News and notes from Tom Crean’s radio show

  • 01/31/2017 7:59 am in

Inside IU basketball with Tom Crean was live on Monday evening from the Holiday Inn in Bloomington with player guest Johnny Jager.

Below are news and notes from Crean and Jager (all quotes are from Crean unless noted otherwise):

· OG Anunoby will have surgery on his right knee Tuesday. “It’s going to be a rehab process for him that will be long and grueling, but we look forward to doing everything we can to help him.”

· Crean provided no update on Blackmon Jr., but did say “Hopefully he gets healthy soon.”

· On Juwan Morgan, “(He’s) the one that has gone through so much, and has dealt with so much with the health issues in his two years here, but especially this year. He’s not even close right now to be where he would need to be, with his movements and things of that nature. Anybody that is looking at that and is not seeing that is not looking at the big picture … He doesn’t have the same quickness, the same speed, the same stop-and-go. It just takes some time to get to that.”

· Crean noted that Curtis Jones injured his ankle in Friday’s practice and was a game-time decision to play Sunday. Jones only saw three minutes of action against Northwestern.

· On the struggles against Northwestern, “We have to be able to look at what we can control right now. The turnovers in the first half are not good. Some of the empty possessions where we never got a shot off were not good. But at some point, we’ve got to make our open shots. When we’ve struggled, it’s really easy to point the finger at defense and turnovers, which is true. And yesterday, at one point late in the game, (Northwestern) were shooting 38 percent in the second half. So our defense was better in some stretches there, but still, when you lose, it doesn’t make any difference. Bottom line is we’ve gotta do a better job of rebounding the ball, we’ve gotta do a better job of not fouling and finding a way to get fouled ourselves, and we’ve gotta hit open shots.”

· On Thomas Bryant, who had 23 points and 12 rebounds Sunday, “Hopefully he can continue to do that. For a 19-year-old young man, to have to really feel the responsibility of leadership, I think that’s a strong thing for him. It’s going to serve him well.”

· On the difficulty of playing without several key players, “You’re not replacing OG and you’re not replacing James, just like we weren’t replacing Collin (Hartman) at the beginning of the year. You’re just not. Those guys are unique guys. It’s not like we just added a 6-foot-8, 7-foot wingspan guy that can create the havoc that OG could create, or a guy that could make the shots and get the attention (like James). So not only does our roles change, but it changes for the opponent, in the sense of how it turns up everything for guys that are used to doing things in the game, but all of a sudden there is a whole other level of attention that’s paid to them in scouting.”

· On the recent shooting struggles, “Last year, we were putting four shooters on the floor, really every time. Right now, we’ve got some guys that have got to continue to prove that they can make shots. It’s a fine line between not letting them lose their confidence and not letting them get caught up in woulda-coulda-shoulda or do this, do that. Really, just build their confidence and continue to play. You’ve gotta free their mind of things so much. We’ve been trying to get them to get better, even when you are playing well. When you’re not playing well, it’s a whole other element. We just need to keep focusing on doing what we’re doing.”

· Crean said much of the Northwestern game plan focused on stopping Robert Johnson, who Crean said both missed open shots and took challenging ones on Sunday.

· On Green, who started his first game Sunday, “He played hard. He took some tough shots. Some he should have just been ready to shoot … He needs to be ready to shoot and be confident, knock the ball down. Sometimes he’s trying to rush or trying to shot fake. But I think for a guy in his first start, in a Big Ten game and on the road, he did a pretty good job and I think he’ll be even better next game.”

· On the signs that his assistants have been holding up, “We’ve actually been doing that for two weeks … Those are our echo signs … We’re looking to give our guys anything that will help them communicate. They’re basic, but they’re echoes. A big thing for us is to make sure that we echo calls. Rather than sit back and complain about lack of communication constantly and sit there and hope things are going to change, give them a vehicle to help them change and to get better reminders. The game so many times comes down to that, it’s really for the second half. Anytime something is new – if we’re going to do it, I’m not really concerned about how people feel. It’s just a situation to give guys a reminder on the defensive end. It gets them talking.”

· On Grant Gelon, “He can really shoot the ball and he can shoot it off the move. Just a matter of him learning the defenses and staying focused and locked in. He’s definitely improving.”

· On Yogi Ferrell starting his first game as a Maverick, where he scored nine points and added seven assists in a win in San Antonio, “If you know Yogi Ferrell, it’s not surprising. All it is is opportunity…Yogi will be in that league a long, long time. Whether it’s with Dallas or with somebody else down the road. He’s got a level of toughness, of perseverance, of competitiveness, and a high level of intelligence on the court for making people better.”

