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November 1, 2012

Allen Crabbe

Mike Montgomery


THE MODERATOR:  We'll get started with California.  We'll start with an opening statement from coach.
COACH MONTGOMERY:  Highlights were a little short, I noticed.  Did you get all from all last season on there?
THE MODERATOR:  We were looking for one for you, but couldn't find it.
COACH MONTGOMERY:  I learned a lot about, the later you are in the afternoon, the better you did last year.  So at least I'm glad to be here at this time.
We were a little disappointed to be so close last year and have it in our grasp and not be able to sustain it down at the end and win it, because I really value conference championships.  I know how hard they are.
So now we start back from scratch.  You don't know how many chances you're going to get, hopefully we can put our selves in a position to do it again.  But we have got a good nucleus of players back.  If you look the obvious guys with Allen and Justin could be, but Brandon Smith has started for us the year we won a championship.  Richard Solomon has been a starter for us, David Kravish, so we really have five guys that have started for us at one time.
So we're, we have got the pieces, I think, to be competitive.  I think we have got the pieces to be successful.  Now it's just the job to put them together and get everybody on the same page and be the kind of team that it takes to win big.
That's going to be what our goal is right now.  We got to figure out what each job, each person has to do to be successful relative to a whole group, a whole team.  We need to get one player back from injury that will help us and then as soon as we have that we'll have I think eight, nine, 10, 11 players that could contribute.
THE MODERATOR:  Open it up for questions.

Q.  What has the academic time off done for Richard Solomon?  How has it affected him, what kind of player can we expect to see from him this year?
COACH MONTGOMERY:  I think you're going to be delighted with Richard Solomon.  It was a tough deal for him, it was a tough deal for our team.  He was a starter and he became ineligible, which, you know, it really wasn't what any of us wanted.  But Richard didn't blame anybody, he took responsibility, which I thought was the first step.
And I think Richard's really grown up.  I think that in a lot of ways that might be the best thing that ever happened to him, because he's much more mature, he's taking care of his business.  I think before, like a lot of youngsters, he's probably a little immature, thought more about himself than what maybe was out therefore him as a team and as a part of a team.
So I think you're going to be delighted with Richard's progress.  I think you're going to see a much more mature individual.  That's not to say that he won't dunk and pound his chest every now and again, but I think as a, by and large, he's a guy that has really grown up and wants to be a part of a team and appreciates his opportunity at Cal.

Q.  You said that it was unfortunate to lose Richard, but it did give David a chance to play a little bit more.  How did he use that momentum into this summer and where does he stand today?
COACH MONTGOMERY:  Well, poor David, we would often remark that he was just out there just trying to figure out what he was doing.  He was 195 pounds, if that, when we got him, he lifted hard, got up to about 207, 208.  Got the flu, lost 12 pounds, never got it back.
So he's 220 right now and he looks a lot better.  It's not like you're going to appreciably notice all the muscles, but he's stronger.
And he's going to be a good player.  We're trying to get him to get the disposition to dominate, because he's actually very skilled.  He just, he's the kind of kid that doesn't like to make a mistake, doesn't necessarily want to be in the forefront of everything.  We're trying to get him to take a more active role.  But I think David now is in a position to be a real quality PAC‑12 big guy.  And he will get better as the year goes on.
We have pushed him.  We tried to tell him, Dave, you are more capable than you allow yourself sometimes.  I think he understands that and I think his teammates need to push him a little bit as well.

Q.  Who is going to take the leadership emotional leadership role that Jorge had last year we're all quite used to seeing him play but we're wondering who is going to fill that void?
ALLEN CRABBE:  Honestly, we all know that nobody's going to be able to completely fill his shoes and what he left here at Cal.  But I just feel like it just leaves opportunities for the upperclassmen to step up and into that role to be leaders on and off the court.
So I just feel like, yes, we're going to have to leave it up to the upperclassmen, the veterans who have experience and who know what to expect from this team throughout the year.  So I'll just have to go with the upperclassmen.

Q.  Do you feel a personal need to be more vocal with this team?
ALLEN CRABBE:  Definitely.  I feel like it's an opportunity for me to step up.  I feel like my first two years I really didn't have to say anything because we have had upperclassmen to fill that void and I just feel like that opportunity now.  It just allows me to step up in a lot of ways, not just being the leader, but just to lead by example as well.  And like you said, that vocal part can just be a little extra step for me to becoming a leader.

Q.  A year ago down in L.A. we talked to you quite a bit about the health concerns.  How are you now and just having gone through that how has it changed you as a coach?
COACH MONTGOMERY:  How do I look?  Pretty good?  No, seriously, it was a little bit, I mean at this time last year I think I was 10, 12 days out of surgery and a pretty good shock.  I was very, very fortunate, like anybody that's had a health scare, I mean, it was pretty much, get it out, nowhere else, doesn't show back up, so for all intents and purposes, didn't happen, didn't exist, I don't feel anything as a result of that.
I just think it, we get so wrapped up in coaching and everything that sometimes you fail to recognize all the other things of value that you deal with every day, the kids that you're coaching, your family and everything else.  But unfortunately it hasn't changed me that much, I'm still the nut case I always was.  But it was certainly a wake up call for me.  But I'm fine.

