Feb. 4, 2013
Talk about some of the younger guys getting a lot of playing time on Saturday.
"Dakarai [Tucker] and Justin [Seymour] between them only had a handful of minutes but Brandon [Taylor] had about 30 minutes and we had Jeremy Olsen (JO) out there. Looking at stats, that's one of the things as a coach, you're in the middle of the fire and trying to close a game and win, but based on his production probably deserved more minutes. I heard a fan yelling late in the game `Krystkowiak get Jeremy back in the game!' but I wasn't smart enough to listen. He played really well I thought. Those two freshman, the two that didn't, and then of course Jordan was hurt...we're going to need to continue playing those guys. I think we need one of those two wings, either Justin or Dakarai, to step up and get in that backup role behind Cedric [Martin] at the wing. Right now as a staff we are waiting for one of those guys to really separate themselves and I hope that takes place in the next couple of days before we take off for Corvallis."
Can you talk a little about Oregon State?
"This game is interesting my mind. I've watched a lot of Oregon State's games and they are another team in the same category we are. They've lost a number of close games. We know what the fine line is between making a play at the end of the game, whether it's at Arizona, Arizona State, against UCLA or the Cal game...and they've had number of them that are similar. So in my mind, desperate might be a strong word but both teams should be desperate to try to get a win. Someone hopefully will a game that's close and we can put a feather in our cap, but each team is looking at the same thing. I don't think it will be hard to talk to our guys. It's not an easy place to play. They're as athletic and talented a team as we have in our league, and I think they're a play or two away from having a much better record."
"I think what they've done is a testament to [head coach] Dana Altman. I think it has been a surprise. It was one of those teams early on that a lot of the experts thought would be in the middle of the pack at best. They've got some young guards in the backcourt that are freshmen, but they have some veteran leadership at the three, four and five spots. They've played a tough schedule and competed really well. They ran into a couple of teams in the Bay Area last weekend. But to get a top 10 ranking in the country says a lot for what they're doing. I think they have had an injury to Dominic Artis. I don't know what his situation is for our game, but whenever you remove point guard from your team...I think that was evident against Cal and Stanford...it hurts as much as anything. In my mind Oregon is the toughest place to play in terms of environment. That's based on senior night last year for me, I'm not sure anyone was going to go into that building and beat that team the way that set itself up. We certainly laid an egg to end the season. We started off at Colorado with the rough game, we ended it at Eugene with a tough game. So we will have to be at the top of our game to be competitive there. But first and foremost it's the Beavers.
Are there any thoughts of playing Loveridge more on the wing with Olsen's abilities down low?
"We've talked about it a little bit. I still think Jordan is a forward at this point. Maybe with another year or two we can get him out on the perimeter more. From an offense point of view maybe. From a defensive point of view I'm not sure he's the guy who will be chasing a lot of three-men around off screens and facing some of the challenges for him defensively.
Is there any thought to playing Olsen and Loveridge together?
"Jeremy is going to earn more minutes, he already has. We got in a situation late in the game where Colorado's biggest guy on the floor at the end of the game was 6-7. And I wanted [Jason] Washburn's experience on the floor, but that put us in a tough way defensively. In hindsight maybe we shouldn't have been thinking about our defense, we should have thought about our offense and what got us there. The flip side to that is that if we have two bigger guys in they have to guard us in the post, and I thought they struggled doing that early. But they changed their offensive scheme going down to the wire. We knew that Dinwiddie and Booker would be coming at us with penetration and we wanted to have some smaller guys on the floor. I think that in a traditional game, certainly against our next two opponents that don't play small, it's going to bode well for Jeremy to be out on the floor."
When you look at Oregon State, they look more talented than their record. What problems to they pose and do you agree with that?
"There are some similarities in terms of OSU and our team in that we have lost a lot of close games. I don't think you could find another team in our league like us that has been in so many games that come right down to the wire. Listening to [head coach] Craig Robinson talk, it's a little thing here or there that makes a difference. We're not foolish enough to look at their record. They are as talented and athletic as anyone in our league and they're as big as anyone in league. They have guys at the three-spot who are 6-8 or 6-9 and really long and athletic. They throw you a lot of different looks defensively...full-court stuff, half-court, 1-3-1 trap, 2-3 zone... and they try to take advantage of their length and athletic ability. They stir up some turnovers. Offensively they've got a lot of weapons. If you look at their stats on the year, they've got five guys averaging double figures. They have a lot of versatility and they do a good job. I think there's always going to be a couple of teams in every league who are better than their record and a couple teams who aren't as good as their record. Oregon State is one of those teams. They have a lot of firepower and it's going to be a heck of a challenge.