· On players listening to outside criticism, “It’s very important that we keep remembering that they are 18, 19, 20, 21-year-olds. When they read positives or negatives, it can affect them, it can affect their families. We have to do everything we can to understand that none of that matters. It really doesn’t. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, it doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. It certainly doesn’t mean you have to put it in your own head. So we try to keep them in a good spot where the film, the work they are putting in will tell them the truth. We’re in a position to help them improve. We have other tools that we’ll utilize. It’s really important that every day you look at it and say ‘Did we get the most out of them.'”

· Johnny Jager said he originally decided to enroll at Wabash College to become a dentist. Jager realized he wanted to become a coach, and when he was afforded the opportunity to join the IU basketball team, he took advantage.

· Jager said he played baseball through 6th grade, football through middle school, and tennis through sophomore year of high school, “My parents told me that ever since they could remember, I had a ball in my hand. Whether it was basketball, football, baseball, I played it all.”

· Jager on the transition from Wabash College, “I knew it was going to be a big jump, but you never actually know until you’re there. Just the athleticism, the length and speed of the game is multiple notches up.”

· Jager said he’s gained 10-15 pounds since joining the program, “It’s unreal. It’s great. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. I love it.”

· Jager said the team will often meet up at one of their apartments to play video games. As for who is the best gamer, “I’d love to say myself, but I’m not that good. So I’d probably have to go with Curtis Jones.”

Filed to:

  • Spooky

    Well… video games are fun.

  • TomJameson

    That explains Curtis’s lack of minutes at Northwestern.

    I understand the concept of “echoing” and the use of the signs to do so. But communication is something they should know. Just seems like a few basics are just plain missing. ** sigh **

  • pcantidote

    The signs wouldn’t be necessary if defense was the focus of the program. Look, all of these kids know how to score the ball coming in from high school/AAU. None of them know how to play defense. IMHO, 75% of the practices should be spent on basic defensive fundamentals that become part of their subconscious and part of the program culture, thus deeming the signs unnecessary.

  • Koko

    I think Crean should bring in OG’s and JM’s high school coaches.
    It appears they were well coached in the art of
    defense in high school.

  • Koko

    Echoing???……I prefer the word duplication. My opinion is the use
    of an echoing sign during the course of a game indicates no duplication
    in practice…..whose fault is that???

  • PBzeer

    Wonder what “defenses” he’s talking about (in Gelon comment) … the opponents?

  • IULore

    My goodness, the man is trying to improve communication on the floor.

  • IULore

    He has talked all season long about communication being the biggest issue and working on that all the time. Sounds like they just don’t have the players ready to take leadership yet consistently, maybe trying something new is good.

  • BigBoi

    I agree with CTC about his players and dealing with criticism. We shouldn’t be too hard on these young men, they’ve got a lot of life to live and lessons to learn.

    However, a 50 year old that is the highest paid state employee clocking in over $3MM a year, yeah, lay it on that dude thick.

  • TomJameson

    My point is that communication is a basic tenant of basketball … it’s not even a skill, just a good fundamental that all kids should know coming into the college game. Another point is that it isn’t even a leadership attribute, it’s every players responsibility to call out screens and to communicate with each other.

    Leadership does have a communication factor, but that’s on a different level entirely. I’m just talking about the basic fundamentals of communication that shouldn’t have to be taught, or at least not spend a significant amount of time going over. Certainly shouldn’t have to print signs to echo that fundamental.

    Maybe there should be signs saying “Don’t dribble off your foot”, “Take care of the ball”, or even “Play Defense!”

  • TomJameson

    Exactly! A point to CTC is that he is recruiting more defensive minded players now. So, the future looks better …. if there is time.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    hard to find a silver lining right now, but i will say all these injuries will open the door for our frosh to get more minutes. i’d love to see the young guys show noticeable improvement by the end of the season. they’re certainly gonna get their shot to show what they can do.

    i agree with what CTC said about the criticism. however, i think criticism is fair game and i think they need to develop some pretty darn thick skin because the negative stuff is gonna keep coming. not that i’m egotistical enough to think they give two craps what i or any of my fellow ITHers have to say (y’all wonder if they ever visit this site?), but i’m personally gonna try and tone down the doom and gloom a bit. no guarantees on that though!

  • TomJameson

    Not too certain that Crean is a state employee. But to your point, yes, Crean deserves criticism just as any coach does who isn’t getting the job done. Even if some of the circumstances are beyond his control (injuries).

