Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gauchos in post-OSU game interviews

March 19, 2010

Orlando Johnson
James Powell
Bob Williams


Ohio State - 68
UC Santa Barbara - 51

DENNIS KRAUSE: We're joined by UC Santa Barbara, Head Coach Bob Williams, and student-athletes Orlando Johnson and James Powell. We'll start with an overview from Coach Williams, please.
BOB WILLIAMS: You know, we just didn't have an answer to get to Diebler. And 7 of 12 from the 3-point line, how far they were able to just handle our zone and get us spaced out and get the ball moving ahead of us caused us a lot of problems.
We knew that guarding the four guards where all four can shoot and all four can pass and all four can dribble would give us trouble in terms of extending us and not being able to keep them in front of us.
I thought we did a pretty nice job rebounding with them at 35 to 38, and only nine turnovers, two in the second half. Those stats were all pretty darned good for us. In fact, we could never get to the foul line, didn't help us at all. 16 to 5 at the foul line, outscored by 11. It was probably our lack of an aggression level of getting to the rim on the offensive end, needed to be a little more aggressive, a little tougher trying to get to the rim. Of course, there were seven blocked shots in the first half and 12 for the game probably bothered us a little bit trying to go to the rim.
DENNIS KRAUSE: Questions for the student-athletes, please.

Q. Orlando, seemed like you had opportunities where the team was within shouting distance. If you could have gotten it into single digits and put a little pressure and get the crowd behind you, but they hit big 3s over and hit big shots over and over again. What was your thought when you kept seeing them hit those shots to extend the lead from 10 to 13 or 10 to 15?
ORLANDO JOHNSON: My first reactions are like, "Is he going to miss?" That's what I was thinking. Every shot, he was so wide open. I don't know how you keep letting shooters like that get open looks. They thrive for those type of opportunities. And as you could see, he lived behind the line, shot 12 of them and made seven. That's a pretty good percentage.
But overall I thought our defense wasn't that bad. We had some letdowns in spots we should have been there. But when you play a good team like that, they'll find ways to overcome what your defense does.
So Diebler definitely took advantage of the opportunities he had tonight and made us pay.

Q. James, it was a rough first half for you guys offensively. What got you guys on track a little bit in the second half to make a little bit of a run at them?
JAMES POWELL: I would just say settling down. You know what I mean? Actually, it's all of our first time, except the coaching staff, being in the NCAA tournament. I feel we may have had a little bit of jitters. That's not fact. That's just maybe, might have been what happened. I'm not really sure. We just started running stuff. O.J. got hot. We found a nicer rhythm than we did in the first half.

Q. O.J., you carried the team a lot over the course of the season, seemed like you started to do that in the second half as well. Talk about what was going through your mind trying to get the team back in the game.
ORLANDO JOHNSON: I don't know, I just wanted to be a little more aggressive. Really wasn't working out. Didn't get to the free throw line. Only got there twice. But some shots started falling for me. And once they started playing off me a little bit, it started opening up some lanes and getting James and stuff some open shots.
Will, when we made that run and we cut it to I think 10, that was just because Will was getting in the lane, penetrating and getting us open shots. It was mostly the penetration that we were getting to get those type of shots.

Q. James, Evan Turner is obviously a great player. He goes 2 out of 13 from the field tonight. What did you guys do defensively to frustrate him and annoy him so much?
JAMES POWELL: Obviously there's no secret how good of a player he is. He'll probably be National Player of the Year. So a lot of our defensive scheme was to stop him. And so we always wanted to have one guy on him and another guy shadowing him. So I feel like -- I wasn't really on the ball as much, but Will and Jordan and J.J., I felt like they did a really good job of pressuring him all the way up the court without fouling, because he was pretty frustrated. You could see the look on his face he had.
So I feel we did a pretty good job. But wish we could have done a better job containing Diebler and Buford, because they got some open looks. I mean, our main job was trying to contain them. We did a good job, but other people stepped up and played well.

