Summer Update with the Indiana Men's Basketball Staff
July 9, 2013
Calbert Cheaney: "I think it has been an amazing summer, we have all of our six freshmen in and we have Evan Gordon, so workouts are going great. The kids are doing very well, they have adjusted to the educational part of it, going to class and managing their time so it has been very, very good so far."
Kenny Johnson: "Yeah just following along the same lines I mean the culture of the program has been firmly established so I think that is the question you have when you lose four guys, you know who have scored over 1,000 points in the program as well as the leadership of Derek Elston, the things he has been able to accomplish. You want to kind of identify how quickly the guys are going to transition in and understand how hard we work in the program and what the culture of work is and they have come in and been very competitive, extremely competitive. The guys are stepping up into new leadership roles with Yogi and Will going off to compete at the World team, who are stepping into these roles even have to have an elevated level of leadership and I think everyone is taking to it. The communication is at a high level and the guys are going at it."
Tim Buckley: "Coming off an outright conference championship for the first time in twenty years in arguably the best league in the country this year, sometimes you may have guys that feel entitled and that is just going to happen for you just by coming to Indiana and that hasn't been the way that the new guys who have come in here have been at all. It is a very vocal group, it's a high energy group, it's a group that really wants to get better and I think that some of the guys who are highly credentialed are sometimes acting like walk-ons who just want to learn and make the team and they have that great energy and spirit about them and I think that is the great legacy aside from the other things that that group accomplished that is now leaving but that is there legacy behind to, is that culture and that work ethic."
Steve McClain: "Well what I would add to what all three have talked about is that you see those pictures sitting there of Cody and Vic I think, and Tim has been here the longest but even what I have seen change in the three years, heading into my fourth year, is you have some young guys in this program and even our oldest guy being Will, but the work ethic the things that made Victor Oladipo walk on that stage and be the number 2 pick. These young guys all saw it, the returning guys saw it, the guys coming in saw it and they see Vic up there and they see Cody up there and the challenge of getting guys to come to the gym isn't a challenge that's the expectation and that's where this group has you know they just throw everything they have talked about from the communication to the work ethic to being in the gym extra. They have seen it work, they have seen that's the success of a team and that's what this group is right now they are trying to become a team and that's what we do in recruiting. We are building teams, we are building teams. Individuals have to get better every day but we are building teams. This group is off to a great summer of building a team."
On how this class compares to past classes that you've seen at Indiana:
On how different this summer has been than summers in the past; with the draft; Yogi and Will with team USA, and some of the other guys at other developmental camps:
BUCKLEY: "Helps define different roles, it doesn't allow them to just lean on those two guys, Will and Yogi and they have to step outside of themselves a little bit and I think that's a great advantage as you go on down the road. Right now nothing is at stake as far as winning and losing, so it gives them a chance to maybe be in different settings where they can find out who they are or who they could become."
On the newcomers, and each of their strengths and weaknesses:
On Will and Yogi's international experience and how that will help them
On making the team and how that can help their confidence level:
McCLAIN: "I think I can add on to that, because I got the opportunity to go out, and I saw three of the four practices before the cuts were made. And, to watch our two guys out there with some high-level guys, and as a coach you're sitting there and you have no say in who's going to make that team. You could sit there and watch the things we do in this program to develop kids and see the difference. But, more than anything you could see two guys who had played on a team--that had played with other good players. So, they didn't have to dominate the basketball, they didn't have to score to help and show what they could do. It was fun, and you could really see them take the challenge. I saw a couple guys there, and I'm not going to name names, that acted like they were too good to play hard, too good to dive on a ball. I saw our guys taking charges, I saw our guys doing little things to help you win. And, I know one thing that got discussed was Will being the Sixth Man of the Year in this league. And, could he go on a very good team, and be a good teammate? And that played into it. That was a positive thing. That's the neat thing that falls into what Calbert's talking about; there was nothing given. And, that goes back to what Tim (Buckley) said about this program. There's nothing given in this program. So those guys went in there with the idea that nobody's going to give them it, they were going to have to earn it. And, they really made our program proud by how they acted, how they represented themselves in that environment."
On Evan's (Gordon) role this summer, and how he's adapted without having Will or Yogi here:
On guys work ethic, and the possibilities for their future after seeing the (NBA) Draft with Cody and Vic:
On seeing anybody that is approaching the work ethic of Victor Oladipo this summer:
BUCKLEY: "To add to what Kenny's saying, though I think what you have to realize is Victor didn't come in here every day saying, "If I do this every day, I'm going to be an NBA player." He came into it because he had a passion to get better, and because he went through the process, it guaranteed certain results for him. I think it's the same thing for someone like Noah. Noah's not coming in here to get to the NBA, Noah is coming in here to get better as a player. And if he continues to do that then he's going to have those opportunities. You look at a guy like Jordan Hulls, who gave us just about everything that he could give in his outside time as well. And, if he hadn't come to Indiana to get better he probably wouldn't be getting married, I know that. So that benefitted him, too, I think he's a role model out there for a few guys. Are you willing to sacrifice and give it everything that you have, and it maybe doesn't work out the way you thought it would? And for someone like Jordan, he's going to take a different path, and it may work out for him. But, he knows that he couldn't have done anything else. Christian is going through that right now--hopefully it works out for him. But, if it doesn't is he willing to take a different path and see if that will work out for him. I think if you have that mindset over, "If I do this I'll get to the NBA," that's when it works out for you. Because passion is greater than some artificial goal."
