Men's Basketball

    Returning Players Meet With The Media

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!

    Aug. 12, 2010

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Late last week, four returning players from the men's basketball team met with members of the media to discuss how the summer session was going as well as how the newcomers are adjusting. Verdell Jones III, Bobby Capobianco, Jordan Hulls and Derek Elston answered questions from the media and the transcript and links to video can be found below:

    Returners Press Conference Video (Part 1)

    Returners Press Conference Video (Part 2)

    Here's a transcript:

    On what the summer has meant as a team and individually:
    VERDELL: "For me, it has been about my weight. I ended last season at 173 pounds and I'm at 188 pounds right now so that's a big difference. My jumper has come a long way. I have been working on it every day and just trying to get it better. My deep ball had definitely gotten a whole lot better and I think my maturity level on the floor as also grown a lot too."

    BOBBY: "I would say from a team perspective we have grown together as a team. We have really bonded more in workouts where there is no guy left behind or hanging their head, everyone is picked each other up and that has been a big step for us.

    "Individually, it has been great. I have been here both semesters this summer and it has given me the opportunity with Cook Hall being open all day every day to come in and get a lot shots up."

    JORDAN: "Like Bobby said, all of us have been here both summer sessions and it has allowed us to bond and grow as a team.

    "Individually, I have been working on trying to be a better leader and working on all the things I need to do to help this team out. We are working really hard and have improved on a lot of things, and we are excited to have the facilities that we have."



    DEREK: "For me individually, it has been my weight and my jump shot. I have been doing a lot of things that try to help me be lighter on my feet and make quick movements.

    "As a team, we are really playing as a team and building team chemistry. It has been at an all-time high for us. As soon as the new guys got here, everybody hit home with each other. We are all about the same age and listen to the same music so we all hang out. So all of that hanging out and being around each other will help on the court as well."

    On how much easier it is to incorporate the newcomers now that there are some veterans:
    VERDELL: "We have more of a nucleus this year, so it is easier to bring Will (Sheehey), Victor (Oladipo), Guy-Marc (Michel) and Jeff (Howard) and show them how things work. Last year, we only had one year under our belt and we had all the freshmen coming who were new so we didn't have a full understanding of what was going on. But this year, we are older and know what to expect."

    On the difference between this year and last year at this point:
    BOBBY: "I think with not having as many people trying to come in and figure things out all at once like we did last year with six freshmen, it has been a lot easier this year. And I'm not coming here and saying that we have arrived, but we have a good group of guys that were here last year and it really helps. If the juniors are not around, then we can step in and guide the newcomers. It has been more a maturity thing where everyone can look up to everyone else. It has gotten to the point that we do spend so much time together that it is not hard to get anyone in the gym. We are not calling people saying "come on, we HAVE to play." You can come in Cook Hall any time of the day and there will probably be someone in here working."

    On how much of the improvement can be attributed to Cook Hall being available 24/7:
    JORDAN: "It is definitely a big advantage. We have access cards and can get in at any time. It is a great facility to have, especially now since Assembly Hall is getting worked on (new roof). From that standpoint, it has been a great addition to the program.

    "It has definitely helped me out, in terms of the weight room and that kind of thing. I think everyone is putting it to good use right now."

    On the new strength and conditioning coach, Je'Ney Jackson and the differences between his approach and (former strength coach) Jeff Watkinson's:
    VERDELL: "They are both great guys. Coach Wat is pursuing his dream and we all wish him the best. But Coach Jackson has come in and picked it right up. He is pushing us like no other. Every day we are doing ab workouts, and I've got a rock right here now. We have been working hard with conditioning, tire flips, running stadium stairs. It feels like boot camp right now. But it will work out better for us in the long run. Bobby has lost a little weight and Jordy is getting a little faster so it's working."

    On what the expectations are for the team right now looking ahead to the season:
    BOBBY: "The way that we look at this upcoming season, we aren't going to sit here and say that we are going to win a certain amount of games. We come in here with the mentality that we are going to work harder and improve on what we did yesterday. And then we are going to come in the next day and do the same thing. With that, all the things that we want will come. We have a lot of time ahead of us, but our main focus is to come in and lift more weight than we did the day before or do a faster set or run a faster stadium set. Whatever it is, we are not just competing against our own time but also against the guys next to me. We believe that with the philosophy, all the success that we are striving for will be there when the time comes."

    DEREK: "You could have asked that question last year and the answer could have been the same. But Maurice (Creek) got hurt and we are still just taking it day-by-day. Whether it is getting shots up or getting in the cool tank and getting healthy, you have to get better than the day before and take it from there."

    Elston on what he wants to get better at this year:
    DEREK: "Definitely getting some confidence in my jump shot, realizing when I am open to shoot the ball and not be passive and try to score more. I'm also getting bigger. Last year, the 4's and 3's I had to guard were getting to the hole pretty easy. My biggest issue right now is my defense and my weight. Right now, I have gained 5-6 pounds and I am working with coach Jackson on getting my legs stronger."

    "I weigh 230 pounds right now. We have two more weeks of workouts and then we get two weeks off, so hopefully my mom has that kettle going and I would like to be 235 to 240. But if I can't, I will play smart at 230 or 235."

