Maurice Creek says he’s healthy, everyone says they don’t care about the hype, and other notes from IU Basketball Media Day

Maurice Creek posted on his Twitter account on Thursday night that he had just run 3.2 miles in 26 minutes, and used the accompanying hashtag #Imback. Hours earlier at Indiana’s media challenge/media day, Creek said he’s as close to full strength as he’s going to be after suffering season ending injuries in each of the last three years.

“I’m feeling great,” Creek said. “Feeling close to 100 percent. Can’t ever be back to 100 percent because of the injuries. To have strength and to be doing what I’m doing now is a blessing because some people would try to quit on it, but these guys never quit on me. They just made me stronger every day and never let me slip.”

Creek said he still feels explosive and still feels like he’s been able to expand his game even while in almost a constant state of rehab since December of 2009. He’s not exactly sure what his role will be, but Creek said Indiana coach Tom Crean just told him to let the game come to him.

“He just wanted me to score the ball and contribute any way I can to this team,” Creek said. “He tried to explain to me that you coming back is, take your time with that, don’t try to rush anything. Just be yourself and go with the team flow and everything. He’s put me in the right spot. I can do nothing but thank him for that. … I feel like everything’s there. I feel like my movement’s there. Defensively, I can still get better on that. Offensively, I can move, driving, slashing, shooting, getting my feet right. Everything is there.”

— Preseason magazines have never included as much praise for Indiana as they have so far this fall and a number of publications, including the Sporting News and Athlon, have already picked the Hoosiers to win the national title. Freshman center Cody Zeller was the Sporting News’s Player of the Year and is considered the top player in several other publications as well.

“It’s a little bit different from a standpoint of people are starting to like us a little bit,” senior guard Jordan Hulls said. “… It’s a little bit different mindset that we have a target on our backs a little bit now.”

Unsurprisingly, the Hoosiers mostly said they wouldn’t let the hype affect them, and that it wasn’t all that important. Zeller downplayed both the team ranking and his personal preseason accolades.

“I don’t really care,” Zeller said. “The beginning of the season doesn’t matter too much. We’re trying to be ranked No. 1 at the end of the season.”

But the upperclassmen could at least appreciate the praise considering how far they’ve come after three straight losing seasons to begin the Tom Crean era. Even last season, when the Hoosiers ended up in the Sweet 16, they were picked by most pundits to finish in the bottom half of the Big Ten.

“I don’t try to block it out,” senior forward Derek Elston said. “I like the fact that people think we’re the preseason No. 1 team. It means that we’ve come a long way. But I take that every day and I just use that as motivation. Now that we are No. 1, we don’t want to lose it, whether it be just a preseason ranking, or when the season comes we are ranked No. 1. We just want to keep that throughout the season and see how long that lasts. And with the attitude we’ve been putting in, I think it should last a long time.”

Elston said he wouldn’t buy a magazine with IU on the front, though.

“If it was given to us, I’d take it,” he said. “But I don’t think I’d go out and buy it, no. That’s the kind of stuff you just look at, you smile, and you keep going.”

— Freshman forward Hanner Perea said he’s been back in action for about a week and a half after missing much of the summer and fall with a foot injury. He said strength and conditioning coach Je’Ney Jackson is working him as hard as possible to make sure he gets back quickly.

— Several Hoosiers talked at length about a number of situations that allowed the team to build team chemistry quicker and incorporate the freshmen quickly. The additional work they were able to do with coaches in the summer helped, but so did a mentorship program instituted by Crean in which the upperclassmen took specific freshmen under their wings.

“It’s going to be huge, because they’ll have something to gauge off what they can do the next years following, what they can teach the new freshmen coming in,” senior point guard Jordan Hulls said Thursday at Indiana’s Media Day and Media Challenge. “How practices are going to be run, how you’re supposed to prepare for practice. What you’re supposed to eat. How do you dress, what you wear, everything like that. They’re just learning. They may not know right now, but it’s the little things that are gonna help them out in the future.”

