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Lute Olson Press Conference Quotes
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 18, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Jan. 17, 2006


Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson:


Opening Statement:

“With Stanford and Cal coming in, it’s probably the first time all season in the league that we will face two teams that are very strong and very physical on the inside.  With the other teams that we’ve played, it has been more a case of perimeter play and the inside guys being supportive guys.  You take a look at [Stanford forward Matt] Haryasz’s numbers and you look at [Cal forward Leon] Powe, and with the Cal group you see the problem that we face.  That is going to take [a decent effort] for our big guys to step up and get some things done.  [Rod] Benson, also with Cal, is a player who can have a great effect on the game. 


“We worked out yesterday morning, early, and they lifted yesterday. We will have our regular practice situation today and tomorrow.  We just worked on our things yesterday, so we’ll be doing Stanford prep today, but we’re going to focus most of our time on our own offensive efficiency.  We’ve put a great emphasis on rebounding for a number of weeks, but it’s probably the case now that we have spent a lot of time on drill work and breakdown things.  We’ll probably shorten the list of time on fundamentals and spend more times with full-court things.  We have to have our big guys develop some confidence.  It’s more about us right now than it is about who we are playing.


“J.P. [Prince] is 50-50 right now for Saturday, so we are not expecting him to be ready tomorrow night.  The good news connected with it is that there was a fracture that showed up on the x-ray, but it’s an old fracture that occurred when he was in high school.  The feeling initially who looked at the x-rays up north was that it was a current injury, and if that was the case it was going to be a while.  That is the good news.


“Jawann [McClellan] fell heavily on his wrist and did not work out yesterday.  We had an MRI, but will not get the results of that until after practice today.  We won’t know his availability, but we will make that known to [Media Relations Assistant Richard Paige] when we find out what the situation is.


More on J.P. Prince’s injury:

“Anytime you have something like that, you have some ligaments, but it’s not a problem obviously.  He can be 50-50 for Saturday.  It’s just a bad bone bruise.”

On Arizona’s defense of the three-pointer last week:

“In looking at the tapes, if you look at the shots they got from three-[point range], they were not open shots.  [Oregon State guard Chris] Stephens got one, the first one of the game against Oregon State was an open one because our big guy wasn’t running the court, and our guard had to play half-way to protect the basket and Stephens pulled up to shoot the three.  A lot of those were on unbelievable pressure.  The Oregon [three-pointers], two were off misses, one off a steal and one off a missed free throw and they found a three.  It’s not really a case of what we were in defensively, but a tipped ball that was tipped back to [Oregon guard Aaron] Brooks, in most cases, and nailed threes.  When I look at it from a defensive standpoint, yeah there were a few breakdowns, but I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to go 40 minutes without a couple of three breakdowns.  At Oregon, it was second shots that absolutely killed us.


“There were a couple times where we had two guys or three guys to the ball and knocked the ball out, as a result of ourselves.  If we’re going to have it be a lack of our controlling our defensive boards, I like the fact that there are two guys there to get it.  With Oregon State, they hurt us with having their big people beating our people down the court.  At Oregon, if you take away the second opportunities, which were 17 of their points, I don’t think it was our defense, but our inability to control the defensive boards.  Not communicating or actually playing defense, there were a couple of breakdowns where somebody didn’t rotate and cut off the baseline, but it wasn’t the big guy.  It was one of our forwards, who wasn’t ready to stop the drive like he should.  I feel much better about our defensive situation, much better than I did after the UCLA game, because we gave up too many penetrations in there.  I didn’t think that was the case with Oregon or Oregon State.  With both Oregon and Oregon State, they had to work to the end of the shot clock, and it wasn’t because they were trying to work the clock down.”


On the parity in the Pac-10:

“We have played four of our first six [conference games] on the road, and we probably have to remind people of that.  We’re 2-2 on the road, and the thing put us in this position was the loss to UCLA here, but then UCLA turns around and loses two at home.  Their only two losses are at home.  With Washington, we go in there and break their streak, and then Washington State comes in and beats them.  So Washington has two losses at home.  It’s like I said, before the year ever started, the league from top to bottom is as tough as anytime that I’ve been here.  It isn’t going to make any difference, whether you’re at home or on the road, if you don’t play well you are going to get beat.  There has not been one time since 1986, that when we’ve lost on the road and the crowd hasn’t rushed the floor.  That gives you an indication of what our presence does there.  If you look at ASU’s record through the years, they have more wins on Saturday than they do on Thursday.  That is because teams are being peaked for Thursday night, and UCLA could have easily lost to ASU this year, as well.  That is something that some of our younger guys don’t understand: They are going to see everybody’s best effort.  That’s a compliment to the program, but it’s also a challenge to our guys.”


On Arizona’s team progress:

“I had hoped our inside game would have looked better [by now].  We need a big man to step up, and that’s what we’re going to try to accomplish this week.  We’re going to try to get one of those guys we can count on, going in and doing a job.  I’m also disappointed in our shooting percentage, but we put together a couple games of over 50 percent, then we fell back into the 40’s again.  I’ve been pleased with our defensive effort and communication pretty much all the way through.  Another thing about teams winning both at home and on the road, if a team gets hot and is throwing in three’s, it’s going to go down to the wire.  It wasn’t a case that UCLA got a whole lot of good looks, but they knocked down some tough three’s.  Our Friday the 13th lasted three days.”


On Stanford’s Matt Haryasz:

“Matt is playing great.  He’s gotten better every year.  Right now, he’s really playing physically, which was not a strength with him before.  He’s long and active.  He’s added strength to that, with a lot more confidence, and he’s really playing well.  We loved him [in high school].  He was here for a few games, but the problem was our scholarship numbers.  We had Channing [Frye] and Isaiah [Fox] in the process, so there was no question in my mind that he was going to be a really good player.  We wouldn’t have watched him as much as we did if we didn’t feel that way, but I think he’s had a great opportunity at Stanford and has taken advantage of it.


On Arizona’s inside play:

“If we look at who is the most physical, it’s definitely Mohamed [Tangara].  He’ll go to the glass every time and defend really hard, but the problem is he’s averaging a foul for every 40 seconds [of playing time, laughs], but I think that’s improving.  Kirk [Walter]’s length can create a lot of problems for people.  I’m talking about when he comes on the doubling side, so it’s hard to send that pass back to where it came from.  The biggest single problem is confidence, and he has none right now.  We’re going to try to be patient with him and practice in game situations.  There are going to be times he makes mistakes, and we’re going to have to let the mistakes ride out.  We do need to find a consistent inside presence. 


On Arizona’s on-court leadership:

“Mustafa [Shakur] is doing a really good job of communicating on the court, and he’s an intense player who goes full speed every second.  We need Hassan [Adams] to be that presence in practice, as well as in the first half of games.  When it’s on the line, late, he’s always a factor, unfortunately if he were more of a factor in the first half we wouldn’t have as many situations in the second half where we had to rely on that.”


On Stanford F Lawrence Hill:

“He’s a good prospect.  I’d say Lawrence came down here six or eight times for games, and I probably saw him play 30 times at least, counting the summers.  He’s a good player.”


On Jawann McClellan’s improvement from his first games back:

“His last game, before last weekend was last March.  That’s a long time.  With his third foul, he’s not going to run over somebody like he did at Oregon, trying to put a kiss shot off the glass.  The guy was there to take the charge since he crossed half court.  I think that is a result of not being in game situations.

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