Here is an overview of what the final five coaches had to say today at Pac-10 men’s basketball media day in Los Angeles:
KEVIN O’NEILL/USC: He takes over the league’s most disrupted program: losses on the court and an NCAA investigation looming. “We do know the challenges ahead, and we believe we’re up to them,” he said.
MIKE MONTGOMERY/CAL: Montgomery opened with a little joke: “Reading about us a little bit, it stuns me as usual. I saw somebody picked us 12th. I thought there were only 10 teams in the conference, I didn’t know you could be picked 12th.” Actually, of course, the Bears were picked first in the Pac-10 and 12th nationally. Montgomery didn’t deny the talent the Bears have returning, but he said the team must improve its inside game and defense. “For us to be successful the kids are going to have to be a little bit unselfish and do the things you need to do to win college basketball games,” he said. He also said the team missed Jordan Wilks maybe more than he expected because Wilks was so smart and did little things that almost went unnoticed.
HERB SENDEK/ASU: He noted that the players he first recruited to Tempe are seniors now. “It’s amazing how fast time goes,” he said. “Things have come full circle.” He said Ty Abbott has a knee injury but hopes to return in November.
BEN HOWLAND/UCLA: Howland said the Bruins also have had a run of injuries, but he hopes to finally get the team at full strength next week. The disruption of camp is more significant, he said, because “We’re a very young team, so we need the practice time.” This season’s roster had three seniors and nine underclassmen. “I’m excited,” he said. “I’m looking forward to coaching this young team. … We’re going to end up depending on our sophomore class along with some of our freshman.”
LORENZO ROMAR/UW: Lorenzo started playfully, going to wrong podium on purpose. Once at the right podium, he said this team has experience from winning last year and is as quick as the Nate Robinson teams. “But we haven’t done and thing and we have a long way to go,” he added. “And that’s not coaches talk, that’s the truth.”
Highlights from the first five coaches are in the post below.
We’ll have more coverage from Media Day in the Friday paper.