Can you hear me now?
Through the ups and downs of his first season at Arizona, coach Sean Miller has been refreshingly candid with his feelings.
Maybe one reason is that he doesn't have anyone else to talk to. He jokingly noted how he won't even ask for help from his coaching buddies.
"When you see my name on the phone (caller ID) you're like, 'ignore,' " Miller said. "They're just always going to have to help me. Most of my friends are winning a lot so I don't want to interfere with them."
Hard time keeping focus
With four senior starters, you might figure Cal should be able to stay focused tonight even with a game Saturday against ASU that could determine the conference championship.
But Bears coach Mike Montgomery sounded almost like Miller in describing his team this week.
"We've got four seniors. I don't know that that's an extraordinary thing," Montgomery said. "We've had a hard time keeping focus game after game after game. We play well one game and the next game sometimes we don't play as well. A lot of it's due to lack of focus or energy or whatever. We've got our hands full."
Labels can be deceiving
Is Kevin Parrom's reputation taking a negative turn beyond his "no easy buckets" philosophy, after he bumped ASU's Derek Glasser after the buzzer Sunday at McKale Center?
"I hope not," Miller said. "I talked to Kevin about that and that's one thing he has to understand. He's one of the nicest kids that I've ever met and he's a young guy who's trying to find his way in college. But he has to be careful. You can certainly get labeled.
"The first play that people talk about him (Parrom's hard foul over the head of ASU's Ty Abbott on Jan. 23) isn't much different than two or three players I watch every game, who try to block a shot and it was really a hard play. I've talked to him about it and I think he understands."
Parrom has not been available for comment since the Glasser incident.
Clearer lane for Williams
Already playing out of position, Arizona center Derrick Williams received a break Monday when Cal's Max Zhang suffered a collapsed lung in practice that will keep him out of tonight's game.
The 7-foot-3-inch Chinese reserve doesn't play heavily in all games, but made an impact last month in UA's 76-72 win over Cal at McKale Center, with three points, four rebounds and three blocked shots over 11 minutes.
"It's real tough especially when you get to the lane and you're trying to shoot over a guy that tall," Williams said. "When he puts his hands up he's even taller. Height can distract anybody's shot."
Miller high on Randle, Fields
If Cal wins the Pac-10 title, there's a good chance Miller will pencil in Bears guard Jerome Randle as his vote for conference player of the year.
But Miller also likes Stanford forward Landry Fields, who is putting up huge numbers but on a team that is out of contention.
"I think you have to look at the conference champion to have a good feel" for who should win, Miller said. "Landry and Jerome are two good players. … I'd put those two guys up against anybody in any conference."
ARIZONA AT CALIFORNIA, 7 p.m. today, ESPN, 1290-AM, 107.5-FM
He said it …
"They'll run sets every time there's a dead ball, with a lot of stuff to get the ball off a screen to (Jerome) Randle or one of their other shooters. You've got to absolutely be consumed with defense against them."
James Whitford, Arizona assistant coach, who scouted the Bears
ARIZONA AT STANFORD, 5 p.m. SATURDAY, ChANNEL 58, FSAZ, 1290-AM, 107.5-FM
He said it …
"They're playing well. They have two great scorers (Landry Fields and Jeremy Green). Landry Fields is one of the great seniors in college basketball. They did a really good job the first game (against UA), where they mixed in some zone and man, and they have a physicalness to them."
Sean Miller, Arizona coach