Feb. 2, 2010
California Head Coach Mike Montgomery
On changes for the team in the second half of the conference schedule
I'd like to see us get healthy. I'd like to have the people that we need at our disposal in practice so that our substitution patterns are more specific and we know what we need to do. Obviously, two games that we lost were last-second, buzzer-beater type games. We can always be more efficient offensively, we can always be better defensively. It goes without saying, but I'd feel better if we just had everybody, if we knew what we had and we could go into the thing and have substitution patterns, I think that would help us.
On Jorge Gutierrez's knee injury
It's problematic. It's one of those deals where he needs to be able to get in shape and do stuff, but that's what he can't do. He gets fatigued, and then he has problems doing what he needs to do, but he's not able to stop and explode off his knee, and its affecting his whole game.
On the increased intensity of the defense
Well, I think they're trying, it's just that we've got probably four kids playing 30-plus, 35 minutes a game and that's tough on them. We've tried to talk about specific players that need to be guarded; you can't let them catch and shoot. Certain guys are drivers, and I think those guys are trying to do a better job. I think our team defense needs to get better. I think we tend to forget about our help positions when we get toward the end of the game and now we leave guys on their own. We need to be in better help position; we need to go back and remind them of that.
On Max Zhang
Max gets tired, but he actually does a pretty good job off of pick-and-rolls because he's quick to get up there. He's long enough, and his size, for certain people, causes problems. He did a pretty good job. He just gets tired.
USC is very athletic. I watched the Washington-SC tape, and it was a war in there. They're pretty physical and can really defend. Dwight Lewis hurt us last time. We're going to have to do a better job on him, and actually Alex Stephenson inside hurt us last time. So if we don't have all our big guys that could be a little bit of a problem as well.
UCLA's sort of reinvented themselves with the zone. Ben Howland's gone almost exclusively to the zone and Michael Roll has been very good for them. Nelson Reeves hurt us last time, and they've figured out a way to win and stay effective and stay competitive with that group that he feels pretty comfortable with.
On possibly using the zone more against UCLA
I wish we played the zone better. We're just not a very good zone team. I've not spent a lot of time with it. Our coverages aren't great, and he said that but that's because Oregon zones, Oregon State zones, Arizona State zones and UCLA zones, all those teams are zoning. I don't know that Arizona's zoning, but there are a lot more zones being played in the league, and so if you have that as part of your repertoire, it's probably something you can do.
On USC not shutting down despite the postseason ban
No, I think maybe at the time the administration might have made that decision based on the fact that they weren't supposed to be in the postseason, they weren't picked to be in that. The fact of the matter is, they've actually turned out to be one of the better teams. They're very, very competitive just because of the way they play. Kevin O'Neill is kind of a feisty guy and I'm sure he's got those guys geared up and playing hard. That's his thing.