Richardson Looks Ahead to Providence Game
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The following is a brief transcript of a press conference held by Nolan Richardson to preview the Arkansas at Providence game set for Dec. 23 at Providence, R.I.
(Do you feel like you are having some bad luck in that Providence is getting a 7-2 kid (Karim Shabazz) back for the game on Thursday?)
“That will perk them up like it perked us up when we got Satchell. That is going to add to the fire that we are already in. All we can do is look forward to trying to continue to improve.
“I think we have improved in a lot of areas, but we have to improve in some areas like rebounding and being able to get some shots down. We have not been able to use the kind of defense yet in my estimation of the style that we would normally like to play. We would like to have a lot more scrambling in our defense.
“We are going to go up there and try to have some more scrambles involved. We will try to use some situations where they don’t square up for shots or where rebounding positions aren’t perfect for them.
“Still we are small until we can get Satchell in the same lineup with Baker and Lane. That would help us a lot if we had those guys on the floor at the same time. We don’t have that yet. But there is a possibility we could get them on there. That would help us on the rebounding department, but not so much in the scoring department.
“As you saw last night we scored 27 points in the second half. We scored 20 points in the second half of the Oklahoma game. That is not the kind of basketball I had envisioned, but that is the type of basketball we are getting right now. That’s not very good.”
“Also we aren’t doing a good job on the free throw line right now. You compound that with the rebounding, second-chance points. I thought our initial defense was good. The defense doesn’t end until you get the ball. It didn’t end until the ball went through the net last night in the second half.
“The first half we were more aggressive. I think when we started missing shots in the second half and they played the zone that took away our aggressiveness defensively.
(Do you do anything special to try to work on the free throw shooting more than just practice?)
“I think what it is some confidence as you go through some games and hit some free throws. I think if I guy hits a couple and then the next guy steps up and hits a few in a row, free throw shooting becomes contagious.
“When one guy misses, the next guy is hoping that he doesn’t miss and the next guy is hoping he doesn’t get fouled so he doesn’t have to shoot. A lot of guys that are good shooters, want to be fouled. They want to go to the line.
“I don’t think we have guys, with the exception of Gilbert, that want to go to the line. I think that is confidence. There is nothing you can do, but continue to shoot and play some games and hope you get some good nights and build that confidence back.
“Out here we shoot a lot. Out here we make a lot. Right now if you ask them they took 25 and they made 24 or 23. And then you get in the game and if they shot 25 they may make five. There are guys that don’t respond as well in games as they do in practice and vice versa.
“On a young team when one guy is doing some scoring than everyone can score. It’s amazing how contagious it is to hit some shots. At the beginning of the game, guys were hitting some shots and we looked like world-beaters. As soon as the lid got a little tighter, nobody could shoot.
“You don’t harp on it, because remember they already have enough pressure. I’m not going to put more on them. I talk about it in practice about making two in a row to give them something to think about. If they make one, I say can you make two so they can have some pressure in practice like they would in a game.
“It’s like a hitter in a hitting slump, you have to find a way out.
(Are you apprehensive about taking this team on the road for the first time?)
“Not really. When you go on the road it’s about staying at a hotel, eating and going to play. That is all that is really about. The only difference that you will notice is that the fans are against you. That is the only difference.
“The goals are still 10-foot high and the court is still 94 feet. You still have three officials and you play with a basketball.
“The only thing that is against you is the fans. You have to learn to play when the fans are against you. We haven’t played very well when the fans are on our team. You have to learn how play either way.
“I don’t feel apprehensive. First of all, I know they are young. Let’s find our way to the hotel first and then let’s find our way to the dressing room and make sure we put on our shorts and socks. We could have some fear, but other than that the ball goes up in there all you can do then is play and hope you play well enough and execute well enough that you have a chance to win. “
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