Is Joe Burton one of the most unique players in the league?
"I've watched four or five of their games and if there's better passer in our league, I'd like to know who it is, and that includes any guard. I was watching tape this morning and he was put in a position in the post, where there's no way he can make this pass, but he threw an underhand pass through both defender's hands and hit the cutter on the money for layup. And that's one of a hundred you can find, he's a really good passer. And he's a big guy and he has the ball in his hands a lot on the perimeter. He's a heck of a player and I can't even think of someone to compare him to. Usually you can come up with an old-time NBA guy, but unique for sure is the word. He does a great job and facilitating a lot of their offense from basically the center position."
Dallin was back with the team Saturday. What did you think of his performance?
"I thought it was good. He practiced with us Thursday and Friday and he is very much back with us. I think he had a good week of some some soul searching, stepped away from some of our competition in practice and missed the Stanford game. Dallin is as nice of a kid as there is and he wants the right thing. We just saw a different version of him there for a little while. He was able to sort out some personal things. What struck me when meeting with him Thursday morning was his comment that he didn't realize his teammates cared that much about him. That meant the world to me because he was kind of on the outside looking in and I don't think Dallin knew everyone was in his corner and wanted him to do well. That was pretty uplifting for him to know that those guys were rallying behind him. We need hi energy and size, and he is as athletic as anyone on our team. Now that he has gotten some things straightened out off the court, I think his better days are ahead with half our league games in front of us.
Can you talk about the challenges of the Wednesday-Saturday schedule and how you handle being on the road all week?
"We're taking a full-time tutor with us from our academic office. It is a bit of a challenge. We could have chartered again and come back between games and tried the same scenario [as the Washington trip] but we booked it in advance. As long as we have the academic side squared away, which we do, I think our team is in need of getting out together for four or five days and spending time together in a hotel. We've been really good. Even our last home game, we spent the night at the Marriott before the Friday night before the Colorado game. We have a meal, watch film, and treat it like a game on the road. We've been pretty good on the road overall as far as the competition and being focused and dialed in. So the timing might be pretty good for us.
The Pullman side of the Washington trip throws wrench in it, when you want to avoid those hour-and-a-half bus rides and the potential snowstorms and things like that. I think we can count on some better weather at the Oregon schools. They're a little more accessible."
What are some of the problems that Jeremy Olsen presents for other teams?
"He is crafty, he does a nice job of sealing, and getting guys on his back. He makes use of his left and right hand really well. He's not going to win any competitions in terms of athletic ability. But he's kind of a throwback. I feel his is our best back-to-the-basket post-up player. I'm really excited that he is a freshman and we're going to have him around for a while. [Charles Stephenson], our strength coach, has taken it upon himself as a personal challenge. Jeremy has been working hard in the weight room, working on his explosiveness and strength and flexibility. I'm a firm believer that `Rock' (Stephenson) can fix that. You put people in a place to address weakness. I think over the three years you will see his body transform, and potentially you're looking at a pretty special post player."
What was your assessment of Brandon and the way he ran the offense?
"We [got off to a better start]. We're going to watch some film with Brandon. I think in the last 10 minutes of a game you need someone to go make plays. We got a little stagnant, giving the ball a headache just dribbling it and winding the time down, and that wasn't our plan. The nature of the momentum slipping away, that's what we ended up doing. I think there is some learn experience for him within that, watching those clips where he could have beaten his guy, full-court or half-court, and continued to make plays for his teammates. I think that's what you need to do to close out games. You need to have that point guard that you're going to give the ball to and he just hasn't been in that position yet. But he needs to know that he could very well be in that position and we need him to make those plays. But as far as starting the game and getting us in a flow, I thought it was terrific. He passed up shots and I got on him at a timeout at the end of the first half. I told him he is as good of a shooter as we have on our team and he can't be passing up those shots. And he immediately went out and hit a couple 3's right on cue. He's really coachable and it will be easy to break though to him. The last part of that game on Saturday was a good learning experience for him to not let that energy get sucked out of our team again."