Men's Basketball

    Summer Update with the Indiana Men's Basketball Staff

    Go Hoosiers! Senior Will Sheehey is one of two Hoosiers spending part of the summer playing with USA Basketball in the World University Games in Russia.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Senior Will Sheehey is one of two Hoosiers spending part of the summer playing with USA Basketball in the World University Games in Russia.
    Go Hoosiers!

    July 9, 2013

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Tim Buckley, Steve McClain, Kenny Johnson and Calbert Cheaney met with the media on Tuesday to talk about the offseason improvements with the team, among other topics.

    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:
    BUCKLEY: "I mean I would say from a media perspective this group is probably more highly credential than any of the other groups and that's why it is very important that this group continues to keep that edge that it has, to be great, because that's what these other groups had that edge. They had that notoriety. You know guys like Jordan Hulls it is not like he was the number one or top ten point guard in the country coming in. But I thought we did a really good job of projecting and I know I received several phone calls when we signed Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey because of their low ranking. What we kept trying to tell people as we don't have anybody that looks like those two guys and you are going to see that they are Big Ten level players, Big Ten level athletes and we felt like we would do a pretty good job of developing them with the hours we get which are 20 a week during the season to now in the summer time, we also knew that those guys would get in on their own and that's the only way to get better is when you do more that what's required."

    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:
    McCLAIN: "I think in some ways it has been really good because you don't have Will and Yogi out there as much right now, so it has allowed some young players to go ahead and be vocal, to go ahead and know that's the expectation and it has also allowed Jeremy, Hanner who would probably take a little back seat to Will and Yogi right now. To go ahead and step up and be that returning veteran even though they are only sophomores. They have had to step up and do that so I think it has been a good mix to actually have those guys be away a little bit because they are off doing something really well. I would say in some ways it's been positive for our team."

    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:
    BUCKLEY: "I would say starting with Noah, obviously physically he's college ready. He's very strong, very powerful, he's very polished around the basket and explosive. He's going to continue to develop his perimeter game. Which I think was, at least in my humble opinion, a great decision on his part to come to school here with things that we've been able to do. That's why Cody's going to excel in the NBA, because we've put him out on the perimeter at times to drive and shoot the ball. Those are areas where he's going to continue to develop and grow. And, his attitude is as good as anyone's that I've ever seen, especially with how highly credentialed he is. He wants to learn, he wants to get better, "what more can I do?" I think Stan Robinson fits the motor part, where he's going to come in here and give you everything that he has on a consistent basis. And sometimes he'll go too fast, but it's a lot easier to try to slow guys down than it is to try and speed them up. His skill level will continue to get better. Right now he's pretty left-hand dominant, but we'll keep chipping away and working on that right hand. I think he's going to be a very good shooter once the repetition of the shooting exceeds the pressure of the game and the pressure of the practices and that type of thing. He'll be a quality defender once he learns the schemes and the things that we're trying to do. Troy Williams--spectacular athlete--but as good a passer as he is an athlete. And it's really neat to watch when he's playing in three-on-three situations or four-on-four situations where he finds the open man. He kind of sees things maybe a play ahead. Once he gets his rhythm down with his shooting that's going to continue to improve. And when he gets to a point where people don't know if they need to close out on him hard or back off of him, that's when he's really going to have the defense at his mercy. All those guys that I've just mentioned, along with the other freshman, they love confrontation at the rim. They're all willing to go at it, or block shots, or take charges, it's a very competitive group that way. Devin Davis is a better basketball player than what most people probably think. I think he's kind of a hybrid, a mismatch type guy. He's more athletic than he looks; he'll just go up there and dunk it and kind of surprise you at times. But, he's also pretty good at putting it on the floor, and he does a great job of reading the defense for a freshman. He knows where you're playing him or how you're playing him to spin or counter and make another move. Collin Hartman is a knock-down shooter, and he's going to continue to expand his game a little bit. But the one thing he can't get away from his taking those shots when he's open and available to take those. Luke Fischer has gotten bigger and stronger already; I think he's already put on seven or eight pounds since he's been here. He's a winner, having gone undefeated the past two seasons. He's going to continue to grow--he's probably more likely than any of the big guys we've had recently, he'll step out and shoot the ball right now. He has to continue to improve and get better at it, but he seems more comfortable at this stage of his development than maybe some of the other big guys that we've had at this point and time."

