Dakich is drilling into his team the fact that what happened a Sunday or a week ago against Michigan State has no impact on what will happen the rest of the year. He thinks it’s especially difficult to teach that to a young team. He doesn’t want Indiana thinking that it will beat Minnesota or Northwestern again just because it did so earlier this year.
Don Fischer has enjoyed the experience of Dakich being the head coach and hopes it continues.
“You and me both,” Dakich says. “Probably took a little bit of a dent here, but it’s like people are always saying, it is what it is and we have to move on.”
Dakich is assessing the Big Ten this season.
“A lot of good players. I don’t know if there were the great players.”
He remembers one game back in the day when Indiana played Michigan and there were 10 future NBA guys on the court. That doesn’t happen as much now because players jump early.
But he likes the character of a lot of the players. There are more heart and soul guys and also more freshmen making an immediate impact.
And despite the league being top-heavy with elite teams â€” this is an assertion made by Fischer, not this blog â€” Dakich has seen more parity this season because of the changes in the league.
Oh my gosh. Fischer is the psychic one. He is revealing that D.J. White was named Big Ten Player of the Year.
“He’s getting what he deserves,” Dakich says.
“The great thing about that award is that it lasts a lifetime.”
Dakich believes D.J.’s improvement stems from a different approach, not improved skills.
“He believes he’s the baddest guy out there,” Dakich says.
Dakich talks about how much White wants to end his career on a high note, and how he’s excited to see this team prepare for the upcoming tournaments. He notes that the Hoosiers were not scheduled to practice today.
Dakich is making an effort to bring in former players to speak to the team. Earlier this year he mentioned some players — such as Keith Smart — and the players didn’t know who he was. So he’s trying to educate them.
Toddy Leary and Wayne Radford spoke to the team most recently.
Don is pointing out that Indiana has its best record since 1992-93.
Dakich hopes that winning 25 games per season once again becomes a tradition at Indiana.
Now Don is delving into how the team has changed since Kelvin Sampson left. He thinks it’s been tough on Dakich but that he’s had to do some things differently.
Dakich says that the emphasis has been on defense. And that’s no knock on Sampson, who was pushing for better defense all year. Dakich wasn’t upset with his team’s defensive effort against Penn State because he thought they played tough at that side even though the offense wasn’t working.
He’s addressing Jamarcus Ellis’ suspension now. “There’s got to be accountability. That’s what this program is about.” He doesn’t discuss what caused the suspension or delve into Ellis’ current status.
The show, by the way, was taped right after yesterday’s game. So it won’t discuss today’s happenings. Unless Dakich is psychic.
Don Fischer wants to start by talking about the Minnesota game.
“It didn’t take much coaching,” says Dan Dakich, “because of the love the team had for those guys.”
He’s talking, of course, about the seniors. But he also credits the fan with carrying the program through some rough times, which he has done several times.
Back to the game itself. “I thought collectively we played about as good defensively as we did all year,” Dakich says.
Dakich thinks Chris Reynolds is one of the better defenders in IU history. He thinks Eric Gordon is up there on the same level.
Now Dakich is relating the story of what he did after yesterday’s loss to Penn State. He put the record on the board, 25-6, and told the players that they had brought Indiana basketball back to national prominence.
More on Penn State: “You can put that on me. We shouldn’t have shot so many.”
He’s talking about 3s. Indiana shot 33 and made 7.
But Dakich thinks Indiana is playing its best defense of the year, so he feels pretty good about the team. He’s also not worried about Armon Bassett’s shooting. He says that Bassett hits about 80 percent of his 3s when he shoots during practice.
Dakich was upset with the execution late. He had told the team what to do depending on what defense Penn State showed — it broke from zone late in the game — and didn’t get it. He’s questioning himself, wondering if he should have called a time out. But he likes the team out of “scramble situations.”
And he thinks that Indiana got Penn State’s best effort because, well, it’s Indiana. He’s learning that to coach here is to constantly be preparing for the opponent’s best shot.
It’s on now (105.1 FM in Bloomington). The show was taped earlier today because of the awards banquet.