Cal State San Bernardino men’s basketball coach Jeff Oliver is probably the most quotable coach any member of the media will come across, especially when his team loses. But he is also pretty savy when it comes to getting a point across to his sometimes stubborn players.
Oliver likes to use the media to his advantage. And it almost always works. It goes like this. You criticize a player in a post-game or pre-game interview. Those quotes find their way into the newspaper which typically irritates or gets under the skin of that player. The player comes out and wants to prove the coach wrong so a good performance follows.
He did with big guys in recent years like Ivan Johnson and Brandon Brown. Even before that he blasted point guard Trennell Eddings when he got a late technical foul that ended up costing his team a game. In all those cases the players responded.
So earlier this week Oliver talked up Saturday’s foe San Francisco State and said that school would probably beat his because its returning starters were “playing 10 times better than mine.”
He asked me to make sure I used that comment. It was a valid point so I did. He was particularly critical of guards Aaron Hill and Corey Caston who had been turning the ball over regularly, as well as David Jefferson.
Well the message seemed to get through again. The Coyotes beat the Gators 84-60. And it wasn’t even that close. Jefferson had 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Caston had 14 points and five assists and Hill contributed 10 points and five assists.
That performance came 24 hours after a similar 85-50 lambasting of Cal State Monterey Bay. So the ship appears to be righted for now!
The Coyotes are 5-3 overall and 3-1 in CCAA play. Next up is the always difficult Humboldt State-Sonoma State road trip.