COACH LICKLITER: I'll just say that I've
always been impressed with John's teams.
Michigan has been a tough opponent for us.
Played them better at home the time before this,
and then this time I thought we competed hard.
They got away from us early, and we cut into it but just couldn't make it up.
But this team has fought, and they've
competed hard all year, and I've always been
proud of them for that. It doesn't mean it's always looked real good. The last two games on the road people were very critical, but that's what happens sometimes. This team is trying to become a good team, and I'm proud of them for the effort today.
Cully played beyond his years today, I
thought, and that's a real good thing. I think he
enjoyed it. I told him coming in here, he's going to love Conseco, and I think he must. Jarryd has
been a very good leader for us. We're obviously
going to have to shoot better than 5-for-20 from the three to be able to beat them. But it was -- it just wasn't to be today.But it's a really good group.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the
Q. Cully, you seemed to be more
inclined to really push the ball and be offensive
minded today. Was that by design or by
nature, or just because you like Conseco
CULLY PAYNE: Coach kind of joked
about it coming here, he's like, you're going to play
great at Conseco Fieldhouse. I'm like, what's so
great about this place. I love it, but it's great. That
was kind of our game plan today, push the ball a
little bit more. We got a lot of transition stuff, which
was good for us, so that was kind of the game
Q. Jarryd or Cully, can you talk about
switching to a zone defense? What was that
like for you?
JARRYD COLE: You know, in practice
this week we were trying to -- trying to mix things
up a little bit. You know, in Big Ten play,
everybody knows what you're going to do
basically. You scout all year for each other, and
most likely are going to play each other twice. You
get into a tournament it's nice to mix things up,
give people a different look, and we did, and it
ended up being successful for us, but not
CULLY PAYNE: Like coach kind of said in
practice, the zone will throw them off a little bit and
take a little time off of the shot clock in the
backcourt, and I think the zone was good for us
Q. Either player, I've heard speculation
about your coach's future. Have you guys
March 11, 2010
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heard anything of that, and has it affected the
team at all?
JARRYD COLE: Personally, no, I've never
heard anything. I don't know if you're talking about
us as players leaving or him going anywhere. I've
never heard anything. Whatever you hear, I don't
know, it's news to me, I guess, too.
CULLY PAYNE: I think like Jarryd said,
we haven't heard a lot about it, but I know that I
came here to play for coach, and our staff, and
we've got four great guys coming in. With the
freshman class I know me, Eric and Brennan,
that's coach's first class he recruited. We've got a
great, true foundation and we're excited for coach,
so we're kind of by his side the whole way. I can
speak for us freshman class and the whole team
that coach is our guy.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach
Q. Coach, three seasons ago, take me
through this: If I had sat there and told you
that by this point almost the entire team would
have transferred out, most of them would have
been guys that could start and Iowa basketball
would be in the state it's in now, would you
have said I'm crazy or would you have said
that's part of the plan to begin with in the sense
that you have freshmen coming in that are your
COACH LICKLITER: I'm not sure I follow
Q. The question is, this is the worst
Iowa basketball I've seen in probably 35 years
as far as the amount of wins. What I'm asking
you is because of the style of play that you had
at Butler, you knew you'd have to come in and
shape this over the course of time. Has that
went like you thought it would or is this beyond
what you thought it would be as far as a bad
COACH LICKLITER: Well, I didn't
anticipate -- you don't look and project wins and
losses, you prepare daily and try to put the best
players out. I think the hardest thing coming in
here has been that the recruits that we've been --
that we have targeted, that we feel like are going to
be able to compete have got to go through some
tough times. We're not recruiting All-Big Ten
players to Iowa their freshman year. If we do,
great, if we can find them.
But realistically what we've had to do is
recruit players that will develop into that, and that
has been hard for players to go through the
frustration, the grind, the hard work. So we've had
to continue to fight through some of that.
Of the players that have left, I had
recruited one of them to-date if I'm not mistaken.
It's not -- if you look back, players have left the
University of Iowa before I came. If you look at
Butler, I had very few players leave. I had a few. I
didn't have a plan for -- as a matter of fact, I take it
very seriously your commitment to
student-athletes. I want them to progress and
graduate, and that's been my commitment to them.
I think that because student-athletes can
leave, there's probably some of you sitting out here
right now that if you could leave your job and go to
another job that was very similar without any
repercussions, you might do it. And there might be
some days you'd do it more readily than others.
But that's the state we're in right now, and so we've
had to do a little fighting through that.
We do have a foundation. I don't know
what's going to happen. People have to make
those decisions. But we've invested; players have
gotten better, and this team is better than the first
two teams that won more games.
Q. There has been a lot of speculation
today about your future, and it's unavoidable.
Are you confident you're going to be the coach
of this team next year?
COACH LICKLITER: You know, my future
is that I'm healthy, I have a great family. I love
what I do. I've done it well, and that's not in my
Q. Along those same lines, have you
met with Gary Barta to discuss whether or not
you're going to be the coach?
COACH LICKLITER: No, I haven't, no.
I'm trying to prepare for the Big Ten tournament
and give my undivided attention to this team.
Q. Either specifically with you or for
any coach, is three years a reasonable amount
of time to judge the progress or not?
COACH LICKLITER: I think it depends on
what you go into and the amount of support that
you have and that sort of thing. You can judge
some coaches as far as wins and losses
immediately depending on the situation that they
Q. You mentioned how much this team
has improved throughout the course of the
season. What can you say about all the
freshmen that contributed and played today,
where they were at the beginning of the
season, where they are now, guys like Cully,
who had a huge game.
COACH LICKLITER: Yeah, he shows a lot
of toughness, and that's handled the grind pretty
well. Now they have a whole year of Big Ten
experience. It's a Big Ten that I've talked to a lot of
time, media personality a couple days ago and
said he cannot remember -- now, he's been at it a
while. He can't remember the Big Ten being this
good, and we played 18 games this year. They've
had a little bit more of a grind than past teams
possibly. I think they've held up pretty well.
They're pretty beat up emotionally, they're pretty
beat up physically. You saw today they don't have
any quit of them. They're going to be successful
these guys. I think anyway, I think they've got the
Q. How long is this going to go on? I
assume you'd like to know whether you're
going to be the coach or not. It's kind of a
COACH LICKLITER: Do you think that
would have to do with me? I mean, it's not --
you're asking me to answer on speculation. I don't
have any. I haven't been told I'm not, so until I'm
told I'm not, I've got to -- I am.
Q. A month ago, Gary said without
hesitation that you will be back. Is he not
saying that now to you?
COACH LICKLITER: He doesn't say -- we
don't talk about that. We just talk about what -- the
task at hand, and I really don't -- we haven't met on
anything of that.