January 8, 2001

WCC Media Teleconference Quotes

Jan. 8, 2001

Dick Davey "We aren't playing at the type of level we had hoped we would by league play. Maybe league play will bring out better moments for us. It's a younger team for us from the standpoint of two or three younger players are trying to integrate into (the lineup) with a couple of veterans who have kind of carried us most of the way so far this season. I think it is a team that can get better. In order to compete in conference play, we are going to have to improve. We are focusing a lot of attention on improvement right now."

Question: How many legitimate title contenders are there in the WCC this year? - Hank Welsh, San Diego Union-Tribune

"Well, I don't think it has deviated a lot from earlier in the year when there were three or four that we felt were the head of the group. San Diego, obviously. Pepperdine. Gonzaga, once Dickau comes back. He is going to change them. Even though they are playing decent basketball now, it will make them a much better team. USF is trying to get a little more solidified at the guard position. Their front line surely is a contender with anybody in the league. Those four for sure. After that, the rest of us are trying to figure out whether we can (compete for the title) or not. The league brings a lot of new things to the table. The scouting reports are a little bit better. We know each other a little bit better. Hopefully, by that point the younger teams have matured to the point where they can play with the teams in our league."

Question: Has there been anything that has struck you that is special about the WCC this year as compared to past years? - Hank Welsh, San Diego Union-Tribune

"I think a lot of teams in the league have upgraded their schedules and tried to play a little more competitive preseason. When you do something like that, you are going to lose a few more games. Our conference doesn't get a good chance to play a lot of those so-called 'upper echelon' teams at home. So, it is a little tougher to do. Maybe the records aren't quite as good as I might have thought going into the season. But, I think there surely is a solid contingent in our league. I am hoping that we get at least a couple of teams in the NCAA again. It remains to be seen how the league plays out. Maybe the biggest thing is that the records maybe aren't quite where we thought they might be. But, I think a lot of that has to do with schedule."

Question: Are you concerned with the recent offensive slump of Brian Jones? - Tony Cooper, San Francisco Chronicle.

"(Brian) is a tremendous competitor. Probably the best thing you can say about Brian is that he competes every night. The ball hasn't been going in the basket for him the last three games. Truthfully, over his four-year career, he is not a real high percentage shooter. But, he is gamer and a competitor and he'll make a tough shot for you in the clutch. The last three games he's struggled. We have been on campus for a long time during the Christmas break. I think teams tend to get a little stale during that period of time. Maybe he's overworked on his shooting and is trying to do things a little bit better for us. We have needed him a little bit more and he's put a little more pressure on himself, possibly. I expect Brian to play like the competitor that he is when the league season starts. Every game is critical and I expect him to play at a real high level."

Question: How much do you expect the tough non-conference schedule to help you going into league play? - Eric Breyer, North County Times.

"I wish I knew Eric. I have been a proponent of the fact that the better you play in the preseason, your record may not show a lot of dividends. But, the better you play in the preseason, the better prepared you are for league play. I think we kind of fractured this team a little with the schedule, not that it was astronomical or anything like that. We weren't ready for the schedule we had. Hopefully, it didn't destroy the confidence level (of our team). There is a fine line between trying to win games and trying to develop confidence."