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3/1/2013: Fran McCaffery teleconference transcript (premium)

Posted on 01. Mar, 2013 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 Friday prior to the Hawkeyes’ game on March 2 against No. 1 Indiana at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.

Below is the complete transcript from the interview:

On whether he has noticed any differences in the play of Indiana’s Victor Oladipo since the last time it played Iowa:

“I don’t think he has done much since we played them. He has been that way all year, in my opinion. I thought he was terrific last year, but at the start of this year, I noticed a difference and I felt like he had taken his game to the next level and he was committed to doing that and I think you could see it coming.

“You know, if you watched him when he was a freshman and sophomore, you could see this coming, in my opinion. His game has just seemed to become more complete. His handle is strong, his jumper’s improved. He’s tremendous defensively, he plays on the glass. I mean, he affects the game on the glass.

“He really affects the game in all aspects and you know, he has got length, he has got speed, he has tremendous athletic power and when you put all those things together with a tremendous work ethic, you know, you got a lottery pick.”

On the relief of having Anthony Clemmons at his disposal with Mike Gesell injured and Devyn Marble moving back to point:

“Well, you know what, it’s so important, you know, because it gives us flexibility. You know, you saw that early on when we were starting all three of them and then we weren’t starting all three of them and now one gets hurt. You’ve got to be able to get into your offense. You’ve got to be able the ball up court against pressure if teams decide to pressure you and to this point, Anthony has got a lot of experience.

“So I’m very comfortable with bringing him off the bench to run our offense and to move Dev around. It gives me that flexibility as well, so there’s going to be a lot of pressure on him these next couple of games, no question.”

On finding the fine line between Marble being a distributor and a scorer:

“Well, the thing about him, I think a lot of scorers that are playing point, they want to have the ball because they want to be able to shoot it whenever they want. In his case, you know, that’s not who he is. You know, if he’s playing the point guard, he’s trying to run our offense and he’ll recognize we need him to go get a shot off, we need him to score for us.

“But he’s not a guy that constantly hunts his own baskets and I’ve said this repeatedly, there are times when I have to tell him to shoot more. You know, he’s a very unselfish player. He can run the break, he can feed the post, he can make a play off the dribble and he can get his own shot and he’s playing really well right now.”

On having to combat Indiana’s Cody Zeller when an emphasis is placed on getting him the ball:

“Well you know, I don’t look at it like he’s going to play extra hard because they lost their last game or they’re going to go to him more because they lost the last game. They go to him. They’ve gone to him, they’re going to continue to go to him and he’s a handful, so when you prepare to play Indiana, you got to prepare for him, as well as a number of other players. That’s why they’re either first, second, or third, pretty much all year long.

“You know, we’ve got some guys with a little more size than we had last year. That’s a good thing. Hopefully we can stay out of foul trouble because you know you’re going to have to guard him both in the post, in transition and from the perimeter.

“You know, very few teams that have good 7-footers put them in driving positions and that’s where they put him a lot of times. So he’s a driver, he’s a post-up player, he’s a runner in transition. Those guys are tough to guard.”

On if he has ever coached against a No. 1 team and if he views Saturday’s game as a good opportunity for his team:

“Well, it is a tremendous opportunity and fortunately in our conference, we get tremendous opportunities all the time to, in some cases play the No. 1 team, but a lot of times it’s top 5, top 10, certainly a top 25 team.

“Great challenge for our program as we continue to grow and go on the road in that kind of environment, play a team that is that hungry and is so strong at seemingly every position. You know, you can usually in preparation, in putting game plans together, you know obviously look for the chink in the armor and you know, they have addressed all of those.

“They’ve got shooters, they’ve got drivers, they’ve got tremendous point guard play, they’ve got depth at point guard. You know, they’ve got defenders, they’ve got size, they’ve got length, they’ve got low-post scorers. They’ve developed depth, so in every possible way, they’re going to challenge our basketball team.

“In regard to your first question, I thought we concluded that I hadn’t coached against the No. 1 team before. You know, when I was at Notre Dame as an assistant, I thought Missouri was. Maybe it was that we beat a No. 1 team or something like that. But I really don’t know. I think that’s something we’d have to look up.”

