Quotes from Tom Crean on Big Ten coaches teleconference

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The Big Ten held its weekly coaches teleconference on Monday morning to review the seventh week of conference play. Here are some notes and quotes from Tom Crean’s appearance:

· Prior to the call, the conference announced that Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes was named the league’s freshman of the week for the fourth time this season and Nebraska’s Terran Petteway and Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky were named the league’s co-players of the week.

· Opening statement: “Iowa is very hard to get ready for, and that’s why they are so successful. They have excellent players and Fran is one of the top coaches in our league and in the country. He does such a great job of going from game-to-game, doing whatever it takes to win that game. He has a lot of things in the gameplan that he can go to. At the same time, they have their constants and their principles.

“You can see with them being as old as they are and as experienced as any team in this league, that they are playing that way. They are extremely unselfish with one another and cause so many issues with their versatility. We have a great task in front of us and that’s what we are looking forward to tomorrow night.

“A tough week caught up with us in the second half yesterday at Purdue. We ran out of gas and Noah’s fourth foul call hurt. We need to regroup quickly. We allowed Purdue to hurt us in transition and with some uncontested 3-pointers. We missed too many close shots and couldn’t break their momentum.

“But today is a new day and we have a group that works very, very hard. Each day provides new challenges but also new opportunities. Preparing for Iowa reminds me of us form last year. (They have) an explosive running game, excellent shooting and veteran leadership. We are going to have to be very good in transition defense, active on the glass and keep drivers from creating havoc while making the simple plays on offense.”

· On the depth that Iowa has: “We have to make it work for us. We have to take the speed of the game and make it work for us. They can do numerous things, whether it is pressure or man or zone or switching because of the versatility. He has recruited a very versatile team. It reminds me when we watch them – and it has been this way all year – of what we had last year with our team with the experience, shooting, scoring and guys that have been there in a lot of hard game. And also some young fire power that brought some energy to the table.

“We have to challenge shots. They are as good as anyone in this league at getting out (on the fast break) after makes or misses. There are some very good transition teams in this league, but they are as good as any. Not only because they get the ball up the court with the dribble or down the middle, but the way they shoot the 3-pointer in transition. So we have to be really good there.”

· On breaking out of the recent slump with a young team versus experienced teams from past seasons:
“I think you definitely approach it differently. You need to get after it. You need to work at it, in the sense of positive energy and fuel that. We have a lot of hard workers in here and a lot of guys that put a lot of time and effort into it. You don’t want to press too hard. You don’t want to feel an outside, unneeded pressure that can wear you down physically and mentally. So you absolutely try to do different things.”

· On defenses focusing on Yogi (Ferrell)  and the challenges that presents:
“I think that is pretty obvious thing, that coaches are playing the percentages, or lack there of, of some of our other players shooting. So we have to keep the game in movement. I think Yogi is doing an excellent job with the ball because he is off the ball more, and that’s the most important thing – you have to be in movement. At certain times, it can look like the offense is slowing down because the defense is in a help position and a lot of the driving lanes aren’t there. That is where the screening has to be great. We are not reading back cuts as well as we should be. We are not reading some of the open gaps. And what happens is when guys that are used to getting the ball and having the defense centered around them – especially the young guys – when that isn’t happening because the defense is not respecting what you do, then you really have to go and be creative. That’s where offensive rebounding has to come up big.

“It’s the same thing with Noah. He touches the ball but he isn’t as aggressive as he needs to be with the ball. Some of that is the offensive rebounding. Some of that is taking advantage of driving opportunities when they are there. Some of it is being ready to shoot. Some of it is not looking to just pass the ball as soon as he touches it and he usually looks for it in the post. But Noah has to move around somewhat too. No question that when you don’t have as many outside shooters, the defense dictates so much of how the offense is going to look as a whole. But it can’t dictate how it looks from a person in movement, and the person in movement has to constantly try to create a look or opportunity for someone else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a set play or random basketball. That is why transition is good for us. That’s why transition pick-and-roll’s are good for us because the game is in movement and the defense isn’t set yet.

“But we have some of our guys that are not making as many shots have to be more aware of what they need to do with cutting, screening, flashing and those types of things right now. That is the consistency that we haven’t gotten.”

· On having freshmen in the starting lineup compared to other teams with older players: “I don’t think there is any question that plays into it. We are certainly as young as anyone in the league and at times we play that way. What happens is, when you are young and you don’t have the experience, you don’t have the consistency. What we have is a consistency in work habits and work ethic, which is good and part of the process. But we don’t have that consistency of what it takes, physically and mentally, to win the games. That is where awareness comes in. That’s where needing to make this cut or that cut or I don’t need to pass the ball here or running the play the way it needs to be run or I need to take one more dribble at the basket or I need to slow down…those kinds of things are all part of it.

