Coach's Corner: Ready to get started

The Cats begin the 2002-03 campaign on Saturday and get one last tune-up before then. Lute Olson may be confident about his team's chances to be pretty good, but he also knows a lot of work must be done to get them where he wants them. Olson talked about a number of topics including Team NIKE, the injury bug and what needs to be done before the season starts.

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Olson opened his press conference with an injury update.
Luke practiced pretty much full speed on Saturday. He got winded, obviously, because of being out for awhile. I think it was great that he was able to get back on Saturday. He got a good strenuous workout and I would think that it should have him ready to go this week.

Salim, the target day for him is Thursday. We'd like to use him some on Saturday, but we'll have to wait and see how his workouts go. He's been working very, very hard on his conditioning and his treatments with our trainer Justin. He's done everything he can do. We just need to make sure that he is fully ready to go.

The scrimmage on Saturday went pretty well. It was very competitive. We had Jason (Gardner) and Luke (Walton) on opposite teams and when that happens it usually is very competitive. I thought Channing Frye had a very good workout.

Luke and Andre (Iguodala) are going to both benefit from going against each other in practice. Because of Andre's length and quickness and because of Luke's experience, I think it helps in the areas Andre needs and it challenges Luke's defensive ability.

Ricky Anderson continues to play very well. He got banged on the head on Friday, so he played only about the first ten minutes. We sat him out the rest of the time, but he was alright Saturday.

On Team Nike:
Glenn Sergeant is someone everyone is familiar with. They were at one time Marathon Oil and then they got a Nike sponsorship. They had some size and they always have shooter. One familiar name will be Casey Frank of NAU. (James) Felton has played really well for them. They are good, with overall balance. The usual thing that they do very well is get the ball down court quickly, I'm sure that will be challenge with our pressure.

What is the biggest focus of this exhibition?
It will be good to have Luke back, so we'll have another veteran out there. It'll give us another veteran out there. Luke communicates so well. He's much more vocal than the other two guys are, although Jason and Ricky have worked hard at that. I just think it makes it that much better when they've got a third guy, especially in the defensive communication which I thought was really lacking last Tuesday.

What we're looking for is to see how different combinations go. We've had the guys mixed, except for three or for guys rotated on both teams to help the younger guys make progress. We'll try to get the veterans together more to get more coordination between the guys who will be on the floor.

When will you start the scouting for Western Kentucky?
We won't do anything on them until Thursday. We still have a lot of things of our own we need to work on, but we'll have two days in preparation for Western Kentucky. Right now I'm more concerned with what we do than what someone else is doing.

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