SAN FRANCISCO — Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff dropped an early bomb at Pac-12 men’s basketball media day on Wednesday in San Francisco, saying that out of the “dozens, more than a hundred” people he’s spoken to regarding the defection of UCLA and USC to the Big Ten, “I have yet to talk to anyone in the UCLA and USC community who’s in favor of the move.”

He did couch his answer by admitting, “I will say that I probably hear from folks who are not in favor, not surprisingly.”

But it was just the first splash at media day, which featured representatives from all Pac-12 schools.

Current Pac-12 schools, that is.

Here are some other news and notes from the last Pac-12 media day at its San Francisco headquarters, whose lease will run out in nine months.

Arizona: Like with Gonzaga, Tommy Lloyd goes global

Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd was considered one of the foremost international recruiters in the game when he served as a long-time assistant for Gonzaga.

Now in Tucson, the Wildcats have a similar international feel to their team, as evidenced by their representatives to Pac-12 media day, Lithuanian Ąžuolas Tubelis and Estonian Kerr Kriisa.

Arizona has another half-dozen international players, adding a melting pot to the Wildcats’ locker room.

“Obviously I’m comfortable coaching international basketball players, and hopefully it will — if I continue to coach for a long time — it will continue to be an important part of any program I’m associated with,” Lloyd said. “For one, and Kerr’s right, we love having a really diverse group of people in our locker room. I think it makes it a lot of fun. Just the little differences, the little nuances that come up, the language things. We have a ton of fun with guys. Like we’re having a lot of fun with Filip right now from Serbia, and he’s a great kid, and he does it all smiling. So, no, I think it’s just a ton of fun. Listen, I love the way these guys think the game and they play, and I think it’s right in line with how I like to coach.”

Arizona State: Bobby Hurley makes some changes to coaching style

Bobby Hurley learned from the best.

“Coach K has that dry sense of humor,” he said with a smile. “I remember this one time as a freshman, we had this event with donors and they had chopped southern BBQ. Coach is up at the podium and says, ‘Hurley’s from Jersey, and when we said we were having a barbeque, he thought we were having hamburgers and hot dogs.’ He’d always take all these little shots at me.”

Three-plus decades later, Hurley is the one dealing out barbs.

Asked about adding a set of brothers in former Nevada two-time All-Mountain West third team guard Desmond Cambridge Jr. and his brother, former Auburn forward Devan, Hurley tossed in a little jab.

“Devan is explosive in the open court. I mean, just really power dunks,” Hurley said. “Unfortunately his brother, he misses some dunks and layup lines and stuff, so I’m not going to ask him to do a whole lot of that, but his brother Devan will handle that.”

It was a playful dig, but one that comes with the territory with the sharp-witted Jersey boy Hurley, regarded as one of the game’s great smack-talkers when he ran the floor for Duke in the 1990s.

But coming off a year in which the Sun Devils struggled and his sometimes-harsh coaching style was criticized, Hurley is making some changes.

“There’s been a difference even from when I started coaching,” Hurley said. “It’s not to say don’t be negative, but you have to find ways to reach your guys. I try to kid with them occasionally and just connect with them better. If you connect with them better you can coach them harder.”

Hurley toning down his stinging humor isn’t his only change. With the Sun Devils the victim of the transfer portal in recent years, team chemistry has become more of a priority, especially after starting last season 2-6.

“I think with us I’ve had to shift gears,” Hurley said. “In the summer (previously), I’ve been all player development and guys trying to get better, skill work and working with the guys in smaller groups. We’ve done a lot more, I think, team-related workouts, putting in drills that we’ll use in practice, installing some offense. Because with the transfer portal now and the turnover year to year with player movement, you have to do more team-related things. We didn’t start the season well last year, and I’m not making that the singular reason that we weren’t prepared enough with the change we had on our roster, but I think we’ve focused on doing more of that and hopefully that’s putting us in a better position to play well early in the season.”

Cal: International flavor comes to Berkeley

Cal is hoping to feed its big man this year, but the Bears are also hoping he feeds them.

The Bears’ 7-foot-1, 260-pound center, German-born Lars Thiemann, is a nutrition major and loves to cook. Just not for his head coach.

