P10 Media Day: Washington’s Lorenzo Romar

Opening statement:
“We have as quick a team as we’ve had since 2005. I think we have some good guards, our perimeter is strong. But we haven’t done a thing, and we have a long way to go. We have to understand as a group the level of commitment it takes to compete at a high level in the Pac-10. A bunch of kids are in a home, and dad and mom provide the lights and food and shelter, and they leave and all of a sudden the foods gone. You take it for granted. We can’t stumble into our season and think that because we’ve had success we’ll have it this year without hard work.”

On rebounding:
“The mark of a successful program ongoing is that maybe you lose some players, and the new ones pick up where the other ones left off. It means we’ll have to rebound like we did before Jon Brockman was there. We’ve got to have more of a concerted effort by our group to attack the glass.”

On the youth of the conference:
“The way things are now with the ability to come out early makes it a little tricky for a lot of programs. It’s hard to replace a situation like USC, where they lose guys before the eligibility is up. It makes it a little more difficult, and when you recruit, you have to be creative and strategic.”

On Abdul Gaddy:
“He fits in really well. He’s the purest point guard on our team. We have a whole host of guards on our roster. Abdul is more of a point guard. He’s a pass-first point guard. He’s a point guard with size, understands how to run a team. He’s beyond his years in term of maturity.”

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P10 Media Day: UCLA’s Ben Howland

Opening statement:
“No. 1, we’re just trying to get healthy. We’ve had more injuries sustained during early practices. I think we’re getting closer. I’m hoping by Monday we’ll have everybody out there. Jerime Anderson will be limited still. We’re a very young team and we need the practice time. We have nine underclassmen, and they’ll be key for us to have success this year. We’ve got games coming up real quick. A month from today we’ll have already played five games. When you have a young team learning things for the first time, that’s really important.”

On what UCLA lost:
“We lost a lot. When you talk about Darren Collison, Josh Shipp and Alfred Aboya and Jrue Holliday, a first-round pick. For freshman, it does take a very long time. We’re asking Reeves Nelson to guard four guys on the perimeter. But basketball is a game of habits, and in order to get good at something, you need a lot of practice.”

On the youth of the team:
“We’ve had seven players leave early in my six years. There’s no way of really being able to project what’s going to happen. We have 13 scholarships, and I have yet to have 13 scholarships. I’m looking forward to that day. Jerime is going to be an outstanding point guard for us, and he has yet to practice. Malcolm Lee will back him up. It’s tough. We’ve had four point guards in the last four years drafted in the first round. That’s a real key to why we’ve had a fair amount of success. You’ve got to have a good leader and someone who can make good decisions. I’ll be praying every night for our good health. Malcolm Lee is going to play a fair amount of time, 8-to-10 minutes a game as the backup point guard.”

On Drew Gordon:
“We expect a lot out of Drew. We keep stats every day in practice. There’s accountability every day. Drew has been our second-leading rebounder thus far. Drew gained a lot of experience last year. He’s a strong, physical presence. Drew is going to end up playing a major role for us this year.”

On the Pac-10:
“You have to look at who you guy’s picked, and I think you’re correct. Washington, who won the conference, and Cal is the best shooting team in the conference. They really are efficient offensively. They really push it hard, and I thought they did a great job pushing the ball. You look at the rest of the conference, the Oregon schools basically return everybody. I think Ernie’s team took their lumps because they played so many freshmen. Anybody can beat anybody on any given night in the Pac-10. How many pros have come out of this conference? The most in the last three years comes out of the Pac-10. It’s not a big enough story nationally. It’s been unbelievable – three years in a row, the league has had 60 percent in the Pac-10 tournament.”

On dealing with injuries:
“Definitely it’s not fun. In ’06, our first real good year, we had a number of injuries. That’s when Ced Bozeman went down. Josh Shipp filled in for four games. Lorenzo Mata was in and out with a broken leg. We had so many injuries that year. But we somehow found a way.”

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P10 Media Day: Cal’s Mike Montgomery

Opening statement:
“There’s a little bit of optimism around, I think. We’re in the process of trying to do things better than we did last year in the areas where we weren’t very strong. We need to get better defensively. I think we can shoot the ball. That’s going to be no secret to anybody. But we need to get better defensively.”

