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Nolan Richardson Press Conference – Maine

Nolan Richardson Press Conference – Maine
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas opens its regular season Monday at 7 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena against the University of Maine Black Bears in a first-round preseason NIT game. If the Razorbacks win, they face the Wake Forest/North Carolina-Wilmington winner Friday at home at 7 p.m. UA won its second exhibition game, 107-48, over Team Ezybonds on Friday after losing Tuesday to the EA Sports Central All-Stars, 87-84.

“I hope we’re ready (to start the season). We just put the finishing touches on our regular season packages. I think we’ll start Brandon Dean, Teddy Gipson, Jannero Pargo, Alonzo Lane and Dionisio Gomez. We’ll probably bring T.J. (Cleveland) off the bench. At times, he will start. Who starts for us really doesn’t mean a whole lot. I see our top seven or eight guys as starters, so I consider players like Chuck (Charles Tatum) and T.J. to be starters even though they aren’t in the game when it starts.

“Maine has changed some from last year. They lost some kids but they have three starters back. They won 18 games last year. They will try to control the speed and tempo of the game. They will want to slow it down, which is why we worked more on our half-court defense. You have to prepare for that mentally to get ready for at least five or six passes on defense.”

Team Ezybonds recap:

“We had 50 boards in that game and our two (true) freshmen had 18 between them (Berry Jordan 10, J.J. Sullinger eight). We told them if they wanted to play, they had to go get the ball off the glass. We took our practice to the game in that game.”

Opening the season:

“I think we’ll be fired up because this is the opening of the season. I think we’ll perform better because it’s the opening game. Anytime the good Lord brings me back to coach, I’m ready. We haven’t been in the preseason NIT in four years. This is another opportunity for our team in a preseason tournament. We have a lot of seniors on this team and if we play well, we get a good trip out of it (to New York for the semifinals and finals, Nov. 21 & 23).”

This year’s schedule:

“Scheduling is harder than people think. Most people don’t want to play us home-and-home. We have a good schedule and most of these games are for four years. Next year we’ll have the same schedule, but we’ll have five freshmen on our team. As you upgrade the schedule, your players should get upgraded.”

Preseason predictions and rankings:

“Being ranked in the preseason means nothing. After eight or 10 games, then you see where you fit. You’ll know where everybody belongs. During that period (eight to 10 games) we will have played some good teams.”

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