Recap of Tom Crean on Mike and Mike in the Morning

Tom Crean joined Mike Greenburg and Mark Schlereth on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” on ESPN Radio on Wednesday and talked about a variety of topics, including Jim and John Harbaugh, the rebuilding process at Indiana, the Big Handsome nickname for Cody Zeller, upcoming games in the Legends Classic and more.

Here’s a transcript of some of what Crean had to say:

Jim and John Harbaugh, you’re married to their sister, Joani, what’s Thanksgiving like and the family dynamic with those two going at it?

“You know Thanksgiving last year was the game where they went against each other. It’s usually not Thanksgiving, it’s usually not Christmas, it’s usually some day in May or June where everybody gets together. Last year it was actually during Super Bowl week and they were at our house. Jim was there most of the week and John came in for a day, day and half. And that was a lot of fun to have them speak to our team and be at practice, especially after we’d lost a game. Our kids got straight locker room talk from them. It was straight pregame, the night before the game and it really, really helped our season. So I’d much rather have them talking to our team in that sense than trying to spend a holiday. Much more to get out of it.”

Give us a sense of what it’s been like rebuilding Indiana over the years and how you went from where you were to where you are, No. 1 in the country right now:

“I think it was one of those things there was truly no blueprint for. You just have to go on your experience of how you try to build a program and how you have to have so many people who are involved in it. The one thing that was so incredible here was how supportive the fans, the former players, the administration, everybody was because really they didn’t understand what was going on either. But they also knew that this was a big time program and one that had won before and could win again. I think we just tried to stay totally with not trying to skip any steps because we really weren’t sure sometimes what the process was going to be or how long it was going to take, but there had to be a system in place. Day by day is really what it’s been. We’ve got a great staff, I know that. And we’ve had a lot of players come in who have really bought into what it means to play at Indiana and what they’ve done is they’ve come in and just built on their work ethic and built a mutual respect that’s really good.”

You guys get Cody Zeller back. That’s gotta be a huge boost in the arm for a guy that’s coming back for his sophomore season. How hard is it to coach when you know that at any moment you might just have these guys for one season?

“I don’t think it’s that hard. What’s hard is when you don’t have anybody that’s old in your program. When we first started here in 2008, we had as many walk-ons and sometimes more walk-ons than we did scholarship players. And we had one young man, Kyle Taber, who’s now coaching at Lake Forest in Illinois, he was coming back with 28 career points when he was a senior. So when you don’t have leadership of people that have been through it, that have an understand of what it takes, I think that’s really hard. I think as long as you’ve got some people on your team and in your locker room that have been through it, then you can deal with change. Like what John [Calipari] does is amazing because the oldest guys on his team are sophomores, if they are there at all for that. And that becomes a little bit harder. But you’ve gotta have people that have been through it so they can help those young guys come in and understand that it’s not about them, it’s about the program.”

How does it play in a locker room amongst a bunch of college kids when you have a guy who his nickname is Big Handsome?

“[Laughs]. I don’t know about the locker room, but it doesn’t play in the film room. And I never refer to him as that on the practice floor. There might be something with ‘he needs to rebound better’ attached to it, but nothing with the Big Handsome, though it’s caught on and it’s obviously a big deal to people. I just see a young man that is like the epitome of what you want in the sense of how he conducts himself, how he treats other people, the humbleness and the humility that he has, but yet he has a great confidence about him. I think that’s what’s most important with him. And he’s got a real, real desire to get better. I think anybody would want a kid like this in their locker room next to them because of that humbleness that he has.”

On testing yourself against other top teams early in the season [like the Legends Classic]:

“I think it’s great. This time of year is so important for so many reasons. It can have NCAA Tournament ramifications based on your winning and your losing. You’re going to get a chance to play people that you might not play otherwise and that obviously a lot of times aren’t from your region. And it gives you a chance to measure yourself against a lot of different styles, techniques and coaches in different environments. I think it’s fantastic. I think our guys are excited about it. We play Sam Houston State, which is the second part of this tournament for us tomorrow night and then we’ll leave for New York on Saturday and play a Georgia team that can really score. I know they didn’t have a very good game the other night. They played pretty well against Jacksonville and then lost to Youngstown State, but they’re athletic, they’re really good inside and they’ve got a big time guard in [Kentavious Caldwell] Pope. It’s going to be a challenge for us and certainly Georgetown and UCLA bring a whole other level to the second game that night and then whatever happens Tuesday night.”

Full audio below:

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  • inLinE6

    Can’t wait to see a real match-up with Georgetown/UCLA. But UCLA is significantly crippled without Muhammad and Anderson.

  • inLinE6

    Can’t wait to see a real match-up with Georgetown/UCLA. But UCLA is significantly crippled without Muhammad and Anderson.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshobie Josh O’Brien

    Anderson’s playing, he was cleared a week or so ago.

