Jan. 16, 2013
ON LAST WEEKEND'S GAME AGAINST OREGON
"Well, we had, I think, a good week, in Oregon. It was a little bit longer than we're accustomed to, playing on Thursday and Sunday. But I thought we did a number of good things. We certainly were in position to have a chance to win the game on Sunday and just didn't come down with a couple key rebounds or make a few plays down the other end of the floor, but we were certainly in the neighborhood."
ON Kenny Martin's RECOVERY
"He's doing much better. He practiced yesterday. He was noticeably out of shape. You know, when you go through something like that, it can take the wind out of your sails as we all know. But he was at least back on the floor after spending several days in bed fighting through that thing."
ON AMOUNT OF MINUTES EACH PLAY
"We actually have three of the top ten in out league in terms of minutes played with Jahii, Carrick and John so we're very aware that we're sensitive to that. I think our practices take that into account. On the flip side, Jahii and Carrick are such good athletes that I think that they handle that load fairly well. And to the extent we can get them some quick blows, we try to do that around media time outs. But, at this point, the best we can do is to manage it reasonably well."
ON ARIZONA'S MARK LYONS
"Well he's a really dynamic player. He has experience and he has talent, which is a great combination. He plays with tremendous energy. [I] just have been tremendously impressed watching him play."
ON UA AND BIGS INSIDE
"Well, they have great size up front. And they also have the ability to play smaller. Against Oregon they decided to start a smaller lineup. They have within their team the ability to give you different kinds of looks, but they do have some impressive size up front, and they're deep. They're not the kind of team that [has] foul trouble, or fatigue is going way on because they always have another guy at the scores table ready to check in and there's not much drop off, if any."
ON CHECKING JAHII'S EMOTIONS
"Jahii's played in big games before, and every step of the way he's handled these kinds of situations with tremendous maturity and poise and I expect he'll do the same again on Saturday. It's just the way he's wired. He has an amazing ability for a young guy, to just focus on the task at hand and play the game and not let a lot of things distract him from what he's capable of doing."
ON Evan Gordon's CONSISTENCY
"If I knew exactly what that trigger point was, we'd certainly push it, but Evan did play very well against Oregon as he has at other junctures of the season. I think, as you know within the context of your question, the big thing is just to get him comfortable in a way that he could play consistently like he's capable of doing, because it's obviously really changes the dynamics of our team."
ON CARRICK'S DEFENSIVE PERFORMANCES
"Tremendous strides. Right now, I don't know if there's a guy that's playing better defense anywhere. What he's doing on that end of the floor is just remarkable, and he does it night in, night out. His entire game, both ends of the floor, when you look at his production, and the results that he's getting, it's been terrific as is reflected in the fact that he's already been player of the week twice."
ON CARRICK LAST SEASON
"He was a good defender. He's even a better defender now. I think he's a way better defender now and just like he's a way better player right now. He just has continued to develop and improve every step of the way. And the good habits that he's forged are paying dividends for him this season."
ON THE TEAMS MAN-TO-MAN DEFENSE
"I think our defense, for the most part, has been pretty solid, obviously not perfect and it still has a lot of room to get better, but arguably it has been the most consistent thing we've done."
ON WHY THIS TEAM IS BETTER DEFENSIVELY PLAYING MAN-TO-MAN DEFENSE
"I don't think it's necessarily a function of personnel. Once again we all know what a great job Carrick has done. I think our coaches, Coach Greer has really worked on our defense and Coach Taylor on our preparation, have done a terrific job transitioning our team from the matchup zone to man-to-man"
ON WHAT THEY HAVE TO DO TO WIN SATURDAY
"We have smart players and we know we have to play a complete game. We are facing one of the top 10 teams in the country. We are playing one of the top teams in the country. We have to play a complete game at a really high level."
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LAST YEARS WIN IN TEMPE
"Irrelevant. New team, new team all together, new season. No more or less relevant than games played two years ago or in 1956. New team and new game so it will be a far reach to extrapolate any relationship between that and this."
ON WHAT QUALITIES CARRICK HAS THAT MAKE HIM AN ELITE DEFENDER
"Well, obviously there is the physical part that Carrick has and than there is the mental part which has a couple components. One is understanding, know-how, instincts, being at the right place at the right time, going through the scouting report so you know important details and coverages. Then the other mental part is just making it important and understanding that this is connected to winning and losing. The third part is the toughness part when your playing big minutes and it would be easy to take a breather, you still find a way to battle through that screen and make a play. I think all of those components are important and as they refer to Carrick, he has been in step with all of them."
ON FACING SOLOMON HILL
"I have been an admirer of Solomon Hill. I thought even before this, his senior year, he was one of the best players in our conference and he hasn't skipped a beat. I just think he is versatile and tough. He is a really hard matchup. I don't think it is a stretch to say he is undeniably one of the best players in college basketball."
ON IF JONATHON GILLING'S INCREASED REBOUNDING HAS AFFECTED HIS SHOT
"We hope not, we hope we don't talk ourselves into that either. The difference for Jon is finding a way to exert himself more in different aspects of the game than perhaps he was able to do as a Freshmen, like rebounding. Than on the other end I think defenses are tagging him and pursuing him in ways they didn't do last year. The ante has been upped for Jon. Having said that, he is going through right now what you would call a slump. He has had some good shots that he would normally make."
