Big Ten Media Day - Matt Painter
Oct. 25, 2012
THE MODERATOR: We have with us head coach for Purdue, Matt Painter, Coach?
We made a trip to Italy this summer, which was great timing for us to get the four games, the ten practices and spend time together as a group. I think the timing of allowing us to have workouts this summer was great for this particular team like in all of college basketball. We're excited about our opportunities this year, we have a good nonconference schedule. So we're definitely going to be challenged and hopefully we will be prepared for a very tough, Big Ten season.
Q. Last year you came a game away from being the winner of the Big Ten. What do you see happening this year?
So you stick together and play hard. We had some tough losses with that team, in nonconference. When Hummel and Johnson were freshmen we know we got beat by a mediocre Iowa State team, we were down 16 0 against Florida International going into Big Ten play. We had struggled in our first couple of games, even though we were 2 1 we struggled in those games, and then we were able to go 15 3 and Brian Butch doesn't bank in a three in Indiana we win the Big Ten.
So there is a lot to be said by continuing to work hard and stick together and I talked about it yesterday at practice. The teams normally that fade or drop off have a lot of distractions and have guys thinking about themselves instead of about what's important for your program.
Q. Just maybe if you can assess the Big Ten, we have five ranked teams, a lot of power, just the way you see that from a national standpoint?
But we have talent in our league from top to bottom and I think that's maybe what separates us, obviously those teams that have been voted in the top 25 are all worthy of those rankings, but I think the teams that are at the bottom in the rankings are teams that can push to the top and put themselves in good position come March.
So time will tell, but the bottom half of our league is so good, however you want to categorize that, I don't know what teams you want to put there but that makes our league pretty special. There are no easy outs throughout the season.
Q. With Indiana getting all this attention after a long climb back, what's the view from Purdue on the Hoosiers?
Q. Going on that, you're in a lot of the same living rooms and open gyms as Indiana. What is Purdue's message amidst the hype? What do you say to sell Purdue?
MATT PAINTER: I think you start with education, you don't worry about other people. Our education is top flight, I think we have great people at Purdue and last time I checked this is a "people" business. So if you want to go in there and talk about rankings and different things, we talk about trying to make it work two ways for a student-athlete. You make it work through education and through basketball. We have graduated every player in seven years, I think our guys have gotten better.
We haven't signed any NBA players but we've put people in the NBA. Anybody can sign an NBA player, but can you take a guy that no one else in the league wants and four years later he gets drafted in the second round? I think you're doing something as a staff when you can say that. But probably the number one thing I learned from Coach [Gene] Keady is be honest with your players. They will respect you.
Q. How does Johnson compare with Jackson?
In comparison to Lewis, he's bigger than Lewis, he can shoot better than Lewis, he sees the floor better than him. Lew was tough, he had ultimate quickness and a huge heart and I think Ronnie has some of those same intangibles, but I would take either one of them.
Q. Coach, what about A.J. Hammons? I know he went to Oak Hill. Does it fit what you haven't had?
He's very good in those areas. Offensively, he can make an open shot to 17 feet. He's got to get polished in the post, a go to move and feel more comfortable down there on the block. You would think someone who has always been huge, that's that what they would be in terms of a low post guy, he would prefer to float, but we're trying to anchor him and understand that we will get him the basketball if he will work to get deep position and then work to get position and score the ball.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
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