Pac-12 Media Day Recap: Part OnePosted by Connor Pelton on October 31st, 2011
The Pac-12 Basketball Media Day took place Friday in Los Angeles. Here is part one of our coverage, where we will take a look at the top three quotes from each of the six northern schools. Tomorrow morning we’ll cover the southern schools.
Washington (full transcript available here)
- Coach Lorenzo Romar on the importance of playing schools like Duke and Marquette in nonconference play: “I think as we’ve seen over the last several years, our conference usually is evaluated based on our nonconference schedule in terms of a national perception. Sometimes an opinion is formed in the preseason, and then sometimes the nation doesn’t look back to see what teams are doing. So, again, we’re faced with it. There are a number of teams in our conference that have high profile, non-conference games. I think it’s important that we do well in those games.”
- Coach Romar on Seattle Pacific–Arizona: “My thoughts are that in an exhibition game, it’s a time to experiment. It’s a time to teach. It’s a time to learn. I am very fortunate. We’re fortunate that we didn’t have an exhibition game last night, trust me. The way I see it from a coach’s perspective is I’m sure they got a lot out of it. Seattle Pacific went in there and obviously gave them a great ballgame and challenged them. That they have some new players as well. Some young players. That gives them a perspective of what level you have to be at at this level. So a game like that can do a lot more good for a team than if they were to play someone and blow them out by 50 or 60 and give them a false sense of who they were.”
- Coach Romar on freshman point guard Tony Wroten, Jr.: “Tony Wroten, I can almost guarantee you, not a hundred percent, but I can — I’m willing to say that people will be surprised at Tony Wroten, and I’m not talking about the level of player he is, he’s an exceptional basketball player. But when they see how he will get on the floor and dive for a ball. How they can see that playing defense and things like that are really some of the intangible things that are important to him. When people see that, I think people have a different impression of what they thought he was going to be like. 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 but that’s not totally him. He has fun. He enjoys the game. But at the same time, he’s a really tough competitor. So he’s done well.
Thoughts: Wroten, Jr., sounds even better than originally advertised, which is still pretty great. Definitely has the potential to be the next Isaiah Thomas or Brandon Roy for the Huskies.
Washington State (full transcript available here)
- Coach Ken Bone on playing Gonzaga in the first game: “Gonzaga is up there. They’re very good. They have another nice team again this season. Yeah, that game is like in about two and a half weeks, and it’s a difficult place to play. But I think knowing our players and knowing how our guys have done the last couple of years with Gonzaga at least in my experience, we’ll embrace that challenge, and we understand what we’re up against. But it will be a competitive game.”
- Senior guard Marcus Capers on what he has worked on in the off-season: “I’ve been working on my ballhandling, my mid-range jumpshot. Just me and Coach Bowman talking and he’s been really striving on me to be more aggressive on the offensive side. Just to give us something that’s like a hard wire for the team to guard this year. So I’m pretty much working on my offensive game.”
- Coach Bone on what he expects from Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak this season: ” Larry is intense. He gets his kids to be extremely intense, and they play relentless basketball. I mean, they bring it. His teams at Montana were very well-coached. Him being a big guy, we kind of thought that Larry being a big guy, we felt that well they’re really going to dump it down, dump it down low. But he had an outstanding job of balancing this team with inside and outside play. They’re going to be a team to reckon with. There is no doubt about it. They’ll be well-organized, well-prepared, and they’ll bring some serious intensity to the floor just like when he played.”
Thoughts: Gonzaga is great and all, but I think Bone might be talking them up TOO much. For once I’d just like to hear a coach say, “they’re a great team but so are we, we’re going to go in there and shock the world.”
Oregon (full transcript available here)
- Coach Dana Altman on who will start at point guard: “Well, I think we have a lot of competition going there. Garrett (Sim) will probably get the first opportunity. Johnny (Johnathan) Loyd is back from a year ago, and he did a nice job as a freshman, and he’s made some big steps. I like the work he’s done in the offseason. Devoe Joseph will become eligible December 10th. He’ll miss our first six games, but I think he can play some point for us. So we lost Malcolm Armstead at the end of last year, but I like our other prospects. I think our guys will do a good job. Garrett’s had time there and Johnny, like I said, had the experience from a year ago, and Devoe has played for Minnesota, played for Tubby (Smith), and has a good feel for the game. So those three guys will do a great job for us, I’m sure.”
- Coach Altman on freshman shooting guard Jabari Brown: “Well, 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. But he is a very talented young man. Can definitely score baskets, shoots it well from the perimeter, getting better at putting it on the floor and getting to the basket and making plays for his teammates. So I think he’s got a bright future and been very easy to work with.”
- Senior shooting guard Garrett Sim on the challenge of incorporating eight new players on to the team: “It’s definitely tough to come together with eight new guys, but I think the trip to Italy helped a little bit, helped us realize what we need to work on, and helped us realize we need to play together a little bit more. But the five returning guys are trying to get everyone caught up to speed with the offense and everything, but I think we’ll come together pretty well.”
Thoughts: Oregon’s depth at guard is incredible and you can tell that Altman is very excited about them. Look for the Ducks to try a couple of three-guard sets early in the year in order to get Sim, Brown, and Loyd all on the floor at the same time.
