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What Tommy Lloyd said after Arizona’s Red-Blue Showcase

arizona-wildcats-mens-basketball-red-blue-showcase-tommy-lloyd-postgame-interview-comments-2023 Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona men’s basketball held its Red-Blue Showcase Friday evening at McKale Center in front of a sold out crowd. Coach Tommy Lloyd discussed the showcase with the media afterwards. Here’s what he said:

Lloyd on his overall thoughts from from the event: “Things are gonna start rolling from here. For a coach it’s it’s great to have an opportunity to celebrate your team with the community and all that stuff. But honestly it’s also good to get this on film and then the real burning and churning kind of starts from here. So I look forward that. We’re taking tomorrow off but I look forward to getting back out there Sunday and kind of figuring out where we’re at and starting to break things down and build them back up.”

On the competitiveness of the team: “Obviously the more competitive practices are, the better. And I think we got a good group with good balance and good numbers. So you’re able to maybe get after each other a little bit more and maybe get some more live realistic reps. So hopefully that’ll really bode well for us this season.”

On what his biggest takeaway was from the night: “It’s a collection of all. I don’t think I have an instruction manual on how I handle this thing. The simple observation I made is when we tried to play maybe that a little extra to it or maybe kind of forced the highlight, we didn’t turn out well, which is great for a coach because you can remind your guys usually an accumulation of simple plays is better. And I thought when we kept things simple for the most part, we looked really good, when we trying to dunk on somebody, some superhero type play didn’t work out as well. So, to me that that was one of the biggest things that I noticed overall, is just when we kept it simple, we were better.”

On KJ Lewis being overlooked: “He’s a freshman. He’s done well. He seems to kind of have been on a steady kind of upward trajectory. And that’s a credit to him. I’m sure some bumps in the road are gonna come as a freshman but he’s an extremely high character guy and his care factor is really high. So I think he’s well positioned to have a really good freshman year.”

On Lewis’ defense and Paulius Murauskas’ progress: “One of the things I love about KJ is I always say he solves problems with effort. And that’s a great thing to have because you can you can bank on high effort. If you’re a high effort guy, you can bank on that almost every possession and so, he plays kind of with a relentlessness that I think is going to be infectious for our team.

For Paulius, he’s a really good player. I think he’s like a lot of European players. He’s kind of finding his way over here. And we haven’t had too many moments where we scrimmaged for that length of time this year, so it’s good for him to get in the flow of the game and feel it. I’m sure when we go back and film there’s gonna be a bunch of things we can help him with but he’s never lacked confidence on the offensive end of the floor, which is, he kind of has that scorers mentality where he forgets his misses pretty quick, and he’s able to keep on plugging away.”

On the Pac-12 ending: “I’m really not going to get emotional about it, because it’s happening. I’ll probably have a better opinion for you as we get closer to those things. But honestly my mind right now, I know it’s gonna probably be boring for you, but breaking down this film and planning the practice Sunday and hopefully executing it well and getting better. I’ll deal with the Pac-12 stuff when it comes.”

On how the bigs looked: “I thought Motiejus Krivas did a good job impacting the game. I felt he got fouled a lot. I think he’s gonna learn this system and kind of understand where he can assert his will. I don’t know if it was him or his team, but I think maybe he had some opportunities to carve out and establish position a little earlier in possessions and I don’t know if he got fatigued or even a little bit of game slippage, probably both things happened, but when he was around the action he impacts the ball and he’s a big, strong guy with great hands and an incredibly high IQ. I’m excited about him. Henri (Veesar) had a good camp. Obviously didn’t get to do much with us this summer with his ankle injury. So I’m excited where he’s going. I think he’s going to really build into a steady player. Dylan (Anderson) has made solid progression. I think he’s continuing that way. And then Keshad (Johnson) it’s fun to watch him. I think he made three threes today and I’m not sitting here saying our season hinges on how well he shoots threes or doesn’t shoot threes. I think we can win a lot of different ways. But to see him do that could be a little added dimension for us. So I’m really, really pleased with those guys as a group and obviously they’re an important part of what we do. So I think they’re gonna create a lot of advantages.”

On what he saw from Filip Borovicanin: “Filip’s a good player. I think Filip’s one of these guys like I think he has an ability to be one of our if not our best shooter. But I think he’s got to kind of settle into that role a little bit he he also has a nice IQ and he’s creative passer so I think sometimes he gets stuck in between those things a little bit and which is okay. A lot of really good players do more than one thing, but I think just his size is ability to shoot the ball when he kind of understands the added dimension that gives us I think, I think that’ll really helped him out, but I love where he’s at and I appreciate him. He’s a freshman who last year he kind of fought through a tough year, and he’s back here. He’s had a positive attitude. He’s a great kid. And I really respect him as a person and a player.”

On the Red-Blue experience and whether it’s exceeded expectations: “My first one s I think the attendance was obviously the lowest we had, and I get it, I come here and I was maybe a little bit of an outside of the box hire. Coming out of COVID and a lot of things there. But it’s fun to see it build. And I honestly think, I know in my mind, I think we’re just starting to scratch the surface of this event. I think the next years I think we can really make it something special. And that’s something we’ve been talking about behind the scenes and I’m happy with how it went today. I’m happy with our fans supported it, but I also know this, we’re in real talks for bigger and more exciting things and gonna make this a can’t miss event for the community.”

On possibly switching up the teams at halftime: “We did talk about switching it. I didn’t realize it was a 14 point margin but then I also wanted to see that team battle back. I know our guys later this week, they want to do it again behind closed doors with the same team and I like that. There was really no crazy rhyme or reason to how we put together teams to be honest with you. Jack Murphy loves playing football General Manager, whatever that game all those people play and he loves putting the teams together. So I kind of let him handle it and and I didn’t even know what teams were when I walked out on the court.”

On having alums return for the event: “It’s awesome. you guys are well aware of the basketball and lineage that’s through Arizona. So to have those guys engage or reengage with our program, it’s very important. I understand the honor is for me to have this position. I understand that I probably won’t be at Arizona for 50 years. Hopefully I’m here as long as they’ll have me. So while I’m here and I’m kind of the leader of the program, I want to make sure those guys feel honored in every way, shape or form. So it was really cool to get them back and hopefully we’re just scratching the surface with their involvement.”

On the process of getting alums to return to campus: “The promoters that ran the event did a good job doing that. And of course Jack Murphy and Jason Gardner do a good job doing that. So we were hoping a couple of other guys would come and do this one or two things happen and kind of didn’t allow it to happen. But that’s something that’s really important for us and I would like to continue to build that, getting those guys back here and celebrating them and hopefully building more events around and just make it a special opportunity for the fans. We had a really kind of cool VIP reception before where some people bought these packages to do that thing, and that was really cool. Just to see how excited the fans were to see Jason Gardner, Richard Jefferson, and Channing (Frye). And to have Andre (Iguodala) come back, who’s just a crazy special guy. And Miles (Simon) I thought he had the line of the day. Kept his hand raised and (asked) how many of us won a national championship? That was really cool. And Mike (Bibby) to come back here and then Eugene (Edgerson) I actually met for the first time today. I’m proud to be running those guys’ program. And that’s how I look at it every day. It’s their program and I’m gonna do the best job I can with it.”