HEAD COACH LUTE OLSON QUOTES
OCTOBER 18, 1999
"It's obvious everyone's going to have to go full speed because if they're not out performing each day, they are going to be facing a drop in where they would expect to be playing."
"We've really put more emphasis on the point guards building their strength up. The young guys are much more aware of how critical strength is to their adjustment to college.
"How good we become will depend on our defense, not our offense. I would be very disappointed if this isn't a much better defensive team than a year ago. We'll go as far as our defense will carry us."
"I am interested in developing a team that can do what we need to do in order to be successful. This year I think we will have a much better balance with the play of the front line. We want to get in to more high-low positions. We want to get the big guys involved. We need the front line to be a dominating front line."
"We need to have some growth take place at point guard, but I feel comfortable with the competition we have at that position."
"We've had good competition in practice for most years, and it's one reason our guys have improved so much as players over the years. You can't go through the motions in practice without losing your spot."
"We have inexperienced guys going against guys with one year of experience. We have a lot of underclassmen, but I don't think youth is as much of a factor as it was last year. "
"We need to take advantage of the inside strength that we have. Mike Wright's down 12 to 15 pounds from what he played at last year, so he's really built his strength up, and he's so much quicker than last year."
"He's running the court better, he's stronger defensively, and I'm comfortable that his development will allow him to go out on the court and do a good job."
"There is no question he's worked hard in the offseason, but his consistency is the big question. Last year we saw flashes of brilliance, but he needs to have it turned up all the time in the game."
"He's developed his intensity on the defensive end of the game, and he's very much a key to how good we can be."
"I will be surprised if he doesn't end up being one of our key leaders. I'm impressed with his quickness and his passing ability, and he has a nice shooting touch with both hands."
"Our biggest concern with Loren is him being able to get down and get the leverage he needs to hold his position. It's a matter of him continuing to work on getting down lower in post-up situations."
"He knows how to win, and he will be a good defender right off because he's quick and strong. I don't think he has time to think about the pressure. He's been used to the pressure (of being compared to Mike Bibby), and I think he'll deal with it well."
On the Pacific-10 Conference:
"Well, you have to look at the teams with the most experience coming back. The teams with a shot at winning the league would probably be Oregon, UCLA, Stanford and us. You would have to mention those four teams as having a legitimate chance for the title."
ARIZONA MEN'S BASKETBALL MEDIA DAY
OCTOBER 18, 1999
Freshman Guard Jason Gardner:
"Arizona has great players and a great coaching staff. Coach Olson lets his players play, and that's one of the major reasons why I came here."
"I've been compared with (Mike) Bibby, (Damon) Stoudamire and (Jason) Terry, and to be put in that category is a compliment. But, I have to block that out and stay focused."
"It's going to take a while to get used to it (college basketball), so I can build a little confidence. But, every game is going to be a big game. I have dreamed about playing against the top players and the top programs in the nation."
Sophomore Forward Richard Jefferson:
"I put a lot more pressure on myself than anyone else. I have to work on my consistency, and there are still holes in my game. I have been working on my jump shot and my ball handling, which are two things that it takes to be a good position player."
"Last year was up and down, and I was not as good as I could have been. I could have played better, but I've learned from it, and I need to come out and play more consistently this year."
Junior (Transfer) Center Loren Woods:
"I've had a lot of opportunities to improve. During the summer I got 10 more games under my belt, and the NIT was really good competition and good experience."
"I can still improve in a lot of aspects. It's not my strength right now, but the coaches want me to bang more in practice."
"I don't think anybody has to come out and score 40 or 50 points because this team is so talented. We have a lot of young guys, but I don't think youth is a real issue like it was last year."
Sophomore Forward Michael Wright:
"I want to win, but it's a team effort, so I will do whatever it takes for us to win. I'm not a real vocal leader, but I try to lead by example."
"It's going to be a bumpy road, but we have to fight through it. I would rather have a tough schedule right from the start because easy competition early on doesn't really get you ready for the big games."
"We have a very competitive conference, and we just have to be ready because anything can happen."