Video, Quotes: Mike Woodson, IU players react to loss to Saint Mary’s

  • 03/17/2022 10:39 pm in

PORTLAND, Ore. – Mike Woodson, Trayce Jackson-Davis and Jordan Geronimo addressed the media following Indiana’s 82-53 loss to Saint Mary’s on Thursday in the 2022 NCAA tournament at the Moda Center.

Watch the full postgame press conference below:

Transcript below, via ASAP Sports:

MIKE WOODSON: You’ve got to give Saint Mary’s credit. I have nothing but love and respect for Coach Bennett. I thought his team competed at a much higher level than we did tonight. It just means we’ve got to go back and get busy this summer and get better.

But it was a great run for our ball club this season getting back into the Big Dance, and now we’ve got to build on it for future. That’s what it’s all about at this point.

Q. Trayce, Jordan, obviously we asked a whole bunch of questions yesterday about travel and tired legs and everything like that. Obviously at the time, you didn’t want to talk too much about that, but after having been out there really experiencing it, did you guys notice a difference in your legs and your stamina once you were out there?

TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: I feel like we started off pretty good, pretty solid, then towards the middle of the game we started hitting shots. We weren’t up on ball screens. I don’t think it had anything to do with legs. Obviously, when you start playing a lot of minutes, you get tired regardless.

I just think that overall they were a sharper team than us today. They hit their shots and ran their offense, and they were an overall better team.

Q. Trayce, this is going to be another off-season where you have to make decisions about your future. What will be your timetable in that regard, and what are going to be some of the factors in terms of whether return or go elsewhere?

TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: I’m not really worried about that right now. Right now I’m just kind of worried about just being with my teammates, just being in the moment. I’ll talk to Coach Woodson, like I did last off-season, and we’ll go from there. So preparation in everything I do. I’ll have a plan in sight, but there’s no timetable right now.

Q. Trayce or Jordan, either one, but Trayce talked about they kind of started hitting some shots, and things just maybe weren’t sharp defensively. I guess what was it that you felt you couldn’t get sharp again, that you couldn’t just kind of find? Because you guys have been good at kind of adjusting to runs, particularly in the last few weeks, adjusting to teams’ runs. What wasn’t sharpening back up defensively, I guess?

TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: Overall, it was our defense. We’ve been really, really good on the defensive end of the floor, and tonight we just didn’t have it. We didn’t have the spark. We were letting guys dribble drive past us, screen and rolls, open layups, and just not being tough at the rim. Stuff of that nature where we make it hard for teams.

Tonight they really dictated to us, and we didn’t punch back.

Q. Jordan, you were a big part of the last few games for Indiana this year. What have you gained going forward that you can use?

JORDAN GERONIMO: I just gained, I guess, a lot of confidence in myself, knowing that I’m able to provide to help my team win. And just being able to work with my team is always a good experience. It was a good experience.

Q. Trayce, I know it’s just a 40-minute game, but can you talk to how well they played against you guys though too?

TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: I bet you they started scouting us right when they saw who they were playing. We had a game to worry about it with Wyoming. I think that they had a really, really good game plan going in. They doubled. They came from the back side of the post. They watched my spinoffs, and then we couldn’t hit anything, and they were making their shots.

They had an excellent game plan, and they executed it very well. So it’s props to them because they deserved to win that game.

Q. Coach Woodson, Coach Bennett said he knows you won’t use it as an excuse, but that you guys were dealt a really tough situation. Can you just speak to how proud you are of these guys in this last week given the situation?

MIKE WOODSON: Again, I’ve never been a coach — you guys don’t know me that well. I’ve never been a coach that makes excuses. I had to do better tonight to get these guys — and I give Saint Mary’s all the credit, man, but I thought tonight we just didn’t have it. And I know we’re a much better team than we showed tonight, and that’s on me.

But traveling had nothing to do with it. I mean, it’s what it is, man. We’re happy to be in the Big Dance and getting this opportunity. So I can’t point the finger at that. I just thought that they were the better team tonight, man, because we were a step slow on everything we wanted to do from a defensive standpoint.

Q. My question is for Coach Woodson. As the first season wraps up, it may be a little too soon to have enough context on it, but what are your reflections just after your first full season now being in Indiana?

MIKE WOODSON: It was great to come back, man. My AD, Scott Dolson, giving me an opportunity to take this job on meant a great deal to me and my family and all the people that have supported me all these years at Indiana and just around the country, man. It was great.

