Point guard Sam Singer talks about taking over for Tyrone Wallace, and Jabari Bird gives a vote of confidence as Bears prep for ASU

BERKELEY -- Jabari Bird and Sam Singer talk about the loss of Tyrone Wallace, Cal's losing streak and coming home to Haas Pavilion.

California Point Guard Sam Singer

On replacing injured Tyrone Wallace: "We feel for him as a team. We hate to see somebody get hurt, especially Tyrone. We see how much effort and how much energy he puts into this every day, but nothing changes, for me. I still plan on playing the same way I have been, starting or not. Nothing really changes."

Have you talked to Wallace one-on-one? "We talked a little bit, and he just tried to instill confidence in me. We talked a lot, and he was just telling me that nothing changes, just to continue what I've been doing, stay aggressive, and we should be fine. He's excited to get back, when he does."

How is he handling things? "He's in pretty good spirits. Obviously, it's unfortunate, as a senior, his last year, and like I said, he works extremely hard, but he'll be back, and when he does [return], he'll be ready to continue to lead us, like he has."

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1634116-tyrone-wallace-inj... The last three games, you've defended at a high level. What's been the change for you, or is it just confidence? "Um, well, specifically, against Stanford, coach [Cuonzo Martin] really wanted us to crawl up into their point guards and really pressure them, and we did, and I think it caused some trouble. It's just being confident that I can defend at a high level, and doing so. Nothing really changes now, and nothing has changed. It's just continuing to play aggressively, confidently, and defending at a high level."

Thoughts on Arizona State: "We've never beaten them in our career (Cal has not beaten ASU since the 2011-12 season), so we're looking to get our first win. They're good. They got a lot of guys who are really athletic, they can score the ball. They present some challenges. I don't think anything differently than any other team. Their point guard can score at a high level, and their wings are very athletic, so one thing they do do well is offensive rebound, so we've been working hard at that in practice so we can get out and go."

You're undefeated at home, so is it easier to absorb this and move forward since you'll have a big crowd at both games, and you'll be back on your home floor? "Absolutely. It's what we needed, to come back after three road games, and play two pretty big games at home, and to know that we've got our crowd behind us, and the way that we've played at home, it definitely helps, with Tyrone being out."

Why has there been a discrepancy between home success and the road? "It's hard to tell. We're trying to figure it out, but the last three games, we've been turning the ball over way too much. We've been giving up offensive rebounds, shooting free throws at 50 percent, so all those things, combined, have caused us to lose these games. In each game, all three games, we've been down one possession with a minute left, even though teams are getting more shots, so those three things -- limiting turnovers, rebounding well and shooting free throws at a high level -- are something that we need to translate from home to away games."

Cal Wing Jabari Bird

How did Wallace get hurt? "It happened in practice. We all kind of saw it. It was a freak accident. He walked off, kind of subbed himself out. We had no idea that he had injured his hand that badly, and all of the sudden, we find out that he's going to be out for some time. It's truly unfortunate. We just have to move forward, and hopefully, get some more wins."

What kind of confidence does the team have in Singer? "We're all confident in Sam, as a point guard and as a player. He's been really consistent for us lately, and we just look for him to continue what he's been doing."

What do the rest of you have to do to step up your game? "Come together as a team. Everybody can do this together. We understand that. It's not just one person going out there and saying, 'I'm going to put the team on my back.' It's going to be a team effort. Focus more on defense, share the ball on offense, and I think we'll be alright."

You've lost three in a row on the road. What do you think the outlook is for you guys? "We're a confident team. We're still positive. We've still got games to go. We can't see it as a negative thing. It's really unfortunate to see Ty go down. He's one of our best players, but we're a team for a reason. You can't just rely on one guy to win ballgames for you. We've just got to come together as a group and figure this thing out."

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1634488-bear-republic-podc... Can you take solace from being close in the final minutes? "It's definitely a confidence booster, if you're trying to take the positives out of everything. Having three tough losses in a row on the road like that, you know how bad you played, and you see that you're always in the game, it helps a little bit, but at the end of the day, we've got to tighten the screws, focus a little bit more, and we'll be fine."

Do you think that losing Wallace will bring you together even more and place some urgency on the team? "It'll definitely heighten our awareness of what's going on out there. You have a player like Tyrone, who's so talented and can do so many things on the court, sometimes, you kind of rely on him to do everything, but I think with him out, guys are definitely focused on doing more and not relying on him."

Martin mentioned you two guys as guys he expects can slide in to that leadership role. Is that natural? "We're both upperclassmen, juniors, we've been here for a while, so we know how things go around here. I would say it's natural for us to step into that role, since we're the older guys on the team, and it should be a smooth transition from there."

Has there been a players-only meeting to talk about Wallace's loss and the three road losses? "Not yet. I don't know if there is going to be one, but we haven't spoken about it amongst ourselves."

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