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Cal basketball practice underway: How the Bears conduct Real Talk sessions

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We were on hand to talk to Tyrone Wallace, Sam Singer, Stephen Domingo and Coach Martin. Here are the main snippets and quotes from the conference and the 30 minutes of practice.

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Defense. Relentless. Attack.

These were the three words that were echoed by all members of the staff and players that I talked to on Wednesday. Also some other big topics that were addressed were the National spotlight on the program, the highly-touted freshman and topic-free conversation the players hold every week in the locker room. Here are some of the main quotes from the presser!

Sam Singer & Stephen Domingo Quotes:

  • Singer on last few practices, "The last 4 practices have definitely been focused on the defensive side of the ball."
  • Domingo on the freshman, "They're some of the most mature freshman I've ever met."
  • Singer on the freshman, "The freshman class this year is more mature than my class coming in. As you can see we're a bunch of goofballs."
  • Singer on improvement since Australia, "I think the biggest thing is defensively. Being able to rely on the guy next to you to help, knowing where to be at the right time. I think the communication has improved."
  • Domingo on his role, "I see myself helping the team in whichever way Coach Martin needs me to help. He knows he can trust me on defense. That's what I try to pride myself on. But obviously if you have shot making defense, but I pride myself on doing on whatever the team needs me to do... I just want to be that guy that Coach Martin can put on the floor and trust. That's what my goal for my role on the team is."
  • Singer on Ivan and Jaylen, "They do a great job of not buying into their hype. They put their head down and they work extremely hard. They're some of the most humble athletes I have ever been around."
  • Singer on goals of the team, "We want to win the conference. We want to win national championships. But right now we need to focus on one day at a time."
  • Domingo on biggest strength of the team, "I think we can wear every team down. Some teams go strong with their starting 5, when everyone gets tired, and fatigue starts setting in, we're going to bring more guys and keep putting it on you. That's what Coach is trying to instill in us. That relentlessness on Offense, Defense, if you have a person you can attack, attack him... We gotta stay in attack mode. We have the bodies and the talent to stay in attack mode for all 40 minutes. I think that's what our greatest strength is this year."

Tyrone Wallace Quotes:

  • "I don't really see my role changing. Coach wants me to be the same player... Theres areas I need to grow in."
  • On his decision to return, "A chance to win, a chance to play with these guys, another year with this coaching staff."
  • "Ivan, Jaylen and Roman all listen and willing to get better. Whether its Me, Nick Hamilton, Cole [Welle], or Coach."
  • On National Spotlight, "I think its nice. I don't think we can pay too much attention. Its good to know that people think of us as a good team. We could play bad and people will forget."
  • On being the oldest on the team, "I have to stay vocal, and practice rallying the guys."
  • On his upperclassmen influencing his leadership traits, "They never cut me any slack. In terms of in practice, they're always going at me, pushing me. They led by example as well. I take that from them and never go easy on the freshman and try to make them get better."
  • On Ivan Rabb, "I'm able to throw lobs and do things I wasn't able to do before. I know Ivan can go get it and also can hit the outside shot. I trust him to do it."
Coach Cuonzo Martin Quotes:

  • "I'm not one of those (Coaches) that have slogans all over the locker room. After a while those things fade. For us its a day to day coaching, its a lifestyle. Its how we go about our day to day business that we stand the test of time, then you see a brand of a program as opposed to me putting signs and billboards all over the locker room.
  • "I think your best teams are when your older guys control the locker room so to speak. Making sure the young guys and the new guys understand the level you want to play at, the things that the coaching staff expect, so of course you want those guys to bring them in slowly and have fun doing it."
  • On greatest strength of team, "We have talented basketball players. But I'd say about 30 teams have that type of talent. Its about if your on the same page and how you handle adversity."
  • On the weekly talk, "These talks cover a variety of topics not necessarily about basketball. Its all about topics that they are going to face as they become men... Men makes by mistakes... I sit in by accident, If I'm the locker room at the time. I try not to sit in because the guys need to have time to have their say. You see young guys not be able to talk because it's around coach."

Every weekend, the players gather with Director of Operations Marco Harris for a one-hour session that deals with virtually any topic. Except basketball.

Harris introduces a new subject each week and the players dissect it, offering opinions that don’t always mesh, but with the intention that they explore every point of view and perhaps find common ground.

"This is stuff to come together as a group, and not worry about basketball," junior guard Sam Singer said. "We talk about life issues we’re going to come across in college and when we get in the real world. They’ve been very productive."

"We learn stuff about guys," junior Stephen Domingo said. "We learn what their morals are. If the guy next to you believes the same thing as you, it makes it easier to go to war with them."

  • "Their doing a great job with it. Win or Lose there's a next day. So the goal is trying to get better everyday. My goal as a coach is to develop young men, first and foremost. Next step is for our program to get better everyday. And that's a hard thing to do to try and maximize your talent on and off the court everyday. And also academic success. You win a big game you still got class the next day. You lose a tough one you still got class Wednesday morning. Try to make them understand that this is a sport."
  • On being a student athlete, "I was like this in college. You lose a game my whole day was shot."
Some notes from observing practice:
  • Roman Davis' footwork has significantly improved from the previous practice I attended. He has definitely improved his overall agility and speed significantly.
  • Roger Moute a Bidias looks like this is the year he breaks out. He might only be a role player but his confidence on defense is looking great and also is reacting to passes and players movements quicker.
  • Brandon Chauca has put in a lot of work in his overall agility and ability to change directions. He knows he's undersized and its evident he worked on getting faster in order to alleviate his weakness in size.
  • Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb do not look like they just graduated High School a few months ago. They're great on the closeout of shooters (which is what they did most of the practice), and also really intelligent in communicating the shifts in a zone defense.
  • Once again Jaylen Brown practiced his shooting all throughout the period breaks whether that was 3-Pointers or Shots off the bounce.
  • Last but not least, Cole Welle can shoot 3s. That is all.
California Love. California Rising.