Feb. 21, 2006
On great play at Oregon State: "I think we have definitely made some improvements. The thing about the Oregon State game that we really liked, was how together we were and how focused we were. We were really in sync. This is definitely the time of the year that you want to be that way."
On whether team is peaking at the right time: "Yeah, I don't know if I have said it. I know I have said it to my wife, with this group, with so many different changes with this group; a new identity for this group. Guys are returning, but they are assuming different roles. I was hoping we could do a decent job in the preseason and early conference, because I felt like in the end we would be a lot better off because the adjustments would be made. This is what we were probably hoping for. When I say that, I always qualify with, `that is today', that can change. But as of right now, currently, I like the direction that we are headed."
On how the last weekend played out: "Yes, that was well scripted, if that is the way you want to put it. In terms of the Huskies' that has given us a new life, in terms of maybe having a chance to finish in the top of the conference. We have zero margin for error as far as that is concerned. With our group, we mention some of these things, we talk about the big picture. But we also don't want to get carried away with the big picture, as much as we have got to have a good picture today."
On the Stanford game: "Well, I'm sure our guys look at that game, and realize that we were in a position to win the game. But we didn't get it done, Stanford got it done, so you have got to give them credit for it. They were in the right position, at the end of that game, to make the right play. And, throughout the game we weren't able to put the game away. As far as I am concerned, and I know my coaching staff is concerned, the number one goal here is for the future. That is what this game is about. It is not about showing that we should have won that game, that is over. If we really wanted to show we should have won it, we should have won it. We have got to be concerned with what takes place from here on out."
On whether the Stanford loss is a motivator: "It could be the case with our guys. I watched the UCLA-USC game, and watched the telecast. They brought up the fact that Coach Howland asked his team before they played USC, `who would you say in the Pac-10 did us the biggest favor'? They all said Arizona State because they beat California, and he said `no, Cal did us the biggest favor, because they showed that any team is capable of beating you at any time.' He didn't say that after they lost to USC, they said it before, so you just never know, until you get into the game, what the other people are thinking. We had a successful road trip, we had a successful home stand prior to that, I bet our guys are feeling much more confident than maybe they were three weeks ago. I think that may help as much as anything."
On why there are so many upsets in the Pac-10: "Well, I'd say look at other conferences and ask why that happens across the country. There is just so more parity in college basketball these days, that there are no shoe-ins. On paper maybe they are, statistically maybe they are. But, when you get down and actually play the game, teams are a lot closer, in terms of ability, than people think, especially within conference. I know your tendencies extremely well, there is a chance I could surprise you if you are more talented than me, because I know how you think better than some others. I think you see that in conference play, across the country."
On who is the favorite to win the Pac-10: "I couldn't tell you now, just like I couldn't tell you back in November at media day. I would have thought Cal was the favorite to beat Arizona State, I would have thought UCLA was the favorite to beat USC. Cal was favored when Oregon State beat them earlier in the year, I would have thought we were the favorite when Washington State beat us here. So, I don't know anything."
On Justin Dentmon after the Stanford game: "The only thing that I was concerned about with Justin was that he learned something. Then you move on. It didn't take very long before Justin and I talked about it. We dealt with it quickly. But, I think you have got to give a lot of credit to this team, and especially the seniors for coming alongside of Justin and being great teammates. I know they were upset at what happened. I don't think they harbored any bitterness, they put their arm around him and said, `hey, we all make mistakes.' I think some of the guys said there were some things in that game that they could have done better so were not in that situation. I think it really helped, when you face adversity, if you have bad character you don't climb out of it. If you have got good character, you can climb out of adversity and become stronger as a result. That is what happened with Justin. Also, Justin is a survivor, Justin is going to find a way to get it done. I think that since that game, he has played great basketball. Even that game against Oregon where he didn't number that much, he played great basketball down the stretch. We are really pleased with how he bounced back."
On the Seniors: "It is something that you hate to see come to an end. You hate to see it happen. Eventually, you have to see your kids move out. But, you hate to see the go. Those guys, along with last year's seniors will go down in this program's history as very very special basketball players, and also people. I was just messing around with some free time, and looking at some history. And over a three year period, how many teams, how many players have won as many games as these players have here. You have to go back around fifty years. The guys last year, Nate, Hakeem, Tre, and Will, obviously helped with that, in two years of that. But, these guys have played a big part in it as well. Again, you hate to see these guys leave."
