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Indiana men’s basketball vs. Bethune-Cookman: Mike Woodson midweek press conference highlights

Here’s everything the Hoosiers’ head coach said in media availability this week.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Indiana vs Saint Mary’s Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana men’s basketball head coach Mike Woodson addressed the media on Wednesday to answer a few questions.

Here’s some of what he had to say:

Q: On his relationship with Reggie Theus, Bethune-Cookman head coach

Woodson: “Really, Reggie and I became teammates back in I believe it was ‘81, ‘82, somewhere around in there with the Kansas City Kings, and then we were part of the move from Kansas City to Sacramento when the franchise relocated there, and we’ve been friends ever since. He was a good teammate, man. The only thing I get on Reggie about, me and Eddie Johnson always ride him a lot. When he first got to the team, he would always throw us bad passes when we were in a scoring position, so we couldn’t shoot the ball, we’d have to pass it back. That was his big issue when we first — we had to get him straight right off the bat; put the ball in the pocket where we can catch it and be ready to deliver a score, a bucket. But Reggie was a good teammate. He and I, like I said, we’ve been friends since 1981, ‘82. He’s attended my golf tournament that I used to host for years in Las Vegas, and we kind of made our rounds over the years playing golf in different other people’s tournaments, so we’ve kept in touch. I’m happy to do this game with these guys.”

Q: On the series with Kentucky

Woodson: “Well, Cal and I are very good friends. We’ve been very good friends for very many years, back when we were both in the NBA, and he’s had a long run at the college level. We always have shared ideals about basketball, from an X’s and O’s standpoint over the years. My thing is I can’t say a whole lot until there’s a contract inked, but yes, I would love to see the game back in play. I know he’s for it and I’m for it, too, so until a contract is executed it’s kind of a moot point right now. But we’re hoping something here in the near future will be executed and then we can really talk about the series once it’s done. But right now it’s still in talking stages.”

Q: On the tempo Indiana plays at

Woodson: “Well, every team I’ve ever been a part of has always talked about, we want to play fast, we want to get out and run. Well, there’s a lot of things that come along with that. You’ve got to be conditioned to do that, and then you’ve got to have the right pieces to do it. Last year we just didn’t have a lot of guys that could handle the ball and make basketball plays and do things off the bounce individually. That’s no knock to anybody that we had last season, it’s just we didn’t have that makeup of the team. I think with the guys that have come back to us that they have gotten better like the Tamar Bates, the Gallos, even Geronimo has been able to put the ball down on the floor and make a basketball play, and then the new guys. All those guys can do that. To answer your questions, yes, I would like to play faster and get out and do more things in the open court, and I think we can, but we’re still conditioning ourselves and making sure that — that’s something that’s always been a big thing with me. We’ve got to always be in great shape, and I think we’re in pretty good shape based on all the running and things we’ve done from a weight standpoint to get to this point. Yes, to answer your question, yeah, I would like to play faster.”

Q: On Malik Reneau

Woodson: “I’ve let him rebound the ball and push the ball up, take it all the way to the bucket and make plays. He’s made plays out of the double-team. He’s shot out on the floor some. Hey, I would never handicap a kid that I think can do all those things. Yes, his strength is playing inside-out, and I’m going to hold him to that, too. I think he’s a player that can do a little bit of everything, and we’re going to hopefully put him in position to do those things. I think we’ve done that.”

Q: On Tamar Bates

Woodson: “Well, again, Tamar has been one of the brightest spots since we’ve gotten back together, dating back four and a half, five months ago. Unfortunately he had a little hiccup about two and a half, three weeks ago where he got hurt, but other than that, he’s been playing fantastic. I’m expecting a great season out of him. He’s going to play. He’s proven and putting himself in that position and done everything that’s asked of him to deserve some minutes on the floor this year.”

Q: On Miller Kopp’s shooting ability

Woodson: “Well, he’s making shots. He hasn’t taken a lot of them, but the shots that he’s taken, he’s made. That’s just all the work that he’s put in this summer leading up to this point. I mean, Miller works; that’s what he does in the gym. He comes early, stays late. I’m expecting him when he’s got shots he’s going to knock them down. That’s kind of how I feel.”

Q: On leadership from the bench/second unit

Woodson: “I think Tamar Bates, Gallo is starting to step up, and Geronimo. Geronimo has done a lot of good things in the minutes that he’s been out on the floor, kind of leaving off where he left at the end of last season. But I think he’s more — the word I want to use is more stable now. He’s doing basketball things, and he’s not overthinking, he’s just playing. That unit, again, they’re very valuable to building a team. Your bench has got to be able to give you something. I thought the other night when the first unit was just kind of going through the motions, our second unit came in and gave us a major lift. When you’re building a team, that’s what you’re going to need because sometimes the first unit ain’t going to be there, so you’ve got to have a backup plan. I thought our second unit was pretty damned good the other night.”

Q: On Trayce Jackson-Davis’ injury in this thumb

Woodson: “Oh, I don’t know. That’s something I can’t answer. I broke my thumb I remember — his is not broken, but I broke the tip of my thumb, and it’s a tough injury. I never sat down. I put a splint over it, and out of all the injuries I’ve had that was the worst because the pain was just — it was just unbelievable. You throw the ball, you try to catch the ball with a broken thumb, it’s tough. But we’ve seen him manage what injury he has. I think he had a severe sprain in the thumb area, and we just padded it. Tim Garl padded it just to give him some relief, and it seems to be working for him. He had taken a couple days away, too, just to get it calmed down, and we’ve just got to hope that it’s not something that’s going to nag him the rest of the season. We’re looking at it cautiously because we’ve got a long season ahead of us, and he’s a big part of what we do.”

Q: On growing up playing basketball

Woodson: “Well, I started late. I always played with my older brothers and their friends as a little kid, but I didn’t start actually playing until the eighth grade. That was a major learning curve for me because I was going through some personal things after losing my father, and I knew I liked basketball, and I took it serious even at an early age of the eighth grade. I got kicked off the eighth grade — I would run and come in first place and always had to go in the locker room last. He’d always send me in the locker room last, and I couldn’t understand that. I would win every sprint but would go in last. One day I just went in first, and he said, when you walk through the door, hey, don’t come back, and I did. I was voted back on the team the next week, and I vowed never to quit again, man, because basketball really became a big part of me. By the time I became a sophomore in high school I was playing against the Pacers, who were my big idols, George McGinnis and Roger Brown, who was my idol, and Mel Daniels and guys like that as a sophomore in high school. I truly believe that’s why I developed a lot quicker than probably most kids that young.”

Q: On his memories playing basketball with his brothers

Woodson: “I was a crybaby at the time because they knocked me around. They were so much bigger — they weren’t that much bigger. My two brothers were 6’2”, but they just always seemed to — they let me hang around the old guys, and I truly believe that’s why I developed. I always played up against guys that were much, much older than I was. I’m talking about my two brothers, there was an 18-year difference and a 12-year difference between me and those guys. They just let me see — they always threw me in there. It just became natural for me because I did get an opportunity to play. But they played a major part in my career and my development early on, I’ll tell you that. They really did.”