March 2, 2011
Podcast | Video
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean met with members of the media on Wednesday to talk about the Hoosiers' game on Thursday against No. 10 Wisconsin. It will be senior night for Indiana as Jeremiah Rivers will be honored after the game.
Here's a transcript of what Coach Crean had to say:
On Jeremiah Rivers' time at Indiana
"Well, I think when you reflect is when the season's over, when you're right smack dab in the middle of it, and he's such a valuable contributor, you're more focused on what has to do to get ready for the next game. He's had some very heavy tasks in this program and I'm really proud of the way he's responded to them and he's meant a lot because he's grown with the program. He's made changes. He's gotten better. He's done an excellent job academically and when he came in from Georgetown there were definitely some things academically for him that left a lot to be desired and he's come here and his concentration level, his focus level academically has been great. He's a very bright young man, and has been good and I'm very proud of him there. I think that's kind of a microcosm of what he's done on the court - he's just improved and he sees the game through maybe a different lens than when he saw it when he came in. I think that's been what's very valuable for us and valuable for him and that's how I hope he will be remembered. Our hope that he can finish this season being that very valuable contributor, especially in the sense of guarding and knowing what other teams want to do and getting people shots and getting to the rim and being a good drive and kick player, those kind of things."
On Jeremiah Rivers' change from last season
"There were definitely different conversations, the role was going to change and it did and anytime that happens it's got to be a two-way street and I think, over a period of time, he understood. It's one thing to understand that it's the best thing for the team, that's the most important thing, but it's a whole other thing when you understand that that's the way you play best and I think that's what's happened here. Certainly, one thing about Jeremiah, and I've said this all year with him, is you can never look at the stat sheet and see his value. You've got to look at so many of the other qualities, the turnovers that he causes, the deflections that he gets, the responsibilities he has of guarding different people, understanding where people are supposed to be and when he can just really lock in and use the talent he has the skills he has, but the mindset he was developing, that's when he's been at his best and I think that was the most important thing for him and for us, to get him in a role that he could absolutely flourish in. There were some times this year that he's done that, there's been other times that he hasn't, but there's been times that he has and I think that's what's most important and hopefully we can finish it that way."
On Jeremiah Rivers' recent play
"I think he's just got be absolutely locked in, defensively, getting up the court, driving the ball to the basket, if it's there his pull-up has been good but getting to the basket if it's there. I think it's just absolutely being engaged the way he's got be defensively and taking on those huge responsibilities and playing like he has no help on the court and keeping the ball out of people's hands and just using that strength and quickness and speed that he has. I think that's the most important thing or the most important part of it I should say."
On taking something away from playing Wisconsin tough at their place:
"It's been awhile back. We know how we wanted to play them there. We know how we want to play them tomorrow night and certainly we make adjustments and I'm sure they'll make some adjustments. That's the most important thing. Of their five starters, three of them are taking 40 of the 48 shots. You know who you've got to be really locked into. Everybody on the court for them can make winning plays and that's why your team has got to be so locked in. You can't get so wrapped up in the three main guys that you don't block a (Tim) Jarmusz out or you leave him at the end of the shot clock and he knocks down a three, or you let (Josh) Gasser get to the basket or you don't block out (Mike) Bruesewitz. I look at Bruesewitz and D.J. Byrd (Purdue) very similarly. Their value on the court isn't always measured in their statistics, it's the balls they tip, keep alive, it's the toughness they play with. There are people all over the place for Wisconsin like that. He's done a very good job over the last decade, more than that I think, but of building that up and really getting that where it needs to be."
On if Indiana has lacked a big strong player that does the little things:
"We haven't had that yet. That's role development and sometimes it's in recruiting, but it's got to be a role that you take on every day. It's got to be who you are. We don't have enough guys that that's who they are, so they have to work harder to become that and at the same time we have to recruit for that."
On how Wisconsin has developed over the last month:
"I'm not sure there are a lot of changes. I think Jon Leuer's driving the ball more. I think that's a big one. They're taking relatively the same amount of 3's. Jordan Taylor's getting to the foul line an awful lot. Keaton Nankivil, I believe, is second in the league in three-point percentage. They're shot-faking maybe even more. They're like any other team. They always add a few things, but they're pretty much the same team, they're just better at it. If I had to answer the question specifically it would be the Leuer part, driving it more, and Jordan Taylor is making so many things happen off the ball-screen with his own shot, not just with getting the ball to other people."
On Jordan Taylor:
"I'm no t sure there is a better point guard than him right now, really not, and I mean anywhere. The way I view a point guard, he's fantastic in assist/turnover. He's got the ball in his hands more than anybody else. He's making shots from midrange and at the rim. He's shooting a tremendous percentage from three and he gets to the foul line. He's got the whole package. He's going to play for a very long time, there's no doubt about that. The great thing about that program is he was able to bring him along and he got opportunities, but he was able to learn and play with some other really good guys and when it was his time he was ready to go. That's one of the keys to Bo's program is that he doesn't rush guys along. I don't think any of us really have any great idea just how good Gasser is for him to be playing that much on Bo's team right now, as a freshman. He must be really good because that's a heck of an honor to be playing in his program that young."
On the Wisconsin program:
"He's got one of the best programs in all of college basketball because they know exactly what they're going to do. He recruits exactly the way he wants to recruit and he's built it over a long period of time. Even when we were going head to head, an hour and a half from each other, you still look at it and have tremendous respect for what he does. There's no doubt about it. I think there's a guy that should in the conversation for National Coach of the Year. I think we've got some other guys in our league, obviously Matt (Painter), that should be in that and probably Thad (Matta) for what he's done with that team, but Bo should be in that conversation as well."