Howland's Friday Teleconference

Ben Howland updates Travis Wear's status for Saturday's game against ASU and talks about Tony Parker's minutes against the Wildcats...

Q: What's the deal with Travis?

A: Travis won't play tomorrow. Normal protocol for someone who's been determined to have a concussion—you know, there's a certain amount of steps to take, so he will not be available.

Q: How does that change substitution patterns for you with the players?

A: It means everybody is going to play more minutes, and it gives Tony more opportunity.

Q: Does it change how you handle the team's rest, trying to get guys rest here and there a little more often?

A: We were doing that anyway. I thought we played very hard last night. I got Larry Drew two substitutions in the first half. It just means that everybody is going to play more minutes, and we've got to play smart. And it offers Tony more opportunity to play more minutes on the inside.

Q: There was a little controversy over Shabazz's backpack. Did you talk to him about that?

A: Compliance can handle it, they're very professional, and we're aware of the situation.

Q: Was that all kind of just blown out of proportion in your opinion?

A: Yeah, I don't even want to give an opinion.

Q: What concerns you about Arizona State?

A: You know, their size. They're really playing well. They're 15-4. Herb's done a fantastic job. Jahii Carson, their freshman point guard, is a really really good point guard. He leads them in scoring, he's a fantastic playmaker. He is a big time athlete, very quick, fast, scores it. Great penetrator. About as quick as anybody we've seen or will see this year. Stevens is having a great senior year. He's really playing great basketball. He leads in rebounding, and he's capable of going for 20 in a night. Gordon last night had an unbelievable game. He got 27 or 28, Eric Gordon's little brother, he's really playing well. They have very good pieces and they're very well coached. They're playing great defense and their field goal defense is very good. They have a lot of good individual pieces.

Q: Is it Tony's defense that has to take the most steps forward?

A: It's always defense. If you can go into the game and hold your own defensively, that's huge for us. I thought Tony gave us great minutes off the bench last night, he did a good job for us. I was especially pleased when he knocked down foul shots because, as I said after the game, he's really been working hard on that this week. He made a big fallaway jumper and then had the and 1 to complete the three point play with about 6:50 to go in the game when the game was a five point game, and that put it back up to eight. It was a huge play, and he had a really nice finish earlier. They were going to play defense a little bit differently, really try to plug and use their size.

Q: After a big win, any concern about a letdown, with likely a smaller crowd on Saturday?

A: Gosh, I hope not, Peter.

Q: Have you seen them able to consistently play from one game to the next? They seem to be able to rise to the occasion for big games, but for these kinds…

A: We've already had three true road games. I thought the crowd at Texas played to our advantage. I would rather have no fans there last night at the game. I think it's better. They always have a great crowd for us here at ASU. They're 15-4, they're playing great. The motivation that we need is self-motivation. IT doesn't come from the crowd, it has to come from within.

Q: Does Carson remind you of any point guard you've played this season?

A: you know, we were talking, and he reminds us a little of Isaiah Thomas, the former Washington Huskie point guard. He was so aggressive getting to the rim and attacking, and so aggressive jumping in and getting fouled. That's obviously a very high compliment. Isaiah is doing great with the Sacramento Kings and should be in the NBA for a long time. That's kind of who he reminds us of.

Q: What was your message to Tony after the game last night?

A: Great job, Tony. You're going to have an opportunity to probably play more minutes here. Let's build on it. Excited for him, though, thought he did a great job. I thought he had a great week of practice, and I thought our practice led to how well we played yesterday. Now hopefully we can carry it over another time for tomorrow's big game.

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