Pac-12 Media Day Recap: Part Two

Posted by AMurawa on November 1st, 2011

The Pac-12 Basketball Media Day took place on Friday in Los Angeles. Here is part two of our coverage, where we will take a look at the top three quotes from each of the six southern schools.  Yesterday we covered the northern schools.

Arizona (full transcript available here)

  • Coach Sean Miller on the results of the preseason media poll: “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.
  • Miller on Kevin Parrom: “Not having him hurts us. 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.”

Parrom is Key to Arizona's Post-Derrick Williams Success

  • Miller on freshman point guards Nick Johnson and Josiah Turner: “I’ll start with Nick Johnson. To me he’s shown early on he’s the most ready [of the team’s four freshmen]. Playing in the high school program that he played at the last two years, to me, has given him a leg up. He was one of the bright spots in last night’s game. He played in the game the way he practices. To me, continuing to develop and give Nick a bigger role was something that we have to do. Josiah, the hardest position, I think, to transfer from high school to college is point guard. With continued work, he’s going to be a much better player four weeks from now, two weeks from now, than he is right now, and I’m confident in saying that.”

Thoughts: Miller’s right when he says that the Wildcats aren’t the third best team in the conference right now. But as Turner, in particular, gets his legs underneath him, and once Parrom returns, the Wildcats will be very good.

Arizona State (full transcript available here)

  • Coach Herb Sendek on where ASU’s scoring will come from: “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.”
  • Sendek on the eligibility of Jahii Carson: “Well, I mean, one of the mandates you have in sports is to always coach and play the guys who are available. And sometimes you have to overcome injuries and other adversities that make it more difficult, and also make it more incumbent for the guys that are available to step up and produce. So our approach has been from the beginning that we’re going to work with the guys who are available to us, and take it from there. Obviously, Jahii is a very talented young player. Like I said, we remain hopeful that he’ll be with us sooner rather than later.”
  • Sendek on his reaction to the new recruiting rules: “I think in the most general sense, I’m a strong proponent of deregulation. Over the years with good intent, with intelligent rationale, it seems like we continue to add layer upon layer of rules. In many cases, those rules have created chasms between coaches and players, coaches and perspective players. And I think anything we can do to simplify and standardize the rules can go a long way toward helping the member institutions, the coaches, administrators and players.”

Thoughts: Sendek is a master of coachspeak, moving his lips without saying much specific. Basically, it is incumbent upon the guys that are available to step up and achieve some synergy. Voila!

Colorado (full transcript available here)

  • Coach Tad Boyle on how joining the Pac-12 has helped recruiting: “We’re going into a new league. That is exciting for our program. We’ve known that now for some time, 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. There is a lot of excitement from our community and our fan base, and all those things go into recruiting. We’ve been able to sell that. Our staff has worked very, very hard, and I like where we’re at; and November 9th, hopefully, will be a great day for Colorado basketball.”
  • Senior forward Austin Dufault on the change from the Big 12 to the Pac-12: “I probably won’t miss too many of the Big 12 trips, but I’m definitely looking forward to coming back out to L.A. for this trip, Arizona, heading up to Seattle, some of the bigger cities. Those will be a lot of fun to visit.”
  • Coach Boyle on a potential rivalry with Utah: 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. I’m more of the opinion that rivalries emerge and develop kind of like leaders on your team. I can designate a captain, but I can’t designate a leader. A leader emerges, and I think rivalries emerge as well.

Thoughts: Much like Utah, the big news this year for the Colorado program is simply the new conference. Being picked toward the bottom of the league this year, the buzz around the program is for the future, not necessarily the present.

UCLA (full transcript available here)

  • Coach Ben Howland on sophomore center Josh Smith: “We’ve got a lot of depth and a lot of size starting with Josh. He, I think has improved as an offensive player during the springtime and the fall. A lot more back-to-the-basket moves… Josh has got to get in better condition, there is no doubt about it to be as good as he can be. Josh is a force, number one, because he’s skilled and has great size. When he finally does reach his potential in terms of his conditioning, he’ll be unstoppable.”
  • Howland on David Wear playing the three: “We’re going to play big. Dave Wear is actually a four man, but we need help at the three spot. So he 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.”

The Wear Twins Plus Josh Smith Make the Bruin Frontline Huge

  • Howland, wrapping up his opening thoughts about his team: “I like our squad. It would be great if we still had Malcolm [Lee] and Tyler Honeycutt. That would be really good.”

Thoughts: Howland cleared up some of the questions about his lineup, naming Tyler Lamb his starting two-guard and saying Wear would play the three. However, the little comment about Lee and Honeycutt, though true, catches Howland still playing what-if, like many Bruin fans. They’d all be better off if they forget all about those guys for this year.

USC (full transcript available here)

  • Coach Kevin O’Neill on sophomore point guard Maurice Jones: “He is playing 40 minutes a game this year. I’m informing him of that right now, because he’s going to have to…  I told Mo last night on the phone, I called him and said here’s the deal. We need you to go back to in high school, play like you’re in high school and average 30 and 10 and be an attack guy all the time… Because of the make-up of our team, he has to be in attack mode all the time. He’s going to be a great defender. He’s got to be prepared to play 40 minutes a game. He’s got to lead. But his impact on our team with Jio [Fontan] out is unbelievable. 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 on the loss of Jio Fontan to injury: “We’re not going to be able to replace him. He was our point guard, our leader. Our leading returning scorer. A guy that had 30 and 29 in two games against pro teams in Brazil before he got hurt, and a guy that really made us go. We don’t have a second ball handler now.”

Thoughts: O’Neill’s telling the absolute truth when he says that USC can’t be competitive in major college games without Jones. And frankly, even with Jones they’re going to play really, really ugly. This may not be a pretty team to watch, but they’ll fight you on every possession.

Utah (full transcript available here)

  • Coach Larry Krystkowiak on the Utah newcomers: “We’ve had a fairly sizable amount of turnover with our roster, but it also allowed us to go out and find some guys late in the spring time. Players that want to be a part of Utah basketball.”
  • Krystkowiak on the Pac-12 schedule: “It’s challenging. You look down that schedule, and the 18 league games, you’re hard-pressed to find where you’re going to pencil in the W. But it’s a great challenge, and we’re looking forward to it.”
  • Senior center David Foster on the new league: “I tell you what I’m not going to miss travel to go Laramie, Wyoming anymore. But definitely (looking forward to playing the) California schools. My family lives around Bakersfield, so they’ll be able to catch both the southern and the northern games. Then being able to play at Arizona and some of the schools that have the great tradition. Looking forward to playing at Oregon. I’ve never played on a court with a bunch of trees, so it should be good.”

Thoughts: Does anybody really miss traveling to Laramie in the middle of the winter? But Krystkowiak is quite right when he mentioned that there are few, if any, wins on that Utah schedule. It is possible that the Utes will be an underdog in every conference game.

AMurawa (999 Posts)

Andrew Murawa Likes Basketball.

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