Dec. 30, 2010
BERKELEY - California head coach Mike Montgomery
They're pretty good. I think the lineup change has helped them, moving Bright into the starting lineup. I think they were trying to put their best five players on the floor, which was why they wanted to have Powell at the three. I just don't think it was a natural spot for him yet. So, they were trying that because he is obviously one of their better players, but they moved him back and moved Bright on the floor and I think that they're better now with Bright because it frees up Mann to play. He's not worried about handling the ball. He's a good athlete. I think that was a good change for them. They have guys off the bench. Anthony Brown is good. Powell is good. You get the same bang for your buck with Trotter and Zimmerman. They're both physical and they get their pound of flesh on the fouls. They've got some talent and they've got a little bit of the same issue with the young kids, not knowing exactly what it is or how to do it. They're not that far away. They are good defensively. They are well-schooled defensively. Owens is improved. He is staying away from fouls, and he is pretty skilled. They go to Green and Owens, and those two guys are producing.
On the defense being the strength of the team
What they are is very competitive, and I think when the ball hasn't gone down, they are trying to figure out a way to win, to stay in games, so they up their energy level a little bit on the defensive end. Also, I think that Harper, Markhuri and Jorge have set a tone for what you need to do and they've been really good leaders, both in the weight room and elsewhere. So, they've kind of figured out that they need to play defense.
On Markhuri Sanders-Frison
I don't know. He had a setback today. He came out, he was ready to go and got kicked in the calf and immediately left the court. So, I don't know. His feet and his calf are related. It's partially due to some tendonitis in the Achilles, and the Achilles has really made his calf tight. He strained it a little bit in the Kansas game. His feet were feeling better, but I don't know what the latest on that is. I expect him to play on Sunday, but I don't know.
On if Brandon Smith will start at Stanford
We'll see. I didn't find out much in the Hartford game, because Gary was sick, as to whether that was a way to get Jorge, Gary and Brandon playing better. Brandon played better. I was unhappy with his turnovers, but then Jorge had seven. I think turnovers are something we have to be careful of, but he shot the ball well. He made some nice plays. Had Jorge shot the ball well, and not turned it over, it would have been a pretty good guard combo, but Gary wasn't able to play. I expect Gary's minutes to be similar to what they've been. I don't think that will change. It just gives them a chance to be put in a different situation, both the one and the two, and we didn't really get a good look.
On looking for different lineup combinations
Well, we've got to find a way to shoot the ball better, whether it's rhythm or comfort level or whatever it is. We just got to find a way to do that. There are a lot of different things we could do. Richard plays well one game, Bak plays well another game. You're not sure which of those two are doing well. Nigel's played well. We'll just continue to try to find the best combination of eight people that can play that allow us to win.
On Jorge Gutierrez
The shots he took were really good shots to start the game. He's driven into traffic and gotten the ball stripped, which has been a problem. In the New Mexico game, he was able to drive and get to the basket time after time, and he had a really good game. Since then, it's as if that was what he was going to do all the time. He is not getting any foul calls. Sometimes there is a one on three, where he goes in thinking he is going to get a call. There's been contact, but the officials have elected not to call those things and we're not getting much out of it. So he is going to have to make better decisions there, but he did drive into traffic and he is pretty strong with the ball generally, so it was a little bit of a surprise that he got it stripped like that. Forcing perhaps, but somebody has to make plays.