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South Carolina's Odom previews the Georgia game

 

Jan. 29, 2008

Columbia, SC - USC head coach Dave Odom spoke to the media on Tuesday to preview the Georgia game (Wed., Jan. 30 at 7:30 in the Colonial Center). The following are a few of his comments followed by Gamecock players Dominique Archie and Devan Downey.

Coach Odom Opening Statement:
"Georgia, for a lot of reasons, they are a difficult team to play. Our games the last two years have been anything but the way you would want to write about basketball if you were writing a book. They play defense. It's hard to catch the ball, it's hard to penetrate against them and it's hard to score against them. They have sped the game up offensively and that is true this year as well.

"Ramel Bradley (of UK) and Gaines (of UGA) are both seniors, both grizzled, tough as nails, they score, they defend, excellent point guards, both from NYC. They have good leadership at Georgia and the re-occurring theme in this division - they have very very big players. They are huge and we have to deal with that on the offensive and defense end. It will be a huge challenge for us.

"We took Sunday off and practiced yesterday and will practice today. One of our problems in SEC play is we become a little bit fatigued and so I will back off practice about 15 minutes early today. I want to make sure our team goes into the game tomorrow night as fresh as possible. That is one thing I will try to do. My staff is leaning really hard on me to give Devan and Zam some rest during the game - that is not my tendency. They assure me that can't do anything, but help. I will have to put that in their hands without stopping it. They do need some rest and I hope we pick the right time to do it. We would not take both of them out at the same time, barring anything that is unusual.

"The other is to try to build their confidence and keep knocking on the door. We just haven't played well enough to win over 40 minutes.

 

 

"The other concern is we are getting crushed at the free throw line. We went 2 of 3 the other night and they go 18 of 23. We have to find a way to get to the free throw line. We can't play the game avoiding contact and hopefully they'll blow it in our favor some. I think everything else we are doing well.

"The line-up of Evka, Dominique, Dwayne, Zam and Devan is a good line-up and hopefully that will get us off to a good start. Sam Muldrow played well the other night and Mike Holmes was solid in practice yesterday.

"Brandis Raley-Ross is struggling to make a jump shot and he wants to make one so bad and he can't. I told him yesterday to not take a single shot during the scrimmage today and hopefully he'll make some baskets tomorrow night. We are doing everything we can to get him moving again. He is just struggling and we need him back so we can get the rest we need for Fredrick and Downey."

Q: How is fatigue a problem? How do you know when they are fatigued?
Odom: "You experience it as you are going. The play at the end of the Florida first half, that I talked about so many times, we are up 8 and it requires Devan to go get the ball and play it up the floor. For whatever reason he just stood there by the bench and didn't go get it. You don't know if it's mental or it's physical. Sometimes you see it defensively. We have to try to keep them fresh and remind them 'you had a rest, now don't take a play off'.

"Our kids are in great shape right now. They really are. I think our guys are in as good of shape as any team, but we need more help."

How do you keep them from being frustrated?
Odom: "We talk about it everyday. It gets frustrating for me and for my staff - it does for everyone. People say you have to find a reason to keep playing, but you don't have to. In the end, it's the right thing to do. I want this program to get better and to keep advancing. We talk about it everyday. I could not be more pleased with their effort, their focus and their trying to play hard. You have to be ready everyday and practice everyday. It takes a lot of willpower and commitment to be there. I will do everything that I can to make sure our team knows that we will give it our best.

"Devan had a terrific practice yesterday. Devan doesn't score a lot in practice. It's not like he's averaging 20 points in practice, too. Dominique Archie has really stepped up his leadership ability. He is doing a terrific job."

Gamecock Players Statements

Dominique Archie
"Yes, a lot of has to do with fatigue (losing at the end). Fatigue, just not having the leg strength to carry us the extra minutes. I am speaking for everybody.

"There is really nothing we can do about getting to the line. Devan talks about finishing at practice. We have to counter other teams runs. I think we start to play too careful and start passing up a lot of shots we should take. I think we are more worried about making the play, rather than the wrong play. Even if we are up, we have to keep playing the same way."

Devan Downey
"You have to accept the challenge and step up. We need to find the way to mentally finish a game. WE have to answer. We have to keep the team composed. We are this close, if we could just find a way to finish the games and find a way to finish strong. When we get up 8 or 10 we have to find a way to blow the game out or hold on. We have to win. I am trying to get to the line when I go the basket, but it's up to the ref to make the call. I am going to try to make the best play and not necessarily try to draw contact. We are doing this as a team."

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