Walton, Gardner ESPN.com Chat Wrap

Nov. 8, 2002

Corey (Illinois): Jason what are your feelings towards this years that differ from last year team? And are you guys capable of holding your preseason number one ranking and take it all the way to possible win the national championship?

Jason Gardner: We are a lot older and closer as a team. We definitely know how to play together. We're looking forward to a good year.

Toby Stone Mesa AZ: Luke are you and jason going to have a side bet, just for fun don't want to put anything between you guys, on who will dish out more dimes?

Luke Walton: We're not going to bet, but it is a nice competition between us. Jason is the best point guard in the country, so it will be tough to keep up with him. Besides, I help him get most of his assists anyway.

Julian (NJ): Is Richard Jefferson the best Wildcat in the League right now? Thanks and good luck this season!

Luke Walton: It's toughto say. Rich is playing well, but you've got Gil, Damon, Kerr, and Loren is playing well. We've got a good group of guys in the league.

Brandon & Veronica (Silicon Valley, CA): Hi Jason and Luke. You guys are AWESOME! Thank you (and Ricky Anderson too) for staying at Arizona for your Senior year. What effect do you think your wise decisions will have on the underclassmen still at the UofA (Channing Frye, Andre Iguodala, Salim Stoudamire...) for the next few seasons?Thanks and best of luck to you this season. GO WILDCATS!!!

Brandon and Veronica


Jason Gardner: Getting a degree is important to me. I'm having a lot of fun playing basketball. I hope the guys can use what I've been through to help them make a decision when the time comes.

Brian from Tucson: Jason and Luke,Being the senior leaders of the team what are you telling the young guys about the pressure of what they will face over the course of the season

Luke Walton: Entering the year with the No. 1 ranking definitely puts a target on our chest. We just need to stay focused on what we need to do to accomplish our goals. Rankings and that kind of attention is nice, but it's winning the games that matter.

Greg (Mill Valley): Question for both: Playing the level of competition that you do and the intensity of some of the games (like the NCAA tournament), how do you guys prepare for the game mentally and make adjustments during the game if things aren't going your way?

Jason Gardner: It's not just a mental thing, especially with the NCAA Tournament. Every game is important. You just have to be ready to play each time out.

William, New York: With so many capable players at Arizona this season, do you guys foresee any significant discontent with playing time that could cause chemistry problems? How close do you guys feel this team is compared to the past couple of years?


Jason Gardner: No. It just makes the practices more competitive. That competitiveness will just carry over to the games.

Luke Walton: This season our practices have been more intense than a game. Every one of our guys can play.

Tucson: What is your biggest personal goal for this year?

Jason Gardner: To get better each day. That's all I want to do.

Travis, Tucson: what freshman are you guys most impressed with thus far?

Jason Gardner: All of them are good. Each day they bring something special to the court.

David Santa Monica: Jason and Luke,The freshman from last year are now sophmores. Do you feel now that the team has the experience to win a national championship?Best of luck in the next season. I hope you guys are able to cut down the nets in New Orleans.

All the best,


Jason Gardner: Yes I do. All of the sophomores are a year older and they are all bigger, stronger and faster. Last year helped them learn how to win big ball games.

quinn (tucson): what are your feelings on it being your last year? does senior year put a lot more urgency into it all? good luck and go cats!

Luke Walton: I wouldn't trade my time here at Arizona for anything. I'm looking forward to this season, playing with these guys, but my whoe career has been a lot of fun.

Jefe(PHX): The most obvious question facing this year's squad is how is Coach Olson going to give everyone enough quality minutes to keep them happy? More specifically, what have you guys talked about as a team to deal with this issue?

Luke Walton: We're going to a full-court press type of game...Kind of like Kentucky back in the 1990s. It's the kind of style that will get everyone some good minutes.

Robert Escalante Tucson,AZ: What is the biggest difference between this year's team and the team ranked number one two years ago?

Luke Walton: The 2001 team was a little older with guys like Rich, Mike, and Loren. But this year's team is more athletic and a little deeper. Either way, it's a nice team to be on.

The Lord of the Blings: going into the season, do you prefer to be underdogs like you were last year or highly touted like this year and 2000?

Jason Gardner: I like them both. I like being No. 1 or not ranked because it makes you play for something. It gives you something to prove. Either way, it makes you work hard.

Count Mackula: with all the talent on this team, how does the competition for minutes affedt the team chemistry?

Jason Gardner: I don't think so. We're a real tight team. I'm just glad that Coach O makes those decisions and not me.

phoenix: Walton... I saw that the teams you wanted to play the most were Oregon and Oklahoma. I couldn't agree with you more! I hope you guys stomp Oregon in the Pac-10 opener, and put those punks back in their place. And there's nothing I'd like to see more than for us to Eliminate Oklahoma in the tournament this year. How are you going to get the younger guys to understand the history of these games so that they'll be up to the challenge?

Luke Walton: The non-conference schedule helps us get ready for Pac-10 play. By the time we start playing conference games, the guys know that every game is important. We really don't sit them down and tell the freshmen that one game is more important than another...we just try to play well every time out.

Beth (Indianapolis): Jason & Luke, What has been the most valuable lesson or advice that coach Olsen has taught you? Good Luck this season!

Jason Gardner: He's taught me how to be a man...how to carry myself off the court. He treats us well. You learn a lot from him just by spending time with him.

Tucson, AZ: As a team, what do you think will be the most important thing that you guys will need to do to be successful this season?

Luke Walton: To stay focused as a team. We've got 'Arizona' on our jerseys and people are going to give us their best shot every game. We just need to stay together and play hard.

Moderator: Jason and Luke really appreciate all of the great questions, but they've got to get ready for practice. Thanks for joining us. Go Wildcats!!
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