Oct. 26, 2008
Bruce Weber, Illinois
"If it's the right kid and you get him, the most important thing is if they are coachable. We can encourage the right things, which is extremely important. Each one of our guys has their own little individual issues. It can be helpful with academics and basketball-wise you can explain your program's situations. Also you can stress the important of a player's senior year. Instead of just looking forward to college, get better so when you get here you are ready to play. "
On Chester Frazier:
"The first five days of practice were the best he has played since getting to campus. He has a bounce to his step because he is healthy. Also, he is older and accepted his role. He realizes and has said he is not going to be an NBA player, but he has a chance to be a good college player and wants to win games. He has grown up a lot and figured it out. I hope it helps him have a great senior year."
On Mike Tisdale gaining 45 pounds:
"He really worked at it. He would eat four or five meals a day. He would be in the office three times a day just eating to put more fuel in. Gatorade shakes, energy bars, anything he could to try to put on weight. If you look at him now he still looks skinny, but it you look at him compared to last year it's pretty amazing."
Tom Crean, Indiana
On the program:
"We are in a tumultuous state right now. The program is great. We just have to get through the state we are in right now. As a staff and for our players, we just have to take each day for what it is."
On taking on a unique challenge:
"It is a great time for these guys to learn. We cannot take anything for granted. We had our Cream and Crimson scrimmage yesterday and right away you see all the little things we have to go over. Things that we've taken for granted with a more veteran club need to be addressed for the future. Right now building up that communication on the court and playing through fatigue is key, but where we end up is not the focus. It's getting better that day that is important and applying it the next day. Retention is probably the biggest thing we want to get accomplished right now. "
"It's just the way it worked out. In a situation where there was really no choice, there have been no regrets in any area. From taking the job or the decisions that were made, we just have to move forward. It's not our players', coaches', administrators' or fans' fault. It just happened, so we have to deal with it."
Todd Lickliter, Iowa
On lack of patience last season:
"It affected our whole play. We got anxious at times, not just the point guard but we got anxious and we wanted to create something rather than letting it develop. I am hoping that we can get a little more settled and we can let the game develop a little bit more. I think part of it is too, that if you have more than one way to score out there and you have more than one option that you feel comfortable with, that helps a lot because you don't feel the stress of having to create."
"My expectations are pretty high for these guys. When you recruit somebody you expect them to use their skills. I was not surprised, but pleased with their approach. I like their approach and it doesn't surprise me because that's the way we recruit. This is what we will expect out of you and this is what we will expect out of your teammates. If you want to come here and help us do something special, together, then we want you to come here. But there are times when you are learning something, that you become frustrated. I think they are working through that very well. There is probably some frustration, not because they are not good basketball players, they are very good, but because learning how to be Hawkeye basketball players is demanding. It is all about making the adjustments."
On goals to make NCAA tournament:
"I am not going to sell anybody short, I just don't believe in it. People say it's a process, but what does that mean? For some people it may be a process of a day, for others a month. We are going to compete this year and I expect us to be successful. I certainly would not want to sell my guys short and not give them every opportunity. I have never gone into a situation thinking that we are not going to win. I go into every situation thinking that we will be successful. You have to do it that way. The last time Iowa tied for the Big Ten title was in '79, but a couple of years ago they were right there. I don't think anybody is happy with where we are at right now, but I am proud of the things that have been accomplished. I think winning Big Ten Championships is incredibly demanding. It is a great league. We know it can be done and that is what we are shooting for."
John Beilein, Michigan
"There is an amount of efficiency you can run a practice with that will hopefully transcend to games. I have a checklist of around 100 things that we are trying to do before the first game. Last year we had about 28 down pretty well before the first game. Your first year you are virtually putting in out of bounds plays the day of the first game sometimes. If you coach the only way I know how, which is fundamentally at first. "
On what to expect from Manny Harris this season:
"I think it would be wrong to expect too much from him this year. You can't make a bigger leap than being a 17 year old at the beginning of classes and then averaging 16 points a game. I don't think we should expect anything and not a sophomore slump by any means, but his numbers may not be as high in some areas. In areas that he didn't have to excel at as a freshman, like rebounding and defense he will be much improved. He's trying to be a complete player
On Zack Novak:
"We are very excited about him (Zack). He is a combination of some of the guys we had at West Virginia. He has a very high IQ and is tough as nails. I like what we have seen, so far."
