Video won’t kill this radio star

“All we ask of our kids is their best effort,” Sampson says. “I think it’s a talent to play hard.”

He’s talking, of course, about Kyle Taber. He likes the 6-7 redshirt junior because he plays within himself. Does what he can do, and doesn’t force anything.

—–

Fisch is hogging the show. He’s asking D.J. White what he thinks of zone defense.

“I like it,” he says, “especially if I’m going to play 40 minutes. Just sit in a zone.”

Sampson is happy with his zone because its helping his team win. It’s been effective. That’s all that matters to him.

Sometimes your team aren’t as good at man defense as they are other years, he says. This team isn’t as good on the perimeter as last year’s. So, they’ll mix in some zone.

To the questions: Somebody wants to know . . . well, I’m not sure what he wants to know.

But D.J. says that he’s focused on this year and he’s going to do what he can to win all the games the rest of the year.

Sampson is now addressing the upcoming Wisconsin game. He thinks the Hoosiers need to improve on the fundamentals, like getting to loose balls and boxing out.

Dave wants to know how Kelvin reduces stress.

“Get to the end of the season,” Sampson says.

Sampson is now explaining how this team improved so much in the past few games. He thinks it stems from the losses to Connecticut and at Wisconsin. Those struggled proved to the players that they needed to improve.

“Sometimes players need to get knots on their head to know,” he says.

—-

OK. Now to the Ohio State game.

Sampson was happy with his team’s offense. It turned the ball over only seven times.

A key play, he says, was when they went high-low from Ellis to White for a big dunk.

Samspon thought Jordan Crawford “grew up.”

“Sometimes, Jordan just drives me nuts,” he says. “He didn’t drive me nuts on Sunday.”

D.J. says he has embraced the role of leader. He’s just tries to lead by example off the floor. By going to class and doing things the right ways.

——

More about Illinois.

Fisch thinks the team “came together.”

Sampson says, “that’s a good point.”

A lot of it has to do with D.J. White’s leadership. And it was important for the other players to help out Gordon.

Hey, D.J. White has walked into the room! He’s going to join the show in a little bit.

Sampson is now explaining that his goal is to get his team to play its best basketball at the end of the season. He says coaches are like fans: they want teams to play well all year. But that’s impossible.

Now, here’s D.J.

“With a young team, playing together and getting to know each other, a lot of guys hadn’t been through the Big Ten. Going into the year we wanted to stay together and do what coach wanted us to do.”

White says, as he has many times this year, that the key to his rebounding improvement is being more aggressive.

Sampson also thinks it has to do with his toughness.

“D.J.’s a tougher kid this year than he ever has been in his life,” Sampson says. “D.J.’s best basketball is ahead of him.”

His greatest strength, Sampson says, is his will to win. That has really propelled this team to where it is.

——

Let’s review the Illinois game.

Fisch wants to know what Sampson thought about the crowd at Illinois. This is going to be interesting.

“Being inside the arena, playing the game against Illinois, we heard a lot of things. But I thought that helped out kids.”

Sampson thinks the other players game to Eric Gordon’s aid. They rallied around him.

But Sampson doesn’t think that crowds have changed much.

“I think you cross the line when you get into the profanity,” he said.

Sampson said that he and Gordon expected rough treatment. So it wasn’t that much of a big deal.

Next time, Orange Krush, use the element of surprise. Maybe you’ll have more success.

Sampson thought his team was more athletic playing zone against Ohio State than it was Illinois. He had his kids work on it in the intervening days. And he doesn’t worry about a kid hitting 26-footers.

“That’s not a reason to come out of the zone,” he said.

—–

It’s that time again.

Kelvin Sampson’s on the radio.

The show opens with golf talk. It’s like -20 outside.

Don Fischer thinks the wins last week were “nice.”

D.J. White jumped out to Sampson with his play. Sampson thinks back to the battles he had with him last year and how far D.J. has come.

“This is his team,” Sampson says.

Sampson apparently grabbed D.J. White’s head “like a pumpkin” during halftime yesterday and said: “Follow D.J.”

And that was the extent of his speech to the team.

Apparently D.J. White’s goal, when Sampson first asked him about it, was to become a team that could win on the road.

Sampson said his team didn’t play well for a stretch due to a few different things. Immaturity. Fit. Chemistry.

But he figured that his team would eventually play this way. It took a while for many of the players to adjust to their new roles.