Men's Basketball

    Talking About Southern Indiana

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!

    Oct. 25, 2013

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head coach Tom Crean, along with Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell and Noah Vonleh met with the media to talk about Saturday's exhibition game against Southern Indiana to get the 2013-14 season underway. Below is a partial transcript along with video as well.

    Head Coach Tom Crean

    Opening comments:
    "We're anxious to play, I don't think there is any question about that. I think everybody this time of year is anxious to go against somebody different. It's hard to believe we're going to play a game on October 26, but we are, and we've been in practice almost a month. We're anxious to see where we stand. I like this team.

    "Southern Indiana head coach Rodney Watson has done a great job. He's had four straight 20-plus win seasons. They led the country in rebound margin for them last year. They lost a couple of guys, but they have seven seniors, and very efficient half-court offense in, what I think, is the best Division II conference in America. I think it has been for a long time. I think we'll see a lot too when we play Hillsdale in a week. Two really good programs and really good conferences that compete night in and night out and can recruit a little differently and can recruit with a wider net maybe then a lot of people. I think that's good for us.

    "As far as where we stand, I think there's so much trepidation as you get ready to start this because it is early and we are extremely young. You keep reading all these different stories or talking to colleagues that have scrimmaged as this point and you get to know that everybody is really in for a Mr. Toad's Wild Ride for a while here until we figure out how the games are going to be officiated. The officials, the coaches, the players, what we've tried to do and we've been doing it for a couple of years, is that we try to make sure we have referees in here 75-80 percent of the time. We`ve got them really going through our drills. Whether it's a passing drill, a shooting drill, anything that keeps reinforcing what we have to do footwork wise, but then certainly anything we have to do 3-on-3, 4-on-4, 5-on-5 from there where we're getting a lot of teaching. We want to make sure that we understand that this game is changing. It's going to be universal and early on everybody is going to have to make the adjustment to it, us included.



    "Hopefully our depth will continue to rise. We don't have a ton of guys that have separated themselves yet and I don't think that's a bad thing. I think it's very, very competitive, but I don't think we'll really see where we're at until we get more from more guys that have been injured. This was only Luke Fischer's third day of contact practices, this is Troy Williams' first week having his right hand and it's still padded up. So we've dealt with a lot of things like that. Peter Jurkin was gone almost two weeks back to see his father and his family. That obviously and absolutely had to happen. There's no way around that. You hate to have him leave for that reason, but he had to go and that's the way that it is. We're anxious to see where it stands and we're anxious to have something to evaluate as we get ready for the next one."

    On the competitive level in practice:
    "I think what we're trying to do is hold them to a standard of not where they think they're at and not against one another, but with where a championship level program should be. So all we do is turn around to last year. We turn around to those numbers and those statistics. It's not about having somebody that is going to go in and score `x' amount of points right now. It's not about somebody who is going to take `x' amount of shots. It's about percentages, it's about free throw attempts, it's about Indiana assists, which is an assist that ... maybe it was missed, maybe it was bobbled, maybe it was turned over, maybe you just missed a layup, but it was attempted to be made. A lot of people, I think, keep the hockey assist type things, but we're already doing that. We're already in a sense,

    "I don't want to reward the next pass because that's what we're built on. I do want to reward the guy that tries to give up the ball when he had a shot or he had a play to give a guy a better shot. We'd like to see our team get to a point where they're about 2-to-1, 3-to-1 a lot of times on those Indiana assists versus assists. Deflections are big efficiency points for us. We're really evaluating this team and holding them to a standard of what last years numbers looked like. That's far reaching. There's a huge difference between last year and this year right now and there's a huge difference in the numbers, but that's where we're reaching for.

    "In answer to your question, the energy has been good for a long time. There's a lot of mental pressure out there right now to get an understanding to skip some steps. Because we're going to play so many young guys we can't have a team that is constantly making mistakes because they're not strong enough with the ball or they don't talk or they don't react. We're extremely long, we're extremely athletic, but we are extremely short on understanding and experience. And so a lot of time is spent right now learning how hard we have to practice, how much we have to compete."

    On playing Southern Indiana:
    "I think when we decided we were doing two exhibitions this year, we wanted to get some teams that had tournament experience, great leagues, play different ways. I think what this team does is they really have a very good cutting, movement team. They were great at getting the ball inside last year. Like I said, they led the country in rebound margin. They were very aggressive. How much that will change this year based on a couple guys that aren't playing remains to be seen, but they went to some sets where they just pounded it inside and they also had great movement sets. In that sense, I think it's very good for you.

    "Again, you want to win the game, but I do think I'm going to take more out of it from how we play, what our adjustments are like, what our situational basketball is like, how well guys move the ball for one another, and I think that's going to be more important at the end of the day than with any score because it's not one that goes on your record. But you certainly want to come out and have guys understand how to win the game.

    "I think Southern Indiana because of that experience back, we didn't want to play anybody that was in a similar situation to us experience wise. I don't think that would've been a plus. I think the plus is going against people that know what they're doing, that are well versed in their ways, and have had success, know what success feels like and lets go see how we deal with that."

    Kevin Yogi Ferrell

    On the progress the team has made since the start of practice:
    "I'd say that we're doing a lot better job defensively. I feel like we're talking more and communicating more. We know our defensive sets really well. And even with the new rule change of not being able to use our hands so much, it has kind of helped us. We've adjusted to it well. It helps us because we have to move our feet and so if we do that, we can get into the defender quicker. They can't go by us really. And even when coach brings the refs in for us, that has helped us a lot too because the refs are telling us what we did wrong if we fouled someone."

    On the effect the new rules for defense have had in practice and how that might carry over to games:
    "It's a lot different. They're pretty much going to call anything now, so teams will get into the bonus earlier in games now. That's how I think the game will change. (After the initial contact) we can't use our hands, just hands out kind of using your chest really. You can't really be as aggressive as last year. You just have to try to work with it."

    On playing someone else instead of going against teammates:
    "It's going to mean a lot. We're really going to be able to see where we are. I'm tired of beating up on these guys, I'm telling you (laughs). It'll be a good test. I'm glad we have our first game tomorrow. I'm ready to get back at it and make new strides, especially with a new team. So it's going to be a lot of fun."

    On what Noah Vonleh brings to the team that can help the team win:
    "I feel like he's especially a force down low and he definitely sucks in defenders. He has the ability to pass out of the post, whether it's a pass out for a three-point shot or a pass out to a cutter. Or he can score himself. I feel like he can have the presence that Cody did last year, maybe not experience-wise, but just how big he is and his knowledge of the game even right now as a freshman is a lot higher than I expected. He's definitely going to be a key to our success."

    Noah Vonleh

    On how his game has grown since practice started:
    "I'm playing different positions. I'm playing the three, four and five. Sometimes when we're running the plays, I will go to the one and just try to figure out the offense and know all of the spots. I feel like I am getting better in that regard."

    On whether playing different positions helps with the transition to college:
    "Yeah, I think by playing all the different positions you get a feel of where you should be, where to stop the ball and things like that. I think it's going to keep helping us get better and take our defense to another level."

    On rebounding being a strength that he brings to the team:
    "We have a pretty big frontcourt with guys like Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Luke Fischer, myself, and Devin Davis. Whenever we scrimmage in practice, whenever guys get to the rim, we are just going after it, blocking shots. Everybody is crashing the boards. It's very physical and I think we should have a pretty good rebounding team."

    On whether he likes the physical aspect of the game:
    "Yeah, I love it. Ever since I put on all that strength, I just love getting in there, getting after the rebounds and just giving it to Yogi and starting a break."


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