“Lars, as a nutrition major, has still not cooked me one thing,” head coach Mark Fox said. “He hasn’t even brought me a snack.”

Fox will forgive Thiemann for not cooking for him if he cooks on the court. Thiemann is one of a half-dozen Bears who hail from outside the country, giving Cal a distinctly global feel.

“Internationally, our institution has a very international flavor, and there’s a lot of successful international students on our campus,” Fox said. So these guys, I think, as we recruit them, feel immediately comfortable. A lot of these guys come in with terrific upbringing in the classroom, so the transition to the Berkeley education, it’s challenging for everyone, but a lot of these guys have been so well versed as they came up in their home countries, that the transition has been smooth for them.”

The Bears have two Canadians, two players who hail from Ireland, and one from Australia. Both of the Bears player reps at media day are international — Thiemann and the Canada-born Joel Brown, who said he watched Canucks such as Andrew Wiggins and Jamal Murray succeed in college and the NBA and was inspired to take that step himself.

“I knew that coming to America was kind of the best decision,” Brown said. “Obviously at a young age it’s different having to leave your friends and family, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. Luckily it’s brought me here, and I’m blessed. I’m getting a scholarship at a great institution. I’m playing basketball in a great conference with great players under a great coach.”

Colorado: Buffaloes building from the bottom up — or the top down

In an era of player upheaval and mass transferring, Colorado head coach Tad Boyle is afraid to sell his soul for players who’ve proven to be malcontents on other programs. The Buffaloes could use some instant offense this year with the loss of its top 3 leading scorers, but rather than going cherry-picking in the portal, Colorado is mainly working from within.

Of the Buffaloes’ three transfers, two are graduate transfers from Ivy League programs (former Yale guard Jalen Gabbidon and former Princeton guard Ethan Wright) and one is a junior college transfer (J’Vonne Hadley).

“It’s interesting, we haven’t taken a lot of four-year transfers at Colorado,” Boyle said. “We’ve had a handful of them in the 12 years I’ve been there. … We feel like graduate transfers bring a certain amount of experience. They’ve done what they set out to do, which is graduate from college. They’ve graduated from whatever institution they went to. So they usually come in with an attitude of I’ve got one year, let’s make the most of it. Ethan and Jalen have both done that. They’re coming from winning programs, Yale and Princeton. Well-coached, big-time culture guys that understand the team comes first. We really shy away from a lot of four-year transfers because you don’t know what you’re going to get.”

Oregon: Altman delivers a parting blow to UCLA, USC

Dana Altman is not someone you want to mess with.

While the majority of Pac-12 head coaches demurred when asked about the impending move of UCLA and USC to the Big Ten, Altman gave a thorough answer, and one that reminded some folks about the Ducks’ standing in the last dozen years.

“I’m disappointed. I like the Pac-12,” Altman said. “I think we’re a unique conference out here on the West Coast. You’ve got four road trips, you don’t travel — I like the road trips. You go out and you play two on the road. L.A.’s a big recruiting area for us. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. It’s not good for our league. But we’ll survive. We’ve got ten good teams, and it’s our challenge to improve, you know, to get better.

“But as far as a basketball conference is concerned, since I’ve been in the league, USC hasn’t won the conference title or the tournament. UCLA maybe won one tournament, one league title. Arizona’s been up there. We’ve won four conference titles. So our basketball league is going to survive. We’ve got good coaches, good programs. We’ll find our way. But it is disappointing because L.A. is important to us. UCLA, USC, I like Mick, I like Andy, so personally it’s not any good.”

Oregon State: After an historic collapse, Beavers looking to rebuild

There hasn’t been a bigger roller coaster in college basketball than Oregon State the last two years.

In 2020-21, the Beavers advanced to the Elite Eight after winning three straight NCAA Tournament games. The team hadn’t even won a single March Madness matchup since 1982.

Last year, Oregon State absolutely collapsed, winning just 3 games, including just 1 in conference play. The Beavers lost 19 straight in Pac-12 play to end the year. It was a shocking turnaround, and one that caught Wayne Tinkle off guard, after Tinkle himself was surprised by some defections.

