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November 14, 2014

Tom Crean

Mississippi Valley - 65
Indiana - 116

COACH CREAN:  Our guys obviously were excited to play, and they worked very hard to get into the season as I tried to remind them this is actually our 8th game together.  Not maybe all together, yet, because of what Hanner didn't to did you we want to continue to build on it.
We want to continue to play like we played together some.  I thought the unselfishness showed.  I thought we made improvements from Monday to tonight, especially with our defense.
We gave up too much off the dribble at times and we have to learn how to play the scouting report defense a little bit better and take certain things away.
And, but, I thought the ball movement, the body movement‑‑ I thought our transition defense and offense were very solid.
I thought we got to the paint.
But again, the ball movement and ‑‑ there's so much room for growth, when you look at it as a coach, to understand our spacing and things of that nature and even where more cuts can be that they are really looking to move the ball.
And the challenge at halftime was to get better in the game.  And if we're going to build and be a good team, then we can't take steps back in the game.  And it's not about not playing the score, we don't even know what the score is, we want to play better.
And I thought that we shot the ball better from the foul line, obviously, in the second half than what we did in the first.  We only had, I think, in the first 15 minutes what, two turnovers?  Yeah.  That was much improved.
Because we need to learn that even a couple of turnovers, a couple sloppy plays‑‑ but the back tips, we're going to see that from people like SMU, Pittsburgh, from Louisville.
So the game is always giving you something and it's always teaching you something for another game.
To me, the big thing for us was being able to get the ball and advance, which we got a better job of in the second half.  Really throwing it ahead, continuing to use more of the court.
We had some very good outstanding, but some very good individual performances.  Jeremiah was not cleared until today, and it was great to get him out there and certainly, he's not all the way back.  His conditioning is not even close, because he's pretty much been full court as much tonight as he has been since he's been back this week.
But it was good, and the doctors have cleared him to go, so it was good to get him out there for that.  Did not go into the game thinking that Max would play the point guard at any point, but he didn't do a bad job.
We have done that a couple times in practice, he loves it.¬† This is‑‑ like I said this is Indiana, where dreams come true.¬† Max Hoetzel six‑eight point, and he did a good job. ¬†He did a nice job.¬† He's got a scorer's mindset.¬† But he did a good job of trying to make plays and being put into a situation that we don't spend a lot of practice time on.
I thought our freshmen guards did a very good job of getting inside of the game.¬† And Robert had a very good week and just continues to improve.¬† His defense continues to be even more tenacious.¬† Because, certainly, we saw that in him when we recruited him and saw the‑‑ his ability for that.
I'm excited that he got to play in front of not only his family, but his coach who was in the back.  He got to see a product of his work.  Because you recruit not only good teams, you want to recruit great programs, and you want to recruit from places that really know how to coach.  And we were very, very fortunate with that.  With a guy like Rob and James and Max and Tim, those guys, they have been coached.  So, it helps us to shrink their learning curve a little bit.
But all in all, we improved in the game.  We had our largest lead with just two minutes to go, and I thought for the most part, our guys didn't play the score.  They played to improve.
Guys came in even at that five minute mark and tried to do the right things.  We're excited about that.  Something for us to build on.

Q.  Talk about Max.  He had nine rebounds.  Since you guys have gotten him, how much better has he gotten in that area of rebounding?
COACH CREAN:  We felt he could be a good rebounder, and we felt he could move well without the ball.  Certainly, his shooting gets your attention.
But he's got, he's got some athleticism.  I heard in practice when he went to just absolutely rear it back and try to dunk on Hanner, you see his athleticism.  He's just going to get better and better.  He's right in there with Rob and James and how hard they work.
We had walk through today, and we were working some of the other guys out when we're done, and there goes Rob and James and Max right to ball handling drills.  That's the legacy that Victor Oladipo leaves in the program.  And those guys really want to get better.
What I like about all of them, and at least with Max, he's a little loose and carefree.  He's a fun young man, but at the same time, he is very, very serious about getting better.
He knows to play on this team, because they're looking around and they know there are some guys that aren't out there right now that could be out there when they get back or will be out there when they get back.
Rebounding is going to be a key component for who is going to play extended minutes on this team.

Q.  Talk about the contribution you got from Hanner tonight?
COACH CREAN:¬† Biggest thing about Hanner is his consistent work ethic in practice.¬† There's times that he looks better than others, but there's really not been times that he has not been up to par.¬† He's definitely improving.¬† And I think you can see it in his foot work.¬† He's had a very good off season.¬† He just ‑‑ but truly, day by day with him, because that's what it's been.¬† And that's what it will continue to be.
So that's where the difference was today, as a player.¬† He was a day‑to‑day player and now he's day‑by‑day.¬† And that's what we want to continue to build on, and then stretch as we go forth.
But his foot work is good, his confidence is growing, he's got to get even better at rebounding the ball and getting it out‑letted.¬† He's got get used to getting boards and let's get the break going.¬† We're asking him to do a lot without a lot of substitution right now, so there's a little bit of pacing himself.¬† We want to get him out of that.
There's definitely a list of things he can do and in a short period of time to get better.  But the most important thing for him is that he just stays consistent with his work ethic and his effort.

