Shabazz on Oregon

Shabazz Muhammad talks about not starting against Oregon, how that contributed to his rough night, and the importance of this upcoming game against Arizona...

Shabazz Muhammad talks after the press conference:


Q: when did you start it?

SM: I started about 3 weeks ago, and I've been doing it on a consistent basis so it's been helping me.

Q: Shabazz, how frustrating was it for you to not start the other night?

SM: yeah, it was frustrating. But I lost track of time. Fell asleep. It was a long day. I got my car towed. Went to class at 9:30AM. Just kind of fell asleep, and my alarm didn't go off. You know how iPhones are.

Q: sounds like a bad day.

SM: yeah, that was one of my worst days. And also we lost. That's pretty bad. Really a bad day for us.

Q: did you take that personally?

SM: oh yeah, I take it personally. But everybody has a bad day. It's not going to happen again. But like I said, it was a pretty rough day. Just knowing that it happens in life and just knowing that we have to bounce back.

Q: do you attribute your shooting funk to that? Or just teams defending you a little bit better?

SM: I think teams are defending… sometimes I'm not shooting it well. Sometimes I've got to learn to go to the basket all the way and when the jump shot is open.

Q: what have teams done differently in the last few games compared to the beginning of the season?

SM: I don't think they did a lot. Oregon, we had a lot of stuff that can free up. I thought I didn't play that bad. I only had 9 shots so that's not a lot. But I think we played pretty well, but we weren't just as tough as that team.

Q: are there adjustments to try to make on offense right now or is just kind of an issue of your shots are going to start falling eventually?

SM: yeah, I think my shots are going to start falling. I just have to get it together again and like I said, recoup and start getting my jump shot to flow again.

Q: Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams are going to make it?

SM: oh, no they're not going to make it. They're throwing up everywhere. It was from Chipotle. I had Chipotle yesterday. It was delicious. I'm fine. But I don't know what happened to them.

Q: so you dodged a bullet?

SM: oh yeah. I did. They said it was the lettuce. So I never like to get lettuce anyway. So I don't know.

Q: of all the things at Chipotle, I doubt it's the lettuce.

Q: Shabazz, what do you know about the UCLA-Arizona rivalry and its history?

SM: oh yeah. It's a very good rivalry. If you look at it, Arizona had all the players and UCLA with Kevin Love and everybody. So I can't wait to get down there in Arizona. I know it's a tough atmosphere. So it'll test my level and ability to compete, and we'll see what happens.

Q: obviously you guys don't look too far ahead, but is this one of those games where you kind of had it marked down on the calendar for awhile?

SM: yeah, this is a"gotta win" for us. We've got to win this game, no questions asked, especially since we lost against Oregon where we thought we'd win. So we have to come in there and win this game.

Q: from a recruiting standpoint, UCLA and Arizona go heads up a lot. In your mind, if you had top 2, it was Duke and UCLA or whatever, if they played head-to-head, did the winner or loser make a difference to you at all?

SM: I think so. You look at it and whoever wins, you pretty much see how their offense flows and how they're on offense and defense. But sometimes it doesn't really matter if they win or lose. It depends on what guys they have. I think the big deal is just how the coach plays the players they have and how those guys get off and how they run the offense for those guys smoothly.

Q: Ben [Howland] talked about how much you guys have worked on rebounding. Was it just an effort thing against Oregon? Do you guys kind of take a step back?

SM: oh yeah. I think it was an effort thing. That one series where they had 6 shots. That's just an effort thing, and guys weren't being tough in there. They wanted it more than us, and they went out and got the win.

Q: how much more time is being spent on rebounding in practice this week?

SM: oh, I think almost half of practice is on defense and rebounding. Box-out drills. If we're not boxing out or if I'm not going for the rebounding, we're all running. So it's pretty intense right now. He's trying to get it through our minds that we have to rebound.

Q: were you in the game when they grabbed those 5 boards in a row?

SM: no. I wasn't in the game. But I was screaming out, "man, I want to get out there and try to get the rebound." That was 5 straight. I don't know how that happened. That's something I've never seen before.

Q: must be more frustrating to see that happen from the bench.

SM: yeah, it was. Nobody was blocking out. Yeah, I think it was an effort thing with us. And like I said, we have to bounce back and turn it around in Arizona.

Q: Coach showed you guys that play over and over. Is that something…

SM: oh, absolutely. In the film room, he was just like looking at everybody who wasn't rebounding and everybody was trying to cherry pick out and it looked bad.

Q: you shot the ball pretty well in the first half. In the second half, is that a matter of you just having to take more shots if it's not falling for you?

SM: yeah, I think so. Like I said, I think that's the least amount of shots that I've ever taken in the game. Taking only 9 shots. I just think I have to be more aggressive. I think I need to free myself up more. Yeah, I think my shot was really flowing in the first half. In the second half, I don't know what it was. I didn't get the chance to shoot a lot.

Q: what did you do after the game?

SM: after the game, I was pretty disappointed. We lost. I just…

Q: just lock yourself in the gym?

SM: yeah, I mean… I always try to get in… especially if we lose. I really wanted to practice my free throws. That's one thing I wanted to practice. But right after the game, I went into the Wooden Center and went in the gym.

Q: how long?

SM: I was in there for about 2 hours. Working on my stuff. My ballhandling. I just want to be the best. And to be the best, you have to work on it. So right after that Oregon game, I just tried to get in the gym after the game.

Q: did you feel better when you left?

SM: oh, absolutely. I felt better. I was really drained. Sweaty. Feeling better about myself. Like I said, I got to take it upon myself for us to win this game at Arizona.

Q: do you think you guys coasted a bit into the Oregon game, coming off of 10 wins?

SM: absolutely. We took that game for granted. Oregon wanted it more like I said. And if you look at it, Oregon had the bigger ranking than we did and we thought we were the biggest men on campus and we walked the room and got lost.

Q: how tough is it to strike a balance between trying to get out in transition and crashing the boards?

SM: oh, it's tough. Sometime you think the guy has it and they drop it and then they don't have it so you have to go back. So I just think you have to go for the rebound every time because sometimes you think the guy has it and they don't and then you feel bad because I know I can almost get every rebound that I can get. And sometimes when I think the guy has it and I'm running, I feel kind of bad because then they get the ball again.

Q: is it hard to train your brain to…

SM: oh, absolutely. It is hard to train your brain. That's why you just have to go for every rebound, and it'll be better for you.

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