On the challenges that the coaches face this summer with a young team, not having the experience coming back that you did last summer with guys like Vic and Jordan:
BUCKLEY: "From the beginning for the first couple or three years, we were very coach driven. We are no longer a coach driven, we are a player driven program. And we're allowed to teach, and supplement, and be critical because we have a different culture that started by being coach driven. But, you can truly be great when you become player driven."
On how the NBA Draft affects recruiting, and if Indiana can become even more of a national name than before:
JOHNSON: "We're pretty clear about the type of player we look to bring into this program. And I think nationally, it's pretty well understood what our core values are as a program. And that doesn't change--what it does, with the attention these guys have gotten, it maybe brings a little more attention to it. What we're searching for, what we're looking for, even in this recruiting period, we have a great understanding of what we're looking for. And if anything, maybe it puts more emphasis on why you really come to school--for your education, for your player development, and the family environment that's not going to sustain for the next four years of your life, but the next forty years. So it gives us an opportunity to possibly answer more questions than it would be us out presenting the facts. People now have an understanding on what Indiana is based on, and that wasn't going to change regardless. Because you know, it's not always going to be a "highly credentialed player," that we're always seeking, we're seeking the best people that fit into what we're trying to get accomplished here. Does their success give us a few more options out there for people we may not have reached out to otherwise? Potentially, but that's not what's driving us. What we're doing recruiting, we are plugging away at it like we always have."
On Austin Etherington's rehab progress and development:
"He has worked hard at it and has his body in great shape, now it's just a matter of time before he is full-go with contact. He is going full-go without contact now but it's that next step he is waiting for, which is coming pretty soon."
On the improvement of Jeremy Hollowell and Hanner Mosquera-Perea from last season:
On what has led to their development:
"He is pushing the guys that are close to the time they have to make when they run the line or whatever the drill might be.
"And then you look at a guy like Jeremy Hollowell and can say his game can really expand. He can post up or he can drive the ball. He can play in the pick-and-roll. He can shoot the 3-pointer. He has the mid-range game. He just has to refine all of those aspects and get better. But because of the experiences that he has a year ago and the guys he had to go against on a daily basis, you can see that confidence level. One thing about confidence, I don't think you can give to anybody and I don't think you can take it away from anyone. But a lot of it has to do with how they feel about themselves.
"Austin in another guy. If he comes in here with a confident mindset every day, he is a guy that can help our basketball team win."
On who the incoming freshman class reminds him of as a whole:
"It is hard to say, but talent-wise, they might be one of the best that has come through here but at the same time, it is just talent. Now it is about what they can do for themselves and what we can do to develop that talent."
On what the upcoming recruiting period means:
"We never have to go into it saying `we really need a point guard' or `we really need a 2-guard' or `we really need a small forward' because we recruit versatile players. As anyone in the country is going to tell you, if a very highly skilled big man is out there somewhere and fits into our culture, sure we will be interested.
"If you view what we have lost in the last two years, that can give you an idea of what we might be looking to replace. But it all starts with who is willing to mesh to fit that character and culture in the program. And then be willing to learn and be competitive because that's what we have had in the past and what we have coming in. That's what we are looking for - people that are willing to learn and can mesh with the group that we already have and are versatile."
On Peter Jurkin's progression:
Buckley: JD, I would like to say one thing in regard to something that has been written recently in regard to this basketball team underachieving. And the reason I would like to is number one, I know myself and the group that sits here and the players and Coach Crean - we are a very prideful group. And I'm going to speak to (the article) because I was in Coach Crean's living room at 10am on April 1, 2008. And I was there when we faxed the letter of agreement at 4:26pm and we came down to Indiana. Every day we found something new and different that was going to be a great challenge. I was here when we brought 320 unofficial visits here that first year and we continued to build. We had former players here like Calbert Cheaney and you can go down the line of the guys that were supportive, and the fans that were here and into the games, or when we brought Cody Zeller into and we weren't playing well and we could point to those fans and say "Look, they are here now, think what they will be like when we get really good." And they helped us do that.
"We went through three tough years and then we won 27 games and went to the Sweet 16. And then we were ranked No. 1 longer than anyone else in the country. And then we went through the best Big Ten season in I don't know how long, as far as competition is concerned on a night-in and night-out basis. We were on that bench and we watched that ball roll off that rim at Michigan and we clinched that outright title for the first time in 20 years. And we had two guys drafted in the top 4 of the draft, which I believe is the best in the history of the program.
"Someone point out to me what was underachieved from April 1, 2008, until we went through draft night (a couple weeks ago).
"I am going to speak to that because I know what everybody up here put into it, I know what everybody's family put into it, I know what every player and their family put into it, and I am talking about our extended families too as well as support staff and former players. We are pretty proud of this group and we were disappointed as much as anyone else was with not going further in the NCAA Tournament.
"Our fifth place team in the Big Ten (Michigan) played for the national championship, that's how good this league was. For us to do it night-in and night-out - I don't think we ever lost two games in a row. We had a resilient bunch and I am really proud of what we have done and I think everybody who is associated with Hoosier Nation should be really proud of what we did."
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