Sampson on the radio, 7 p.m.

Don Fischer is reminding y’all that the Hoosiers moved up to No. 13 in the AP poll and No. 14 in the coaches’ poll.

And that’s it.

——

Ian from Marion says he loves Kelvin’s team and likes the defensive toughness. That’s it. Sampson appreciates the comments. As he usual does when the caller doesn’t question him.

Another guy calling to thank Kelvin for beating Kentucky. But he’s got a question. It’s getting back to this debate about offensive sets vs. playing off the dribble.

Sampson says the game has changed. With more athletic players you’re able to play the game off the dribble. That’s just the trend, the way the game has evolved. The less talented a team is, the more it has to rely on fundamentals. Not to say Kelvin doesn’t emphasize them, but it’s not so essential. At least that’s what I took from his answer.

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Kevin wants to know if Kelvin talked to the Crawford family.

Sampson said he did, and that Joe and Jordan’s parents didn’t like the “Jordan’s better!” chant.

Let’s go to Rich in Indianapolis: he’s saying thanks for beating Kentucky. But he has a concern. He still thinks there’s not enough offensive movement, and hopes that there soon will be.

Sampson offers no comment to that.

Randy in Evansville is asking about whether Sampson thinks there’s a better student section. He does. But he hopes the athletic department will continue working on it.

Now Sampson is just sort of riffing, and saying, “People are going to like your offense, people aren’t going to like your offense.” That seems to be really one of the major issues of this year with many fans. They’re hoping to see more motion, more screens, etc.

Sampson’s defending the one-on-one, saying “That’s how you get fouls.” And, “It’s important to play to your team’s strengths.” This is something I don’t think he’ll bend on anytime soon.

To the phones:

Don from Vincennes is calling to wish the team a Merry Christmas.

And he wants to know about the Big Ten officiating. Sampson turns it around and asks Don what he thinks. Don throws it back at him, saying that he sees Sampson yelling a lot. But Sampson won’t touch this one: “I don’t notice them much. I focus on the team.”

Don from Mitchell wants to know if Gordon will play: “I think we’ll have to wait and see.”

John in Evansville . . . is not there. Oh, there he is. He’s just calling to say thanks for beating Kentucky. And he wants to know about the palming calls. He thinks it could be called almost every time somebody dribbles. Sampson has said this before: he thinks the spirit of the rule is to prevent players from creating an advantage.

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Johnny’s got a question. Will A.J. start when he returns?

“No.”

A question about how a national TV game impacts recruiting. Sampson says he doesn’t think much about it since all the games are on TV.

Next question is about A.J. Ratliff’s attitude so far: “It’s been good. He practices hard.”

Laura wants to know what the most important off the court lesson Sampson tries to teach: “The most important thing is to learn how to give back.” Also, “Sometimes when you’re as visible as we are you tend to think you’re bigger than you are. If something happens to me, they’ll get a new coach.”

Amanda, who is enjoying a taco from Taco Johns, wants to know what the team emphasizes. It’s rebounding. Because that’s an area Sampson can control. Also, hustle and toughness.

Dan, chowing on a beef burrito, wants to know what Sampson wants in his role players. Here’s a good one: “I abhor softness. You can’t win on the road with soft kids.” That’s why he loves Mike White. Sampson wants to sign him to a 10-year contract.

Dave wants to know the practice schedule, whether it will be lighter this week: Sampson said it will be. No practice today, no film tomorrow and just a few individual workouts before about a 75 minute practice session.

Question time.

Sampson is calling for Roger to stand up. His question is, when you recruit a player what do you look for?

Sampson wants to see if he’s a good kid, coachable, good student. And, of course, talent. “If he’s not talented, I’m not interested.” But talent comes in many forms. “Lance Stemler has a great talent: he plays hard.”

Now to Janet (I think).

She wants to know about DeAndre Thomas’ hands.

“DeAndre does have soft hands,” Sampson says. “Most of the guys on our team do, but he has exceptionally soft hands.”

Lindsay wants to know: Do you think it would be beneficial to rest Eric Gordon over the next three-game stretch?

“That’s totally up to him,” Sampson said. “I thought he made a great decision not to go. He looked better today.”

Apparently Gordon couldn’t stride on Friday, and that was the day he decided not to play.

But Sampson’s not about to say when the freshman might return. “Not ready to make a prediction like last week, but we’ll see.”

Here’s how Sampson thought the team played Saturday: “I thought good.” Yes. True.

Mike White and Lance Stemler were keys, because of the way they helped D.J. White double Patrick Patterson.

Sampson’s lauding DeAndre Thomas’, calling him a “big ole grizzly bear, the way he’s so big and moves so quickly.” Thomas is still at what Sampson called a “manageable” weight, but hopes to lose more.

Sampson thought that it was about this time last year that his first Indiana team started forming. “You figure out which way is up,” he said. This team is doing the same thing. “They key is you have to get better, and we are.”

—-

Don Fischer is saying that there are some technical problems due to an ice storm in Missouri, so they’re hopping the feed will stay constant.

Sampson’s talking about the environment Saturday at Assembly Hall. “It was a real charged atmosphere. Our kids really feed off that.”

Sampson on the Kentucky-Indiana rivalry: “I think fans from the two schools have a general disregard for each other.” Hmmm . . . maybe.

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Hear it at 105.1 FM in Bloomington.

I’ll post updates here, too.

2 comments

  1. I have a brother-in-law that went to Kentucky. Their fans are in complete denial. They think their program is pristine. When their assistant coach wrapped a tape with $5000 in cash and sent it to a recruit he insisted that a postal worker (at a Lexington post office) took the unmarked envelope with a VHS tape in it, figured out it was going to a basketball recruit, and attached his own money just to make Kentucky (his local team) look bad. I think he really believes that kind of crap.
    And, please, don’t try to compare phone calls with big stacks of unmarked bills.

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