Dec. 20, 2007
Press Conference video
Head Coach Kelvin Sampson Press Conference
December 20, 2007
On Coppin State playing at Marquette on Friday and Indiana on Saturday:
"The Coppin game, just to explain it a little bit, we scheduled them on this date (Dec. 22)..I remember getting a call, the coach for Coppin, Fang Mitchell, is a really good friend of mine. But we had them scheduled originally for the 22nd, but the Big Ten changed the game to noon. We had scheduled it for maybe later. But sometime in August they needed another game and added Marquette and asked to change the game but we couldn't because of the Big Ten Network."
On the status of the five guards:
"I was really hoping at least four could play. But you guys are going to have to talk to (athletic trainer) Tim Garl about this. We practiced twice on Monday, we practice twice on Tuesday. And actually I am not sure that our Tuesday afternoon practice wasn't our...I really enjoyed Tuesday afternoon's practice because we really got after it. There was a lot of intensity, a lot of scrapping. But A.J. (Ratliff) came down on the inside of his right ankle. And that thing went up like a lemon. I don't think that he will play Saturday. The good news is, his grades did get turned in."
On the academic success of the team this semester:
"We have 14 kids on the roster, seven of them had over a 3.0 (GPA). I think I said five or six on the radio show but they were all turned in and I found out we had seven kids with over a 3.0. How about this; our team grade-point average was a 2.89, almost a 2.9. I am really proud of them. I am proud of our semester. Proud of A.J., proud of all of them. I've seen A.J. grow up a lot, I think, in the last two or three months."
"With conditioning and the 20-hours (practice limit) per week...20 hours a week is just the practice time. That doesn't include the time getting to practice, or showering after practice and having to go straight to study hall and meet with their tutors and their academic advisors. Our kids a lot of times will get in to here, some of them at 1 o'clock classes that don't get out until 2 or 2:15, they get in here around 2:30 or 2:45, practice starts, we usually start watching film around three. A lot of our days are 3-3 and a half hours. That is six days a week; one day a week we have to give off. And a lot of them as soon as practice is over they have to go straight to the academic center and meet with their advisors and do their homework, papers due. I have had some teams that had really good team GPA's but I don't know if I have ever had one this close to 3.0 as a team. I was really proud of that."
On the changes they made to their academic monitoring this year
"I take no credit for it. I give all the credit to (Learning Specialist) Marni Mooney and (Assistant Athletic Director/Academic Services) Kimya Massey. The biggest change is it is all results based. We met as a staff, our staff and the academic staff, over the summer. The biggest change was that when they come to study hall, instead of doing it in groups of 2 or 3, it is always 1-on-1. Our academic people have their syllabus for the year, so we know when their tests are, we know when their papers are due, when a quiz is or when they have homework due the next day. So when they come, whatever is due they have to do that. They can't leave until it is done. So study hall may only be an hour, it may be an hour and a half, it may be two hours, it may be 30 minutes. But they have to turn in their assignments and turn in their work to either the tutor or Marni or Kimya before they leave. Once it is done and they turn it in then they are free to leave. But you can't leave until it is done so everything this semester was based on performance and based on results."
"I could tell when practice started, it is usually mid-semester right around Oct. 13, 14, 15 and they started getting the grade reports in, I could tell we were doing a lot better. And I know that Marni and Kimya were really happy about this group because they all did their work and they all put in the time, they all really worked at it. I get a grade report every week and a lot of times you have comments from the professor; they don't come to me they go to our academic people and the academic people copy all the coaches. I could see the comments from the instructors and I could tell that our kids were doing really good. But I don't know that I expected this may 3.0s."
"We talk about this, and if we can keep our nose to the grindstone and stay after it academically, that gives us a chance to have, in two consecutive years, our entire senior class graduate. That would put us at 8-for-8. And we talk about taking pride in that, in all of our seniors coming through here graduating. So, it has been a good semester for us academically."
On the status of the new practice facility:
"The bids were awarded. A company here in Bloomington has the contract. I think the plan is to put the construction fence up and start digging January 6. That is the last I heard. So we are excited about that. It will be in stages. The practice facility itself and the things that the players will use will be done first. Hopefully we can be in the practice facility, the locker room, the weight room, those things in the fall. The coaches' offices and the legends lobby, all those will be in sequence. Those will be last. So we are excited about that."
On the status of Eli Holman and potential surgery on his left wrist:
"You can talk to Tim (Garl) about these things, but as far as I know he is not going to have surgery. As far as I know there is no surgery, never was."
On whether or not this is a season-ending injury:
"I don't know. It just depends on how long he is out. If it was his right hand, I think he could play. You know that is probably a 3-4 week deal he is in with those ligaments. The problem is that it is his left hand. That concerns us a little bit. But there has been no decision made on that. We are just going to rehab him and get him back as soon as we can. It just depends. I think it was a week a go it happened. So if it is a three-week deal, it is only a three-week deal. But look at A.J. (Ratliff) last year. I think he hurt his wrist, it seemed like it was right before conference season and that thing bothered him all year. But the thing he had going for him was it was his left one. I am not a doctor, but I trust our doctors and whatever they decide."
