Despite being picked ninth in the Pac-12 men’s basketball preseason media poll, Washington Mike Hopkins gave an optimistic outlook on the upcoming season, which starts Nov. 25.

Here’s everything Hopkins had to say during the Pac-12 men’s basketball virtual media day.

(On transfer Erik Stevenson) “We’re extremely excited. The guy is a proven player at the highest level. Great program that he transferred from in Wichita State. Toughness. Homegrown and we’re really excited to have him as part of our program.”

(On Stevenson’s impact) “He can really shoot the ball. He makes plays. He’s a high-level competitor. He upgrades. Last year we struggled shooting the ball, 32 percent (on three-pointers). You bring a high-level shooter/scorer and a guy who really, really competes on both ends of the floor.”

(On being consistent this season) “The biggest weapon in basketball is the three-point shot. However talented we were, we only shot 32 percent from the 3-point line. You just saw Hameir Wright. He’s shot 40 in league, which was the second half of the season compared to preseason. Quade was our best three-point shooter and he’ll be back. Erik Stevenson brings another three-point shooter. Marcus Tsohonis shot 40 percent from the three-point line last year. If we’re lucky enough to get the waiver with Cole Bajema, another three-point shooter. The biggest weapon, we’ll be way better at that. It’s just the consistency. I think we’ll have more balance offensively with this year’s team. Having Quade back is going to be a huge boost for everybody.”

(On the difference with Green) “It is. He has the ability to make others better as well as get 20-25 points. When you have a guy who can set up and get easier shots for guys like RaeQuan Battle, who I didn’t mention and who is an exceptional shooter. A guy who can break down the defenses when you don’t have anything, that’s what teams need, especially at the guard position where that person is going to have the ball in their hands a lot.”


(On playing basketball during a pandemic) “We’ve been really, really lucky. We’re able to have our guys on campus. The distance. Staying in two pods and all those different factors. Our training and medical staff, you know, we got the best in the country. (Trainer) Pat Jenkins was educating our guys every day. I’m really proud of them. Difficult, but everybody is dealing with it. We just try to educate them everyday the best we can. Talk to them about their sacrifices and how who they hang out with impacts everybody. And they’ve done an incredible job. Obviously, it’s different because you’re getting tested everydoay. But the greatest thing is knowing that you’re safe going into practice. I think that makes everybody feel comfortable. It allows you to have really high quality practices. So I’m really, really blessed with our medical team and staff.”

(On the team’s identity) “Without exhibition games and those types of things, obviously we have, you through the process and now you’re playing real games and a couple of exhibitions. We’ve been scrimmaging a little bit. I have a pretty good feel of the guys who have started here before and have been here. But we have some new guys too that are getting into the mix and so our identity has always been our defense and always will be. Our zone defense, we’re getting better at that. Working on those pieces daily. And then offensively, new system. And when I say new system, maybe a different philosophy of how many threes we’re going to shoot and how we’re going to space out. Those types of things. Obviously, Quade is a guy coming back whose an elite shot maker and playmaker and I’m sure he’ll be doing a lot for us this year. We’re going to have to win by committee and I think we have a lot of great pieces. A lot of guys who have a lot of experience and just looking forward to having the opportunity to play and compete.”

(On 11 scholarship players and the possibility of a positive COVID wrecking havoc with the depth) “I’m not concerned unless obviously something like that happens, which is something that we can’t control. A lot of people are going to have those type of situations all year. I think we got a lot of really good players. Getting all of these guys ready within our system is going to be really, really important. I think the safest team will have probably a competitive advantage as we move forward during this season. Hopefully, we can stay safe and our roster will be fine. But with this season, anything is possible. Hopefully, we’re safe and everybody can play.”

