Lute Olson Press Conference Quotes

Jan. 22, 2002

On The UCLA game:
'The first half, we were just not ready to play. I thought we were just a step behind that's usually from mentally not being ready. In the second half it looked like we had seven people out defending. No matter what they looked to do, it seemed like we had good coverage on them. That one stretch where they ended up having eight turnovers over that 3 � minute time period was a key to the turn-around. Plus they took some quick shots, and we ended up with fast break baskets because of that. One of the big keys to that was the big defensive play by (Will) Bynum and (Salim) Stoudamire in the guard spots. They did the best job of any of our perimeter players in terms of keeping the pressure on them, getting deflections, and getting them to catch the ball outside of their normal areas.'

On the ASU game Wednesday:
'We know this is going to be a tough one, they have a lot of people back from past years. The biggest problem right now is the way (Chad) Prewitt is playing on the inside, creating a lot of problems, and he is a threat to step out. He shoots the threes, and he has been very active in terms of work and how he is playing. Beyond that, Tommy Smith has had some really outstanding games he's really quick for a four man. (Kenny) Crandall looks like he is getting back into the flow of things, as evidence by the confidence of his play. He's hitting 47% of his threes, and is really punishing you if you give him an open look. He had a great game against USC.

'We will be going with the normal starting line up that we've been going with for some time now, and the same rotation that we've had. There may be times when we will be able play the three guards. ASU's three starters are guards. They call (Kenny) Crandall a three man, but he is more of a guard. This will give us a little bit more flexibility to play the three guards as well.'

'Any time you are on the road in this league it's a challenge. They have really been playing well. Both of their loses to UCLA and USC are games they could have won. Beyond that, we're healthy. Luke (Walton) went down late in the game, as you recall, and we left him in. He seems to be fine. He is able to go through regular practice.'

'We had a huge let down for Saturday after the USC game, you sort of expect it from freshmen. They just don't understand the fact that that's over and done with and the next game is going to be just as intense. I was disappointed that our juniors weren't more in tune with what needed to be done on Saturday. I don't see any chance of a let down. This is a conference game. There are 18 conference games, they are either away or home and they know what kind of hole we put ourselves in with the loss to Oregon here (at McKale Center).'

'I've seen it through the years, we had a great game on Thursday and the guys aren't as focused as they need to be, especially with a Saturday game at noon as opposed to a Saturday game at night. That's a short turn around. Maybe from a coaching standpoint, I should have said more than what I did about our job being only half done. I should have envisioned that everywhere they went on Friday everyone was telling them how great they were on Thursday. That is a disaster if they don't shut that out. I just didn't expect it from our juniors. They've played enough to know that in this league they come after you if you have 'Arizona' on your shirt.'

'I think this game is always the most of important game in the state to our alums and their alums. From our players standpoint, they always look at the UCLA ones as the biggest because for so many years it was UCLA or us winning the title. We've also had a number of kids from Southern California, where they grew up with UCLA.'

'You go down the list with everyone they have back. (Curtis) Millage will be a very good point guard. We are very aware of their ability. They are starting Tommy Smith in that four spot, and (Awvee) Story coming off the bench. There are a lot of juniors who have played a lot of basketball since they were freshmen.'

On Freshmen Center Channing Frye, a Phoenix product:
'We haven't had many out of there, but Mike Bibby and Richard Jefferson were good ones, and obviously Channing is playing very well right now. There is no doubt in my mind that Channing is going to be a big time player before he is done, because he plays hard and is very coachable. Despite the string he has had lately, he still has a lot to learn in terms of his offensive moves. He's done a good job of making himself available for passes when we drive and his guy comes off of him.'

'Most of his baskets have been dunks or lay-ins. He hit a 14-foot face up against UCLA, which he can do. He's a very good shooter, good touch. He reminds me a lot of Loren Woods. He can run the floor extremely well, he has good timing on shot blocks, has a nice touch with his shot, and can see the floor well for the pass. I think he has a frame that can handle more weight then Loren could handle. He is still not the shot blocker he is going to become, because he still doesn't anticipate the plays he needs to anticipate.'

'There are a couple of things that have made him better then we had any right to think he would be at this point. That's his toughness, it gets rough in there and you don't see him back off. Secondly he's really competitor. He picks his game up when things get tough instead of going into the wood work.'

The inexperience of the team:
'We're always going to be young until we get to the next year. We aren't as much like freshmen as we are like sophomores at this point in the season. Take a look at the number of minutes that our guys have played and you realize they're playing a lot of minutes. You take a look at Salim Stoudamire, he's not playing like a freshman, and Channing (Frye) really hasn't been playing like a freshman. You can obviously see that Will Bynum is feeling more comfortable then he even was two weeks ago.'

'Because Luke (Walton) has been playing so well, its really limited the time for Isaiah, because there are some games where we have gone with Dennis (Latimore) as the first sub in the inside. Even though Isaiah's (Fox) time has been cut down, I think his practice situation has been much more consistent in terms of going after the ball. I think that time will return more for him now. But on the season he has averaged over 15 minutes a game for 16 games, so that's a lot of minutes.'

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