March 6, 2001
Q: Is Arizona any different than when you played them earlier in the year?
A: They are awfully good. They have been awfully good all year long. They are probably playing more consistently, like they did earlier in the year. They are really good defensively. They are really good weak side rotation defense. They seem to be more in sync in terms of where they want the ball, and who they want to have it. [Gilbert] Arenas has stepped up huge in conference play, but he was already been a real good player. [Michael] Wright has had some good games. They are playing extremely well right now.
Q: Stanford's senior class: have they exceeded your expectations?
A: They have been awfully good. It's fun to watch kids improve. Ryan Mendez is playing with a lot of confidence and leadership right now. Originally when he came to us, he wasn't a very good defender. Now is defending people, and working very hard to make it a part of his game. Mike McDonald probably faced as good as pressure as you are probably going to see, in a hostile environment at UCLA. He did an awfully good job handling it. People probably would have questioned that a couple years ago. Jaron [Collins] has been very good, very poised. He has been very steady and has stayed away from injuries. They [seniors] have been very.
Q: Comment on the momentum going into the NCAA tournament.
A: I think the UCLA game was a great test in terms of the intensity level that you'll see in a big game, which will help us in the tournament. And the USC game was another tough game in a tough environment, which will help us down the road. I don't think a loss at any given time is a major determiner about your team. Obviously if you lose in the tournament, it is the end of your season, but it is more about your ability to be consistent throughout and play well when you have to. It's a long season, and I do know that a loss at any point in time makes a difference one way or another as long as the kids understand that in the tournament, each game they have to be ready to play.
Q: Are you giving them more days off towards the end of the season than you have in previous years?
A: I don't know if that is the case. People seem so startled about us having a day off, as if they are machines or something. These kids have a lot of pressure. They have a lot of things going on. For example, you come back from a road trip, winning two, and the travel, and the intensity of the games, and I think it makes sense to take a day off. A lot of guys played a lot of minutes. There is nothing that we are going to do in practice that we haven't done fifty times. It's not like we are going to change the offense on Monday.
Q: Have you notice that their legs are fresh?
A: Well, we are playing the kids more minutes with Curtis [Borchardt] going down, and with Justin [Davis] being limited, we had to play guys more minutes and that is something that has been a little bit different. Some teams have played five people pretty much all year long. That's not what we've done, but I think we have responded pretty well here lately.
Q: Looking ahead possibly, playing in San Diego and Anaheim in the tournament, is that something that you want?
A: Well, I would prefer to stay on the west coast. When you play basketball in the west and you are not put in the west region, you have to go a long way to play. For example, in the ACC, they put the winner in the east [region], but if they don't, they'll go to the south, both of which are about an hour away and no time zone change. So it's pretty convenient to be able to get that close. We played North Carolina last year in Birmingham. It was a no-brainer for them. It was a long way for us. And it is one more thing to have to deal with. The year we made it to the Final Four, we played in Chicago and St. Louis so obvious it is very doable. It just easier for the kids to stay in the same time zone. I think it is more convenient for your fans and the parents of the kids to stay in the same time zone.
Q: Do you have a list of things you want to accomplish in the next eight days, or is it just maintenence.
A: We need to get Justin [Davis] back on the floor if we can. That is going to help us. Obvious with Curtis [Borchardt] having surgery today, he is gone for the season. Typically you would like to stay sharp and go back and polish up stuff that you are not doing as well as you would like. Some teams might pressure you, you might see a zone, you might see a full court pressure so you have to go back and dust up those things in terms of your press breakers.
Q: What is Justin Davis' health?
A: He is out! He is not practicing today. We're not going to let him back until he is able to push off and go. He played 7 minutes on Saturday, which is certainly not excessive, but it was enough to make it [left ankle] swell, so we have to be careful at this point in terms on how we use him.
Q: Do you feel any pressure alleviated by the two wins in L.A.?
A: Well, I think it was Saturday night and Sunday, but I sure didn't feel any less pressure when I woke up Monday, knowing what we have games against Arizona and Arizona State. With the two wins in L.A., we at least clinched a tie, at the very minimum, and that was something that was in question with USC, UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State in front of us. If we had lost to UCLA, we might have to share the Pac-10 title. So of course we want to come out against Arizona and clinch it on Thursday night, if it is possible.
Q: Are you concerned about the minutes that these guys have to play?
A: I wish I had everyone healthy. It would make it a lot easier. I don't think the kids worry about it much, but you get late into the game, and you had some rest that makes some things easier. But the obvious thing is if you get into foul trouble, you don't have another guy. It's not about minutes nessessary, you might not have a guy to go in. So it changes the whole deal. So now it puts a premium on staying healthy, and staying out of foul trouble.