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March 17, 2017
THE MODERATOR: Joined by Purdue student-athletes, P.J. Thompson and Vincent Edwards. Questions, please.
Q. For both of you, when you look at them on film and when the coaches talk to you, how are they similar to your guys' style, and more importantly, how are they different from you guys stylistically?
P.J. THOMPSON: I see -- I think they're a lot different. They start four seniors, four guards. They've been through it, they play in a really good conference. They have a lot of guys that can make a lot of plays. I think that's similar. We have a lot of guys that can make a lot of plays and beat you as well. They play a little faster, and I think we're inside out and they're more outside in.
VINCE EDWARDS: Yeah, pretty much to say what he said. We're different in certain areas. They start four seniors and four guards and just the way they play. They actually make a lot of plays. They run some simple sets that seem so simple, but they got a lot of guys that can make a lot of plays. It makes them that more effective. They play well together.
Q. What does Coach Painter do well, what makes him so successful, both on the court in terms of how he schemes in basketball and off the court and how he relates to you guys?
VINCE EDWARDS: Off the court, especially, he gets it. He remembers what it was once like to be a college player, be in our position. Lot of times when we have problems on or off the court, we're allowed to talk to him and he's really open about it. That's a good relationship that coaches build with their players. And then on the court, he just tries to help any way he can. If he sees something, he'll let you know and keep his X's and O's sharp. He let's us know if he see openings. He does a really good job for us.
Q. I don't care which one of you answer this, but have you played -- who would you compare Monte Morris to against guys you played against this year?
P.J. THOMPSON: He kind of reminds me of Derrick Walton. He will really score the ball. He can really score the ball, but he's patient. He doesn't rush things. He doesn't turn the ball over a lot. When he really needs to make plays, he does it and he does a really good job of getting his teammates involved because he plays with a lot of good players that can make plays as well. He gets them the ball in the right spots and they knock it down.
Q. Who is better?
P.J. THOMPSON: I don't know.
P.J. THOMPSON: Really good players. Playing really well at the right time. Derrick Walton has had a good game today. Monte Morris has had a heck of a career in a big conference. Made big time shots and big time plays.
Q. This Iowa State team has a lot of fire power. What are you guys looking to do on defense?
VINCE EDWARDS: Containment. It's been with us all year. They do a lot of -- like I said, they really don't even run that many sets. Looks like it, they run a lot of sets, but they have guys out there making plays and they make plays off the bounce. We got to do a good job of dribble containment and not overhelping. They have a lot of shooters on the outside make you pay. You got to make them make tough shots. Even though it's something they do very well, that's just things you have to live with, but you got to keep them out of the paint.
THE MODERATOR: Both of you, please start with P.J, what will you guys need to do well tomorrow night, what will make the difference in the game?
P.J. THOMPSON: You know, it's a short turnaround with games. There's only so much you can do as far as preparing for the team. And Coach always says we always as a team can control what you can control. And that's what we do on our offensive end and our defensive end. We're not going to get every set that they run. We're not going to know every out-of-bounds play. But we know what we want to do as far as defensive scheme and what we want to do offensively. Control what we can control and playing how we played all year, and you have a certain mindset and toughness entering the game, and I feel like it will give you shot to win.
THE MODERATOR: Same question, Vincent, please.
VINCE EDWARDS: Just like P.J. said, at this time it's quick turnaround. Got to be ready to go. Our Coach will do a good job of scheming everything they scheme up for us. Allow your defensive principles on what the coaches go through. And we can't let Purdue beat Purdue. We can't turn the ball over. We got the take care of the ball and give ourselves a chance.
Q. What do you get from Issac Haas? What do you expect from him when he's on the floor, and how much development have you seen and what do you think he gives you when he's on the floor?
VINCE EDWARDS: We expect as a team, we expect Issac to be dominant when he gets in and he's in the low post. It's tough for him because he gets handled a little differently than most players would in the country because he's 7-2, almost 300 pounds. He has to be strong down low and establish his presence in the paint for us because he's huge when he's down there and he's doing what he does best, finishing over either shoulder or dunking the ball, just having huge games for us. That's huge for us as a team. Helps us that much more.
Q. Vincent, do you expect to draw the Burton assignment and what do you do to limit him?
VINCE EDWARDS: I just got from coaches today that I will be starting on him. Honestly, he's a good player. I think teams have kind of matched him up as if he's a big. He's really a guard. He's not the tallest guy in the world, but he's really strong. He's athletic. He knows how to get his shots off. He's explosive.
