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INDIANA UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE


November 5, 2014


Tom Crean


COACH CREAN:  Let me start with Devin.  Making progress.  And when I say that, I wish I could sometimes give you this just great bit of information.  But progress this morning is sitting up in a chair.  Progress is taking a walk.
Progress, I guess he played his dad two games at Uno and beat him, which was coming from dad.  So I think that's progress.  Last night, watched him and sat there and helped hold him up to watch him eat his dinner, which was not easy.  And reality is setting in obviously that this is a long road with his injury.  And again the people have been just so great but it's starting to really focus in on the process.
And our players are seeing that.  Certainly we're seeing it.  But that fails in comparison to what the family sees.  So hopefully he will continue to make progress.
We get updates at the beginning of the day, the end of every day and certainly we see him throughout the day.
And that's the update that I have with him.¬† So there's no long‑term update there.¬† There's no what it will be like tomorrow.¬† It's really what I said the other day.
You know, little steps are the milestones.  And I've been involved in some head injuries, with players before.  Nothing to this extent.  But you really do learn that those little steps you can't get frustrated and you can't have high expectations, and the life lesson is you take nothing for granted.  But the bottom line is that he is making progress and we are going to hope that that continues.


Q. How do you impress upon the scholarship athletes that they have to act in a way that goes above and beyond the general student population?
COACH CREAN:  You keep at it.  There's a quote, one of our coaches found.  I wish I had seen this at some other point he said the greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.  And that's by George Bernard Shaw.  Maybe you've seen that.  I've never seen that.
And to me all you can keep doing is keep doing that.  You have to keep putting it out there.  You have to keep addressing it.  And you're always going to play hindsight when anything happens.  At halftime you play, hindsight is 20/20.  After the game, and the first thing you do when you jump into the films, you don't look at all the things they did well, didn't do well.  That's the way it is with communication in every area and it is with strategies and things of that nature.
But can never stop‑‑ I've never been a part as an assistant coach or I've been involved in college basketball now 28 years, 16 years as a head coach.¬† Starting my 16th season as a head coach.¬† Never been in a situation where I felt like we weren't trying to communicate enough.¬† But there's very few times at the end of the year where you look at it and say every bit of communication was adhered to.¬† It isn't.
But you just keep working at it to the very best that you can.¬† And it is extremely hard no matter where it is in college athletics, and I'm sure it's the same with high school and out of high school.¬† I'm sure it's the same with junior high, is when you are held to a different standard, all right, you do have to‑‑ it's a 24/7 standard.
You have to really work towards.  And we have 24/7 responsibility.  24/7 accountability.  That comes with it.  But the young people, they don't have that back.  And there's so many other people that they make their own choices now.
I'm not saying it's this person's fault or that person's fault.  I'm never going back to an assistant coach with Ralph Willard and Tom Izzo.  We never let somebody put the blame on somebody else.  The players, the people make the choices.
But not everybody has the same standards.  And they don't have the same responsibilities and they certainly don't have the same notoriety.  But you deal with it and you constantly communicate it.
And the most important thing is not just mine.  Okay.  It's having a group of people, a staff of people, that are doing that.  And then you try to get the parents and the significant others in their life, whether it's grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, whoever it is, to continue to be in the same message.  And that's the key, because ultimately that's what it all comes down to.
It really does come down to they don't get this.  When they look out, they don't see me.  They don't see the program a lot of times.  Sometimes they don't even see each other.
When I see them, all right, and this is just the way that it is, when you go through the recruiting process, whether you've know them a short time or an awful long time, when you look back at them, you see them, you see their families, and I certainly don't want to see families like I had to see the other night, in the sense of me being in there first before they were and then preparing them to see their son in that situation.
So I've always believed that.  And more than ever that's the image that I have about communication and what you're trying to get across to people.  That when you look back at them, you're not quite sure what they see, but you better see their families when you're looking back at them.
And that's the most important aspect and we can always‑‑ there's not one day, there's not one time period of a game or a practice or a session or certainly when you have discipline or punishment or when you have issues or when somebody makes a mistake, you know, even going back to what we had this summer, when they make a mistake, you always are always‑‑ that's where the parental part of it constantly comes in.¬† You're always going to wonder about what you could have done better.
And that's where the beat‑up is because you constantly beat yourself up over that.¬† But at the same time you've got to keep communicating and keep going with it and you've gotta keep‑‑ you can't stop.
And you've gotta continue to have those people around you that can help you enlist that message the best way possible.

