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Monday, March 14, 2005
Low not down after
"I think I played OK," Low said. "I did have to make some minor adjustments to play college basketball.
"Playing high school basketball in Hawaii and college basketball in the Pac-10 are totally different. I had to adjust to the speed of the game and the intensity of the game and the overall competitive level of college basketball."
Low soon discovered that the madcap dashes to the basket that worked so well in Hawaii often led to disaster in college.
"It's hard to go all the way to the rim because of the bigger players," said Low, an honorable-mention pick on the Pac-10 All-Freshman team. "I had to dish off to other players or stop and take a short shot."
Washington State coach Dick Bennett, who once guided Wisconsin to the Final Four, is notoriously demanding of players. It's safe to say Low's ears will be ringing with Bennett's advice long after the season ends.
"I think I'm one of those guys who responds well to criticism," Low said. "Coach Bennett demands a lot of his point guards because in the past he's had good point guards. That's why he's hard on me. When he scolded me, I never got down."
"He handles it well," Bennett said. "Not everyone can."
So, Dick, how did Low handle some of the best point guards (Washington's Nate Robinson, Arizona's Salim Stoudamire, Stanford's Chris Hernandez, Oregon's Aaron Brooks, etc.) in the nation?
"He's a very good ballhandler and a very good dribbler," Bennett said. "He definitely needs to see the floor better. It's definitely not a strength. It's something he needs to work on."
"He's very athletic," Kelati said, "and he's a very smart player."
Low agrees with Bennett and Kelati that he needs to play more aggressively; specifically, drive more and not be content to simply pass the ball around the perimeter ("He can be a great penetrator," Kelati said). Low earned praise from Bennett for his defense ("He has very quick feet"), and when Bennett compliments a player on his defense -- particularly a freshman -- it is truly praise from the master.
"He's a pleasure to coach, because he listens," Bennett said. "He's a good person."
"I think what I need to improve on is what Coach Bennett says: Be more assertive," Low said. "He wants me to be like a dog on the floor; just tough, relentless. Attack on offense, create more for my leaders, be the leader.
"That's what I'm going to do."