But it was all about these players. They made a commitment to let me coach them, and that meant more to me than anything because going in blindly like I did, that wasn’t the case. It was a lot of damage control that had to be done to get these guys on board, to give me an opportunity. So I have nothing but love for the 17 players that I coached this season because they put this program back in the fold in terms of being in the Big Dance.

That’s what it’s about. You’ve got to give yourself an opportunity. You’ve got to get there and give yourself a chance, and I thought they did that for us this season.

Q. Trayce, I know you probably haven’t had a whole lot of time to reflect on it yet, but just looking back on the season, what has just been your favorite part of it?

TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: I just think overall just being with my guys and backs against the wall, going into the Big Ten tournament. Even being seeded lower than what we thought we were, and then beating Michigan and going and beating Illinois. I think, if we wouldn’t have gotten the Illinois game, we probably wouldn’t have been here at all.

Seeing the Hoosier hysteria around the state, it was a blessing to be a part of it. Just seeing the guys rally when adversity struck and being able to compete and clawing our way back in and making the Big Dance.

I know it’s not how we wanted to go out, but it’s an honor and blessing to be here. I’m proud of my guys for always fighting, and that’s probably my favorite part.

Q. Coach, how helpful is it for you in building the program to have at least gotten your younger guys a couple tournament games in the Big Dance and to have that run in Indianapolis?

MIKE WOODSON: Well, it’s huge. Moving forward it’s big time because it gives them an opportunity to taste it and feel what it’s really like. I mean, if you never get an opportunity to taste March Madness, man, it’s not a good feeling, I’ll tell you that.

I went a few years where I didn’t make the Big Dance, and it’s a long summer. It’s like relating to the NBA playoff basketball. If you never give your team an opportunity to get in the playoffs, they’ll never know what it feels like.

Now these guys, they have a feel. They got this summer to go and work on things that can make them better as ballplayer and make us better as a team when they come back.

So it’s a lot of positives making the Big Dance this year for our program.

Q. Mike, I guess to follow on from that, you talked a couple times about pivoting these guys toward the off-season. What are maybe two or three things you really want them to hold tight to this off-season? Things they might have learned from the season, ways they can get better, things they can sort of build off this year?

MIKE WOODSON: Again, a lot of it is they’re going to have to take the off-season — and I’m going to make every player watch every game that was played this year by the Hoosiers. That’s one way you go back and you reflect and you learn. I’ll sit down, and I’ll have a program in place, along with my trainer, Cliff, our strength coach, in terms of things I think that they need to work on to get better.

I mean, that’s how it’s normally done. That’s how I’ve always done it in the past with teams that I’ve coached in the past.

So these guys are young, man, and they’ve got a lot to learn in terms of basketball and how I want to play and the style of play that I want. So it’s going to be a work in progress, but that’s what we all signed up for. We just got to get through that process and get better for next season.

Q. Mike, this is for you. What are the three or four areas that you feel you guys need to be better as far as play on the court? Is it shooting? What three or four things would you pick?

MIKE WOODSON: Well, shooting is a big part of it. I thought our defense carried us guys, and we didn’t shoot the ball extremely well this season. You guys know that. You watched us play. And we got to get better in that area. I’d be foolish to say we don’t because we do.

We got to be better on the wings from a defensive standpoint. But, again, these are things that I’ve got to go evaluate once I get back and sit with my coaching staff and just see where we are as a ball club and just start trying to piece it all back together for next season.

Q. Coach, you said you’re going to have them go back and watch every game again. When they watch the games from these last eight days, and specifically like the Illinois and the Michigan games, what do you think they can pull positive from those? What are you really proud of this team that they did in those games that really stood out and they can build on?

MIKE WOODSON: It’s just the level of play. I mean, I thought, excluding tonight’s game, the Michigan game, the Iowa game, the Illinois game, they really forced us to really, really play at a high level, and that’s how it should be.

I flip that, teams shouldn’t have to force you because you should develop a team that way that want to play at a high level. I thought we were kind of in desperate mode coming into the tournament because we knew, if we didn’t win a game and it took us two games to get in, I think, if we had just won the Michigan game, I don’t think we would have got in. I truly believe that.

So, I mean, the pressure was really on this young team, and these guys stepped up, and they did what they had to do to get us to this day. So it’s something to build on, man. It’s all positive, I think, moving forward for our program, but we do have to get better.

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