Dec. 30, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Indiana men's basketball head coach Tom Crean met with the media on Monday to talk about the Big Ten opener against Illinois on Tuesday, among other topics. Below is a partial transcript as well as video.
On what impresses him about Illinois:
"Their maturity. I think the fact that they have so many guys, they have the fifth year guy in Joseph Bertrand, Tracy Abrams. Jon Ekey and Rayvonte Rice have played a lot of good games. Nnanna Egwu was one of the most improved players in the league last year and that hasn't changed. They have one of the more experienced teams in understanding how to play basketball and win. John Groce is a great coach, there is no doubt about that. You knew that was going to happen when he was at Xavier and Ohio State and Ohio."
"They have a lot of experience. They are hard to beat there. They don't beat themselves. They do an excellent job of getting to the foul line. They take care of the ball and get a very good percentage from three. They have numerous offensive rebounders. There are not a lot of things you look at and say they don't do well. They really play hard. That Missouri win was impressive."
On time off and practice since last game:
"We have tried to accomplish a lot. We have tried to accomplish a lot in the film room. We have spent a lot of time working on our fundamentals - our driving, shooting and passing. It has been very demanding, there is no question about that. We have to take care of the ball and be consistent in rebounding. I don't think we are nearly as good rebounding as we could be. I know the numbers say differently, but I think we can be a lot better at that. I think it's going to keep getting tested. Our ability to concentrate and work through fatigue and get as much out of them when they are tired and the concentration that you have to have is important. We are doing a lot of full court drills and shooting drills, things like that are taxing and coming back to playing situational games."
"You wouldn't necessarily want this schedule and the breaks for a veteran team, but I think with a young team like this, practice is so important to them. I know they would rather play six games a week, but that is not realistic. If they ever want to get to the level where they are playing four or five nights a week, they have to get better with their fundamentals, to get to the next level. For us we need that time and we try to maximize it the best we can."
On Luke Fischer leaving the team:
"He told us this morning at about 10 O'clock that he wanted to do something different. It's always in those situations that timing issues can surprise you, but I can't stand here and say that I was in complete shock. I wish him the best, we will miss his potential, we will miss him as a person. He did an outstanding job here academically and he is an excellent young man. It wasn't anything that anyone really saw coming."
"Luke had great potential, there is no doubt about that. It creates a situation where people will take advantage of the opportunity. That is all you can really ask for. Time does not wait for anybody."