Tom Izzo, Michigan State
On whether the team could make the Final Four:
"I think it's a team that has the potential to. I've said all along that there are always 15 to 16 teams. This year there are 15. There's one that's almost a definite and that's North Carolina. They've just got so many players. I think we're one of those 14 or 15 teams that has a chance. There's always someone who's a surprise. Some of ours depend on the Delvon Roe situation. I think he's a good enough player that he was penciled in as a potential starter and it's going to just take some time now because of the time off. So how fast he comes along, Chris Allen and [Durrell] Summers. I think we're going get solid play out of the Lucases, the Sutons, the Waltons and Morgans, it's whether those other guys will step up or not and only time will tell."
On the emerging leadership of Kalin Lucas:
"I am surprised, but excited because that's one of the things we really harped on last year. At the end of the year we really talked about it, that if he wants to take another step, he's got to do a better job of taking other people with him. I think it helped him to go to the Nike camp this year and spend some time there with some of the best point guards in the country, listen to different coaches. It's always good to get input from other coaches, media members, all the people that talk to him there. I just think he's done a great job. You have to trust the player and the player has to trust you. I'm starting to feel that we're getting that trust, that he understands if I'm not happy about something, it's for him not against him."
On the Big Ten tradition of coaches:
"When Jud Heathcote and Gene Keady and Bobby Knight and Clem Haskins, all those guys were in the conference together, they started to recruit against each other but I think they looked to help each other and looked to help the conference. I think we've added some coaches in Tubby [Smith] and John [Beilein] and now Tom [Crean] and Todd [Lickliter] that are going to have that same thing, but it's just going to take us a little time. We need to do that as a conference. We need to help each other out. It's a tough enough profession. I think that's one of the things I like about it. Are we going to fight over a recruit here or there, sure. But I still think for the betterment of the teams in our conference makes our team better and it's going to help us in the long run and that's why I've always pulled for the Big Ten teams, especially when one of them is my best friend."
Tubby Smith, Minnesota
On what challenges you think you have overcome entering your second year at Minnesota:
"Having been a veteran coach, I've been in this business for 30 years so nothing really surprises me. The biggest comfortability with media, fans, and the people from the Big Ten Network, were probably one of the best things to have happen. Coming into the league during that time has been a great opportunity. Going through "The Journey" really helped us brand Gopher basketball, which has been tremendous help to me. It has been a fun ride and I hope we can keep it going for a while. I hope we can continue to build on the excitement we've generated from last year."
On how to build a program at Minnesota with recruits in the area:
"We were able to get three commitments. We got two of the best players, not just in Minnesota, but in the country. This year we've gotten three commitments from the state of Minnesota. That's how you build a fence around your program and your team. There were so many good, talented players in the Minnesota metropolitan city area. Our job as a coaching staff is to make sure the opportunity is there for those athletes who want to play for the University of Minnesota."
On not being picked in the top five in the preseason polls after making it to the Big Ten semifinals last year:
"They have to pick somebody in the first thee or four spots. Not every coach here is going to say that they are contenders today. Wisconsin, Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State... they have proven, and you've seen what the coaches and players have done. They are worthy of being rated and ranked as the top teams in this league."
On the 20-game conference schedule:
"I'm not really a proponent of it. I think 18 games are pretty solid. I'm sure everyone would like to have a round-robin, playing everyone. I don't think that will help us to put any more teams in the NCAA Tournament. I'm comfortable with the current schedule right now."
Bill Carmody, Northwestern
On the season outlook for the team:
"They give me cause to be optimistic. They're playing hard. They're competing. They just look like a Big Ten team physically. I thought last year we had good perimeter guys at this level. Now I think the guys that are coming in are better than I thought they would be, which rarely happens. Six, seven practices, but the big guys look pretty good. We'll see as it goes along, how that plays out, but they're better than I thought they were going to be. "
On the team learning how to win:
"I think a lot of it has to do with the talent level and your preparation. We haven't gotten to that point where we say, 'OK, we've got to win this big one.' We'll see as we go. I just think that the talent level is bigger and it's deeper. Our rotation could be nine or 10 this year and I'm like a seven-guy rotation usually. There's not that much of our drop off. Our scrimmages of our first- and second-teams are very close all the time. That's a good sign."
