Nolan Richardson Press Conference – Ole Miss
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The following is a brief transcript of a press conference held by Arkansas head coach Nolan Richardson to preview the Arkansas (9-4, 0-1 SEC) vs. Ole Miss (13-1, 1-0 SEC) game. The Hogs and Rebels square off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark. The game isn’t televised.
(What have you been working on in practice?)
“It’s the same thing I told our kids earlier in the week prior to the ice storm, everyone returned better, but we aren’t playing together better right now. It is very obvious the areas that we need to work on. Those are the areas that we continued to work on after the Mississippi State game because it was still there.
“One of the areas is that we aren’t as patient. I’m not a big believer in stats, but when stats start piling up the way they are it just points out a picture of what is happening to your team. Teams that are physical and strong and have decent guards we usually turn the ball as much or more. That isn’t very good. Teams that are bigger and stronger and go to the glass, we are going to get beat on the boards. That’s not very good. We are turning the ball over a lot more than we did last year especially at the end of the season. We have had 17 or 18 and that is too many when the other team is just having 18 or 19. So we are just even there and that’s not good.
“If you are going to battle you have to win the war somewhere. We aren’t winning the war in any department. Right now our discipline on defense is the worst I’ve seen. We aren’t as disciplined on defense as we have been in the past or as we were at the end of last year. I see us the same way that we were at this time last year from a defensive standpoint which means three or four passes and it is a total breakdown because we want the ball. That’s not good. You look at the areas in which you have been suffering and you try to work those out. That is what we have been working on this week is work in areas that have really hurt us.
“I feel like we have worked on those areas and those are the areas you have to continue to work on to become a decent or good basketball team. Those areas have to get better. If we don’t get better in those areas then we aren’t going to be very good. It’s as simple as that.
(Are you discouraged?)
“I’m discouraged in one fact that it is almost the same kids that we did the same thing with last year. A lot of youngsters don’t understand the game itself. They just play and hope things fall into place. They have to understand this. So now I’m more into classes like one-on-one basketball. I’m just teaching basketball not from the floor, but from team meetings. You have to explain to them the difference between what they did and how they did it. It’s not about your offense, it is about how you run your offense. It’s not about the defense that you are running, it is how you run your defense. Even though we get into the defensive position and the defense we call, that doesn’t necessarily mean we run it well. Those are the things that we have to address, teach and keep teaching until we get better.
“To me basketball is a game of doctoring. Sometimes my team doesn’t start as fast, but it’s about prescriptions. Sometimes I don’t think doctors don’t know exactly what prescription fits the best, but they keep working at it until they find the right one. Some teams are like that. Some teams are not. Some teams find it immediately and you have them fixed so they go play.
“We aren’t doing the right thing but I have to figure out what it is that we aren’t doing that we can do and we have to teach it and hopefully it will stay with them. Therefore you find the right prescription. Then you take that medication and go to work with it. That is how I get over not being so angry. I can understand why a coach gets angry. I get angry after the ball game itself. But then I blame me, not the players for not prescribing the right medication for what our team needs. So I have to go back to work.
“To me that is the enjoyable part of basketball. It’s nice to have great teams and have great talent and go out and play. But we have some nice talent and sometimes that talent is small. Physically we are small. My job is to make what we have do the right things. We have to figure out who is the best team on the floor and put them on the floor at the right time. Sometimes you can start a team and that’s not the team that is going to help you win it, it is just the team that is going to get you started.
“When I see all the teams that I have coached in the past, some times I prescribe the right medicine and the team takes off. Some times the medicine I prescribe isn’t very good. I figure that I’m the doctor of this team. It’s not their fault. I have to get it straight.
“No one is more disappointed than I am with what is happening with our team right now. But I’m not one to lose faith in what we do. In 37 years of experience, I’ve seen good things happen when it looked the darkest. I’ve seen bad things happen when it looked the brightest.”
“Ole Miss is a good basketball team. We are going to have our work cut out. They have a lot of Arkansas guys and when they come over here it is like they are playing in the World Series. It was like when we had all those Memphis guys, they went over there and lit it up.
“I’m looking forward to the game. I was looking forward to the last game, but we didn’t do very well. I think we will do better with understanding the things that we have to start to eliminate. Let’s see if we can start trying to eliminate those faults. If we can we will come out successful.”
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