Q.  Tom, I know you don't always like to get specifics in terms of discipline but is this a situation now where almost zero tolerance needs to happen?
COACH CREAN:  I'm not sure what I really understand what zero tolerance is.  And you're a parent, right?  I'm a parent, too.  I don't really know what that means.  I know this, I know this:  I know if I could go back and do something over on Friday night, after a very good practice and 20 to 30 minutes talking about what we weren't going to do, all right, and you know what I wish I would have done.  I wish I would have scheduled practice later that night.  I'm not joking.
The rules say you get to practice until midnight that's it.  Then you can't go again until the next morning at five.  If I could go back and do it over, we would have practiced until 11:30, midnight.  Showered up.  Got them something to eat, took them back to my house, figured out how we were going to do it.  Got up the next morning, came back in here shortly after five, when it's legal again, and practiced again, if I knew that situation was going to happen that night.
And you know what I've learned from this, too, if coming to Indiana and really looking forward to Halloween or Little 500 Weekend or some other holiday or some other get‑together that comes in on a college campus if I could look at it say you know what, they want to come for that, then they're not coming to Indiana.¬† Do I think anybody comes just for that?¬† No, I don't.¬† But do I think it's a part of that, yes.¬† If I could go back and do that over, I absolutely would.
I absolutely would.  Now steps taken right now, absolutely.  Do we do more?  No question about it.  Were we already doing a lot?  Absolutely.
And the thing about discipline and punishment, they're two different things.  And punishment, a lot of times is what you see.  You know, it's suspension or they're up early in the morning for something.  The dawn patrol or those types of things.
But the discipline‑‑ the punishment and discipline sometimes they're ongoing.¬† And it's internal discipline for a reason.¬† Because you're trying to keep it internal.
And that's why they use the word.  But I've never been a big grandstander on we're doing this and we're doing that and this isn't going to happen.  Nobody can say that.  I don't know what's going on right now.  Right?
Just like you don't.  Nobody does.  And I'm not making an excuse.  We just don't.  Right?  So we deal with it when it comes.  But is everybody's attention at a place right now on issues probably where it's never been in their life?  I would hope so.  I would absolutely hope so.
And not every one of them saw him that time.¬† Not everyone saw him even when he was remotely in his worst shape.¬† But they saw enough to know.¬† And I'm not using this as a‑‑ it is what it is.¬† It's not like we have to put a picture up of him to remind anybody.
So I don't know what zero tolerance means.¬† I really don't.¬† I know that's a nice buzzword phrase.¬† We're going to continue to do everything we can do to get decision‑making to improve, to get immaturity to become maturity.
Does that mean that everybody's going to make it here?  Well, maybe not.  You don't get in this business to get rid of people when they're making progress.
And I've had to remove people.  And I've got people that removed themselves right before I removed them so that they could save face.  If I've been anything as a coach that I look back and say I've got a big fault on this, I've been too forgiving of the person to early, maybe.
Not necessarily forgiving of the act but it doesn't mean that you‑‑ it doesn't mean that okay, that's it, you're gone.¬† Because a lot of times, all right, there's some great success stories of people that have left me or people that have transferred.¬† There's also some that aren't.¬† There's also some that aren't.¬† When you've coached 28 years, been a head coach for 16 years, you're going to have a lot of everything.¬† It is what it is.
So that's a long‑‑ I don't want to give long answers.¬† I really didn't want to come in here, do that.¬† But that's a long answer to a question that I don't really have a great clarity.¬† And I know everybody can have one, okay, but the bottom line is we've got to help people grow and get better.

