Tom Crean at Lucas Oil Stadium

IU basketball coach Tom Crean and football coach Kevin Wilson met with the media before Tuesday’s Tailgate Tour Event at Lucas Oil Stadium and each discussed a number of topics. Crean’s transcript follows. Will post Wilson later.

Tom Crean

On Noah Vonleh

“I love his work ethic right now. There’s no question. When you see him spread out on the court and go athletically, we did some 2-on-2 yesterday, so right away you get a chance to see where we can make him better. I think what we’re gonna do with him is the same thing we did with Cody last spring and summer when they play, have him go out and really guard perimeter guys as much as he guards inside, probably more so, because that helps him get that athleticism on the perimeter that he’s gonna need defensively. He is such a sponge for wanting to get better, learn. We don’t have enough guys in there right now to be playing five-on-five and those kinds of things, but it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch him do that once the time comes. Guys are getting there more all the time. Evan Gordon is up there now. We’ll see him tomorrow. Then the freshmen will be in here over the next couple of weeks. It will be good.”

What was it like to not have a lot of guys in camp for spring?

“Hard. It was hard. We felt like with the new rules the way this was with being able to work with the summer time, the way you can the way it started last year, the season can get so long. We did back off in January during the season. We had a good spring. We played a long time so we cut the spring back a little bit. But it was hard. I think the good news is that we knew they were working. The one part you’re giving up a little bit is the conditioning, but you shouldn’t be giving up the strength factor and you shouldn’t be giving up the developing factor. Watching Yogi yesterday, there’s no question he’s been working. Just absolutely no question. We’ll get back at it again with him tomorrow morning. I’ll have a little bit better indication over the next few weeks of what they’ve done to improve, but I’m not disappointed at all that they were gone. It was good for them, mentally as well as physically.”

What is the effect of having Evan Gordon, especially from a leadership standpoint?

“It remains to be seen, but I think it’s gonna be very positive because he’s a winner. He’s won, but when you watch him play, and since we’ve gotten him, I’ve watched a lot of his film, and he is very very comfortable in a lot of different situations. He’s comfortable being a focal point of the offense, he’s comfortable being part of the offense. He’s a very underrated defender I think from watching him play on tape. We’ve gotta see what it’s like when we get with him together and we start to build our stuff into it. But he had some really high scoring games in the Pac-12. He had some  games where he was there and he was a threat. So I do think when you have a guy like that who understands how to win, who understands how to make his teammates better, I think that’s a real positive. He’s certainly got the bloodlines. He’s got a real desire to get better, he’s got a desire to be a coach someday. Hence going into the athletic administration part of it. He really wants to get into the sports field. When you get around somebody like that who’s got that level of seriousness about him, it can’t help but be good for your team.”

What are the important things for Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Jeremy Hollowell this summer?

“There’s quite a few. Athletically, it’s being able to really be more physical. Short-space physicality in the sense of being able to move their feet, help-and-recover type things, but really just playing with a tougher demeanor. Both of them have good bodies. Both of them have good length and good athleticism. Now it’s time to really take that demeanor and show their competitiveness on the defensive side. Show their competitiveness when it comes to being some of the first in conditioning. There’s a reason that guys like Cody, guys like Yogi, guys like Noah, I think and it’s early here with Noah, that those guys make McDonald’s All-Americans. Those guys have some uncommon desires to compete. Certainly Victor has that. Will Sheehey, Jordan Hulls, those guys had that. Christian Watford developed so much of that. The guys that don’t develop as much of that, you don’t hear a lot about them or they’re not here anymore. It becomes a situation where, are you really gonna dive in and try to win everything that you do? That’s what Jeremy and Hanner have to develop. I think the skills will come. Hanner is so far ahead of where he was a year ago. What that means when it comes to being able to play in the 5-on-5 situations, it’s early. Jeremy’s got great desire, loves the gym. But now it’s gotta come down to, I want to hear about what those guys are winning. What sprints are they winning? What competitions are they winning? What shooting drills are they winning. Because that’s what we’re gonna need. We’ve won 56 games the last two years because we’ve had a highly competitive team that put winning first, and that’s why we’ve had the road record that we’ve had and won a Big Ten championship and all of those things. We’ve lost so much of that. There’s 67 percent of the minutes that are gone right now. Seventy-five, 76, 74 percent of the points are gone. Seventy some percent of the free throw attempts are gone. That stuff’s wide open. It’s not gonna be a situation where you just have it bestowed upon you and ‘well, I’m here. I’ll take it.’ No, you have to go earn it. I think that’s what we’re looking forward to, the competitiveness of this.”

