Simpson: Quotes & Notes

Iowa opened the Todd Lickliter era with a 56-30 exhibition game victory Thursday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. HN.com Senior Writer Rob Howe took in the action and files this report which includes the complete postgame transcript from the coach, his thoughts on the Tony Freeman injury, news and notes.

QUOTES

Todd Lickliter

Opening Statement: I knew I shouldn't have assigned (Joel) Cornette to be the shooting coach. I made a mistake. We'll see if we can't get that worked out. When you have guys that care, and I've said that these guys care, you're going to be a little anxious. They were anxious tonight. But I also thought that through the course of the game, they were able to do some recognition on their own; adjustments on their own. We didn't always put our teammates in the greatest position. We need to do a better job with that. We need to do a better job of recognizing how can our teammates be successful and what do we need to do to have the poise to go to our strengths. If we can do that, through the course of the game that the players made adjustments. That's what I was hoping for tonight. Simpson ran some really nice actions. That was important for us. They're obviously well coached. We had to try to defend some actions that were handoffs, X-cuts into down screens. It was good for us. Through the course of the game, we made some adjustments. Obviously there are areas for growth. But it's Nov. 1. So, hopefully, it's a start. We have to play next Friday for real. We have to get a few of these things worked out.

Q&A

When is the last time you coached a team that had 20 turnovers?

You try to forget those. This is the first time that I‘ve coached a team that is unfamiliar with our system. I‘m sure if I coached any of those teams that I coached in the past and we only had a month or whatever to prepare, we could very well see this. These guys are committed to fixing that. We‘re going to fix that. Sometimes it‘s the mistakes that you go through that prove that, "Hey, we need to make adjustments." If we get that out of this, then it‘s served a purpose.

What impact would it have on the team if Tony would have to miss an extended period of time?

You never want to lose somebody of Tony‘s ability. You appreciate what he brings to the team. Bu the fact of the matter is that it‘s part of life. We‘ve got to make adjustments. It may not be one guy. You just have to make adjustments on it. You‘ve got to be prepared to compete. That‘s part of life.

What‘s his situation?

I don‘t know yet. We‘re going to get him X-rayed and looked at. We‘ll know more tomorrow.

Is it a leg?

No, it‘s his foot.

Simpson had 17 offensive rebounds. You can‘t be too thrilled with that.

Well, it‘s better than 18. (laughter) No, I‘m not too thrilled with that. That‘s an area where we‘ve got to make a decision. Give them credit. I‘ve coached undersized teams before. They work hard. They position well and they pursue the ball. At the same time, a lot of rebounding is just making a decision that you‘re going to hold your ground, keep your space and keep your opponent from getting to the ball. We turn and look an awful lot. So, hopefully the tape is going to show what we did. Again, these guys, I really believe they want to be successful. When we see it, they‘ll make an adjustment. I don‘t think that it takes a whole lot of skill to maintain contact and to keep an opponent away from the ball when you're on the inside. You don‘t know what happens on rotations if we over helped then we don‘t have somebody there to block out. We‘ve got to look at that.

What were you most satisfied with tonight?

I guess the way that they pulled for one another. You could hear them on the bench. When you saw Jarryd Cole at the end dive, we had three guys over right away. We spoke to the fourth one. You need to be there for him. There‘s great strength in that. Every guy on this team appreciates the other guy. It‘s easy to say, but I didn‘t have to say it because I saw it.

You had several of your big guys get in foul trouble. Was that because they were trying to guard smaller guys?

They went out on the floor some. Seth did a couple of times. We‘re not sitting in a zone. They‘re going to have to guard some guys and they‘re going to have to be on the floor. You‘ve got to make adjustments in the game. Maybe our guys would have liked to have played a little more physical, but they need to understand that. If it‘s a physical game, that one thing. If it‘s not, then they need to make those adjustments. I‘m not sure where they contact came exactly. I know this, you can‘t argue with the way it was called at all. It was called correct. We just need to make sure that we can adjust to it.

Would you guess that there are going to be a number of games this year where the scores are going to be in the 50s and 60s as opposed to 70s and 80s?

Um, can I ask why you…I mean I think that‘s a good question, but in what regard? Are you saying that we don‘t shoot it well or that we defend well or that we turn it over? (laughter) I‘m just curious. What, tempo?

