Q & A: Season preview with Clark Kellogg of CBS Sports

  • 11/14/2012 1:01 pm in

Inside the Hall had the opportunity to speak with CBS Sports lead college basketball analyst Clark Kellogg on Wednesday afternoon to preview the upcoming season with a heavy emphasis on the Hoosiers.

Kellogg is touring on behalf of the Capital One Cup, which awards a combined $400,000 annually to the best men’s and best women’s Division I athletics programs in the country for excellence in on-field performance.

Here’s our Q & A with Kellogg, who is entering his 19th season with CBS:

The landscape this year, the preseason polls all have Indiana at or near the top, how do you see Indiana fitting in nationally to begin the season?

“It’s clearly a legitimate spot for them anywhere in the top two in my mind. And I base it on what you know about returning players. Obviously they have a nice recruiting class, but you really don’t know about freshman until they step foot on campus. So when I evaluate team going into the next season, I look at what I know about them, returning players and what they’ve done at the college level. And clearly you can make the case for Indiana and Louisville being the two top teams in that regard. Talent, experience, depth, versatility, they’ve got all of those elements, so I think they’re a legitimate team and I’ve had a chance to see them practice.

“I saw them practice about two weeks ago or so. And they are very impressive. They’ve got versatility, they’ve got shooters, they’ve got size, they’ve got perhaps the player of the year in Cody Zeller. I think Yogi Ferrell their point guard is a guy who is ready to play as a freshman and contribute and impact winning. He’s got a college body, he’s got a college motor. They’ve got all of the ingredients. When you talk about championship ingredients, they’ve got what it takes to make a run at it.”

The Big Ten has been touted as the top conference in the country, do you agree with that?

“I can see why the projection would be there. Clearly when you consider, and you don’t even have to look at the polls, but you would look at the quality of the teams. Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State. Wisconsin is always solid. I just rattled off five teams and I think they’re all ranked. But then you go to an improving Iowa, you go through Minnesota, you go to a Northwestern. I think Penn State has a really terrific player in Tim Frazier. I don’t know what else they have around him, but he’s good enough to beat some teams by himself the way he plays. You talk about that kind of strength at the top and the quality and improvement in the middle and what’s in the bottom third, to me on paper it looks like its got a chance to be the toughest conference and the best conference top to bottom. We’ll see how it plays out.”

What do you see in terms of Cody Zeller’s chances at national player of the year and from seeing him practice, what looks to have changed the most with him from a season ago?

“Well the first thing I noticed was that his body is improved and it wasn’t bad last year. But he added some additional muscle and he’s ripped up and strong. He’s shooting the ball facing a little bit more and confidently and assertively. Those are the two things I kind of noticed in practice. I love his demeanor.

“As far as player of the year, clearly it helps when you start on everybody’s mind and on everybody’s list. That gives you a chance. But then you’ve got to produce and validate. He’ll have an opportunity to do that in a terrific league against high level competition on a regular basis. The non-conference schedule is challenging, so he’ll have every opportunity to be right there in people’s minds and I’ve got a good, strong feeling that barring injury, he’ll produce at a high level.”

You had Indiana and Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament last year, looking back at that game, not many teams put 90 points on Kentucky, but obviously Indiana had trouble stopping them. Do you see the defense as the key thing for Indiana being able to advance farther in the tournament?

“Well clearly it’s an area of improvement, but I don’t know if they have to become great defensively. I just think they need to improve because they’re so good offensively. You play to your strengths. Defense and rebounding is critical. Everybody knows that you’ve to do those things to win consistently at a high level. You can’t win a championship if you don’t do those things at least adequately, so I think they need make some strides there, but I don’t think they have to become a juggernaut defensively. We’ll see how it plays out.

“Incremental improvement in that area, controlling the ball at the point of attack tends to help your defense in multiple ways if you can keep people out of the paint. It usually puts you in better rebounding position and you can challenge shots better and you don’t give up offensive rebounds. If they can handle that aspect, they could improve two, three or four percentage points in field goal defense and that would be enough, based on their offensive firepower, I think, to put them right in the national championship mix.”

A lot of people pointing to this season as maybe being the turning point for Indiana, but not many people saw last season coming. From your perspective, were you surprised at how good Indiana was last year?

