BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Jordan Hulls met with members of the media on Wednesday to discuss a variety of topics from off-season workouts to who has improved the most and what position he prefers to play.
Below is a complete transcript of what he had to say:
On what he took away from playing the Indy Pro-Am over the summer:
"Playing against different competition and guys who have played at the next level, whether it's the NBA or overseas. Being able to play against stronger and more physical guys and having to play defense against them really helped me out because that was my main goal."
On what his focus is to improve upon between the start of classes and regular season practices:
"Just getting after it every day and try to get better, not only myself but all of my teammates as well. Whether it is strength training or agility, conditioning or individual workouts, we have to go hard every day. We just have to get better. Defense is going to be a huge key for us and its something that I am looking forward to."
On being more of a vocal leader with the team over the summer:
"For sure I have been trying to be more vocal this year. In high school, I was more of a guy that would lead by example, not as vocal or yelling at guys. I'm not necessarily yelling at guys here unless they need to be but I'm just trying to encourage everybody and get things organized and be a leader the way they want me to be here.
"Verdell (Jones III) and some of the other seniors are helping me out as well but it's something that I have taken upon myself and it has been asked of me from time to time. Being the point guard, being a leader is something that I have to be."
On what made him decide to take on the leadership role:
"It was a variety of things. It was Coach Crean telling me to be more vocal and be more of a leader. I think the team needed someone to be that guy and I am more than willing to be that guy. Whether that is getting on someone or directing workouts or whatever the case may be. That's kind of how it came about I've always been the leader of most of the teams that I have been on and its something that I need to take control of."
On whether he has needed to get on guys as the summer has gone on:
"It is just holding each other accountable. I am not the only one yelling (laughs), as long as everyone else is pitching in (with holding guys accountable). We have a couple guys that know how workouts should be run and what needs to be done and those kinds of things. As long as we are all holding each other accountable, that's all we can ask for and it's a big thing for us. We have to come in and work hard every day and not slack off."
On getting on guys whether they like it or not:
"I want to win, so I am going to do whatever it takes to get more wins in the win column. Like I said, I don't need to yell at them if they don't need to be yelled at. If I say something and you don't like it, too bad. But that's how we are going to win. That's how my dad and some of the coaches kind of told me that its all about winning here and that's what we need to do. Being that kind of leader. We can be friends after workouts but when we are on the field or the court, it is all business and we need to get things done."
On what how the team can improve defensively without the coaches around during workouts:
"The agility type of stuff that we work on and getting in the weight room so we can get stronger. That is going to be a big thing, especially for me, as I try to get my upper body bigger so I can guard bigger players. We can do lane slides and things like that to improve our quickness.
"And when we play open gym, we treat it like a regular season game and we try to play defense like it is a regular season game. I think that helps a lot."
On the sense of urgency with just two years left to play in college:
"Time is going by fast, and with only two years left, I have to try to make the most out of that. Being more vocal and being more of a leader are things that can help. It was apparent during my freshman year that it needed to happen but even more so right now. We need to get more wins and hold each other accountable as a team and if we do, I think we will be alright."
On his personal sense of urgency to get things turned around:
"I think not just my sense but our sense of urgency is that everyone wants to win. The past two years, we have learned a lot and gained a lot of experience. There are things that we can take into account - like watching film for example - or all of those things that we need to work on to get to the next level. It is very apparent and urgent that we need to get these wins and get competitive and get to the top of the Big Ten or whatever the case may be. It is something we are working towards every day. We have to make it an emphasis that individual workouts or strength training or whatever we are doing is going to help us get more wins."
On how his role might change this season based on how everyone has improved over the summer:
"I feel like everybody has gotten better offensively and that we have a lot of weapons. That is something that I have put a lot of emphasis on - being more aggressive when we are playing open gyms or workouts. Being more aggressive and looking for my shot more and not passing up open shots. And then finding the guy that is hot during the games, so if Christian or Verdell gets hot, I am going to get the ball to them or run plays for them."
On whether he expects to play more point guard or play off the ball as well:
"That is up for the coaches to decide. Last year, I played a lot of different spots but I feel the most comfortable having the ball in my hands. We will see what happens this year. We have a very competitive lineup and a lot of guys that can play multiple spots, which is a big key for us. If you want to be able to play, you have to be able to do different things. Playing defense is definitely part of that so we'll have to see."
On having all the coaches and strength staff in tact for an entire year and how that helps everyone stay on the same page:
"It is huge. A lot of the guys have been here all summer doing workouts and taking classes, getting in the gym and playing open gym. It is nice to have that structure and to know that everyone is here. Coach (Je'Ney) Jackson has put us through some great workouts and everyone is getting bigger and stronger. We have all gained weight, which will help us in Big Ten games."
On the comfort level with the assistant coaches:
"I feel like everyone is comfortable with them. Everyone is more comfortable with them and we know what to expect. We have three freshmen but we will just have to let them know how it goes here with practice, individual workouts and all those kinds of things. Being more mature is definitely going to help that."
On having four full classes on the team for the first time under Coach Crean and how open gym has gotten more competitive:
"It is definitely competitive. Everyone obviously wants to win every game and people are really getting upset when they lose, which is always good to see. Having four classes here is allowing it to be even more competitive and more game-like has been huge."
On how Cody Zeller has looked in open gyms and whether he will be able to jump in and play right away:
"He and the other two freshmen have been working their tails off at getting bigger and stronger. But Cody has a lot of skill and room to get bigger. We are excited to have him. He is another big body to throw in there and he can shoot form 15-17 feet, which is always key in the pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop game. He is really athletic and long - I don't think some people realize how long he really is - and he will just go get the ball, which is important when it comes to rebounding."
On how Verdell Jones III and Victor Oladipo have physically gotten bigger during the off-season and how that will help them during the season:
"Verdell is 6'5 so he can go in the post and since he is bigger, he can body guys up more. He is also very crafty and can get to the hole as well as his outstanding mid-range game.
"Victor is getting huge. He will be a really big force for us. He is handling the ball really well and shooting really well so we are very excited for that."
On how playing in the Indy Pro-Am came about:
"It was something that was offered to us and we all thought it was a good opportunity to go up there and play against the NBA players. There were a lot more NBA players there this year than there ever has been (because of the NBA lockout). It was some more open-gym type games and it was more basketball - we can never get enough basketball."