Your emphasis on defense. Working the ball around looking for a good shot, using some of the clock. And, not a whole lot of obvious firepower.

OK, so really what we're hoping for is scores in the 50s. (laughter) Well, I tell you, if a team extends the floor and we handle it the way that we should, then the score will be higher. But if a team decides to compete in the half court, we're going to compete too. I've never been one to say, "Hey, we're going to play in this range." We're not going to do that. We're going to be opportunistic.

We're you happy with the shot selection?

Not every shot. Not every shot. And I told the guys we run some sets. If you know that at the end of that set, if you're open, it's your shot, then shoot it. Shoot it of you're open but don't if you're not. Just because your number is called, you don't have to shoot it. That's just the poise and understanding. Believe me, these guys, it's not like they hunt shots. I didn't see anybody out there hunting a shot.

With 10 healthy guys at this point, can you afford to red shirt anybody or is that a decision for later this week?

Oh, I don't think so. Yeah, that's later. I didn't have the starting lineup until today, so you wouldn't expect me to know that at this point, would you?

You had 29 shots in the first half and 15 in the second. Do you feel they were more patient and worked the offense better in the second half?

I thought they were more patient, yeah. Of course, 20 turnovers, there are more attempts. Realistically, in a game like that, the floor was extended some, but not much, I'd say maybe seven or eight turnovers are where you ought to be. That gives us 12 more shots.

This being your first time on the Carver floor for the game was there nerves this morning? Did you do anything different than you normally do?

The only difference would be that we were trying to acclimate the team to our procedure. So, we're talking them through whereas next game we won't do that. They'll already know exactly when to come, what to do, that sort of thing. So, that would be the only difference. I will tell you this, I've been impressed with Carver-Hawkeye from the day I walked in, but when it was set up, I was even more impressed. It's a great arena. I love game day.

NOTES:

ROTATION: Iowa opened the game with Dan Bohall, Tony Freeman, Justin Johnson, Seth Gorney and Kurt Looby. The first round of substitutions were Jeff Peterson, Jarryd Cole and Cyrus Tate for Bohall, Gorney and Looby with 15:48 remaining in the first half. At about the 12-minute mark , J.R. Angle and Jake Kelly replaced Freeman and Johnson. David Palmer came in for Cole at the 11:44 mark.

With 8:40 remaining before halftime, Gorney and Looby replaced Tate and Palmer. Bohall and Justin Johnson came in for Kelly and Angle with 6:50 left. Kelly and Cole replaced Gorney and Peterson at 5:44. Tate came in for Looby with 4:55 on the clock. Looby checked in for Cole at 4:12. OK, I'm done with that. You get the idea.

Viva Las Vegas: It was announced on Thursday that Iowa will be part of the Las Vegas Invitational next November. Kentucky, Kansas State and West Virginia also were tabbed to be in the field.

Each of the eight schools will play four games, with the first two being on campus. The surviving four will meet at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Nov. 28-29, 2008.

New Look: Iowa broke out some new warm-ups on Thursday. They were white with black and gold trim and a small Tigerhawk placed on the chest. It was an old-school kind of a look.

Welcome: Lickliter seemed very uncomfortable when he first came onto the court and was surrounded by television and still cameras. He didn't know quite what to do, so he turned around and talked to his assistants.

Back By Popular Demand: After several seasons without having player names on the back of the uniforms, the Hawkeyes stepped out with them on the back of their home whites.

Former Coach Steve Alford had removed the names in an effort to promote team play.

TIP-INS:

Iowa's first offensive possession resulted in a turnover, and it gave up a lay-up on its first defensive possession. Probably not the start for which Lickliter was looking.

Lickliter spends a lot of time talking to players on the bench about things happening on the court.

Iowa hit its first 3-pointer with 8:25 remaining before the intermission. Jake Kelly connected on a trey from the right wing after the Hawkeyes have missed their first 10 attempts from long range. They shot 2 of 13 in the first half and finished 6 of 23 for the night.

Simpson ran from 2-3 zone but a lot of man. The Hawkeyes matched up in man exclusively.

Looby contributed eight points, six rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Johnson paced the team with 16 points, but he shot just 5 for 14 from the field, including 3 of 10 from deep.


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