(Note: With Iowa press conferences, coaches usually make an opening statement before taking questions to the media at press conferences. After Wednesday night's game, Todd Lickliter came in and sat down at the podium, and didn't say anything, looking over some stats. Steve Roe, a member of Iowa's Sports Information staff then said, ‘Any questions?' We pick up Coach Lickliter's comments at that point…)
Todd Lickliter: No, I was trying to think of something to say. I am almost speechless. I was thinking of accusing my wife of being involved in this turnover deal, trying to cause me to have a heart attack and collect the insurance or something, I don't know. I had a guy last year that I accused of that.
I told our guys this, (press begins to laugh, delayed). I told our guys when they made a run in the second half, and give them credit. I thought that they complimented one another well, as I saw them play I thought that the last two games, they played Air Force well. I think they are a team that is starting to find their identity in the coaches second year. They made it tough on us in a lot of ways. When they tied it up in the second half, you watch teams and see what they do. Sometimes they get fragmented and we didn't do that. We stuck together and stayed positive with one another. You have to be thankful that you are around guys like that. A huge play, unselfish was Kurt Looby kicking it out to Justin Johnson. There is a guy, how could you ask for anything more than that about wanting to make a winning play. There were other really good plays, but that one sticks out as a really good team play. I probably should have just taken questions first. Q: What did they do to Justin tonight?
Todd Lickliter: We will have to look. What I am hoping we will see is that Justin can become our best screener. If they are going to play him tight and not help off, if he will screen there will be no help and we should free up someone else. Most of the time, your best shooter should be your best screener. We have to look. I know this; he would never not do it intentionally. Either he did screen, or we didn't set him up. We need to address that. We need to look for ways to get him open. To his credit, he didn't go hunt shots. He scored 21 last game, and he didn't come out and act like I am supposed to score. He went out and played the game. That is a positive.
Q: Other than six turnovers, Jeff Peterson had a strong game. Are you surprised at how quickly he has adapted?
Lickliter: No, I have said this so many times. Jeff has the ability to focus on the task at hand. So now, all the peripherals don't matter. I do think he has to develop an understanding for…making the play in the lane. We have to work on that. He made some today, but he needs to be more consistent with that and he will. The nice thing about him is that he won't be satisfied and he likes to be coached. It doesn't surprise me when guys like him are successful.
Q: You had a 19-7 run to finish the game. You called two timeouts within seven seconds. Do you remember what you told them?
Lickliter: I called the first one, and the second one was a media timeout. I have to tell you, I don't remember what I told them, and they probably don't either.
Q: Did you encourage Jeff to look for a shot or drive more when things were slowing down in the second half?
Lickliter: They really extended the floor and pressured. Anytime they do that, you have to give him the freedom to go in and make plays or you are setting them up. Now they don't get punished for doing that. Jeff has that freedom all of the time. He really made some outstanding plays, finishes. Again, there were a few times when his decision making should have been a kick or a stop and kick. There is no doubt in my mind that he will figure that out.
Q: What did you think of Looby's defensive and rebounding contributions?
Lickliter: I love Kurt Looby. I think that as I said before, he is a team guy. What he is concerned with is helping the team. He knows his strengths, he plays to them. I haven't had any complaints about him since the day I met him.
Q: You signed three players today in the recruiting class. Care to comment?
Lickliter: Yes, I am allowed to at this point. Which is really kind of torture not to talk about them. We have considered them Hawkeyes for…Gatens since he was five and the other two for a while. We are really thrilled. We have come in and we have a profile of what we are looking for in people and players. I think these guys epitomize that. I have said I want to recruit the state of Iowa, without question. Matt Gatens is not only the best player in the state, but one of the best in the nation. We are thrilled he is here. Anthony Tucker and Andrew Brommer play with great poise, they are skilled, they are great teammates. All of those things. The great thing is that it's mutual. We share like-visions, those three guys and our program. That is exciting.
Q: Did you target Minnesota, or did it just turn out that way?
Lickliter: It did just turn out that way. I will say though that at Butler, we just weren't able to, as you can imagine, we had players from outside of the four state area, but that is about what we recruited. I needed Iowa and Minnesota. Chad Walthall is from Minnesota, he has coached in Iowa and he really brought that to us. That is not to say that Joel and Levall, they have done a terrific job. I don't think there is a better staff anywhere, and they know what we are looking for. We didn't target, but if they are the right guys, we will go anywhere. Minnesota is close, it makes sense. They have great players.
Q: Will you be signing any more in this class?
Lickliter: We are still recruiting, yeah, I believe so. Without question.