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What Tommy Lloyd, Benn Mathurin and Azuolas Tubelis said after Arizona’s win over Wyoming

arizona-wildcats-mens-basketball-illinois-fighting-illini-preview-odds-tv-channel-time-2021 Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The No. 11 Arizona Wildcats blew by Wyoming 94-65 Wednesday evening at McKale Center. Our recap of the game can be found here.

After the game, coach Tommy Lloyd, Benn Mathurin and Azuolas Tubelis spoke about the team’s win, what’s in store against Illinois Saturday and more. Videos of the pressers are at the bottom.

Lloyd on his overall impression of the win: “Really proud of the guys. They came out tremendous effort. They played with effort and fire and great intelligence. It’s a one of those deals. We talk about going one for one. You get one opportunity to do something and you don’t want to go 0 for one. And these guys are going one for one, whether that’s possession by possession or assignment by assignment or game by game. So I’m incredibly proud of them.”

Lloyd on keeping things loose: “I tell our guys, let’s not be rigid, let’s put our heads together and what’s gonna win us the next ball game. That’s where we start. Everyone, it could an offense first, could be a defense team first, could be special teams first, could be traps. I don’t have a regimented deal. I’m much more of a blank canvas type of guy and then let’s put our heads together. I think when you have a real regimented routine, I think it kind of wears on the guys and bores them a little bit over time. So I like to keep changing up on them and keep them on their toes a little bit.”

Tubelis on playing under Lloyd’s style of offense: “I can just say that I love this pace because how we move the ball now is high level basketball. We just need to continue playing with that pace and we’ll do things in the future.”

Lloyd on what he told the team at halftime: “Do it again. It’s simple, we’ve got a game plan and let’s go out and execute it. We let our guard down there a little bit and they hit some shots and they made a few adjustments. Nothing crazy. They made some adjustments in the second half I thought they would do earlier. They had a little bit of success with it. But at that point, my ultimate goal is to win the game so I’m just managing the game and making sure that they don’t take make big of a run at us and that we keep pushing.”

Mathurin on the crowd’s energy: “To be honest it was way more fun to play in front of the crowd and McKale Center in general. It gives me a boost. Bounce even more, more excitement to dunk the ball even more.”

Lloyd on the importance of rebounding: “To play fast you have to rebound. It’s an everyday thing. We worked on a few different scenarios because they do a great job of isolating good players and we had success on or double teams so we were kind of able to ride that package tonight. But if you play a one on one, and they have shooters spaced out, you’re now attached to the shooters, you have a guy playing one on one and then if you come to help a little bit down inside, they have another rebounder down there. So they kind of ended up sometimes with a half man advantage. So we worked on some scenarios when trying to do that. But a lot of it just comes down to will. Don’t put too much on coaching. That’s just guys that are hungry to go get the ball.”

Lloyd on Kim Aiken’s status: “I don’t know. Kim, the easy statement you guys have heard, he’s got a personal issue. I think we all need to respect his privacy right now. He’s working through it. At some point I’d love to have him back with us and the sooner the better for me, but again it’s Kim Aiken’s personal issue that I really don’t have any influence.”

Lloyd on playing with a shorter rotation: “It’s fine. You can do it with eight. I’m waiting, we got to get Adama and Shane brought along a little bit. Now we can play small lineup a little bit more. But you see these seasons are crazy. You get a twisted ankle here, a twisted ankle there, a guy’s back’s sore. You’re managing a lot. You don’t get to go through a season in a vacuum. You’re going through a season of bumps and bruises and aches and pains and you need a great training staff. You need tough guys, that’s how you manage it.”

Tubelis on how Arizona broke through Wyoming’s defense: “All game they went under the ball screens so we knew that they will go under so we just took some threes. Kerr made a lot of threes because they went under. (Wyoming was averaging) 59 points defensively, it’s because they’re going under and teams don’t know how to play against under defense.”

Lloyd on Justin Kier’s development: “Justin’s a really good player, and Justin could probably play a few more minutes and I love having him on our team. Today, I was planning on playing him more and I love having him out there. It’s just that that first group was rolling. So we have a group that’s rolling, it’s nothing against one of their selves. And then at Oregon State our first group struggled a little bit and we subbed and those subs came in and picked us up. So it’s a game to game thing. Sometimes a guy’s minutes might not be what you want but it might not be his fault. It might be his teammates are just playing great.”

Lloyd on Dalen Terry’s progress offensively: “Dalen’s special. I love everything about him and he’s got great spirit. He talked to me, looks you in the eye. And he’s really coming into his own as a player. The shots coming along. It’s gonna be fine. He’s not going to be Steve Kerr. But we can do so many other things. He’s valuable and now he’s learning how to play with that. In the second half they weren’t guarding him, he went and set a ball screen for Kerr. Well if you do that, that peels Kerr’s guy off, Dalen’s guy’s in the paint, Kerr gets an open three, he makes it. That’s great team basketball. That was something we’ve never practiced. I just yelled at him to get set a ball screen, he looked at me like I was crazy. There’s some things you have to develop with that smaller lineup. But now we’ll do it. I think we can have a great small lineup.”

