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Carolina's Odom talks LSU, SEC Tournament

 

March 11, 2008

Columbia, SC - USC head coach Dave Odom met with the media on Tuesday to preview the LSU game in the first round of the SEC Tournament on Thurs., March 13 at 1 pm.

Odom to preview LSU game
"We went to Tennessee the other day and played one of our best halves of the season in the first half. We couldn't haven't done more or asked more. I felt really good going into the locker-room and I thought whatever challenge we had, we would answer. We went cold going out of the lockerroom and they did not. They got out of the gates early and never looked back. We never gave up. I felt really really bad about the way the game turned out and if I had a criticism of this year's team - they really have not developed the outer-crust of toughness that you need like we need in Knoxville. We give in too easily, but we don't give up."

"I could not have been more pleased yesterday in practice. They got refocused and they will give a great effort on Thursday. Make no mistake in my opinion they are still committed to winning and the SEC Tournament. We are going to go to Atlanta today and continue our preparation with the game at 1 pm on Thursday afternoon. We are playing a very difficult opponent. They are one of the up and coming teams in our league. They are young, with no seniors on the team actively playing."

"The game was much much closer than 7 points a couple weeks ago here. Can we flip that? I think we can, but we have to execute better. We haven't shot he ball well in games in the last two weeks. One of the ironies in our season if you go back until the middle of January, the thing that was covering us in the game was our perimeter game. Archie was steady and we had nothing inside. Over the course of the last three weeks and maybe a little more, it's flipped a little more. Our inside players, particularly Mike Holmes and Sam Muldrow, are scoring more. The bench is a great teacher and Mike Holmes didn't play the first several (SEC) games. He didn't work hard enough in practice and there were several games were he played sparingly at all. He started working harder in practice and with far less theatrics. He is playing fearlessly and making shots. Defensively he is much, much better. He is working at it. Sam is playing better in practice and I think he can be a force in this game because he has the length the LSU players have. Sam had a rough second half in the Tennessee game. He missed a couple easy lay-ups and they came out charging. Sam certainly has the ability to help us in this basketball game. Austin Steed is also coming along. He looked good at the end of the game as well. It maybe a possibility that he will play some as well. Chad Gray is probably the guy I should have played more. He is athletic enough, he runs the floor and can certainly give us more minutes. He is a great kid to work with. Chad has been anything, but a pain every day. Maybe he hasn't fought with me enough about it (his playing time).

 

 

"I am not thinking SEC Championship, I am thinking one win. It's a one game set that gives you an opportunity to advance. 'Can we win one game?' Let's win one game. If we can do that, we can turn our attention to Friday. I do think we can win on Thursday, but we have to play hard, follow the game plan and not get frustrated. We have to show an outer crust of toughness that we haven't shown. We are working hard to accomplish this.

You've know Mike Holmes for three years. Is there some disappointment that you aren't going to be able to coach Mike Holmes again? Odom: It's reality so I don't think about it every day. I love all my players. I would put Mike in the category with Renaldo and that's a compliment. Mike came in with a star-crossed background student-wise, player-wise. Our university gave him a chance and he is right in the middle of the fight right now of the battle where we want him to be. He is really comfortable in what he is doing. He was almost introverted when he came in and he has developed so much as a person. He is trying so hard academically. He is not counting days and classes. An example - he had no idea we had spring break next week. He's really coming along well. I wish him well and all the players.

Is it paramount that you get production against Zam Fredrick?
Odom: He has struggled as of late. He is going to be asked to do a lot, defensively as well as offensively. His assignment will require a lot of energy and commitment. He will have to bring his A game. I think he is really important. Dominique has to play well. One of the things we must do is that Devan, for whatever reason, is no longer leading the fast break. At least five times the other night, Devan was behind the rebounders. He should never be behind them. We need to get a faster game out of Devan. We are playing too much at the half-court level.

What caused Zam's late season problems?
Odom: Shot selection. Maybe there have been some questionable shots. Execution of the half-court offense. I also think when you look at it, Devan's production has gone down and there has been too much of that. Size becomes a factor against us. We are playing too much of a half-court game.

Player Quotes
Mike Holmes
(sitting on the bench hard?) "Yes, seeing my teammates run up and down on the court and I wanted to be out of there too. (how did you change?) I just came out and worked hard. I made hustle plays on the court and played with a lot of energy. (did you learn anything). I had to listen to the coaches. They are trying to help me out and to listen more because it will make me a better person.

"It was pretty hard because I had to deal with it (sitting on the bench). But I got over it. Sometimes you have to sit on the bench. I have to take my time on the court because before I was trying to finish and not thinking. I am more relaxed these days."

Sam Muldrow
(to beat LSU) "We have to go out and play harder. We can have more intensity in the game and play with confidence. I will have to rebound and block shots. I will have to stop my man and one more (man.). And I will have to score when I can."

Zam Fredrick
"We have to focus everything we can on Thursday. We have to leave everything out there. Coach says you can't think SEC Tournament, we have to think one game at a time. We have to focus all our attention on that."

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