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UCLA Men’s Basketball Is Ready to Play Someone Else

Playing someone else was a theme at yesterday’s UCLA men’s basketball press conference.

Stanislaus State v UCLA
Shareef O’Neal is ready for the Bruins’ season to start.
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Unlike past seasons when the weekly UCLA men’s basketball press conference was held on Tuesdays, this year they are being held on Mondays.

New UCLA Bruins head coach Mick Cronin spoke about how he’s ready for the season to start and how he knows that the only way for the team to start getting better is to play against another group of guys, rather than themselves.

He also spoke about what it’s like to coach Shareef O’Neal. He called Shareef “a dream” to coach and discussed how Shareef likes to be coached so he can get better.

“You’ve got to keep getting better every day,” Cronin said at one point, channeling his best inner Chip Kelly. But, Cronin admitted that in order for the team to get better, they need to play other opponents.

Meanwhile, Jalen Hill, Chris Smith and Shareef O’Neal all met with the media as well. Hill noted that he’s tired of “beating up the same guys” in practice.

Smith noted that he’s excited to play against somebody else. He also was asked about how the transition to Coach Cronin has been, especially defensively. He didn’t seem phased by it at all and, in fact, talked about one of the biggest differences being his stance on defense. If that seems to be the biggest difference, then it seems like he’s absorbed the rest of it easily.

Of course, O’Neal was asked about how he’s doing physically after the heart surgery which ended his season last year before it began. He also talked about the difference between high school and college being the physicality and the size and strength of the plays.

The Bruins open their season tomorrow night against Long Beach State.

Go Bruins!!!