Pac-10 Men's Basketball Coaches Teleconference

Jan. 7, 2010

Listen to Coaches Teleconference 


Arizona - Sean Miller

Status of SO G Garland Judkins
“All those reports are premature. When we release where a player goes, that’s when it’s definite. Judkins is at home because his grandfather passed away a few days ago. I haven’t had a chance to sit down with Judkins and talk with his family because he is at home dealing with the death of his grandfather, and it really stops there. If any player in our program wants to transfer, we will make sure you know when you get the release.”

Status of SO C Alex Jacobson
“We got an MRI on Jacobson on Monday and the MRI came back negative which means the injury was not disk related. However, he is still very uncomfortable and a guy his size it usually takes a little longer to recover when dealing with a back injury. He is still making progress and as we approach this weekend we are still unclear if he can play or what role he will have. He is making progress and we should be able to welcome him back very soon.”

The history of the program and the streak of consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, his thoughts on rebuilding
“You know I’m not so sure. I think when your the new coach you can’t have the anxiety that I may be the person the snaps the 25-year NCAA Tournament streak because then you should have never picked up and move out here. You have to understand, and I understand, that recruiting has been different over the last couple of years. For example, Nic Wise is the one season we have in our program. I’m his fourth coach in four years. Jamelle Horne is the lone junior, and I am his third coach in three years. And of the five sophomores that played last season, one played, Kyle Fogg. So we bring in five freshmen and we were very fortunate to get them. We hope to bring back Arizona to the prominent program that everybody expects. I have answered 400 or 500 questions about the streak and the streak has no baring to what we are doing. We are just trying to become a better team and develop our young team to play game-by-game. The hope is to improve every game so that a year from now, two years from now and the big picture three years from now we will progress in everything we are doing.”

On the late recruiting class
“Well it was unique and very similar to where I came from, Cincinnati, Ohio. If you look at two programs, Cincinnati and Indiana, both had very different circumstances and some things prevented them from having success and if you look at both coaches you see how they have rebuilt. And in the case of Indiana, they had a very rich tradition and it takes time. Because we were able to get Derrick Williams, Lamont Jones and Solomon Hill very late in the game, it gave us what I would call a starting point. If we didn’t get those three players, Nic Wise probably wouldn’t have returned for his senior year. With the non conference already set, we might have only won five games all season, but right now we are 7-7 and working really hard to become better.”

Challenges of playing Washington State and Klay Thompson
“They have three players in double-figure scoring. Obviously Klay Thompson speaks for himself and Reggie Moore and DeAngelo Castro give them balance. I had the opportunity to coach against Ken Bone when he was at Portland State. He does an excellent job and is going through some of the similar things that we are going through. It takes some time to recreate your identity in practice and the things you believe in as a coach. They are off to a great start at 11-3 and 1-1 in the conference. That game against Oregon was incredible the way it ended and they could easily be sitting at 12-2 and 2-0. So we know we are playing a very good team. The good news for us, if you give us any credit is I don’t know if there is another team that played as difficult schedule as we did. If you look at the 14 games, we played seven of them on the road. Of the 12 non conference games, we played on a neutral court or away. Be played against some of the best teams and offenses and defenses that are out there. I know that Washington State is going to present some challenges that so many of the other teams we have played. I hope our teams experience in playing in some tough games, can help us against them.”

On SO G Kyle Fogg playing his best basketball
“I probably sound like a broken record, but I use that word improvement. We are a team and a program that should be able to experience growth because of our youthfulness. And at the same time we are in year one, so it’s a first time through everything. Fogg is a great example of that beginning stage of his sophomore year. He does have more experience playing as freshman than anybody else on the team that is in his class. I just think he his starting to feel more comfortable in what we do. He is learning and he came up big in our UCLA win. He played a fantastic game. I hope that soon we can point to him as a constant double-figure scoring game and an improved defender on defense. And it always seems that one player seems more comfortable. He has taken our team down the right path.”

On the improvement on the defense
“I hope that are defense is improving. We have definitely had some times when we have taken a step backwards. We are a much better team in the first half then in the second half. It speaks about our physicalness, or lack there of in experience. Tuesday was our 50th practice of the year, and I’m sure most coaches would say that when you repeat the same things and demand effort you can only improve. And at times it has been baby steps. As we keep moving moving forward, we hope to be a team that is harder to score on. We have virtually seen everything. I don’t think there is a team out there that will make you work like BYU. As tough as that loss was to deal with, lesson learned. It’s a combination of continuing to work on things we have done and take advantage of all those difficult games that we played in.” 

Arizona State - Herb Sendek

On Washington State’s Klay Thompson
“He is a great player. I have nothing but respect for him. I actually had a chance to work with him this summer for USA basketball and he is a very impressive young man who can really play this game. 