Q.  Talk about some of the turnovers.  How much with a team like this do you feel like, because they're still young, you can talk through some of those things.  And how much do you, maybe, let them work those things out?  Again, because this is a team that maybe can figure some of that out.
COACH CREAN:  It's both.  We don't want to be risk averse.  We want, if we're going to run and we're not even running close to what we're going to be able to run, that doesn't have anything to do with the points.  We're not even close to how fast we need to become to get up the court with our outlets, with the first push, with seeing both sides, with running to the corner, with getting down the middle.  We haven't had really an over the top basket yet.
Those things will come.  Those things will come for us.  There may be some turnovers with that.  The key is, can they improve.
I thought the second half is where we got better and again, to go 15 minutes, right, J.D.?  15 minutes and only have two turnovers inside of that, that was improvement.
So, if you're going to play fast and if you're going to try to have a lot of possessions, there's going to be some that you wish you would have back.  But the best thing is when you're moving the ball and you're moving bodies and you play with unselfishness, you have a chance to knock those down.
But give them credit.  They were aggressive.  We haven't quite grasped how important it is to get the ball out.  In fact, James was trying to push it out in front and had a turnover in that.  So we're learning.
James and Rob are being asked a lot and they're capable of that.  So, with that will come more growth, just like it does for everybody else on the team.

Q.  How much does Ryan bring to the game?
COACH CREAN:¬† Well, that's‑‑ tonight, what we saw from him is really what we would expect from him.¬† Our challenge to him has been to be more physical and play with more confidence, and create the first contact.¬† You saw it tonight.¬† He moves without the ball.¬† He didn't play tentative tonight.¬† We want him to play confident, and, but he's got to be ‑‑ he's not going to gain 30 pounds over the next couple weeks, but he can get lower, he can play with better technique.¬† He can make that first hit, get the first contact, but he can stretch the floor.
I think that first shot did wonders for him.¬† Knocking that down.¬† And there is another guy whose been very well coached in high school and is a 3.96 student.¬† He's got a lot going in school, and he's got a lot going ‑‑ and we would love for him to help us in games and not only in practice.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH CREAN:¬† Well, I think the biggest thing to me is that Tim knows who he is right now.¬† But at the same time, Tim doesn't have any clue how good he can be.¬† And it's not all of a sudden that he's going to become a windmill dunker, and we're not going to be throwing a lot of alley‑oops to him and things of that nature.
But he's a position player.  He's very, very conscientious.  He doesn't want to make mistakes.  But he's gaining activity, he's light on his feet, and he's got to sprint a little bit better, run into the boards a little more.  But he wants to learn.  He's very hungry to learn.
I think there's going to be a night he's going to knock down a couple of threes and get hot, and that's one of the reasons that we recruited him.¬† He was a 52 percent three‑point shooter in high school, but he's got to be a position player.¬† He's got to be a guy that can position himself for boards and be active with his hands.¬† And that, to me, is really, really important moving forward for him.
So the crowd likes him.¬† I think that's nice.¬† But I have I reminisce of being a child watching Scooby Doo and saying, you know‑‑ and especially, when he grows that little three‑day beard of his, he looks just like Shaggy.¬† But other times, I see a guy that can be‑‑ could get better and his teammates love him.¬† His teammates love him.
Because he really wants to be good, he really wants to work at it, he wants to do the right thing.  So I'm excited for his growth.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH CREAN:¬† Well, it's both, but we still want him ‑‑ he passed up an opportunity for an open three in the second half to take one off the dribble.¬† He's almost as good off the dribble three as he is off the catch and shoot three, which is very unique.¬† He's just an excellent shooter.
But he's going to get better, because ‑‑ and you saw some improvements tonight in the sense of putting the ball out in front, dropping his shoulder.¬† He's got to use the glass better.
Sometimes he floats the ball up, rather than shoot the ball.  And to me, he's very, very conscientious about being an all around player.  He takes defense very personally.  He's really working at that to get better with his foot work.  And a lot of it is not the athleticism, it's foot work.  It's getting the details of his feet down and understanding how to play people.
But we don't want him to get away from knocking down threes.¬† But at the same time, as he gets more explosive with pushing the dribble out and dropping that shoulder‑‑ and his strength, he's gained a lot of strength in a year, I mean a lot of strength.
So his body is still growing into that, his game is still growing into that.  So I think he'll continue to improve, and he's very hungry and that's, that's the bottom line.
When you got a guy like that that wants to be great, is very serious about his work, that doesn't take himself serious, he's confident, but he doesn't take himself serious that he's all this or all that.  He's got a tremendous work ethic.  Rob's the same way.  Those two spend a lot of time in that gym.
They're not just in their playing horse.  They're in there getting after it and working on their game.  And when you have that, you're going to continue to improve.
I thought Rob's improvement with his head up playing in the game, playing with his eyes up, has been big.  Because we knew it was going to come, and now it's going to continue to come against better opponents.  We know that, but he is seeing the benefits of playing with that attitude, of what can happen and how he can find people, and at the same time, get to the rim.
So they're growing into their games and I think they will continue to do that.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH CREAN:  I didn't even look that far ahead into it.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH CREAN:¬† Well, I hope so.¬† We shot it well tonight.¬† We got open looks.¬† I'm not ‑‑ it is way too early to start ‑‑ I'm into defensive rebounding percentage numbers and those kind of things.
I'm not as into the offense efficiency and things like that, because we're still learning how to play.  I'm more into what's our spacing like, are we reading our cuts, foot work when we switch, and our defense.
So, offense efficiency will come.  Are we going to have a chance to score points?  Absolutely.  But it's we got to continue to understand how they come, we have got to get more second chance points, and we haven't even begun to put any pressures in yet but we're getting up into the full court and trying to create even more turnovers.  We got out scored on turnovers tonight.  So, the offensive fishy will come.  The more layups you get the less turnovers you have the better that efficiency gets.  And we got a ways to go to get there.  All right.  Thank you.

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