News and notes from Tom Crean’s radio show

  • 01/24/2017 8:04 am in

Inside IU basketball with Tom Crean was live on Monday evening from the Holiday Inn in Bloomington. This week’s player guest was Devonte Green.

After a show last week filled with technical glitches, this week’s edition was much smoother. Below are news, notes, and quotes from Tom Crean and Devonte Green (all quotes are from Crean unless noted otherwise):

· On the loss of OG Anunoby, “He was really getting better. People forget that he had a tough summer. He didn’t get to do anything all summer because of his groin (injury), and how that affected him. It’s just tough for him. There’s certainly no doubt about that, because he puts so much into it, and he just absolutely loves the game.”

· More on Anunoby, “It’s a tough, tough blow for our basketball team, a tough blow for our defense, it’s a tough blow for our rebounding, it’s a tough blow for matchups. Really, most teams don’t have a matchup for him.”

· On Juwan Morgan, “He’s getting better. He did a little more today, although we didn’t do a ton of live (action) with him, but we were off yesterday. He’s definitely getting better, so we’ll keep seeing how that goes.”

· On James Blackmon Jr. stepping up of late, “It’s key that he continues to guard better, guard with that awareness. He’s getting more athletic because he’s healing… we have a lot of guys that have missed a lot of time. Now, their bodies have to catch up with that, and the athleticism has to catch up. That’s what’s happening for him… There are things he’s doing now with the ball that he wouldn’t have been able to separate or do back in November and December. He’s getting better, but he’s getting healthier, he’s getting more athletic… He moved well without the ball the other day, did a great job of setting his cuts up off the screen. He’s covering more ground on both ends of the court.”

· On how missing Anunoby and Morgan hurts defensively, “The thing about having a guy like OG and Juwan is you can switch every position with those guys. It’s not like they’re perfect, but they’re really really good at 6-foot-8. We haven’t had that as of late here, especially the last three halves (beginning at Penn State). It affects your defense. That being said, guys like James, Rob, have to be that much better and more aware. We still want to be able to switch, to be able to take teams out of things they want to do.”

· On the quick turnaround after the Penn State game, “We didn’t do a lot on Thursday, other than a lot of walk-through and film… Friday’s practice ended up being really short because they were really, really feisty and rolling. I was proud of them. So we ended up doing a lot of walking through and shooting free throws, things of that nature. They picked it up, they talked. It’s really, really easy to get distracted, not because we’ve got a game coming up, but because we’re finding out about OG and whether it’s going to be definitive. It’s hard for them. They feel for him. We’ve got some guys that have definitely struggled personally for him and how they feel for him… For them to focus the way that they did, it’s one thing to play hard and play intense, but they really locked in.”

· On Robert Johnson’s improved leadership, “(It’s) crucial that continues. If we’re going to continue being a better basketball team, that has to happen. The next step is for James to be that way, and for Josh (Newkirk). Not just at home, when things are going smoothly, but even when it isn’t… that’s going to be key for our juniors, because they had a real safety blanket back there in OG, who could make up for a lot of mistakes and things on the glass.”

· On the strengths of Michigan, “Everybody they put on the court can shoot the three with range. They run a very systematic offense – they are going to read their cuts, everybody can shoot and they play through the high post, they can play through their big men… they are a bona fide real deal, there’s no question about that. They’ve got a deep team, they’ve got the shooting at every position, and they’ve got a very smart and cerebral team in how they want to defend.”

· On having to adjust to officiating, “Every game has been different with what we were able to get out of the post, what we were able to get out of cuts – things of that nature. We’ve just got to continue to evolve in the sense of doing everything that we can control, which is: how we post, how we cut, how we drive it, how we screen, how we show our hands. And then as the games go on, the adjustments that go into it.”

· On McRoberts, “When most of the young men were gone in May, he was always around, working out, or just around. And then we got into the workouts you could see it – that he was really going to fit – he was going to work hard, and that he did fit. It’s just become a matter of him improving, of him getting stronger, of him understanding the speed of this game, the speed of the people that he’s playing against, building that confidence level – I was so happy for him when that three went in the other day. He works extremely hard at those things, and it’s crucial that he continues to see himself that way. That’s why, at times, I think there have been some shots taken, in a sense of  ‘why was he on the floor for this, why was he on the floor for that?’ Well, we believe in him. That’s one reason. And you never know when those days are going to come where you’re going to need him even more, and that’s exactly where we’re at right now. So I’m proud of what he’s done and is doing, and I think he’ll get a lot better.”

· When asked by Fischer on if he’d rather watch a recruit take part in an organized team practice or an open gym, “Depends on who’s coaching them, to be completely honest with you. Is the practice going to be structured, is it going to be energetic, is there going to be teaching in it? The open gym, you’re not going to learn a lot for the most part. You will learn who really wants to bring it – who winning means something to, and who will play hard… The worst thing to do is go to a practice with no energy. I’d rather just sit in the car and read a book. Honestly. I’ve been to a few of those, and they don’t do any good for you.”

