Men's Basketball

    Coach Crean Talks to the Media About Minnesota

    Go Hoosiers! Head coach Tom Crean
    Go Hoosiers!
    Head coach Tom Crean
    Go Hoosiers!

    Jan. 23, 2009

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head coach Tom Crean met with the media on Friday afternoon to discuss the Hoosiers upcoming game with Minnesota at Assembly Hall on Sunday. Crean discussed what the Golden Gophers will bring to the game on Sunday as well as some of the other efforts that are taking place off the court. He was joined by Jeremiah Rivers and Kyle Taber.

    Here is a partial transcript of what coach Crean had to say along with Rivers and Taber.

    For full audio of coach Crean click HERE

    Indiana head coach Tom Crean

    On Practice today:
    "Practice was good. We've had a good week; a very good week. We've taken a couple days off because we have to; so we took Monday and Thursday off. To my knowledge every guy was in (on their own). I was out recruiting both of those days but every guy came in on their own and that's a sign of a program growing. They're coming in when they're not required to do so and that's what is very important for people to understand. We don't ever really use our 20 hours, fully, all the way anyway. You don't get it done in 20 hours you get it done by doing extra and just being absolutely obsessed with getting better. I think this team is slowly but surely learning that."

    On what points have been addressed in practice this week:
    "We have a lot. We need to just get better, better at finishing. We're missing too many easy shots. We've done some good breakdown work, when we've had an opportunity to take that kind of time. It's been a fundamental week, but it's also been a week of a lot of toughness training. It really is. It's been a lot of loose ball type of stuff. You name it; we've got to do it. We just have to do it. We have to have a toughness about us, because that's what we see from everybody. We're going to see it from Minnesota on Sunday. There's been some execution and it's really been about us just continuing to get better in competition and continue to get better in our fundamentals."



    On Minnesota's defense and pressure:
    "We have to have a game plan. Movement is what the key is. We see that half-court pressure; they do a great job of stopping you right around the half-court line, so we have to do an excellent job of making sure we're not too far on the sideline where it becomes a three-man trap. I don't want us to do a lot of thinking in this situation, I want us to do a lot of playing, moving the basketball, spacing the floor and we just have to attack whatever we're doing. We've got to attack. That might mean at the beginning of the clock that might mean at the end of the clock. But either way we've got to play with a little more force and a little more speed.

    On the problems that Minnesota presents:
    "They can play a lot of different ways, they have a veteran group, and they attack the rim. What they have is guys that can attack the rim and shoot threes. Hoffarber, there is no question that he's getting ready to bust out and we don't need it to be against us. We need to be very aware of him. But they're playing with confidence, I know they've lost a couple of games, but they're playing very, very hard., very competitive. We certainly know that they'll come in and they'll be ready, they'll be foaming at the mouth to come in here and get after us. We've got to be able to match that intensity and that challenge, and like I said, we're not going to back off and try to run our offense from half-court, we've got to come out and attack."

    Junior guard Jeremiah Rivers

    On what his focus has been: "Getting better, getting my teammates better and trying to provide a role in practice for them. I just try to prepare them and get them better.

    On what he can say to the team:

    "I tell them to be optimistic and to go into every game with a positive attitude. I really try to enforce their will to win. I know they get down and an eight-game losing streak is really tough. I am trying to deal with it myself. Even though I am not playing I don't exactly feel it as they feel it. I really try to help them cope, and if they need someone to come talk to I am there."

    On the difficulty of watching from the sideline:

    "It is pretty difficult. I always say game days are the toughest days because that is when you really realize you are not playing. Practice has been good and my teammates keep me up, and I keep them going, so we have a really good atmosphere out there."

    On his game day duties:

    "I am charting stops on defense, how many shots in a row we have, sometimes I take notes down about players on the other team I will be guarding next year. Sometimes coach wants me to give him ideas on who is feeling good in the game, who is not feeling good in the game. We just try to keep a good attitude on the bench. I try to give my input the best I can to coach."

    On the opportunity to see the game from a different angle while sitting out:

    "It is a completely different view than from a player's perspective. I am seeing the game from a coach's perspective. I think it has helped me out being able to learn the game more from a different side. You see things that you wouldn't necessarily see in the game. Anything I can do to give the guys an edge has really benefitted me."

    On improvements in guarding the outside shot:

    "I think part of it is an adjustment with them. They need to understand this is college basketball and (players) don't really miss too much. The transition from high school to college is a huge transition. You have a lot of young guys where in high school you could back off and let them shoot it, and the would probably miss it. I think we have been trying to break that habit, and we will."

    On the team improving its ability to finish from close range:

    "I think part of it is repetition. This week we spent hours on layups. It was really good for us. I think a lot of it is mental. You have to go out with a real aggressive approach. You can't be passive with your layups. You have to go in there and use the glass. "

    Senior forward Kyle Taber

    On the team's struggle with layups:

    "A little of it is mental, but a lot of it is having the mindset to go up there, take the contact and score. And that is what we have been working on, exploding through the contact and getting used to playing against big, physical (players).

    On remembering last year's loss to Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament:

    "That was a pretty crazy game. I hadn't really thought about it until coach brought it up (today). We are going to do everything we can not to let (Blake) Hoffarber shoot it because he can make some crazy ones."

    On what to expect from Minnesota:

    "(Blake) Hoffarber can shoot, I know (Al) Nolen is a good point guard and can get in the lane. (Lawrence) Westbrook is shooting really well and their big guys inside finish and rebound really well. It is going to be a tough matchup."

    On preparing to play a team with great size:

    "We just have to play harder than them. We can't get any bigger right before the game. You have to play harder for longer periods of time than they do. If you do that, you can make up for your lack of size."


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