Interviews Archive

Q & A: Indiana junior guard Jordan Hulls

Following Thursday’s media challenge at Assembly Hall and Cook Hall, several members of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers were made available to discuss the upcoming season. Inside the Hall will have transcripts of each interview.

Christian Watford was firstfollowed by Remy Abell and Victor Oladipo. We conclude with junior Jordan Hulls, who averaged 11 points per game last season and shot 91.2 percent from the free throw line.

Q. What will Remy (Abell) bring to the table for you guys this year? What do you see as his role on this team?

A. “He’ll be able to come in and guard. He can guard. He’ll get after it, play hard all the time. We don’t really have to worry about him working hard. And he can come in and get to the rack, get to the free throw line. He’s been shooting the ball a lot better since he’s got here. That’s something he’s been working on. We’re excited to have him.”

Q. Where do you think you’ve improved the most over the summer? Getting a chance to play in the (Indy) Pro-Am and work on your game, what do you think has come along the most?

A. “The thing I was working on the most was my defense. Just trying to keep my man in front of me. That’s probably been the biggest part that I’ve improved upon. It still obviously needs a lot of work, but it’s something I’ve really tried to make the most important thing that I need to get better at.”

Q. What do you think the key is for you guys to improve defensively as a team? I know that’s something Coach Crean’s talked about in the offseason is getting better defensively. How does that come together when the season starts?

A. “Rebounding, steals, force turnovers, deflections. We’ve got to get all of those things and that will be whether we press or drop back into zone. Whatever the case may be, we have to have active hands and get into people and make it hard for the offense. If they can make a pass real easy, then that’s just hurting us. As long as we can be in that and get help side defense and all of that stuff, we’ll be alright.”

Q. Do you feel like you have the most number of guys that can handle and drive the basketball that you’ve had since you’ve been here and what do you think that can do for you guys offensively?

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Q & A: Indiana sophomore guard Victor Oladipo

Following Thursday’s media challenge at Assembly Hall and Cook Hall, several members of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers were made available to discuss the upcoming season. Inside the Hall will have transcripts of each interview.

Christian Watford was first, followed by Remy Abell. Up next is Indiana sophomore Victor Oladipo, who averaged 7.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game last season.

Q. How will this team be different than last year? Better?

A. I think we’re just better as a team because we’re more mature is one thing. We have new assets to our team that can help us a lot. I feel as though we’re working harder than we ever have. I feel as though if we continue to do what we have to do and continue to be consistent, we can be successful this year.

Q. Some of the magazines though are still picking you guys ninth in the Big Ten. Do you see that? Does it register (with the team)?

A. We see it all the time. I’m not really worried about rankings. I don’t think this team is really worried about rankings or where they place us because at the end of the day, when the ball’s thrown up, we’re ready to go. They can make their predictions now, but at the end of the year, I don’t think it’s going to be the same.

Q. How different of a team do you think you guys are than you were at the end of last season? How much do you think you’ve changed in the last few months?

A. Everybody has gotten so much better. And we’re continuing to get better every day. We’re real excited for this year to get started and hopefully we can continue to be consistent. I think that the maturity is a really big thing. We’ve become more mature so we’ll how it goes.

Q. What are two or three ways, outside of stats, that Cody’s (Zeller) presence helps Christian (Watford)?

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Q & A: Indiana freshman guard Remy Abell

Following Thursday’s media challenge at Assembly Hall and Cook Hall, several members of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers were made available to discuss the upcoming season. Inside the Hall will have transcripts of each interview in the coming days.

Christian Watford was first, next up is freshman guard Remy Abell, who averaged 16 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.5 steals last season at Eastern High School in Louisville.

Q. How’s the adjustment (to the college game) gone so far?

A. “It’s been going great. Over the summer going to class really helped when the school year started. I feel really confident right now, I’ve been doing individuals and different stuff with my teammates and just getting ready and prepared for the season. I think this year we can do a lot of big things.”