Q.  Following up on that somewhat, I don't know how to ask this more delicately, but do you feel I guess a greater level of impact in the way that guys are, because of the nature of this incident this weekend, do you feel like guys are taking it more seriously, I guess?
COACH CREAN:  What would you think?  I would certainly hope so.  Yeah, absolutely.  I don't mean that bad.  I would certainly hope so.  And you'd also like to think that it would have never gotten to that situation.
But have we‑‑ I can't give zero tolerance.¬† Are there some things that right now, you know what, the next stories that might be getting done will be about he's a dictator and he's no fun to play with, there will be unnamed sources that say he's this, he doesn't let us do that.¬† I'd much rather deal with that reputation, much rather deal with that than have to look at the parents that I did the other night and call home and make the kids call home when we've had mistakes in the past.
And I'd much rather deal with that.  So do I think that got their attention, yeah.  And you know what we'll not take it for granted.  That's the best answer I can give you.  We'll not take it for granted.  It's not like we have to make a whole bunch of wholesale changes.  We were already doing a lot of things.  There's a staff of people that you surround yourself with, support staff.  There's life skills, counselors.  We have the medical people.  And you know, when you're at Indiana you've got the opportunity to have some of the best.
You know what, that still doesn't make it go right.  You just have to keep with the message.  It's consistent and as many times and as many different ways as you possibly can.  It's like a drill.  You want to get better at transition defense.  If you do the same drill every day, they become accustomed to the drill.
Okay.  Five, six, seven different ways we can work on transition defense.  Maybe we get better at it and it doesn't become so regimented.  It's the same thing in discipline and communication.  We just keep finding different ways to do it.
I mean, we had a mistake in the winter, (indiscernible) to a man who has ever heard him, to a man, whether it's Victor Oladipo at the NBA Rookie Symposium or Cody Zeller, NFL players, the people that know him, not a more powerful speaker out there right now.¬† And two nights later Hanner Mosquera‑Perea made a huge mistake.¬† He was in that meeting.
That's where I go.  You're trying to get the message across.  You say why don't you do this, why don't you do that.  We are.  Hanner sat a couple of games.
I'm not sure that the discipline somewhere in mid‑July is when we started to back it off, the punishment and discipline, I just didn't call a news conference to cover it all the time.¬† And we didn't put it on message boards.¬† We just do it.¬† And it is the way it is.

Q.¬† I don't know if you had a chance to see some of the comments that Jordan Hulls and Cody Zeller and those guys about what it means to play at Indiana and Jordan referenced Indiana.¬† They clearly inferred that these guys don't get that yet.¬† Do you feel this current group doesn't get it and if so how do you get that message across and get the behavior to‑‑
COACH CREAN:¬† Well, Jeff, I think that everybody you're talking about‑‑ and I did see that yesterday.¬† And I've seen the texts that I've received from some of those that aren't public and the text messages and phone calls that I've received from guys all the way back to Michigan State as an assistant, the whole way through, everybody has a story.
And everybody goes through different stages to get mature.  Everybody goes through different stages to get to that place.  And what I take from that because of the way the program had to get built back up after the devastation that was here when we got here, is that those guys really did pay a price.
Now, I'm not going to‑‑ has it been a five‑year or five‑and‑a‑half‑year, no issues in the program, that wouldn't be realistic.¬† That's not the case.
But everybody learns and they grow.  And that's the leadership level that you want to be there.

