VIDEO: Howland Press Conference

Ben Howland talks about the matchup against USC on Wednesday, Anthony Stover's status heading into the game, and how many minutes Josh Smith can play heading into the latter stages of the season...

We had some camera issues, so there's video and then a transcription of the remainder of the press conference.

Ben Howland on Tuesday:

Transcription of the rest:

Q: How encouraged were you by Josh being able to play the minutes he was able to play?

A: Part of Anthony being out was a big increase to his minutes. And that was good. He got tired. Josh missed a key defensive play early in the second half when they got a little pick and roll for a layup because he didn't see the ball. I think some of it had to do with him being a little bit winded.

Q: What's his ideal outlook for minutes right now?

A: I would hope he could play 25 minutes.

Q: Last year you significantly upped his minutes toward the end of the season, is that something you expect to happen this year?

A: Yeah, he was doing about what he did the other day. He was playing 27, 28, 29. And you could see his conditioning has improved, especially I think over the course of the last 3 to 4 weeks.

Q: What were the issues with turnovers in the last game due to?

A: We were down, and Jerime Anderson made a couple of mistakes. But some of that may have been fatigue for him because he played a lot of minutes, 35 minutes I think. He had no turnovers in the first half, and then had 3 and could have had 4. One he actually got away with it, but one was down eight in transition where he lost the ball, one was down 7 where they had a missed three and he threw it away attempting to go to Tyler Lamb, and one was early in the second half down six that was a pass to Tyler on the wing where he just got a little sped up. But he knows that, we watched the edits yesterday as a team and spent an hour on the film yesterday from our game Saturday. And I thought we had a good practice yesterday. I thought Norman Powell really did a good job yesterday in practice, really trying to play fundamentally sound with his passing and jump stopping. I thought the Wears really came out real hard. They did a really good job in practice yesterday trying to play tough and physical so we had a good practice yesterday.

Q: Is it difficult to find Jerime and Lazeric Jones those extra couple minutes of rest?

A: It's based on the game. I thought that even Zeek, he had 2 turnovers in a row during that 18-4 spurt and it was probably a little bit of fatigue. I think Norman played 18 minutes that game, and I think that's about what we're going with. He's going to play 18 to 20 a game, and the three starters are going to play the rest. Then again, it's always tougher when you're playing that second game and it's a short turnaround time. Jerime and Zeek, I don't know where they are now, but going into last week they were up there in the conference stats in assist to turnover ratio. Which is a really important stat, a good stat. We're second in the league as a team. Jerime's 4 and Zeek's 6 in the league in assist to turnovers. They're two of our starters, and both I've thought have done a good job for us in the last several games.

Q: Maurice Jones has been playing 38 minutes a game in conference. Is that something you can attack?

A: I don't know about that, but it says something about him that he's able to do that. He's doing it out of necessity. They've had guys that have been injured, so they've been short handed. But he was playing 39 minutes a game back in December. And he played a lot of minutes last year. He's a good little player and he's very dangerous. He can go off at a moment's notice and hurt you and we've seen that.

Q: What stood out from the first meeting with USC of things you need to get better at?

A: We played well in that first game. Early in the game it was tied and then we broke it open after the first six minutes of the first half. And they're different now, because they've lost their big guys to injury. So they're smaller, and they play differently. The kid coming off the bench for them is really shooting the ball well for them, Greg Allen. He's a nice player. He's done a nice job for them in his minutes. I thought Wesley played well against Stanford on Sunday. Even in the Cal game on Thursday, they played Cal, and were down just six at halftime. They played Cal tough, and Cal's obviously a good team. Cal scored in the last second of the first half or it would have been a four point game at half time.

Q: Any concerns about playing SC so close to their campus?

A: It is what it is. Pauley will be done in six months, so that's the good news.

Q: Are you going around to fraternities to get a good turnout?

A: I was set up to do it again, but then something happened. I've done it already this year. I was going to do it a couple of weeks ago, but they wanted me to do it on Monday when we were going on the Washington trip, and the previous Monday with our boosters and our juniors and seniors so the schedule the last couple of weeks hasn't allowed it.

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