So, you know, you got to guard him, make him make tough shots, and can't let him have anything easy. He has to earn every shot.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else for the student-athletes? All right. Thanks, guys. Good luck tomorrow night.
Joined by Purdue Head coach, Matt Painter. Questions, please.
Q. Matt, for those of us who don't see a whole lot of Iowa State, what are their strengths, how do you attack them?
COACH PAINTER: I think they have great balance. Obviously, their point guard is one of the best points in the country in Monte Morris. Just quick, fast, skilled, can make 3s, sets up his teammates, can make a pullup and get to the basket. Just a good all-around player and an experienced player.
I think the thing that jumps out for them is just the quality of their team but the experience also. They start four seniors. You don't see that all the time now in college basketball where you have that many quality seniors that have been together for a long time. Couple guys obviously for them on their front line can cause a lot of problems, especially Burton. He's a mismatch guy that can drive the ball and shoot it. But just a very skilled team, Naz and Matt Thomas are two really good players that can shoot and make plays and cause a lot of problems because they have some good size, they have good quickness, athleticism at a high skill level.
Q. Is this -- on paper this looks stylistically as a big difference between you two guys. Is that your assessment, too? You guys seem to work inside out, where they are more perimeter oriented?
COACH PAINTER: We do have good perimeter and interior play. We also play inside out with our perimeter, guys make some plays at the end of the game after we got doubled. In the half court, that's what we want to try to do. We have some guys that can break you down and make some plays.
But from a style standpoint, we both score around 80 points a game. We led our league in scoring. I know they were right up there. And so we both put points on the board, but they both probably come in a little different variety. We don't only score the ball on the interior. We have some guys that can really shoot on the perimeter, and Haas is probably our only guy that doesn't shoot on the perimeter, rightfully so at 7-2. Everybody else can shoot and shoot 3s. And so it makes for a good balance when you have good size and good skill.
Q. Matt, are you committed to staying with Ryan Cline in the starting lineup, or have you given any thought to going with Carsen?
COACH PAINTER: Obviously, he started, I think, after the Penn State game when he hit those two shots. We'll stay with Ryan Cline. He hasn't really got on track. We play through our bigs, and so people do stick with him. And then it's big kind of back and forth with those guys throughout the season. They both have played well. Cline has played well for us, you know. You know, without him, we don't win the Big Ten Championship. That was a huge win at Penn State.
Carsen Edwards has been one of the best freshmen in our league, his ability the make plays and shots. I'm happy with both our guys. I like our rotation, the eight guys that we have, and being able to bring Carsen Edwards and Isaac Haas and the experience of Spike Albrecht off the bench, that's three quality guys off the bench. And I think that's what makes for a good team.
Q. Every time Haas steps on the floor, he's going to be guarded by somebody that's smaller than him. To the same extent in certain games Swanigan. What is the process of explaining to those guys and working with them to avoid frustration when maybe they're victims of their own size in certain situations?
COACH PAINTER: Don't impose the frustration. Don't do it to yourself. Legally post up, legally set screens, legally block out. Help yourself. I think sometimes you get picked on as a big guy, whether you're a -- you're watching high school guys, because that's probably the worst. High school officials are the absolute worst at dealing with big guys because they don't see very many of them.
You just don't see guys like Haas a lot. So they're used to reffing the 6-9 240, 250 pound guys. The 7-2, 300-pound guy, he has some moments where it's on him. There's a lot of moments where it's not, and they're just not accustomed to it. They kind of get duped by people that take those hits or falls or flop and things of that nature.
So we just worry about coaching him, and that's what we've really try to focus on, staying in our line lane. I need to coach and he needs to play and they need to officiate. But if anybody needs any assistance, he needs to let me do it. It is frustrating for him at times when there's calls that are made and you go back and watch the tape and it's guys taking some flops and they're not calls and you get picked on a little bit.
He's been really good for us and he can change the game, and I know he's looking forward to playing tomorrow night.
Q. Spike and all his experience, everything he's been through, what are some of the best lessons and experiences that he's passed on to the younger guys and kind of ease in on what you have to instill in them?
