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Men's Basketball
Michigan State 71, Indiana 66 Post-Game Quotes
 
 
 

 

 
 

Jan. 21, 2014

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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

Opening statement…
I must say that we didn’t play very well. Indiana played very hard. They were the quicker team in transition defense and we had no answers for [Noah] Vonleh, especially when we got into foul trouble. Our point-guards really struggled tonight. We came out of the first and second half running the wrong play. Consequently, (Branden) Dawson was okay and he had a two-minute stretch where he might have won the game for us with a post-up, a rebound and a rebound that led to another three-point play. But we didn’t stop dribble penetration, we didn’t put them on the line very much, we didn’t rebound very well, although we had some bizarre line-ups in there for that. We found a way to win. We’re going to run out of luck one day if we keep playing like this. It was hard - they did a good job with some things and we did a better job of taking away our own things.

On Keith Appling…
Ask Keith. The problem when you have all these injuries is you start playing guys to death. You know, he looks tired and maybe he is tired. We didn’t let him practice one day, but I don’t think that has anything to do with coming out and running the first play of each half and running it wrong. I didn’t see the focus there with some of our guys and that was disappointing.

On Gary Harris…
I spent half of my time yelling at him, too. He’s just got to take over games. He’s that good - to be very blunt and honest about it. He hid back a little bit and we didn’t do a very good job of getting him the ball. What an incredible performance by him, again. 13 shots - it’s not like he’s getting a lot of shots. He’s the most efficient player right now maybe in college basketball. It’s a shame he was injured for that period of time. When you look at him offensively and defensively, he is deserving of every accolade there is. He put us on his back during that stretch and made some big plays and big shots - he came off screens ready to shoot. He was good defensively, too. We just didn’t play our normal defense - we had too many guys at weird positions. Giving them credit, they just blew by us just like they did Wisconsin.

On Noah Vonleh…
Personally, I hope he shoots threes. Even if he makes a couple, because then he’s not rebounding, he’s not dunking and he’s not getting us in foul trouble. You know, we went through that with [Keith] Appling and I don’t know what Tom [Crean] feels about it, but, to me, it can be fool’s gold. If he’s got the ability to do it, that’s great. If he starts living out there [behind the three point line] I just don’t think that’s good. Just like [Adreian] Payne - I don’ think it’s good for him. Vonleh was 0-1 from the [free-throw] line - he’s got to get fouled more. He was a horse tonight and we didn’t guard him very well. Since now I can be a fan of my former assistant [Crean], I hope they pound it into him. 

On 11-man rotation…
Yeah, I don’t know if it’s a rotation - it’s a necessity. Oh we got a guy hurt; oh we got a guy sick. I don’t know if it’s a real rotation. The only guy I’m rotating now is [Travis] Trice and he’s nowhere near where he was two weeks ago before he got sick. He was really getting good defensively and he was so much stronger. I always tell you that you don’t get fooled when you see a guy out there in a body - I kind of get fooled once and awhile, too. It’s not all their fault. We’re finding ways to win and other teams in the country are finding ways to lose. There’s nothing wrong with playing hard and not doing well. Tonight, I don’t think we played as hard.

On ability to run the court…
Oh, yeah. I would have liked to run a lot more, but it’s hard to run when Keith [Appling] isn’t himself. [Branden] Dawson made a couple steals and he got the rebound that led out to [Denzel] Valentine for a three-point play. As well as [Gary] Harris played, I expect that out of him. Dawson might’ve been a game-changer in that [second half] stretch.

On Kevin Yogi Ferrell…
Yogi Ferrell is one of the best players in the league. He’s actually not shooting as well as he has been shooting. The last couple of games he has struggled a little bit, but he’s getting to the hole, which means he’s getting to the line. I thought he played very well - he hit that big three late. He’s not shooting as well as he had in the beginning of the year, but when you’re having to play both ends the way [Keith] Appling and [Yogi] Ferrell have to play your legs wear down, your legs wear down, and you struggle from the three [point line]. He’s a warrior, too.

