Monday Press Conference: Bo Ryan

Men's basketball discussed Alando Tucker's status, the swing offense and more

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How do you think the team will respond to Alando's injury?


"Well, it wasn't an issue before with anybody. As far as with us, we just play on. And with our players, it's the same thing. They know it's nothing they have any control over. It won't change anything for our players.


"We can feel for Alando and the fact that he's not going to be able to play the rest of this year. He's handled everything so well so far. Like I said before, he's handled it with a lot more class than some other people that I've seen. He's been cheering us on, he's stayed positive, he's worked hard, he's let the players know he's still a part of this team. That shows a lot for a 19-year-old."


Did Alando's injury speed up the development of Ray Nixon or Clayton Hanson?


"You can speculate anything. If you try hard enough, you can make any argument for any discussion. It can be whatever you want it to be. We just have to live this every day and just make do every day, so as far as how you analyze the other stuff, that's not for us to do. We just practice, teach, work and try to get it done. There's other minutes, obviously, that are picked up, and the people who have picked them up have done a pretty good job. I've said before that obviously, with the way the schedule it's set up for us this year, we were at home more and maybe they gained some confidence that we could use on the road after we play Wednesday. That can help the guys. There's a time where you just vent like that about ‘is that the reason why these guys got better.' I can't tell you that. I can just say they've done the job and are working hard and are doing better because we're going to have to be better to be successful the rest of the year."


Any word on Freddie Owen's injury


"Not yet. I've not had any word from our medical people."


Could Tucker's re-injury have happened any time?


"With the history of these injuries, yeah, it could have happened any time. You never know, as with any injury. … It just keeps reoccurring. There are just times where there are just things where that happens and other times where, after one six-to-eight week period, they're fine for the rest of their lives on that spot. I can't give any medical answer. I have no clue."


Did you bring him back too early?


"No. As a matter of fact, it was two weeks after a lot of other people had come back. No, there was plenty of time and they don't just by how they feel. People relieve somebody to play because of what they can see factually."


Any reason that he won't come back 100 percent next year?


"I wouldn't know. I couldn't answer that."


Do you have a read on Minnesota. Are you surprised by their conference start?


"Minnesota's a good team. They're a few possessions away from having three or four wins in the league. They're working extremely hard. They're a good team."

Will Alando injury require surgery?


"I couldn't tell you. I haven't gotten into any of that."


Which is more important to you as far as accomplishments? Lack of turnovers or lack of fouls?


"I just think it's really something that's a phenomenon that will never change about jumping on a statistic and widen it and just beating it. We had turnovers against Ohio State. We haven't shot fouls, a lot of fouls. The other team has been to the free throw line more than us recently. It happens at times, depending on the nature of the game. It's the average of a statistic that makes it what it is. There isn't a team out there that doesn't practice moving their feet on defense and trying not to foul. Those are parts of your practice planning and your teaching when you look at video tape. If somebody gets fouled, there's a reason for it. How did they get to that position where we fouled? If we turned it over, there's a reason. Bad decision, bad execution, receiver, passer. To say one's more important than the other—there's other areas of the game that we work every day too, besides those two. I know those are statistics that people hit on a lot.


We in the media were constantly asking about Alando's status and I'm sure you were constantly having to check with the doctor about his status—Having to plan on the contingency of his potentially coming back, does that help to know his permanent status for the year?


"I just can't understand how people think the way you asked that. People can ask all they want—have you ever seen me get mad because somebody asked. It's just perturbing when people think that your hiding something and somebody makes an innuendo to that. There's absolutely nothing that I've been hiding and nothing that I've been doing to cheat our ticket holders or anybody else. It's just it's there, we practice—I don't know—what do you put behind you now? What does it making any—I don't understand that because I don't understand how that fits in with what we do every day and what the players do every day.


More specifically, then, does that affect your planning at all when you know that there is a contingency of a player coming back—


—We could have a guy go down tomorrow. Today. During a game players get hurt. Coaches always have people that you hope are ready to go in that know what's expected. I can't believe that you would actually think that we get surprised then have to—that's why you have a team. That's why there are players there. Are those players that come in always as talented, as experienced, as this, as that—probably not, but when they get their chance let's see what they can do. Anybody that has played team sports—they know—they are this close to being out there either on the floor or on the field because of injuries. Because of guys quitting.


Will you apply for the medical hardship for Alando?


"It says you can and then you have to do it and when you do it, we get a response."


You said Alando handled the situation well. How has he handled the situation better than some others? What impresses you?

"Still taking care of business in the classroom, still going to his treatments, still keeping a positive attitude, encouraging his teammates, being there at the video sessions taking notes. I guess there is other people who have been injured and kind of drift and fade. That hasn't been the case with any of our guys and I'm happy with that, which means I have a lot of respect for people that can, at that age, work through these things and still stay in tune with everything that's going on around them. It's been impressive."


On the swing offense and its use and what you like?


"It comes from planned coaching at different levels, scouting, for Wisconsin when I was an assistant, I took things from some programs that I thought were pretty good stuff and put kind of a blend of different screens and spacing and actions that I also felt as a player were tough to handle. Then you have to convince your players that this is the way it's going to be done and this is what we do and we're not changing it for you. But there are ways where if a player is real good at something, you can accentuate their strengths. That's the other part about it that I like."


Did you use this the whole time you were at Platteville?


"The basics of it, we started with and as things started to change, more of the fade cuts, more of some staggers, but the basic screens are still there. It's still the major part of the offense. Up screens, back screens, fade screens, ball screens, you screen, I screen, we all screen for ice cream."


Are people posting up as much?


"I've always been amazed why people make a big deal out of that, where anything going to the rim, a basket cut, a basket cut and post, Northwestern's got a little thing they do with a comeback by a guard like [senior Jitim] Young. Other teams have guards in the post at different times. Any time you can make a basket cut and any time you can catch a ball within 10 feet of the rim, that's good, no matter who it is."


How much do you have to work on your forwards catching and handling on the perimeter.


"Obviously with some, maybe a little more than others but really, it's not with the idea that we're going to make them prolific scorers from the perimeter. Days they can pass well from the high post area or two lane line areas, those are hard to find. With the drills, we work at it every day, passing drills and catching drills. The other part of it is, you've got to work at people posting up and getting good body position and hand targets and being ready to receive the ball.  That's pretty important."


Are you confident that he'll get the medical redshirt?


"I just figure it's going to happen and if anything changes from that, I'm sure they'll let us know. But I don't know why it wouldn't happen. He fits all the qualifications."

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