    On Will and Yogi's international experience and how that will help them
    CHEANEY: "Experience. The fact that they're able to play with other players from around the country will really help them. And, I think it will help them to define their roles as leaders a little bit more. But, like I said experience more than anything. Having the opportunity to play with that "USA" on your chest, represent your country, and go out there and try to win a Gold Medal for the country that you play for. That's what it's all about--but, like I said without a doubt probably the leadership aspect and the experience will probably be the forefront here once they get back."

    On making the team and how that can help their confidence level:
    CHEANEY: "Tremendously. Obviously, playing against players from around the country who are probably--actually, the best players on their team so you're playing against great competition every day. And, you get to see where you're at as a player at this particular point in the summer and going on in the fall when we get going with the season. So, I think it's great for both of them."

    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:
    JOHNSON: "Evan's been through it, he's a veteran of college basketball. I think the number one thing that people may not know about Evan that he's bringing to the table is his competitive nature. He's a physical guard, he's someone who's very prideful, and he comes from a family that works. So, he used to putting in the extra work that we all talk about outside of our required hours. And that's what he's done, he's blended in seamlessly. He obviously has a little bit better understanding of the program coming in than maybe someone else of a different background. But, he's able to explain to the freshman what we do. He's able to take the sophomores and teach them how to compete. That's been the biggest thing that he's done since he's been here; he's been that perfect veteran that you'd expect from a senior guard stepping into this program. And, he's doing it in a way that he understands that nothing is given to him, either. You know, it's an open book--it's competition. And, he's jumped into the competitive nature of this program and he's leading these guys."

    On guys work ethic, and the possibilities for their future after seeing the (NBA) Draft with Cody and Vic:
    CHEANEY: "Without question, Victor and Cody are the exact blueprint on how to make yourself better as a player. Obviously, these wonderful coaches up here have done a wonderful job with the development aspect of the players. To take it a step further--obviously Coach Buckley talked about how we only get two hours per week in the summer and 20 hours per week in the season--but, it's what you do off the floor that matters. For guys like Victor Oladipo, he pretty forged himself skill wise--he already had the athleticism--but, he pretty much forged his skills and continued to ascend with the skill level. Once he did that, he was pretty much off to the races to be the No. 2 pick in the (NBA) Draft. Purely from a standpoint on how he worked at it, I think a lot of these freshmen out here see it, and they want to be in that position as well."

    On seeing anybody that is approaching the work ethic of Victor Oladipo this summer:
    JOHNSON: "Well, a big part of it, and everybody who joined the program obviously came for a visit, and when they're here, they not only have the opportunity to see what the guys are doing, but they also have the opportunity to have a conversation with these guys. You take an example, like Stan Robinson who obviously knew Victor from the Washington, D.C. area. I don't know if it's called taking the mantle, but it's kind of like having a cheat sheet. If you're in conversations with Victor, and he probably asked every single one of the coaches up here, and he probably asked Seth Cooper who does a lot of the work with them outside of what we do required. He would ask them, like what did Victor do, how many reps does Victor do, how many times a day did he come in. It's like they're trying to follow that blueprint that's been set forth, for not only Victor but (also) guys like Will and Jordan and guys like that. One individual from day one that Noah's been here on campus--I truly believe that if he could move a cot in next door that he truly would. In all seriousness, he is dead set on turning himself into the player that he believes he can be and maximizing his potential. Every guy is different, and every guy has their own individual way about going about getting better and they've all bought into the culture."

