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Cal Coach, Player Saturday Press Conference Quotes
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  03/16/2002

March 16, 2002

Below are selected quotes from Cal head coach Ben Braun and Golden Bear seniors Solomon Hughes, Dennis Gates and Ryan Forehan-Kelly from their press conference Saturday afternoon. The Bears face Pittsburgh in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday at approximately 11:36 a.m. PT/2:36 p.m. ET.

Cal coach Ben Braun on his team's strengths....
"This year we have played pretty solid defense. And when we play well, we play pretty good defense. Depth would be an area important to us too. We haven't had to save fouls. We also have had good balance in that we haven't had to depend on one guy to look to for points."

Braun on Howland's teams and familiarity....
"I haven't coached against Ben before but I am aware of his teams and am impressed with what he has done. I think with any good coach you kind of know what they are going to do, but you still have to go out and stop them."

Braun on Brandin Knight's knee....
"He looks like he is in pretty good playing condition. The things that he does are really hard to play against. He's a tough matchup. He does such a good job getting the ball to others too."

Braun on Pitt's defense....
Pitt has done a great job defensively. They are always tough on the glass. That's always a tough area to sell as a coach. But it's not easy to score against them (Pitt)."

Braun on teams struggles early....
"I think in some respects we struggled in scoring. You don't lose the Pac-10 Player of the Year, Sean Lampley, to the NBA draft and not have trouble. We made some strides in rebounding but we can still get better. Our intensity has gotten better too. We are a team that would have a lapse after a big win, hopefully we have gotten over that. Being able to take your team into the tournament is always a challenge, and to continue to win games. Players and coaches have to be resilient because we all have those days when things don't go your way."

Braun on A.J. Diggs.....
"A.J. is very important to this team. When he comes in everyone's energy level goes up. He's an unsung guy on this team."

Braun on team defending Knight....
"Our kids know how good he is and how big of a player he is. It's a challenge every game but we have to do something about it."

Braun on taking advice from players....
"Everybody knows what they know. But you don't know everything. I've been coaching for over 20 years and I don't know everything. The pulse of your players is very important. I'm not going to take a straw-vote, it's not a democracy but when one of you senior captains says something you have to listen."

Braun on peaking.....
"It's always a goal of ours to make the tournament and to play well late in the season. You don't want to flatten out as the season goes on. That's why we break the season into segments, non-conference, conference and post season. You don't want to go into the tournament tired and flat."

Solomon Hughes on looking at Pitt's scouting report...
"Pitt has great guards, mainly Brandin Knight. They are big in size and width. Them being in the Big East says a lot. It will be a tough matchup."

Hughes on expectations of Pitt's defense tomorrow and Pitt's hometown advantage...
"Our main focus is to force our offensive players to go where we want them to go. We've played in hostile situations before and our main focus is what's going on the court."

Hughes on Cal's greatest strengths...
"I think our defense is one of the strongest in the nation.

Dennis Gates on Cal's greatest strengths...
"I think our team depth is our greatest strength. We have a good amount of depth on our bench."

Gates on Pitt's defense...
"Pitt is a good team overall. Their point guard, Brandin Knight is the floor leader. It will be a tough matchup for both of us. Whoever has the better defense will win the game tomorrow."

Ryan Forehan-Kelly on Cal's greatest strength....
"Our defense is our major strength as well as our depth and team play."

Forehan-Kelly on Pitt's defense...
"They are a defense minded team. It should be a battle."

Forehan-Kelly on what he considers to be a successful season....
"We look at our season as three entities - preseason, the Pac-10 and postseason. I think we've had a pretty successful season. We haven't been successful in the postseason yet unless we continue to advance. I'm a senior this year so any game we play, I want to win. Anything other than a win is a failure to us."


Cal Bears Men's Basketball


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