Tom Crean sat down with Andy Katz of ESPN.com earlier this week at the AAU Super Showcase in Orlando, Florida and discussed a variety of topics including how Indiana will try to replace Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo, how he dealt with losing in his first three seasons and more.
Here are some notable quotes from that conversation:
· On how hard it was to deal with losing: “Extremely. (I) changed a lot from that, I don’t think there’s any question. You realize that you better put what really matters first and that’s your faith in God, your family, the well being of your family and your coaches’ families and your players. That’s the stuff. You’ve got to keep searching for ways to find a way to win. And I think that’s the driving force. How do we find a way to win this next game? Even when you didn’t, to come back again the next day. That’s where the frustration was met with great opportunity. And we tried to make it as great an opportunity as we could.”
· On the legacies of Zeller and Oladipo at Indiana: “I think it’s just beginning. I think it’s got to be leadership now. I think when Cody and Victor come back to the gym in the summertime, they’ve got to help lead the young players. They’ve got to continue to … when they see something in the program, they’ve got to say, ‘no, this is how we do it here’ or ‘this is the way it needs to be done here.’ Those are the guys who helped bring that to that level. But I think their legacy will be that they came into Indiana, one very unheralded in Victor and one very heralded in Cody, bonded together with another group of guys and helped make the Indiana program the blueblood that it had been used to being. And I think that’s the most important thing, that they can feel tremendous strength and pride in what they did and help bring it back.”
· On how much a program is defined by being able to absorb the early entry losses and still be a league and title contender at the level of the Big Ten: “Well, we’re going to find out. I think the last couple of recruiting classes have really helped that, especially this last one where we’ve got talent that can come in. We won’t have the experience, the understanding, maybe the execution yet, but we will have talent. And then you have the guys like Yogi Ferrell, Hanner Perea and Jeremy Hollowell that came in a year before. Peter Jurkin. Those guys can help it, but I think a lot of it is going to come down to what kind of leadership we’re getting from Will Sheehey, from Evan Gordon, from some of the guys that I mentioned. And can the freshman come in and really, really impose their will even when they don’t understand what it’s all about yet, even when they don’t have the experience. Can they come in and play with a relentless attack mindset? And I think that’s how you can continue to sustain it.”
Filed to: Tom Crean