(On energy guys on UW) “I believe that. Hameir talked about Nate Roberts. Nate Roberts is high energy, smiling and flying around player. Quade brings a lot of energy. The guy that I’ve been really impressed with him at practice is RaeQuan Battle and the energy that he brings and that’s infectious. Obviously, the loss of fans – the Dawg Pack. Gosh, sometimes when the Dawg Pack starts getting rolling, I get the chills. I start rolling up the sleeves and get ready to go to battle. But we’re going to have to create our own energy. That’s something that we talk about in practice everyday. The fans aren’t going to be there. The music is not going to be there, but we got to do a good job of collectively bringing that and making sure that not just everybody is bringing energy but positive energy.”

(On Battle) “High-level shooter. Now it goes back to shot selection. A year under his belt understanding what is needed from him. He’s a high energy guy. Sprints the floor. Finishes exceptionally well. And he competes on the defensive end. I think a year under his belt is really going to help him moving forward. You can see that it’s helped him so far. With a guy like Quade and having a guy like Marcus, multiple guards out there – playmakers – he’s a deadly shooter. So you have a great weapon out there. A guy that’s going to keep getting better and better. Just an incredible player for our program.”

(On Stevenson fitting the new offensive philosophy) “It’s big. Listen, experience matters. Experience in tough conferences matters. Not just his experience and his skill level, he’s an exceptionally talented player with a high IQ, but he’s a competitor. You can see it in our practices the level of competition he’s brought. He’s tough. You win with this thing. We talk about being tougher together. You win with toughness. I think the tougher team usually wins and the more together team usually wins. And he brings both of those elements.”


(On Bajema’s waiver request) “We’re hoping for good news. We think we’re going to get it, but it just hasn’t come yet. I got pushed and pulled to make the announcement today. I wanted it to be together because it’s such a good moment. But Cole has been waiting. I feel like good news is coming right around the corner. We just haven’t got a finalized answer. He deserves to play and hopefully he gets it for his sake, our sake and everybody’s sake. We’re still waiting on his.”

(On 13 positive cases at UW and if it’s been an issue) “Our kids have been, I’m so proud of them. They’ve just done a heckuva job protecting everybody and making sure everybody is good. We’re learning to deal with it and live with it everyday. You just have to be diligent and disciplined and safe. Bottom line. Wash your hands and wear a mask. That’s my new infomercial.”

(On Tsohonis’ role) “He started and played exceptionally well. He’s got that experience under his belt. A guy who … compliments others really, really well. Marcus’ ability – he know understands that zone – and has an ability to make open shots. He has an ability to if we had to put Quade at the 2 or vice versa, it gives us some more versatility. I’m looking forward to a great year from Marcus.”

(On Roberts) “He’s a kid who brings it. He’s one of the best rebounders that I’ve seen. Just a relentless attack. He’s got a lot of that Isaiah Stewart in terms of just going after it, which I love. Talk about energy, he brings it. When you’re around him, you can feel it. And he’s been doing a really, really good job. He’s improved his foul shooting, which is a big a big factor to having him in games, especially late in games because he’s such a good rebounder. A guy who think is going to keep getting better and better the more that he plays. That experience part is what he’s missing. I think he’s done a great job so far and I see him consistently elevating as the season progresses.”

(On J’Raan Brooks) “He’s a guy that obviously the 3-ball has been important for us as we move forward and he’s a guy whose really improved in that area. He’s put a lot of work in. The greatest thing and I’m so proud of J’Raan is hwo hard he’s worked since the first day he came in. He’s improved his body. He’s improved his shot. He’s improved his understanding defensively with the zone. He still has some delays, but he wants it. He’s working exceptionally hard. So really, really proud of him. Another guy that we’re going to depend on this year for sure.”

(On update on Nahziah Carter’s suspension) “No. Just practicing with our guys and getting our team ready. It is what it is.”

(More on Carter’s absence) “At the end of the day, you got to control the controllables. We’re working everyday to become the best team we can possibly be. Whatever happens is going to happen. If he’s with us, unbelievable. If he’s not, we’ll deal with it. It is what it is. We’re moving forward. I like our guys. I like our team. Just can’t wait to compete. A couple of months ago, you didn’t even know if you were going to play. To being able to play, is a big thing. So excited for that.”