Jan. 24, 2000
BERKELEY - Below are selected comments from head basketball coach Ben Braun from his Monday press luncheon. Cal hosts Washington State and Washington this weekend at Haas Pavilion. Tickets are available for both contests from BASS outlets in advance or at the Recreational Sports Facility ticket booths on gamedays. On the importance of Thursday's game against Washington State: I think our next game is always an urgent game for us. The reason I say that is that we've got a chance to play and keep our competitive edge. We'd like to have that transfer into a win. Our goals are not just to be competitive. I know our players and our coaches are not satisfied with just being competitive. You certainly have to be competitive before you can be successful. That's the correct order. Now, our goal is to have that transfer into a victory. That's been hard. We've played against some good teams. On the possibility of a letdown after the Stanford game: I'm not going to allow our team to have a letdown. I'm taking the challenge personally, too. I'm not only challenging our players, I'm challenging our coaching staff that we just can't allow that. What we can control is getting ourselves ready to play. It was an emotional game. Our next game is urgent for us. We have to play at a very competitive level. There are some things we need to work on as a team. I thought our team did a much better job in the second half (against Stanford), sinking quality shots. Part of that's inexperience and part of that's just discipline. It's a little of both. As a result, we shot 60 percent against a Stanford team (in the second half) that's allowing 30. So, it shows me our capabilities when we are really focussed in on being committed to what we're trying to get. That's not easy. You have to really, really work to get quality shots. On the play of Sean Lampley and Brian Wethers: To Sean's credit, he's really come on now. He's worked harder at stepping out away from the basket at the high post. He's really stepped up and taken the challenge. He's made it tougher on teams because he hasn't been as predictable. He's moved better without the ball. I think Brian has now figured out ways to get to the basket or to the free throw line, excellent ways to score. It's just discipline and patience. Those are the hardest things to learn, especially for younger players. On Lampley being more active at the high post: He's a difficult player to guard from there. It's a difficult area to defend. Good teams try to get the ball to the middle of the floor or the high post where there's no help defense. When the ball stays on one side of the floor, it's easier to play help defense and cheat. So we try to make that one of our defensive philosophies and we try to make it one of our offensive philosophies. What's made Sean effective from there is the ability to knock down a shot. A year or two ago, that wasn't a gimme for Sean. It's a pretty good shot for him now. He's very confident and he's worked hard on that shot. He really has improved.