Oct. 31, 2001
USC Forward Sam Clancy
"We've got to get our young guys learning the system and so far they're doing well. We've got five new guys who are doing a great job for Coach Bibby."
"I think right now we have a lot of confidence as a team, especially the guys returning from last season. Last year, we were able to see that we could play with the big guys, like the Kentucky's."
"This year we need to do a good job of staying focused and playing 40 minutes. We can't have the slip-ups this season like we did last year when we lost to Northwestern."
"The Pac-10 is the best Conference in the country. I think UCLA will be pretty tough, along with Arizona and Stanford. But, we will be tough as well."
Arizona Guard Jason Gardner
"The (Pac-10) tournament works out well for certain people. It's a good thing and we'll be able to play more competition before the (NCAA) tournament."
"I think we are doing well. Our freshmen are learning about college basketball, about how hard it is, about how hard it was for us to get where we were last year. All of them bring something to this team."
"Sometimes it's cool to be the underdog. We can come out with confidence and prove that we're still a contender. No one expects us to go out and win all of our games like last year. Our biggest goal is to understand everyone. It's more learning for us than anything."
Stanford Guard/Forward Casey Jacobsen
"We've been doing fine so far in practice. The Pac-10 will be tricky this season. The top dogs like Arizona and us are supposedly weak this year. The teams on the bottom the past few years, won't be pushovers. In my two years at Stanford, we beat teams by 30 and that just won't be the case this year. The unknowns will step up this year."
"The freshman are doing fine. It's a little tough in our system because it is based on execution. Guys like Josh Childress, who could start for us, will have to be thinking about things like where he sets his pick as well as shooting and rebounding."
"I would pick us last and UCLA first in the Conference. That's how Coach Montgomery would like it. I think the public will be surprised when they see teams who have been in the lower part of the Conference in the past, move up."
Oregon Guard/Forward Frederick Jones
"We're looking forward to it (Pac-10 tournament). It's going to give us an extra opportunity to make the big dance. It gives us a chance to get a couple more wins and put us with the elite."
"We've just got to play our game. Last year, I think we got away from playing our style... we weren't executing. If we play tough defense, like we've been practicing, it will open up our offense."
"In the past I've shown I can play really good some games and really bad some games. This season I've got to be more consistent and keep it on an even kiel. I've changed eating habits, my time management and am getting more rest so I can go out and play hard each day."
UCLA Forward Jason Kapono
"So far this preseason every player has looked forward to being ranked higher than what we are used to, but with that, are the pressures of every team trying to beat you.
"Last year, we got beat by some teams that we shouldn't have been beaten by. I don't know if that was because our heads were too big, or if we took things for granted, but we're going to have to change that. We'll just have to show up each game and prove that we deserve to be ranked high."
"We've had pretty good years in the past, but we haven't really had a taste of going to a Final Four or the Championship Game. We want to play well and go there this year. We have our minds set on trying to win something, instead of just making the tournament."
Washington Head Coach Bob Bender
"This season is one of importance for us after two losing seasons. We want to turnaround and win games and the formula to do that is to get back to it on the defensive end. The team make-up is of players that have had starting roles with limited production and a group of newcomers. I can tell you that in my nine years at Washington, this is by far the most physically talented and athletic team we have put on the floor. We need that if we are going to improve defensively."
"I'm not going to go into any great detail, because it is a simple formula to get back to winning. The group coming in needs to quickly get their feet underneath them, and the returnees need to become leaders."
"The two freshman that have made the most immediate impact have been Earl Knight. He has quickly made strides from his senior year. He has become a definite all-around scorer and has a work ethic of a college sophomore or junior. The other young man that has emerged in that same capacity is Will Conroy. Those two, Michael Jansen and Jeffery Day, which are big guys, have been making steady progress. Josh Bernard has also put himself high in the rotation."
Oregon State Head Coach Ritchie McKay
"Last year, my first in the Pac-10, I learned a great deal. this is a conference that is incredibly competitive. It has not only great players, but great coaches. I think my staff and I learned tremendously on how to be successfully in a conference at this level. In spite of some of the adversity of last year, we were always competitive. I'm anxious to get going and see if we can prove ourselves worthy."
"Brandon Payton is a terrific leader. For us and what we are trying to do, Brandon means a lot to our potential success."
"Our freshman class, we anticipate to be fairly good. I'm very aware of the great talented guards that are in the league, but I believe that our three can compete with all of them. I feel we have a little bit of depth and versatility that we maybe didn't have last year."
Washington State Head Coach Paul Graham
"This is my third year in the league and our basketball team is getting better. Unfortunately, our best player is catching passes on the football field. Hopefully, this team will continue to grow and get better. We have a lot of players coming back. I think Marcus Moore will be a very good player in the league. Some other players that we brought in should help us continue to get better. I think our guards with Jerry McNair and Mike (Bush) will do a good job for us as well."
"I talk to Mike (Bush) every day. When we took team pictures, he was there. He likes a lot of attention, so he will come back and play basketball. (Without Mike) It forces you to play others, but we'll get Mike back when we get him back. I know when he comes back, he'll come out and compete very hard. Not having him early, we'll miss his experience and leadership."
"Anytime you have a tournament at the end of the year, it gives the have-not teams another chance to be competitive. Without a tournament, when it's over, it's over, and that could be in February. I think having the tournament is good for our league and good for those teams that don't do well in the beginning."
Arizona State Head Coach Rob Evans
"First off, at ASU we are excited about getting started with our season. At this point, we have enough numbers. Last year the competition at certain positions wasn't as good as it needed to be for us to get much better. We have some experience for the first time and we have a number of juniors and some seniors, where we haven't had that in the past."
