Feb. 4, 2011
Video: Tom Crean Press Conference | Tom Crean Podcast
Head Coach Tom Crean
On what the team needs to do to play around recent injuries:
"Just play better. We want to play better in every aspect. It's not just the interior, it's not just the perimeter, it's not like it's the transition, it's not like it's just the shot clock ... we want to be better defensively all the time. We don't have much of a chance to win if we're not good defensively and if we're not good on the backboards."
On Verdell's playing time:
"It's hard to tell. When I say it's day-to-day, I'm not being evasive. It's just a matter of how he feels and he continues to progress and how he continues to rehabilitate. I wouldn't expect much more. I wish I could, but I wouldn't. It's still day-to-day."
On Iowa since the first meeting:
"I think they're the same team. They have really good players. They have guys that have been through the battles here. Jarryd Cole has been through it. Matt Gatens has been through it. Eric May got a lot of time last year. They've done an excellent job of improving their players. There's no doubt about that. Their freshmen have come in and the junior college transfers - Basabe and Cartwright - they've come in and they've really added to it. They're a good team. And I think anyone looking at the beginning of the year, especially I did, knowing that Fran is a good coach and what they had back, it was hard to look at the those guys not thinking they were going to be pretty good. And maybe that's because we didn't play well against them last year, but they've got a good team. It's not like the cupboard was remotely bare walking into there. He's done a good job of making them better. That coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for that, but there were a lot of guys coming back that could play."
On Matt Roth's contribution this year:
"He continues to get better. Whenever he's called upon, he's ready to go. I think a great example was a couple weeks ago he goes into a game and four seconds later he buries a 3. I don't think there's any gym in any place in this country or any other where he couldn't go in and make a basket. He's just got that kind of moxie as a player. And what he's done, is that he's gotten himself better. Right now, he thinks he's Jimmer Fredette with the way he's shooting those 3's. It wouldn't be bad if he got inside and got a two once in a while. He can make shots and he's improving defensively. His awareness all the time is getting better. He's been just an outstanding young man here. I think the way you look at it, he was very average first semester here academically and now he's on track to graduate in May in his third year. That says a lot about him."
On how to coach around injuries:
"It's part of it. When you coach and when you lead, you don't get to pick and choose what aspects of it you like. You just don't. You've got to be ready and try and build a strategy for everything. If anybody looked at me or looked at the coaches and felt that we were down-trodden or felt that we had any doubts, we'd give them every reason in the world to have them, and I don't have any. At a school and a program that allows me to go in with the coaches and just lock in and plan and prepare, look at different things. I have a great staff to talk about different things with. We just come out of there trying to give our guys the best opportunity to get better that day. Regardless if it's game plan or a shooting drill - whatever it is that's going to give them the best opportunity to be better. Maybe it's because of all of the things we've dealt with here. Maybe when I was a younger coach, I don't know if I would have dealt with injuries and things like that as well. Maybe when you've been at it a while and dealt with all of the things that you've dealt with the first couple of years, you just look at it as part of it. I don't ever question any aspect of it ... you just get absolutely excited and be full of energy to go at it every day. It never changes."
On how your game plan can change from day-to-day:
"I think you have to weigh risk vs. reward in anything that you do when you're building a strategy. I think you have to be honest with yourself. I think you have to be honest with yourself about where your team is at and what gives you the best chance to win. Every game is a different game and we're planning for every game differently right now. I don't think we have a blue print that we can come out and say `okay we're going to use this the next three games and then we're going to switch it over here.' You have to have a lot of different things in your arsenal right now and that's what we're trying to do. It doesn't matter if the players don't pick it up and if the players don't understand. At the same time, it really comes down to what your toughness and energy level is like and do really believe that you can get it done. That's the No. 1 crux of each day - does your team believe they are getting better, do they believe what it takes to get a victory and are they buying into those things that will allow that to happen. And if you do that, the strategy and things like that are secondary."