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September 28, 2017

Collin Hartman

Zach McRoberts

Justin Smith

Bloomington, Indiana

Q. Collin, this is for you. Just give us your thoughts on this whole process of you go through Senior Night, then you decide to come back. Now you're into it, the day-to-day work with these guys. Kind of what's your role like, and what's this been like for you to put the jersey on and get back to work?
COLLIN HARTMAN: It's been somewhat of a transition, again for me just getting into the timing of the game and getting used to the day-to-day workouts and being with the guys at all times and just meshing as a team. A bunch of new guys this year, new chemistry, trying to mix myself in and just make the team better. Just trying to get our chemistry right and our timing and our flow right.

Q. Hey, Collin, you mentioned the new faces, new guys. If you could, just give us a quick overview of Justin and the other freshmen that have come in. What have you seen from them individually so far?
COLLIN HARTMAN: First and foremost, they're very, very talented, very athletic. I think the thing that is going to put them in a situation to be the most successful is them being sponges. Soaking it all in, learning everything that they possibly can, as early as they can.

To be honest with you, we're all kind of in a freshman seat right now because new staff and everything. We're all learning a new system and everything. But these guys, Justin, Al, Cliff, all these guys, even Race, they've all been really good and listened really well and just been sponges, like I said, to soak in all this new information in a new way that the college basketball game is different from high school. So I think that's the biggest thing for them.

Q. Collin and Zach, both of you, just your thoughts on what you guys can do to improve defensively, what principles maybe are going to be different from the past, and how you kind of see this team playing together defensively this year.
ZACH McROBERTS: Defensively, we've been working a lot at it. Just working basically every day, every time we have practice. Just getting used to playing with each other on defense, knowing our spots, knowing how we're going to play. I think that can only help. I think we should be pretty solid.

COLLIN HARTMAN: Yeah. Like Zach said, we work on it every single day. Defensive closeouts. There's defense schemes that us older guys are having to learn. Like I said, with the freshmen and just being young and being new to the new system, we have to learn it too and just learn the different rotations because different schemes have different rotations on the back side, loading to the ball or what have you.

So it's a learning curve, but we're excited.

Q. My question is for Collin. At one point last season, I think a lot of people thought you were going to move on from the program. What were some of the things that went into your decision to come back? When did you know that that was what you wanted to do?
COLLIN HARTMAN: Yeah, it was a very, very tough decision for me personally to initially make the decision if I was going to leave. But I was still -- my rehab was going well, and my knee was starting to feel good. I was still getting up shots and stuff. I was shooting one day in Cook, and I was thinking to myself, like, if I got one more shot at it, why not do it? Because you can't come back and do it. That's what my mom kept telling me and everybody.

So I talked to my high school coach and a lot of people that I trust that were close to me, and at the end of the day, I was like I don't get this chance again. My rehab came along really, really well. Ultimately, that was the deciding factor.

Q. Justin, Collin kind of alluded to this, but when you first got here this summer, did it kind of feel like everyone was on the same plane? Did it feel like everyone was starting over with a new coach, new system? Kind of feel like everyone was in the same space?
JUSTIN SMITH: A little bit. Coming into it, especially coming in as a freshman, we hadn't had the experience of going through college level preseason or summer. So going in, yes, they had had a different coaching staff, but now even though they were learning a different thing, we were now able to kind of learn along with them instead of them being -- I mean, like having the upper edge. So it was a good learning experience and a good bonding experience to be able to go through it, learning it all new together.

Q. Collin, we asked Rob about this too. De'Ron is a guy that coaches have talked a lot about kind of through the off-season, the way he's changed his body and his game. What differences do you see in him at this point as opposed to maybe a year ago, especially since he was kind of playing catch-up because he got here so late?
COLLIN HARTMAN: The biggest difference is obviously his body being more athletic. He's dunking all the time whereas last year we had to almost beg him to dunk the ball. Just the shape that he's in and his mental state, where he's at, having to go through a grueling summer. I think it's not only paid off for him physically but mentally as well. He's mentally tough and knows he can push his body to different limits than he thought last year.

Ultimately, he has a year of experience under his belt, so he's more comfortable with the speed of the game and the physicality and stuff like that. So he's evolving into a guy that these younger guys can look up to because he's played in the games.

Q. Justin, you've been here almost four months now. What do you feel you've improved the most on, and what do you need to work on to get on the court this year?
JUSTIN SMITH: I would say my jump shot. Right when I came in, we started working on it. We kind of made some tweaks. I'm working on it every day after practice, before practice, just trying to get it to where it needs to be for when the season starts.

Q. Justin, you mentioned going through the college level workouts for the first time, not really knowing what to expect. What was the biggest maybe eye-opening thing about that? Were there any adjustments I guess you had to make as you went through that?
JUSTIN SMITH: I would just say the speed, going through the workouts and going through -- even like open gyms, just how fast everything moves, and you have to really be paying attention, especially during drills and stuff like that. So I mean, the speed was quite an adjustment, but after a couple weeks, you kind of get used to it.

Q. We talked to Rob about this, Collin, but last year a lot of what was talked about was leadership and how there was a little bit of a lack of leadership last year. Obviously, you have a chance to finally get back out there this year. How are you going to kind of take over that role and maybe make that a little bit better this season for this team with a lot of uncertainty?
COLLIN HARTMAN: Like I said earlier, I'm trying to work myself in as well. First and foremost, being a leader, I think you have to lead by example. If you're not capable of doing the things you're telling somebody to do, why should they listen to you?

So step one for me and the thing I've been working towards this summer is really getting my body right and getting to where I can do all the things that I'm expecting my teammates to do and that the coaches are expecting of me.

But I've been through a lot of basketball in my life here at IU, so I know what it takes to win. I know what winning looks like. So when I get the confidence up in my physical abilities again and get in the flow of the game and everything, then I can translate the vocal leadership to that and keep sharing it to these young guys.

Q. Justin, it's not unusual for a guy from Buffalo Grove to be here at IU, Dan Feeney, All-American football guard is from Stevenson, obviously. What do you tell folks, now that you've been in Bloomington a little bit, about what it's like here, the culture here, everything?
JUSTIN SMITH: Just letting them know I enjoy it. I've loved every minute, every single second that I've been here. It's just everything that is advertised. So just going through the workouts, just being on campus, I mean, it's everything that I thought it was.

Q. Zach, how is your role, if it is different? As you look for what you're looking to do -- and everybody's smiling -- what is it you're looking for from yourself, and what is coach looking for from you?
ZACH McROBERTS: Just sort of the same it was last year, just come in and try to make a difference any way possible. Not really a totally clear role, not really a goal, not really anything specific. Just come in and make a difference is my plan.

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