Seniors Josh Newkirk and Robert Johnson met with the media on Tuesday afternoon at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
The duo discussed offseason workouts and much more:
A full transcript is available below, via ASAP Sports:
Q. Rob, what do you feel like you got out of the whole NBA process? And as you’ve been back for a while now, what do you feel you’ve taken into workouts, whether it’s weight room, on the court, all those different things?
ROBERT JOHNSON: Yeah, I think I got a lot of good feedback as to what I need to work on, things I need to show going forward. So I think it’s just good to have those things in mind as you try to progress.
Q. Just what are some of those things?
ROBERT JOHNSON: Well, a couple things that they talked about was they wanted to see if I could play point guard at a high level, have the ability to run a team, and just be more consistent throughout the year.
Q. De’Ron was talking a little bit about leadership and how far you guys have come. Going into the fall, what makes you guys confident to take that next step as far as leadership?
ROBERT JOHNSON: Yeah, I think at this point we have multiple guys that have game experience, that have played at a high level for the past couple years with me, Josh, Kyle and Juwan, guys like that that have given valuable minutes to the team.
So I think with all those guys, that will definitely help with a team like this, and we’re just looking to build every day.
Q. Why do you think veteran leadership is important? And why, when you really didn’t have it last year, how much did that hurt you guys?
ROBERT JOHNSON: I think it’s always important just for the simple fact that leaders have to be coaches on the court, and that’s something that should be able to be reflected whenever you watch us play. So I think that the experience that comes this year, you know, that will really help.
Q. De’Ron said in here he was down about 20 pounds. When you’re on the court with him, what is the biggest difference you see for either of you guys?
JOSH NEWKIRK: He just looks more agile. You can just tell he’s lighter on his feet. He’s moving better. The weight that he lost, it’s definitely helping him. So he just feels better. It’s just helping him a lot.
Q. Anything specific either one of you guys have been working on with Coach Marshall?
ROBERT JOHNSON: Nothing specific, but just total body workouts as far as conditioning, getting stronger, more athletic, more flexible. We’ve done a lot of different things.
Q. From the point guard perspective, obviously, new coach, new system, what have you made of it now that you’ve had a couple weeks to digest it?
ROBERT JOHNSON: Well, as far as the workouts, they’ve been really good workouts. We’ve done a lot of different things that I think will help us get better.
JOSH NEWKIRK: Yeah, Coach Miller, he was a point guard, so he’s definitely teaching us a lot during the workouts on just teaching us just the little things. Now to just read defenses, different ways to get in the paint, different ways to create.
Q. For both of you guys, the ability to reduce the turnovers, what is the key from your standpoint?
ROBERT JOHNSON: I think it just all comes down to decision making. Making the simple play right when it’s available and just doing that over and over again.
JOSH NEWKIRK: Yeah, just being in certain situations. In practice we deal with playing against man dangers, so just reading situations, getting the experience. I think it will help.
Q. Coach Miller talked about turnovers coming down. He also talked about defense and having a really aggressive attitude. How do you guys implement that. How do you think that’s going to look?
JOSH NEWKIRK: We’re putting in defensive techniques right now. We’re just learning his different techniques, different terminology. So I think we’re just taking it day by day, learning how to be better defenders and learning the ins and outs of his defensive scheme.
ROBERT JOHNSON: Yeah, basically what he said. We’re just learning what his philosophies are as far as defense. We obviously want to be a lot more aggressive going forward. I think it will be really good for us.
Q. How would you describe his defensive philosophy? What are the points that he hammers home to you guys?
ROBERT JOHNSON: Just aggressive. You want to get after people. A lot of help-side, a lot of simple things, but just making sure you stay consistent and be really aggressive with them.
Q. For both guys, I know it’s early, but can you talk about what the biggest difference is between Coach Miller?
ROBERT JOHNSON: I feel like every team is different, especially when you go through coaching changes at a high level. At the end of the day, we’re still a Big Ten team, and I just think it will obviously be different as far as philosophies and things like that, but at the end of the day, it will be about the same thing, which is winning games.
JOSH NEWKIRK: Yeah, same. It’s different terminology, just different personalities we’ve just got to get used to. But at the end of the day everybody got like a new team, so we’ll just deal with it and move on.
Q. For each of you guys, how much of a difference has it made having Collin be more involved? I know he’s still working his way back and working through rehab and things like that, but as much as he could be last year, as he continues to work his way back and becomes more involved, how much of a difference has that made?
JOSH NEWKIRK: It’s definitely an added help. Collin’s a very vocal leader. He brings a lot of things to the table that goes unnoticed, like just his hustle, just him being out there and being a leader. So it will definitely help us.