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Quotes From Bob Bender's Weekly Press Gathering
Release: 02/01/2000
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Feb. 1, 2000

SEATTLE (Graves Building Meeting Room) -

ON SENIOR FORWARD CHRIS WALCOTT (who had arthroscopic surgery in his left knee on January 27):

"Yesterday, Chris Walcott walked into the weight room where the team was together and his reaction and their reaction was really good. He was excited to see them, especially off a win and they felt good to see him. He was so upbeat because of how much better he felt after the surgery. Two days afterward he felt completely different. They say between 10 days to two weeks and knowing him I'd say closer to 10 days. There's an outside chance he could be back for the Arizona game."

ON GRANT LEEP'S INJURY STATUS:

"Grant Leep is definitely out for the year. The committee that meets on hardship waivers and red-shirt appeals meets once this month so we will have his appeal in this month."

SEASON SUMMARY:

"Record-wise, we're in a sizeable hole. We've been through, in one season, about all the emotion we've been through in six years. You go into a season with not a lot of high expectations around you but us having set simple goals of what we want to do and proving those expectations wrong. We struggled with inconsistency and hovered around .500 then started the Pac-10 season with a big win but then really hit the skids losing a number of close games but then getting blown out in two. All of the emotions that go in that sequence of games and dealing with injuries were everything in one, not even a whole season. Now, coming off a win maybe we can turn all those emotions positively and finish it out really strong and that will be the motivation. That's what we will talk to the team about all week as we get ready for the Washington State game."

ON WASHINGTON-WASHINGTON STATE RIVALRY:

"Coaches always tend to mention the old cliches in rival games, regardless of record, it's a big game and this certainly is that. We want to build on our win on Saturday and they want their first win."

ON WSU HEAD COACH PAUL GRAHAM:

"I've known Paul for a long time, not real well but for a long time. Because of his association with Dave Bliss (SMU) and Eddie Sutton (Oklahoma State), I know that his priority is good defense. Paul is going to accentuate what they do well and something that is there already and that is the three-point shooting. It was there in our game last year and I would expect it to be there again this year because of Jan-Michael Thomas and Chris Crosby. Another thing you see is a high energy level with some of the inside junior college kids they've brought in. When you're trying to build something you don't let the record take you down and I'm sure that's what Paul has been demanding."

ON THURSDAY'S BYE:

"The timing for us is good with it being half way through (the Pac-10 schedule) but it changes things up quite a bit and you have to decide what days to give them off. It's really the same routine except you're practicing on Thursday instead of playing a game. You need to get rest and break things down fundamentally. It also gives us, as a staff, a chance to get out for recruiting more than usual."

ON JUNIOR GUARD MICHAEL JOHNSON:

"I thought Michael Johnson played extremely well Saturday. He hit shots when we needed a big basket, he was getting to the hole. He played like I think he will always play from now on. He's not predictable or one-dimensional. He's not dependent on the jump shot."

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