Angry coaches send loud and clear messages.
Upset doesn't fully describe what went on at a couple of Pac-10 basketball venues Saturday. The league's title-favored teams were downright angry after losing games, Washington at UCLA and Arizona at Stanford.
And you'd think they'd be used to it by now: The Huskies are 2-40 in the history of Pauley Pavilion, and every other Pac-10 team has beaten the Bruins there at least once since Washington last did, in 1987.
Arizona might be a dominating team to everybody else in the Pac-10, but the loss to Stanford was the fifth in the past six meetings for the Wildcats.
Still, from inside the Washington locker room after the loss at UCLA - in which the Huskies once led 36-15 - could be heard about 10 minutes of yelling interspersed with what turned out to be juice bottles and a chalkboard bouncing off the walls. Then another verbal outburst.
All this from UW assistant coach Cameron Dollar, the former UCLA guard, who hadn't much been heard from since the NCAA and the UW administration punished him for recruiting violations. The Huskies heard from him Saturday night, all right.
`I think with Cameron, it was a little more personal,' UW coach Lorenzo Romar said, though endorsing the outburst. `We need to get people's attention.'
Said UW junior Bobby Jones about Dollar: `He wanted us to know that this team has a chance to do something special, and that we let ourselves down.'
The tirade at Pauley was at least over in 10 minutes. At Stanford's Maples Pavilion, Arizona coach Lute Olson berated his team for a full 25 minutes after the loss to the Cardinal.
`What was I supposed to do, say `Good job, guys'? ' Olson asked reporters.
Well, he didn't. And with reason.
`This was a step backward,' Arizona's Channing Frye said. `If we don't move forward from this, then the rest of the season is going to be gone. What we've got to do is learn from this, refocus and redeem ourselves. We have to learn from this.'
Either that, or hear about it again.
From first to worst
While USC is celebrating a national football championship, the Trojans are looking up at everybody in the Pac-10 basketball race. And at 0-4 in the league for the first time in 14 years, they seem unsure of how to get out of the cellar.
`I have no idea what's happening,' USC senior Derrick Craven said. `We don't know what's up.'
It's an obviously difficult situation, with Jim Saia, despite his interest in being retained permanently, only the interim coach. The coach understands the players may have a difficult time regrouping this season.
`I'm very concerned, but we've got 14 more games,' Saia said. `Maybe we can get in the Pac-10 tournament. I'm not giving up.'
The Trojans were beaten by Washington State after being no match for Washington.
`I think they're still on vacation,' Washington's Tre Simmons said of the Trojans. `Coach told us if we took them out of the game from the first punch, they'd go down ... they'd put their heads down.'
The Trojans will probably play at Arizona on Thursday night without freshman point guard Gabe Pruitt, who has a bruised left knee and is showing signs of wearing down.
`He needs some time off,' Saia said.
The sorriest Trojan might be Lodrick Stewart, the sophomore from Seattle. His twin brother, Rodrick, already has left USC for Kansas, and Lodrick might be wondering why they didn't both stay home and play for the Huskies.
`Sometimes I do regret that,' Stewart said. `I know everybody on the (Washington) team. I can't do anything about it now. I know if I were there I wouldn't go through half of the things I've been through' at USC.
Stewart also told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that `anything is possible' for the Huskies. `They can win a national championship with that team.'
The Cardinal roster
Chris Hernandez reminded everybody how important he is to Stanford with 23 points, six steals, four assists and control of the game throughout the upset of Arizona. That was 40 hours after the Cardinal had lost at home to Arizona State, with Hernandez unable to play because his back spasms kicked up again during the afternoon shootaround.
`He is as tough and competitive a player as you'll ever see in your life,' Olson said after Hernandez set the tone against the Wildcats. `There's no question who's in charge on the court' when Hernandez plays.
Against ASU, Stanford had only eight scholarship players in uniform, including two freshmen who seldom play. Besides Hernandez being out, the Cardinal last week lost redshirt freshman Tim Morris for being academically ineligible.
If that sounds unusual at Stanford, it is. It's been at least 23 years since the Cardinal lost a basketball player to academics.
Morris fell victim to the NCAA rule that a player must pass six credits each term to be eligible for the next term.
If that sounds reasonable, consider the situation. Morris was enrolled in 13 hours for fall term, but 10 of the hours were in one class, Human Biology Core.
That's a requirement for premed students and it's graded on the curve, with the obvious intent to winnow down the number of candidates for medical school.
`To say it's a brutal course is an understatement,' said Stanford junior Carlton Weatherby, who passed the course last year. `It's tough enough with the curriculum and the hours. On top of that you have the competitiveness. ... They're trying to weed everybody out because so many people want to be doctors.'
The statistical story
ASU's Ike Diogu is on pace to lead the Pac-10 in scoring (23.3) and rebounding (10.4), which would make him the conference's first titlist in both of those categories since A.C. Green did it for Oregon State 20 years ago.
With that background, it seemed odd to some that the coach at ASU's rival school spent part of the league's weekly conference call to plead for a change in crowning statistical champions, with Olson contending that statistical titles should be determined only on the basis of league games and not the entire season, including nonconference games.
As a matter of fact, Diogu would lead the Pac-10 in scoring and rebounding with or without nonconference games included. He is that good, and playing that well.
The college basketball experts for ESPN.com were polled last week on their midseason all-America team, and all eight agreed on only one player: Diogu. One predicted he would be the national player of the year.
`With Ike Diogu, that's a good team,' Stanford coach Trent Johnson said of the Devils. `Ike is special, very special.'
RATING THE PAC-10
1. UCLA: Farmar promises `we'll fight you until the very end'
2. Washington: League worst in FG defense; foes shoot .454
3. Arizona: Committed 11 turnovers in second half at Stanford
4. ASU: Haven't been 13-2 since the 1980-81 team went 24-4
5. Oregon: One Duck in double figures in league: Brooks (24.0)
6. Stanford: Grunfeld 10-of-12 from field for his career-high 29
7. OSU: Beavs gone 7-3 on Washington trip in past five seasons
8. WSU: Welcome back: Cougs last played in Pullman on Dec. 7
9. California: Point guard Ubaka returning for Stanford game
10. USC: Look at future: spring football just around the corner
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|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Jan 11, 2005|
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