The most interesting mentorship story came from Elston, who was working with freshman center Peter Jurkin. He noticed Jurkin was struggling to catch the ball, so he invited him to Cook Hall to throw baseball with him.

“What I would do with Peter is bring him in here, and I just got to know him,” Elston said. “Asked him questions, how it was like at home while we were just throwing the baseball in Cook. That’s one of the things about Cook Hall is it’s not just all basketball minded. I grabbed a ball, Jordan’s glove and mitt and a ball, and we just threw pitch and catch. I don’t think he really realized that I was helping him with his hands, but it’s just that kind of stuff that we were trying to do.”

Jurkin didn’t, in large part because he didn’t know that much about the sport he was playing. He is, of course, from the South Sudan. He came to the United States several years ago through the Bloomington-based A-HOPE program and played his high school basketball at United Faith Christian Academy, but before Elston put a glove on his hand, he’d never played baseball before.

But he enjoyed it, and he apparently saw results from it.

“It was really good,” Jurkin said.
Said Elston: “Let me just say this. He wasn’t the best at pitch and catch either. But after a couple of times doing, it, I don’t think he realized what he was doing, he was just going with the flow. … It’s turned him into a great player so far. I just can’t wait to see what practice does for him.”

AUDIO: Jordan Hulls and Derek Elston

AUDIO: Christian Watford

AUDIO: Derek Elston

AUDIO: Cody Zeller

AUDIO: Will Sheehey

AUDIO: Maurice Creek

AUDIO: Victor Oladipo

AUDIO: Jeremy Hollowell, Yogi Ferrell, Hanner Perea, Peter Jurkin


  1. DE may very well have accomplished with tutoring the best player development for the IU team of this season. Even if that becomes the only + for the mentoring gig then Coach Crean and staff can be lauded for the success.

  2. Crean sucks. Always sucked, always will. With him it’s always happenstance. In his first year the most developed player was Eric Arnett. Crean never lives up to any kind of expectations.

    Whatever has been achieved so far is all due to Jordy and Cody. Crean can clap his head off, hey, he has a new bible!

  3. Rico Chet, since this is a basically IU website, why don’t you climb back into that black & gold hole you crawled out of. I would like to have seen any other coach do the job in the last few years that CTC has done considering where this program was when he got here! His style is his style, get use to it! This program is back to where it was years ago when the big guy walked the sidelines at Assembly Hall screaming at officials. And by “back to where it was”, I mean ranked in the top 5 or 10 every year. Get use to it Chico, because things are going to be this way for a long time!! Go Hoosiers!!

  4. Hey, they are only ranked number 1. If Rico Plagiarism had been coach they would probably have been ranked #1/2 or even #1/4.

    It’s hard to argue with such eloquent arguments as “Crean sucks”. Seriously, the in depth analysis required to put forth such a well thought out criticism is difficult to counter.

    Truly, a brilliant analytic mind at work.

  5. There always seems to be a Rico Chet in every group. Kind of like in elementary school, on the playground, when the kid that has no friends acts out to annoy the other kids, just so he can get some attention. They say that negative attention is better than no attention for some people. Anybody no what the shrinks call this type of disorder?

  6. It could just be an aggravated case of … naw, I won’t go there.

    Probably just a simple case of unhappiness.

  7. Aww, you guys. Every time you respond to Rico or one of his many pseudonyms its like you’re handing a dollar to a bum buy more malt liquor. The dude has been on here doing his thing for at least 4 years now (4 years, matching his mental maturity level). For most living creatures – kids, animals, and even fish included – silly games become boring after a short while. You would think the same would apply to this guy, who simply repeats the same thoughts over and over again, years on end, about Crean, Wilson, Glass…. whoever’s in charge that makes more money than he does. But like a junkie looking for that next hit, every one of your responses injects his veins with enough to keep him going (I can’t believe post #3 – he is still saying that as if it’s a new idea!!!)

