Jan. 5, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana Head Coach Kelvin Sampson sat down with the media on Friday, Jan. 5 about his preparations for the upcoming Michigan State game on Sunday, Jan. 7 and other issues surrounding the Hoosier program.
On welcoming the Hoosier troops home:
"Since I have been in the Middle East and seen what our troops go through on a daily basis, I have so much respect and appreciation for what they do. Sometimes I think American soldiers feel unappreciated, and they need to know that we appreciate them and thank them. Also, tell their families (that we appreciate them) because their families are going through a tremendous sacrifice as well."
On the team's preparation for the Michigan State game:
"Michigan State is difficult to prepare for because of how many different sets they run and the ways they can attack you. Tom (Izzo) always does a great job of getting the ball to the right people and the right places. We've beaten him some in the past and they have beaten us in the past. It's always been a tough game."
On Drew Neitzel:
"There is no stopping him. I wanted the Iowa game last night and I thought Iowa did a tremendous job on him and he got 20. You aren't going to stop him. I think the key with him is not to let someone else doesn't have a career game because their big guys are very capable."
On where A.J. Ratliff will be missed the most:
"Defense. I thought that the area where Ohio State exposed us the most was at the defensive end. When Earl (Calloway) and A.J. (Ratliff) are on the floor together, we are pretty good defensive team...We are not as strong defensively without A.J. He was starting to understand how we play defense."
On the inside game against Ohio State:
"There is a good chance that whoever is playing Ohio State will not be going to the basket that often. As long as (Greg) Oden is in there, your game plan is not going to be able to attack the basket. You can get other things against them... I thought D.J. (White) attacked him pretty good. He didn't finish some of his shots, but maybe he could have gone to the foul line more."
On the team's road play:
"I think over time we will be too (winning on the road). This team this year is probably going to struggle on the road. Don't be shocked at that. We still have the same team we had in April...Our kids are competing and doing the best they can. We haven't played a team on the road yet that I think we are better than. We aren't better than Kentucky, Duke or Ohio State. For those team to be playing at home, those teams should have won those games. I don't think we are struggling on the road. I think we are playing pretty good."
On D.J. White's game against Ohio State:
"We have to get D.J. to trust going away from his right shoulder. I think a great shot for him will be shooting the little baby hook, just a jump hook."
On the post players:
"Ben (Allen) is what he is. He is more of a perimeter post guy. Now, if we didn't have Lance (Stemler), then I think Ben would be playing a lot more minutes, but I'm not going to play Ben in place of Lance. The problem with the way I see the game is I don't think you can play a position without being able to guard it...Lance has really improved on keeping the ball in front of him. Ben can't do that. He's 6-11 and weighs 250 pounds and has trouble defending the perimeter. Offensively, Ben is more suited to shoot a 15 or 20 footer than go inside....Ben has to keep working and keep getting better."
On Mike White:
"If I had a do-over or a free pass, I would have played Mike more (against Ohio State). That was more of my mistake. My mindset was if Oden was out, it was a good time to take D.J. out, but D.J. really attacked (Othello) Hunter. He would turn and score on Hunter, and it's hard to turn and score on Oden. He could score on Hunter a lot easier than he could score on Oden. Looking back on it, I should have played Mike more. I've got to get him in there more."