On Gary Harris’s improvements from last season to this season…
He could be the best guard that I’ve ever coached and we’ve had some pretty good guards here. I think we have all been cheated because of those few injuries that he has had. This summer, we got to work our guys out for two hours a week and that guy was unbelievable until he got hurt again. He is getting back in shape. I thought Illinois was his best game overall, offensively and defensively. I’m prejudice, but I still think he is the best player in the league - he has just missed some time. He’s the coach’s dream to be honest with you.

On Branden Dawson…
He was okay, but that [second half] stretch was when he stepped up. I think he has a lot more to give and maybe we’ll get it out of him now. He’s getting better.

On the player’s attitude after the game…
You know, I don’ think they feel great. Players know more than coaches whether they played well or not. They can make excuses, but a player knows how he plays. For some ungodly reason, like Denzel [Valentine] said, ‘we just didn’t have the energy.’ This time, I can’t blame it on the coach. Usually, I overwork them - I get blamed for that a lot. I love that when Matt Trannon comes back and his first words after practice are ‘you’re getting soft coach.’ I have to stick to what I do and I’ve got to find a way to get Keith a little more rest, but I can’t be giving a guy a day off of practice. I didn’t give a dead guy a day off of practice before. We’re in a weird situation - I’ve never been through this with so many people injured. Everyone got a break [due to injury] except Keith [Appling]. Maybe he [Appling] just had a tough night. I don’t think you should ever have a tough night mentally. Physically, maybe, but not mentally.

On Adreian Payne’s potential to play against Michigan…
Payne is a day-to-day deal. He’s run twice, whoopee. I’m not too fired up about that. I don’t know. I don’t think he’s playing right now. He wants to play. I’ve got the toughest coaching decisions of my life to make as far as that goes. It’s going to be with me and him. Doctors have done their jobs and everyone else has done theirs. It’s going to be me and him sitting down and talking about the pain and what’ll be right and what’ll be wrong. I’ve never been a guy to hide who is injured. He’s day-to-day.

On Denzel Valentine…
I think they challenged us and maybe let [Denzel] Valentine and [Matt] Costello do a little bit more. I thought we tried to do a little bit more early than we needed to do. That’s the problem when you’re not able to give your players definitive goals. I said at halftime that we’re going to Gary Harris. I don’t like doing that, personally. Anybody can see what we’re not and we can understand the reasons why. On a positive note, they’re finding ways to win. Indiana, I thought, outplayed us and we found a way to win. Hats off to them, because they come off a tough loss and I warned my guys. I know Tom [Crean] better than anybody and I can guarantee he didn’t give them a day off. You have to give a lot of credit to him. Those young guys played well and played hard. I was impressed.

Indiana head coach Tom Crean

Opening statement…
I’m proud of my team to be honest with you, because I think we really did a great job the last couple days of establishing even more togetherness and it showed tonight, and we did some really good things. I’m proud of the way they got to the foul line, proud of the way we played without Will (Sheehey), because we weren’t certain that was going to be the case until today, from the injury that he sustained in the Northwestern game the other night. It was just too much of an injury to be able to play today. And the bottom line, everyone who went into the game impacted the game, and I thought we did good things.

We believed we were going to win. We got to the foul line. We needed to play a little differently tonight, we played that way and really in the crux of the game, we missed some of the same shots we were making earlier in the game. And in the span where they had a good run, Gary [Harris] was phenomenal, Branden Dawson was phenomenal, Keith Appling is playing solid and moving the ball and making shots as well as anybody right now when you talk about a complete guard. I thought Yogi [Ferrell] was very complete tonight as well, but [Denzel] Valentine hit some plays, and they made some baskets and we missed some close shots at the rim. We had some shots we’d like to have back, but for the most part we just didn’t make shots that we were making around the rim, not necessarily layups but just stuff that was right there; we were getting it where we wanted. But we’ve got to finish, and we can certainly continue to improve transition defense-wise; we can improve with challenging shots. So I think for the most part we did a good job with that, but we’ve got to be able to continue to finish. If we’d have finished better the other day, we don’t lose the Northwestern game in all honesty. We missed 14 layups.

