Indiana coach Tom Crean was asked Monday night about the Glenn Robinson III-Jordan Hulls punch controversy and said that he would not discuss it. He was also asked about Victor Oladipo’s windmill dunk at the end of the game (which didn’t count) but that some apparently looked at as unsportsmanlike to Michigan. Oladipo himself apologized without prompting in the post-game press conference after Saturday’s game.
“I think Vic felt bad about that,” Crean said. “He wasn’t trying to rub it in on everybody, and I think there’s quite a few people that overreacted to that in all honesty. But John didn’t overreact to it, and I didn’t even see it at that point. But after I realized what happened, I said something to John and he was fine with it. I said, ‘That’s not what we do.’ In the back, it’s just the heat of the moment. It’s the adrenaline of the moment, and I don’t think it was anything that was meant in any derogatory way whatsoever. It is what it is.”
Crean addressed several other topics throughout the evening, which follow.
— Crean was asked about graduating players early in a question that tried to draw a contrast between Indiana’s approach and Kentucky’s. Crean refused to take the bait to engage in Kentucky-bashing (He usually does try to avoid going there) but discussed the ideas behind the accelerated paths to graduation that many of the players have taken.
“I can only speak on our approach,” Crean said. “I think it’s important that you do a good job of understanding that players have dreams and there’s places that they want to go. We need to have the same type of players that others have in the sense of being to fulfill those dreams and getting to the next level, getting to the NBA, being able to make a career out of it. But at the same time, if done correctly and they’re serious about it — it’s impossible after one year, it really is — but once you get into the second year, even if they’re to leave then, they can see the light at the end of the tunnel (in terms of graduating). And then in the third year, when you have a situation now when you have more guys graduating in three to 3 1/2 years than you do four, now there’s a proven system for it. They’re doing an excellent job academically. They’re getting very good grade points, but most importantly, they’re taking very good classes. They’re taking classes that are going to lead them to an excellent degree, but at the time, not only the degree that they get but the experience they get from taking those different classes. We’re really on top of that. Marni Mooney leads the way with all of that. That was something that we really wanted to start to accomplish when we got here. Now the players have to do the work in the sense of being able to handle the hours. They’re not in a situation where they’re taking too many hours. The key comes that they’re not dropping classes. That’s the thing that I’m most proud of from where we’re at academically is you can count on just a couple of fingers the classes that get dropped here.”
— Crean was asked about Oladipo as a defender. Not that he’s never had a question like that, but his answer was good.
“It’s instincts. It’s continuing to build his knowledge. It’s continuing to build his knowledge that go into his instincts. It’s determination. there’s no question it’s athleticism. He’s got a strong determination, will. He wants to be great at that. Very good anticipator and is getting so much better off the ball. The athleticism and the ability to move his hands, his head, his feet and keep his body in front, and then have that quick mind that comes from his instincts and then adding knowledge from film work is really a big part of it. The other thing that’s really important is we’ve got some other really good defenders. Yogi is a tremendous defender. Will is an outstanding defender. Remy is continuing to make strides there. Christian can guard so many different people. Cody is second on our team in deflections. Jordan is improving. He can improve more like everybody else can improve more, but he is improving, and those things are important.”
— Crean was asked again about Jeremy Hollowell’s play, which has been much better of late.
“I see his work ethic and he’s continuing to improve. I was disappointed in myself that I didn’t play him more in the Michigan State game. Especially earlier in the second half because he did a good job in the first half. I know he would’ve liked to have played more, but instead of going one way, he went the other way after that game. The work ethic of doing extra continued to go up. And it already started to go up. But he really channeled his energy in the right place with a lot of extra shooting late at night, early in the morning, and he’s doing so many good things, that it’s important that we play him through it and give him more opportunities so that he continues to develop that understanding that he has. That’s what he’s doing and I’m not surprised. He played fine on Wednesday night and he played that much better on Saturday night. And I think that will continue as long as that work ethic and building his knowledge base (continues). The biggest thing with Jeremy is that he’s gotta talk more on the floor. He’s got very good skills. He’s got very good awareness. The more that he talks and can handle the things that are going on defensively and all the quick adjustments that have to be made with the switching and how are we playing this and how are we playing that. That’s where we have to be that much better for us.”