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 24, 2014

Tom Crean


COACH CREAN:  We've been highly concerned for this game since it was on the schedule, and especially after we watched them make 15 three's against Texas Southern and shoot 73% in their next game.  They're extremely well coached.  What I love about‑‑ what he's done with that team is how he's built it over a period of time.  They all know each other's strengths.  But we learned a lot from this game and it's a shame that we lost it, because they beat us.  They played really well, and it wasn't that we played so poorly, it's that we didn't match that speed.  That is what attack basketball looks like.
We think we're attacking, and it wasn't‑‑ it's not where that is.  The rules weren't the way they are, I would go practice right now because I would love to get back out there and have our guys continue to understand how fast, how hard, how tenacious they have to be every position.  We learned the other night from SMU, and you know I'm speaking on behalf of a relatively young team here, how good you have to be time and time again to go to the glass and how your guards have to rebound and how it has to be every possession.  You're on the offensive glass.  We learned if you don't get back in transition, and you don't get matched up, it doesn't matter.  When the you're playing they're going to take advantage of you and we learned tonight what attack basketball really looks like.
We've got good guards, and they can do a lot of different things, we've got some good wings.  They were on the attack the entire time and certainly we were concerned about the 3‑point shooting from the beginning with them averaging 12.  We wanted to switch, and couple of times we had some issues in the first half with that, where we didn't do as good, but we got that settled in and we had some tremendous stretches in this game defensively but bottom line is they beat us on the penetration in the second half at crucial times and we go to the zone, and two of the three possessions in the zone we get the shot stopped, but they get an offensive board or a loose ball.
So a couple of things went their way on that, but we lost, number one.  We were doing a great job of defending the three, tremendous job all night long, because the whole key was we didn't want to come off the shooters; that's why we wanted to switch and not be in any type of overhelp situation, and then a couple times we lost one.  He is a really good guard!  Really good guard!  Their three leading scorers, that wasn't a shock to us, on how they've been playing and what they're capable of.  They're going to win a lot of games, I don't know who is picked to win their league, they better be really good to beat that team, because they're going to be‑‑ like I said, he's an excellent coach, and has been an excellent coach for a long time.  A lot we've learned from that.  It's a shame we had to lose it.  It's a tough night for us, our margin for error of guys not being at their best is not high right now, but we're asking an awful lot of a young group.  They all want to play at this highest level.  This is commonplace if you play at the next level, playing a team on a Thursday, playing a team on a Saturday, playing a team on a Monday.  That's the way that it is, and I'll be anxious to get us back to practice.
And what I've learned is you just got to keep pushing young guys through that fatigue level, and it's more mental than it is physical, and there is certainly a lot of physical in it, because we're asking a lot and our freshmen are playing a lot of minutes, but the bottom line is if we want to be good we got to get mentally tougher, and we got to get mentally tougher every day.  So ‑‑ I haven't studied this stat sheet very well.  Their parts I have.  Go ahead.

Q.  (Question about Eastern Washington's size advantage.)
COACH CREAN:  We're going to have to keep mixing our defenses.  This was not a team that you want to spend a lot of time on the zone but we've got to bet past where our best defender is Yogi Ferrell; they've got to get some other guys in there.  It's really not about post defending, it's about fighting, it's about making it harder for the player to get it in, it's about ball pressure.  We knew the biggest key for us from Saturday night to tonight was going to be not only the way we were going to switch and not come off shooters, but we are going to have to be better with our ball pressure.  And that's got to be your biggest form of that.
But we've got to spend more time on different defenses, and I would think we're spending quite a bit of time on concepts and techniques, but we've got to spend even more time one‑on‑one.  So, you know, we probably not going to need to worry about having anything but bubbles on the rim maybe for a bit as we get better with defending, because we've got to understand how hard we've got to make it to get it in there.  We can score points but if we don't‑‑ again, they got points in the paint because they just attacked us.  It wasn't as much that it was just the post‑ups, they got some offensive rebounds on that that hurt us.  There is no question over the last few games we got to get better at defending that paint and we will, we will.  Because the guys that can defend it are going to be the guys that play more minutes, but you have to stop the first line of attack much better.  That's what we didn't do as well.
We just had very little awareness late in the game.  On the shooting, some of it's fatigue, some of it's youth but all of it's unacceptable; so we'll get that worked out.

Q.  Coach, you get the ball back with 14 seconds left, down 3.  Is that what you wanted?
COACH CREAN:  No, no, they lengthened the game right there.  Let's take the best shot, especially with where we had Nick setting the screen.  What did we get out of that one?

Q.  Yogi Ferrell drove.
COACH CREAN:  We want to lengthen the game at that point.  The action that we ran there was three different 3‑point opportunities off of that, but at the same time in that situation, you have no problem because you want to go early enough that you can get the offensive board‑‑ what did we miss, two layups?  That's not a problem, I would run that again, and we had just scored a 3 off that same play, I think.  I have to watch the film but, no, we want to lengthen the game at that point, we want to lengthen the game.

