April 30, 2009
All-Access Video of Crean Press Conference
Indiana men's basketball head coach Tom Crean took time to speak with the media on Thursday. To hear what he had to say, click here.
Here is a transcript from today's press conference with coach Crean:
""First thing, we are in the sixth week of our offseason workout program and as we speak, we can't do anything with them since this past Sunday night, but we got a lot done with them. We are off this week because we can't do anything with them because it is the week before exams. But we have had a very solid six weeks.
"We have really tried to focus on the strength and our athleticism. We are trying to build our endurance and our stamina. I think Jeff Watkinson has done an incredible job, as usual, with trying to make sure that our guys understand that we are going to try to push them a little harder each day. We are going to push them harder, push them further and push the faster and challenge. And that's exactly how you build a program, and that's what we are trying to focus on right now. Looking back on it, obviously we had to get a team on the floor this past year and the foundation of the program is up and running, there is no question about that, but this is where your program starts to take shape. This is where guys start to understand what an offseason is like. And they start to see that the offeseason with us is as important as anything going on in season. It doesn't get the attention of games and it doesn't get the accolades but it does put a lot into what is going to happen down the road. Anybody that has any success at this level, and not just in basketball but any of the other collegiate sports, if you are not in for 365 days a year, 52 weeks a year doing something to make yourself better, then you are going to get left behind. Those things need to be found out too, because that's the only way you can take steps to move forward.
"On the court we have maximized our two hours. Pickup games and things like that have been so far down the list that I'm not even concerned, I just like to know who wins - I like to hear that chatter. We have been far more concerned about our individual workouts and building that explosiveness on the court. Defensively, we have done a ton of footwork things without a basketball, because we only get two hours a week with a ball. We've done a lot of shooting, cutting, moving through contact and creating contact. We have not done much live 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 competition, a lot more skill development because that's exactly what we have needed.
"We just finished up the recruiting period, as far as being out on the road. In my mind, it's not nearly long enough in April and it's not even close to what we need to be able to do to get out and see the players we need to see. It is what it is in that we follow the rules and the rules that the NCAA has put forth in regards to not being able to go to events. But it doesn't help us at all. The fortunate thing about how the rules play out right now is that geography plays a role in this. And at the same time you need to have the ability to travel and see a couple things inside of one day because we are not a one-dimensional recruiting program. We are going to start in-state, but we are certainly going to move around the country and find the best possible fits for Indiana University basketball.
"May will be a big month for us, in terms of getting kids in for unofficial visits and getting their family here, showing a lot of film, touring the campus, meet the players, meet professors and meet deans...all the different things that we think are important in building that relationship. Because the phone gets old and the emails get old. You have to get some face-to-face contact and we are looking forward to that.
"And then it will be time for camps, and our camps are very important to us. Last year we were just getting a brochure out at this point. I think the numbers will be good but I want them to be great. I want to expose as many families and as many kids and teenagers that we possibly can to Indiana University and Indiana basketball. One of the things that is not given nearly enough credit is that this is so great for the community and it's great for admissions. When you have really great sports camps, it just builds the admissions process and makes it that much more competitive. When you get people on campus for a few days, it is all Indiana University. And that is extremely important, that we build our programs and other sports build their programs, but that the school continues to build.
"We have some tours coming up and that's going to be fun. We didn't get nearly enough time to do that last year. We were in a lot of different places but we weren't into that "Tailgate" situation and I'm looking forward to that. I've had a chance to speak every day this week."
On the impact of Twitter:
"It's hard to qualify because I don't read anyone else's. I'm aware of it but I don't read it. When (University of Kentucky head coach) Calipari comes back at me, the only time when I know about it is when I see it in the newspaper. I enjoy it, but the bottom line is that we are still in such a major rebuilding phase at Indiana. Other than the passion that people have for this, you can't look and say "OK, we really have this moving." We have it moving in the right direction, some areas better than others, but we are in a major rebuilding phase. We have to continue to do everything we can do to show visibility. That doesn't necessarily mean we are going to be visible in front of people because the rules don't allow that all the time. So this is a way to put out what is going on and I don't want to make it corny, but I want to have some fun with it. It is another way to communicate."
