The Pac-12 Men's Basketball Media Day is set to start at 10 a.m., at the Pac-12 Networks Studios in San Francisco. We will be there and bring the procedings to you live. Cuonzo Martin and Tyrone Wallace are set to take the stage at 11:15 a.m.
|October 15||10:00 AM|
- On the Stage
Arizona, with 18 first-place votes and 406 total points, was chosen to win the league, followed by Cal with 378 points. Utah (7 first-place votes) with 360 points was third, followed by Oregon (338) and UCLA (304), which had one first-place vote apiece. Oregon State (235), Colorado (188), Arizona State (165), Stanford (145), USC (111), Washington (96) and Washington State (65) round out the predicted standings.
Since the conference began compiling preseason polls in 1990, Cal has been picked higher than second twice. The Bears earned the nod from the media for the 2009-10 season and went on to capture their first league crown since 1960. In 1993-94, Cal tied for second in the regular season after being chosen as the Pac-10 favorite. Media have correctly picked the Conference winner 14 times in 23 tries.
|October 15||10:03 AM|
- In case you forgot, it's the Pac-12's 100th year
There will be a "Centennial Trophy" for the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament, Larry Scott says. Also name-checks Mike Montgomery, who was chatting with Tyrone Wallace earlier this morning.
|October 15||10:07 AM|
- Larry Name Checks Wallace
Tyrone Wallace will be the first of his family to graduate college, and Larry Scott make smention of that, when citing the academic acumen of the Pac-12, which also celebrated "instant impact" freshmen (most of whom are likely to leave after one year) in their hype video.
|October 15||10:09 AM|
- Larry Wants Chinese
The Pac-12 will be first US league -- pro or collegiate -- to play a regular-season game in China. Nov. 14, when Washington will play Texas in Shanghai. Scott hopes for it to be an annual tradition. Scott throws around the term "globalization initiative."
There will be a full week of academic experience that the Huskies will have to "take full advantage of this great opportunity the student-athletes have." UW has built a curriculum around it, dealing with culture and the economy. Because communism is great for capitalism.
|October 15||10:11 AM|
- NCAA Reform
"Stipends beyond the cost of attendance" should not be the law of the land, Scott says, while talking about NCAA reform. "We believe the court's appeal ruling validates this principle we've been fighting for and stand behind."
Basically, he thinks that players shouldn't be professionals.
"The simplest way to put it, is we see them as students, not employees, and fully support as much finacial, academic and medical support, nutritional support, but there's a line in the sand that would be inappropriate to cross, where they're in school to make money," Scott says. "The purpose of going to school isn't to be a professional and make money."
What's the next legal step?
"I think that's all being discussed right now. I don't think there's any decision out of the NCAA as to what their response is ultimately going to be."
Larry on the Pac-12 re-signing with Las Vegas: "It wa sa big move for us when we left Los Angeles for Las Vegas. We had a sense that it had the potential to become a real fan favorite. We're delighted with how it's gone. It's exceeded our expectations ... It's everything we could have hoped for, and more."
Deal has been extended for a year, and they will evaluate the new 18,000-seat arena that's being built across the street. Discussions continue with AEG and the MGM. Pac-12 is weighing options. "We will have some news in terms of what we're doing going forward by our tournament this year," Scott says.
|October 15||10:22 AM|
- College Basketball Overall
Scott is very much for the recent rules changes, and is supportive of a "more freeflowing game that creates balance between offense and defense" in college basketball.
"The NBA is a more freeflowing, offensive-minded style, so it will be good for college basketball," Scott says.
There might be more whistles blown, more fouls called early in the season as people adjust to the new points of emphasis.