On the play of junior Kevin Coble:
"He's always been a mature kid. Now he just seems like he's on track and he's calm. He was here for the summer and he worked out. I think it's going to be a real nice year for him. He seems like he's improved. He's worked on his shooting. He wasn't like a real three-point shooter. He was a scorer kind of guy. He was good at making 14-footers and made an occasional three. He shot well but he didn't take that many. He's shooting a lot more now and he's really worked on pushing it out and I think that's going to help him a lot."
On adapting his coaching strategy as player personnel has changed through the years:
"When I was at Princeton, I always pressed. My first three years here, we were pressing a lot. People talk about the offense being slow and stagnant, but I always try to force the game from the other side. We were deeper in some ways with faster guys. And it just seemed like because of guys leaving early and some different things happening, that we just didn't have the depth to press. But I think we're going to go back to that. That's part of my philosophy to force things from that end of it, speed it up that way. I feel a lot better now. Instead of sitting back, you be the aggressor. Make them react to you instead of just always responding to them."
Thad Matta, Ohio State
On the team having an appreciation for the success of past teams:
"I think they do. But I think the hard part for this team is that we played for a national championship two years ago, but we only have one guy left from that team. So most of these other guys just don't know. Trying to reminisce about what that run was like, there's only one guy that knows what you're talking about."
On the media guide not having any players on it:
"I've always wanted this, everywhere I've ever been. With no seniors on the team - Ohio State usually puts seniors on the media guide - but we don't have any. I think this says that it's more about Ohio State, and I love it."
On managing expectations with a young team:
"I think that, for us, with all the departures that we've had, it's been more of an identity crisis, a feeling of 'Who are we?' because everybody's gone. And with our new guys, I think they're kind of looking around thinking, 'I have to be spectacular.' So, I think it's more that than actual expectations."
On Ohio State's scoring options this year:
"Hopefully somebody will emerge as a consistent scorer, but I think, as I look at this team - I told them the other day, the first team I coached never had the same leading scorer two games in a row for thirty-two games or whatever it was. So, could this team be like that? I hope so. I hope that we can score from a lot of different angles. I like it when a team has a lot of guys that can score. You look at Florida, the team that beat us a few years ago, and they had guys with 13, 12, 12. And you look at Kansas last year, and they were the exact same way - just a lot of different guys and ways to score."
On coaching a young team:
"It's challenging. You know you start out in the spring and summer saying, 'We've got these guys coming back, and we know we can do this.' But you know, this year's team, we came into the season saying, 'Well, who can do what?' And we've been that way really the last three years. But the thing that I enjoy about it as a coach is that we practice for two and a half hours and it is intense, I mean non-stop. So, it keeps us on our toes."
Ed DeChellis, Penn State
On his goals for the season:
"We have to say injury free. Obviously we want to win more games than we lose. We would love to be a team that contends for the Big Ten regular-season championship. We would love to be a team that has an opportunity to win the Big Ten Tournament and advance to the NCAA Tournament. You can accomplish a lot by winning the conference tournament or winning in the regular season to make it to the NCAA Tournament. We want to be an upper level team in the Big Ten Conference. Whether we will be successful or not, I do not know, but once you get to a certain level of winning, you want more and you get greedy, so who knows what the end will bring."
On things falling into place with the team:
"Our talent level has improved each year. We had different guys play, we played a great freshman class last year who really came on and won some games for us. Our senior leadership has been growing even more throughout practice; they have been busy throughout the fall. These are good things. We have that hunger to win. I think every team tries and wants to feel that in their team, but sometimes it just comes out naturally. I feel it with this team and I think that they really want to win."
On Talor Battle:
"He has gotten stronger. He put some weight on and has been working on his perimeter shooting. He has those intangibles that you cannot teach. He hates to lose and he wants to take the big shot. He wants to have the ball at crunch time and he wants to accept the challenge of having the ball when the game is on the line. That is something you cannot teach, someone who wants the ball at pivotal times and someone who accepts that challenge."
