Thursday Presser Transcript: Derek Elston, Victor Oladipo

  • 11/03/2011 7:07 pm in

Quotes from Derek Elston and Victor Oladipo’s Thursday afternoon media availability at Assembly Hall:

On whether the players feel ready to play an exhibition and what their excitement level is for the exhibition:

Elston: “The excitement level is definitely there. Every day after practice we get in the locker room and all you hear about is everybody wanting to play somebody else. We get out here in practice and everybody knows each others plays. Everybody cheats the plays. And our refereeing isn’t the best. We’re ready to get on the floor with some real refs and kind of just see how we do against somebody else.”

Oladipo: “I agree with him 100 percent. We’re ready to play against other people. We’re ready to showcase our talents. We’re ready to get things started. We’re anxious. We’ve worked really hard this preseason and hopefully it can carry over into the real season.”

On whether the lack of working on offense thus far is a significant departure from previous seasons:

Elston: “Yeah. I mean a lot during the season, we’re just going to want to get out and go. I know Verdell (Jones) said it the other day, we really haven’t worked on plays, we really don’t look like a halfcourt team right now. We’re the type of team that’s been running. Once we get that ball, we’re best when we’re on the fly. Plays, they’ll be put in and we have a couple. We do have a nice amount of plays. But really we’re a team that likes to get out and run and we’ll run it down your throat if we have to. That’s just what we’re about right now.”

On when they’ll need to focus more on playing in the half court:

Elston: “I don’t know. I just feel like it will come and go with the types of situations. Here in the exhibition games … that’s why we can’t wait to see. Against each other, you play situational games and you kind of check and see from there how you’re playing. Against other teams in these exhibition games, we’re going to see what works best. Whether we get out and run or whether we take our time and bring the ball up and play as a halfcourt team. I guess once we see that happening, then we’ll decide when we need to put in more plays or whether we just need to keep it on the run.”

(For Victor) On how this team is better now than it was at the end of last season:

Oladipo: “We’re more experienced. We’re more mature. We have more weapons now. We know what we have to do in order to win. We have to listen to our coaches and we have to play defense. We focus a lot on defense and we’re capable of taking our defense to the next level. I think we’re going to keep working on doing that and we’re going to continue doing that. And if we do that, I think we can be successful. I think we’ve improved a lot. We’ve added on three freshmen. You from even the scrimmages how they’re going to make an impact right away. I’m just ready to get things going.”

On the players pushing each other defensively:

Oladipo: “We’ve gotta do it every day because that’s what we’re going to expect out of the league. We’ve been through it. They’re not going to lay back on it. They’re not going to give us any second chances. We’ve gotta compete with each other every day and that’s what we’re doing at a high level.”

On whether seeing teams like Arizona and Butler fall to Division II teams in exhibition play will motivate them on Saturday:

Elston: “Yeah. That and we saw from last year Ferris State, they come in here and it just goes to show what happens when your mind slips away from your goal. Our goal is to win all of these games and we just got to come out with the right mindset and play from there.”

On whether this team is looking to move the ball around more this season:

Elston: “Yeah. We feel like last year the ball would kind of be caught and just stop right there. Not a lot of ball movement last year. This year, it’s kind of funny. We don’t even do drills where we don’t get to dribble. It’s just kind of the way it goes this year. Like Vic said, we’ve got a lot of weapons this year. In order for everybody to get to each person’s specific talents, that ball’s gotta move. Whether it be Vic off the drive, Will (Sheehey) off the backdoor, get it to Cody (Zeller) in the post, Christian (Watford) shooting, the ball’s gotta be moving around. And that’s what we feel like is going to help our team the best.”

On whether running the ball through the post has been much of an adjustment from the past:

Oladipo: “Just a slight one. You all have seen Cody. I don’t even have to speak about him. He speaks for himself. He’s pretty good. We have to use him. We didn’t just bring him here for nothing. And if we do, that’s going to open the floor for everybody. And it will and you’ll see that. We gotta get him the ball. Like Coach (Crean) said, if we work out of there, we’re such a better team. We even see it in practice. We get through stretches where we forget about Cody sometimes because we’re not used to him because he hasn’t been here for the past couple years. As soon as Coach, we get that click and Coach tells us, ‘get it to him, get it to him, get it to him,’ it’s amazing how much better we play as a team. We’ve just gotta get him the ball, get the big fella the ball.”

(For Elston) On the leadership of Jordan Hulls since the beginning of practice:

Elston: “Earlier I remember talking about how he was kind of the guy to get everybody ready whether you were doing good or bad in a workout or conditioning, he’d be the one to kind of kick you out or whatever. Right now, Jordy’s kind of like the floor manager. We’ll go red and white every day. And if you’re on Jordy’s team, he’ll tell you exactly what to do. There is no if’s, and’s or but’s. Coach Crean really works with the red team mostly. But really, if you have a question now, you go to Jordy. It’s unbelievable to see how far he’s come. Even if he knows he’s messing up, he knows exactly what to do. You really never have to worry about Jordy. Coach Crean will kind of talk to him a little here or there, but for the most part, he’s kind of on his own. And for everybody else who is in his position, Remy (Abell), a new guy, Jordy’s always on the side talking to him, telling him where he needs to be, what he needs to work harder at. You can see from the beginning of practice to now how far Remy’s come. It’s unbelievable. Really I thank Jordy for kind of getting everybody … in a sense we never really had that. Jordy really never had that when he first came. It’s kind of nice to see him help out Remy to get him ready for what’s to come. He’s kind of like the floor leader.”

On whether it’s easy to accept Hulls, who is in the same class, taking that leadership role:

Elston: “To be honest with you, I like it because he’s really helping me out. I’m not bringing up the ball as much as him. But for him to be around kind of telling me where I need to be for when he drives, where I need to be position wise so if he gets cut off by somebody else, I’ll be in his vision. It’s just kind of things like that, Jordy will be driving, telling me where he wants me to be on the floor and really the next couple of days after him doing that, I’m in spots where I wasn’t and knocking down wide open shots just because of the defense not knowing where I’m at. And Jordy’s really the one helping me through it, telling me where to be.”

On whether having a leader that knows how things need to be run helps to integrate a new player like Cody into the system:

Oladipo: “It helps a lot. To piggyback on the Jordan thing, you know Jordan came here, I know he was Mr. Basketball for Indiana. He came in here and from watching him at home and then coming here and playing with him, he’s been a leader ever since I’ve seen him play. He has the attributes to be a leader so I was listening to him when I first got here and I’m still listening to him today. When he did those things in the offseason to work on his leadership skills, it helps him even more. He’s more comfortable now talking to us and we’re more comfortable listening. And I know coming in, he’s helping Cody. Cody’s listening to him and he’s telling Cody what he has to do to work hard, bringing Cody in the gym to shoot extra and all that kind of stuff. It’s just kind of trying to string everything together so we can get this thing rolling.”

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