Here are some of the highlights of what Tom Crean had to say following Indiana’s 110-70 victory over Laval in Montreal Friday night in the first game of a five-game Canadian Foreign trip.
Special thanks to George Montgomery for providing the audio for AllHoosiers.com.
Crean said he thought the Indiana defense got better as the game went on. One of the reasons, as is often the case with Crean’s teams, is that the deflections were high. According to Crean, IU had 20 deflections in the first quarter, seven in the second, 20 in the third and 19 in the fourth.
“I thought our guards responded to changes in defense well,’’ Crean said. “That was good in the first half for us.’’
As for the deflections, Crean was especially pleased with the way his team responded in the second half in that respect. IU outscored Laval 55-27 in the second half The 39 deflections was a big part of that. Crean called that number “a very good sign.”
“We were bringing pressure to the game, we were bringing fatigue to the game and we stayed with our ability to constantly run,’’ Crean said. “And what I’ve tried to get across to these guys is that the harder we run, the more we run for layups, the more we’re going to get out in the corners and the better our offense is going to be. We knew this was going to happen. It has to continue to happen this year. We have to guard the corners this year.’’
Crean said defense was the key.
“There’s no question that our defense in the second quarter got the offense going,’’ Crean said. “Our turnovers were still a little high but our turnovers forced were extremely high. Last year we were very poor at forcing turnovers and very high in turnovers. Again, I say that not to bring up last year, I say those are areas that we need to continue to improve upon with what is going to be a young team. If we can create turnovers with the way that we’re moving the ball … again, we can play at this pace all of the time.’’
Crean said rebounding is going to be a big key with this team.
“We have got to be a very good rebounding team,’’ Crean said. “We had a player last year in Noah Vonleh that got 27 percent plus of defensive rebounds when he was in the game. There’s only one other guy in the country that I know of that did that. The bottom line is and what I said to them, with all of the teams that I’ve coached this is going to be the one where everybody has got to be part of the rebounding game. We’re going to be small. We have to be fast, we have to be aggressive and we have to be physical on the block outs and we’ve got to get excited about rebounding on both ends. I thought we did that from the second quarter on tonight.’’
Crean was asked about the play of junior guard Yogi Ferrell. Specifically, the way that Ferrell has taken control both on and off the court with this team.
“He’s a third year player who is very comfortable and does a lot of things for us in practice,’’ Crean said. “I was talking to a referee getting a clarification early in the game on the travel call, and he’s sitting there running the huddle. He has done that since his freshman year. And I got back to the huddle and he took it right there to get his team settled in. How about that? That’s what you want. You want a team of collective leadership but they have to be able to look to somebody that has been through it and he has to understand that they need him constantly.
“We have some very confident young men in the program. And at the same time we have respect for one another. And they respect what he has done and he respects them and I think that’s what is going to help this team continue to be cohesive as we move into the season. But there’s a higher respect level for each other’s talents. Now, building a bond and a chemistry and all of that takes time, but the respect level is crucial and I think Yogi has a lot to do with that on both ends.