Quotes from Ben Braun's Weekly Press Conference
Jan. 22, 2001
BERKELEY - Below are selected quotes form head coach Ben Braun from his weekly press conference. This week, Cal travels to play at Washington State Thursday at 7 p.m. and at Washington Saturday at 2 p.m. Neither game will be televised, but both can be heard on KABL Radio (960 AM) or on the Internet at www.calbears.com.
On this week's trip to Washington State:
'I have never approached going up to Washington State as a break in the schedule or look at it as an easier game. What I think happens to a lot of teams, and certainly ours, is that you get caught up in standings and records. What we look at is their record at home, and they're 6-2 at home. They play well at home and they're going to be ready to play. We found that out last year and the year before. It's a tough trip for a lot of reasons. You're on the road the longest, you're in the airport the longest, you're on the buses the longest. You've got the weather factor also. It's up to us to be prepared for everything.
'I've always emphasized how we play. It's not who we play or where we play, and I said that even following the Stanford game. We have to go back and focus on how we play and how we want to play and stay consistent with that. We just can't get caught up in who we're playing, when we're playing and where we're playing. That doesn't make any difference. When our team has done that, and we've done that pretty consistently over the past 12 or 13 games, we've played pretty well. So that's been our focus.'
On the possibility of beating both WSU and Washington on the road:
'It's big for any team. I think any team today that can go on the road in our league and sweep anywhere, you better know that you've accomplished something. That doesn't happen a lot in our league, it really doesn't. I think the key is taking care of one game at a time and taking care of your first opponent. I think you've got to play pretty well. You want that consistency to carry over. It's pretty hard to struggle in one game and magically come back in the next. We've done that, but that's doing it the hard way. The key is to play at the consistency that we've been playing. Then you're playing at your level. You've got to stay with what you're doing and give that your best shot. If you're doing that and it doesn't work, then you got beat by a superior team and I can live with that. You can accept that. You don't ever accept less than your best effort, less than your best attitude, less than your best approach to the game.'
On Cal's depth:
'There's a danger if teams just think, 'If we stop Lampley, then we'll stop Cal.' If you make an effort to stop him, we've got some guys that can hurt you. Everyday that may be a different guy. I don't think that's a negative. That's a potential strength for your team.'
On senior forward Sean Lampley:
'If you put the ball in his hands all the time, he could score 30 or 40, and he can do that. What he's doing now is incorporating and making the guys around him better. As a senior, he knows this is his final collegiate year, and I think there's an urgency with Sean. You could see it in the second half the other night (vs. South Florida). He was flashing to the ball, he was making plays, he was helping against pressure from their zone. He was big and he was available. He had a presence and that hurt them. Sean got the ball in the high post and basically did what he needed to do with the ball down in the block. And that's been big reason why Solomon (Hughes) has done well. Sean has helped Solomon a lot and Solomon will acknowledge that. When teams double Lamp, he's dumping the ball off and finding people who are capable of scoring.'
On sophomore Brian Wethers:
'Brian's playing aggressively. He's not thinking as much. Brian was kind of indecisive. He was passing when he should be driving and driving when he should have been passing. And now, those decisions are coming a little easier to him now. He's picked his times when to be aggressive. Initially, he was trying to make things happen that weren't there, and now he's staying more patient. He's doing other things for us, grabbing rebounds, running the floor and taking the ball to the basket very strong. If you look at his statistics, he's gotten a lot more confident shooting the ball. That's important, our players playing with confidence. I'm trying to keep them aggressive. If Brian makes a mistake but he's playing hard, that's better than making a mistake and playing tentatively.'
'It's about patience and perseverance. We (Smith and Braun) talked about Solomon and Brian sticking with it and just look at the improvement those guys have made. He (Brian) worked hard this summer and he wasn't starting at the beginning of the year. I think he felt a little bit more comfortable coming off (the bench) and working his way into the lineup. It was something he had to earn. Brian is getting better (at accepting criticism) and he's a pretty down-to-earth kid. And it's funny, because when you want to get better, it's funny how much better your listening gets. As a player, if you have all the answers, how can you improve? As a coach, if I have all the answers, how can I improve? And that's what I think our players are finding out. Those players who remain open to the coaches have gotten better.'
On Donte Smith:
'There's no question that Donte is someone that can give us a lift because he's someone who can get the ball down the floor, get his shot up, be aggressive, attack defenses. I know his three-point percentage is really low and that's not a result of his shooting ability, that's a result of rushed shots, trying to do to much. I'm glad that he's persevered. He was ready (vs. USF) and he came right in and knocked a shot down.'
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