Trent Talk

The Virginia game showed us a new Stanford starting lineup for the first time this year. Both Lopez twins started together, while Anthony Goods manned the point guard position in the stead of Mitch Johnson. In assessing how that lineup performed, Trent Johnson talks about the Lopez twins' development, which situations dictate playing which point guard, and more.

On starting Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez together against Washington:

"Yeah, health providing, we will probably go the same way.  It depends on what happens the next couple days on the perimeter and in the post.  I might go back and forth between Anthony [Goods] and Mitch [Johnson], but I don't think it really matters."

On evaluating starting Anthony Goods versus Mitch Johnson with that big lineup:

"It was a gut decision.  Not starting Mitch, as opposed to putting Brook in there, had a lot more to do with [Sean] Singletary's ability to go off than it did with us going big.  We knew going into the year, including the spring, that our identity would be to go inside, but Brook's and Peter [Prowitt]'s injuries depleted that thought process.  Again, Mitch does a good job managing the team, managing the game and distributing the ball.  We just have to be in a situation now, whether it is Anthony or Mitch or even Landry [Fields], where when we feel we can't stop a team defensively, we need to have better offensive production on the floor to stretch people on the perimeter so that we can go inside-out.  That situation is when we have our best shooters on the floor.  Anthony and Lawrence [Hill], along with Fred [Washington], with Brook and Robin, Brook and Peter, Robin and Peter, or Robin and Taj [Finger] - we just need to have two good perimeter players who are looking to shoot the ball aggressively and knock shots down."

On the production of the big lineup:

"This lineup has responded well in two games, and there are two games where it hasn't responded well.  Since we're talking about playing big and Brook, it's harder for post guys because of their size to get into a rhythm offensively - they don't get to touch it as much offensively.  A perimeter player always has the ball in his hands, so to speak.  I do like our production.  When we're making shots, when we're making plays and we're playing big, it forces people to have to deal with our interior.  For us to be successful, we have to manage the game and keep it in the 70s, go inside-out, try to slow tempo and run it in transition when we have good opportunities.  I do like it when we're consistent.  From my standpoint with as much tape as I have watched and the staff has watched, we have only been big two or three of the last five or six games.  A lot of that has to do with being healthy.  A lot has to do with match-ups defensively.  Virginia afforded us the luxury of matching up with their 'four' and their 'five' because neither of those players were capable of going out on the perimeter and making a play off the dribble.  As long as we are able to do that, I think we will have a chance to compete."

On the challenges matching up against Spencer Hawes and Jon Brockman:

"Well, they're good players.  Spencer is as skilled as it gets - left shoulder, right shoulder, jump shot, relentless, plays with a lot of intensity.  He's no different than any high caliber basketball player we will face, whether it's in the post or on the perimeter: you need to make him work for everything he gets.  Try to force him off the sweet spots in the post, and pick him up on the perimeter.  Brook and Robin have faced him, in AAU tournaments and so on and so forth.  They have a pretty good feel.  They understand how good he is.  Then Jon Brockman, you have to put a body on him because wherever the ball is, he is going to be around it.  His quickness does concern us because he is a handful when it comes to blocking out."

On saying anything to the players about playing/losses at home:

"I don't say anything to them.  The only thought I have in all of this at home is that I think the kids want to play so well for the student body and want to play so well because they are great kids.  They have a tendency to try too hard.  I don't put any pressure on them with the rates they shoot the ball.  The only pressure I put on them is to defend and share the basketball, and they have done that without my saying anything.  I've said it before, but it's amazing how bad you look when the ball is not going down.  Our first half against Air Force, our first half against Santa Clara, our first half against Cal - we are like 22 or 23 out of 85 from the field.  Out of those 85 shots, probably 55 to 60 are what you would say are great shots.  Not good shots, great shots.  What do you do as a coach?  You continue to shoot the ball and continue to tell guys.  The only time that I get mad at them is when they don't step up and shoot the ball with confidence or aggressiveness.  When it turns to talk about home or away, you would think that the law of averages will even out.  We just have to keep playing.  The only difference is - all respect to due to the teams we have played, with the exception of Air Force - is that the level of competition and the quality of the players is getting better.  This weekend you have the 23rd or 25th ranked teams in the country coming in here.  And they're two distinct [inaudible].  One is open-court, wants to play loose and you have to limit transition.  The other one, as we well know, makes every possession just as tough as can be."

On the improvements of the Lopez twins:

"I don't think Robin has a problem being physical; he just needs to play within himself.  Sometimes Robin has a short fuse.  I don't think he has shown that in games as much as he has shown it in practice.  A lot of that has to do with his immaturity at times.  As far as looking for his, we want him to stay aggressive, but he needs to establish a shot, a pet move.  Hopefully it's his left shoulder jump hook, which he has shot a lot of times.  That's something going into this year he did not have.  When he was in high school, he was so much taller than everyone that he just played over the top.  Now he needs to counter from that.  I think that he has done a good job with double teams, for a young guy.  But he needs to be consistent.  He needs to be really consistent.  That's the next step for him.  It was nice to see his last two games, Cal and Virginia.  He has had consistent numbers, and he has been on the floor without foul trouble, which has helped us.  Then his brother, Brook, is a long ways away.  He's shooting 42 or 43 percent from five feet.  That tells you where he is at.  Brook has a tendency offensively to try to do too much, as opposed to just playing big in the post, turn right shoulder or left shoulder.  You can't blame him.  This game is hard enough to play when you are completely healthy and out there all the time.  He's coming into a situation where we are going to him a lot more now, and the rust will start to disappear the farther we get along."

On their freshmen mistakes:

"A dropped ball is sometimes undisciplined, yeah.  But that's not necessarily those two as much as much this team in general.  There were a couple situations where Anthony was trying to feed Robin, and Anthony was new to the point.  He was out of sequence, out of rhythm so to speak.  But I'm away from the 'freshmen' bit [laughs].  I've been patient enough, and these guys know that.  These guys have played a lot of basketball.  It's all about being consistent now.  Everybody else is playing with a lot of young players and having some success.  Granted, there are teams across the country who are senior- or junior-laden teams who are playing well.  Brook and Robin have good hands and great size - catching the ball, getting it up on the rim, being aggressive and making plays is what they're here for and what they want to do.  So we need to develop some consistency."

On assessing Goods at point guard:

"Anthony is only going to play the point for us in situations where the team doesn't pick us up fullcourt or pressure us.  Basically all he needs to do is bring the ball up the floor and enter the offense.  That's all.  I'm not going to put Anthony in a situation where he has to bring the ball up against pressure.  If the University of Washington comes out and pressures us, then he is not going to handle the ball much.  It's going to be Mitch because Mitch has been doing that all of his life.  Virginia, and even in the Arizona game when they fell back into a zone, Anthony was able to bring the ball up without pressure and enter it.  Then we were able to put him, Fred and Lawrence on the floor and go big and have our best offensive lineup and our biggest lineup.  At the other end of the floor, defensively that gives us a chance to stay in a man [defense] and use our length and our size hopefully to keep people out of the lane.  Let's not get too caught up in Anthony playing the point, per se, as opposed to just being a guard.  Mitch Johnson is the point guard, and we're going to have to get a lot of production out of him and Carlton [Weatherby] when we start to see a lot of pressure.  No question.  But Anthony has done a good job of handling the ball and bringing it up.  Anthony hasn't done a good job of doing what Anthony does best, which is shooting the ball in the hole, and he's aware of that.  Anthony is a much better shooter than his percentages, like Landry Fields."

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