Hawks Talk: Henderson, Hansen

With Iowa needing four wins in a row to have a realistic shot at the NCAA Tournament, role players likely will need to step forward. Sophomore PG Mike Henderson and junior center Erek Hansen are two possible candidates. The two Hawkeyes talked with the media Monday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Mike Henderson

How are you handling the changed role?

I'm a lot more comfortable on the floor. It's still a slow learning process for me right now. I was kind of thrown into the situation and am really still learning and adjusting to things.

What needs to change for you guys down the stretch of games?

We've just got to buckle down and execute our plays. We kind of get haywire the last five minutes or so; missed free throws; other games it's turnovers. We've just got to concentrate down the stretch.

What are you going to have to do to get the job done at Minnesota?

We definitely have to take care of the ball. We have to be the aggressors coming into the next game. We try to come out aggressive and press teams and things like that.

But with Illinois, they made a lot of great plays. They were the aggressors when the game was over. We have to come out aggressive in Minneapolis and things will be all right.

Do you feel comfortable in that role of running the point?

I played the point in high school. It's a different level here, but for the most part I feel pretty comfortable bringing the ball up the court and getting us into the offense.

Do you guys have the confidence to go on the road and try to execute?

It's been a really tough stretch, but we've come into every game with the same mindset.

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Erek Hansen

How does it feel to be back in the starting lineup?

I've just been working real hard in practice trying to do some things amd work myself back up. I've just got to start playing better in the games to keep my spot.

What has been the biggest difference between now and the preconference season?

It's a lot more competitive. In the nonconference, it's really just playing different teams and you don't know as much about them. In the Big Ten, you've got tons of film on everybody. Everybody knows everybody's favorite moves. You have a lot more knowledge of the team you're playing.

How have your spirits been? It seemed like you were down for a while. Are you OK? Have you bounced back?

I feel a lot better now. The whole team is starting to oull themselves up. We just need to get a win to lift the whole team up.

What is happening in the last few minutes of these games? Mike says everything goes haywire. Can you talk about that?

Yeah. It's a little bit like that; a little haywire. It seems like in all our games we keep it close until the last few minutes and then I guess you can say we fall apart. We start losing focus a little bit. We've just got to learn to stay together and get stronger in the end.

Can you put your finger on what it is?

I don't think it's getting tired. It might be a mental fatigue. We just can't focus right. Near the end, we start worrying about it being a close game. We have to win.

We just worry too much. We just need to relax at the end of the games.

What do you think about going up against Hagan again?

It will be fun. I like going up against the really big guys. They're not as fast, but they like to bang inside.

What has it been like for you personally? You played so, so well in December. You're career was really going to skyrocket and then you hit some bumps again.

It's been a little rough. I'm trying to get back into the flow of things. I was down on myself a little bit. Once you start thinking bad things, it just kind of gets worse. You just try to pick yourself up and get some help.

You had some migraine headaches there for a while. What happened there?

I had some migraines for a while. Then last week, I had a bloody nose for about three days. We tried to fix that: just little things.

Did you have back problems?

I've always had back problems. I wear a back brace.


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