Coach Crean Press Conference Prior to Thurday's Game at Penn State
Jan. 20, 2010
Head Coach Tom Crean met with members of the media to discuss Thursday's game at Penn State as well as a couple other topics. Below is a partial transcript of the press conference. Click the video link to watch the full press conference.
"We think they have a very good team. Anytime a team has beaten you three times like they did last year on us, there's no question that we need to understand and give them the respect that they deserve because we did not play nearly as well last year and they were tougher and more physical than us in those games. If that happens tomorrow night then they'll win again and we can't allow that to happen. Obviously anytime you go on the road you have those concerns. They're a very, very good team. It's not like we have one guy or one situation that can neutralize Talor Battle so we have to have great team defense. We're certainly going to have to have excellent rebounding and bottom line, on the road, you have to be able to execute. You have to be able to execute your offense.
"When you watch teams, especially watching Purdue last night, they executed their offense when they had to. They got stops defensively, but they executed their offense. They just didn't play, they executed. That's what we have to learn how to do. We didn't do that at the end of the game against Michigan. It's the part of it here that we haven't found our way yet. We have to become a better screening team. We've got to be in a situation where the ball continues to move more. When that happens then we have a chance to be a good finishing and executing team, but until that happens, it's going to take awhile. That's what we continue to try to focus on."
On the team's growth in the win against Minnesota:
"I think they battled. It would appear that they grew inside of the game, but I think those things show that there was growth down the road. It may not necessarily be the next game or the game after that, but it comes. We've just got to keep understanding that there's not one guy on this team, and Verdell (Jones III) made some huge, huge plays at the end, but we won (the game against Minnesota) at the end because we played team defense. We got a team rebound. Even though Christian (Watford) got the rebound, it was a team rebound because everybody was in there to get the basketball and he's the one that came up with it. At the very end of the game, when they missed the shot, everybody was in to rebound. That's the winning facets that you have to have. You can't get by, especially when your margin for error is so small like ours is, with two or three or even four guys doing their job. It's got to be all five and we're not there yet. So we have to keep striving for that all the time and get guys to understand that everybody has a responsibility. That's the way that it is."
On what two tough road games can do for the team:
"I'm not sure we have anybody yet that just absolutely wants that responsibility to stop a great player on another team, time in and time out. That's not something that you can bestow on somebody, that's something that has to be taken. That's not even earned, that's taken. Jeremiah (Rivers) wanted (Devoe) Joseph at the end of the game. That was a good thing, but we need more guys that want to do that. It's the guts of the game that really define if you're going to be successful or not. It's on both ends of the court. It's setting that big screen at the end. It's making the next pass. It's getting to the offensive glass. It's moving on the pass, not the catch. It's getting back and stopping the ball.
"The thing that scares me the most in this game is the same thing that scared me the most going into Michigan and that's transition defense. I'm not sure our guys understand how important it is to get back and get people stopped and get that ball stopped, especially when you're dealing with speed like that, even though we drill it and drill it. That's what we've got to have.
"We're going to have to have some bigger guys really step up because our depth in the backcourt, obviously, is not what it was a few weeks back so we have to have some other guys on the frontline be able to step up and be able to help us as well. This is not necessarily a time to be matching down. This is a time where some guys that maybe aren't used to guarding quickness and perimeter-oriented people, they've got to be able to do that."
On the balanced schedule being optimal for a young team:
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