QUESTION #1: Bo, what characteristics stand out about a Tom Crean coached team?
BO RYAN: "Well, I never get into that. I never make games personal or talk about coaches. Nobody asked me about Todd Lickliter's team. Nobody asked me about Thad Matta's teams. I don't do that."
QUESTION #2: Is it ever tough to keep your student-athletes on a even keel when you just played a huge game, and then go on the road to take on a team with only one win?
RYAN: "I don't know. You could probably go back and check, because it seems like you get inundated with meaningless statistics when you're watching a game. On the first day after a rain, this coach is 14-12. So if you go back and check when teams played, if they played on the road the next game, what their record was, things like that. This is our first time. But I know when we are at practice today, what happened Saturday is not a factor in our drills or anything else. But that might be an interesting statistic. How many GameDay's have they done? What happened to the team the next game? And then maybe you could get your own conclusions.
But I don't know, it seems like all the games we play are pretty exciting. We usually have a lot of media in the Big 10. I remember when I was at Milwaukee, or at a Platteville, every once in a while you get in the NCAA tournament and there's a lot more attention. There were three people instead of one at the press conference. And people would say, ‘wow, we tripled our media for this game'. On a serious note, at Milwaukee, if we're playing a game and we happened to be the ESPN2 game and Milwaukee hadn't been on ESPN ever, I know that was exciting for the students, but I couldn't tell you what we did the next game, you know?
But at Wisconsin, we're around this all the time, so I think our players should be used to it. Gonzaga, what did they do the next game? Wasn't Gonzaga the week before?"
QUESTION #3: Where have you seen your team mature, especially since the start of Big 10 play?
RYAN: Well, I think we had some givens in that there were four guys who had played substantial minutes, and as we said months ago, the whole key was going to be how the other people raised their level, through learning, through experience, through hard knocks, through positive things happening to them. The other group would have to come along and play older, meaning they're going to have to get the experience and learn from it and get better.
And that's what, basically, the three sophomores and the two freshmen, those five guys (have done). Kevin Gullikson has been able to give us some great hustle minutes. So there have been a lot of things in different ways, but knowing that was the kind of year it was going to be, where we'd have to really grind out, eek out some and probably be in some situations where we wish we could have had another basket or so, but what our guys have done is they persevere. They keep working. They haven't put their heads down. They just come to practice every day. So when you say about what can I say about this team is that they're working. They're working pretty hard."
QUESTION #4: In terms of on-court production, is there a specific area or two that you could point towards?
RYAN: "No, because if you say it's, ‘hey, Bohannon has found his shot', and then you guys write about it, talk about it, and then you go one-for-whatever, and then, ‘oh, coach must not know what he's talking about because he said those guys had their shooting eye now'. No, there's not just one area. The guys have, if they struggle in an area, they're still trying to contribute in other areas. So if you say it's one thing one day, you come to the next press conference, and then you got to say it's something else, and I don't like talking that way. I just like to talk about the game in general, the effort, the work ethic of the players, things like that. That's what I enjoy, working with and teaching young men who want to get better in every area, not just one area."
QUESTION #5: Bo, I'm sure you've been asked this before, but does Joe Krabbenhoft, practice the same way he plays, all out, all over the place? Do you ever have to pull him back and say, hold on a second, we don't want to get anybody hurt here?
RYAN: "I would never do that, because I wouldn't know how to act if my coach ever said, ‘hey, slow down a little bit. You're playing too hard'. No, the only person or people that hold Joe back are the trainer and the doctors when they say he's got to back off a little bit from the foot injuries that he's had. That's not very often lately."
QUESTION #6: Kind of to piggyback off that question, what makes Joe Krabbenhoft such a good rebounder in your estimation?
RYAN: "You know, there's still always something in life for the people who want things and who will persevere and aren't easily deterred. What makes anybody successful at anything? You know, you get to speak to some groups because the companies ran out of other people and they ask you, and you say, you know, why don't you speak on secrets to success or something like that. And I go, ‘Boy, I wish I knew some'. But you talk about there is that element of perseverance that separates a lot of people, and Joe just wants the ball. He's got a nose for it, a knack for it, and he's relentless. So you think, okay, well, why isn't everybody like that? Well, I don't know. It's a good question. Maybe I should ask you guys that and turn the press conference around."
QUESTION #7: Joe Krabbenhoft and Marcus Landry seem to have such a great respect and friendship. Why do you think that bond has become so strong between those two?
RYAN: "Well, I think as college student-athletes they have a vision of a better life, of how they see things playing out. Just like I always tell them I have a vision of how I think the game should be played. I think those two have a vision of what they see as being equal opportunities for those that work, those that put the effort in, that it doesn't matter so much your background as it does what you're doing with your present time and the goals that you're trying to reach. So those two guys want to play in a successful environment. They want to get the most out of their experiences. So I can see people like that bonding. I think a lot of their teammates are the same way. If the teammates aren't, they're growing towards that, that desire to be better and to create a better world and a better place for them to exist in, and I think those guys have that vision."