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December 22, 2014

Tom Crean

Yogi Ferrell

Collin Hartman

Hanner Mosquera-Perea


Q.  Just talk about the ball movement tonight, seemed to really be finding the open man.
YOGI FERRELL:¬† Well, we always ‑‑ Coach always strives on making the extra pass.¬† So we just kind of wanted to get downhill drives, kicks to shooters; if we didn't have a shot, just drive it over the top and just keep moving the defense, because eventually the defense will break down, and it did tonight.¬† We got open shots.
HANNER MOSQUERA‑PEREA:¬† I mean, we've been working on a lot of rebounding drills and all those kind of things.¬† So that's a big part of it.¬† I just feel better with rebounding and blocking shots, so I just go for it.

Q.  Yogi, how important was patience tonight?  Seemed like they were desperate to kill the pace, whatever they had to do, even if they had to foul you guys.  I think you only had 23 points in the first 12 minutes and you reeled off 21 in the last eight minutes.  How important was it to stop forcing it?
YOGI FERRELL:¬† Well, we didn't want to kind of think that way.¬† They did hold the ball in the first half, but we just wanted to go out there with a defensive mind‑set.¬† Last five, six minutes of the first half, we got a lot of stops in a row, which carried over to our offense and we all of a sudden got up 20‑plus.¬† So I think that was the biggest thing.

Q.¬† What's differentthis year, your defensive success against three‑pointers?
YOGI FERRELL:  The key to that is knowing personnel, and that has to do with all the coaches in there that give us all the scouting films and everything like that, the scouting reports.
So Coach Martin had the scouting report for this team, New Orleans.  He did a great job keying in on guys who make shots for them.  When we go out there, we want to initiate all that and just basically stick to the scouting report, because if we stick to that and stick to their tendencies, you kind of take away what teams want to do.

Q.  How much did the team just kind of develop from the start of the season to now, you guys are working better on the court, how have you seen that?
COLLIN HARTMAN:  I think the main thing for us as a whole group is how our communication has progressed, and how our trust in the game plan that the coaches give us.  And us as veterans are communicating to freshmen, and everybody, just box (ph) it out, even if you're not in the right spot, if you're going hard all the time and you're communicating and talk to players, majority of the time you're going to get to that spot.

Q.¬† On switching defenses in the middle of possessions defense possession ‑‑ how effective‑‑
YOGI FERRELL:  What we do is we just game plan for each team.  So basically if we switch into two with one of their calls (ph), then that's what we do.  We just game plan basically team by team.  It's not we switch to two all the time.  Just depends on how we assess the run.

Q.¬† The way you guys have progressed in the non‑conference schedule, can you talk about that?
COLLIN HARTMAN:¬† We just come in every day with just the same mind‑set and try to get better as a whole group, listen to the coaches, get better individually on your own.¬† We get better individually throughout practice, also but as a whole group we are just trying to create that bond and become more of a family and work together and have everything flow as a unit instead of a bunch of individuals.¬† So I think we are really working on that more, and just coming together as a group.

Q.  The last couple games, your reboundingand blocking has improved; is it just getting more comfortable because your play is so consistent?  What's going on?
HANNER MOSQUERA‑PEREA:¬† Well, at this point, I have to bring a lot to the table for us to win or us to be able to have a good game.
So blocking shots and rebounding, I know that had to be a few of the top things that I have to do every game, so just trying to keep that going.

Q.¬† I guess talking about the bigger picture of the season so far, what are the things you talked about and Coach talked about in the off‑season was the ability to generate momentum.¬† Last year you would have a couple nice games and then take a step back with a loss, that kind of thing.¬† What has the team learned both last year and so far this season that will allow you to be more consistent moving into a game like Georgetown?
YOGI FERRELL:  Well, I think the difference from last year to this year, I think this unit is a lot more connected.  And this year, even though we lost a little, I felt like we were more connected.
We all go in the film room and talked about what we needed to do, and when we string together wins, that can just push us and push our level up in practice and carry over into the game.  I would say that's the biggest thing from last year to this year is our connectedness on the court.

Q.¬† The defensive success you've had already this year‑‑ by success you mean the last couple weeks maybe, not necessarily this year.

Q.¬† The last couple weeks but‑‑
COACH CREAN:  Is that right?  That's wishful thinking, though.  We'd like to be.
You going to question JD's statistics?  The dude's Rain Man.  (Laughter).

