A Few Comments from Mark Few

Gonzaga's Head Coach Mark Few answered a few questions in a short teleconference today, talking about UCLA's defense, his friend Ben Howland and UCLA's resurgence...

On UCLA's defense:

They have athletes, and they do a great job of giving you different looks. They switch screens, swarm the post, and guard the ball really well. They're taking a lot of pride in it and that's why it's showing in the win column."

On a key to the game, or a key match-up:

"I don't get into that, narrowing it down to just one thing. I don't pick out an individual match-up like that since we switch quite a bit. I know we need to handle their pressure defense and get ourselves from easy baskets. Our ability to do a good job making Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo take tough shots is big. Their other guys, though, are playing really well so you can't focus all your attention on that. There will be a variety of factors that go into this one."

On UCLA's interior play:

Ryan Hollins seems to really be buying into what Ben wants from him. He's playing with a lot of enery, making big plays and stops, and helping them a lot. Obviously the kids from Cameroon are warriors. And Lorenzo Mata is back and doing some things. He (Ben Howland) has a lot of options on that team. He gives the impression to you guys (the L.A. writers) that he doesn't but he has a lot of options there."

On getting UCLA scheduled for a non-conference game:

‘It's absolutely impossible with Ben. His history of his non-league opponents with Northern Arizona and Pittsburgh is...but fortunately for UCLA fans, Dan Guerrero's in charge of the non-league schedule. If Ben were to ever wrestle it away, you'd get your AT&Ts and your Techs and the lower division one schools. There's no better scheduler out there than Ben Howland."

On whether the common Gonzaga experience helped to build the friendship with Howland:

"I've know Ben for a while, since he was just an assistant. He was the hardest-working assistant around when he was at Santa Barbara and did such a great job. Everyone in the profession had so much respect for him. So, he'd tell his Gonzaga stories, and we formed a friendship out of that. Then we talked a lot when he was at Northern Arizona and even at Pitt."

On Howland having a chance to awaken the sleeping giant that has been UCLA for the last couple of decades:

"Well, I don't know if you'd say that. Coach Harrick had a great run. Lavin's team would wake up in March. The landscape has changed since those legendary days (of John Wooden). There are just a lot more really good teams, and a lot more getting in the NCAA tournament now. Sometimes expectations for the UCLA program have never quite been fair. Ben's done a marvelous job dealing with that, and steering his guys through it, and he's in a position to re-capture some of that glory."


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