October 17, 2013 at 9:18 AM
Pac-12 media day live game thread
Things just wrapped up here at Pac-12 media day. Here’s a rundown of the day’s events.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott
— Scott said last season was a turnaround season for the conference. He sees the trend continuing and touts the three teams in the top 25 USA Today coach’s poll that was released Thursday.
— Scott welcomed Alford and Enfield into the conference.
— Scott said the Pac-12 Tournament was “a huge success.” He said it’s a “must-see” event and something to circle on the calendar.
— All Pac-12 games will be televised on some format. Two seasons ago, there were 90 games that weren’t televised. This season, 45 games will be broadcast on ESPN. There’s 25 games on Fox Sports 1, which will televise the Pac-12 Tournament. And there’s 221 games are on the Pac-12 Networks.
— Still no movement on negotiations with DirecTV.
— Scott talks about hiring Dibler to oversee officiating. He said: “Our objective is to attract the best officials possible.”
— Scott said the NCAA will take a look at the one-and-done rule, which “threatens to make a mockery” of the student-athlete ideal.
UCLA coach Steve Alford and Kyle Anderson
— The Bruins have had 14 practices and are mostly healthy.
— On Enfield’s verbal jab at UCLA, Alford said: “Whether that was motivation or whatever, we’ve already nicknamed Kyle ‘Slo-Mo.’ Anderson said: “It’s up to us to focus on what we have to do. We know how we want to play.”
— UCLA has two sets of brothers on the roster, Travis and David Wear and Kory and Bryce Alford.
— Alford said the most challenging aspect so far has been blending the six players who helped UCLA to a title last season blending with the newcomers. Chemistry is a question on Westwood.
— Anderson said he’s a playmaker, but acknowledges that some games he’ll have to score more than others.
— On the coaching change, Anderson said the players have built trust with the new staff.
— UCLA doesn’t have a prototypical point guard, but Anderson thinks the Bruins are versatile at the position. He noted freshman Zach LaVine is also a combo guard.
Arizona coach Sean Miller and Nick Johnson
— Miller said Johnson is the natural leader of the team.
— Johnson said there’s numerous teams that will challenge for the Pac-12 title. He said: “As far as us, we’re just working hard every single day and honoring the process. We’ll see what happens.”
— Miller sidesteps question about officials.
— Miller said Gordon is a very easy guy to deal with. “His greatest strength he’s given his teammates and us is he’s an extremely hard worker and very focused,” Miller said. “He’s a fun guy to have as a teammate.”
— Johnson said newcomer T.J. McConnell “will pass up an open layup to get you a shot.” Johnson said they’re gaining a connection on the offensive end. Johnson calls him a defensive “bulldog.”
— Johnson on Gordon: “I call him a little kid because he plays with so much energy. … He’s a joy to be around. I look forward to playing with him.”
— Miller said there’s 7-8 teams that can finish first or second in the Pac-12. He worries about Arizona’s experience.
Oregon coach Dana Altman and Johnathan Loyd
— No update on Joseph Young. Oregon is still waiting on his waiver. There’s no timetable on when there’s going to be a decision. Altman is confident he’ll be eligible.
— Altman on transfers: “We came into a situation at Oregon and we felt like we needed to drastically change our talent level. … It worked out because they’re really good guys. … We’ve been just really fortunate. Guys come in and just really care about our team.”
— Altman grilled about Nike and asked if there should be a cap on outside financial contributions. He said everyone has benefactors.
— On South Korea trip, Altman said the players are excited about going on the trip and playing Georgetown.
— Loyd said the college game will be more high scoring due to the new hand-checking rule.
— Loyd, who own the Pac-12 Tournament’s most outstanding award, is probably the only reserve representing his school today.
— Altman said rebounding is a concern because Oregon lost is front court.
California coach Mike Montgomery and Justin Cobbs
— When asked about Pac-12 newcomers, Montgomery said Gordon is a monster. He said freshmen still have things that they don’t know.
— On freshman Jabari Bird, Montgomery said he’s leery about the attention freshmen receive. Still, he said Bird will be a great player. Montgomery said: “I want to be sure that we’re not pushing him. I want him to learn the game because I think he has a great future. … He’s a very, very talented player. I would suspect that as we move through the season … the better he’s going to be.”