Lloyd on Kerr Kriisa’s developing jumper: “You can be aggressive, but you still got to be on balance. You can’t be shooting every one 10 feet behind the line. So just have that understanding. And I love Kerr. I’ve told him I haven’t complained any shots he’s taken outwardly. I might be thinking something in my head, and then he’s come up and told me, well yeah you should have complained about these two. I’m like, ‘yeah, you’re right, but I trust you.’”

Lloyd on the team’s high basketball IQ: “I love high IQ basketball. We teach it every day. We always tell guys, we’re not worried about our plays, we’re worried about teaching you how to play. And I think the most beautiful thing we can do — I don’t want credit for ATO. — I want our guys making beautiful plays on their own. To me that’s the beauty of the game. And so that’s what we try to work on and develop with concepts and repetition and they’re doing a great job and they’re buying in. The cool thing is they become the owners of the process. I just kind of help. I think that’s what we’re developing.”

Lloyd on Mathurin’s performance lately: “He’s played awesome. How he slowed down and passed the ball today. Those were plays, like in the Sacramento State game, he had three times and forced the ball in transition and he turned it over in the first half. And I told Benn, there’s nothing, ‘it’s not against the rules for you to push the ball, but you’re so much better when you’re out in front and you’re on the receiving end of the play.’ I think he had one charge on the left side in the first half today. That was his only turnover, and then he had some incredibly mature plays and then just the offensive rebounding. It’s a difference maker. You go from an average player who your teammates have to serve, now he’s serving the team and he’s making plays on broken plays. And that’s really, really hard to play against.”

Mathurin on his conversation with Lloyd a few weeks ago: “He just told me I was being too hard on myself so he told to let loose and just be simple. Let the game come to me and obviously going to go the right way for me.”

Lloyd on Mathurin handling pressure: “He’s a developing player. Sometimes people in the media or the NBA mock draft world try to anoint these kids and move them along too fast. And Benn needs to develop at his own pace. He looks pretty good to me right now. So I just think he needs to stay locked and loaded on what he’s doing. And he’s getting great results and actually developing into a real, real basketball player. That’s so much fun to watch.”

Mathurin on dealing with outside expectations: “Obviously I knew I was coming to back Arizona, I knew I would have a bigger role. I just have a mindset of winning and being undefeated. There’s nothing else more fun than playing with my teammates and win games. We’ve been playing for more than a month and a half and just being undefeated is one of the best feelings. So I’m just focusing on the team right now.”

Mathurin on what he’s most developed at under Lloyd’s coaching: “I’d say play away from the ball. It was one of my weakness coming off the summer and then I worked on it a lot so I just play off the ball and then get plays based off my teammates.”

Lloyd on the different defenses Arizona has faced: “We’ve seen a lot. Maybe a possession here or there. We’ve seen a 1-3-1, a 1-2-2 zone, a 2-3 zone. Sagging man, pressure man. We’ve seen a lot but that’s the fun thing. What’s really cool, that’s part of game planning. So when we walk in, how are we going to be guarded, we work out concepts to play against that. I’m always talking to our guys, how do we want to attack space? How do we want to attack — space and coverage, space and coverage. When we drill scenarios, if they’re doing this and this, how do we attack it? And then we drill it. I think that really helps our guys form IQs so then they have a toolbox and plan when different things come up.”

Lloyd on the team’s mindset heading into the Illinois game: “There’s nothing better except playing at McKale when it’s full than to go on the road and kicking someone’s ass. There’s nothing better than that. It’s gonna be a huge task and we’re not going in there cocky, we’re not going in there arrogant. We’re going in there knowing it’s going to be a great challenge and we’re hopefully going to be up for it.”

Lloyd on the upcoming road environment at Illinois: “It’s a great place to play. It’s got a McKale feel to it. I’m sure they’re gonna bring it. That’s great. That’s the type of games we want to be involved in. We’re gonna go there with our heads high and we’re gonna go there with a game plan to compete. We’re gonna let it rip.”

Lloyd on what’s in store against the Illini: “Brad (Underwood), he’s a guy that oozes toughness. It’s going to be a physical battle. They have a player (Kofi Cockburn) that basically who is the Shaq of college basketball, and then they surround him with shooters. He’s always had great rebounding teams. They pound the offensive glass. So it’s going to be a war. It’s probably not going to feel good the whole but hopefully we’re up for a good fight.”

Mathurin on getting ready for Illinois: “We know we have a big game on the way. Preparation starts right now. We just came out the game. Now leave the game behind. Just taking mistakes and just make them better and adjust in order for us to win the game on Saturday.

Tubelis on preparing for the road trip: “Midnight comes and we just need to forget this game and to get better for Saturday’s game. We’ll have a practice tomorrow. It won’t be hard. Coach will tell us what will be the defensive plan against them and we’ll watch some film and just take rest.”