“We fell into that situation after the Elite Eight run, we had several players leave that were guys when we recruited them, we said stay patient, we’re going to coach you up, and then your junior and senior years you’re going to really flourish for us. They got a little impatient with that and wanted to go to a level where they could play right away, and we were kind of stuck during COVID where we couldn’t recruit on or off
campus to fill out our roster,” Tinkle said. ”

“It’s becoming a challenge, but we try to target with our recruitment, and you hear these guys talking about the way we do things at Oregon State that we feel is going to lead to success. But we’ve got to coach them every day. We’ve got to recruit them every day. And that’s a challenge, but it’s a fight that our staff’s worth — we think it’s worth fighting. But we know even with NIL and people recruiting off of rosters, it’s going to be a challenge, but it is what it is. We’ve either got to adapt and continue to improve or you’re not going to exist.”

Stanford: Return of Harrison Ingram  was the Cardinal rule for success

Harrison Ingram just might be Stanford’s most important recruit two years in a row.

Hauling in the 5-star stud was a coup for Stanford head coach Jerod Haase last year. Convincing him to stay after a Pac-12 Freshman of the Year campaign might be an even bigger one.

Ingram flirted with the NBA Draft but ultimately decided to return to The Farm, in part because of Haase’s influence.

“Definitely just my conversations with Coach Haase and just seeing the bigger picture (led him to return),” Ingram said. “My dream is the NBA, but another dream is making March Madness, and I feel like we have a great chance to do it this year. I trust Coach, trust Spencer, trust my teammates to get it done.”

The Cardinal have big goals this year, and Ingram makes them attainable.

“I was certainly ecstatic coming back,” teammate Spencer Jones said. “I feel like our play styles feed off each other well, him being an excellent passer and playmaker and me being an excellent shooter. Yeah, I felt like we had some unfinished business end of the year, definitely knowing we could do better, and now we have the chance to do it.”

Added Haase: “I agree. We were certainly thrilled, and I do want to really give Harrison credit; the way he handled the process was really impressive. Obviously, we expect that from him, but he handled it the right way. Communication was awesome throughout. Hopefully, he felt the same way from our side to try and gather as much information.”

UCLA: Replacing Johnny Juzang top priority for Bruins

After struggling to break into the rotation as a freshman at Kentucky in 2019-20, Johnny Juzang moved closer to home and instantly thrived for the Bruins. Juzang averaged 16 points per game and helped lead UCLA to the Final Four in 2021, then returned for his junior year and averaged 15.6 points and 4.7 boards for the Bruins last year.

He declared for the NBA Draft yet went unselected, signing a two-way deal with the Utah Jazz.

His absence will be glaring for a Bruins squad that is going to replace his scoring by divvying up the duties. Much of that pressure will fall to returning stars Jaime Jaquez Jr. and point guard Tyger Campbell, whom Cronin wants to see some Steph Curry out of.

“Look, Johnny was a great college scorer, but we have to — we’ve got Amari Bailey coming in with clear NBA talent. Dave Singleton did a super year, which we’re going to need Dave to be more productive this year, but he’s going to get more opportunity with Johnny gone,” Mick Cronin said. “So it’s going to be different. Look, these two guys (Jacquez and Campbell) can both win Player of the Year in the league. That’s not just because I’m their coach. Both could be First Team All-Americans at the end of the year. I watch them every day. So they’re both more than capable of getting, both of them, 30 on any given night. We had a scrimmage, they both almost got 30. One of them did, one of them almost did.

“So I’m not that concerned with replacing Johnny’s scoring as much as I’m concerned we’re going to have to play a lot of young guys. So we’ve been working hard on defensively getting those guys up to speed defensively and up to speed with how hard you’ve got to play and compete in college basketball to win, because they have the talent.”

USC: Unlike football, Trojan hoopsters eschew transfers

The talk of Pac-12 football media day was all about USC and its massive transfer haul. Caleb Williams, Eric Gentry, Shane Lee, Jordan Addison — the list was nearly endless.

USC men’s basketball coach Andy Enfield has a different approach.

