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Highlights from “Call the Coach” radio show

Here are some excerpts from ESPN 1420 radio’s “Call the Coach” show with Eran Ganot on Tuesday night (note that these are just highlights, and not the entire transcript) …

On last week’s road trip:

“Respect is everything. You can’t take it for granted. Hopefully, we can fight to get some more of those. It’s hard to win on the road back-to-back, especially for our program. Last year, it was something we talked about a lot. I think we had three (road sweeps) and in the five, six, seven years before that, they had three combined. So hopefully it’s something we can build off, especially for this group to feel that locker room after a win on the road.”

On Noah Allen’s matchup with UC Riverside’s Secean Johnson:

“They both kind of cancel each other out. Some of it is a low possession game. It’s been that way with Riverside. Their point of attack, they had a matchup that we talked about and they were really trying to mix up defenses against (Allen) and against us.”

“He had a little bit of foul trouble in both games. The energy and effort that both those guys, Johnson and Noah, had to expend just guarding each other took each other out. Fortunately, our guys around him stepped up to put us in position to get the win.”

On the win at UC Riverside:

“It’s about as well as you can play. Obviously we had been trading baskets so much as we’ve improved offensively, but we weren’t going to separate unless we had that consistency defensively. You saw that against Santa Barbara, you saw that in the first half against Riverside. I think also defending without fouling.”

“You saw the offensive execution. We went on a 25-1 run in the last nine minutes of the first half. It was about as well executed and a great credit to our guys for their focus and approach after a tough loss to them the week prior.”

On Leland Green out sick for the CSUN game:

“It was tough because you don’t really know his status until game time. Our lack of depth becomes a little more magnified when you don’t have a guy like him who’s been our second leading scorer in conference, leading minute guy. Obviously you like to lean on experience with your guys to build some confidence but this is a new group.”

“The reality is … we’ve been in this situation one time, when Sheriff did not play against Northridge and guys stepped up. It’s not on one guy to carry the load. It’s on everybody to take a step and maybe some new guys coming in there. … Now we can say we’re 2-0 when a guy’s been down and hopefully we can build off that.”

On building team experience:

“We talked about it in a timeout, enough with the young team deal and new guys and guys who haven’t been in this situation. They were thrown in the fire at the same time early, they’ve gained a lot of experience by game 20, game 21. They’ve played in some of these close games and each time they’ve had great poise and great confidence. One of the great things is to see a team come together and to see individuals improve as the year goes along. You want to go to war with your guys, and I’ll take our guys in the way they’ve improved and the way they’ve handled late game situations. The huddle, the look they’re starting to develop, the poise. A lot of talk has been about Noah Allen’s emergence as a consistent scorer. Jack Purchase’s improvement, Leland Green, Gibson Johnson’s consistency, Brocke Stepteau is close to a 3-to-1 assist to turnover ratio in conference, Matt Owies coming off the bench, Sheriff Drammeh who shot well against Riverside. All of those guys have gotten a little bit better and team is meshing really well right now.”

On Jack Purchase:

“We take a lot of pride in the development of our team and the development of each guy. He’s made a huge jump in just one year. People forget this is really his first year at this level. He’s shooting 40 percent from 3, he’s one of the best passing 4 men in our conference. He’s got more to go so we’re looking forward to getting back to work with him. He’s actually improved in the weight room to get to where he’s at now.”

On defending high-ball screens:

“It’s something that’s changed the game on offense and defense. We’ve incorporated obviously a lot offensively. Defensively the last couple years we’ve been as good as it gets in terms of showing on ball screens. There are different ways now in terms of attacking it offensively with the roll or depending if he pops.”

“One of the things we’ve been good at and can present difficulties for teams is taking care of the ball. The problem we’ve had at times is when we’re spread out too much. A guy like Ido and sometimes Gibson can get too extended and so you’re rotating back. That’s where we’ve cleaned up the last couple weeks.”

