Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Coaches React Differently to Spotlight

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Coaches React Differently to Spotlight

Article excerpt

The glare of the Final Four spotlight has found Arizona coach Lute Olson seething and Florida coach Lon Kruger overwhelmed. But Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski have been basking in it.

Krzyzewski, for instance, took time to play the part of a limousine driver for a beer commercial spoof. "I just wanted to show our kids we can still have fun," he said.

Richardson has been downright jolly in answering questions about everything from his relationship with the First Fan to what lineup and tempo he will favor Saturday in the national semifinal against Arizona.

"I'm confused; I've been racking my brain," he said. "I'm going to get away and think about this. I think I need to call Columbo; he always has the answers."

Not that there's any hurry to name the lineup. "We sometimes wait until three minutes before game time and put it on the board and send them out," Richardson said.

Good humor notwithstanding, Richardson has some reservations about playing the Wildcats. Stopping Arizona guards Khalid Reeves and Damon Stoudamire, considered by many the best tandem in the nation, is his greatest concern, in his tradition of trying to "cut off the head" of the opponent.

"They may be like the snake with two heads or Siamese twins," Richardson said. "But the guy on their team who has the ball in his hands the most is Stoudamire, so his may be the head we have to cut off."

If the temperamental Olson had his way, most of the residents of Arizona would seem to be candidates for beheading. He said this year probably had been the worst of his life and that the criticism was enough to make him leave if he could take his players along.

"In our community, we are called losers," Olson said after the Wildcats defeated MU to reach the Final Four last week. "I think losers are people who call other people losers. That's all they do. …

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