Dec. 26, 2007
Below are quotes from head coach Ben Braun from his Wednesday press conference with Bay Area media.
On Long Beach State, Cal's Friday opponent in the Golden Bear Classic:
I've watched them play a couple of games and I think (head coach) Dan (Monson) is doing a great job with his team, there's no question about that. He's got his team doing the things they like do and they're making some strides. When you're coaching a new team, you've got an opportunity. They played St. Louis tough (losing 52-48), a huge win against Loyola (Marymount, 77-52), played Hawaii tough (lost 61-57) and they beat USF (71-68). I've been really impressed.
On the particular challenges offered by the 49ers:
They've got some good quickness, and that's why their team was successful last year (winning the Big West). They do a good job there. They get out in transition, they cover out really well defensively, they have good team quickness, no doubt about that.
On final thoughts on the two-point loss to Utah on Dec. 22:
We were all disappointed that we gave up some of the shots we gave up, and defensively, our communication, we just have to be better than we were. Second half, we got better. We got better looks at the basket, but we didn't get the stops and we needed to make better adjustments. We made some second half, but we dug a hole - we were down 16 points, I still can't believe that. We got down early and weren't getting stops, and the same time we weren't very efficient with the ball. We turned the ball over and that hurt us. But they're a good team.
On adjustments Jerome Randle might be able to make to improve his decision-making:
It starts on the defensive end. Jerome can get his confidence going by starting on the defensive end. He puts good pressure on the ball, he's got the quickness to be a great help-defender, and if he's playing solid defense, I think that'll help him and that will help our team. When he gets stops, we're going to have opportunities. And then on the offensive end he's got to take what the defense gives him. It is about decision-making, making the sound play. Jerome has had a tendency to want to make a big play, and it's not just for himself. Jerome's not shooting a lot, he's just trying to make a tougher play. I think he can do a better job of that. He's got to see the floor, he's got to make his teammates better. When he does that, we're a really good team.
On the progress of Theo Robertson (hip):
Every week gets a little better. Today we hope we can turn it up another notch, give him an opportunity and see what he can do. I'm excited. He's been cleared to get some - some - full-court work in. I use that word cautiously, but optimistically, too, because that's a step in the right direction. He's come a long way. I'm just hoping he can keep progressing. Theo is such a glue for our team. He got the most experience, he's got a great head and heart. He's our best defender. He brings all those things to the table. It all comes down to his level of productivity. We can still see how he progresses over the next two weeks (before Pac-10 play begins).
On the contributions thus far of freshman F Harper Kamp:
I really liked Harper in high school. He brought his team experience and was player of the year in Arizona as a sophomore. He has leaderships skills, he's got toughness, he's got a really high IQ, basketball and otherwise. He's a smart kid and a breath of fresh air. He's not afraid to do a lot of dirty work. He sets great screens, he plays great position defense, he's a very able passer, he's a pretty good finisher and he takes advantage of free throws when he gets to the line. Sometimes I don't feel we play Harper enough. Per minutes played, he's probably as productive a player as we have.
On how to prepare for an opponent on short notice, as will happen for Saturday's second day of the Golden Bear Classic against either North Dakota State or Bucknell:
It's not easy. I worry less about the other teams and more about our team. I told our players I need to do a better job from that last game. We had a one-day prep and probably tried to do a little too much with Utah, and ended up doing nothing. That was on me, I told our team that. In a 24-hour prep, I didn't do as good a job as a I have for other games, and I don't mind saying that. It's after the fact but I need to do a better job. In a short prep turnaround, we're not going to know everything another team is going to do. That's when it comes down to preparing our team.