On the visits he made during the recent recruiting period:
"It was really good, especially in this state, and our coaches were doing the same thing. That's part of it. The coaches in this state, they really work with their players. The maximize their time and the rules, and I think that's good. It's not like you walk into the gym and there are no coaches around. They have their rules and they follow them. If that's when they are shooting then that's when they are shooting. I had a great day in Indianapolis a week ago. I got to be four places between the morning and the afternoon, and that's with not going into other schools that would have counted as an evaluation day. We are also at a point where our staff doesn't need to be at every open gym that 10-15 other schools are going to be to see kids play. For me, maybe it's going to weight training or gym class or just going through the school to check in with the counselors. We have a pretty good clue on 75 percent of what we want to do with the next two classes. It's that other 25 percent that you want to have some fun with and pay attention to. If it's the diamond in the rough or if it's the kid that you can get in on that you didn't think you could get in on, you want to have some ability too and we did some of that this past month. We tried to maximize our days and we ended with two days left of the 130 because what we learned during the period was that if we went to see one of the guys that we already signed, we have to count that as one of our days. So if we go to check on someone's grades or see them in their home, we have to count that as part of our 130 days. We saved two days just in case we need them in May. We really watched that calendar and I tried to be on top of the calendar and run that calendar as much as possible, in regards to how many days we were using. We can't afford not to do that here right now. We can't afford to take a chance on visibility. We can't afford not to be in a state to see somebody. We are spending a ton of time watching film, and we will do that this afternoon. To me, that is really important that we keep learning those things. So going to schools is a really good opportunity to get that film as well.
On what coaches miss by not being able to attend AAU events:
"That actual real competition. You can see some pickup games, but that's where the coaches are very limited, they can't really coach their players during those pickup games. So when a guy is not passing the ball or they are not getting back on defense, there is not a lot that coaches can do about that. In the AAU games where you are seeing live competition, quarterfinal or semifinal games with referees and highly contested games with highly ranked players going against one another, that's what you miss.
"To me, if I was only going to get three looks at someone during the year, and you get seven, it would be against a great rival, against a team they are supposed to beat by 20 and one would be practice. One of those games I want to see at home and one I want to see on the road. One I want to sit behind the bench and the other I want to sit across from the bench. If I can do those things and then get some film, you are going to get a pretty clear evaluation who that person is or isn't. When you get a chance to steal that time at those events and you can see two or three games between one player in one day, not to mention dozens of players, that's invaluable. I think misnomer here is the players are going to go. The scouting service people are there and this where the rankings are really important. They have rankings all the way down to the fourth or fifth grade. We don't have them pinned on our wall, but we know where the ninth graders are and some of the eighth graders are. And you lose that when you don't get to see them. Fortunately we are at a place like Indiana where we can get around pretty well and we can get around and see different places. If you don't have that, it puts you at a disadvantage. But I miss the competition and I miss seeing that. And it's even harder because I didn't get to see it last year. I really missed being in Pittsburgh and Las Vegas where you get to dive in and see what you think.
On next year's schedule:
"We are close, we have one game to go. What we do with that remains to be seen. What I can promise you is that you won't be looking at the Sagarin ratings and see Indiana had the number one strength of schedule for the whole year, that didn't do us any good. I would like to have a nice schedule, but we are not going to play the toughest schedule in the country. We need to get some confidence and we have to get our guys built up and we have to get it at home. We have some very challenging games. I think Puerto Rico is going to be an excellent event with so many good teams there. Obviously with Maryland, its not like they matched us up with someone that was picked to finish last in the league like we probably will be again. We are playing against an NCAA Tournament team and a team that should be ranked in the top 20, especially if Vasquez comes back. Kentucky is Kentucky, it's not like he not going to have very good players in there. So we are going to have a very hard schedule, not to mention the Big Ten, which I think is going to be better this year than last year, and I thought it was really good last year because so many players came back. When you have guys like JaJuan Johnson (Purdue), E'twaun Moore (Purdue) and Evan Turner (Ohio State) and guys like that coming back. All the Michigan State guys are back and all the Michigan guys are back and the list on and on, so it's going to be a great league. We will have a very hard schedule and we have to figure out what we are going to do with that last game.
On playing a majority of games at home, outside of the Puerto Rico event:
"Most of the time. Scheduling here is different that at Marquette in the sense that we would look for games that were `made-for-tv' opportunities. You don't have to do that at Indiana because your exhibition games are on television. I was talking to John (Calipari) about that this morning. He doesn't have to do what he did at Memphis, and he was at another level what he did with his schedule. We didn't try to that at Marquette, but we were playing a schedule with some national games. At Indiana you don't have to do that. It's such a happening here, but at the same time you want to get your team battle-tested, but you want to give them confidence to be able to play.
"So I don't know what we are going to do with that yet, but I would imagine we would make a decision on that fairly soon."
