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Ben Braun's Weekly Press Conference
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  12/18/2001

Dec. 18, 2001

On team rebounding
I am still concerned about our rebounding. I think that we should be a better rebounding team. We have an opportunity to be a really good rebounding team. In my estimation, we should be a good rebounding team. To this point, we don't have a dominating (rebounder). Jamal (Sampson) has had some pretty good days rebounding, Solomon (Hughes) has had a couple of flurries. But we're (looking for) consistency. Rebounding is a sign of toughness, it's a sign of consistency, and it's a sign of concentration and patience. Sometimes, it's just mono y mono: there's a ball, there are the players. Other times just technique, boxing out. Other times, it's just defensive patience, or discipline they call it. Our team has proven that when we do rebound well that we're pretty good.

On his biggest concerns as Pac-10 season approaches
I'd say that rebounding is one of them. Also, maintaining an edge over the next couple of games. It's been a long semester and finals are going on right now. I want to keep that edge to our team. I don't think our team should be waiting around for the Pac-10 or anything else. That happens when it happens. I don't want our players looking ahead to any games coming up. I'm sure that's all they're hearing about. I don't care about Stanford - right now, they're not a factor.

On junior forward Joe Shipp
I think Joe is getting better looks, and it's his teammates. Our guards, our perimeter guys, emphasize getting people shots. There's two responsibilities: one is for the shooter to get open, and the other is for the passer to find the guy. I think that what we're finding now is that our guys are starting to get into a rhythm of trying to find each other shots. Joe Shipp, give our team credit, they went to him (vs. Fresno State). They did not play keep-away. When a guy hits a couple of threes, I've seen that happen, not just on our team. No matter what team you see, college, pros, a guy hits a couple of shots and you say, 'how come they don't give him the ball?' You know what, our guys got the ball to Joe. That's a big part of the success. If you're the shooter, your teammates have to look to create a position to score for you. Guys have to be able to dish the ball and create movement. We had 29 assists last game. I think it's about patience, shot selection and helping to get shooters the shot. Joe has the responsibility of getting set up, and our team has the responsibility of getting him looks. Joe has come in and worked on his shot lately. He's spent 30 minutes after practice just working on his shot. He's also worked on being open when a teammate penetrates, just no longer standing. He's sliding to open areas now.

On freshman forward Amit Tamir, who will become eligible to play Dec. 28 vs. Harvard
One and counting. I think our team is excited, too. He brings a lot to our team. With his enthusiasm, his knowledge and his abilities, I think he helps our team. That's the challenge for all the players on our team the last couple of weeks. What can he bring to our team to help our team get better? That's the biggest challenge right now. He will (step right in and play). He's getting a lot of reps (in practice). He'll be ready to play.

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