“Maybe mildly so. I had no doubt that they would get back to this level. I didn’t really put a timetable on it just knowing how Tom Crean handles his business as a coach and all aspects of running a program. It is Indiana, there is great tradition and history there. Tremendous, tremendous support. So it wasn’t a matter of if they would get back to this level, it was just a matter of when. So I had no real timetable.

“Once you saw them play and they got better and gained confidence, you knew that they were going to be a team that’s back in the upper echelon. They shoot it well, they share the ball, they’ve got multiple scorers. They’ve got those ingredients and Indiana’s a place that will always attract those kind of players especially now that they’re back looking to compete not just for a Big Ten title, but perhaps even a national title.”

You mentioned Zeller and Ferrell as two players who stood out when you had a chance to watch practice, was there anybody else that stood out or who looks like they could be a key this year?

“They’ve got a number of guys, but I was impressed with the other freshman, Jeremy Hollowell. I thought he looked good in the practice I saw and will be able to contribute. He’s a versatile wing player that can do a lot of things. It’s great to see Maurice Creek back out there. Obviously his legs have gone through an awful lot of trauma and yet he’s out there still competing and able to be upright and go through practice. So that was really a thrill for me. Victor Oladipo is a guy who is athletic and just continues to work at getting better. [Will] Sheehey, in the words of the coaches, probably has been the most outstanding player in practice up until that point in terms of the improvement that he had made. There’s not much weakness in their armor just looking at what they could potentially be because of those ingredients. And then Jordan Hulls is a terrific shooter. I was really impressed with their whole unit, quite honestly.”

When does CBS Sports get started this season and what’s the schedule look like?

“We kick off Dec. 1 with Baylor at Kentucky and then it’s pretty much every weekend after that. But our first game will be Baylor at Kentucky so I’m looking forward to that. Two outstanding teams, Rupp Arena is always a treat to go to. There will be an awful lot of talent there on the floor between the kids from Kentucky and Baylor has a couple of outstanding players like Pierre Jackson, the point guard and [Isaiah] Austin the young freshman. Cory Jefferson is a big kid that is going to have a chance to play quite a bit now with room on the front line. And then you talk about the Kentucky freshman, they’ve got plenty of talent. I’m looking forward to it, can’t wait. Two weeks away.”

Filed to:

  • HoosierBurch

    In Clark’s answer to the Big Ten question he doesn’t even mention Purdue. Lolz

  • HoosierTrav

    He made a very important point for all of us fans. He stated that he believes we need to improve defensively but we don’t HAVE to be a defensive juggernaut to win the championship. I have seen a lot of unfair criticism of this teams defense already after just 2 games. IMHO we look very good defensively considering how young the season is. We play with a lot of intensity and are very vocal. As the season moves along, our defensive rotations will speed up and become more crisp. This will create turnovers and fast break opportunities. I honestly don’t think there is a team in the country that can hang with us playing our style of play. When Peter and Hanner return from their BS suspensions, this teams defense will get MUCH better. We will be able to cheat out on the perimeter more often knowing that we have length and athleticism around the basket.
    Side note: I love Clark Kellogg. He’s a great basketball mind and stand up person in general. Good piece ITH!

  • Good stuff. I’ve always liked Kellogg. He refrains from the histrionics of too much of sports analysis.

  • Good stuff. I’ve always liked Kellogg. He refrains from the histrionics of too much of sports analysis.

  • Kris

    Clark Kellogg. I’m not sure there’s a better analyst in the game, except for maybe Jay Bilas. In both cases, neither guy talks about their past glory days and instead overwhelm you with their immense knowlege of basketball x and o’s. Kudos to ITH for the article.

  • 5_Banners

    I like how Kentucky is playing Baylor at home this season and not IU. Watching Kentucky against Duke last night, IU would have handled them this year. Kentucky will, however get better as the year goes on. Thought Duke looked ordinary also.

  • 5_Banners

    I like how Kentucky is playing Baylor at home this season and not IU. Watching Kentucky against Duke last night, IU would have handled them this year. Kentucky will, however get better as the year goes on. Thought Duke looked ordinary also.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Excellent Q & A. Glad to see the national media coming on board and supporting Indiana with very gracious compliments and respect. My favorite part of the whole discussion was why the Big Ten is the best conference in the country and there was not a single mention of Purdue.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Next up we need a Q&A with Gus Johnson, but instead of a transcript, we need the sound clip.