Matt Painter, Purdue
On the chemistry of the team and whether Purdue has a "best player":
"We have guys that are all-conference. We have guys that were first-team, second-team, third-team. And Keaton Grant was honorable mention, but he was our team MVP. You can't really pick one over the other. And Robbie Hummel was Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, but I don't know if he's the best player on the team. Now, I'm not saying he's not, but you can come to our practice and he might look like the best player on the team on Monday, but on Tuesday Keaton Grant will look like the best player. On Wednesday E'Twaun Moore will look like the best player on the team, on Thursday Chris Kramer will look like the best player on the team. So I think that's a very good problem to have. I think the strength of our team lies in our balance and our unselfishness. I couldn't even tell you who the best player on the team is. That's something that varies from game to game, practice to practice. So it's not something I really worry about. As a coach that's the least of your concerns. You want your guys to be unselfish and learn to play together. A lot of other people want to establish who's on first team, who's on second team, who's on third team. We just want to win, so those other things kind of get thrown out of the window."
On the players' preparation for the upcoming season:
"I think they've done a pretty good job of working in the weight room, working on their individual games and putting in time. You can always tell when the season starts, who has put in time and who hasn't. And I think all our guys have done a good job with that."
On Chris Kramer:
"I think that he's made some improvements, but he is who he is. You know he's not going to shoot an abundance of perimeter shots, but we encourage him to take open shots. I like having guys out there who will put it up, but I like our team basketball. We have five guys out there who can shoot at any time. But he's somebody who shares the basketball, and Hummel shares the basketball. And I think that when that happens, it's contagious. It's fun to coach, and it's fun to watch. As long as he's aggressive and making good decisions. I just want him to make good decisions. That's more important than attacking and shooting open shots. It's making good decisions and taking what the defense gives you."
On the team's growth from last year:
"I think we have some guys that arrived on campus with some savvy and a good understanding of how to play the game. And we went overseas - our trip to Australia was very beneficial for our guys. We've improved physically, but are we a physical team? I don't know about that yet. On the perimeter we're a physical team, but on our front line I don't think that we are going to overpower many teams right now. We have to rebound by committee, we have to defend the lane by committee. We have to apply our defense very early and get up in the backcourt and get into what they're trying to do and disrupt their offensive sets. I think it's very important for us to be physical, but I don't think we've arrived. We still have improvements we need to make to compete in that area."
On being a physical team:
"Without question we want to be a physical team. And I think when you make that statement, people take that away from your skill level and finesse. But you know, we have some of the top three-point shooters. So we do have some skill, and if you're mixing skill and physical play together, I think that's a very good combination."
Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
On where the team is heading this year:
"Here's the dilemma: if the offense scores, then the defense wasn't really good because it's your team and vice versa. So, one side of the ball is not going to have a good trip down court. When you break it down, 'Are we doing some things as a group in an area, such as not doing the basics that well, rotating well or closing out, just putting bodies on people, is it a one time thing or a consistent thing?' This is why I like to use to these practices to look at these tendencies, so I can't give you any answers. I saw some areas that I really liked and some other areas that looked pretty weak, especially with the younger group."
On conveying ideas to the freshmen:
"You must have had a good impression of the freshmen because they shoot the ball every time they get their hands on it. If you want to be on the floor, then you have to do a lot more than shoot. I know that the upperclassmen have advised the younger classmen, when coach is talking everyone has to listen, not just the person he is talking to."
On the plus and minuses of building a program:
"First of all, guys who are one-and-done are sure fire guys, but that's a small number of guys. The fact that Devin (Harris) came out in three years, no one was expecting that. It's not that we aren't trying to recruit guys that have potential to do that, but it's still very difficult. In order to win, a coach said, 'It's going to have to be one of those years where you've got lot of upperclassmen and you have a lot of guys that have stayed.' Wisconsin is one of those schools and there are a lot of schools in Wisconsin's position. He made a good point and you also can't have injuries. To win six in a row, you cannot have that. If it's something down the road we can end up being a part of, that will be great."