But the bottom line for us is continuing to improve, understanding that two thirds of the Big Ten season is still in front of us, continuing to get as healthy as we can, but most importantly just continue to build our skill level as much as we can and get ready for the next one because this league obviously shows just how powerful it is. And we’ve been right in the middle of that and we want to continue to be in that, and I’m very confident that we’ll be able to improve and learn.

On the difference of Kevin (Yogi) Ferrell performance from the first half to the second half…
He absolutely let the game come to him. He played a complete game. You should never look at his shooting percentage and let that be indicative of the game he played. I wanted to give him one more blow in the first half and we weren’t able to do that, so we got him one in the second half because he plays so many minutes and goes so hard. We were playing against a great point guard in Keith Appling, that one that gets so much offense for himself because he can get so much offense for everyone else. Yogi aspires to do the same thing. He can shoot and score and let’s be honest, we don’t have a Gary Harris to throw it to on the wing like Keith can. They have other guards and other attacking abilities. Yogi has to do a lot of things for us, but he did a good job of not forcing the issue. He found some things that are really working for him.

On Tom Izzo’s comments on Noah Vonleh not being as productive in the paint as he could be…
Not sure how to answer that. He’s got a tremendous percentage from the three-point line, and you’re not really stopping him down-low without a double team. It’s not like he’s a twenty or twenty-five percent three-point shooter, he’s actually a really high-percentage shooter. I think he’s very selective and doesn’t hunt for three’s. I think the mistake we made the other day is he was at the perimeter a lot, and didn’t get those offensive boards. That’s the biggest thing. I guess just to answer your question, as long as he’s getting to the glass it really doesn’t matter. He’s a multi-dimensional player; that’s what we recruited him to be and that’s what he will be long after he leaves us. He works very hard to be that type of player. I don’t think we’ll ever be sitting here saying, ‘Noah Vonleh doesn’t spend enough time inside.’ I don’t think he’s built that way. He’s still learning a lot about the game and he’ll continue to learn. He’s got to roll harder. I’m going to be able to show him this film and show him how Costello rolls to the rim. We probably missed a couple opportunities for layups because we didn’t roll as hard. We’re not as powerful as we need to be, but I think we can get to that point. He’s ever improving.

On the effort he got from freshman forward Troy Williams…
I see Troy every day so I know what he’s capable of. We kind of moved him around and he did an excellent job. He’s getting better defensively. He’s got to get better discipline defensively, not getting caught on shot fakes. He’s not the strongest, most compact guy yet. Every once in a while someone can get their shoulder into him. He’s been very aggressive, a lot of energy and he’s getting better.

On the decision to keep senior forward Will Sheehey out of the lineup…
He was just injured. I know he went back in last game, but I think it was purely adrenaline. You’re going to have to talk with Tim (Garl) for an exact response, but we weren’t going to press it. He wasn’t even close to playing. He didn’t go yesterday and it was disappointing, but we knew it wasn’t a game time decision. We knew this morning and the guys knew in the locker room that he wouldn’t go. Going forward, it’s going to be a day-by-day and hopefully, he’s going to be ready to go Sunday but I don’t have any idea right now.

On the performance of sophomore forward Jeremy Hollowell in his first game back…
I thought he did a very good job. I thought he attacked and did what we wanted him to do in life and and on the court this week. This last week that he’s sat out, he’s done exactly what we wanted and he brought that onto the court today and played good basketball. He moved the ball, attacked and dished. That is what we need from him. He’s a little rusty on some of the new stuff we put in, but that’s to be expected.  He didn’t really know when he was going in, so given the circumstances I thought he did a good job.


 

 

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