FROM PULLMAN -- Our story is filed in advance of tomorrow's game and we have some more notes for you from caoch Ken Bone's press conference on Tuesday. Read on.
(On bouncing back from last week) "It’s always hard to lose and even more so three in a row so I was really wondering how they would respond yesterday. I thought practice was very good. We got out there and competed hard and same old same old. The guys are working, they’re staying together as a group, so I’m pleased from what I saw yesterday in practice."
(Does Utah look better this year?) "They do. They are obviously sitting at 0-4 in league but they’ve competed very well, lost a couple close games. They’re a much improved team. I think all in all they have better personnel, without a doubt, and they’re just playing better basketball."
(What's made them so tough defensively?) "I think they know the system. I think they know the system well and (Jason) Washburn’s done a nice job backing up things in the paint, along with their other big kid, (Dallin) Bachynski. He’s 7-foot and has a presence down there on the post. So if you get by the first line you’ve got that second line to deal with. But I think more than anything else they know their system well defensively. They do a great job of executing it."
(Is it beneficial to get back on the court on Wednesday instead of waiting until Thursday?) "Yes and no, I think. It’s a benefit if you end up winning the game. If you don’t it’s like, 'man, I wish we had one more day to prepare.' But again, it’s all relative. Utah played Saturday also and we've had the same amount of time to prepare so you go with it and both teams will be well prepared and ready to battle. It’ll be a hard-fought game."
(Reaction to USC firing Kevin O'Neill?) "The only reaction I have is I'm going to miss him. He’s a great guy and he’s an outstanding coach. I’ve always enjoyed learning from him, watching what his teams do. We don’t do the exact same stuff but it's intriguing the way his teams defend, especially. I just appreciate the guy. A couple years ago during the summer and I’m sitting there saying 'man, I love your defense, you guys do a great job.' And he goes, 'oh, I’ll send you a packet tomorrow.' He sent a packet (of) probably 150 pages of breakdown in detail of their whole defensive system. But he’s that kind of guy. There’s no secrets. 'This is what we do and this is how we play.' And I think he did a good job. Unfortunately for him he had a situation where they had a lot of injuries last year and I think that set them back."
(On finding ways to counter the way teams defend Brock Motum) "I don’t feel we’ve improved a whole lot in that area. Every team brings a different strategy and it might be tweaked just a little bit here and a little bit there. Washington, their strategy was obviously to keep the ball out of his hands the best they could and they did a nice job of that. Other teams, once he catches it, they corral him or double him. Teams have been physical with him. Some teams do all three. So every game’s kind of a new storyline on how teams are guarding Brock and we’ve got to be ready for everything."
(How do you prepare for that?) "Keep throwing different looks at him during practice. And continue to just try to keep him off guard. Try to keep Brock off guard in practice so he can’t expect anything, he’s just got to react to the situation."
(How do you get DaVonte Lacy going?) "Try to build his confidence, let him know that we believe in him. Coach (Curtis) Allen was over there yesterday in Beasley prior to practice working with him getting shots up. We all know DaVonte can shoot it but he has not shot it well as of late and as you said, I think his foul situation at Cal, that didn’t help the situation."
(Any word on whether Que Johnson can practice this semester?) "Still waiting to hear. I wish we would hear. I think some people are getting tired of me bugging them about it but I’m anxious to find out and he’s anxious to find out."
(On what Jordan Railey could bring next year) "He’s big, he embraces the physical part of the game. We have not had that since DeAngelo (Casto), but DeAngelo was more 6-7 ½ and Jordan is a legit 6-10. Now DeAngelo was quick and athletic, nothing against DeAngelo, but Jordan’s a big kid. And right now it seems like every team we face -- Washington, Stanford, Cal and now this team -- every team we’ve been facing, they’ve got one or two big guys, or three big guys -- or Gonzaga, four big guys -- that you’ve got to be able to go against and it helps to have a big kid in there that doesn’t mind playing physical basketball and will kind of give it back."
(On Royce Woolridge last week) "I think Royce has done a pretty good job. He had a great practice yesterday doing some things we need him to do. Royce is getting better at understanding what we need out of him and I thought he played well against Cal."