about Kyle Taber and his effort:

    "He did. You know he's a key guy. He's going to play for us until...barring anything where he would stop giving that level of energy and toughness that he has, he's going to play for us until his last possible game. You people would probably know better than me that have covered this program for long time, but seeing his improvement as the year has gone on for a guy that scored 36 points in the beginning his first three years or whatever it was, is pretty impressive. I'm impressed with his courage. I watch his minutes in practice. His knees aren't great, but he's out there battling and I'm glad we have him."

    Devan (Dumes) was held out of the starting line-up today.

    "He wasn't held out of the starting line-up. I just had a different starting line-up. I didn't hold anybody out. We went with what we thought would give us the best chance to start the game with the driving, and then get Devan and Matt (Roth) in as we loosened up that defense a little bit. So it's...come on now we're 6-20. I'm not married to any starting line-up. I'm going to do whatever we can do to have the best line-up on the floor. It could change again on Wednesday. We're just going to continue day-after-day...I thought Devan came in and did a good job. But what we're going to do day after day is keep giving these guys the confidence and belief they can win the games because I know I have it."

    Any advice from your brother-in-law (John Harbaugh) or from Cam (Cameron):

    "They were great. We had Mike McCarthy here. We had Trace Armstrong here. It was excellent. And John and Cam gave some locker room night before the game football speeches in there. As good a speech as we had is Tim Garl talking to the team last night about this rivalry. I love those guys. I never met Trace before, but Cam loves Indiana, there's no question about that. John is not only my brother-in-law but one of my best friends. And Mike McCarthy has turned out like that in my time in Wisconsin so I was really happy that they were here and happy that they had a chance to talk to our team. Those are the kind of things down the road...and in answer to your question it was all about toughness. That's what everybody's theme was. I'm sure just like the former Indiana players, and probably the Purdue players the same way, when you can bring back former players and you can bring back people that are very, very successful in their field, they may not understand how cool that is right now, but they will get that when it's all said and done. And that's why I'm glad we can do things like that for them."

    When Verdell (Jones) went down with an ankle you put in Malik (Story) to replace him. I know you've worked on that some. Is that something you're growing more comfortable with?

    "Yeah, we were planning to play all three. I didn't want Verdell just to have to fight that pressure the whole game. They played pressure the entire time. We wanted to get a couple screens where we could relieve that pressure. Malik is...Malik even came up and told me if he needed to he could play the five. I said you might have looked like a five man when you got here but we've lost a little weight. We're going to keep you a one through four. He's trying. He's getting better. They're all getting better. And to come in here and battle in's a good thing. We just got to find a way to get over the hump. Thank you."


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