Feb. 28, 2006
On Huskies' three-point shooting of late: "A part of it is that. I think another part of it is I think that our team is playing with a great rhythm right now, on the offensive and defensive ends. When your focus is there and you get into that type of rhythm, you kind of know where your shots are coming from a little bit. When your focus and intensity is there, it helps you get some focus on that basket as well. Shooting is a lot about concentration; the majority of shooting is balance and concentration. When are you are concentrating that much on boxing out, and being in the right place defensively, and running the floor--there is a good chance that you are going to be pretty focused overall. I think that has helped."
On whether Roy should have been less unselfish early in his career: "I don't know if I would put it that way, he should have been a little less unselfish, I think whatever Brandon has done in the past has helped us win a lot of games. I think he was capable of doing it, but I don't think it was in him prior to this year because of the different personalities on this team that were producing. He reminds me a lot of from Ed O'Bannon's junior year to his senior year. Ed had a couple of seniors in front of him, one was the leading scorer and one was the captain. Ed could have probably had a big year but he didn't want to step on anyone's toes. I would say that as much as Brandon wasn't stepping on toes, things were working. In Brandon's mind, why rock the boat if things are working. But, Ed O'Bannon's senior year he took it upon himself to carry them. I think Brandon, I don't know if he understood early quite how to do it, and he was not going to force his will on this team, when we were 11-0 and 12-0. He wasn't going to say, `wait a minute, I'm supposed to be scoring all of these points, forget winning.' We were winning, so he wasn't scoring 20 a game like he is now. When team's scouted us, and defenses tightened down, Brandon finally decided `here we go, this is my time'."
On Roy's role changing: "You know, Ben Wallace is an NBA all-star, but he doesn't shoot all the time. There are other ways to contribute to your team and help your team win without shooting all of the time, and Brandon has done that. Here is what I have said consistently, even though Brandon wasn't our leading scorer, if you look over the last couple of years, when we needed a basket we went to Brandon. Nate Robinson scored a lot off of hustle plays, and because of his energy he found a way to get that ball in his hand. He would get an offensive rebound basket; he would get in the open floor and score a basket. Tre Simmons, we would go to him when he would get going with the three, but in late games when we had problems scoring we would go to Roy quite a bit. So he has kind of been a go to guy for more than this year. It just so happens this year, we have gone to him a lot more, obviously."
On whether Roy's game has changed: "I don't think so. Brandon, I don't think he feels like his is ruffling any feathers when he scores now. He was so aware of his teammates, he didn't want to seem like he was this big gunner and all he cared about was himself. I think he now understands that his teammates are looking to him for that. And obviously, his teammates are comfortable with that. But, the only difference in Brandon's scoring now, when compared to his sophomore and junior years, is his confidence in the three-point shot. His drives to the basket, his rebound baskets, and his scoring from the block, he has been doing that from day one. But, the three has opened things up for him."
On why the team is playing so well right now: "People have settled in to roles. I think that is what it is. Your freshmen are more mature now, Justin Dentmon is playing very good basketball, and we know he hit a wall there. Jon Brockman, he hit a wall there for a while, but they have both come back and have been playing very well. When you look at our rotation, we have settled in on a rotation. Guys now have a better idea of when they are going to be coming in and coming out. All those things are a process that has to take place, so that hopefully, by the end of the year you are playing your best basketball. We have gone through this three years in a row, actually four years in a row. Even when we were 10-17 we were playing our best basketball at the end of the year. We made some adjustments to the starting lineup, and some players that were playing early were not playing as much toward the end of the year. That is the process. The only year we didn't do it much was last year, because we had a veteran team and almost everyone came back."
On defensive intensity: "We have picked it up on the defensive end. I think of the last six games, at Oregon is the only game where we didn't defend how we would have liked. Even in that game, the last four minutes we tightened up the defense, if we wouldn't have then we wouldn't have won the game. But at the defensive end, guys have done a good job."
On Justin Dentmon: "He was able to benefit in the preseason by playing a lot of minutes. He has been our starting guard for the entire year, and he has been able to get valuable on the job training, so to speak. He has made big plays that have enabled us to win ball games. He has done a tremendous job for us."
On Dentmon's Character: "He gets down on himself once and a while, he will feel sorry for himself a little bit, because he wants to be the best. But, other than that, he is extremely, extremely coachable. He has always got a smile on his face, he is kind of one of the more humorous guys on our team. Even as a freshman he makes our guys laugh all of the time. He is just a genuine, sincere person. He has been through a lot in his life, but you wouldn't know it because he has a great outlook on life. Justin, when he got here in the summer, they were lifting or had the day off or something, and he went over to the IMA to do some shooting. Coach Shaw was over there for some reason, and he asked Justin what he was doing on a day off, and Justin said `I didn't come this far to take days off'. That is just how he is, he is passionate about what he does."
