First off - Jitim Young was named the Big 10 Player of the Week Monday:
I was glad to hear that for Jitim . Starting the week on Monday we weren't sure he was going to play against Indiana . You know he's a really tough kid and he struggled early in the year a little bit but since the Big 10 Conference has started he's played really well, so we feel good for him.
Comments on this week:
Now we have a very tough week ahead of us , Purdue here - just trying to contain those guys.
Last week we beat Indiana and then Wisconsin sorta got [us] stumped - I said I don't like having to play against a team that's just got beat because they might be a little lacking confidence but that didn't hold true with Wisconsin . And now Purdue's coming in , so I don't know what to say, because I know they're a hard team to contain on the perimeter and it seems like Booker 's scoring a little bit more that when we played them..
I thought we played them pretty decently at Purdue earlier in the year but a team's going to get their points no matter what, and they have some guys who come off the bench and make shots - if you don't contain those guys we could be in for a long night.
What differences did you see between the first time you played Indiana and the 2nd time? [Brian
Hamilton - St Paul Pioneer Press]
I don't know if it was so much - I know they've lost a few in a row now and you're probably
looking for some things but, I know that the first time we played them they jumped out on us 11-0 and that was pretty much the game - they got us by 14 - they were just really coasting the rest of the game.
The second time around when we played them we just said we're going to try to limit their 3 point opportunities - good looks - because Hornsby and Coverdale really killed us in Bloomington and we were able to do that. I don't know, its the same guys and the same team - I think its just a confidence thing probably with them right now - I know about losing a few in a row. Even when you're playing well your guys have that in their head and its hard to get out of that slump.
Is Bracey Wright that big of a deal [the first time]?
He was not - He did not play the first time
Does he make that much of difference to them when he's healty and back?
Oh yeah, I think he's one of the best guards, players in the league as a Freshman, he's very,
very good. But then again, he didn't play the first time and the second time he did, but he wasn't right when he played the other night, we could tell that, and he still hurt us - he still goes by.
He's a line drive shooter, but he was really flat that night. That might have something to do with his back, but I think he makes a big difference to that team.
Just generally comment on your teams season so far... [Michael Pointer - Indianapolis Star]
Wow - It hasn't been good at all to tell you the truth.
Out of conference, early on I didn't think we played well - we might have had one or two good games - at Kanasas State - they're not a powerhouse, but very tough at home, we beat them there.
We had home games, and we didn't play well , and we just couldn't get the rotation down, and we had a hard time scoring, and we've usually been a pretty good defensive team over the years, but this year guys are making shots against us - so - I've had a lot of different lineup changes; some because of injuries, some guys weren't playing that well.
You know, we beat Indiana , but we're still struggling. I don't know where we're going to get our points and its been a rough year, you know?
We lost a couple of guys who I think could have helped us; but I know all the teams in the conference the same things happens, but this program isn't as prepared as some other teams - as able to handle the loss of one or two guys.
I know last season you had a pretty nice season and obviously it was a step forward for the
program - did you see this coming at all? or did injuries really contribute to all this...
I don't ant to be crying the blues too much, but [Vedran] Vukusic's our best player - he
makes everyone so much better, and it wiped us out and the other Coatian kid - [Ivan] Tolic is 6-9 250 -255, I planned him playing 15 minutes a game with Aaron Jennings maybe 22 -24 minutes and now Jennings is playing over 30 which is just too much for that guy.
So other teams can lose guys and still win. We're not capable of doing that - our program just isn't at that point ...
So, Yeah, its tough laid up against last year but as soon as that shoulder [Vukusic's] went out in that second exhibition game I knew that it was big trouble.
I'd like to get some of yourpersonal thoughts on the first and second rounds of the NCAA
Tournament [Kevin O'Keafe - Host Communications]
I think that Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday - the first week of the NCAA Tournament when
ESPN first started doing it - they were able then to go from game to game to give you the best game all the time ...
they didn't care - they were able to give you a small team that was about to upset - something like that.
That propelled March Madness - it was strong anyway, but that was just incredible to watch.
At Princeton we were in 8 - 9 - 10 NCAA tournaments, and we were in some nice games, some that we won and some that we lost and ... its just a fantastic time playing in it, especially if you're playing in it, but even if you're not playing, you just watch different teams, different conferences and you see underdogs generate excitement. Its just a great time of the year for us.
You've mentioned how Willie Deane sets the table for Purdue, but in this particular matchup - they
may be the league's premier team. When you look at playing Purdue, do you look at changing your rotation or try to get guys an extra minute rest because you know they can keep coming at you? [Jeff Washburn - Lafayette Journal-Courier]
I think so, they're pressing the ball pretty well so you have to get guys a break on the other
hand, do you take a chance - you ask your [number] one's at times - do you really need a break because they're going to be pressuring the other guys in there too, and you don't want to give them that 8-2 run or anything like that.
Their Freshmen - [Purdue Coach] Gene [Keady] has done a very good job integrating his younger guys, freshmen, with some of the older guys, the veterans, and when we were at their place he had different guys come in and hurt us so its trouble.