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How is John Henson’s thumb and how is everybody else’s health?
“John’s thumb is a little better. We didn’t practice Sunday or Monday. We came in Tuesday and just did some run and shoot. He practiced a little bit Wednesday and got through it without getting hit, and yesterday got through it without really getting hit, so we’re hoping to be able to do that today, too. I don’t think it’s 100 percent by any means. The only thing that’s going to make it better is for him to go several days in a row without somebody whacking it.
“When you have John’s athleticism and John’s size, and the way he can jump and you throw the ball and he’s got a two-inch catch and dunk and he can’t make that play, that’s a pretty significant injury. So we’re trying to be very careful with it. I think everybody else is okay.”
Is it an advantage for Larry Drew to have a coach as a father to call him routinely?
“I would think in almost every case it is. Maybe there’s some that it’s not that I haven’t been involved with, but even going all of the way back to Kansas when I had Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich. Both of their fathers were state high school championship coaches and they knew about discipline, they knew about sharing the ball and they knew about taking good shots from when they first started playing the game… I think it’s definitely a positive with me.”
Do you think something is clicking with Larry over the past couple of weeks?
“I don’t know. Everybody got excited because some jump shots went in, but I thought he had been playing a lot better even before the jump shots went in. There’s no question I would like for them to keep going in, but I don’t judge Larry’s value just by that, because I think he’s been making better decisions and defensively, he’s light years better than he was last year. So I think he was already playing better, but you guys have heard me say too many times in almost every press conference, everything looks so much better when the ball goes in the basket.”
Now that exams are coming to a close, do you have to do anything in particular to get the team’s focus back?
“I haven’t had that problem. I tell them every time I come out there, ‘This is a huge break from studying. You enjoy playing basketball, so you’re getting a chance to do that.’ So I don’t think that’s a problem, but just mentally you get worn out. And so you hope basketball will give you a little break there.”
On Texas wing Jordan Hamilton:
“He’s a very athletic guy who can score. He can score outside, he can score taking the ball to the basket, he can score off offensive rebounds. He’s averaging 18.9 [points per game]. That’s the biggest thing right there – he’s a midrange guy who can do everything.”
Listen to Audio (10:19)
Is the team looking forward to this game with Texas after what happened last year?
“Yes, I believe so. That’s one of the good things about basketball games – nothing lasts forever. We knew after the game last year that we were going to have another chance to see them down the road. I’ve been looking forward to it. All of the teams that beat us last year, I’ve been looking forward to playing.”
What sticks out in your mind about last year’s game?
“How mad Coach was at halftime. It wasn’t a pretty sight. We definitely could have played better. He had a right to be mad. But those kinds of thoughts you just want to get out of your head and try to move forward as best as you can. We’ve been playing well the past couple of games, so we’ve got some momentum and I’m looking forward to carrying that into the game with Texas.”
Has Kendall Marshall pushing you made you a better player?
“Yeah, I do. I always feel like competition is good, just like how I was with Ty [Lawson]. I feel like I pushed Ty as much as I could and that definitely made me a better player. I think the same thing is happening with me and Kendall, especially every day in practice when we get to go at each other. He’s told me straight up, ‘My intention is to go into practice and basically just try and kill you.’ And I love the challenge, because that’s my intention too, just to go in there and kill him right back. It’s that kind of competitive spirit that makes teams and players good.”