Nov. 26, 2002
Salim (Stoudamire) took part in a number of the drills yesterday. It looked like the (left) ankle was doing well, but we're going to wait until next week just to make sure. He'll participate in a scrimmage on Saturday, at least some of it, just to get his timing back. The stuff he worked in yesterday, he looked really good. It looks like he's feeling much more comfortable and confident now.
We're still not sure who we'll end up starting, but that could be something that changes from week to week for a while. It doesn't have anything to do with if somebody doesn't start that we're not happy with them. That's not the case at all. We want to get a feel for what lineup would be the best in the first four minutes because after that there will be a lot of substitutions. As I've said for a long time, I'm much more concerned with who finishes rather than who starts. The good thing is that I get a feel from our players that it is no big deal to them either, and that's the way it should be.
What's the purpose on Wednesday?
We need to face other people and make adjustments that need to be made. The competition we have every day in practice is great for us. On the other hand, we need to see other people running different things offensively and defensively and see how well we can adjust to that. For example with Western Kentucky, we saw on tape that their four-man took the ball out of bounds against the press. After seeing all of their problems, they ended up having their point guard take the ball out and get it back. That was not something we'd seen from them, so it was good to adjust to that.
Do you expect to see a lot of patience from Northern Arizona?
I think they'll try to do that. Sometimes they may have a hard time doing what they want to. That's what we're working on defensively. You know that you're not going to get everyone to go up-tempo. Western Kentucky really is a team that prefers the half court, but when you see opportunities that appear to be there, you try to take advantage of them. All of the sudden it became a case of where they were playing at a faster pace than they wanted.
Is that why the first five minutes of either half are so critical?
I think it's important that we develop the ability to come out and be ready to go when the ball goes up. We've generally been a very good team out of the lockerroom at the start of the second half, yet Saturday we were a very bad team. It was the worst stretch of our entire day. Obviously that needs to change.
Although it may be too early, have you seen combinations that look good together?
We're still looking for that. As I said, this is just our second regular season game, so we've still got a lot of work to do. When we have the kind of depth we have now, it's going to take longer to make that determination. Generally, by this time you are fairly set on who is going to be out there and if you have (for example) a seven-man rotation, but we're still not at full strength right now with Salim out of the lineup.
How good a shooter is Salim Stoudamire?
The only time he has a bad shooting stretch is if he starts thinking too much. A shooter just has to shoot it and not be thinking about the shot. He's amazing to watch. A bad shot for him is if it hits the rim on the way through. Yesterday, it seemed like every shot he put up just went swish.
Have you had Chris Rodgers at the point guard spot in practice?
In practice, we're still trying to see what we want to do. Will (Bynum) has been there, obviously Jason, this week too. Obviously, the more Chris plays it, the better he's going to handle that. Salim is also a guy who makes good decisions, but he is so valuable for us to get down the court in a hurry that I don't want him hanging back.
Has the play of Hassan Adams and Andre Iguodala been a surprise?
With both those guys, it's hasn't been a surprise. As I said as soon as we recruited them, in my opinion they were the two best high school wing players in the country that I saw the previous summer. They are tremendous athletes and really good team players, and they were that way with their high school teams. They've brought us athleticism, and both enjoy playing defense. That's not a ususal thing from a freshman. If you can't defend, you can't afford to be in there.