Richardson Excited about Addition of Satchell
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 vs. Mercer game set for this Saturday night at Bud Walton Arena. The 7:05 p.m. game will be televised by the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network.
(Freshman Larry Satchell practiced for the first time with the Razorback basketball team on Thursday after becoming eligible following the first semester. Satchell is a 6-9, 220-pound forward from Waco, Texas)
(What did the tape show you from last night (Texas-Pan American game)?)
“We just shot the ball real, real, real bad. We shot the ball 40 percent and 24 percent from three-point line. If we shoot just a little bit better we win by 30 points. It’s amazing how bad we shot the ball. But at the same time I was pleased with the effort.
“I don’t remember any time coming off of the finals that even with my good teams that would play very well. It’s something we just don’t play real well. We were off eight days and didn’t have any kind of rhythm. I guess you just have to hope to push through a game like that and get back into a game rhythm.
“We are going to be able to play three games in six days. That will help us because we are young and need to play some games. We won’t have that long, long layoff that we had last year. It took us a couple of weeks to get them back to where they were when they left last year for Christmas break.
“I’m hoping with that happening and the addition of Larry Satchell, that makes a total difference in our basketball team. It will be a big difference. I think in the next two weeks we will have a facelift with this basketball team.
“Guys like Gomez and Shaq (Alonzo Lane) will benefit from his presence. It’s hard for those guys to go against 6-2, 6-3 in practice all the time and then go in the game and have the 6-8, 6-9 guys around you. Now just his presence on the floor will make a big impact on what we do.
“That is why we have changed some things because we know with him we don’t have to do the kind of stuff we had to do to score points to beat the defense with. Now we can score some points by playing the halfcourt offense. A few things will change. We still have some hopes for some other guys, but right now this change will be a plus for our team right now.
“It’s not going to be where he can walk in and turn the table. But I think in time his presence will help us. He can block shots. I’ve seen him do that when he was playing in high school. That gives us a better dimension on defense now. I think he will be able to add on the rebounding. He will be able to go get the ball. He can go get it.
“He also brings the presence of toughness. You need to have that. When you put those three things together, this young man brings a lot with him.
“He has the wing span of a seven-footer. So we lost a seven-footer and got a seven-footer back in reality. He is 6-9, but his wing span is seven feet so we have a seven-footer on the floor and a tough seven-footer.
(Can you compare him to some of the other strong players you have had inside?)
“As I’m talking now he hasn’t played a game, but I think I haven’t had anyone that could block shots like I think he will be able to do or be as physical around the basket. I don’t think I have had a player like him as a total package. Hood was a tough kid, but wasn’t really a shot blocker. He could run and jump.
“This kid (Satchell) can pin you and is physically tough around the basket. He will foul out of some games, because he is so physical. It’s nice to be in a fight with someone that you know you aren’t afraid to fight with. That is what Larry does for us.
(How do you think Satchell will impact the development of Gomez and Lane?)
“Things have totally changed for them. Gomez hasn’t practiced like that since Hood was around last year. Yesterday in the game, Gomez played real hard and had nine boards and I thought he was coming on a little bit. I think with Larry’s addition to the ball club they have to learn to shoot over him, pump-fake him and drive to the basket. You can’t allow him to dictate when you are going to shoot it.
“All that in practice will help the guys prepare better. Even Shaq (Alonzo Lane) will be better. He will have to go against him in practice.
“Just in addition to size, Satchell gives us a facelift. It changes some things that we had to do early in the year to try to win. Now we can do some different things to try to win.
(What were your thoughts of Mercer in the first game?)
“Well first we started off in the tournament and at first it was us and Washington State. Mercer just so happened to be the only school, according to the guy in Hawaii that they could get. At the time he got them, he had no clue that we were already scheduled to play them.
“I thought that was a pretty good game for us over there. We aren’t that good that we can take anybody lightly. They might be drilled by other teams and not necessarily drilled by us and vice versa.
“Mercer will give us a good work. We have to play to win against anyone. If you shoot the ball well, execute well especially at home you expect to win. I don’t think I’ve ever played a game that I didn’t expect to win.
“But playing them again is really not a big deal to me. The key is we are going to play somebody and we have to play. They are not world-beaters, but they could be world-beaters to us if they beat us. We have to keep playing hard and build some character in our basketball team. We have to get on a roll. Then you can face the Florida’s, Auburn’s and Kentucky’s. We need a game, Mercer is a game on our schedule and we are going to play.”
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