Q.  You recruited all these kids.  How much responsibility is on you?  How much do you feel for just (indiscernible)?
COACH CREAN:  You know, I feel a tremendous amount.  I would say this, with you, because I've been a fan for a long time and that hasn't changed.  Not going to change.
And the many reasons that you have been successful in my mind and why you're here is because you have a passion and an opinion and it's very strong.
I and mean that sincerely.¬† It's not anything to do with anything.¬† My passion level for what my responsibilities are are as high as they can possibly be.¬† And when it doesn't go right, and when the responsibility that falls on my shoulders‑‑ and again, am I disappointed that the fans and the faithful and the community and the students and whether somebody's been coming here for 50 years or getting ready to see their first game tomorrow night, am I disappointed for that, there's absolutely no question about it.
Am I extremely disappointed for my family, for my coaches, for their families, no question about it.  But when you do this and you feel the responsibility to the kids, you feel a responsibility to their parents.  And it's all not traditional, parents.
It's not all two parents at home, three kids, three car garage.¬† That's not life.¬† But you feel a responsibility to them no matter who it is.¬† And that's what gets me the most.¬† Because nobody‑‑ nobody starts coaching‑‑ I started coaching at Alma College.¬† I made $700 in three years.¬† I got paid $7200 to be GA at Michigan State.¬† I made $33,000 with Ralph Willard in Western Kentucky.
Those are like unbelievable at those times in life to get that.  The money, those are byproducts.  You do this because you are working with players, because you love to get them better because you want to see them grow.  And as hard as things are, when things come, people really don't surprise you.  People that have a negative opinion that doesn't really surprise you.  People that are positive about you, that doesn't surprise you either.
When you hear back from the people that you go through these things with and you know the whole story, you know going all the way back to a Michigan State, to Marquette and all those different places, what we all went through and see how they're turning out, you see how supportive they are and how willing they are to do things.  People that would, in a drop of the hat, where they have nothing to do with Indiana at all, that would come back here and help us do that, you know along the way you had a good responsibility to them too.  Not everything turns out great, but you keep working towards it.
So to answer your question, do I feel a responsibility?  More than you can possibly imagine.

Q.  What message are you personally feeling like you're getting from the Hoosier Nation, and what is your message back to them?
COACH CREAN:¬† I'll be honest with you, I read articles late last night.¬† I don't get into it like you would think.¬† I tried to follow elections yesterday off Politico.¬† I know what's coming up news‑wise.¬† I have really not read much, but I did read some things last night.
The messages that come in, the phone messages, texts, those things are phenomenal.¬† They've been coming for some time.¬† That's not the focus.¬† It's like I said, whatever‑‑ the message is we got a lot of good things going here.¬† So if you want a message, you know what the message is, we've got a 3.1 team GPA.
We have had guys like Derek Elston, Jordan Hulls, Austin Etherington graduated in three years.  Matt Roth.  We had guys walk out of here with their Masters in four years.
We've had an APR of a thousand for four years, which no one else in this league has done.¬† We won a Big Ten championship a little over a year and half ago or whatever it was.¬† Back‑to‑back Sweet 16s.¬† Hadn't been done in this program in 20 years.¬† Either of them.¬† 20 years.
For a storied traditional program.  We're the greatest traditions at the time.  We're not only turning out NBA people and people playing professional, we're turning out people that are doing good things in their lives.  There's a lot of really, really good things going on.  Because if there wasn't, first and foremost, I would have never been to this point, right?
But if there wasn't, we wouldn't have good people coming in.¬† We wouldn't have players that‑‑ we're getting a lot of different players.¬† Okay.¬† Some from Indiana.¬† Some from out of state.¬† Whatever it is, you bring them in.¬† You've got to help make them better.
You know what it is?  One of the greatest things that the Hoosier Nation has and the greatest thing:  They're here, they're present, they're a part of it.  And they're there.
When those kids are coming in, they're being recruited and they're at the games and they're buying the tickets.¬† So is there disappointment level?¬† Absolutely.¬† Do those kids all understand that?¬† There's no way they do.¬† And then you have the other ones‑‑ Jordan Hulls might have.¬† Derek Elston, some might have.¬† But they learn it.¬† Nobody comes in here understanding that.
I didn't come in here understanding that.  I have a pretty good idea.  I didn't come in here understanding it to that level, but I do.  But as disappointed and as I feel, honestly, it's a lot different when I deal with families.  The good news for me is a tremendous amount of family support because they know it could happen to them.  They know they could have been the Davis family the other night.  They know that.  All right.  And they know that I know that.
And we keep working and we keep working as forward on that.  And you know what, the other thing, and maybe it will change, but in 16 years as a head coach and being with Tom and Ralph Willard and back at Elma College, no one ever got to the end of the year and said:  You know what, you really disappointed us because you didn't do enough to them, you didn't discipline them enough.  They might not have liked it.  They may have thought it was too much.  Nobody ever said it wasn't.  And that's what you gotta continue to build on, too.

