Did you come back to Carver and shoot after the Wisconsin game?
Yeah. It was kind of tough to sleep. I came back in here and shot around for a little while.
I shot a little bit more than that. I kind of worked on one quite a bit.
How much light is there in here?
We know how to turn the lights on.
Can you talk about the increased leadership role that you've taken on now that some of the seniors are gone?
Everybody on our team has a little bit of a leadership role. Being a leader, you have to listen to everybody. I think that our seniors are fine with certain people leading. Our seniors, Brody and Glen, are doing a good job. Even Jared is doing a good job even though he's hurt right now. Everybody just listens to everyone. That's why we have such good team chemistry.
How do you view this game against Ohio State in terms of importance?
I actually would say that it's a must win. We probably have to win the rest of our games to get to where we want to be. We've just got to come out ready to play and just take one game at a time.
You guys handled them pretty easy earlier this year but they were without Tony Stockman. How does he change things?
It changes it big time. They've got another outside shooter that they didn't have.
Do you guys look at the RPI or anything like that or the projections?
We look at them sometimes. We knew that Wisconsin was a big game for us. We didn't quite get it. We came back against Michigan, who had a decent RPI. I couldn't tell you what out RPI is right now. We're just going out there and taking it one game at a time.
Do you guys talk a lot about the goal to get to the NCAA Tournament?
Oh yeah. Definitely. We're in the huddle during timeouts, that's all that we're talking about. If we want to make it to where we want to be, we've got to get there. During one timeout on Saturday, we kind of came together and said, "You know, if we want to make it to the tournament, we've got to come together. We've got to win this game. We've got to start right here."
(Ohio State's) big guys struggled against you guys the first time. Do you guys anticipate a better effort from them this time?
Yeah. They've got a lot of big guys inside that are very physical. We're just going to have to come out and play physical basketball with them.
Jeff said that this is a must win to go to the NCAA Tournament. Would you share that opinion?
Yeah. Every game that we play right now is a must win. We've got to get over the hump .We have to get out of that log jam in fourth place right now. So, every game that we play, from here on out, is very important.
Do you think that you have to win 10 or 11 (conference games) to get there?
I don't know how many we have to win. I just know that we have to win Wednesday. That's our goal right now.
Do you look at it as you will have a advantage against the Ohio State big men because you can go outside?
No. I just look at it as we have to prepare the best way that we can. Me and Greg have been doing a good job of staying out of foul trouble, except for the last game. Everyone here is understanding that we need everybody's contributions for the team to be successful.
How much does it help that you guys have had past success in Columbus?
It helps a little bit, but all of that is going to be thrown out of the window when we go up there Wednesday.
Do you feel you guys have confidence knowing you've won there before?
I think it gives us confidence that going in there we're coming off of a win. Everybody is understanding the importance of every game that we have to win. We must have every game right now.
Do you feel like your offense is running a little smoother every game?
We're improving in that area. Guys are getting a better understanding of the offense. Everybody is understanding their roles and doing them the best that they can.
Has the shorter rotation bred familiarity with the guys in it?
Definitely. We don't really have to play around with a lot of different matchups. We know each others tendencies. Everybody understands what each person can do and what they can't do. Everyone is just playing really well right now on offense.
Does Greg Brunner remind you of Reggie Evans?
He does a great job with his physical ability and strength. It reminds me a lot of Reggie. They both have a work ethic that unbelievable.
Is there any way that Brunner is better than Evans?
It's hard to say. They're similar players, but Brunner is young. He's got a chance to be a tremendous player just like Reggie. As long as he keeps working, he's got a chance to be just as good if not better than Reggie.
How does Tony Stockman change Ohio State since the first time that you played them?
He does a lot of good things. He's a great shooter and a scorer. That's something that they didn't have when they were in this building. They didn't have a go-to guy. They're still trying to find that go-to guy. If we can keep him under control and keep Fuss-Cheatem of penetrating and kicking, we're going to be all right.
Did you have a concussion?
Yeah, I did. I did on the day of the Wisconsin game. Jeff hit me right before the game started. He popped me pretty good. We were both going after a ball, both wanting the ball. We just collided during warmups.
How do you feel about playing more point guard?
I don't have a problem with taking some of that responsibility. It's a lot of pressure for Jeff. If I can relieve some of that pressure from him, I don't have a problem doing that.
How do you feel like you're handling it now compared to when you were a freshman two years ago?
I learned the game. I learned what coach wanted; learned the system. I sat out last year. I got to sit back and watch what he wanted. This year, I'm able to do some things that I know what he wants to get done on the court.
You seemed to make a real effort after you had those eight turnovers against Wisconsin. In the Michigan game, it was like sometimes you were going to drive and you'd stop and go back.
I just have to pick and choose my spots. I have to be very selective with where I'm going if I have defenders all around. I have to try to get my teammates involved. I was upset with the eight turnovers. That's uncharacteristic of the type of player that I am.
What about your defense? Coach was saying that he wouldn't trade you for anybody.
That's something that we really try to pride ourselves on. It's all about trying to take away the offensive player's ability to do what they want to do best. I just try to pride myself and dig down deep and try to get a stop.
Do you think that you've improved compared to two years ago?
Gradually, I've improved with strength. and overall conditioning and overall knowing the game.
How about taping your fingers? Does that affect your shooting?
I've gotten used to it. I'm not looking for any excuses.
Does this team run the motion offense better with a guy the size of Reiner in the middle to clog it up?
I wouldn't say that. I'd love to have Reiner in there right now. We would be able to go inside, go outside and on defense. It would open up shots. I'd love to have Jared in there. But with the team that we've got now, we're able to run the floor a little bit better. We're able to change positions a little bit more than if we had the big fella in there.
How do you know how a ball is coming off of a rim?
In the warmups, you can tell. The ball is coming off long if the rims are hard. It's a feel. I really don't know how to explain it. It's almost like an instinct. You know where the ball is going to come.
Is rebounding a role that you like or one that you'd like to work your way out of?
Oh no. I love it. That's mt staple. I've done that my entire life. I really work hard on rebounding. Being undersized, I can jump and position myself where I can get a lot of loose balls and rebounds.
(Ohio State's) big guys were in foul trouble when they played here. That might not happen this time. Is that going to be a big matchup?
Oh, very much so. They're a very athletic team. It's going to be a battle inside. Glen, Erek and I have to be ready. Michigan kind of went at us in the beginning of each half. They had our way with us. Our defense got a little bit better towards the end of the game.
It was probably the first in history that a team got outrebounded by that kind of margin and still won the game. What sort of things were going on?
First of all, I could never get to the rim. I had trouble getting a jump on the ball becaue I was getting blocked out by two or three guys. They did a great job of protecting the basket. We got, I think, six offensive rebounds. And they did a great job of crashing on our offensive end. We've got to start winning the rebounding battle for the rest of the season.
When did you play against Carmelo Anthony?
He was on my team at the Michael Jordan (prep all-star) Game. I played against him there. It was an all-star game my senior year. That's who I guarded the entire time. It wasn't very fun.