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Nolan Richardson Press Conference – Auburn

Nolan Richardson Press Conference – Auburn
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas opens Southeastern Conference play at 4 p.m. Saturday at Auburn. The Razorbacks (8-4) are coming off a 90-73 win at Memphis on Wednesday. The Tigers are 8-3 and have not played since a 64-55 home win over Southern Mississippi on Dec. 29.

“Auburn always seems to play well. They aren’t doing anything different. They score well and they’ve lost only one game at home. We have to continue to work on things that can help us be successful and not worry so much about who we’re playing. Auburn has some kids who can put the ball in the hole. They play about 10 players. We have to shoot well on the road, rebound, take care of the ball and control the free throw line.”

Memphis recap:

“I’m proud of the fact that we played well and we were able to pull off the victory. We had not been able to finish games and we were in the same situation again where we had a lead and weren’t able to hold it. The last four and a half minutes of the game, they looked a little winded. (Jannero) Pargo was able to get some easier shots. Alonzo Lane made some good decisions. In the past, he looked to score first. He drew the defense to him and hit Pargo for some shots that were daggers.”

Incident in front of the Memphis bench where J.J. Sullinger was shoved by a coach going for a loose ball:

“It’s something that should be addressed. I can understand a player getting frustrated and throwing an elbow, but not an assistant coach. He’s supposed to be trying to get a job. He should be hugging the player. J.J. is a mild-mannered kid and I saw the way he came out of there, so I knew something happened. The whole country saw it (on ESPN2). I’m not sure he (John Calipari) saw it. The ball was going out of bounds and he was diving for the ball, so I don’t know how one of the three officials could not see what happened. I talked to Gerald (Boudreaux) and asked him to look at the tape, and at one time I thought he was going to. Kids running into the bench are a part of the game. You have to try to save them. I think it upset J.J. and he really got after it the next few minutes. He’s not a typical freshman and he controls his emotions. He’s a happy-go-lucky player and even after that happened, he had a smile on his face.”

Interaction with former players:

“Corey Beck spoke to the team before the game and told them they had to get themselves ready to play. I thought our guys were emotionally ready. Todd Day came into the locker room after the game and Ron Huery came by for our pregame meal. It was a big plus for our players to get to interact with those guys.”

The Memphis series, which has one more year remaining on the contract:

“I’m confused as to whether or not we’re playing next year. We have another year on the contract. I’m just hoping they fulfill the contract. I would sign a 10-year contract right now. Just because we don’t have any players from Memphis on our team now doesn’t mean we will not recruit kinds from there. We’ll have to see what happens.”

Recent play of the Razorbacks:

“Berry (Jordan) isn’t afraid of anything and will just go after the ball. Alonzo came in and worked hard (against Memphis). Our guards had 23 rebounds (against Memphis), but we worked on that. We tried to clean up the free throw line. If we’re going to foul, we have to get fouled and get on the line to neutralize that. Turnovers, if we have 13, the way we play, that’s like having 0. We had 15 against Memphis so we have to work on that. If we continue working on those areas, continue shooting the ball and having patience on offense, we could have a good team. It’s important we play each game as well as we can and do the best we can. I like what our kids are doing on the road. It seems to me that we are more focused on the road. I think we’re more relaxed. I would rather be strong on the road because your fans can really help you at home.”

Strength of the SEC, which is rated the toughest conference in the country:

“We’ve had the toughest conference for a long time, but it’s easy for basketball to get lost in SEC football. To me, that’s why we don’t get the recognition of having the best basketball. The most athletic conference in America is the SEC. The people with the best athletes usually have the best teams. We may not win the national championship, but overall, from top to bottom, the SEC has to be the best.

“Alabama is very athletic and is very good. In the East, Kentucky, I think, has the edge, but Florida is also very good.”

Arkansas’ schedule in which all four UA losses are to teams ranked in the top 25:

“It exposed us to everything that we can encounter. It showed us everything and I wanted that. Now we have to go play. We were right there in all of our games except for maybe Oklahoma.”

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