Oregon State (full transcript available here)
- Coach Craig Robinson on who will be a key part of the season (other than Jared Cunningham): “Yeah, funny enough, that’s a tough question. We’ve got players who have had a tremendous amount of experience at an early age. Ahmad Starks who will be playing alongside Jared in the backcourt is one. We’ve got Angus Brandt who spent the summer playing with the Australian National, Under-20 National Team in the university games. We have Devon Collier who is a sophomore who started all but five games for us last year, who is a finalist on the Puerto Rican Olympic team. Then we have Roberto Nelson who is really coming into his own at the end of the season last year who has put in a whole lot of time over the summer to get better. So you take those guys, add Jared to them, and take your pick. I’m hoping they all play well at the same time all the time.”
- Coach Robinson on the difficulty of the Utah–Colorado road trip: “I suspect — we played Colorado, I think every year since I’ve been there, so I suspect they’re going to be a great, competitive addition to the league. The trip will be like any other road trip. The way it’s set up this season, you’ve got to play two games, so Thursday, Saturday, or Friday, Sunday. That’s going to be a challenge like it is anywhere else you go in our league. But the addition of Colorado and Utah is very exciting for us from a basketball standpoint, and we look forward to competing with them.”
- Coach Robinson on how hard it is to move up in the conference standings: “Well, it’s tough, but it should be tough because this is one of the best basketball conferences in the country. So you just can’t walk in with a team that has had the level of futility that we’ve had prior to me getting there. We’ve had to move in stages. But it should be hard. This is a great basketball conference. Now, having said that, I can’t tell you how excited we are as a university for all the new things happening from a conference standpoint. It’s helped in recruiting. Each year we have gotten one player from east of the Mississippi to come out to Oregon State and play. Our recruiting has gotten better, hence our play will get better. While it’s been tough, the incremental step that’s we’re taking and the patience that we’ve had make it exciting for us this season.”
Thoughts: It’s obvious that Robinson is excited about the talent, but talent can only take you so far. Robinson needs to start coaching better if he likes his job in Corvallis.
California (full transcript available here)
- Coach Mike Montgomery on if he feels slighted that the Golden Bears weren’t picked to win the Pac-12: “Well, I think it would be smart to always have a little bit of a chip on your shoulder. We certainly don’t feel slighted. We were hanging by the skin of our teeth last year in a lot of situations. We finished fourth, which I felt like we did overachieve. If you look at the talent of some of these other schools, Arizona who did win the league last year lost one player, granted he was significant, but they really have everybody back. UCLA, you walk through the airport, and they scare the heck out of you. They’re huge. You’ve got to think that UCLA’s going to be awfully good.”
- Coach Montgomery on if he will have any physical limitations this season: “None, absolutely none. It’s just a matter of getting the strength back. I’m moving along smartly. Lost a little weight, which I don’t think I’d recommend it as a way to diet, necessarily. But, no, I’ve got no limitations. It’s just a matter of getting your strength back and being a hundred percent. I’ll probably watch myself a little bit. I was in the office six hours yesterday and sat and watched the whole practice. No, I have no limitations.”
- Coach Montgomery on the kind of player sophomore point guard Justin Cobbs is: “Justin’s good. He’s just a little inconsistent. I think like a lot of young players, of which we’ve got two or three, he tends to lose focus. When he loses focus, he makes mistakes that would bother us. When he’s focused and playing like he can, he’s very good. He’s strong, he’s fast, he’s explosive. For us, he can play two positions, which is critical. He can play the point and he can play the off, which means we can play Jorge (Gutierrez) at the off, primarily, and move him even over to the three if we need to to play a smaller lineup. So it’s just a matter of Justin understanding, again, like several of our younger players, what’s most important. What he needs to do on a consistent basis, and taking advantage of the skills that he does have. When he does do that, he’s very good. But we’ve got to stay on top of it.”
Thoughts: California definitely has the talent to win the conference and I would be surprised if they didn’t.
Stanford (full transcript available here)
- Coach Johnny Dawkins on the team’s experience in Europe over the summer: “I thought the experience in Spain was terrific for our group. 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. I thought it was great for our guys. I watched them really grow. I thought the competition was terrific. 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. Just the level of physicality, the level of execution over there was terrific. Playing against the men, and I think it really will help our team, as I mentioned earlier, benefit from having had that competitive opportunity early this fall.”
- Senior center Josh Owens on the same thing: “Yeah, I mean, for us it was great just being able to start so early. Guys put in a whole bunch of work in the spring and in the summer. Then you have one freshman coming in at the point guard position, Chasson (Randle), and just having that opportunity to play with him early in six games, which was a great opportunity for the team, for him to get to know us, and where we like the ball, learning more about the offensive and defensive principles and stuff like that. But from a bonding experience, it was a great time.”
- Dawkins on how little basketball has been talked about in terms of conference expansion: “For me, it’s that time of year. It’s football season, and I’m very excited about what our program is doing, I’m excited about what our conference has done in that regard. But I’m just really looking forward to the amount of school spirit that’s been generated by what you see happening right now. So for me, I’m happy for football. I’m excited that we’re getting ready to start up, and it is their time. So the exposure that they’re gaining is warranted, and I think we all benefit from it.”
Thoughts: I’m a big proponent of the foreign trips in the summer, and it sounds like it helped Stanford the most of all… Randle sounds like all he is hyped up to be.