Q.¬† How much of this, not to pass blame, but how much of this‑‑ let's talk about leadership within the players themselves, and the fact that it's a young team, senior leadership that because the (indiscernible) is going on out there right now for this program, how much of that goes on?
COACH CREAN:¬† It's a growth testament, not growing fast enough.¬† That's not a news flash for us.¬† It's not.¬† And for those that follow the program, it's not a news flash for them either.¬† But it is growing.¬† I know it doesn't look like that in the sense of the other night.¬† But it's a process that you can't put‑‑ if you could put a timeline on it, it would be a lot easier.
We're not doing a great job in leadership.¬† At all.¬† Because leadership is not‑‑ leadership, in one sense, in the sense of with your program, is you deal with adversity head on.¬† And we've done that since we walked in and walked in here and the 2nd of April, for the whole thing.¬† You dealt with adversity.¬† You deal with adversity when you're a part of it in the sense of what we deal with.¬† We set the screen (indiscernible).
And leadership is not just around here, it's not just when they're around the locker room.  The leadership that we've got to have and the leadership that every high school coach but certainly every college coach, no matter what sport it is, has got to have, wants to have, is when no one is looking and when you're not around and when you're not with them in those periods of time, okay, and they are doing the right things.
And I would love to tell you, you know what, we just do early morning stuff all the time.  We still have people in my past that have done something, here and others, okay, where they did it in the middle of the night and we still had that early morning situation.
I wish there was a timeline on that.  But there's not.  But do I sit here and say that our leadership is the best, absolutely not.  And it's gotta grow and it's gotta change and people have to grow and be leaders.  But the leadership is really you can't just put it on one or two guys.  I've learned that.
I mean, it's not about captains.¬† It's not about who runs up to center circle to shake the refs hand and the other team's hand.¬† It's got to start at the beginning.¬† Who has the courage, okay, and the conviction of their own values but of their friendships to say no, we're not doing this.¬† No, we're not going in there.¬† Because ultimately to me, this‑‑ and we're getting hurt by it again the other day, I said it back at the end of the year.¬† Okay.¬† They think friendships are being buddies.
All right.¬† And I don't have a college athlete in my family.¬† I may.¬† He's 15.¬† But I don't have a college athlete right now.¬† My daughter, Megan.¬† But at the end of the day, friendships and being buddies are on two different ends of the spectrum.¬† Because true friendships are like comrades.¬† They do not let you‑‑ they're not worried about the popularity of that friendship to get you to not be at the right place.
The problem is, in this day and age, and where we're sitting right now, we have too many people in the same spot.  And that's what we've got to continue to outgrow on.  And do I feel a responsibility for that?  Can't tell you how much.  I really can't.
And I don't know what it is.¬† You know, I really don't.¬† The holidays‑‑ not the holidays, the Halloweens, the Little 500s, the things like that, it's what it's going to have to be.¬† That's what it's going to have to be.
But I'm not sure I'm going to be able to pull it off every night.¬† So we just keep giving them the message the best we can.¬† And when you hear back from your former people, okay, when you hear back from those parents, former parents, current parents‑‑ current parents big time‑‑ you know it's not all falling on deaf ears.
And so I'm not sitting up here trying to‑‑ it's not about defending or debating.¬† I'm dealing with it, constantly.¬† And we're not going to‑‑ we don't have to say we've got to make some changes here, make wholesale changes, no, we have to make the changes to make it even better and even sterner.¬† But it's not, well, you know what, let's go bring something in, try these new eight ways to get the point across.
No, no.  Change is inevitable.  Change is constant.  All right.  When you change something, you've got to do it right.  And so we've gotta continue to do that.
But there's never been a halftime that we walked in and said we have to do something different.¬† Too many times when you wait until halftime and too many times if you wait for the 12‑minute or eight‑minute timeout, that's too late.¬† You've got to be willing to make changes right there.¬† You're always trying to assess that and do the best with that.¬† And we are.

Q.  With the suspensions you mentioned you have guidelines that say how long maybe a player should sit, explain the process?
COACH CREAN:  You're going to have to ask me more specifically.  Some I can't really talk about.

