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‘Don’t eat the cheese’: How Mike Hopkins is using mousetraps to keep Huskies on the path to success

The Washington coaching team had the traps laid out all over the place in the building to ward off a possibly troublesome infestation they feared would ruin the team’s storybook time of redemption. Not rats — a thing significantly worse.

Previous month, the Huskies returned house from a highway collection sweep at Utah and Colorado and walked into their freshly renovated locker area littered with mousetraps.

“Like 30 mousetraps all over the place,” sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell said laughing. “I’m like, what the hell’s likely on? We have got mouses?”

No, not mice. Worse.

The Washington coaching team had the traps laid out all over the place in the building to ward off a possibly troublesome infestation they feared would ruin the team’s storybook time of redemption.

“Will Conroy came up to me and he said coach, ‘I was studying about the coach of the New Orleans Saints (Sean Payton) and he said that each 4 games that they would earn, he would appear in with mousetraps,” coach Mike Hopkins said. “It was, don’t consume the cheese. You have got to stay humble, hungry and smart. I was like, whoa. Which is a good concept.

“We went ideal into the business and said purchase 15 mousetraps. We had been putting them all in excess of in the locker area – and we’ve got a model-new locker area. Every person is like, what the hell? I was like, there’s mice in right here. No! There’s no way.”

And that is why right after just about every earn, right after clinching at the very least a share of the Pac-12 typical-time title and climbing into the Affiliated Press poll this 7 days at No. 25, Hopkins repeats 1 of UW’s numerous mantras: “Don’t consume the cheese.”

“It was just a actual simple message in phrases of becoming humble and keeping sharp and keeping gritty and keeping centered,” Hopkins said. “That’s who we are, that is when we’re at our best and very little changes.

“Top 25? It doesn’t matter. We understand that we’ve got to go out there and accomplish and perform, and perform alongside one another. If we can do that we’re likely to have a likelihood.

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These are uncharted waters for the Huskies (22-5, 13-1 Pac-12) who will make their initially NCAA event appearance considering the fact that 2011, barring a disastrous finish in the up coming 3 weeks.

Hopkins has Washington, which has received 3 straight games, enjoying its best basketball of the time. The Huskies allowed an typical of 50 details throughout a pair of wins last 7 days in opposition to Utah (62-45) and Colorado (64-55).

Washington, which has a 3½-recreation lead in the Pac-12, is head and shoulders previously mentioned the rest of the conference in most defensive data, together with details allowed (63.6), opponents’ area purpose proportion (40.6), turnovers forced (16.3), steals (9.) and blocks (6.).

And nevertheless, Hopkins is aware of the pitfalls these as the Huskies’ propensity for turnovers, their innate rebounding deficiencies and recurrent scoring droughts.

However, his most significant issue is players getting bored with results and obtaining into the hype that hounds a team that is received 15 of its past 16 games. For this reason the mousetraps.

“Just a good image of becoming sensible and becoming careful of successful,” Hopkins said. “I was taught a extended-time back it is more durable to handle results than it is to handle failure. It is a good lifestyle lesson for these little ones to stay humble and do what we’ve accomplished and stay with it.”

The Huskies’ emphasis will be examined when they encounter California (5-22, -15) on Thursday night at Haas Pavilion (FS1) in a lopsided matchup involving the initially and last-area teams in the conference.

Cal is striving to prevent starting to be the initially Pac-12 team to finish winless in the conference. (Oregon State went -18 in 2007-08 when the league was the Pac-10.)

Even though the Golden Bears are mired in a faculty-record 16-recreation dropping skid, Hopkins believes they are a formidable foe. In their initially assembly, Washington overcame an 11-stage deficit in the initially half and led 29-28 ahead of outscoring Cal 42-24 in the second half for a 71-52 earn.

“These guys can perform,” Hopkins said. “They had UCLA beat and dropped in additional time at house. They’ve got a chip on their shoulder and you have got to regard every person that you perform. They’ve got a fantastic system and a fantastic tradition and record. You are likely to their area. You have to go there and receive it.”

The Golden Bears will very likely have the Huskies’ full awareness considering a victory clinches the outright Pac-12 typical-time title for UW.

Washington is also enjoying for seeding in the NCAA event and a decline to Cal, which is ranked 278th among 353 Division I teams in the Web rankings, would negatively impact UW’s resume.

The Huskies are a 13.5-stage preferred, but they are not paying awareness to the Las Vegas oddsmakers or any person else thanks to Hopkins’ mousetrap psychological trick.

“Don’t consume the cheese,” Nowell said smiling. “We all absolutely just take that quite significant. We don’t listen to the outside telling us how fantastic we are. We have to make positive that we perform when we’re stepping involving the traces.”

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