Olson on Houston

The Cats are coming off a big win over Virginia and now get an intriguing Houston team that is playing well. Lute Olson discussed the Cougars at his weekly press gathering.

Regarding Houston:

Lute Olson: "Houston played last night at LSU and beat them by one. They are very athletic. They pressed all over the place. They fired up a lot of threes. It should be an interesting game."

"With us, in terms of our starting line up, we will have Ivan Radenovic back, so he will move back into that spot with Walters, Adams, Rodgers and Shakur"

"Our primary day of preparation is today. We will review on Friday. We gave them yesterday off. We will do the same thing tomorrow, and then we will work out Friday before we jet out of here."

On his impression of Oliver Lafayette?

Olson: "His range is great. He will shoot six to eight feet outside the three-point lines. He is very good. Chris Rodgers will have that assignment."

On the play of Mustafa Shakur:

Olson: "I told Mustafa that that thing that makes him special as a point guard is that he has the ability to create. We have had a lot of guy's that could shoot the ball and do other things, but what he's doing for us now, is similar to what Jason Terry did. Mustafa is a creator, and he needs to be a creator first and a shooter second."

"I think we are going to be a great team. I thought he played great against Virginia. Probably the biggest improvement that Mustafa has made this year is the fact that we can put him on a guy, and he can lock people up defensively. He was not a good defender against penetrators before and he's really worked hard on that."

On Houston coach Tom Penders:

"I've known Tom for a long time. Guys love to play for him. He makes the game fun. He's a good salesman, and does a good job at getting his kids excited to play for him. I don't think that has been the case at Houston for a while."

How far back do the two of you go?

Olson: "I knew him when he was coaching back east, before he ever came to Texas. I got to know him best at the Final Four, because his seats were next to mine. It's really a friendship that started way back when he was coaching back east. It may have even been before I got here."

On the Arizona-Houston recruiting connection?

Olson: " The connection is with Josh (Pastner) being from there. The other thing is that our program isn't hard to sell. We have non-stop flights (to Houston); great climate that's not hard (for Houston natives) to adjust to, and our style of play is definitely of interest to kids that play. Houston kids for the most part play an up-tempo style of play. The kids from Houston who come here have been very positive about their experience here."

There is a pride developing about the defense. Does that pride equate to hard work?

Olson: "Through the years our key has always been the defense. The key to defense is basing it on the number of possessions the teams have and what percentage they score. Defense has always been the key with our program. I can go all the way back to the first teams we had with Pete Williams and defense has always been our key.

Will this game be a good test?

"Oh yeah.  It's at Houston and the place is sold out from what I understand. There will be a lot of excitement. Our guys are really excited about it; our coaching staff is really excited about it. Josh who normally sleeps four hours a day will probably only sleep one.  He's in charge of the scouting assignment, and if we loose that game it will be because of Josh (laughs)."

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