Talk about being more popular in November and December, during football spotlight: "Rules are obviously something that everyone's looking at. I think CBK is great. It's tremendous. If you look at the objective measures of ratings, attendance, overall popularity, CBK is healthy. What's also fair to say if you look at it objectively, the way CBK ends, with conference tournaments and March Madness, is off-the-charts successful. We truly have one of America's most iconic sporting events. We can be self-critical. We should be. I am. I want to start by saying we have something special. Where I think we should look is the overlap between football and the basketball season. It can be a challenge. It's a challenging environment. One of the most interesting ideas ideas, is can we make it a one-semester sport? I think it's an intriguing concept tha twe ought to explore. We want to make sure to build upon our strengths. The strength is March, and the way it ends. You wouldn't want to undermine your strength. The regular season may have become more of a commodity than we'd like it to become, but when it's at its best, it's unrivaled."
Could CBK extend into April and May, be pushed back a month: "I absolutely think it should be explored. I think we should look at everything. We have to realize that March Madness is something very unique, and part of the psyche of the American sporting fan. I do love the idea of CBK becoming a one-semester sport, having a more natural progression from college football to college basketball. The balance of that is, what would it do to the way that college basketball season ends?"
That's the end of Larry Scott's comments.
|October 15||10:22 AM|
- USC - Andy Enfield and Jordan McLaughlin
The team has been in the weight room "twice, three times as much as we were last year," says McLaughlin. Enfield says each guy on the team is 5-12 pounds heavier with muscle this year than last.
Enfield walks back his comments of "if you want to play slow, play for UCLA" from two years ago.
"We play our style, we play an NBA style, very fast-paced, and we try to spread the floor; we've recruited to that style of play, but we're trying to win basketball games, so whether we have to speed it up or slow it down, we don't care," Enfield says. "You have to produce and perform when the lights go on."
USC has only one senior.
"When we recruited guys like Jordan, who was the first guy I went to see, he was the first recruit I went to see, we gave them a vision of the future, and an opportunity to come in, make a difference and build a program," Enfield says. "We knew we were in for a challenge as a staff. We've had two very good recruiting classes, and our young players are the right players to do that, to play early in your career. You get exposed sometimes, because they've been playing more minutes than if they were walking into a top-25 team. We knew as a staff we'd have to put up with a lot of freshman and sophomore mistakes, but they're on the right path."
Trojans has the highest team GPA in program history last year.
"We try to score quicker than 30 seconds," Enfield says of new, shorter shot clock.
|October 15||10:40 AM|
- Washington - Lorenzo Romar and Andrew Andrews
Very young group for the Huskies, but, Romar says, a very enthusiastic group, led by Andrew Andrews.
"They're so willing and compliant, up to this point," Romar says.
"It's a statement for our conference, and it's a trip we're not taking lightly," Romar says of China trip. "There are so many other things that are involved. Our University is getting behind our efforts. We're taking a class on their culture in conjunction with this trip, so our guys are looking forward to that."
Andrews on the class: "We've been trying to learn as much Mandarin as we can, and they appreciate it when you try to speak their native langauge over there. We've learned tonal language -- so when we say the words, we say them correctly."
Malik Dime is already bilingual, and he speaks the best Mandarin on the team.
Romar says "all" of the freshmen will contribute early.
How does the team handle the transfers: "The best thing you can do is to come together," Andrews says. "We just tried to pull together and become a stronger team."
Field goal percentages could go down because of the 30-second clock, Romar says he's heard, but he also thinks teams are going to adjust to it.
"We don't expect it to affect us, offensively, at all," Romar says.
Andrews says he's improved his decision-making, setting people up. "Last year, I felt more inclined to be a scorer, but this year, I'm a distributor," he says.
|October 15||10:51 AM|
- Colorado - Tad Boyle and Josh Scott
"I'm healthy now, and I do more rehab stuff and I stay away from heavy-lifting in the weight room," says Scott, who's coming back from a back injury. "It hasn't bugged me in quite a lonf time."
Boyle says everyone's forgotten about CU after blowing them up last year for having a bad season.
Boyle on Xavier Johnson:"His role is still yet to be defined depending how his Achilles responds and what ends up happening this year."
Scott says the Buffs were afraid of calling each other out on mistakes. "This year, I've seen a lot more holding people accountable, a lot more people being vocal," he says.
"I think this guy (points to Scott) is going to be our next pro," Boyle says.
|October 15||11:03 AM|
- Washington State - Ernie Kent and Josh Hawkinson
7 new players, but "on cue," they will sing the school fight song with their peers in the weight room, Ernie Kent says of his team.
