Pac-10 Capsules

Coach: Lorenzo Romar (9th year, 264-179 overall record)
Last season: 26-10, Won in Pac-10 Tournament; Lost in Sweet Sixteen, NCAA Tournament
Starters: G Isaiah Thomas (16.9 ppg, 3.2 apg), G Venoy Overton (8.6 ppg, 3.1 apg), F Justin Holiday (5.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg), F Matthew Bryan-Amaning (8.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg), C Aziz N’Diaye (redshirt)
Key Additions: F Terrence Ross, N’Dyiaye, G C.J. Wilcox
Key Losses: F Quincy Pondexter
Head Coach Lorenzo Romar: “There’s not a question to me, there’s not a clear-cut favorite to win this league. I think there are enough teams out there to challenge for the No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 spot. I don’t think there’s any doubt. I think it’s going to be a wild season.”

Coach: Sean Miller (2nd year, 136-62 overall record)
Last season: 16-15, lost in first round of Pac-10 Tournament; Did not make postseason tournament
Starters: G Lamont Jones (6.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg), G Kyle Fogg (11.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg), F Jamelle Horne (9.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg), F Derrick Williams (15.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg), C Kyryl Natyazhko (1.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg)
Key Additions: G Daniel Bejarano, G Jordin Mayes, F Jesse Perry
Key Losses: G Nic Wise, F Jamelle Horne
Head Coach Sean Miller: “We had a very low beginning point, even though our season, generally speaking, at 16-15 was one to build on. We didn’t establish some great moments. I hope as we return into our second year, we’re better comprehensively.”

Coach: Ben Howland (8th year, 334-171 overall record)
Last season: 14-18, lost in second round, Pac-10 Tournament; Did not make postseason tournament
Starters: G Lazeric Jones (Junior College), G Malcolm Lee (12.1 ppg, 3.1 apg), F Tyler Honeycutt (7.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg), F Reeves Nelson (11.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg), C Joshua Smith (High School)
Key Additions: Jones, Smith, SF Tyler Lamb, SG Matt Carlino
Key Losses: SG Michael Roll, PF Nikola Dragovic
Head Coach Ben Howland: “We expect to be much better than we were a year ago. Having some guys who had some experience, even though it was a tough experience, I like that nucleus. I like our team. The big key for us is to stay healthy, and that’s something we have to work to do.”

Arizona State
Coach: Herb Sendek (5th year, 330-214 record)
Last season: 22-11, lost in first round, Pac-10 Tournament; Lost In first round, National Invitational Tournament
Starters: G Jamelle McMillan (6.6 ppg, 2.8 apg), G Ty Abbott (12.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg), G Trent Lockett (6.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg), F Rihards Kuksiks (12.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg), C Ruslan Pateev (2.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg)
Key Additions: F Keala King, G Corey Hawkins, G Brandon Dunson
Key Losses: G Derek Glasser, F Eric Boateng
Senior guard Ty Abbott: “Why not? Why can’t it be us? And that’s how we felt last year, and that’s how we’ll feel every year. We’re a team that will work hard, and at the end of the day, we’re going to be right there.”

Washington State
Coach: Ken B (2nd year, 351-182 overall record)
Last season: 14-18, lost in first round, Pac-10 Tournament; Did not make postseason tournament
Starters: G Reggie Moore (12.7 ppg, 4.2 apg), G Klay Thompson (19.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg), G Marcus Capers (6.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg), F Abe Lodwick (2.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg), F DeAngelo Casto (10.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
Key Additions: G Andre Winston, F Dexter Kernich-Drew
Key Losses: F Nikola Koprivica
Head Coach Ken Bone: “We lost one senior, and we have a lot of guys back who got game experience last year, and good game experience. We finished 10th, but it’s not like we were too far out of it. We were two games out of fifth.”

Coach: Kevin O’Neill (2nd year, 204-208 overall record)
Last season: 16-14, Ineligible for postseason
Starters: PG Maurice Jones (High School), SG Bryce Jones (High School), SF Marcus Simmons (3.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg), F Alex Stepheson (8.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg), C Nikola Vucevic (10.7 ppg, 9.4 rpg)
Key Additions: M. Jones, B. Jones, G Jio Fontan
Key Losses: F Dwight Lewis, G Mike Gerrity
Head Coach Kevin O’Neill: “The players raised me up every day. They made it easy. They were great. They were positive in their approach, determined in their efforts, stayed together as a group, and although disappointed (about the postseason ban), they weren’t deflated totally. It was one of the more gratifying years I’ve ever had in coaching.”