— Cobbs said he’s about 80 percent healthy from offseason foot surgery. Said he’s pretty sure he’ll be ready for the season opener.
— Montgomery gets a little uncomfortable fielding so many questions about Bird.
— Cal needed a win going into the last week of the season in each of the past two years to win the Pac-12 regular-season title and came up short. Cobbs said Cal has the experience to finish better this season.
Colorado coach Tad Boyle and Spencer Dinwiddie
— Boyle thinks Dinwiddie is one of the premier point guards in the country.
— Colorado has six freshmen and 10 underclassmen on the roster.
— Dinwiddie talked about the standout Pac-12 guards and names Carson, Kyle Anderson and Justin Cobbs. “Every team across the board is going to have those guys that make this conference tough,” he said.
— Boyle said he doesn’t worry about the high expectations. “We can’t worry about what the outside world is thinking about us,” he said. “We got to come to work every day. At the end of the day, all the matters is the performance on the court.”
— Dinwiddie said he doesn’t view Arizona as the favorite. He believes CU is the favorite.
— The Buffaloes participated in a Navy SEAL two-day program for the second straight year. Boyle said: “It’s not fun. It was cold and rain the first night. … You learn so much about your team. Leadership. You learn about toughness. Who wants to step up. … It’s something that we refer back to during the course of the season.” Dinwiddie said: “It brings us together as a unit. … It also makes you look at yourself and be very honest with yourself. … You’re going to know what you were weak at going through the program.”
— Colorado has a the third-most difficult non-conference schedule, Boyle said.
— Redshirt freshman Wesley Gordon has a chance to start, Boyle said.
Arizona State coach Herb Sendek and Jahii Carson
— While talking about Pac-12 player of the year candidates, Sendek said Dwight Powell is a NBA power forward.
— Carson said he spoke with Sendek and his family who helped him to decide to return to school.
— Sendek said the Pac-12 has replenished its talent after a few down years.
— Sendek said he learned today how much the new hand-checking rule will be emphasized. Said he’ll have to call practices much closer. Said it could have a revolutionary affect on the game.
— ASU practices with a 24-second shot clock. The college shot clock is 35 seconds.
— Sendek said every guy on the roster may be there for one year. “That four-year plan … no longer exists. You have guys who graduate and have started and decide they will transfer as a fifth-year senior almost like a free agent. … You have to build your team each year.”
— Sendek said Carson makes everybody on the team better.
Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins and Dwight Powell
— Dawkins noted the abundance of returners, including Andy Brown who missed last season with an injury.
— Powell on SEAL training: “It was beneficial. It was a challenge. … We can take away a lot from that going into our season. Fighting through adversity. No excuses. We got a lot from that.”
— Dawkins on twins Marcus and Malcolm Allen: “Having both of those players provides depth in our backcourt.”
— Powell, who considered leaving early for the NBA draft, said it was important for him to come back. He talked about “unfinished business.”
— Dawkins said Stanford has a new way of playing and thinking. The Cardinal lost five games by five or less points. “We’re not going to dwell on that. … We’re excited about our new way of thinking which Dwight said has to do with the Navy SEAL training.”
— Dawkins said for this year to be a success Stanford has to make the NCAA tournament. “Our guys realize this is a special year. … It’s an attainable goal and not get consumed by it.”
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar and C.J. Wilcox
— Wilcox noted the abundance of quality guards in the Pac-12.
— Wilcox said the conference is as strong as ever. “Anybody can beat anybody in our league,” he said.
— Romar on defensive rule changes. He said it could affect the way Washington plays. “We have to really be smart in how we pressure,” he said.
— Romar said Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon is a special player. He also said Cal freshman Jabari Bird is very talented. He said Oregon newcomer Mike Moser will help the Ducks. Washington had a shot at landing each player.
— Romar said Arizona is the clear favorite, but is looking forward to the end of the year and how things will shake out.
— Romar said it will be difficult to replace Aziz N’Diaye’s shot blocking. Said UW will need to do a better job of defensive rotation.
