Feb. 25, 2010
California Head Coach Mike Montgomery:
On how the team kept up their energy:
Well, we've got something to play for. I thought the kids did a really good job of knowing this was important and we executed very well. We had 19 assists versus 11 turnovers, which for us is pretty good stuff. Obviously, we've got guys who can shoot the ball. When the ball moved, it was good. I felt like the game plan was solid. We made some adjustments. Obviously, Nic Wise killed us last time. I thought we did a better job on pick-and-rolls. As far as controlling him, it caused us a problem or two in other areas, but not enough to not do what we were doing. I think one of the more pleasing things is what we asked them to do, as far as preparation. We had some adjustments on in-line out-of-bounds that paid off for us. Two or three things that was obvious that they were paying attention. I think everybody's on the same page, and they probably should be at this stage of the game.
On what changed for Jerome Randle in the second half:
He shot the ball and that's what we tend to focus on. But the first part of the game, he played exceptionally well. We have, really if you throw Jamal [Boykin] in with a double-double, we have a bunch of people that can score the ball. He doesn't have to score, like he did. First part of the game, he was really moving the ball. The ball was finding the guys, snapping to shooters. Patrick [Christopher] was open, getting shots. Theo [Robertson] was open, getting shots. That is part of his job, then maybe they make an adjustment and say, `Well, gosh, we've got to help here, we've got to go there.' Then, Jerome started getting up. So, it's kind of a matter of time for those guys as to when they're going to get opportunities. When the ball goes down, if he gets open shots and he's feeling it, it's pretty much going to go down, but, the same thing is with Pat and Theo. He didn't necessarily play better - he shot better. So, then of course those threes - it makes us very difficult to defend.
On how the team defended the ball screens:
Well, that was one of the things we really worked on. We tried to talk about how we were going to defend ball screens and how important it was, and we did. We gave up a couple other things that hurt us a little bit coming off the pick-and-rolls, but Wise had seven versus 30 - that's huge. They split us last time and we didn't have help-side established very well, so we just did a better job.
On what he expects from the team in Saturday's game against Arizona State:
Well, it's all right there in front of us, so there's no reason not to leave it all on the floor. It's not as simple as that, but, generally, when we prepare ourselves, mentally, if we can keep our focus on the job at hand, doing what we're supposed to do, we can be pretty good, and that's going to be the challenge. One of the risks that you run is there's a lot of things going on with Senior Night and these kids and the reality of it is, that if we win that game, we have at least a share of the conference championship, so I don't know if that changes at this point. So, there's a lot there. We've got to focus on playing basketball and not get caught up in the periphery stuff, that's going to be a big thing. Emotion can be good, but it also can be troublesome. We want to control, and make sure the emotion leads to energy, and that we're doing all of the things that make us good. When we're good, we play hard, we play together and we're focused on just winning the basketball game. That's what we got to do Saturday.
On if he thinks Jerome Randle is the Pac-10 Player of the Year:
I don't want to really get in to all of that. He's certainly got to be a candidate. There are some really good players. I think every coach does what they do to support their player. Now, you've got eight guys with eight different opinions, which means pretty much nothing. Jerome has had a tremendous year. Patrick and Theo have had tremendous years, but, there are a lot of guys around the league that are really good. I think he really deserves some consideration, but I don't want to act like, because I say he deserves it, that it means anything. I'm glad I have him on my team. All I know is we're playing for a championship on Saturday and we probably wouldn't do that without him.
Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller:
Cal is a very good team and they deserve to win the Pac-10 regular season championship. They are led by a terrific point guard. Jerome Randle is such a prolific shooter. They are a better team than us. We beat them the first time and I think that is to our credit.
We lost to a much better team, a more experienced team and a very disciplined team that's trying to win a conference championship here this weekend and you could really tell. They came out and seized the moment and took advantage of us early.
I was really happy for Brendan Lavender. Some of the shots that he made in the first half kept us in the game and came at big times.
For the most part, we gave good effort. I'm at a point here at year one under my direction to really find out a lot about individual players. You can see some guys kind of going away, you can see some guys continuing to fight and some young players that are playing their butts off and trying to become the best that they can be. It's a difficult time but I think a necessary time for myself and our staff to evaluate where we go from here. We get more and more answers the longer our season goes.