Q.  The suspensions, why are you starting with the exhibitions as opposed to maybe carrying them through?
COACH CREAN:¬† That's part of the student‑athlete handbook or mandates, whatever it is.¬† It's no more than 50percent of your‑‑ I'm not sure what it's called.¬† It's the preseason or something like that.¬† It's the same for all sports in that situation.
And I tacked on another one.  So really with this, it's all timing, it's all about the timing of it.  If this were two weeks from now, it wouldn't be exhibition games.  If it were four weeks from now, it wouldn't be exhibition games.  It's a timing situation.
Those situations I suspended for, and tacked on to, as most of you have seen, that was from this summer.  That was from a situation this summer that we knew we were going to deal with when this time came.
The decision to do it‑‑ now it really would have been today, I guess, rather than Monday night, was certainly triggered by the fact of what happened on Friday.
But the decision was made to do it at the beginning of this season and not the beginning of the school year, even though the discipline and punishment for this started at the beginning of the school year.
The other part of it‑‑ and I can't cross lines here, and you understand what I'm saying, in the sense of those things.¬† But it's just a timing of it.
So it really doesn't have‑‑ it's where it falls in the time of the year.¬† I think if you look around, you see some other people, and you can do your research on this because we see it all the time, all right, when players are missing games, it's because of the timing of the situation.
And we had some mistakes made this summer that were ridiculous.¬† Okay.¬† And this is where it's at.¬† And I decided to add more to it because it's just another way of‑‑ I'd love to say‑‑ the exhibition thing, we're still taking, they're still not playing.¬† That's what they really ultimately, they come here to do.
They want that education and we sell the GPA and the three‑year graduate, and if you're here four years you could potentially be a Master's degree holder and all those things.¬† But they're here to play basketball.
But the punishment and the discipline that goes inside of that, that's been going on for some time.  And it has.  And I'm not going to share that, because I never really have, and I really don't want to turn into a coach that does do the grandstanding, look at us, this is what we do.
And because in my history of looking at that dealing with recruiting, it's usually not quite that way.  But we're dealing with it, it's just the timing.  Does that make sense?

Q.¬† Just a follow‑up on that.¬† Could you have gone harsher, five games, six games, seven games?¬† Did you have that freedom?¬† Do you feel like you didn't want to go in that direction because you took care of discipline with the things that we can't talk about?
COACH CREAN:¬† Yeah, I think you tie in the‑‑ adding a game was a decision based on what was already a school rule.¬† I guess what would I say, student‑athlete?

Q.¬† Student‑athlete.
COACH CREAN:  I'm not sure all the terms.  Could I do more?  There's punishment and there's discipline.  I keep going back to that.  That's the way it's been for a long time.
And I'm not trying to compare myself to others and what they do and those type of things.¬† But you could always, okay, always do more and you could always do less.¬† And you follow what the mandates are, what the student‑athlete handbook says, and then you make your choice from there.¬† You can't do any less, and I don't think I'd ever want to even consider it.¬† But chose to do more.
In the Emmitt case, it was ‑‑ certainly there's a punishment.¬† There's a discipline.¬† And there's the fact he's living with something that I¬† had to face the other night, too.¬† That doesn't remotely condone what he did.¬† But those are the steps.
And I confer and I certainly‑‑ Fred really leaves it in the coaches hands, and I give it to him and I've listened to him in the past.¬† And I don't think he's ever looked at me and said, you know what, you're not doing enough.¬† And hope he never has to say that.¬† At the same time he leaves it up to the coaches and.¬† I decided to do more than what the student student‑athlete situation said.

Q.  The game, sounds like (indiscernible) editorialize, they don't seem to be getting the message.  Do you think your version of sterner, do you see it work?
COACH CREAN:¬† Absolutely.¬† Absolutely.¬† Do I see it working the other night?¬† Absolutely not.¬† But I don't have a better answer for it other than we just continue to‑‑ when I say sterner, that doesn't mean we're changing what we're doing.¬† So I'm not sure‑‑ am I getting your question?¬† I'm not sure I'm answering it correctly.¬† I'm not sure I understand it.

Q.¬† Do you think, is that window dressing saying more, or do you have to change the culture‑‑ you've got (indiscernible)
COACH CREAN:  We're working pretty hard at the culture, absolutely.  But your word is "window dressing" and that's fine.  That's not a word that I would use.  And that's certainly not anything that I see when we look at discipline or punishment.

