Pac-12 Preseason Media Poll
1. UCLA (14) 421
2. California (13) 405
3. Arizona (11) 404
4. Washington 355
5. Oregon 282
6. Stanford 255
7. USC 194
8. Oregon St. 188
9. Arizona St. 148
10. Colorado 119
10. Washington St. 119
12. Utah 74
And then, in order of the projected finish, quotes from the different schools at Media Day.
Ben Howland didn't provide too much new information in the main forum with the media. . He talked a little bit more about David Wear's role on the team.
"(Dave Wear) played all his minutes yesterday except for a couple at the three, and did a very good job, especially defensively, which is my biggest concern. That's where it's going to be a real challenge for him."
Kind of coupled with that, Howland also mentioned that the team is going to try to play mostly man-to-man defense, which will be interesting with Wear at the three.
"We're going to play mostly man-to-man…there are no secrets. We just want to go out and execute. This year we've really got to get back to dominating the boards. I think the last two years prior to this year, even the last three years, we haven't been a dominant team on the boards. We've got to get back to doing a good job on the glass."
Lazeric Jones had a funny moment. When asked about the new recruiting rules allowing coaches to text and tweet more, he had this to say:
"I wasn't that highly recruited out of high school, so I'd like to be able to get anyone to want to call me or text me. In junior college, I was welcome to all the texts and all the calls. It was cool with me."
Howland also mentioned that talks are in the works for a trip to China next summer, between September 15 and the 26th.
Mike Montgomery started off his session with some surprise news about his bout with bladder cancer.
"About a month ago I was diagnosed with bladder cancer, high-grade bladder cancer. And through a series of extremely fortuitous events, we were able to get in, get the little polyp, tumor, whatever you want to call it, get it out and everything since that time has been all clear, all clear, all clear.
Lost a little weight, which I don't think I'd recommend as a way to diet, necessarily.
Just so you know perspective-wise, he said, three months ago we wouldn't have found this, six months from now you'd be done. So the timing couldn't have been better.
Montgomery also talked about the new recruiting rules, and appeared to be the lone dissenting opinion among the coaches, calling into question rules that will allow more interference in the lives of high school kids.
"It kind of blows my mind to be honest with you. The fact that we're now going to be tweeting, texting, calling these kids any time anyplace, it's hard for me to really understand. I've always been relatively protective of kids and their privacy."
Kind of a sheepish day for Sean Miller, who started off his 15 minutes by mentioning that he was the only coach at media day who was 0-1. He hoped that this season would mirror last season, where the team started off slow and got better and stronger as the season went on. He did say that he doesn't feel the Wildcats are good enough to be the No. 3 team in the conference right now.
"There's no way in the world we're the third best team in the Pac-12. You can say every coach says something like that. I didn't say that last year. Hopefully I won't say it next year, but I'm saying it now. There is no chance at all that's where we are."
He commented on Kevin Parrom, "His status, I really believe he'll return to the court this year. We're pointing towards late November, early December if he continues to experience the same progress that he has. It was five weeks ago to the day that he got shot. When he got shot, below his right knee didn't work. He had no feeling, no movement, and there was no guarantee that it would ever come back. Five weeks from Friday, he can run this week."
Lorenzo Romar brought Darnell Gant to media day, and talked a little about Terrence Ross's development and what the Huskies expect from him this year.
"I think what's taken place from last year till now is he's become a better defensive player. He's committed to being a better defensive player and rebounder. The fact that he's paying a lot of attention to being more well-rounded, I think is going to help his cause."
He also discussed the expected impact of freshman Tony Wroten, and his reputation coming into the year.
"I think he's been labeled somewhat of a show boat, show man, and that's all he cares about. I think if you're a Husky fan, people will be pleasantly surprised. He has fun. He enjoys the game. But at the same time, he's a really tough competitor."
There weren't a ton of questions for Dana Altman's team; likely because so little is known. He talked a little bit about Jabari Brown's expected impact, based off his play during their Italian trip this summer.
"Jabari's a very talented young man. We took a trip to Italy in August, and Jabari was our leading scorer, so he can score baskets. He's working very hard at all phases of the game. He'll definitely play for us, and will play a significant role. How much is still to be determined."
He also said that he hasn't nailed down a point guard yet, but that Garrett Sim will get the first shot, with Johnny Loyd getting the next look.
The Cardinal also took a trip abroad this summer, heading to Spain. Johnny Dawkins liked what it did for his team in terms of unity and also in terms of getting extra time against tough competition.