What excites you most about this season?

“I’m starting to feel it now, I think, personally. May was harder because you’re just not used to it in the sense of not having those guys around like that. We got a film work done, certainly we got a lot of recruiting done I think as far as laying the ground work for the future. But when you can go out on the court — and I know Je’Ney Jackson’s excited because there have been some guys that have been rehabbing and spending time, but now that we really dive into that eight weeks, it’s a lot of fun. I think with youth, with all of this inexperience, you really break down all your teaching that much more. We didn’t take it for granted last year because we had young guys to go with older guys,  you don’t take it for granted, but the other thing we realize right now is you have to push that learning curve to see how quick can they pick these things up. When you have youth and inexperience and everything is new, it should give you an opportunity to grow pretty fast.  Unfortunately, as we watch more film, there’s still a lot more teams in this league that have a lot of guys coming back. We’re gonna be behind in that area. How quick can they learn and how competitive can they be and how quick and athletic can they play? Those are the things I’m excited to see, how we shape up with that.

What impressed you about the numbers Victor and Cody put up at the NBA Draft Combine?

“We see that every day with them. So it’s always different when you’re in house. I was glad to see where they ranked nationally, as far as nationally with the other players that they were competing against. So that you don’t know going into it that they’re gonna be that high. Those guys are still mad that they had a couple of the 185 bench press reps taking away from them because they were alleged to have come off the bench a little bit. They’re still dwelling on that because those two guys had done 22 reps of 185 when they were at Indiana. They wanted to have that mark. That’s what I love about them. They wanted to have that mark. That’s what I love about them. They’re going to be in Phoenix tomorrow at the same workout. I had a general manager ask me, ‘OK, put your general manager hat on and who would you take? I can’t answer that. They’re both so highly competitive and they both bring so many skills to the table. One just turned 21 and one’s not gonna be 21 until October. They’re just gonna keep getting better and better.”

How much of an impact, both of those guys being likely top 10 picks, how much can that affect recruiting?

I think it impacts it a lot, but I think the last couple of years have impacted it. I think what’s happening academically impacts it with the parents. I think the fact that you’ve got somebody like Victor that graduates in three years on his 21st birthday and has a cumulative 3.2 GPA, I think that impacts it. I think the fact that Cody left 35 credits short with a 3.6 GPA impacts it. I think the fact that you have Jordan Hulls and Derek Elston that will have their masters at the end of the summer, that impacts it. The people we’re trying to recruit, we want people that want to come in there, that certainly have the goals and dreams and desires to be pros like Cody and Victor and Christian and all of those guys, but a the same time, they want to achieve academically, and they want to be a part of building on a winning tradition. But I don’t think there’s any question that the attention that Victor and Cody are getting now and will get over the next couple of weeks going into draft night and then when draft night culminates, there’s no question that helps. What we’re finding is the one thing that we realized that we’d lost when we’d got there. It was one thing to lose the immediate with the recruiting, but it was another thing to lose that young generation of players. And we lost some of that, and fortunately, we were able to that back up. So some of those kids that are sixth, seventh, eight, ninth-graders, they’re growing up on Indiana basketball again nationally. Not just in the state of Indiana, but nationally. And I think that’s a big deal, and I think we’re starting to see that, judging by our camp numbers and that kind of interest that we’re getting from young guys. I think that’s really good.”

How far are Peter Jurkin and Austin Etherington and did you really just have four guys in camp for most of the spring?

