Follow us:

Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

October 30, 2009 at 8:15 AM

Impressions from Pac-10 media day

It was my first Pac-10 media day in over 10 years and I nearly forgot how much fun these things are. It’s not as zany as the Super Bowl Media Day, which attracts knuckleheads and oddballs, but anytime you throw the conference’s coaches and best players in a room sparks fly.
Here’s a few of my observations.
— Before the formal interviews, the coaches meet in the morning and discuss the topics of the day. They talked a lot about several rule changes and we’ll explore those more next week. I want to talk to a Pac-10 official before delving into that topic. The coaches want to each school to add a little arc beneath the basket like they have in the NBA to help refs with blocking/charge calls. For now the NCAA is saying no to the little arc, but it wants refs to make the calls. This is going to be a sore spot with coaches this season because it will be an iffy call each time.
— After the formal interviews when coaches talk at a podium, everyone goes to lunch where players and coaches sit at tables for their schools. Reporters bounce from table to table for interviews and the whole thing lasts for about 90 minutes.
— Cal’s Jerome Randle exudes confidence. And he’s downright likable. All he does is talk basketball. When reporters tried to steer the conversation to other stuff like Cal’s lofty rankings and high expectations, he became slightly irritated. He was candid when he talked about handling the hype.
(How will you guys handle things?) “We were top 25 last year and we fell off. You have to know how to handle just being a good team. We’ve never been a good team since I’ve been here and I don’t know if people are used to being good. I think we were so comfortable with being a mediocre team. But now we’re actually okay. And we have to live up to that and keep working hard and don’t get the big head and continue to move forward.”
— UCLA coach Ben Howland still attracts a crowd. Despite being picked third by the media everyone hovers around Howland for his opinion.
— Oregon State drew rave reviews for its recruiting class, particularly Roberto Nelson who is the schools first top 100 recruit in several years. However, don’t count on Nelson anytime soon. In fact, he may not play this season. The NCAA Clearinghouse is looking into tests he took before arriving to OSU and many believe the findings won’t be good for the Beavers.
— It’s obvious which coaches had high expectations and which coaches didn’t. Put USC coach Kevin O’Neill and Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins into the “didn’t” category. They were very defensive about their prospects and any time you hear “We’re young” three times in the opening statement, it’s not good.
— Another indicator it’s going to be a long season, “We’re going with a point guard by committee.” Dawkins and Oregon coach Ernie Kent said that, however, I think the Ducks can be okay this year.
— And speaking of the Ducks, it was interesting Kent went on and on about senior point guard Tajuan Porter and yet Joevan Catron represented Oregon at media day. Kent went so far as to say: “This is Tajuan Porter’s team.”
— It was noted in the comments section on an earlier post, but I found it striking that Arizona coach Sean Miller was so candid and said he thought the Wildcats’ 25-year NCAA tournament streak may come to an end this season. Miller was asked about the recruits he lost and he sidestepped the question and talked about the guys on the team.
Miller and I talked about the difference between his former school Xavier and Arizona. I asked him about players leaving early for the NBA and Miller admitted that’s something he didn’t have to deal with at Xavier where guys usually stayed four years. There’s no doubt Miller is a good coach, but I wonder how he’ll handle the personalities of the elite-level basketball players.
— Washington State coach Ken Bone compared himself to former Husky football coach Jim Lambright. Bone said he was perfectly content to remain at UW as an assistant much for several years much like Lambo. It’s also clear Bone is scrapping everything about Tony Bennett’s scheme and slowly installing his offense and defense.

(Will this be a transition year?)
“It would be nice to be able to play faster than what we will this year. The Bennetts there system was very, very slow and it was effective. By playing faster it fits my style and the way I want to coach. Until we’re able to recruit the players to fit that style, we will probably be somewhere in between.”
— UW’s Quincy Pondexter and Stanford F Landry Fields talked about their four-year rivalry. In many ways, they’re similar players and they enjoy playing against each other. Pondexer said Fields had a growth spurt at Stanford. “He used to be 6-2 or 6-3 or something like that and now he’s like my size,” Pondexter said.
NOTE
— It was a big news day Thursday and nearly lost in the mix was the release from the Atlanta Tipoff Club, which announced the 50 players on the Naismith Award 2009-10 preseason watch list. Isaiah Thomas is on the list.
FRIDAY MORNING LINKS:
— Here’s our story on Pondexter who looked very comfortable hanging out with the Pac-10 stars and a notebook with a look at each team.
— In case you didn’t get enough from Pac-10 media day, the conference is providing coach’s quotes and video links.
MontlakeMadness.com talked to UW recruit Desmond Simmons who says he chose Washington over Oregon State because he felt good about coach Lorenzo Romar.

Comments | Topics: top 25, UCLA

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►