March 13, 2000
BERKELEY - Below are selected quotes from Cal men's basketball coach Ben Braun's Monday media luncheon. Cal will host Long Beach State in the first round of the NIT at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Haas Pavilion. The game will not be televised, but can be heard on KABL Radio (960 AM) and KATD Radio (990 AM). For tickets, call BASS at 510-762-2277.
On All-Pac-10 junior forward Sean Lampley, who was named MVP of the 1999 NIT:
I expect him to step up and provide experienced leadership. He's certainly done that all year. I think there was less pressure on him last year because he had (Thomas) Kilgore and (Geno) Carlisle around. I'm hoping Sean can do some of the things he's shown, and that's to move the ball, to find people and to make the guys around him better. Ultimately, that's what all great players do. If Sean can do that, then I like our chances. He's got to do that. Teams aren't going to let him come down and set up shop. He's got to do the little things. He's got to rebound and he's got to defend.
He's improved his passing. Part of that is concentration. You can't play out of frustration. You might want to score sometimes, but you have to find people. I think he's showing confidence in his teammates. They're showing some confidence back by nailing some shots and moving better without the ball.
He's done a better job of being more focussed and giving back to the team. He's really starting to do some things that you want a player to do. It's a new role for him. As much as we say that this is new for our young guys, it's also new for Sean. He's never been in this position before. You're asking him to be a leader on a very, very young team. That's not easy.
We've asked him to do more things for us, and he's answering those challenges. He's really been a factor on the floor. You can see that he's commanding attention. He now knows and accepts that he's going to get double- and triple-teamed. He's handling that better. I don't see him playing out of frustration, like he may have done earlier. He's an all-league player in the Pac-10. That's a compliment.
On sophomore center Solomon Hughes:
I think Solomon's confidence got boosted the other day (16 points vs. USC). He specifically got some shots from Lampley in our last home game. I think if he gets more looks like he did, then that's going to help him. When he plays aggressively and he plays with confidence, he's a good basketball player. That's something that's evolving.
I think Solomon has that potential (to be a dominant big man). I think Solomon shows great flashes, but it's about sustaining it. Nick's the same way. I think he shows you some flashes.
It's just about developing consistency and that's how you develop confidence. I think some players start worrying about confidence first. I think it's the other way around. If you become consistent in anything, then, quite naturally, you improve your confidence. You can think you're confident. You can talk about it. But if you're not demonstrating it, then there's no such thing. Confidence is the demonstrated ability to do something over and over. Once you know you can do it, it becomes a habit. Then, you start feeling pretty good about it.
On Nick Vander Laan's offense under the basket:
With Nick, it's usually a matter of slowing down. He tends to rush himself, maybe anticipate his shot being blocked. It comes down to concentration and focus. If he's concentrating and he's focussed, I think he'll knock those shots down. When you rush yourself a little bit, that's a common sign that you're not as poised as you should be. Nick does a great job of putting himself in position. He battles, he's aggressive. He's carved out space, he's done it all. He just has to finish.
On Cal's using 15 different starting lineups this season:
Certainly, you don't want to change lineups that often. But with young players, I think you have to reward players and you have to give honest and objective feedback. A lot of times, you don't want to see players becoming complacent. I know that hurts sometimes in terms of roles. But you don't want players to feel that it's something that's automatic to start. It's something you earn every day. In trying to establish consistency, you have to earn consistency. It's taken some time.