Coach: Mike Montgomery (3rd year, 593-266 overall record)
Last season: 24-11, lost in championship game, Pac-10 Tournament; Lost in second round, NCAA Tournament
Starters: G Jorge Gutierrez (5.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg), G Gary Franklin Jr. (High School), F Allen Crabbe (High School), F Harper Kamp (injured), C Markuri Sanders-Frison (3.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
Key Additions: Franklin, Crabbe, F Richard Solomon
Key Losses: G Jerome Randle, G Jamal Boykin, F Theo Robertson, F Patrick Christopher
Head Coach Mike Montgomery: “There’s a lot of uncertainty for most of us. If you have two juniors or seniors, guys who are proven scorers, that gives you a leg up on most of the people. I like our players, but their freshmen. You don’t know what they’re going to do. There’s a lot of that going on.”

Oregon State
Coach: Craig Robinson (3rd year, 62-64 overall record)
Last season: 14-18, lost in first round, Pac-10 Tournament; Lost in first round, CBI Tournament
Starters: G Jared Cunningham (6.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg), G Calvin Haynes (12.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg), G Lathen Wallace (5.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg), F Omari Johnson (4.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg), C Joe Burton (4.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg)
Key Additions: G Ahmad Starks, G Roberto Nelson, F Eric Moreland, F Chris Brown
Key Losses: F Seth Tarver, F Roeland Schaftenaar
Head Coach Craig Robinson: “We’re still in a position that we don’t know who we are yet. We spend most of our time focused on ourselves. We have four seniors, two of whom have started most of their careers, and now we’re bringing in the cavalry, we like to call it.”

Coach: Johnny Dawkins (3rd year, 34-32 record)
Last season: 14-18, lost in second round, Pac-10 Tournament; Did not make postseason tournament
Starters: G Jarrett Mann (5.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg), G Jeremy Green (16.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg), F Jack Trotter (6.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg), F Andrew Zimmerman (4.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg), F/C Josh Owens (injured)
Key Additions: F Dwight Powell, G/F Anthony Brown
Key Losses: F Landry Fields
Head Coach 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.”

Coach: Dana Altman (1st year, 410-243 overall record)
Last season: 16-16, lost in second round, Pac-10 Tournament; Did not make postseason tournament
Starters: G Malcolm Armstead (10.3 ppg, 4.3 apg), G E.J. Singler (6.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg), G Teondre Williams (6.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg) F Joevan Catron (5.5 pppg, 5.8 rpg), F Jeremy Jacob (7.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg)
Key Additions: G Jay-R Strowbridge, F Tyrone Nared, G Johnathan Loyd
Key Losses: G TaJuan Porter, F Matt Humphrey, G Jamil Wilson
Head Coach Dana Altman: “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.”

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Pac-10 Media Day Recap

With NBA defections decimating the conference’s talent, last season was supposed to be a down season for the Pac-10, and it was.
Only one team, No. 21 Washington, finished in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top-25 poll, and not one squad received even one vote in the final AP Top-25 poll.
But it was supposed to be an aberration, a momentary dip that was sure to be followed by a quick return to national prominence.
Not so fast.

With only five teams returning even a single senior starter – the lasting effects of several NBA early entries in 2007-08 and 2008-09 – once more the conference is getting little recognition.

“A team that loses four or five seniors, is that program down, or do they just have to rebuild? I think that’s where we’re at,” said Washington coach Lorenzo Romar at Pac-10 Media Day on Thursday at L.A. Live’s Nokia Theatre. “We lost a lot of talent to the NBA in a short period of time, and it was difficult to recover in one year. The whole conference was judged in a couple of losses in non-conference, when a lot of teams didn’t have their full complement of guys.”

Washington, to its credit, remains on top, as league media picked the Huskies first in the preseason media poll with 348 points and 33-of-35 first-place votes.
Though they lost All-Pac-10 first-team forward Quincy Pondexter, the Huskies return four starters, including the conference’s current career points leader, point guard Isaiah Thomas, who joined Pondexter on the all-conference first team after averaging 16.9 points per game as a sophomore.

Arizona, which also returns four starters, including 2009-10 Freshman of the Year Derrick Williams, was picked second with 296 points (one first-place), while UCLA was picked third with 281 points and the remaining first-place vote.

The Wildcats and Bruins are in similar, and unenviable positions.

Arizona, which fell to 16-15 last season, missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in XX years while UCLA, two years removed from three-straight Final Four appearances, collapsed to 14-18.
Opponents aren’t expecting them to be down for long.
“Those two programs, of all the teams in the league, are the two that have the most emphasis and support for basketball,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. “They’ve been the standards. Yeah, I’d expect that you wouldn’t see them stay down for too long.”