Q. What are the goals for this season?

A. “The goal is just do better than we did last season. Of course we want to get to the NCAA Tournament and advance farther than that.”

Q. What’s the biggest adjustment (from high school to college)?

A. “I think the biggest adjustment is time management. With workouts and school, it’s a little different than high school. I think it’s just preparing, being ready and time management, making sure I’m focused and staying on task.”

Q. Has there been anything since you’ve gotten to Bloomington that’s surprised you or that’s different from home?

A. “Not really. I think Bloomington is great. I like being down here and I’ve really had fun since I’ve been in school. That’s one of the reasons why I came here, because it’s a nice area and everybody’s nice down here. Everybody’s fun to be around.”

Q. I’m sure Coach Crean was real nice during the recruiting process. How’s he different once you get into some drills?

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Q & A: Indiana junior forward Christian Watford

Following Thursday’s media challenge at Assembly Hall and Cook Hall, several members of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers were made available to discuss the upcoming season. Inside the Hall will have transcripts of each interview in the coming days.

Up first: junior forward Christian Watford, who led the Hoosiers in scoring last season with 16 points per game.

Q. Talk about your individual growth since last season. Where do you think you’ve grown the most as a player?

A. “I feel like my conditioning has gotten a lot better. Wind, stamina, that’s increased a lot coming into this year. I feel like my ball handling skills have increased a lot this year. I’m just getting ready and looking forward to it.”

Q. When you were in high school, you played a lot more on the wing. The first couple of years here, based on personnel, you’ve played more on the block. With Cody (Zeller) getting here, do you see yourself getting out and playing a little more on the wing?

A. “Oh yeah. He’s going to help me tremendously. Whether it’s offensively or defensively, he’s a big guy that’s going to be able to block some shots. He’s a great offensive threat so he’s going to draw a lot of double teams so that should free me up.”

Q. Defense was one thing you guys struggled with last year. What do you see differently this year from a defensive standpoint?

A. “You can always get better. Defense is more a heart type thing and we’ve been working on it this whole time. It’s almost like determination. We’ve been working on it, working on our technique and stuff like that. I feel like we’ll be a lot better.”

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adidas Nations interview: Christian Watford

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 11: Guard Michael Thompson #22 of the Northwestern Wildcats defends against forward Christian Watford #2 of the Indiana Hoosiers during the first round of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 11, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)IU sophomore Christian Watford is a college counselor at adidas Nations this weekend in Chicago. I intercepted him for a quick interview while he was on his way over to chat with IU commit Austin Etherington, who was taking in the action of the United States 2011 vs. United States 2012 game earlier this evening.

Here it is:

Talk a little bit about the new guys.

Guy-Marc Michel: He’s progressing. He came in a little out of shape, but now he’s getting it together. I feel like he can be a real key asset to the program. Defensively, and he can also score inside. He gives us an inside presence that we need.

Victor Oladipo: Vic is a real athletic guy. He’s strong. He can shoot the ball and he’s going to be able to help us a lot also.

Will Sheehey: Will, he’s an energy guy. He always around the basketball. Always seems to find the right spots. So he’s going to help us as well.

A couple of your teammates met with the media on Thursday and talked about gaining weight and said you’re bigger. Do you agree with that?

Oh yeah, I agree with that. I’ve been working hard and putting on weight.

Talk about Cook Hall. Has it been easier for you guys to train a little more?

It’s been easier. Being able to get in there any time of day helps a lot. We’re going to access it to the full potential.

Is there anything specific you’ve been working on this summer?

Strength, and my outside game more. I’ll be playing more of a 3 this year.

Interview: Cody Zeller, Yogi Ferrell at adidas Nations

Just walked back up to my place after brief chats with IU recruiting targets Cody Zeller (2011) and Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell (2012) at the Swissotel here in Chicago in conjunction with adidas Nations.

First up: Mr. Zeller.

Let’s get this out of the way first. You’re down to three schools now: Butler, IU and UNC. What are liking about each of them?