“Yeah. We literally, I’m trying to count, I know we had Hanner and Peter. And Will. Will’s on a vacation right now with his family and his dad in Ireland. Now we’ll lose Will and Yogi, hopefully we’ll lose them for a long time with this trip to Russia. I hope they both make that team. Such a big deal to Will to get an invitation to that. He’s very hungry for that. Yogi the same time, I think he’ll surprise people in there. But we literally did. Austin is, all we do is try to judge it on where injuries have been with other guys. He’s way ahead of where Maurice Creek was at the same time through the same process. He ended up testing out as the strongest guy on the team at the end of the testing, at the end of the spring. Even more so to the chagrin of Cody and Victor and Christian. Looks good. He had more clearance last week, still not in any type of full workout situation, there’s no contact, there’s no 2-on-2, anything like that. But he’s really, really hungry. Really hungry. Peter, it’s slow, but he’s shooting more. I know he’s in there doing some of that. The rehab is the most important thing for him. We’re going down that line where we’ve got great support for him medically and we gotta keep channeling, ‘OK, are we missing something? We need to look at this, we need to look at that, and keep him on a pace where he doesn’t get frustrated. Because he’s really trying. As we saw this year, he wasn’t close to the player because he couldn’t do the things that he could do in the past health wise. And it’s tough for him because he’s missed so much time, even in high school. But they’re there. Their attitudes are great. They’re getting better. They’ve done a great job academically. We’re hopeful that they’ll both continue to progress the way they have over the last couple of months.”

(Dustin’s Note: There was a Dwyane Wade question here. I’ll transcribe it if there is popular demand, but I don’t think you care)

How far along is the schedule and do you have the marquee non-conference home game you wanted?

“The problem with that is really, it’s so hard right now with what could happen down the road scheduling wise. There’s no question that losing Kentucky a year ago screwed us up for the home-and-home situation, but there’s things that could potentially be out there for the future that we can’t talk about publicly, that no one’s talking about publicly, if that makes any sense. Some of it is not out there yet. It’s not like, ‘OK, this is definitely what you’re doing.’ But we have to prepare for it. The last thing we want to do is get caught in a situation where we’re trying to play too many non-conference road games. We talked to Gonzaga a week ago about potentially playing there. I would even be willing to go out there. But they already had too many road games for this year. He can’t do that. He can’t come to Bloomington and have five road games or four road games. Nobody wants to do that. It’s too big a deal to play at home. It’s too big a deal for not only the program but for the athletic department. We’ll probably go to two exhibitions this year. But we’ve got the game at Syracuse, we’ve got the game against Notre Dame, we’re gonna play in the 2K Classic in New York. We’re trying to finalize the rest of it. And at the same time, we know we have to plan ahead, because we have unique opportunities that are out there for the future and we have some that could become league type of opportunities. So we have to balance both of those.”

So it’s possible there won’t be a big-time non-conference home game?

“Absolutely. Because I don’t know if we’re gonna know what we need to do in a year or in two years to be able to put that together. I do know this. TV is a huge part of what we’re doing, and certainly with ESPN, and we’re at the point now where things can be created that if we have to potentially not go on the road for a game, we’ll still be able to make it work and still have some freedom and abilities for the next year. We’re scheduling so far down the road. We’ve gotta plan ahead for really the next four years with stuff that could be done non-conference wise. With all of this influx in college sports with moving around and things like that, that affects your schedule too. It affects how things are gonna play out. And frankly the Crossroads Classic is something that takes away, it’s a great event, but that really does put you in a box as far as what you’re gonna do in non-conference scheduling with staging home-and-homes. And now both of those two teams are in leagues that we could end up playing against. We already play the ACC. So who knows what’s gonna happen. We want to make sure we have a great schedule in the sense of building our team. We have some very tough neutral and road games and get ourselves ready for the conference.”

AUDIO: Tom Crean

 

2 comments

  1. DD- You’re right, re D Wade, I don’t care.
    However..re Coach Kevin Wilson…How long do we have to wait? Really care about that.

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