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 19, 2016

Tom Crean

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana - 87, Liberty - 48

COACH CREAN: First and foremost, we had a lot of respect for Liberty. I've known Ritchie, known of his success for a long time. And watching films, starting to watch film of them the other night with their post double, defensively knowing his background as a head coach, knowing his background with the Virginia program, we knew we were going to have to be really, really good at moving the ball.

And we wanted to play through the post. We're clicking at a really good rate when the ball touches the paint by the post, for the drive, and we wanted to establish that in that game knowing that it would be hard to do.

And the most important thing was to get off to a really good start defensively. Plus 10. I look at it right now like we have six starters. We're trying to make sure that guys that can finish the game, for me to make that decision to move them in there is really simple for us because of where those guys are at. And the whole key for the season is to continue to have guys move in that way. Not necessarily move out.

I thought that that gave us an opportunity to get on some physicality. We did. We got off to a great start. And everybody that came into the game continued to build on that.

And again we prepared hard. They've worked extremely hard, and we had one day off in between. But they were locked into this team. We were locked well into how they shoot the ball. We were locked into the fact that No. 22, Dawson, was 6-of-8 from 3. And coming into the game, that No. 2, Reid, was a tremendous catch-shoot shooter. And 15 shots, 14 of them three. So we didn't want to come down get into some type of shootout with them.

We wanted to make sure that we were guarding the ball coming out of the corners and try to limit their good 3-point attempts. And I thought our defensive length, our awareness, the switching, the not overhelping, those things were really, really good in the first half. And we had a few miscues later on, but defensively and rebounding were the biggest keys to me.

Certainly a lot of room for improvement. We can get a lot better footwork. As much as time as we spend on it, some of our mistakes, our turnovers are coming from footwork. We've got to continue to build on that.

We've got to continue to cut better without the ball. We've got to continue to give the ball up one dribble earlier. Our mindset of passing is good. And sometimes we don't execute it as well. There were a few things that were very easy to correct with our turnovers in the sense of our spacing; and like I said, the footwork, a few other things, we've got to work a little harder at.

But it's the third game of the year. We know we're getting ready to play in a tremendous atmosphere against another team that we have a lot of respect for in Fort Wayne on Tuesday night, who is coming off a big win where they scored 94 points.

We have a lot of respect for how they coach, how they play, how fast they are. And we're going on the road.

So short period of time for us to get better. But we got better in the game tonight. And that's the most important.

Q. The turnovers, how do you diagnose the footwork, how do you --
COACH CREAN: We work on footwork all the time. We're hopping a little bit. And I think we're just in a rush. I think we're playing a little too fast at times. And we're trying to make the move too fast. Freddie's charge in the corner was -- they cut off the baseline. We attacked across the top. We're just going a little too fast.

But I'll focus on that tomorrow. I'm going to make sure -- I've already had my -- my oldest daughter, who has become -- she makes all of you look mild right now with her critiques. So already saw that message from her. And she's not even here. She's at the Michigan-Indiana game. I get it from all levels.

But to me everything's correctible, and their attitudes are great and we'll get those things fixed as we go.

Q. You talked about kind of dealing with the defense and Thomas in particular. How do you think he handled that, I guess? Is he getting a lot of attention defensively inside? You talked about the post double, and I think the defense in general seemed to be kind of really packed in. How do you think he handled that?
COACH CREAN: Very well. I thought he handled it very well. I think his turnovers a couple times just came -- we'll have to look at them, but they're just a couple of miscues there.

And he still had deflections tonight. We've just got to make -- we want to do the right thing. Sometimes we've gotta do it a little quicker. We have to do it with a little more patience, like the move has to be quicker or we have to slow down a little bit on our footwork.

We have to make the pass one dribble sooner. There's some timing issues there that I'm not surprised we're going through. And we'll work on that.

We're continuing to learn how to get used to the new rules with the post-up and things of that nature. I didn't think he fouled when he was called for the offensive foul. But then later I see, yeah, and the way the rules are called, yeah, he did. We've got to continue to work on that. De'Ron, the same thing.

A lot of times guys -- sometimes we have our arms in the wrong spots. We want to have our arms up and out. We want to have arms up and loose and hands loose to rebound the ball, but we don't want to post with our arms. We want to post with our body and get our arms out wide. Sometimes we get it in reverse order.

So to me it's just a matter of just refinement, remembering, more drill work, more film work, and just continue to expand what we're doing and do it in a fundamental way.

Q. How many can perform in the lineup?
COACH CREAN: I'm not sure. I haven't really thought about that. I screwed up momentum at the end of the first half a little bit because I wanted to get some other guys in there. We had good momentum going. I'm not sure. I think if we recruit them, they should be good enough to play. And I think if they can walk on, they should be good enough to come into the game and help us, because we have enough managers, right?

So you want guys that can come in and contribute. Now there's going to be nights some guys don't play as much. But I think that's why, as we go down the line, there will be more pressure involved in our defense. Right now we're trying to get our base right. We're trying to get our half court right. We're trying to get our ball pressure right. We're trying to make sure, like I said, we don't come off the corners.

The other night I didn't think we were as good at that. Kansas we did a pretty decent job. We didn't do as good a job Wednesday. And we did a much better job tonight. To me we don't want to lose the fundamental base of what we've got to do defensively in the half court.

But as we get better at that, it will increase more full court pressure and hopefully it will allow us to stay with playing more guys.

