Thursday, January 15, 2009

Never satisfied, but not demeaning

Before the season began, critics thought Cal's public address announcer Eddy Kleinhans was crazy when he picked the Bears to get into the NCAA tournament.

But after watching Mike Montgomery's team in preseason practices, he sensed something was different.

"To a man, every player I talked to said they were learning so much in workouts," Kleinhans said. "It was obvious that Montgomery was wholly changing the culture of the team."

Cal has won 15 of its first 17 games (including nine straight) -- its best start in nearly 50 years.

According to this article, "Montgomery has been able to walk a tightrope between giving the players confidence in their abilities while demanding even more. He gives them freedom to make decisions, and teaches when they make the wrong ones. He is never satisfied, but not demeaning."

Said Kris Weems, who played for Coach Montgomery at Stanford in the '90s:

"We always felt we were the most prepared team in the country, because we always knew what the other team was going to do. He'll get the most out of his role players, because he can push the right buttons on those guys. The players never have questions about what they are supposed to do, and he knows how to get players to feel good about their role."

One NBA scout contends that Monty's "attention to detail is beyond measure."

Said another scout: "You can see Montgomery learned from his time in the NBA that you have to let players play the way they play. He's a bright guy, so I'm not surprised he could adapt his game. But I am surprised that they're this good."

I've had a chance to get to two Cal games this season. They've really benefited from Coach Montgomery's teaching and coaching style.