Mike Montgomery March 9 Press Conference Quotes

March 9, 2009

BERKELEY - California head coach Mike Montgomery spoke with Bay Area media at his weekly press conference on March 9. The Golden Bears travel to Los Angeles to face USC Thursday in the Pac-10 Tournament.

On the First-Team All-Pac 10 selections for Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher:
Well, it was really competitive. Look at all 15 guys, it's pretty impressive. It's nice recognition for a job well done. I think there's a couple other kids that could have got recognized from our team, but didn't. If you look at the second team, with [Taj] Gibson, [Daniel] Hackett, [Josh] Shipp and [Nic] Wise, in particular -- it's a pretty impressive group. It's a tribute to the job they did throughout the year.

On the upcoming Pac-10 Tournament:
It's an opportunity to win a tournament. It's quite a difficult task because you have to play three straight nights, when you never have to do that in any other circumstance. So, the league as balanced as it is this year, there isn't any game that's not going to be fairly well contested, I wouldn't think. It's going to be a tough tournament for whoever wins it. Everybody has one now because of the advent of TV and the dollars that are generated. So, it's what it is. It's tough. You're going to have to have some depth to go into that thing and win it because it's going to be hard for anybody that can't go 8, 9, 10 deep; it's going to be tough on them playing three straight nights to win it.

On whether an early exit from the Pac-10 tourney would affect the team's confidence going into NCAA Tournament:
No. You can overanalyze that ad nauseum if you want to. You can look at everything every which way. We've got a tough game against SC in Los Angeles. There is no way that, whoever we drew, it wasn't going to be a tough game, it's just the way it was going to be, given the league. We're going to have to go down and play as hard as we can, but you should try to do that every game. You're objective is to win every game. You're objective play is to play as hard as you can and all the subplots are for everybody else to try and figure out. We've just got to figure out how to keep improving and see if we can't go in and try to win as many games as we can.

On what he knows now that he did not before either of his two previous meetings this season with the Trojans:
Nothing. It's not like there's this daily entourage of information that's being supplied. SC got physical with us down there and caused us some problems late. We were ahead, but they got physical. Maybe it was as simple as free throw blockoff. We just got pounded, pushed right off the block, and they rebounded about four straight missed free throws. We beat them in overtime here, which was a huge game for us and probably a real tough loss for them because it really took them out of the opportunity to be where we are, frankly. So, they'll be plenty motivated. They have very good athletes. Gibson and Hackett are two very, very good defenders. I think probably Daniel Hackett doesn't get nearly as much credit as he deserves. [DeMar] DeRozan's a terrific athlete. It's just a tough matchup. We're going to have to be prepared to handle their intensity, their toughness, their physicality. [USC Head Coach] Tim [Floyd] does a great job of trying to isolate people he thinks he can take advantage of. They tried to post Jerome every chance they got last time. Hackett ended up with 27. [Floyd] does a good job of trying to figure out what he thinks you need to do to win and try to take that away. Thus, the triangle and 2 that he's played against a lot of people; or he'll help with his post on wing people. And I'm sure we'll see a variety or a combination of that.

On whether the rotation may change at this point in the season:
Well, we put Nik [Knezevic] in at Arizona and got some pretty good results. I don't think you try to worry about Saturday; I think you worry about Thursday. You have to win Thursday before you can get to Friday. You're going to play the people you think you need to to win. Obviously, if you get in foul trouble or something, then you're going to have to make some adjustments. But no, you can't all of a sudden change who you are. I guess which would be my point for all of the questions is, you are who you are. You can't go around and start making these adjustments, like we're going to play SC different now. We do what we do. When we shoot the ball, we're pretty tough and when we don't, then we have to try to find other ways to win and we have some limitations there. But, it's worked to the degree that it's worked, and that's what we're going to have to go with.

On never having a team before that relies on three-point shooting as much as this team does:
It's never a bad thing. It just that everybody's job's easier when you have an inside guy that you can go to that forces the defense to have to pay attention to or double down, i.e. [Jeff] Pendergraph, i.e. Jordan Hill. Those guys cause lots of problems and gives them additional deal. No, I typically over the years had low-post guys that we played off of with very good perimeter shooters. But this year, our inside people are opportunistic, but not guys that we've gone to consistently.

On whether Cal's perimeter game has helped its inside game:
Well, first time against SC, Jordan [Wilkes] had 18 and Jamal [Boykin] had numbers because they really, really took away the outside and we made them pay, but they did win. So, I would guess they'd be willing to make that tradeoff again.

On the status of Harper Kamp:
I would guess that the calf would get better. He's had a tough couple of weeks. We felt like Thursday that maybe it was really bothering him because in the first half, he was not himself.

On whether Kamp will have a medical procedure on his knee after the season:
Hopefully not, because he's been able to play in every game. It's gotten stronger and better and that's going to be the theory, [that] it's going to continue to get stronger and better. I don't think they will do anything major. They might go in and try to see if they can help it a little bit with a scope, but I don't think he feels like he has to do anything major at this point.

On the Pac-10 Coach of the Year award:
Congratulations to [Washington Head Coach] Lorenzo Romar, he did a great job. I have maintained for many, many years that there are a lot of guys around the country that do a great job of coaching, but because they don't win, they don't get a lot of credit. Because most people don't know anything about what happens, it's way easier, and probably rightly so, that you chose somebody who wins. That's the way it should be.

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