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October 27, 2011

Carmody says depth will be key in 2011-12

Coach Bill Carmody spoke at Big Ten Basketball Media Day on Thursday. Here is a transcript of time at the podium.


COACH CARMODY: Well, it's good to get going again. Everybody's full of hope, energy, and it's five months of basketball. I think like a lot of teams we have guys back, losing an important guy in Mike Thompson.

And I think like every year for us it's -- I think our first five, six guys are very talented and can play. And it's our depth. So right now I'm just trying to figure out, like I do every year, just what that rotation is going to be, even this early.

Because I do have some veterans. Probably five guys that played a lot of minutes last year. Some pretty good freshmen and upper-class guys trying to see if I can integrate them, if they're going to be ready to help out.

So had about 10 practices, and it looks pretty good.



THE MODERATOR: Questions?



Q. Obviously not easy to replace a player like Juice Thompson, but how do you try to do it? And, also, if you could address JerShon Cobb and how you think he'll impact the team this year.

COACH CARMODY: Mike played as well as anybody did I think last year in the conference. I mean, the last 12 games he was magnificent.

But we have -- you mentioned JerShon Cobb, and Alex Marcotullio who played for the Under-20 British team this year and did really well. Actually invited to join and practice for the National team. He got cut, but he'll try out for them again next year. If he does make the team, since the Olympics are in London, he'd be an Olympian.

But those two guys, Cobb and Marcotullio, Marcotullio has a lot of experience, JerShon played, had some good games for us. Then he was injured. He hurt his hip during the year. Had surgery in April and was basically out for about four and a half months. So he's just getting back into the flow of things.

But between those two guys, right now along with our front line, you always have veterans there. I never think about replacing a guy. I just think the dynamic changes every year: this guy gets better; this guy improves. You have freshmen coming in and how are they going to fit into the mix. I'm forgetting about Thompson.



Q. You mentioned depth earlier. Does your system require more or less depth than an average slightly more standard system?

COACH CARMODY: I don't think there's any difference. I really don't think there's any difference. So is that below standard, below substandard, what is that? No, I don't think -- I think everyone looks for it. Everyone says you're going to play a lot of guys this year, you keep your team happy, and before the conference starts maybe people play nine, ten guys.

By the time end of January, February, most rotations are about eight people. So I think that's what we do usually play, eight and a half, nine people.



Q. What are your expectations for Mike Turner this season? Do you expect him to get a lot of minutes?

COACH CARMODY: You know, Mike has been a surprise. He's from the Lab school, and the competition there isn't that great. But we like the kid. Pretty athletic guy. About 6'8". He's gained weight, gained probably 15, 18 pounds. Looks pretty good. He doesn't know what he's doing right now, but he -- and I mean that in a friendly way.

As soon as he picks things up, I think he's going to be pretty good. He's better than I thought he was going to be at this stage, because he's not afraid. And he gets his nose in there a little bit. He's hitting the boards. He's running, and now he just has to sort of refine the way he's playing. I'm happy with him.



Q. Bill, how much does hoping that this is the year, this is the breakthrough, first time in the NCAA tournament, how much does that weigh on your mind?

COACH CARMODY: I was hoping to get through this conference, press conference without that. But I guess five questions in it's all right.

It doesn't weigh on my mind. You have 340 teams. And that's the goal of every team to get in the tournament. But the spotlight is on us more than other teams because we have not been there. We're getting pretty close. I like our team. So I think we have a real good shot.

And I think our guys, that's what they're really shooting for. And they feel this is it. So, you know, they're working towards that, and I think we think as a team that we have a good shot.



Q. How much of a leap do you expect Drew Crawford to make this year?

COACH CARMODY: Well, you know he was Rookie of the Year. I think he shared it as a freshman. And last year he actually played better, his numbers and percentages and things were up.

But I think he really has to play consistently well. He's logged a lot of minutes. Very athletic kid. Shoots the ball. And I think he's going to have to give us 15 in rebound, and just been working a lot on his post play and getting to the basket and stuff.

So he's looked very good in practice. He really worked hard this summer. And, you know, when you have a guy like Mike Thompson, people defer to him a little bit. And over the years I've seen that kind of situation.

And now I think maybe there's room for Drew to spread his wings a little bit.



THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.




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