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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

One-On-one with Josh Pastner: From LeBron and back

One-On-one with Josh Pastner: From LeBron and back

By Brian Penso
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday February 4, 2003

Wildcat: All the talk in the basketball world has been about LeBron James. What is your take on his situation and him as a player?

Pastner: First off, I am not allowed to directly comment about LeBron James because he is still a recruit. All I can say is that I would rather see a young player be influenced from the outside with shoes and clothes if it is going to keep them away from gangs and drugs. If playing basketball gives them a window to stay off the streets and do the right thing, then I am all for that.

Wildcat: Everyone feels sorry for LeBron. Do you think the people to really feel sorry for are his teammates, who are ranked No. 1 in the country?

Pastner: On any level, whether it is high school, college, or the NBA, if you lose a great player the team is going to be affected. However, basketball is a team game, and the other four players and the bench have to step up their play. Basketball is not like golf or tennis. A team wins because everyone comes together and steps up their play.

Wildcat: Besides UA, who do you think deserves to be No. 1 and who are the top teams in the country?

Pastner: If I picked the No. 1 team, I would pick Florida because they have won 14 games in a row. Texas is a very dangerous team and Kentucky has been playing great basketball. Kentucky plays Florida on Tuesday, and that will be a great game. Also, you can't forget about Kansas. They will be a force to be reckoned with once they are healthy.

Wildcat: With the Pacific-10 Conference season halfway over, who deserves to be Pac-10 Player of the Year?

Pastner: That is really hard to decide. Before Moore got hurt at Washington State, he was putting up big numbers. If you look at our team, we have so much talent that the stats of our players don't look as good as other players around the conference. I think the winners of the conference and the Pac-10 tournament will play a huge role in deciding the conference player of the year.

Wildcat: There are a lot of point guards in the country that put up better numbers then Jason Gardner. Where do you think Gardner ranks among the nation's top point guards?

Pastner: Jason is the best point guard in the country. He is tougher than nails and he has the heart of a lion. I would not trade him for any player in the country. If I could describe him in one word it would be "winner." He just knows what it takes to win.

Wildcat: Coaches play a huge role in the success of a college program. Besides Lute Olson, what coaches do you think have done the best job this season?

Pastner: There are so many good coaches in the game today. Mike Montgomery has done a great job at Stanford. Jay John at Oregon State has done a great job in his first year. Also, Rick Pitino at Louisville has taken a team and turned them into a contender.

Wildcat: Coach John at OSU, coached under Olson. Are you surprised at the success that he has had with the Beavers, or was he well prepared for the challenge?

Pastner: Many people may be surprised, but I knew he would do a good job. He has his team disciplined and ready to go. I knew that he was well prepared after coaching here to be successful. He has done a fantastic job.

Wildcat: March Madness is a month away. When you wake up in the morning, is that the first think that you think about?

Pastner: In a month, it is all about winning. If you lose you go home. With it being a month away, we still have to learn to be motivated for every game. That will take discipline. Once March comes, we know that is about winning and nothing else.

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