On the factor of Washington coming off a loss against Oregon
“To be honest we are focusing on ourself because we are also coming off a loss. Our energy is dedicated to improving ourself.”

Overcoming the loss of James Harden
“I don’t think that we have snuck up on anybody during the non conference. To loss two NBA players it is a pretty big significant chunk to have to replace so quickly. We have some young guys that we are playing and some guys who played last year that have some different types of roles and so I think we are still on the journey together.”

On Washington wanting to push the ball
“Washington is a deep team that is really athletic. They are lethal in transition and they finish every possession hard which is the way they rebound.”

On teams mentality after opening the conference 0-2
“One thing our team has always been able to do is be resilient and there is always plenty to learn from. Every experience you have is an opportunity to grow and that’s what we are trying to take away from this past weekend. We played two really good teams on the road and at times obviously didn’t play our best, but it was certainly an opportunity to lean about ourselves and go back to work and continue to get better.”

On how USC is playing
“I think USC is playing outstanding basketball. I think they have won eight in a row and in that stretch have beat some very good basketball teams. I think defensively they are really locked in and they are difficult to score against. Offensively they play within themselves and play to their strengths. There defense is really outstanding.”

On UCLA playing defense against them
“Not entirely surprised that they went to it because they have been talking about it.”

Oregon - Ernie Kent 

Thoughts and expectations of SO G Malcolm Armstead
“When we saw him we thought that is exactly what we needed and what the doctor ordered in terms of what our team needed. He scored a lot of points in high school and was a pass first point guard in junior college and we needed him to do both and I think he has handled that well. He has exceeded our expectations because we have thrown a lot of things at him that he has picked up and he still has a lot more things still to learn. In other ways he needs to get better in other areas too.”

The difference of SO C Michael Dunigan
“Mike didn’t start playing organized basketball until the 10th grade.  So he is only five years into his development right now. And he just grows and gets better everyday. The biggest thing is he has changed his work ethic since he walked in the door to where is is now. He came in at 280 pounds. I don’t think people realize that he is playing right now at about 248 and he is taking the fat off and turning it in to muscle. So he is going to get better and better as his confidence grows.”

“This is the first time that I have had a dominant presence in the inside. Again he is not there yet, but he is heading to a point where is has put together a pretty good stretch of games. He has a long way to go. Once he begins doing these things on a consistent basis, then you can call him a dominant center. The fact that you can throw the ball in there and get things done is nice. I have had some big guys who were projects and really haven’t developed as far as Dunigan is right now. He tends to get better everyday at practice.”

Most notable impact the Associate Head Coach Mike Dunlap has had
“Number one, he has done a nice job of taking the kids individually and showing them how to shoot the ball. I think that he has been phenomenal that way. Wether it’s offense, defense or mentally working with them behind the scenes. Number two, I have never been a pressing coach. He has brought multiple presses to our package that we have used during different times of the games that have given us real positives during the games. I think he is an excellent coach because he has so much knowledge upstairs in his head. He gives you an opportunity to pull things from his past that you can use to strengthen your program.”

Oregon State - Craig Robinson

On game against Seattle University during rivalry week
“It was a schedule that we inherited last year. It was the second of a three game series. We play them here this year and go there next year. Do I like to play them? I think I have reserved the right to answer that after the game. And I kind of say that tongue and cheek. It’s always good to play a school that is in your region if it’s good for both parties. It depends on playing a non conference game during the bye week. We had a couple of tough games last weekend and have another tough one on Sunday. Normally I wouldn’t mind. “

“Seattle normally plays an uptempo game, but everybody seems to be playing to our tempo of late. They get the ball up and down the court. They have some really good players. Charles Garcia is someone that everybody is watching, not only at our level but at the next level. He will be a force to deal with. We have to worry more about how we are going to play.”

USC - Kevin O’Neill 

On the sanction and thoughts on the one-and-done rule
“I don’t think it’s the rule. I had Jerryd Bayless when I was at Arizona and he was a one-and-done guy. Basically, whenever you have rules for anything  it comes down to some guys follow rules and some guys don’t. So I don’t think it’s the one-and-done. Some guys follow rules and some don’t and that’s all there is to it.”

On being penalized having nothing to do with sanctions
“It’s not fair, but when you think about it, life isn’t fair. When it comes down to it, you need to do with whatever your dealt. I told our players to move forward on a positive manner. It is tough to deal with. The guys that were left here were not involved in any way. It’s part of the business and we accept it is the way it is. Even if we don’t agree about it, there is nothing we can do about it.”

On playing California
“I think they are a very good team. When I watch them they can score and they do a lot of good things. There talented and veteran. So to me, they are a tough, tough team to play.”

