Quotes from men's basketball weekly press conference
Coach Herb Sendek
On playing rival Arizona on Sunday:
"Mentally and physically, we give all of ourselves for every game. We didn't give less than we had against USC or UCLA. When you're trying your best and you care so much, how do you give more than all? To us, every game is important."
On the importance of sweeping UA, compared with their two victories over UCLA:
"At the moment, if we able to win any of those kinds of games, we feel joy, and then we move on. We don't spend a lot of time trying to get a yardstick out and measure everything. At that time, on Thursday night, when we were able to beat UCLA, it was a joy filled moment. Then we got up next the morning and it was a hard work filled day getting ready for USC."
On Arizona's strong play of late (they haven't lost since ASU beat them on their home floor in January):
"They're playing as well as anybody in our conference, and that means as well as most anybody in the country. They're hitting on all cylinders. Offensively, they have really become a juggernaut. They are very difficult to match-up with and defend, and they do a good job on the other end of the floor as well."
On Ty Abbott:
"We don't define his role, or his contribution to our team, exclusively on shooting. There are so many other ways to add great value to what we're doing. This isn't baseball, where a guy can be a just a hitter like a pinch hitter or a designated hitter. He's not a designated shooter or a pinch shooter. He has so many other responsibilities and roles he has to fulfill if we are going to do well. When we look at him, it is much more a holistic picture, compared with a narrow one."
On the emotion that Jeff Pendergraph's displays on the court:
"We talk about the difference between being emotional and being passionate. As you compete, emotion isn't nearly as much your friend as passion. We would like Jeff's energy to be manifested in a passionate way, rather than an emotional way, and he has made great progress in that area."
On if being 4-2 overall against U of A (3-2 at ASU) gives his team an edge:
"I don't think it has any bearing on it at all. It's not about me, that's for certain, and the next game starts 0-0."
On the closeness of the Pac-10 race heading into the final stretch:
"I don't think it's uncommon. I can't remember the last year I've been part of any conference, going into the last week of the season, where one game couldn't separate you from third to seventh, from second to eighth, from first to fifth, from fourth to ninth. That's very common and not just true in our conference, but most conferences. If there is one team in a certain league who does have a two-game edge, chances are there is a bottleneck right behind it. That's college basketball. Everybody seems like they could beat the next guy, and conference records reflect that."
On being high in the conference standings having an effect on the team's play:
"Not necessarily at all. Regardless of what position you're in, if you're competing, trying to do your best, you always have pep in your step. You're always trying to make the best of the circumstance you have, whether they're more favorable or unfavorable. You are still propelled to offer all you can."
On his appreciation for James Harden:
"Mostly I appreciate him as a person. He is a gentleman, very thoughtful and considerate. He's kind and has a great sense of humor. My appreciation really begins with him as a gentleman. Obviously, it extends beyond that into great respect for the kind of young player he is on the court."
On the shooting percentage of both teams in the last meeting against Arizona (they both shot around 30 percent from the field):
"It was a combination of both (good defense and a struggling offense). That was that game, that time. This time, both teams may score in the eighties. Every game seems to take on its own storyline, its own life. It has a new beginning and a new end."
On Russ Pennell, the head coach at Arizona:
"He has plenty of experience and knowledge. He's been coaching a long time and he is the son of a coach, so he has been part of basketball for his entire life. He has done a great job with the Arizona team this year."
On the home crowd this last weekend at Wells Fargo Arena:
"We've had good crowds before this weekend and we certainly had very good crowds for UCLA and USC. And I expect, just like my first two home games against Arizona, we'll have a great crowd again on Sunday."
On his beard:
"Coach wants me to trim it down a little bit, but I said not right now, give me a couple more weeks, were doing good with this beard. It's been growing so fast, I just said forget it, and let it grow out. I've seen Baron Davis with the thick beard, so I just said why not try it. They're [my teammates] trying to get it as well. Jerren can't get it, he has a baby face, and Ty is trying to get it as well. Derek can get and Jeff is trying to get his, but for some of the guys, it just won't happen."
On the home crowd helping them in the game:
"Against UCLA, it was 13,000. They helped us out a lot; it was like a 6th man on the court. When we hit stretches where we didn't score or they scored, the crowd got us back into the game, even in the USC game. If we're on a drought and we cant score, they get us a bucket or to the foul line. If we can get that for the last three games in the Pac-10, it's going to be tough to beat us at home."