Indiana vs. Xavier: Midweek press conference highlights from Mike Woodson

Indiana men’s basketball head coach Mike Woodson addressed the media Thursday before the Hoosiers’ road game with Xavier on Friday.

Here’s what he had to say:

Q: On Trey Galloway’s shot

Woodson: “I mean, you only get them if you spend time in the gym. You’ve put a lot of time into this summer and it’s starting to pay off. Trey’s shot looks very different from last year. His free throws look different. And he’s healthy. I mean, this guy got kind of beat up last season for playing so hard. He got some bumps and it took a while to get him back on the ground. Now he’s back and he’s playing pretty well for us.”

Q: About Trey Galloway’s game

Woodson: “Well, last year he was valuable. I can’t help but think he’ll be valuable to us so early in the season this year. Listen, the guy is playing hard. That’s a big part of it. I mean it helps that he can shoot now. He’s confident enough to put down the three-ball. He just plays basketball and he plays hard, and playing hard is trumps for me. That’s what I look at primarily, how’s your engine. He has a high motor when it comes to the way he plays. If he does all the things we asked him to do on the floor, he’ll be out there getting minutes.

Q: To Xavier’s great men

Woodson: “Well, again, we didn’t play too many bigs — the last big we played was Michigan’s big, which can take shots to the ground. big jack [Nunge] can make shots on the ground. In the transition we can’t get sucked into the point he’s behind as much and he just runs straight into three point shots. He did a couple of those in their game the other night so we have to pay attention to that. And the big guy, Zach, I mean, he does a lot of things out there on the ground, but he mainly does a lot of his damage around the bucket. So we filled our hands with two bigs that we could bring to our bigs with the energy and see what happens.

Q: On Indiana’s guards playing defense

Woodson: “Well, it’s very important. I mean, whenever you can put some heat on the ball while the ball is coming to the ground to somehow slow or disrupt their early offense, your opponent’s early offense, it helps. Xavier was pretty much the only one who could do that last year. Now we have Tamar Bates comfortable, Galloway comfortable, Jalen is comfortable now where we can add a little bit to our defense. But make no mistake, Xavier has some great guards. They have good guard play and Souley and Jones up front. These guys are all pretty good basketball players and they play hard. I mean, the guy coming off the bench, Adams, #5, could start. I think he started for her last year. They have solid players. It’s individual matchups all around the floor. Nobody has a night off, that’s how I see it.”

Q: On the forecourt of the second unit

Woodson: “We don’t have any dropoffs here either. Again, folks, it’s early. It’s two games we played. If you want to count the other two exhibition games. You know, I like our second unit. There is no doubt about it. If they continue to play at a high level, it will make us that much better as a basketball team. I just didn’t have that last year. That’s not a blow to the guys we had. They gave us everything they could give us. That was good enough for us to get the 21 wins and get into tournament play. We have to be better this year. Our bank has to play a big role in what we do. If you follow me over the years as a coach in the NBA, my bench has been pretty good. I’ve always felt that the bench is just as important as the guys who start the game because sometimes they won’t have them. If the bench is always there for you, that makes you a better ball club.”

Q: About playing in a street environment

Woodson: “Well, after our Bethune game, the first thing I said before we broke up was I’m thinking about the next game now. You know, the Bethune game was what it was. We had a chance to come back and dissect the film and watch it. But the way is different. You know, I mean, when you learn to run your business and play well on the go, it becomes contagious. But you have to do all the necessary things to win on the road. It’s not easy to win along the way. You can’t turn it around Where we struggled at the beginning of last season, we were in every away game and led in many away games, but our turnovers cost us early on. Key rebounds here and there, a missed defensive play here and there, those are the things we need to clean up this year to be a great team. I mean, because when these guys go into these arenas, they feel good too. You are home now. Now you have to make them uncomfortable. So I’m excited to see where we go into the game tomorrow night because we need to be a good road team to get where we need to be.”

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