Previewing Sam Houston State at Indiana Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Kenny Johnson along with Will Sheehey and Victor Oladipo talked to the media
Thursday's game is Game 2 of the Bloomington Regional Round of the Progressive Legends Classic
Nov. 14, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Kenny Johnson along with Will Sheehey and Victor Oladipo talked to the media about Thursday's game against Sam Houston State as part of the Progressive Legends Classic.
On Sam Houston State's big man Michael Holyfield:
"He is very good. He poses challenges with his girth and his strength. He runs the floor a lot better than you may think he would. I know he made strides last season when they had some injuries. We've been watching him on film and he's a great screener, he contests shots and he did a great job of rebounding the other night. So he's going to be a challenge just making sure we always keep a body on him."
On how much more difficult it will be to have someone with size to face down low:
"Bryant and North Dakota State were competitors as well; each individual poses their own challenge. I think he presents a little bit different challenge for us being that this team is a tad bit faster paced overall and the perimeter is going to be surrounded with shooters. They are going to have shooters at all four spots, no matter who is in the game opposite him. With us being probably a tad more spread out and him having more space to operate, he can pose a little bit more of a threat. There may be a little more one-on-one block-outs for him."
On Sam Houston State's guards:
"Darius Gatson really pops out on film when you watch him. You can tell a floor general when you see one and he makes that team go. I know he has a ton of experience being their lone senior on the team. But overall, from top to bottom, I think they have a team with maybe five or six guys that I consider to be shooters. A lot of times on film when you are preparing for a scout, you can identify one or two guys that you can key in and say, `We want to make sure we run this guy off the three point line,' but they have a team full of guys that are capable of knocking down shots. Even the guy that plays the power forward position for them is right now leading the team in three point field goal attempts. Obviously McKay is someone who really shoots the basketball well for them, but Gatson had four 3-pointers against Arkansas, so it's just going to be a matter of identifying not only one specific person, but not over-committing our help and staying on their shooters."
On Johnson's recruiting impact and what he tries to emphasize:
"Honestly, it's been more of taking a lead from Coach Crean and identifying the things that have not only made Indiana one of the top programs in the country historically, but also identifying the things that he's done since he's been here with this program. I'm really diving into what his philosophy is, understanding what makes Indiana, at its current state, good. We are just focused on finding the right type of individuals that fit into that philosophy. I'm just really taking the lead from not only him, but Coach Buckley and Coach McClain and recognizing the hard work that Marni Mooney has done, and the strength and conditioning work that Je'Ney Jackson has done, and finding people who want to fit that culture.
"I have a little bit of a head start just from the impact they've had on Maurice Creek and Victor Oladipo. I've honestly been a fan of Coach Crean for many years, and I've kind of understood what he was all about. So it's been kind of a smooth transition for me identifying what a `Coach Crean type player' would be. When you have that background information, you are able to come in and really identify people that I think that he would like and people that I knew would fit into his culture and his mind set. Recruiting has been enjoyable from that aspect, and it makes it easy to recruit for and be a part of a staff that fits my own personal mind set as well."
On how much emphasis he puts on getting to know the recruit before he signs them:
"I think that relationships are important in all facets of life. It starts with a conversation. There is hundreds upon hundreds of talented individuals in the world, but it goes back to the certain characteristics that we talk about as a staff that we feel like are valuable and important to us. Once you can recognize that in an individual, you go through the process of identifying whether there is a true interest in their part. Like I said, it starts off with a conversation so a relationship to me can begin with a `hello.' "
On what challenges Sam Houston State presents: Victor Oladipo: "We know they are a really good team. They are a quick team that likes to get up and down the floor and get after you on defense. We are going to have to be on top of our game and play at a high level in order to beat them."
On whether the team is satisfied with its defense the first two game: Will Sheehey: "No, it is never where we want it to be. We are working hard on getting better at our weak-side defense as well as helping-the-helper. I think we are getting there on that."
On preparing for Sam Houston State: Sheehey: "We play every game the same regardless of the opponent. We were just watching film and Coach Crean pretty much just told us the same thing. We all believe it. Regardless of who you play, you always have to put in the same amount of energy and preparation and that is what we have been doing since Vic and I got here, and even before that. So we continue to do the same thing now."
On what stands out as areas that need improvement: Oladipo: "We need to be more consistent along with some other little things. From watching film, we saw some little things here and there that we can correct. But we just need to keep playing at a high level and playing for one another on the defensive end and we will be just fine."
On what he has liked from the team the first couple games: Sheehey: "I have liked our energy from everyone, from the starters down to the bench. Everyone has brought a level of energy to the game. Some guys might get angry about not playing this amount of time, but I feel like everyone that has come in has brought a certain amount of energy.
"And I also think that we are playing smarter as each game goes on, knowing what our strengths and weaknesses are. We just need to keep doing that."
On the key to making sure everyone stays on the same page: Sheehey: "Well you have to know your role. Everyone should know what their role is. You do what you do well, and that is what you bring to the table. You can't do things that you don't do well because it shows up on the film. So once everyone realizes what their roles are, which I know that our team does, we are fine."
On adjusting to playing with Kevin (Yogi) Ferrell as the point guard: Oladipo: "We just have to continue to get used to him, and I think we have been doing a pretty good job of that. He is going to be looking for you on the break or in the half court. We just have to fix the little kinks - fewer turnovers - and be more consistent in all the things that we do so we can keep building that chemistry."