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Tony Bennett radio show recap

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Is Mike Harthun finally going to earn his freedom from the bench? Let's get to the recap:

  • Tony was really proud of the effort against UCLA last week, and thought we had a bunch of good looks against USC but couldn't quite come through. He quoted the shooting statistics to the team after the Trojan game and felt we were lucky to be that cold and still be in the game. However, you don't win many games where you can't put the ball in the basket.
  • Bud Nameck asked if Tony was worried about kids pressing and trying to do too much to get us back in the win column against ASU and Arizona this week. Tony said that he reminds the team just to be who they are, and that's the best we can do. Tony isn't worried about our players trying to play outside themselves.
  • A caller asked if we design plays for specific players, and Tony quickly said yes. He tries in particular to go to Baynes, a hot hand, or at a defender in foul trouble.
  • A caller asked about the need for Klay Thompson to score. Tony felt that it's a lot of pressure to require him to score 10-15 a night, and that USC played a lot of triangle and two to try and disrupt Klay and Taylor. Tony knows there is a lot of pressue for a freshman to do what Thompson has done, and expecting him to be a double-digit scorer every night is a stretch.
  • On one of Taylor's key turnovers down the stretch against USC, Taylor started the play a little early and Caleb Forrest didn't get the screen in time as Rochestie tried to get the ball to Klay, leading to a turnover. Nameck wanted to credit USC's defense. Tony wasn't quite so sure the Trojans were the cause.
  • On Daven Harmeling: Just in a shooting slump, and shooting the ball a bit too flat. Agreed with the FSN announcers that he isn't the best at creating his own shot, but doesn't necessarily think the loss of Low and Weaver have hampered his number of open looks. He feels Daven has had a few and they just aren't falling.
  • On what the coaches do at halftime: Tony talks to the coaches first before heading to the players' locker room to discuss strategy (similar to what the coaches do during times out).
  • On Fabian Boeke: back was hurt at the beginning of the season, and just as he was getting better he rolled his ankle and was set back yet again. He is now getting better and able to practice (he was in uniform Saturday night). Tony reminds his players that even though they all work hard in practice he can't play all of them (Nik, Daven, Enquist, Harthun, Lodwick, Boeke, etc.). [To me, this seems to suggest Tony is seriously considering giving Boeke some playing time. Stay tuned.]
  • Bud Nameck asked about playing the young guys and how Tony decides that. Tony said he doesn't want an off-night shooting effecting the other parts of his players' game. For example, Daven played good defense against USC and Tony really appreciated that, even though his shots weren't falling.
  • News of the night: "We gotta look at Harthun (as an option)", says Tony as he talks about how Arizona and Arizona State will force us to try and beat them on the perimeter (AZ with the matchup zone and ASU with a 1-3-1 type zone). Bud and Tony talked about how the high screen worked well against ASU with Cowgill last year, but that you have to give the Sun Devils different looks to be successful. [Side note: It seems that every time Tony brings up someone as a candidate for playing time, they sure enough end up playing in the next game. Can the same be said for Harthun? I hope so, if for no other reason that we need some kind of catalyst from the bench on offense.]
  • On Arizona State: feels that this is the year they've been building for and nothing but the best from us will work. Harden is a high NBA draft pick and Pendergraft is still tough to deal with.
  • On Harden: you have to know where he is and "pinch the lane". He's got an excellent shot and can move easily to his right or the left. Tony feels he's one of the best in the lane that he's seen in his six years. Harden can also kick it out to his teammates or find Pendergraph. Tony feels he's a very unselfish player.
  • Apparently one of the people that threw something on the court after the Arizona State game last year was a kid we were recruiting, but ultimately didn't get. The kid apologized profusely, and  it was apparently very out of character for him. (Any guesses on who it was?)
  • On ASU's Rihard Kuksiks: A terrific shooter who can make it from just about anywhere. Tony said he's from Russia (he's actually from Latvia - but c'mon folks, you can't expect Tony to know everything about everything).
  • On Nikola Dragovic going off: Tony felt there were only two or three defensive mistakes, but he just hit everything in the first half. We actually did a pretty good job against him - Tony was very proud of the overall effort in the game and felt that those sort of games against top tier competition should be celebrated.
  • The team is doing well academically. The NCAA is apparently cracking down on prep schools, where some players can basically rework their transcripts to become eligible.
  • Early, early game on Saturday against Arizona. Tony doesn't change much in the way he prepares for those types of games, despite the early start. Especially if the students have classes the day before.
  • On the Collison-to-Keefe circus shot, an audience member asked why it wasn't goaltending. Tony said it wasn't in the cylinder, therefore not goaltending, and joked that UCLA doesn't need fluke shots like that. Every point matters, and it hurt us, but we had a chance at the end with Caleb under the basket.
  • The Cougs have upped their shooting reps in practice, and Tony has been challenging players to shoot before and after practice. He will sometimes have the team practice against six defenders in the halfcourt offense.
  • On the zone defense, once again: you have a greater chance at second-chance points and Tony wants us to take advantage of that. ASU does have one advantage with Pendergraft, as does Arizona with Jordan Hill.

That's all for tonight. We'll do it again next Tuesday.