On sanctions affecting teams play
“I would hope that it wouldn’t affect our play at all. We had a good practice yesterday and we just finished a good practice today. You know, not doing our job would be the worst thing in this situation. All the coaches and players know the situation and we can’t do anything about it. We can only control the things we can control like our effort. The hope, and knowing these guys, they would come out and play hard and try to win.”

On if the NCAA would to place USC with further sanctions
“I don’t think that is for me to judge. And I am certain the NCAA isn’t going to take into account what I say. So we just have to wait and see what their response is. Whatever it is, we will just deal with it.”

On dealing with the sanctions
“It’s uncharted waters and we just have to move forward. Unfortunately, in our business I don’t think any of the other coaches care what we are going through. That’s just the way it is. And I have good friends like (Michigan State’s) Tom Izzo who I talk to all the time. Every institution that goes through something like this has their own set of problems. For us, we just have to feel our way through this. I get great guidance for Athletics Director Mike Garrett and his staff. So I am comfortable with who we have here in moving this thing forward.”

“I don’t see the football problems having anything to do with what is going on with us. I don’t have that sense at all.”

On taking the UCS job knowing the circumstances
“When there is an investigation that has lasted two years, something has to come out eventually. I didn’t know what it would be or when it would be. I knew we were facing some sanctions that were going to be self-imposed on NCAA-imposed. So yeah, I knew it was going to happen. It’s kind of like when my mother died. I knew for about a year, but it didn’t make it any easier when i happened. So it’s difficult for our players to deal with and it was difficult for me to deal with. We disappointed, but we are not angry and we are going to deal with it the best way we can.”

On the death of Rory Markas 
“He was a pro. Our Trojan family has lost a good man. He was very well liked by players,coaches and staff, everybody. He did an outstanding job. I wouldn’t claim that I knew him well. Working through 14 games and two exhibitions games, we are deeply saddened.”

Washington State - Ken Bone

On the controversy in the Oregon loss
“Well, what I saw was the ball go through the basket and right when (Oregon’s) Michael Dunigan is grabbing the ball, the clock stopped at .3 seconds and he is walking towards their bench. At that time the officials, I can’t hear the whistle, but we had a couple players on the court and a fan who ran out on the court who was probably six or eight feet from the court. At that time the official stopped the action and is asking the kids to clear off the floor. They clear the floor then the officials have a meeting and that was it.”

“Well, what I saw everybody else saw. We all know what exactly happened and I will just leave it at that.”

“Unfortunately we have had to have a few discussions with our players because it hit us pretty hard.”

On what they took from games against Oregon and Oregon State
“Well we had a bad start against Oregon. Oregon was really competitive from the get-go and we did not compete those first six or sevens minutes. So one of the things I took from it was maybe I should have scheduled a game on December 27th or 28th like some of the teams in the Pac-10 did. We didn’t play a competitive game since December 22nd when we played LSU so we had nine days off. We tried to utilize our time by tightening some things up on both ends of the court and maybe we won’t as competitive as we should have been. Against Oregon we got outworked. People can say what they want about the Pac-10, but I think the Pac-10 is really good. Oregon’s Malcolm Armstead is extremely good and everybody knows how great of shooter Tajuan Porter is. Dunigan will be one of the best big men in the league, if not this year certainly next year.”

“Against Oregon State, Coach (Craig) Robinson has a unique style that can be difficult to match on both ends of the court. I think I am going to learn as we go along.”

On challenges of playing Arizona and Arizona State
“Fairly similar to last week where we are going to play to teams that have shown that they can be really good. And in the same we are opening with a team that likes to get up and down the floor and that are very athletic. And it’s not the Arizona State isn’t like that, it’s just they are a little more controlled half court team like Oregon State.”

On possibly filing a complaint of the officials to the Pac-10
“I don’t know. I know at this time we have not. I know there has been some discussions, but that’s all I know. Athletic Director Jim Sterk and I have discussed what happened. I think it’s in the Pac-10’s best interest to let everybody move on, so that is what probably will happen.”

On Klay Thompson
“I have been really pleased with Klay that he has found other ways to contribute. We need him to get a little more aggressive rebounding. Everybody knows he is a really scorer and we are working on developing is overall game.”

On hitting the boards
“We practice it everyday. James Watson is probably our best rebounder when you look at minutes played, so he is the guy that can probably help us the most.”

On transition to coaching at Washington State
“I am pleased at this point in early January that they have adapted fairly well. I think we still have a long way to go, but I don’t foresee there be any changes here in the next couple of months. I think we will wait until the spring to add some things and work on getting up and down the court. For the first year being here, I think the players have adapted well to a different philosophy. It took them 30 or 40 seconds to accept the change. Most kids like getting up and down the floor and more freedom to shoot. I think more kids would rather play that way. Coach Dick and Tony Bennett did a great job of teaching fundamentals so that has really helped.”

