Jan. 2, 2002
On Luke Walton's status this week: "We are not sure with Luke (Walton) as to whether he will be available or not this week. We are expecting that he will be, but we will just have to see after today and tomorrow. He did not work out on Monday. He worked out on the bike, but he did not do anything on the floor. So, if he isn't available, we would go with the same lineup that started the game against Valparaiso."
On Walton's passing ability: "I would have to think long and hard about the guys we've had, but I don't recall a front-line passer as good as Luke. He has a feel for getting to the right spot, and once he gets to the right spot, he can deliver the great back-door bounce passes or get it into the post. The young guys are learning from playing with him how critical it is to get yourself in position to receive the pass. I don't recall anyone else who would be in his class as a passer."
On the win over Valparaiso: "As far as the Valparaiso game was concerned, I thought that we played very well with the obvious problem of attacking the zone and not having Luke (Walton) present. That was a real challenge for us. You can see how valuable he is to us from the standpoint of his ability to find openings and deliver passes."
On the rematch versus Oregon: "The big challenge for us with Oregon is getting the kind of effort that we need to have defensively in order to deal with their four perimeter guys. Up there, they played Luke Jackson in the four spot, which gave them four very good perimeter shooters and drivers. I thought (Channing) Frye was awfully good in all aspects of the game up there. Our perimeter guys were taken to task and for us to turn the results of that game around, we have to do a much better job of defending their perimeter guys. We also have to do a much better job of executing offensively."
"Once we get into a half court offense, the open shot without any offensive movement gives us no chance at getting offensive rebounds. Getting guys to better understand what we need to do is a problem that we have to solve and they have to solve in order for us to become better with each outing."
"It was obvious that night up at Oregon that Oregon was just so much better than we were. It wasn't even close. They were more athletic, and they use a lot of guys. They have done a good job all year long of moving the ball, so we'll see how much we've improved over the last couple of weeks."
"This is probably one of the best Oregon teams in a long while. All the perimeter guys can shoot the ball, they can drive it, and they pass the ball well. They have one of the best team free throw percentages in the country."