    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:
    McCLAIN: "Well, I think it's fun. It's exciting. You listen to everybody talking about the new kids, and Will and Yogi and Jeremy and Hanner, and Austin's getting back on the court--he's getting healthier every day. So it's exciting. Again, you talk about the culture, because the culture is what the program is about. That's how it was when Coach (Crean) was at Marquette, that's how it's been and that's how it's continued to be, and now it's here. You have to talk about the culture, but yeah, now it's a new group of faces. It's exciting--you get to go out and re-teach, and teach again. I think that's what you come back to, I wouldn't say the workouts are any different this year than they were a year ago at this time. And again, it's about building a team. From the things that Je'Ney (Jackson) does in the weight room to the things that we do on the court. The faces change, but it's about coaching to the players and bringing everybody to that level, so I think that it's fun. You get back out there and know that it's just another challenge for us."

    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:
    McCLAIN: "I'll start on it, but everyone will kind of have something about it. It goes to draft night and Coach was here. Victor and Cody were there, but he was on the phone with teams right up until 7:30, but then it turned to Jordy and Christian, and where were teams with them. And, I can tell you with Christian Watford it went all the way until 3:00 am. And you finally knew what was going to happen--OK he's going to be with the Pacers, and then he's going to be with the Mavericks. There's no question, you can put that up there, but there was also the work to be done for those other guys. The profile--and again, maybe I keep saying this--this was about the team. There's no question that those two get a lot of attention, but there was a lot of work done that day for Christian and Jordy. And we're still doing work for Derek (Elston). Derek's getting healthy, and he wants to go do something. I think from a recruiting standpoint, and I hope that's what young kids and families look at. It's great for these two, there is no question. But the success those other guys have had, kind of like Coach Buckley said--Jordan's going to take another path, Christian's going to take another path. The great thing is walking out of here with their degrees, they've got a lot of paths that they can take in life. And, it's all going to be a pretty positive path."

    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:
    MCCLAIN: "When you see him, he has gotten bigger and stronger, like all of our guys do. He is ahead and that is his drive. That is the great job that (athletic trainer) Tim Garl and (strength coach) Je'Ney Jackson do in the weight room. Coach Buckley said it earlier - you would rather have guys that you have to pull back instead of guys you have to push - and we are having to pull Austin back. He is coming along great. He is getting closer to where is will be able to have contact and then from there it will be "let's go!"

    "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:
    CHEANEY: "A vast improvement. From the time the season was over until now, he has improved tremendously. Hanner is shooting the ball extremely well right now, he has really improved there. But mainly their overall skills have improved every day. Like we have talked about, that is the exciting part about seeing these kids grow. Now we look at `what type of level can they attain or achieve from here on out?' because that's what it is all about. But those two have done a wonderful job so far."

    On what has led to their development:
    BUCKLEY: "I think anyone is better doing something once they have already been through it. How would you feel if you were Hanner and you had to go into the gym against Cody Zeller every day? Would that boost your confidence? Probably not, but he kept fighting and working his way through it. And now what we see is a guy that is much more confident because he had that experience.

    "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:
    CHEANEY: "I try not to get to much into comparing, but at the same time our freshmen right now, in terms of athleticism and length, it is one of the best that I have seen over the years, dating back to the my group when I came here. And I think this group is probably better than that group that we had.

    "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:
    JOHNSON: "It is definitely an important period. It truly is an evaluation period for us. In knowing Coach Crean and the other coaches, we are always open (to players). It is truly about identifying the best players to fit our program, because we recruit versatile players. I think that has been a strength of the program - the versatility of the players that we have on the court.

    "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:
    MCCLAIN: "We are still being cautious with him, because it's much better to be cautious with him then. But he is getting back on the court and doing a lot more things. I think Coach Crean was actually tweeting about him the other day. But we want it for him because he is a great kid a great teammate. Nobody wants it more for him than those other guys that are out there with him. They want him to do well. But he is progressing."

    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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