Dec. 9, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Indiana men's basketball head coach Tom Crean talked with members of the media on the Big Ten Conference Coaches Weekly Teleconference on Monday. A full transcript of what Coach Crean had to say is below.
"First, I want to congratulate Ohio State football and Michigan State football for such a great championship game this past Saturday night. Congratulations to Mark D'Antonio and Michigan State for winning the championship and I thought it was great for everyone involved,in the sense of showing just how powerful football in this conference is on a national level there that night when the spotlight was on it. I also want to congratulate our women's team and Curt Miller for starting off 9-0 right now with the season that he's having after a road win yesterday.
"As far as for us, we're just trying to make sure that we get an identity that we really can build on, in the sense of both ends of the court, in the sense of rebounding on both ends of the court and, most importantly, just trying to get a better understanding and gain some experience in all these games as we prepare for the Big Ten season."
On Noah Vonleh's impact through the opening part of the season:
"He really wants to be not only a great player but a great winner and a great teammate. He's got a unique work ethic, in the sense that it has been just commonplace for him to be in here (in Assembly Hall) everyday, not only when he needed to, obviously, but the other times and off days and at night and in the mornings. He is just constantly, whether he is trying to work on his shot, his post-up game, his free throws, spending more and more time absorbing more film on his own. Those are the types of things that just lead you to believe that he's going to have a fantastic career. And he's doing that. He's very, very hard to guard because he's mobile. He's pretty quick, certainly very strong and long and athletic. But he's gaining more of an understanding of what defenses are trying to do with him. He's gaining more of an understanding of where his teammates want the ball and he's learning the competitiveness that you've got to have on every possession when you're playing high-level college basketball."
On Vonleh setting the tone for the other young big men:
"I think he sets it with how hard he plays and they're learning from that. I think the one great thing for us is that Luke is getting healthier and I think that started to show the other night. So I think that's really important. He played without the shoulder harness I believe for the first or second time.
"But Noah can do a lot more in that area. He's an unselfish player. He doesn't look to just catch it and think about his offense. He really wants to make our offense really good. Because of that, I think he can demand it even more with his body, with his actions, with his verbal part. And then he's just got to continue to be able to play longer stretches, maybe, at the same level of intensity and the same level of pace. I think as he gets that and he starts to really understand how hard he can play for how long he can play, I think that's going to help him and I think it will help our entire team."
On Will's Sheehey's leadership with a young team:
"I think it helps us. I think certainly when you are trying to expand your game and expand your role like he's doing, it's another challenge, in the sense of really making sure that your teammates know where they need to be, what they need to do on the court. And really I think the biggest thing is, when things get tight, can they look to him as not only a voice of reason but as a pitcher of confidence. And I think that's exactly what you want an upperclassman that has been down the line to be, because he has been fantastic at helping us get better in practice and he's very competitive and he works extremely hard. That's never changed in his time here. We need him to have a breakout game here again with his offense and the rebounding and I think that will help him even more. I think that will expand his leadership even more."
On Yogi's improved offensive statistics from last season:
"I think it's crucial for him, for us, for our entire development as a team this year. He's a very improved offensive player, in the sense of his confidence shooting the ball. I think the next big step is to continue to mix it. Get to the rim, shoot the pull-up, be even better decision-making wise in the pick-and-role, although he's getting pretty good at that. Continue to shoot threes.
"What we really want to do, what we go into every game with right now, is a plan that is expanding to move him without the ball. So after he gives it up, he becomes that much harder to find in different situations and we've been doing that all year. I think it's crucial that we continue to do that. I think because he's driving it so well and because he sees so well, it allows you to play him from so many different places on the court after the offense is started and that's key. I think for him to continue to expand his game we've got to even score more off the break with him, whether it's him scoring or delivering the ball. We've got to score more off turnovers with him and we've got to continue to get him to the foul line at a high rate because he's a tremendous free-throw shooter."