Quotes from Arizona Men's Basketball Media Day
Oct. 17, 2001
Quotes from head coach Lute Olson
'I have been very pleased with the effort and concentration so far in practice. The chemistry on the team has been very good. They all seem to enjoy the other guys on the team. We've had good leadership on the court out of the three juniors (Rick Anderson, Luke Walton and Jason Gardner). Jason Gardner's is critical because he is the guy with the ball. Luke and Rick have been very helpful with the young guys also in going through the learning with everything that we are involved with.
'With the freshman, the primary thing I can say is that we wouldn't want to throw any of them back. All five are very capable of playing on this level. They have shown tremendous attitudes in terms of learning. They want to learn. It's a difficult time right now with everything we are throwing at them especially with the early start on Nov. 8 (vs. Maryland).
'The schedule as I've said before are set two and three years in advance and we assumed it was going to be a veteran ball club. The schedule is tough and what makes it even tougher is that it is early. You have to go a little bit quicker over the fundamentals that you would like to spend time on in order to get to whatever we may face in the Nov. 8 and 9 games like full court pressure, zones, and things that we would hardly be started on by the eighth of November. We're going to have that in by at least this weekend to where we can have at least some of it to get the team operating smoothly as a unit.
'With the returning guys it's obvious that we are seeing a lot of improvement. A lot has been said about Rick Anderson and how he has been doing in the individual workouts. (Sophomore guard) Travis Hanour is playing more like an experienced player. He seems to be much more confident in what he is doing and what he is being asked to do.
'With the freshmen, a lot has been said about Will Bynum. He certainly he is a tremendous young man with great physical ability. He is going to be a guy that is going to play both the point and two guard. There is a lot to learn to where he can show the things he can do yet within the team concept. We've been pleased with Will's desire to learn and his effort along with the other freshmen.
'The hardest thing for the freshmen is that all of them have been go-to guys prior to the time they came here and now they have to realize there are five guys on the court who can score, pass the ball and defend.
'Salim Stoudamire is making a fairly rapid adjustment. I think it has been helpful that he has been so familiar with our program. He may be the best on-ball defender of the guys that we have on the court. Anyone who has followed Arizona basketball knows that it is an important ingredient.
'Dennis Latimore is a horse. He is a rock similar to what Michael Wright was. He runs the court well. At this point we have been using him strictly inside at the four position.
'Channing Frye is a Loren Woods in the making. Very similar in capabilities, runs the court extremely well, good passer and nice shooting touch. He needs to be a lot stronger than what he is right now in order to hold his position. He is doing a better job of sitting down in the post and getting leverage but it's something he is working hard on and coaches are on him about staying down.
'From what people knew about him coming in, Isaiah Fox maybe the biggest surprise. He has been our leading rebounder in practice sessions to this point. He has great hands and a huge body. Once he gets a post position he is not easy to get around. He's doing an outstanding job at this point. He picks things up quickly and if you asked the coaching staff he has impressed us more than what might of expected. Although if you ask the veterans that they really liked playing with him in pick-up games. It's one thing to do it in pick-up games and another thing to do in practice.
'Andrew Zahn, who redshirted a year ago, is working inside with the three true freshmen. Andrew has had the experience of one year in the program. That has paid off for him in some areas. Running the court is a key ingredient to our team and the four guys have to understand that. It (playing time) is probably going to get down to the guy that gets down the court the best and rebounds the best.
'The biggest thing with so many young guys is that you have to see them in game situations to see how they respond. There are going to be stretches where there a lot of very good teams and we need to be sure that our team and our staff knows that the purpose of the non-conference schedule is to get ready for the conference schedule. Our focus will be at the conclusion of games. We need to evaluate if we played hard and played better from the previous game. If wins come with it, that's wonderful, but we're just going to keep our focus on the important thing and that's improvement leading into the conference season.
'We have to get ready to play in New York and then we are going to have to back pedal. Once we get through the two games in New York, there is more time (to work on things) each week practically until Dec. 1. We are definitely on the fast track as far as getting to team offense and defense. We would normally not put that in until we established individual fundamentals.
'With four and five (positions) they're totally interchangeable offensively. It could be a number of combinations of our four posts, provided that our two (guys) could defend the opponent's two (guys). Both Rick and Luke are capable of playing the three and the four.
'With the perimeter positions, the two and three positions are totally interchangeable as well. There again it gets down to who we are playing.
'I think Jason is enjoying this team. Jason, Ricky and Luke have become closer as the result of knowing what we told them their roles would be and what their responsibilities would be. Jason is doing a very solid job for us. I do think the experience of going through the pre-draft camp were probably good for him in terms of showing him what needs to be improved. The good thing is that Jason is a team guy and is not going to go off on his own to get where he wants to be. The best way to get where he wants to be is to do a great job as the floor leader on the court just as our point guards have done through the years. The pros are not looking for a guy that scores 30 points and can't play with the other guys. The pros are looking for a guy who can make each player out there better.
'Of the returning guys, defensively Travis Hanour has made the most improvement. It was a real shock for him to come into the program last year and have to go against Gilbert (Arenas) or Richard (Jefferson). That's not a great way to build your confidence. He's much quicker with his lateral movement now and much quicker now with his feet. We're very pleased with what we are seeing out of him.
'The Pac-10 conference is hard to figure out based on our experience. If you go by the most experience, UCLA returns the most and they have a great recruiting class to go with it. My guess is that we will be predicted to finish fifth or lower.'