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 16, 2016

Tom Crean

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana, 100 - UMass Lowell, 78

COACH CREAN: We did a lot of good things. I think at times, especially at the start of the game, when you're coming off a great win like we had, you think the game's going to be easier, but it's not. And you've got to figure out, say this all the time, you've got to figure out what the game is giving you, and what we needed to do was figure out that what we do constantly is what works the best, when we play through the paint.

I think at one point in the first half, once we figured it out, we had 15 straight scores going through the paint. And with the uniqueness of guys that can drive it, handle it, pass it, post it, you know we can get there different ways. And that's what we have to be, especially when we're playing the sagging defenses that we see.

So the most important thing is to create that separation by moving without the ball, going through the paint, getting a reverse quickly, dropping it out of the corners, and not looking to come into the game trying to establish our jump shot, but trying to establish our physicality and try to establish our speed. Going into that first half we got a lot better.

And defensively we did some good things. We rebounded. We wanted to switch a lot. We wanted to play a lot of guys tonight. We played a lot of different lineups. I think we were -- almost 40 percent of our possessions had two or more freshmen in the game at some point in time.

So that's good learning for us. So at times it's going to look sloppy with that, especially with the way we're trying to bring fatigue to the game. But 23 assists in a game like this is good for us. There will be good things to build off of that we can get better at. Because we do want to be a team that switches.

There were times they were unorthodox with a 6'2", 6'3," and there were times they had five shooters in the game.

And our team has got to learn how to adjust constantly because that's going to be something defenses have to do to us. We want to make sure, while we're trying to make the defense adjust to us, we're not getting beat on that. So there's good learning for us to get from this. Short turnaround before the next one, then a short turnaround before the one after that. But that will be good for us.

And we had some good performance. Obviously James' first half was excellent, especially because the way the ball was moving. And I thought he did a really good job of facilitating and moving the ball in the second half. Rob was the beneficiary of some really good things there. And we had numerous guys with three or more assists. That's good.

So the ball was moving. And at times we didn't shoot the ball as well. At times we didn't rebound it as well. But it's early November, and what we've said all along is we can continue to get better. And I think we will. So go ahead.

Q. Tom, you did a little bit of full court pressure. I know you talk about that.
COACH CREAN: We did a lot on the ball tonight, which was by design as far as guarding the ball full court.

Q. And I guess when you think you will spend a period of time on the full court press?
COACH CREAN: Possibly. But I think that's something that we want to do, but we've got to continue to get better in the half court. Our communication offensively, especially because we haven't played any zone yet or anything like that. We're trying to make sure that -- tonight was a big personnel night and trying to get established, okay, we're going to try to take the right shoulder here, we're going to try to take this guy's right hand there.

And that takes communication and that takes some experience. And if you press, a lot of times those things are out the window. Now you're bringing fatigue to the game.

You're playing fast. And we're not at the point yet of five-on-five experience up and down. I know it looks at times like we're fast, but we want to be able to play fast on both ends.

So we'll get the pressures in. We'll get the full court pressures in as we go. But the most important thing is we can bring fatigue to the game by pressuring the ball and not give up easy baskets in the half court. And we did a little too much of that tonight. But some of that was we respected the dribble too much.

We respected the drive rather than switch it out, keep the dribble in front of us, don't leave the man. And we overhelped a couple of times. And make sure that we work through that. But that team played fast. We knew they were going to move the ball well.

We knew they would put numerous people out there. They beat Wagner the other night after Wagner had a huge win over UConn. So they've had a couple of games to get their system under their belt. So we'll learn from it.

Q. Earned a double digit lead in the first half. [Indiscernible] did you plan to play that?
COACH CREAN: I didn't do a lot of planning tonight other than wanting to make sure we played a lot of guys. So I think it was a time to look at it and say, okay, they were actually -- they actually had a good shooting lineup in at that point. So that was going to put a little more pressure on those guys. And it was a good night to test that.

It was a good night to put those guys in situations where defensively they would have to be away from the basket more. Especially De'Ron. Thomas is getting more used to it.

And then at the same time we weren't where we were -- we didn't get into the bonus in the first half until the eight-minute mark, I don't believe. So those are the type of things, okay, let's establish what we want to do in the low post but let's put guys in the situation where they've got to play the switching and things of that nature or the big shows and the ball screen, whatever the coverage was, and communicate it.

So we don't practice those two very much together. They're usually going against each other. And we'll drill with them together. We don't go against each other a lot -- together on a five-on-five situation. It's something we're going to have to do more of. And I think we will.

Q. Thomas Bryant [indiscernible] first half. Stayed in the game, but what's the status of that?
COACH CREAN: I would assume he's fine, because it was never said anything about that he couldn't go in. So I would assume he's fine.

Q. There was a moment early in the second half Thomas [indiscernible] free-throw line, gets in the huddle, pretty animated gesturing to the other end of the floor. Seems like he was pretty upset with the defensive sequence. How often do you see guys in moments like that holding each other accountable?
COACH CREAN: I think that's good. I don't recall that. Hopefully I'll see it on film. But I think that's good. That's what you want. We've got to have a more consistent responsibility. And that's an ongoing thing.

