Pac-12 Hoops Media Day: Live Blog

Pac-12 Hoops Media Day

Live updates from San Francisco's Pac-12 Headquarters from Pac-12 Basketball Media Day...

UCLA:  HC Steve Alford and guard Kyle Anderson representing the Bruins

Alford said that they're happy to have Wanaah Bail ruled eligible this season.

Alford said he has great respect for Andy Enfield and respects what he's done and wishes him the best.  But said they UCLA and they're building a model program.  Said he's trying to develop young men on the basketball court and in the classroon.

Alford said that Kyle Anderson's nickname is Slo-Mo and he didn't become Turbo already, but that you'd be hard pressed to find a player better than him in the Pac-12.

Alford said that it will be fun to coach his sons.  Said it's a unique program with two sets of brothers, the Alford brothers and the Wear brothers.  Kory Alford was with him at New Mexico so he's been a part of the championships they've won.  He will be a walk-on.  Said Bryce had a very good high school career, knows how to play, knows his role and has a high basketball IQ.

Alford said that the biggest challenge is blending the newcomers and returners but the leadership of the six returning Pac-12 champion players will be important and he wants them to mesh together.

Anderson said he thinks his best role would be to pass, get guys open shots, score when asked and grab rebounds.  Said he's willing to do whatever he needs and with the talent, it makes it easier for him to do his job.

Alford said that recruiting in Los Angeles is important with a fertile recruiting base.  Said that UCLA isn't for everybody.  Said that there is no greater history or tradition in basketball than UCLA.  Alford said recruiting starts in Los Angeles but that UCLA has always been able to recruit nationally.

Anderson thinks the offense can be successful even without a classic point guard, just because of the versatility of the guards.

Alford said he said there is definitely added pressure at UCLA, because of the bar being raised by John Wooden.  But said Wooden established the tradition of excellence and the whole UCLA campus thinks like that.  Said growing up in Indiana, he knew all about John Wooden.  Said he understands the pressures but it's a unique opportunity.  Said you need to put yourself in a position to win a national championship every year at UCLA and the players think like that.  The bar is set there.  Said he'd much rather be in a situation where there is pressure for success rather than a situation of not caring.  Called UCLA the pinnacle of college basketball.

ARIZONA:  HC Sean Miller and guard Nick Johnson representing the Wildcats.

Miller said they're excited about the season, and enjoying the extended practice thanks to new NCAA rules.

Miller said that they talk about the importance of the team improving from Saturday to Saturday.

Johnson said that Oregon, Washington, UCLA, Colorado and Cal will all challenge for the championship that they're the favorite for.  Said they're looking forward to it. 

Johnson said they're working hard every day and honoring the process.

Miller said he wouldn't handle a one-and-done player any different.  Said the standards are the same whether you're a senior, or a freshman or a non-scholarship player.  Said in this particular class, Aaron Gordon is very easy going, but an incredibly hard worker that is tireless in his approach.  Said he's a fun guy to have in the program.

Miller said they're fortunate with the other two freshman, they both come from winning programs.

Johnson said he played with Gordon during AAU, but while younger, was still a great player.  Said Gordon is a joy to be around.

Despite being picked to win the Pac-12, Miller doesn't think the Wildcats are experienced enough to be far and away above every one.

OREGON:  HC Dana Altman and guard Johnathan Loyd representing the Ducks.

Altman said he likes his team and especially his backcourt.

Altman said they did lose some valuable experience, including the four seniors but likes his returners and is looking forward to the season.

Altman said there is no update on Joseph Young.  Said they've gotten all the paperwork, but they're waiting to hear back.

Altman said that every university has benefactors that benefit the program and the school, theirs just happens to be who runs Nike.  Said that Phil Knight is very generous but that Cal and Washington among others have received nice support.  Said that he doesn't think the basketball facilities are above and beyond what others have.

Altman said that he was excited that his players wanted to play in South Korea.

Loyd said he thinks the rule changes towards the defense will help the offenses and should allow for more scoring.  But also said the defense will be greatly affected by it.  But doesn't think there is anything wrong with the new rules.

Loyd said that a young team, where sophomores are considered veterans, is new but that they have no problem with it.

Loyd said his favorite memory of moving to the Sweet 16 was just getting there with the group of guys, making a late run.  Said he learned you have to play hard from start to finish, with no lapses, and when they took a lapse at the beginning of the Sweet 16 game, they were down quick by 15.

CAL:  HC Mike Montgomery and guard Justin Cobb representing the Bears.

Montgomery liked the short drive from the Bay to San Francisco.

Montgomery was asked about Larry Krystowiak's apprehension of an on-campus criminal and how he would handle it if it had been at Berkeley.  Montgomery said his natural sense of humor would lead him in a bad direction.  He said if he was built like Krystowiak, he too would have tackled him and sat on him.  Since he's not, he'd wish him well and hope the computer works for him.

