Painter Speaks With Media In Advance Of Big Ten Opener



Dec. 27, 2010

On the play of Michigan so far this season:
"They're doing a good job executing their offense and being patient. Darius Morris has emerged as one of the best guards in our conference. You have to be able to corral him, and not allow him to get to the free throw line or get other guys open shots. They've done a good job of waiting for the defense to break and taking advantage of that. They have good balance to what they do, and they really get after it defensively."

On the keys to victory in the matchup with UM:
"It comes down to who plays harder, who wins the hustle plays. Everything in the effort category is going to be a determining factor. The team that is quicker to the basketball and makes hustle plays is normally the team that wins."

On the importance of getting off to a good start in Big Ten play:
"You have to get out of the gate quickly. Every game is difficult, and there's not a team in our league that's not talking about these first five or six games. It's a grind. It's a long season, and injuries will affect some things, as will the timing of when you play some people. You have to be hooked up 18 times like it's the Big Ten championship. If not, you're not going to be one of those teams that puts itself in a position to win it. We're looking at Michigan. We're not looking at anything past that, and we know how tough of a game this is going to be."

On what he is eager to see from the Boilermakers in their Big Ten opener:
"The key to the first game after Christmas is just getting going again. Most of our guys have been through this. We need a good effort, and we need to be simple and take care of the ball to give ourselves a chance. Defensively, we need to limit (Michigan's) looks at the basket. If you allow them to do what they want, they'll pick you apart. In a situation like this when you've had a few days off, you want to see your guys be mentally sharp, be ready to play and have focus."

On the progression of JaJuan Johnson's ability to shoot from the perimeter:
"He's always had a skill level, but his issue in the past was a strength issue. If you left him open (during his high school career), he could make perimeter shots. We run motion, and we move him around a lot. We try to get him some jumpers out of motion, and any time you're shooting a high level of jump shots with a (big man) closing out on you, that can work to your advantage. He has to be able to make decisions, not necessarily (make) shots, because when you're moving around the floor, you're going to draw a crowd. That's something I think he's really improved on, but he's still got a lot of room to improve all around."



On the play of sophomore guard/forward D.J. Byrd:
"(The IPFW game) was a definite confidence boost for him. He hurt his shoulder and it affected his shooting percentage, so to be able to make five three's in a half was exactly what he needed. I was happy for him to be able to step up and make some of those shots to help with his personal confidence."