On Ronnie Johnson, "Just being that quintessential point guard and getting everybody involved first, and getting people into a rhythm in the game. That gets contagious when your point guard does those things."
On Bryson Scott, "He continues to improve in making the difficult transition from a 'score-first guy' in high school to one who needs to 'distribute' more in college, avoiding the urge to 'take on two or three people.'"
On Terone Johnson's struggle, "It gets mental, it just does. It’s part of basketball. The greatest shooters in the world, the greatest scorers in the world, go through slumps, they go through tough times. You just have to work your way out of them."
On putting better FT shooters in late games: "I don’t believe in bringing cold or inexperienced players off the bench just because they’re better free throw shooters. Guys that have been there before and been successful, when they struggle, they still have that reference point of success and can revert back and make plays."
On Hammons' defensive lapse, "The thing for him is helping us defensively when he’s away from the basket. When he’s at the basket, there’s been a couple of times where he’s not in good guarding position and they get by him driving to the basket. He’s got to make them score over him at that point and be in a stance and more ready for those drives. … Probably the hardest thing for a big man to do is get in ball screen defense. We’ve got to get him consistent in that area."
On defensive struggle in general, "Our positioning on defense was poor, so we're behind plays and so we foul. Then our guys complain about the calls when in reality I don't think they missed too many. We just got behind plays and when you get behind plays, you're going to react to things, you're going to reach, you're going to try to block and you're going to put them to the free throw line too much."
As an aside, here's the bonus interview with three young players, and the fact that they are taking responsibility gives me reasonable optimism to think that the future is bright with this group.
Hammons, "I just feel like this loss is on me. I didn’t knock the free throws down when I needed to. I had trouble scoring in the paint. Just a lack of effort at the end of the game. I had to come out a little bit harder. I felt like I got outplayed. I needed to make it up to my team."
Stephens, "I made bad decisions — it really started with me. I just have to get better. I was kind of getting selfish, and it was hurting the team. It hurt our run."
Ray Davis, "I try to give myself up for the team. I'll do whatever it takes. Whether I have zero points or 10 points, a loss is a loss. It doesn't matter if it's a loss. I just try to play hard. Having a good game isn't not about stats, it's about going your hardest and getting loose balls. I could have been better. It's coming to work every day. It's coming in extra, watching extra film, getting up extra shots, lifting extra weights. It's becoming a better all-around person. It's going class. It's little things that carry into games, whether that's missing breakfast or missing a class. They all carry over. We have to be better all around."
If it isn't obvious already, all of the above are taken from newspaper interviews after recent games. I only have two things to add. First, I think someone mentioned about Painter going hard at Simpson and Bryson. He was also pretty hard on Hammons and Stephens when they made mistakes. But I think that's a good sign. Coaches tend to go hardest on the players whom he felt he could get a lot out of. The scariest thing for a player is when his coach stops going hard at him, b/c that means he doesn't think he can get much more out of him.
Second, for the players, just CONSISTENTLY do you job. That's really it. Do you what you are supposed to do, when you are supposed to do it, the way it is supposed to be done, and do it that way every time. Bob Knight said it. Joe Tiller said it. Essentially that's all it boils down to. Beat IU!! Boiler Up!!