Butler: Butler is known as a mid-major, but I don’t think they get recognized for how good they are. This year, they obviously went to the National Championship which put their name out there a bit more. Coach [Brad] Stevens is one of the best young coaches in the country. I’ve known him since they were recruiting Luke [Cody’s older brother]. It’s a great university.

IU: Coach [Tom] Crean is one of the best coaches. He seems to be turning around the program right now. They just built the new Cook Hall, which is a great practice facility. They got one of the best business schools in the country.

UNC: At Carolina, they have one of the best coaching staffs in the country with coach [Roy] Williams and his staff. The tradition down there is unreal.

What’s the experience like for you coming into a tournament like this where it’s not your AAU or school team and you’re not as familiar with your teammates?

The talent is unreal here. I just try and do whatever the team needs. You’re not going to score 20 points like [you would on] your AAU team. It’s a lot different role but it’s fun playing with such talented teammates.

Does the rest of your summer start winding down after this with school looming soon? Is this your last event?

This is the last one. School starts on the 16th. My brother [Luke] gets married next weekend, so that’s what I’m doing with [my time]. The summer’s gone by fast.

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Five minutes with IU guard Matt Roth

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 12:  Matt Roth #2 of the Indiana Hoosiers drives against Danny Morrissey #33 of the Penn State Nittany Lions during the first round of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 12, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)After missing the majority of the 2009-2010 season with a broken fifth metatarsal in his right foot, Matt Roth, arguably Indiana’s best pure shooter, is 100 percent healthy.

Inside the Hall went one-on-one with the junior guard on Thursday about a variety of topics including offseason workouts, Cook Hall, competitiveness for playing time and more. The transcript of our Q & A is below:

On his individual progress this offseason and the team’s offseason progress:

“It’s been a real good summer. I took classes both summer sessions. I’ve been working out, trying to get back to playing like I did before my injury and playing much better. It’s been a good summer for me and a great summer for the team. We’ve really made a lot of strides and built a lot of good relationships within the team. That’s something you definitely need going into the season.”

On the competitiveness for playing time in the backcourt:

“I think it’s going to be very competitive and I think everybody kind of knows what they bring to the table and what they’re going to have to bring every day to practice. And that’s going to be a great challenge coming into practice knowing that we’re going to be as competitive as we are both in practice and certainly on the court when the games come around.”

On what he learned last season missing time with an injury:

“It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever gone through with basketball. It’s been such a huge part of my life and not to have it be something I could physically do was very difficult for me. But it also opened up a lot of great opportunities for me to learn and take different aspects and outlooks on life. It really made me cherish the game would be a way to put it. It means just as much now as ever, but it just kind of revamped my love for the game. I was able to learn a lot of things. It was very difficult, but it’s something I’m going to look back on someday and be grateful that I had the opportunity to recover, learn and move forward.”

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Q & A: ESPN’s Dana O’Neil

Dana O’Neil covers college basketball for ESPN.com. (Quite well, for those of you unfamiliar with her work.) So to help us get a sense of what it’s like working for the World Wide Leader, a national perspective on the current state of the IU program and the Big Ten as well as a few other interesting topics, Dana generously agreed to answer a few questions for Inside the Hall. You can follow her on Twitter here. The transcript of our e-mail Q & A is below:

You made the move to ESPN.com a little over two years ago after writing at The Bucks County Courier Times and The Philadelphia Daily News. What was the transition like moving from a newspaper to one of the most widely read Internet sports properties in the world?

For me, the hardest thing about moving from Philly to ESPN was getting my arms around the scope of this new job. It was a little daunting at first. There’s a comfort in familiarity. I knew Philly, Villanova, the Big 5 and the Big East so well that I could automatically put stories and situations into context. I knew the history of the programs and most of the players for four years. I knew Jay Wright since he started at Villanova. Even more, I knew the people and best of all, they knew me.

