Drake Pregame: Todd Lickliter Transcript

The Drake Bulldogs are coming to Iowa on Friday night, and they destroyed Iowa State by 35 points last week. Iowa fell to ISU in Ames on Saturday, so the Hawkeyes have a big challenge on their hands. Todd Lickliter talks about the Bulldogs, plus he answers questions about attendance for Iowa's home games, identifying good three-point shooters and a Tony Freeman injury update...

I will speak briefly about the upcoming game. As I watched them, I was reminded people asking me about moving the three point line back next year. It occurred to me that I don't think Drake will care. They are not concerned about it, not only do they shoot it well, they shoot it deep. I was also reminded of the Bruce Pearl teams I have played against, there are similarities there. Keno has made some good adjustments. I know that he has been a part of that system so long with his father, and I know he has great respect for it, and he looked at it through the years thinking of adjustments he could make to it. It is working well. It is a system that requires skill, composure and poise. I think they have demonstrated all of those things. They compliment one another well. They can make it very difficult. I think so much of offense is spacing and they have terrific spacing that puts you in difficult spots. It will obviously be a challenge and one that we are going to…I don't know if you look forward to it, but its an important part of growing. It's our next one on the line and we are preparing for it and will be as well prepared as possible at that point in time.

Q: Has it been nice to have practice time this week?

Todd Lickliter: We took a little bit of time off. It is nice. It's nice for guys to be able to get off of their feet on Sunday and relax and then come back and feel fresh. I think that has shown.

Q: How has that been for Tony?

Lickliter: I didn't address it too much with him. He practiced full yesterday. It's an interesting…only the individual knows how painful it is. You just have to allow them to tell you if it's tolerable. There are a lot of athletes that have to play with soreness. That may be Tony's situation and he will have to gauge and see what he can tolerate. There are some points that you just can't tolerate it. Everyone gets to that point. He needed to get off it for a day or two.

Q: Thoughts on Josh Young?

Lickliter: I think he is terrific. He handles the ball well, he has good speed and he can finish at the rim, yet he makes you guard him deep. It's not one individual. This team, they compliment one another well. They are well coached; this is a very nice team that Keno has.

Q: Do you anticipate Tony playing on Friday?

Lickliter: Yeah, I am. I would think so, but again, he practiced the whole way yesterday. If he comes back to day and he can't put pressure on it…I don't anticipate that. As you know,. I was sincere when I felt he would have played on Saturday, and he would have if he could have, but he was too sore.

Q: Did you consider putting him on the shelf until January 2nd?

Lickliter: We kind of thought this was something that he was going to have to go through. The way I understood it, if we did that, on the 3rd, he would have been sore. He is just going to have to work through some of the soreness, so we are possibly better off doing it this way.

Q: After this game, he gets 15 days off. Is that good for him?

Lickliter: We will see. Knowing Tony, he wants to do something all of the time. I don't imagine it will hurt him, but we will continue to practice, and so will he. I really think that it's tolerating soreness, the foot adjusting to this kind of pressure again and eventually it will subside, but he will have to go through some of this. Maybe practice is better than rest. He has been off of it a long time.

Q: How different is this team when he is on the floor?

Lickliter: What he gives you is someone, as you saw verses UNI, who can raise up and make shots. He gives you one more individual out there that if I unguarded, you feel good. He was 3-3 from three. That is never a bad thing. But what happens is, Tony hadn't practiced much, it's a new system, and we need to get him up to speed defensively, creating the proper habits for our system. It's not that he is not willing; he just hasn't done it much. He does give you another threat out there which is a positive.

Q: What are your thoughts on the crowds you have played in front of during home games?