Q.  Can you clarify or explain any further what Devin's injuries are and what he's living with now?
COACH CREAN:¬† I leave that to the doctors.¬† I tried to give an update of where he's at right now.¬† But I‑‑ we should get an update out here pretty quick from Dr.Rink again.¬† So we'll do that.

Q.¬† You mentioned feeling a responsibility as a parent to all these young kids.¬† How do you envision this for the student‑athlete that's not out there on the court?
COACH CREAN:  I think when you build the relationships with them that you do in recruiting, and I think when you go over to the period of time with them, I think you not only build the relationship with the player but certainly with their families.  And it's part of it.
And I think as certainly when you grow in your own world as a parent, you feel it that much more, especially when they get to that age.  It's just part of it.
So you try to give them the good.  You try to give them the bad.  You try to keep them involved in the situation.  You try to get them to talk to them at times.  And at the same time they have to trust you that you're doing the right thing for them or they wouldn't be here, they wouldn't be here.  And they wouldn't let them come.
So that's the bottom line with that.  I think as much as anything is we try to really work in that way.

Q.  Would you try and change the culture, talk about being sterner, that sort of thing, how do you try and do that looking forward?  Is it the message?  Is it different kinds of guys?
COACH CREAN:¬† When I say sterner, let me clarify "sterner," because maybe I didn't do a very good job of that.¬† I don't curse anymore.¬† That ended a few years back.¬† I don't have to‑‑ it's not about how much anger you bring them.
You have to‑‑ sterner sometimes may mean we have to take more away.¬† We've got to bring more to this that gets their attention.¬† See, sterner is (indiscernible) how do we get the attention and how do we get it again and again and again.¬† That's what it is.¬† Does it mean I have to yell louder?¬† I'm not big on grandstanding that part of it either.
Everybody has‑‑ people can define they have to do this, they have to do that, it has to be this.¬† Okay.¬† We've had a lot of people in six years as a head coach that have dealt with stern.¬† And they've ended up pretty good.¬† And bottom line.¬† But I think you just have to continue to get their attention any way possible.
And I think you keep‑‑ the culture here, you keep building it.¬† Because constantly, as anybody can attest to, from before, it can go quick.¬† So you have to work at it extremely hard.¬† And it can go on the court.¬† It can go in the locker room.¬† It can go off the court.¬† It can go so many different ways.¬† Culture is a moving target.
It's not a definition.  It's not a, hey, this is what it looks like everywhere.  Moving target.  And you've got to continue to build on that constantly.  And that's what we're trying to do.

Q.¬† You mentioned the other night you were coming from walk‑on tryouts, do you expect to add anybody?
COACH CREAN:  We had scheduled that from before.  I went into it with an open mind.  And I still do.  We haven't made any decisions on that at all yet.

Q.  When you're recruiting kids, how hard is it to really know if they're good leaders, if they're mature, because obviously people don't do this, how hard is it to really know that or not so that you know whether the (indiscernible)?
COACH CREAN:  You don't.  No matter what, we recruit at a young age.  But no matter what, you don't know them that way.  You don't know anybody until you get around them on a constant basis.  You just don't.  I'm not putting it on that.
You just have to work constantly.  You deal with it head on.  You try to get to know them the best you can.  You try to get to know what makes them tick.  You have find those buttons.
You have to find how you get them‑‑ there's a lot of things in the world.¬† There's a lot of things at their age that are prying for their affection, for their connection.¬† Whatever you want to call it.
And you've got to keep working constantly to get that.¬† You have to keep working constantly to fill voids.¬† It's not like the‑‑ if there is a void.¬† It's not like a void.¬† I don't mean a family void.¬† Sometimes that happens.¬† But we've got some great families.
So bottom line is you've got to keep‑‑ you've got to keep entrusting‑‑ they've got to make the best choices.¬† It really comes down to that.¬† How do you keep making the best choices when it's really, really easy to make the wrong one?¬† And how do you get to the point where you understand it not only affects you and your teammates but your family and your program and people that care about you and people that follow you and all those different things.
That's the bottom line.¬† I mean, you want them to get to that point.¬† And it just takes time to get there.¬† Some of you know better than others.¬† But at the same time you coach every one of them to get them to that point where they can be very good decision‑makers.
And you just keep working at it constantly.¬† And I wish‑‑ certainly.¬† It's the old‑‑ there's no blueprint for it.¬† No book for it.¬† There's not.¬† I wish there was.
I wish there would have been one for the other night.  Wish there would have been one to get everybody to do the right thing.  There wasn't.  You just keep working it to your ability.  And I'm confident in all the things that we're doing to get it to that point.  And we'll continue to do it.  Got a lot of experience in working at it.  A lot of it.

