BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Indiana head coach Tom Crean, along with Cody Zeller and Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell, talked to the media about Saturday's game against Purdue that starts at 2:00 p.m. on ESPN. Below is a partial transcript of what each had to say.
On how Purdue's recent lineup changes have changed them:
"He's an inside-outside player, Rapheal Davis; we could see a lot of different lineups. We're really trying to prepare for the personnel as much as anything else. They've done some different things with those lineups. As far as for (Donnie) Hale, he gets to the basket well, he rebounds. He runs the floor in transition, he's been running the floor really well in transition and they all have. Travis Carroll and Sandy Marcius, when those guys are in there, they're getting up and down the court.
"The thing that's impressive about them is that their big guys are really rebounding the ball at a high rate. They're averaging 13 offensive rebounds a game. When you start looking at their numbers, they rebound it well. We've got to be excellent there, that was a huge focal point up there for us and it will be the same tomorrow."
On the key to slowing down A.J. Hammons
"Making it harder for him to catch it, that's going to be the key. I think making it harder for him to get it where he wants it and continue to make him work on the defensive end of the floor. Make sure we're blocking him out because, for a tall guy, he's very quick. He has quick moves, quick feet and you've got to get into his body on the blockouts. If you don't he can get around you in a hurry."
On how Hammons has matured as a player:
"I don't know, I don't know him as a person. He's just better as a player. I think he's in excellent shape. I have always liked him, I just don't know him very well. His conditioning is really good, his body looks good, he's very confident in the sense of how he goes over both shoulders in the post. He wants the ball. I think those things are very important. I think they throw the ball to him and he wants it. It's a good marriage. He's not one of their leading shot guys, but he's certainly a very effective player, as we well know. They have a lot of different guys that can make shots. It really hasn't really changed a lot when we played them a couple weeks ago. They are a very, very dangerous opponent because they can get the shot from three, they can get in the lane with anybody, and they got him to throw it to. I thought Marcius played excellent, played really well the other night against Illinois. He's tough to deal with in the post."
On how challenging it is to play three games in six days
"It's very challenging, to have it happen the way that it does. Two out of three weeks, you've got to be very concerned that your preparation is right and that your energy is where it needs to be. It is not like our guys go into any game and take possessions off or coast through it. We don't have any of that. Our guys were playing as hard at the end of the game as they were through it. I think that's a big thing. To me, you just have to watch your team every day, and pay attention to it every day. Whatever your plan is, you have to be willing to tweak and adjust it. At the same time don't take and shortcuts in preparation and we've been locked into Purdue as much as we could possibly be since we got back together yesterday."
On how they were able to get such a good work ethic on the team
"I think it's a process, I would say that we've learned a lot from watching them. I don't think there's any question when you watch how their players have played, how hard they've played. I know some of the loyalists may not like this, but we showed tape of Purdue when we first got here when we weren't playing them. Our guys had to see it, and its one thing to have our former players come back and talk about, and show Indiana tape. Then you have to show tape, I showed Marquette tape, we showed Purdue tape, we showed Ohio State tape, we showed Michigan State tape. You have to show them what it looks like this in league to really sell out on each possession. I would say we learned some of that from them just like we did Ohio State with guys like (Jared) Sullinger, David Lighty, and John Diebler and all those guys. Your work ethic has to be constant. Nothing has ever been preached any differently here. Even when it wasn't where it needed to be, it wasn't like it was acceptable for it not to be. As you recruit to your program, you want to recruit those year-round winners with a really strong upside and a really strong work ethic and that kind of energizes your program too. That's what we've tried to do."
On the second time playing Purdue this season:
"We are going to have to come out and play the same way we did with the same intensity and the same fight. We did a lot of things right but there are a lot of things we could have done even better in that (first) game and in the past few games we've played. So there's always room for improvement and we're going to have to come out and play well."
On A.J. Hammonds and what he learned from playing against him the first time this season:
"He's a big body. You have got to work so he can't get low post position and keep him off the pass."
On whether playing someone for the first time is more of a challenge:
"Not a whole lot. Our coaching staff does a great job of gathering our scouting reports. So we know tendencies and what they like to do whether we played them a bunch of times or never before. So it's not too big of a difference."
On how the team approaches playing a bunch of games in a short time period:
"Our coaches do a great job really of giving us time to recover after games and then getting right back at it today. Our coaching staff does a great job of getting us ready for the next game whenever it is a quick turn around."
On how important free throws are:
"It's a combination of a lot of things. We have a lot of guys that can drive really well in addition to Christian and myself inside posting up. It's a lot of being on the attack a lot of times. The teams that don't shoot a lot of free throws are the ones that are shooting from outside or they're settling. But you know if we're aggressive, if we're attacking the rim we're going to get the fouls, we're going to get to the free throw line."
Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell: On facing Purdue's Ronnie Johnson growing up:
"We have been playing each other ever since AAU in like third grade. I played against him growing up so I mean it is really continuing, it's always fun to play against him."
On how well you know each other tendancies:
"We pretty much know our tendencies on the court really well just from playing against each other and growing up with basketball."
On whether playing Purdue means a little extra as a player that grew up in the state:
"No doubt. It's a rivalry. We're ending the rivalry week (on ESPN) here so playing against Purdue just gives us a little more edge playing this game."
On whether there was anything that surprised him about the rivalry during the first game:
"I realized how much Purdue hates us. I had never really seen it (until then). I've only heard about it but to actually witness it and hear things that they've said, they really do hate us and I guess I wouldn't even say it's like a bad thing. It just adds to it because I mean it just shows how great this rivalry has been over the past years."