Steve Alford had his usual Tuesday press conference this afternoon along with Jonah Bolden who appeared before the beat reporters for the first time since the preseason.
The big news is that Tony Parker is still day-to-day. He did participate in non-contact drills today, and the doctors say he feels more comfortable and has progressed. They'll know tomorrow as they try to work him back to full practice. He's been off for eight days, so conditioning will be a problem. Here are the other bullet points from Alford:
- In response to a suggestion that Isaac Hamilton be benched, Alford said his role would not change. He needs to "free himself up," which I take to mean that he has a bad case of nerves and has lost confidence in himself. Alford suggested that he needs to do the other things in the meantime besides scoring like getting to the free throw line, defending and even rebounding.
- Without Tony, would Alford call more plays for Kevon, especially in the post? Apparently, Kevon like to play "off people." I take that to mean away from the ball so he can sneak in for offensive rebounds. Alford, however, will play him more at "pinch post" which Laker and Bulls fans will remember from the triangle days as the second post at the elbow on the ball help side from which Kevon would read what the defense gives him. Oh, and also he will have Kevon handle the ball more so Bryce can play off the ball (well, there's good and bad to that).
- Norman is sick today. Alford doesn't know if he has the flu (great, that's all we need).
- Thomas Welsh needs to get used to the physicality. He needs to "get physical first," before the other guy.
- Wanaah Bail apparently wasn't practicing much in December so that he could focus on academics, so getting Jonah Bolden back to practice was particularly helpful.
- Utah is the deepest and biggest team in the PAC-12. Delon Wright is the best defender (I liked Tyrone Wallace). To give themselves a chance, the team will have to take the transition away and not allow second shots.
- Tending to the team's mental health is a big job for the coaches this week after the Oregon trip.
- Most interesting comment: he transitioning from the 4 to the 3, Schilling (enough with the drills already and call real plays) is giving him "guard drills," and he sees himself as a big guard "like Kevon."
- He also knew his chances of playing this year were 50-50.
- Started playing 5-on-5 yesterday.
- Needs to improve physical and mental strength (I hope his mental strength is already good).
- Although his goal is to be in the NBA, he was appropriately vague, and said he's focusing on UCLA right now.