Jan. 18, 2013
By John Lock and Chelsea Cunningham
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois (8-9, 1-5) hosts Illinois State (9-9, 0-6) on Sunday at 7 p.m. in a nationally televised game on ESPNU. The contest marks the first ESPN network TV broadcast at SIU Arena since the Northeastern game on Nov. 16, 2010, that christened the renovated facility. At halftime, the K-9 Crew Frisbee Dogs act will perform.
SIU head coach Barry Hinson met with the media prior to Thursday's practice.
How tough is it to chase long rebounds and will you challenge your guards to do a better job?
I think in this game, when you have a team coming into your facility that's going to shoot a ton of threes, I think it's more important that your guards put themselves in a position where they can chase down long rebounds. Obviously, longer shots mean longer rebounds. That's certainly going to be a priority in the first three days of practice.
How different is Illinois State with Tyler Brown?
I think they're different, just like Bradley was with (Will) Egolf. Every time you have a guy like that, who stretches the defense, I think that means a lot. It did not surprise me that he played at Wichita State. He played 26 minutes. He didn't shoot the ball extremely well, but I know how good this kid is and I know how good Illinois State can be. I have no delusions here. I know these guys are good. Point blank, they're better than us. We have to play better than them to win the game.
Will you use Davante Drinkard more in this game?
I think we're pretty comfortable now that we have Dantiel (Daniels) back in this rotation, with what he's done. He (Davante) will play. To the extent of how many minutes, I don't know. Our big-guy rotation right now is limited to five guys, and that is Josh (Swan), Jeff (Early), Davante, Dantiel and pick one. The pick one only comes in case of foul trouble or injury. Right now, I don't anticipate using more than four, but if we do, the pick one goes to No. 5. Right now, I would have to say the pick one would be Diamond Taylor.
Do you need more points out of your bench?
We need more points everywhere. I could care less if they came out of the crowd. If the guy selling popcorn wants to come in and shoot a three for us, I'm all for it. We need more points from somebody, somewhere, quickly. Right now, we're pretty limited with what we do on the perimeter, in terms of shooting the three. I got tickled last night -- Illinois State shot 27 threes. I don't think we've shot 27 threes in three games combined. That shows you the difference between the two programs.
Do you need a better shot selection on those threes?
Yeah, there's no question. We've had a lot better shot selection for us. Consequently, our offensive numbers have not only gone up, our offensive percentages have gone up dramatically. If you take better shots, you shoot a higher percentage. We're not a very good perimeter-shooting team, or we haven't shown to be. I think we're a lot better that what we've done, but we have to do a better job of taking better shots.
I know Dantiel isn't 100 percent, but why do you think he hasn't rebounded better than he has?
I don't know. I think a lot of it has to do with his groin injury. I think a lot of it has to do with his ankle injury. When you put the combination of those together, it takes a lot of stats out. You're talking about coming back from a groin injury where he's not healthy. He's coming back from an ankle injury where he's still not 100 percent. That really has a lot of effect on your stats. If you take one game and give him six or seven rebounds, then his stats are almost comparable to last year. At the same time, I don't think Dantiel's numbers last year were great in rebounding. Jackie Carmichael is averaging 8.9 rebounds per game. That's a rebounder. That's what a rebounder does. And I think just because you play inside or just because you're 6-5, which is not very tall but he's our tallest player, I don't think that says you're automatically going to be a great rebounder. Dantiel is not a laterally quick guy. To be a great rebounder, you have to be quick in all areas, and he's just not. Certainly we need him to get more rebounds, but that hasn't been a staple of his this year.
What is the biggest area of growth from October to now?
I don't think there's any question that our biggest area of growth is offensively. If you look at the numbers compared to last year, we are so much better offensively. And everyone when I came in here said there was not way to do what we're doing offensively. Ask anybody. If anybody is amazed, it's at what we've done offensively. Defensively, I'm extremely disappointed. We were 10th in defense last year and ninth in offense. We're still 10th in defense, but we're a lot higher on offense. We have to get out of that 10th spot on defense. That's not what this program is known for. I'm the guy that used to talk about Southern Illinois defense, and I didn't even coach here. We have to get back to the old days of when we guarded.
What more can you do with what you have defensively? Can you challenge your guards to be more aggressive?
There isn't a lot more we can do in a lot of instances. I'm a broken record and I'm not going to stop. We have just got to get better. In our defense, we have tried to stop as much as we can inside. With that, our 3-point percentage defense is not great because we've allowed people to shoot threes. Now this is a different ball game coming up Sunday. We're going to have to change a little bit, and we're going to have to guard a little more extended on the perimeter. There is a great chance that they are going to have three 3-point shooters on the floor at one time, and that's certainly going to change up what we do.
Offensively, you've done a good job of getting to the free throw line.
A lot of it has to do with just being aggressive. You don't get to the free throw line unless you attack the basket. Consequently, we have attacked the basket. I looked last night at a great stat of (Colt) Ryan...great stat last night. He didn't shoot the ball very well at Drake. He had 25 points, with 16-of-16 from the free throw line. We need guys like that who can get to the free throw line. We don't get easy baskets. We don't get any easy baskets. I think our offensive numbers are so impressive because we don't get run outs. You knew that was going to happen in the Missouri Valley. You never get transition baskets in the Valley because everyone gets back on defense. So, easy baskets to me right now are getting to the free throw line.
How impressed have you been with Desmar Jackson's conduct as of late?
Well, today is our fourth day of class, and I will get an academic report tomorrow. I'll be able to give you a better report on that after this week. The conduct off the floor, and as far as he's been, I've seen his quotes in the paper, I've listened to his quotes on the radio, I think he's done a great job there. His attitude at practice has been good. He got dinged up the other night, and he also got a little upset at the officials. When you do that it takes you out of your game. You have to be more mature than that. As of late, I'm happy with his progress. We've got a long way to go.
You've talked at length about the fan support, and how big they've been to you. What do you expect for the Illinois State game?
I'd be surprised, and don't call me crazy, but I think we'll break the 6,000 mark for the first time this year. I'd really be surprised if we don't. We've got great weather. I just checked the weather. We've got great weather. We've got a national televised game on ESPN, and we've got a really good ball club coming in. They're an in-state rival, and I think our students are pretty excited about our basketball team right now. It's kind of neat. I went to Pinch Penny the other night after the ball game, and I was sitting in there. I had more students come up to me and talk about how excited they were about Saluki basketball coming back, and how hard we were playing. Everywhere I go in the community, I hear that over and over. I'll be surprised if we don't have over 6,000 for Sunday's game.
Do you feel like they've turned a corner as far as attitude and effort goes?
I hope so. I think that you go back in our last three ball games when we were at Wichita State, at Bradley, and even Indiana State at home. In all of those games, there were periods in which we were down and answered the bell to come back. I thought the most impressive thing was the other night when we were down by eight at Bradley, we brought it back to one point, and we had a chance to win the ball game. I thought that was pretty impressive.