Jan. 15, 2008
Columbia, SC - South Carolina head coach Dave Odom spoke to the media on Tuesday, as did the Carolina players, on the upcoming Arkansas game on Wed., Jan. 16 in Fayetteville at 8 pm. The following are some of their comments.
USC Head Coach Dave Odom
"(at the SEC Tournament in the second half last year): They completely overwhelmed us with their size, strength and speed. I don't think anybody gets the ball up the court quicker than the Razorbacks. They are looking for a lay-up and they don't hesitate. They really do get it up (the court). It's a bear and almost impossible to press them. It's a difficult assignment. They come at you with a lot of strength.
"We know their team well. How do we settle the game so we win? We will have to run a more disciplined offense and be better decision makers to be there. We have to get Dominique, Sam, Mike, Evka - they all have to contribute offensively and at the same time we have to keep pace defensively.
"With the starting line-up I will go smaller rather than bigger. It will be Evka, Dominique, Zam and Devan and Dwayne. That gives us the best ball-handling we can have and they shoot the ball with the best confidence with every position. It doesn't give us great rebounding. It does give us experience on the road. The last game Evka started he didn't play well. Hopefully if he makes some early mistakes and I will keep the confidence in him.
"They've had a really good year (Arkansas). The coach is playing to their strength. They are very experienced and they are all back. He was taking what was left and built on it. If they played the SEC Tournament right now they would have as good a chance as anybody to have a really good tournament. We'll see.
Media: Are you going small because of Patrick Beverly?
Odom: He is one of the factors, but really I looked at his rebounding stats and he's a defensive rebounder. He is a rebounding guard. Their post guys are big. They are 6'10 or better at every spot.
Media: What about Devan and his one assist on Saturday?
Odom: There were three of four shots that didn't go down on passes he made. Without Brandis Raley-Ross in there, it's difficult. Once it settles into the half-court level, it's more difficult to find shots. I will encourage guys like Chad Gray, in the post, who when they feel themselves surrounded to pass to someone open on the perimeter. There is no reason to beat yourself on the head. Devan has amazed me at his ability to find open gaps and get the ball to the rim cleanly and even make the shot. I really talked to him about trying to eliminate that part (putting the ball up and having it blocked, etc.) and if you aren't clear and open and aren't closing that fast, dribble it out or find someone at the perimeter. He was great at finding the rim against Tennessee, but we have to be careful.
Media: What about the freshmen?
Odom: We have to keep working with them. Sam had a good day yesterday. Mike Holmes is going through a period of 'I had my way in high school and now I am having trouble manufacturing those same shots'. He is working to come to grips with that and when he does, he will be ok. Sam is not a shot manufacturer. Their role - this will be the first game one of them didn't start. They are the future of our program as it relates to inside play. I have an unshaken faith in their ability to play at a very high level. We will keep encouraging them and pushing them to play.
"Michael was able to get any shot he wanted in high school. He is at the bottom rung of the ladder in experience. He has played against older guys. His position has experienced big guys (that he is playing against). (Wayne Chism scored on him twice early) He then looked at me like I embarrassed him. He is not experienced enough to play on. It's one basket, it won't cost you the game unless you let it. It's part of growing up. He wants to do well so much. You jut have to work your way in. We have to get it moving forward. I am convinced they will do well here."
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