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Lute Olson Press Conference Quotes
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 05, 2005
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Prior to games at California and Stanford

Jan. 3, 2005


Opening Statement

The kids were upbeat today.  It’s been a long haul for us coming back on (Dec.) 26th and working out that night; the 27th, playing the 28th, working on the 29th, playing on the 30th.  So we had no chance to give them a day off.  They welcomed (the day off) yesterday.  They were very upbeat today.  I think they’ve been looking forward to league play.


What are some of the things you are pushing for in practice?

Just an understanding that if you get in the right habits in practice, you don’t make silly mistakes in the game.  The good thing that we are trying to defensively is not to allow the scout team to run their stuff.


We had an opportunity to have Miles (Simon) run the point for the scout team and that makes a world of difference.  That gives us an opportunity to work in Daniel and Jesus with the blue teams (starters).  What we do is to take the blue team against the scout team first one to 15 and then the reserves against the scout team first one to 15, so each gets a chance to work out.


Interestingly enough, the scout team beat the starters 15-13 and the second team beat the scout team pretty handily, but that may have had something to do with the fact that the scout team got no rest in between.


We’re getting better each day.


Is Miles going to be available often this semester?

Yes.  He’ll be in school finishing up his degree.  School starts next week.  He makes a big difference with the guys on the scout team.  He just has the ability to make everyone better.  He’ll be with us the rest of the year.


Any thoughts on going on the road after last week’s results?

Anytime you go on the road, it’s critical.  What’s it like for a team to come into McKale Center and win?  Why is it so difficult?  The team?  Yes.  The fans? Yes.  The homecourt?  Yes.  Familiarity with everything here is everything.  It’s the same problem when we go to Cal.  They are going to have that place packed.


One thing about us no matter where we go is that it’s going to be one of the biggest games of the year for them.  I’m sure the fans are already excited about our coming in.  Up at Cal, the students will be waiting there for hours waiting to harass us when we get off the bus.


You just have to be much more efficient when you are on the road.  You can’t let teams get a run on you.


Last year, Cal took Salim Stoudamire out of things pretty quickly.  How do you think Salim will react now?

I think he would recognize that it’s not me against you.  It’s me against your team.  If you look at how efficient he’s been in the last four games, he’s taken an average of six shots per game and yet his scoring average is about 16 points and he’s shooting 75 percent from the field and 79 percent from three-point range.  I think he’s matured a lot.


We are much more experienced now than we were a year ago (at Cal).  Hassan was a starter a year ago, where he was a reserve before.  Plus, we had no depth and Channing got in foul trouble.  We just didn’t have any answer.  Our depth is so much better.  I think we can maintain defensive pressure for 40 minutes whether it’s full-court or halfcourt defense.


Can you talk a bit about Stanford’s Dan Grunfeld, and how he’s improved?

He’s a good shooter and he’s getting minutes now and the opportunity to shoot it.  A year ago, he didn’t get a whole lot of time.  He was off the bench for a few minutes and then back.  He’s a good shooter who is shooting the ball well right now.  It’s hard to get a few minutes here and there and have confidence in your shot.


Please talk about Hassan Adams and his transition to the perimeter?

He needs to put in a lot of time every night with his shooting.  He’s never played on the perimeter.  He never played on the perimeter in high school, so he’s having to learn (as he goes).  His passing has improved, but he’s still making too many turnovers.  He’s eliminated many of the turnovers with his ballhandling.  That’s gotten a lot better.  This is a very important year for Hassan to show that he can do the things from the perimeter that he can do.  He’s really a competitor, but he needs to take more of that into the practice situations.

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