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February 13, 2007

Basketball Notes

At Monday's press conference, UA head coach Lute Olson spoke on a number of subjects regarding his team. Here's the latest on Arizona Basketball.

Hill sick

Jordan Hill had a productive weekend for the Wildcats, combining for 18 points and 18 rebounds in two games against the Oregon schools. What makes those numbers even more impressive is that, according to Olson, Hill played last weekend while sick.

"Jordan Hill has a touch of the virus that's going around with the sinus problems and respiratory problems but I thought he really played through things very well," Olson said at Monday's press conference. "He actually had those problems before we left for the trip but we've already sent him home (Monday) to get some rest and try to get rid of the virus as much as we can.

"We had the doctor check him out today and make sure there wasn't something more serious because I've never heard of so many pneumonia cases in my life as I've heard about this year. We just wanted to make sure that was not the problem. He's on medication and he'll not practice (Monday)."

Matchup problems against Oregon

While Hill did play well in the Oregon game, he was only on the court for 23 minutes due to some matchup problems that the Ducks presented.

"I think everyone has seen the effect that Jordan has on a game for us," Olson said. "He makes a big difference because of his presence in the basket area. Saturday was a tough matchup for him because not only did Ivan (Radenovic) have to guard (Malik) Hairston on the perimeter but (Maarty) Leunen you have to play as a perimeter player because he's outside more than he is inside, so that was a difficult assignment for him.

"That's the reason if you noticed we went with four perimeter (players) and one post down the stretch up there. He was having a hard time going through the pick that was being set for Leunen to shoot those threes. One time he got out on him and didn't take his right hand away and he took it all the way to the basket.

"The good thing about Jordan is that he learns from all those experiences and understands the mental part of it we go through with the scouting and the breakdowns. They have to be ingrained in his head before the game starts."

Light Monday

After two close games and a long trip back to Tucson, the Wildcats had all Sunday off and Monday was a relatively light day for them.

"(Monday) the starters are basically going through some shooting things," Olson said. "The biggest problem with the reserves at this point is trying to keep them conditioned because you go light on Wednesday, you go light on Saturday, you have the two games and some guys didn't get into the game.

"What we'll do (Monday) is put Nic (Wise), Daniel (Dillon), Fendi (Onobun) and Bret (Brielmaier) together and they'll go full court four on four."

Shakur resting ankle

Mustafa Shakur had his worst weekend of the season in Oregon and that can probably be blamed on a lingering sprained ankle. Shakur hasn't really played on the ankle since Saturday and the time off between then and Tuesday should help him recover.

"The rest will be fine," Olson said. "He did turn it over again against Oregon State so getting rest, being off (should help). He's continuing with the treatment so it should not be a problem."

Part of Shakur's struggles from this past weekend could stem from the fact that he didn't practice while recovering from the injury. That won't be an issue this weekend.

"He needs to practice," Olson said. "Last week when he played he hadn't played since Saturday and you could see his timing was off. I don't think he made the same kind of decisions you make when you're in the flow of practice and games.

"He'll do the same shooting (Monday) that five of the top six guys (will do). He'll get the opportunity to get his timing this week."

Tangara update

As of Monday, there was still no update on the progress of Mohamed Tangara, who suffered a sinus fracture against Arizona State.

"Mohamed will not work out (Monday), that's all I know," Olson said. "I don't want to put a timetable on it because that's the medical staff's decision."

USC and UCLA style of play helps UA recruiting

A question was raised to Olson about whether or not he thought USC would continue to run a half court offense in the future.

"I hope they don't," Olson replied. "I hope UCLA stays primarily half court. That gives us a better shot at kids. They know ours is going to be a wide open style. I think that's why Washington has done pretty well (recruiting).

"Both coaches are very successful in that style so I don't see any reason for them to change. I encourage them to stay half court oriented."

Arizona's full court style of play was a big reason why the Wildcats landed Chase Budinger and are among consideration from a number of other top West Coast recruits.

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