· When asked what he thinks of fans that yell at the TV during games, he said he was ok with it, adding, “It’s therapeutic.”

· On Curtis Jones’ relationship with Michigan football assistant coach (and former Colts offensive coordinator) Pep Hamilton, “(Hamilton) is his godfather. Pep and Curtis Sr. are best of friends… they have a great relationship. I’m not sure if Pep will be in Ann Arbor when we’re there. I don’t think Jim (Harbaugh) will be, because of the recruiting period.”

· Devonte Green, on his time so far at IU, “It’s all I thought it would be and more. I’m having fun and enjoying the ride. I’m getting more comfortable playing within the offense, learning the plays and playing my game within the plays.”

· Green, on how preparation for Big Ten games is different from non-conference, “A lot more preparation comes with it. More film, more walk-through things, learning principles and sticking to those.”

Filed to:

  • iubase

    The fruits of CTCs mentorship and coaxing are now starting to take shape. The grit and chemistry needed to reach down deep is finally appearing. RJ I see leading this team. THe loss of OJ Means others have to step up and they are.

    I personally think the loss of OG lowers our ceiling. Interesting to see how far this time ram will go

  • SCHoosier

    Re: the officiating..somebody needs to work with DD on his high screens. Got called for a “walking screen” Sat. and could have been called for two more in the second half. Easiest thing in the world to do..is set a high screen and not move. Players seem to have trouble with that…are “late”..stick out their shoulder or leg etc.” ..or continue to move forward into a defender after handing the ball off to a teammate.Needless TO.

  • TomJameson

    I agree with you, but those are the type of subjective calls that can go either way. I absolutely hate it when a screener steps (or leans hard) into the player trying to get around because that can lead to injury. But it just doesn’t get called consistently, not even within the same game.

    It’s like the “carry” … call it once on each team, then forget it. 🙂

  • pcantidote

    It is definitely time for people to start acknowledging JBJ on the defensive end. It isn’t always perfect and I wouldn’t call him a great defender or anything close to it, but the effort is there and the improvement is there. Hope the arrow keeps trending up.

  • inLinE6

    I’m sold on McRoberts. Of course, from where he was, or at least what I know about where he was. He’s a great addition to the program, and now I can see we need him more down the road. CTC saw that before everybody else. I was one of them that criticized him the most.

  • Justin Beard

    I agree. I thought the Michigan State game was probably his career best defensive game. Quite possibly his best offensive too.

  • Bruce Clark

    Still love this team. Without OG going to be very tough go deep in the tourney, but I believe some good surprises are in store for this team. I look forward to JM getting back on the court; expect JM and DG to pick up a good amount of the scoring loss from OG.

  • All of the griping and frankly insulting talk about McRoberts getting time early in the season still gets me going. I hate to see the Hoosier fan base attack any kid, let alone a kid who obviously works so hard to help the team win games. It’s perhaps surpassed my anger over the “team got better because JBJ got hurt” meme that was repeated so often last year (and still is today). IMO, Hoosier fans should be better than that.

  • Well, I’ve been arguing forever that 1) his defense was already getting a little better last season before he got hurt, 2) his defense wasn’t the reason our team defense was so bad early last season, and 3) his defense would approach a decent level close to the B1G season as he recovered more from his injury. He had most of last season to watch the team defense improve and to see the impact it had on the season, and he’s a smart kid — I had no doubt he’d do the work to get better.

    Now, JBJ, please keep proving me right. I’d love nothing more than to see you prove so many people wrong — particularly given how important that will be to a decent finish to this season.

  • Outoftheloop

    It is the responsibility of the driver to push his man into the screener. The screener just stands still and then rolls to the rim or steps back for a 3.

  • And there should be room on the team for Hoosier kids if they can contribute.

  • Screening for IU seems to be an area where they need a lot of work. Ever game you see our bigs moving all over the place on screens, DD and TB in particular. The frantic paced lateral weave seems to make it almost impossible to set a, ‘foot set’, fixed screen and is causing the screener to move and adjust to set the screen.

  • John D Murphy

    You did preach that all summer. And you were right. I have noticed his increased effort all year long. He’s worked really hard at improving and it shows. With the injuries to CH and OG, the strength of this team is clearly now JBJ and RJ.

  • BigBoi

    CTC quote from above- “We didn’t do a lot on Thursday, other than a lot of walk-through and film… Friday’s practice ended up being really short because they were really, really feisty and rolling.”

    How about we work on inbounding the ball? Or running a play out of a timeout? Or effective game clock management when you have a lead?

    I’ll just leave it at that, there’s plenty of Clappy bashing on here, but most of it is well deserved.

  • Agreed: after so much excitement over the front court, it’s now looking like the guards who are going to determine just how good this season ends up being.