(Iowa played No. 1 Ohio State on Jan. 19, 2011, during McCaffery’s first season as head coach)

On what went into his decision to start Josh Oglesby versus re-inserting Clemmons back into the starting lineup:

“I thought Josh was playing well. I felt like I wanted to go with Dev as our starter at that position and I felt that bringing Clemmons off the bench in the role that we did would be the best thing for our team and for him. He knows that he’s going to play a lot. If you start both point guards, you don’t have another point guard to bring in.

“You know, you could obviously bring in Josh and move one out, move one over or whatever. But I just felt like it would be good for Josh, it would be good for Dev and it would be good for Clemmons.”

On having the flexibility to have both Adam Woodbury and Gabe Olaseni to guard Zeller:

“Well you know, Gabe is a guy that, you know, he’s a runner as well. Because if you’re going to guard Zeller, you’ve got to run. Fortunately, Adam and Gabe both run, they’re both long and they both can move their feet. Zeller’s not only talented, but he’s a crafty guy.

“So you’ve got to really think when you’re guarding him and move your feet or else. I mean, it’s great to see you’ve got fouls, but those fouls will rack up in a hurry if you’re not thinking and understanding angles or where’s the ball and you’re not running back and you’re not getting to the front when he’s setting ball screens.

“I mean, there are so many different areas. You got to constantly be working. Fortunately, [Melsahn] Basabe has also guarded him, [Zach] McCabe has also guarded him, so that’s two more guys we can put there. They have to approach it differently based on the size factor, of course. But luckily, we have some guys that we can put out there that can play him.”

On the roles Will Sheehey and Christian Watford have both had in Indiana’s success this season:

“Well, Sheehey comes off the bench and there are times when he’s their leading scorer. He doesn’t play like an off-the-bench guy. You know, I think it’s harder to do what he does than it may appear. I mean, he seems to be able to come right in and affect the game. Most players have to kind of get going a little bit, so that’s a particular skill that he has got.

“Watford, he came back. He put his name in, came back to try to make a statement and I think he has had a terrific senior season. I mean, his 3-point shooting numbers are incredible for a guy that big. But he’s also posting up more. I think you’re also seeing a more complete player than we saw in the past.

“You’re seeing a player that’s committed to being more physically different in terms of banging in the post, whether it’d be defensively or offensively, and mixing his inside-outside game.”

On Indiana’s defense and whether he feels it’s an overlooked aspect:

“Well you know, I think you would have to determine if that’s case. You know, I don’t overlook it. You know, I know what it’s like to go up against them. They get up in you. You know, they mix defenses well. They can press you. You know, they can pressure the basketball.

“You know, they’ve got shot blockers, they’ve got one-on-one defenders. You know, they’ve got a guy that’s considered to be one of the elite defenders in Oladipo, so they’ve got length, they’ve got speed, they’ve got quickness.

“The other thing they’ve got is experience, you know, and a lot of times, you look at defense and it’s all about athletic ability and toughness and more times than not, that’s about experience. Those guys know where to go, where to be and I think you’re seeing that this year, certainly in the numbers you pointed out.”

On if still believes the earliest Gesell returns from injury is the Big Ten tournament:

“Yeah. He will not play any time sooner than that. We’re hoping he plays then. I mean, that’s the plan. But my understanding is they’re going to do another MRI and then we’ll see where it is. I think there’s a possibility, although it’s a small possibility, that they’ll shut him down then.”

On if everyone else besides Gesell is healthy:

“Yep. Everyone else is good.”

On if he knows any specifics about Gesell’s pending MRI:

“That’s how it works. You know, you treat him, you treat him, you treat him. And then you go back and look again to make sure that it is improved. I mean, obviously, he’s in a boot. He’s getting treatment every day, twice, three times a day.

“It will get better, but in the off chance that it doesn’t get better, we got to take another look at it to make sure it has improved the way we want it to.”

On if it’s his foot as opposed to his ankle that’s injured:

“Correct. It’s definitely his foot. His ankle is fine.”

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