LOS ANGELES — Utah center David Foster is honored to represent the Utes at the inaugural Pac-12 Basketball Media Day. At the same time, he's not overwhelmed by Friday's gathering at Nokia Plaza and The Conga Room at L.A. Live.
"I'll have to write that in my journal," Foster said when asked about the historical significance of being the team's initial representative in the expanded conference.
The Utes are more focused about their showing on the court. With only four returnees and a new coaching staff, they're not expected to draw a lot of respect in the Pac-12 media preseason poll.
Foster doesn't mind.
"I usually don't pay attention too much to the media to be honest with you," he said before fall practices began. "Every year I've been here it's been that situation. They look at the history. They look at who is coming back, who has been around. That's what they pay them to do."
Being picked to finish 12th, thus, wouldn't be devastating — or unexpected considering the circumstances.
"We're not going to pay that no mind. We want guys to pick us 12th. That means everybody is sleeping on us," said guard Jiggy Watkins. "When people sleep on us, they'll have a real rude awakening for when we do break out and have a real good season. So I like being picked last. That's the underdogs. I love being the underdog all my life. So why not keep it going?"
Guard Chris Hines also relishes the role.
"We can't wait until a team walks in here on our home court and thinks it's going to be an easy night," he said. "Because we're hungry. We're hungry dogs right now."
The Utes — veterans and newcomers alike — are motivated to prove folks wrong and compete this season.
"It is what it is, man. Guys think what they want to think," said center Jason Washburn. "We're going to play hard. We're going to try our best and we're just going to try our hardest to win. Hopefully, there will be no doubt in anyone's mind that is what we're out here for."
The projected low expectations are being met with determination.
"It definitely motivates me," said freshman guard Anthony Odunsi. "This team is not going to be built in one day. We are going to try as hard as we can. Some guys might take us as a slouch but we're going to come out there and fight."
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Media Day participants
Press conferences begin Friday at 11 a.m. (MT) on www.pac-12.org.
Arizona: Coach Sean Miller, guard Kyle Fogg
Arizona State: Coach Herb Sendek, guard Trent Lockett
California: Coach Mike Montgomery, guard Jorge Gutierrez
Colorado: Coach Tad Boyle, forward Austin Default
Oregon: Coach Dana Altman, guard Garrett Sim
Oregon State: Coach Craig Robinson, guard Jared Cunningham
Stanford: Coach Johnny Dawkins, forward Josh Owens
UCLA: Coach Ben Howland, guard Lazeric Jones
USC: Coach Kevin O'Neill, guard Maurice Jones6 comments on this story
Utah: Coach Larry Krystkowiak, center David Foster
Washington: Coach Lorenzo Romar, forward Darnell Grant
Washington State: Coach Ken Bone, guard Marcus CapersHeady goes here