Pac-10 Men's Basketball Coaches Teleconference

Jan. 28, 2010

Listen to the Pac-10 Men's Basketball Coaches' Media Teleconference



Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller

On the development of FR F Derrick Williams and his team coming around
“One of the things with Derrick Williams is his consistency. So many times you have a freshman, even if that freshman is in a pivotal role, his game comes and goes. There is one game where he really looks the part and the next game he has to learn lessons. Derrick, of late, has been very consistent where he can get to the foul line, he’s rebounding the best all year, especially on the defensive end and he has really settled in to knowing his role. The last piece for him is to become an improved defender and a player who gives a lot of effort on every play. Although he has a long way to go in that area, he is a far cry from where he use to be. He is very coachable and a fantastic kid. I couldn’t imagine where we would be without him.”

“In terms of our team, our coaching staff as really noticed the change over the last couple of weeks. We are such a new group to each other, not just because we have [five] freshmen, but with Nic Wise and Jamelle Horne playing for so many different coaches it has taken awhile. I think it will take beyond these next couple of weeks. I think we are settling in on offense and settling in on defense. So of it stems from the fact that we are a group that hasn’t been together very long, but the more we are together, the more consistent are play will be.”

On how good Stanford SR G/F Landry Fields has been all year
“I don’t know a lot about the Pac-10 prior to Arizona. So my image and perspective is only on this season. In my perspective on watching Fields and what he means to Stanford, the year he is having he is one of the best players in the Pac-10. I like the way he plays a physical game. So many forwards, who like him are skilled, can do so many things for your team, but you lose the physicality. He really gets to the foul line a lot, which says a lot of how he attacks the basket. You look at his rebounding on both the offense and defensive ends. He is both skilled and very physical. To me, the fact that he does both makes him a special player. In order for us to have an opportunity to beat Stanford on Thursday, we need to be able to compete against him and not allow him to have one of those monster games that he is capable of having.”

On the problems Stanford G Jeremy Green presents
“You know, Jeremy Green is a great compliment to Landry Fields. He is a fantastic shooter. He gets his shot off very quickly. He has great confidence in his shot. Doesn’t have to be standing still to make the shot. He is a bigger guy so when he gets that separation, that he does so well, he has an opportunity to get a clean look at the basket. You look at both of those guys, they combine for 30 field goal attempts [a game] and score 40 points a game. That’s a lot points and when you look at Stanford’s success it starts with those two players. For our team, not just our individual defenders, we have to do our best job of guarding both because I think they are a terrific one-two punch.” 

On if Stanford’s team takes on the personality of head coach Johnny Dawkins
“I think that Johnny Dawkins is doing an excellent job. I know he only took over the program one year ago, but it takes time. I’m going through that with my staff here at Arizona. You can see with that philosophy, his team plays with great confidence and clearly [Landry] Fields and [Jeremy] Green carry them. Johnny is doing an excellent job of building Stanford’s program and creating an identity that you can see on both ends of the basketball.” 

On Arizona SO G Kyle Fogg
“Well first of all, Kyle is one of those special kids that any coach would love to coach. He just wants to be a good player. He has really embraced everything we have thrown at him. He has taken criticism and coaching and moved on. Since the beginning of the season, he has improved every week on the offensive end and defensive end, but particularly on the offensive end where he has been a consistent double figure scorer. He understands how we play, better than he once did. He can shoot the ball, but what he has done really well lately is taking the ball to the basket and getting fouled. I know he had 12 free throw attempts at Oregon. He shoots a high percentage from the line. He puts you in a situation where he can shoot the three-point and put the ball on the ground and go by you. To have him doing that at the No. 2 position, really takes pressure off Nic Wise. He takes a lot of pressure off of Derrick Williams. With Jamelle Horne, we have four players in double figures. That balance is something that makes us more consistent on offense. Part of our team’s improvement on offense, stems from Kyle Fogg’s improvement on offense. Being the only sophomore who played last season, Kyle was apart of big games last season. He had a different role on that team and a different style, but nonetheless, you get out there and play minutes and you are able to play a college season, you gain experience and it really helps you become a better player. He is a much better player now then in December or early November. He wasn’t a starter and was struggling to find his own identity. I can make the case now, that he is one of the Conference’s most improved players.”

