Lickliter Press Conference from 11/06

The Todd Lickliter era will officially begin on Friday night, and the head coach spoke with the media on Tuesday. He talked about preparing for the next several weeks without Iowa's leading returning scorer, Tony Freeman, who is out four to six weeks with a broken foot, plus much more...

OPENING STATEMENT

I don't have a whole lot to say. I told the guys, it's no longer make believe, it's for real. We are excited about the opportunity to compete. Be challenged. There will be added difficulty with Tony being out. We feel bad for him. He has worked extremely hard and will continue to. The great thing about guys like Tony is that they get a setback, and when they release him he will attack it. We know that he will be ready as soon as possible. He is in good hands. I just feel bad for him because he is competitive and such a big part of it. We will move on. The guys have worked hard and will try to figure out a way to work together and fill that gap. We won't know how that happens until it's presented to us. Other than that, nothing else has changed except for the starting lineup. Please don't hold me to that. That could change also. We don't know yet. We will see.

Q: How do you see Tony's absence affecting Jeff Peterson's role?

Todd Lickliter: It affects everyone's role and minutes. There are 200 minutes. I really saw that Tony and Jeff would split some of those at point guard. Now we have to figure out how to rotate things, as far as filling that void. Maybe we don't have a true point, I don't know yet. Jeff has done a great job. I am thankful that he has come in here with the right approach and has done a great job of picking things up. He has made gains faster than someone that doesn't care as much. He also has a great mind for the game and that is important.

Q: How is Tony's therapy going?

Lickliter: Everything from what I understand, everything went according to plan. Like I said, the great thing about Tony is that he is in terrific shape. He takes such good care of himself and he is also a guy that will really attack the rehab. There are some parts of the process that you can't speed up. I know that the things that Tony is in control of, he will do. I have only been here a short time, and its obvious to me that the medical team here is at the top of the list.

Q: How is the scouting going for Idaho State, and are you looking at other teams you will play this month?

Lickliter: We won't scout anyone other than Idaho State right now. We have done that. You are basically scouting a system and assuming that it will stay pretty much the same. Coach O'Brien, last year was his first year, a great track record and system. I am assuming he will do the things that have been successful for him. We will pay attention, but part of our system is that we feel like we cover a lot of possibilities, and now what we need to do is make the guys familiar with it. One of the problems starting off is that we are not completely familiar with what we do yet, that will be a double challenge and is to be expected.

Q: What are your emotions right now as you prepare for your first official game as Iowa's coach?

Lickliter: Could you tell that I was pretty on edge and excited? I am wondering why you ask that. My emotions are the same that they have been every year. You anticipate these opportunities in front of you, and the challenges, but you are also a little bit apprehensive because you never feel like you are prepared well enough. You always would like to be more prepared. If you waited until you felt like you were completely prepared, the season might pass us by.

Q: What does David Palmer have to do to get more than eight minutes which he had last week?

Lickliter: You are assuming that David would have to do something. I look at it as what other guys have done…opportunities to look at other guys and rotations, how people fit together and those sorts of things. I am not sure that David has to do any more than anyone else in the system, and that is just to try his best to master his role and what we are asking him to do. I think he is in tune to that and is trying. When the possibility rises and we feel like he is ready and we call on him and he plays well, it will happen for him. I hope that everybody, David included, will be ready when they are called upon and the situation will dictate how long they will play.

Q: Do you wish you had one more exhibition game to see your team?

Lickliter: I don't know. Especially the first year, it wouldn't be one more exhibition game if we were just going to fill wishes, I wouldn't wish for an extra exhibition game, I would have wished for more time before this, instead of two hours in the preseason, maybe 10 hours. That is not the case. The difference is that so many of these teams are not starting anew. We are. That is the situation.

Q: With Tony out, concern where offense will come from?

Lickliter: I don't know that we said hey, Tony, you are going to be our offense. The one thing that Tony offers you that is a nice thing is Tony is capable of creating and manufacturing a shot, and that is a good thing. Within what we do, we try to compliment one another anyway. So I don't know that that changes our scheme, but it does say with the shot clock winding down, you are comfortable that Tony could find something good. Now we will see who that next guy is. Right now, Tony would be the first option if we had to manufacture a shot. We have to see who that next person might be. Hopefully we won't get to that, and will be able to together manufacture the shots we want.

Q: What did you get out of the scrimmage over the weekend?

Lickliter: I looked at it as a practice and evaluated from it, continue to try to teach and instruct. These guys, they are very open.

Q: You will consider things to be a successful game if you hold your opponent to (fill in the blank) points….

Lickliter: One or less than we have. It's not about…we want to compete possession by possession. We want to contest shots. If we can do that, if we can contest shots, I can't be too aggravated with the guys if they other team is capable of making some of those. I do believe that if we can contest enough shots and have enough good possessions, we can be successful. Then you have to finish the play. We need to commit to that. Right now, we are sharing space with the other team and hoping that the ball either comes to us or we are fortunate to get it. We need to stop that. If we are going to defend with a purpose, we need to finish the play by holding our ground and securing our area and not sharing that area with the opponent.

Q: Are you further along offensively, defensively or can you tell?

Lickliter: That is a really good question. I think we have emphasized defense more, but at the same time it's more complicated and requires more…like we talked before, offensively, occasionally you can have someone that can do really good things somewhat on your own if you have good spacing. Defensively, that is not the case. You can't have one person, or four people playing proper defense and expect to be successful if its not five. We need five. It's more demanding. I am not sure where…we have spent more time on defense.

Q: What are your thoughts on Dan Bohall so far?

Lickliter: Great teammate. A guy who appreciates the opportunity and a guy I respect. I have enjoyed coaching him. I am glad he is a part of this team.

