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October 17, 2013

Justin Cobbs

Mike Montgomery


THE MODERATOR:  We'll open it up with an opening statement from Coach.
COACH MONTGOMERY:  Well, it's nice to be here.  Unusual‑‑ it's great to be in San Francisco and not have to travel and be able to come across the Bay.  Always new surprises, new faces to talk to.  Certainly a lot of new faces on our basketball team and teams around the league that get a lot of attention.  So that makes it pretty interesting.
It's always great to have talent like Justin here to be able to coach and give yourselves a chance to win.
So look forward to your questions and seeing you throughout the year.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll take questions for Coach and Justin.

Q.  Who are some of the good new players that are coming into the league that seem to be making the Pac‑12 considerably stronger?  Aaron Gordon is mentioned a lot.  Anybody else you want to mention?
I like my guys.  I'm not too concerned about what everybody else has.  We knew Aaron Gordon, of course.  He's just a monster.  So that's the easy one.
Some of the guys that around the league that have come in I do know, some I don't know as well.  Generally for me if I have not actively recruited them, then I probably don't know much about them.
But I think that for the league, the attention we're getting has a lot to do with returning players.  Guys coming back in a variety of different programs that have proven themselves to be consistent winners and great performers.
So, again, I don't know if there's anybody.  I mean, you're still talking about freshmen, generally speaking, and freshmen still have things that they don't know yet.  They don't know what they don't know yet.
But certainly there are some freshmen in the league that coaches are very excited about that are probably going to be key members of this thing.  If you ask me the same question next year, I would know who they were.

Q.  As you know, Coach Krystkowiak apprehended a bicycle thief a few weeks ago on the Utah campus.  Was wondering what your approach would be to crime fighting on the Berkeley campus, if you caught somebody in the act of committing a crime.
COACH MONTGOMERY:  Well, I got to be careful with this answer.  My natural sense of humor would lead me in a bad direction.
If I was built and looked like Krystko, I would probably tackle him, wrestle him to the ground and sit on him like he did.
As it is, I would probably wish him well and hope that he‑‑ hope that computer works for him.

Q.  Talk about Jabari Bird and his development in the offseason and what type of impact we can expect to see him make in his first year.
COACH MONTGOMERY:  Well, I am always leery about the attention that freshmen get, because I think that the adjustment of a freshman coming into a successful college program is always a little bit difficult.
Jabari's terrific.  He's a terrific kid, very talented.  Probably the most high‑profile freshman that we have ever had since I've been at California.  And he's going to be a great player.
So what I want to do is make sure that we're not pushing him to try to do things that he's not comfortable with.  I want him to learn the game, because I think he's got a great future.
It's going to be the responsibility of a guy like Justin to make sure that we take advantage of his abilities.  We have thrown a lot of stuff at them right now, and their heads are spinning, they're reeling.
But he's a very, very talented player.  And I would suspect that as we move through the season and we get some game experience and the more he figures out how to utilize those skills and we figure out how to utilize his skills‑‑ i.e., get him involved in things‑‑ the better he's going to be.
But our responsibility to any young player as a coach is to bring them along and try to get them to reach their full potential.  And that's what we're going to do.
But I would be surprised if he didn't have a fairly significant impact by the end of the year.  At the same time, for us to be successful we have got a number of people that are going to have to have really solid years and do what they're capable of doing for us to win.

Q.  Can you talk about how the foot's doing and whether you expect to be ready for the Maui Invitational?
JUSTIN COBBS:  My foot's coming along well, feeling good.  Probably about 80 percent there.  So just keep working and just feel my way into practice.  I'm practicing fully for full speed.  And it's day by day how I feel.  I'm pretty sure I'll be ready by Maui.

Q.  You mentioned not having too much expectations on freshmen.  What do you expect out of Ty Wallace now that he's not a freshman?
COACH MONTGOMERY:  Well, I think that, for one thing, Ty's grown.  He's a legitimate 6'5".  He's stronger.  And I think that he did a really good job for us last year, kind of thrown into the mix.  Really with Ricky being out we had no choice with him.  And he's much more experienced player right now.  Defensively he's very good.  He's a great rebounder from the guard position.
And I don't mean to‑‑ what I mean is that freshmen typically get screened.  There's just things that they don't know, they have never had to do, because they're typically more talented in high school than everybody else, and now all of a sudden they're finding players that are as big, as fast, as strong, all that kind of stuff.
I think Ty, he can play multiple positions for us, he's great at penetration and finishing around the basket.  He potentially could be an excellent defender, point of attack, and, as I mentioned, he's a great rebounder.
So one of the things for us is Justin will be better, Richard Solomon will be better, David Kravish will be better, Ty will be better.
So despite the fact that we lose MVP of the league, we have got a number of people that have played at a fairly high level that should all be better than they were, which is what we want.
We want to have veteran players that know how to win in this league, and I think we have that.

Q.  Talk about expectations of Jabari as a player and what really stands out to you.
COACH MONTGOMERY:  I'm sorry, I didn't get that.  Are we still on Jabari?

Q.  Yeah.  Just skill‑wise what really stands out about him.
COACH MONTGOMERY:  Well, he can really shoot the ball, which is a nice starting point.  I'll compare he and Allen a little bit coming in.  Allen was a great shooter, Crabbe.  But Allen knew that, and that's really what Allen did, was shoot the ball.  So as a freshman he pretty much waited to catch the ball and shoot it.
Jabari can shoot the ball, but he's a little more inclined to try to get to the basket.  He can play above the rim.  But we're actually trying to get him a little more to where Allen was, and that is, look, you're a great shooter, get your feet set.  If it comes to you and you're open, knock it down.  And that will open up the drives for you.
So I'm not‑‑ I don't want to put expectations on Jabari.  I want him to develop, I want him to learn as a freshman.  Certainly coming in with the ability he has is going to give him a great opportunity, but the expectations is that he has a great freshman year and he helps us win basketball games.

Q.  What do you make of your back court and the talent there and also sort of the collective effort it's going to take to put that scoring together to replace what Allen brought you guys?
JUSTIN COBBS:  I think that replacing Allen is always going to be a tough thing to do, like Coach said, the MVP of the league.  But like he said, Jabari is also a knockdown shooter.  Also we have Jordan Mathews who is also a capable scorer.  And Ty Wallace has also been working on his jumper and improving his mechanics and things like that.
So I think this year we have a lot of depth at the guard position than we did last year.  So this year guys can come out of the game and replace other guys and there's no drop‑off.  So that's exciting to know that you can come out of the game, get a quick blow and get back in and not have to worry about anything going wrong, because that next guy's just as capable as you are.
So I'm very excited about this team and my back court.

Q.  Your team needed only one win for at least a share of the league title heading into the final game of conference play each of the past two years.  What's going to make the difference for this Cal team in trying to get over that hump?
JUSTIN COBBS:  I think this year as a point guard and also as a leader‑‑ Coach has harped on this‑‑ that we understand that me and Richard, us being the seniors and the leaders of this team, we understand what it takes to win a Pac‑12 Championship, and so it starts in practice now.  So it starts in practice.
So I try just to make practice competitive, compete every day and make things interesting out there.  Never come in with a content attitude.  I'm always coming in trying to make myself better, trying to make the freshmen better, and just trying to make everyone around us better.
And when we have that vibe and we're diving on loose balls and contesting shots and getting out on the break and having fun, we're a fun team to play.
I think if we can work on the defensive end and get stops, we can cover that hump and hopefully win a Pac‑12 Championship this year.
THE MODERATOR:  All right, thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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