Went to a coaches reception at the Jonathan Club in downtown LA last night. I took some photos but they sucked, so sorry (and you’re welcome) no photos. OK, FireStarky shamed me in to including some so here you go... these are really bad. Or you can think of them as sort of water color impressionist photos... After the jump the comments.
Was it just a dream I had that I was at this event?
I really did a good job here capturing the excitement of the event...
First off, for those of you on here (boomtho) who think I am old, I think my friend and I brought down the average age of the crowd by about 20 years… I would say about 50-75 people there. Lots of very nice blue hairs. Good food. Since it was the Jonathan Club the men all had to wear coat and ties. We were all looking rather resplendent.
Sandy gave some great introductory remarks. She's terrific. Coach Gottlieb and Coach Montgomery gave wonderful and seemingly off the cuff talks to the crowd. They are AWESOME, particularly together. Montgomery the HoFer, grey hair, sort of dean of West Coast basketball coaches… sardonic, sarcastic, funny… Lindsay, young, fresh, funny, well spoken… You get the sense Monty still has trouble figuring out his DirecTv remote, Linsday is probably tweeting live from the event while posting a status update on Facebook. They work beautifully together.
Interesting stuff about recruiting and the difference between men’s and women’s. Primarily is that, as you would except, for the men the goal is the NBA and for the women the school really is the selling point since they will most likely not be pursuing pro careers after. That is not to say for the men the school isn’t important but he reality is the prized recruits have the NBA first and foremost in their mind.
You really got the sense that Montgomery just doesn’t like the process (nothing shocking there) but I got the sense that Lindsay really likes the process.
Lindsay says she loves her players. The comment I took away is they asked her when she joined that they want to do more with her… they want to go to her house for dinner, not just while they are being recruited. It gets overuses but you really get the sense they are a "family."
Montgomery’s first comment, in this ridiculously ornate huge room was "This looks just like my home so I feel really comfortable…" I cracked up.
Then he said "We need to win a game to ensure we’re in the tourney…" He went on to discuss how normally 23 wins would do it, we’re the only school to beat Oregon, UW and UCLA on the road… but then he said we did have those two losses at Wazzu and OSU… and he mentioned the UofA game and how frustrating it was due to forces out of our control (MIKE GREENSTEIN!!!!) and that we really wanted to go undefeated at home.
He said Jorge has been playing under a lot of pressure. The Colorado game for instance when they had 200 kids come from his high school…. Jorge felt personally responsible. You can just tell the affection Monty has for Jorge. He talks about how conscientious he is… and here is the interesting thing… after Senior Night, Monty thinks Jorge may be going through separation anxiety… Jorge realizes this is the end of his career at Cal and he has such strong family / loyalty feelings about Cal it is hard on him.
In terms of depth, he acknowledged that and also that it makes it hard for him to "bench" a guy if they’re not doing what he wants them to (although this doesn’t seem a huge issue…"
He said we absolutely need to get Allen Crabbe more looks. He told how frustrated he was in the Stanfurd game (I think) with this story. He called a time out and asked the team "Who is our best shooter on the team" and they all said "Allen." And Coach said "Oooooooh, so you think maybe we should try and get him the ball???" You had to see Monty tell that story… was hilairous.
He feels that Brandon has lost his confidence and he’s not sure why.
He loves Thurman and think he has comes miles. He works hard. Loves his attitude.
He also said he was able to enjoyed the serenading of Jorge at Senior night. He loves being at Berkeley. Loves the diversity. The different things going on.
He thinks the officials have been brutal this year. Thinks they are terrible. Talked specifically about one official who I hate but that twist loves for cultural / heritage reasons, and said the Arizona game was the worse officiated game he had ever seen. Said the first two fouls on Jorge were terrible in the Stanfurd game and that basically changed the whole complexion for us. He said he spoke with said official after the charge call, which was so clearly wrong. He said the imbecile (I am editorializing there) looked to his fellow officials for help blah blah blah… Montgomery said "If you didn’t know you shouldn’t have blown your whistle then…." He did go on to say that the incompetent wasn’t the worst one in that game.
He was also asked about UCLA and the recent SI article... He said that the Southern Branch (his words) were having problems. Said he thinks that LA presents special distractions. He also relayed a story about when he was coaching at Montanta he brought his team out twice. They were in their jean jackets and had hay behind their ears and there were the UCLA player - he swore to this - showing up in their full length mink coats. (editorial, I am sure John Wooden had no idea [ cough, Sam Gilbert, cough ] how his players got those or where they fit in to his pyramid of success).
Anyway, it was a cool little event. They coaches are awesome. I wish they would be used more like this. They are terrific individually and together you can see a really sweet chemistry between them. We are lucky to have these two as our coaches. Gottlieb is a bright shining up and comer and Montgomery is a frickin' treasure. We need to do EVERYTHING we can to ensure they're happy and feeling appreciated.
See you tonight at Galen then Staples.