Lute Olson Press Conference Quotes

March 5, 2002

Opening Statement
'I think ASU is a very good team. They had problems getting over the humps. They've lost some games that they could have easily won. They are a good, experienced team. They are a deep team.'

'ASU played really well against Cal and Stanford this past weekend. When we played them, we had a problem stopping (Curtis) Millage. When we played them in Tempe (Jason) Braxton did a great job. They've got three athletic guys, (Awvee) Storey, (Tommy) Smith and (Chad) Prewitt. Prewitt has a lot of experience and plays intelligently. ASU will be a tough matchup for us.'

What are your thoughts on the tournament?
'The first round match up of Stanford and USC is amazing, you can see those two in the finals, and here they are in the first round. Everyone has to go into the tournament realizing they have a fight on their hands. It's going to be highly competitive. Going into the Pac-10 tournament, you just play as well as you can and get the most experience you can for the following week in the NCAA tournament.'

How do you feel about your squad at this point of the year?
'The good news for us now is that (Will) Bynum and (Dennis) Latimore have gotten some confidence from this past weekend's games. We can go with those two guys in the tournament. Sometimes we've had to stay with a six or seven man rotation. We don't have to just depend on Jason (Gardner) and Luke (Walton), we are a little bit deeper now.'

'Will (Bynum) feels that he has made great progress. It would be unusual if a freshman didn't feel that he wasn't getting enough playing time. This isn't just a problem for us, it is a problem with every program. Freshman are accustomed to playing all the time. Will also thought that he was fine on defense because he didn't know much about it, but now he knows. I tell the players that the key to learning is understanding what you are doing and what you should have been doing. I think his attitude has been excellent. He would just like to play more. I have been telling him that he has take the shot that he wants to take and have the confidence that he is going to make it. It is difficult to get that confidence unless you are in the game for a lot of the minutes.'

On getting ready for the tournament:
'In order to get ready for the NCAA tournament, we have to improve on our rebounding. We need to be consistent on the boards. Defensively, we need to make it tough for other teams to get a look at the basket. It really starts with the guards. We have to get them in a good operational zone.'

On recruiting and the ability to remain competitive:
'I think that one of the most difficult things to do is to maintain consistency year to year. If you are in an area that doesn't produces a lot of players, the most difficult thing is maintaining consistency. That's what you can say about Kansas. They have been consistent from year to year even though they don't have that many players from Kansas. You have to be able to recruit kids that will help your program. We haven't had many from Arizona. The ones that have been from Arizona have been outstanding.'

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