On seeing Cal coming off a great weekend “We play Colorado and Josh Scott didn’t play. It doesnt matter if people are coming off a good or bad weekend. We are focusing solely on us.”
On Cal on the road being different than they are at home: I think on the road they’ve had a few games that they could have won but didn’t pull it out. They’re an impressive team. They have a lot of experience. Those guys have played a lot of games. Jayden Brown was a guy that was one of the best freshman coming out of high school. You put those guys together and you have a good team. I thought Cuonzo Martin is going to make sure they play hard. They’re getting that vision of how hard they need to play and how hard they need to guard. That’s what I see with this team.
On Tyrone Wallace: No. If he starts, at some point he has to come out of the game. We’ll game plan on how to handle him when he’s in the game.
On team philosophy: We need to learn that our philosophy is to attack offensively and defensively. The end result needs to change based on where the defense is. It’s a tough balance. Our group has been successful getting looks early in the clock. Teams are getting better and scouting us more. There’s a wall in there and we have to move the ball better. These last few games those deficiencies have shown up. Teams penetrate and we try to block shots and that opens people on the perimeter and draws fouls and allows rebounds. There’s been a pattern that we’ve seen that we need to do a better job of.
On defensive transition: It’s a little bit of that, but in defensive transition we’ll be there but we won’t be in position to help. We need to be more aware of what’s happening in transition on the defensive end. Also we have great defensive possessions and bail them out with fouls. We allow offensive rebounds. We need to do better at that.
On keeping players like Ryan Anderson and Jakob Poeltl from explosive nights against UW: Yeah, definitely. We have to do better as a team that way. We need to come over and block shots. Sometimes we get caught switching and let an offensive rebound go. These guys do this to other teams to. When teams get penetration those big guys find a way to the ball.
On being determined to rebound and defend better: I think the word might be more determined. We’ll close out and we’re upward sometimes. We have to be determined to keep the guy in front of us. Sometimes we want to get out and go. But if we leave early, we don’t get rebounds. We aren’t good enough to leak out and rely on just one or two guys to get a rebound. This group needs everyone to rebound.
On the reason for switching: One of the reasons we switch is looking at our personnel and what works. It’s not as easy as it seems, but there are fundamentals that take place. It’s hard to get through screens as freshman. Teams like Duke and Kentucky have freshman but also have upper classmen. We have a group of new guys and they’re picking this stuff up. You can pick out freshman out of a group when you’re doing defensive drills. It’s a process. We’re trying to do something that’s still simple. If you do i the right way it’s so much easier to defend. We’ve done it right this year, but when it breaks down it’s ugly. You run a certain offense and then you add something new, in about a day and a half players forget what you used to do. You have to guard against tweaking things. We’ve decided to stick with this and work through it. We’ve tried to make adjustments at times and lost our minds. We believe in what we’er doing.
On the outlook for the rest of the season knowing that an at large NCAA tournament bid is still achievable: I think in the big picture we need to get better and improve. We aren’t going to win this many games without getting better. The things that I’ve mentioned are things we can do and we’re determined. Sometimes we lose focus because you want to leak out and get out in transition. I think we continue to do that. It’s up to me and my staff to make sure we do it. There are several possessions a game we shoot ourselves in the foot.
On switching not allowing one guy to lock down a teams best player: What ends up happening is we don’t communicate enough and we get burned by that. There are times we’ll point out that Matisse will guard it seems like three guys at once, and Marquese does it too. He can have his hand in a passing lane, front a big, and come backside for help all at once. If we can get three or four guys doing that it would be great. There were times that it wouldn’t matter what we were running because we weren’t executing.
On the team taking a while to learn to adjust: When we’ve had our younger teams it has taken a while. I would have told you three weeks ago we’re good, we have it now. The Arizona game we played here and UCLA game we played here. I thought we had it. The fact is we have to stay consistent. We had a young team in 2007 that didn’t get it the whole year. There were years that freshman could hide behind seniors. This year we don’t have that luxury. There are times that we have it and others that we don’t. We’ve just been inconsistent with it.
On defensive breakdowns: The second half of Arizona and second half of Utah we have to throw out. We were very bad. Arizona did a good job of exposing our weaknesses. We played into it.
Does the bright outlook for the future of the program change his response to critics who call for his job? No. That’s what the critics do. It’s not my job to respond to them. I have to make our team better.
On Ivan Rabb: He’s pretty mobile for his side. He has a nose for the ball.
On Jaylen Brown: He’s good because he’s really good. He’s really talented and athletic. He can score and pass. He’s shifty in transition. He’s an athletic locomotive.
On Jaylen Brown compared to Stanley Johnson: He’s more athletic and faster. He has more wiggle too.
On addressing areas for improvement: We talked about these issues we have to address. If you look at our games and take Arizona a way, find me a game that we didn’t have a chance to win. This team has been in every game. There are also games we’ve won that could have gone the other way. I would probably three or four possessions a game that if we could clean up, we would be in first place. We aren’t approaching this as if this is a disaster. We’re talking about getting a little better here and there and we’ll be just fine.
On his reaction to Cal signing Jaylen Brown: I was fired up for coach Martin and their staff. It’s great for our conference. Jaylen Brown is a really good kid and Cal is a great university. I thought good for them. The more talent we have in our league the better it will be.
On how talks of draft stock and NBA potential has effected the team: It hasn’t seemed to really effect our team that much. Draft stock doesn’t talk about our whole team, only a few guys. There are a few times that you see kids forget about his team. That hasn’t happened with us.
On how Timmins and Atawe will fit next year: We won’t have a problem with physicality with those guys. Those guys will be able to do a better job of protecting the basket. It gives us more ammunition and defense against guys like Josh Scott and Jakob Pueltl. Timmins made a pass in practice the other day that shocked everybody. Those guys provide some things we don’t have this year in terms of physicality.