Highlights from Sampson’s weekly press conference

  • 10/18/2007 6:21 pm in

sampson5.jpgKelvin Sampson addressed the media today and here are some of the highlights courtesy of Indiana media relations:

“The matter that has been discussed this week is still under review by the university and the NCAA, and until it has been completed, I’m just going to have no comment about that, but I would be glad to answer any questions on our basketball team, any or our players, how practice is going. Even injuries.”

On keeping his team focused:
“I addressed the team about it early, before it was reported, and explained to them what is happening. I had Coach Senderoff address them and talk to them about what was happening and what was going to be reported. After that was over, we said here is what we’re going to do. We’re going to coach this basketball team. We’re going to get prepared. We have an exhibition game on November 4th. I expect us to play well in that exhibition game. That is important that we play well in that game. As we move forward, for practice every day there are certain things that you can see us getting better at. I think it takes time to be a good team, and we are not a good team yet. We have a pretty good selection of talent. Our challenge with this group of kids is to make them into a good team, and that is going to take some time. The work ethic, how hard we’re playing, that is just not negotiable. Our kids, they’ve got to get there. They’ve got to get to that point, in those areas, and that is what we’re working on every day.”

On distractions:
“There are no distractions. We practice everyday. I can assure you that there are no distractions. Our practices, if anything, are a little bit tougher than last year. We’re practicing and focusing on our daily goals. We’ll have a practice plan today and on our practice plan will be our daily goal. Here is our point of emphasis. Now at the end of practice, our video coordinator, Travis Steele, will take the practice tape, and he’ll edit that. He’ll put in clips that we’ll watch for the coaches and for the players the next day. Here is where we are and what we’re trying to emphasize, and that is all we’re working on. There is not distraction from this. There has been no other mention of it other than that first day.”

On his focus:
“My responsibility right now is these kids. I’m coaching this team, one hundred percent coaching this team. It is like I told them the other day. We start practice October 13th. That was Saturday. And if you take the days off that we have to give them. We’ve got a game November 4th. We have to go. Coach Watkinson did such a great job in our preseason conditioning that we’re allowed to start working on basketball. We’ll be farther along early in the season this year. For one thing because we have returning players. We can put five guys out in practice each day that started last year. We can put out A.J. (Ratliff), we can put out Armon (Bassett), Mike (White), Lance (Stemler), and D.J. (White). All five of those guys started games last year. So, if I need to demonstrate something, it is a lot easier this year to put those guys out there than it was. Last year, whoever was out there, it was the first time they’d ever seen it, first time they’d ever run it. This year it is a little bit different. Today is practice number six. I think that is right. I think we are moving right along.”

On dealing with outside expectations for Eric Gordon:
“Someone asked me earlier today about that. I think Eric Gordon’s greatest strength is his humility. He is very humble. This really refreshing and great to see. When he has got the ball in his hands, obviously, it is fourth of July and Christmas morning. He is pretty good with that ball in his hands. There is a whole world opening up to that young man about other areas of the game. Like, I don’t think he has ever seen himself as an offensive rebounder. Just watching him the other day in practice, look at his body, he can be really good in that area. He is a joy to coach. He is just a great kid. He looks you in the eye when you talk to him. He gets on the floor after loose balls, takes charges, defends, and he is only going to get better.”

The full transcript is available here.

Filed to: