Coach Crean Talks About the Michigan State Game
Feb. 15, 2010
Indiana head coach Tom Crean met with members of the media on Monday to discuss tomorrow night's game against Michigan State in Assembly Hall.
Below is a partial transcript of the press conference.
"Right now, we are just focused on getting the spirit and energy back, and really the believability that you can play and win. That's what I think we have lost in these games and it's a product of not having the leadership not anywhere near where it needs to be and guys that are truly confident that they can make a difference. That's where we have to continue to build, every day in practice. I don't want to say it has been back to the basics, but it has been back to those defensive drills that are really easy to lose sight of when you are preparing for game after game. If our preparation had to wait until last night and not at practice yesterday morning, that's one thing. But I think the preparation to understand what we are trying to do and getting the spirit back is more important than anything.
"We have a lot of ebbs and flows with the youth of this team, and it's really not just the youth, but the team. We have to continue to grow through that. Like I told the team, there are things that have to be there in order for us to improve and move forward. Number one, there has to be energy on defense. Number two there has to be toughness in the rebounding game and number three there has to be unselfishness in the offense. That means some guys are going to score more than other guys and some guys are going to distribute more than other guys. It's not about playing a role, it's about understanding what it takes to win and that is what we are locked into.
"I may get angry and irritated, but I am not going to get frustrated because I cannot allow frustration to creep into this team. That is what happens when immaturity rears its head. I just don't believe that you can get anywhere with frustration. If there is going to be negative energy, I want it to come from the coaching staff or me. But my focus every day has to be on `Let's just go get better.' "
On getting through to the players after a couple tough losses:
"An example from the other day at Wisconsin. It became clear at the end of the game that we were not going to win the game. Christian Watford needed to learn one of two things: that he was really tired and playing to exhaustion and was going to come out of the game or he was in a lot better shape than he realizes and that is exactly what we learned. That's what I wanted to make sure he learned. I didn't leave him out there to make sure he got certain numbers, I left him out there to learn that lesson. We need him to play at a high level all of the time.
"There is no question that it is hard (to get through to the players) at a time like this, but that is why you have to stay consistent, determined and focused. Having said that, if you look around the league almost every team has gone through their peaks and valley's this year. Purdue had their three consecutive losses and Ohio State had the losses with Evan Turner out. That stuff is real and it hits every team, but all those teams have people to turn to and there is not a huge drop off. We have not had that this year, and it is what it is. It is not anything other than that. At the same time, there cannot be a drop off in the energy and toughness that we have to have to move forward. I don't have a lot of options right now when things are not as smooth as they need to be, so you have to help them through that. Not at the risk of compromising your toughness, which I didn't like the other day.
On getting the team to understand what it means to play hard
On how the players are interacting with each other:
"I wouldn't want everybody to be happy right now, I think that would be bad. That would mean that they don't care about it. This team, of all the teams I have coached, this is not a team that absolutely gets into one another and talks trash and goes to combat against one another day in and day out. But when they lock in and compete, we are pretty good and you have seen that in games. I think it is hard to have an incredibly close team when you have not had a lot of success together. Do I think there will be a closeness developed over a period of time? Yes, that's the way it works. Adversity and success - they are the same type of thing. The emotion is different, but the result is the same. You can get away from what really matters when you are successful just like you can get away from it when you face adversity. You have to keep them on the path of what is real and that's what we continue to work towards.
"I want some guys a little on edge right now. But I think we need to understand that the enemy is the opponent."
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