Stanford - Johnny Dawkins

On what to expect from USC
“Knowing Coach O’Neill they are going to come out and compete and play to win. I don’t think it will affect them when they step out on the floor. His players have shown that they are very competitive.”

On rebounding from California loss
“It’s a tough loss for us. California played really well and we didn’t play the way we liked to, so we need to learn from it and grow. A lot of our guys are gaining experience. We have four sophomores who are staring to play for the first time so to open the Pac-10 schedule on the road against a team that was projected at the top of the conference is a challenge. We learned a lot and look to improve every time we are out on the floor.”

On Landry Fields being their best scorer
“To give him credit he has been very good for us. He has been very efficient for each. Of course we would like to have more guys score and more contributions. That’s part of the way we like to play. I don’t think a coach would like to have one guy do all the scoring. With other guys contributing is creates a good balance.” 

Washington - Lorenzo Romar

On Oregon over the weekend
“Their guard play was sensational. Malcolm Armstead and Tajuan Porter controlled the game. They had the ball in their hands for a majority of the game and turned the ball over only eight times. We like to pressure teams, and they won’t affected by it al all. Michael Dunigan had a very good game 20 points and 14 rebounds. Watching tape, he scored two points when they threw it in to him. The rest of his points were off offensive rebounds. They played with so much poise.”

On Impressions of Arizona State
“Head coach Herb Sendek and his staff do a tremendous job. When you lose James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph you lose two big time players. And Arizona State is just finding a way to get the job done. Sendek has changed a couple things that they have done, but they continue to play the tough zone. Offensively they are doing some different things and they have continued to do things well and I have been very impressed. Derek Glasser has taken the lead of this team and he has done a fantastic job.”

On trying to motivate a team with no chance of the postseason
“It’s no doubt it’s a tough task, but I think USC has some experienced guys that will feel let down, but they are going to continue the season. I just remember a few years ago when UNLV was placed on probation and they couldn’t go to the tournament. They had some guys that played with a lot of pride and they had a very good year. They have some guys with some pro aspirations so they aren’t just going to roll over. I mean, even though they have won eight-straight, this could be a point where they really up. It’s a tough situation, but I’m sure the Coach O’Neill will do a tremendous job.”

UCLA - Ben Howland

His thoughts on California
“Obviously they are a very good team. They were picked to win the conference out of the gate and they are a NCAA tournament team. I have watched a lot of tape of them and those four seniors - Jamal Boykin, Patrick Christopher, Jerome Randle and Theo Robertson - are all really good players. All very efficient, confident and they all shoot it so well. They are tough and a really hard match up because of their shooting range and the ability to put it on the floor. It’s a very difficult team to match up with and they are very well coached. They are going to be tough to beat for anybody. There loses early were against good teams. They lost to Syracuse on a neutral floor at Madison Square Garden. I mean Syracuse plays at the Garden all the time. The lost to New Mexico. New Mexico is a really good team. And they played at Kansas and played them tough. Kansas had trouble guarding their guards.”

On teams early struggles
“We lost a lot from last year. We lost a lot from the year before that. We have a very young team and have had to play young guys. We have had some tough breaks, but that is the way it is. I thought we played well against Arizona State in the Pac-10 opener, and then against Arizona it was really disappointing. I didn’t like the effort and the way we played offensively. We are going to have to play really smart if we want to beat people in the Pac-10. We did it against Arizona State, but we didn’t do it against Arizona.”

“It’s been tough, but there is no excuse. We need to be more successful and it’s my responsibility and I take full responsibility that we haven’t lived up to out expectations. The expectations are always high at UCLA because of the history and traditions.”

California - Mike Montgomery 

Update on SO G Jorge Gutierrez’s injury
“He’s out. His knee is sore and he can’t play right now. The MRI this week showed the same as last week’s MRI. There is no new damage. He caught it wrong and he is very sore. It won’t require surgery, but a matter of time before he can get out on the court. As Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said, ‘It’s just a nickname. I am not a doctor.’ We are hoping as soon as possible.”

On what’s happening with USC
“I think USC is going to be fine. It is very disappointing to them because obviously they are playing very well. They look like a postseason team in every respect. They have won eight-straight games. They have gotten a couple of people back from injury that they didn’t have. Things are looking good. It’s out of their control. Knowing head coach Kevin O’Neill like I do, with his personality they will play with a chip on their shoulder and be very difficult to beat.”

Thoughts on UCLA’s ups and downs this season
“Well they got guys that can shoot the ball. They young because they have some freshmen and sophomores starting, but they are highly regarded players. So these are guys who are players. SR Michael Roll is a shooter and has been a key player for them for years. Obviously they are missing a couple of people. I think they are a very capable team because they can shoot the ball. Head coach Ben Howland is a very good coach and you have all the UCLA tradition your dealing with.”


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