“We have been down that road before and have played with young players. Our older players, with the exception of two, are basically sophomores. They are all trying to figure it out too. Bottom line is we just have to do a better job of being consistent and then when things get tight, we have to have even more internal leadership, which leads to external leadership when they are out on the court, where guys make their teammates feel like everything is going to be OK and it’s going to work out. And then they have to carry that out on the court. When you have guys that are struggling, sometimes for the first times in their lives, that takes a while to go through that process where they can get that confidence and get that consistency when things are going well for them. That’s what we are trying to work through right now.”

  • E Foy McNaughton

    “A tough week caught up with us….” Ya Think????? Well it is a new week, chins up and go win 4-5 in a row. This team as the talent, unrealized talent, but talent all the same.

  • Gregory Spera

    “So we have to keep the game in movement.”

    “…the screening has to be great.”

    “That’s why transition pick-and-roll’s are good for us…”

    It’s really weird. I actually agree with so much he says here about our offense, but what he is saying just isn’t manifested on the court during games.

  • SCHoosier

    Hawks provide some serious match-up problems for IU. Marble has no conscience about shooting whenever..and from where ever he wants too. Their back-up center (Olaseini?) is a stud.. guards are good and the hawks can rebound. Sometimes they forget about Aaron White..who..on many days is there best player. Long night for IU..unless IOWA just fires up three’s and his not hitting. Its happened before this year.

  • notfargj

    what’s interesting is that he uses our having so much youth on the team as an alibi for lack of success. michigan started 3 freshman, a sophomore and a junior in the national championship game last year.

  • 3AM Burrito

    I totally agree with this, I really struggle with if they do it in practice and then it doesn’t translate into games or if he just says it in pressers but doesn’t drill it in practice. He talks about screens and backcuts, I hardly have ever even see an off ball screen save for cross screens with Noah.

  • 3AM Burrito

    The thing that scares me most about Iowa is they have players with basketball IQ through the roof. Gesell, White, Marble, Woodbury, all experienced, smart players. It goes for every game but this game in particular IU absolutely must take care of the ball.

  • Southport65

    That is great but nobody remembers runner ups and they had a super star in the making with Mitch McGary who because of an Injury got a chance to show what he could do. Before that he played little. Also two guys are now staring in the NBA. Not like our current team. We have an up and coming Noah and Yogi but no pure shooters. That Michigan team had 4 guys who on any given night could get u 20. They also peaked at just the right time like our 2002 runner up team. Don’t forget we beat them twice on our way to our last Big Ten Title in 20 years. Also Louisville had a veteran team who went to the final 4 the previous year. With the exception of one KY young team it takes a good mix of Veterans and future stars to win it all and Louisville proved it.
    Hopefully Coach and the young players can win a few more games this year and Noah stay’s with great shooters coming and instead of being a top 15 pick this year he could be a top 5,3 or 1 next year. I think he needs another year just like Cody needed one more year.

  • Laffy

    As always, Crean blames everyone/everything but himself:

    We ran out of gas. Vonleh’s foul. Young team. Missed shots. Blah, blah, blah.

    After MSU lost to Nebraska, Izzo said, flat-out, “This is on me.”

    As long as we have a coach that refuses to take personal responsibility, none of the players will either.

  • Laffy

    LOL!!

    Last time I checked, we have a “super star in the making” in Vonleh.

    And Yogi ain’t chopped liver. And why doesn’t Crean get he blame for having no shooters on the team?

    No one expected this team to go to the Final Four. we also didn’t expect them to get worse as the season wore on and finish almost dead last in the Big Ten.

  • David Macer

    Not sure that RMK always took personal responsibility. Crean has in the past, the Purdue loss was bad. Both are at fault. Sorry to disagree with you Laffy !!!

  • Laffy

    And I was one of the few to blast Knight for never taking responsibility and blaming others.

    I’ve never once seen Crean say, “This is my fault. Period.” The few times he’s said, “This is on me”, he always throws in whining about refs or something else….which is like saying, “I don’t think you’re fat…..BUT……”

    IU will never sniff the Sweet 16 again as long as he’s “coach.”

  • Robert J Morgan

    Crean is to arrogant to admit any fault in the collapse of this team or game. He is still living in the glory we heaped on him for taking over a train wreck and bringing respect from the fans, alumni and media.

  • Jonny McClain

    can someone translate please…

    I think Yogi is doing an excellent job with the ball because he is off the ball more, and that’s the most important thing – you have to be in movement.

  • notfargj

    apologies for not being more context-specific. the point i was trying to make is that crean should be very careful not to blame this years woes on a youthful team. the better part of your post has to do with national championship implications. that is a completely different scenario altogether. given the resources coach has, it is past question that this group – up until now – has underachieved. we all hope the tide will turn but the end of this season is looking terribly grim.

    to address your last paragraph, noah vonleh is very much in the running to be a lottery pick this year. while you believe he needs another year it wouldn’t be surprising if he were to leave after this year.

    nba draft net: 5
    espn / goodman: 6
    draft express: 7

  • Dagwoodsdave

    WTH is he talking about. Movement, screening, cutting. Those elements haven’t been in his offense for years. It’s been watch someone dribble. Maybe a weave, or ball screen.