On comparing Jerome Randle to Brevin Knight:
“Jerome certainly does things that Brevin would never dream of being able to do. But Brevin, having proven himself as a 10-year, 11-year pro, had other qualities that were very unique to Brevin. The similarities are of course that they’re both small. Both are very good players.”

On Jorge Gutierrez:
“As soon as you start to back up he pursues you and pursues the ball He’s fearless. He’s a very quiet kid, but he loves to compete. He sees the game in a way very few people to. He runs after balls and he runs after people.”

On Cal being No. 1 and Stanford No. 10:
“I really think that probably both predictions are a little bit erroneous. I think Johnny’s team is going to be better than people think they are. It’s hard to establish yourself, as we all know. But Johnny is in the process of having a very good recruiting year. I think it’s just a matter of time before he gets it where he wants it. For most of us in this league, it’s somewhat cyclical.”

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P10 Media Day: USC’s Kevin O’Neill

Opening statement:
“I’m just learning our team, really. It’s obviously well-documented what’s happened the past couple years. Whatever comes out of the investigation, we’re going to move forward in a positive manner. We’re going to recruit well, get good players and be competitive. I’m still learning a lot about our players.”

On USC:
“Our group is a group that will play hard. We’ll have to play hard defensively and rebound the ball well. When you lost a recruiting class and three guys to the pros, you’re basically counting on the returning guys. They have to step into roles that they didn’t have to. Not so much is it a great challenge for them, but a great opportunity.”

On taking over a USC program in turmoil:
“For me, the No. 1 thing that I got the job was to keep the guys intact who were already here. I tried really hard to keep the guys intact. My style or whatever I teach is different from what Tim taught. At the same time, I think our guys have responded well to it.”

On playing Arizona:
“I don’t feel bad about the way things happened at all. I’ll say like I’ve said every time, I left Arizona and never said anything. Arizona’s a great place. Lute Olson’s a Hall of Fame coach, and I have great respect for him. I don’t feel any different about playing Arizona as I do Washington State or any of those places.”

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P10 Media Day: Arizona’s Sean Miller

On coming to Arizona:
“I’m excited to be here. People have asked me time and time again about leaving Xavier to come to Arizona, and one of the reasons I did it was to coach in a conference of this factor. The incredible success that teams have had in the NCAA tournament. The great coaches, the great cities. I’m excited to be the coach in a conference of this stature and in particular. It’s reality here at Arizona. We have five freshmen and four sophomores. Nine scholarships are in the first two years.”

On changing things at Arizona:
“To me the most important thing to do is to establish a way of doing things. How we play, how we practice, how we’re aggressive in our non-conference scheduling. We’ve gotten a lot better in the first 10 days, but we’re clearly a lot further behind in the learning curve for many reasons.”

On Arizona’s freshmen:
I really like our freshman class. They’re a diverse group, a couple of players with great size, a couple of wing players and a combination guard.

On Nic Wise:
“Nic Wise has been terrific. He came back to college for all the right reasons. He’ll be one of our conference’s most experienced players, and I believe one of the best point guard in college basketball. Our style of play is really a good fit for how he plays, as well.”

On Derrick Williams
“He’s been one of the highlights of our preseason. One of the things that’s so exciting is his body. Physically, he’s much bigger than you think he is. He’s not that rail-thin freshman who takes a year or two to develop physically. Very hard worker, easy to coach, bright kid. As bright of a future as anybody in our program.”

On 25 straight NCAA tournament appearances:
“To me, it’s the greatest positive we have. Our program takes a back seat to no other when it comes to tradition. Players who have won a national championship, been in the final four, won 10 pac-10 championships. You think about making the tournament and advancing. We’ve never been more vulnerable. Can that streak break this year under my watch? Absolutely. But the biggest thing for me as a new coach is to run a complete program.”

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P10 Media Day: Washington State’s Ken Bone

On WSU’s scorers:
“On the perimeter, Klay Thompson for sure. If not him, Reggie Moore is a pretty creative scorer. I think he’ll be able to put up some numbers. In the post, probably DeAngelo Casto. In my mind he’s probably a poor man’s Jon Brockman. I love the kid. But he’s really not a good scorer yet.”