Q.  To what do you attribute the defensive success you've had this year?
COACH CREAN:¬† Well, we did lead the league last year and we were 12th in the nation.¬† And in this league, I've said it so many times; it's so true.¬† In this league, you've got to be absolutely committed to the shooters because if you over‑help in penetration, they are going to knock it down.
So the whole key when we have struggled is when we have over‑helped, when we have lost sight of our man, when we're open and one of the things we have to continue to do.¬† Our three point defense will continue to get better is we control penetration better, because when we control penetration, then our terms and the way that we are trying to do it, we can stay with the shooters better.
But we never want to be an over‑help team.¬† And now, there's certain places you have to help, certain places you have to double.¬† That's more game‑plan specific.¬† But as a rule, we want to be in early help and then get back to our man as quick as possible.
And we spend a lot of time on that.  We break that down every day, and then we try to really make sure we're emphasizing it in what we do, and it's starting to get better but it's got to improve even more.

Q.  Slowing down in the first half, how are you feeling you are handling it?
COACH CREAN:  I think it was good, because we weren't prepared for that as much as seeing it from other teams, but it was really good; because it will happen.  It happens in this league.
And we have had that in the past where teams we play will change when they play us, and then it happened‑‑ because it forced us to do a couple different things defensively.¬† It got us extended a little bit which put some pressure on the ball.¬† We went into some three‑quarter court trapping at least to get the tempo.¬† We didn't get a lot of success with the trap, but we got the game going a little bit faster and I think that's good, because last year, we didn't see it as much.¬† But the year before we weren't as good at being able to get the tempo a little bit faster.
With this year's team, if we can get consistent depth, we have got to be able to get the tempo faster when somebody wants to take time off the clock, whether we're man or we're zone.  So it was very good training for us tonight to build for what we could see in the next couple weeks.

Q.  Hanner's blocks, rebounds, he seems more confidence in the last two or three games.  Is it just a result of him getting more consistent time?
COACH CREAN:  He's been getting pretty consistent time.  I think it's just a matter of him continuing to improve.
And that's why we just try to make sure we never, you know, put the cart before the horse.  Everything is important and that he stay focused, locked into what he's got to do fundamentally; that we never get too far ahead of ourselves.
I do think this:¬† I think the Louisville game, there were not a lot of positives in the Louisville game.¬† But Hanner walking out of that game knowing he could score, and knowing that he could score on a one‑on‑one situation against length, against good people, really helped him.¬† And I think in the sense of that being a positive, and the fact that he wasn't as aggressive throughout the game as he could be; and he wasn't as good on the glass as he could have been; he wasn't as aggressive down low as he could have been defensively.
And I've seen it even more in practice, more talk in practice, more leadership in practice, and I think confidence just continues to grow for him.  And he's taken his time in the post.  Steve has done a fantastic job with him.  He slows it down.  He's not in a rush.  His first couple years here, you know, when he caught it, he would be in a rush.  He would try to score immediately.
He's learned a little bit more patience.  He's starting to pass out of it and he's covering ground, and he's actually a pretty good shooter.  He's made a couple of good shots and we work hard on that every day.  So I think he's just going to continue to constantly improve and I think Emmitt is on the same path.

Q.¬† This year it seems the defensehas had a drop‑off after the initial start of the game‑‑
COACH CREAN:  Oh, no question, yeah.

Q.¬† ‑‑ what's your thought behind that?
COACH CREAN:¬† Well, I think there's a lot of different things behind it.¬† I think some of the guys coming off the bench have been a part of it now, and I think the thing we try‑‑ I know we've had the same starting lineup for the most part but I think they are buying that I'm not really committed to that.¬† It doesn't have to be that.¬† If that's what it is, that's what it is.
But the bottom line becomes, are you impacting the game, and too many times young players believe their impact is on the offensive end versus everything, you know, versus the defense, versus the rebounding, versus the ball movement and them moving without the ball.
And they validate their game based on their offense, and I see it with my own son who is in the tenth grade.  He will validate his game based on if he shot it well or not.  No; did you do the other things.  That's what the bottom line is.  And guys are starting to formulate roles.  I would not say they are all into roles yet, because roles are always, in a program like this where we are trying to work on daily improvement so much and skill development, you have a chance to expand your role.
But your role gets expanded by how you impact the game; and that plus/minus for the guys‑‑ and there are certain lineups right now that we know we are going too the last couple weeks that are pretty good lineups for us.¬† We have got guys that they are not hung up on:¬† Did I do this, did I do that.¬† They are hung up on:¬† Did I impact the game.¬† And when you have that‑‑ now the moment, it was:¬† Did I get a shot, did I score, you know, my turn, those things are a recipe for disaster.
When they come in and really see that they are a product of our team, and our team is a product of body movement and good defense ‑‑ I mean our offense was really good in that six‑minute stretch right there at the end of the first half, right.¬† Our defense was tremendous.¬† And the more that they realize that the defense can make their offense really good, the better we'll be, too, and they are getting there.

