Coach Crean Discusses Tomorrow's Game Against Illinois
Jan. 8, 2010
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head coach Tom Crean met with members of the media on Friday to talk about Saturday night's game against Illinois. Below is a partial transcript:
"We're in January here, getting ready to start classes again and we're still really working hard at trying to find what our competitive advantage is going to be and who's going to make that happen. This time of year with a veteran club you're really into maintenance, into shooting, into the game prep and into tweaking things for you. Well we've got to do all of that plus we have to compete. That's where we're at, but we've had two good, solid days. I'm excited that we have a game.
"As we've tried to get across to the players, we have to rebound, we have to defend, we have to play with that edge and the guys that do it are the ones that are going to get rewarded for it. Last year, again, things were given, this year they have to be earned. It's a continual, daily process to make sure we understand that.
"We had an excellent semester, which I alluded to back when we got our grades. We had a 3.06 for the semester as a team and ten guys with a 3.0 or better. Mattie White and Marney Moony are fantastic as our academic advisors. They deserve a ton of credit for the job that they did. We start again with that next week."
On the team showing grit and toughness in practice:
On the problems that Illinois presents:
"They're two of the quickest big shooters that I've seen in a long time, with their jump hook and the turnaround jumpers. All those things are really good. They're a product of development. They have a chance to learn and grow when they were young. They had to earn their way in and there's something to be said for that. Now, in year two, we've got to do our best to make sure that we're trying to get our guys to earn their way in because they didn't have guys to sit behind, learn from, and wait for."
On how much he looks forward to having a player in his fourth year in this program:
"What I look forward to, and we had this today, is these guys understanding that it is a physical battle. Mentally, it's going to exploit you if you're not ready. The mind is such a huge element in what you are trying to get accomplished, and when you are trying to compete and win basketball games. We've tried to show them different examples of that. I'm looking forward to when they start going at each other every day and the coaches do not drive it, primarily. That it is driven because our players have that kind of edge."
"The day before a game we are not just going to come out and run through the other team's plays, shoot a couple balls and call it a day. We can't do that. There's a fine line. We don't want to wear anybody out, but we have to learn to compete, I mean, really compete. But we are showing it. Look how hot Pitt is right know. I mean, we had them down 17 points or so.
"I'm not discouraged at all and I don't want anyone else to be discouraged, I just get extremely disappointed when we don't bring out the toughness that I think we should be bringing. But it doesn't matter what I think, it matters what they're capable of doing. And we have to make sure we are building on those capabilities every day."
How do you try to drive out those capabilities: "We've shown them some other films. We've shown them our turnovers. And one of the big things for us was that we showed them the 24 turnovers we had the other night and only four of them, we felt, were forced by Ohio State. In every game, the other team is going to force turnovers. But that was being mild really, there were twenty times we shot ourselves in the foot with a turnover."
"Tonight we'll show them some losing plays that really cost us in that game, but we'll show them some winning plays. You never want to let a team get too ahead of themselves or too full of themselves when they win, so you are always trying to find some things that are going to bring them back down to earth. Well, you have to perk them up sometimes when you lose.
"We don't have a bunch of guys that had nails for breakfast with their Wheaties and then are going tonight and munch on some boulders and bricks. We don't have that. They have to learn how to do that. We have to make sure we're not patronizing or being condescending. We're trying show them `hey, here is why you are getting beat, and here is what it looks like when you are doing it right.' And if we can find some examples from the around country, we are going to do that as well. We felt there were some points during the Louisville/Kentucky game where the mental part of the game really extinguished anything that was going on, on the floor.
"I think it's really important that they not only see themselves but the opponents, especially this time of the year. Only seeing themselves can get real boring. I show way less film than I used to as a coach because I get worried about their attention spans and we are asking so much of them. That's why it's always important to get their attention by showing something else."
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