Montgomery said he's always leery of the attention freshman get, but said that Jabari Bird is terrific and is the most high profile freshman he's gotten at Cal. 

Montgomery said he Bird a great future and they don't want to push him too much but they want to take advantage of his abilities.

Cobb said his foot is 80% and that he's more comfortable and he's practicing full speed.

Montgomery said the skill-set that Bird has that stands out is his shooting and said he compares favorably to Allen Crabbe when he came in.  Said Bird can shoot the ball, but he's more inclined to get to the basketball and that he can play above the rim, but they're trying to get him to shoot more and get his feet set.

Cobb said after coming up short in the Pac-12 last year, they're practices are better so they have the work done so they can get over the hump and win the Pac-12 championship.

COLORADO:  HC Tad Boyle and guard Spencer Dinwiddie representing the Buffaloes.

Boyle said despite graduations, he likes his team. 

Boyle said 10 of his 13 players are freshman or sophomores. Said youth won't be an excuse though.

Dinwiddie said the conference is talented and that every team is going to be tough.

Boyle said they don't talk about polls or predictions for the team, that they know the talent they have.

Dinwiddie said, trying to be polite, they don't view Arizona as the threat, that they view Colorado as the best and they will approach it like that.

Boyle said the league is as strong, top to bottom, as it's been in the three years Colorado has been in it.

Boyle said Colorado wouldn't be in the position they are today if Dinwiddie didn't come to Colorado.

Boyle said that the freshman are stepping up and showing they belong. 

ARIZONA STATE:  HC Herb Sendek and guard Jahii Carson representing the Sun Devils.

Sendek said Carson has worked extremely hard in the offseason and raved about his performance as a freshman.

Sendek said he thinks ASU's depth has improved and should be ready for what he thinks is the best conference in the country.

Sendek said the Pac-12 doesn't just have a big three but several other elite players that should be taken serious nationally.

Sendek said the Pac-12 has always been good and wasn't necessarily as down as it was perceived to be.  Said the NBA draft picks, which were more from the Pac-12 than any conference, that recruiting couldn't keep pace with the graduations and early lottery picks.  Said he thinks that there was an ebb and flow, but that returning stars is making the talent level as good as it has been in a long time.

Sendek said the new hand-checking rules could have a revolutionary effect on the game if they take it to the extreme the officials described today.

Sendek said his new 3-12-24 method is to help the team become positioned best to succeed.  Said they want to push the accelerator even more this year.  Said he wants ball past midcourt in three seconds, a good look at the hoop in 12 seconds and to play with a 24-second shot clock.

Sendek said they're in a place in college basketball where you may only have a guy for a year, with either the NBA or transfer being there.  Said you have to almost build your team year by year.

STANFORD:  HC Johnny Dawkins and forward Dwight Powell representing the Cardinal.

Dawkins said he's excited about the return of Powell and Anthony Brown.

Powell said the team has grown considerably off the court together.

Dawkins said he doesn't follow where the media predicted Stanford to finish, that he's excited about his team. 

Powell said the team benefited from the Navy Seal training.  Said it was a challenge and that it taught discipline and commitment and they learned to have no excuses and took a lot away from it.

Dawkins said he's really excited about Marcus and Malcolm Allen and the tradition of twins for Stanford basketball, like the Collins' and Lopez' twins.

Dawkins said that Powell returning is big for the team and thinks there is a lot of room for growth for him as a player.

Dawkins said there is a new way of playing and a new way of winning.  Said they didn't close very well last year.  Despite 9-9 record, felt they were close, but that things didn't work out their way.  Said they weren't going to dwell on it.

Dawkins said he thinks for this year to be successful, Stanford needs to make the NCAA Tournament.  Said they have five seniors and they'd like to have them leave their legacy by making the tournament.

WASHINGTON:  HC Lorenzo Romar and guard C.J. Wilcox representing the Huskies.

Romar said he likes the new rule allowing for earlier practices.

Wilcox said he feels like every game they go in to in conference play, there will be really good guard play and that should give one team or the other the upper hand.

Wilcox said every year he's been at UW, the conference has gotten better.  Said you have to be ready to play every night.  Said anybody can beat anybody.

Romar said the conference was so strong, that it lost a lot of talent to the NBA, and the last few years they've been replenishing and pick up.  Said he thinks the conference is on an upward trend to being a better conference.

Romar said the new defensive rules could affect the way they play.  Said they will have to make adjustments defensively because of the rule changes.

Romar said that Aaron Gordon, who he recruited heavily, is extremely talented, and has a great motor and is an unselfish basketball player.  Said that combination isn't out there as much these days.  Said that Jabari Bird is another player he liked.

Romar also said that former UNLV and UCLA player Mike Moser is also going to be a good pickup for Oregon.

Romar said he's looking forward to how the Pac-12 looks at the end of the year and said it's too hard to predict right now.

