Nov. 30, 2009
BERKELEY - No. 25 California visits New Mexico this Wednesday before Iowa State as part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series this Saturday at 8 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. Head coach Mike Montgomery spoke with the local media today about this week's games.
On New Mexico
They have three very good perimeter shooters. The point guard does a nice job of running the club. Roman Martinez is a really good player. It's going to be a tough matchup for us. He is a 6-6 catch-and-shoot player. He is going to put our 4-guy, who at this point is Jamal, in a tough spot because he is very active. [Darlington] Hobson is their leading scorer with almost 19 points. He is a 6-7 3-man. They are both left-handed, good drivers and shooting over 40 percent from the three. It is going to be a tough 3-4 match-up for us. They have good size, good shooters and are a good, solid man-on-man team, although I suspect we will see some zone. They got a good win at Hawaii so it's going to be a real tough game for us.
On Max Zhang
Max plays better when he's feeling good about himself. He just doesn't have a lot of confidence in himself. The game last night helped him. He feels pretty good right now. He said something about his offense being a work-in-progress, but defensively, he feels pretty comfortable. He's hard to score on particularly if you try to shoot over the top of him. He does affect the game defensively some. It's not about huge block-shot numbers, but just the fact that you know he's there and so you alter what you do. Offensively, he made some good plays. I was very happy to see Jerome throw that lob to him. He's making progress. There are things that he doesn't do very well yet and we try to avoid putting him in those positions. His confidence can go away really quick if something bad happens to him. It is a matter of trying to make sure you're putting him in a position to be successful. For a lot of our guys, you don't want to put them in a spot where they're struggling in what they're trying to do.
On Max's role in the offense
We're trying to execute a lot of things. Our ability to succeed is going to have a little bit to do with how well we execute. Max does some things really well if he can just get past the issue with the physical part of it that he doesn't like that much. I think he'll be fine. His length definitely causes people some problems. I think it's incumbent upon us to put him in a position to be successful as opposed to trying to get him to do everything in every position. He's not ready for that.