Before I ask specifics, what are your thoughts on the Pierre Pierce situation?
When you first hear of it, you just hope it isn't true. You hope that there's been some big misunderstanding because young lives are at stake on both sides of the issue. You get police involved and it escalates and emotions start to run high and hot.
But the University of Iowa and Steve did what they had to do. I stand by what they did 100 percent.
I don't believe in throwing people under the bus the first time. But the second time, there are things that had to be followed and discussions that were had with Pierre two years ago. He had to walk a straight and narrow.
When this happened it probably had to be one of the most painful decisions that Steve has ever had to come to. I kind of equate it kind of like with your children. The first time you lay the law down. The second time it has to be dealt with.
The way that it reflects on everybody is unfortunate. You move on. More lessons learned in life, hard lessons.
The word trust has been thrown around an awful lot. That's an accurate term to use in this case. The trust of your teammates and the coaching staff and the fans and the university community that you let them down. You move on.
You're in touch with a lot of Hawkeye fans. What type of reaction are you sensing from the fans? Is it disappointment? Anger? A mixture of a lot of emotions?
I think No. 1 is, how can this happen? What goes through a young person's mind? Disappointment, obviously. And pretty mad at the way that it reflects upon everybody.
We're very proud of our university and the history and the heritage of the university. You just hate to see all of the attention drawn to the university of the beloved university for that reason.
You go through life and you hope that everything is good and positive, but it's not. Those are some of the tough things that coaches and administrators deal with.
Jeff came out on Thursday and defended his coach from people saying he's to blame for the Pierce situation. You've been around the game a long time. How much responsibility does the coach take in a situation like this? Jeff said at 21 they're old enough to make the right decisions.
You are. They are kids in our eyes, the older people. But they're old enough to know better and make the right choices in life. A coach cannot trail people 24 hours a day. You have them for a certain amount of hours a day.
And again, that trust factor comes into play that you believe in them and you believe that they're getting their studies done and they're attending classes and they're making the right choices when you're away from them.
Just as they're your kids, you can only lay that foundation down for them. You cannot hold their hand as they go through life.
It is unfair if he is being blamed for any of this. It's certainly not true. It's just like he's not telling people to go out and throw the basketball away or miss free throws or miss shots. You can only lay the groundwork for hopefully the way they're going to go through the rest of their lives.
We all have to step up to the plate to apply them directly to your life as they do apply. In this case, it appears that wrong decision were made.
Now, the team has to emotionally pull it together shortly after being blindsided by this. Are there ways to get that done?
The best way to do this is to be out on that basketball court. As a basketball player, you always found solice or refuge on the hardwood, inside that locker room with that group of guys.
That's why when you get out into the working world, you never really have that type of support system with such a tight knit group of people as you do on a team. You do with your immediate family.
But the support group of the way that you lean on each other and you work together as a team, you don't find that anywhere else. That's what is so special about being a part of a team.
That's where these guys will come together. They are a close group. They will tighten up the circle that is the locker room. You've just got your back to your partner's back. You're covering him and he's covering you.
Offensively, how do you compensate for the loss of your leading scorer?
Everybody has to step up. You get production from your reserves that are going to be called into action. Mike Henderson, Carlton Reed, Alex Thompson, everybody has got to step up. It can't be picked up by one person. Collectively as a group these guys have all got to chip in and go above and beyond what they've done to this point.
Jeff Horner and Greg Brunner have got to provide the emotional support for these guys to keep them all together. You've got to depend upon each other and help Carlton Reed and help Mike along the way because there are going to be bumps in the road.
Coming on Saturday, I think you're going to have this big emotional push where they will play well. You're going to get the fan support behind them. They're going to need that.
The Hawkeye fans, historically, have supported their teams when they need them the most. They've always been there supporting them, but it seems like in times of need the Hawkeye fans show their true colors.
Then, it's going to feel like it's gone away. There's going to be this void, once again, when the game is over. That's when they're just going to have to find that inner strength and step up.
Defensively, this kid was the stopper. Without him there, what happens?
That's a role they're going to have to fill as a team. Mike Henderson is going to be looked upon as your stopper.
Steve announced him as the starter today.
Yeah. That's a wise move. You're not going to have the offense that Pierre had. You can make that up among three or four other guys. Adam will increase his offensive production. Jeff will probably increase his offensive production. Bru. Erek Hansen you have to get a little bit more out of inside.
But defensively you have to look at Mike Henderson now to become your best perimeter defender. He's got to take that challenge upon himself to go out there and stop the opponent's best guard, best perimeter player.
He's certainly very capable of doing that. He has quickness. He's got the strength. Now he's got to play smart. He's got to play without fouling.
He seems a little tentative at times, Bobby. Have you noticed that?
I think he's still finding his way a bit. Maybe this will free him up to go out there and play a little bit looser knowing that Steve is going to allow him to make mistakes.
When you're a reserve, let's face it, you're margin for error is slim. It's a lot slimmer than a starter. Whether that's fair or not, that's just the way it is in basketball. The starters get the benefit of the doubt. Those guys off the bench, they need to come in and make the most of their opportunities.
Now, you're minutes are going to increase. Along with that comes a little bit more freedom.
What do you expect from Michigan State Saturday?
Watching the game Tuesday against Illinois, you saw them play pretty good. I still think that without a true point guard, you can pressure them.
They're going to be wounded. They played pretty good, but Illinois just played super.
They're going to come in here thinking they can win. It's going to be important that Iowa stops the big guy. I don't think Michigan State used Paul Davis enough in that game against Illinois.
That's what you're going to see from Michigan State. They'll try to get the ball into Paul Davis. Our big guys are going to have to keep him on the outside, not allow easy entry passes. And when he gets it you may even see some double teams out there. You can't allow him to have a career night.
You can't let Michigan State get out in the open court and get some easy run-outs. Make them work for everything. Your defense has got to be perfect.
That leads me into my last question. What has happened to Erek Hansen? It seems like all of the confidence he had in the early season has vanished.
That's a big part of it, the confidence. He's still a huge weapon on the inside defensively.
Now, Erek's got to find it within himself to commit himself to going ot the defensive board and then put himself into positions on the offensive end to get himself open in the offense. Don't stand around quite so much. Keep his man occupied if nothing else.
If you get dribble penetration from Mike and Jeff and Adam, to find the open seam in the lane because his big guy is going to come off. Get yourself in position to receive the pass, score and get fouled. He needs to get to the free throw line a little bit more; just find that aggressiveness, which I think he's been lacking. And that's part of the confidence factor, also.