Hoosiers Hold Men's Basketball Media Day
Oct. 11, 2007
Note: Coach Kelvin Sampson will join Dave Revsine tonight on the Big Ten Network during the 10 p.m. hour.
Head Coach Kelvin Sampson
On the plans for the first practice on Saturday:
"Everything that we do in our practices are built around times and goals. For instance, we do a three-man weave with four passes. We put two minutes on the clock and they have to make 21 layups. We have a diagonal passing drill where we put two minutes on the clock, use four balls, and they have to make 82 layups. The thought there is to get them to not go through the motions but to get them to learn how to compete. It is nice to be able to talk about that, but for them to be able to see it and feel it and reach goals is always good. It's good to see them get better in that area each day. Whatever time they get or how ever many layups they make, the result will be a lot better in a week or two weeks. That is one of the things about the new NCAA rule about the two hours a week. You are able to get some of that stuff in, at least the teaching part. For us, it is nice this year to have kids back. We don't have to talk so much. It's nice to have in practice everyday, A.J. (Ratliff) and Armon (Bassett), Adam (Ahlfeld), Kyle (Taber), Lance (Stemler), Mike (White) and D.J. (White). Those seven guys, we can put them out and say `okay, this is what we are looking for' and have someone demonstrate it. Hopefully, our practices will be a little more productive starting on Saturday. I don't know that we have productive practices for a while because you are talking the entire time."
On being more comfortable this year after a year of experience:
"I can honestly say I am never uncomfortable coaching. I think the returning players are more comfortable here. And I feel better because of some of the results and some of the things that we were able to accomplish here last year. Think about the difference in the Indiana State game. I don't know how many of you remember the specifics of that game. You go from that game to the Wisconsin game, and we had the same team. We didn't put in any new players in, but that is the difference in playing hard and competing. When you have to start over every year, it is the same thing. And we are staring over, in some respects, with the turnover in the guard position. It has been well documented that A.J. will not play until our ninth game. Armon Bassett will slide over a spot and play the point position this year. We have other kids that can play that position, Jordan Crawford, Eric Gordon, Jamarcus Ellis. At some point, I think we have a chance to be pretty good. Obviously, in those October practices, they are just going to have to grasp and figure out how it is that we are going to get these things done. The one thing about conditioning is that you put them in some adverse conditions. Whether it is getting up at 5 a.m. three days a week and just seeing how they react to that. We hold them responsible for a lot of little things and we just like to see how they react to that. There are some kids that are a little more mature than others, but mature kids usually handle adversity pretty good."
On the preseason projections affecting the practices:
"Kids like Brandon McGee, for instance, is trying to figure out where he fits in and what kind of role he is going to play. Some of that falls on him to figure out something he can hang his hat on. Every kid has got to have something they can hang their hat on. Like Earl last year. I don't know if he ever saw himself as a lockdown defender or as a guy who could take the challenge of defending the other team's best player, but he really embraced it. You have to give him credit for finding out what he is good at and could translate that into playing against a really good team. A lot of guys have strengths against guys who aren't very good. But when we are playing against really good teams in our league and out of our conference, what do they do to help us in those games? And that is where these practices come in. You aren't going to find anything out in the nine practices we had before we went to the Bahamas. We will start finding those things out in the next 20-25 practices."
On the progression of Armon Bassett and how that will influence this year's team:
"He is never going to be a point guard in the sense of John Stockton, for example. Point guard is a floating term. Point guards can play a lot of different way so don't stereotype a point guard. Magic Johnson played nothing like John Stockton and Jason Kidd is a little different than Steve Nash. But we are going to have to adjust to Armon and allow him to score too. If you watch the way Steve Nash plays versus John Stockton, they are completely different styles, but yet they played the same position. Don't put a category on Armon and say he doesn't fit that category, because maybe that is the type of point guard he is going to have to be."
On being in a situation with so many new players but some guys returning:
"Our guards are going to have to play a lot minutes early because right now we only have four guards, outside of (Brett) Finkelmeier and Adam (Ahlfeld), until A.J. gets eligible. Up front, D.J. will start for sure and the other position you have the possibility of Eli, but we are still waiting to hear about Eli, Lance, DeAndre (Thomas) and Mike (White). D.J. averaged around 28-29 minutes last year. So if you look at the two positions, there are 80 minutes between them and he is going to play almost 30 of them. It's not like you have to have five or six guys there. Florida last year played three post guys, Noah and Horford and Richard. I like our depth at that position. Early on, it might be a committee, D.J. won't be a committee but the other two guys we'll just have to play them as much as we can and see who fits best.
"I am excited about DeAndre Thomas and the improvement he has made in a lot of different areas. When D.J. was on the floor, he touched the ball a lot. Even if we get it to him and he kicks it out, he still touched it. A lot of times we got open three's because that is the shot you are going to get out of a double in the post, especially if you reverse the ball. There is not a team in America that won't shoot those shots. There was a tendency, when D.J. was not in the game, to not throw the ball inside because we really didn't have anyone to throw it to. But DeAndre gives us another option and we will have to see he and D.J. play together. That is not something that we really looked at during the nine practices and the Bahamas. Starting Saturday, once we get through our base and foundation stuff that is one of the things I want to see."
On getting the team chemistry on and off the court:
"Last year at this time, I'm not sure we had a leader, but this year we do. I think we have two really good leaders. D.J. has been not good, but great, and Lance. Those two senior captains have earned it and earn it everyday. That is something that has to be earned everyday."
On preparing for A.J. return after eight games:
On the guards giving the team versatility:
On Eli Holman:
On how well the football team is doing this year:
On his perspective about what IU basketball is after a year;
Check back soon