Lickliter & Hawks Prepare for Ohio State

"This is a good league, isn't it? Two Top 25 to start with, one on the road. We now go on the road to play a very good Buckeye team that finding different ways to win. I think we are making progress. I know that we are making progress, actually. I wish during the games that we could sustain it. That is what we are looking for." - Todd Lickliter. Read his entire press conference here...

Todd Lickliter Opening Statement

Tough league. This is a good league, isn't it. Two Top 25 to start with, one on the road. We played good ball in spurts. We just couldn't sustain it over the course of a game to win. The idea is to win. We now go on the road to the runner up from last year, a very good Buckeye team that finding different ways to win. They went to Illinois and won. It would take a great effort. We have to move forward. I think we are making progress. I know that we are making progress, actually. I wish during the games that we could sustain it. That is what we are looking for.

Q: How tough is it to practice with 10 healthy players, five on five?

Todd Lickliter: I think it's pretty good. You get a lot of repetition. You have to really manage your time well and come up with the right ways to implement, but I don't think it's difficult. Levall and Joel can jump in. I wish they could jump in on Wednesday, too.

Q: Some people felt it would be tough for you guys to be competitive against Indiana and Wisconsin after Cole went out with injury. You led or were tied in the second half in both of those games.

Lickliter: I don't think we have exceeded our expectations and I think that is important. I appreciate that there is an appreciation for the way guys are playing. They do play to win. They are competitive. We miss Jarryd. Everything is going well, it's tough. It will be a process of recovery. We miss him, but you can't dwell on those things and you have to move forward. We are getting good play out of Seth and Cy. Kurt and JR has been willing to move over to the four.

Q: Did you say anything to the team after the Cole injury? Do you feel like the team has rallied and stepped things up, maybe come together?

Lickliter: We are better with Jarryd Cole. No question about it. But I think they have filled in nicely. We still need to compliment one another. Seasons are made by how you respond. If you are fortunate enough to have prosperity, you should respond well to that. If you have adversity, you respond to that. Life is like that, it's how you respond. We need to respond now to these setbacks. We need to figure this out. Play high percentage basketball. If we continue to try low percentage plays, it will keep happening to us. That is not to take anything away from the teams we are playing, they are good and they make it tough. I think we can eliminate some of the mistakes that we are making. I think some of them are choices, and we need to choose another direction.

Q: In what ways is Ohio State different this year to last year?

Lickliter: Three pros, and they have some pros now, too. They have different pros now. To me, it looks like they are zoning more this year. They are also having to fill gaps. When you man them, they run good sets. Their scoring is balanced. I think the difference is the personnel.

Q: Seth Gorney, seven foot tall, 245 pounds. Do you want him to be a low post player, shots close to the basket?

Lickliter: If I wanted it, it wouldn't make it so. I don't think he is comfortable in the low post. If you have watched, I don't know how much he has played facing up, but he has preferred it. He can make some really good plays out there. He is capable of catching, skip passes, he sees the floor well. I don't have a problem with it. I'd like for him to shoot it a little bit more, become a comfortable shooter. He is very capable. If we went out right now and shot 15 footers, he would make a high percentage. I wish he could get comfortable with that. I think the question is always if you are that tall, shouldn't you have your back to the basket. I have seen a lot of guys that size play the game facing it and are very effective.

Q: If he were a freshman…

Lickliter: If he were younger, we would try to balance it more. But I still think you need to play to your strengths. If you can balance everyone, that would be great for everyone, to have a balance in your game.

Q: What percentage is Tony Freeman at now, with a few games under his belt?

Lickliter: I think health wise, he is 100 percent.

Q: Justin is playing well.

Lickliter: I think Justin is really focusing on defending, I think he is our best screener, which is huge. I don't think they are going to leave him much, now he has to help. When you concentrate on the team concepts, and you are a good shooter, then that becomes easier also. That is what you are seeing with Justin. He is a team guy that has a skill that we all admire, that is shooting the ball. Part of his responsibility to the team is to shoot it when it's open. He hasn't just relied on that.

Q: What can you do to find a second scorer?

Lickliter: I don't know if it's just the scoring, or who is doing it, I think it comes down to more of shooting shots that we can make? I think one of the reason that guys are not scoring is that they are shooting shots that are too tough for them, and we have talked about that. Be content with who you are, play to that, and we will find scoring opportunities if we shoot shots that we can make. I thought against Wisconsin, we had empty possessions where we might not have turned it over in the second half, but we shot tough shots. You are only getting one of those, and we don't have that much margin for error. If we can just play to our strengths, we will find another scorer or two.

Q: Did you talk to Thad Matta about this job?

Lickliter: No I didn't. I thought the interview process would go longer and we would talk. It was a job that I knew that I wanted.

Q: Is Tony playing too fast at times?

Lickliter: I'd like to think that you would play at the right pace. If he is going fast, I hope that is what is called for at that time.

Q: He seems anxious?

Lickliter: I would think we have all gotten anxious. We understand what is at stake. That is a trademark of teams that struggle at times. You want to hurry up and win and it doesn't happen that way. We have to remain poised. I don't know. We have to keep working through situations and making the right decisions in each one. We have video now, and we can take a look and stay away from things that hurt us.

Q: Do you see Dan Bohall working himself back in to the rotation?

Lickliter: He wasn't in the gym for a long time. I would say that I hope he is working towards that.

Q: Any timeline on that?

Lickliter: He is here, he is with us. If I feel the need, I will put him in.

Q: You don't have any set discipline, doing it day by day?

Lickliter: I am not disciplining him any more, he has completed everything. I think it's about self discipline. We try to be proactive, set examples, let people know the way to go and move forward in that. I don't have any set ones at home. I just try to tell my kids that there is a right way to do things, a proper way to contribute to society and let's do that. I have been a part of average teams where guys messed up. I have been a part of great teams, and guys didn't mess up. Guys looked around and felt that things are bigger than me.

Q: You have some pretty good national defensive rankings…

Lickliter: I think we can get better. The last two games have been tougher. Our points per possession are up from where we have been. We are making progress.

Q: Thoughts of Iowa HS basketball

Lickliter: I have been impressed. Great environments, well coached. I have enjoyed that. I have seen three or four games. My son is playing for a good guy on a good team, a good coach. I am thankful. I am looking forward to…I hope I get to see him play a long time.

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