Bob Bender Weekly Press Meeting Quotes

Jan. 15, 2002

Bank of America Arena, Seattle, Wash.

General Remarks on Cal's Schedule and the game on Thursday:
'Their record sets the tone for what we are facing. They are undefeated at home. Scheduling is one of the most important things about this job, recruiting being number one. And Cal's scheduling is one of the most impressive I have seen, where you play that many home games early in the season even before you enter into the conference.'

'Cal is an experienced team, but they are getting good play from some new kids. Interestingly enough they have had some players who were starters that now are having to adjust to new roles. The chemistry seems to be there for them to accept that and their team is benefiting from it. It says a lot about their experience to come down the stretch and beat Oregon State in Corvallis. They're a team that doesn't get rattled but is able to bounce back.'

On Cal players:
'They have some guys that are really productive and efficient players. Joe Shipp from the perimeter probably has the deepest range of anyone in the league we have played so far. Some of their line-ups have been pretty small so it will be interesting to see if on Thursday night if we get into foul trouble and have to go small if they will have to do the same.'

On Cal's defense:
'Besides being an experienced team, they are deep. There depth allows them to play defense in a lot of different ways and we will see those on Thursday. They are capable of pressuring us and that's what gives us problems. '

On the freshmen class in Pac-10 Conference this season:
'I would characterize this year's freshmen class as having an immediate and deep impact. Every team either has newcomers or freshmen who have had or are having a significant impact on there team. Ourselves included, but you can go right through the entire league.'

'Cal in particular has a lot of young players. Jamal Sampson, is doing a great job now, and the improvement he will make down the road will be pretty impressive. He's going to be a premier player.'

On UW sophomore forward Doug Wrenn:
'Doug is reaching that comfort level and has had three solid games. He is as good a defender as there is in this league. Wrenn can defend against power forwards, shooting guards and leading scorers on the perimeter. I don't think anyone has shown that type of flexibility. If we had a 'defensive player of the year' he would be a leading contender. Playing such great defense is a big step in his development. Wrenn is shooting the ball with confidence, taking high percentage shots, and is sending a message to the rest of the team. When you keep challenging him and see him respond as well as he does, that's something special.

On Monday's Practice (January 14):
'We had a great Monday practice as good as I have seen in awhile. I was worried after the loss on Saturday, how we would come in and play and the guys looked really sharp and competitive. We kept things simple and accomplished a lot. We had great energy and focused on our transition defense versus Cal and our zone offense.'

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