FOUR POINT PLAY: Cal Preps for Stanford

BERKELEY -- Mike Vernon of the San Francisco Chronicle and Ryan Gorcey of BearTerritory.net break down Cal's Saturday tilt against reeling Stanford on The Farm, plus, choice quotes from Cuonzo Martin's weekly press conference.



VITAL DETAILS:
Tip Time: 3:30 p.m. PT
Where: Maples Pavilion; Stanford, Calif.
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Ted Robinson, Mike Montgomery and Ashley Adamson)
Radio: KGO 810 AM (Todd McKim and Jay John)

California Head Coach Cuonzo Martin Press Conference, Partial Transcript
On the health of Jordan Mathews: “Not bad. We’ll know day-to-day. We will know tomorrow after he gets his MRI done. He won’t practice today, though.”

On the health of Christian Behrens: “Rehabbing right now, but not practicing.”

What was the nature of the surgery: “Just clean-up.”

In terms of him returning this season, does he have a better idea: “Christian? No, not right now. Just rehab, we’ll see how it goes, but nothing. This is actually our first day of practice this week, and he will not practice.”

Did Jordan do something specifically to injure his ankle: “He actually sprained it against UCLA, right at the end of the half. That’s when he sprained it. But, you saw it, you watched the Colorado game, and he had a slight limp to him, but he was able to make some shots, and we tried to get him in as much as possible, get in and out. I think, making the Utah trip, he had a slight limp to him in practice, and I think it just took a toll.”

Is that why he passed off some of those three-point attempts instead of getting up and launching: “I would imagine so.”

Two guys hurt, what kind of impact does that have: “I think the most important thing is for the next guys to be ready. That’s our job as a coaching staff, to always have guys off the bench, ready to play. I think Brandon Chauca showed that. That’s a guy who hadn’t played a lot and stepped in, and I thought he gave us big minutes against Utah, and just to prep. When your number’s called, be ready. I think, more so in the Utah game, we were in foul trouble, not getting into a real flow. Key guys get in foul trouble, and other guys have to play more minutes than expected, and that’s when it becomes tough, especially when you’re facing a talented team on their home floor.”

Not having four key offensive players on the floor during a key part of the game because of foul trouble: “I think in that particular case, in watching that game, I don’t know what the bench has to do or didn’t do. It’s more a case of those guys fouling and getting bad fouls – reaching, gambling, that sort of thing – instead of moving your feet, being under control, boxing out properly, because we did a poor job on our box outs. We fouled guys trying to get offensive rebounds, and I think that was more us.”

“For your bench guys, the guys are on the bench for a reason in most cases. You’re not talking about a guy who’s playing 40 minutes, sitting on the bench, so those guys are used to playing a role, especially this time of year. When their number presents itself, they get an opportunity, and I expect those guys to play, compete and understand what we’re trying to do, but I don’t think, in most cases, you’re expecting a guy to come off the bench and give you 15, 20 points.”

Do you feel like your team didn’t adjust to the way the Utah game was called: “I don’t know if you necessarily adjust the way you play and the way you are, but you move your feet and play the way you practice all season long. I think, again, when guys are coming to get box out rebounds, you box guys out and get angles. I think it’s more us. I don’t think you had too many hand-check fouls, or as many as I thought we would have. I just think you’ve got to be able to box out and move your feet. I think they did a great job of boxing and driving those guys back. Our big guys got most of their fouls that way. You make adjustments according to how the game is being played, but I don’t think we had many hand-check fouls with guys just reaching, though.”

Has Tyrone Wallace’s role changed throughout the year: “I think Tyrone, what happened, was a slight adjustment. When he had that stretch – he had a stretch where we were winning games when Jabari went down – he had to really score and make plays for us. Then, all of the sudden, you get into league play, and people identify. They put one or two guys hovering around, three guys around him when he gets to the rim. So, for us, the best thing was really getting him off the ball as much as possible. Now, as he’s coming down the floor in transition, he’s tough. He’s coming in transition, it’s different. But, if he’s in a half-court offensive set, a lot of time it’s tough when he has the ball in his hands. You get him off the ball, get him moving, he’s attacking the rim. We had him post up a little bit last game, so now, he gets the double team, he makes the right decision, catch and shoot when he has an angle to score the ball, when guys are moving. I just think, coming in the half court defensive set, it’s hard for him to maneuver because of how they build their defense around him. Just trying to move him off the ball to get the ball where he’s going to different areas, not the same spot.”

Is there a difference between good aggression and bad aggression: “I think aggressive is aggressive. I think it’s just growing and learning and understanding your personnel, your guys around you, where – in his case – where your shooters are, where your big guys are. I think, for our bigs to continue to get better, what happens when those guys collapse on those big guys, they need to step up and dump the ball down, because you want production. I just think that’s time, especially in King’s case (Kingsley Okoroh), growing older and getting better and making those plays. Eventually, he’ll make those plays. I think Tyrone has done a tremendous job of really seeing. He was all right hand. He was 90 percent right hand. Now, all of the sudden, he’s making moves going left and right, and that’s the growth, within a season, for a young man, and also making the plays. He’ll pass up a shot and make the extra pass and another guy makes a play. I think that’s how your confidence grows, as a team, and we expect that guy to score so much for us and do so much. Now, he doesn’t have to take as many shots. He’s got to get to the free throw line, still got to be aggressive and do other things, but there might not be as many shots from a field goal standpoint, but more free throws.”

Not having Mathews on the perimeter as that extra shooter, three-point production was way down from the previous five games. Did that force more inside? “I think what happens, in that particular game, you don’t have certain guys like Jabari and Jordan on those wings to move it. I think it made it a little tougher on our big guys. I thought Dwight [Tarwater] had some good looks, but I think it made it tough on our big guys. Normally, you have Jabari and Jordan raising, and now it puts a premium on those guards on the other team, really helping. Now, you help, those guys on the perimeter shoot. If you don’t have big guys rolling, making plays, and that other guy right there who can make a shot, I just felt the way Jordan was moving, you’d rather the young man be healthy than try to win a game. That’s what’s important.”

Is he at the point where you may not play him? “No, no, no. Not at all. He’s fine. I think he’s fine.”


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