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Head Coach Lute Olson Weekly Press Conference
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 23, 2001
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January 23, 2001

"We had an excellent practice yesterday. I think the confidence continues to come back. The focus in the practice situation is as good as I have seen in a while. I think that's a result of the successful trip to Washington and the wins over USC and UCLA. USC and UCLA are two very good teams who are playing well. The key thing with us is when we needed to be good for us we were."

"I think we are going to be a consistently good defensive team. It is obvious that our defensive is well ahead of our offense. Now we need to become more fluid on the offensive end. My personal feeling is that if you are going to establish one before the other it would be defense. Defense creates a lot of offensive opportunities.

On Arizona State:
"They have had their share of problems without (forward Chad) Prewitt in the lineup consistently. (Guard Awvee) Storey has been playing well. (Guard-forward) Donnell Knight and (forward) Tommy Smith have to be considered two of the top sophomores in the conference.

"(Head Coach) Rob Evans has them playing very hard. The team is very aggressive on the boards and the problem for them is they just haven't been able to hit their shots. As a coach it is very frustrating to go through this because you can create shots for the players but they are going to have to convert their opportunities. There certainly has not been a lack of effort on their part that I have seen on film."

On Arizona State's slow start:
"It shouldn't be a problem to succeed there but it is tough because the fan support isn't as strong as it should be. Kids want to play in front of full houses."

On the rivalry:
"Over the years, they have given us all we wanted up in Tempe. Last year it was the complete opposite. Rivalries occur when players know one another. A rivalry has developed with UCLA, USC and Stanford because guys have played more against guys from those teams. It's a huge game for (junior forward) Richard Jefferson because he knows a couple of players on Arizona State's squad."

On Arizona State's rebounding:
"They send four guys to the glass which means if we can clear it we're going to have fast break opportunities. By sending four guys to the glass they are going to get some as well. They work the offensive boards really hard."

On Arizona senior center Loren Woods:
"His defense is getting much better. It is very seldom now where you see somebody else drive and he doesn't rotate to help out. The next thing I think you will see is him becoming a factor on the offensive boards as well. Offensively, he is so effective at the high post. He's not getting as many shot opportunities compared to if he was in the low post but he shoots the ball very well from outside."

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