SAN FRANCISCO – Even all the way down in San Francisco, there was talk of how tough it is to play in Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
Just up from Union Square in San Francisco are the Pacific-12 Conference’s new digs. On the third floor of a large corner building, the conference has set up its studio headquarters. That’s where every coach and 12 select players from the Pac-12 gathered Thursday for the annual media day.
That’s where Arizona coach Sean Miller paid the Huskies a big compliment. Miller said Washington had the toughest home environment in the conference outside of the Wildcats’ McKale Center.
Miller noted that he’s 0-3 there since taking over at Arizona, as is senior Solomon Hill, who accompanied Miller on the trip.
“I think that their fan base, the energy that’s in their arena, their program, their coach, to me, they represent what’s all good in college basketball when you walk into an arena,” Miller said. “It’s hostile, and in a very good way. And hopefully, by me saying that, they will welcome me with open arms this year and maybe we can beat them by one point.”
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said he’s not sure if there is a full rivalry with the Wildcats, but that a recent run of tight games – Washington won by two last season at home and a Derrick Williams block of a Darnell Gant shot in 2011 gave Arizona a win at its place in the final seconds – would make him want to attend.
“I know the last few games that we’ve played them, if I’m a fan, I want to go to that game,” Romar said.
Abdul Gaddy, a 2009 graduate of Bellarmine Prep, joined Romar at media day and referenced Isaiah Thomas, Quincy Pondexter and others as leaders he has learned from. This year will be Gaddy’s turn as the senior point guard.
“Being a senior, you kind of just know everything on defense and offense, and you’re the coach on the floor,” Gaddy said. “I think I just want to be the best leader as possible in practice, off the court and on the court, in games.”
WSU POLICY CHANGES
Washington State has had a recent run of players being arrested for marijuana possession. DeAngelo Casto was arrested in 2011, as was point guard Reggie Moore, who was eventually kicked off the team prior to this season, and Oregon transfer Brett Kingma was arrested Oct. 20.
Cougars coach Ken Bone said Thursday that Kingma, who has to sit out this season because of NCAA transfer rules, is suspended indefinitely and not practicing with the team. Bone also said Kingma’s future with the team is in doubt.
“We’ve had some policies in place that obviously have been good for the university and the athletic department,” Bone said. “The policy for men’s basketball (is) about to change.
“It’s in response to two situations that have occurred in the last six weeks.”
Those situations, of course, are Moore’s dismissal and Kingma’s arrest. Bone said he will continue to follow Moore on and off the floor. He has known Moore since he was 10 years old and said seeing him go was akin to seeing one of his own kids leave.
“There were a number of months, probably a year and a half that went by, and I thought he did an outstanding job of doing the things we asked him to do on and off the floor,” Bone said. “But, everybody’s capable of making a mistake down the road and that’s what happened. He made a mistake and he’s no longer with us.”
STAR RECRUIT IN FOR UCLA, PLUS ANOTHER?
The NCAA cleared UCLA freshman Kyle Anderson this week following an investigation. The Bruins are still waiting on word about Shabazz Muhammad, who could be the best freshman in the country. The NCAA is still investigating Muhammad and has cleared him only to practice.
“The NCAA review is something that we have been very patient with and continue to be,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “We have been as cooperative as possible with the NCAA, and we had a very good resolve in Kyle’s situation and we’re very pleased about that.
“And I’m very optimistic about Shabazz. And I can’t tell you how long or when, I don’t know that.”
COLORADO’S BOYLE BACKS HIS GUY
Colorado coach Tad Boyle is ready for 6-foot-7 forward Andre Roberson to get noticed.
“This guy’s the most underrated player on the national scene,” Boyle said. “He’s a guy who, without question, in terms of the returning players, I think is the best defender in this league. He can guard all five positions on the court.”
Roberson has an outstanding jumper, and led the conference in rebounding last season with 11.1 boards a game. He’s also capable of hitting 3-pointers when his feet are set, and will be looking to penetrate off the dribble some more this season.
ROBINSON PREDICTS AN OBAMA VICTORY
Oregon State coach Craig Robinson, brother of first lady Michelle Obama, said there will be no practice time missed for campaigning. Robinson said he will run practice on election day then fly to Chicago and await the results. He said he thinks the election will be close, but that President Barack Obama will be elected to a second term.
“But I’m biased,” Robinson email@example.com @Todd_Dybas blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports