Nov. 30, 2010
California head coach Mike Montgomery spoke with the local media on Tuesday to discuss last weekend's Old Spice Classic tournament and this week's games against UC Davis and Iowa State. The Golden Bears (3-2) play the Aggies (3-4) Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.
On if he had to deal with any confidence issues after the Old Spice Classic:
We missed shots. Notre Dame is good. They ran out there with five seniors, all five are starters, two of them were fifth-year guys and all of them were 6-8. We missed a couple lay ups early, and then it just got worse. I wouldn't expect that ever to happen. At the same time, we turned around and scored 39 in the second half. Wisconsin had 51. The thing that stands out is you got five points. That seems to be the focal point. We were 2-for-25. The ball just wasn't going down. We lost confidence. Obviously, you get concerned. Jorge didn't have a really good game. When our big three veterans don't have a good game, it's tough on the young kids.
On how the team feels about itself right now:
It was a tough tournament for us with some very good teams. I thought that we got tired. There is no question that we were tired. When things weren't going well, we still defended. We played a good first half against Boston College. We were up and actually playing pretty well. Some kids made a mistake, they ran down. At the time, we missed some open shots, they hit some threes and it was a huge turnaround. We had a tough time, but we were visibly tired in the second half of that game. If you look at it, of all the tournaments, other than Maui, it was probably the best tournament of any of them, top to bottom. Georgia was scrambling for a win at the end, Temple goes in ranked 20th and they come out with two losses, it was a tough tournament. The thing for us is we've got to learn. We have to figure out that some of the stuff guys were trying to do doesn't work. They can't do that. They have to get better. We were driving to the basket and guys were stacked up to take charges, and that's something we need to learn from. It was Notre Dame primarily, but also Boston College. You're talking about seniors who have played in really good leagues that have been doing this for four years. They know how to do it. Hopefully, our guys kept their eyes open and will learn from it.
On what's encouraging about the team at this point:
We lost to good teams. We can play, but we're a little bit fragile. I think that we have to be able to get confidence from our veteran players and we really need them to hang together. I think both Harper and Jorge admittedly got down on themselves in the Notre Dame game and disappeared a little bit. We need them. We need them to play well and be a steady influence for us.
On holding Notre Dame to 21 first-half points:
Yeah, we could have scored 21, and they could have scored 35, and nobody would have said anything. We made some mistakes defensively and when we did, they capitalized on it, Boston College in particular. It was a one-day prep after two games. You had to be a little careful with what you were doing, but it was a Princeton type back cutting thing. We had freshmen out there that had never seen that before. We've had problems preparing for teams like that in the past. Here we had one day with an entire group trying to get them to understand what it was. They took advantage of us. They back cut, we helped, and they swung right behind and shot threes. They shot 10-for-24. We made some mistakes and they took advantage of us. We've got to work on that. We'll see where our mind set is right now. This early stretch is tough. We're turning around Thursday and leave for Iowa and then we got San Diego State coming in the following Wednesday. This is a tough stretch for us.
On the experience of Iowa State:
If you look around, you can look at some 5-0's that don't mean anything and you can look at some 2-3's and say wow, they're still pretty good. A lot is who you play and where you play and the circumstance. I thought we played good defense, we still need to execute better. There are some things we can't do that we aren't going to change immediately. We just have to continue to stay away from those things and try to be smarter with what we are trying to do. That's the evolution of any basketball team in November.
On the bench players:
We've got to figure out our rotations. We got to figure out who can come off the bench. Emerson's a freshman, Bak is a freshman, Richard is essentially a freshman and Alexi is out. Truthfully, when we started the season, we told everybody we needed all hands on deck, and then Rossi got injured and hasn't been able to play. That took something away from us, too. We've just got to figure out what our best rotations are and what our best lineups are. We need to figure out what combination of veterans we need on the floor with any group of young players to try and help stabilize them. We've got to learn to execute a bit better.
On the possibility of a deeper bench:
No question, we've got to get deeper than seven. They don't have to be big minute guys. If you look at our minutes, guys aren't playing really big minutes. It's not like those seven are playing 38 minutes. They are low 30s at best. There are just combinations of people that we need to have on the floor, whether it is for maturity or toughness or experience or whatever. I didn't think Harper had a really good weekend. I think he needs to be somebody that we can really count on. Physically, on Saturday, both him and Markhuri were hurting a little bit because two games in two nights is not normal. These are kids that have had to work really hard at rehabbing and getting themselves warmed up and ready to go.