Quotes from men's hoops players weekly press conference
Jeff on returning 8 players from last seasons 21-13 team:
"It's a lot easier now than it was two years ago and even last year because we didn't have everyone else, the main guys, bringing along the freshman and making sure they get in there and practice. But it's tougher too cause the expectations are way higher. The first two or three teams on 5-0 shouldn't mess it up; they're supposed to know it down pat. You can't be like, "well its brand new", cause its not. It's a double-edged sword.
Jeff on the potential of this season's team:
"We can be as good as we want to be. I think we can be one of the best teams that ASU, Arizona, and even the country, has seen in a while from out here. That's just all a matter of it being on us. If we want to be that good, we can be that good."
Jeff on having a good chance to make the NCAA Tournament this year:
"I haven't had that feeling at all. I've never been to the tournament, or done damage in it. Most of my time here I've been struggling to get a win in the conference, let alone make it to the tournament. Last year it felt real good, and this time of the year feels better than it did last season. I think there are a lot more things that we can get done; it's just a matter of staying focused and getting it done, not just talking about it."
Jamelle on improving his shot during the off-season:
"I mainly changed that I am a jump shooter now instead of a set shooter. I felt that was important, picking my spots last year and seeing where I was getting my shots. The set shot was not getting it done. Strength wise I improved, a lot. I played against a lot better players; I went home and played against guys like Luke Ridnour in the summertime. Quicker guys, bigger guys, that could get to it [my shot] a little bit quicker and I think that helped my release point get a little bit higher, to get the shot off quicker. That has helped for the last three months or so."
Jamelle on the challenges of changing his shot so late in his career:
"It was, but it wasn't, mainly because I shot the right shot in the mid range game, but with the three, I was standing there launching it. The adjustment been something that's kind of been there, I just hadn't taken it to heart. I really got a lot of repetitions up and so far it feels really good. It's been good for me and it's working well so far."
Jeff on the buzz around campus leading up to the start of basketball season on Friday:
"I'm already thinking there's going to be people waiting in lines outside to get into the Wells Fargo student section."
Jamelle on being ranked 15th in the country by the Associated Press:
"I wasn't necessarily surprised because I talked to a lot of people behind the scenes of that deal. They expect a lot from us this year. [Are we] excited? Yes, very. It changes our season completely; how we approach it, what were doing to prepare for it. Ultimately, the key is for us to go out and play the way we've been taught, play the way we know how to play. We can't get caught up into it too much. Its there, definitely, but we have to do the same things. It's been a good thing for us. It makes it that much more fun, the season, the way you think about it, your approach towards it. It makes you feel somewhat bigger than being picked dead last in the conference or saying you have nothing to lose every single time you go out and play. That's a feeling we have felt for a while, and now were expected to go out and beat teams. We hold ourselves to a higher standard, so I think were going to improve both individually and collectively as a group."
Jeff on coach Sendek changing his coaching style due to the expectations of this season:
"I think his change in his approach to practice and everything this year have absolutely nothing to do with the ranking. It has to do with what happened last year cause I think from the night after we lost to Florida until now, he has watched film religiously and hasn't stopped, watching the games we could have won. If we had done this a little bit here and a little bit there, then we would have won the game. He is way tougher on us in practice to make sure we don't have to go through these same things again. He is addressing the problems that got us hurt last year by not finishing out games or not winning key spurts by pushing us harder in practice. We do a lot more running and all kinds of crazy stuff. We know why we lost and now its time to fix it. If we don't fix it, and we have the same problems as last year, we're not improving as a team and I don't think he [coach Sendek] would feel like he is doing his job as a coach to make us better."
Jeff on what the pre-season scrimmages have shown him about the team:
"It was tough [the first scrimmage] if I'm not playing; it's really hard. There's a lack of a voice when I'm not on the court. I think our second scrimmage was way better. We responded well in the practice that entire week. We came out ready to play UNLV and we played better against them than New Mexico. When things are flowing and guys are really doing their mojo, we look way better as a team and we look like were supposed to. Then there are times when we're really struggling; when we're making some silly mistakes that we need to fix real quick. We're still a young team and somewhat inexperienced, even though we had such a good year last year. There are things that show how good we and then things that show where we need to work on. It shows us that there are still things we need to improve on."