Crean says Creek’s struggles are both mental and physical

  • 01/03/2011 10:44 am in

(Photo credit: James Brosher)

On this morning’s Big Ten coaches teleconference, Indiana coach Tom Crean was asked whether Maurice Creek’s struggles this season were more mental or physical by C.L. Brown of The Louisville Courier-Journal.

Crean said it’s a combination of both, but noted that Creek’s mental struggles are being fed by the fact that he’s not the same physically:

I think the mental plays into it because the physical is not there. And when you can’t do what you’re used to doing, that’s certainly going to become part of the mental process for you.

He’s working very hard through it. We need him to continue to get better defensively and find things that he can do to help us that much more. He’s certainly not shooting it at a high level right now like most guys that score points. A lot of times their mindset is predicated on if the ball is going in the basket or not. And he’s gotta understand that it’s not always going to go in the basket for him right now because he can’t do all of the things he did a year ago or a little over a year ago before he got hurt.

I’m not displeased with him at all, I know he gets frustrated and upset. The bottom line is none of us have been through an injury like this in this program right now outside of Tim Garl and our doctors to see how long it takes for somebody to get through that and certainly Maurice has never been through it. It’s just a process right now where he’s just got to continue to trust what he’s doing, continue to get better and let’s see what happens. We knew it was going to be hard, but then you have to live through it. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to do.

It’s been a tough sophomore season thus far for Creek, who is shooting just 39 percent through 15 games. After shooting close to 45 percent from 3-point range in 12 games as a freshman, Creek is hitting just 31 percent (23-of-74) from beyond the arc this year. The lift on his shot is clearly not yet back to where it was prior to the injury.

While there were certainly high hopes for Creek, the reality is, as Crean said, he’s never gone through something like this before and no one really knows how long it will be before he’s the same player again.

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  • Kelin Oladipo

    I think this is the year for Mo to develop other aspects of his game, ball handling, passing, mid range etc….leadership. It will help him this year find some success and build for next year. If you are a shooter you are a shooter so he will no lose that part of his game. I am rooting for him.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to see him develop/show more leadership skills as well. He comes across as the one person on the team that everyone would look up to. It’d be nice to see him be more vocal on the court and take more ownership of his team.

  • MillaRed

    Mo’s health is the difference between a 2011 tourney appearance or not.

    Here’s to good health……….

  • Kelin Oladipo

    Agree 100%. He is the third guy who can get his own shot, but could be our ‘first’ guy.
    Hulls, Mo, VO, Zeller, and Watford should get you in the tourney if all cylinders are clicking…..

  • BaseballBuc

    I said it a couple threads ago, but you gotta feel for this kid. Tom Crean tweeted last year that he was working with Tim Garl so much that he was going on Tim’s taxes. He’s worked his butt off to be back and hasn’t made excuses. When you think about it, this experience will help him in the future, knowing how hard he had to work to come back. He is key to our success the next couple years. Imagine where he would be (or any other players) without Cook Hall.

  • MillaRed

    Let’s just hope he gets back to the old Mo period! A little worried there.

  • BaseballBuc

    I have confidence that he will because of one thing: work ethic. (assuming he stays healthy)

  • Casey B.

    A bit off topic, but has anyone else been following the remarks from Crean and Hulls regarding the team’s defensive efforts?

    Here’s one from Hulls following IU’s loss to OSU: “We just didn’t execute it as well as we needed to in the game,” Hulls said. “We did it correctly in practice, and we worked on it. Tonight we just didn’t do it well enough.”

    Here’s one from Crean: “It’s mind-boggling that we can’t get that where it needs to be. That’s what we’ve gotta continue to fight for and get it to the point where the next man, whether he’s to your side, whether he’s behind you, is continuing to give you that courage to get up and play, man or zone.”

    And another from Hulls: “It’s something that we need to pick up,” Hulls said. “Through practice. We’re teammates. We’re here all together, we have to play together. In practice, we do it every day, so we should be able to carry it over in the game. It just should be there.”

    I’m growing increasingly tired of these kinds of comments. They’re reminiscent of the “Tom Pritchard is amazing in practice, he’s just not very good in games” mantra that dominated last season. At some point, I just don’t care. It’s an excuse — plain and simple.

    My question is, if we’re practicing it correctly, but not putting our defense into action in games, whose fault is that? Why, after fifteen games, is this team still struggling to get into the right “mindset,” if in fact we are capable of playing great defense?