"First and foremost, I thought we grew closer being over there in a foreign country, with the ability to spend a lot of time with each other at meals in our room in the hotel or just culturally sightseeing.
The teams we played over there were very, very good, and it forced our kids to really play at a level that they had to up their games, and in doing so, I think they got better from that experience."
He also talked about the addition of Chasson Randle and how that will improve the point guard situation on the Farm.
"When I first saw Chasson, I thought he was a winner. His team, of course, won the state last season, so he comes from a winning culture. His team was terrific, and he led them. I also saw a young man who was very versatile in his play, whether it's being able to knock down a shot from outside."
Kevin O'Neill was pretty frank in his appraisal of this year's Trojans, calling the team a "work in progress" and emphasizing repeatedly that if Maurice Jones goes down, there's not much hope for them.
"If he's in trouble and gets hurt, we're in real trouble. Don't come to the games, it will be ugly, don't show up. Because if we don't have this guy, it will be difficult for us to be competitive in major college games."
O'Neill also commented about losing Jio Fontan and what that means for the team this year.
"When we had two ball handlers, Jio and Mo, we thought we could be a fine team, but we really can't replace him. You don't lose a guy like that when you're in the throes of starting over with everybody graduating last year."
Craig Robinson led off his session by saying that he's excited about this year and for once, he doesn't have to couch his speech with statements like "we're going to try our best."
"For the first time, I think I've got a team that can compete in every single game we play this season, and I couldn't be more excited."
He also talked defense, and whether, with more athletes, he'd be inclined to go away from the 1-3-1 zone.
"We'll play more man-to-man this year. But we haven't had the athletes, the athletic ability, and the depth to play man-to-man (until now). You've got to have a little bit of depth to do that. But we would never, ever stop playing the 1-3-1. Not until (Jared Cunningham) leaves."
Herb Sendek's team looks like it'll have some serious unknown quantities on it this year, with Jahii Carson currently unavailable to play. Sendek sounded hopeful that he'd be able to play this year, but couldn't comment further. He did mention that it's a bit of a mystery who will provide scoring outside of Trent Lockett.
"Other than Trent, we don't have somebody who has put a lot of points on the board yet in their career. So I don't know that we can look to any one individual in particular. I think we're going to have to be a team that really works to get each other baskets. We're a team that hopefully at some point will achieve some synergy. Then we're going to have to be very much a unit that is productive team offense and team defense."
Tad Boyle started by expressing his excitement about the Buffaloes' first year in the Pac-12. He also talked about the incoming recruiting class and what it will mean for the future of the program.
"Number one, we're coming off a season where we had a school record in wins in 24 wins last year. We opened up a new practice facility in August that I think…we have everything we need facility-wise to sell the kids. We're going into a new league. That is exciting for our program…so all those factors coming together have created a lot of buzz around our program. So when we bring kids to campus, there is a lot of excitement."
He also talked about developing a rivalry with Utah as travel partners.
"I don't know if you pick a rival. I think it does come naturally. It comes through recruiting maybe or maybe a crazy situation on the court that might happen or personalities. But I know everybody's trying to make Utah our rival, and maybe that's what it will end up being. But all I know is we come into this league, and there are 11 programs -- other programs that we have to compete with, and Utah's one of them."
Ken Bone will have to deal with the loss of Klay Thompson this year, and is hoping for further emergence from Faisal Aden.
"Faisal had a great summer. He spent a lot of time in Chicago working out with some guys and he's come back -- I don't want to say he's happy Klay is gone, but it does open up an opportunity for him, because that young man can really shoot…and he's not just a shooter. He's a pretty good scorer. He finds ways to score that are sometimes a little bit uncharacteristic."
He also talked about Reggie Moore's regression last year due to an injury, and what can be expected of him this year.
"As a freshman, he was relentless. He was aggressive, attacking the rim continually. And last year he rarely did that. We're now seeing that out of Reggie almost daily."
Bringing up the rear in the media poll to start the year, first year Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak was light-hearted about the ranking.
"(I got asked),'How do you feel about finishing a distant last?' I said, ‘what exactly does a distant last mean?' And I looked, and we're the only team with two digits."
Krystkowiak also talked about the differences between coaching in the NBA versus college; namely with respect to recruiting.
"It's funny, somebody asked me this morning what do you think about the recruiting? Isn't that a real pain? And my thought was I can remember being involved with the NBA and complaining that I don't have any say over who I coach.
Then it's one of those situations where you better be careful what you wish for, because now as a college coach, you are solely responsible for who you coach."
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