On Nate Robinson winning the dunk contest: "We did, we watched it. A tape was provided, right after the Oregon State game. So we popped it in. When he jumped over Spud, everyone erupted, absolutely erupted. We didn't pay attention to the controversy, his dunk was unbelievable, that was something we let everyone else be concerned about."
On motivators for this weekend: "I think all of the above. I think it was mentioned earlier that a lot of factors have come into play in this game, that would serve as incentive to go out and put on your best performance. There is enough motivation for every team that is playing. I know that Stanford has got all the motivation in the world to come out and get a victory."
On number of bids the Pac-10 should receive: "Yeah, I don't see how we don't get four in, and we could possibly get five."
On recruiting Brandon Roy: "We kind of had to re-recruit him, so to speak, because we didn't know if he was still coming here."
On Brandon Roy: "He has not surprised me, at all, number one. Number two, I went and watched him, in the spring, when he was still a senior in high school and I had just got the job. He was really smooth, and he did a lot of good things out there on the floor. That was the one time I saw him, and I didn't see him again until he started practicing with us. But, I remember two things, the day that he was declared eligible, we went up to the east gym, and started to go through our offense. He picked it up in one session, and right then I realized that this guy is extremely bright, and that he has got a great basketball mind. But, we had also spent quite a bit of time talking, and quite a bit of time together, before he stepped foot on the basketball floor. I got a good feel for what type of person he was. I've always thought felt, since we have been here, that he has been our best player. Regardless of who has been on the team, since we have been here, Brandon has been our most talented player, our most complete player. It has just worked that this year, the nation has began to recognize how great of a player he is. I don't even know, if here locally, everyone understood how good Brandon was. I'm not an "I told you so" guy, but if you go back to the beginning of the year, you will see that I said you will be surprised by how good of a year he will have. If you see him everyday in practice for the last three years, you will think, `man, this guy can do a lot of things'."
On whether he should receive National Player of the Year: "You know, I don't know if you can give him National Player of the Year. You look at Duke, they are number one in the country, and you look at the season Gonzaga is having. Those guys, they way they are scoring, have got to have the edge for sure. But as far as who is the best player, Brandon Roy is as complete a player as anyone in the country, in my opinion. I am not being biased, when you talk about who out there is 6'6", not 6'11", and rebounds at a high level, passes at a high level, and defends at a high level, there are not a whole lot of those guys out there. And Brandon, you just look at his numbers, and he has shown that he does all of those things. He is a tough cover, for the opposition."
On what Jon Brockman has added to the team: "Jon has given us toughness that we haven't had in the front court. We have had it out in the backcourt with Nate Robinson and Will Conroy. Now, coming into this year, Justin is a very tough guy, Bobby Jones is another tough guy. It is that guy in the front line that is physical and just wants to mix it up, and Jon Brockman is that guy."
On Brockman improving: "He will continue to work on his consistency from the outside. And as far as the post, as he gets more comfortable and he gets more reps doing that, I think that will just naturally happen."
On whether half-time talk at Oregon was a motivator: "Well, you would have to ask him, because I can't read his mind. I just know that he responded pretty well."
On how often freshmen realize how hard they have to work: "Well, it is rare. Some of it is, they are not sure how hard you have to work, they are thinking they are working hard. It is like when my house asks me to clean up the house, when she gets back I am all proud, but she is like `look at that over there, you didn't clean'. Sometimes, as freshmen they think they are doing their best. But then when you show them film, they realize that they are not. It takes a while to learn how to do that, sometimes they just have to be reminded."
On what Jon Brockman has done for the team's rebounding: "I don't think it is a coincidence that we are leading the Pac-10 in rebounding by largest margin since we have been here. That is for two reasons, one, we have bigger wings this year, though Nate Robinson was a very good rebounder. And also, Jon Brockman. We have never had anyone average seven rebounds a game, he is averaging that, and it just gives you a physical presence."
On Pac-10 player of the year candidates: "I think Brandon, Leon Powe, and Jordan Farmar would be the three that I would pick. They have done a lot, for their basketball teams. The other thing that doesn't get talked about in there, is that I think Brandon is leading the league in Turnover/Assist ratio. He is just having a heck of a year. Not in just one or two areas, but all across the board."