ON THE PRIDE HE TAKES ON THE DEFENSIVE END OF THE FLOOR
"There are going to be nights when my shot is not going to fall. Definitely defense is something I take pride in. It's something every game that you can make sure you are going 100% at. It's definitely a blessing for me to be a defensive player and being able to start my offense with defense."
ON WHETHER HIS GREAT DEFENSE IS SOMETHING HE HAS ALWAYS DONE
"I've always loved defense. Defense is one of the best parts of my game. My job in that game [vs. Oregon] was not to be a scorer, but to be a lock-down defender. I did what my team needed me to do."
ON TRANSITION FROM ZONE TO MAN-TO-MAN DEFENSE
"It has put Jordan [Bachinsky] in a position to be more effective on defense. It has put guys in position to guard the ball and it has allowed myself to get easy steals and get more hands on the ball."
ON MATCHUP WITH SOLOMON HILL
"It will be a good matchup. We are both aggressive players. We kind of have a similar game so I will definitely be watching film to brush up on some of his moves and what his tendencies are, but it will be a good matchup. " "I have a tremendous opportunity this Saturday, just playing in the game with Arizona with great guards and great bigs and a player like Solomon. Obviously he is an NBA type player. I have just got to be ready, it's going to be a battle for 40 minutes."
ON PLAYING AGGRESSIVE BUT SMART DEFENSE
"When your overly-aggressive you tend to make mistakes, make stupid fouls, put your team in a position to lose just because you're gambling. I think the thing about defense is being aggressive, but not too aggressive. Play Smart. One trick I try to do is think before the offensive player is thinking about his move."
ON HIS IMPROVED BALL-HANDLING FROM LAST YEAR
"All summer, all offseason, I worked on different parts of my game. It's given me the opportunity to push the ball in transition, come off the dribble for a pull-up jumper. Just having easy, smart plays. Put my teammates and myself in a position to make plays like Coach Sendek always says."
ON IF HE FEELS HE HAS LEARNED MORE ON THE OFFENSIVE END
"Most definitely, I have learned to play within myself. That is something that has been key for me this year. Not taking any bad shots and playing within the flow of the offense. That has put me in a position to be where I am right now."
ON HAVING JORDAN BACHINSKY BEHIND HIM ON DEFENSE
"It is definitely a benefit having Jordan behind me but it comes down to guarding the man in front of us because we just don't want our man to just drive by us. Jordan can only do so much he can not save us all the time."
ON JORDAN BACHINSKY'S BLOCKS
"It's fun to watch him. When we played Colorado I actually thought he was going to get dunked on but to see him block the shot was definitely a game changing play. Just to watch him progress over the years and to see his demeanor now. It's terrific to see the player he has become now."
ON IF THERE IS ANY CARRY OVER FROM LAST YEARS WIN IN TEMPE
"Last year is last year. It was a great game between us, but we have a different team and they have a different team and players so there will definitely going to be a battle between both teams. We are two of the top teams in the Pac-12 so it is going to be a battle for 40 minutes."
ON MOMENTUM GAINED IN THE OFFSEASON FROM THE VICTORY
"Not too much. The past two years put together just kind of gave me motivation going into the offseason. Knowing I was going into my last year, I had a tremendous opportunity for me and my teammates to come in here and do something special."
ON ADJUSTING TOO MAN-TO-MAN DEFENSE
"We knew right away that it was going to be effective because of our personnel. Coach Sendek knew it would be effective right away with having Jahii [Carson], being the quickest point guard in the Pac-12, having Jordan [Bachynski], and me with my athletic ability." "It didn't take us too long to get comfortable with it because we have played our whole lives. It just came to us. It is an everyday thing, we played it all offseason and spring ball playing one-on-one and five-on-five in the gym."
ON WHETHER PLAYING MAN-TO-MAN DEFENSE HAS AFFECTED REBOUNDING
"Man-to-Man or Zone, it's the same thing. You are still going to have to box your man out. You're still going to have to hustle and fight for the ball. We have the same tendency with Man-to-Man."
ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PLAYING THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA AS A SENIOR
"I think we are in a good spot right now. Playing them with the group of guys we have now is going to make it very exciting and it makes me more comfortable knowing that I have teammates out there that I can trust. Knowing that we can go out there playing with each other and for each other. This being my last year, Chris' [Colvin] last year, Ruslan's [Pateev] last year, it's up to our seniors to go out there and get the job done."
ON WHETHER THIS YEAR'S GAME MEANS ANYMORE THAN PREVIOUS YEARS
"Not really, the rivalry has been around for a long time and every time it is a battle. Both teams are going to want it and play it like it is the last game, a championship game. It is going to be a fun and exciting game."
ON TRYING TO KEEP YOUR EMOTIONS IN CHECK DURING A RIVALRY GAME
"I think it is key for us to keep our emotions in check. We don't want to be getting any technical fouls or anything like that. It is definitely going to be a very emotional game because of the atmosphere the crowd and just the fact that it is ASU and U of A."
ON CHANGES IN PREPARATION FOR THIS GAME
"We are going to prepare the same way we prepare for each team. Going into great detail with our scouting reports and just going over their plays in our practice. We definitively need to focus more on the little things like our free throw shooting right now. Everything else I feel like we are getting good at. I feel like we just need to clean some stuff up, but we will be ready to go."
ON WHAT IT WILL FEEL LIKE PLAYING IN FRONT OF A SOLD OUT CROWD THIS SATURDAY
"It is going to be exciting. Playing in front of a sold out crowd, anybody would want to be on this stage. People will be watching. Playing in front of 12,000 fans its going to be a battle."