Can you talk about what it means being 2-0 in Pac-10 and playing Arizona next?
"It means a lot. It brings a lot of confidence to us, to our young fellas. Us the veterans, we never done that before (beating Arizona). The program, the fans, the whole city…there's a buzz going around here, and it's nice."
Is the coach telling you guys to forget about this win and start preparing for Arizona?
"He said that right now they're (Arizona) practicing, trying to get ready. When we come back ready for practice, we have to be the same way. It's gonna be a tough battle on Wednesday and we have to be ready to give everything we have. Coach said getting ready for UA game starts right now."
Do you feel that for the first time in your ASU career you have the pieces around you to compete with Arizona
"I think we have the pieces to compete with anybody. But it's not really a matter of personnel. It's matter of heart and desire, just wanting to compete and not taking anybody's nonsense. You just wanna play ball. You love it and give your all."
Looks you were having fun blocking shots there…
"Blocking shots is always fun, right? It's a big man thing. It's like dunking on somebody."
Were you frustrated early because of your foul trouble?
"Yeah, they were on me real quick and I had to sit down, and no player likes sitting down on the bench. It gave me time to get my head on right. Coach talked to me, we got everything down and everything was fine."
As a player that's been in the program for a while, what would it mean to you to be 3-0 in the Pac-10 after beating Arizona?
"Just starting 3-0 period would be great. Winning period is great and I haven't done much winning from the time I've been here, so I'll take it. Anything we can get will be lovely."
You mentioned earlier in the season that the defense isn't where it's supposed to be, but it seems the last few games the team has been playing very well. What's your assessment on how the team is playing on defense?
"To be honest I would give us a C+ . We're there but we have so much more room to grow. We haven't peaked yet. Our potential is way up there. We have a lot of room to grow and a lot of ground to cover to be the defensive team we need to be. It just hasn't clicked quite yet. Oregon State had 16 offensive rebounds, and when we're gonna be where we need to be teams won't have 16 offensive rebounds. Nowhere close, maybe three… "
You played eight minutes in the first half and got some valuable contributions from Eric Boateng…
"Boateng was excellent off the bench. He brought a lot of fire and got everyone going. I was down, I was fouling…I'm sitting down and everything seems to be a little down. Then Eric comes in and boom everything is exploding. Boateng is scoring, drawing fouls, guarding people on defense. He just brought a big spark for us that we needed."
Do you feel that Boateng's confidence is much greater now than it was in the beginning of the season?
"I think so. He's a lot more confident in himself. He just knows that when he's in there, it's time for him to do something. He's not just in there taking up space. He's there to dominate every possession."
Can you talk about the rivalry game at home here next Wednesday?
"It's always a big game. Everybody is coming home now from Christmas break. Students are gonna be here. This place is always packed and rocking when U of A comes here, so it's pretty big. Tempe gets a little antsy and really crazy around here when U of A comes to town."
You mentioned it's not about pieces around you and talent, it's about heart. But you have better players around you than you did in the past…
"Of course. The new guys, that's definitely one thing that they bring – is their heart. They're not just typical young guys that are out there. They don't just take what's given to them and saying ‘well I'm messing up but I'm learning.' These guys are in here saying ‘it's crunch time and we can't crumble. So we're giving everything we have because that's what's we're supposed to do.' So that's it right there."
You never had a guy like the one sitting next to you …
"No…I mean there's only one James Harden."
Are you curious what this rivalry will be like Wednesday night?
"I'm very curious. There's a lot of talk about the rivalry. Coach said it isn't a rivalry because they won 24 out of 25. We're just trying to change things around and be prepared for the game."
You were (in attendance) at the Arizona game last year. What do you remember about it?
"Just the environment, the fans, all the excitement around. And this year I'm a part of it. Should be fun."
Are teams getting more physical with you defensively?
"Yes. That's the Pac-10 and you have to be ready for it."
Overall, how do you feel the team is clicking?
"We're getting there. As time goes we'll get there. We have a long way to go."
Did Arizona recruit you pretty hard?
"They did. I went to some of their camps and they recruited me since I was a sophomore. It (the relationship) was all right. It wasn't a close relationship. The close relationship is here."
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