But the biggest thing I'm looking at, a really fast pace but you don't want guys to pace themselves. And that's why getting a lot of guys in there is really important right now, is we play our way into really good game shape; because I've said so many times before, knowing my team the way I do, we're not there yet, because we just don't have that buildup that we've had with the five-on-five in practices and with the injuries and all that different stuff that you work through. But we're getting there.

So I'm not down on anybody with the way that they played, but I will say at the same time there's not one guy that can't get significantly better. And I believe that they all will.

Q. How is the footwork as far as looking, say, by December 31st I want 75 percent of the defense in.
COACH CREAN: I don't look at it that way at all. We don't have nearly as many things in offensively as we would have. And we don't have as many different schemes or packages defensively.

It's concepts on both sides of the court for us. But tonight was more about let's get on the glass offensively. Let's get on the glass defensively. Let's make sure our effort and energy is really good there. Let's not pace ourselves on running the floor.

Frankly, I think it caught up with us a little bit last week, last Tuesday and Wednesday, especially. I think if you look at the other teams that played in that, it's the same thing when you come back from Maui, it hits you at different times.

It's not an excuse. We scored 100 points. But we weren't as good as we could have been. I think that we've worked hard at that the last couple of days to make sure we understand that better.

So I don't have a timeline on any of that. It's every day reading the team and seeing where we're at.

Q. You talked about Fort Wayne. How do you end up picking games, is that something you really wanted to do or it just works out?
COACH CREAN: We wanted to do something that had home games in it with the Indiana Classic to make sure we had enough home games. We knew we were doing the thing with Kansas.

Certainly we made the decision to play Louisville in Bankers Life to go along with Butler. We had the [indiscernible] just a matter of making sure we have enough homes for this.

And Jay Grossman put it together. And it was an opportunity to involve Fort Wayne and an opportunity to go on the road at I think the second largest city, right, second largest city and a great IU fan base up there.

And now we've got to go play the game. It's going to be easier said than done, with how talented they are, how good Mo Evans is. But it's just an opportunity to play in a state. We can't do it very much. I can't say when we'll be able to do it again, with the way the schedule is for us.

But this is an opportunity for us to go up there in an arena that I'm looking forward to coaching in. I think they're looking forward to playing in. And certainly that we could take James home play into it. And there was always that risk making that decision because obviously if he doesn't get hurt last year maybe he's not here.

Maybe he's already in the NBA. But it just kind of worked out. So I know they're appreciative. I know the base of fans up there are excited. And all we want to do over the next few days is be locked into playing an explosive team.

Q. Josh took a blow tonight.
COACH CREAN: He lost a tooth. They're in the process of handling that now. That's a tough deal, because he's going to be a good player. And we're asking a lot of him right now and doing more than what he's done, and I was really looking forward to him going out there, continuing to play with the four fouls, and then obviously he got hit and he couldn't continue.

But I have no reason to believe that it will be anything more than getting that replaced and hopefully with the addition of a mouth guard he'll be okay.

Q. Following up on Pete's question just a little bit, you said it's hard to play those in-state road games. I know you did it against Evansville a few years ago, but why is that so difficult?
COACH CREAN: Look at our schedule. It's very difficult because this is working out into a classic situation. It's not where you're really going to be do it home and home or where you'll be able to do it two-for-one. I mean, I can go down the litany of the reasons. We have the Big Ten ACC. We have the Gavit five out of seven, the Crossroads. We're going to try to play in something like a Jimmy V or something like what we did with the Armed Forces. And this just worked out.

This worked out. This was our exempt of it. And so you have Liberty, Mississippi Valley, you have Lowell and Fort Wayne. It worked out that way.

So it's hard to do two for ones or home-and-homes outside of what's already allotted and the Louisville game obviously came into play. There's a lot of navigation that has to go into the scheduling and there's less flexibility than you think. You know that, you've seen that. So it is just what it is.

Q. Thomas, you talked a lot about his passion and always kind of putting that into his play when maybe taking him over the line a little bit. Has he gotten better channelling that, do you think, as a sophomore and maybe not going too fast, just kind of letting his emotions sort of push him?
COACH CREAN: Yeah, I don't really think -- I think it's a matter of moving on to the next play is the most important thing for him, being down on himself. He's very hard on himself. And we can't let being hard on himself play into the next play because it's usually not that way.

When you get down on yourself, it doesn't affect the next play. It usually affects -- and you can't live in the past. And the past has got to be you've got to learn from it quickly and move on.

It's the same thing when it's going well. You've got to really move on quickly. And that's part of the maturity process for every play. And he's in the midst of that right now.

And at 19 I think he's doing a pretty good job of it. But it's something we've got to continue to help him with because he's got a very high motor.

He's a perfectionist in a lot of ways. He wants to do well. He wants to be a well-rounded, complete player and he's well on his way to being that. So this is not a situation where he just comes down, lines up in that post. And he played three different positions tonight offensively. And with the way we're switching, he's switching on to a lot of different people.

So it's different here in that sense that there's a lot of things, that's why we slow down how many things we have in. But there's a lot of different ways we can play and when you have a guy that has versatility, the intelligence, the emotion, the energy that he has, you want to do your very best to help him with that because he's going to be such a good player moving down the road. We want to make sure we do everything we possibly can do to have him as prepared as he can be and win a bunch of games along the way. That's what he's well on his way to doing.

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