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Husky Men's Basketball

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

October 28, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Live thread from Pac-10 Media Day

WRAP-UP — Lunch and one-on-one interviews concluded about 30 minutes earlier than expected. I’ll post more later.
ARIZONA STATE — Coach Herb Sendek said he doesn’t put much stock in the preseason poll that has the Sun Devils fourth.
Sendek said ASU’s front court will be inexperienced.
Sendek said ASU is “a work in progress. … We haven’t been able to have perfect continuity in practice yet.”
Sendek said the Sun Devils like the three-point shot “especially when it goes in. But that’s largely dependent on our opponent and what they give us. … Our team likes the three-point shot. We take as many as anybody in our conference.”
Ty Abbott said freshman Keala King tries to match the intensity of the veterans in practice.
WASHINGTON — Lorenzo Romar on Pac-10 preseason voting: “It’s flattering. I wish they’d give us the conference championship because of the voting. … I like our team, but we were just at practice this week and we got a lot of work to do.”
Romar said Abdul Gaddy has improved his shooting and his weight is down and expects to see a much improved player.
Romar expects Isaiah Thomas and Matthew Bryan-Amaning to increase their scoring to replace Quincy Pondexter. Romar hopes somebody else will emerge.
Isaiah Thomas said he worked with many NBA veterans this summer. He said he worked on becoming quicker, faster and better decision making.
Thomas said UW has to put egos aside and “do whatever it takes to win basketball games.”
Romar identified three players who made a big impact late in the season, including Justin Holiday, Bryan-Amaning and Thomas. “When those things began to happen, I think it carried over to the rest of our team,” Romar said.
Thomas said Jason Terry’s father coached him since the fourth grade, which started his relationship with Jason.
ARIZONA – Sean Miller: “We have a quest to be better than we were in everything we do. … It was very difficult to establish a system and be good at anything (last season). … It’s Derrick’s class that carries the torch to bringing Arizona back.”
Miller on the Pac-10 predictions: “To me the Pac-10 with Washignton’s great success over a decade and coming off a Sweet 16, you can see why they’re picked No. 1. … We hope we’re in the mix to be a part of that postseason.”
Derrick Williams said the third of the season last year against Wisconsin was a breakthrough. He attempted 22 free throws in that game.
Miller on Lamont Jones: “He was voted our team’s Most Improved Player. … He’s grown up a lot. He understands to be a starting point guard is much different than being a reserve freshman guard. … He’s made tremendous progress. … He was over 200 pounds a year ago and I would say he’s right at 190 now. … November is when he’ll learn the ropes of being a starting point guard.
Williams on Jones: “It all started with the conditioning. … Momo has done a good job with his body. His body fat was like 12 percent when he got here. Now it’s like five percent or six percent.”
Williams said two-point field goal percentage defense was mediocre and poor last season. He wants to improve that area of the team. “You can’t give up shots close to the basket and win like we want to win.”
Williams also said Arizona needs to improve rebounding. “Those two things have really been a point of emphasis and Derrick has a lot to do with both.”
When talking about the three newcomers, Williams spoke highly of freshman G Jordin Mayes and junior JC transfer Jesse Perry.
Williams on the Pac-10 race: “I think it will be wide open. … We don’t look at the rankings.”