On going against Arizona State head coach Herb Sendek and the influence he has had
“I think that anyone who has worked or been around Herb Sendek for some time knows what stands out most is that he is a terrific person. He is very humble and very unassuming. A man of great integrity in everything he has done. You can’t help but respect that. He is a really smart basketball coach. He has done a fabulous job, not only at Arizona State, but you have to remember before he got there he had gotten to five consecutive NCAA tournaments at North Carolina State in the ACC which is very difficult. He is an excellent coach and an even better person. I am very fortunate to have him as part of my past and continuing on.” 

On how they plan to stop California SR G Jerome Randle
“I haven’t spent a lot of time on California, but I know Jerome Randle because he is from Chicago and I saw him play many years before now and have followed his career from afar. In the number of short times that I have seen California play this year, he is that experience point guard that makes his team better by doing it with the pass or by scoring it. He is a special player and exciting player. Clearly, not only one of the Pac-10’s best, but one of college’s best point guards.”

Arizona State Head Coach Herb Sendek

On he is surprised his defense is playing as good as it and what happened against Arizona last Saturday
“Very few things are as good or as bad as they seem. On the first part, I don’t know if we are that much better than we were a year ago. We had some very good defensive players that we lost, obviously, but we also had a lot of returning players who have another year in the system to improve. Our team this year really has to be a team, in every sense of the word. The other night [Saturday] against Arizona, I thought our defense in the first half was excellent. They had 25 [points] at halftime on five field goals. As much as anything, our team became unraveled by out ineffectiveness on offense. It’s not to say that we didn’t have our share of defensive breakdowns. So we will get back to work this week and see if we can improve.”

How important it is to have eight former assistant coaches head coaches, the most in the country
“What’s more important to me is that I have been very fortunate over the years and have been blessed to have great guys on the staff. Guys that I have been able to rely on a great deal and learn from. As a coach, you want your staff members to go and run their own programs someday. We feel fortunate that our guys have not only been able to do that, but do it with great success.”

On going against Arizona head coach Sean Miller
“You know that’s really not my focus. Coach Miller and I didn’t wear uniforms or play in the game. I think we both focus on preparing our teams the best we can. Once the game starts, it’s pretty much in the hands of the players. I really didn’t look at it as going against Sean. I looked at it as if I was going against anybody.  We were trying to prepare for their team and what they do.”

Oregon Head Coach Ernie Kent

No questions asked

Oregon State Head Coach Craig Robinson

On why USC’s defense is so dominant 
“You know, it appears that they really pack it in. They probably have one of the bigger and more physical front lines that we have seen all season. They are not going to give up any easy baskets in the paint. I think that is why they have held teams to such poor shooting percentages.”

On if he was surprised that USC defeated Washington at home by 26 points
“Especially here on this team, we understand that any of the none teams can beat us at any time. There is no extra motivation because they on by 26. What we are trying to do is not play their way and get them to play more our way.”

USC Head Coach Kevin O’Neill

On the difference of his team’s play against Washington and Washington State last week
“We completely lost our focus defensively in that Washington State game. We are a team that if we are not focused defensively, then we are just not very good. We lost focus and couldn’t get it back and ended up losing the game. We did play very well against Washington. I think we were a little upset that we let the Washington State game get away on Thursday. We responded well to the challenge of Washington coming in here. I thought our players played more extended minutes on the defensive end like we need too and that allowed us the opportuinty to win the game.”

On comments following the Washington game that his team likes to be pressed
“I think Mike Gerrity is a better full court point guard, than he is half court point guard. If teams were to guard us one-on-one it would be more difficult on him, but when teams trap us he is good enough with the basketball to create opportunities for us. We always look forward to teams pressing us and getting after us.”

On Washington’s struggles
“It’s not for me to judge if they have been disappointing or not. That’s the media’s job. The bottom line is you lose a guy like Jon Brockman who has been that glue guy and the guard [Justin] Dentmon, they lost veterans and glue guys. They had been through the wars. I think Washington is a really talented team and I think they are just trying to find themselves in leu of those two guys being gone. That’s the only thing, at least to me, that I see with their team. The sign of them losing on the road is losing that experience. I’m sure that when things got tough last year, those two guys would get them together and say what we needed to do, we have been here before and follow our lead. That’s the only thing they are missing. Lorenzo [Romar] is a great coach and they have talent. I think they are a team that would surprise people down the stretch. They are talented and deep and they play hard. I think they have depth at different positions. They are a team that will eventually get it together and find their way.”

