Cal Picked Fifth in Pac-10 Media Poll
Nov. 3, 2005
BERKELEY - California has been picked to finish fifth in the Pac-10 this season, according to a poll of media members who regularly cover the conference.
The Bears, who tied for eighth place last year with a 6-12 Pac-10 mark and 13-16 overall record, return three starters and welcome back sophomore forward Leon Powe to the lineup after missing all of the 2004-05 season due to a knee injury. Powe was the 2004 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year after averaging 15.1 ppg and a league-best 9.5 rpg.
'I don't see anything that indicates any fear in Leon,' Cal head coach Ben Braun said at Pac-10 media day Thursday in Los Angeles. 'He is playing without a brace, that's a strong sign. He's probably the healthiest you can have a guy. He played in Italy and showed no signs of backing down. He is very durable, and his attitude and performance have been phenomenal. Nobody has worked harder in his rehab than Leon, and that's about as much as you can ask from a guy. He has rigorous practices and games, and I'm excited for him.'
Defending Pac-10 champion Arizona gathered 23 first-place votes and is listed as the favorite this season. Stanford picked up nine first-place votes and is tabbed for second place. UCLA, which garnered up the remaining two first-place votes, is slotted for third place. Washington is picked fourth, followed by Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, USC, Washington State and Arizona State.
Additional Ben Braun comments from media day
'The good news is that Leon Powe is back. It's a welcome addition to have him back, but the bad news is that we have had other injuries . We do anticipate getting those guys back from injury, and we are excited about the new guys in our program. It's great to have Richard Midgley back. He has lost about 15 pounds and is quicker and is moving really well. He's back and healthy. We had a tour in Italy this summer and it was a great chance for our guys to play together and get some experience.'
'(Leon) used to sit next to me and coach last year. He's a lot better as a player. He has had a chance to work on his shooting; he's able to knock shots down. His passing skills have really picked up. He is creating off the dribble and his understanding of the game is better. Leon makes our team better in so many ways.'
2005-06 Pac-10 Men's Basketball Media Poll
Team Pts.1. Arizona (23) 3252. Stanford (9) 2943. UCLA (2) 2634. Washington 2385. California 2126. Oregon 1837. Oregon State 1328. USC 879. Washington State 8610. Arizona State 50First place votes in parentheses