Mike Montgomery Jan. 27 Press Conference Quotes

Jan. 27, 2009

BERKELEY - What are your impressions of UCLA?

They are a very difficult team to beat for the same reasons as usual. They are a little more perimeter and three point oriented than they have been. They are very physical, very well coached, and are strong defensively. (Darren) Collison is a very good point guard that doesn't need to score to have an impact on the game. They're a very difficult team to beat.

Are they someone different without as many of the big physical inside guys that they've had in the past?

They don't go inside as much, but they've been shooting a lot of those pick and pop threes and they've had a lot of success with the (Nikola) Dragovic and roll. Shipp's always been a good shooter for them as well as Collison so they've gotten a little more perimeter oriented. They've got (Drew) Gordon who is starting to come around. He is probably they're best rebounder and shot blocker. (Alfred) Aboya is very physical. (James) Keefe is a nice player in there. They've got some size, but they've gone small with Dragovic at the four that has given them some outside oriented type of a team.

In terms the way they play defenses, are they any different even though they're not as physical inside?

No, they're the same. They'll monster and double down at the post if they feel they need to like they always have. They may not be as big as they were but they'll still come at you and monster you hard at the post and make you get it out of there. I don't know that they would do that to us but if that have to against a team with a strong low post presence they'll monster and rotate, but they still bump you on every cut. They may not be as physical as when they had all those big guys in terms of physical strength but it's the same concept and same principle.

Is it hard to set ball screens against them with how much they trap?

They don't trap all the time. They show up on them very aggressively. You'll be going one direction but by the time you're done you'll be going another direction. That makes it difficult. They try to take the pick and roll out of the game, which is smart. They rotate out of there pretty well. Then occasionally they will trap you with size and be very aggressive with it and that will make you cautious.

Holliday was the headliner in their recruiting class and was so well regarded. Though so far it seems his contributions have not been scoring, what do you see when you watch him play?

Well, everybody that goes to UCLA is a superstar. It's hard because kids can't go in there and be good players, they have to be superstars. (Jrue) Holliday is an unbelievable athlete. Malcolm Lee and Anderson are incredible athletes as well. People become very impatient with them because they expect them to score 25 points a game. One reason is because their offense is not set up that way. Another reason is because the transition from high school to college is more difficult than people might imagine especially when one is transitioning to a top tier program. He is a really good player, but he is on a really good team and it is not necessary for him to put up big numbers.

Does it make it even more difficult for a freshman to score in UCLA's defense first style?

You can play both ways but it is harder to learn defense. Ben [Howland] is going to make you learn defense before you can play. It forces you to concentrate on that side of the ball.

How important is Collison to the team and what they do?

He's been a winner for four years and when they get in trouble Collison is going to have the ball in his hands. If they have to do off ball screens he is going to do what he has to in order to make a play for somebody if not himself. He's not shot the ball as well since he's gotten into conference play as he has in the past but I don't want the ball in his hands with the last shot and hope that he misses.

Does that make Jorge [Gutierrez] more important this week because Jerome [Randle] was saying he's having a little trouble moving laterally?

It's been one day since Jerome's had that thing, but he's going to have to defend a good player. He'll probably have more trouble Saturday with the 6'5' guard than he is against Collison's quickness. Collison is a hard guard for anybody; if you don't get help he's going to hurt you.

You said on Friday that you had talked to Jordan Wilkes and asked for a little more from him. He had a pretty good game Saturday, how much did your talk have to do with it?

I just didn't want him to settle for a limited role. I told him to go out and give us what you have. If you're not going to play 35 minutes, just go after every ball and I felt like he was more capable of doing a little bit more.

In what way?

He can shoot the ball and he just has to be more aggressive. It's not his nature, but he is the biggest guy on the floor typically and if he goes after more balls, I think he's going to get more balls. It wasn't a big deal. It was just asking him to not settle and get better.

But you've been happy with what he's been able to do?

Yeah, because he's a good passer and he gives us steady play in there. I know he knows what we're trying to do and can get in the right spots.

Is Jerome's hip better?

I would hope.

Have you worked on USC yet? How do you prepare for their different defenses?

You have to do different things. Depending on the situation they'll play triangle and two or box and one, they'll play soft man sometimes and aggressive man other times. It's something Tim Floyd has found that he likes and it helps him control tempo because the other team has to start thinking about what you are doing. If they catch you off guard it could really hurt you, but I think everybody knows that they're going to see that, so we're going to prepare accordingly.

Do they change defenses more than anybody in the league?

I don't know if they change. They play a lot of triangle and two. They played it at both Washington and Washington State. Now they were on the road so maybe they're trying to get anything they can out of a road trip. But when Washington substituted and took one of the guys USC wanted to shut down out, they went to a box and one and then it would look like the same thing but it was just soft man. Not many teams have gone to triangle two or box one as a steady diet; they've gone to it as a fair portion of what they're doing.

What do you see when you watch DeMar DeRozan play?

Again, the hype was there that he was the next Mayo. He is a very nice player and very athletic. He doesn't shoot it as much from outside, more of a driver and slasher. He jumps out of the gym. They've got a veteran roster with (Taj) Gibson, (Dwight) Lewis, and (Daniel) Hackett so (DeMar) DeRozan doesn't have to do as much but he is an awfully nice freshman.

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