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Tony Bennett Radio Show Recap

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Is a professional golfer the secret to the Cougs' success in Tempe? It's recap time.

  • Tony started with a comment on the large crowd at the radio show: "You beat a ranked team, and some of your old friends show up." He was joking. Sort of.
  • Tony talked with Bud Nameck (your voice of the Cougars) a little bit about how they prep for road trips. Fortunately, the Cougars get a direct flight out of Pullman to and from the Bay Area. He's grateful for Dan Harmon (sp?) and the other donors who allowed us to book more charter flights this season. It helps academically too, by allowing the players to miss less class. Normally the players have to present a white slip to get out of class, and exams during road trips must be proctored.
  • On the second half of the season: 7 or 8 [Pac-10] teams are in the same boat, and we've played everyone once, so everyone knows each other. Tony feels you need "neck up" players (e.g. smart ones), and players that are efficient, to rise to the top.
  • On the rumor of Bob Knight taking over at Georgia: Tony called Bob a tremendous coach, said there could be lots of positives there, and that Knight never really closed the door on his career. Remembered that his Dad came back when he thought he would golf his way into retirement.
  • Bud asked about the Arizona collapse, and how much team confidence ebbs and flows. Tony said Klay struggled a bit against Arizona, and while the pressure caused turnovers, it doesn't alter how they are supposed to play transition defense, or close out on guys. While the defensive pressure hurt, it was no excuse for the numerous other breakdowns that occurred during the run. Tony felt either they'll embrace our basic principles in the second half of the conference slate, or they'll end up having a tough time down the stretch.
  • A caller asked about the TV/Radio audio delay. Bud Nameck's explanation: "Janet Jackson". The FCC fines are huge for television shows, and the tape delays have gotten lengthy. The same can't exactly be said for radio, since there is no visual.
  • The same caller asked about beating the press. Tony says you don't pick up the dribble, especially in the corners and the places where teams focus their traps. It doesn't account for the other errors we had, but there were about three key turnovers against the press that we made during the 16-0 Arizona run.
  • Tony mentioned when the press happens we are usually one pass away from a 2-on-1 or an easy bucket, and that stops some teams from continuing to trap. We just couldn't make the plays on Saturday. "We got a little tentative," Tony said, and thought occasionally we need to be more aggressive to get easy baskets against the press.
  • On one of the Budinger baskets, Daven lost him and Taylor didn't cover on the back screen. He felt those were some of the little things within our control that we need to do to be successful. He did praise Daven's defense overall in both games.
  • Tony thinks Klay and Taylor are our two best ballhandlers, and that Taylor has to keep focus to avoid turnovers. But he likes having the ball in Taylor's hands. Bud mentioned that part of turnovers are the receivers and not necessarily the ballhandler. Tony agreed.
  • Tony often has 4 guys guarding 3 in practice to simulate the fullcourt press/trap.
  • The next women's game on Friday is the second annual "Cougs have Heart" game against #7 Stanford, where the first fans to the door will be receiving T-shirts.
  • Tony: "We gotta get better at home". Bud asked if the team felt less pressure on the road, without family/friends/etc. watching. Tony felt he hoped we got to the part where that didn't matter. He conceded that the USC game still hurts, and he doesn't want the team to relax up thinking the crowd will carry them to a win.
  • Tony thinks the second half comes down to eliminating the unforced errors. He wants the freshmen to be more consistent. He believes Daven can be our "fourth scorer" behind Klay, Aron and Taylor. That is if he can keep shooting good shots in the rhythm of the offense.
  • On Baynes: "I've really challenged him, and he just responded." He's rebounding well, pursuing the ball well. Tony ran copies of a Jay Bilas article  on toughness and gave it to the team. Obviously Baynes exemplifies a lot of those things.
  • Wisconsin-Stevens Point is going to name their court after Dick and Jack Bennett this weekend. "He really wants a golf hole named after him," said Tony of his father.
  • Speaking of the links, Tony was glad that PGA golfer Steve Stricker was at the ASU game, and thought his presence might have helped Klay's shooting touch. We are 3-0 when Stricker has come to watch us in Tempe.
  • Thought Tucson was an "interesting crowd" this time and was disappointed with the Arizona fans' behavior. One guy was riding Tony in particular - he jokingly said it didn't bother him when we were winning but got annoying as we fell behind. He doesn't like any of the personal insults directed toward players and thought that a few people (in an otherwise classy Arizona crowd) went a little overboard.
  • On Taylor: "Has to be our iron man". He got dinged a little in practice today and had to sit out a bit, but returned. Tony stacks Taylor's brief in-game breaks up against media timeouts to give him longer rests (you'll see the same practice with Blake Griffin and any number of team leaders). But he knows Taylor has to be out on the floor a lot, just like he was last year.
  • On Stanford: They run sets similar to the Duke philosophy. Dangerous team - they've lost to three Pac-10 teams by one point each - and they're going to be hungry after the UCLA blowout. They have changed up their ball screens and sets a little bit from the last time we played them. They are healthy, and Landry Fields is playing well. "They will have their backs against the wall."
  • Tony thought the last game against Stanford was a key win for us. He was reminded of the KT dunk that ignited the crowd.
  • In terms of game tape philosophy, Tony likes to look at both the recent games for a team like Stanford, and the previous time we played them. If he only had to choose one, Tony would go with viewing our last matchup with the team, to see how the systems match up.
  • On California: They're capable of shooting like they were at the start of the year, but have come back down to Earth as of late. He wants to put the ball in Taylor's hands more often late in games. He wishes he could say we have a whole new game plan for Cal, but you just have to tweak your sets and execute. We were close to Cal last time and got beat on a great night by Patrick Christopher.
  • On the freshmen: Didn't use Marcus Capers much last weekend because of the zone defenses (in other words, perimeter shooting favored Harmeling in the lineup). He thinks experience has helped them and they are "a bit more comfortable", especially our three key frosh: Thompson, Capers and Casto. He'll continue to use guys like Lodwick and Harthun in spots. It will all help next year, when we lose our group of seniors. Tony thinks next team will be quick, athletic and fun to watch. At the same time, it will also be a "starting over" period for WSU.
  • On the Pac-10: "Not as good of a league this year... but more balanced." He's been impressed by Oregon State as the surprise team in the league this year. He wants the team to take things possession-by-posession, and hopes that as the good teams rise to the top, we're one of them. We hope so too.