Crean talks Holt, Davis and more on Dan Dakich Show #iubb

Tom Crean spent nearly 20 minutes Thursday afternoon talking IU basketball on 1070 The Fan’s the Dan Dakich Show. You can listen to the full interview, including Crean’s thoughts on Saturday’s Crossroads Classic, by visiting The Fan’s web site.

A partial transcript follows:

Question: How did you act as a father to help Emmitt Holt get through the accident?

Crean: “Well, you have to act as a father for every one of them. They can have fathers and grandfathers and uncles, but they’re not with them on a continual basis like it is when they’re in college. So you have to wear a lot of different hats and you have to put yourself in a position of having true care and true love for them and, at the same time, there are consequences for actions. The old adage that you get to make your choices, but you don’t get to pick your consequences is alive. It doesn’t matter where it’s at. You have to help them to try and understand that the best they can, but they key is you’re not trying to turn your back and you’re not trying to turn your nose up. You’re trying to make sure that you help them get through it so they grow and that they can be not only productive in their immediate future, and in the case of Emmitt, really the first few days after everything happened, but really so further long term.”

Q: Does this team, in your mind, play the way college basketball is going to?

Crean: “They key statistic constantly is not the 3-point shooting or attempts or perimeter play. It’s how much the ball is going through the paint, whether we’re scoring in the paint, whether the ball is actually getting through there. If you’re gonna get layups, if you’re gonna drop the ball off, if you’re gonna have good shot game, there’s very few good post games without a very good outside shooting game, or it just becomes a double-team game all game. Then you better just have a phenomenal player who can do both. Cody (Zeller), when he was here, was a tremendous low post player, great passer, became an excellent driver and was surrounded by people who could make shots. That enhances everything. Bottom line, no matter what kind of team you have it’s still gotta get into the paint. When we play that way, like this past Saturday, we were 5-of-15 in the first half when the ball didn’t touch the paint. In the second half we’re 37-of-43 when it did. All of a sudden your points in the paint go up and your 3-point shooting looks go up — not maybe all the time the percentages, but the looks. I think the key is how do you get the ball there, how do you get fouled, how do you keep making sure that you’re getting to the free throw line. That’s the key. Certainly the more shooters you have, the better because it creats so many more situations then when they really understand the spacing. The hardest thing is to try to get guys to truly understand how to move without the ball and stay committed to their spacing on offense. Sometimes going to the ball is worse that hunting shots because you’re killing the spacing. But really being committed to being in movement and cutting and being patient and moving on penetration and all those things, that’s the key no matter what kind of team you have, I think.”

Q: (Follow-up on how the ball and the baseline are magnets and players don’t stay wide)

Crean: “Absolutely, and because there’s things they took for granted when they were younger. They took scoring for granted and they certainly a lot of times will take defensive rebounding for granted because the were able to do it a pretty good level. They also take how hard they have to play for granted because they had so much success. They learn it’s completely different here. They’re just really not times you can be in a coast mode. There are not times where you can’t be not only committed to guarding your man, but to constantly be in help and be aware and have the right footwork, and be physical on your block-outs and attack off the glass. There are so many things they’re going through and our team — I saw this in some statistics the other day where we’re 335 out of 347 or whatever Division I teams in experience. It makes sense. That’s why our practice and all these learning situations that come up in games, and how we apply it, and can we get better not only from week to week, but from game to game, especially in that week. That’s the road we’ve been on as of late and that’s the one we have to stay on.”

Q: What’s a reasonable expectation for Troy?

Crean: “I think it’s ongoing. The two biggest things development-wise — and again, it’s very similar to what Victor Oladipo’s situation was like. If you took their numbers in the first year and 10 games and you looked at it, it’s amazing. Victor had more turnovers. The pattern of becoming a basketball player that relies on his skill level and not just an athlete that relies on great athletic plays and great quick twitch and jumping and all those things to be a basketball player. I think right now, he’s heavily invested in learning it. He wants to be really good, he responds to criticism, he responds to the hard driving things he wanted to improve and he’s trying to and he’s making a lot of strides. At the same time, his athleticism has gone up considerably since he’s been here. His vertical alone has gone up five inches, his weight has gone up probably 24-25 pounds, so he’s really making progress. Reasonable expectations are to make simpler plays for his teammates, to not throw the ball up at the basket as an athlete but try to finish as a basketball player, and then to be absolutely committed to being a better defender and a rebounder. I think when those things happen you can live with some of the wildness. It’s easy to forget when players are young — when Victor was young and things of that nature — how out of control he could look, but you’d rather have a guy that you have to slow down and get to harness it a little bit than someone you have to try and speed up. I like the situation where Troy’s working right now.”

Q: That’s true, speeding guys up is a chore.

Crean: “We’re trying to get it even faster. We’re trying to run on made baskets better, we’re trying to run on the break better by getting more stops, even if the team scores that we get the ball going. There’s no truer adage about a running team that the coaches don’t take the running off, the players do because it’s a hard commitment to stay with. That’s why developing real depth — we didn’t have real depth last year. We had bodies. We didn’t have enough real depth because it wasn’t consistent enough. Trying to get it to a consistent level this year is really, really important. That’s why Emmitt’s development is so important. That’s why what Collin Hartman is doing is nothing short of incredible based on what he’s had to learn and then based on what he’s had to come back from with his injury and how his whole game has changed. Nick Zeisloft is like having another starter — can start, has started probably will start — but he plays a tremendous role. If Stan (Robinson) can get down what he needs to do to be a facilitator and an attack guy and become a tremendous defensive player, that makes us that much better. Max Hoetzel is developing all the time. So if we can get some true consistency out of those guys day after day, we’ll improve at a really good rate.”

Q: If we were having this conversation in July, would you have imagined Hartman would give you what he has given you?

Crean: “No, not at all. Not at all. What we tried to do at the end of June and July is really just to help him with his shot and help his shot get more consistent. We would literally stand him in a spot because he couldn’t move, so when we would do our two hours and our practices before Montreal, we would take him and, instead of having a manager, we would have him in pace and redesign the drill so there was always an extra shot or an extra ball just to keep him engaged. He did a really good job with that but it never changed. We never to to the point where he could do anything in movement at all. His will is unbelievable. If more kids had that kind of perseverance and will — he’s one of those guys that — I think this is gonna serve Devin Davis really well when he comes back, is that when you have something taken away from you and you really, really miss it and want it back, then it really changes. But you have to change it. It’s not a coaching thing, it’s not a teammate thing, it’s really an individual thing. Do you really, really want to come back from it? Then they appreciate it a little bit more. I think Collin realized that he set a goal to make it, he did, he surpasses it and he’s a tremendous, tremendous value to this team.”

Q: Do you expect Devin Davis to be back in school next semester?

Crean: I do, I do. We’re going through that right now, so at what level — or when I say what level — what duration or what classes-wise or things like that still remains to be seen. He’s still very much in the healing process and he’s gonna be in the healing process. I know how much he misses it and he’s been through an awful lot trying to respond to this and there’s really not a whole lot you can do when you’re dealing with the brain. He’s just trying to do everything he can possible do, but at the same time it’s truly about he healing for his brain. But I do, though, in answer to your question.

Q: Do the classes he was in — do they get dropped?

Crean: We’re still in the process of that, too. With the end of the semester coming up, there are processes you go through as far as waiver processes and things of that nature. The good news for him is he was in a very good spot academically in his first year and first two summers here and he has credits banked. But we’re still in the process of that, so for me to even go down the line and say what will count, what will be incomplete, what will be dropped, it’s still — we’re still going through that because of the severity of the situation.”