Thoughts from Jeff Howard and Troy Williams

Indiana senior forward Jeff Howard and Troy Williams met with the media on Saturday for pregame availability prior to the Illinois game. Some of their thoughts follow.

Jeff Howard on Illinois: “They’re doing a lot of the same things. They’re a great offensive rebounding team. They get a lot of 50-50s. We gotta block out and get on the floor for loose balls. We’ve just gotta beat them in the toughness game. They’ve got a lot of capable scorers. We’ve just gotta be sound defensively, move the ball on offense and we’ll be alright.

Howard on Troy Williams: “The game is coming a lot easier to him. He knows his spots, he knows where he needs to be. Doing real well defensively being where he needs to be. He brings a lot of energy to us that we need moving forward.”

Williams on his own improvement: “I came in high energy rebounding, making hustle plays, tip-backs and all that. I just did my strengths and in my off time I worked on my weaknesses like ball-handling and shooting and all of that stuff. You just come in working on that. You just know what your role is on the team, you just keep fulfilling that. … It’s mid-way now, I’ve seen a lot of improvement in all areas just by working on stuff.”

“I’ve seen a bigger improvement on my defense now. I can kind of anticipate things more now. I’m lower on defense. I got quicker, I know how to read spots now and I know how to read other people on the court as well. I learned a lot.”

Williams on Rayvonte Rice: “What makes him tough is that you give him an angle, he can take it. He’ll score either way. He’s a strong athletic guard, can shoot the ball, can handle it. Got a lot of wisdom to his game.” 

Howard on Stan Robinson: “It’s huge or us. When he’s driving the ball downhill, defenses really have to focus in on that and it helps us. When he’s able to to drive downhill, we can kick it out, keep moving the defense, drive and kick, drive and kick. We want to make sure when we’re on offense that we keep moving the ball and don’t let it stick.”

Howard on the last Illinois game: “We have so many games that are one or two possessions. That’s definitely one of them. We know we had too many turnovers when we played them the first time. We’ve gotta take care of the ball. We’ve gotta be strong once we rebound. They like to hit it out of our hands. Then like I said everything else, we’ve gotta rebound, we’ve gotta play defense, get on loose balls and we’ll be alright.”