Quotes: Everything Mike Woodson said at Huber’s Winery

  • 05/31/2023 7:28 pm in

BORDEN, Ind.  – Mike Woodson addressed the media on Wednesday evening at Huber’s Winery at a Hoosiers For Good NIL event.

You can watch the full media availability here, but we’ve also transcribed Woodson’s comments, which are available below:

On IU’s recruiting success:

“I got a wonderful staff and, you know, we are beating the phones down and when guys come available, we trying to get in front of their parents and whoever’s their representative and we doing all the necessary things to get ’em to campus and close the deal. And this has been a great, a great summer for us in terms of recruiting and, again, I give a lot of credit to my staff and them getting me in front of the people that we’re trying to recruit, the player and we’re starting to pay off. It’s starting to pay off for us.”

On making IU an attractive option from a recruiting standpoint:

“Well, back in the day, it was always that way. And when I took the job, I made it clear to my coaches that we deserved to sit at the table with the best players. We kind of squabbled a little bit early on because they didn’t think we were in that position to be able to do that. And I thought we were based on Indiana basketball and the history of it. So, I didn’t accept no for an answer and I told ’em that I wanted to be able to sit at the table with the best players and compete with the Kentucky’s, the Kansas’, the Duke’s, teams like that. And all they can do is tell us no, but we gotta get there and we’ve been able to, to get there some, so it’s kind of nice.”

On the final available scholarship and if IU intends to fill it:

“I mean, we always, we always are looking based on a lot of the players tonight that might pull out (of the draft), you know, there might be a player that falls through the cracks and I’m just keeping… I’m watching it closely and I’m always looking to better our team and if we can pick up someone, based on who falls through the crack, then we will, we’ll pursue it and see what happens.”

On the impact of Jalen Hood-Schifino’s one-and-done season on recruiting:

“It’s done a lot, you know, I mean, when you think about when we recruited him, when I first saw Jalen, it was very early on and when I first saw him, I turned to Kenya (Hunter) and Ya (Rosemond) and I said, ‘hey, I gotta have that guy’. And they’re like, ‘coach, relax man’. You know, we got a lot of players we gotta see this summer. I said, no. He just reminded me of Jason Kidd, I mean there was some overtone there. He’s not Kidd, but there was some overtone there and I knew the time that I spent with Kidd was special. And I just thought the kid could do a lot of things. And not to say he was a one-and-done, but he put himself in that position, and was able to do a lot of nice things for our ball club and you know, our program benefited from it and it didn’t hurt that he was a five-star player coming in.”

On transitioning to life without Trayce Jackson-Davis:

“Well, you know, I’ll tell you guys, you know, the fact that Trayce was already established and he made the commitment to come back, you know, it made it a little easier for me because he had already posted two seasons of 18, 19, 20 points a game. And pretty much double-digits in rebounding. I’ve never coached a low-post player. I coached Melo (Anthony) and Amar’e (Stoudemire), but you know, they could step out and make shots and do a lot of other different things from a talent standpoint. So, in coaching Trayce, you know, it was a venture for us as a staff in terms of trying to put him in the best position possible to help to not only be successful but to help us win. And we started letting him handle the basketball a little bit more and doing some things outside the box that probably he wasn’t used to doing and, and he became great at it. We let him initiate our break, you know, he rebounds and he pushes it out and guys get out and they try to run and he rewards ’em with, with passes and things of that nature. So there are a lot of things that I, that I started implementing because again, it was new for me with the guy with his back against the bucket and giving him the ball and trying to design things to get him to basketball. So, I don’t have that anymore, you know, coming into this season and I can pretty much go back to my comfort zone, and how we somewhat played in New York. Which we kinda spread at the floor and that’s not to say our bigs, if I got mismatches and our bigs are early running, I expect them to try to post and get early strikes that way. And we try to get easy buckets right off our initial thrust. It’s gonna be a little bit different. I mean I got really seven new players and I gotta figure it out in terms of how we gonna play, who can do what. And so I’m kinda anxious to see come this next week, a lot of the guys are coming back this weekend and getting them in the gym and, and see who can do what.”

On building the chemistry for next season and the role he plays in it:

“Oh, I play a major part. I think once we get ’em all assembled in Bloomington, then I’ll set the groundwork in terms of what I expect. Don’t know the style of play in terms of exactly where we going to go as a team, but got a pretty good idea. But I gotta see it on the floor, I gotta put ’em in different combinations, and just see who can do what. And so this summer will be a major trial for our ball club and our program in terms of trying to put the guys in the best position possible to help us win when we start next season.”

On having more length at the three, four and five positions:

“Well, it would definitely help us defensively. In Atlanta I caught a lot of hell early on when we built that team. It was basically 6-7, 6-8, 6-9 players. And I can go down the list of players and everybody was like, ‘well why’? I think you gotta always build a defensive system first and then figure it out offensively And that’s what we did in Atlanta. We switched a lot and became a pretty good defensive team. I caught a lot of hell for our team switching and hell, now everybody switches. You know, I’m not saying I set the stage for it, but I look at high school, I look at AAU ball, I look at college, I look at the pros, everybody switches and then basically forces you into making a decision based on the switch. So, yeah, we were kind of onto something and I thought it helped us. So, you know, the fact that we’ve added, you know, a seven-footer, a 6-10 guy, a 6-8 guy, I mean that helps us defensively when we do switch and it helps us at the rim. It helps us rebound it. I mean a lot of things that come along with adding longer, athletic and rangy guys on your team.”

On the the feedback he’s hearing on the IU guys who are in the NBA draft:

“Well, I mean the key is the only time will tell. You hear both guys could possibly go in the first round, that would be huge for our program. And they deserve to be in the first round. I mean, I look at what Trayce has done over the body of work that he’s put in over the four years at Indiana is unbelievable and never made a three. Think about that. And Jalen has just come in and, and basically after X (Johnson) got hurt, you know, it was a lot of grumblings amongst you guys because you guys thought, well, hell, you know, where they gonna go? Race (Thompson) got hurt, you know, around the same time. And Jalen just kinda, he kinda hung in there man. And he rode that ship with us man. And everybody just kinda did their part and, we kind of regrouped and found ourselves again. And you gotta give that kid a lot of credit cause that’s a freshman kid that’s been thrown to the wolves man. And when you talk about dealing with the Big 10 man, but I thought he answered the bell extremely well and he’s put himself in a nice position to be able to get drafted and that’s great for our program.”

On his knee surgery:

“I’m so blessed to even be standing here because I went through a tough time and you know, I was still working guys, when you guys thought, ‘well why am I having knee surgery during recruiting time?’ You know, I had no choice. Because I put it off all these years and, and struggled to get around. So I feel like a new man. If you ask me, ‘will I do it all over again?’ I don’t know if I would or not because, I had some complications and had to go back into the hospital for some time. So lost a lot of weight, starting to get it back. But I feel a hundred percent better and I think I can probably outrun you now.”

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