Q.¬† How the team has played so far in this non‑conference schedule?
COACH CREAN:  Well, I haven't really thought through on that.  And you are the master of asking those questions of the big picture.  I'm not really big pictured right now but maybe I'll look at that a little bit over the next couple days.  I don't really spend time on that.
It's always, everything needs to get better.¬† I know that sounds corny and clich√©‑ish, but it does.¬† The moment you think, especially with a young team, the moment you think that you've got something worked out is the moment it goes away.¬† Maybe there's some things that are becoming more reminder‑oriented but we still need to improve.
We've got to continue to make sure that the constants of defensive rebounding with block outs, offensive rebounding with pursuit, getting up the court on misses or makes, transition defense, our pick‑and‑roll defense, everything has got to continue to improve.¬† If I had to pick one thing that I would say has been a plus, I would say they have improved every week.¬† They have really improved every week.¬† You can see it.
And if I would say there is one that disappointments me is how to keep it down, and that's going to catch us.  That's going to catch us.  And we have got to outgrow that.  And we don't talk defensively yet anywhere near where we've got.  There's way more things we have to get better at than I would say, okay, this is going really good.
But that's what you do every day.¬† You just keep attacking everything and you have youremphasis, you say, okay, we have to do more of this tomorrow, we have to do more of this in two days but we have to make sure we are getting this done every day‑‑ well, you made me think.

Q. ¬†Talk about impactof Collin Hartman ‑‑
COACH CREAN:  No, they have been talking about impact.  I've been talking about impact.  Go ahead.

Q.  Also communicate.  Collin Hartman, he's been a different player the last few ballgames.
COACH CREAN:¬† Well, I would say all year he's been different.¬† His mind‑set (ph) of the game ‑‑ and I've said this before recently, and I think it's so true.¬† When you have something taken away from you like we had it with the injury, and it just‑‑ it either brings tremendous focus, all right, or it gets you to too petty and you get distracted.¬† He didn't do anything of that.
But he worked incredibly hard this off‑season, and he rehabbed hard, he trained hard but he got stronger.¬† He controlled what he could control, and when we got into the summer and he really couldn't do anything but stand in one spot and shoot, we made sure we got him in that spot shooting as much as possible.¬† And so for us to revamp what we were doing in our summer workouts to make sure he was included, even when he couldn't play, obviously we didn't really‑‑ but he's playing with tenacity and he's talking more than ever.¬† He's a product of going through it for a year, all right.
He wanted to play more last year.¬† Hindsight is 20/20; wish I had, okay.¬† But he wasn't the player that he was a year ago.¬† It's a great example of guys like Max and Tim, all of them to see, Emmitt even, when you are‑‑ when you make the changes that you have to make and you make it absolutely about moving without the ball, hustle game‑‑ I'll give you an example.
We did this with our team yesterday.¬† I said this to Don Fisher in the pregame show.¬† Took probably six or seven guys, describe Collin Hartman for me.¬† And he's right in the room.¬† It's a team meeting.¬† And there might have been two guys that brought up the term "shooting" okay, 3‑point shooting.
Now if I said fourth highest ten‑palm offensive efficiency rated guy was in this room, would you pick Collin?¬† And that got their attention.¬† I said it's not about what the criteria of offensive efficiency rating is, this guy impacts the game, and that's where you want to be.
So that's what he's doing.¬† And we still hold him out of segments of practice.¬† We still hold him out at times to make sure he continues to heal.¬† He is a model for what it takes to win, and we're talking about a pretty skilled guy, too, right.¬† He's not just some guy that's blue‑collar that's running around, can't make plays.¬† He can make a lot of plays but he's improving constantly.