Washington State Head Coach Ken Bone

On if FR G Reggie Moore is getting more comfortable after playing well against UCLA and USC
“He continues to do a nice job, which seems like every week. This last week I think he was a little better than in past weeks in terms of scoring, but I think that he has played well during all of the Pac-10 season. He needs to continue to grow in his effort on defense. Defense has not been much of a priority to him, but as of late he has been focusing on defense at practice and he is slowly becoming a better defender.”

On primary concerns going against Washington this week
“Well, they are a team that is as good as any team in the conference, maybe in the country, on playing on their home court. They are absolutely relentless there. In regards to more detail, they are very good in transition. They are quick and get out and push. Isaiah Thomas, Venoy Overton and Quincy Pondexter are all really good about finishing around the rim whether that’s in the half court or the full court. They are a penetrating rim and seem to find ways to get to the rim. They are also a tremendous rebounding team. We have to do a better job on screening out on the boards and not giving up more possessions than we need to.”

On the health status of his team
“We are in good shape there.”

On if it will be different going into the game as Washington State’s coach
“I don’t think it will be different. Different uniform and different school, but it’ all about trying to beat them. That will be the main thing come Saturday. Try to go in there and get ahead.”

On what’s going on in the Pac-10, what he thinks his team’s chances are of winning
“I think we are a little more competitive than I thought we would be. Unfortunately we are 2-2 at home. It’s impressed me that our team was able to go on the road and beat Arizona and USC. If we are able to do that, we are capable  to beat a lot teams in our conference. I thought we were a little more competitive than we were at the beginning part of the season.”

On if they would have done anything differently in the second half against UCLA after watching the tape
“I only saw about one-third of the game before I started watching game tape on Washington. They obviously played a lot of zone and we did some really good things with it, but we didn’t score. We didn’t make some baskets that typically we would especially Klay Thompson. I thought he had some good looks in the second half and he did not put those down. I think we could have done a better job of getting the ball inside. I think we should have tried to pick up the tempo defensively by pressing or trapping.”

On matching up physically against Washington
“They are probably a little bit bigger and stronger. They have some big kids. [Matthew] Bryan-Amaning, [Tyreese] Breshers and [Quincy] Pondexter is a load. Even at the guard spot, there guards are put together. Venoy Overton is very strong. They are a team that physically they can get into you. At home this team id different than they are on the road. We are preparing of Washington at home on their home court. I don’t know if getting out to a quick start will quiet the crowd or not. I think we can be up 10-2 and that crowd won’t be quiet until the game is over.”

On why Washington plays better at home than on the road
“They are able to play much more physical at home. On the road, I don’t think they get away with playing with that physicality. To me that’s the biggest difference. When you can do that, there is certainly an advantage.”

Stanford Coach Head Johnny Dawkins (46:25)

On implementing his system
It does take time to get guys comfortable with their roles and to put guys in the right place to be successful. It is a process. The kids have worked very hard and they recognize what a guy like Landry Fields can bring and what a guy like Jeremy Green can do. I am very proud of the guys for finding their own niches within what our offense has designed.” 

On the development of  SR G/F Landry Fields
“I had a chance to see him last year when he wasn’t one of the main options but he was developing. You could see the potential in him and I am really proud at how hard he has worked to improve his game. I think he is one of the most versatile players in the country. He does alot and alot of people only see the points but he does much more than that for our team. I have been very proud of him. You get a terrific rebounder on both ends of the floor. You get a really good ballhandler along with his ability to score. You get a guy that can defend multiple positions. He is very versatile in every respect. He doesn’t just score with versatility, he does everything on the floor with versatility.” 

On learning how to play on the road 
“It is just a process. On the road is just different then playing in the confines of your own environment. You have to learn to win out there. You have to keep competing and you have to grow from each experience and hopefully you learn to overcome. I think playing at home you have your home crowd and a great environment and guys can really feed off of that. On the road you really have to feed off of each other. Communication has to be there. It also helps to be somewhat experienced, and we don’t have that kind of experience. We have four new kids in our lineup. I think it is is just a process and learning how the group can be successful when you are away from home.” 

