Nov. 1, 2001
Thoughts on the EA Sports Game:
The primary thing about it from our end of it is just to see some different faces. I'm familiar with a number of the players on their (EA Sports) roster and certainly they're going to be a big challenge for our guys. They will have played Utah and Utah State prior to coming in here. Brian Hammel, their coach, was George Raveling's assistant at Iowa and USC and was the head coach at Northern Illinois.
We've told our players from the first day that we'll go with the top rebounders at each position as far as the starters for this game. We still have one spot still very much up in the air in terms of (Will) Bynum and (Salim) Stoudamire. They are very close, within four rebounds of one another, so I would expect to have pretty good rebound activity out of those two over the next few days. The others, Jason (Gardner) at the point, Ricky (Anderson), Luke (Walton) and Isaiah Fox at the five position are pretty much set.
On a lineup for future games:
We're confident the three juniors are going to play very well. It's a matter of seeing how the young guys are going to respond to playing somebody else. We'll only have a few days to adjust to anything we see there (Sunday). This team is going to be a work in progress for some time.
Is the "work in progress" tag due to so much youth on the roster:
I think one of the biggest problems is trying to create a competitive situation in practice. The big guys have competition daily, but it's all among other freshman. It's not like they're working against a veteran on the inside. That's the biggest reason we have so many questions in our own minds as to how they are going to play.
Is that why you work so hard to create that competitive situation:
In essence, we have the three guards and what we've been trying to do is play one or the other (Bynum or Stoudamire) with Jason almost rotating them from day to day or within the practice session so that they get a chance to show what they can do with Jason. As you saw in the Red-Blue game, whoever played with Jason looked pretty good. Whoever was on the other team trying to run it was having problems because of the inexperience of the people that they were going with. We had Ricky and Luke playing against one another for the first week or two in practice, but then we felt that they need to be togther, even though the best practice situation, clearly, is when they go against one another. They just need time to get used to playing together at this point. They do a good job of communicating.
What have you seen from Rick Anderson coming off the redshirt season:
Ricky is our best perimeter shooter, so it's obvious some of the things we're going to do. He'll do a lot of popping out to create a perimeter shot. He knows that he is one of the key guys now that we rely on. He's in the game with the confidence that he's going to be in there. I think the biggest thing you're going to see is a confidence level that you don't see from reserves. He's always been aggressive on the boards. We need him to be more aggressive on the defensive board also, but he's our best offensive rebounds...He's very different from Casey Jacobsen in that he can play both inside and out. I think he has an advantage in terms of being able to play in or out. Casey is a great shooter who is really a big-guard type, as opposed to a three or four like Ricky.
Is this exhibition game any different with the season opener a week away:
Everything has been so rush-rush that it's very difficult to adjust to from our standpoint because we've done a lot more jumping around than we normally would do. Most of the time when we play the exhibition game, we haven't even started on zone offenses or zone defenses. We've just had to approach this game a whole lot differently because of the short span involved with going to New York. Everything has been on the fast track. The freshmen have worked hard at trying to keep pace, but it certainly has not been easy. We just try to fill each practice as fully as we can. I would guess that the freshmen would tell you that they never realized how hard you have to work and how long you have to work at this level. Most high school practices are much less intense and structured.