On when the players will report for the summer:
"I'm not exactly sure of the date, but it is right around the 20th of June, when they are done with school and everything. So, they'll be here for the second session. I want everybody here for the second session. I'm not going to have everybody here for the first session. Some will be, but not everybody. We've had a long year. When you don't have that daily walking in and having three, four, five, six, seven people telling you what it is like on a daily basis, and you've got to go through it by yourself with a bunch of guys that are going through it just like you, the mental burden of that can be overwhelming. So, I don't think there is anything wrong with us having a little bit of a break. That doesn't mean we're taking a break from getting better. There will be expectations that they will have. We are on the honor system, it is not like we can make them do it, but that is all a part of building a program. You're going to have people that will understand that the work is a huge part of this. You'll also have people that will walk because they don't want to do it. It is part of where you get to. It is not a bad thing. Let's go. Let's figure out how we're going to build the program. Let's take our steps. There is a place that we want to go to, that people here are used to being at. We want to get back there as soon as we can."
On the potential of shortening the window for players to decide to enter the draft:
"I'm in support of narrowing it, but I'm not in support of this. What happens is, the magic number is 2.6. When somebody leaves, and they leave in good standing academically and they go to the pros, everything we do now has got to be APR driven. I think it is very hard, because people are going to want to be in workouts. Now, if they can't go workout for a team, how does that stand. If they are going to only be able to go workout for teams until May 8 that is hard. We're still in school. You can't have players leaving your campus to go workout because of the APR rule. I may not understand this clearly, so I don't want to say the wrong thing. That hasn't exactly been an issue for us this year, but it will be down the road. I don't think you can have any situation where players are missing classes. I'm all for chasing the dream, and I'm all for if a guys is good enough. Believe me. When it was pretty apparent that Dwyane Wade was going to go between five to 13, heavy on five to eight, there was no question, he had to go, but he never left before the academic year was up. Hence the reason he had almost a 3.0 GPA, and he left on time to graduate. You can't lose that because the NCAA has got this in a situation that you are hamstrung when people are leaving and their grades aren't intact. We're still digging out from under that hole, and that is all part of the rebuilding phase right now. We don't have a lot of room for error with our APR. I don't think anything should take away from the fact that young people should have an opportunity to go to that level, but if they're going to try to squeeze all these workouts into a short period of time. I guess the disclaimer on this is if I'm wrong on this, I'm wrong out of ignorance because I don't understand the rule right now, what has been proposed. I don't think you can have anything that is going to have them leave and miss days on end because you're going to be building all summer to try to get them back academically to be on time to graduate."
On the APR:
"I know where we're at, like all of your know. We inherited it, and it is all part of the situation. Nobody has ever been happy about it, but we've all worked together to try to rectify it the best that we can. It is what it is. We are very conscious of numbers. We've very conscious of what-ifs, and we've got to play those scenarios out. We're looking forward to getting it back to the day where that is not an issue. But, we're a ways away from that because how low it was."
On Malik Story and Nick Williams:
"It is not a setback. If it is not going to move forward in the right way, then it would be a detriment. I'm in pretty good understanding of why both of them are leaving. Bottom line with them, their families know this, it is all about the academics right now. It is all about them getting as high of grades as they can get, so nobody has to go through any pay their own way type of thing with summer school because they didn't have enough credits, and frankly, we're not here to be taking APR hits on that. That is what our whole focus has been with that. There has been no, `Let's hold onto this and see if anyone changes their mind.' Those guys did some good things here, but we've got to build a program that can compete at the very highest level, and there are a lot of things that go into that. Chemistry gets formed two ways. Chemistry is formed first and foremost on how you deal with adversity, how many difficult things can you go through together and see who is standing inside of that. The next step, which we're not at yet, how do you deal with winning? When you can get people that can deal with the winning and continue to build that chemistry and camaraderie in a good way, then you are going to really win. Along the way, those steps come out, and that is all a part of it. I lived through last spring, so nothing is going to phase me. I want them to be happy. It is not like that. I just don't want us taking steps back academically, because I don't think we're going to take steps back on the floor because of it. That is where we're at with that."
On "one-and-done" players:
"First off, you have to look at that three ways with the one-and-done guys. I've given this a lot of though because we're involved with some really good players right now, and at the same time, we know that if we're not careful, we'll be rebuilding this thing completely over again in a couple of years because we'll be so top-heavy in the classes, where we're bottom-heavy now. The three ways are, number one, you've got to be able to assess by what you know about the game is this a real possibility here right now. Number two, you've got to assess where the family and significant others in their life are with how important this is to them, and, number three, you've got to be able to look at the young man and what is his work ethic and desire to win before he gets there. When they understand that it is a process of coming in, being committed, being competitive, being consistent with what you do, being a part of the chemistry process, being a part of how do we win, how do I get my team to win at the highest level, so I can go do what I want to do. It can't be reversed, and that is what screws programs up. There is going to be some trial and error with that, with us and with everybody else. You've got to be able to look at that. There are a lot more players out there right now that think they're going to be out in a shorter period of time than most of you can ever imagine. That is part of it. The one you can deal with realistically and say, `We're not going to stop and hold you back, but it is a process. Are you willing to be a part of that process.' That is the decision that you have to make. We're not only looking for impact players right now, we're looking for needs. When you're in a straight rebuilding phase like this, you've got to be able to fill a lot of windows. That is what we're trying to do. In answer to your question, we're not going to shy away from recruiting people that have that kind of ability, but we're certainly going to be locked into what their mentality is like."
