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Tom Crean held a press conference today, even though we had discussed his team’s Wednesday game against Wake Forest on Sunday afternoon.
We discussed the Demon Deacons a bit more today, but also had time to talk with Crean about his philosophies on and off the court.
Hereâ€™s the audio, which is probably worth a listen if you’re interested in hearing Crean ruminate on a number of topics. (Thanks to John Decker for sending me the file, since my recorder freaked out today.)
A few quick notes from what Crean had to say:
- Verdell Jones, who suffered a head injury against Cornell, went back to classes today and was expected to attend practice, though his level of participation was to be determined. He’s “questionable, at best” for tomorrow’s game, Crean said.
- Crean continued his praise of Wake Forest guard Jeff Teague, saying the Pike product is “playing as well as any guard in the country.” Crean specifically recalled a play late in Wake’s game agianst UTEP when Teague went hard to the hole and drew a foul as an example of his “courage and toughness.”
- Blocking out has been an emphasis in recent days for the Hoosiers. Crean said his team has not been aggressive enough on that front. “If we stand and wait for the contact to come to us we may not even feel the contact,” he said, referring to the games against Wake Forest and Gonzaga. “They’ll go up over us.”
- Crean hasn’t been given an update on the basketball practice facility, though he and his staff did have some input into some recent changes made to the plans. Most notably, they asked that padding be added to the walls in the practice gym.
- On the recruiting front, Crean’s coaches are still encountering a lot of kids who are in what he termed a “wait-and-see mode.” Young players are still waiting to see how Indiana will play under Crean, and of course Crean tells them that this team hasn’t been built to play the way his teams will eventually play. But it’s hard to convince kids of that. So the Hoosiers are still behind a little bit in recruiting as the program becomes stabilized after the NCAA ruling.
- Right now, Crean’s assistants are concentrating on building this team by being in town and at practices. There will be times that one or two of them will try to get out to see prospects that are playing near whereever the Hoosiers are on a roadtrip as the season continues. When the schedule becomes a little bit more regular come conference play, they’ll be able to plan more trips, too. Crean’s assistants did get new BlackBerry phones recently, so he expects them to be making all their calls to prospects.
- Not too many, though.
- The team had Thanksgiving dinner together on Friday night in Assembly Hall and each player said what he was thankful for. Crean said that what he learned was that all the players are thankful for their families and their extended basketball family at IU.
Many of you have asked about the progress of the basketball practice facility being built next to Assembly Hall. To this point, it consisted of mostly a mangled hole filled with wires and tubes and sewers and alligators (I made that up) that delayed the project so that it probably won’t be ready until after the middle of next year.
Well, today I arrived at Assembly Hall to find what looks to be a wall. I’m no engineer, though, so I took photographic evidence for you to review.Â To take the second shot, I stuck my camera under the green screening on the fence. If that’s an NCAA violation, I apologize.
So I just realized how much I babbled in the below post (it’s a rare occasion, really) and thought I would pull out the big news:
- Verdell Jones is sore today after being knocked out of Sunday’s game against Cornell by a devastating (but clean) screen by Jeff Foote. IU’s medical staff is treating Jones as if he has a concussion, and Crean said he is day-to-day at this point.
- Crean isn’t so mad at his players for not calling out the screen to Jones after watching video. Turns out most of the players were already at the other end of the court, he said.
- Wake Forest, which Indiana plays Wednesday in Winston-Salem as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, is the most athletic team the Hoosiers have seen this year. Crean thinks Jeff Teague, the Deamon Deacons point guard and an Indianapolis Pike grad, could soon be compared to Chris Paul.
I’m incredibly late on this, but it needs to be addressed: Dan Dakich absolutely did the right thing when he defended the players that he warred with on last year’s team.
To recap briefly: former Indiana player Joe Hillman was quoted in The Indianapolis Star calling some of last year’s players “punks” and “bad guys.”
Dakich fired back, calling Hillman’s comments “reprehensible” and pointing out that two of the former players who’d been quoted in the article had been arrested for public stupidity during their years at IU, while only one player (DeAndre Thomas) was arrested last season and that was for driving with a suspended license.
Dakich is known for great lines, and he didn’t dissapoint during his rant as he talked about the differences in Joe’s homelife as a kid and that of Jamarcus Ellis:
“While Joe Hillman was playing golf at a country club,Â Jamarcus Ellis was living in a car.”
Straight from IU director of communications J.D. Campbell:
“Verdell (Jones) was taken to the hospital out of precaution and evaluation.Â All studies were normal, there was no evidence of serious injury and he was released.Â His status will continue to be monitored.”
Jones was immobilized and taken off the Assembly Hall floor on a stretcher after running into a Cornell pick during the first half Sunday.
Indiana handled the defending Ivy League Champions, pulling away in the second half.
Tom Pritchard was 7-for-7 from the field, despiting battling a thin 7-foot center and a wide 6-7 forward. And the Hoosiers improved from the free throw line, going 15-for-19. They were hitting just 64 percent heading into the game.
Ryan Wittman, the son of former Indiana star Randy, had a game high 28 points.