Klay Thompson came to practice for a scrimmage, with the Larry O'Brian Trophy. "He talked about the work ethic that he brings in every day, and how we should bring that on and off the court," says Hawkinson.
Kent notes the type of growth that Thompson has undergone, coming back to that campus and addressing things that had happened in his personal life.
Wazzu and Hawkinson took some folks by surprise last year, so they're asked about how they change now that he's a known quantity: "I just plan on taking the same mentality that I had last year. This team has a lot more depth, so I have a lot more guys behind me. I'm not worried about trying to increase what I'm doing. I'm just trying to stay even-keel."
"I think the biggest thing we've noticed so far is that we d not notice Josh as much, and I think that's an indication that he has a supporting cast around him," Kent says.
Kent addresses his early days coaching in Saudi Arabia. "It made me a better basketball coach," says Kent, who also says it taught him patience, living in a Shiite village, and dealing with the language barrier, for seven years.
"If this is the conference's last-place team, this is going to be a really good conference," Kent says.
30-second shot clock: "I don't think the 30-second clock is goign to have a huge impact. There are coaches who are going to look at pressing more, do some things in zone on the first pass, to put a premium on skill set," Kent says.
Kent says if they really want to change things, make it 24 seconds, and reset it to 12, which is what they do in Australia.
|October 15||11:11 AM|
- California - Cuonzo and Wallace
Cuonzo Martin says he's very excited. His face does not show this.
Challenges of having 3 established starters, and 2 elite guys who have to mesh: "I don't know if it's a challenge. You have quality guys returning, you bring in talented guys. The most important thing is to get better every day. It's about how many rebounds, how many assists, how many steals, are you an elite defender -- if you consume yourself with those stats, you'll be a good team."
"The most important thing has to be about winning basketball games."
"If my son has an opportunity, he's going to Cal," Martin says. He can't understand why folks wouldn't want to come to Cal.
"You have to put a premium on the fact that you can get one of the best degrees in the world. No. 3 university in the world -- those are the stats I'm consumed with, as a father."
"Sometimes, a young man is consumed with tomorrow. It's my job to make sure they're looking 10-15 years down the road."
Confidence in making the leap to the national stage (Wallace): "I think we have a lot of good pieces. It's about how well we come together. We try to work hard every day, and we'll be ready for battle, when it comes."
What's the difference in the Pac-12 versus other conferences? "I think the difference," Martin says, "it's consumed with the academic piece, across the board."
Wallace, what does it mean to be the first person to graduate from college: "I think it definitely had a huge impact. It was a promise to my grandfather, who passed away. It shows my siblings and my younger relatives that they can go to school and get a degree. It's not about sports. Dont manage for a 2.5. Fight for a 3.0"
Martin on being picked second: "I've been in a league where we were picked 11th out of 12 teams, and we finished second. I don't think you get consumed with those types of numbers. You push them to be the best men, on and off the court, to be successful in the classroom and to win games. I'd rather be the last team standing at th end of the season. That's the most important thing -- to fight to the end."
"One of the best coaches who've ever coached in the Pac-12 is in attendance, and he coached at Cal," Martin says, referring to Mike Montgomery.
"I'm from East St. Louis, Illinois, so everything's a bonus for me," Martin says when asked about expectations.
Did Wallace get NBA evaluations: "I got an evaluation. I think the main thing was for me to take a step back and talk it over with Coach, and my family, and think about what was best for me moving forward. I think I did that."
|October 15||11:23 AM|
Tres Tinkle -- Wayne's son -- was in a boot most of the summer, so he was out of workouts, but after the first day, coach Tinkle had to go pinch himself. "I'd be lying if I said there hadn't been dinners at home where there wasn't much conversation."
He also waves 'Hi' to Montgomery.
"We have to maintain the hunger from when we were picked last," Tinkle says. Beavers picked to finish sixth.
"If you're not first, you're last," says Payton.
