INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indiana basketball coach Mike Woodson met the media Friday morning during Big Ten Media Days.
Woodson was hired on March 29 to replace Archie Miller, who spent four years in Indiana without landing a berth in an NCAA tournament. He recruited aggressively, landing five-star rookie Tamar Bates, and added several players out of the transfer portal, hoping to reverse a schedule that went from 12 to 5 last year and lost its last six games.
Here’s what Woodson, an Indianapolis native who played in Indiana from 1976 to 1980 and spent four decades in the NBA as a player and coach, had to say during his 10-minute press conference on the Gainbridge Fieldhouse main stage.
MIKE WOODSON: “Thank you. Hello. How is everyone? Thank you, Commissioner Warren, and your staff for everything you’ve done today. It’s a nice setup. I’d like to send a shout out to our new president ( Pamela Whitten), as well as our new chairman (of the board), Quinn Buckner, who is the chairman of our board, as well as (athletic director) Scott Dolson, who made the trip to New York for take me home.
“It’s so good to be back. Just a quick introduction to our team. We’ve had the opportunity over the past three months to work together. I kind of have a jump on probably all the colleges that are there, Division I went to schools, because we had the opportunity to go to the Bahamas. It was a great trip for me because, again, it gave me the opportunity to put some things on both sides of the ball, and it gave our team the opportunity to travel to the Bahamas and the ties. We have a number of new guys in our baseball club. This gave them the opportunity. to bond with some of the old guys who were here last year.
“That being said, it’s good to be back in Bloomington. It’s good to be back here in Indianapolis where I was born, where I was born and raised, and I played everything. my high school basketball here in town It’s good to be so I’m going to give the floor to any questions.
QUESTION: “Coming from the NBA, coaching and playing in pretty tough markets, do you think that gives you one more way to give these guys the NIL mentality, business management, when they push for the next level of the world? NBA so they don’t you see it as a distraction as they try to play a good college season? ”
MIKE WOODSON: “I think it helps a bit. But, again, I’m in the Big Ten now. There is a group of elite coaches who have done it. I am new to this area. So I don’t know if it gives me an advantage or not. I have spent my entire life in the NBA. A lot of the players you recruit are trying to level up. Now with the NIL and the portal things have changed now, I think, in college basketball. I think we as a university have to be on top of how we lead our players through this. But there is a lot of work to be done. Again, I don’t know if I have an advantage or not. I know I compete with a lot of great college coaches and a lot of great players who play college basketball.
QUESTION: “With Trayce Jackson-Davis obviously being one of the best Big Ten players this year, what role do you see some of your other guys playing, especially some talented freshmen you had last year? ”
MIKE WOODSON: “Again, when I took this team and started watching a lot of tapes, films about the team, we have some holes to fill. I thought we were out, like bringing Xavier Johnson, Miller, bring Tamar Bates, big Mike (Durr), I thought we filled some of those holes. I’m looking at our list to see if everyone needs to step up. These aren’t the four guys we brought in, guys I inherited. Everyone has to play a role. I’ve always felt that as a coach. We just can’t rely on Trayce to carry the load. I’m trying to instill in all these players. that they have a chance to play and make a difference in our baseball club. It’s the only way, I think, that we can win at a high level.
QUESTION FROM TOM BREW: “We talked a lot over the summer about your quick indoctrination to learn more about all of your players. Can you tell us a little bit about how to get to know your assistant coaches and the like, how it has all worked for you so far? ”
MIKE WOODSON: “When I took the job, it was on the fly. I had to put in a staff, I thought the guys we brought knew the college game. They are good basketball coaches. They helped me navigate the recruiting process, the dos and don’ts of things.
“Then just the college game in general from a basketball point of view. It’s a little different from the pros. In the pros we have a lot of guys who can do the three-way ball. Our team, you know, we’re trying to get to this point. That’s why we went for Xavier and Miller who can both do the long ball. Hoping Tamar Bates with Galloway and the guys I inherit will improve this year in shooting terms. But I’m happy with my staff because, again, without them I would be lost, being new to this area. But we have a lot of work to do, a long way to go.
QUESTION: “How did you see Rob Phinisee evolve? How does it do things differently from when you started? “
MIKE WOODSON: “Again, I’m trying to assess the players based on their relationship with me now. I can’t look back and look at the things Rob did and didn’t do.
“For me he’s been a treat. I think he’s been one of the brightest points over the past three months in terms of running our ball club and getting things done on both sides of the pitch. My problem with Rob is that I just have to get him to shoot more. I tell him it’s okay to shoot basketball. I’m not sure if he’s had any coaches who told him in the past, but “I’m telling him it’s good to do it. He’s been a pleasure for our team in terms of growth. I’m going to need him, his leadership, as we move forward this season.”
QUESTION: Xavier Johnson has played a lot of college basketball, but not in high performing teams. Is there anything you have to go through to get into the habit of winning with a player like this who is obviously talented but who has not had success?
MIKE WOODSON: “Again, we have to do it with all of our players. We are all new. They’re trying to get to know Coach Woodson and I’m trying to understand them as individual players and what they can do to help us from a team perspective. Xavier has been great because he changes the game with his speed. He can hit. He can enter into painting and create.
“I’m just trying to get him to become a better point guard and involve his teammates in handling our offense. There’s no doubt he has to be good on defense because I think that’s where we’ll be. a better team if our team defends at a high level. It will put us in a position to win ball games. ”
Woodson will talk about it later this afternoon, and Indiana also has three players here, veterans Trayce Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson and Rob Phinisee.
Several more stories will be published later today.
VIDEO: Presentation of Mike Woodson by Commissioner Kevin Warren
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