Wildcats fittingly picked second in Pac-10 preseason basketball pollby Anthony Gimino on Oct. 28, 2010, under Sports
The Arizona Wildcats were picked second in the Pac-10 media’s preseason poll, which sounds about right.
There really isn’t much to debate. Washington, which is the defending Pac-10 tournament champ and has four returning starters, is the logical No. 1. Take your pick of reloading superpowers for second: Arizona or UCLA.
The fear with the Wildcats is that new starting point guard MoMo Jones won’t be up to the challenge on a team that has returning starters at every other position. Put me in the camp that isn’t worried … too much. Jones should be fine.
Here are the results of the poll:
4. Arizona State
5. Washington State
8. Oregon State
Via the Pac-10, here are quotes from Arizona coach Sean Miller and sophomore forward Derrick Williams:
Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller
“I don’t know if any coach feels better about the player sitting next to him than I do about Derrick Williams. I really believe he’s poised to take that next step and be one of the best players, not only in the Pac-10, but playing the game. I’m excited that he represents who we are and what we do. As a team,w e have a quest to be better at everything that we do. I thought the hardest part about being at Arizona last year was coming off four coaches in four years and welcoming young players. It was very dif!cult to establish a system and be good at anything. I thought we had some great moments in spite of that, but as we’ve approached this year, it’s Derrick’s class that is tasked with bringing Arizona back to what everyone’s watched for years.”
On being picked second in the Pac-10: “Preseason predictions are just that. To me, the Pac-10 with Washington’s great success over a decade and looking at so many returning players, you can see why they’re picked !rst. You can see four or !ve that will compete for second. We can’t controlling anything outside our program. Our goal will remain the same to be better at everything than we did a year ago. Hopefully we can go to the postseason.”
On sophomore forward Derrick Williams: “Watching his development and improvement is a reminder to me to stay with young people. Derrick is going to continue to develop and pick up right where he left off.”
On sophomore guard Lamont Jones: “He was voted our most improved player a year ago because he stayed with it, to his credit. Some of our team key moments in February or March had Lamont in the forefront of them. He’s grown up a lot. He’s made tremendous progress. Physically, he’s better than he was a year ago. I have no doubt he’ll continue to develop and be a solid player for us this year.”
On his incoming class: “We have two freshmen. Daniel Bejarano is a very good shooter. Jordin Mayes comes from Westchester High School. With the pedigree that Jordin comes to Arizona with, he’s made a transition from high school to college in a good way. He shoots the ball well. He has a bright future as he gets older and stronger. Junior transfer forward Jesse Perry gives us depth up front. He comes to us older. Jesse balances us out a little bit.”
Arizona Sophomore Forward Derrick Williams
Discussing his freshman season: ‘I try to be any type of player. I just tried to do the little things last year. After the Wisconsin game, Coach had more confidence in me to be a leader on the team.’
On sophomore guard Lamont Jones: “We’re trying to lead by example every year and push everyone through the workouts. Lamont’s done a good job with his body. His leadership is a big key to the team and our success this year.”
On the Pac-10 race this year: “I think it’s going to be wide open. I think Washington deserves to be picked first. They have key players coming back. We don’t look at the rankings. I don’t look at those. We are just trying to get everyone on the same page. That’s what we liked last year. Everyone’s on the same page. We are at a higher starting point this year.”