What did Tony say that he fears might draw a fine from the Pac-10?
Let's do this:
- Dennis Patchin of KXLY filled in for Bud Nameck this week as the host. He asked Tony about how the team is bouncing back from a tough weekend in the Bay Area. Tony jokingly said he was thinking of getting t-shirts for the team with a hand grenade, horseshoe and shuffleboard on it - as those are the only things in which close counts. We've been close in games numerous times this year, but it's a bottom line game, and you're ultimately measured in wins and losses.
- On the difference between the Stanford game the Cal game: Tony liked the sense of urgency we showed against Cal and felt that was the big difference between the two. "Cal had to beat us to win that game," said Tony.
- The day after any game, win or loss, the players and coaches review 10-20 minutes of the previous game prior to practice, and then they move on. No dwelling on previous losses, but no ignoring them either.
- Tony's message to the team this week: play with the same energy and intensity that we showed against Cal. We have to play with a sense of urgency, because when we have it we've shown we can beat - or at least come close - to most any team in the conference.
- On Caleb's injury: "He's fine".
- Looking ahead to Oregon and Oregon State: "Both are capable of beating us". Tony believes we played well on the road against both and if we do the same things at home we'll have a good shot. Oregon is a young team that's struggling but certainly capable and talented with Tajuan Porter. Tony said Porter has "quick release" and "unlimited range". Tony knows he has a green light and can let it fly from anywhere. Tony and Dennis talked a little bit about how players like that can be frustrating, because you do everything right defensively and they can still break free and beat you.
- On who is defending Tajuan Porter: Rochestie will get a look, as he did last time, and Marcus Capers will as well. Tony feels that sometimes length can bother a player like Porter.
- A caller questioned if Tony was having a hard time getting through to the team emotionally. The gist of the question was why the team wasn't showing much emotion or "swagger" on the court. [Side note: so what? I love that Klay Thompson shows the same amount of quiet intensity throughout the game. I love that we don't act like chest-pounding morons like Brook Lopez. There are problems with this team, but lack of emotion isn't one of them. In my opinion. You're welcome to disagree on that point.] Tony said the players are nice kids, and we don't have that problem with the seniors. Like Dick Bennett used to tell his son, "You're a nice kid, but a crappy player." Sometimes you look at a guy like Klay and wonder if he's working that hard, or feeling that much emotion, but the reality is that he is. Klay is kind of a joker off the court, and while he may not show it he really cares about the game emotionally. Tony thinks he'll grow into a more emotional role over time, a lot like Derrick Low did. There's a lot of pressure on Klay right now, but Tony thinks it will likely help him down the road.
- Kyle Weaver will be making his third or fourth start tonight for the Team Who Shall Not Be Named, against Kobe and the Lakers.
- On Tony showing some frustration and throwing some paper in the air against Cal: "At least I didn't flip off the student section."
- Aron Baynes' parents will be in town this week, as will Mychal Thompson. Nik's parents were here for the last homestand. This is Baynes' parents' first trip to the U.S. to watch their son play. Kyle Weaver will even be in Pullman over the All-Star break.
- Dennis asked who the most improved player is this year. Tony said he might give a slight edge to Caleb Forrest over Aron. Where Aron was already playing at a high level, Caleb has really upped his game this season. Tony spoke with the impression that both have made great strides in their time here.
- On the decision to not foul, down 4 in the final minute against Cal: Tony felt if we could get a stop we would have had a chance to make it a one possession game before putting Cal on the line. Of course, Theo Robertson drained a tough shot over Harmeling, and the rest was history.
- Tony and the coaches took a trip recently to see 2009 commit Xavier Thames in action. What's exciting for you, fellow CougCenterers, is that it looks like he could help some of our deficiencies right away next season. He is an excellent ballhandler; Tony feels that he has "the ball on a string". He is contributing in an efficient way for a high school that had struggled the season before.
- On Capers' charge against Cal: Tony feels one of the biggest differences this year is we have less players that can create off the dribble. He is glad that Capers could be one of those players, and he mentioned Nikola, Rochestie and occasionally Thompson as players who can do that. It has been a problem for our team, but we can't force players to do things that are outside of their game, and we have to find other ways to get in the lane. For example - getting the ball to Baynes.
- A caller asked about "what Tony Bennett's national championship team looks like". He said Michigan State in 2000, whom he saw three times that season with Wisconsin. They did not beat themselves. Real complete players, great defenders, who can get out and go on offense when they need to.
- The final caller felt that the wings were being to hesitant in getting the ball to Baynes, and that Baynes could benefit from using his butt to create more space. Tony agreed, but noted that it's harder than it looks on TV.
- Furthermore, Baynes is getting battered in the post as of late, and often doesn't show it the way other players do, because he's so strong. But he's getting pushed around down there, and Tony feels the men in stripes are looking the other way. Tony hasn't appreciated how the officials have treated Baynes lately, saying "if that draws a fine, so be it".