Jan. 21, 2002
Below are selected quotes from Cal men's basketball coach Ben Braun from his weekly press conference. The Bears (13-3, 4-2) visit USC and UCLA this week. There is no live TV for the USC game, but the UCLA contest will be shown on Fox Sports Net.
On the importance of this week's games in Los Angeles:
Every weekend in the Pac-10 is big. Obviously, playing two of the top teams in our league on the road is a tremendous challenge. It's also an opportunity because I think teams that are successful in the league are going to have to go out and steal some wins somewhere. That's always a big challenge.
How is USC different from last year?
Certainly, (Errick) Cravens has come in and done a very good job for them. I saw him play in high school. He's a very good player. I think (Brandon) Granville is a solid point guard. He does so many good things for his team in terms of leadership and performance. Having (Sam) Clancy and (David) Bluthenthal back is very big. These are guys that have played and played at a very high level. They've got as much experience as anybody.
On USC's rebounding ability:
They're very physical. They crash the boards. Defensively, they put pressure on you and they trap. They're an aggressive team, a very aggressive team.
On trying to slow Sam Clancy:
I think we've got a little more depth in the post this year. I think that will help us against Clancy. We didn't have that depth last year. I think Clancy's got to be wary of our big guys, too. It's a little bit different if Clancy's playing with a couple of fouls on him. So, obviously, that's something we'd like to pick up if we can.
On freshman center Jamal Sampson:
I thought he had a good week of practice. His practice habits have been improving. As that's improving, he's improving. You're getting most of your repetitions in practice, not in the games. It's good to see him have a good game, but he's also having some good practices. He's starting to play better and I think he's starting to get healthy again. I can see he's getting stronger.
On whether Shantay Legans or A.J. Diggs will start at point guard:
We really haven't come up with a lineup for Thursday, but I'm not overly concerned about it. And I haven't come up with a plan for the post yet either. Solomon looked great today - the best I've seen him. He's active again.