On Arizona FR F Derrick Williams
“I think he is a terrific player. He plays with a lot of confidence and plays with alot of confidence. He is going to be a great player in our Conference. I have had a chance to watch some film on him the last two days and I have been really impressed with him, who he is as a player.” 

On how to stop Williams
“I think a young man like that is going to find ways to touch the basketball. He is talented enough to find ways to get the basketball and create opportunities for himself. I think his teammates do a great job of looking for him. You just have to go out there and try and contain him as much as you can. He is going to find ways to touch the basketball.” 

California Head Coach Mike Montgomery 

On how the injuries problems have plagued the team

“It has been difficult. We cant get a set lineup and some guys are really critical to the way we play, whether it be a defensive guy or a guy that we are able to go to offensively. We just haven’t had a lot of practice time and it has been hard to get in a rhythm and see if there is a specific zone we could play with a certain group, those kinds of things. Our key guys, once we got Theo [Robertson] back have generally been available but we have been down a post guy and one of our key wing players virtually the whole season.” 

On any injuries bothering guard Jerome Randle
“No. He’s played alot of  minutes and he has gotten banged a couple of times in the legs and I think that has affected him a little bit. He is not a real big guy and he relies on his speed and quickness and that can throw your balance off sometimes. He has had a charlie horse and a little knee bruise but he hangs in there.” 

On the play of forward Omondi Amoke
“He is really active. He is quick to the ball, a very quick jumper. Generally he is away from the basket so he’s not just locked in with somebody down below. He has been a plus for us. We are not very big with him in the lineup and we don’t really have the ability to play big. I like to play that way, but we don’t really have a choice right now, so he’s been a blessing for us.” 

On Arizona State’s defense and how Arizona was successful against it
“The match-up causes everybody problems. It is unorthodox, its not something you see very often. It is a switching man to man and they keep people in basic spots. It forces you out of your offense a little bit and I thought Arizona did a really nice job on the floor against it. They had some key people hit threes, they moved the ball really well and got it into the middle some. It is one of those games where I don’t think Arizona State played as well offensively as they would have wanted either. Generally speaking if you look at the shooting percentages of teams they have had a hard time with the match-up zone.” 

Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar

On why the Huskies struggle on the road
“It’s hard to totally put our finger on it. We have not defended on the road. At times we have not shared the ball as well. It’s hard to put my finger on it. I know that every team that I have had that has done well on the road has been a veteran team. We have one senior and a lot of underclassmen.”

On being able to play a more physical game at home
“Absolutely. We have played more passively on the defensive end lately on the road. I think we really feed off of our crowd at home because our crowd is really good. We haven’t been able to muster up that same energy on the road.” 

On Washington State
“They are a well coached team and they explosive offensively when they get it going. Klay Thompson and Reggie Moore have shown they can score points against anyone so we have to find a way to stop them and not let them explode, which they are capable of doing.” 

On how USC’s Marcus Johnson was able to shut down Pondexter
“Most games Quincy is physically a tough match-up because when they put taller people on him he uses his quickness and agility to get away from them. If someone is smaller then him he takes them down low and causes a problem for some. In Marcus Johnson’s case, he has the same height and athleticism as Quincy does, so he was able to do a good job. But, I would have to say Quincy has played against guys who are athletic and have size, but they didn’t have the type of defensive structure USC has. They play great team defensive and they really don’t give teams good looks, especially in the paint. I think this time, that may have bothered us.” 

On the struggles of Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter as of late
Isaiah’s shot hasn’t been falling from the outside in the last few games and then when he gets into the paint sometimes the defenses are loaded up against him. So if his outside shot isn’t falling, it makes it more difficult for him to score. He has been a scorer all his life and I’m sure he will find the rhythm. Quincy, going into the last game, he had averaged 25 points per game in the previous three games so the last game he was obviously shut out, but averaging 25 in the three games before that and close to 20 points per game on the year, he’s been doing a good job. Isaiah’s shot just hasn’t been falling lately.”

On how he feels his team matches up against Washington State
“In terms of athleticism and size, we are pretty comfortable there. But they are very explosive offensively with those two guys, Klay Thompson and Reggie Moore.” 

