Men's Basketball

    Coach Crean Media Availability

    Go Hoosiers! Tom Crean
    Go Hoosiers!
    Tom Crean
    Go Hoosiers!

    June 24, 2009

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana men's basketball coach Tom Crean was made available to memebers of the media on Wednesday. The following is a transcript of that meeting on a variety of topics ranging from recruiting to the recent camps.

    To watch the video of the availability, click the following link: Coach Crean Availability

    Here is a transcript of today's gathering with coach Crean...

    Opening Statement
    "We have had some very good weeks of camp and we have another one coming up next week that is a day camp, starting on Monday (June 29) through Thursday (July2), and it will be heavy, heavy emphasis on offensive skill improvement. They will also play games, with a lot of 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 things and we'll try to keep the same format that we have used at our other camps and really break it down. It's a good time for us to be with our players because they work the camp and they are all here for summer school.

    "Then we go out and we recruit. We have a busy July planned. I just came from a Compliance meeting, we still meet with the Compliance department twice a month as a staff, which is something that was part of the plan when we got here and something that we've continued to do. It is really helpful because we get a chance to get in there and go over new legislation and ask lots of questions as we get ready to head out there in July.

    "A couple in-house things, Daniel Moore was demonstrating some different things in camp and came down on his foot wrong and broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot and will be out 10 weeks. The surgery was on Monday and he is back in town today, but he had looked really good (before the injury). His body looks stronger just by looking at him in camp. Our focus now is that he continues to build that strength and that he really works on the form and technique of his shot. Part of his rehab will be to come back and we will lower a basket for him, with (strength and conditioning coach) Jeff Watkinson and (athletic trainer) Tim Garl overseeing it. Any time something happens, you have to be able to work through it, any injury or aches and pains, you have to find a way to get better.



    "We have had some great times with former players of late. When we had our Elite Camp here, we had so many great players here. We had Ted Kitchel, Calbert Cheaney, Steve Green, John Laskowski, Wayne Radford, Brian Evans, Todd Leary, Ray Tolbert and Chris Reynolds here. It was really, really good and powerful to have those guys around. And then when (former player and head coach) Lou Watson came in, that was just another moment for all of us. It was another part of this entire healing process and getting people back to where they feel really engrained in this program again. It was so climatic when Lou came in because we were in the middle of introducing the other coaches and it couldn't have worked out any better. I didn't know what time of the day he was coming in but it worked out great. But Lou told me that he didn't have his hearing aid in so he couldn't hear the ovation that he got. He did get to see all these former players and watched camp a little bit, and that's saying a lot because I don't think he had been back in Assembly Hall since coach Knight left. At the same time he is 86 years of age with 24-hour nursing assistance so it was really nice and I hope he'll come back again this summer.

    "But it is a busy time of year. We are trying to get a lot of things done. I've done a lot of speaking and I've had the chance to meet with some great leaders. But the highlight has been just being able to spend time with those former players and getting a chance to hear from them. Being able to watch them work with kids was great, but when they get a chance to talk back and forth and to be a fly on the wall and hear what they are talking about and then probe it with some questions.

    "We have also had (Boston Celtics head coach) Doc Rivers in for a couple of days when he came in to see his son (Jeremiah). Del Harris (former NBA head coach) came and spent some time with our staff a couple of weeks ago. I had a chance to spend some time with (St. Louis Cardinals manager) Tony LaRussa and (Detroit Tigers manager) Jim Leyland last week. And then something that always inspires me to no end is to see (St. Louis Cardinals all-star) Albert Pujols prepare before a game. One of my goals is to get him to speak to our team here like he did with our teams here at Marquette. He would come and watch us workout once in a while when they would be in Milwaukee to play the Brewers. Not a lot of drive for him to get into Bloomington much this time of year, but hopefully we can get him in at some point in time because his preparation is incredible. I had a chance to watch the Pacers conduct some free agent workouts the other day.

    "It's a great time of year to learn and to be immersed in video and DVDs and to go out an be around people because we will lose some of that when July comes around.

    On the July evaluation period now since there was no April evaluation period:
    "I've said before that April was the most important one to me. I know we are not where we want to be, in terms of everyone that we would like to be in on or the evaluations that we would like to have, but it goes in stages. We were behind because we spent so much time to get a team and then for this 2009 class. It will be very important to be out (during the July period), but not just out to be out. One thing we are doing with Bawa Muniru and Maurice Creek, is that we are making sure that we are seeing them every week to 10 days. I want one of us to be in there to monitor how they are doing and keep them engaged and make sure that they know how much we care and look forward to having them here. They are working diligently to make sure that they are fulfilling their academic responsibilities right now. But we want to make sure we are around those guys in July as well.

    "It will be very important, especially this first period, to get out and be visible to those that we want to be visible to, but really sit down and make some strong evaluations."

