Jan. 28, 2008
Below are quotes from head coach Ben Braun from his weekly press conference Monday afternoon. Cal next visits No. 9 Washington State Thursday at 7 p.m. and Washington Saturday at 3 p.m.
On Washington State:
I had a chance to watch them (Washington State) play. I am impressed with how efficient they are, especially on the defensive end. Because this group has been together so long, they get things done on the offensive end. They play great position defense. You aren't going to get a lot of early looks, you have got to be patient and willing to grind.
On what Cal needs to do against WSU:
The challenge is that we don't want to change some of the things we do well. You have to try to get some easy baskets against Washington State. If we have opportunities, we need to pursue them; if we don't have the opportunity, we need to slow down. That is a challenge. Against Washington State you might be able to get a few fast-break opportunities, but they pride themselves in their transition defense. We need to be patient on the offensive end, make that extra pass to find an open guy.
On whether WSU is vulnerable to outside shots:
They play the percentages; they want you to take the low percentage shots. If they have their way, they contest the three-point shots.
On who impresses him on the WSU team:
Kyle Weaver (Washington State) is kind of an X-factor, he has very modest stats, but he is the guy who is willing to give up some shots to make things work for the team. Derrick Low (Washington State) is having a great year, shooting down some tough shots, draining the three very comfortably. He is playing like a veteran guard. He is playing at a whole different level than when he was a freshman or sophomore.
On why the team practiced early Monday morning instead of in the afternoon:
Mondays are such a busy day for our team. They have gone through so many different things I want to give our guys a rest. Much like a class I like to get to them early, they are here at 6-o'clock going through film. We do it on Wednesdays too; the guys come in early and then get off to classes.
On what Cal needs to do to improve its rebounding:
Our team has to concentrate. In the game there is the ball, there is the opponent and there is you. Our desire has to be greater than theirs. I don't care if you are 6-foot blocking out 7-foot, you need to find a way. If you get inside position on your opponent you can't get pushed under. We need to make sure it is either a foul or we do the pushing. Some of our guys were in pretty good position Saturday (vs. Stanford); but they didn't keep their position. On the free-throws for example we allowed Robin Lopez to get inside. That is focus, concentration and hunger.
On the difficult schedule ahead with seven of the next 11 on the road:
Our guys are realistic; we know it doesn't get easier. I believe our players know that it is going to be a big challenge to keep at it. If we keep battling it will pay off. We have got to play through that.
I'd like to see our guys work hard, and get what they want. There is nothing better than laying it out and getting what you want, it is a great feeling. We are playing in a tough environment against some tough teams. When you have been in tough games you can't wait for things to go our way; you can't wait for the other team to give us a break. I can't make things easier for us, I wish I could. I think our team understands that. The guys need to think that things will go our way if we get that extra loose ball, make that extra hustle.