Men's Hoops Kicks Off With Pac-10 Media Day

Nov. 6, 2002



Ernie Kent, Oregon'We don't feel that we will be as spectacular as we were last year, with Freddie Jones and the ally-oop dunks, but certainly we feel like were going to be just as talented in the areas like shooting the ball, we have some great shooters. We are a faster team then we were last year. All in all we feel like we have gotten ourselves a better basketball team than where we were last year. The team will have to figure out the grind of the season, the grind of the Pac-10 season and the post season. We feel like we have a squad that can compete with anyone in the Pac-10 with our size, our depth and our experience.'

Paul Graham, Washington State'We've been in a lot of games with the top echelon of the Pac-10 that have gone down to the last few minutes of the game and we haven't been able to make a play. I think last year there were ten games that we had a chance to win, that went down to the last minute. We've always had a lot of good perimeter players, but we needed some help inside. We've gone out got some big guys. And they can run pretty well and they'll help us. The thing that I feel good about it is for the first time they stayed through the summer, and played and took some classes, did some things on their own, and they've worked very hard, and we've got some good competition in practice, so I think that'll be able to help us get over the hump and win some of those close games.'

Jay John, Oregon State'I'm extremely excited to be the head coach at Oregon State University. I feel fortunate to be named head coach at a program with such a rich basketball tradition. I don't have a timetable of what it will take to get the team back to where it has been, but our thought process is let's win today's battles. Let's set goals today and accomplish those goals today. I think we're trying to play faster. It's more attractive to recruits, and that's what our fans want to see. My players need to realize that if you play faster, possesions are shorter, and you've got to get up and down the floor. We're trying to develop our depth to play that style. I'm just interested in getting a little bit better today and a little bit better tomorrow and if we fall down one day, we'll have to get back up and do it the next day. I like very much how cohesive we are, and the unity and trust we've developed as a team.'

Lorenzo Romar, Washington'I consider myself very blessed and fortunate to come back to University of Washington where I was a player a couple of years ago and coach. We're awfully young, three-fourths of our team are freshmen and sophomores. With that youth, we have several older players who are certainly capable of doing a good job in the Pac-10. A brand new system, is something that takes al ittle getting used to, everything you're doing is different it's not better or worse, just different and we're going through that process. But guys are extremely receptive to it, they've been all eyes and ears. We're really excited about the future of Husky basketball.'

Rob Evans, Arizona State'I feel that the Arizona State basketball program is as healthy as its been in a long time, academically but as well as talent-wise. It's been really healthy for me in practice to watch the competition. Last year our backcourt was inexperienced, but I think these guys have really learned from the NCAA season and the Pac-10. The young people we have coming in are more talented, but they just aren't experienced yet. But we've been really working hard to get those guys going. The biggest thing is were more athletic then we've ever been since I've been at Arizona State, so we can run pressure defense and transition basketball.'

Steve Lavin, UCLA'We've got a very challenging schedule, but that's a positive because we play our best basketball late in the year because of our tough non-conference schedule. Its something that gives us a gauge, early in the season, to find out where deficiencies are, so we can patch things up in practice. We're very young still at the point guard position. The NCAA tournament experience was really a positive thing. We're also trying to offset the loss of Dan Gadzuric who controlled the paint for us last season. Our wings are where we have experience. Overall, I like our team's depth, were a very long athetic team and we can really shoot the ball well. That's one thing thats stood out in practice. This is a team that will have some growing pains, especially with the tough schedule, but they will be a very dangerous team in February and March.'

Mike Montgomery, Stanford'We're in kind of tough stretch with our basketball team, I think we'll be fine in time. We're short two kids on roster because of our two that went to the NBA. We're a young team with one senior again. I think the formula in this league has been senior/junior leadership. We've just got one senior in Julius Barnes, and two juniors in Joe Kirschofer and Justin Davis. Julius Barnes and Josh Childress will have to have big games for us. They'll have to be consistently good, and knock down open shots. We're going to have some growing pains, there's no question about it. The kids have a great attitude, and they're going to be a fun team to coach. It's going to take some time to get this thing together the way we'd like, we have to get kids healthy. I think were probably a middle of pack team right now, without the senior leadership other than Julius. The attitude is good, the kids like each other and had a good summer workout.'

Henry Bibby, USC'We're going to miss some players, we had three guys that were the cornerstone of USC basketball that are gone, so this is a new era for us. But that's college basketball, you have to rebuild every three or four years. It's going to be interesting at point guard, Brandon Granville ran the team, he was a coach on the floor and now we don't have that. We're a different looking group, we're looking for that guy to step and do what need him to do and we think our guys can do that. Overall we're going to need more people to play consistent basketball. We're going to look to our bench for that. I think we have three or four players that can make a key shot for us, so I don't think teams can focus on just one player like before.'

Ben Braun, California'We're slowly making progress. We're trying to get our guys healthy. We're really going to count on our seniors, Brian Wethers and Joe Shipp, guys that have been in program not just in points and rebounds, but leadership direction and experience. From being in the league, they know the value of leadership. We're going to count on Amit Tamir, he's a player that has proven he can play in this league. We're also going to count on our young guys to play for us and and make contributions inside.

Lute Olson, Arizona'In general, I feel much more comfortable than I did last year. This year, the three seniors are doing a great job of leadership. We're very pleased with not only their effort on the court, and their leadership on and off the court. Our sophomores had to play a lot last year, so we know what we have. The four freshman that we have are guys that we would happy to get any contribution. They're good kids and their working very hard. The biggest thing in practice, is that there is a challenge everyday. It has helped them progress and will help them to continue to progress. From an athletic standpoint, we've never been this deep.'

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