On having two one-and-done players in one class:
"There is no magic answer to that. That is a decision that has to be made as you go along with it. I know I've said this before, but I one hundred percent believe this. If those bags come here and they never get fully unpacked, you cannot do it right. They have to lock in, mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally. Everything has got to lock in. That doesn't mean they aren't thinking and planning and wanting to go there, but it can never take precedent on getting better because the moment you get distracted and lose your focus on what has got to happen and those steps have got to take place. You can't skip steps in this game. Did we learn that this year or what? When you're not experienced, when you're not as good at certain positions as other people, when you don't have that depth and consistency that you have to, you're not going to win. You have to have players at the end of plays that can go off and make plays when things break down. That is what we're trying to develop right now. Verdell (Jones) got closer to that as the season went along, but there weren't a lot of other guys like that on this team. We had to be a collective group and that is hard to do. Do we need some players that can make a play when the play breaks down? Absolutely. We're trying to develop it, and we're trying to recruit it, but most importantly we're trying to enhance it every day when they are here. That doesn't mean they go off and do their own thing. That means when things break down can they get a basket. Eric Gordon can get a basket in any situation. D.J. White could get a basket pretty much in any situation. Those are two pretty good guys that can do those kinds of things. One was here his duration, one what here for one year and it worked out pretty well. You've got to have some balance if you're going to take in some guys like that."
On player movement in college basketball right now:
"It is an instant gratification society, with a heavy emphasis on the instant. That is jus the way is. It is not just here. I've had it at Marquette, and it is everywhere. We all have high expectations. It is when you can go through them together and understand that it is a process and develop, that is when you have real success. That is what we're going through right now. It is just part of the landscape. What we dealt with last spring, that is not part of the landscape. That is out there. Guys leaving programs and guys coming into programs, and guys getting out of letters when coaches leave programs. Look at the guys following coaches now, that is the new rage. I don't want to start signing side deals now in these letters of intent. That is now what we're looking to do. That is why I like the contract that I have, the length that I have. You're name is not going to pop up for anything good on the sidelines for six wins, but I don't want my name popping up at all. I want it to be we're building Indiana, and that is where you want it to be."
On the importance of last spring compare to this spring:
"I think is all just a part of the course that it has to take. Last year, when you look back at it, everything was so different, and nobody had a plan for that. We all got through it. Never ever begrudge what Rick Greenspan did to help us through every bit of it and how he was a leader. I've had a lot less meeting this spring, I know that. That has been good because we've been able to get out and do what we need to do. It is all a part of the process. I think it is important to understand about the seasons that are coming up, we're not skipping steps in that either. We took some real steps backwards and had to run as fast as we could just to try to get back up in the game. We're not there yet, but we're still trying to do that. That is why you have some fun with Twitter, that is why you recruit as much as you can, that is why you keep looking for all these things you can do to enhance your program. That is what we want to try to do. It is all a part of the process, but it is not like any of it wears you down or you don't look forward to it, as far as I'm concerned."
On the comparison of Fred Glass and Rick Greenspan:
"They are two different people. I don't compare and contrast. I look at it this way. I've worked with three great AD's. Bill Cords for seven and a half years at Marquette, Rick Greenspan for the time that he was here, and now Fred Glass. That means a lot to me. What I've found in all three of those cases is that you're working with a real partner. I think in the position that I had at Marquette and the position that I have at Indiana, it has got to be that way when it comes to how you run your program. I really enjoy working for Fred because you feel like you're working with him. It was the same way with Rick. So, different, but still put Indiana at the forefront of what needs to happen, and I think that is all you can ask for. I've enjoyed both of them. I enjoyed my time with Rick, and I'm enjoying Fred. Our new basketball administrator, Chris Reynolds, we're trying to get him caught up. I like Chris too. He is not just an email guy, he is all over the map. I love him. He traveled with me last week to Martinsville. I met him at 6:15 in the morning to go and speak over there, just do we could catch up because I hadn't seen him all week. It is great having somebody that knows Indiana, cares about Indiana, but had the success he has had at Indiana as a part of the program. If you don't think that will help out recruiting, it will really help us. It has helped us every time we've had him with somebody when they are here, but now it will take even more steps. This is a great step for him in his future of being an athletic director to be a part of this program and have the hands in it that he'll have.