Nov. 26, 2001
Below are selected quotes from head coach Ben Braun from his weekly media luncheon. The Bears host New Mexico Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Haas Pavilion before traveling to South Florida Saturday.
On Wednesday's opponent, New Mexico:
I've known Fran Fraschilla over the years and coached against him when he was at Manhattan. I think his teams are characteristically very quick and aggressive. This team is no exception. His guards are very quick. His big kids are very agile. And this is probably the most athletic team we have faced. They can really get up and down the floor. Their three-point shooting has been a real plus for them. They've got some guys who can really knock 'em down. We're going to have to do a good job against their perimeter.
I think this team is very athletic. They really crash the offensive glass. That's another one of their strengths. So, that's something we're going to have to pay attention to. They're our toughest test to date. No question. And that's not to say we haven't played some good teams. It's going to be a challenge.
On the first half shooting woes vs. Santa Clara (3-20 on 3-pointers):
I thought we took some quick shots. If a couple of them go down, you get excited. But I just thought it was impatience. Eyes got big. I think we were a little over anxious.
On point guard Shantay Legans:
I thought he settled for some shots (vs. Santa Clara). We want him to be aggressive and, as a point guard, we want him to take good shots. Good shots for Shantay have to be in the flow. As a point guard, you have to take shots in the flow - time, clock, situation. Certainly, he's got to break defenders down at the end of the shot clock, so that's going to be a different type of a shot. Maybe another type of shot would be a shot he gets on a kick out. We're talking to Shantay about positioning himself better, getting himself ready to shoot. You have to be ready to shoot before you get it. When Shantay's set, he's a very good shooter.
On using more of shot clock on the offensive end:
We'd like to test the defense a little bit more. We're a little over anxious. And again, we're going to try to get shots in transition. We'll take early shots in transition if they're good ones - if players are set and get good looks, we'll live with that. It doesn't have to be always late in the clock. There's nothing wrong getting an open shot early in the break if we're down the floor and we're set. Now, there's a difference between a contested and an uncontested look, too. If we get an uncontested look on the break, we're going to take it early or late. A good shot is a good shot. But most of the time, defenses aren't going to give you early and easy shots. Most people are pretty good early on defense. They're not as good late.
Ball movement is important for our team. If we get ball movement, that's good for us. That's what we're trying to establish. There are two phases to our offense. One is early, one is late. Our early offense is our transition. You've got to test defenses early. If you're trying to get all late baskets, that's hard.
I think just like an offense, defenses lose patience. You tend to gamble, get fatigued, lose discipline. That's what happens a lot. It commands a lot physically and mentally.
On what type of offense Cal hopes to have this year:
We want a balance in our attack. I think if you want to try to shut us down from the perimeter, we've got inside people that can hurt you. If you try to shut us down on the inside, we've got perimeter people that can hurt you. So, we want to create a balance.
We'd like to get more in transition. We've got decent depth. We've got some good wing players. We've got post players that can run. We're going to try to get as much as we can off of our break. I think any team tries to do that. It's certainly easier if you get easier baskets.