  • MillaRed

    Ha ha. I was waiting for someone to jump on that. This statement makes absolutely no sense.

    I’ve never heard a coach say we have to keep the game in movement.

    How can you be excellent with the ball when you are off the ball, ya know, when you don’t have the ball?

    This season is just crazy.

  • MillaRed

    “And what happens is when guys that are used to getting the ball and having the defense centered around them – especially the young guys – when that isn’t happening because the defense is not respecting what you do, then you really have to go and be creative.”

    What in the H is he talking about? This sounds like something I would say to be funny as I act like I know what I’m talking about.

    Is he talking about high school? AAU? We are 3/4 into a B1G season. Those days are long gone Coach. Really reaching.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Asked on another page, but weren’t Etheringotn and Hartman recruited for their prowess as 3-pt shooters? If so, why aren’t they on the floor? Please don’t tell me that their “D” is bad, because certain players logging 10+ min/game couldn’t guard a water cooler or Gatorade bucket.

  • HoosierGrampy

    I think CTC took some lessons from Jay Carney regarding how to talk for a while and say absolutely nothing which makes any sense.

  • JetpackJunky

    Because… have you seen them shoot threes? You’re right, and if you watch Hartman’s shooting in high school he has great form. But, he came here and both stopped shooting threes and stopped making them. He’s had 71 minutes on the floor and only taken 3 3-point shots and missed every single one. Though, the missing is less important than the not taking, since when you only take 1 per game you play your percentages are slightly meaningless.

    Etherington has been getting tons of minutes, I don’t know how you could think otherwise. But he’s only shooting threes a little better than JH. And worse than EG.

  • SCHoosier

    WIS beat UM this past weekend because Bo has them back playing Badger basketball: moving the ball with the pass..and not Jacks0n dribbling all over the court as he was earlier in the year. That style resulted in more open 3s and WS knocked them down . It also opened up Kaminsky in the post.and he basically dominated UMs big when he was in there. There is no substitute for good ball movement and that requires crisp passing..not that soft (*&^ that the Hoosiers toss around the perimeter… If they are passing at all.

  • Alford Bailey

    Creanisms galore. Can’t find it now but I know I read in a thread yesterday that CTC said he sleeps with a noise machine? Hmm….

  • Southport65

    LOL Laffy, Can’t u read? I said Noah and Yogi were good. I was responding to Michigan’s run to the final 4 nothing about Coaching abilities and u might find out how we may think the same about that. You can not compare oranges to apples. I have never attacked your comments and from now on won’t even try to understand your dislike for me because it is Laffy.

  • Southport65

    Wrong, He said ” I take full responsibility for the Notre Dame loss”. I also think that “Inside The Hall”should post his compete interview after the Purdue game with Don Fischer. In the interview he does answer some tough questions. Coach does things that I don’t like also but he does not shoot 29% and let the other team shoot 56% from 3 land. IMHO we lost the Purdue game because we had no defensive fire in our belly’s. We had been holding other teams in the upper 30’s to low 40’s and in the 20’s on 3’s but in this game PU had it to easy to score. You are going to lose nearly every time you allow the other team shoots 48% and 56% from 3. Also, I think it would be a terrible idea to change Coaches after one poor season as your comments seem to suggest.

  • RonB

    I hope you are wrong about the sweet 16! These type of negative comments on our Coach could be read by 16-18 year old Indiana kids that we need to recruit for the future. If u think they don’t read this site, think again. If u hate him so much write a letter and tell him how u feel and how you would fix things. I don’t think u have a clue about what to do , therefore no letter. We need to hope he can grow as a Coach and correct some things just like the players need to grow and play better. It would be terrible to start over.
    No IU Coach in the last 20 years won a Big Ten Title but Crean did. One poor season to date is not grounds for being fired.

  • Laffy

    Crean’s job is to motivate….so that’s on him.

  • Laffy

    Here’s why I have zero faith he’ll “grow as a coach”: he doesn’t take the blame.

    That Syracuse loss was the worst beat-down I’ve seen in watching IU for over 30 years. And he blamed it on the refs.

    (rollllllllllllllllllllllleyes)

    And now, he throws the players under the bus…..which is why they’ve quit on him.

  • Southport65

    Your just like him! You never answer a direct question or comment on anything when you are proved right or wrong. With u it is always Coach’s problem and u hate him. It is true that some things could be blamed on Coach but not everything. You disliked Knight too saying u blasted him from your comments so Is there any Coach you have liked? Maybe your a Sampson guy!

  • Laffy

    How am I “just like him”? Quit sniffing dirty jocks.

    No, I despised Sampson.

    I used to be the biggest Knight supporter until he started mailing it in his last 6 years. And, I lost respect for him when he ripped that NCAA dude a new one after Bob was late for his presser.

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