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Pac 12 Men's Basketball Media Day Recap

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Only a few weeks until the start.

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Media Day Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Pac-12 Men’s Media Day this year was interesting to say the least. With the inclusion of USC and Arizona in recent FBI investigation into corruption much of the questions asked of coaches tended to revolve around that. Despite the distractions of the ongoing investigation, Coach Wyking Jones addressed the upcoming season and the uncertainty that comes with what is essentially a completely different team from last year. Here is a recap and some highlights from Coach Jones’ time on the podium.

Coach started off with a statement of his general feelings towards the upcoming season…

“So far I'm very happy with my team. We're very young, you know. Six freshmen. But everyday they're giving us the effort, they're giving us the energy. I feel like they're picking up what we're teaching them at a rapid pace…But I feel good about their progress and how well they’re picking things up”

Talking about the current injuries..

Justice [Sueing] is out with a stress fracture. He's scheduled to be back within the next week” and “Juhwan Harris-Dyson is out. He should be back in the next couple days with a sprained ankle.”

Regarding the veterans role on the team…

He described that the returning veterans such as Don Coleman, Marcus Lee and Kingsley Okoroh as “the catalysts” of the team. Pointing out that with all the youth on this team (6 freshman) guys like Paris Austin “who was a transfer who had to sit out this year” has still managed to be “a great leader for these younger guys.”

Addressing the ongoing NCAA/FBI investigation…

He took a very level-headed stance on everything, arguing “individuals possibly within those two companies may have been a problem, but I don’t think that just saying generally that two companies are a problem, I don’t support that.” His stance on the issue that it isn’t necessarily a companywide conspiracy, but rather a few individuals who don’t represent the majority stems from his time at Nike, in which he suggested “that wasn’t the agenda when I was at Nike.”

On the the Pac-12 preseason rankings, which Cal is expected to finish second to last…

Is “absolutely” a motivation for the upcoming season, saying “Im a very prideful coach. My staff as well. I have to believe that my players are going to take that, see that, and that should be extra motivation for those guys.”

In discussing the practices thus far…

“The thing that I was most excited about is the energy and the passion that they have to defend. I put in the press. We put in a number of different things out of our zone, and they're excited about playing defense. That is the most important thing… That's where, myself and my staff, we wanted to see more than anything, is that excitement to play defense. The excitement to get a stop.”

On Austin McCullough

“He shoots the ball well. He has some toughness to him. You know, he's a guy that if you leave him open, he's going to knock it down.”

On Marcus Lee and Kingsley Okoroh sharing floor time…

“it starts with defense. You have two different type of defenders. We have Kingsley, who is great at protecting the rim. His goal is to lead the country in blocks, and I think that he was a single season leader in blocks last year in 21 minutes of play. He shared minutes with Cameron [Rooks]. So he's obviously going to get a lot more minutes this year. But I think that's an achievable goal for him.”

“Marcus is different in the sense that Marcus can go out and go one through five. If the team needs the basket, Marcus can switch off on the point guard, be able to sit down, slide his feet, use his length, contest a shot. “

They're different, but they're both present on the defensive end. So having those guys both out there at the same time helps me sleep at night.”

Even the boys had some fun on their day out in San Francisco.

Overall it is hard not to get somewhat excited about this team purely based off of the enthusiasm Coach Jones has regarding this upcoming season. What do you think about the upcoming season? Are you ready to see the new regime in Berkeley? Sound off in the comments below!