Tom Crean, Yogi Ferrell and Devin Davis met with the media on Monday evening to preview Tuesday’s game with Evansville at Assembly Hall. Crean also discussed class of 2014 signee Max Hoetzel.
Watch both press conferences in the media players below:
Tom Crean quotes
“In our estimation in the short season we have had so far, this is one of the best offensive teams to come into Assembly Hall in some time. This is the best Evansville team we have seen since we have been here. Their scoring average and their offensive abilities with shooting the three and getting to the foul line and their field goal percentage is tremendous. They play very hard defensively and do a great job of rotating and taking away driving lanes.”
“They are playing at an extremely high level. The improvement of their players has been great, starting with Balentine, who I know is fourth in the country in scoring, averaging 30 points per game. To see where he has come, being a very good player in high school to being on the road to being an elite guard in college, speaks volumes about the way Evansville is developing players and coaching them.”
“There is no doubt that we have got to be at a high level of intensity, energy and intelligence on the defensive end. We feel like there is a ton of improvement with us and we tried to learn from that and see if we can absorb that, not just from the game the other night, but from both games and really over a six game period. There is a lot of room for us to improve our running game. There is a lot of room for us to improve the tempo, offensively and defensively. We can improve our ball handling and ball security and decision making. We need to cut down on the turnovers. Like I’ve told them we don’t want to play slower, we want to play faster, but we want to play with more intelligence and better decision making.”
On the improvement of the team:
“I think we are absolutely getting it, there is no question about that. They went pound for pound against a veteran team that really had changed their tempo for the game and slowed the tempo way down. At certain times we didn’t speed it up when we could have. For a team to be in their sixth college game and to have it be a grinder like it was the other night against Connecticut, and to not play what I would reference as well, but we played really hard. Now we have to take the next step of being a smarter team. I do think they are getting that, but it is going to take some time.”
On the reaction after the loss against Connecticut:
“We are not in any stretch with this program, where we reward effort and playing hard and reward being in it. They have a complete team, something of everything. That is why they can control the paint and score from three. They bring so many things. There was nothing where we walked in here and allowed anyone or they were looking to feel good about it. They are looking to get better.
On Evansville’s productivity from three-point range:
“It reminds me of our teams. We said we led the BCS over a two-year period in three-point shooting, but we were nowhere near on the attempts. They are not hunting threes. They are a good spacing team. Our guys will see more cuts, screens, flair screens, curls, they will see more of that in 10 minutes than they will see in three weeks. They are very good at that. Right now they are shooting the ball with great confidence. They are very good at finding their isolations and being relatively creative out of a couple of actions that they run that you have to be prepared for. I think it’s going to put a ton of pressure on us as a young group to go against that type of movement offensively.”
On new signee Max Hoetzel:
“Max is someone that the first time we saw him, it was extremely intriguing watching him workout. The more we watched film we realized this guy fits exactly what we do. It starts with the feet. He has tremendous feet. He has great hands and even what we are learning right now, his passing ability, his ability to have quick hands and get deflections is great. He might be a little behind in fundamentals and strength, but in the sense of being able to impact the game, not only on the offensive end, but I think he is going to be able to impact it on the defensive end as well. I think he has the ability to be a good help defender.”