Richardson Previews Georgia Contest
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 Georgia game. The Hogs and Bulldogs play at 6:30 p.m. CT at Stegeman Coliseum. The game is not televised.
(Did you see anything different after watching the tape of the South Carolina game?)
“It was horrible. We went over the tape so many times, I thought it would get better as I watched it, but it didn’t. I can honestly say that we looked ridiculous. I thought we looked good for the first five or six minutes, but after that it wasn’t very good.
“I think we still have a lot of work in front of us. We are going to get better. My biggest concern is the whole part of what has happened. When I first put this team together and watched them practice, I had no idea that we were going to shoot the ball this badly. I had no clue that we were going to be one of the worst free throw shooting teams that I’ve ever coached or ever been around. I had no clue to that effect. There have to be some reasons why.
“Our defense, I knew we would struggle from time to time because we are young. You have to make some shots. If you take away the steals and the lay-ups we made after them to make the percentage better, I bet we aren’t even shooting 20 percent from the perimeter. That is the part that is hard and you have to work on that.
“I think a lot of that is because we are so small and we did a lot of screening and had to shoot jump shots. We are so small we had five guards on the floor. We are either going to make the shot or not make the shot. We aren’t going to get the rebound or no second shots because we are so small.
“I think that had a lot to do with where we are today. We had a few good nights against teams that weren’t as good. But against teams that are as good or better than we are, we aren’t making many shots.
“We still haven’t gotten a group that is way ahead of another group at an offensive standpoint that can really do something. Teddy (Gipson) is starting to get better, but Dean is drifting, he’s not there yet. You have freshmen trying to do their best. You have Joe (Johnson) who is not in very good shape. You still have this thing that isn’t put together yet. That’s my job to get it together. I’m looking forward to trying to get it done.
“We haven’t taken enough of our practice to the game. We shoot the ball well in practice. We don’t shoot it well in the game. We shoot free throws good in practice, but we don’t shoot them in the game.
“There are going to be some we are going to shoot it good and we will have to worry about the games that we don’t. That’s the way I see it right now. I might be out of my head, but I still think we are going to be pretty good before it is over with.”
(Have you ever had a schedule that was broken up this way?)
“I don’t know how they put the schedule together. It might work to our advantage. At least, we have some practice time. With a young team, the more practice time you can get the better off you are. When I look at it, maybe it’s a blessing in disguise that we will get some more time. The more time we can get to practice the better.
“I’ve never been with a schedule like this. I hope we don’t have it like this next year.
(With five of the next six on the road and a young team, things seem to be set up for failure. How can this team have some success?)
“I hope we can hit some shots. We are going to work on trying to stay in the game that is for sure. I think on the road the biggest thing is staying in the game. To stay in the game, you have to change a little bit. We are going to change anyway. I don’t think our guys understand what we are trying to get out of them.
“It’s a learning process. You just keep working and try to make them understand how the game is won and how the game is played. We played 15 times and we are still learning. We are still taking the exam. Some days we do real well on the exam and other days we don’t do real well. The other day was really bad.
“As a matter of fact, I think that was one of the worst games we have played here (Bud Walton Arena). We’ve lost here before, but that was one of our bad ones.
“We’ve got to make some shots. We have to do a better job on the boards. We get a lot of second shots, but a lot of those are tips. I would like to get some rebounds and kick the ball back out. That would get us some better shots.
“We are taking 15 or 20 shots more than our opponent. When you are getting that many more shots, that means you are a poor shooting team. It is taking us all those shots to get the same amount of field goals as the other team.
“We have to improve our free throw percentage. We know that we aren’t going to step up to the line. We aren’t getting to the line. Alonzo Lane and Joe Johnson were the only two guys to shoot free throws in that ball game. How can you go through a whole basketball game and only get two guys on the free throw line?
“It’s very simple. There are not attacks to the basket and no offensive stick-back tries. There are no post-up plays other than Lane. He gets fouled because he gets posted up. We are going have to try to work on that.
“If we can get a little from everywhere, that is when I think the team will be better.”
(What are your thoughts on Georgia?)
“They are a little bit older and stronger kids because they have some J.C. players. Of course, Layne we saw what he could do up here last year. He is averaging 17 points. I could bring four guys off the bench and not get that many points together. Evans and Coleman are big strong guys around the block. They are JC (junior college) players. They fit maturity wise.
“They are very athletic. Georgia always has good athletes. They beat Wake Forest in a game on a neutral floor, which tells you that they are pretty good. I guess they have lost two ball games. I saw the game they played on Saturday. It looked like they were doing okay and then Auburn got it going. Auburn is a good basketball team particularly at Auburn.
“I think Georgia will be the kind of basketball team that will power the ball in on us. I think they will try to throw it up, go get it off the glass and stick it back in. We haven’t shown that we can battle many teams on the glass that well.
“They certainly have enough athletes to do about anything they would like to do from a basketball standpoint. We just have to play a little bit better brand of defense and board a lot better and hope that we can make a few shots.
“If you make a few shots everything seems to fall in place. South Carolina made some shots. Your defense gets better. You have to make some shots and that is what we haven’t been doing.”
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