Quotes from Press Conference with Coach Herb Sendek on Sunday's Game Against Arizona
Feb. 5, 2008
On how the team can improve its offense:'To be honest with you, we have a couple of guys who have shot higherpercentages at earlier parts of the season, but I think our offensiveexecution continues to improve. We're getting just as many high-qualityshots.'
On whether players are pressing offensively:'I don't know that they're pressing. Quite frankly, there were times evenwe won some games when we didn't necessarily do it with prolific shooting.We won in some different ways. So, our focus is on making sure we executeand get quality shots, and from there we want our guys to shoot them withconfidence and put them in.'
On inserting Rihards Kuksiks into the rotation:'We're trying to get him integrated into the lineup. We certainly used himin southern California, and we anticipate that he'll continue to grow withus. The truth of the matter is, offensively, we're playing better notworse.'
On the mindset of the team now:'It's been a learning experience for the guys who are going through it forthe first time. It certainly is an eye opener, when you experience itfirst-hand. But the mindset is very good. The guys remain very positive. Wehad a tremendous practice yesterday, and we're moving forward. I would tellyou this: that we're actually playing just as well and, in many casesbetter, than when we had our winning streak. That's a fact.'
On size disadvantage:'Our personnel isn't going to change. We are who we are. We have certain strengths and we have certain areas where we need to continue to grow and get better. Any energy invested in terms of personnel isn't well spent during the context of a college basketball season because you are who you are. That doesn't go just for us, but that goes for any team. So our focus is on improving the things that we do given the personnel that we have and that is where our focus and attention has to be.
On Kraidon Woods' development:'He's at the beginning stages. He's a young freshman who is working hard to gain strength and transform his body. He's maintained a great attitude, he's added value to our team in a lot of different ways, with his character, with his practice habits and he continues to work hard at this particular point to gain strength.'
On a change in the starting PG:'We've not only flipped a lot of starters at point guard, but we've done it at other positions as well. We've used a number of different starting lineups based on who's playing well, who's practicing the best at a given period of time. Some teams are like that, other teams you have the starting lineup the same from the first game all the way through the last game.'
On Arizona:'They're an outstanding basketball team. The quality of their team was demonstrated by the fact that even without one of their best players, Bayless, they still were formidable with the best teams in the country. With him they're even better, obviously, but I think you'd have to put them in an elite circle, a team that can pour a championship. I really think they're in that mix of quality teams.'
On differences when playing with Bayless:'On the season he's getting 19 a game, he shoots 82 percent from the line, 43 from the field, he has 80 assists, he's 3rd on the team in steals and when a guy like that isn't able to play you typically aren't able to go down the bench and say, `Go in for him'. What everybody does is think that when someone else has to step up we all have to collectively make up for it and I suppose that's possible but it's not that easy to do. I know when we've had guys of that caliber who were injured, it's very challenging, and yet even without him they were still really, really, really, really good and with him they're really, really, really, really good.'
On Harden's fouls vs. USC--young mistake?:'I'm not big on attributing most things to what year in school a guy is. I suppose you can make that argument and in some cases it is exactly the case, but in other cases you'll have a 5th year senior do the same thing and then where do you go with it?'
On Ty's shooting slump:'I'm not Dr. Phil. I know I look a little like him, but Ty just has to keep playing, take good shots, know that we believe in him, know that the next shot is going in, take shots within the framework of our offense, which he typically does, and he's a good shooter and over time good shooters make good shots. Whether the first one goes in and what affect that has, all the other things, what the horoscope says, I don't know. I don't know how all those things factor in to what happens. Good shooters make shots over time and especially if they take good shots.'
On Bob Knight:'I wasn't thinking about (his retirement) one way or another, so not being in his presence, not talking with him, there is no way I would have enough information to be surprised or not. The one story that I recounted this morning; when I was a young first and second year head coach at Miami of Ohio, we played in his Christmas tournament at Indiana and we lost to them in the championship game. On Monday afternoon following the Saturday game he called my office and asked to speak with me. I didn't really have a relationship with Coach Knight, our interaction had been limited to handshakes before and after games and he called to let me know what he thought of our team. We talked for probably 20 minutes about things we could do to get better shots, more shots for our best shooter and he just was as gracious and as kind as somebody could be. He really had an interest in talking to me about our team, about sharing some thoughts regarding the game. Obviously that had a special meaning to me. There is no way I would ever expect that and to this day there is no one who has done it since. Maybe nobody else has like how our team has been set up.'
On what he took from win over UA last month:'I'm not going to throw it out the window. Teams change. It's a new game that'll take on a flavor to itself and you could look at perhaps some tendencies, but we'll start at 0-0 with at least 40 minutes to play again.'
On dealing with McKale atmosphere:'Our guys have played in a lot of great environments including Wells Fargo. Tucson is another one. Hopefully we'll respond and play well Sunday. We've played in front of big crowds before and sometimes we've played well in front of them and sometimes we played poorly in front of them. Sometimes we've played in front of friendly crowds and sometimes in front of hostile and played well and poorly and hopefully Sunday the crowd will switchover and start cheering for the Sun Devils, and we'll play well. '
On Jordan Hill:'I think he is one of the most improved playes in the conference if not the most improved guy looking back to a year ago. He's having a really good year. I was extremely impressed when he played here in Wells Fargo and I actually had a chance to see him in person. He really impacts the game.'