Jan. 4, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Indiana men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson , senior D.J. White and freshman Eric Gordon met with members of the media on Friday to recap Wednesday's 79-76 win over Iowa and discuss the upcoming game against Michigan.
On freshman Jordan Crawford in his first Big Ten game:
"It was his first road game. Remember, he didn't go to Southern Illinois. Second half I thought his defense was good. He was in the right place, was a lot more comfortable. He is going to get better. Jordan is capable of putting the ball on the floor and making plays for other guys. That is what I like about him. I'd say right now Jordan has his chance to be a pretty good shooter. He is just not there yet. But playing off the dribble, his confidence level was a lot higher in the second half (at Iowa).
About the victory at Iowa:
"We were up nine in the first half, but they (Iowa) came out and really played hard. We saw them on tape in those other games. I thought they played good."
"When we went up 13, that's when the fireworks started going off. But our defense second half was good. Probably a little better than I thought watching the tape. In a game like that, the way that kid was making shots at the end, it is human nature just to remember the last two minutes. I think in the last minute of the game, one of the things you always tell your kids is don't foul them. There is an actual tendency there to contest hard. In fairness to our guys a lot of those shots were...the one in the corner that he shot over A.J., he fouled him. I mean, he fouled him during the shot and it still went in. Had he not made it he would have still shot the three free throws and when that happens, then the next guy says I am not going to foul him, so I am not going to get close to him and make him shoot it over an outstretched arm."
About Armon Bassett's injury:
"I think he landed on it. It is kind of like a, just think of an old truck going through a big old pothole without shock absorbers. You could see his leg just kind of crumble. He didn't practice last week and figured if he was going to play, he did go through shoot around Wednesday morning. If he was going to play, he had to start. But I saw how he was moving, so obviously he couldn't play. The good thing is we don't turn around and play. If we turned around and played Saturday, I doubt he'd play Saturday either. But Thursday he got treatment. I saw him in here this morning getting treatment. I have never had a kid with bone spurs...bone chips. (Athletic Trainer) Tim (Garl) says it is something that may have to be cleaned up when the season is over. The thing is, that he had hurt his ankle, I think right after the Xavier game. Maybe it was during the Xavier game he got hurt. It is the same ankle. I think that is the biggest problem."
On keeping the level of intensity throughout the game with so many young players
"Well, we are getting to the point where we're not young anymore. We're young in this league. After you get four or five Big Ten games under your belt, they'll figure it out."
On the point guard position with the absence of Armon Bassett
"It depends on what we are running. When we play Lance at the four, you can play E.J. (Eric Gordon) or Tone (Jamarcus Ellis) at the point. But when we have Mike White in there, you know, we'll just kind of rotate it. Armon is the guy we've practiced all year with at point guard. Jordan, in the games Armon missed there, Jordan played point."
"We've played two or three teams that have played the 1-3-1 against us, but not with their length. I watched the Wisconsin game, and take away the first eight or nine minutes of that game, and it is a close game or a tie game the rest of the way. We've just got to attack the 1-3-1. We've got to guard the back cuts. We've just got to play tougher. I think as the Big Ten season goes along, our guys, especially new guys, see the intensity level that these games are played at. It is similar to the Southern Illinois game. It is Big Ten play. It is just different when you get to Big Ten play. These programs take a lot of pride in representing their school."
About the younger players reaction to Big Ten play:
"I think Jordan (Crawford) was (surprised) in the first half. In all fairness to Jordan, he hadn't played a road game. The last game he played away from home was against Xavier. He is going to have to get through it. This is why these kids come here to school. You come to Indiana or Iowa or Michigan State to play in this league. They didn't choose to play at Indiana to play a non-conference schedule. They chose Indiana to play in the Big Ten and compete for Big Ten Championships. It is good we got that one under our belts. We have three out our first four on the road, so we'll get road-tough real fast."
On what he wants out of AJ Ratliff:
"Just to get comfortable. The last time I saw AJ in a uniform was against UCLA with a broken left hand. I hadn't seen AJ play a normal game since Ball State. He was hurt all year. We had to decide whether to let him practice or play. We decided to let him play. He didn't practice much. We just let him play. The good thing was after the game his ankle swelled up a little bit but not too bad. He came in and got treatment yesterday. He was sore, but you don't just sit out games because of a sore ankle and all of a sudden it goes away. He played fifteen minutes the other night. You can tell he is a little rusty."
