Pre-Game Talk: Arizona Discusses UAB

The Arizona players and coaches spoke during their press conference about the prospect of playing UAB. Cat Tacks was on hand to report the quotes.

Head Coach Lute Olson

On UAB's Victory Over Kentucky Last Tournament:

"They really get after you. Our guys like to play up-tempo style. Kentucky would break, but I don't think they do it as consistently as we do. The other thing is that from the end of the first we of practice, there is not a day that goes by that we don't work on the full-court pressing."

On Necessary Changes to the Game:

"Well, firstly I feel that the three-point line should be moved out. We had that in experimental rules. We talk about the percentage being at 34% right now. That's still an awfully good percentage when that 30% is 50% on twos. So I still think it's a little bit out of whack. Maybe by moving that thing back it will put things back into perspective. I don't think there should be so much focus on the three point shot that you forget how to play the game. Secondly, we are very much in need of a line under the basket line the pros have for blocks and charges. They are so inconsistent with officials on the call. You aren't supposed to call a charge on a guy in the basket area, but when you're on the road there's no control over whether it's a charge or not, it's a charge. I think widening the lane would be good. Not the trapezoidal lane. When you put a trapezoid in there, you are eliminating the corner positions. I'd like the lane to be wider, but still have the same design…I would not have conference affiliated officials. We should have six NCAA regions with a person who's answerable to the NCAA officials. Not the Pac-10 officials, not the ACC officials. We are never going to solve our officiating problems until we get rid of conference affiliation. Why do the NCAA officials work so well in the tournament? It's because if they have a bad night, they're done. They are one and done too. If we had regions, the person in charge of that region, and if there is a problem, it's an NCAA problem, not a Pac-10 problem. I've said for 20 years that we are not going to solve our officiating problems, until we get rid of conference affiliation. The NCAA is who we all play for. Put the NCAA in charge. If somebody isn't doing their job, let the NCAA punish them."

On Salim Stoudamire's Growth:

"All I want is Salim (Stoudamire) to not be so hard on himself. He is a perfectionist to a fault. Some guys show frustration from a verbal standpoint. He shows the frustration by how he looked and acted toward that. Salim Stoudamire has never been a problem-type person. I finally said this year to him, ‘Salim I'm not going to let you do this to yourself anymore.'"

On Chris Rodgers:

"I thought Chris (Rodgers) played very well (against Utah State). One things you know for sure is that he is going to create a problem for the opposing team. He harasses the ball and he is strong and quick. He will be a big key for us against UAB because of the depth that they have and the way they're going to run fresh people at you."

Senior Center Channing Frye

On Inside Match-ups vs. Utah State and UAB:

"I think any time in a tournament, you're going to want people to step up, and regardless of who you're playing, even if you're playing some of the best big men in the country. Not to say that any of these people aren't, I just want to step up for my team. This is my last go around, and I get hyped up no matter if there is a marquee center or not. Every team has their strengths and weaknesses and my team's strength is establishing itself in the post."

On Salim Stoudamire's Growth:

"Basically I just want to say that Salim has grown up a lot. I think everybody has, especially me. I just think that mine hasn't been so publicized as Salim's. I think Salim has learned how to trust people in different areas and I know that's very hard for most people."

On Short Preparation Time:

"I think we're kind of used to is now being that you know the Pac-10, for instance Washington State and Washington. Not to say that those teams are comparable to Utah State and UAB but they have similar kind of styles. I think it is enough for us to watch a lot of film, and if we come out there with a defensive focus and a mental focus to come out there and win we'll be all right."

Senior Guard Salim Stoudamire


"It's a challenge because they're so scrappy, and they press the entire game. So, you can't be scared of the press, you have to attack it, but at the same time be smart, and know that they're going to hold you, slap at your arms. You've just got to fight through that, be tough mentally."

On UAB Compared to Washington:

"As far as the physicality and the scrappiness yes (they are similar), but Washington doesn't do as much trapping as them with the press. We like that, because it gives us a chance to show off our athleticism."

On His Development:

"When I came into the program I was a shy guy, you know, to myself. I really didn't' open up to my teammates. I didn't talk a lot. But now, you know, I'm more vocal, as far as leadership, and I'm an example for the younger guys. I've opened myself up to my teammates. It's like a family."

Freshman Guard/Forward Jesus Verdejo

On the Utah State Game:

"Honestly, when we were losing by three points at halftime, I was kind of nervous, because I knew that team could play good against us. We need to take it one step at a time."


"(Their similar style of play to ours) definitely helps us a lot. They'll press us, and I don't think they can press us for 40 minutes…It might be close until about the last ten minutes of the game."

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