  8. You’re absolutely right. I was breaking a personal guideline by responding. Thanks for pointing it out.

  9. The simplest way to stop Rico would be to agree. Wouldn’t that be boring? I think most of you love the entertainment value and the fact Rico captures the darker side your own doubts and fears unwilling and afraid to express in a most naked and crude delightful least without the usual B-town crucifixion, of course(JPat, anyone?).

    Rico may have issues. More issues than old men that have grabbed life by the bullhorns only to doodle with their dead noodle and fart out 3000 posts a year on a desert island dedicated to basketball chat? We all have issues, my friends. Even the great Dustin Dopirak has issues. He goes on ScoopTalk talking of his great prophesy in picking IU Basketball to finish 6th in the Big 10 last season. Does he acknowledge a blogger that made early season predictions for last season’s team with far more stunning accuracy their results against expectations? Did he know Remy would shine? Did he have any clue Watford’s ship had not sailed? Did he give any chance to IU defeating Kentucky before the Big 10 season commenced?

    I like Rico. Then again, I’m not the sweetest apple hanging from the tree. I still like Barak even though Mitt turned him from butter to sh*t. That doesn’t mean either man necessarily brings truth in his briefcase.

  10. Harvard, you like Rico because you are Rico. I’m glad to see you have some self-love in there despite all the self-loathing you project.

  11. I’m pretty sure Dustin could set you straight on that false assumption rather quickly. I don’t have the expertise in language to hide behind various screen names like that Steve in Ottawa/Husky Tom dude from Seattle. A much more likely possibility that Rico is either Reggie(I mean, who on earth could buy into that bag of tricks?), Geoff(What true Hoosier is infected with so much love for Kentucky?), or Steve in Ottawa(a professorial Washington Husky fan setting up shop in Bloomington but forever jealous of IU basketball’s permanent prominence).

    Dustin could clear it all up in a heartbeat..But why should he? It’s only all the hiding behind curtains and actors playing their changing roles that keeps the place 1/5 as popular as ITH.

  12. Not buying it. If there is one thing that we have learned from Rico/NewCoke/Harvard/Downing/Randometer/Swooshinspace/PizzaWhat? etc., it is that he’s a master of the computer, which he demonstrates through his photoshop wizardry, blank screen names, and other ways. I’m sure that he could fool Dustin in his sleep. A different IP address means virtually nothing.

  13. That’s funny as hell…Master of the computer? Harvard? You have never been so far from truth.

    The real sleuth of the “mastery” you speak of(Rico) is likely rolling on the floor in uncontrollable joy his magical buffoonery. Harvard is a master of nothing. Wait..? Maybe I am a master. I’ve mastered the ability for you to never trust a word I say.

  14. Can the Hoosiers hold on for one more quarter?

    Did someone on Scoop predict the Hoosiers going to a bowl this year(albeit before the Tre Roberson injury)?

  15. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that no team makes it to the Sweet 16 without a coach that possesses some sort of coaching ability.

  16. Did somebody ask for a rocket scientist?

    Brad Stevens(Butler), Rick Majerus(Ball State), Homer Drew(Valparaiso), and Matt Painter(PU) took Indiana teams to Sweet Sixteens. Some sort of coaching ability is pretty widespread in this rust bucket graveyard…Parts is parts when you’ve got Indiana talent to rebuild from clunker to prized vintage.

  17. Majored in happenstance… 😆 that’s hilarious. It was sputtering if I am not mistaken last I saw it. Genius. Absolute genius, so many times.

    I wish Chet, Podunker, Larry and Geoff could follow Crean’s tweets more often. Once in a while there’s something worth reading.

  18. Whoa! Did you just say that Rico is Geoff? Geoff is Rico?

    My wife does tell me that when I get a nice tan I look rather Hispanic… Which is only notable because I’m of English/Irish descent.

    Can you remind me why you think I have a love for UK again? Is it because I don’t write it as pUKe or because I admit they have talented players and recognize they won a title last year? Is it because I picked them to win a game that 95% of the sports world also picked them to win?

    Does this mean because I don’t call Chinese people chinks, because I thought china would do well in the Olympics and because I admit that China has a bigger bank account than us that I love communist threats to the united states?

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