COACH PAINTER: For me it's difficult because I'm not -- I think the best lessons are when coaches aren't around. He has a lot of experience and he knows what's going on. I think for him, like dealing with Carsen Edwards is probably the one thing that jumps out for me because he was around Trey Burke and he saw how talented Trey Burke was and how good he was. But he also knew Trey Burke is a different player going from his freshman year to his sophomore year and making those improvements and those hard lessons that you make. And obviously he led them to the -- Trey led them to the championship game.
I know -- I think he's pretty good for Carsen and pretty good for all our guys because he's been through it and there's a little bit -- anytime -- if anybody ever played in this room, you always think something is wrong with your coach or something is wrong with your program or something is wrong with that. He gives that point of reference to where like, hey, you guys got it pretty good, especially with their coach. Their coach is a great guy (laughter). Seen a few guys actually listen in the back. You're just sitting there. There you go. I appreciate that.
So, I think those are always -- I always felt that when I played for one of the best coaches ever and one of the best guys ever, I would go back to my apartment and think he was crazy. I'm playing for one of the best coaches in America who treats you fair. He's on you. Gene Keady was on you. You still have that thought.
As a coach, it's good to have some people around to say, hey, man, you got it pretty good here. This is a pretty good situation. Nothing is perfect. I don't care where you go to school or what program you're in.
Q. Matt, with Caleb, does anything he do at this point surprise you? And when you look at his mobility, what is the secret, strategy workouts that he's doing or just him growing up and kind of getting acclimated?
COACH PAINTER: He's made strides every year. He made a huge stride from freshman to sophomore year. Nothing really surprised me. He just needs to let things come to him. He's very confident and he's very talented, but when he let's things come to him, he's more productive. He's always going to rebound, but the other part, his passing is so good and I thought that really help helped us at the end of the game last night. He got blocks at the end of the game. He passed and had some assists. One time one was a hockey assist, one was a direct pass. They were huge plays for us. He helps us in a lot of ways, not just by scoring the basketball. And when he plays that all-around game and let's things come to him, you know, that's when he's at his best.
Q. Matt, a couple years ago when you had those couple losing seasons in a row here at Purdue, what kind of changes did you make? How did you get the program back on track?
COACH PAINTER: First and foremost, I mentioned it, it wasn't a school district for us. You recruit guys into your program and you have to have a plan with what you want, and I just didn't think we had enough skill in our program. I didn't think we had enough guys that were about winning. Guys will be about shots, guys will be about minutes. If you just get some guys that are unconditional and just want to win -- too many people are asking about who is in my position or not in my position. When you sign those guys and they never ask those questions, they just want the opportunity, they just want to play and they're about Purdue winning, we had to get to that. We had to get -- and get to a more skilled guy. Obviously we were fortunate to sign some size and some really good players, but it was also the other guys that we got, P.J. Thompson, Dakota, Ryan Cline, the guys that are just sharp shooters that spread out the court. Obviously getting a guy like Carsen Edwards, very, very so fortunate to get him out of Houston, that gives us athleticism. He's a good kid and works hard and likes basketball. Just getting those guys -- obviously Vince Edwards comes in very, very versatile. He fits that bill, also from a basketball family. He gets it. He's from a great high school that has a lot of history, but it's about winning and that's hard sometimes to decipher in recruiting because you get told so many things by so many people.
You got to figure out for yourself what's at their core, and that's what we tried to do. And I really believe less is more. Right now we have eight guys in a rotation, but we have the right eight guys. And recruiting, it's more difficult. You guys write stories. It's hard. It really is to try to get things figured out. You can see if guys can run and jump and play, but you don't see the adversity set in, who are they when the adversity sets in. Then when you sign them, you get everybody. You get the whole crew with them and who is going to be there to help them when adversity sets in, and that's important, too.
Q. Matt, when we talked to Biggie, we were very fortunate if we get five to ten words in response. Have you seen a side of him that we all haven't seen? Does he ever really open up to you or to the guys in the locker room?
COACH PAINTER: He opens up on his own terms. He's not going to pass out that trust. You're going to have to earn that trust through time and being around him and him feeling comfortable with it. And he's about playing the game and winning. He's a good teammate, good guy. It's not a bad thing that he doesn't want to talk to the media all the time. You grow up in their society, a lot of those guys, they form their form and identity on social media. They're quick to tell you how they are. You guys have formed his identity on his production and how he's played and carried himself. He's a good student and guy. He likes basketball. Keeps his nose clean. I think it's a pretty good story, especially where he came from.
He's reserved. There's no doubt about it. He's private and that's okay. We want him to be himself. I don't try to form my players's opinions. I allow them to kind of grow on their own.
