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Lute Olson Press Conference Quotes
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 07, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Feb. 6, 2006


Opening Statement

It will be good to be back home again finally and we are certainly in a position where we need to protect our home court.


We have added an incentive in these two games, in that we lost both of them on the road up there.  As we look at the remaining seven games, with five of them being at home, we definitely have to protect the home court.  There is no question about that, and then see what we can do on the road.  I think our inside game is coming along, but we need to do a better job of getting the ball in there.  The combined 13-of-14 (FG shooting on Saturday) from the guys that play the four and five positions in the UCLA game is indicative of how badly we need to get more involved with our inside game.  I think Kirk is doing a better job of stepping in and getting him open at the right time.  We still need to deliver the ball in there more consistently.  I think Ivan Radenovic did a nice job not only of hitting five of his six shots, but he also did a good job of moving the ball.  We went to him a lot to start the offense and I think it helped us.


Right now with Oregon, they have been struggling in the conference, and generally speaking with Oregon they have always been a very difficult team to beat at home in league play, and they now have three losses on their home court and that’s unusual.


I think the key thing with us is that we can not worry about what the other team is doing or how they are playing, we just need to play to our capabilities and we need to play 40 minutes of basketball.  That’s been a problem that we have had to deal with pretty much all year.  We have portions of the game where we play very well and then other parts, in UCLA is a good example, in the first 10-15 minutes was just disastrous and the last 25 minutes, with a few exceptions, we have proven that we can play, but we haven’t proven yet that we can play a full 40 minutes.


I thought that patience was the key to the way we shot the ball against UCLA in the second half.  We were waiting for the shot to present itself instead of trying to make things happen before they were ready to happen.  I think just looking at Hassan’s (Adams) shooting that day, in the second half, everyone of those shots was a good shot and Hassan is shooting the ball well enough now that if he just will be patient and wait for it to happen, I think that he will shoot a good percentage.”


On the need to play with a sense of urgency:

Based on the second half and our conversation with them following the (UCLA) game, I think we will see that (sense of urgency).  We have to get back to forcing the other team into 20 turnovers and taking care of the ball ourselves.


On what factor emotion plays in college basketball:

Usually that emotion is there more in your home games than it is in the away games.  I think the crowd feels a lot of that emotion and keeps that emotion going.


“To begin with, you could see how fired up USC was for us, and if there is a peak there is usually a valley and I think there is a very much of a peak for our game and it may have been, with UCLA, as closely as ASU played them.  ASU played really well, but probably the emotion wasn’t there with UCLA because of the big game coming up Saturday.  I don’t know.


But emotions play a huge part in basketball I think, because of the closeness of the crowd to the court, I think that can  effect how the game is called.  I think when the crowd is very much into the game they help officials point out when there are calls that they think should be made, and it takes a very good official not to be influenced by that.  I have said for a long time that the difference between home games and away games is double figures.  When you play a team at home or on the road, I think there is a double-figure difference in how that game normally comes out.  There are exceptions to that like.


On three-point shooting:

Last week I indicated there were certain players that I didn’t want taking three point shots.  I don’t know if you noticed that Ivan Radenovic’s shots were 15-17 footers and we told him we did not want him stepping out to 19 because his percentage is not good from there, but he’s an outstanding shooter I think in the 17 and in range.”


J.P. Prince, we don’t want threes taken there because it’s not a case of where we have seen any consistency in practice or games.  So right now guys just have to recognize what’s a good shot for them and what’s not a good shot for them.  If you look at our league games, Marcus and Hassan are shooting the threes over 40 percent, so that means if they have the opportunities for threes they should take them.  Mustafa’s percentage is 31 percent, 31.3 or something in the league.  Now Mustafa will shot the three well at home, at least in our practice situations we see that, so he has more of a green light at home than he will on the road.  We have to do what’s good for the team at this point not somebody developing something.  They will have all spring, summer and fall to develop it.  But as of right now it is hurting us when you have people taking those shots that are overall on the season 20 percent.


On the play of Kirk Walters:

There were a lot of times in both of those games in L.A. when he was open and didn’t get the ball.  That is (on) the perimeter people.  The thing about a post pass is it’s either there right now or you have to forget about it.  If it’s there and you don’t throw it and you look a little bit, the whole time the defense is anticipating that pass, and if it does get to him then it gets to him in a crowd.  So much of it has to do with the timing of his cut, not while a pass is being thrown, but when this guy gets the ball and turns.  This is when he needs to be in position to receive the ball.


Kirk is doing a good job right now of what we call burying the defender, most of the time against UCLA when he got the ball he was like four feet from the basket.  We have spent a lot of time over the last two weeks on this and we’ll continue spending a lot of time today, tomorrow and Wednesday on this, but his presence in there can make a huge difference for us.  He is long and he’s athletic and he has nice touch.  The other thing is that he works so hard that you just feel that sooner or later this is all going to come together because of his work ethic.  I think the perimeter players right now are being very positive with Kirk and you can see the deference in his play over the past couple of weeks because he knows the guys are confident in what he is doing.


“There are some guys that you have to kick in the butt to get the response you want and there are some guys that you have to pat on the back.  Kirk is one of those that need to be patted on the back.


On the status of Chris Rodgers:

There are no changes on that as of now.  He’s working toward it.  I am not going to comment a time table.  I think our guys are working hard.  I really feel uncomfortable for the other guys for you to be talking so much about Chris, when Chris isn’t a part of the team.


On the technical fouls:

There is no question that something needed to be done to get the team fired up also to make sure that the officials recognize that it was 14-2 on fouls.  I personally felt thought both teams were playing very aggressively; I don’t think it’s possible to have a 14-2 differential when both teams are playing similarly in terms of aggressiveness.  I was upset with some of those calls then and I am more upset now after seeing them on replay.  The technical was for a purpose because at that point something had to happen to get things called in a relatively fair manor.  Secondly to get a team playing a little bit more.


On Oregon:

Malik (Hairston) is a very talented player, and I think you can see from some of his games, I would say, that he is a little on the streaky side.  If he gets it going you better not let him catch the ball.  (Maarty) Leunen is a very good shooter also; you can see that anytime someone is shooting over 80 percent from the free-throw line, you know that guy is a good shooter.  But Hairston is a good athlete, a talented guy.  You look at his numbers are pretty good with the exception of free throws.


On Oregon State:

They lost (Lamar) Hurd, who was senior point guard that had been starting for them for four years.  I thought he was really playing well.  Probably the same thing for Washington State (in losing Derrick Low), I don’t think you lose a key guy like that without it having some effect.  And then (Nick) DeWitz was in a horrible shooting slump and he is their main man as far as a go-to guy or had been.  The basketball season is a long season.  It’s unusual if someone doesn’t go through a shooting slump somewhere during the course of the year.

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