Crean’s on the radio

So I just realized how much I babbled in the below post (it’s a rare occasion, really) and thought I would pull out the big news:

  • Verdell Jones is sore today after being knocked out of Sunday’s game against Cornell by a devastating (but clean) screen by Jeff Foote. IU’s medical staff is treating Jones as if he has a concussion, and Crean said he is day-to-day at this point.
  • Crean isn’t so mad at his players for not calling out the screen to Jones after watching video. Turns out most of the players were already at the other end of the court, he said.
  • Wake Forest, which Indiana plays Wednesday in Winston-Salem as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, is the most athletic team the Hoosiers have seen this year. Crean thinks Jeff Teague, the Deamon Deacons point guard and an Indianapolis Pike grad, could soon be compared to Chris Paul.

——-

Jim is calling to offer his support. Noted, Jim.

Fischer turns to the upcoming games.

Crean thinks one of the great things that happened in college basketball was that the players who signed with Skip Prosser, who passed away from a heart attack, stayed with the team even though many programs tried to poach them.

Crean doesn’t want to compare Indianapolis native and Deamon Deacons point guard Jeff Teague to former Wake Forest star Chris Paul. Yet. But maybe soon. He’s that good, Crean says.

Wake Forest is the most athletic team Indiana has played so far, according to Crean.

On Gonzaga: Crean thinks all five players could be NBA players. Wow.

Crean thinks Christian Watford, who will join the Hoosiers next season, could eventually play like Gonzaga star Austin Daye as far as being an inside and outside threat.

——

No way! It’s Craig from Honolulu. He’s a regular here.

A couple of quick questions: He wants to know whether Randy Wittman talked to the team when he stopped by yesterday. He did.

He wants Ted Kitchel, who was at the game Sunday, to speak to the team, too.

“There’s never a bad time for a former player to talk to our team,” Crean says.

Craig’s follow-up: He wants to know about Tijan.

“He’s just gotta get more confidence in his ability to catch the ball,” Crean says. “And we need to get him to see himself as a defensive presence. He’s not really as aggressive with that as he needs to be.”

Tijan had some extra coaching today, as Crean knows that there may come a time when both Pritchard and Jobe have to be on the floor if his team is going to be successful.

So here’s Jack from Ft. Wayne. Wants to know about Jeremiah Rivers. Does he practice hard?

“No question,” Crean says.

Interesting tidbit here: the rules didn’t allow Rivers to be with the team in Maui, even if Rivers had paid his own way. He wouldn’t have been allowed on the bus, the bench or in practice. So Rivers went home for a few days.

——-

Here’s Andy from Indy.

He does have a question. Says it’s a philosophy question. Andy was taught not to get up in the air to make a pass because you either travel or don’t find anybody to throw to.

Crean’s aware of this. He says the Hoosiers have too many guys who leave their feet in the lane when they should come to a jump stop. He’s OK with guards leaving their feet after driving baseline to get the ball to the far perimeter. That’s usually necessary. But not in the lane.

Question from the crowd. Dell is the name, I think. He wants to know if Crean is happy with how up-tempo his team is.

Crean says as the program gets built, it will be “extremely up-tempo.” But even now pushing the ball up the floor is important because the Hoosiers simply don’t matchup well with many teams in the half-court. Crean knows his team needs “advantage breaks.”

Fischer asks about rebounding. Crean’s talking about the half-time adjustment they made yesterday, which was that he called his players off from “digging” in the paint. So instead of the guards ducking into the lane trying to reach in on the big men, they stayed closer to the perimeter to cut off Cornell’s deep shots.

No matter how the Hoosiers play, though, Crean wants to see better boxing out from his team. The keys are: toughness, technique and tenacity.

“We spend a lot of time on that,” Crean says. “As we get stronger we’ll get better than that.”

——–

Dave from Indy is the first caller.

He welcomes Tom Crean to town. Says he loves Crean’s philosophy on showing the kids what it takes to be winners. And he’s urging fans to give Crean support. I don’t think he has a question at all. He doesn’t.

Crean’s talking about the week ahead. IU plays Wake Forest and Gonzaga. Crean is not looking forward to trying to match up with those teams.

Now Crean’s urging you to call Ticketmaster to get your tickets to the invent in Lucas Oil on Saturday. He thinks two teams with a legit chance at the Final Four will be playing: Gonzaga when it faces IU in the first game and Notre Dame when it faces Ohio State in the second.

Tickets to the event — you pay to go to both games — have been discounted recently, by the way.

Crean is looking forward to Saturday because he’s never been a part of “opening” a facility like the Hoosiers will when they play the first basketball game at Lucas Oil.

Scott in the audience wants to know if Tom Crean hit the beach while he was in Maui.

I’m not even going to address the answer.

But Crean has a good line: “I can be nervous in my room or I can be nervous out on the beach.”

Crean says the crowd in Maui made the team feel good.

“Even when we were losing they were so loud,” he says.

Crean says he has no doubt that the Hoosiers will get back to selling out Assembly Hall.

“But right now the people that are there are making it feel like it’s sold out,” he says.

——-

Don Fischer, the host, is asking about Verdell Jones.

Jones was hurt playing against Cornell when he ran into a screen.

“We’re treating it as a concussion,” Crean said. “He’s very sore.”

Crean spent some time with Jones today. Jones went through more medical tests and did attend some of the team’s film sessions. Jones, Crean says, is day-to-day.

“There’s not a lot of recollection of what happened on the court,” he said.

Crean said he watched the film of the incident and said that none of his players was probably close enough to Jones to call out the screen, so he’s not as angry about it as he was yesterday.

Still, Crean is emphasizing communication with his team.

“One of the great mysteries of sport is how to get people to talk consistently,” he said.

——

Crean is saying that 8 months ago tonight he arrived in Bloomington. And where did he eat? Coaches, of course. He stayed in the Hilton Garden Inn above the restaurant.

“They are playing extremely hard,” Crean said.

Now the players need to channel that energy into learning better technique and playing evenly throughout a game.

“It would have been very hard to build for the future with some of the players who would have been here,” Crean says when asked if he’s happy about starting with a clean slate. “But it just had to happen.”

Even Kyle Taber and Jeremiah Rivers, the two veterans on the team, are not really prepared to be leaders at this point because of what they need to do to adjust to Crean’s sytem.

Crean says that every team — from the favorites to the trodden — fights the human element. By that he means that every team has times when one player tries to single-handidly win the game.

To counter that, Crean had his team watch North Carolina in Maui. They’ve also watched film of the Texas Tech offensive line and, at the suggestion of Larry Rink, Errek Suhr’s work against Duke at Cameron two years ago.

—-

There are about 30 fans here, and of course Crean is interacting with the ones closest to him. He’s in his element just chatting with people. It’s an older crowd here. Last year at the Hoosier Den, on campus, the students were represented a little bit better. But this group seems feisty.

—–

Tom Crean is here. The people are pleased. Legette-Jack tells him not to be nervous or to slur his speech. He looks prepared. We’ll see how he handles this.

——

Tom Crean should be on any minute now. Jeremy Gray just finished his show with women’s coach Felisha Legette-Jack. She was pumped up as always. I was away in Maui and wasn’t following the women closely last week, but it sounds like they had some impressive games out West. They play Miami in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, by the way.

——

Tom Crean’s weekly radio show begins tonight. It will air on most IU Network stations and be broadcast from Coaches Bar and Grill in Bloomington. I’m headed there now, and I hope to bring you updates from the show in about an hour.