Coaches Corner: Olson likes progress

The Wildcats came from behind on Sunday night to preserve a split with the Oregon schools. Although Lute Olson found many things wrong with his team's play, he was very proud of the way they came back. olson addressed the Oregon games as well as the upcoming trip to Washington in his weekly press conference.

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Question: How is Luke Walton?
Olson: "Luke Walton would of been ready to do everything for us today. He is starting to do some drills and he says he feels great. We want him to wait one more day before he practices. There is no doubt that he will be ready on Thursday."

Question: How happy are you with the comeback?
Olson: "To be able to win the way that we won was exciting. We learned last night that every possession becomes important. We need to learn that every possession starting with the first one is important, not just the first one of the second half.

"The difference in the first and second halves was that we played more aggressive in the second half. During the second half we made them react to us rather than in the first half (when) we let them do what they wanted. We were reacting to them."

Question: What players impressed you?
"I thought Dennis (Latimore) gave us some quality minutes this weekend from the defensive standpoint. We were able to do more on defense, but we can not be real effective offensively unless we have three guards on the court.

"During the game we used nine guys and seven of them were freshman. Ricky (Anderson) had to sit down with foul trouble. We played with four freshman and Jason (Gardner) for most of the game. Every game is a learning experience for these young guys. It's obvious to the freshmen the difference between first half and second half. I didn't want to see the other team's offense. I didn't want the guys to know that there was going to be a screen coming in and suddenly they are soft on the ball. We need to not allow them to run what they are supposed to be running. We need to get after people and stop reacting to what they are running offensively."

Question: What have you seen from Washington State?
Olson: "They have better athletes than they have had in awhile. They have really good all-around basketball players. (Jerry) McNair and (Milton) Riley are excellent athletes. They also use two guards at the four spot. They have a fairly descent nucleus returning.

"We had practice today, but we usually use our Monday as an off day. Wednesday will be very light. Salim (Stoudamire) and Jason (Gardner) rotated with Will (Bynum) in there. We need to put Jason in a position where he doesn't have to create the shot with the dribble. Today we had either Will or Salim bringing down the ball operating off the screen."

"Whenever you are on the road. You are facing problems. We won at Oregon State, but that was a dog fight for us. We also had a healthy Luke Walton. I really do think we are seeing some positive signs from our freshman. You look at Salim Stoudamire, other than the Oregon game where it was not a great game for him, yet his shot selection now is where it needs to be. I thought last night with Will (Bynum) we saw much better defensive with him. It's not there yet, but we have been fighting this with him. A guy goes away from the ball and he loses that focus. We are seeing less of that in practice and less of that last night. (Channing) Frye has been consistent. He had a double-double last night. You can see what is happening with him. We need to get Isaiah (Fox) back to a more productive position. You are seeing some good strides from the freshmen.

"Peter (Hansen) is great. He works his tail off everyday. He does what we expect him to do. He's competitive and bright. He picks things up well on the scout team. The more that we've seen of him running with the scout team, the more we see good things from him. He's a pest defensively and he doesn't turn the ball over offensively. In the beginning he had turnovers and was trying too hard. The players have confidence in him.


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