Haluska Happy to be a Hawk

After a year on the sidelines, former ISU standout Adam Haluska will suit up for Iowa this winter. The home state kid should help the Hawkeyes on both ends of the floor with his athleticism and understanding of the game. At Wednesday's media day, Haluska talked about his excitement for the season, the chance to play former Coach Larry Eustachy, his improvements in the last year and more in the HN.com premium Q&A.

You played in the Big 12 and you sat and watched a season of Big Ten basketball last year. Is there a huge difference in your mind?

I don't think so. Both leagues are really strong year in and year out. I haven't played with (the Big Ten) yet, but just by watching they're real competitive leagues.

Is there a difference of style or the way the game is played?

I don't know. It's hard to tell, especially when you haven't played out there. Bu they're pretty similar.

Is there a different feeling this media day compared to last year?

Definitely. Last media day I kind of sat on the sidelines. I wasn't going to do anything for an entire year. To be out here and get ready to play this fall, it's real exciting.

There have been a lot of transfers to come to Iowa with high expectations - Luke Recker to name one. How do you live up to the expectations and how do you avoid letting the expecations get the best of you?

Hey, I'm just trying to come out here and do the best that I can. This team has a lot of expectations on it, especially trying to get to the NCAA Tournament this year. Individually I try to look at it from a team perspective. I just want the team to do the best that we can and have a great season.

Nobody on this team has been to the NCAA Tournament. Does that make you guys hungry?

We have guys like Jeff and Greg and Pierre that havan't been there yet. Their years are winding down and they're going to want to get there. The hunger to get there is going to make us that much more ready and eager to get there.

Maybe the Hawkeyes also need a little bit of luck after the way things have gone the last few years. Is it time for you guys to break through and maybe get some breaks to go your way?

I think so. We've got a great team coming in. Hopefully everything just kind of turns our way and we have a great season.

Are you a better player than you were when you got here?

Definitely. I've spent a lot of time doing individual workouts last year and working with the coaching staff trying to improve my ball handling skills and become a well-rounded player. Coming into this year, hopefully people will take notice and see the improvements and the hard work that I put in.

Do you think people will be able to say this guy is better?

I think so. I'm two years older, wiser. I just credit the coaching staff. They've done a great job. The whole year that I took off last year was a year well spent working on my game and working on my weaknesses.

Is the wiser part the biggest deal?

I think so. Being able to come here a year early and adjust to the program, get used to the players, coaching staff, that was huge compared to coming in as a freshman and being new to everything.

Did the summer on the (Big Ten) tour help you to get used to being back on the floor and playing?

I think so. Being able to play with officials and being that I played with other guys, not guys from Iowa, it really helped just as an adjustment period of knocking off some of the rust and getting prepared for the season.

What have you improved most over the past year?

I'd say just my overall game; just being able to take the ball to the hole and not just focusing on being a jump shooter from the outside; tried to turn my game around offensively and defensively.

Is help on the defense something you can bring to this team?

I think so. Definitely I'm going to concentrate on defense and I know this whole team is. Everybody is going to use their athleticism and strength to pressure the ball and just get out there and become better ball defenders.

Have you noticed in workouts that you guys have a knack for that?

Yeah. Definitely. Guys like Mikey Henderson and Pierre are great defenders. This year it's going to show. In workouts during the preseason, defensive principles have been a focus.

How many shots to do you take a day?

It just depends what we do in practive; at least over 200. And that was just shots arounf the 3-point arc.

How hard was it sitting out last year?

It was tough, especially knowing that all of the time that I was putting into practice and stuff wasn't really going to pay off in games, in the short term. But I'm coming into this year and knowing that I'm going to play right away this fall. It's exciting.

Have you looked at the schedule and seen who will be coming in for the Gazette Challenge (his former coach at Iowa State Larry Eustachy will bring his Southern Miss team into Carver)?

Yeah. I've seen that. People are already asking me what it is going to be like to play against Larry. Well, you don't know that yet. But it's going to be an exciting game. Hopefully a lot of people are here. Hopefully I can just concentrate on the game at hand.

What about when you play at Iowa State?

It's another game. I'm just going to have to concentrate on the game and not get caught up in all of the outside stuff.

How do you do that? It's going to be crazy when that happens.

There are still great guys in the team that I still know and keep in touch with - John Neal and Jared Homan. So, it should be a lot of fun. And it will be fun for the fans.

Have you closed that chapter of your life?

Yeah. Definitely. It's all behind me. I'm just looking ahead to putting on this Iowa jersey and getting out there and playing.

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