Hawks Talk: Henderson, Haluska

Iowa Coach Steve Alford said Wednesday that he was unsure who would start the season opener against Western Illinois in two days - Mike Henderson or Adam Haluska. Read what both players had to say about the decision, plus much more from the backcourt duo, in this HN.com premium Q&A.

MIKE HENDERSON

Are you excited about finally playing a real game on Friday?

Yeah. Definitely. I'm excited to get back out on the court with the guys. We had a lot of work to do, but we're beginning to get a hold of things a lot better. We've been getting in shape with a lot of conditioning things this passed week. We'll be ready.

Can some of the shortcomings be placed on you guys still becoming familiar with playing in a new rotation?

That's really a big thing. We played with each other all summer, but it's totally different once you're in a game situation. We're starting to figure that out. We've been switching up lineups during practice, seeing who are the best guys that play with each other.

During this weekend, going to the Maui Tournament, we should find a group of guys that really work good together. And the guys coming off of the bench are a big help. They come in and bring a lot of energy.

How did you feel you did during the preseason?

One of the things that the coaches have been on me a lot about is standing. I run the initial offense, but once we get into our regular cutting, I stand a lot. That's one thing that I'm going to be focusing on this week, trying to get more involved with the screening and pop type things.

Your shot looks a lot better. Do you feel comfortable shooting it now?

It's definitely something that I'm trying to work on. For the most part, shooting is just mental. That's one thing that I found out over the summer.

Once I got my confidence going, I can make like nine, 10 in a row. When you're down on yourself about shooting, you can go 0-10.

I'm not really worried about shooting. I'm more worried about running the offense. I've been missing a lot of open cutters.

Are you surpised with how poised and calm Carlton is out there? He doesn't seem fazed by the step up in competition.

He's always been like that. When I was a sophomore in high school and he was a freshman coming in, it was the same thing. He's always been poised. His demeanor, that's the way thathe plays and that's the way that he acts in his life in general.

He's always just cool, laid back. He really never sweats about anything. He just comes out at plays and good things happen for him.

Coach said that he's still not sure if he'll start you or Adam on Friday. Does it matter to you?

It really doesn't matter. I like starting. But I like coming off of the bench, too. As long as I can help the team and give them a boost and as long as we get the W, that's the most important thing.

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ADAM HALUSKA

Do you remember your last real game?

Yes (smiles).

And who was it against?

It was against Iowa (laughter). I don't remember too much about it. It was a long time ago. I'm ready to get this season started. I'm getting closer to 100 percent. I'm really getting anxious.

Do you remember what you did in that game?

I didn't do much. I got hurt early in the game. I sat out most of the time. But I wasn't real effective.

That was at the end of a grueling...

That was at the end of the season when I was 6-5, 180-185.

How close are you to 100 percent?

I'd say I'm about 75 right now. I've still got a little ways to go. I'm still pretty sore. But I'm moving a lot better than I did on Sunday. I'm starting to be able to jump a little bit more. I'm starting to get back into the flow.

It's not the type of injury that you can do more damage to by playing? Is it something you've just got to work through?

Yeah. Right now it is. It's through the healing stage. The doctors said that you have to go with how it feels. I'm able to play on it. So, I'm going to go with it.

Do you expect to start Friday?

I don't really expect to, no. People are asking if I care if I do or I don't. I really don't care. The team comes first. Whoever the coach thinks are the best five guys he can put out there and get what needs to be done, that's what needs to be done.

How important was it to get minutes Sunday?

Even though I wasn't moving well out there, it was important just to get into a flow. When Friday does come around and I step on the court, at least I have some feel of what's going on out there.

How does it inhibit your movement or is it more mental?

It's a little bit up in my head. But it's still pretty sore and tender. I'm kind of protecting it a little bit. But every day that I step out on the floor, it's getting better.

Is it something that you can play with all year?

I think so. Right now it is.

So, you could have it all year?

I hope not. (Laughter) I hope it doesn't get to that stage. But it hasn't gotten better in about 2 1/2 weeks, so...

In evaluating your play from Sunday, are you just not there health wise?

Well, Sunday, I wasn't even ready to play. I stepped on the floor Saturday for about 15, 20 minutes. Coach kind of decided at the last minute to give it a go. Sunday, I really wasn't effective. And I really wasn't looking to be. I was just kind of hoping to get in and get some minutes.

Friday is coming around. I've been practicing all week. I feel better about myself and how I'm doing on the floor. I should be ready Friday.

What is realistic from a minute standpoint?

I don't know. We'll just have to see how it goes.

Do you feel a little behind in terms of cohesiveness with you teammmates? You missed a couple of weeks of playing basketball with them.

Yeah. The past couple of days it's been tough. Looking back on it, taking two weeks away, it does impact your game a little bit. But it's coming back quick. And I played with these guys all last year and last summer.


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