Jan. 16, 2009
Press Conference Video
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Head Coach Tom Crean met with members of the media on Friday to discuss the Hoosiers' game against Penn State on Saturday. Freshman forwards Nick Williams and Tom Pritchard also spoke to the media. Here's a transcript from today's media availability:
Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean
On Penn State forward Jamelle Cornley:
"He presents a ton of challenges because he is a match-up nightmare. You guard him with someone smaller and he will overpower them. If you try to guard him with someone bigger he gets around them. And one other thing that makes him so dangerous is that he will shot fake at the end of his move. He is always trying to get you up in the air and is one of the great fould-drawers in this leage, I would think. I think he is very good.
"We have to obviously be very locked in with him and we also have to be conscious of guards (Talor) Battle and (Stanley) Pringle. With them, you have three of the top eight scorers in the league and that's a rarity, when you have three guys get almost 70 percent of their points. At the same time, the other guys can make open shots and they can really rebound the basketball, really rebound the basketball. They are one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the conference, along with Michigan State, and one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the country, and he's a big part of that a well."
On Battle and Pringle:
"I think what you have is the speed and quickness factor and the ability to make shots. They are so good at attacking the elbows. When they come down, one guy has the right-to-left crossover and the other one has the right-to-left crossover and they want to get to the basket. They want to create and they do an excellent job of getting to the elbow and making plays from there.
"Whether the ball is in their hands at the beginning of the shot clock or the end, there is great danger with those guys. They are prolific scorers because they can shoot, they can get to the rim and they are in perpetual motion."
On whether he tells the team to wipe the slate clean with four of the next five at home:
"No, I don't think so. It has all been about getting ready for this game. With a week off, there is no need to focus on anything but getting ready for Penn State, not that we would with any other game. I think it's important to lock in to what our needs are right now, and there are plenty, but to lock in to what we've got to be better at and that's what we've focused on the last couple days."
On whether he divides the season up into segments:
"No, I think when you do that, you get away from two things. You get away from the `Every game is an important game" mentality and you have a chance to lose sight of how important a game in that timeframe can be. Human nature sets in on a basketball team like it does with everybody else. And not on this team because we don't have the ability to look at anybody and feel like we are going to have an easy night. If you do that with a veteran team, it's really easy to stub your toe because you didn't pay enough attention to a certain team."
On the $5 ticket deal for Saturday's game:
"I think it's a great idea. We had a meeting the other day and (Director of Athletics) Fred Glass has a ton of great ideas. Fred had an advantage to be around this a couple months before he took over this job. Rick (Greenspan) worked right up until the end. My last meeting with Rick was on the last day that he was here. I met with him until about 10:30 and I would imagine that I might have been his last meeting and that's how committed to the job he was, he worked all the way through it. And then Fred hit the ground running. I thought that was one of the keys. I have felt all along, when you are going to have a tough transition like that and you are going to lose somebody of Rick's quality, you can't have a long transition period. And we aren't having that. Fred has hit it right away and I'm all for it. He's got a lot of ideas and we have a lot of ideas and he's implementing them. I think this is going to be great. It is opportunity for people to come, for families to come and our number one focus has not been "let's get ready for next year" or "let's get ready for next month," it has always been let's get ready for every day. And let's get ready for each and every game and I think this is a great deal."
On Nick Williams development:
"He's developing in a lot of ways. Right now we are looking for that consistent energy. There is a big drop off when he gets in foul trouble and we've got to get him a blow. It happened to us the other night and we didn't pick up the slack at Ohio State when he went out of the game. It was 15-10 when I think it really made a difference that he wasn't in the game. I'm not subscribing to the theory, like I always did in the past, that two fouls and you're out. Because we don't have that kind of depth so we have to play time and score a little bit.
"But we missed him and that's the greatest thing you can say about a player is that you can really tell the difference when he's not in there. We need him to play more efficiently. We need him to play more intelligently with is hands and feet and not commit fouls that are going to put him on the bench because he is a very valuable guy for us on both ends of the floor."
On Verdell Jones III confidence over the past couple games:br>
"I think it's just like it is with everybody else, it's a steady climb and everybody needs practice time. I think when he lost practice time, the one thing he didn't do is he didn't lose a lot of conditioning but he didn't gain a lot of experience that he needed for us inside of those games. Right now we just need him to continue to improve in the sense of pushing the ball up the court and getting us into an offense and looking for his shot. He has to do what we all do. There's not a guy on this team that couldn't stand to guard the ball better, that can't stand to guard shooters better and he really has to take a march step with that as well. But his a very valuable guy for us in the sense that he is playing a lot of minutes and the ball is in his hands a lot and he's going to get tough assignments for him, defensivly, and he's going to have tough people guarding him because he does have the ball in his hands a lot."
Freshman Forward Tom Prichard
On Penn State Jamelle Cornley:
"I went on a visit to Penn State and played a little open gym against him there. He's a solid inside-outside player. He has a lot of great moves but we are going to attack him."
On what the team did better at Ohio State compared to at Illinois:
"I think handling runs. Whenever Illinois got on a run, we would just collapse on defense. But Ohio State made many runs and we started attacking them with our own runs and that helped us a lot."
On playing four of the next five at home:
"I think it's going to help a lot because the atmosphere is great. The fans that come out and support us really help us out a lot, it's like a sixth man mentality and that's what we need for the home stretch."
On how the home crowd helps the team:
"I think we really do feed off of it. The energy that the crowd brings to us definitely comes through in all of our players and it helps us to attack and be aggressive on defense."
On keeping Penn State off the offensive boards:
"I think that's something we really have to work on. I think we outrebounded Ohio State but if you watch the film, we still are not cracking guys and we have to get more physical on rebounding."
Freshman forward Nick Williams
On being home again:
"I think it is going to be a lot of fun. Penn State shoots the ball really well. They attack really well. I think we have a great chance to win this game. We've been preparing well as usual, and we'll try to get in here tomorrow and stop them and try to get our first win."
On the frustration that comes with a losing streak:
"We haven't won yet, but we've still been getting at it a lot, and we've had very long practices. Coach won't let losing set in, and I don't think we will either. We've got the play tough tomorrow and try to get a win."
On staying loose as a team:
"We just come out with a great mindset everyday and a lot of energy. We don't want to let losing set in because we're just trying to work through it and get better everyday."
On players stepping up as leaders:
"Practices have always been great. At tough practices, we've always got on each other. We did again today. We talk to each other, and it is a personal thing for us. Everybody has to be accountable for themselves and then we can bring it along as a team."
On staying out of foul trouble:
"I've just got to make better decisions. I made some crazy fouls, and I've just got to be a smarter player when it comes to staying in the game. I know the team needs me, and I know I'll play a lot better tomorrow."