Aug. 16, 2010
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue head men's basketball coach spoke with members of the media on Monday to recap the summer and look ahead to the start of the 2010-11 school year.
On what the Crossroads Classic will mean for college basketball:
"It's going to be great for the state of Indiana to see those four schools compete in the next two years. Hopefully it will be a hit, and we can continue it and make it a tradition. From Purdue's standpoint, this makes a lot of sense because we're always going to play a quality opponent and we'll get to play on a neutral court in the city of Indianapolis. It helps everybody involved. It will be great for the fans to go and see these four teams compete in one day."
On the scheduling advantages the Crossroads Classic will provide:
"It does help with scheduling. You know you're going to have this penciled in on your schedule. Any time you can have a quality opponent through an event like this, it helps. It's difficult to schedule once you've had some continued success. You always try to have that forecast of where you think your team is going to be, but sometimes your schedule doesn't fit that. This event is an example of a win-win situation for everybody."
On the status of Purdue players recovering from injuries over the summer:
"That's a tough question to answer for the simple fact that you get your updates from the training staff, but you don't see them yourself. When you ask me that question during the season, I can put my eyeballs on it and have my own opinion. In this situation, you're not around part of the time, and when you are around, you can't be there. You don't actually see them out on the court or the track. With Lewis (Jackson), he's got a great gauge because he went on the Europe trip. It looks like he's getting to be 100 percent. I haven't seen Anthony Johnson play since his high school season - January or February - but he's been released to go full for about a month. Robbie Hummel isn't playing five-on-five yet, but he continues to do his individual workouts. He's working towards getting back now that we're ready to start school."
On the impact that Purdue's long-term success has had on recruiting:
"The reception you get has to be looked at through the eyes of coaches and players. Recruiting is a little bit fickle because you really gauge it on what the people writing about it actually know. You just have to do the best for your institution. We have three guys leaving our program after this year who are pretty good players in JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummel, you want to replace those guys with a replica of each. That's probably not going to happen, but they still had some tough days when they got here. Even those guys weren't offered by everybody, so you can't get caught up in recruiting. You have to get up in the production of Purdue. We've done a good job of being consistent and getting better every year. We need to continue to do what's best for Purdue, and get guys that fit and keep moving on. I want a guy that wants to be at Purdue. JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummel all wanted to be here, and I think that shows in their improvement and how much they sacrifice for Purdue to win."
On Lewis Jackson, D.J. Byrd and Sandi Marcius playing in tours of Europe this summer:
"With Lewis, it was good because he was never 100 percent (last season) when coming back from his injury. Getting that confidence and getting back to 100 percent was a good situation for him. Sandi needed it after coming back from his injury, too. Just playing as much organized basketball as he can will help him. He's got a chance to be a very good player, but he needs that experience. D.J. played very well for us at the end of last season and continuing to get that confidence and experience will really help."
On JaJuan Johnson's experience with the USA Men's Select Team this summer:
"I watched him one day in Las Vegas, and I thought he did a very good job. I thought he was physical and he embraced the physicality of the game. When he does that, he's very effective. He's skilled, long and active, and I think he's going in the right direction. Any time you can get that kind of experience and have that kind of exposure, it's going to help you. It lets him know he belongs, which is important for his development. Playing against established NBA players only makes you better. We're very pleased that he got that opportunity, and very thankful that USA Basketball selected him."
On the progress of the Mackey renovation project:
"We've been talking about it for four or five years, so it's cool to see how things are piecing together. Every two months, we'll put on the hardhats and walk through it to see the progress. At first, you can't see how it pieces together, but when you see the improvements and progress, it's going to be pretty cool."
On the keys to improving as a team this summer:
"What all packages together now are the spring, summer and fall. You have to make progress from April to October. That's the body of work. There's no question that you can gain an edge once the season starts by putting in some extra time on your game, but it doesn't compare to the edge you can get if you out-work people from April to October. That's what we'll see when we start workouts on the first day of school next week. Once the workouts start, we get right back in the mix of things. We try to get the combination of conditioning and strength training. As coaches, we try to be positive and push them to push back a little bit."
On the potential impact of this year's freshman class:
"We'll see, but the answer lies in next week. We'll see those guys for the first time in terms of going against college players. We've evaluated those three guys, offered them a scholarship, they accepted and we obviously like them. Now we have to figure out if they can come in and play right away. Sometimes guys are good enough, but not physically ready. You have to be physically ready to get in there and fight for minutes. We have some experienced guys that understand the system and the coaching staff, so that will give them an advantage, but I like all three freshmen. They all bring something different, but what they earn is what they'll get. We've proven that as a staff. If you're good enough to play as a freshman, you will. If you get beat out, then you have to accept your role. Each guy has to learn to fight when something goes wrong. All three guys have fight in them, and we're looking forward to helping them become great players at Purdue."
On the focus of E'Twaun Moore this summer:
"E'Twaun has made a big jump physically each year in terms of coming in at the start of school in better shape. He plays a lot and puts a lot into shooting the basketball. One area that I think he can really make strides in this year is shooting a higher percentage from three. He's very capable of shooting in the low to mid-40s from three. He's an uncanny player who can really score the basketball. The more of a threat he is from long range, the more it will create angles for him to drive the basketball and get more pull-ups or get to the basket."