Q.  About practice, where is this team going into these exhibitions, what will you be focusing in on offensively and defensively from how the kids have practiced to date?
COACH CREAN:  I think big thing is movement, ball movement on offense and the spacing, and keeping on the attack with it.  I think how we get back in transition, what our communication is like in that.
And continue to build into the help defense, them going through real live situations of playing against other people, which they did some in Montreal.  That's been a while.
When we get to that part of it‑‑ and defensively, really start to see where we're at rebounding‑wise right now.¬† Not get caught up, okay, we don't have these guys and all that.
We play a lot of different lineups anyways, let's just go, let's just go and play.  And start to get stuff done.  I'm glad we've got two exhibitions back to back.  This is before we get started.  Because then it starts real quick for us.

Q.  Is Collin available?
COACH CREAN:  He's available.

Q.  When you've got so many guys that aren't available, how are you going to handle kind of having such a short bench?
COACH CREAN:  Just deal with it.  I don't have a magic answer to that, too.  And we're going to play to get better.  We're also going to play to win the game.  And I like this team we're getting ready to play against.  Some DivisionI transfers.
Maurice Jones is a very good player at USC and double figure scorer there.¬† Myers is good.¬† King is good.¬† King can really shoot.¬† Langkabel can shoot.¬† Well‑coached.¬† They'll do a lot of different things.¬† We just deal with it the best we can.
I'm excited about it, to play.  I know they are, too.  But at the same time it's not like any of what we're dealing with Devin or any of those things that are going to go away.
But I think everybody will be excited to play basketball.  And will they be at their best, it's not what's relevant.  Will they be the best they can be tomorrow, that is what's relevant.
And moving forward, if anybody‑‑ as we get into the games tomorrow night and stuff like that, I'd like to, I'll try to give you Devin updates.¬† I'd like to keep it as centered as possible on basketball and the future of basketball, unless there's something out there that comes up that we have to deal with.
But any other thing, you're good right now?

Q.  You are starting the season.  How do you feel this has impacted the team?
COACH CREAN:  Well, we'll see.  There's a lot going on right now.  I mean, they're spending a lot of time at the hospital.  They're spending a lot of time with their teammate.  And when people look at it and say, well, are they that close, because they're extremely close.
Those things happen.¬† Sometimes they don't pull each other out of the‑‑ they make mistakes together.¬† But I can't‑‑ you can imagine how real it is to be up seeing your teammate.
And I don't think there's one kid that wouldn't look at it, whether they were around, whether they were close with Devin, whatever it is, they can't put themselves in that same situation.
What I see is not only them in that same situation but their families having to see that situation and they're there for that.¬† And it's been‑‑ we've been together an awful lot since Friday.
And that's‑‑ you say it's a process.¬† That's where we have to absolutely stay true to the fact that it is a process.¬† And that they're going through a lot of different emotions.¬† They're young people.¬† They're very young people.¬† And they don't get a pass on that.
I'm not giving them an excuse on that.  But they're very young people.  So they're dealing with a lot of emotions and a lot of things that they have never seen.  And it is what it is.  Stakes aside, it is what it is.

Q.¬† Quick clarification, do you see that there would be early morning workouts as a result of this or any‑‑
COACH CREAN:  I didn't say that.  I said if I could go back and do it again, I'd go back and do it again the other night, I would have had them in there until midnight.  We would have got some sleep, would have come right back in.  I never would have let them out of my sight.
But that's realistic, but that's what I would have done.  Can I do that every night?  I don't know.  But it's where we're at.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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