Q.  Do you think the preseason incidents affected the team in a positive way?
COACH CREAN:  Well, I think that's always been ongoing.  It wasn't just in what happened seven weeks ago.  That crystallized it in the concerns of, we have to change now.  We have got to grow up.  We've got some real things here we've got to deal with with an injured teammate and everything that's going on around us, and we have got to absolutely stay focused and eliminate distractions and get better every day, all those things, we have to make sure that they happen.
So is that a part of it?  Without question it is, without question it is.  We weren't as mature as we needed to be, certainly, off the court in the spring and summer, even at the start of the school year, but they were starting to get better.  And I've said this before numerous times:  We started our workouts right after spring break.
We had some guys leaving and we just, I mean, we moved right on, and it's all a product of that.  It's all a product of guys continue to grow, but they are maturing.  You know, we could make a mistake tonight, as everybody knows.  Any family could, any team could.  But the bottom line is, they are really trying to grow.
And I see them taking more‑‑ you can't be a great teammate and be afraid to say something to somebody or be too thin skinned to take it.¬† And I see guys changing on that.¬† I see guys growing into that.¬† I see guys responding.¬† I take Troy out because he should have drawn a charge, okay.¬† And at that point in time, I'm not thinking about him being co‑Player of the Week, I'm not thinking about ESPN.com play of the week.¬† I'm thinking about, if you want to take the next step, take the charge.¬† He's out for a couple minutes; he goes right back in, boom, he's a huge part of the run we make; that's growth.¬† That's growth and that's what you want to continue to have.

Q.¬† Last year's team, unable to control momentum, taking a step forward and a step back it felt like game‑to‑game that way; is this team better at that, maybe for some of the reasons you talked about, just being able to recognize what works and how to sustain it?
COACH CREAN:¬† Guys who are here are maturing and that's the difference‑‑ it's a different dynamic and we are building it.¬† We had a little different team last year obviously.¬† We had some different strengths that we tried to play to, and we always wanted to get that team to be a consistent, deeper team.¬† It didn't happen that way.
But I don't want to go back to compare too much of that and other than that part of it.¬† But this group is really‑‑ they practice really hard, and they spend ‑‑ they will spend that time yet, especially some of the young guys, but the other ones do, and they have really worked hard to build the right kind of work ethic culture and maturity.
But we are a long way from understanding yet how to play a game with a lead or a comeback situation.  We have made strides.  I thought the Butler game was a really big stride, five, six minute mark when it was a one point game and we got those five stops in a row.  That was huge, huge to build on.
But two weeks ago, you know, we didn't play as well against Louisville, so it's all part of a big 'ole process and trying to make sure they understand how important each and every day is.

Q.¬† The parity‑‑ how much of a challenge is it to get them understand the qualityof other teams despite their records?
COACH CREAN:  I keep going back to the word maturity, but that's what it is.  If you want to be a really good team, you can't (inaudible) differently.  Certainly there's going to be teams and games where the players are household names to them, right, where they have competed against them; they have played against them; they watch them on TV and they know them.
You can't prepare for that guy a lot differently than you prepare for the guy that you don't really know much about him, but could really go right or he could really go left or he's an excellent three‑point shooter.
A great example:  We compared 13 tonight to an inside version of Kellen Dunham.  He did his most work after he caught the ball.  Kellen did such a good job of creating contact.  He did such a good job of shot taking after he's picked the ball up, all those different things.  13 is leading the country in percentage I believe, so much of his work is done after he picks that dribble up.  We were not always as good at that but we spent a lot of time on it.  The short time we had, we spent time on it.
So them understanding that; now you can start to make, well, this is an inside version of Kellen Dunham; three weeks ago from SMU, this is what they do here.  That part of it gets here.  But if they really, really want to grow to be good, okay, they will mature and understand that every game is its own game.
We're more of a game plan team especially defensively how we want to attack their ball screen defense, so they are buying into that.  We are always adding things which keeps them energized.  And I think at any point in time if the coaches ever come in and we are not as emphatic, as energetic, as jacked up about what we need to do to get ready for that game, I'll take our lead.
But if they have that attitude every day and the older guys that are really, really serious come in with that attitude every day, then we are going to get better.

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