Jan. 18, 2005
It will be an interesting trip. I think Oregon is really quick. They get the ball down court quicker than anyone in America. (Aaron) Brooks is lightning quick up and down the court and their wings get out and run very well. I think their goal is to get a shot up within five seconds after they get a hold of it. They really like to go.
UCLA had some good freshmen in here, but you’ll see three up in Oregon that will match up with anybody in Bryce Taylor, Malik Hairston and Marty Leunen. Their freshman group is outstanding.
It will be the typical kind of Oregon game and crowd. I’m sure they are already excited about us coming in. It starts with us getting off the bus, where the students are lined up and passing out all kinds of pleasantries to all of us. It’s a great atmosphere. It may be the toughest place in the country because of the nearness of the crowd and the enthusiasm that they bring.
Salim (Stoudamire), I think, is going to play well in both places. Last year, he had a great game (37 points at Oregon) and one he’d like to forget about (12 points at Oregon State) in the second one. I think the key thing with both he and Chris (Rodgers) is don’t go into it putting too much pressure on yourself. Just go out and play and let the game come to you.
We had the freshmen play the juniors and seniors yesterday (in Monday’s practice). We had Hassan (Adams), Salim and Channing (Frye) do conditioning in the underwater treadmill. The five freshmen played the sophomore and juniors. The freshmen beat them in a 30-minute scrimmage. It was a great workout for them. Jawann McClellan played great. Daniel Dillon had a really good scrimmage, as did Chris Rodgers. Those were the top three performers.
With so many freshmen around the league playing well, do you sense any frustration in Jawann McClellan?
The good thing with Jawann is that he sees the big picture. It’s not how much playing time you get in your freshman year. Jawann is getting better and better and better. I’m sure he looks at the opportunity that Daniel Gibson has at Texas, but in the end, Jawann knows that this experience will pay off for him on the next level. He played really well again today, so we’re definitely going to give him more time than he’s been getting.
Are Oregon’s freshmen ahead of where you thought they would be?
I think the surprise has probably been Bryce Taylor from Harvard-Westlake (H.S. in Encino, Calif.), where the Collins Twins (Stanford’s Jarron and Jason, 1997-2001) are from. He is an unbelievable shooter. That is a nice freshman group and they are getting an opportunity to play because the wings from last year are gone.
Is it more balanced because Luke Jackson is gone?
Yes, Jackson was a real load for everybody because he was good inside and out. They don’t really have anyone like that. I would think that Marty Leunen could become that later on, but their freshman pretty much play in designated spots.
Oregon likes to run up and down the court...
We like that. It’s going to be a fun game for players and fans alike.
Is there a need to get a road sweep here?
Washington is playing really well, but they still have some tough places to go. I think it’s way to early to put that sense of urgency on this. The main thing for us is the urgency to get better and to eliminate some of the things that have been creating problems for us.
It seems like Oregon is led by Brooks, who has been playing well.
He missed the first half against us (Feb. 19) last year, but when he came here he played very well. He is very, very quick. He is far and away the quickest player in the league. It’s not even close. You talk about (UCLA’s Jordan) Farmar being quick. Farmar is a really good player, but in terms of quickness, it’s not even close. Brooks gets it down court better than anyone.
It seems like Salim has struggled in Corvallis. Any reason for that?
He’s going to have a good game. (Sometimes) He tries to do too much. He needs to have fun and let the game come to him.
When you are playing near to home and you come out and you get too anxious and you miss those first few shots. With each miss, the pressure gets a little bit greater.
Salim is playing really well. He’s been so good offensively that people don’t realize that he’s been our defensive player of the year every year since he’s been here as voted by his teammates and the coaching staff. He’s an excellent passer, but he’s just such a great shooter that all of the other things get tossed into the background.