Quotes: Coach Sendek and Lockett talk about season, improvements

Trent Lockett:

 On going into the second half vs. Washington State:

“Things can only go up at that point. I think we’ve shown that throughout the season. We’ve got ourselves in holes and we’ve responded fairly well. We’ve shown that we can play with these teams obviously. I mean the Pac-12 is down this year but its upsetting because we show what we can do, we just don’t bring it all the time.”

On what needs improvement:

“That’s a great question. Going through film we’re looking at the same mistakes we were making in December, which is a little upsetting but we just have to focus on applying what we’ve learned in film.”

On individuals’ improvements:

“Chris and Kyle have played well. Their energy has been pretty good this last week or so. Jon had flashes this season. I feel like everybody has played well at flashes. Ruslan had flashes earlier in the season. Jb is coming along now. If we could just put it all together we could be a pretty good team.”

On Jordan Bachynski and Jonathan Gilling

“Jordan took over a year off of basketball so I think he’s kind of getting into the swing of things and Jon is kind of finding his groove through his freshman year and I think he’s coming along. So I guess you could say the future is great or that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

On his experience here:

“Its been tough. I mean I never really have been through anything like last year and to add to it with a year like this one but like coach says, ‘you always choose how you respond to each situation’. After games we can hang our heads or go into practice and work hard and try to get another win in the next game. I’m not quite used to it but these last few years have been extremely tough.”

On losing vs. winning:

“I would say that winning masks a lot of things. When you’re winning, problems that you may have now aren’t very big problems and people overlook it. But when you’re loosing its takes a lot of character to keep coming every day and to be a team and continue to work hard.”

On Evan Gordon:

“Evan is a good player. Transitioned well, I think, to playing with more athletic and bigger guys. He fits in right with our team.”

On the best defensive player in the Pac-12:

“There’s a lot of good defensive guys in the Pac but Marcus Capers is pretty good. A lot of times I’m going up against guys are smaller than me so I can use my body but he’s about the same size as me. He’s pretty strong, long, and athletic so I would say he’s one of the best defenders in the Pac.”

On the best offensive player in the Pac-12:

“Surprisingly, I would say Brock Motum. He’s surprising. He’s a good player. He can step outside. I would say he’s an offensive player that would draw attention.”

Herb Sendek:

On individual improvement:

“I think all of our guys are making progress. Sometimes its not linear and most certainly anybody’s basketball career is going to be replete with detours and valleys at times but I think with the daily approach we take its hard not to get better and improve because we stay at it, we grind, we teach, and we work. So I think all of our guys have made improvements. That doesn’t mean that the next game is always better than the past game.”

On consistency:

“Well I think all of us are still trying to improve first but also maintain the highest possible level of consistency so we have fewer of those detours. Jordan most certainly has made progress after an unusually extended period of not playing basketball but he does have talent and he does have gifts.”

On experiences and moving forward:

“Well any season that you have you’re able to add to your portfolio of experience. So we all carry the sum total of our past experiences to the present moment so our guys are going to bring everything that we’ve gone through to next year. So far as we can learn from it, it will be valuable and then we have to let it go and be in the present moment as it presents itself at that time.”

On practice:

“We really have practiced well. We’ve practiced hard. We have focused tremendously on the fundamentals. I’ve been very pleased with our practice habits and approach.”

On continuing to work hard:

“It’s the only choice that makes any sense. It’s the only one that can lead to improvement and better performance and production. So we always have the ability to make that right choice but that’s really the only one that makes the greatest sense. Its not necessarily the easiest one but the only way that stands to benefit the most moving forward.”

On Trent Lockett and leadership:

“I think he’s move vocal with him teammates. He’s much more likely to be outspoken. You hear his voice from the time we stretch throughout practice. Its very valuable to have players who talk and really nobody has a license to not talk if you’re doing it the right way. Its something that we really emphasize in our program. I think he’s one of our most vocal leaders. We have other guys who chime in for certain and we challenge everyone to do so in their own way.”

On choosing a positive attitude:

“There’s no reason to not be positive. I mean what are you going to do? Are you going to walk around and show the world that you’re miserable because things aren’t going the way you expected or the way you would like? Where does that get you? We just refuse to do that and that’s just a choice. If you want to choose to do that, go ahead and make that but we have a lot of blessings. We have a lot to be grateful for and our focus is on much more productive things like getting better and from a coaching standpoint, leading and teaching and from a playing standpoint, working and improving. That’s what we’re all about. I know this is important to all of us and its very important to me but we have it in its right place and we have the right approach. We have great confidence moving forward that we are going to win more game. We always have and that’s our expectation in the future. We have a good feeling about the plan that we have and we have good confidence that we know what we’re doing and we’ll move it forward that way.”

On last weekend against Washington State:

“I think if you look at Pullman offensively you can almost look at three boxes. The first box would be our turnovers and once again at intermission we had ten turnovers. That’s way too high and it leads to easy baskets for the opponent. The second thing would be, buy and large we had the same quality of shots that we always get, but we weren’t making them. We had some shots around the basket, we had free throws, we had wide-open threes that we didn’t convert. We can live with that. The third thing that happened to us in that game, more than any other, given the struggles that we were experiencing, we got out of our comfort zone and we started to look for heroic plays that would be worth ten points a possession. Each guy kind of took a turn thinking he had to do something different from what we do and I think if we would have stayed within our framework we would have had a better chance to not be in that position But I think that there were three contributing factors. There’s one from an offensive standpoint, one turnovers, which has been a constant for us, that wasn’t all together different, two, that number eight isn’t on the board if we convert any number of shots or possessions. If you press pause on the film you’re saying we can’t get any more open than that. Ok, we can live with that. But then once it got ugly we would have been better off if we would have just had more discipline to stay with what we do. But all of a sudden we felt like we had to throw a bomb on first down, second down, and third down and that never really works. Even though you’re trailing, if you have to throw a bomb every play its hard to put points on the board. Then what changed in the second half is we made more shots. There were probably more possessions in the second half that helped elevate the number of points but we made more shots. We certainly didn’t reinvent ourselves. We certainly didn’t change our offense at intermission. So we scored eight in the first half and we scored 42 in the second. Scoring has been a challenge for us overall.”

On decision making and personnel:

“I think its important when you evaluate like that you almost draw a line down your page and say what are some of the things that have happened to us that we can certainly control and do better and the other thing is what are some things that we can’t control. I think in both cases the biggest thing we’ve had is personnel. We can control better with our personnel. We can control better from the front end. We’ve also had things over the course of the last year happen to our personnel that we can’t control. That just happens. I think that, more than anything else, has contributed to what’s happened the last two seasons. It’s a fine line because sometimes one player can make a difference. If you would have said back in the summer that I was going to end up playing the Pac-12 season without Jahii, Keala, and Trent, I don’t know if that would have done anything but lowered expectations. We’ve looked at that as a whole and we’ve addressed some things that we have to do better with our decision making and we have this stuff that just happens in its proper place as well.”

On what needs to improve:

“Really everything. We always try to work with a broad base front. Turnovers are an important part but I think the best summary is simply one word, fundamentals. This isn’t a function of magic or scheme or brilliant strategy, it comes down to the fundamentals for us and that’s where almost all of our energies are devoted.”

On Evan Gordon and Bo Barnes:

“Both guys have had a really good year of practice for us. Both guys have really helped us in practice as Jahii has. So we’ve been fortunate from that standpoint to have three guys that are able to really increase the competitiveness of our practices. I think all three are outstanding players.”