Media Day 09: Iowa Player Quotes

The Iowa men's basketball team held its annual media day on Monday. Here are some quotes from this year's Hawkeyes.

Devan Bawinkel

"We have been working hard and trying to get better. We want to play every team really tough and we definitely want to have a winning season this year."

on the team's trip to Europe over the summer "It allowed us to not only bond with the players but with the coaches. It was a really fun trip and a great experience."

on being named a co-captain "It was definitely a surprise when Coach (Lickliter) called me into his office and let me know I was going to be a captain. I have to set an example for the younger guys and make sure they know what needs to be done on and off the court and make sure they get familiar with the system."

on accepting his role as captain "I try to set an example for the younger guys. When they come in I want them to understand what is going on. Jarryd (Cole) is more of the vocal captain and I am more of the guy that says, ‘here is where we need to be and this is how it needs to be done.' The guys know Jarryd and I are the captains so if they ever need anything they can come to us."

Jarryd Cole

on being named a captain "I have been a captain for two years now. I am not an authoritative type and I do not order anyone around. I just like to lead by example. I make sure everybody is on the right page and doing the same thing."

on helping the young guys "Most importantly we want to make sure we stay tough. Toughness is what we preach most here and it involves a lot more than just strength, mental toughness too. The season is really long and it is very important that they guys realize that and that they have to keep grinding. That is what we expect from them."

on his experiences dealing with knee injuries and maintaining a positive attitude "With adversity you can't back down, you have to keep on going. We have not had the best teams the two years I have been here but there is always an upside to everything. We are on the upside right now and I feel this season is going to be really successful."

on being a leader and providing a physical style of play for the team "If coach is looking for me to provide it (toughness), I am definitely going to provide it. My role here is to do whatever the team needs. Everybody's role is to bring something to the table and each player knows what that is and we expect them to do that, including myself.

(on being excited to enter a season 100% healthy) "I feel 100%; it is like coming in for my freshman year. It is a breath of fresh air. I am really excited about it."

on turning the corner after his knee injury "The foreign trip was the turning point. Once I got past the mental aspect that was the biggest part. I was there physically, but knowing that I could actually move and shift had to come a little later. I am glad it came when it did because I feel healthy and feel I can help this team out."

Cully Payne

On playing with toughness in the Big Ten "Ever since I was young I was playing a level up. My dad was a junior college coach, so I've always been playing up. So I'm not intimidated or anything."

On what he learned playing this summer "I definitely learned a ton about where (they players) need the ball and what makes them good. Knowing the position and getting to know them personally has been a great help. It was really valuable to learn who they are as people too."

On the opportunity to play right away "It's great. It is exciting to be able to play in the Big Ten as a freshman and be the starting point guard. That's all great, but along with that comes a lot of responsibility too. I've been watching a lot of film stuff and doing different things to prepare for that. It is just really exciting."

On the strength program "I think it has been a great benefit, especially since we've started team practices. Rusty, our strength coach, has helped me a ton."

On Peterson and Kelly's departure impacting his decision to come to Iowa "I saw it as a great opportunity to come in and play. More importantly, the university and the people from academics to athletics, this is just a great place to be."

On what he's learned so far "I've definitely learned a lot of toughness, no complaining, no whining, just go about your business."

Challenges from the point guard "There are tons of challenges. Playing in the Big Ten is a challenge by itself. Just getting to know the system and know what we do, where guys need the ball, when they're the greatest threat to the basket, there's tons of little things that go with it."

On his perceptions of Aaron Fuller and Eric May "[Fuller is] super athletic, real strong and great around the rim. He finishes great. He's got great hands and gets tons of boards, which is great for us. [May is] super athletic. He can jump out of the gym, strong, and I think he's a real good player. He's going to get the ball."

On finding motivation in preseason predictions "Definitely. All together as a team, everyone tells us, ‘you're going to be last in the Big Ten, you're not going to win many games,' and to us that's just another challenge. We're going to surprise people this year and I think it's going to be a fun time."

On changing his choice school to Iowa "I just knew the situation wasn't right and there was a better place out there for me."

On his readiness to start "I've been doing a lot of hard work. Being a point guard here is a big deal and it's a big challenge, but with the guys I have surrounding me, it's not like a one guy sport. I have five guys out there so I think I'm ready to take that challenge. Anthony (Tucker) and Matt (Gatens) have kind of been talking me through stuff they saw last year as freshmen, which has been great."

Matt Gatens

On using last season as motivation "Anytime you lose more games than you win it's motivation to get better. I feel like we've done that this off season. We have some guys that are going to be huge to this team. We're looking forward to getting started."

On team chemistry "It's definitely a real tight group. We all get along and we hang out on and off the court. We get along everywhere. There're no cliques, no fighting going on, so it's a lot of fun to be around. You definitely know it'll pay off on the court."

Why this team is going to be better than last year "A lot of it has to do with everyone being on the same page this year. Everyone is buying into what coach wants us to do. Even the freshmen are doing a great job of listening and taking it all in at once. They get a lot thrown at them in the offseason, but they're doing a lot and working hard. You can really see it paying off already."

On being a teacher to new players "Yeah, definitely. We know what to expect and what these coaches expect of us, so we try and get the freshmen and the JUCO's a heads up of what is coming. Mostly on the defensive end because we break it down so small on the defensive end. Just trying to help them out and get them ahead of the curve right away."

On using outside expectations of the team as motivation "We don't really pay too much attention to it at all. All the people in this locker room, we believe in what we can do. It'll be kind of funny if we can prove them wrong. That's why they call them preseason rankings; it doesn't really have anything to do with it. We're just looking forward to getting ready and proving people wrong."

On the benefit of fans in Carver Hawkeye Arena "When Carver is full and rockin' it's one of the top arenas in the country. At the end of the season last year when we did get it rockin', obviously we won more games. The more fans we can get the more it helps us, so we appreciate all the help." On the trip overseas "It was huge. It was a lot of fun and we got to learn a lot about the history of Europe. At the same time we bonded. Long trips together and long plane rides, it was a close knit group, and at the same time we had a lot of success on the basketball court. We worked on a lot of things in the spring that we got to work on there. It was a lot of fun and hopefully it will pay off."

On the strength program "Coach Burney has done a great job with us. He's working us real hard in the weight room. It's been a long off season in there, but it'll pay off in the long run. The Big Ten is a fierce league and a strong league, so we know we're going to need it. Hopefully we'll see it pay off this year."

On who's playing the point "In this offense, the coaches tell us whoever gets the rebound, you're welcome to bring the ball up the court. We don't really have a set point guard. I've done a lot in the offseason with working on my ball handling with Coach Jordan and I feel comfortable doing that if that's what the coaches need me to do."

On how prepared he is this year compared to last year "Definitely a lot more ready. You know what to expect now, you know what the Big Ten is all about, and you know how to prepare yourself day in and day out. You know what the coaches want right from day one, so it's definitely a big help to have a year of experience under your belt."

On how he helps prepare the freshmen "You just have to tell them to take in everything the coaches are trying to say. You're not going to get everything from day one, just take in as much as you can, listen. At first, you're thinking all the time you're out there, but eventually it'll come and just keep working hard. We're going to need them and we're looking forward to having them this year."

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