Jan. 11, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois (7-8, 0-4) will host Indiana State (10-5, 3-1) in a Missouri Valley Conference matchup on Saturday at SIU Arena at 7:05 p.m.
Head coach Barry Hinson met with media following Friday morning's practice.
Coach, there's 14 MVC games left. What are you looking to see the rest of the way?
I think one of the things was what we told our guys when we went into Wichita State. We told our guys we're not going to grade on the scoreboard; we're going to grade on attitude and effort. I think when you're not winning ballgames and when you're struggling, I know my grandma used to say, 'Find a silver lining in every cloud,' and I think you have to find small things to try to focus on and try to achieve those. Attitude and effort were those two things going into the Wichita State game that we really asked our guys to do. I was really disappointed at Evansville. I thought we quit in the second half. It was very evident. You know when you go into a media room and you go on your radio show after the game, and it's brought up in two different venues by people who haven't been talking to each other. It was rather disappointing and embarrassing that we had a ball club that quit in the second half. It's just hard, and I don't want to go through that again, so I challenged our guys: attitude and effort. You guys saw the results. I thought we played harder, and I thought we definitely played more as a team. I thought our attitude was great.
How big is it to be finally back at SIU Arena?
We've had 15 games this year, and we've only played four at home. Four. Nobody else is doing that. I'll bet there's not more than 10 schools that have played fewer home games than we have. And no one in the Valley has. And that's an awful lot to ask of a group that's coming off eight wins, new coach, new system, and getting your butt beat to never play at home. So at least we get to come home. I'm really excited. I didn't even recognize the gym today. It was like coming into a new facility.
Has the effort from Wednesday (at Wichita State) carried over into practice the last couple days?
I thought our last two practices have been really good, but I don't' mind telling you that it will only last so long. There's only one thing that will take care of our attitude and effort and get it to the next level, and that's a much-needed win. We have to have a collective effort, not only by our team, by our staff, but we also need a collective effort from our fans. And I'm telling you, everywhere I go in this community and everywhere I've been, people are talking about Saluki basketball and about our kids giving effort. I told our players at practice, 'Jeff (Early), do you remember when you dove on the floor right here in front of the bench how the crowd went? Josh (Swan), do you remember when you dove into the stands over there on the opposite end how the crowd went? Kendal (Brown-Surles), do you remember when you dove on the floor against Bradley and how our crowd reacted?' That's what our crowd wants. Our crowd wants guys who are going to play hard, that want to be Salukis, and that want to represent our university and our program in a first-class manner. That's what they want. If we do that, they'll be here. It's almost Field of Dreams-type stuff. If you build it, they will come. If you will play your butts off, they will come. I believe that; I've always believed that.
Will Dantiel Daniels play tomorrow?
Yeah, I think he's going to play. I think we want to play him a little bit. I don't know how much of a threat he's going to be. He's really limited. Maybe we can get him out there 6-8 minutes. I don't know how much he can really play. We tried to run a play for him today, and he can't dunk it, can't get up around the rim. I mean he jumps like I do right now. I don't know if you all know this, but I've got a good vertical. It's just not quite as good as Dantiel's when he's healthy. He practiced half the day yesterday and all day today. I shouldn't say all day. He practiced three-quarters of the time today. He tweaked it a little bit and really struggled towards the end of practice, but that's to be expected.
Jake Odum returns for Indiana State, but it's largely a new team. What's impressed you about this year's group?
Several things. First, we know Jake and how good of a player he is. I think the X-factor is (Manny) Arop. I think he makes them go. I think he's a really, really good player, who transferred from Gonzaga. And all their big guys can step out and make threes and stretch the defense. We really have to have a good defensive game, and we really need to play with a lot of energy and enthusiasm tomorrow night to help us get jump-started defensively.
What do you ask (Anthony) Beane to do when he's guarding Odum?
Same thing I've asked him all year long, just to give us his best effort. I mean, I've got a freshman, night in and night out, guarding the other team's best perimeter player every game. And I will say this: Anthony Beane had his best practice in a Saluki uniform today. I'm really encouraged by the progress that Anthony is making. I think it's important for our program, and I think it's important for our fans to understand that we've got good things coming. I think our fans, our alumni, and the people that support our program need to see light at the end of the tunnel; and Anthony Beane is a pretty bright light. I wish they could see Bola (Olaniyan) every day in practice, and then they would really be encouraged. Bola is definitely--if not our best--one of our best big men right now, every day on the floor.
