Notebook: Tom Crean on The Dan Dakich Show

  • 10/11/2012 1:47 pm in

Indiana coach Tom Crean joined “The Dan Dakich Show” on 1070 The Fan this afternoon (full audio here) and touched on a variety of topics. Below is a recap of some of the highlights:

On whether the team is talking about the preseason rankings and expectations or just working: “I think it’s both. I think it’d be crazy to think that they don’t see them. Everybody reads, everybody gets Twitter, everybody follows ESPN and the dot coms. And so, those things are not a secret. I think it’s all how you handle it. I would say this: There has not been one time since all this started — and it’s really been six and a half months since we played Kentucky — where we’ve looked at it, where there’s been a guy or a couple of guys that it’s like: ‘What are they doing? Why are they not working as hard? What’s wrong with their attitude?’ There hasn’t been any of that. And I think we do talk about it in the sense of how fleeting it is. And I think it’s like this: Last year, they responded to the lack of expectations, but they weren’t driven by it. They were driven by their desire to get better, they were driven by how hard they’d work in the summer. And I think it’s the same thing now. There’s a response that comes from that but I don’t think it’s what the drive is centered on. I think these kids are driven kids and I think that’s what’s most important. If I thought that they were just wound up and all excited because there’s rankings, well we would have probably saw it a year ago that they would have been depressed and nonchalant because there weren’t any. I don’t see any of that with this group.”

On the team’s offseason strength focus: “Guys have advanced their bodies. The biggest thing we needed to do in our mind from the offseason and especially the way we lost the Kentucky game — because there were certain times in that game we just got overpowered physically and where they took us to the rim or we couldn’t get a big rebound — and you could say Kentucky’s Kentucky and all that. But that’s the benchmark our guys use now. Because they know they’re the national champion, we played them in that environment and we’d beaten them here. So physical strength and being able to really hold our own in one-on-one situations is a big, big part of what we tried to improve this summer.”

On Christian Watford: “I think in Christian’s case, my biggest concern, our biggest concern there is he has not had a start to finish healthy summer. He was dealing with some issues from the season that he had to get taken care of in his foot. He did. There were a couple of setbacks at different times. He’s not had a smooth offseason. Now he’s done a great job with it. He’s changed his body even more. He’s not back where I would say: ‘Wow he’s really ready to go.’ So that’s going to take a little bit of time with him. He looks good. As far as that rhythm, he missed a lot of time with these guys in the pickup games and the individual workouts and things like that.”

On Austin Etherington and the team’s depth: “Last year it was hard to get him in the games. Well he would have been our leading scorer probably the first year. And in the first three years, there’s no question he would have been a starter in my mind in this program — at least one of the main guys. And it’s not like he’s not getting better, it’s not like he’s not improving, it’s just it’s hard to get minutes. I think, to me, that’s what you want your team to be about. And I don’t see this team having a set starting lineup. I don’t see this team having a set rotation. It sounds crazy, but I’d like to have a starting eight. A group where these eight guys or so, you can go any way you want and you’re not going to drop anything when you put these eight in. Cody’s different obviously. And Jordan’s different with the way he shoots it. But (what I’m talking about is) when you put guys in that there’s really no dropoff whatsoever because they play both ends of the floor at a high level.”

On how Yogi Ferrell factors into the team playing fast: “A ton. Because he’s a one-man press offense. We really haven’t done much — we’re going to do a little today —  in these two hours with full team stuff and as far as scrimmaging. I think since the summer we’ve probably scrimmaged maybe ten minutes where I’ve been out there.  Now they play pickup, not as much pickup as we used to because there’s so many bad habits that are hard to break once you get closer to the season. Just in the drills alone and watching him, his vision is second to none. I mean the passes that he can make. And I remember it so much last year watching him at North Central, when they went in at North Central and he was incredible. He was just incredible how he passed the basketball. Those are things, the getting in the lane, he’s becoming a better shotmaker around the rim. He’s becoming better at finishing around the basket. And we tell him: ‘If you can finish around the basket on this team with the length that’s down there now you’re going to be able to finish against the opponent.’ So those are the kind of things we’re trying to see from him.”

On Hanner Mosquera-Perea’s current condition since being in a walking boot: “He’s back. He’s limited. So I don’t think he’ll be in a full practice situation yet. So we’ve got to really monitor that, we got to meet later on on that. There’s a difference with him. He didn’t lose any time in the weight room, I know that. And he doesn’t have his endurance, he doesn’t have his conditioning, he’s missed some of the skill development things, but he’s back and I think within a couple weeks he’ll be back full time.”

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