On Jack Purchase’s play at UC Riverside:

“His ability not just to shoot, but the fact that he can pass like he does. You’ve seen a lot of times where we put Noah and Jack on the same side. You see Noah gets a backdoor cut, well Jack is the passer. I think passing is becoming a little more underrated. We got Noah is a good passer, Gibson is a good passer in the post, Jack at the 4 spot. It’s become a tougher cover, especially the way we’ve been moving the ball.”

On dealing with officials:

“Recently I have to watch myself. I got a couple of warnings the last few weeks. I always remind myself, and I worked with some good coaches, it’s so important to have a good rapport with officials and pick your spots. I study those guys as much as I study other teams. I think officiating is such big part of the game but you also have to remind yourself how hard it is and respect them but you better get your point across.”

On getting a technical foul:

“I have not. And that’s been a big focus point. I’m proud of that. When I got hired, I understood we had been the year prior the league’s leader in technicals. Proud to say that we were near the bottom last year and obviously are at the bottom I think this year. If you want your team poised and composed than I better be poised and composed. I just don’t think you should throw away points.”

On his coaching staff:

“I was fortunate to be around in terms of Coach Wallace and Randy Bennett and Bob Nash and just the players, too. You’re not in this to be stubborn. You’re best leadership comes from your players and you have to empower them, provided they earn that respect, and let them go a little bit. I think the same goes with your staff. They are so great at what they do and they care so much about what we do, the guys, the mentorship, the X and Os, the recruiting. As you let them go a little bit with that, they continue to improve there and they’re gifted there. It helped me out a lot. I couldn’t thank enough the guys I worked for to allow me to do that.”

On redshirts Drew Buggs and Mike Thomas:

“They’ve done an excellent job in terms of everything they can possibly do in terms of rehab. Drew is basically a couple weeks away from practicing, so I feel really excited about how he’s handled a tough situation. In the meantime he’s got good reps and learning the system from a mental approach. He’s going to have a great off season now to get ready for next year.”

“Michael Thomas is recovering from the wrist. He’s been cleared for all (non-contact drills). He’s done a great job taking care of his body and staying in shape. He hasn’t been cleared for contact yet, but he’s about a month away from that.”

On Noah Allen’s recent scoring streak:

“A couple of things. One, he’s using his full arsenal of weapons he has in terms of ways to score. Some guys want to, but some guys don’t have all that, and I’m talking about other teams. In terms of early, I think he settled too much for the perimeter shot. He can build confidence with other ways to score. We now post him, we now can attack the rim with him, we now can attack the foul-line with him. He now continues to shoot the perimeter shot as opposed to being one dimensional.”

On Cal Poly:

“You’re talking about a team that’s won at Irvine, who was No. 1 at the time. And then when Davis took over the No. 1 spot, they beat Davis. They are a different type of team than we’ve seen recently in terms of they will attack the rim but they will also play a lot off the 3-point shot and use ball screens and spread you out.”

“One of the big things they’ve always been known for is taking care of the ball. I think we’ve tried to get better there … we’re going to be in a lot of trouble if they get 5 or 6 more possessions than we do.”

“This is a team that took 38 3s in the last game and they made 10. It’s a team that leads our league in 3-point shooting, both makes and attempts, and they take care of the ball. It’s going to be tough because they kind of all have the green light. If they get an offensive rebound, they’ll whip it out and shoot another 3.”

On previous loss at UC Irvine:

“That was Luke Nelson’s third or fourth game back so they were clicking on all cylinders. They were defending, they were rebounding, they were playing well on both sides of the ball. Their depth, their size, their experience … but Luke’s been in and out of the lineup.”

“That was the game that kind of turned us around a little bit. We could have gone the other way, we could have gone in the tank. That’s what we talked about, chipping away. We had too many holes to fix, so let’s start chipping away. We made our improvements slowly in every area, and obviously I think we’re a different team. I’m sure they are as well.”

2 Comments

  1. It is almost hard to believe that UH have a real good chance to win these two games this week and be in second place going into the last part of the season. Great job by Ganot and these players!

  2. The team had better be focused 100% on tomorrow’s game against Cal Poly.

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