On Washington State’s style of play
“I think they try to play more uptempo then some of the other programs in this Conference. Obviously Reggie Moore has done that with regularity. DeAngelo Casto is really important for that team. He is such a good defender, shot blocker, rebounder and winner. He is kind of the unsung hero with them. He has really helped that group this year.” 

On the feeling after losing the lead in regulation 
“It must have been about four years when we fouled Chris Hernandez who has Stanford’s guard at the time and he hit three free throws which sent the game into overtime. At that point before he made those free throws with 2 seconds left, we felt like we had won that game. When it went into overtime, the look on our guy’s faces, Brandon Roy, Bobby Jones, Jamaal Williams, those guys were veterans, they just had a look like we have fought so hard and now we have to start over again. It was the same look our guys had after the UCLA game. We had that game and we let it get away, now we have to start over and play against a team that is playing really good right now. I didn’t sense we got over that hump after that game, I didn’t sense that we turned the page. I wouldn’t have told you we would have lost that way, but that is what ended up happening.” 

On knowing their identity 
“I think we can’t fake who we are at home. We play at certain way. If we weren’t the team we are at home, you can’t make that up, you can’t manufacture it. You either have it or you don’t. And we have it. I wouldn’t say its not a fact that we don’t know who we are, we just lose our identity on the road. Maybe that is half the battle, we don’t understand who we are on the road, because we clearly know who we are on the road.” 

On if Washington recruited Cougar FR G Reggie Moore out of high school 
“Reggie is an outstanding basketball player. I wouldn’t have predicted he would of put up the numbers he has at this point, but he certainly is capable of it. The issue with us and Reggie was Issaiah Thomas, Abdul Gaddy and Venoy Overton all  being underclassmen as he was coming in, because obviously we would have loved to have had Reggie.” 

On how well Washington transfer G Adrian Oliver is playing at San Jose State
“We recruited Adrian to do special things. Unfortunately it didn’t work out at Washington but I always thought he was a very, very good player. You will have to ask him exactly why he transferred. He did want to get back closer to home, he really missed his family. I also think at San Jose he has the opportunity to really do a lot more things for them. He is their number 1 scoring option and he has played well in that role.”

UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland

On their use of zone defense in last weekend’s games 
“Well it worked last week, but that doesn’t mean its something that will work all the time. We basically played all zone last week. Just based on a couple reasons. With our personnel we are not super athletic to chase around some of the players in this league. We also are playing a couple freshmen alot of minutes, and to really play good man defense, there is so much to it, not that there isn’t with zone but I think its more complicated in man to man. I think the combination of some of the youth we are playing along with some of the veterans, I just think it’s the best fit for us.” 

On if they have been practicing zone all season 
“The first time we really worked on it and practiced what we were doing was last week. I thought they did a great job last week. We played better at times this season in some of the other Conference games. It was just how slowly I recognized that this is what we needed to do for our defensive scheme sometimes, so I’m disappointed in myself more than anything for not recognizing it earlier. 

On as a coach who prefers man to man defense, is it difficult to see his team play zone
“No, as long as we are winning.” 

On how last weekend’s two wins will affect their confidence as a team
“Obviously winning breeds winning and losing breeds losing. So getting back on the winning way and actually winning two league games in a row has been key to us and we will have a good practice today and tomorrow in preparation for a hard road trip. We have been fortunate we are 4-3 with 5 of our 7 games at home. Now we are on a road swing that goes 5 of the next 7 on the road and we need that confidence.” 

On if the freshmen have stepped up now that they have games under their belt
“It’s no question they have stepped up. Honeycutt has been our leading rebounder in Conference play and Reeves Nelson is getting better and better with each and every opportunity and those are both true freshmen that are getting a lot of minutes.” 

On the emergence and play of RS-JR G Mustafa Abdul-Hamid 
'He really played well, not only making the big shot down the stretch against Washington, which was a huge shot, but he gives us a lot of stability and another viable shooter, a guy who can knock down shots. We will see some zone this weekend obviously in Corvallis and probably some zone as well in Eugene and you need to have somebody who can knock down shots. He will definitely continue to see time.  He has earned it, so he will continue to play and be the first guard off the bench for the foreseeable future.”


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