Q.  From 2008 to 2010 you had a notable Chinese player, Max Zhang, the site is wondering what you found different in the play between a young Asian player and a young U.S. player.
COACH MONTGOMERY:  Well, Max, unfortunately, left our team before he should have.  Max was just starting to come into his own.
I think the biggest thing, and this would be for any foreign athlete, particularly from a country that I think English is not a second language with Max and I think they were not exactly synonymous.  So it was difficult for him to understand what we were talking about.  We don't speak ‑‑ really, I think, we speak slang in the UnitedStates.  So when we'd say something, Max would tend to take things literally and sometimes you could see the confusion on his face when we would say something about in the way that we talk.
Terrific young person, really wanted to please, and I think that, again, it is part of their culture.  The fact that he was 7‑3 plus didn't hurt him at all.  But really Max was on the verge of being a very good player.  He was starting to be a factor for us and it was really unfortunate that he was kind of manipulated into going back when he did, without finishing his degree.
But I just think their culture's different.  It's no more different than anything else.  Basketball has become bigger in China, for sure, it's something that they really want and they focus on.  But just from a cultural standpoint, it is way different than it is here in the UnitedStates and it's a huge adjustment for those kids.

Q.  What can you tell us about your freshmen Wallace and Johnson, how much are they going to play this year?
COACH MONTGOMERY:  Well, we have got a lot of veterans and the way I've always kind of looked at it, if you're good, if your program's good, if it's solid, if you're doing it the way I think you should do it, freshmen typically shouldn't have to come in and be in that major of a role.  It's a great opportunity for them to learn.
We're a little short in the guard line, so Tyrone is going to play.  And he looks like he's capable of helping, he's picked up the offense, he's picked up all the things we're doing quicker than the other young people.  He's very competitive, he's long, and he surprises with the things that he's able to do.
So I think he's going to play a major factor because, guard wise, Ricky Kreklow has been out with a broken foot, so Ty has been one of two or three guards that we have had every day and he's benefited from that opportunity.
Kahlil Johnson is a little further behind from the standpoint of understanding the offense and where he needs to go and how he needs to get there.  But yesterday in our little scrimmage he shot lights out.  He really can shoot the ball.  But we just got to make sure to try to get him in the right spot.
Like most kids, coming into an institution like Cal is not a cake walk.  You're just a lot of responsibility, there's a lot of stuff, it's harder in every way than what you've been used to in high school as seniors.
So they will progress nicely throughout the year, I think, but I would say that Wallace would be the one freshman you're going to see quite a bit of.

Q.  Have you noticed if the new TV deals and the exposure coming with those has resonated with recruits yet or is it still too early in that process?
COACH MONTGOMERY:  I don't think they have any idea about that yet.  I think what that does for you in the long run is it opens other parts of the country perhaps to kids that didn't know about your school or our league or different things that, all of a sudden, every time they turn on television, if they want, there you are.
So you're going to get people that are going to get interested in you that probably in the past had not known anything about the schools, because our television coverage was pretty poor.  And I think that's going to be the main thing.
The best example I guess that I can give you about that was when we went to the Final Four at Stanford, we looked the next year at all the recruits, the top hundred, and our name was on 30 lists.  And that never would have happened, but because they had seen us, I mean, they didn't even know we had classes at Stanford.  But because they're in the Final Four, they thought that meant we were good in basketball, so we were going to be one of their five or ten on their list.  So that's what exposure does for you.  They are aware of who you are.
They might watch Allen Crabbe, for example, and like the way he plays and maybe likes the freedom that he has to shoot the ball when he's open and say, wow, that's me, I can shoot the ball, that would be a great place for me to go to school.  And they, you can't do it without seeing it.  So I think that's going to happen with this new package as time goes on.

Q.  How do you see the other teams that were expected to contend for the title this year?  What's your impression of these teams?
COACH MONTGOMERY:  Well, I haven't seen them.  A lot of what's being projected is based on, I would almost call it NBA upside, the young freshmen coming into Arizona, UCLA, that people are so excited about, and I think rightly.  They both just had terrific recruiting years.
And I had seen most of those kids and they're legitimately very, very good players in this league.
So certainly Arizona's loaded.  I don't think there's any question about that.
If UCLA gets their kids eligible, they're awfully good as well.  They got probably really‑‑ well, they're really good as well.
So a lot of it is being projected on what might be or what should be based on potential.  And of course you expect it to happen, but until it does, we'll wait and see.
I think the league has gotten a lot better, I really do.  I think Stanford's going to be very good.  Those kids that were sophomores that maybe had some injury problems last year, now juniors.  They're good.
So there's a lot of people to like in this league.  I think the continuity of the coaches has really helped.  You've got good coaches that now are in the league, that know how this thing works, that have gotten into their institutions and know how to operate.  So I think the league's going to be a lot better from top to bottom.  So it should be pretty exciting.
THE MODERATOR:  That will do it.  Thank you very much for your time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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