Q: can you just talk a little bit about that Missouri win and its impact on the team's confidence? How much of an impact has it had in practice?
KA: it was a very big win for us. it gave us a lot of confidence, going into PAC-12 play. We just want to carry the intensity that we came out with. We just want to carry that over to practice. And from the practice to the next game.
Q: does it kind of offset some of the disappointment from the earlier part of the season? Like the Cal Poly game and Irvine?
KA: well, we can't get mad or disappointed at something that we can't control. We lost those games already, and we can't control going back into those games. We just want to focus on the games and the practices that we have ahead of us. That's what we want to focus on.
Q: this winning streak and then beating Missouri, a pretty high-ranked team, how much momentum does that give you, going into conference play?
KA: it gives us a lot especially coming off a big win like that. Gives us a lot. Cal is a great team. They're going to come out like Missouri. Great intensity. We just want to match the intensity and even have a level higher and do what we have to do to get the win.
Q: if you had to describe the biggest difference between Cal Poly and last week's team, what do you think the biggest difference?
KA: the team we lost to?
Q: no, I mean, when you were that team against Cal Poly and the team you are now, what is the biggest difference?
KA: I think defensively, we're a much better team. And a little bit more unselfish team now than we were then. But you have to credit Cal Poly. They were on fire. And we missed a few shots, didn't make a few shots. Things just didn't go our way. So that happens in the game of basketball. Basketball is a great game of runs, and they happened to go on a run and we didn't have anything to control it. I think now, we're a much better unselfish team. Everybody's looking for somebody else. And just things like that.
Q: is that just the gelling thing that everybody's talking about?
KA: yeah, I think Shabazz [Muhammad] coming on. And everybody finally getting adjusted to each other. He's doing a great job offensively and making it easier for guys to find him in position to score.
Q: so how close are you to that ceiling?
KA: we still have a long way. It still takes a lot more work and a lot more games to come together. But I think we're heading in the right direction.
Q: can you talk about the freshman class as a whole and what you guys have done to this point? Is this what you expected?
KA: I think we have a much bigger role on the team now since we lost players. Our roles are getting bigger, and I think we're stepping up to the challenge as a whole. With ‘Bazz and Jordan being the first 2 main scorers and me being the leading rebounder and leading in steals. So I think we have a much bigger role, and I think we stepped up to the challenge. And that's just something that we all came in… it's kind of our attitude toward the game. We're all tough kids, and whatever the team or the coach needs us to do, that's what we're going to get done.
Q: can you talk about some of those things that Shabazz has brought that you were saying that once he was back in the lineup, how things have changed and how things were better?
KA: a lot of energy on the offensive and defensive glass. He helped us out a lot. He makes it a lot easier for the decision makers like Larry [Drew II] and myself who have the ball in our hands. To be able to find him in position to score and make us all look good. Back-to-back games of high 20's is great. We're just all proud of him, and we're glad he's helped us out this year.
Q: were you expecting him to be as good from 3 as he's been? I think he's hitting like 50% or so.
KA: yeah, he's shooting great from 3 actually. I was looking at our stats the other day, and I saw his and I was really amazed at that. It's something he put the time in and put the effort in. so he definitely deserves it.
Q: how excited are you to get conference started?
KA: I'm very excited. PAC-12 is a tough conference. It'll be tough, night in and night out. We have to see what we're made of and what we're up against.
Q: what have you been told in terms of preparing for, I guess, the highest level of intensity?
KA: every team wants to beat everybody. You don't want to lose in conference play. So the intensity picks up. The guys who have been here before, the coaches… they're just warning us about it, but they still want us to play our game.
Q: what is it in conference that you're looking forward to the most?
KA: not really.
Q: do anything for New Year's?
KA: no, not really. It was really weird with the time difference. My family and friends were texting me at 9 o'clock for Happy New Year's and I was like, "What are you guys talking about?"
Q: as freshmen, do you think it's better to start conference play at home as opposed to on the road?
KA: yeah, I think it was better for us to start [at home]. Especially with tough teams like Cal. I think we feel a little bit more comfortable at home. We haven't played any games on the road, and it's something we're going to have to adjust to and we might take some lumps, but it's all part of getting better.