"We'll have a different looking team this year. Last year, we struggled on the offensive end of the floor. We took a trip to Australia in May and won all five games there. It was good to have players like Tanner Shell and Justin Allen back, who are really good shooters. We also have some other guys. We could have four starters from last year that might not start this year."
"We have more size and more depth inside. It'll be a quicker ball club and one that can do things we might not have been able to do in the past. We're a pretty versatile basketball team that can go a lot of ways."
"Tommy Smith finished the season strong last year. He went to Greece this summer and has gotten a lot of experience. I think he has learned some things, but he is certainly one of the better players in the league and will only continue to get better."
Oregon Head Coach Ernie Kent
"We felt like we left a lot of games sitting on that floor last year. We lost a golden opportunity to put our team in the tourney two years in a row. This summer, the team stayed around. I've been really pleased with where we are at. I knew coming back that we'd have one of the better backcourts in the league."
"We will be a much improved team defensively. I think our intensity has doubled and we are just bigger at every position. I've just been pleased with the work they have put in the weight room and the commitment they have had."
"I think our nosedive started last year at the beginning of Conference play. We were 9-1 heading into Conference play. We got knocked off track on the road at Stanford and Cal, and really never recovered from that. A lot of that goes back defensively. I think we weren't where we needed to be. Some of that will take care of itself this year, with our bigger and strong team... with our depth."
California Head Coach Ben Braun
"I'm excited about our team. We're really working hard and we're trying to replace Sean Lampley, which will be a tough thing to do. I know we have some juniors that are willing to step up to the challenge. However, I really don't know if we have the one go-to guy we had last year."
"We have a couple fresh playing well in Erik Bond and Jamal Sampson. Both these guys led there teams to high school state championships and are very capable of doing a good job for us."
"We expect Shantay Legans to be our team leader. He's had a good Prussian so far. You need your point guard to be a take-charge guy and think we need him to do that to be successful."
"The tournament's there and it's an exciting thing. Alot of our players grew up in this area (L.A.) and it's a good recruiting tool. It provides a team that might be on the bubble an opportunity to go to the NCAA Tournament."
USC Head Coach Henry Bibby
"Each year I say that I'm very happy to be a part of the Pac-10, and in my estimation, it's the best Conference. This year, we're excited asbout playing basketball. I enjoy coaching basketball and being a part of USC and building a great program. We have a nucleus of five players that have played in the past, so I feel fortunate that we have five guys that have started, returning."
"In the Cravens I see two guards that are very physical and who are winners. I'm very pleased to have those two guys in our program."
"My expectations every year are to try and win the championship. I'm not concerned about what your (the media) expectations are because they don't mean anything."
"Sam is more of a laid back guy. I think Granville has taken on the leadership role for the basketball team this year. He's had a great three seasons since he's been here, and I think he will have a great year."
UCLA Head Coach Steve Lavin
"We have four or five starters returning. Six upperclassmen. The maturity and the leadership that those juniors and seniors provide are the best thing we have going for us this year. Alot of maturity and we've already seen the difference in practice."
"I think that the Conference race will be similar to the way its been the last 10 or 11 years. It seems most years, UCLA, Stanford and Arizona always compete for the championship. Then, there's always two or three teams that sneak up on you. Arizona's reloaded, Stanford's reloaded. Those teams don't reload, they rebuild."
"Each year, Dan (Gadzuric) has had dramatic improvement because he was a soccer player at first and he's still learning about basketball. He's more patient with himself now and he doesn't try and do things to quickly. He's a special player and he has the chance to be as dominant as any post player."
"I think being picked to win the league is a sign of respect for our team and the program. It's a goal that our players and coaching staff always has every year. But, where you start doesn't matter. It's where you finish at the end of the season."
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson
"If you're wondering who made our schedule, I had to approve it. We've had difficult schedules in the past, but this by far, is the worst. We made them with guys like Richard Jefferson and Michael Wright in mind. We really don't know what we have yet. All we know is that we have guys that get along and work very hard. Practices have been good at times, but there are also times when it hasn't. We have to be very patient, but that's easier said than done."
"Being selected fourth was a compliment to the program. I think the league will be very highly competitive again. Cal will be very good. Ben had to go through this freshman thing two years ago, who are now juniors. Experience is something you have to look at in this league."
"There's no question that Luke will have to have a big impact on the game. He's fun to play with because if you're open he will get you the basketball. Luke will have to have a great year and I think he will have a great year. He's a tremendous leader on and off the floor."
"The biggest problem with a young team is losing confidence and the schedule is not set up to help one's confidence to say the least."
Stanford Head Coach Mike Montgomery
"It's an interesting change because you don't know how good your players are until you don't have them anymore. We have to be patient with this team. It's difficult because we don't have people who know all the different parts of the game like we did a year ago."
"Casey is stronger and more explosive. He's a much more a complete player. The frustration comes from the fact that we're very inconsistent. We have to find a combination of players and substitutes that will enable to compete at a high level. "
"I look around the league, and I see a lot of teams chomping at the bit to get at us and Arizona. The State institutions like Arizona State, Oregon State and Washington State look much improved. UCLA looks to be very good and probably the best on paper."
"I'm very proud of the fact that we've won four straight Pac-10 Championships. To do it a fourth time, will be quite an accomplishment, but that's what we're looking to do."
"If you've been to our practices, you would consider us an underdog. The good news to me is that being picked second in the Pac-10 is out of respect for our program. This year, Casey will get a lot of attention. Casey certainly will have a lot of attention defensively. You will see the ball in Casey's hands more, making decisions. I think he's looking forward to that."