Jan. 14, 2008
Head coach Ben Braun answered questions from the media during his weekly press conference Monday afternoon. This week, the Golden Bears host Arizona State Thursday and Arizona Saturday in Haas Pavilion.
On the possibility of redshirting Omondi Amoke (calf) following the same decision today for Theo Robertson (hip):
Omondi's (absence) has been significant. Obviously, we'd love to see if Omondi can still get back, but he's in a similar situation (to Robertson) in terms of practicing, and being able to go hard and bounce back. We haven't ruled him out. I'll be surprised if he comes back anytime soon. At this point, he's basically a practice player.
On non-scholarship freshman F Jordan Fillmore's joining the team for full court practices:
He hasn't done much full court work (prior to today). Most of what he's done has been in half court. So take the good with the bad. We'd just love to get our guys back. The obvious thing is that it doesn't just affect our performance come game time; it also affects our preparation. When we get Omondi back, we get Theo back and we get Jordan Fillmore back, suddenly I can have the blue team playing with the blue team, and the gold team playing with the gold team. I don't have to mix guys. I want our guys to know our plays, not the other team's plays.
On his impressions of Arizona State:
They are a team that defends you well. They were a tough team to play against last year. A lot of people forgot that a lot of their losses (in 2005-06) were not only single digits, but just a couple of points, and they were difficult. They play really solid defense, they play great zone defense, match-up zone, and they make it very difficult for you. Since last year, Jeff Pendergraph has been more involved. He's doing a great job for his team. They've really gotten a good performance from James Harden, who's a freshman. He's given them a lot of offensive efficiency. So they've improved a lot.
On the problems presented by the Sun Devils' defensive schemes:
I think they do a good job of pressuring out on the ball. They have good ball coverage. They have Pendergraph, who's back at the basket so it's not easy to get to the rim on. They've got good team quickness. They do a good job of mixing it up. They match up to your alignments. They'll do things to match up to what you're running.
On whether ASU's 13-2 record comes as a surprise:
They are a team that I saw coming on last year. They were in every game and it wasn't like they were getting blown out. They had chances to win games. I was impressed with what they do. I know Herb Sendek, he's a great coach, so I really feel that what they've done is not a surprise, it's not a fluke. I said this year when they were picked near the bottom (of the Pac-10 predicted final standings), I said, "Hey, they're certainly a better team than the bottom of the league." Our whole league is good. But they really have improved, and I thought their win over Arizona was a huge win for their program.
On Arizona's interim head coach, Kevin O'Neill:
Kevin is a good defensive coach, that's been a strength of his. He's helped their team a lot. He's a fiery coach and he'll get his teams playing hard. He's been with Lute (Olson), he's coached with Lute, so I didn't think it was a huge adjustment for their team to make because they run a lot of the same things. They still pick up the same motion concepts. The things they do on screening (are) still in typical Arizona fashion. I thought Arizona played good defense against Arizona State. They were playing solid. The games I've watched, they've played well.
On Arizona freshman guard Jerryd Bayless:
He's a big part of their team. He comes back (against Houston after being out with a knee injury) and he answers the call, 33 (points). He's a gamer and he brings their team a lot, so it's interesting. That'll be a tough game, obviously, as well.
On Cal's focus in practice and film sessions:
We have to understand that getting defensive rebounds is important, (limiting) turnovers is important, getting post touches, getting to the foul line, important. I thought today in practice we got the ball inside a little better. There's always a correlation: you get the ball inside, you're perimeter guys are going to be open because teams have to sink in on you. And if we can really solidify the boards, we will score 10, 20 more points a game.
On whether Ryan Anderson is reaping the fruits of having played tough frontline match-ups last season:
It helped improve his post defense. It certainly didn't hurt his rebounding - he got 17, a career-high, on Saturday. It didn't hurt him. Obviously, Ryan is able to score inside-outside. He still get the majority of his baskets inside, even though he's a great shooter. He does a lot of his work inside. So I think it's helped him. Ryan will see a double-team on the post, he'll see it off the dribble. Those things started last year and they're even continuing a little bit this year, so he's got to be the kind of player that can make plays out of double-teams. So that helped him.