In which Tom Crean explains basketball

Tom Crean coaches with exuberance.

Click here to listen to what Crean had to say at his press conference today.

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Kyle Taber is here. He’s having a good day so far, he says.

Taber has been urged by Crean to be more a leader, he says. He’ll take on the task of telling the young players just how raucous Rupp will be later this afternoon. That’s leadership.

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On DeAndre Liggins, the one time IU target and an AAU teammate of Matt Roth: “He’s fearless.”

Liggins, like Verdell Jones, is a long, athletic point guard who has struggled a bit with tougher defenders in his first year. But that’s to be expected, and he’ll adjust.

Now Jerry Tipton, a giant in the basketball writing biz, asks Crean if he sees any similarities in his situation to the one Rick Pitino took over in Kentucky lo those many years ago.

Crean hopes his team is someday compared to Pitino’s first teams as far as hustle and playing hard goes. “We’re not there yet, believe me,” he says.

But the thinks Pitino’s situation was a little better because he had more experience returning.

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Crean has spent an inordinate amount of time, he says, teaching his kids how to compete. That has been the emphasis on a daily basis, at the cost sometimes of working on situations, execution, fundamentals.

Crean doesn’t want to force Daniel Moore, the point guard, into shooting more. If he’s not comfortable shooting right now, Crean’s ok with him building up to a comfort level where he feels it.

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Crean, clearly a basketball historian, envisions the Kentucky-IU rivalry blossoming in the coming years.

Crean feels bad about not playing Tijan Jobe a little bit more last night. But he had bad matchups, especially when TCU coach Jim Christian put a smaller guy on the floor to get around him. Jobe’s still a project, but Crean isn’t down on him right now. He just needs to do a better job of putting him in position to learn his role, as he did a little bit against Gonzaga.

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Kentucky big man Patrick Patterson is as tough a post up player as Crean has seen on film so far.

“There’s no way we can expect one guy to guard that type of player,” Crean says.

Crean doesn’t think his players quite understand the Kentucky-Indiana rivalry, just because of how new they are.

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Crean says that Rupp Arena provides one of the best atmospheres in the country.

But his team will have to play well to make the game meet the atmosphere, he says.

As for returning the game to a neutral site, he’s got no real feeling on the subject.

“It doesn’t matter where you play it,” he says. “They’re going to show up.”

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Tom Crean will hold a press conference any minute. Presumably, he will discuss the upcoming Kentucky game and other matters.

5 comments

  1. I like listening to Crean. This is a guy who can talk knowledgeably and passionately about all the aspects of teaching and coaching basketball. He lives and breathes this stuff. Davis and Sampson didn’t and the difference is marked. I know Crean will succeed because he is prepared to do so.

  2. I couldn’t be happier with the guy, & I, too, really enjoy listening to him. That said, I’ve gotta call him out these:

    “Crean says that Rupp Arena provides one of the best atmospheres in the country.”
    -I’ve cannot agree with him on this one. Forget about the size of the gym, it is attached to and primarily accessed from a downtown shopping mall. Who does that? Seriously, a gym-mall combo is just existentially wrong and completely unbefitting of a school with such deep basketball traditions.
    Let me also mention that 2 years ago some brilliant Lexingtonian saw fit to hold a cheerleading contest there on the day of the IU game, thereby placing some 4,000 screaming, teenage cheerleaders throughout the mall and standing directly between 23,500 basketball fans and their over-priced seats. One fine piece of bourbon-soaked, Kentucky logic there. “Real nice, Clark.”

    “As for returning the game to a neutral site, he’s got no real feeling on the subject.
    “It doesn’t matter where you play it,”
    -He’ll soon learn there’s a HUGE difference in where we play it: Equal ticket distributions, more people in Indy (25,686 last game at the dome), oh, and the Hoosiers always get hosed in the Bluegrass State- Mike Davis will testify to this, emphatically.

  3. What was this all about? geez how about win some games? I cant wait for this season to be over! WE are now the whipping post of the NCAA…. Now I bet you are with me? FIRE CREAN NOW!!

  4. Ya getting our @sses handed to us every game is getting pretty old too. But keep telling us how losing is great and make a whole bunch more excuses… You’ll be singing my tune at the end of the year, DONT act like you wont either. Stupidity is getting old too….

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