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Richardson Previews LSU Game

Richardson Previews LSU Game

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The following is a brief transcript of a press conference held by Arkansas head coach Nolan Richardson to preview the Arkansas vs. LSU game at Baton Rouge on Wednesday night.

(Is Teddy Gipson back?)
“He is back. I don’t know about Tatum. I haven’t heard if he is back yet (wasn’t at practice on Monday).

(How do you expect Gipson to fit in now that he is back?)
“We were trying to do some of the stuff we are trying to do now when he was here. So he knows what we are trying to get done. To have him back the way he finished playing, he is going struggle a little bit. He has been gone for eight or nine days now. A player loses conditioning a lot.
“He will be pretty winded the next couple of days. The better skills you are the better you can play out of shape. It’s very obvious when you are out of shape and don’t have skills.
“I’m just glad he is back and he made it back okay and we will go from there.”

(Do you have a plan for working him back in?)
“Not right now. My plan is that he going to play. I don’t know how much, but he is definitely going to play.
“Some guys may be as motivated as ever in their life. Sometimes you take something and they go the other way. It’s a tough call. I don’t know how he will react. I’m hoping he will react positively.
“That’s what I’ve told them, that is what I would want from my son if I left. I want you to do the best you can even more so now that I’m gone. Each individual has his own individual feelings inside that we don’t know about.”

(You have had some great success down there (Baton Rouge), but this year they have a better basketball team. What do you think about LSU?)
“They have a very good basketball team. In my estimation, they have the best three big men on the floor at the same time in the league I would think. You have Jabari (Smith), Stromile (Swift) and (Brian) Beshara. That is pretty big and athletic and a lot of points and rebounds. You add the little guard the JC player that transferred in (Lamont Roland) and they have a pretty good basketball team.
“We have had some luck in Baton Rouge. I’m looking forward to playing. It’s not necessarily who we play and where we play right now, it’s what can we sustain. Can we some how get the semblance of the things that we want to do the rest of the year. It just so happens that we are going to LSU this time.
“We watch tape and film, but that doesn’t change what we are going to try to do. That tape or film isn’t really that important. What is important right now is to try to get our guys to do what I want them to do no matter who we play.
“It’s a little bit different when you have a half-court game and a half-court defense trying to stop something. It’s a little bit different when you are trying to figure out how to stop what they do best. We are trying to figure out how can they stop us from what we do best. Hopefully we can accomplish that.”

(What are your thoughts on Brian Beshara?)
“Beshara is the guy I’m afraid of the most. He can step out on the floor and shoot. He can put it on the floor. He is very aggressive. He is just a very good basketball player. He is one of those blue-collar guys that plays hard. He has good skills for a blue-collar type of player. He has very good skills.”

(How much of your brand of ‘Hawgball’ (fast-paced defensive style) can you take on the road?)
“What I’ve told our players, the most important thing right now is let’s have some fun and play the way I brought you here to play. It was rough in the beginning because we had a short deck and we were learning. I think now we know a little bit more about our half court and what we need to do. But in the mean time, we need to get back in the type of game that I enjoy the most and that they enjoy the most. That is one of the reasons that I decided that they would fit our system.
“We probably aren’t as good as I thought we would be at this point, but we don’t have that choice anymore. All the choices we tried to do are over with. We weren’t able to run, trap and press with Joe (Johnson) because if he is going to be one of the guys that scores he is going to be burned out. We wouldn’t do it with Larry (Satchell), because he is not a skilled player and is out of shape.
“We have had to make some compromises to try to get some guys in shape and understanding what we are doing. Now they don’t quite know it all, but at least they can get some rest. The other day, I thought everytime Joe came back from a rest he scored. I think Chris Walker will be better when the other guys can give him a breather and he can come back and play.
“I think the most important thing for us is to go play the way we are going to play whether we are at home, on the road or away. We played passive defense at Alabama and they shot 37 free throws. We didn’t even try to guard anybody. We didn’t even try to press anybody. They got after us and they still shot more free throws than us.
“We just need to go out and not worry about those things. We just need to play the way we want to play.”

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