Q. Matt, like yourself, Steve Prohm followed a legend of sorts at Iowa State. What was that process like, that situation like for you, and how do you imagine it is for Coach Prohm?
COACH PAINTER: Your transition, do you have players in play? Lot of times you get a job because they struggle. He's fortunate to get a job and somebody was successful in front of him and left some guys on his team. And so for us, we started our program and Coach Keady had left, Carl Landry and David Teague ended up being All Conference. Carl is from Milwaukee. But that's how we got our start in our transition. Really bad my first year because both those guys tore their ACL. The next year we're able to go to the tournament and then go to six straight NCAA Tournaments. That was our start. If we didn't have David and Carl, we signed a couple freshmen and those guys' fifth year and Chris Kramer and Keaton Grant, underrecruited guys that were really good players for us. We're able to build from there.
Then the next class we signed, JaJuan Johnson and Robbie Hummel. When you follow that for me, I played for him, but I was only his assistant for one year. That's your blueprint. You know how to run a program. You know how to do those type of things. Lot of times guys can coach but do they know how to run a program? That was set in play by me by Bruce Weber, Coach Keady, how to handle things socially, how to handle things academically, how to help your players through a lot of different issues they have to go through. I was very fortunate to have those guys as my mentors and people that I've been around and worked with closely.
Q. Do you ever have to tell Caleb to stop working out or not do -- what kind of message or example did he say that set forth other guys on the team that he's doing all this stuff in addition to --
COACH PAINTER: He's driven. He was 400 pounds when he was an eighth grader. Go in there and see him -- he skipped a year of high school. Lot of times people tack on a year of high school and go five years. He went three years. He's driven to play in the NBA, but yet he's already a professional. He works at it, comes early, stays late, puts in his time. Sometimes he jumps over the fight because he's really competitive but what he says is good. Sometimes the delivery is a little different, but that's how he is. When he gets emotional, I like it. You can always knock those guys down a notch. You can't ramp them up. So for where he was and how he's gotten there, he's earned everything. Sometimes guys are just blessed. Obviously he's blessed to be 6-9 but also have the gene he's got to really watch his diet, really got to work out extra and help himself, so he's got to stay on top of those things.
Q. With Burton's ability in transition, how does that tax a defense differently than maybe a team where only the guards are threats in transition?
COACH PAINTER: Lot of times when you play through your trailer, right there it opens up. We all see that as the trail 4 comes into play, can stick the 3, can drive the basketball. But where they're so good Morris will push the ball and you got to guard the wings so the ball goes left or right to one of those wings right away, you got to be there to knock out that perimeter shooting. Then if they pinball that thing real quick from the point to the 2 back to the 4, he just starts wheeling and dealing. They'll shoot a 3, go left and spin back right and vice versa, and it's hard. You got stay in a stands. You got to have the proper close out. You got to almost try to get him into a pullup. But what's crazy about it, he can make pull upset, too.
When you get to that point, it's like the lesser of all evils. Keep him away, don't foul, don't let him get a layup or rhythm 3. Once he puts it on the deck, don't give him an angle. That's hard to do. Obviously, it's why you're asking the question. He's a mismatch nightmare. It's hard to handle him. And so you got to try your best to get your defense set so at least you're approaching him without closing out, approaching him, and you're already on your line if that makes any sense.
Q. You played Haas and Swanigan early in the first half and they struggled. You stuck with it in the second half. Are you going to be able to do again against Iowa State, or you going to force that upon them even with quickness with Iowa State?
COACH PAINTER: They didn't struggle. He fouled and I had to take him out. He's fine. Those guys can play together. We go into the game, you got to make some adjustments to how some things got called. He got his first foul and got the quick second one. He's got to adjust right there, not get that second one so he can stick in the game.
No, they're a good team and long and athletic. The thing is you look at the roster, one guy is listed at 6-4, 6-5, 6-8. They're good shot blockers. They're athletic. You saw the plays, whether getting steals or blocks. They're quick to the basketball and quick to their spots. For us, we just have to play our game. And the first half we struggled. We turned the ball over 8 times. We didn't give ourselves a chance, but yet we still had a 1-point lead. Second half we have 2 turnovers and it was a lot -- it was better for us because we were more efficient and giving ourselves a chance.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach. Good luck tomorrow night.
COACH PAINTER: Thanks.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports