Indiana’s eleven scholarship basketball players met with the media yesterday in connection with the program’s media day.
The full transcript is below if you prefer to read or cannot pick up the audio.
Indiana is holding its annual Hoosier Hysteria event on Oct. 5 and opens the season on Nov. 5 against Western Illinois.
(Video Credit – Jim Coyle / Indiana Sports Beat)
(Transcript via iuhoosiers.com)
Q. Devonte, in Evansville Coach Archie Miller said that you would not be pleased to be scoring more, having more of the scoring load. I think he was kidding. How do you actually feel about having more of the scoring load this season?
DEVONTE GREEN: I mean, it’s a big opportunity, and, I mean, I’m ready to take on the opportunity.
Q. Damezi, you played some last year in fits and starts. I know coach has talked a lot this off-season about the work you’ve tried to put in. Where do you feel like you’ve gotten better, and where do you feel like you want to carve out kind of a role this season?
DAMEZI ANDERSON: Just continue to get better and be just prepared and have the confidence to be able to play when my name is called.
So this year I just want to go out there and play with confidence this year and help the team out.
Q. Devonte, what have you seen so far that makes you feel like this team is going to be better than last year’s team? And if you think they’re going to be better, why?
DEVONTE GREEN: I wouldn’t say better. I mean, it’s very early. I think we built a chemistry well at an early stage, and, I mean, we got a lot of good players like we did last year.
I think it’ll be a sight to see when it all falls into play.
Q. Trayce, a lot of talk coming in, one of the highest ranked recruits coming in. You’ve had some time to spend with the team. What’s been your observations being with this team and what do you think you bring to them?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: Really just focused on getting our team chemistry down, just trying to fit in, just trying to get well with the team, my teammates.
I think we’ve done what really well and all been working hard, so…
Q. Question for Trayce. Your body transformation, coach talked about that over the summer. What was that like, and how do you feel like you’re physically prepared to play in the Big 10?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: Yeah, Coach Cliff has done a really good job with me in the weight room. My verticals increased and I’ve gotten stronger, so just continuing to work and just getting ready for the season.
Q. Damezi, there is often a lot of talk about the most improvement a player makes in his college career is from his freshman to sophomore year. Can you tell me a little bit about what you thought of your freshman year and what you’re looking forward to in regards to improving your game this season?
DAMEZI ANDERSON: It was just a good first-year experience for me. I never been in the situation I was last year, so it was a new role for me that I had to adjust to.
So last year taught me a lot, especially with the seniors last year, the upperclassmen. They also helped and communicated about how to do things to me. That’s what I did, and took it, and just continued and got better this year.
Q. Maybe this is for Devonte since you’re the oldest here. I think Coach Miller talked a little bit about more the offense, predicated more emotion off the ball, more action away from the ball. Is that a role maybe you can take on being a guy that comes off screens and shoots and takes on more of a shooting guard role off a pass?
DEVONTE GREEN: I think there will be a lot more off-ball movement involving everyone on the team, and I think it’ll be good for us because we’re constantly having the defense move.
Q. Damezi, in a video Race Thompson said you were the funniest guy on the team. Do you agree with that, and what kind of personality do you try to bring to the team
DAMEZI ANDERSON: Yeah, I definitely agree to that. The personality I try to bring to the team is just like bring that bond with my teammates, bring everybody together; make sure everybody comfortable with each other, not just a single group, group here, group there. Just everybody together. So that’s the type of personality I love to bring.
I mean, I’m going to go to war with my brothers every day; I really rather just be comfortable with them.
Q. Devonte, coach has talked in the off-season about the depth you have not just in terms of bodies in the post, but from Trace to Joey, different types of players in the post. As a guy who’s constantly being the guy getting guys organized on the floor, what do you see? How do you diagnose what you guys have down low in terms of the variety of skillsets?
DEVONTE GREEN: I think it’s great the versatility we have down low. Like you said, three different type of players, and they’ll all be useful in some kind of way at some point.
Q. Devonte, just kind of a general question. With the newcomers coming in, how have you felt they have meshed with the rest of the team so far?
DEVONTE GREEN: They came along pretty quick, honestly, the freshman and even Joey. They have only been here a couple months, but we’re already bonding and gelling like they’ve been here.
Q. Trayce, just how are you preparing to play forward? I guess how do? You feel like you fit in at that position defensively? Feel like you’re getting better defending guys in the perimeter? How so you feel like you’re operating there offensively as well?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: It’s been pretty good I would say. I think that just with my athleticism I’m able to play that position, but I’ve been learning a lot from Justin. He’s been teaching me a lot. Just trying to keep working at it, and hopefully I’ll be ready by the season start.
Q. Devonte, Coach Miller said in Evansville earlier this summer one of the things he was thinking about this year is unleashing you. Said he is our best scorer. Sometimes you just got to let guys go. Has he communicated that to you? How excited are you? What do you think that would do for your game and the team this season?
DEVONTE GREEN: Somebody asked this question earlier over here, but, I mean, I feel like I’m a natural scorer. Like I said, it’s a new opportunity and I’m ready to embrace the opportunity.
Q. Trayce, obviously making a big jump from the physicality side of the game from high school to college. Talk about the value you’re getting going up one-on-one with Joey De’Ron, and how much their leadership is helping you make that leap?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: It’s really good leadership. Just battling them every day, that Big 10 toughness and physical style of play, I think that’s going to help me in the long run, especially going against those two guys every day in practice.
Q. For Trayce as well, you mentioned that in one of those social media videos there is not really an off button for a college athlete. Adjusting from your high school career to now, how have you kind of affected your routine for account for some of the trials and tribulations that come with working out and stuff?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: Yeah, it’s been a lot tougher, but at the same time, once you get that schedule down it kind of just becomes routine. I’ve clicked with it pretty well and my teammates have also helped me. Like the upperclassmen have told me things to do, how much sleep you should get, and stuff like that, so it’s been pretty good?
Q. Trayce, you were talking about Justin Smith helping you go a lot. What specifically has he told you or the pointers he’s given you?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: Just basically just defensive pointers. Just like where to be in the gaps, help on offense, what to do. So just stuff like that. Just basic things.
Q. Trayce, I think you may bring a unique experience perspective to Armaan Franklin having been from the Indy area as well. Speak to what his progress has been since at least over the last year and how he’s progressed here?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: Armaan has been really good. He’s been shooting the ball at a really high rate. He’s been playing really well. I just think that he just wants to keep improving; earn his time on the floor.
Q. Devonte, I remember talking to you after the NIT game last year about next year you’re going to be one of the guys that has to lead this team. You seemed to relish that opportunity. Now that you are closer to doing that, how are you feeling as far as being one of those guys?
DEVONTE GREEN: I think I’ve been playing the role pretty well so far as a leader of this team as one of the only guys that just are naturally looked at as a leader, so I think I been doing well so far.
Q. Trayce, working out with Joey Brunk over the summer, what was that experience like and how do you think that chemistry can carryover to the court this year?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: I think it was really well, even before the summer, back in May and April when we worked out. Just starting that chemistry early. Him showing me pointers, like how to play in college basketball. How hard he goes all the time. I think those are just big things that I picked up from him.
Q. Devonte, we haven’t got a chance to speak with you since June. Curious your reaction seeing both your brother and former teammate here at IU win an NBA title?
DEVONTE GREEN: I couldn’t be happier for both of them. OG is my guy. My brother is of course, that’s my brother, his second one. I mean, I was just happy, it’s an amazing thing.
Q. Maximize efficiency and make sure you’re balancing the freedom you’re going to get and try to make as many smart decisions as you can I guess with the ball.
DEVONTE GREEN: I think my shot selection, practicing and taking all kind of different shots and on all different parts of the floor, just getting ready to shoot those shots in the game.
Q. Devonte, you touched earlier on the chemistry being better. What have you seen over the summer that leads you to believe that the chemistry and the togetherness will be better this season?
DEVONTE GREEN: Just in practice, we go to practice every day, and every day is another step closer to playing together. It’s moving real fast, so that’s why I think our chemistry is building really fast.
Jerome Hunter, De’Ron Davis and Rob Phinisee
Q. Jerome, probably a question you imagine people would ask, but as much as you feel comfortable talking about it, what has been the last year been like? How tough has it been? What have do feel like you learned about that, the process you had to go through?
JEROME HUNTER: I mean, I never had to sit out the year before of basketball, so last year really hurt.
But, I mean, as you keep getting through it you start thinking of other things, how you can get better off the court. So that’s all I focused on, just how next year I could be the best player I can be.
Q. Just having not been able to play basketball, did you go to any other things not basketball related to keep yourself busy and stay strong mentally?
JEROME HUNTER: No, not really. I just watched a lot of basketball. I just tried to be a student of the game, just learn more and more, as much as I could.
Q. Following up on that now, you’re back and fully cleared for basketball activities. What’s it like to be fully back in with the rest of your teammates?
JEROME HUNTER: I mean, being out a year, I mean, being back, I’m excited to be back with my teammates. Seeing them practice last year and seeing them — I mean, all the hard-fought games they went through last year, I was motivated to get back.
Now I’m excited to be back.
Q. De’Ron, can you talk a little bit about what these three years have been like for you now that you’re a senior and what you want to try to maximize here in your last year?
DE’RON DAVIS: It’s been, like I said, an up and down roller coaster. I had my high moments, had my down moments, but I’m just looking to enjoy my time with my team this year and just enjoy college for my last year.
Q. De’Ron, going through the season you went through last year, what can you impart on the younger guys in terms of dealing with adversity that you think will help the team collectively this year?
DE’RON DAVIS: Tell them that it’s going to be a long season; we’re going to have our ups and we’re going to have downs. As long as we stay focused on the goal and on each other, we’ll be all right.
Q. Rob and De’Ron, in what ways will this team be different? Obviously the personnel is different, personalities could be different. What makes you feel like this is going to be a better team than the one last year?
ROB PHINISEE: Really I would just say the way we been practicing, team chemistry. Not saying it was bad last year, but I feel like we’re together this year. Just taking it day at a time.
We just have to focus on improving every day.
DE’RON DAVIS: Yeah, follow what Rob said. Just taking it day by day, our chemistry, and just focusing on what we need to do to get each other better each and every day.
Q. De’Ron, you’ve obviously played against a lot of good bigs in your college career. Give us a player’s take on Joey Brunk. What does he do well? How can he impact you guys?
DE’RON DAVIS: Joey is a leader on and off the floor. He brings a lot of energy. He won the title this year over the summer for warrior, so he brings a lot of energy on and off the floor. He’s a loud voice for us.
Q. Following up on that, talk about Trayce Jackson-Davis, new to the team, and maybe a little bit about Race Thompson.
DE’RON DAVIS: Yeah, obviously what from you were seeing from Race last year, he’s a beast on the boards and he brings a lot of toughness to the low post area.
Trayce, for not having played a game yet, is very athletic, very cool, calm, collected kid, so I feel like we can use his athleticism to the best of…
Q. Rob, kind of going from last season as a freshman to coming in this year as a sophomore, how has this past off-season differed from last off-season?
ROB PHINISEE: I would say the focus I had. I mean, coming in you don’t really know what to expect, so I used last year as a learning experience and just build off that in the off-season.
Q. De’Ron, to follow up on Race, obviously your injuries haven’t always been as long-term as his concussion was, but you have been through one a lot like that where you had to just be aside for a long time. How did you see him go through that? I know there was a period he even had to be away from the team because he had to be protected from light and all those things. What do you think he got out of that as somebody that probably spent a lot of time working with him?
DE’RON DAVIS: Yeah, I just feel like he’s just knowing that, you know, you got to come practice willing to work hard and you got to seize every moment. I feel like he learned from being out. No one likes to be hurt. I feel like Race takes advantage of each and every moment he has on the court now since that injury.
Q. De’Ron, being a senior you’ve seen the hardships that Jerome has gone through. What does it mean to have him back to the team and to the team as a player as well?
DE’RON DAVIS: I mean, Jerome is a key guy for our team. It’s always hard for someone coming into college and not be able to play their first year, especially with the things he dealt with.
So we were all there for him, and now we’re glad he’s back. He helps us get better and we help him get better.
Q. For Jerome, two-parter if you don’t mind. One, how much when you were sitting out last year do you think you could have helped? How frustrating was that? And what kind of shape are you in now as we get ready to get going?
JEROME HUNTER: Last year, I mean, before I got hurt I was doing really good. I mean, I thought I could help the team out real good. I felt like the team was — I was really fitting in with the team.
What was the second part to that.
Q. What shape are you in now?
JEROME HUNTER: And now, I mean, I feel like I’m better and I feel like I know my role and I know what coach is going to expect from me this year.
Last year being a freshman I didn’t really know what I was going to expect, so this year just having experience and being here and just being around everybody just showed me a lot.
Q. Rob, coming off your freshman season, as a point guard in the offense, what are you going to be expecting out of yourself this season?
ROB PHINISEE: I mean, just be better than I was last season really. Just focus on each day. Just win the day really. Just keep improving myself on and off the court. So classroom, and just being a leader really. Being a leader with the teammates, and I feel like that will take us a long way.
Q. Jerome, to go back to that last answer. First off you mentioned you were playing pretty well before you found out you were out. What was that emotional part like of having that much of a high and having a low like that? What do you expect your role to be like?
JEROME HUNTER: I mean, they recruited me for my versatility, and I feel like I’m versatile and I feel like I can just be anywhere on the court that he wants me to be. I feel like that can help the team a lot.
Q. For De’Ron or Rob. Curious, do you see any changes, any differences in the way that Coach Miller and his staff have approached this particular season as far as things he’s emphasizing or anything of that sort?
ROB PHINISEE: No, not really. Every time we practice we want to go as hard as we can and just keep pushing every day. I wouldn’t say there is a big difference.
Q. De’Ron, anything to add?
DE’RON DAVIS: No. That was it right there.
Q. De’Ron, you’ve had to deal with your fair share of injuries through your career. Tell me a little bit about how you feel right now and how important it is for you to be able to play a full season this year and show what you’re really capable of?
DE’RON DAVIS: Yeah, I feel I’m pretty good right now. I’m just taking better precautions to my body. Obviously continue to improve my diet.
But, yeah, like you said, overall healthy. I’m as healthy as I can be right now, so just continue to work hard in the gym, on and off the court, and I feel like if I can play a whole, full season, it would contribute to my team a little bit more; help us out a lot in the long run.
Q. Jerome, talked about watching the game. Were you watching film of your own team or NBA games?
JEROME HUNTER: Yeah, I was watching a little bit of both. I mean, I was watching college games because I got to get used to — I’m trying to see how the game is played and like what I’m missing when I’m out there.
And then I watch NBA, too, to just — I mean, they’re great guys in the NBA. If you watch them I feel like you can get better.
Q. Rob, coach mentioned a few times over the summer he thinks you’re capable of being more of an offensive threat. How do you balance the point guard position and how do you view that opportunity?
ROB PHINISEE: I feel like it starts in practice, so just having that mindset to be more aggressive. I feel like it opens up everything from everybody else.
If I’m more of an offensive threat, it’ll open up lanes for my teammates.
Q. Rob, there was some talk last year about your on-the-ball defense. I guess two parts on that. One, is that something that you can improve on over the course of your career? And, two, how much pride do you take in that?
ROB PHINISEE: Yeah, I feel like you can always improve in whatever you’re really good at. I feel like it’s a mindset, defense is, so like you said, I take pride in it a lot. I always want to be the best player I can be. If I’m the best on-ball defender in the league, country, whatever it is, I’m going to try to be it.
Q. Rob, coach said over the summer that Romeo would stay with you guys and sleep on your couch. What was it like still having him around and what did you guys kind of do and hang out?
ROB PHINISEE: Yeah, he was my roommate last year so obviously miss him. Miss him this year on the team, too. He’s one of my best friends, so we’ll be really good friends when it comes to basketball or not, so…
Q. Someone sort of obsessed with personal development as a player, that getting better every day is something you’re really obsessed about. Is that a mindset that helped you get through last year?
JEROME HUNTER: Yeah, I mean, like I said, it’s ways to get better when you’re not playing. That’s what I really focused on and that’s what I really emphasized on myself to get through my injury period.
Q. As much as you’re comfortable talking about it, how much do you have to think about this as sort of managed accordingly? How much do you think play to play, just your own body, and is it something you can work through instinctively, I guess?
JEROME HUNTER: I mean, I’m getting better and better each day, so it’s like I’m trying to work through things. It’s just a day-by-day thing.
Q. De’Ron, coach said that you had the most swag of anyone he’s ever met. How do you maintain and that what do you think he meant by that?
DE’RON DAVIS: Swag.
Q. Yeah, swag.
DE’RON DAVIS: I don’t know. Maybe because how I am around my teammates maybe. I kind of, I don’t know, kind of like to pick on them a lot, I guess. I don’t know what he meant by that.
Just maybe because of the way I carry myself on the court, my mindset going into the games. Could be a lot of different things. (Laughter.)
Al Durham, Justin Smith, and Armaan Franklin
Q. Al, your three point shooting was one of the biggest improvements in your game last year, at least on paper. Is that a an continued emphasis throughout this off-season?
AL DURHAM: Yeah, continuously in the gym, shooting putting up shots, getting reps. It’s just something I can continuously improve in. Even though I took strides last year, I want to continue to make strides this year.
Q. Justin, coming back now as a third year junior, at expected of you to continue to be one of the leaders out on the front line. What have you been working on over the summer, what have you seen, and what are your expectations for this upcoming season?
JUSTIN SMITH: Really I was just focused on getting better in every aspect possible: shooting dribbling, being more versatile on the floor, defensively.
But I’m excited to get the season going. We’re really just looking forward to getting the season started and really just getting started.
Q. Justin, after your first two years here do you feel like you’ve just sort of scratched the surface on what your potential could be as a player here?
JUSTIN SMITH: Yes. I think that every day is an opportunity to get better. I’m going into every day with that mindset just trying to really focus on how I can make myself 1% better each and every day.
Q. Justin, what do you think are maybe three or four things about your game that will be better this year than last year?
JUSTIN SMITH: Shooting, dribbling, rebounding, and defensively. I think those would be the four main aspects that I will be better at this year than I was last year.
Q. Armaan, how did you take kind of the strength and conditioning over the summer? I know that coach mentioned you bulked up a little bit. How do you think that will be helpful during your freshman season?
ARMAAN FRANKLIN: I think during the summer we had a good work out program, and being able to add weight, add muscle, will help me playing in the Big 10.
Q. Armaan, follow up on that. Moving to the college level, you and Trayce , what’s it’s been like making that adjustment playing at a much higher level that players are farther along than you are? Who has helped you the most?
ARMAAN FRANKLIN: It’s always an adjustment moving up levels. We just have a great group of guys who took us in, showed us the ropes, and then just showed us what it’s going to be like to play in the Big 10 and what we can get away with and what we can’t.
So we just had a great group of guys to come into and help us out a lot.
Q. Al, you’ve been talked about as possibly sharing some point guard responsibilities with Rob. Is that something you feel comfortable doing, and what kind of style do you think you can bring to that position?
AL DURHAM: Yeah, we been practicing it. I mean, we’ve talked about it, I been repping it out at the point guard spot. So I feel like I can come in and contribute any way I can at the point guard spot, I’ll do it.
Q. Question for Justin. Trayce mentioned a lot that you have kind taken him under your wing this year, this off-season, helping him make that transition. What’s some advice you’ve tried to give him?
JUSTIN SMITH: Stay patient and take everything one step at a time, one day at a time. You can kind of — the days can kind of blur together as the pre-season or the summer and going into this beginning stages of the season. It can all blur together.
Focus on what you can do that one day to really make a difference and get better to hopefully reach our goals.
Q. Coach Miller talked a couple weeks ago about wanting to see more emotion off the ball, a little more emotion in the offense. Devonte talked a little bit about that earlier today. Has this been a point of your practices, or do you see that happening this year more?
AL DURHAM: Yeah, most definitely I see us moving a lot more. And I feel as we been working to get the ball moving a lot in our offense, a lot of motion, so everybody gets the feel of the ball and get us moving so we’re not really stagnant this year.
Q. For Al and Justin, you guys lost a lot of your scoring from last year’s team. We’re still early in the process, but what do you see in this team that makes you feel like you’ll be able to pick up that slack and have a better team than you did last year?
JUSTIN SMITH: I would say that we are really focused on taking it one day at time like I said before.
But based on the scoring, we’re not really worried about that. It’s going to happen. The name of the game is to score the ball, and we are going to score the ball. Whoever scores really doesn’t matter. Just as long as we’re getting good shots and making easy shots, making good plays, then the scoring will take care of itself regardless of whoever is shooting.
AL DURHAM: Justin hit it on the head. I feel like it’s not really something we emphasize. The name of the game is to score, put the ball in the basket. We’ve been working; everybody has been improving. This off-season has been great for us, I feel like, and just everybody has shown improvements in their games in all aspects.
So I feel like that’s not something we’re hanging our hat on. We’re just working every day to get better and all aspects, and we’ll continue to do that.
Q. Justin, how are you looking at the mental part of the game differently just in terms of how you approach games, how you approach getting over and past mistakes? How many different ways have you reevaluated your mental game?
JUSTIN SMITH: I have not really done that yet. As we get games going I’ll probably take more of on introspective look at what I did last year versus what I am going to do this year.
I mean, if I were to say something, I would try to be a little bit more positive with myself, just moving on from mistakes. That’s about it.
Q. Justin, there were games last year where you were kind of the lock-down defender. Penn State comes to mind as one of those games. You talked about improving your defense in the off-season. How much do you look forward, relish the opportunity to take on the other team’s top guy?
JUSTIN SMITH: I mean, it’s a lot of fun keeping one of their best players from scoring or making them uncomfortable or doing stuff they’re not accustomed to doing or seeing.
I mean, I enjoy it, and hopefully I can have the same success I did last year those couple times.
Q. Armaan, being a freshman it’s obviously hard to come in and breakthrough. How do you think you’re going to be able to contribute on this team, and how hard has it been for you to break into that upper level?
ARMAAN FRANKLIN: Hasn’t been that hard. We have a good group of upperclassmen that have helped me come in and told me what I need to do. I just have to do whatever I need to do to contribute the team.
Whenever they want me to do, I’ll do it.
Q. And how is that going, and do you expect for that to be a better part of your game this year?
JUSTIN SMITH: It’s going well. I plan on it being more of a point of my game this year. We’re just going to continue to work every single day trying to get better to make sure I have success in that area.
Q. For Justin or Al, what was it like to see Jerome Hunter go through the year he went through, and what are you seeing him do right now and how much do you think he can help you guys?
AL DURHAM: Glad to have him in workouts right now and moving well and playing with us. It’s just good to have him out there. He’s a big key to our team. I feel like he can do a lot of things. I’m just happy to see him out playing with us and just a smile on his face really.
JUSTIN SMITH: He brings a lot of energy to the team. I mean, we’re just really excited to see him back on the floor and really kind of enjoying himself again and really becoming a bigger part of our team.
Q. Question for Justin and Al. Maybe what are you guys seeing in terms of some other players? Talked about this group being a little more together and being more cohesive. What leads you to believe this could be a tighter group this year both on and off the court?
JUSTIN SMITH: I would say that as a team we are close on and off the floor. I think it’ll translate once we really get games going.
We’re just looking forward to getting out there and playing with each other this year.
Q. Question for Al. You talked a little bit before about you enjoying like designing things and kind of dabbling with fashion and stuff like that. Just curious where that came from.
AL DURHAM: I would have to say probably my family. They are really big in making sure you’re presentable and making sure you look nice when you go out. I feel like it’s just always been there for me and my family.
It didn’t come hard to me to just be able to design stuff and be real creative with my stuff.
Q. Justin, how excited are you for a Hysteria next weekend? Do you have anything special planned maybe for the dunk contest, anything with Hoosier Hysteria?
JUSTIN SMITH: I’m excited to get in front of the fans and kick off the season, so I’m excited to really get that going.
As for the dunk contest, I don’t know. They haven’t asked me to be in it yet.
Joey Brunk and Race Thompson
Q. Joey, what’s the difference in the work here and the work that you did prior to this?
JOEY BRUNK: It’s been a great transition here. We been working hard since we been here. During my time in Butler I had a great three years, but kind of that chapter of my life is over and this is kind of the new chapter here at Indiana for the next two years.
We been getting after it as a group and we’re excited.
Q. Joey, what has the adjustment process for you been like coming over to IU? Has it been difficult for you to get involved or has it been an easy process getting the team chemistry just like some of freshman on the team have to?
JOEY BRUNK: It’s been a really smooth transition. We have a bunch of great guy here that have all welcomed me with open arms. It’s been a great transition.
Q. Joey, Archie has talked about you as somebody that has come in and been a really strong voice in the locker room and a leader. Is that something he talked to you before you came on board, kind of during the recruiting process, or is that just kind of who you are?
JOEY BRUNK: It was something that we had talked about when I was getting recruited, but I do think that’s kind of a little bit of my personality.
I’m comfortable with who I am and I don’t have any problem talking and speaking up on anything.
Q. It’s kind of unusual, but you’re coming in and you’ll be one the guys they lean on for production pretty instantly as soon as the season starts. Any pressure?
JOEY BRUNK: It’s an unbelievable opportunity, but we’ve put in a lot of the time, a lot of effort, and I’m comfortable with letting the chips fall where they may.
Q. Race, the way your first two years have been here, are you looking forward for this season to get here and just be able to get out there and be a part of a productive team effort here?
RACE THOMPSON: Yeah, yeah.
Q. Race, how much rust did you have when you got to the court last year? Are you much better now?
RACE THOMPSON: Just a little bit of rust, but, yeah, I’m good now. Back to normal. Feeling good.
Q. Race, you had that good defensive game against Ethan Happ last year and then coach said that there is still room for you to improve on the offensive end. Do you think you’ve improved a lot, and what have you improved most on that side of the floor?
RACE THOMPSON: Yeah, I definitely improved on offense, shooting the ball, just being stronger everywhere I am at. Basically just improving the all-around game, but shooting was a point that coach talked about a lot this summer.
Q. Race, how difficult was it both physically and mentally dealing with the injury coming back? What was that process like for you?
RACE THOMPSON: It wasn’t easy, but I did it. It wasn’t that bad. It was hard.
Q. Joey, I don’t know if this is even something you think a lot about, but normally grad transfers, I think most guys are just kind of a one-year deal. You only have that one season to go through everything. You get two years. Does it enter your mind that you can approach this differently as an experienced guy, but also a guy that’s maybe not trying to think about everything in terms of just having one season here?
JOEY BRUNK: Yeah, it’s a great chance to have two years here. It doesn’t have to be like forced right now. Just kind of had a natural progression of things. I really get to be a part of Indiana. It’s not just a nine-month exchange; I get to be here for two whole years.
Q. A really great summer in terms of a weight lifting perspective. I guess how much of a change do you see physically and how much have you seen that and how has that translated I guess in the basketball personnel?
JOEY BRUNK: I had a great summer with Coach Cliff in the weight room. We laid out some goals and we worked at it every day, and I was able to change my diet a little bit and that really helped.
On the court I feel like I’m running better, moving better, so I’ve definitely, definitely felt a little bit of a transition onto the court.
Q. Joey, this is for you. Growing up in Indy, what did IU basketball mean to you? How much did you watch guys? Who were guys you watched. What does it mean to you to now we’re that jersey?
JOEY BRUNK: Growing up I definitely remember watching like the Cody Zeller teams with Jordy Hulls and Nick. Those teams really, really stick out in my head for watching, and, you know, with playing AAU and JC Hulls was coaching our group and there are a lot of ties to Indiana and just being around, so it’s been a pretty neat opportunity to get to put on this uniform.
Q. Joey, working out with Trayce last spring, what was that like? What do you see in his potential, and how you did you think that chemistry can carry over onto the court this season?
JOEY BRUNK: Trayce is a great kid before anything else on the basketball court. He has a great opportunity in front of him and has a very, very high ceiling. I’m really excited to get to play with him, watch him, and root for him.
Q. Justin, the couple months you’ve been around, what’s impressed you with about Jerome Hunter as a player?
JOEY BRUNK: I think first, Jerome has a great attitude. Not being here last year and not — just with being hurt, he comes in with a great attitude. We know he works his butt off. He’s been great in our open gyms when we went live. He plays hard. He shoots it well? He’s long. He’s a good defender.
I think he’s going to be an important piece for us this year.
Q. Joey, getting to play against IU last year, what was your kind of perception of the program then, and how has it changed since you’ve been kind of instead of the outside being on the inside being a part of it?
JOEY BRUNK: We had a great game last year against IU when I was at Butler. I knew it was a great group of guys and a really, really talented group. Getting in here, you know, you see that there are a lot of really, really good people here in the program and affiliated with the program.
That’s a great opportunity to get to be a part of that.
Q. Race, entering your third year, you’ve been able to work with guys like Juwan Morgan and De’Ron Davis. What have you learned from them and been able to apply to your game?
RACE THOMPSON: I would say the main thing I learned from them is just patience and not rushing through my shots, rushing through a move or nothing.
So patience and just being strong all the time is the main thing they taught me day in and day out.
Q. Joey, in a couple interviews you described yourself as an old soul both with your own personality and what your flavor is for your favorite kind of basketball combination, like your NBA starting five. Where does that come from? Is that something that was engrained into you as a kid, kind of a soft spot for the classics and things like that?
JOEY BRUNK: I did catch a little bit of grief for my starting five for not including Jordan. Hindsight, I probably should have changed that.
But just growing up with my parents we listened to a lot of old music, probably have a soft spot.
And then just with YouTube just watching Larry Bird and Kevin McHale and Hakeem highlights is probably a little bit of where that stems from.
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