Quotes from Ben Braun's Weekly Press Conference

March 5, 2001

BERKELEY - Below are selected quotes from Cal men's basketball head coach Ben Braun from his weekly press conference. The Bears close out the regular season this week, hosting Arizona State Thursday and Arizona Saturday.

On Arizona State

'I think that they're playing aggressively. Their confidence is up now. They're shooting the ball better than they were earlier in the year. At the beginning of league, they had a tough schedule, too. They've improved as the year's gone on.

'Their offensive rebounding still is a real strong suit for them. You think about how many offensive rebounds that they have. Awvee Storey is a major guy for them. But they do a great job of going to the offensive glass. They've had such a rebounding edge on their opponents, they just rebound the ball very well.'

On the importance of this weekend versus ASU and No. 8 Arizona

'This is a huge weekend. Our next game versus ASU is a huge game for us. I think this is a great challenge. These are big match-ups. Our guys know it, our players know that these are important games. But we treated our home stand last time (versus the Washington schools) with some urgency and responded, and now we've got to do it again. I don't think anything's changed from week to week. Those were games last week that were very urgent at the time, and we played well and played hard. We've got to do it again. We have to step up. I think we're going to approach this much like we did the last week when we played our last home stand. We're going to gear up, work on ourselves Monday, what we normally work on. Do films, weights, fundamentals. We try to correct the past weekend. We try to use Monday as a day to correct Thursdays' and Saturdays' games in some areas we need to improve. And then we'll start focusing on (ASU) on Tuesday and Wednesday.'

On whether Thursday is the biggest game of the year

'I think every game we play right now is a big game. We're treating every game as urgent for us. I don't think we're going to put one game ahead of another. Our next game always is the most important game, and I think every game we play is a game we're hungry for.'

On the loss the USC last Saturday

'I thought we were sloppy, Sean (Lampley) was sloppy with the ball. Shantay (Legans) over-penetrated a few times and lost the ball. There were a couple of travel calls, I think, on Donte (Smith) and Brian (Wethers). I mean, we just got called for a lot of turnovers. We just can't afford to do that.

'I thought earlier we were doing OK going defensively. Offensively, we weren't as strong or sharp as we needed to be. That hurt us. We had opportunities earlier in the game when USC was sputtering a little bit. We had opportunities to jump out, and we just didn't do it. I think our players will be emotionally and physically ready to play (this weekend). I wouldn't be surprised if our players weren't awfully hungry. And that's what we need to do, be awfully hungry.'

On Cal's consistency

'We just really, really need to keep that consistency. It's tough to sustain that kind of effort. But when we're playing well, we do.

On whether the players are scoreboard watching

'We're not going to worry about other teams. We've got to go out and play. I think our team's pretty good at that. You can't be very effective if you're looking around at other teams and what they're doing. We've got to go out there and perform.'

On Solomon Hughes, since he's returned to the starting lineup

'I think Solomon is really playing well. I think he's kind of taking advantage of his opportunities and helped our team. He's really done well. He's been a factor for us. We weren't the same when he was out (with foul trouble at USC). He was giving them some trouble. I'm hoping he'll continue to play with that type of aggression and confidence. He's really come on for us.'

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