Quotes from Ben Braun's Weekly Media Luncheon

Dec. 4, 2000

BERKELEY - Below are selected comments from men's basketball coach Ben Braun's weekly media luncheon. Cal begins a three-game homestand against Cleveland State Tuesday night, followed by Colorado Dec. 9 and Albany Dec. 11.

General Comments:

'We've got some work to do. We had a spirited practice last night. We were in the gym until 10 p.m. It was a long day. We got in after a couple of delays (at the airport). We were in the airport for about three hours and we got in (to Oakland) about 3:30 p.m. and got back to campus at 4:30 p.m. and then had a training table, watched film at 7 p.m. and practiced from right after the film until 10 p.m.

'The guys know their business. They were attentive in the film and attentive on the court. There are some things we need to work on. We've got a good group of guys, and I think they're going to respond. To get better, you've got to take responsibility for things you're not doing. And that goes for not just the players, but starts with me. I want to be clear on my role definition and the direction that I want the players to go. So that's part of the process right now. I've got to look at our team and ask what are the things we have to do better, what are the things our players need to do better. And I've always taken that as a personal challenge and a personal responsibility.'

On the team objective in the early going:

'I don't want any of our players playing with any confusion. With clear goals and objectives in mind, their jobs have to be to play hard and carry out game plans and to play the accepted roles. And those are the things coaches work on. I think everyone's got a job to do. I expect players to do those things. Once they're clear, then there are no excuses.'

On playing with intensity and confidence:

'Our effort was there early (at UC Irvine) and it was good effort. You could see it in their game. But I also saw an effort that didn't become sustained. And that's a challenge to me and a challenge to our players to continue to sustain that effort. A lot of it's frustration, a lot of it is a lack of confidence, but you get your confidence and you become less frustrated when you've been there and you've put it all on the line, that you left everything you had out there. The results will follow. You can't think about the scoreboard. '

On the struggles of the front line the past two games:

'I thought again that it was the frustrations a little bit. They've got to play hard. Nick (Vander Laan) always plays hard, there's never a doubt in my mind about that. Nick and Solomon (Hughes) a struggling with different scenarios. Nick is trying so hard sometimes that he's not taking his time. He's put up poor percentage shots from two-feet out. I don't know if its possible to do that, but I guess the only thing you do from two-feet out is to rush yourself. He's quick-shot it, he's avoided contact, which is not like Nick, he usually takes guys up. He's avoided getting his shot blocked and then he has gotten it blocked by quick-shooting it. He's worked very hard and what has transpired in games is unfortunate and is not indicative of how hard he has worked and how much he's improved fundamentally. I think Solomon is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Solomon has got to go in with his size and athletic ability and just be more aggressive. He has a slight hairline (fracture on his finger), and it (UC Irvine) was the first game since it happened and I think he was a little tentative. He's now taped it up and it is not an issue anymore.'

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