Men's Basketball Weekly Press Conference
March 11, 2009
Coach Herb Sendek
On Jamelle McMillan's injury:
'Jamelle is being re-evaluated every day. He certainly is making progress, but at this point, we're uncertain what his status will be. We just want to make sure that we don't put him in position so that he aggravates or takes a step-back. At this point, he is making progress.'
On who has the advantage- the team that has won twice (ASU) or the team that has lost twice (Arizona):
'The team that plays better that day. There is no way anybody could possibly know the answer to that question going in. It just comes down to those 40 or more minutes, whoever plays the best.'
On U of A's style of play:
'They're pretty much like the rest of us. Taking it one game at a time, going through the season, some moments are better than others. One thing everybody's always talked about is their big three, but I think their other guys have really stepped up and made them better.'
On Jeff Pendergraph and Jordan Hill's rivalry:
'He's (Hill) improved tremendously. I thought he made a quantum leap between his freshman and sophomore years. Once again he's continued to distinguish himself as one of the top frontcourt players in the country. I think Jeff. in his own right, has done the same thing, so far as in he has continued to improve. Both of those guys, as good as they have been seemingly from the outset, can raise their hand and say, `Listen, I've improved as much as anybody in the league.' Those guys have continued to get better each step of the way and that is a credit to both of them.'
On Ty Abbott:
'I hope we all learn that there is a lot of ways to help a team. Sometimes it's difficult to move beyond your last shot, but it's important to do so. The one thing I like about Ty is he has continued to battle and tried to add value to our team in different ways.'
On the strength of the Pac-10 conference:
'I think our league is as deep and as strong as any in the country, and I would like to see that reflected, as a bias member of our conference, on Selection Sunday. No different than I think coaches in other leagues would say about their conference. Not that anyone knows but the committee, but when you start taking about getting 7, 8, 9 teams in from other conference, I think our league can very easily be in the same position.'
On success in the conference tournament leading to success in the NCAA tournament:
'Not necessarily. Sometimes you play in your conference tournament, and that leads to continued good play. In other instances, you get knocked off in your conference tournament and your able to reset and recharge your batteries. I don't think it's that cut and dry, where you could establish a correlation.'
On the difference in their mindset between this year and last year:
'We have to the best of our ability, really tried to focus on, in both years, our next game. Last year, we were talking this week about what we had to do to beat USC. That's where we tried to discipline our decision, and right now, were trying to do the same thing with Arizona. You can't play the next game until you play this one. You cant live next week until you have a good practice today. To the extent we can control where our mind is, we try to stay in the present. Sometimes it is more difficult than others, but I think it important to go about it that way for us.'
On what Jeff has done differently this season to stay out of foul trouble:
'I think you can't undervalue experience in that attempt. I think he's smarter, wiser, more experienced, and knows how to do that more effectively. That's probably as much as anything. I think Jeff has moved really well this year. I think he has been more agile, more mobile, and I think that has influenced his ability to stay out of foul trouble. Also, its important to us that he not allow himself to carelessly get into foul trouble.'
On his stellar assist-to-turnover ratio being important to him:
'Yeah definitely. With the amount of scorers we have on our team, somebody has to take care of the ball and get them the ball. That's my role.'
On being a part of this historic team:
'Its awesome. Especially for Jeff, the way he finished off his senior year, being maybe the best big man in the country. For us, he's made all the difference. Of course, James, Pac-10 player of the year, that's a heck of an honor.'
On having the chance to knock Arizona out of the NCAA tournament:
'It's not extra motivation. We know it's a must win game for both of us. We want to play for a higher seed and solidify us being in the tournament, and they want to play themselves into the tournament. It's going to be a heck of a game. It was two really hard fought games and the ball just bounced in our way to give us the win.'
'They have the name and the talent. They're as talented as any team in the conference with those three guys. They're still playing phenomenal basketball. I think Nic was 9-for-9 for 27 points. That's doesn't happen very often, especially at the point guard position.'
On being more relaxed at this time of the season, compared with last year:
'I don't know if we're more relaxed. The coaches are on us pretty good this week. It's going to be a tough game. We know they're going to give us their best game of the year and for us to win, were going to have to play our best game of the year.'
On how fast the season has gone:
'I feel like I just stepped on campus as a freshman. Now I'm six classes away from graduating. Where did the time go? But that's what happens when the season starts, time just starts to fly. But you can't wait for it come back.'
On losing McMillan to injury:
'It's going to hurt. Losing any guys, since our bench is so shorthanded, really hurts. If Ty can respond the way he did last game and Jerren can play well, we're going to be ok. You know Jamelle made some big shots, some big plays last time against U of A. We're definitely going to need guys to step up and replace what we're missing. It's always more helpful for me to have a second guy who can handle the ball. It takes a lot of pressure off me and I know it takes a lot of pressure off of him when I'm on the floor because he doesn't have to do it all. It's definitely going to be a tougher game without him. He brings so much to the defensive end and the way he's been shooting the ball of late, he's been one of our better players. He'll be back. He'll be ready to go.'
On their mindset entering the game against Arizona:
'We're still trying to play like we don't have one [a NCAA tournament seed] because I think that's when we play our best. That's how you go into a game, especially against U of A, which is a must-win for them. It's different than last year because the circumstances are different, but were still trying to approach it with the same attitude that we need to win.'
On playing against Jordan Hill:
'Just tying got keep him off the boards. He's all over the place. I try not to let him catch the ball so close to the basket, but it's tough because he's so big and strong. If I fall asleep for one second, I get dunked on. I try not to let that happen, so I just try to keep it even it with him and not fall asleep, because he'll make you pay for it.'
On the friendly rivalry he has with Hill:
'I think it's fun. I talked to him yesterday about it. Every time we play each other, it's kind of an epic battle. We're always going at it the whole game, both probably in foul trouble. It's just fun. Competition at its best.'