And we had good moments of that the other night at times against Kansas. There were times when we didn't. I've said all along that's something that's got to be absolutely crucial for us to keep getting better because of the relative -- there's some inexperience and there's some guys that have played.

But very few of these guys have had to be responsible for their teammates in the sense of direction and a sense of organization, in the sense of alignment, in the sense of putting them in opportunities, reminding them what they have to do. Those guys left.

And they were pretty good at it, the guys we had. So these guys have really got to learn how to do that. So the moment you're referring to, even though I didn't see it, that's good. And we need more of that.

Q. When they were up five early, seemed like your guys stayed pretty patient and tried to work. How hard is that to find a lower level Division I program, get out to a quick start to stay patient and not --
COACH CREAN: Well, I think -- I think again it's always what's correctible. And the correctible was going to the paint enough. We're shooting too many 3s. It's not that we don't want to shoot 3s, but we don't want to shoot 3s without going through the paint. And they were there. So it's not like we were taking bad shots.

But that's still not moving the defense. And when you're playing to the defense's hand, okay, when you're not doing that -- then they came at us. They came at us. One thing we haven't done much of when we came back from Hawaii is play full court. And I probably overthought the whole legs thing and five-hour time zone thing and all that type of stuff.

And it hits everybody differently. It actually hit some guys probably tonight a little bit. But the one thing we didn't do is bear down and do a lot of things in transition. We did it one day since we've been back. So that got us a little bit.

But I figured we'd play through that. And the most important thing is we would understand that getting the ball posted or getting the ball driven through the post through the paint was going to be the most important thing to settle us in, because that's usually how we play our best. So it's a matter of them doing that and then just keep bringing fatigue.

Especially with pressing teams, a lot of pressing teams will be down at half. We weren't pressing, per se. We were pressing the ball. But pressing team would be down at half because you're expecting to bring that fatigue in the second half. We were hopeful we would do that at some point tonight.

Q. Beyond the zone scoring, what's the ripple effect on your offense having James back?
COACH CREAN: Oh, I think there's a confidence when they look at him. He's moving the ball well. He's really just like Josh Newkirk and Juwan, for that matter, because Juwan, this is really only the third week he's been live, contact, and we've already had a couple of games.

James is a lot more explosive than what he was. And he could always dunk and things like that. But he's playing with more force. He's playing downhill more. He's covering more ground.

And to come back from an injury like that and to be a better athlete than he even was and be stronger like he is, that takes a little time for him to get used to. And again we're -- I think we're getting better and understanding each other. There were a couple times even tonight like, hit the guy just a pass too late or I mean a dribble too late or threw the bounce pass to the post a little too early before he was set, or we look for the back cut that wasn't quite there yet.

We just don't have that synergy of really understanding each other yet. It's the nuances that only the players know. It's not the sets, it's the way they understand each other. James is really working at that.

So I think the fact that he's moving the ball, the fact he's getting better defensively, that's a really good thing. And I think you can't help but be impressed on this team with his work ethic. And again he's not the only one coming off surgery and injury. So there's a lot of guys that have worked really hard to do that.

But everybody really likes James. They love James. And went through those hard parts with him with his injury. So now they're happy to have him back.

Q. What is his impact on what you can do offensively?
COACH CREAN: Is that what your question was? I'm sorry. Oh, numerous things. Numerous things. We posted him to start the game. He's stronger in there. Big thing for us, we want to get him fouled. And we can definitely post him more than we could have in the past because of that strength. He can get downhill better, which is going to create more drive and kick opportunities. He's moving the ball well.

We haven't really even put in a lot of screen sequences yet for him to come off staggers and double staggers and things like that. We haven't even put those things in yet.

I think the next big thing for him is going to be really moving without that ball without a screen, whether it's cut on the baseline, whether it's a dive off the slot, whether it's getting behind the defense on the break, those things.

So there's going to be a myriad of things we can do with him as we move forward. I'm sorry, I didn't understand that first part of the question.

Q. Having freshmen working through some things, De'Ron, I know he had a couple of big free throws in Hawaii, a little more run tonight. Seemed very confident, especially offensively. How far has he come in the short amount of time and where is his comfort level?
COACH CREAN: He's come along a lot in the last couple of weeks. His confidence has grown a lot in the last couple of weeks, because again when you're trying to learn a lot of things, come back from, in his case, come back -- come to -- back from, he'd never been there -- but to come into a realm that he had not known because he wasn't here in the summer, you've got to remind him there's some things he can go to and he can rebound the ball and he can score.

And so while we're figuring everything else, his shooting and all those different things and cuts and movements, you can score and rebound. And what he's shown is he can really get down and move his feet defensively.

He's got great feet. And he's got very good hands. Going to be a very good passer as he gets comfortable with it. But he can really get out and guard. And I think that's what's brought a lot of confidence to his teammates and on the court. Not just himself. But he works extremely hard. He's conditioning extra all the time. And he's a product of it. And I think he'll look different in two weeks. It's just one of those things.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
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