When I jumped to ESPN all of college basketball was my beat. Major gulp. I’m a college basketball fan, so I always knew what was going on in the national scene and knew the major players, or at least about them, but they didn’t necessarily know me. It was a little overwhelming to fly in to a city, watch a game, introduce myself and bam, come up with a column or a 2,000-word feature.

Like anything else, the solution was simple: do your homework and work hard. I went to the AAU tourneys in Vegas, not to watch recruits but to catch up with coaches while they were relaxed and introduce myself. Every time I went to a game if the opportunity presented, I introduced myself to the players I was interviewing. I read everything before I did a feature so I knew what I was writing about and so the person I was speaking to respected the effort.

I’m not great at this gig yet. Far from it. But I feel like I have my arms around it finally.

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Q & A: John Gasaway of Basketball Prospectus (Part Two)

John Gasaway is a writer for Basketball Prospectus and is a co-author of the upcoming book, The Basketball Prospectus 2010 Major-Conference Preview. He previously wrote for the Big Ten Wonk. We recently exchanged e-mails with John to help us preview the Big Ten and Indiana because, well, he’s smarter than us. The interview is lengthy, so we’ve split it into two parts. Today: Indiana and The Basketball Prospectus 2010 Major-Conference Preview.

Inside the Hall: Indiana is coming off a tough season and is still in the midst of rebuilding. They were nearly last in the country in turnovers a season ago, which I assume you believe will improve this season because it really can’t get worse. What measurable statistics are most important for Indiana to become a competitive team in a seemingly brutal conference?

JG: Measurable statistic? Points! For and against! No, just kidding. You’re asking about the stats that precede that one, and rightfully so.

Fair enough, try this on for size: If Indiana had been playing in some kind of weird parallel hoops universe last year where turnovers were forbidden and each team’s offense was judged simply according to how well they shoot, hit the offensive glass, and make free throws, your scrappy Hoosiers, even as young as they were, would have ranked a somewhat respectable seventh in the conference in offensive efficiency in Big Ten play (instead of 11th, which is where they really came out). So, yeah, the turnovers were huge.

Moving to defense we find that IU ranked 11th there as well, allowing Big Ten opponents to score 1.12 points per trip. That’s bad, sure, but it’s not catastrophic. In recent years teams like Northwestern and Penn State have on occasion done way worse than that. So there’s hope. In fact the Hoosiers were actually normal when it came to rebounding opponents’ misses–it’s just that, uh, there were no misses. Opponents lit it up from everywhere. This year’s deeper and taller roster should help make that a thing of the past.

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Q & A: John Gasaway of Basketball Prospectus (Part One)

John Gasaway is a writer for Basketball Prospectus and is a co-author of the upcoming book, The Basketball Prospectus 2010 Major-Conference Preview. He previously wrote for the Big Ten Wonk. We recently exchanged e-mails with John to help us preview the Big Ten and Indiana because, well, he’s smarter than us. The interview is lengthy, so we’ve split it into two parts. Today: the Big Ten and a little national perspective.

Inside the Hall: The Big Ten is once again being mentioned among the top conferences in the country. From top to bottom, where does the Big Ten stand amongst the major conferences?

John Gasaway
: It stands rather confidently in a clean well-lighted place at the center of the room where the league is respected but, alas, not terribly feared. The confidence comes from the exceedingly rare spectacle of a league returning its entire all-conference team (Kalin Lucas, Evan Turner, Manny Harris, Talor Battle, and JaJuan Johnson), not to mention last year’s preseason POY (Robbie Hummel).

On the other hand the Big Ten doesn’t terrify the other major conferences unduly because, even with all those returnees, our beloved glacially-paced league isn’t exactly brimming with lottery picks or even first-rounders. Turner, obviously, is going to be putting on a ball cap and shaking David Stern’s hand very soon here, and assuming Johnson and Mike Davis start consuming protein shakes in bulk I’ve seen them listed on some mocks as late first-rounders for 2011. But Turner notwithstanding there are no Walls or Warrens or Aldriches in the league right now. None of which precludes a Final Four run by a Big Ten team or two this year, of course.

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