What's Anthony Beane's next step?
I think his next step is to become a sophomore. Seriously, he's just got to live and learn and get through these mistakes right now. His next step is to not be depressed about the mistakes he's made. There's no one who felt worse the other night when he dribbled behind his back and turned the ball over in a really tough part of the game, but you learn from your mistakes.
You challenged Desmar (Jackson) early in the week. Is he just a guy that you constantly have to ride on a daily basis to get the most out of?
Let's address this right now because I did something I haven't done in 32 years. I not only challenged Desmar privately but I challenged him publicly. I think people need to understand that I love my players. I love them. But sometimes, desperate times call for desperate measures, and we were there. I love Desmar Jackson, and we would like Desmar Jackson to be a part of this program. But we don't want him to be a part of this program until he realizes that it's a privilege to be here, not a right. That not only goes for Desmar; that goes for every player in our program. Sometimes, we coddle who we perceive to be our best players, and that's absolutely the worst thing we can do. I've always had this saying: 'When it's more important to me than it is to the player, it's time for us to move on.' I think that's where we had gotten to. We need Desmar, but I think Desmar needs us more than we need him. Every player needs to figure that out. I hope our fans understand that I want the best for him. For me to call a kid out in public, it hurt me. It bothered me. I just felt like at this time I needed to do that in order to catch his attention. Don't think for one moment, not one moment, that this is a mind game. It has nothing to do with mind games, I'm telling you. You can ask Luke (Scheidecker), we were buying a bus ticket, which, by the way, is an NCAA violation. That's how upset I was. We would have made sure that Desmar bought his own bus ticket, so we wouldn't have had a violation. But I wasn't playing a mind game. I was being truthful the entire time.
Has it improved your relationship with him?
It has for the last 72 hours. We have another 48 hours to go before I make my decision. It's not anybody else's decision. This isn't something that is staff. This is something that I just came in and told my staff, 'This is what I'm going to do. I'm worn out. I'm tired of it. I've come to the point that this is what we're going to do, and we're going to make a decision.' I don't care if Desmar scores 28 points. It doesn't have anything to do with points. It has everything to do with effort and attitude and respect and punctuality and doing the little things right. We want to make sure that our guys understand, regardless of what happens on the floor with the scoreboard, that we're still going to do the right things. I think you just have to put your foot down and say, 'It hurts, but it's still the right thing to do.' My dad made me go to a willow tree a lot. I had to pick my switch. I hated it. My mom and dad didn't like that. But I learned my lesson. This is one of these moments. I'm not sending Desmar to the willow tree; I'm sending him to the bus stop, I guess.
Have you added any football players?
We've worked out Calvin (Belts). We've worked him out and we've got him eligible. And just to show you the state of Saluki basketball, we get Calvin on the squad because we need someone to help us practice. We get him eligible, and then he has an accident and takes six stitches to his shooting hand. It just never fails. It's just amazing. I don't think anyone wants to be around me right now heading to Vegas, I promise you that. He's helping us a little bit in practice. I don't anticipate that he'll play in the games very much, but he'll certainly help us in practice.
Are you working anyone else out?
No. That's it. All we've added is Calvin.
How did it come to be that he joined the team?
I went to Coach Lennon and I just said, 'Hey, Dale, I need some help. Do you have any big guys?' Anthony Beane has known Calvin all his life, followed him in AAU ball and knew his father, Calvin Sr., and we went to Coach Lennon and asked if it would be OK. We won't take away from football. He still has to do all his football homework and all of his lifting with football. All the meeting and all that--we're not taking him away from football at all. But I'll tell you what, Dale Lennon helped us a bunch, and it certainly has helped in practice. We needed one big guy to help us, and it certainly helped us a lot.
Has Chase Heins started practicing?
Chase's recovery has been stalemated once again. Chase will not be able to practice the entire year. He will not be able to go into full workouts most likely into May. At that time, we will judge whether he can end up being a basketball player or if it will be the end of his career. It's the same injury; we just can't get through it.