Cal Head Coach Cuonzo Martin Emphasizes Toughness, Defense at Pac-12 Media Day

SAN FRANCISCO -- For Cal head coach Cuonzo Martin, the rankings and the expectations don't matter, but he won't hide from them, either ...

READ MORE: Live BearTerritory Blog of Pac-12 Men's Basketball Media Day

SAN FRANCISCO -- California head coach Cuonzo Martin made no bones about the fact taht expectations are just numbers, on Thursday at the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Media Day. But, Martin said, "you can't shelter a guy, or hide from that, in life," so the Bears won't be hiding from the rankings, which saw them placed as the No. 2 team in the Pac-12 in the conference media poll, and No. 14 in the nation, according to the USA Today Poll. The Bears are ranked in the top 25 for the first time since Dec. 6, 2009.

A quick rundown of how Cal fares on preseason watch lists:

Tyrone Wallace - Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award
Jordan Mathews - Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award
Jaylen Brown - Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award
Ivan Rabb - Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award

Some key quotes from the post-podium interviews:

"I'm most impressed with the raised competitive spirit," of practice, Martin said.

"I always want to be the toughest team on the floor." -- Martin

"I want to be the best defensive team in the country. You can control the game that way. You can control that every single night." -- Martin

"There's a difference between confidence and arrogance." -- Martin

"We all feel like it could be a special year, and we challenge each other to be better." -- Wallace

"We're capable" of getting to the Final Four -- Wallace

"The intensity is at a whole 'nother level in practice," Wallace says. "It's definitely raised."

"I'm ready to lead my troops." -- Wallace

Wallace, incidentally, has a Sociology class with Jared Goff.

On what he heard from NBA scouts, as far as where he would have gone last year in the draft, Wallace says: "I didn't leave, so it doesn't matter." Top Stories