home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


November 22, 2014

Tom Crean

Lamar – 72
Indiana - 85

TOM CREAN:  Well, tonight our offense was considerably better than our defense, and one of the reasons our defense wasn't nearly as good is because we weren't‑‑ we've got to understand game plans, and that's where our youth shows up too much because we didn't have a lot of things that we wanted to take away, but there were certain things that we specifically wanted to take away, and then there were certain actions and stepping up on penetrations and things like that.  That is a team that came in here with fearlessness and they've improved a lot in a week, and they shot the ball better than what they had.
But we've just got to continue to grow and learn how to take away what we're trying to take away.  It doesn't matter what defense we're in.  When you're game planning it's personnel driven, it's scheme driven, it's strength and tendencies and all those type of things.  We've got to really learn how to do that.
You could tell a little bit sometimes who the veterans were and who had been playing a lot of minutes and who they weren't.  Bottom line is at the end of the game, we continued to find a way to make the plays we needed to make and we managed the game, managed the clock pretty well at the end of the game.  Somewhere down the road the experience, again, of being able to run your offense and at the same time be able to attack out of it in the shot clock, this is where it already helped us.  Texas Southern, we started to do it late in the game, and it certainly helped us the other night on Thursday, and it helped us tonight, so the more I watch this team, the more I they we may have quite a few close games, and so every part of that experience is better.  But we've got a short period of time to improve because the team we're playing on Monday night Eastern Washington, maybe not a household‑name program and players, but their three‑point shooting is as good as any non‑conference.  We were talking about this yesterday as a staff, I don't know of a non‑conference team we brought in here that shoots the ball this way as part of this Hoosier Classic, and I would liken their shooting to what you're dealing with with Wisconsin and Michigan to the point where almost everybody on the court, four or five guys, can shoot three and shoot it at will.  They made 11 threes tonight in a nine‑point loss at SMU.  And I'm not surprised at all and I think SMU is really good, but I think Eastern Washington is going to be a very tough test for us, because we're going to have to play differently than we played tonight.  Tonight was more about penetration.  That night is going to be more about three‑point shooting, and we're going to get a severe test, and I'm excited for it because last year we led the league in three‑point defense, and this is a new year, and we've got to understand the same things that go into that, and I haven't really studied the box score enough to really look at individual performances, but bottom line is we turned around from a big win the other night.  We're not even remotely looking at it in the sense of letdowns and things of that nature.  We just weren't as locked in to game plans because we've got to go through the experience, and we've got to really understand what we're trying to take away.  So we'll be better for it as we go forward.

Q.  There was a point late in the second half where you went with just a five‑guard lineup.  Was that more about what the guys on the floor were doing or maybe what some of the guys that weren't on the floor weren't doing?
TOM CREAN:  That was more about a conversation I had with Doug Collins and probably whenever Larry Brown won the championship in Detroit, I was up at the series in Detroit when I was coaching at Marquette and Detroit was playing Miami and Doug was doing the game, and after the game we had a chance to visit.  He'd always been good to me, known him for a long time, and we started talking about end‑of‑game situations.  And I said what's your key to the last five minutes of the game?  And he said, play your five toughest players.  He said, don't worry about position, don't worry about egos, play your five toughest players, and I've always filed that away, and there's been times we've done it, and tonight was absolutely one of them, and it doesn't mean that the other guys weren't.  It meant that that gave us the best chance to win tonight.
And that's what they have to understand is we're going to do whatever gives us the best chance to win that night.  Everybody here gets to improve, constantly.  There's not one guy that doesn't have the opportunity to get better daily.  But when it's time to win the game, it's time to win the game, and I don't think we're a team right now that can worry about positions and sizes.  There's very few people that can defend the low post like Yogi Ferrell and he's not a low‑post player.  Robert Johnson is getting there.  I made the change at halftime with Stan Robinson, because it's not about the size, it's about the technique to a degree, but it's about the fight, and again, we come out of this game, we had seven turnovers at half, we play that whole second half and get two turnovers, and one was Troy's at the end to Hanner, which was ridiculous, made no sense, so that's why the substitution was made there, but we're getting better with the offense and things of that nature.  We just have to have the same team level commitment on the defensive end, and those five guys, I thought at the end of the game, with the insertion of Hanner on the three‑second baseline out of bounds gave us that.

Q.  What was it like having Devin back?
TOM CREAN:  It was nice.  It was good.  It was good.  He wanted to come the other night, and he just wasn't feeling up to that.  It was pretty much a surprise for those guys.  I knew this afternoon, and it's amazing.  It's been three weeks, and when he basically walked in the building and I saw him three weeks earlier was basically the first time he was able to put a sentence together that night up in the hospital.  It's a little like our team; every day matters for him, every day, and nothing can be taken for granted.  Them seeing him on a daily basis is not taken for granted because they haven't seen him much‑‑ they saw him a lot when he was in their hospital here, but they haven't seen him much since he's been back there.  I have, and Je'Ney has and Marty has, but it was nice.  It was really nice, and we'll put him to work as he's able to come back more.  The decision was made to keep him behind the bench for somewhat obvious reasons with not wanting him to‑‑ he's just new.  It's one of the first few times he's been out, so kind of sit there and take it in and come out for timeouts.  I saw him making a couple points, so it was great to have him, and we're looking forward to hopefully having him more, but I don't think that it's anything that we're right now looking to have on a continual basis, but we're proud of the progress that he's making, and it meant a lot for everybody to have him here.  It really did.

