Quotes from Ben Braun's Press Conference

Jan. 15, 2001

BERKELEY - Below are selected quotes from Cal basketball coach Ben Braun from his weekly press conference. The Bears visit Stanford Wednesday before hosting South Florida Saturday night.

On Stanford and the challenges the game presents:

'I've had a chance to watch Stanford all year long. They're improving, and that's what's scary. They're getting better and better. That's what good teams do. They've made marked improvement even since the Duke game. I think their balance is a key to their team. I know Casey Jacobsen has hit big shots for them this year. He's a phenomenal player. You look at the Collins twins, they're playing very steady. They play awfully well together. When you've got talent and you know each other inside and out, that's going to be a factor. Ryan Mendez is extremely improved from a year ago. Everyone knows of his shooting prowess, but, boy, is he doing other things for the team. He's making plays off the dribble he didn't make a year ago. He's playing very well and very confidently. He's not a one-dimensional kind of player.'

On Stanford's defense:

'If you look at their percentages, they're playing solid. Again, they're not going to give you easy shots. You're going to have to work extremely hard for your shots. That's one of their keys. They don't give you very many second shots. That's also been a big key to their success. They take away most teams' easy baskets. They really test you on a number of fronts. Offensively, your execution, your patience, your ability to knock down shots, those things you have to do against Stanford. And you have to work hard to get good shots against Stanford because they're not going to give you any. They just don't make those kinds of mistakes. '

On what Cal needs to do against Stanford:

'I think we have to do what we've been doing, and that's to have a good balance of going inside and out. That's why we've been successful. Our inside play has improved. And Oregon found out, you're not going to come down and simply beat Stanford from the outside. You may have that rare day when you're shooting the ball extremely well from the perimeter, but I think you're also going to have to take the ball to the basket and get to the foul line a few times. You can't be one-dimensional against Stanford. I think you have to play a good all-around game.'

Since Braun's first year, is this the best stretch Cal has played with 10 wins in 11 games:

'It's probably the most consistent stretch we've played. And that's what we've been asking our players to do. I think our players are learning that consistency can breed success. Knowing what you have every day and doing what you can do on a daily basis, not being up and down, those are the things we try to work on. You look at our offensive statistics, they've been pretty solid. You look at defense, we've held teams. (Sean) Lampley has been a very consistent player over this stretch. Shantay (Legans) has been more consistent. Brian Wethers is giving us a lift. Solomon (Hughes) has developed some consistency, he's been a factor. Our consistency of effort has been there. We've realized we can control that on a daily basis. Going into the Stanford game, we know we can control our effort. We are going to go into Stanford, hopefully, the same way we have our last nine or 10 games. And that's with an effort and a pretty solid attitude about ourselves. We have to.'

'You want to go out and compete. You want to play your hardest. That's what it's about. That's what we've challenged our players to do. I think we've gone out and played pretty hard. We are trying to play to our potential, whatever that potential is. We can't let the scoreboard, we can't let the team we're playing, the environment dictate how hard we play. That should be a force of habit.'

On whether Braun will bring up last year's 101-50 loss at Stanford to the team this year:

'We can put articles up on the bulletin board. We can say, 'Look way happened last year.' But that was our team last year, and it was their team last year. That doesn't have a lot of relevance to me on this year's team. Their teams change, and our teams change. That was one game. We choose not to go back and put any added significance on that game. I'm not saying last year couldn't be a learning experience. It's probably a point of departure in terms of that was then, what have we done now? We've just got to move forward, and I'd rather focus on what we're doing now, not what we didn't do last year.'

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