There’s a good chance Rodney Williams will be coming off the bench if he plays at all tomorrow.
In tonight’s media session, coach Tubby Smith sounded very pessimistic about the health of his power forward right now.
Asked whether Williams’ shoulder was OK, Smith said “No, he’s not. His shoulder is still bothering him so we’ll see how it goes, whether he’ll play tomorrow night … He did some dummy stuff today, but I’m really concerned about his shoulder.”
Smith said it would be a gametime decision for sure, but were Williams to sit, Elliott Eliason would play in his place, as he did in the Illinois game when Williams shoulder – which he originally injured in a Feb. 9 practice – first started bothering him.
- Freshman Wally Ellenson is back practicing again (after straining his left Achilles tendon) and will be available for Wednesday’s game, Smith said.
- Smith was asked whether he was concerned about his players’ mental state. The coach responded: “No man, no. Young people – their mental state, it comes and goes. I mean, it’s just the way it is. We’ve had good practices. It was one of those games. We knew we blew it. We didn’t handle their pressure well, and their zone well. It was a tough day.”
- Smith on his bench behind Eliason should Williams not play: “You’ve got to go with Mo and I’m very impressed with how Mo has recovered from all his injuries and he’s got a lot of spring in his step and he had some fouls the other day, but he’s not getting a lot of court time so we need to get him out there to play more, so he’s a guy that could come in behind Elliott and Andre Ingram will come in.”
- On whether the team still looks like a tournament team: “Yes – we’ve done our job as far as, and we’ve got to finish it. Not many team games against top 25 teams than we have. I’m not happy we’ve lost the way we did, that didn’t help anything, but that’s a game that’s a long ways behind us, we’re moving on.”
- Smith said he doesn’t really have a preference Julian Welch and Maverick Ahanmisi for which backup point guard to bring in first right now behind Andre Hollins, when the starter gets in foul trouble or needs a break. He hinted that he might start using Hollins more aggressively, even with fouls because of the lack of reliable options. “Whoever’s playing well at the time,” Smith said. “Looking back on that situation, we probably should have gotten Andre back in there (at the end), even though he had four fouls, but we were just really struggling so poorly … One’s a fifth-year senior (Welch) and one’s a junior (Ahanmisi), and you expect them to play with poise. And we need Dre to play smarter. He can’t get a ton of fouls. I don’t know where that came from.”