"We have to identify the type of athlete that will thrive in Corvallis," Tinkle says of recruiting.
"Deep down, he's a big teddy bear," Payton says of Tinkle. "He might scare some of us, but deep down, I know he's a big teddy bear."
Payton on taking the Beavers back to the Tourney for the first time since his dad was there: "It would mean a lot, not just for me, but the city of Corvallis, the town, the university and the fans."
|October 15||11:42 AM|
- Arizona State - Bob Hurley and Gerry Blakes
Why was ASU the right place for Hurley; "I respect the conference, having played at a high level, and to be in a league with the tradition that the league has, the abilityt o send multiple teams to the Tournament every year, that was a factor. I couldn't pass up the opportunity."
Saw the practice facility last year, when coaching Buffalo against Grand Canyon, so he was excited over the facilities. "It had everything that I was looking for," he says.
Hurley says the Sun Devils are not "super-deep," and they have nine guys available. The key will be to stay healthy.
Blakes: "You want the knowledge who's done it before you, who has a winning resume, a winning lifestyle. I'm like a sponge, I take all the knowledge I can."
How is the team picking up the new system?
"For me, being a senior, the urgency is definitely there, and I just try to echo some of the things he says to our players, try to emphasize some of the same things, and put myself in the position to help our team, and be taht coach on the court," Blakes says.
Grant Hill has stopped by the practice facility, shared thouhts with the players, "which is invaluable, with a guy who's accomplished what he's accomplished in the game," says Hurley.
Hurley emphasizes the value of California recruiting, and wants to "take a national approach to recruiting."
The system, Hurley says, is different. "Our plays tend to be more quick-hitting than the system we had in Buffalo. it favors the shot clock change. Defensively, I'm fairly blue-collar in my background, so I'm asking the guys to defend at a high level."
|October 15||11:53 AM|
Stanford plays Texas, SMU, Villanova, and Georgia Tech or Arkansas in the preseason. "It's befitting of a team that we really believe in," Dawkins says.
"I'm excited for Bobby [Hurley]; I'm happy for him," Dawkins says of his fellow Blue Devil.
What did they see from the three freshmen?
"I feel like each of them can contribute right away," Allen says. " Cameron [Walker], he's a very veratile player, played the 1 through 4 for us."
"We won't distribute it evenly, but we have some options," Dawkins says, mentioning Reid Travis and Allen.
While in Italy, a backboard broke during a game, and they moved the game 30 minutes away. THe police escort from one city to another, Allen says, "was pretty interesting."
Dawkins on timetable for Marcus Allen to be able to play again, and Reid Travis being injured from last year: "With regards to Marcus, It hink he's going to be fine, but there's no real time table for his return. He's in good spirits, he's healing and getting better every day. He'll be there for us when the season gets underway. With regards to Reid, last year, he was out with a number of different things. He could never find a rhythm because of that. To see him 100 percent healthy this summer, to see him in Italy, that was the young man we recruited."
"I've prepped myself each of the last three years, and I've stepped into bigger and bigger roles," Rosco Allen says of now being the focal point.
Reid, Marcus and Rosco have taken Chasson Randle's place as the voice of the team, Rosco says.
|October 15||11:53 AM|
Steve says Pauley is the most historic building in college basketball. I kind of agree, but I think Cameron Indoor and Phog Allen Field House may have something to say there.
Year three's double-double guy, the leader, is a big question mark, but Bryce "is a born leader," Steve says. Tony Parker "has to be the next in line" of double-double big men.
Consistency is Parker's "next step," Steve Alford says.
Thomas Welsh "has had a great summer," and they can play both him and Parker at the same time, play them off of each other really well.
"Bryce has to help Tony, Tony has to help the guards, Isaac Hamilton has to help Bryce," Steve Alford says.
On recruiting, "we've got some momentum," Steve Alford says. They move into a new practice facility by 2017.
Steve Alford says that Aaron Holiday "can be something special."
