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September 28, 2017

De'Ron Davis

Freddie McSwain

Johnny Jager

Bloomington, Indiana

Q. De'Ron, I think we've even kind of talked to you a couple times, but everybody's just talked about the transformations you've made this summer, the work you've done, both in terms of conditioning and strength and also on the floor. Where do you feel like you are, maybe a year ago today versus right now as a player?
DE'RON DAVIS: I feel like I'm a way better player overall. Like you said, my conditioning, my health is better. I'm completely healthy 100 percent, and just overall, just ready for the season. Last year I was a freshman. I was coming in pretty nervous. This year I'm ready to get the ball rolling and have a great year as a team and individually.

Q. De'Ron, you talked about coming in as a freshman. Collin Hartman earlier said, in a way, we're all freshmen this year since we're learning a new system. What have you seen from the actual freshmen coming in so far, and what have you tried to tell them about adjusting to the college level?
DE'RON DAVIS: Well, all the freshmen are pretty athletic. They all listen well. They all want to work hard, and they all each have their individual goals. I just really stressed that the Big Ten, as you know, is a powerhouse conference, and we've just got to be ready every day. Take care of your bodies on and off the court. Can't get in trouble. And we've just got to stick together as a team. The season is going to have a lot of ups and downs. As long as we stick together as a team, we can overcome anything.

Q. De'Ron, this is for you. What are three or four things you think you're going to be better at specifically on the court than you were last year?
DE'RON DAVIS: Defensively, I think I'm going to be way better. In high school, I took pride on defense, and me coming in late, out of shape, kind of hindered that a lot. Me defensively, run up and down the court, and me just really focus on fouling, keeping my hand straight up, just not getting any little fouls to take me out of the game.

Q. De'Ron, the off-season, losing 20 pounds, how do you -- I know you talked about the defense and the fouling, but what other changes have you seen in what you're able to do on the court now as opposed to maybe where you were a year ago?
DE'RON DAVIS: Just finishing above the rim honestly. Just being able to, you know, in practice consistently dunk, consistently talk to my teammates. Last year I know that, when I got tired in practice, I kind of got quiet, but this year I'm starting to not be as quiet, be more of a vocal leader and also a visual leader. Just my main focus is trying to play above the rim, try to be athletic, try to be fast with my moves, be precise with my moves.

Q. De'Ron, you kind of alluded to the fouls, but how much have you noticed just the extra conditioning? How has that kind of helped you as far as technique and just being in the right position?
DE'RON DAVIS: Just playing low. Like I said, me losing that much weight and still be able to maintain my strength and actually gain some strength too -- it's kind of weird that you don't really see that happen a lot. So that's going to play a big role, especially in the Big Ten. But just me playing above the rim, me being a vocal leader. Like I said before, last year I came in out of shape. So me being that vocal leader and trying to encourage my teammates is a big part of it.

Q. One of the things, when Coach was talking earlier about strengths and weaknesses or what he wanted to see more, he talked about increasing front line depth. What has he talked to you about in terms of your role, being able to lend yourself to that?
FREDDIE McSWAIN: He didn't talk about my role really. Just me coming in being prepared, just me coming in the game and playing defense, just being a guy -- just be a rebounder and just play with energy as soon as I get in the game.

Q. Freddie, you had a lot more minutes at the last four or five games of the year. What changed for you then?
FREDDIE McSWAIN: Just got confident at the end of the season. The game slowed down at the end of the season, and I just believed in myself, and I knew I could play this game at this next level.

Q. Was it a matter of slowing down on some of your finishes and things like that?
FREDDIE McSWAIN: Yeah, just slowing down, just being focused, and just know, like if I slow myself down, the game comes much easier.

Q. Johnny, obviously, you had to sit out last season. Just kind of what do you feel like you got out of the experience, and how do you sort of want to transition into this year?
JOHNNY JAGER: Just gaining experience and better knowing the guys, just everything last year is all about gaining experience. For me, it's really exciting to be able to put this jersey on as many times as I can because, being from Bloomington, it's a dream come true. So I'm just trying to work hard and push everybody in practice and help make the team better.

Q. De'Ron, what was Archie's sales pitch to you when you first sat down with him about what type of guy you could become here?
DE'RON DAVIS: Well, first he kind of gave me like a direct stare in my eye, and I kind of knew what he was about to say. He kind of just tried to basically take my whole summer away really. Everybody went home, and I was here for 12 weeks, well, an extra 4 weeks than everybody.

But he really just said that -- he seen me play against the USA team because his brother was the coach of that last year -- well, two years ago. So he really just said that, if you want to be the player you want to be and do the things and accomplish the things you want to do, I feel like I can help you with that, and I'm bringing in a staff and the people, and I'm putting people in place to build this program up and to build you up individually. Really he said that, just like I said, if I want to do the things I want to do, he has the people to help me do that.

So I went through the 12-week process and lost 21 pounds, increased my vert, got stronger, quicker, faster, and I also got smarter too.

Q. Off of that, if I may, are you ready to dominate in basketball?
DE'RON DAVIS: Of course. Not only me, though, but my team. I was here an extra four, but we all had a great off-season. Fred, Johnny -- Johnny didn't play last year, so I'm pretty sure he's ready to contribute. Freddie --


DE'RON DAVIS: Yeah, all of us, our whole team. Not just me individually, but we're all ready to have a big impact on the Big Ten, especially coming off the season that we had last year.

Q. De'Ron, you mentioned that decision to stay for 12 weeks. Was that -- you said he looked you in the eye. Was that something like snap of a finger, you're like I'm staying, I want to do this, or is it something you had to think about?
DE'RON DAVIS: No, I didn't have to think about it. The only thing is I had to talk to my mom about it. She kind of wanted to see me, especially after the long year. When I told her that, for us to -- for me to reach my goals, for me to do what I want to do, I've got to get in shape, I've got to be ready to dominate this year. So she was all for it.

Then I told Coach the next day, I'm with it. You can start whenever.

Q. For Freddie and De'Ron, what kind of things has Coach Clif Marshall implemented that's kind of helped you guys and your bodies? I know, Freddie, you set a bench rep record, and De'Ron you got a WWE belt. So what was that like working with Clif?
DE'RON DAVIS: It was a good experience. He's really focused on like a push and pull mentality. He's big on recovering hard. In the weight room, for every push, we would do a pull. So he's really just focused on the details in the weight room. And then like I said, he's all about health. He doesn't like doing any extra. So in our time frame, he likes to get everything done in that time, and he tries to really recover hard. We work hard, but we also recover hard.

FREDDIE McSWAIN: He's the best at what he's doing, basically. He's the best.

Q. Johnny, maybe this is for you. Coach Miller was a diminutive, but savvy and tough point guard in the ACC. What does he bring to practice as a former player at that level and at that position?
JOHNNY JAGER: Well, you can just tell that he knows the ins and outs of everything. He knows. He's got that high basketball IQ, and he knows every position from one to five like it's the back of his hand. I'm just really lucky to be able to learn under someone like him.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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