  • ctc

    Thanks for posting this. I missed the interview yesterday. I love what CTC brings to the table. As much as he discusses the relentless work ethic of the players, he may be an even harder worker. He truly leads by example for the program, and I think he has been a great fit. Love where the program is, and where we are headed.

  • Guest

    Off topic, but Noah Vonleh is expected to sign LOI today?

  • inLinE6

    I thought he sprained his wrist last night, no? Might be another player.

  • Derbus

    Izzo has a very athletic team, don’t think Jordy will play more than 14 minutes in that game on 1/27. Who is he going to try & guard? Could be VCU all over again.
    Who are our top 5 defensive players we can field to shut down a team?

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshobie Josh O’Brien

    Oh! Well then that changes things. Hate to see players get injured…

  • IUGRADUATE

    Off topic, but Noah Vonleh is expected to sign his LOI today?

  • IUGRADUATE

    Off topic, but Noah Vonleh is expected to sign his LOI today?

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshobie Josh O’Brien

    I just read that he hurt his hand but returned to the game. An x-ray is pending.

  • inLinE6

    I thought that was the plan. And also Robinson. But can all 6 players sign in November? Or only 3 are allowed?

  • indigodoc

    All they need is a “plan” to deal with the over signings. They don’t however have to show the plan. All will sign today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshobie Josh O’Brien

    Five sign today, Troy signs Monday.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshobie Josh O’Brien

    Five sign today, Troy signs Monday.

  • Brizzy

    All of them can sign. The B1G only requires that you submit the amount of scholarships you expect to have available for the next year. You are then allowed to go over that amount by one (i.e. oversign).

  • indigodoc

    ok, didn’t know that about Troy. My point is still valid, they’ll all sign. What’s the deal with Troy? Indy Star says they’ll all sign today.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    First question related to the NFL (well, sorta). There will always be an ESPN.

  • http://twitter.com/IUinNap Caleb Moore

    Great pic of Crean up there. Also, anyone else love seeing the pics of these kids on signing day? Maybe it’s me just wishing that could have been me in the past, but I love seeing them sitting there flanked by parents and students and them being the show. Dont care if its IU, UL, UM, OSU whomever. I think it’s cool. Makes you wonder what is going through the head of someone like Alex Etherington when he has his signing day event scheduled and K State calls last minute and tells him to hold off signing until the Spring. Gotta be a bummer somewhat.

  • CreanFaithful

    Jordy would certainly be outmatched defensively speaking. You game plan differently for each team. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you change your style. Last night, Knight was commenting on how both KU and MSU were playing soo low on the block that it was difficult for either team to score. You remedy this by stretching the offense, pulling the likes of Zeller/Watford in and out of the post, slashing wings and someone like Jordy who can hurt you from deep quickly… I think Jordy plays plenty of minutes regardless of the opponent.

  • HoosierTrav

    troy is having a mock signing @ Oak Hill today but will have the official signing back in his hometown (Hampton VA) w/ family.

  • HoosierTrav

    After watcing MSU, twice now, I believe that you may be right. He just wont be able to guard either Harris or Appling. Just trying to be realistic. Jordy will be one of our top scorers all season but MSU presents a major problem for us at the 2 guard position. Its a job for Victor.

  • MillaRed

    I think Yogi can hang with Appling. And I would love to see no one but Vic, Remy and Will on Gary Harris all day long. He is a fugitive of the state of Indiana!

  • SCHoosier

    Harris was tough last night..I agee with the match up problem assessment. Dawson is back and mean again..so somb
    ebody big is gonna have to handle him. Nix and Payne are gonna beat up on Cody. Should be a fun game unless y ou are Cody.

  • MillaRed

    My man-crush on Coach is making my wife a little uncomfortable. And it should.

  • MillaRed

    Watford will be interesting to watch against those guys. Although they really don’t play a ton of minutes together. Thank God Peter and Hanner will be back. Because Jeremy isn’t built to defend those guys.

  • IUMIKE1

    But more importantly, where do the higher ups at the monastery stand on this topic ? I hope you have thought this thru enough to have accounted for any repercussions from this group. lol

  • shknqk

    Haven’t seen it yet but I hope a 1-3-1 is used selectively. Keeps jordy on floor, and with our length it would be tough… Vic, sheehey, Watford, hollowell on the wings. Zeller in middle and hanner or jurkin under the basket.

    Yeah, I will take that. Maybe we can see it v geoergetown or unc.

  • shknqk

    Haven’t seen it yet but I hope a 1-3-1 is used selectively. Keeps jordy on floor, and with our length it would be tough… Vic, sheehey, Watford, hollowell on the wings. Zeller in middle and hanner or jurkin under the basket.

    Yeah, I will take that. Maybe we can see it v geoergetown or unc.

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