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Lute Olson Press Conference Quotes
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: November 10, 2004
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Prior to Sonoma State Exhibition



Is Mohamed Tangara ready to go?

Yes, he will play some. How much he’ll play exactly, we shall see.  He has been going full in practice, whenever we do full court he has been able to continue with what little full court we do. Mohamed will still be a work in progress and will continue to do some running on the underwater treadmill.


What can people expect to see as the type of player that he will be?

The primary thing that people will see is his defensive and rebounding abilities. He still has a lot to learn though with the amount of practice that he has missed. He’s a very attentive and personable person, and the only way you learn is by execution. Right now there’s not much you can expect from him offensively, since he is still learning it, other then being a factor on the boards.


Does having him back help your practice situation?

Yes it will be more so now.  He’s more of a factor in what we’ve been doing in practice. If we see there is something he doesn’t understand offensively, well pull him out and alternate someone else in, so that we don’t have nine guys looking around as we teach one guy. But I think the primary thing he’ll bring is his intensity on the boards and his activity on defense.


What is Isaiah Fox’s situation? Is he back?

Isaiah is back, whether or not he’s back for Thursday, we wont know until Thursday. Isaiah is working very hard since he came back. In practice yesterday, those who started Sunday shot around for about a half hour, as we worked with the other ten guys. When we were done with all that, Isaiah was one who was actually leading the sprints.


Was it the kind of thing where you had to sit him down and talk to him?

He knows what’s going on and he is fine with it. No, Isaiah is a very hard and competitive player. Isaiah is a very bright player and also an excellent passer. Rebound wise despite the fact he had to sit out a certain number of minutes in practice, his (Isaiah’s) rebound total is very close to Channing’s (Frye). Isaiah has great hands, and guys love playing with him because he is probably one of our best big-man passers. Defensively, that’s an area he needs to keep working on, it takes a lot of work to defend the inside area.


Is he finally past all the physical problems?

No, he hasn’t had any swelling or anything lately. There will probably be some days that he doesn’t feel as good as others, but those are to be expected and he’ll be fine.


What are you hoping for from Thursday?

The main thing is that they’re an organized and well-coached team. I don’t think it will be an up and down game, like with Team Georgia, where they put up something like 26 three-point attempts. You will see a much more structured team on Thursday. When you schedule these games, one of the things you look for is different style of play and that’s what Sonoma State brings to us.


Is rebounding going to be a factor in your decisions?

In watching the tape that was one of the things I was very pleased with. Very seldom on the defensive boards was there not five guys being active on the class. There were a couple of times where they didn’t have the best position, but it wasn’t one guy waiting for someone else to get the rebound, everyone was working hard. We try and make a strong emphasis in practice to not see anyone outside 15 feet of the basket as the ball is up. I’m not sure how many defensive rebounds Mustafa (Shakur) had, but I think just about everyone he had, it led to a fast break opportunity, and a lay up type shot on the other end. He will be a critical factor this season in creating fast break opportunities.


Is this an exhibition game where the experimental rules are in affect?

Yes, we are going to do that strictly to be ready to use it next Tuesday. All of the (Preseason) N.I.T. games will be using these rules.


Is Beau Muhlbach going to redshirt?  Do you see potential in him?

Yes he will redshirt. We talked about that with him last spring after the season was over. He wants to have a chance to see what his opportunity will be here. Muhlbach is a good athlete. The biggest thing with him is he needs to work on taking care of the ball.


Do you have a sense that this is going to be like your other “November Teams?”

I was concerned at first with our lack of depth at first. But having Mohamed back, things go a little deeper. Bret (Brielmaier) and some others are going to give us quality game time, to where they are not going to hurt us in any significant way. It is going to be important to get Mohamed in the game, but right now he doesn’t have a lot of up as far as repetition is concerned.


How is Hassan Adams and the wing spot?

He’s going to have to adjust, from the standpoint of handling the ball. He has been working on that daily, but his passing can improve too. Those two things are important to his future. When things go wrong, he immediately recognizes it, which is the first step of learning.


What is Hassan’s potential?

He needs to consistently make the open shot, and not necessarily from long range, but from the 18-foot range. Secondly, he needs the ball handling skills, not just passing, but being able to create things with his dribble. But I think for him to succeed in the next level he will have to play at the two spot. His opportunity on the next level will be based on his ability to lock people up with his quickness and strength. He gets deflections on the balls that you think he has no chance of getting to.


Does he have a future?

He’s going to have to play the two at the next level, and has to be able to hit that shot consistently. His future is based on does he have that drive? If he doesn’t, then its no one’s fault but his.


How is Salim’s, ability to shoot the long ball?

Salim is a guy that practices all the time. Shooting is hand-eye coordination, and he has always had that feeling. He is one of the hardest workers both on and off the court.


What limits his ability?

He still needs to be quicker from the catch to release, and then creating space in separation.


What are your thoughts on Mike Bibby (his Arizona jersey will be retired on Nov. 11)?


One, he is a winner. Throughout his high school, college and his current career, he is just a winner. In the time that he was here, his big shot percentage was unbelievable, he had to shoot better then 70% in shots that had big meaning. That’s just the confidence that he has. He's the best passer I have ever seen as far as getting the ball to the right person at the right time. There was never one more dribble, if the pass had to be there it was. The pass was made when needed. His feel for the game was amazing.  As a passer, I remember when he first came here, he use to hit guys in the head until they got used to knowing they always had to be ready for

the pass, such as it is now with Mustafa. Mike has that ability to get the ball to the open person.


Did you think Mike would get to the level he's at so quickly?


He made progress quicker than I thought he would. He worked very had day-in and day-out. Once he got his strength up, his defense was the only thing I knew he had to work on. I knew he was ready offensively. Mike also has the smarts to know what he needs to take away from situations.


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