    Or is the fact that we’re doing it well in practice simply a product of the talent on the team? I’m sure playing great defense in practice vs. Moore, Roth, Capobianco, Jeff Howard and Kory Barnett is much easier than clamping down on Ohio State.

    I’m just getting tired of the excuses. When it comes to saying the right things, we’ve got a team of All-Americans, but when it comes to executing, we consistently fall short. It’s getting old, and at some point, these types of explanations are simply unacceptable. Is anyone else with me, or am I being unreasonable?

  • Kelin Oladipo

    Casey that happens because when you practice it against your teammates it is one speed and level, vs doing it against OSU or closing out on a guy like Talor Battle. So in practice Pritch can score all day on Capo etc. but vs another more athletic big it is a difference. So you are right we are a product of our playing against our own team.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I concur! I bet we, as ITH board posting IU fans, could go out and look pretty darn good playing defense against each other but once we stepped onto the court at AH and tried to guard VO and CW we’d look pretty slow.

    It’s sort of the same thing. It’s obvious the players we are putting on the court are slower than Talor Battle or William Buford. TP looked good in practice last year because he was going up against Freshman like DE and BC. Put him on the floor against better competition and it’s just not the same.

  • stonaroni

    Two things that stick out to me:

    1. I really like Mo and feel for him. What we see is 50 % of what we saw last year. I was hoping he would get better as the season progressed but I feel fatigue and tendonitis has set in. The knee cap tracks a certain way and when damaged or bothered has to “re-learn” that track. You can tell he is trying hard and his confidence is dragging, however, he has the shooters mentaility to keep shooting which for him should mean a strong JR campaign.

    2. That being said, I am extremely frustrated that he has shot 74 3 pointers so far this year. That is 5 a game and it doesn’t take a shooting genius like Jimmy Rayl to figure out that Mo is off balance, with limited lift and a poor release. He is a great kid but he is unhealthy and not 100%. If 30 of those shots were fed to the post or used to drive the lane or given to Hulls and Roth, we may have been 11-2 in the pre Big 10 schedule.

  • WestCoast Hoosier

    Dislocated is bad enough, but broken is far worse.

  • CutterInChicago

    Speak for yourself. I think of myself as short but slow and my lack of athleticism would mystify then amuse VO and CW, leaving the susceptible to my game

  • Chad

    Seems like Tim Garl or the doctors being people with supposed experience with such an injury would’ve let Mo and the coaching staff know that this was an injury with a very lengthy recovery period so that a redshirt year might’ve been brought out as an option. He’s essentially going to lose 2 years of his eligibility from this injury and at least if he would’ve redshirted this year, it would’ve given him a year to recover and then 3 years of eligibility. I think he’s wasting this season being only probably 70% on that leg and where it’s really obvious, at least to me, is on defense where he’s having to react to another player’s movement. I don’t know, maybe the “experts” told them that it would only take a year??

  • Anonymous

    I suppose then we could say that because Penn State or Northern Iowa practices against inferior talent they should have been slow against us as well.

  • Anonymous

    I think this is extremely helpful post. Two years makes sense to me, but then again I always thought this might be sort of a “lost year” for Creek on the court.

    I hope I’m wrong, but for several reasons I’m not sure he’ll really be “back” until his Sr year. Wow, do I hope I’m wrong.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s my guess on this: I’d bet that Creek and Crean were told that it would be a long process to get back to where he was but that they don’t have a lot of experience with it (I don’t think it’s all that common like an ACL, but I could be wrong) and there are always exceptions.

    Knowing he’s physically “healthy”, Creek seems like the type that wants back on the court ASAP to help his team. Crean doesn’t have medical reason to keep him out and probably realizes that Creek at 70% is still good enought to get playing time on this team. I’d bet, though, that both thought he’d be a little further along at this point.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Tim Garl and staff are paid a lofty salary to do just that. I can’t remember the last IU player to experience this but I would bet large sums of cash that recovery would have been researched for such. You do bring up a good point on the scholy situation. It looks as if CTC would have the space for 2013 to redshirt him. Maybe he knew the Guy situation wasn’t going to work and needed the bodies and with all of the talent coming he wouldn’t be as much an asset? Could be just what the doctor ordered but I don’t see 30 games a game changer either. Regardless, a good question to pose.

  • marcusgresham

    He’s also the only one with the combination of a deadly jumper and the ability to blow past you to the rim (when healthy.) Not to mention, he’s probably also the one player on the team who’s solid at both ends of the floor.

  • marcusgresham

    It wasn’t a dislocation, it was a fracture.