    What he does not deserve is the blind hate that sometimes comes out, nor the constant negativity that he seems to be continually bombarded with (but only when they lose). Like any person, or coach, CTC has good points and bad, and some folks just constantly pound on the nail of negativity. That hammering just gets old after a while.

  • TomJameson

    Yeaaaah … you’re reading too much into it. An echo is the repeating of the original message. They work on communication all the time, CTC really has been saying that all year. The signs are echos of the practices.

    Like IULore says, he is trying to improve communication on the floor. I think it’s something that shouldn’t be needed, but at least Crean is trying something to help.

  • pcantidote

    He most certainly is a state employee.

  • pcantidote

    Lay it on as thick as you want, be keep it about basketball and not the personal stuff. We are better than that.

  • IdahoHoosier

    I get your points, but at least coaching is coming from the bench! How many times during a game does a player or coach remind everyone to “D up”, “shoot the ball!”, etc.? Do the players already know to do these things? Of course! But they still practice defense, not dribbling off their feet, and even communication. I think it is pretty crazy to be annoyed that coaches are repeating simple things to their players, because they all do it. The sign was just more noticeable communication. I don’t think it should be a big deal that a coach was caught coaching during a game!

  • Bankshot

    Nonsense! Indiana junior high school players learn to call screens and switch on defense. Anyone who calls that coaching doesn’t know the first thing about basketball!!!

  • Spooky

    What did he say that was personal? Everyone here speaks of Crean in various ways. I don’t get how certain people police these chat boards so harshly. Surely everyone is entitled to an opinion.

  • IdahoHoosier

    You’re right that they learn that early. They also learn to play man to man defense, how to dribble, how to shoot, etc. That doesn’t mean you ever stop practicing it or that a coach will ever stop talking about it. Anything the coach communicates to a player about the sport is coaching.

  • Bud Jenkins

    he is

  • IdahoHoosier

    “Today in practice we’ll work on screens. Oh you learned about that in Jr. High? Ok, we can skip that. How about shooting? Oh you worked on that when you were 5? Ok, got that covered. Well… looks like we’re solid. Good luck at the game this weekend. I’ll sit quietly on the bench and offer no coaching since you’ve all learned everything before”, said no coach ever.

  • vicbert caladipo

    “We have other tools that we’ll utilize”(to help them improve besides the signs). Wonder what those other tools are? Makes me think back to ’93 when BK brought out a bullwhip and Calbert playfully posed for a whipping. Neither tool went well with the media, but unlike CTCs signs BKs tool was a hit with the fans. Guess that’s what the reaction is when you are winning. What does CTC have up his sleeve? A ban on wearing IU gear on campus? Take away their video games?

  • pcantidote

    He didn’t say anything. It is just a general observation that the “Clappy the Clown” garbage and similar personal attacks should be beneath any decent person. I don’t get how that isn’t obvious.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Clappy the clown. LOL. That’s a new one I haven’t heard

  • Bankshot

    This is D1 basketball. Do you have to tell the players to run up and down the court? Baloney! Shooting is a skill that is developed over time with practice. Most humans learn to communicate between the ages of 1 and 2. Crean does not coach! He claps, paces and drinks diet coke.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    a few thoughts…

    imagine if a coach tried the whip joke today. holy smokes, the social justice warriors would lose their minds! actually there was some backlash (no pun intended) way back then.

    i gotta admit i hate the sign thing. is it as bad as the pagano trick play? not even close. but still, kinda weird

    coach k tried the ban on all team gear. maybe it helped em beat notre dame. didn’t help so much keeping grayson from being a complete moron.

    the video game ban works wonders with my daughters. maybe that’s the solution

  • vicbert caladipo

    I’m glad you agree, I think. I’m sure you know my post was in jest. Media tore Knight to shreds, but the fans loved it. Outsiders certainly never understood Knights strange sense of humor, but most fans did. And us fans knew Calbert was hilarious. He wasn’t smooth with the media, but with the fans Calbert was god. Knight loved Calbert and was one of the few who rarely was in BKs doghouse. As for Puke, I think that buzzer beater over Wake propelled them to play well against an over rated ND team just like JBs against PS. Someone mentioned CTC being called a clown. Coach K is the clown, this year for enabling the punk and the dumb ban. The signs were better when CTC used memes. Maybe he should hold up a pic of Mo Vagners back. That ought to scare the bejeezus outta them. Sorry I couldn’t resist.