The Bruins could be the league wild-card, as the chemistry issues that plagued the team throughout last season seem to have disappeared. Head coach Ben Howland shook up the roster – in the process adding junior college point guard Lazeric Jones and freshman center Joshua Smith and guard/forward Tyler Lamb – and though the team does not have a senior on the roster, he believes they have the necessary leadership to right the ship quickly.

“We expect to be much better than we were a year ago,” Howland said. “Having some guys who had some experience, even though it was a tough experience, I like that nucleus. I like our team. The big key for us is to stay healthy, and that’s something we have to work to do.”
UCLA is followed in the poll by Arizona State (215 points), Washington State (191), USC (178), Cal (151), Oregon State (120), Stanford (98) and Oregon (47).

The common consensus amongst league coaches on Thursday, though, was that with such tremendous youth in the conference, the entire league is up for grabs.

Pac-10 coaches will learn quickly, though, that their players have to learn quickly.

“We had a very young team a couple of years ago, and certain things would happen on the road – you’re up 10 with two minutes to go and you lose – and I remember coaches around the country calling me, and it wasn’t funny to me,” Romar said. “They’re calling me laughing. ‘Man, I saw your game, coach. You’re gonna be fine, but doggone, those young guys are somethin’ aren’t they?’”

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Post-practice update

*Rick Neuheisel said Thursday’s practice was one of the best Thursday’s of the year.

* Still no word on whether Jordan Zumwalt or Steve Sloan will be starting at middle linebacker. Zumwalt took most of the snaps with the first team this week, but Neuheisel said he would talk with defensive coaches before they made a decision.

*Defensive back Aaron Hester practiced Thursday, a day after he collided with Dalton Hilliard (who suffered a concussion).

*Defensive back Anthony Jefferson had successful surgery on his broken foot Tuesday, according to Neuheisel.

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Howland, Smith at Pac-10 Media Day

On going 14-18 last season:
“It was definitely difficult. The previous four years we had a real
nice run there. To have a losing season like we did last year was
very difficult. But that’s in the rear view mirror now, we’re moving
forward and excited about this years team. I’m excited about our
young group. We’re very young, don’t have a senior in the program.
“We’ve got a lot of youth but a lot of exuberance and enthusiasm.”

Joshua Smith on where the team goes from here:
“I see us headed in the right direction. In the summer, a lot of the
guys, we put in a lot of work. A lot of us got extra shots, been
working on getting stronger, leaner, faster.”

On the Wears
“Our practices are much better having David and Travis Wear. They’re
both going to be very good players for us in the future. It’s tough
to see them every day and see how good they are and realize we cant
have them right away.”

On the conference race:
“With Washington, everybody is coming back with the exception of
Pondexter. You have to look at them. They have a lot coming back.
Arizona is a very talented team with the bulk of their team coming
back. After those two, it could be anybody else. But that’s why they
play the game. Should be a very exciting Pac-10 season this year. On
a given night, in our conference, anybody can beat anybody. That’s
what makes a conference special.”

On the point guards following four NBA point guards:
Would it be fair to put those expectations on our point guards now? I
can’t say that. But I’m excited about their future.”

On playing zone defense:
“It’s going to take quite a while because we’re so young. We’re
having players learn things for the first time. We did play zone last
year, and it retarded the growth of a couple of the returning
players. We are really committed to playing man, it’s something we’re
working on every day. Tyler Lamb, for example, is one of our best
defenders coming in as a freshman on the perimeter.
“I like our group there, and the ability to pressure the ball.”

On Honeycutt’s growth:
“Tyler is a much better shooter than he was. He really worked on his
shot all spring, all summer long. He would go into the gym, late in
the evening into the early morning shooting. He’s developed a lot of
confidence too. We need Tyler to score more for us this year. He’s
going to need to look to be more aggressive.”

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UCLA picked third in Pac-10, one first-place vote

UCLA, which finished 14-18 last season, was picked third in the Pac-10 media poll, behind Washington and Arizona.
The Bruins return three full-time starters in Malcolm Lee, Reeves Nelson and Tyler Honeycutt and a fourth part-time starter in Jerime Anderson, while adding freshmen Joshua Smith and Tyler Lamb and junior college transfer Lazeric Jones.
Washington and Arizona, meanwhile, both return four starters.

1. Washington (33) 348
2. Arizona (1) 296
3. UCLA (1) 281
4. Arizona State 215
5. Washington State 191
6. USC 178
7. Cal 151
8. Oregon State 120
9. Stanford 98
10. Oregon 47

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In my hurry to get to Pac10 Media Day at LA Live, I left my computer cord on my desk. I’ll have to update on Twitter more often (Twitter) than I anticipated. Check back here later for more info if anything comes out of today.

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