BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Sophomore Will Sheehey and junior Christian Watford met with members of the media on Thursday to talk about the first couple weeks of workouts and where the team stands at this point.
Here's a full transcript of what they had to say:
On the first couple weeks of workouts Will Sheehey (WS): "Workouts have been going great. With the group practices having started, it really helps us with the team unity because before we could just go in groups of three or four. But now we all get to go together and can see how everyone is playing together."
Christian Watford (CW): "I feel like they have been good. We get the chance to go after each other a little bit. Instead of only having four guys in there, we get a chance to go four-on-four or three-on-three a little bit more. It has been fun and we have been getting after it."
On what the biggest thing that he worked on over the summer to improve upon: CW: "Ball handling and ball moves, things like that. With Cody (Zeller) coming in, I feel like I'm going to be able to step out a little bit more so I wanted to work on explosion moves and things like that."
On how his focus has been more mature since the Spring: CW: "More than anything, you just grow up and realize what it takes. You realize that it's going to take hard work and you have to embrace it instead of running from it and I think that's what I have done."
On whether averaging a double-double is a realistic goal for the season: CW: "Yes, I think it is. We are going to have Cody down there eating some glass too so it's going to be tough (to get the rebounds) but I think I can do it."
On the sense of the urgency, personally, for this season: CW: "Yes, I feel that way. I only have two years left so I'm on the down slope of my career here. It's going downhill now so you want to win and win fast."
On what he tried to work on the most over the off-season: WS: "Probably ball handling and outside shooting are the two things that I could do on the court. I am getting stronger in the weight room as well."
On the team being more mature now that you have players that have been in the system for four years: CW: "Yes, I think so. We realize that the time is now and we don't have time to wait. We have some senior guys that want to get something done while they have been at Indiana. So we don't want to send them out with a losing record or anything like that. The sense of urgency is definitely there and we have been working hard."
On what player has impressed him the most with their development over the summer: WS: "I can't pick just one guy. Christian has been working hard and Victor (Oladipo) as well. The three freshmen coming in too - trying to figure out the program and how things work - they have done a great job. Everyone has done a great job of working hard progressively this summer."
On what he told the freshmen about the transition from high school to college: WS: "You don't really tell them much. It's kind of a thing with freshmen that you kind of let them learn on their own because it helps them in a sense. They learn from what you do and follow after so we have to set a good example. They have really caught on and have been doing really well."
On what he sees as his role with the team this season: WS: "I am definitely a guy that can do multiple things like offensive rebounding, defensive rebounding and playing good defense. I'm really someone that can do everything and I won't back down to any task."
On what position he considers himself to be: WS: "Whatever needs to be done. When guys talk about being a guard or a forward, they talk about guarding somebody. If I can guard a big or a guard, then it doesn't matter."
"I had to guard some bigger guys last year and didn't do that great of a job, but with a little bit of experience I think will be better this year."
On how much stronger he is and has he added any weight: CW: "I have gotten a lot stronger. I put on more muscle than I have anything. My weight is about the same - I'm about 225 or 230 lbs. I haven't put on weight but I have gotten stronger in the weight room."
On what they took away from playing in the Indy Pro-Am over the summer: CW: "It was fun and great to compete against those guys. I used it as a measuring tool to see how you compare to (guys that play professionally) and play some different competition and get up and down the court.
"I felt like I measured up pretty good but I wasn't able to get up there a lot because of classes and things like that. When I did go up there and play, I feel like I did pretty well."
WS: "I though it was a great experience. Jordan (Hulls) and I got to play on the same team so that was good. Like Christian said, matching up with different players from different levels was a good time."
What impact does Cody Zeller have on the inside CW: "He is going to draw a lot of attention, more than anything. He's a big guy that can pass the ball and can see the floor. That's what we need. He can also finish down there so that's going to help us too."
On guarding more perimeter players with Cody and Tom Pritchard playing in the post: CW: "I do. I think I can do all right against smaller players. It's going to be a challenge but I'm up for it. There aren't very many small "3's" anyway - they are mostly 6'7 or 6'8 so I think I'll be okay."
On what he learned from guarding perimeter players last season and how it will help this season: CW: "I just want to use what I have more than anything. I need to be long and use my length. I don't need to get up and pressure guys too much because I can do multiple things with my wingspan and how tall I am."
On the team being ready to make improvements this season: CW: "I know we are ready. We have a lot of veterans that have played a lot of minutes. I have been on the court since I was a freshman and Jordan has too so the sense of urgency is there.
"I almost feel like a senior as many minutes as I have played and Jordan as well and other guys that came in with me. So there's definitely a sense of urgency."
On how the workouts have been different this year with a more veteran team: WS: "I think guys are more comfortable, in a sense, because they are veterans and they know what to expect and what is expected from them, so they can give the maximum effort. For the freshmen, it is better for them because they get to learn from what the older guys do. So it's an advantage that we have."
CW: "It's more player-driven now because we are a veteran team. We hold each other accountable more than anything. We embrace the hard work - we know the workouts are going to be hard going into it - but we try to attack it. As veterans, we talk to the younger guys and push them through it."
"When I came in, we didn't really have any veterans. We were kind of an downside I guess you could say. But we are the leaders now and the veterans and take on that challenge and that role."
On the off-season conditioning helping with improvements: WS: "Obviously with conditioning, you can go up and down the court longer and you feel stronger for longer. When you are more conditioned and stronger, you are just a better player. It has helped guys get through things because our summer workouts were tough. So it has definitely prepared us for the upcoming season."
On the benefit of a strong coaching staff: CW: "It helps because you get different views on different things. Some guys relate to some guys differently. So if you are doing something wrong, another coach can come and point it out. So it works out great."
WS: "They have so much knowledge of the game from being in the same position as a head coach before they came to Indiana. They can take a step back now and focus more on things that can help you improve."
On the impact that Calbert Cheaney has on the program now that he's back as Director of Operations: CW: "He is a great motivator and an icon to look up to. (As Director of Operations) He really can't tell us too much about basketball, but he can tell us about life and pushing through the tough times. I'm sure when he was here, he went through a lot of tough things so having him here is a great experience."
On what they knew about Calbert before they came to Indiana: WS: "I know a good amount. You see the pictures around the offices and locker room and you know he is the all-time leading scorer in the Big Ten. Its something that you hear a lot and when you talk about the tradition at Indiana, his name is at the top of the list. You kind of have to know."
CW: "Coming from Alabama, I didn't really know too much. But once you get up here, you learn."
On how Derek Elston can help the team this year: CW: "He is very important. As long as Derek stays healthy, he is going to be able to help us a lot. He is going to be able to give us another big body on the inside. He's going to be able to rebound and stretch the defense because he can shoot the ball. As long as Derek stays healthy, I think we will be in great shape."
On the Big Ten this season: CW: "It's going to be tough. The Big Ten always reloads every year. Good players leave and good players come in. It's always going to be tough and you are always going to have your teams like Ohio State and Wisconsin that are always tough, no matter if it seems like they are having a down year or not."