Richardson Previews South Carolina Game
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 South Carolina at Arkansas game at Bud Walton Arena on Saturday afternoon.
(South Carolina has won as many games as they did last year, they seem to be playing a lot of freshman?)
“I noticed that. I was looking a little bit at what they were doing. We have two young teams playing each other. They lost at home last night and that isn’t a very good feeling. We know about that feeling. Coming on the road probably isn’t a very good feeling at this point.
“We are coming off a win and feeling pretty good about ourselves. It’s a good feeling. But the thing you have to worry about is the thermometer and what direction it will go. You wonder what team will show up because of the fact that you have so many youngsters. You are hoping you can develop some consistency among them.
“It is a game you look forward to because you want to see where you go from here. I think in South Carolina’s team they are doing the same thing. Arkansas isn’t really that good that they can’t be beaten. That has already been proven.
“I think that is the thing that they will be selling their team. We have to be selling the fact that we want to continue to improve and be more consistent in some of the things we can do.”
(With both Fogler and you being the longest tenured coaches in the SEC, what do you expect from his type of teams?)
“Fogler’s teams always play kind of like a North Carolina basketball team, run with opportunity. Maybe North Carolina has changed some. They never just live with pushing the basketball they just run when they have the opportunity and usually that was on a steal. On a rebound they may have run, but any other time it was take it down and run a half-court offense game. Depending on their talent inside, they try to go inside and out.
“That is his style of playing basketball. In the past he had guards that were very strong and dominant. Those three kids were awfully good and that is when they were one of the top teams. I don’t see them having those types of guards on this team. Again that could change over here Saturday.
“But that is the kind of basketball his teams play. You don’t expect him to press. They make you beat them with jump shots. They usually play a pretty good man-to-man halfcourt defense. They very seldom play zone, but they will go into them, but that is not his bread and butter defense.
“I like what I saw a kid say, ‘Nolan, no telling what he will do.’ That’s true. Half the time I don’t know what I’m going to do. We did some different things last night. We came out of a man into a matchup zone. There are some times you have to try to change up some things.
“One thing that is going to be consistent is we are going to try to run if we can. That is the thing we need to do against South Carolina. I feel like we need to press and trap. The thing that I’m really concerned about when I look at the tape is all those fouls. Some of the fouls that we should be getting, we aren’t getting. That is going on and on and on. That is something to be worried about.
“There is no question that we are aggressive. But sometimes when you get most of the ball and some wrist, the key is advantage-disadvantage. I don’t see us putting a team at a disadvantage. But we are getting those called. I think in the long run it will haunt you because teams that can shoot free throws, that is how they will beat you. I can’t afford to tell our guys as young as they are to get softer because they will go from one extreme to another. We can’t afford to go from one extreme to another.”
(With B.J. McKie gone is it different in playing South Carolina?)
“It’s kind of like us. I think last year everybody concentrated on Pat (Bradley). They made sure they shadowed Pat, because is he didn’t score they knew our chances of winning were a lot less. I think McKie was like that for them.
“I think now they have more guys they are trying to win with. They don’t just have one guy, if you stop one guy you’ve done it. That is where I hope we don’t go is if you stop one guy like Joe (Johnson) you stop us.
“Our style is good for Joe if he will continue to get in shape and play more. Our style of play will give us a chance for more team involvement. Like last night, Teddy jumped out and had a good first half, the best he has had in a long time. It’s a matter of time for Brandon Dean to get some alley oop dunks. We have to diversify it a little bit more on this basketball team.
“It’s just a matter of growing up and getting it done.”
(How did you feel about Teddy Gipson stepping up last night?)
“There is no question that it was his best game. I was very disappointed and surprised that Teddy wasn’t giving us everything he could give us at this time. Of course, I know he has had some personal problems, we all have personal problems and some of us if affects differently. It apparently affected him in way that affected his basketball performances. He is beginning to handle them better. I’m not saying they are over, but he is handling them better.
“I think at that point when it happens, I think we will be a lot better basketball team.”
(Second game of the conference season, how important is it?)
“We are getting ready to start a brutal week. We really have to concentrate on this ball game. That is a big ball game. All games will be big for this basketball team especially at home.
“If you can win the home games, you might be able to steal a game or two on the road. It is going to be real tough out on that road, but at least you have to protect your home front. That is why this game is crucial. That is why every game we play at home is a big one.”
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