Indiana officially tipped off the 2014-2015 season earlier today with its first practice in Assembly Hall. Afterward, Tom Crean talked to IUHoosiers.com and provided some observations from the opening practice, which we’ve transcribed below:
On what most excites him about this group:
“Well it’s always going to be spirited. There’s no doubt about that and it’s going to be exciting. I loved the retention that we had when we did some offensive things at the beginning of practice from the summer, but the most exciting thing for me was how guys continued to compete when fatigue came.
“We didn’t always play as smart and we didn’t always play as efficient, but we continued to compete. And we’ll clean up the skills, but the competition now and guys really being able to get after it and get after one another and play to win, that’s something that is an acquired trait. You’ve got to have something inside of you, but you’ve got to be willing to bring it out and you’ve got to be willing to bring it out in others. I thought we took some steps towards that in this first practice.”
On how he sees the extra work ethic this group has paying off in the first few weeks of practice:
“Well I think it’s ongoing. Hanner Perea had a great practice today, but we’re not supposed to be surprised at that because we know he’s capable of it. And if he’s surprised at that, then he won’t have one tomorrow.
“My message to them is that they’re always shrinking their learning curve. And their learning curve is not about how we run offense or how our play calls are, our learning curve is how we compete, how we talk, how we inspire, how we bring the most out of our teammates when fatigue comes in. When it’s not set up for us, when we’re a little sore, a little tired, alright, when we’ve got a few aches and pains, how do we continue to do that? That’s what the learning curve is all about because the people who can compete and be efficient through fatigue and through adversity, those are the ones that win big and we’ve gotta continue to learn and do that.
“But some of the things that were really big for us today were at the end to really make the possessions matter, clean up some of the details of the weakside defense and continue to get everybody inside the paint for rebounding. We got a lot done and I’m really happy with this first practice.”
Filed to: Tom Crean