Arizona Men's Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Dec. 17, 2001

On the loss at Michigan State:'The game at Michigan State certainly was as tough as we projected that it would be. In terms of comparing it to places that we've played before, it is probably as tough a place as we've ever played in. They are very loud, and their crowd did a great job.'

'In looking back at the tapes, we had a lot of really good looks that we did not knock down in the first half. We had three or four shots that I wouldn't want them to take again, but most of them were open looks. In the second half, we needed to have the guys be more patient and get more touches. We were not shooting the ball well in the first half, but our shooting percentage was a lot better in the second. In the first half, their defense didn't have as much to do with it as our inability to make shots that we should have made.'

'Defensively, we had some lapses, but we are going to have that when we are inexperienced like we are inside. The breakdowns that we had were freshman big-men breakdowns. I felt that during the course of the game, Channing Frye played really well. He was active and was a real factor in the basket area. The shot-blocking is going to continue to develop as he plays. Looking at the tape, his last blocked shot was as good as it was when I saw it the first time. Any contact that was made was by the guy driving to the basket. I thought Channing played well and competed hard.'

'Luke Walton had an excellent game in all phases. Jason (Gardner) also played well. I am hoping that we can get Jason away from feeling like he has to carry the team on his back when things aren't going well. But, that is just how he is because he is such a tremendous competitor. I also think that Luke (Walton) and Ricky (Anderson) are tremendous competitors. It needs to be the junior threesome carrying us when we need to be carried.'

On Arizona's shooting at Michigan State:'There's a fine line. If you talk too much about shooting, then they start thinking too much about shooting. If the shots aren't going our way, we tell them that we need to get more touches. A shooter has to be confident and relaxed when he gets the ball.'

On this week's games at Oregon and Oregon State:'Looking at Oregon State, they are very much improved. Philip Ricci is playing great, and it's not surprising that he is their best player. He is leading them in rebounding and scoring, and he has added a lot to Brian Jackson. I think they are solid through seven players.'

'Oregon is really up tempo, athletic, quick and very experienced. They have a lot of key guys back for them.'

On Salim Stoudamire's return to Oregon country:'What you hope is that Salim gets wound up like Dennis (Latimore) did against Kansas. Dennis was really alive in that game and against Illinois. Those were his two best games. They'll be all over (Salim) him, but that's a tradition at Oregon if a kid leaves Oregon to play somewhere else.'

On Will Bynum's defensive play:'His defense is getting a lot better. We are seeing fewer breakdowns away from the ball than what we've seen before. He still has a tendency to overplay the dribbler, and then he ends up fouling. Will is going to be a really good defender, but he has to learn that you can't overplay guards at this level because they are just going to burn you. At this level, the guards are just too good.'

On UA's improvement so far this season:'We just need to keep getting better. That's the key thing, and I think that we have done that for the most part. Other than not shooting well (against Michigan State), we did a pretty good job. We did an excellent job in the second half, but we got hammered on the glass in the first half. With the number of young guys that we have, we just need to make sure that we execute defensively.'

On the race for the Pac-10 title:'With conference play, you want to be as ready as you can possibly be. We've been more impressive than what people would have expected. I don't think there is any question that when you look at who has a shot for the title, Stanford is one of the teams.'

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