Lickliter: Let me say this; if you are a player or a coach, you always want it completely full; let's face it, everyone does. Is that realistic? No. I have never been at a place that has it no matter what. The crowds that we have had, the people in the stands have been supportive and I think they have what I would call a good basketball intellect. The way I look at that is, do they only cheer big plays, or do they cheer for you when you need them. That is the key to this. So often you need that boost. This is a tough game out there, and they have given us a boost a number of times. I really appreciate the fans that are here, and what we want to do is play well enough, be good enough, so that we somehow fill it up. Knowing that there are very few programs throughout the nation that fill it every game. But that doesn't mean that we don't want to do that.

Q: Did you anticipate that there would be more fans when you came here?

Lickliter: You always dream of that, you dream that there would be a packed house. Some of it is…there are different reasons for things. As I think back, we are playing for third place in our own tournament and the weather was awful. People that braved that are incredibly loyal. I really didn't expect for people to do that too much. That is beyond the call of duty and I appreciated that. You always dream of it. I will continue to dream of filling it. I think it's a huge advantage for your team when that happens.

Q: The downward spiral of attendance started during Steve Alford's era here. Is there anything that you can do, scheduling wise, to build things back up?

Lickliter: Here is what I think that we can do; we can control that there will always be a Hawkeye team here, and if that Hawkeye team plays the way we want them to play, people will want to come out. Our hope is that that will be the draw. You have added two Big Ten games, we play three instate schools; I have to think this schedule is as good as any throughout the nation. I wouldn't think that scheduling should be the determining factor. Granted, there are probably things that you can do that would help as far as scheduling, or hurt it. But I don't see scheduling here as a problem.

Q: It seems like consistency has been hard to come by this season so far. Is there anything you are looking at there?

Lickliter: Practice with purpose, every day. So that it becomes a habit to consistently do the right things. To ask guys to create new habits and to be able to perform those techniques, skills and schemes in every situation against every opponent, is pretty demanding early on. Do we accept not doing it? No, we don't. But we understand that it's a process? How quick? I want it today, but we will keep demanding and see where we are at.

Q: Now that you have been through rivalry games, how do they compare to some of the others you have been involved in?

Lickliter: Probably fairly similar. When you play a rivalry game, the fans embrace that. I was very impressed with the atmosphere at Northern Iowa and at Iowa State. I have to tell you. I didn't think they were particularly friendly, they did their part and it was a good environment for two teams to get to play in. We will return the favor, I am sure.

Q: Anything to report on Dan Bohall?

Lickliter: No new news.

Q: Coming into the year, did you expect Jake Kelly to score like he has?

Lickliter: I didn't really have an expectation for that. I knew he was very capable, he was capable of scoring. I didn't know what was going to be around him. I didn't know that we were going to have to depend on him, and we have had to. Tony has been out, Jeff was out some, so different things. To his credit, I don't feel like Jake does a lot of hunting for shots. But, he has been assertive when he has had to be. I think that that is as process that usually doesn't happen as a freshman, but its something that he has probably been forced into and we have needed it.

Q: How much does your offense change, as far as what you call when Tony is in there verses when he is out?

Lickliter: You have to remember that Tony hasn't practiced with us, so there are not a lot of variations you can have. He plays within what we would like to do. But again, he is able to create his own shot. That is a good thing. It changes a little bit in that. If Tony is unguarded, he has the capability of either shooting it or if it's tight, he can drive around someone and get to the basket. He has some things there individually, if you can space the floor correctly and do some things to enhance that, he will take advantage of it.

Q: How tough is it to project a star three point shooter in high school?

Lickliter: That is a good question. As you look at shooters, there are some that are capable in high school that may not have the fluidity to be able to raise and shoot it. To catch and shoot it. The game is faster and more physical. You are looking at their mechanics, but you want to see, with those mechanics, is he going to be able to catch and shoot it at the kind of speed or the most opportune time, or is it going to be something that he can shoot it if he has a lot of time. Because you just don't get a lot of time at this level. You can tell if a guy can shoot or not. Let me rephrase that; I have seen a lot of guys that can shoot it, we look for guys that can make them. (Laughs). I used to shoot it.

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