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Tony Bennett Radio Show Recap

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What are Tony's thoughts on the Cougars' waning postseason chances? Let's join your Voice of the Cougars, Bud Nameck, and Tony Bennett, checking in from the Hilltop restaurant:

  • On the OSU loss: Tony called it a tough loss for us, and afterwards he had to go and watch game tape of our similarly painful loss to USC in Pullman. The Cougs play the Trojans again on Thursday, and the last meeting was a tough, defensive battle that ended in the 40s. The Trojans played a lot of triangle-and-two and box-and-one against us in the last meeting, which Tony felt frustrated our offense.
  • On Tim Floyd's ejection versus ASU: No word yet on any further discipline from the Pac-10, as far as Bud and Tony have heard. "He broke tackle on his assistants," said Tony, as assistants are supposed to hold a head coach back and keep him from coming out of the coaching box. On the call in question: "it didn't look too difficult from my view". The two officials on the floor had made two different calls: one called a block, the other a charge. The charge stood. (Side note: it was clearly not a charge, as you can see on the linked video)
  • Tony said you could send game tape to the officials, like football coaches do sometimes, but didn't think it would help or accomplish anything. He resigned himself to no further comment regarding officials. [side note: I think Tony has tried to get his point across to the officials in this conference before, and feels it goes nowhere. Between Tony, Tim Floyd and the other coaches in the conference, I think we have some serious discontent brewing between the refs and the coaches in the Pac-10]
  • Tony was disappointed by his friend Terry Porter's firing in Phoenix (as coach of the Suns).
  • On Kyle Weaver: Kyle said he had learned humility from Pullman, and Tony felt all the success hasn't gone to his head. He's trying to work hard, and so far it's paid off for him. Tony likes that he's with a young team where he gets to play a lot and show his versatility. Kyle said it's a whole new world playing against NBA talent.
  • A caller felt that the team lost a lot of its momentum against Cal when the reserves started to come in. "We had some breakdowns," said Tony, and he feels that can happen when the young kids come in. Tony feels we still have to sub - he looks at Aron at about the 16 minute mark and the other starters shortly thereafter. But he knows one of the drawbacks of subbing is that some breakdowns can occur.
  • A caller asked about the scoring drought versus OSU, and what you can do to stop them. "You call timeouts, you try to run sets". Tony knew that Aron and Taylor weren't pleased with their games. What frustrated Tony more was that even though your offense comes and goes, your defense has to be consistent. He thought it was a combination of everything defensively and offensively that contributed to the drought.
  • Bud asked about the lob play from Daven to Klay. Tony said that was something you look for, but the pass was too hard, and on numerous occasions we let the defensive pressure get to us. It was discouraging - the difference in how we handled the press from the first half to the second. Tony felt we got a little too dangerous with passing in the second half. You have to rely on your ballhandlers and safe passes to beat the press, and we struggled against Oregon State. A couple defensive breakdowns on the other end, and OSU was in business.
  • A caller asked for Tony's take on Arizona as a surprise team. He feels the interim coaches are doing a nice job. Hill is a potential Top 5 pick, Budinger and Wise are excellent, and they have good role players. Tony feels they aren't very deep, but they play well at home and have a few special players. Has the play of Arizona surprised Tony? Not especially, with how balanced the league is, but how they handled UCLA was surprising.
  • A caller asked about the Seattle Times skimping on Cougar coverage. Bud chimed in about how it's a tough time for the newspaper business, and a lot of papers are hiring freelancers. Bud asked about the paper problems and how it affects coaching. Tony's reply: "I don't read the papers". But Tony still knows it's been a rough time for the media of late (side note: which I'm sure has absolutely nothing to do with blogs like this one. Moving on...).
  • On the L.A. schools and beyond: Tony feels it will be a battle, and the final 5 games are against some of the top teams in the conference.
  • On any chance of a postseason: Tony just wants us to play well, and if we end up with enough wins to get in, so be it. He feels the players know the importance of games like the OSU one. We also haven't taken for granted our two trips to the NCAA tournament. Our record could be very different in conference had a few things gone our way, but that's basketball, and that's the Pac-10. Everyone still has a chance in the conference tournament.
  • Tony is not shocked by Washington's lead in the Pac-10. He felt this was the year they had been pointing to, but he notes we should wait to see how it all shakes out in the end.
  • Bud asked about USC with Dwight Lewis versus USC without them (e.g. the last time we played the Trojans). Tony felt Lewis is a big, skilled guard and will help the Trojans. Taj Gibson had a big game the last time we matched up in Pullman. Tony hopes we can get the same number of quality shots that we did the last time against USC.
  • A caller asked if Tony would consider recommending a player as a coach, or taking a current player on as an assistant. "Daven wants to be a coach", said Tony, and he added that while he doesn't know if anyone else does, Taylor fits that mold. He feels the seniors have been great leaders on and off the court. They've been vocal and helpful since the frosh have arrived in Pullman. They haven't always been the best players, but they're great kids and have consistently been good examples for the freshman players. "We'll be freshmen and sophomores next year, with the exception of Nik." (Side note: Tony seems to be forgetting Fabian Boeke, our team's lone Junior for next season)
  • Bud asked when Tony decides to use tough love, versus building up the confidence. "It's a feel, and sometimes you make the wrong decision." He thought tough love might be the response after the OSU game, but he wants his teams to know that the coaches believe in them. He wants players to know that the coaches care and don't want them to give up, but there are times when being tough is OK. Tony doesn't think that coaches have to be the bad cop all the time, "but maybe my Dad was," he joked. He still conceded that his father was good at dangling players over the edge, so to speak, but reassuring them later.
  • The team is working on practice on facing the multiple defenses that USC will throw at them. Tony knows the Cougars will have to be ready for both teams on the road trip.