On what they expect with the slow-down playing style of Coppin State
"The game we are going to play Saturday, I mean it is not going to be a typical game. I sat this morning and watched Ohio State and Coppin play. Forty minutes and Ohio State was attacking and trying to score as much as they could and they scored 47 points. And Ohio State wasn't trying to slow it down, they were pressing them, trying to speed them up. But usually in a course of basketball game there are around 70 possessions. Now if you turn it over 20 times that means there are 50 possessions. If Coppin has 55 possessions, say, they will go to the end of the shot clock on 35 or 40 of them. So, it is not a matter of speeding them up, because you can't. I think this is the 10th time we have played (Coppin State head coach) Fang's (Michell) team. I don't think I have ever had a team play good against them. And we have played Connecticut after them and blown them out. But I don't think we have every played good against Coppin just because of the style of play. They slow the game down. The go 1-2-2, full-court pressure and they are not going to get you to turn it over. They are just going to make you throw it sideways. They'll make you bring the ball up the court laterally, and then once you get it up the court, across the court, then they are going to fall back into a zone. And they are going to pack it in and make you pass the ball four or five times and you look up and you are at the end of the shot clock. Not because you want to be; it is a lost easier to slow a team down than it is to speed them up. It is hard to speed up a team that doesn't want to be."
"We are preparing for that kind of game on Saturday. They are going to go 1-2-2, three-quarter court press, 2-2-1, they will fall back into a 2-3 zone, a 1-3-1 half court they will trap out of it. I mean they are going to give you a lot of different looks. If we are fortunate enough to make the tournament this year you never know when you are going to play a game like that. You just don't know. I think it is good to play different styles of teams."
Junior Forward DeAndre Thomas
On his current playing weight:
"About 290, no not 290 but 296, 298, something like that. I want to get down some more. Probably by next year I want to be at least 275, 270. It has been hard (continuing the weight loss) because of the season going on right now and you really don't have time to do anything extra because you have film and individual workouts, then you have practice. So it has been kind of hard but I have been trying to get 30 minutes in on the elliptical every day."
On how the academic system helped him:
"I got mine (work) knocked out of the way early. Before we even started practicing and workouts I was in there almost every day getting everything done ahead of time so when basketball did come around I really wasn't in there as much. It was good because you didn't have to clock in hours, you could get your stuff done and leave. It really helped us this year; you didn't have to be in there when you didn't have anything to do so you really had time for yourself. Then when you really had work to do you just go ahead and knock it out. It really helped me out with this semester here by going to JUCO (Chipola Junior College) and practicing how to study."
On the difference between Indiana and junior college basketball:
"You have to feel the intensity every day. In junior college, my team, we were so much better than so many teams because we had so much talent and we just went in to play sometimes. We prepare a little different. We probably prepared on the other day once and week in junior college unless it was a really big game because we knew we were going to beat everyone. But here it is so much different because everyone comes to play every day. Everyone is good so you have to come ready to play every night. There is a big difference."
On preparing for Coppin State's style of play:
"We are going to try and speed them up. We want them to play our game. We are going to throw a lot of stuff at them so they have to be able to play our game."
On Jamarcus Ellis' rebounding efforts:
"He has been like that since we were younger. He is just a go-getter. He is going to go get it if he wants the ball, he is going to go get it. He has that mentality of he wants that rebound he is going to go get that rebound and nobody is going to take it from him. If you are on his team or not he is going to knock you out of the way just to go get that ball. That is the type of person he is; he is a go-getter. He has always been like that. It has been good playing with him because he does so much stuff and rebounding is probably the best thing he can do."
Junior Guard/Forward Jamarcus Ellis
On his rebounding:
"That is something that coach Sampson pushes us to do in practice. He says you can't win a game without defensive rebounding. Me just being on the offensive and defensive glass is a big part of my game. I have been playing guard a lot but I used to play center when I was younger, so rebounding to me, I just like getting the ball and going and I can't do that if I don't rebound. It is just something that I really love doing because coach Sampson has this thing called the bubble that we use to work on offensive and defensive rebounding and that is what really got me attacking was just being all over the floor and getting every rebound I can. We get a chance to sign the bubble if we get 10 rebounds so trying to keep up with D.J. (White) is a hard job. That is just something I have to do and I love doing it."
On flirting with a triple double:
"I think about it; me and coach Sampson talked about it a lot. I think it was against Tennessee State I had 10 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists, but I didn't like the turnovers I had because they were careless turnovers. Yeah, we talked about the only triple-double in IU history and he (Sampson) is like I should be the player who pulls out the second triple-double and I say I am going to work hard at it and try and do my best to get one."
On his solid academic performance this semester:
"It is big for me because I had to get 14 hours for me to be eligible so I had to work really hard in the classroom to maintain a 3.0. So I really think that is a big part of me playing basketball because if I didn't do that I wouldn't be playing this semester."
On the adjustment from junior college to Indiana:
"The junior college level you have more experience on that level than the high school kids but I still have a lot to learn on the Division I level. Players like Armon Bassett, D.J. White and all the seniors have been through this and they know how it feels to play in the Big 10 tournament, to go to the NCAA Tournament, but I have never had that feeling at junior college. It has been a big a jump for me to move on to the Division I level.
On adjusting to Coppin State's style of play:
"If we come out playing with intensity and play great defense we can change them into our game and make them play up and down the floor; try to pressure them 94 feet the whole game. We are going to try and make them play our style of basketball instead of just letting them walk the ball up the court and letting them control the tempo of the game."