    On what catches his eye in a player they are not recruiting but may influence them to start recruiting:
    "Right now we need to make sure we continue to recruit size. We are on some size and length, but we need to make sure that we are on it even more abundantly as we go through and determine exactly what it is we are going to need in this class. That would be something that would stand out. But you also need to think about whether there is something that just draws you to them? The way they get to the rim, their shooting or their speed and quickness. Are there things in that versatile stage that really draw you to them? And if there are, then lets look at who is recruiting them. If you are going to get in on somebody late, then let's look at all the schools in proximity to them. You can take a shot at them, especially at Indiana, but you may not want to spend a lot of time on something like that if you are getting late. If you find someone who is really open and looking all over and that Indiana tradition and playing at a school like this draws us to them, that is really important. You really have to do your homework and there are a lot of key characteristics that play into that. But it's more on feel. There are certainly players we want to get out and evaluate that we have been on the phone with, or watched tape of or heard about through somebody else."

    On coordinating travel during recruiting:
    "It takes a lot of coordination with the staff back here to make sure that we are on top of everything. You can have another person out on the road this year, they just can't recruit, they have to be on their way back or traveling. It's going to be a little different for us this year because (assistant coach) Bennie Seltzer's son is going to be playing in the summer. So there will be chances for him to watch him play. But one of the things about our relationship with Compliance is that they know that we are going to ask a lot of questions. If we are going to err, we are going to err on the side of commission and not omission. We want to throw a lot of hypothetical questions out there and make sure that we understand. When you get out in July, you have to have constant communication with "home base" (compliance and basketball office). So that coordination has to be there because it helps everyone else be coordinated on the road. It is very easy to talk to the people that are out on the road with you, but you have to make sure you maintain that contact back at home so you can let everyone else know what you are doing."

    What are you hearing about the incoming freshmen, what they've been able to do on campus?

    "I think they are around a lot. I'm never really clear on what I can say about what I hear. We just talked about that a little bit too, but they are around. I hear about them being in the gym late at night. I know that they are sweating. When you see a guy and he is drenched in sweat passing in and out of the building, they are coming up to the office, that's a good thing. I think that's moving forward."

    What can you tell us about what Maurice (Creek) has to do?

    "I can't tell you much and I'm not going to. We are very on top of it. He is very diligent with what he is doing and we're confident everything is moving in the right direction for him. That' really all there is to it with both (also talking about Muniru) of them."

    Are the incoming freshmen able to work the camps?

    "No, I wish they could, but no. The current ones are. We were talking about this this morning. We're expecting guys to help lead our young guys. Well our guys are young guys, I mean they are second-year players. They have to lead the first-year guys around, that's unique. They seem to be working hard at it and they are all here except those two guys (Creek and Muniru), so that's a good sign."

    Progress on the basketball development center...

    "I think it's rapidly moving. I look at it every day and really when you break it down it is significantly different every week. I think everything is on schedule for us to be in there in the winter in that January time period. We are excited about it. We are talking about different things that could go in the Hall of Fame, that big entry-way when you come in. We are going to see some different facilities here real quick and try to get some ideas from different people involved and see what's here and that there. We want to make sure we get everybody on the same page with that and make sure the finishing touches look great. We are excited about the progress. I know they are working extremely hard over there."

    The state of Indiana has produced some very strong players, do you see that trend continuing over the next several years?

    "Oh absolutely, absolutely. Without going over the line in details, there is no question. When you go down and look at the classes that are coming up, it's a great state, it really is. Obviously other people in the country know that as well.

    "We want to be visible. We want to do our homework. We want to have the face-to-face contact. We want to have the phone contact, have the video and DVDs. And we want to see that in-person action. There is no question we are going to be spending a lot of time on the young classes coming up, especially the young kids in this state."

    You're friends with Kevin O'Neill (new USC Head Coach)?

    "Yeah, I haven's seen him in awhile, but he was in our wedding a long time ago. Tom Izzo, Kevin O'Neill, Fran Fraschilla who is with ESPN now, Paul Brazeau, Stu Jackson's deputy in the NBA office ... those are probably the guys that I learned the most from about recruiting and coaching. Those are the guys that really gave me the time of day when I was a young coach. I continue to respect and learn and all those types of things. I think he (O'Neill) is going to do well. Kevin is not for the faint of heart, and you know what, neither is that job. I think he is a heck of a basketball coach and a leader. He certainly got the Marquette program back up and running after a couple of tough years and really paved the way for things to happen for us."

    Could you talk about the Jeremiah Rivers of today versus what we saw last fall...

    "Major difference in his body. He is at the Vince Carter Camp right now as one of the counselors, so I am anxious to see how he fares there.

    "He's got a different body. His athleticism is completely different, his strength. He's always had the quickness. He is one of those kids that could be a shortstop or third baseman in baseball. He could be a defensive back in football, a hockey goalie. He's got the foot speed and the lateral quicks. He's really improved his vision. He's buying into `less is more' with less dribbling and more driving. He is going to be outstanding for us in the pick and roll. Last fall and on, and I don't think it's any different now, he is as hard of a worker as we have.

    "He is going to be a lot of fun to coach. My father-in-law was watching ESPN Classic and an old Georgetown-Connecticut game. Jeremiah was in at the end of the game. You go back and watch their games, and he was in the game at the end and that's as a sophomore. That's going to be really important for us."


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