Quotes from Ben Braun's Weekly Press Conference
Jan. 8, 2001
BERKELEY - Below are selected quotes from Cal head coach Ben Braun from his weekly media luncheon. The Bears host Oregon Thursday and Oregon State Saturday in their first home Pac-10 games of the year.
On Thursday's opponent, Oregon, and forward Bryan Bracey:
'I've really been impressed with their play. I think Bryan Bracey has really stepped up and shown improvement from a year ago. He was a solid player a year ago, but he's really stepped up. After losing some of the players they lost, it's really given Bryan Bracey an opportunity to take more of an assertive role on the team, and I think he's taken advantage of that. He's an active player, he's scoring, he's rebounding and he's a versatile player, as well - somebody who can score inside and outside.
'I think Ernie's teams are always predicated on their transition game. I think they have a very aggressive transition game. They do a good job of spreading you and getting down the floor. Stopping their transition is always a key to playing against Oregon. They do it as well as any team we've played this year, probably better. That's one of their strengths.'
On the recent play of junior center Solomon Hughes:
'We're going to need Solomon Hughes to step up again. I think he's been working harder on the little things, trying to get in better position on offense. He's using his agility, not rushing himself as much, and he's playing with confidence. He's confident that he can be a factor. I think his teammates are looking for him, and that may have been something that didn't happen as much earlier in the year. His teammates' confidence has grown as well. You can see that by (Sean) Lampley giving up shots to get the ball to Solomon. That's a good sign. Solomon can hold his own.'
On sophomore center Nick Vander Laan:
'I think Nick Vander Laan can be a factor for us. I think Nick needs to get it going with his confidence and by finishing inside, going back to being solid, setting good screens, taking his time and getting to the foul line. He'll bounce back. I think he had a very solid second half against Arizona State.'
On senior forward Sean Lampley:
'Sean has really been working on his versatility. He's playing better and better. If it's possible, he's still making improvements as a senior and that's not a bad thing.'
On improving Cal's defensive rebounding:
'If we want to be successful, we have to solve that. We want to really give ourselves every opportunity to win and we know that that is one of the biggest things that we have to do. It's about completing the play and closing out a possession defensively, finishing what we started. It's a small thing, but it's a big thing. We're going to get after them.'
On sophomore guard Shantay Legans:
'He's getting better and better with his confidence. He's getting more aggressive in spots. I think he's becoming more familiar and understanding situations a little bit better. He's coming around. He's been a lot steadier for us.'
On sophomore guard Donte Smith:
'We had a long talk between the Arizona and Arizona State games and I told him to be ready to play and he was. I thought he played pretty well. I think Donte was a little down about not playing and I was glad that he was. I don't want him happy about that. I thought he came out against Arizona State with confidence and a good attitude, and that's not easy when you're not playing. I give Donte credit for staying positive. I believe Donte with have other opportunities, too. I think Donte knows we're fair and that we are going to play the guys that we think will help us in a given game and a given situation.'