Bryce gets the Dad question: "He's always done a really good job of separating it. Growing up, I've always had that ingrained in me, and he's always been at all of my games, but he takes the time out to be the dad and to get basketball out of the way."
|October 15||12:14 PM|
- Utah - Larry Krystkowiak and Brandon Taylor
"When we have an early morning practice, I don't have a problem waking up early and going to a facility like that. We know what it stands for," Taylor says of new practice facility. "We're trying our best to keep it up and take pride in it. It's humbling and we're appreciative."
"These guys are learning how to keep it clean," Krystkowiak says.
On Jakob Poeltl: "I think, first and foremost, there were a lot of people talking about how he was a definite first-round pick. It's quite a statement for the environment that we have for him to give that up and come back."
Poeltl's gone from 220 to 250 now. He's avoided contact and taken off-balance shots in the post, in the past, and if it's missed, he was never getting the board or putting heat on the defense.
"This year, we'er asking him to play lowe, more powerful, a few simple, more powerful moves," Krystkowiak says.
"He wants to learn, he's a sponge, and he loves the college experience," Krystkowiak says of Poeltl.
Taylor wants to be a defensive stopper, to be more consistent.
"Are these for us?" Krystkowiak asks about the copper Pac-12 100 Years coffee tumblers. The answer is yes. He smiles.
|October 15||12:25 PM|
"The league looks awfully good," Altman says.
"Really looking forward," to playing Navy in Hawaii on the 74th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor. "I was all set to go. Fortunately, the administration allowed us to go. It's our finals week, but they allowed us to go, so we're going over to honor the servicemen that worked there and it should be a great experience for our players."
With Joe Young having left, who takes over as the focal point on offense?
"We were more balanced last year than people gave us credit for. Joe did give us 20 a game, but Elgin was at 13, 14, Dillon Brooks was in double figures. This year, I think we'll have that balance, with five or six guys who can score in double figures on a given night -- Dillon Brooks, Dwayne Benjamin, Tyler Dorsey, a freshman coming in, is a good scorer," Altman says.
Hot in late season: "They worked awfully hard. Those guys made it happen."
Mentions Jordan Bell as one of the guys who made that happen, along with Elgin and Young.
Altman says the Ducks have "a tremendous core," but they still have a lot of faces to work in.
Thoughts on making CBK a one-semester sport: "We're on the quarter system, so I'm not sure. I think our season's really long. We started practice Oct. 3, and hopefully, we're playing into March. It's six months. That's hard on college guys."
Altman always tries to give his players 4 days off for Christmas. But what about all the Jewish guys who play college basketball? No? Ok, well, what about Sam Singer? Shouldn't he get eight days? No? Ok. I'll be quiet.
"Since we have more returners, we kind of know what to expect, and we know what we want to accomplish," Cook says.
|October 15||12:36 PM|
First time in a while, Miller says, is that if you walk into the McKale Center, you may not know everyone's name.
Tarczewski on track to graduate from business school, and leave as the all-time winningest player in the program history.
Four seniors this year for Miller, including USF alum Mark Tollefsen, who's in his fifth year now.
Miller on not having TJ McConnell now: "That's one of many things we're working through. Parker Jackson-Cartwright learned a lot from TJ, watched him closely. In his own right, he played in 35 games, and he's gotten stronger since you've seen him last. He's 165-166, maybe even heavier. When he played for us a year ago, he was in the 150s."
Kadeem Allen can play more than one guard position, but is an older guy and brings a different element at that position, at 6-2, 6-3, with long arms and excellent defense, Miller says.
Miller on Cal's offseason: "Cal's going to be a terrific team. Cuonzo Martin and his staff have done a great job. Mike Montgomery did a great job as well. Cal does a great job blending leements -- an influx of new talent that are among the best, but also a veteran group that has been coached well and has been through multiple Pac-12 seasons."
Cites Wallace and Jabari Bird as helping that blend of talent, old and new.
Tarczewski is the only returning starter. "It's going to feel different, but that doesn't mean we can't have a great season," Miller says.
Last three years, UA has lost one nonconference game. Five of first seven are on the road, 3 in a row on the road.
Ryan Anderson practiced with Arizona 100 times last year, so while he's a transfer, he's got experience with the Wildcats.