March 15, 2010
California Head Coach Mike Montgomery participated in a teleconference with the Louisville and Jacksonville media on Monday. Below is a transcription of the teleconference. Cal and Louisville will meet in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 19, at approximately 7 p.m. PT in Jacksonville, Fla.
On playing Louisville:
Well, they're very aggressive, athletic, real well coached and run through their stuff hard. They have a variety of presses they will use--free throw, dead ball, made basket, some zone press, some run and jump. They're primarily a zone team, but they have played some man. They may look at us and decide to have different ideas about how they want to approach us. [Samardo] Samuels is a load inside. Obviously, [Edgar] Sosa is an experienced guard. The thing that is impressive is beating Syracuse twice. Knowing, first hand, how good Syracuse is and the fact that the league [Big East], game in and game out, is so difficult, as far as the people that you play--certainly they're battle-tested. Rick [Pitino] traditionally has teams that play very hard, and this team is no exception.
On Louisville Forward Samardo Samuels:
I'm just watching video tape and not really focusing specifically on him. Right now, I'm trying to get a feel for the entire team and what they do and what their tendencies are and what they want to do. I know he's a load. He's a big guy that they go to. He posts very hard, which, obviously, given our size constraints, will cause us problems. We don't have a lot of depth there. They go to him; he's a go-to guy. They run some high-low stuff. They try to isolate him and he's a guy that's produced pretty consistently.
On Louisville Guard Preston Knowles:
I don't have an impression with Preston. They've got [Jared] Swopshire. I'm just looking at video. Coaches are working on a report. They're long inside. I don't really have an impression, one way or the other, yet, on him.
On whether anyone in the Pac-10 reminds him of Samardo Samuels:
Not really. He's got jump hooks. He's tough inside because he's so big. It wasn't a year for great big guys in our league. There weren't a whole lot of big guys that remind me of him, specifically, so I can't say that there were. Maybe, [Michael] Dunigan at Oregon; although Dunigan's not as polished, yet, but similar that when he gets the ball he can score it.
On Louisville's three-point shooting ability:
Rick has those kids everyday; he's not going to let them shoot bad shots. So, my guess is that they're a good three-point shooting team--that's what they like to do. My guess is maybe they're not all pure shooters, in terms of guys who can make every shoot. Rick is a very veteran coach and understands, percentage-wise, that if you can get 35 [percent] from three, you're going to get more production than 50 [percent] from two. So, it's a good weapon.
On the coaching pool coming to Jacksonville, Florida:
I think most of us probably are known because we've had good players. A lot of these guys I've known for a long time. [Wisconsin head coach] Bo [Ryan] kind of operates a little bit under the radar up there at Wisconsin, but has done a tremendous job. [Duke head coach] Mike [Krzyzewski] and I are good friends. We worked Jordan camp together and have gotten to be pretty good friends and had similar situations, I think, when I was at Stanford for all those years. It'll be good to see those guys. I think that at this point, though, we're probably a little less concerned about who's coaching the other teams, than the players they put on the floor.
On Cal's strengths heading into the NCAA Tournament:
Well, we shoot the ball pretty well. We do have a veteran team from the standpoint of guys that have been here. I've only been here two years with these guys, so it's not like we've built this thing from scratch. There's some things we don't do as well as I would have liked, fundamentally, but we do shoot the ball pretty well. We've come a long way, as far as understanding what are strengths are and how we have to play. We're not as big as we'd like to be. We've lost probably as many as five big guys since I've been here to injury that we would have, don't have, that would have changed things appreciably. So, we've had to go to a different style of playing, just out of necessity. When we're shooting the ball and able to move the ball, we can be pretty tough.
On Louisville's depth:
It's still a forty minute game for one game. They do play ten, eleven, sometimes even twelve guys; I think that's because of pressure. Louisville recruits high-level kids. They recruit guys that need to play. I think in order to keep everybody playing at a high level, he [Rick Pitino] uses them and they know they're going to play every game. It keeps their energy up and it allows him to have the flexibility if they're not playing hard, then he can put another guy in there and they know that he will.