Mike Montgomery February 3 Press Conference Quotes

Feb. 3, 2009

BERKELEY - How do assess the state of your developing depth?

We're struggling. We have Jorge (Gutierrez) lose his confidence a little bit. Harper (Kamp) has struggled in his last four games. We need some help. I know Saturday I didn't know where to go. I didn't feel that I had anybody who could come in and really help. Part of it was the way USC was playing us, but we need some guys to step up. We're going the opposite way right now. We need some guys to get some confidence and come in and be able to help us.

Could you talk about the backup point guard position? Nikola (Knezevic) played a lot this weekend. What does it look like going into this weekend?

Troublesome. I think I'm going to give Nican (Robinson) a little shot. Again, the way USC played was part of it; they weren't going to guard anybody they didn't feel could shoot. So, that made it really put a premium on Patrick (Christopher), Jerome (Randle), and Theo (Robertson). We need to take of the ball a little bit; we've tried to move Jerome off the ball some. We've been back and forth between Jorge and Nikola a little bit and with mixed results depending on how somebody plays us. It's a spot we need to get better.

Is Jorge dribbling too much when he gets the ball?

No, its just that he has certain habits that aren't good when the point guard position is supposed to set people up and get the ball where it needs to go and making the easy play. He does some things pretty good, but when he gets in trouble he tends to revert to some old habits that aren't necessarily good habits.

The second half of the season is about to start here with the Huskies. What stands out form the first time you played them? You've said a couple times that you were fortunate with that outcome. But, you also made plays.

Well he had guys who came to play that day. Patrick no question came out and made some tough shots, Theo as well.

(D.J.) Seeley also played well in that game

Yeah, it was lucky, but he hit a three. There were a lot of possessions in that game because of the way that game was played. We were hanging on on the glass. We got in foul trouble and we ended up with a small lineup and did a pretty good job. However, it was a little bit of a survival issue because we weren't very big. They're good. They're in first place. They've got good depth. They're very athletic and very physical. Us having beaten them their gets their attention if that makes a difference because I think they've been playing pretty hard all the way through. It's just a game by game deal to try and scratch out as many more wins as we can, but I think it's that way for a lot of people.

Is that a game that's hard for Jordan (Wilkes) to play a lot of minutes in anyway because of the style of the game?

Not necessarily. Jordan does a good job on the boards. He's not physical and (Jon) Brockman is. We've figured out in this league that the physical teams are getting the advantage. He got in foul trouble up there so we didn't have a lot of choice. But, Jordan is long and he's got good hands and he can get to the ball. We'll go with our normal rotation.

Besides getting better at what you do, what else can you do to change for the second half? Or is there anything else?

Not really. Our shooters have to get shots and we have to get more confidence. We're going to go back and work on offense. We've gotten away from what the offense is supposed to do. It seems like on every play there's a breakdown where somebody forgets a screen or we don't get to the second part of the thing. We've got to go back and execute our offense better. A lot of that is my fault for trying to get to things, tail end stuff for a specific shot rather than stay with the basics and stay with it. We've kind of relied on going to tail end stuff for a specific shot, but the guys that are our best shooters have got to get shots. I think that defensively we've gotten better. I don't think I could ask the kids to play a whole lot harder than they did on Saturday. Some guys will come in and say, `Oh we've got to play harder,' but we busted our tails out there. There were about three or four turnarounds that were critical where we had numbers and turned it over and they got a basket. Instead of us getting something that's a four point turnaround. There were about two of those in the game. One before half where we needed a shot and we didn't get it, but they got a bucket. And there was the one where Jordan tipped the ball in. He got pushed about eight feet. It was an even game, but towards the end they got more physical. He was trying to rebound the ball but got pushed and ended up tipping it in. I don't know what more we could do, but we've got to do a better job getting shots for our shooters.

You talked about getting the team's attention. In the second half when everybody has seen everybody. Does that work both ways? Or does it put you at an advantage or disadvantage?

It depends. The people that have complete packages that can go at all five spots, inside, outside, run, and defend and can change defenses are going to have an advantage over those that can't. Somebody made the comment that we're starting to work on our inside game... that was somebody who really doesn't know basketball. It doesn't have anything to do with that, it was what USC gave us. They were absolutely not going to give you certain things and allow you other things and our big guys did a pretty good job taking advantage of it. It was a career high for Jordan. We're going to have to improve our defense. Our effort is going to be critical and we are also going to have to limit our mistakes. Particularly in key times of the game where we might be even but then all of the sudden make a four point mistake. Then we're down and can't recover. We've done that before like against Oregon State where we made some mistakes at the wrong time and didn't have time to recover.

Could you talk about matching up against (Justin) Dentmon and (Isaiah) Thomas?

They attacked Jerome. Isaiah Thomas was the one that was hurting us then when we put Jorge on him they went away from him. Then they went to Dentmon. Your defense in only as good as your weakest link and we've talked about that consistently because you can only get so much help and you've got to do you're share of the load.

Are you going to put Jerome on Isaiah or do you know how that's going to shake out?

Well, it's not going to make a difference. They do isolate some, but Jerome is going to have to defend a good player either way. Dentmon is on fire right now. We'll have to cross the bridge when we get to it.

Is Washington playing better than when you saw them?

I don't think so. The problem with you guys is that if you lose you're doing bad and if you win you're playing good and it's not really either of those. You can win and play bad and vice versa. It has to do with matchups and who you're playing against. I would say that against USC we didn't miss good shots but we didn't get many good shots. I think Washington does what they do. Dentmon is starting to shoot the ball really well. Other than that, Brockman is just a wrecking ball and he's just going to get it off the glass. I don't see them being appreciably different.

You talked about how they take away the jumper from you guys. What does Patrick have to do when he is faced with that?

He has to slow down and wait for screens. He's not going to have a lot of space. And he's going to have to be ready to shoot it when he catches it and he's going to have to be better at putting it down and going by people. But we're going to have to make sure we're doing our best to help him. Everybody has to help everybody on our team. That's the nature of it. Nothing wrong with it, that's just the way it is. Everybody has to help each other and be a good player.

Do you feel you've done a better job about getting open shots when you're at home? What about with Washington?

They get really physical, but we couldn't even move. We couldn't run. Maybe they won't be as aggressive or if they are they won't get away with it as much. That theoretically is what goes on but you also have to make your own breaks.

Is it too obvious to say that you've got 5 of your next 7 at home and its time to make some hay?

You've got to make some hay at home. It's supposed to be easier. I don't know if that is truly the case. But the matchup of whom you are playing and where you're playing them has something to do with it. We need our crowd to help us. We need to get energy from them. We need the kids to get some confidence from our crowd and take a little away from our opponent. I don't know if we can win all of our home games but it sure would help, that was kind of our goal to start with.

Are you further along defensively than you would have expected at the beginning of the season?

No. I think that we've asked them to do some things and they try to do it. Fundamentally we make some errors but that's because defense takes years to get to buy in and develop habits. But, they're trying to do it. When we make mistakes we pay the price. Two or three times against USC we took the wrong direction and they got threes but that was all they got. Habits take a long time to develop but they're trying.

Could you take about Jamal's production of late and how he fits against your next opponents?

He plays hard. You have to give him credit. The kid busts it. He is pretty strong inside and never fails to give you effort. Effort is going to pay off. If you play hard and with some passion you're typically going to have some success and around the basket he's had some success.

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