    "The difference for me in terms of strength is not just in my body but also just being a year older. Whether I have to post-up Bobby, Tom or Guy, I am not just being passive but putting up a shot that is consistent. Part of that is due to the weight but also due to the experience of going up against some of the better post players in the Big Ten like (Purdue's JuJuan) Johnson and (Ohio State's Dallas) Lauderdale. Once you get that year under you and you come to open gym, it makes things much more smooth."

    On the impression of the new guys:
    JORDAN: "We are excited to have them here and they work extremely hard. They are great guys. They have come a long way in just the eight weeks that they have been here, both school-wise and basketball-wise. They are getting used to the routine of what you have to do to play at this level. We are impressed with them right now. Every day is competitive and everyone hates to lose on the team."

    On what has surprised them about the newcomers play on the court:
    JORDAN: "Will and Victor are both extremely athletic. They are very competitive and hate to lose. Will and Victor hate to lose at shooting games or anything like that and Guy hates losing runs, video games or anything. That's what I love about him and that's what we need to keep building on the foundation here."

    On Guy-Marc Michel:
    BOBBY: "You will find out fast that Guy is a really talented player and we feel glad to have him. He is the "center" for this team that we have been missing. Tom (Pritchard) and I have tried to guard some of the bigger guys in this league, and Guy brings us that presence in the paint. He is all of seven-foot and is a legit 280 pounds.

    "I look at myself as one of the stronger guys and I cannot move Guy for anything, he is that big. We are looking forward to have that guy that we can come down in a half-court offense and throw it into the post and let him bang and get to the rim.

    "To go along with that, he has an unbelievable work ethic. Since he has been here, he will come back to the apartment just drenched in sweat and I'll ask him where he has been and he'll tell me he's been at the gym. He is always in there. He has great touch and a good jump shot and hits his free throws - all of the things well that we need him to do. Everybody has been happy with him. He is a great guy and we all love him and he mixes with us well. He is going to be a great addition to this team."

    VERDELL: "He may be the funniest seven-footer you will ever meet too."

    Funny in what way?
    BOBBY: "He's French."

    VERDELL: "Derek is always messing with him. I live right across the hallway from Derek and every time I hang out with them it's hilarious."

    "He's hilarious, he's so fun to have here, and he's a great guy."

    How do you guys expect this team to change stylistically? How do expect the way this team plays to change?
    JORDAN: "It will be a different look, we just have a lot more players. More guys who will play and guys who will want to compete for positions, and guys who will buy into the system. We are looking forward to do whatever Coach Crean has in store for us and just go from there. Work harder every day."

    BOBBY: "I think there are big things with the addition of Guy, kind of moving back to our natural positions. I think especially two years ago and then definitely last year. It would come game time and coach would say `Look, this is what I need you to do.', and whether or not you've done that before, that is what you thought you could do and that is what you did. That was what was asked of you but with the additions of Will, Vick and Guy, we all can kind of know that we are going to play the position that we know best. Derek and I can go back to playing the four, Tommy and Guy can hold down the middle, we can finally push Christian out on the wing. It kind of pushes everybody into a little bit more of their own comfort zone."

    "So I don't how much stylistically we will change by the way the offense runs or any of that type of stuff. The addition of those guys is going to be great for all of us."

    How has Christian Watford been this summer, has he been playing more of a wing or has he been going at it assuming he is always going to be a three?

    VERDELL: "Christian is Christian. He's going to do whatever he needs to do to win. It's just about who is guarding him. If he has a small on him, he knows to go right to the post. If they don't do something about it he's just going to stay there and it's going to be a mismatch all day. The days that he is feeling it, he will just get you outside, look you off and then just pull up in your face and hit it. Christian has been putting in a lot of good work this whole summer. The jump shot is looking really nice, he has gotten a lot stronger and you will be able to tell that easily. He is getting to the hole and finishing real well. He is fun to watch out there."

    How much stronger is he (Watford)?
    DEREK: "I can't really put up numbers but if you go in to the weight room there is pictures of us from last year and there is a picture of me and Christian and we just look like twigs. Christian and I were just looking at it the other day and his shoulders are just massive now compared to last year."

    Talk about how Maurice (Creek) is doing, getting back into things?
    DEREK: "He is just taking it day by day just trying to get back to it. He is working out every day, probably twice a day. He is probably here in the morning anyway when we're not here. He has gotten a lot stronger in the upper body and he is working on his lower body as well, so we're excited for him and his recovery. As he keeps on progressing."

    Verdell on gaining weight?
    VERDELL: "I'm definitely trying to gain weight. I want to get to 185 before the season starts. I'm 187 right now but once the season starts I'll probably lose five pounds. So I will probably end up about 190 but we will see how it goes."

    You can eat as much as you want?
    VERDELL: "It's fun with Bob and Tom when we go out to restaurants I am getting rib-eyes, steaks and fried foods and they have to eat leaves and salads. It is pretty fun to rub it in their face."

    Are you a salad guy (Capobianco)?
    BOBBY: "I am not a salad guy, no way will I ever be. For me, the way I look at weight and the way I look at strength, I just need to find something that I feel comfortable with. So I can feel something that I am running with but so that I am not getting thrown around. All these guys have numbers that they are looking for and I am just looking for a weight that I feel good at. We are definitely an up and down team and running is a huge aspect of it so if I'm running and doing the things I need to do my weight will just be where it needs to be."


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