  • Kris

    When I die I want Gus Johnson to do my eulogy.

  • Kris

    When I die I want Gus Johnson to do my eulogy.

  • Geoff_85

    I agree with your assessment on those two teams for the most part. However, later on into the game (mid-second half or so), they looked like a couple of top 10 teams.

  • jermhoosierfan

    I watched some of the game, and I wasn’t that impressed with pUKe at all. The “Kid and Play” wannabe isn’t close to what Davis was. Duke is a veteran team that gave those kids a lesson. When pUKe plays Louisville at the end of December, we will see just how good they are. I believe that IU would beat both by double digits.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Still remember VO’s freshman year when he hit the buzzer beater right before halftime “OHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! OHHH-LAAHH-DEEE-POHHH!!!!!! HAHA!!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_-DgMDsstI

  • MillaRed

    All I needed to remind me of how much I like Kellogg was to listen to Vitale last night. He thinks he is so clever and cute I just want to squeeze him. SQUEEZE HIM. For long periods.

  • MillaRed

    All I needed to remind me of how much I like Kellogg was to listen to Vitale last night. He thinks he is so clever and cute I just want to squeeze him. SQUEEZE HIM. For long periods.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Just an FYI as well for those on the board that live in Southern Indiana around Louisville. ESPN Radio 680 based out of Louisville will be hosting heavy IU basketball coverage (among all of their normal daily programming) on Monday at The New Albany Roadhouse all day. They are promoting this as the place in Southern Indiana to watch all of the Hoosier games and where they will be offering up heavy coverage of Indiana basketball. Again, this remote will run all the way up to the Indiana-Georgia tip with all of their daily programs being held on site.

    I have been working on some sponsorship and promotion opportunities with that channel for my business recently, and I have been in their marketing reps ear about stepping up their IU coverage. From what he said they are really looking to ramp things up with Indiana. It looks like they are taking this and running with it and showing Hoosier Nation some love. They are the only entity in the area to show interest in dedicated IU coverage and I hope this grows into something bigger to help represent IU in a very heavy Louisville and Kentucky market.

    Side note. On the air last week they also said that they are adopting the Pacers as their home team. That bodes pretty well for Indiana residents with an entity in Kentucky ready to support a team from Indiana (in any sport). It may not seem like much but it is pretty cool seeing this happen in this area. IU needs to get on board with them and take back the younger market share in this area which has become over ran with Louisville, and Kentucky fans on our side of the river.

  • A_Schick

    And he doesn’t make his craft a gimmick. He lets his knowledge do the talking for him.

  • A_Schick

    And he doesn’t make his craft a gimmick. He lets his knowledge do the talking for him.

  • IUMIKE1

    Anything that shows that UL & pUKe are not the only bball teams in this country is welcome. Plus it will probably irritate the you know what out of a lot of pUKe fans, which is always a good thing. People that don’t live down here in the area that you and I do don’t understand just how bad it is and then on top of that don’t understand that it gets even worse at times.

  • don’t like Kellogg…this guy got so much money from the O$U and UK when he was recruited he didn’t have to work another day…and he hasn’t….

  • southern Indiana is…”nothing but Kentucky”…transplants…I think they all headed over during busing a long time ago….should name it Kentucky “southern Indiana branch”.

  • I know how bad it is there….lived there one time and then I got smart and moved away.

  • CreanFaithful

    “Kid n Play” LOL. But in all seriousness, that kid is a beast! He doesn’t need to be AD… Nobody is AD. That kid was/is ridiculous! I saw Nerlens defending on the perimeter (actually picked a guys pocket out top), altering shots inside and taking it strong at the hole. He will jump to the leauge after this year. Not because of Calipari, but because he has all the tools. Certainly needs plenty of refining, but let’s not kid ourselves…

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Knowing that it should say a lot about the dedication of all Hoosier fans in this area. I hope it does irritate them to no end.

  • HostileHoosier

    Bob Hollabaugh are you 12 years old or something? I have lived here(Southern Indiana) all my life and started watching IU at the age of 10! And yes it is hard to listen to games here as 1570AM sucks during the winter months!

  • HostileHoosier

    MillaRed Vitale is a JOKE period. He at one point in the KY, Duke game said that KY was over rated by everyone. Then when KY came back from being down 14 he was praising them for being a outstanding bunch of freshmen!