Coach's Corner: Olson on progress

The Red/Blue Scrimmage is over and now the real work begins. The Cats have one more tune-up before they head to New York to battle Maryland. Coach Lute Olson discusses the progress the young Wildcat team has made.

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Question: How have the practices gone so far? Ant new developments that you can share?

Olson: "The guys have been working very hard in practice. The chemistry is still very good which we had seen to immediately, and it's what I heard from the veteran players about how well the freshmen were fitting in.

"We've been playing (Luke) Walton both inside and out. We've been playing Ricky Anderson both inside and out. We've been using Stoudamire as a point guard, with Bynum running primarily at the two. The reasons for that are Will is a scorer and we're trying to put him in a position where he can concentrate on scoring without having to worry about running the team as well. As always, on fast breaks anyone who gets the rebound is leading the fast break. The only exception to that is the center."

Question: With the departure of Travis Hanour, are there any problems in running a practice?

Olson: "The two walk-ons have done a really good job. They've picked things up quickly. We're fine with what we have, provided that we don't have injuries. There isn't anything you can do about it anyways; you just have to go with it.

Question: Would you sign a fourth player in the spring?

Olson: I doubt that we would. Because if you're not planning on four, it's hard to start recruiting now. By this time most kids have narrowed their choices. We wouldn't bring in anyone unless it was the case where we see and obvious weakness that needs to be filled. Then it would be a matter of if there was someone at that late of a date that could be of some assistance. Certainly what you don't want to do is take someone who's not going to have a positive affect on the program.

Question: Are you still going to use rebounding as the determining factor of who lines up at center?

Olson: "At this point, (freshman center) Isaiah Fox has twice as many rebounds in practice than any of our other big guys. When we look at what we need out of that position, somebody who is a consistent rebounder is going to be the most attractive to us.

"(Freshman center) Channing Frye's last couple of practices have far and away been the best that he's ever had. His improvement has been very steady but I think it showed up the last couple of days. He's not having to think about everything now, he's reacting. He's the best runner of the group.

Question: Michael Wright was cut last week, should he have stayed in school?

Olson: "The biggest problem is, when it comes to kids deciding whether to come out or not, they're listening to people tell them what they want to hear instead of relying of people that probably have a pretty good idea.

Question: How beneficial was the redshirt year used by Rick Anderson?

Olson: "I think the additional year of maturity has been the biggest thing. With Luke and Ricky, we have been working them both inside and out so that they can work together. I think he's a lot better because he's a year older.

Question: How has the learning curve been for the freshmen?

Olson: "I think they have made excellent progress because they want to learn and they have excellent attitudes. I think the learning curve has been good. It's similar to freshmen before probably. The biggest thing is we don't have enough veterans to help as most teams would.

Question: Are the comparisons between Isaiah Fox and Joseph Blair valid?

Olson: "I think that there are a lot of similarities between Isaiah and (former Wildcat) Joseph Blair. Isaiah is big but he runs fluidly, he has good feet, great hands. Comparing him to guys on the team, I would say he and Luke have the best hands. Isaiah has outstanding ability and is going to eventually be a really good leader. He understands the game and is already communicating a lot out on the floor.


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