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Nolan Richardson Press Conference – Alabama

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Nolan Richardson Press Conference – Alabama
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas (10-6, 1-3), coming off its first Southeastern Conference victory of the year (82-72 over Auburn Wednesday) plays host to Alabama (14-2, 3-1) Saturday at 4 p.m. in a game televised by SEC-TV and aired on Fox Sports Southwest. The Crimson Tide, in a battle of Western Division leaders, beat Ole Miss at home Wednesday, 82-63.

“When you’ve been losing like we have and you get a chance to play a very good Alabama team, you hope there is something to build on. Alabama is 14-2. They’ve got some talent. There is no game we will play where we are a lot better than the other team, but I don’t think there’s anyone that much better than us, when we play well. I hope our confidence has been restored. I think I have a chance to win every game. I don’t know if the players feel that way, but I hope they do. Mark Gottfried has done a phenomenal job. He’s been able to get two or three Joe Johnsons to come in there. Alabama was never too far down from a talent standpoint. They have a tremendous tradition of good players going there. Alabama’s lineup is like the Fab Five at Michigan. It doesn’t matter what grade they are in. That’s a coach’s dream, to find youngsters who can come in and play.

“I don’t believe in omens, but I hope after watching the game and grading tapes (of the Auburn game), that is the kind of team we’ll have. We can’t blow anybody out, but get a win and get out of town. If we win two games this week, we’re back in the (SEC Western Division) race again. This season is so far away from being over. All we have to do is stay in the race as long as we can.”

Carl Baker’s performance against Auburn after missing four games with a strained back (nine points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 20 minutes):

“I almost took him out. One thing you don’t want to do is bring a guy in when he’s not ready, but he took a shot, didn’t hobble and then he just played. Sometimes you have to learn to play with pain and he may have to learn to deal with it. He gave us a big lift off the bench. He’s a good defensive player, he can rebound in traffic when he’s healthy, he can switch off and guard a guard and he can hit the mid-range jumper. He may be the best rebounder in traffic that we have.”

Jannero Pargo’s progress from junior college:

“He’s done a heck of a job. He started off slow. He was hesitant to do some things he’s good at doing. Coming from junior college, he’s probably a little ahead of where a juco player should be in his shooting, scoring and playing defense. He’s the only true point guard we have. He can create his own shot and distribute the ball. Our other guards aren’t in the same mode. T.J. (Cleveland) is the closest, but Pargo has better skills at the point.”

UA’s balance against Auburn with fewer players getting into the game:

“For the first time this year last night, we had good balance. I like to see guys get a lot of points, but if you’re balanced, you’re a much better team and you’re more consistent. (Brandon) Dean was our second-highest scorer in our grading system. He had four assists, touched the ball several times and played good defense. We’ve had guys score 20 points and not do the other things to help you win so they finished lower in our grading system. (Dean had nine points, five rebounds, four assists, one blocked shot and one assist.)



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