BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Associate Head Coach Steve McClain along with Jordan Hulls and Will Sheehey met with the media on Tuesday afternoon to discuss tomorrow night's game at Purdue on BTN at 8:30 p.m.
Below is a partial transcript of what each had to say.
Associate Head Coach Steve McClain
On Purdue improving since they've gone to a younger lineup:
"I think when you look at them, and there is no question that they are playing a lot of young guys and yet their veterans (D.J.) Byrd and (Terone) Johnson are also really stepping up and playing well for them right now. With Rapheal (Davis) and Ronnie (Johnson) and (A..J) Hammons you can tell they are getting games under their belt and they are getting better every time they play. There is no question when you look at their last five or six games you see a team that is getting better every time they walk on the court."
On if they present any challenges that Indiana hasn't already seen this season:
"I think every team in this league presents a different challenge because of style of play, what they do defensively and with this game you create even a different part because these kids know each other. To say they create a challenge, I think every team in this league creates a different challenge whether it's their inside guys, their perimeter guys. I think when you look at every Big Ten team you see most of them have a center that can do a great job, a point guard that knows what he's doing, a shooter like D.J. Byrd. You can just go right down the line. Terone being one of the better wings at driving the ball and Ronnie Johnson, who is a freshman point guard, is doing a great job for them. I think they create challenges just like every team we've played."
On the players being so familiar with each other:
"Well I think probably the kids think about it a little bit but once the game starts, I'm not sure whether I played with you in AAU doesn't have a lot to do with it. I would guess that's something you'd have to ask the veteran guys. Brian Evans and Joe Hillman just talked to our team. They could probably give you a better perspective of that and playing with guys you played with in the summer and now you are playing with them in this game. I'm sure there's some emotion for all of the kids."
On if he's ever seen a rivalry like Indiana-Purdue during any of his previous coaching jobs:
"I'm not sure there's not many in the country that compare to Indiana-Purdue, maybe Kansas-Kansas State. I don't know. I don't know how many you can find where it's truly the biggest game and so I think every level has something that they probably look at. When you look at this state it's about one game."
On how his perspective of this game has changed since he got here:
"Well again I walked in understanding it'd probably be a big game and having had a player that played there in Roy Hairston and knowing how he felt about it so I think again you sense how big it is. I think our veteran guys do a great job of making sure our young players understand how big of a game it is."
On if it's easier to scout them with players being so familiar with one another:
"In some ways it is but in some ways it's not because when you get so wrapped up in what we are doing and every game is another wrap and you are studying other guys, they may think back to it. But just like Yogi has gotten better, Ronnie has gotten better so Yogi's got to understand what he's gotten better as I'm sure the Purdue coaches will make sure that Ronnie knows what Yogi has gotten better at since his senior year in high school. I think there is some of it but yet you also have got to understand where guys have gotten better."
On how A.J. Hammons has improved since the first time he saw him play:
"He creates a big guy in the middle for them that offensive-rebound wise he's just big. He gets his hands up and he gets his hands on balls and then defensively he creates a big presence for them in the middle blocking shots and plugging that lane up. He's continued to grow and get better as a player from what I've seen to this point."
On how Ronnie Johnson and Yogi Ferrell contrast in their style of play:
"Again I think it's hard to compare them because they are such different players in my opinion. I saw them play one time in high school against each other and other than that never saw them truly go head-to-head that many times because we can't see guys that many times. I think what you know about them both is it's maybe the most important is they are both highly competitive kids and that's what it's about."
On how he sees them as different players:
"I just think, and when I say vastly different I just think they are different in the sense that if you evaluate their games you'd say in high school Ronnie was known that he could drive and he throws up that runner. Well you don't see Yogi shoot a lot of runners. He's more of a pull up shooter. When I talk about differences, it's like that. They both have things they are very good at but they've developed their games differently."
On how the rivalry has changed since he got to Indiana
"It hasn't changed. We all know that it is our biggest rival, that is no secret. The game is going to be tough and hard-fought. It has not changed for me since I got here. It has the same level of intensity each year and each game."
On the challenges that Purdue presents as a team:
"They are a physical team. They rebound the ball well. They like to pressure you full court. Those are some of the things we have been working on (in practice). It is just a tough game."
On whether they remind him of another team Indiana has already played this season:
"Every team in the Big Ten has the same kind of level of ... try to pound it inside and physical play. It's the next game on the schedule I'm sure they are viewing it the same way."
On so many players from the state of Indiana playing in the game:
"Everybody is going to be psyched to play in this game, it is a big rivalry. It is a Big Ten game and it's the next game on the schedule so everyone is going to be pretty pumped up about it. Being from Indiana, once you put on the Indiana jersey, that's all that matters. You are a Hoosier for life when that happens."
On his relationship with Purdue's D.J. Byrd since they played AAU basketball together:
"We are pretty good buddies. We played AAU together for a long time. We talk pretty often, or as much as we can before we get busy. It is fun playing against guys that you know and guys that you are friends with. We are competitors and we are going to try to compete and both want to beat each other. It is a cool dynamic out there."
On how Byrd's game has grown during his career at Purdue:
"He is being very aggressive. He has always been able to shoot the ball and come off screens with a quick release. But he is playing with a lot of confidence and will always play hard. It has been that way since the 7th grade when we played together. He is always very aggressive and will always make the hustle plays."
On how the gameplan might change going against players that you are familiar with:
"The gameplan is always very detailed. We want to try to learn as much as we can about them but it helps when the freshmen do know a little bit about the other team, their personnel and their tendencies. That is a big factor and it helps a lot. But the coaches are going to do a great job, and have always done a great job, of letting us know what the other team wants to do and those kinds of things."
On what the upperclassmen have been telling the younger players to expect in a game like this:
"We just tell them that we have to stick together. It's going to be a great environment, it always is. It is a Big Ten game and it's a big game for both teams, but we just let them know that it is going to be very physical and a hard-fought battle. We know we have to come out ready to play."