On his career path:
“I spent a lot of time at Seattle Pacific University and really enjoyed it. We had a good school, a good program, had some success. When Lorenzo moved to town and we talked about making the move to the University of Washington, what an ideal time to do it. At that moment, those couple days there, it was an easy decision. Though I didn’t expect it ever to happen. Going from there to Portland State, I said I could probably stay there for a long, long time. I want to be in the Northwest, and I want to coach college basketball. If a good opportunity came about in the Northwest, then I could foresee myself doing it.”

On landing Rainier Beach product Reggie Moore:
Seattle and the Northwest are primarily my recruiting ties, and most of our staff has those ties. I really feel like there’s so much talent in the Northwest. It was really important for us not only to find a kid who could handle the ball, but shoot, we found him in Seattle. For us, there could not be a better scenario.

On his coaching style:
“It would be nice to be able to play faster than we even are going to play this year. I don’t really care to take it there without the depth, or the lack of. It would be such a transition. The Bennett’s, there system was very slow and it was effective.”

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P10 Media Day: Oregon State’s Craig Robinson

Opening statement:
“Last time I was here, I went first. It sure is nice not to be going first. When I was here last, I talked about changing a culture, and how the players felt about themselves. I think we accomplished that a little more than I expected. When you’re expected to win you can’t just show up at practice. We’ve been working really hard at living up to the expectations we have this year.”

On the higher expectations:
“Our biggest area of growth was being about to manage higher expectations. Last year, we snuck up on people. This year we won’t be able to do that. It’s a different mindset when you’re playing and expected to win a few games. It sounds like it’s not that hard of a mindset to change, but when you have guys who’ve lost for a long time, it’s a big deal.”

On top-100 recruit Roberto Nelson
“He’s gonna be a very good player for us. We’re really excited about getting us going. Once he gets cleared, he’s going to be competing for playing time.”

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POW: Final Score of UCLA-Oregon State

Readers: Post your final score prediction. Closest to actual score with correct winning team gets to give me 10 questions to ask a player of their choosing, within reason.
NEW RULES: The 10 questions will go to the reader who gets the winner correct with the closest total score; tie-breaker will go to whoever has the closest winner’s score.


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P10 Media Day: Stanford’s Johnny Dawkins

On Gabriel Harris:
“Gabriel Harris is a combo guard for us; he’s practicing very hard and getting better. But like any freshman it’s a long season for them. We’re excited, we think he can have an impact as the season progresses.”

On the point guard position:
“For us at the point, we’ll have to do it by committee. We don’t have a true point guard in the program right now. It’s up to us to tweak our offense in a way for these guys to be successful. I think they’ve all made good adjustments and will be able to help us.”

On the loss of freshman Andy Brown:
“That’s a significant loss for us. Andy was a kid we expected to contribute. More importantly, it’s tough for him. You talk about a young man who’s having his ACL repaired for the second time. That’s difficult. We’re pulling for him to get back as we all should do because of his love for the game.”

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P10 Media Day: Oregon’s Ernie Kent

On the Pac-10
“For the last three years, we’ve heard the Pac-10 is down heading into the preseason. Then sure enough we get all the scouts to come to the Pac-10 and they say, ‘We could just draft the Pac-10 alone.’ What you’re going to see in the conference this year is the emergence of a lot of great young players. As we get into Pac-10 play it’s going to be a great conference race.”

On Oregon last year:
“Last year, when we started our season, I looked out on our floor and saw six young players who hadn’t played a game. With a grueling schedule we had, I don’t think we really had a chance for success. But they’ve had an exceptional offseason. We’re bigger, a lot bigger. We’re stronger. We are a deep basketball team, and of our four new players, three are going to really help us.”

On Oregon:
“When you see our team, you’ll see the most athletic basketball team we’ve had at Oregon since I’ve been there. We’ve had a couple scrimmages already and the thing most impressive for the staff is how we’ve been able to score the basketball. We need to find our rhythm early, and once we do, we have a chance to be a very good basketball team.”

On UCLA:
“I thought they were a really good basketball team last year. Yet you heard a lot of talk about his defense not being as good in the past. He was playing freshmen. I think the biggest thing, and we’ve gone through this, is the reloading process. From a national perspective, people say he’s lost 1-2-3, but they’ve got some great personnel in their basketball program.”

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