Q.  (Question about Hanner playing 15 minutes.)
COACH CREAN:  He didn't play very well.  Didn't play very well.  He didn't play very well in the first half.  He came pack in the second half, I'll give him that, but it was going to be a tough game for him, anyways with the way that they move the ball, remember, 55 facilitates so much of their offense which is‑‑ I mean, really, they started the big kid to start the game but 55 is like playing a guard.  The way that he handles the ball.  Especially with the way we prepared for him.
They didn't do it as much but, I mean, this guy catches it in the corner and drives it out of there and makes plays.  Really, really good.  But this was a game where you had to be really locked in defensively and he wasn't the commanding presence that he's capable of being but that's part of the growth process for him.

Q.  (Question about if they affected James Blackmon through their defense.)
COACH CREAN:  They didn't do anything.  We didn't penetrate and drive it hard enough.  I don't think that was it at all.  I think you gotta watch the game, this game didn't come down to offense; this game came down to they got too much penetration.  It wasn't about looks, we were getting to the rim whenever we wanted, you watch the same game I watched, right?  And we were getting to the rim whenever we wanted.  The difference is, they were, too, and they had nor guys that were lowering that shoulder.  When James and Rob continue to understand how to drop that shoulder, how to get the ball out in front, how to make those‑‑ look how many buckets Troy got because we got in the paint and got the drop‑off.  That's all by design.  You gotta take what the game is giving you, and that game was giving us the middle rim.  There has been certain games where it's given under the circumstances the slot, certain games where it's given us the middle.  Really, what young guys‑‑ and this is a great lesson for Robert and James and Max, too, because Max did a good job in the first half.  It's really a great lesson for them, that no matter what you do scoringwise, all right?  You're never going to be successful just being scorer or a shooter; you've got to get your game ‑‑ your energy derives from the defensive side.  Think about this:  We go into the game.  What did we have tonight?  Blackmon was our leading rebounder.  Think about that for a second, 5.5, right?  And Rob Johnson was behind him at 5.3 with Hanner.  So guard rebounds, all those things, when you have a tenaciousness, you gotta have it every night, and those guys have to learn that.  It wasn't so much they didn't get to do that and they didn't get to this, no, it's not like that at all.  You've got to be on the attack constantly, and it starts with a defensive attack, as that team was, and we'll learn a lot from that.  This is one of those ‑‑ it doesn't excuse the loss at all, but at the same time, that's what attack basketball looks like, especially on the offensive end.  So as we learn more about that, we'll be better.  Like I said, I wish we could go right now, and I'm not just sayin' that, but don't need a violation, so I guess we'll have to wait a little bit.

Q.  Talk about the inability to close out the tight games, games that were close last five, six minutes, what was different about what they were doing or maybe what you weren't doing?  You got 9, 10, 11 points ‑‑
COACH CREAN:  What was 9, 10, 11‑‑

Q.  Like the lead.  You had it stretched out there middle of the second half and couldn't put them away.
COACH CREAN:  The penetration, Zach.  It was the penetration, and I have to go back and watch‑‑ you know, I don't have it like you have it on what we did, where shots were missed and things like that, I don't have that in my mind.  I gotta watch that on the film, but it was more the defense.  It was the penetration part.  We've got to learn we're not going to outscore people.  We're not going to outscore the best teams.  We'll outscore somebody, but we're not going to outscore the best teams; you got to stop somebody.  We had a run in the first half where our defense was tremendous, but you got to do that over forty minutes.  Three stops in a row are a big deal for us; we only had one of them in the second half.  So I got to watch the film, I can't give you as clear of an answer on that, but when you got a team that can make three's like that, you can't ever relax on the penetration or the three‑point shooters, and a couple of times we were late at the top of the zone, and one hit it, and it hurt us, but we'll learn from it.

Q.  You said a couple times you wish you could practice now, what is the rule?  When can you practice?
COACH CREAN:  Tomorrow.  I got to be sane and give them time to rest, but I can't wait for us to be back there.  We got to take a couple of days off that week because we didn't have one off last week, but they need to learn.  I am so excited about this team, and I love their spirit and, again, if you write it as an excuse, it's because you think I'm making one, I'm not.  They've had to do a lot.  Not mentioning how much they've been through off the court, the last three weeks, but all the games that we have had in such a short period of time.  Now I don't regret it; it's great for them to learn it, but it catches up with you.  We had a couple guys didn't have better nights, and we're a team right now that's got to have everybody clickin'.
Until we get a little bit more depth, it's not a woe is me; there are some good bright spots in tonight, too.  There was a lot of entertainment there, heard a lot of cheering, and we let our guard down a couple times at the wrong time, and we never got their penetration under control like the way we needed to.  And when you're that good that you can get to the rim because the other team is go concerned about how well you shoot the three, and I think a little bit of it happened to them.  Did they get up into the shooters, in answer to whatever asked about James.  I'm sure they did.  Look how many times we got down the middle of the lane.  We want to be that good, too.  We want to be good enough to be, how do you defend us?  We're want there yet, because we don't have as much of that yet, at the same time we got to get a lot better at how we defend the ball.  Anybody else?  Go ahead.

Q.  The last 20, 30 seconds you had Yogi coming down looked like you were calling for a time out ‑‑
COACH CREAN:  Not at all.  What do you think‑‑ I'm telling him what we're going to do, not at all.  No doubt about it.  We had a set plan and we were actually pretty good with it; we just missed‑‑ he made the 3 on one and missed the shot on the other.  No communication errors, thanks. 

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