OREGON STATE – Coach Craig Robinson: “We are really looking forward to seeing what this new group is going to be able to do.”
Robinson on Roberto Nelson: “He’ll play this season. He’ll either play at the beginning or on or about Dec. 11.”
Robinson said OSU’s poor three-point shooting should improve.
Calvin Haynes on Ahmad Starks: “Guarding him is like guarding Tajuan Porter. … Anytime the hand goes down, it’s going up and it’s going in. … He’s one of those guys that can control the game. He can change the tempo.”
Robinson said OSU really has a point guard. He called Starks a point guard who can score and an expert dribbler. The challenge is he needs to learn to play defense.
Robinson said 6-10 Angus Brandt and 6-7 Joe Burton can play point-center if needed. But Robinson said OSU will be more athletic this season and has given players more freedom offensively.
Haynes said the talent is the best since he’s been at Oregon State.
Robinson said Haynes has embraced playing defense and has matured in the role of team leader.
PAC-10 VIDEO — Here’s a video the conference revealed today to get fans hyped about the season. Pretty cool.
USC – Coach Kevin O’Neill: “I’m really excited about our group. We got two groups. … We lost 10 starters in a year and half. … We’re trying to piece this thing back together. We’re going to have some ups and down early. But we are going to play hard. We are going to defend and we are going to rebound.”
Nikoka Vucevic went home to Montengro this summer and played for the national team. He said “it was a good experience for me.” He said his conditioning is better.
O’Neill on Vucevic: “He got Most Improved Player, but I’ve seen a big time jump in him conditioning wise and strength wise. … He’s going to be a guy that you can throw it to in the post and get points. He’ll need to improve his free throw shooting.”
O’Neill said he had an empty feeling after the regular-season finale last season knowing they could not compete in the postseason. He said the Trojans handled the season well and hopes it carries over this season.
Transfer Jio Fontan arrived at USC weighing 201 pounds and he’s about 174 now. His first game will be at Kansas on national TV. The Trojans expect him to start and are looking for him to have a big season.
Alex Stepheson is in the best shape of life, O’Neill said. “He never really got in shape last year.”
After Vucevic and Stepheson, USC doesn’t have much size on the front line. If they get in foul trouble, the Trojans next tallest player is 6-foot-10 Curtis Washington.
UCLA – Josh Smith replaced Malcolm Lee.
Ben Howland on last season: “It was definitely difficult. The previous four years we had a pretty nice run there. … That’s in the review mirror now. We’re moving forward. … We’re very young. Don’t have a senior in the program. We got a lot of youth. … The nucleus of Malcolm Lee, Reeves Nelson and (Tyler) Honeycutt, I’m excited about that.”
Smith: “I’m just excited to get started.”
Howland on having the Wear brothers in practice: “Our practices are much better. It’s tough to have them every day and see how good to see they are and know we can’t have them right away. … Our frontline is really experienced. We have six with good experience. … It’s been really good for our current team. They’re a big part of this team. … We’re helping David and Travis improve this season so when they’re eligible they’ll be superb and ready to go.”
Howland on the Pac-10: “With Washington, everybody is coming back with the exception of Pondexter. … Arizona is a very talented team. … After those two, it can be anybody else, but that’s why they play the game. On a given night on our conference, anybody can be anybody. That’s what makes the conference special.”
Smith on his fitness: “For me it’s been a long year. The start of my senior year I got hurt the second game of my basketball season. … I couldn’t really work out, couldn’t play so I gained some pounds. … Coming here and working out as soon as I got here and adapting the system of them trying to loose some weight and get toner and fitter. … With Coach Howland we sat down and we said okay, this is our goal and we’re trying to get to that goal.”
Howland said Smith worked out three times a day. “He’s going to be a real force offensively particularly down there on the low block. … I’m very, very excited about his future.”
Smith on the USC rivalry: “I haven’t really felt it yet.”
Howland on the point guard: “I’m excited about Lazeric (Jones). He makes us a better team and can play defense on the other team’s point guard. … He’ll be very solid for us. … We’ve had four point guards who’ve gone on to the NBA, would it be fair to put that kind of expectations on our point guards now? I can’t say that.”
Howland on defense: ‘It’s going to take quite awhile because we’re so young. The fact that we did play some zone last year. … We’re really committed to playing man. … I really like Tyler Lamb. … Lazeric Jones is a very good defender on the perimeter. … Tyler Honeycutt when he’s focused is a good defender. And Jerime (Anderson) is solid.”
Howland said Honeycutt is a better shooter and expects him to score more than he did last season when he averaged 7.2 points.
OREGON – Coach Dana Altman walked out by himself. He was supposed to be accompanied by junior forward Jeremy Jacob, but he had knee surgery and will be out 3-6 weeks.
Altman is putting on a brave face, but admits the Ducks are “shorthanded” and they have an uphill battle.
Altman said he’s excited the recruits who are committed, but said “it will be a little bit of long road to build things back.”
He said the football team has elevated the national profile of the school.
On the new arena: “I think the atmosphere in the new arena will be outstanding. … No suites. 12,600 seats. Everybody is close to the court. … Our fans will really be excited about the facility.”
On why he left Creighton: “I had been at Creighton 16 years. … Reached the point in my career that I was going to make a move or finish up at Creighton. … I really thought Oregon had a lot of upside and had an opportunity to be something special.”
STANFORD – Johnny Dawkins: “For us there’s a lot of newness. We had nine players who did not participate with us last season. … We feel very excited that we’re gaining traction and headed in the right direction.”
Dawkins on Owens: “He’s free to practice play. He’s able to compete. There’s no restrictions on what he’s able to do for us.”
Dawkins on freshmen: “(Brown) is doing well. Still learning our system. … We’re looking forward to their development.”
Jeremy Green on playing with Landry Fields: “I knew from Day 1 Landry Fields would be an NBA player. I felt like he should have went lottery. … It just raised my overall game and my overall mentality towards the game and what I need to bring to the table.”
WASHINGTON STATE – Coach Ken Bone said he’s hoping for a better finish this season. Junior forward Klay Thompson said he worked on getting quicker and stronger in the summer.
Thompson admitted he wore down in the second half of the season. He said he has more help this season. Bone said “we’ve been able to surround Klay with better scorers. When Klay wasn’t making shots, we were in trouble. We tried to go to Reggie Moore, but he was a freshman.”
Bone said transfer Faisal Aden should help with the scoring.
Bone on Andre Winston: “He’ll probably end up backing up Reggie Moore.”
Bone on Patrick Simon: “He committed to the program four years ago. 6-8, 6-9 kid with good instincts and can really shoot the ball.”
Bone on Dexter Kernich-Drew: “He’s a thin kid. Very skilled. Very athletic. … We’re considering redshirting him.”
Bone on Aden: “We brought in to help Klay out so he’s not the only shooter on the floor. … He’s going to be a pretty good player and gives us some real depth which we lacked last year.”
Bone said the conference was down last year, but “we will compete nationally this year.”
PRESEASON PICK – Washington is first, followed by Arizona, UCLA, ASU and WSU.

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, Reggie Moore, UCLA


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