"You can have four guys playing a great defensive possession. If one guy is out of position, you blow your defensive possession. We did that some the other night. In the second half we were solid. We didn't give up any easy baskets. The shots that kid made at the end of the game, I'll take that defense any time. First of all that kid had made two threes, and we defended him well on those two. The stretch where we played pretty well, we didn't give up anything easy and we rebounded the ball. I expect us just to get better each game with that."
On Jamarcus Ellis:
"You're lucky when you find one like that. We recruited him when I was at Oklahoma, when he was in high school. The thing that always jumped out at you was he was not a real good shooter. Other than that he is pretty good. He can make shots though. He is a guy that makes shots when you need them. That doesn't register on somebody's scale in evaluation always, but he has that knack about him. I always thought he was a winner. His team's win. I think we had a game this year where I don't think he even shot at the goal. He doesn't care about that. He doesn't need to score. He scores because we need him to, not because he needs to. There are some guys that they need to score. If they aren't scoring, they don't feel like they are helping you. Jamarcus figures it out."
On the play of Eric Gordon to start the Big Ten season:
"I thought he was a little too unselfish the other night. I thought he could have attacked more. A kid like EJ, he can go to the rim any time, unless you double him. It is like D.J. (White). If you play D.J. on the post 1-on-1, if you don't double-team D.J. and we throw it to him, he will shoot it every time. Then after the game you will say `why were his shot attempts down'...only because they were doubling him. A lot of times we throw it inside to D.J. because we know he is not going to get a shot. And we teach him to throw it not to the guy that threw it to him, but right to the top of the key, the guy right in that slot. There is a crease there between the 45- degree angle and the top of the key. If D.J. will get it out to that guy and that guy swings it, we are going to get a wide-open shot. And D.J. won't have a shot attempt, but we will get that shot because of D.J. We do that a lot with D.J."
"EJ was highly efficient the other night (against Iowa). EJ had 12 shot attempts that counted and he had 11 free throws. That means he probably had about 17 shot attempts. He could shoot more. He would be fine. There are some guys that can make hard shots. EJ is getting to where when he sees traffic, he will pass it. And he has probably never done that a whole lot. Just go score. That is how you average 30 points a game. You shoot a lot. You have to have a high volume of shots. But if you have 12 shot attempts, officially, and you score 25 points, that is a highly efficient night. If you are scoring 25 points off of 25 shot attempts, that is a very low efficiency night. EJ had 25 (points) and he only had 12 shot attempts. That means he is making good decisions and taking really good shots."
Freshman Eric Gordon
On what it was like playing in his first Big Ten game:
"It was real physical. Every time I went to the hole...they had a bigger team than a lot of the other teams we played. The game was a lot more physical. It was just real tough to score inside most of the time."
On whether the physicality made him change his game:
"A little bit. I always try to go for the hole a lot more because that is what I kind of what I do shooting free throws. Refs were just letting you play. There was a lot of contact inside. Just have to adjust to that."
On the lessons learned from Iowa:
"We just have to work hard each possession. That is what it is all about now. That is the first thing I learned playing this game. You can't take any possession off throughout the whole game."
Senior D.J. White
On different guys playing the point with the absence of Armon Bassett:
"It is somewhat different. Armon's experienced. I am used to playing with everybody, no matter who is at the point, whether it is EJ (Eric Gordon) running the point sometimes Jordan (Crawford) or Tone (Jamarcus Ellis). We do it in practice with coach mixing it up who handles the ball. I think we are used to it."
On whether there is a change in intensity for the new guys with the start of Big Ten play:
"There is a change. It was our first game and it was on the road. That is totally different that what we have faced. But I think they will get used to it. At practice, they are understanding that every day, that we have to go out there and get better, to work hard. It has been an adjustment period but I think we have done a good job with that each and every day."
On less focus being placed on him in games this year:
"I think it is less. Which is always good. I think it would be hard for teams to double- or triple- (team) me like they did last year with all the talent we have around us at the guard position."