Sean Miller gave plenty of respect to ASU on the Pac-12 teleconference call today.
Among other things, he said:
On ASU's improvement: "I think they’re an excellent team. Sometimes you say much improved and that doesn't mean they're good. They're not only improved from a year ago but one of the best teams in the conference.
On center Jordan Bachynski: "It’s hard to have somebody that size affect the game defensively, and at the same time averaging 12 points a game. He rebounds, he blocks shots, he scores in double figures. He’s learned how to score with his back to the basket; he’s really developed. He’s one of the best players in our conference."
On point guard Jahii Carson: "With the the addition of him at point guard, he gets his teammates easy shots and you see how easy it is to get to the foul line and score himself from an offensive perspective -- they have an element that very few teams have."
On Carrick Felix: "The improvement of Carrick Felix as a senior -- he’s averaging 17 and 10 in four conference games, that speaks for itself. He’s also an all-conference type of player."
On Jonathan Gilling, who hit 5 of 6 three-pointers in ASU's 87-80 win over UA in Tempe last season: "He almost single-handedly beat us at Arizona State by shooting the three. We respect him and all of their players."
On ASU's use of the man-to-man this season (it has been mostly known for a matchup zone under Sendek): "He has done a great job playing man-to-man, he puts Bachynski in a good position to affect the team and they've become a very good defensive team."
After Kevin O'Neill was fired at USC, J.T. Terrell told the L.A. Times that "KO is just priceless." Terrell went from being the Trojans' top scorer to spending entire games on the bench.
So who's up for replacing KO? ESPN's Andy Katz says there may be a lot of big names -- even Lorenzo Romar's name was brought up -- but longtime Southern California columnist Bob Keisser wonders if any well-qualified coach would want the job.
One-time UA recruiting target Keith Frazier is attracting interest from Oregon, according to what travel-ball coach Erven Davis said in a Scout subscription story, but is visiting Texas and may visit Texas A&M afterwards.