Lute Olson Press Conference Quotes
March 4, 2004
A question was asked about Sunday being the last home game for the seniors. Jason Ranne and Fil Torres got here under different circumstances. Fil came here as a regular student and came out for tryouts because of what had happened to us after we lost so many players (following the 2000-01 season). He did a good job in the tryouts and has been on our team for three years now. He's an outstanding student who has been a great addition to our team. He's run the point guard position on the scout team. He's always been a very positive member of the team and very popular with the coaches and players alike. We're very pleased to have him be a member of this program.
Jason Ranne had let us know that he wanted to walk-on. His dad (Richard) played on one of Coach (Jerry) Kindall's baseball teams (1972), so there was a family - I don't want to use the term pressure - but I think his parents really wanted him to come here. He was with us as a walk-on the first year (2000-01) and because he did such a good job, he has been on scholarship for the last three years. He is a great student...pre-law (major).
Jason has had some opportunities to get in games in first-half situations. We have a lot of confidence in Jason. He plays with a great deal of intelligence and poise. He's been a very, very positive member of this team for four years and will also get his degree in May.
Channing seems to be your most consistent player. Is that true?
I think Channing has had a great year. He's been very consistent in practice. He works hard. It doesn't matter if it's drill work or half-court or full court, Channing plays hard and continues to improve every day because of that. If you look at his shooting percentage, the job he's done defensively, the shot blocks, the boards, (the way) he runs the court, I think from the beginning until now, he has been our most consistent player when you look at his practice performance and his game performance. That's something we try to point out. If you are going to have consistent game performance, it starts with consistent practice performance.
Is he one of your tougher competitors?
Yes, he's very competitive. The big thing with Channing is that he wants to be able to say after he's played, that he has played as hard and competed as hard as he can. Yet he does it in a first-class manner. You don't see Channing running down the floor chirping at somebody after he's dunked the ball or blocked a shot. He may show some facial expression after he does something, but it's never directed at the person. That's becoming a lost art. Channing is a very solid young man.
Channing has always played well against (Arizona State's Ike) Diogu. Where has he been able to be successful?
I think Channing's size and his shot-blocking ability has had something to do with that. We've always been able to give Channing help inside, too. It's really not very fair to Ike to always be compared to how you did against Channing. I think we've had a stronger supporting cast for Channing to play with. It's hard for Arizona State to take a chance on someone's inability to hit a shot for us where we've usually been able to pick out one or two players that we feel we can gamble on their ability to hit the outside shot as opposed to letting the ball get into Ike. We've looked at tapes of other teams that are just dropping in there. He gets the ball and hardly ever does he have room to move.
Because of that, does it surprise you that he (Diogu) is still able to put up impressive numbers?
He is an amazing player. His timing with the ball is something very special. He can get through, even with that big body, a crack in the defense and then he has unbelievable timing on getting guys to go for fakes and using his strength to go through guys that are airborne. If someone flinches when he gives a fake, he's going to go up right then. His timing on that is probably as good as I've ever seen.
Please talk about Ivan Radenovic's development:
He's faced the most difficult of circumstances: 1.) coming in at mid-year, but then 2.) coming in facing a totally different brand of basketball in this country than what he has been brought up with. I think he is still adjusting to the quickness and athleticism of the players he's playing against here. I think what you are going to see out of Ivan is the same thing you have seen from our freshmen players in the past that their biggest time of improvement is from the end of their freshman year to the start of their sophomore season.
You go through language problems, being as far away from home, being in a foreign country, with a different style of play, and you throw him in mid-year instead of being able to adjust at the beginning of the year. It has to have been a very frustrating experience for him. Ivan has really maintained a very solid composure. I'm sure he's been frustrated at times, but he really hasn't shown that to us.
I think he's made a lot of progress on the defensive end of the court. He has good foot quickness. One thing about Ivan, no matter what it is that if you ask him to work on, you can count on him doing it.
Can you pinpoint what may have led to some of ASU's shortcomings this season?
I think Rob (Evans, ASU head coach) would be the one to ask about that. I don't know. They are very strong inside with Ike, but it seems like they haven't had consistency on the perimeter.
(On ASU's preseason expectations) I don't think it was fair. A lot of that was done because of Ike's exposure as a first team preseason All-American and some of the other things that people were expecting from him. It can't be that he's disappointed anyone.
I think that (high expectations) happens a lot when you have a high-profile player. People tend to expect a lot more from the team. Like I say, it certainly hasn't been because of his (Ike's) performance. He's been consistently good. There isn't anyone that plays ASU who doesn't set their defense to try to stop him.
What do you want to accomplish Sunday?
The important thing for us is to keep working on playing 40 minutes on both ends of the court. Like I've said all along, that is going to happen as soon as the effort and consentration is consistent on the practice court day in and day out. That is our Achilles' heel.
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