Q: He was a walk on last year who didn't play much at all. If he starts, or plays significant minutes, some Iowa fans might be pleasantly surprised by that. What have you seen of him on the floor that makes you think he can contribute?

Lickliter: First of all, he is very conscientious. He understands that it is a team game, and that he will have a role and responsibility. He takes that very seriously and I appreciate it. I think he could be very satisfied with never doing the spectacular, but being an integral part of the team. I think he will embrace whatever role you ask of him. If that is on the court, he will do it. If that is in practice and on the bench, at times, he will do that. I have said this a number of times, on the really good teams that I have been a part of, it has been a lot of times the guys that are not on the court embracing their roles that have made us successful.

Q: Is Justin Johnson a possibility at point guard?

Lickliter: Right now, yeah, there are a lot of possibilities. I could tell you who are not possibilities,. We have to keep looking. You know what; we may have to look during a game at times. It might happen. We have stressed handling the basketball since the first time we could work with these guys last spring. I wanted them to understand that valuing the basketball was not only important but an expectation and we were only going to accept that. That will pay dividends.

Q: 80% of your games will be on the Big Ten Network. Mediacom does not carry that and they reach 400,000 homes. Some people can't get to games and rely on the television to see Iowa basketball. Have you gotten feedback from people to do something about that?

Lickliter: They really haven't approached me. They probably know what sort of a limited role I have in all of that. What I want is for those Hawkeye fans that want to watch us play to be able to. What I understand, there are possibilities out there. I am also hearing that we are reaching a lot of people through the Big Ten Network. I am hopeful that everyone could get it in some way.

Q: Do you get it at your house?

Lickliter: I have not tried. (Laughs). You have to understand, I don't watch a whole lot of TV. I could call my wife. I think she is set up to get it. Yes.

Q: Have you seen any other Big Ten teams play?

Lickliter: Not this year.

Q: What was your feeling like in Chicago with all of the other Big Ten coaches?

Lickliter: It has been interesting. I know this; I have great respect for all of them. I know that the teams in this league will be well prepared, there is no question about that. Then you add in the respect the league has already, to be able to recruit and now you have these coaches. It should add some excitement.

Q: What have you liked about Jeff Peterson on the floor?

Lickliter: I like his passion for the game. I like that because of his ability to concentrate, not only his ability, because he focuses on the correct things. He will have poise. I really believe you will see poise. Someone that has the ball, and he has poise, it is contagious. That is a great thing for a team. Jeff derives his satisfaction from his team's success. That is another good thing to have in a point guard. It's nice to have that from anyone, but when you have the point guard out there…he is very capable as a shooter, but he won't hunt shots.

Q: As a freshmen, is he capable of handling things for 20 to 30 minutes?

Lickliter: I think that is a big role for anyone, whether or not they are a freshman. I think it's interesting. Competitive guys, when they are called upon to do some tough stuff, they find ways. I anticipate that being the case with him.

Q: Did you have to re-recruit him to come here?

Lickliter: He just hadn't signed. In the change, I thought it was really good that he and I became familiar with our vision and what he was about. I had heard terrific things about him and they have proven to be true.

Q: Did you fly out there?

Lickliter: Yeah, you could have at that time contact. We went out and met and sat down. We had talked on the phone. I was impressed with Jeff and had already seen tape on him. It made a lot of sense.

Q: Is he more mature than your typical freshman?

Lickliter: It's a generalization when you say typical freshman. I would say that he is mature, period.

Q: You didn't want to see Tony get hurt…

Lickliter: Without question I did not. That is very accurate.

Q: What I am trying to say is might it be a blessing in disguise….

Lickliter: I wouldn't ever want to benefit from someone else's setback. But once you have the setback, you have no choice but to try to…..you have no choice but to try to grow. Let me put it that way. That is what we will do.

Q: There will be an emphasis by the officials this year with keeping coaches in the coaching box. How many technicals did you get at Butler?

Lickliter: I am just glad they have three. I think it will take three officials to watch me, so I am glad there are three of them out there. I am very busy over there. I didn't have very many technicals. I will say this that I have been out of the coaches box before. It's an emotional game, a spirited game and I hope that we can balance some of that. I think that the game is very difficult to call. I think we have great officials at the division one level. But I do think it will be demanding for them and I hope that they don't spend time watching us and not concentrating on the game. I also hope that we won't take the emotion out of the game. I understand the other aspects, I agree. Coaches should set an example. But without the emotion, there wouldn't be as much passion or as much fun.

Q: Officials have been offered that carrot at the end of the year if they can put notches in their belt, they get tournament games. Which means probably more eyes on bench and not on the game.

Lickliter: I am hoping they get it from someone else; it doesn't have to be from me. I hope that they keep an eye on the play and that coaches understand what our part is.

Q: What do you expect from Tony between now and the time he steps on the court?

Lickliter: I was joking with someone; he will probably be doing pushups and pull-ups. Whatever he is allowed to do, Tony will do. He will be here at practice. I stopped in to see him right after the surgery. He said coach, and he was still coming out of anesthesia, he said what time is the film session? It was that afternoon. I said Tony, you ought to just pass on that one for today. But that is the kind of guy that he is. He will be involved, he is a great teammate, he is a hard working individual. He will do everything he can to get ready and it will help us.

Q: You were over there after surgery?

Lickliter: Yeah, just to say hello to him and see how he was doing. All athletes that get injured, it's really hard on them because they have invested so much. Tony has invested a lot. My heart goes out to him. But it is something that is not season ending, career ending or anything like that. It is a setback that he will deal with.

Q: Phil Haddy (Sports Information Director): Is that it? Any more questions?

Lickliter: Now this is just the intro, do we have the real press conference at 2:30.


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