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Press Conference Quotes
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 22, 2001
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Head Coach Lute Olson
On his absence from the team during midseason ...
"There was a lot of uncertainty with both the players and coaches. It was difficult for all of us because I was gone a lot and missed a few games. When I returned, there was some stability with the players. I noticed a significant improvement in the way the team played at that time."

On the comparisons between Ole Miss and Arizona ...
"Any team that has advanced this far in the tournament wants to be here. There really is no comparison. You throw out the records and forget the traditions for both schools in terms of comparison. However, Rod’s program at Ole Miss is further along than Arizona was when I took over and that’s a credit to Rod. The bottom line is that both teams are in the Sweet 16 and want to be in the Elite Eight."

On the length of the three-point line ...
"I personally think it should be moved back. The international line is about eight inched further back than ours is. I think teams should be shooting around 33 percent from the arc and it is too hard to do that. It has been good for the game though because it opens up the style of play both inside and outside."

On sophomore guard Gilbert Arenas ...
"His biggest improvement has been shot selection. In high school, he was the leading scorer in the state of California at about 35 point per game. When you get to college, you now play with four other guys who can shoot the ball and are used to scoring a lot of points, too. I think that when he limited his number of shots, his scoring went up."

Center Loren Woods, Sr.
On his matchup with Karim Lockhart ...
"Rahim Lockhart is pretty big, but I have a few inches on him. What we are going to do is put Mike (Wright) on him and let him worry about him for 40 minutes. Seriously, it is going to come down to Arizona playing their style of basketball. We are going to try to get up and down the floor. We know Mississippi plays great defense, but I think we have all the preparation we need to have."

On the significance of winning the last two regular season games by a close margin ...
"I think it definitely helps us confidence wise. In the beginning of the season when a game came down to the wire, we lost the game. As far as the end of the season, the biggest part of that was playing those teams away from home. Anytime time a team goes into Stanford, they know it is going to be a tough game and come down to the wire. After we got that victory, we ended the celebration in the locker room because we had to go play Cal, who is always tough at home. The tournament always has more close games and you never know what’s going to happen in the end."

Forward Richard Jefferson, Jr.
On the impact Bobbi Olson’s passing had on the team this season ...
"It was very trying for our team. We knew that Coach Olson was going through a lot of things, especially at the beginning of the year. We knew the situation was getting progressively worse but we didn’t have too much of an idea because Coach Olson kept it to himself. It was a devastating blow to our team when she passed away."

On the team’s focus heading into this regional ...
"Our team is very, very loose. Every team in the country has one or two players that keep it joking and add a lot of fun to the team. On our team, we have six or seven of those guys that always love to crack jokes and never take anything too seriously. When we step on the court, we are fierce competitors who never want to lose a game. We’ve been through a lot the last two years and are excited to be here."

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