Q. James, you've been a Gaucho for four years under Coach Williams. You've seen the NCAA tournament on TV. Take me through your emotions and everything leading up to this when you ran onto the floor here at the Bradley Center for your first experience playing in the NCAA tournament as a senior.
JAMES POWELL: Once we stepped on the floor with our uniforms on we were just trying to win the game. When we came to the gym a little bit earlier, walked out, watched a little bit of the Georgia Tech/Oklahoma State game, it was -- it didn't bother me, but it was kind of like it was nice to see just playing in the arena with a big crowd. But once we stepped on the floor with our jerseys on, it was about winning the game.

Q. Orlando, obviously a lot of sophomores on this team, a lot of youth. You're one of them. What can you take from the experience and can you use it as a learning experience for years to come?
ORLANDO JOHNSON: Yes. This is definitely a learning experience. It's tough for a senior to see this, but I know he's happy that we're going to be making progress and definitely trying to take this program to the next level. So I know when coach pulled me out the last few minutes of the game, I was telling the guys that this offseason is going to be real critical for our development to get back to where we wanted to be.
I thought that Greg Somogyi really stepped in and showed flashes of what's to come. The good thing is we're going to be juniors next year, and we're going to have more experience, and we're going to be able to take this to the next level.
DENNIS KRAUSE: Thank you. Questions for coach.

Q. As you were watching the game and the flow of the game, obviously you had that stretch in the first half where the momentum was a little bit lost. But your bigs seemed to respond at least from a physical standpoint. And even though there was a lot of blocked shots, at least attacking the basket. All things considered, considering the way Evan Turner played, and the way Evan played tonight, would you take that in terms of the way your team played from an aggressive standpoint?
BOB WILLIAMS: I liked us better in the second half in terms of an aggressive standpoint. I thought we were freed up a little bit and more aggressive. I thought Jaimé started the second half way more aggressive inside. And I thought Greg Somogyi gave us a presence both halves inside.
You know, the thing we were disappointed is the fact that we couldn't get to shooters. We've done a pretty good job all year defending the 3-point line and getting to shooters and at least getting a good fly-by effort. We didn't have that. And I think we got a little starstruck and maybe fatigued at times in terms of just continued to fight and make the next play. And that's all we were trying to get them to do.
I thought they responded pretty well in the first half with the one group. I really liked the one group that played together with Greg Somogyi, Pastorek and Orlando, and I think it was J.J. and it might have been James Powell. And I thought they had a really good run and got us back into it a little bit.
But their length and their shot blocking inside took our aggression away inside. They had seven blocks on us in halftime, 12 for the game. At least in the second half we kept going after it.

Q. Seemed like every time Evan Turner put the ball on the floor you were doing a good job, the front part of the zone was doing a good job of bumping him and being physical with him. Did you make that a point to your team that every time he put the ball on the deck, you have ten eyeballs bump him and frustrate him and make it hard for him as he tried to get into the lane?
BOB WILLIAMS: He naturally draws a lot of attention because he has so much publicity around him. We actually did not want ten eyeballs on him. We would have been happy with four. And we really would have been happy if we kept two eyeballs on 33. We needed two more eyeballs on that kid.
But the tendency is when a great player has it and he's in that paint area and he starts bouncing it, guys are looking at him. So the spacing between looking at him and the recovery to Diebler was just too far.
And he picked us apart. And so if we were to do it again, we would do it a little differently. We would make somebody besides Diebler shoot the 3.

Q. An analogy, you know how when you have a player, he can pretty much score low, and use -- rather have them take a jump shot and score down low, and we can use the same thing for Evan. It's kind of crazy, because it's like you have to stop him and I'd rather have someone else beat us. And that's pretty much that kind of backfired and somebody else did beat you guys. How tough is it for you guys scouting, to shut down this guy and also have Diebler come off of being sick and just dominate the game?
BOB WILLIAMS: I didn't realize he was sick. That makes me feel a whole lot better. [Laughter]. I'm sure glad the kid wasn't healthy. He might have been 10 out of 15. You know what, he's the first sick kid I've ever seen play 40 minutes in a game. That kid's a stud. We didn't Evan to just take the game over. We wanted other people to have to make plays. We did put a gold jersey on our assistant and made him be Diebler in practice one day. I might have to get a better shooting assistant to really emulate him a little better.
But we knew he was a good shooter. We know he's their best shooter. We've done a nice job all year at getting to their best shooter. They did a great job of getting us spaced out. They did a great job of working, working, edging us out of position; and then, boom, quick ball reversal to him and he would spot up and shoot it. So I give them a lot of credit on how subtle they were with their zone offense.
It wasn't like they were running plays to get open. They were playing to get open. And they kept in their concept how to get the ball to him. And, yeah, we did -- our game plan was to try to take Evan out of it. We didn't want him in to just dominate the game. And that's why we picked him up at 85 feet and just kind of bumped him all the way up the floor.

