Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Kevin Willard quote book: Indiana

On his seniors and their response in the second half:
"They responded the way they've done for the last couple years, to be honest with you. We got in at halftime and we just talked about getting the ball back inside, working back inside out and making sure the big guy touched it. They know when you play a Big Ten team and you've got good players, you're not going to blow everybody out. You're going to have to battle, and I thought they did a really good job in the second half of just kind of getting the big fella the ball and working inside out."

On reinforcing the need to feed Angel Delgado inside:
"Sometimes you just need a friendly reminder that you've got him down there, and to be honest with you, it's not -- because I think Desi (Rodriguez) throws him the basketball every time he's on the wing and Khadeen (Carrington) is not on the wing as much -- it's kind of reminding the new guys that 'Hey, when you come in the game and you're in there with him, he's really your security blanket. Just chuck it into him.' And it worked often. I did think they did a really good job in the first half of getting up the line, fronting him, pushed him off the paint a little bit. The great thing about Angel is he's got such a good motor that he'll wear you down. He's not going to tire out, so a great job by the guys of understanding to get the ball inside."

On Delgado's evolution as a senior:
"I think the biggest difference in his game is he's become, I feel, an elite passer out of the post, and he likes to pass the basketball. He doesn't have to score. He knows most nights, he's going to get a lot of touches, so he's become unselfish where I think early in his career where he didn't get it as much, every time he got it, he tried to make a play. Now he kind of understands he's got some really good players around him and he's got to make sure he gets them involved."

On Indiana being a signature win and whether Seton Hall is as good as their hype:
"We're getting there. I think we have a lot of things -- you can't give up 49 percent field goal shooting consistently. We really have to get better at the defensive end at certain aspects. I think we're getting there, and I think as these young guys get better and these young guys get more minutes -- I think Archie (Miller) is going to do real well with those guys as the year goes on. It's, your first three games, first four games when you take over a program, it's hard. The kids are running different plays that they remember from things. That's going to be a good basketball team as the year goes on."

On significance of Gavitt Tipoff Games:
"I think the fact that we honor Dave is tremendous, because he was the Big East. His son, Danny, is a good friend of mine. I think when people have laid the groundwork before you, it's very important to remember the people that have really put the hard work in, and I think just doing this -- the Big Ten's great for doing it and obviously the Big East -- it's special and the kids understand it, and you talk to the kids about it and they understand there was a guy who really laid it all on the line so that they're in this great conference."

On Prudential Center atmosphere:
"Our students, man, they're awesome. I can't say enough. That's three games in a row where we sold it (the student section) out. Our kids -- we talked about it at the under-12 timeout in the second half -- our timeouts should be comedy TV, but instead of talking about the game, the guys were all talking about 'Let's continue to get the student section pumped up, let's get the students in it.' They understand the sacrifices the students make to get down to this building. They do it to play, and the fact that our students are doing it at a record pace right now, the kids really, really appreciate it."

On Desi Rodriguez and his start to the season:
"I think Desi's an elite player, by far. I don't think it's -- I think he's one of the best players in college basketball. I'll just leave it at that."

On Jordan Walker, who missed Wednesday's game with a sprained thumb:
"He'll be back. Hopefully we'll have him back for Saturday. It's still pretty swollen, so it's more kind of a day-by-day -- maybe Saturday, but he'll definitely be back for Thursday."

On Khadeen Carrington getting opportunities:
"I wasn't worried about Khadeen at all. The more minutes he plays, his legs will get fresher. I never once was worried about 'is he in a shooting slump?' We worked out in the morning the other day, and I think he was 82-for-110. When a guy's making shots in practice, eventually he's always going to make shots in games."

On Seton Hall's defense:
"We have a pretty complicated package right now for this time of the year. We're doing a lot of different things with the pick-and-roll, we just don't have them all down yet. But I did something different this year with defense, I put everything in at once. And again -- you have four guys on the floor that know what they're doing. If there's one guy that doesn't know what he's doing on a pick-and-roll defense, it kills you. And right now, you can see some of the freshmen, even Myles Powell at times -- they're grinding their brains instead of reacting, and that's okay with me right now as long as they're getting it, working hard at it. It's not an effort thing -- these guys are giving great effort, so it's just a matter of me putting a whole lot in really quick."

On how Wednesday's environment and atmosphere helps recruiting:
"It's great, it really does help a lot. It's the curse of being local and having so many great high school programs and so many high school players. The kids love coming to the games, we love having the kids. Sometimes there's not a good environment, sometimes it's a bad game, and sometimes the kids remember those more than they remember these where it's a great environment, where this is how it is for Big East games; but when we play FDU on a Thursday night at 6:30 -- but that's college basketball. And the problem is all our local kids come to all our games, so they don't see that on a 6:30 in Iowa that there's only 4,000 people there too."

On Myles Powell's demeanor:
"Myles, he's gonna have a night where he has 47. I'm just telling you right now. What he does in practice and how he's playing in practice -- I think the same thing with him. He's getting used to starting, I think last year, he came off the bench, now all of a sudden three minutes into a game, he's a little gassed. He's gotta learn his second wind a little bit, and when he does it -- he's taking good shots. I was really happy he had four assists. That's what he's been doing in practice. I think the biggest difference in us last year to this year is the fact that he's always two shots away from breaking the game open. You just can't leave him. If you leave him, our guys look for him, our guys know where he is, and he has the ultimate green light."

More on Indiana being a signature win:
"South Carolina last year was a good one, so was Cal, so was Wichita State. We've had some good wins here, and it's going to be a very good Indiana team as the year goes on. I think the Wichita State game, that was a really good win. I thought Cal was a good win last year when we were in Hawaii. I think Indiana's a very good win, but when you talk about signatures that we've had, it is because it's an unbelievable program with an unbelievable fan base. I think Archie is as good a coach as there is in the country, and I know what he's going to do as the year goes on."

On not being able to put Indiana away early in the second half:
"Our bench has to learn how to play with a lead, and that's only going to happen by playing with it. We came down, we turned it over off a pick-and-roll. They have to learn how, when you're up eight or nine against good basketball teams, that's not the time to go one-on-one or take a bad shot. The only way you do it is by playing them and having confidence in them, and they'll get it."

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