Q.  Talk about the fouls tonight.
TOM CREAN:  Biggest key tonight was keeping them off the free‑throw line.  When you really look at the three or four key things that we have for these games, that was number one to us because they were averaging 30 free‑throw attempts in a game.  Now probably a couple times we should have fouled them, because we gave up too many easy baskets in the paint.  We've got to get that better and we've got to get our rotations better.  We don't step up.  We're not a step‑up team.  We're not a step up and let them drop the ball off team, and short time of practice, and that was one of the emphases that we had, but we just didn't get that across as much.
But that's key because again, not only would they be getting to the foul line, they'd be putting some key guys in foul trouble.  That was a big part of the game, and we're fortunate to do that.  I think we're being active.  I think we're constantly trying to understand how to guard people better.  There were times that we gave up way too many easy drives based on scouting report defense and what their strengths were, but at least we didn't bail it out very much with the fouls.
Awareness, I think like always it helps when we bring referees into practice and they take it out of us a little bit more serious than when the coach is blowing the whistle.  We have some coaches that don't blow the whistle very much.  But they're learning in that area, so that's going to be key for us.  We need to get to the foul line and not put people there.

Q.  How close do you think you are to establishing a defensive identity?
TOM CREAN:  I don't call it experiment.  That's not a word that a coach‑‑ you might experiment in an exhibition game or experiment in a scrimmage, you don't experiment in a game.  You move things around.  Really we were just trying to get the penetration stopped tonight.  We're a different defensive‑‑ everything starts with man principles, okay, no matter what you're in, and we'll do different things, but the bottom line is that we've got to do a better job of containing penetration, understanding scouting report defense and not stepping up on penetration when it comes, so we've got to do a better job.  I thought we didn't do a very good job of perimeter defense at all when it came to ball pressure in the first after and it came to dribble penetration in the second half, and then we got careless with our step‑ups which gave them too many easy baskets.  That's got to be part of our identity.  Defensive transition has got to be part of our identity, and that's got to improve a great deal.  We've got a short period of time to get that refocused and reenergized before Monday night because they get numerous threes in transition, or they've gotten numerous threes in transition and we've got to take that away.  This group's got good spirit.  The want to get better, so I know they'll dive in.

Q.  Talk about Emmitt Holt playing for the first time.
TOM CREAN:  I think it was good.  We put him in a tough spot when I changed defenses the second time he was in.  He wasn't ready for that.  That was one of those things where when he just gets down and plays and uses his body, I think that's good.  He got a couple of baskets.  He gets to the rim, he's got quickness and speed, he's going to be a key guy for us moving forward, especially without Devin.  Devin covered so much ground defensively for us and with his rebounding and was an excellent guy at position defense and could come off the ball and block shots at his size, and it's got to bring us some of that.  It was good to get him out there, and he needs to become a key contributor for us.

Q.  How difficult is it to improve your defense with so many games in this stretch?
TOM CREAN:  Oh, there's no question because you spend a lot of time in your practices trying to get ready for different things, but then they're here, and so when you're young like we are, we're spending a lot of time on the principles of it, and so it's more about‑‑ it's not about the scouting report part.  It's not as much about we're taking the right hand or we're taking the left shoulder.  You grow into that, but we've got to get that developed in a hurry.
But that's part of the beauty of playing a schedule like this.  They've got to adjust on the fly.  You see whose concentration and focus picks up, and I just don't want them to get to a point where they think that we'll just bail ourselves out with a three or with a dunk.  That's not how really good teams win.  And at the same time, we're not getting enough points even in transition yet.  Those will come.  But we've got to do a better job of defending the paint, so most importantly that's that penetration, because even again with Monday night, they're a very good penetrating kick‑it team, they're not necessarily a penetrate‑and‑score‑it team, they're‑a‑penetrate‑and‑kick‑it‑out‑for‑threes.
Our footwork was a little slow and sloppy tonight.  I know there was a lot of emotion in Thursday night's game and we played really hard, and we showed them a tape yesterday of all the fundamental things that they did really well in that game, and you realize again how young you are because not all those things carried back out tonight, but they're there, so we've just got to continue to work on that constantly even in a short period of time, and that's where film comes in, and there will be some live work.  We've got to do that.
But they want to get better.  These guys really want to improve, so I have no doubt that they will.  They'll pick it up.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297