Kelvin Sampson Press Conference Highlights
Aug. 25, 2007
Bloomington, Ind. - Indiana University men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson addressed the media prior to the Hoosiers first of possible 10 workouts in preparation for a trip to the Bahamas, August 31-September 2.
IU will play four games in three days beginning this Friday. The teams returning players began practicing today, while the newcomers will join in on Monday.
Head Coach Kelvin Sampson
"We are not going to become a great offensive team over the course of ten practices, but defensively we can make some strides. I am anxious to get this on tape, and that is the advantage. In 2004 we took our team (Oklahoma) down to Costa Rica and we did some things there that I would probably do different, so I have learned from that. But this is August, and the kids have done a good job with Coach (Jeff) Watkinson. Jeff has done a great job with these kids over the summer and you can tell a difference in their bodies. We didn't get a chance to do anything last summer, because some of their summers had already been planned. The ones that stayed we were able to get some things done. But this summer, I thought we ran a full-fledged program...weight room and conditioning. It is nice to have a strength coach to be the coach's voice when he is not there. All of our kids passed at least six credits in the classroom and made progress academically. From that perspective, it was a positive."
"We have taken two or three things that we have said let's try to be really good at these things. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the new kids are a long way behind, defensively. We have top talented offensive players that will help us in a lot of different areas."
"(Jordan) Crawford, (Eric) Gordon and (Jamarcus) Ellis...those three guys coming in will really impact us. The other kids we will just have to wait and see. A lot of people say they saw the kids in the barnstorming recruit game and they looked pretty good. But there is no correlation between that and the way we play. So with that, are there any questions?"
How is Lance Stemler doing?
What is your approach going to be at the games in the Bahamas?
"I have no idea who we are playing. I know we are going to play four games. There are probably 50 schools around the country that are doing this during the summer. I know Clemson and Old Dominion and I was told there are going to be five or six teams that are going to be in the Bahamas at the same time we are."
"I want to see the new guys play as much as possible. There is a good chance that D.J. is not going to lead us in minutes down there...I know what he can do. It's probably good that Lance is getting to do this, just to get him some confidence coming off his surgery. The games are what they are. We are going to try to win the games, but the scores are what they are. How we play is more important."
"Our video guys will go down there with us and we will get all of it on film and be able to come back and watch it and point some things out and make some strides from there."
What did you learn from the Costa Rica experience you mentioned earlier and how will it impact what you do this time?
"And then we go five weeks of pretty intense conditioning...weight room, different kinds of conditioning, sprints or whatever...we put them through pretty tough conditioning. And then they do that up until the first week of practice. We usually shut things down on that Wednesday (before the start of official practice) and give them Thursday and Friday to recover and start practice on Saturday. So they are prepared for practice."
"We will workout today for a couple hours and tomorrow for a couple hours and the new kids will get to sit and watch. But what I want them to watch is the intensity of the workouts and the speed of the workouts. We hardly spend more than 10 or 15 minutes on anything. We'll spend 10 or 15 minutes today on hedging ball screens and they can watch how hard we work at that. I thought that we were pretty good at that last year. The best team that did that against us was UCLA, so we have about two and a half minutes (on tape) of how they defended us against the ball screen. On that tape we have UCLA defending the ball screen and we have us defending the ball screen. Both teams were pretty good at it, but they did it a little bit different. Both teams really played hard doing it and the new kids have to see that."
"Today we will also work on how we rotate out of ball screens and how we rotate out of flat screens...just teaching things. We are going to spend a lot of time teaching things today and tomorrow and next week, instead of seeing how hard we can make these practices, that's not what I'm interested in."
Is the trip more beneficial because you have so many new guys?
What will the practice schedule be like this week?
On Brett Finkelmeier being added to the team
Do you have any background information on any of the teams you are going to play in the Bahamas?
Will your playing style change this year?
"Jamarcus Ellis, I really just like the way that he plays. When you watch him play, there isn't anything that just screams wow-factor to you. That's just not the way he plays. He's not going to make a lot of great plays off the dribble... and I think his strength is that he has great instincts for basketball. He is a good rebounder, a good passer and is a 80-plus free throw shooter. He's not a good three-point shooter but neither was Magic Johnson."
"I think he is a kid that fits really good with Eric (Gordon) because he is so unselfish. Eric is a really good scorer so I think they will work really good together."
"We aren't going to have a lot of guys taking and making a lot of three pointers this year. Jamarcus isn't a great three-point shooter, not to say he's not going to take some, but that's not his game. Eric will shoot three pointers, but I expect him to be at the free throw line a lot too. And then don't forget we still have the D.J. guy inside as well."
"As long as you are playing inside out and being opportunistic on the break and playing a little faster tempo you will be fine. When I say faster, I mean we'll be able to score in transition a little more because we have more versatile guards."
How can Armon improve this season?
What did you think of D.J.'s performance in the Pan Am games?
Will you mold DeAndre Thomas into D.J. White?
Do players who have already played on a team together have an advantage in transitioning to their new team?
On last year's seniors academic success
What is your approach to preseason rankings?
"I think D.J. is going to have an outstanding season. There is a lot of difference between D.J. today and D.J. last year at this time. There is just a lot of difference. When I watched him in September practices and in October practices, I didn't see a great player. I didn't see that. I said that kid's going to struggle. Basketball is a game that you have to play with great abandonment. There can't be any distractions. He tip-toed around. He was saying the right things, but I saw something different in practice. This is credit to him - I thought he was better in March than he was in February. He was better in February than he was in January and so on. So this season, I think D.J. just isn't the same kid. He's a lot more confident. He's got swagger. This is his team. Let's not make any mistakes about that. This is D.J. White's team. Teams that are billed as talented and as touted, but they aren't as good as you think they should be - it comes down to player leadership."
"Like last year, I thought we had great player leadership. (Rod) Wilmont is probably not you're conventional leader, but Rod was a good leader in his own way. He did it his way. Our kids responded. No matter what kind of leadership you have, it will elicit some kind response positive or negative. The response that Rod got was positive and that's all that matters."
"I think with Lance and D.J., we have two very mature kids that get it. They are great character kids. They are both on target to comfortably graduate in May, and hopefully, we're 5-for-5 then. I'm excited about this team. We have a lot of young talent and new guys, but you have to have good leadership in your foundation. Those two guys stand in front of your team everyday for stretching and making sure that the practices go the right way at the right level. Great captains are never afraid to get on their teammates. I don't think D.J. or Lance are worried about that. I think our captains are pretty solid people."
On controlling the hype around D.J. White and Eric Gordon
Eric is kind of his own man. I had a chance to sit down and talk with him this summer and I'm not sure that he knows about that stuff to the level where he thinks about it. I think he's good about deflecting that and D.J. has set the tone for this team. When we go practice this afternoon at 4 o'clock, D.J. and Lance will be the two hardest workers. Those two kids are going to get after it. It's a great feeling as a coach to know what to expect.
"I have no idea how Brandon McGee is going to practice. No idea, but I know that he's going to be a lot better as he goes along. Eric and D.J., I don't think that they walk around here soliciting or getting carried away with the hype. As the year goes on, you hope that it gets bigger. It's not like we can do this on the sly. What we do is out front. I hope it gets bigger and we win on a high level. I think this team has a chance to. If our guys buy in and work their tales off, that's what it comes down to. That will be the key for this bunch. They have to really, really work. I think Lance and D.J. are going to help keep them grounded."
Can you talk about the Basketball Development Center?
What impact will it have on recruiting?
Check back soon