“Our philosophy at USC is recruit freshmen, develop them, put them in a system to succeed, and let them have their chance,” Enfield said. “This year we took no transfers. Last year we took one, we took Boogie. We lost Tahj Eaddy off our Elite Eight team, so we felt like we needed to go get a transfer, and fortunately Boogie was able to be a Trojan. So we will take transfers only out of necessity. We hopefully will sign a few players in this November’s recruiting class, but our younger guys deserve a chance. We recruit young men as freshmen. They want to play as freshmen. We have a few sophomores that are very good this year that were freshmen last year, and now they have a more expanded role. They’ll be relied upon to help us win games.

“At USC, we’re probably one of the anomalies. We didn’t take a single transfer this year, and we don’t plan on doing it again next year. That’s as long as players stay and don’t leave early for the NBA Draft or unexpected transfers ourselves.”

Utah: Utes accepting their serving of just — or unjust — desserts

When former Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak took the gig, he knew it would be a rebuilding project, and it was. The Utes went just 6-25 in his first season and 3-15 in conference play. Three years later, they were 26-9 and in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 7 years.

Krystkowiak was fired in 2021, and the man he turned it over to, Craig Smith, also stumbled out of the gates. The Utes are coming off an 11-20 season — their worst since that 6-25 campaign in 2011-12, with a league mark of just 4-16.

Smith is looking to turn things around in a hurry as well, but he understands that last year was a setback.

“Sometimes you need a piece of humble pie. Last year we were served a piece of humble pie,” Smith said. “I think the first thing to start fixing things is self-awareness. You’ve got to be honest and be direct with yourself, first and foremost, and with your staff and certainly with the guys. Any time you take over a new job, there’s a lot of newness that goes on. What are the protocols within the department? Learning a new league. When I went to Utah State, I’d been at Colorado State for five years. I felt like I had a really good grasp for the Mountain West conference. Never been a part of the Pac-12. So it’s different.

“I think you’ve always got to look in the mirror. What do we need in terms of personnel on the floor? Do we need to adjust our scheme? Certainly we’ve made some adjustments that I think will help us on both sides of the ball, on offense and defense.”

Washington: Huskies to lean on former Kentucky forward Keion Brooks Jr.

Perhaps the most impactful transfer in the Pac-12, former Kentucky 5-star forward Keion Brooks is expected to make a splash in a hurry for the Washington Huskies. And they’ll need it.

The Huskies are looking to return to the level of 2018 when then-second-year coach Mike Hopkins led them to a 27-9 record and a 1st-place finish in the Pac-12 regular season. Two years later, the Huskies won just 5 games, but they rebounded to win 17 last year — far off their standard, but much improved.

Brooks, who flirted with the NBA Draft before deciding to return to the college game and ultimately chose Washington, is expected to help the team contend for a March Madness bid.

“Sometimes you grow out of your environment,” said about leaving John Calipari and the Wildcats. “Kentucky was great to me. I have a lot lifelong friends there, loved Coach Cal and the staff he had while I was there, but I just thought it was time for me to challenge myself and do something new. After I pulled my name out of the draft, I thought, you know, I already had kind of a previous relationship with Coach Hop. He was recruiting me when I was in high school. So it made it easier for me. Made me comfortable, most importantly. Got to make mom feel comfortable, and he did a great job of that. That’s how I ended up here.”

Washington State: Can advanced analytics help Cougars get over the top?

Washington State head coach Kyle Smith is an avowed disciple of Moneyball author Michael Lewis, so much so that he credits Lewis with his career.

The Cougar coach’s reliance on advanced statistics has paid off in a big way in the Palouse, with Wazzu improving from one of the worst teams in college basketball to a top-50 team last year.

Utilizing an internal efficiency rating that Smith describes as “winning plays minus non-winning plays divided by possessions,” the Cougars have thrived.

“I could say it like from the first day I got on campus, I’m from New York, playing in Dyckman or Rucker Park outside all the time, I’m thinking basketball is just basketball. So I’m learning it’s way more to it,” guard T.J. Bamba said. ” It’s about efficiency, the numbers, the statistics, and all of that. All of that being thrown at me at once, I’m like, whoa, what’s going on? So it hit me. But as time went on and I learned this is where the game is going today, you have to kind of like adapt with it. So once I started doing that and embracing it, I’ve gotten so much better.”