Following Thursday’s media challenge at Assembly Hall and Cook Hall, several members of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers were made available to discuss the upcoming season. Inside the Hall will have transcripts of each interview in the coming days.
Up first: junior forward Christian Watford, who led the Hoosiers in scoring last season with 16 points per game.
Q. Talk about your individual growth since last season. Where do you think you’ve grown the most as a player?
A. “I feel like my conditioning has gotten a lot better. Wind, stamina, that’s increased a lot coming into this year. I feel like my ball handling skills have increased a lot this year. I’m just getting ready and looking forward to it.”
Q. When you were in high school, you played a lot more on the wing. The first couple of years here, based on personnel, you’ve played more on the block. With Cody (Zeller) getting here, do you see yourself getting out and playing a little more on the wing?
A. “Oh yeah. He’s going to help me tremendously. Whether it’s offensively or defensively, he’s a big guy that’s going to be able to block some shots. He’s a great offensive threat so he’s going to draw a lot of double teams so that should free me up.”
Q. Defense was one thing you guys struggled with last year. What do you see differently this year from a defensive standpoint?
A. “You can always get better. Defense is more a heart type thing and we’ve been working on it this whole time. It’s almost like determination. We’ve been working on it, working on our technique and stuff like that. I feel like we’ll be a lot better.”
Q. In what ways do you think this team is going to be different? What are you going to be able to do now that you maybe weren’t able to do a year ago?
A. “We’re going to run a lot more. With Cody, he’s a big guy that can get out and run the court. That’s going to help us a lot. He’s also a big guy that’s a great offensive threat. That should open a lot of things for us.”
Q. A lot of people talk about Cody, but talk about Remy (Abell) and Austin (Etherington), what you’ve seen out of them and what they’re going to bring to the team.
A. “Austin’s going to be able to help us a lot. He’s a big guard that’s going to be able to stretch the floor. Remy, he’s going to be able to do the same thing. He can handle the ball a little bit and he’s another big guard that can get out and guard bigger guards in the Big Ten.”
Q. It seems like a lot of guys worked on dribble-drive. How much better will you be at that and how important is that to what you guys do on offense?
A. “It’s going to be a big part of our offense. A lot of guys have been working on it and I feel like it’s only going to help us.”
Q. How much does strength and conditioning play into that?
A. “It’s going to make us a lot more athletic in certain situation. Whenever you can get to the basket and finish, it’s going to be a great thing.”
(Photo credit: Jamie Owens of J. Scott Sports)
Filed to: Christian Watford