Devin Askew Out For the Year
Men's Basketball media session recap, plus a few observations from practice
Members of the media were able to attend part of today’s practice session and have a brief Q&A with Coach Madsen and several Golden Bears.
The biggest news is that Devin Askew will miss the rest of this season with a foot injury. Askew has a minor foot injury that will require six to eight weeks of therapy and rehabilitation. He has appeared in eight games this year, most recently an eight minute stint against Arizona State on New Year’s Eve. He will appeal to the NCAA for a medical redshirt.
We were able to observe practice for fifteen minutes. Here are some of my observations from the short session;
The roster is split into three groups; the starters, the reserves, and the walk-ons. The distribution is not exact. There is some blending or overlap between those groups. The starter group will run a drill against the walk-ons. The reserves observe and listen to feedback from the coaches. Then the reserve group will run the drill against the walk-ons, with the starter group taking in the feedback.
Today they had both ends of the court going with different groups. On one end, Coaches Madsen and Morgan were working on low post defensive traps, and secondary rotation. At the other end, switching and transitioning off high screens. For the low post drill, Madsen was an active participant. Coach Madsen was taking and initiation contact, bodying up his defender as he worked towards the basket.
Injured players Devin Askew, Vladimir Pavlovic and ND Okafor were on the sidelines. Okafor was working on stretching exercises with a physical trainer. He looks improved from the injury suffered against Butler, though no time table has been given for his return.
Overall, there was plenty of communication amongst players and coaches. Plenty of low-fives and fistbumps, and overall positive energy.
After practice, Coach Madsen, Jaylon Tyson, Rodney Brown Jr., and Jalen Celestine were made available for questions. I’ve grabbed some highlights from the comments. The full sessions are linked below.
On UCLA game and takeaways.
“You always want to see hard work (from practice) translate into games…and it was gratifying for the players to see that hard work pay off.”
“We still had 13 turnovers. Our target goal is 7 to 10 turnovers a game.”
On Team Defensive Concepts and Help Defense
“Schematically we’re supposed to have high hands so he (USC’s Collier) can’t get the pass through, but we still gave up two three’s on that. Sometimes you work the scheme, you work it, you rep it, and sometimes a great player still makes a great play.”
“We’re a big time halfcourt man-to-man as a team. That’s our focus. There have been times where we have sprinkled other things in…but (half court man-to-man) will continue to be our focus.”
On Rodney Brown, Jr.
“He came in the summer, and immediately started pushing the players. You’re starting to see from the UCLA game the ability to pass the ball and play make. He has the size and the stature to see over defenses.”
On Devin Curtis
“He has grown. He has great poise. He has a great outside shot. He hasn’t shown that yet, but he will.”
Rodney Brown, Jr.
On increasing his role with Askew out
“I just hope to help my team in any way possible. I know Devin, he’s a great passer, he’s a great leader. So I’m just going to try to do the same thing that he would do.”
On what Cal fans will see next out of his game
“I want to pick it up on the defensive end. I feel like I have a lot more to show, get in passing lanes, get more steals. I want to keep creating for others.”
On coming from tumultuous environment and playing at Cal
“Before I committed here I wanted to find a coach that was personable and someone I could build a relationship outside of basketball. I feel like that was the biggest thing for me.
“The coaching staff believes in me at times more than I believe in myself.”
On the Tyson Takeover
“That’s when the big time players come out. I feel like I’m a big time player. I think I’m one of the best in college basketball. In those last 4 minutes, that’s what we call winning time. And that’s when I gotta step up and try to help us win games.”
On Reducing Turnovers
“I think some of those turnovers come from me being so aggressive. By the time I learn, stepping into the point guard role, it’s hard for me cause I’ve always been expected to score. Now, being able to get my other teammates involved….now I’m learning who needs the ball, and at what spot….as the season keeps going (the turnovers) will keep going down.”
On watching all of last year and returning from injuries
“It’s a blessing. Thankfully I had a coaching staff that was patient with me this summer. It’s been a long road.”
“Knock on wood, I feel the best I’ve felt in a long time. I honestly don’t think I need the knee brace anymore, but that’s just a safety precaution.”
On the friendship with Rodney Brown, Jr.
“He visited Cal like 4 times. And I hosted all of his visits. So, that’s why he’s like my little brother. I love Rodney to death and I’m really happy that he’s starting to take off and show the world how good of a basketball player he really is. “
The team continues to radiate positive energy. Even though the players themselves made a few comments about their record, there does not appear to be any sense of frustration from anyone. Rodney Brown talks about playing with joy, Jalen Celestine is always smiling. Coach Madsen is perpetually positive, but does not avoid taking accountability or discussing areas of improvement. This is now the third time Coach Madsen has made the program available to media members. Meanwhile, in UCLA-land, Mick Cronin is getting eviscerated for his handling of their struggles.
Cal faces the Colorado Buffaloes Wednesday night at 8 pm in Haas Pavilion. The game will be televised on ESPNU. The Buffaloes may have 5-star freshman Cody Williams back in the lineup. Like Cal, the Buffs were blown out by Arizona and narrowly lost to ASU. Let’s hope the positive momentum from the UCLA victory carries forward and helps propel Cal to another win.