Lickliter Mum on Freeman Topic

If you are ever in need of an extra poker player at your table, you might consider calling Todd Lickliter. Then again, that might not be such a good idea, because the man can keep his cards close to his vest. He showed that on Monday, after facing a barrage of questions regarding Tony Freeman and his decision to leave Iowa with one year of eligibility remaining; Lickliter held his ground...

Q: Please go through your post season interview process, and provide your side of the Tony Freeman situation?

Todd Lickliter: It's not just post season, we meet as regularly as we can. I like for my office to be open all of the time. I am more comfortable with when I have conversations with people, I am more comfortable with not speaking publicly about them. So I don't think any more needs to be said.

Q: Do you expect any other personnel changes, or is the roster set now?

Lickliter: That is my expectation. We have six returning and six committed and we balanced the classes pretty well. We have the two junior college players coming in and we need to do that. I would prefer to have four new players at a maximum, because you want to establish some continuity so we are making progress there.

Q: Do you have any reaction to what Tony had to say following his departure?

Lickliter: No, I don't.

Q: I appreciate and understand what you are saying in regards to Tony, but he said that he was not wanted, that he would not be part of your plans, that he didn't fit into what you were trying to do with the program, he didn't want to leave but he felt like the signs were clear that if he stayed he would be on the bench. Did he misinterpret those remarks or is that accurate?

Lickliter: That is an interesting question, and I think you would have to ask Tony again, as far as his interpretation, and I don't know what his is. I think that things that take place between two people, I am just not comfortable with talking about that. If you and I sat down, there is a good chance that those are conversations that are between you and I. I respect that, I want people to come into the office within the program, not just players, that we can talk freely and know that it's a situation where they know there is a trust involved. I am just not comfortable with trying to critique or analyze what Tony meant.

Q: Now that Tony is gone, what do you lose and where do you think you can make that up, the production that Tony gave you?

Lickliter: Every year, you are making adjustments. I never think that one person has to take on a different role. It's more being able to compliment one another and I think the staff has done a great job of recruiting the right guys, guys that will compliment one another. We are trying to put a team together, where we are better together than we are individually.

Q: Was there a common theme in every meeting you had with individual players?

Lickliter: I don't know that there is a common theme; we talk about team. We want to establish, or reestablish the winning tradition. Nobody was satisfied with what happened this year. We were not pleased with the results. We talked about where each of us wants to contribute and how we are going to do it together and where we were in the program.

Q: Did Tony's skills fit your system, and was there a willingness to mold those skills into your system?

Lickliter: I think that in anybody's case, if you are a division one player, there are different skills involved in this, being a team member. I guess what I would say, one thing, is the NCAA has a policy for transferring. The reason they do is they recognize that student athletes should have a choice. Part of it is student athlete evaluation, as far as what they are comfortable with. I know there are student athletes that do transfer, the NCAA provides a way to do so and I support that. They should have that opportunity. We absolutely wish Tony the best.

Q: After a year on the job, do you think you are ahead, behind or on schedule to where you want to be?

Lickliter: That is a great question. Kind of the way we approach it is that each day, we want to seize that opportunity, that moment, to get better, to recruit, to teach, to develop and to create the culture. I think they are doing that. What will happen is that we will have opportunities as far as competition goes, and my feeling is that you need to go into every competition to win it. We are just preparing for that next one. We were disappointed with the overall results this year, but we did see some good things, some times when we played well and we competed with what people thought were the best teams in the nation. You get that reinforcement. We need to be more consistent and we are working towards that.

Q: Ideally in your system, what would you like to see out of the point guard position?

Lickliter: I would like to see them take care of the basketball, be strong with the basketball. Be able to set a tone as far as that goes. Perimeter skills wise, to make decisions as far as when to shoot it, make the game simple. I'd like to see my other guards doing that too, and my bigs. I think that is a process, and that is why you look at tape and set up situations in practice, that is why you have individual instruction and you work towards those ends. I think it's a situation of playing a very steady, complimentary game. Making the consistency of the game something that is easier for you, I guess.

Q: Should the donors, the fans have a better explanation of the Tony Freeman situation?

Lickliter: You'd have to ask them, I'm afraid. I think what I have gathered is that people have entrusted certain individuals with developing programs when they hired them, because of the success they have had with programs before. There is a certain amount of them trusting me, and others in the program trusting me. So you would probably have to ask those people what their expectations on that.

Q: Did Tony have options? Could he have stayed?

Lickliter: I think Tony said that, actually, if I am not mistaken. You might check. I didn't see everything.

Q: Do you anticipate JR Angle and David Palmer on the team next year and on scholarship?

Lickliter: That is the anticipation right now, yes.

Q: Could you update us on Jarryd Cole's health?

Lickliter: Yeah, thank you (laughs). I think he is doing wonderful. He is not ready to play yet, but he sure looks good. He has been in the weight room and he seems right on track, and he attacked this the way that I knew he would. We are hoping he is back playing by September and ready to go in October. We have a terrific medical training staff.

Q: Is this team better off with or without Tony?

Lickliter: You know what, that is an interesting question. You are dealing in hypotheticals. Tony has asked for his release and is going to transfer and we are going to move on and work hard to be the best team we can be.

Q: About the players coming in, could you assess them and talk about which ones you expect to see significant playing time?

Lickliter: I could never say who I expect to see get playing time. They are all very capable. I am excited that they are excited to be here. The two that you would call inside players, Andrew Brommer who is 6-9 and skilled and excited about being a Hawkeye and someone that I think gives you more than one option. He can face the basket and play with his back to it. Aaron Fuller from Arizona is similar to that, but he is 6-7, left handed and is a guy who can stretch a defense. The three point shot is moving back, so it will be interesting to see how that affects us. Two junior college guys, Jermain Davis and Devan Balwinkel have both had success and they are both efficient players. Devan is a terriefic shooter, Jermain is a good shooter, but brings a lot of perimeter skills, a defensive tenacity that is exciting and then you have two state champions in Anthony Tucker out of Minnesota and Matt Gatens, that are very versatile. Anthony has terrific range, as does Matt Gatens. I think it's a group we are excited about, but we understand the process and understand that going from any level, one level to the next, there is a pace, a physicality that they are not accustomed to and hopefully they will pick that up early and be able to help us.

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