On Dentmon's past giving him his drive to be the best: "Yeah, I think that has something to do with it. He is on a mission, his mother has been there for him, he has mentors that have been there for him and not allowed him to get sidetracked. He is just not going to let anything get in his way of being as successful as he can possibly be."
On freshmen accolades: "I think the National Freshman of the Year would have to be Tyler Hansborough, and after that would be the guy Thomas from LSU. Within our conference, Marcus Williams from Arizona has done a great job for them; Mbah a Moute at UCLA has done a great job. Pedergraph from Arizona State has come on strong of late, and has been playing great basketball. But, I don't know if there have been any other freshmen in this league that have had to come in and provide something that no one else could provide. What I mean by this is that we have had the best year that we have ever had in the area of rebounding, and that doesn't have anything to do with our big people. Being able to have Brandon Roy and Bobby Jones on the wings, as opposed to Tre Simmons and Nate Robinson, we are much bigger and better rebounders. Jon Brockman has given us an identity; he has given us a physical presence. I hear all the time, from people around the league that we are as physical as any team in this league. We haven't heard that before, we have heard we are scrappy, but Jon Brockman has given us that type of presence. Justin Dentmon has been able to come in and replace Will Conroy and Nate Robinson. Brandon Roy has certainly helped us quite a bit, but that was a big void coming into the season, and for Justin Dentmon to step in and do the job that he has done, he is going to have the most assists of any freshman in the history of the program, that is saying a lot. He has done a nice job. So, when we talk about impact freshmen, there are some that are playing well, and there are some like those two that are giving us something that we wouldn't have had, and would not have been able to look elsewhere for."
On why freshmen play so well straight out of high school: "They play so many big games before they get to college. The AAU games, this year with EBO and Friends of Hoop, Spencer Hawes is on Friends of Hoop, they are playing nationally televised AAU games. That's just center stage. All of the all-star games are televised nation-wide. These kids go out now, and it is a showcase for the NBA. Not as much now with the rules they have changed. But, on a three-week tour, NBA people are watching every game, and every practice. That is a lot of pressure. Kids come in now, and they are ready to go."
On whether three-game losing streak strengthened team: "Adversity usually tells your character. Adversity will bring out those with poor character, and those are the quitters. But, it will also bring out those that are resilient. We found out what that team was made of through that adversity. It forces you to evaluate what you are doing, if what you are doing is right or wrong. If you are worth anything, you are going to come back stronger from it, and I think that is what our team did."
On possibly overlooking Arizona State: "No, No, we have gone through that for three years, and I don't think we have ever overlooked a team. We lost at Washington State this year, and at Oregon State last year, but we didn't overlook them, you play a game or two during the year, that for whatever reason, you just didn't have it. We haven't overlooked teams in the past; I don't think we will overlook this one either. We have had too much experience in these situations to overlook an opponent. That doesn't mean we will win the game, but I don't think it will be a result of us overlooking Arizona State. Arizona State, we talked about them last week. They are as scrappy as any team in this league, and when you watch them play, you would think that they have a chance to win the Pac-10 championship, because of how hard they play. Guys know that throughout the years, whenever we have played Arizona State, there has either been a potential fight to break out, or there has been some flagrant foul somewhere in the game. Some technical foul, something that doesn't usually happens, happens when we play this team. There is no way we are going to overlook Arizona State, there is no reason to."
On Mike Jensen in the starting lineup: "Two areas that I think have been helped with Mike in the starting lineup, this is a great example of it is not always the best players that are in the five. It is the five that make the best team. That has been important for people to understand, you might not have your most talented players in the starting lineup. So, what ends up happening is rarely over these last six games have we had a poor start to the first and second half. Mike might not go out there and score a point, but he is an energy guy. He is accustomed to starting. When we were going back and forth we were not sure, we thought Ryan maybe, putting him in the starting lineup. But it came down to me in my mind thinking that he may not be the leading scorer or leading rebounder, but he is comfortable with starting. We have won a lot of games with him in the starting lineup. We have not had the slow starts that we were kind of plagued with before, at times. The second thing, is that when we have Jon Brockman and Jamaal in there at the same time, a lot of times they are looking to camp out around the basket quite a bit. Now you have Mike who stretches the defense. Instead of saying, `no Mike we are going to cram you down in the paint, you are 6'8", you are 250, you are going to go down on the block', well lets not do that. Let's take advantage of what he does well; when he is on the floor, you must pay attention to him, you must pay attention to him. That has freed us up offensively, and opened up more driving lanes. And now, when you substitute, you don't have those guys in at the same time as much as we had in the past. I think it has helped them, it allows Jon Brockman to guard a different guy at the beginning of the game, and Mike has always done a good job of guarding the other team's tallest guy."