News and notes from Mike Woodson’s radio show

  • 11/07/2023 7:40 am in

Mike Woodson joined Don Fischer Monday night for another episode of “Inside Indiana Basketball with Mike Woodson”, on the eve of Indiana’s first game of the 2023-24 season.

Here’s a recap of what Woodson had to say on this week’s episode of Inside Indiana Basketball:

• Woodson said he thought the team was “solid from the beginning to the end” in Indiana’s win over Marian in Friday’s exhibition game. He said the Hoosiers focused on making adjustments at halftime to prevent Marian from shooting 3-pointers the way they were in the first half.

• Woodson said Indiana started to “ball-watch” in the first half against Marian, allowing second-chance buckets.

• On improvements in free throw shooting: “The first game, our guys were so nervous based on the layups around the rim that we missed, and then the early free throws…so I thought we went back the next few days and we just shot more free throws, and tried to get guys to concentrate more and I thought it was a nice carryover into the Marian game.”

•  Woodson said getting points off of the fastbreak has been a big focus in practices. He said he believes the team has “enough guys who can handle the basketball” to be able to make plays in the open court. Woodson also said he wants to be able to reward his bigs, if they’re able to run he wants to get them the ball early.

• On the fastbreak: “That old way of rebound, now the point guard’s got to come back and get the ball and then bring the ball up the floor, I think it slows the break down.”

• On issues with rebounding: “I think in the past two years we’ve always relied on our bigs to get the rebounds, and the way teams in college basketball today are shooting the long ball… our guards have got to get back in there and stick their nose in there and pick up some of them scraps.”

• On the depth of the team: “The kind of team that we’ve put together, I feel good about every player playing and contributing… I want to try to get to 9 to 10 players playing each and every night.” Woodson said his goal of playing 9-10 players each night should set the team up well “down the home stretch” and prevent his players from getting worn down by the end of the season.

• On becoming a great defensive team: “We’ve just got to keep working and getting our unit and our group to talk more. That’s how you become a great defensive team. And the fact that we’ve got so many new guys, that’s kind of been a mystery in terms of getting these guys to understand that they’ve got to communicate.”

• Woodson said Xavier Johnson extends Indiana’s defense in a big way, putting “heat on the ball”. He said Gabe Cupps has been able to do similar things now that he’s joined the team.

• On sharing the basketball: “When you’ve got so many new faces, you’ve got to sell them on sharing the basketball. Because everybody on this team is capable of making a shot. If a guy’s open, you might have to sacrifice your shot. You might think your shot’s a great shot, or a good shot, but sacrificing the next pass might be a better shot. And that’s how we’ve got to get guys thinking.”

• On basketball IQ: “You could be the most talented player on the floor, but if you can’t understand Xs and Os, and understand defensive rotations and understand you’ve got to block out when the shot goes up to rebound the ball, you defeat the purpose in terms of what basketball is truly about. Basketball, I’ve always felt, is a thinking man’s game. The guy that really out-thinks you can beat you with all the talent in the world.”

• On FGCU: “Very competitive ball club… we’ve just got to stay with our game plan in terms of how we’re going to defend them on pick and rolls, their movement, and just stay consistent. And offensively, we’ve got to share the basketball and we’ve got to rebound with this team…we’ve got to really focus in on blocking out and rebounding the basketball.”

• On Bob Knight: “I lost a friend, a mentor, a father figure, a guy who basically shaped my career. 46 years of my life, I’ve known Bob Knight. That’s a long time, man. It’s hard to explain it to our fans and just people in general, unless you’ve been around him and gone through it, forget all the bad things — you can never take his bad things and outweigh all the good things he’s done for people. And that means more to me than anything.”

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