  • You can tell whether or not a college coach is a state employee (at least at the elite level with 7-figure contracts) by looking for the armed escorts provided by the state. Indiana State Police, in this case. Ever wonder about the police escorts at the end of big football games? The state is protecting its highest paid employee. True story.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Don’t forget tanning while watching film.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    yessir, i assure you i knew your post was meant to be humorous (as was mine), so no worries.

    you’re absolutely right about k, talk about a joke. how can anybody watch the footage from those two games and not think either incident was intentional.

  • IdahoHoosier

    If this is about your opinion of Crean’s ability to coach, that is a different discussion. If this is a question of do you need to tell your players (aka “coaching”) to do things, then yeah, you do! Saying you learned to communicate at 1 and 2 years old so you shouldn’t need coaching on communication in basketball is silly. I just get sick of hearing “CTC can’t coach” and citing an example of him coaching during a game (using signs, yelling at players, etc.) as an example that he can’t coach.

  • Bankshot

    What kind of film?

  • Bankshot

    All the above son! Have you heard of the term fundamentals? I grew up in Washington, IN. You know, the town that produced the Zellar boys. I grew up with Steve Bouchie, another Mr. basketball. I watched the greatest high school coach ever. Jack Butcher. If you didn’t know how to play basic defense you couldn’t make the high school team let alone D1. Showing a sign that says “CALL OUT SCREENS” is embarasing but not coaching!

  • IdahoHoosier

    So now this is about the players not being well-coached prior to IU? You are all over the map dude. The fact that the signs are used is an indictment on the players not being prepared. Apparently they didn’t learn it before they got to IU so they need taught/reminded. I completely love that you respect fundamentals (as do I), but if they are missing from this IU team you are inaccurately putting the blame on CTC. I bet Jack Butcher demanded fundamental basketball of his players, and “call out screens” looks like CTC doing the same of his team! I’m embarrassed I got sucked into explaining this stuff.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I predict Allen becomes the johnny manziel of the NBA

  • vicbert caladipo

    Jim Harbaugh UM practices?

  • Bankshot

    Harbaugh coaching style resembles Bob Knight! Crean should watch film from 87

  • Bankshot

    Who recruited the players? Who runs the practices? I know you can’t keep up!!! What a maroon!!!

  • Bankshot

    Did Wooden, Knight, K use silly signs during games? NO! Get real

  • IdahoHoosier

    You need to decide what your argument is and stick to it. Now we are back to the signs. You don’t have to like them! I just offered a suggestion that it isn’t a big deal if a coach uses a sign to instruct players. It is no different than yelling out instructions or calling a play from the bench verbally. Goodness.

  • IdahoHoosier

    The big question is did you hate CTC from the moment he got hired? Even when he was winning B1G titles (2 in 4 years)? Or do you just hate him now because the team is doing poorly and is suffering some unfortunate injuries?

  • Bankshot

    You who’s basketball knowledge is more than limited has no place telling your superior what is obvious! If you cant respond to points and facts why even waste your time. It’s not coaching or play calling!! It is a sign that is remedial basketball IQ! A good coach would’ve had this addressed in the preseason.
    Who recruited the player? Who runs the practices? I know you have a hard time processing info so read twice than try to respond to the issue!

  • IUMIKE1

    Correct, communication has many different meanings when it is intertwined with talking bball. And you are right the coaching staff shouldn’t have to be holding up ” echo ” signs ever, and especially not at this point of the season.

  • IUMIKE1

    Not taking a dig at you, but he actually is a state employee.

  • IdahoHoosier

    What a nice guy. You’re my superior now? Because you’re from a town the Zellers came from? I haven’t seen a lot of points or facts out of you, just sad attempts at name-dropping. Please tell me what constitutes coaching? Communicating to and instructing players doesn’t count, so what is coaching?

  • Bankshot

    That’s the best you got? If that ain’t capitulation! Hate only hurts the hater! I’m talkin facts, trends and desperation. I ain’t got time to hate. I’ve been an IU fan since 1970. Obviously I expect more from IU than you.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Best I’ve got? I just asked a question. I’m just curious if you’ve always been dissatisfied with CTC’s recruiting and coaching or just recently. Feel free not to dodge the question if you like.

  • Sylvia Shanks Masingo

    all these injuries at the same time. maybe its time to condition their training better. you do not take a thoroughbred and put a 3 bottom plow to them. these young men need to train as basketball players and not football players

  • IdahoHoosier

    You may have a point there Sylvia. We do know that some of our players (JBJ for sure) had a history of injuries, so that could be partially to blame. But you’re right, if injuries continue to pile up more than other teams, the training certainly needs to be looked at.