Wilcox said he just wants to make sure they're consistent this year and they do what it takes to win games.

Romar answered a fan question of who would win the 1-on-1 between the coaches, saying Larry Krystowiak would back every down and score then foul you.  Said no one could stop Johnny Dawkins and you couldn't give Steve Alford an open shot.

USC:  HC Andy Enfield and guard J.T. Terrell representing the Trojans.

Enfield excited about being at his first Pac-12 Media Day and with joining the league.

Enfield said comments he made to his team about UCLA were meant to be to his team and didn't mean for them to be picked up by the national media.  Said it was sarcasm and was frustration with his team. Said it wasn't meant to disrespect Alford but to fire up his team.

Enfield said he's excited about the rivalry with UCLA.

Terrell said he's ready for the game with UCLA and hoping for a better game.

Enfield said USC has had past success, but some down years and looking to build something special and trying to catch up to the other sports at USC.

Enfield said there are a lot of new things about the season and practice moving up two weeks has been helpful.  Thinks there is enough talent on the roster to compete with anyone in the Pac-12.

Enfield said they don't sit around and talk UCLA.  Said he's trying to build a program.

Terrell said that Dunk City is new and very exciting and a lot of people have been getting dunked on.  Said he's hoping they transfer it to the court and the game.

Enfield said he's looking forward to the games with UCLA energizing the city.

Terrell said he respects the rivalry and he looks for the bragging rights.  Last year after each game, there were group texts talking junk about who won.

Enfield said he's got little concern with playing up-tempo with a young roster and said that basketball players in today's game are fast and athletic, so to him, it's a natural to play like that. Said they focus on a 24-second shot clock, not a 35-second clock.

UTAH:  HC Larry Krystowiak and forward Jordan Loveridge representing the Utes.

Krystowiak said he's excited for year three in Utah, with the current roster he has and the momentum they've built from the Pac-12 tournament.

Krystowiak said he thought the first year was about survival.

Krystowiak said his first year at Utah coincided with the Utes' entry in to the Pac-12 and recruiting is improving.

Krystowiak said that he thinks playing hard is a talent and that the past two years, the team did that since they weren't as talented.

Krystowiak said that the four freshman from a year ago did a good job in league play.

Krystowiak talked about his crime fighting spree he went on a few weeks ago.  Said that he enjoyed looking at a new career opportunity and put some people behind bars.

Loveridge feels he's doing a better job of leading and stepping up and being more vocal with the team.

OREGON STATE:  HC Craig Robinson and guard Roberto Nelson representing the Beavers.

Robinson said the return of Angus Brant is big for the Beavers.

Robinson likes the newcomers coming in, including Daniel Gomez, who's been injured the past two years.

Robinson said he thinks the league is strongest it's been in his five years.  Said he hopes the NCAA takes 12 Pac-12 teams, but thinks 5-6 is realistic.

Robinson said Roberto Nelson would be on his all-beer league team, which was a jab at his conditioning.  But said was to let his guys knows that at some point, you'll be at a point where basketball is secondary to your development, and now is not that time that he wants them to take their conditioning seriously.

Question to Robinson (first brother-in-law): "Last night was a big night for the President. How is your defense going to do?"

Robinson said he had nothing to do with them coming together as a team.

Nelson said the team is trying to raise the bar for this program, and that he's in the best shape of his life.

WASHINGTON STATE:  HC Ken Bone and guard DaVonte Lacy representing the Cougars.

Bone excited to get some players back and some of the incoming freshman coming in.

The special ingredient Bone said is Rod Jensen, a new assistant coach, after losing Ben Johnson to Australia.  Likes his aggressive defensive style.

Doesn't think the rule changes will affect them in their defensive aggression.  Said his idea of aggressiveness is pressure defense and denial on the ball.

Lacy said being picked last doesn't bother him and that everyone is entitled to their opinion. 

Bone said he'd be surprised if 6-7 teams make the tournament and someone goes farther than the Sweet 16.

Bone said a lot of good freshman are coming into the conference, highlighting Aaron Gordon.

Lacy said other guards in the league he's impressed with are Roberto Nelson (Oregon State), Jahii Carson (Arizona State), Spencer Dinwiddie (Colorado) and Nick Johnson (Arizona).

Arizona has been picked to win the Pac-12 in 2013-14

Here is the preseason media poll:

2013-2014 Preseason Poll
1. Arizona- 273 - (21)
2. UCLA - 212 - (1)
3. Colorado - 211 - (1)
4. Oregon - 196
5. California - 194
6. Stanford - 166
7. Arizona State - 159
8. Washington - 121
9. Utah - 68
10. Oregon State - 67
11. USC - 63
12. Washington State - 39

PAC-12 CHAMPION: Arizona (21 votes)
Others receiving votes: UCLA (1), Colorado (1) Recommended Stories

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