Jan. 7, 2002
Below are selected quotes from head coach Ben Braun from his weekly press conference. The Bears (10-2, 1-1) travel to Oregon this week to face the Ducks Thursday night and Oregon State Saturday.
(Our goal is) to keep a championship-level attack. Certainly that atmosphere should be created in every practice, that should be present every game, and that should be part of the repertoire. It shouldn't be something that just a big crowd brings, that a ranked opponent brings. There has to be something that you use to commit to wanting to play that. Great teams play at that level. It's a hard thing. It's great to talk about, it's great to put it on paper, it's great to put your hands in a huddle and say that we're going to play hard. It's another thing to go out and do it, to stay committed to it over the long haul. I hope our players realize that no matter how good you are, that it's something that you can't just turn on and off, that it has to be consistent. It's a challenge, but it's something that you want to carry over (from practice) and you want it to go into the game. It's like defense: you can't play defense some of the time. You can't play it just when you need a stop. You need to play it all the time. You have to be committed to playing it all the time.
About playing on the road versus playing at home
Everybody gets excited at home. The challenge is greater, the teams are a bit more confident at home, so you have to have to go against a more confident team. We saw that against Stanford. They were very confident at home. We got some of that confidence on Friday night in the first half, but then we came back to it on Sunday in a defensive effort. We were more consistent with them, we were more relentless with them. They are such a high-powered team. They score really well. It's always a challenge to keep them down.
About playing without Solomon Hughes
Solomon being out disrupted our rhythm, more so on offense. But also defensively, he's another guy that is hard to score over or go around. Their guards aren't breaking him down. Solomon Hughes, on Casey Jacobsen or whoever, is a pretty good defender. He's pretty solid, so we were missing a big part of our team. From that standpoint, playing without Solomon, we still weren't at full strength, and we beat Stanford. I think that's an accomplishment, (to do that while) missing a key component to the team. We're going to watch him the next few days and see what he can do in practice. We'll know by Wednesday. It was a strain and a bone bruise. It's hard for him, running and jumping. It's not just pain.
About Brian Weathers being the leading rebounder against Stanford
That's a great sign. To me, that's very significant. I like that Brian's energy level at an all-time high last night. When Brian brings that energy, he's a phenomenal player for us, and we're a better team. I don't like to use the word phenomenal very often, but that's how excited I am to see Brian when he's that active. He's physical, he's athletic, he has a tenacity about him, and I loved it. What was very apparent is that he bought in to it yesterday and was 100 percent into the game. Coming out of the last game, where he was pretty aggressive at Stanford, I knew that (he would) be a positive. That was a positive at Stanford ... Brian's aggressiveness. I challenged him (to be more aggressive), and I think that he has accepted that as part of his identity. I've said to our team that if Brian is good, that you may not get on SportsCenter or a highlight show just by rebounding, but we'll win games. There's nothing spectacular about rebounding, just going out and blocking out. He did it a few times last night and I was very impressed when he just had position and went up and got the ball.
On freshman forward Amit Tamir
He missed some shots early, but I thought his shot selection was better, and he was a little bit more patient. He was determined to get the ball on the scoring area where he could be a bit more effective. He'll eventually step out and knock some shots down, and I'm not really concerned about (him). I like the fact that he went for percentage first. He's also pretty crafty. He knows how to get to the free throw line, he knows how to take his man off the spin. He's pretty solid, not quite your typical freshman.
On junior forward Joe Shipp
Joe is a scorer, not just a shooter. Joe is a good scorer. But scorers find ways to score. Now, if you watch him, he's curling to the basket more, he's putting the ball on the dribble, he's going to the basket. Joe's been scoring in transition. He's been finding ways to score.