Feb. 12, 2009
California head coach Mike Montgomery
Did you feel like your bench players contribution was more of what you were looking for?
Jorge (Gutierrez) had a good weekend. Omondi (Amoke) came in and gave us a lift. If he would just slow down and finish his plays, he could help us give a smaller, quicker, more active guy inside. Harper (Kamp) was good. So we had three guys off the bench who came and gave us good energy. DJ (Seeley) is still a viable option who could help us, but the games mean so much now that one little mistake or two could really hurt you. I get a little nervous, and it's on me to just trust him more, but, Jorge has shown the ability to play one and we can get heavy minutes out of our perimeter guys.
How has Omondi handled the move to the four?
Well, we've left him there the whole year because we haven't had a choice otherwise. He's done some good things in there for us. He gives us a little lift because of his activity. He missed all of last year because of that injury to his leg. Then about as soon as I got here he was working out and sprained his ankle pretty bad and missed another two months, which was exactly what he didn't need. He's missed a lot bus he's hung in there. If that was the way we were going to go on a steady diet we would probably make adjustments to our offense to try and to accommodate him. He's done some good things.
Are you going to switch him back to the three?
Depends what we have next year. Even though he's had this year of experience inside, we should probably give him an opportunity on the wing. He might give us a bigger wing that could board. We've just got to be careful not to put him in too many different spots where he has to think about too many different things.
Talk about Theo (Robertson), is he your "Mr. Dependable"?
He's been awfully good, but I don't remember what he was like his first two years. Someone the other day told me how explosive he was and how he's not explosive like he was since that injury. He's shooting the ball very well. The thing about Theo is that he takes good shots. He's pretty conservative. So, he'll only take shots when he's open. He can and likes to play the four. Sometimes it's a bad matchup but it gives us a fourth perimeter guy. The question is whether the fourth guy we put in is helping more than a big would be. That's where sometimes you run into a problem. He's been awful steady. In a way maybe you do take him for granted because he's not as flashy, but the things he does are absolutely essential to us. He's had some big games; he is in no ones imagination a third wheel. He plays on the left side and Jerome (Randle) tends to go right more than left so Theo doesn't get as many entries as Patrick (Christopher). Between those three guys, you can generally count on two of them having big games. If they don't, we're in trouble.
How important is Theo when you show the triangle and two defense?
Well, the top guy is important because he is the thinker and the one that has to make adjustments. The two bottom guys don't have to do as much. We only did it one game really. We thought with those two little guards Washington had - what the heck? It worked, but it's not something that's going to work all the time. Washington had a third guy that eventually shot us out of it. The third guy is the key that can really hurt you, but Theo is the important guy in that situation because he is the guy that has to make adjustments. He has to figure out where to go and plug gaps. Theo is good that way. He was well-coached in high school so he's used to that kind of thing. It may not be something we use against Stanford because they have five guys who can shoot. They do a nice job of spacing but they can also isolate you. What they did last time was start both (Lawrence) Hill and (Landry) Fields, was move one inside to post up our smaller player and moving the other outside to shoot on a bigger player. There wasn't much we could do because they are very interchangeable. They both shot it in. Hill had 25. It's a tough matchup. So do you take your big men out? But they're both able to post up. Fields posted up Theo pretty easy. That meant he was the three and Hill was the four. Hill then took Jamal outside and shot threes. It's a tough matchup that way.
Should your guys be motivated by all the alumni who will be here Saturday or should they ignore it and just play their game?
It is what it is. I think in our office we are trying to generate an atmosphere of involvement. I have no idea what has been done in the past to this end. I felt it would be great to get a lot of our alumni back here and get know who we are and feel good about their experience while they were here. Everybody had something good and bad that happened to them while they were in college. We want to get them back here and help them feel good about having played here. We want them to able to come back and watch and take pride in what we do and what we're trying to do with our program.
How do things change now that you're in the second half of the season and you've seen everyone but they've seen you? Is there anything that you change?
I think that everybody gets to the point where they are what they are and there's not a whole lot more you can do. You might look at something and say we could really exploit these guys at the low post or something else, but, if you were about to do that you would have from the get go. It's then apparent that it's not where your strength is anyway. You see things that maybe didn't work so well the first time so you'll make an adjustment to prevent that. If they did something against you that was particularly successful you know they're going to do it again and you're going to have to figure out a way to defend it. At the end of the day, the shooter has got to shoot, you're going to have to defend, and there's a lot of stuff that doesn't change regardless. I wasn't really pleased with our effort over at Stanford. We seemed to be really soft. You can look at it two ways, either credit goes to Stanford for forcing those matchup problems, or it's our bad for not playing hard enough. We were in slow motion that day, we couldn't move. Some of it can be attributed to the rivalry, but, hopefully this weekend it'll work in our favor.