— Romar singled out Perris Blackwell when asked about UW’s newcomers. “He gives us a low-post presence that we hadn’t had in recent years. … It loosens up the defense a little bit. He’s probably a guy that will be in our starting lineup and one of our top scorers.”
— Wilcox said he wants to make sure UW is consistent, works hard and plays together. “I want to go out with a bang and do it the right way,” he said.
USC coach Andy Enfield and J.T. Terrell
— Enfield said he didn’t intend for the UCLA dig to get out into the national media. Last week, he was quoted saying “If you want to play slow, go to UCLA.”
— Terrell said he hopes Enfield’s comments will add more fire to the battle against the Bruins.
— Enfeild said: “We need to catch up to some of the other sports (at USC). … We’re looking to build something special.”
— USC has eight new players, new offense and new defense. “Hopefully we’ll be ready by Pac-12 play to be very competitive,” Enfield said.
— Enfield trying to downplay the rivalry with UCLA. He said: “We respect them tremendously. They have great tradition and Steve (Alford) is a great coach. … But we’re focused on USC.”
— Terrell said ‘Dunk City’ is new and exciting. “There’s been a lot of people in practice getting dunked on,” he said.
— Enfield is very charismatic. Easy to see why he relates to today’s young players. He’s selling an exciting brand of basketball to kids who like to score.
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak and Jordan Loveridge
— Krystkowiak described his first year at Utah as survival and the second year as competitive. He expects Uthes will win more games this season. Says recruiting has to improve for the transition to really take place. “The talent level needs to improve,” he said.
— Krystkowiak said Utah wants to run to take advantage of Salt Lake City’s high altitude.
— Krystkowiak said he’d like Barney Fife to play him if anyone did a movie on his crime-fighting exploits.
— Loveridge said is trying to lead more verbally this season. He talked about the team’s retreat and said it helped with chemistry.
Oregon State coach Craig Robinson and Roberto Nelson
— Robinson is happy about the return of Angus Brandt and Daniel Goomis, who missed last season with injuries.
— Robinson said the league is as good as the five years he’s been in the conference. He predicts 5-6 teams will make the NCAA tourney.
— Robinson said the switch to man-to-man defense will be better because OSU has had a year to get to the switch.
— Robinson said Eric Moreland is handling his suspension well. Says it’s difficult to replace a player like Moreland.
— Robinson said he had to build program from ground up. He said last season’s setback was due to the loss of Jared Cunningham, Brandt and Goomis. He believes OSU could have won 3-4 more games last season if it had played better defense in the final minutes.
Washington State coach Ken Bone and DaVonte Lacy
— Bone said he’s extremely excited. He loves the work ethic, attitude and personality of team.
— Bone said he’s moving to an aggressive, attacking defense. “The last few years we’ve played fairly passive,” he said. Bone noted the new rule changes
— Lacy on being picked last in Pac-12: “Everyone is entitled to their opinion. We can use that as a chip on our shoulder. I don’t really pay attention to it. It doesn’t affect me at all.”
— Bone said he wouldn’t be surprised if 6-7 Pac-12 teams make the NCAA tournament this season.
— WSU used three point guards last season who weren’t exactly point guards. Lacy and Royce Wooldridge return and they’ll do that again this season.
— Newcomer Que Johnson has been limited in practice with a stress fracture.
— Bone said: “Hopefully I’m a better coach this year than last year.”
Bobby Dibler, Pac-12 officiating coordinator
— There are 28 new rule changes. The biggest changes will involve hand checking, freedom of movement for offensive players and the block-charge call.
— If officials are unsure on a 2- or 3-point shot, they’ll notify the scorer’s table and at the first break the play will be reviewed.
— In last two minutes of second period and overtimes, officials can go to the monitor to determine who touched the ball before it went out of bounds.
— Officials are still not available to the media after games. The host school head of media relations is responsible for taking questions from the press and relaying them to the officials.
— All replay monitors will be high definition televisions.
— A three-member panel will review every call in the Pac-12 to grade officials. “This is going to help our game get better,” Dibler said.
— Dibler, who also overseas the Mountain West officials, has merged the staffs working the Mountain West and Pac-12 games.