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12/18/2012: Fran McCaffery teleconference transcript (premium)

Posted on 18. Dec, 2012 by in Iowa Basketball

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By Brendan Stiles

HawkeyeDrive.com

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery held a teleconference with the local media on Tuesday prior to the Hawkeyes’ game on Dec. 19 against South Carolina State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Below is the complete transcript from the interview:

On what he wants to see out of his team with its last two non-conference games:

“Well obviously, we want to be 11-2. But I want to see is improvement. I want to see defensive intensity. I want to see sustained effort. I want to see execution and I want to see us getting better collectively and then getting better individually.”

On what he expects from both Anthony Clemmons and Adam Woodbury after both struggled against UNI:

“They’re both very resilient individuals, very competitive. They’ve got a lot of pride and what they have to realize is, it’s a hard thing. Because, you know, what I’d like to be able to do is allow a young guy to play through his mistakes. But in a game like that that was close, you know, I have other options. I got to go with my other options and find a mix that’s playing well.

“They have been very mature and understanding in that aspect and they’ve really worked hard in practice these last couple of days. They’re great people in terms of character, so I have no doubt that they’re going to bounce back.”

On if he ever finds himself curious wondering who will step up in each game:

“Well, it has been interesting because it has been different people and I think the beauty of that is it makes us harder to prepare for. You can’t lock in on one guy like you did with [Matt] Gatens last year and that was what made what he did so amazing.

“We have more weapons and we have more different ways we can go, whether it’d be with motion and sets or whether it’d be defensively. I think that’s what makes practices more interesting and it makes it interesting as we move forward to kind of see how everything’s going to open and really develop.”

On if it was good to get a bad defensive effort out of the way in terms of making players realize they need a consistent mindset:

“Well, it is. But I just think it’s part of it. You know obviously, we don’t want it to happen. But it’s sort of inevitable sometimes when you have young guys. These are true freshmen. It’s amazing what they’ve accomplished so far and they will continue to get better.

“They didn’t play well. They played against an experienced team. That was a very experienced team we beat and it’s just part of the growth process. You know, it’s a matter of how you handle it, how you approach it. When there were questions of, ‘How do you show up to practice? What’s your attitude in practice the very next practice?’ These are guys that have worked really hard and they’ve really gotten after it.

“It’s a great time of year to be a college basketball player. You don’t have anything else to do but work on your game. Exams are over, and that’s what these guys are doing.”

On what he’s able to practice-wise with the players off from school and the importance it has with his team’s growth:

“Well, it’s very important. We don’t have to give a day off. There’s no restrictions on time, so if guys want to get in and get extra work in. We had a group in this morning already, that’s already done. I mean, they were flat out getting after it.

“Coach [Andrew] Francis was in early. Coach [Kirk] Speraw comes in early and works these guys out. Then we go to breakfast, then we come back and watch film and we shoot free throws. Then they go to lunch, then we come back, watch film and have practice and watch more film, then we go to dinner. So it’s a long, regimented day that keeps them focus and then after we’re done practice, they have the rest of the night if they want to go to the movies or something like that.

“The key now is to understand nutrition, take care of your bodies and prepare. So if your shot’s a little bit off, we’ve got the facility here. Get in here and get some shots up. That’s what Aaron White has done in particular. He has gotten in here, gotten extra shots in. His shot was a little bit off on Saturday. He has been playing extremely well. He is a very good 3-point shooter. His numbers don’t show that right now, but he has taken care of that.”

On if he has a set number of minutes or hours he wants the players to be around the practice facility daily when they’re not in school:

“Well, we require them to be here two times. If they want to come in a third time on their own, that’s on them and they can do it early or they can do it late. I mean, that doesn’t matter. That’s the beauty of the facility. This time of year, it was never a problem before because there’s nobody else here. It’s just us and the women’s team.

“So we just work everything out and there’s plenty of time. Now we’ve got the court, we’ve got Carver and then we’ve got the practice facility. So if a guy wants to get in, he can get it in.”

On how much more competitive it will get in the future with determining rotations and how many minutes players get:

“Well, it will. You know, we have fortunately more versatile players. So you can see it now because in practice, other than Peter [Jok], the other two guys are here. So we can move guys around.

“It also impacts a guy like Darius Stokes, who has really worked himself into a position where he could be a factor. But we’ve got some guys that are ahead of him right now and that’s unfortunate. But he is an integral part of what we’re doing. We look so much different in terms of our size and length and our versatility, but it is going to get even more competitive, no question.”

On keeping his players focused on the task at hand after South Carolina State lost by 51 points to Missouri on Monday:

“I think what you have to do … they’re not terrible. Missouri made them look terrible. I mean, if you watch this team play, they’re talented. I’ve seen a number of their games. They played substantially better against Maryland. They played substantially better against Albany — a team I’m familiar with, and they’re 9-2. They played really well against Norfolk State.

“So if you look at their players individually, they’ve got a 6-11 center, they’ve got bullet-quick guards who can score, they’ve got athletic wings. They ran into a buzz saw last night. I mean, Missouri was absolutely relentless with their defense, with their fast break. They are just so athletically powerful.

“I haven’t seen another team — I mean, obviously I focus on the teams we’re playing and I’ll see other teams based on who they played, so I haven’t studied Duke. I mean, I watch the Duke-Ohio State game, so I’ve seen them a little bit. But this team right here, Missouri, has, I’m going to tell you what — they’re as athletic as any team that’s out there. If there’s a team that’s more athletic, quicker and more powerful, I want to see them, with all due respect to Michigan and those folks that are ranked No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, etc.

“So what we have to understand is we have to play the same way. We have to get after it the same way. What was interesting in that game is they’re up 35 and they’re playing like they’re down five. That’s the mentality that we have to emulate.

“So it’s a great learning experience because what you’re going to see is you’re going to see a team come in here on Wednesday night and you’re going to say, ‘Wow, how did they lose by 50?’ Well, they lost by 50 because Missouri won by 50, and they’re going to play a lot differently because they have talent. They have shot-makers, they have post players and they’ve got some depth.”

On if he feels confident about his players being in good academic standing after finals:

“I do.”

On whether everybody is healthy:

“Everybody is, yeah. I mean, we’ve got a couple guys banged up. But everybody’s going to play.”

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