Q. This is the last time you're going to be sending James Powell out on a basketball court. Any thoughts about that? He's been with you five years.
BOB WILLIAMS: Yeah, there's a lot of thoughts about it. That was our conversation in the locker room was primarily about Paul Roemer and James Powell and how much they mean to us.
The things that we talked about with James is quite frankly he'll go down in the history books as the all-time clutch free throw shooter in this program. And I think that probably is the history of this program, and the history of it. And he was 31 out of 32 in the last five minutes of the games this year. Is that correct? 31 out of 32. That's incredible.
And he is a very clutch player. And then the thing I was really proud about with James is I think how much he's grown up in terms of his concepts of the game and doing what helps the team all the time, and I think he had a really very good year that way and I know he got better defensively and I know he fought more. But the number one thing you say about James Powell in the locker room is the type of human being he is. He's a class-act kid.
He's a guy that every time you go to somebody's house and have dinner, he's the one that mails a thank you card and it's never coming from me. It's not me telling James or any other player they have to do it. He's writing somebody a thank you card.
He sends my mother a card when she had a conversation with him at a game. He's just that type of human being. The job his parents did raising him was unbelievable. And so we're really going to miss him as a person and the type of kid he is. And, yes, we'll obviously miss him as a player.

Q. I was very impressed about your player that you had out there, 7'3" guy, rarely see a guy young, really tall and able to move around on the floor. When you put him in the game, Ohio State was kind of shocked because it seemed like they never went against the guy, and they wanted to shoot above him. And after a while they kind of went around him and avoided him. With your young team, how do you look at that for development for next year, especially for your big men, including the guards?
BOB WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, everybody's young in this group. Our nucleus is very young. And we do think that we call them the Big Somog. He likes to call himself the Big Sexy. [Laughter] But he has potential to be a spectacular player. And our strength coach is going to be the MVP between this year and next year. I mean, guys, you can't believe how much better he is than two years ago when he walked into our place. He works harder, runs harder and takes coaching better and he got a whole lot stronger.
He's motivated. He's tasted it a little bit. He had some success this year, and I could see him being a real factor in the years to come.
And Orlando is going to be an excellent player in the next two years. And James Nunnally had a great year. Will Brew, I thought, looked pretty good out here tonight, played in this game. That's an encouraging sign.
Jaimé Serna is a big, strong kid. We actually would love the idea of playing Jaimé a little bit possibly at the 4 next year. So we could play Jaimé and Somogyi, along with Lucas together at the 4 sometimes. So we have the ability to play bigger, because you did see how much he affected even an Ohio State. He's 7'3" and has a 7'9" wing span. Those guys don't come along very often. He can catch it, pass it, and shoot it and he runs. As he gets stronger, he's going to have a chance to be a dominant player.

Q. Obviously you had a fair amount of success this year. But there's still a lot to -- obviously there's a lot to work with for the next year. What's the main thing you're going to be focusing on in the offseason?
BOB WILLIAMS: There's a lot to work with and a lot to work on. And the number one thing that they have to do is really be humble. The fact they've had some success and be grateful about it and now go back and try to get better. I mean, you have to make sure that you don't let this go to your head and try to rest on your laurels a little bit or enjoy Santa Barbara too much, and that can be a challenge sometimes.
And you being a student there, I'm sure you understand what I'm saying. And so this group has a chance and as soon as they get a little time off here and they come back and have meetings, they will have input, and we will have input in terms of their improvement areas.
And every one of them have areas that they have to get better for us to get better. Some of them it's their bodies and their strengths, and their best friend has to be our strength coach. Other ones it's going to be my assistants and the hours they have to spend in there shooting with them. Other guys, it's going to be their ball skills.
And all of them have their areas. And they've got to go back to work, and hopefully we can -- the two kids that we signed early come in and contribute and add to it. But we have a great nucleus of young players.

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