Final Pac-12 postseason roundup for April 6th 2011 part two
Apr 6, 2011, 4:21 PM | Updated: 6:09 pm
Here is the rest of my posteason Pac-12 Roundup, with comments and news updates on everyone in the conference except the Huskies.
On Sunday the 27th Rivals reported that 2011 JC post prospect DJ Shelton from Bakersfield CA committed to WSU. At 220 lbs. and six-foot-nine, Shelton reportedly turned a lot of heads recently. According to the Percy Allen of the Seattle Times on Monday, “The Huskies were also reportedly interested”. Allen also mentioned that, “His cousin Marlon played at UW and his uncle Lonnie played five years for the Sonics”.
Last Monday the Times Kelley did a very complimentary column on Cougar head coach Ken Bone. Kelley said some things about Bone that I really agree with.
“There isn’t a better guy, a more moral person, coaching in college basketball. Oh, and by the way, he also happens to be good at his job.”
I believe that Bone will fix whatever is going on with his guys and the “Ganja”, but I do not believe in a million years that coach Bone in any way encouraged this type of behavior. Coaches are there to find and coach players. If a player does something different than a coach allows discipline is in order. If a player does something different than a coach would do, that is another story. These three players broke rules that are not going to send them down the river for 30 years, like they would have in Texas in the early 60’s. This kind of behavior is pretty common on college campuses.
Where is the outrage about drinking, which is more often than not worse for an athlete. Beer companies sponsor these teams, as do gambling outlets like local casinos and racetracks. Is it OK to bet and drink booze for people on these teams, but not OK to smoke pot. Technically the law says it is, but I think that the repercussions of gambling and alcohol are worse. Pot is no help to a young person trying to learn in school though and I’m sure that Bone has told these guys plenty about that. Bone is just trying to create a winning team and I feel for the guy.
On one hand he doesn’t want to tell people how to live their lives morally, but in this case he will have to set some clear boundaries that a large percentage of other students don’t in general follow. All that had to be put aside though on Tuesday when WSU faced Wichita State in the NIT semis in NYC. The Shockers turned WSU’s three game winning streak and trip to the Big Apple sour with a 75-44 pounding. It was still a fun ride to get to Madison Square Garden for WSU, as they finished with a 22-13 season record.
Not a single Coug scored in double figures and Thompson went 1-10 from the field and 0-5 from three. Casto and sophomore guard Reggie Moore scored nine points a piece. WSU were beaten on the glass by a resounding 52-25. It was just a brutal beating though they only committed nine TO’s.Scout titled their game story, “Cougars lay big egg in Big Apple” and painted a grim picture of WSU’s effort right from the jump.
“The Shockers came out of the gate swinging and prevented the Cougars from scoring until nearly five minutes into the game. Most indicative of the Cougarsâ€™ woes to come was that leading scorer Klay Thompson amassed two fouls before WSU even scored a point.”
ESPN showed the game live and compiled a highlight clip that included nothing positive for the Cougs. The question for the Cougs is where do we go from here? With the possibility of losing both Thompson and Casto early to the pros, a lot of things could happen in the off-season. Scout though ran a story that implied that losing Klay was something that the Cougs could weather.
Bone was quoted in the piece that the players deserved, “A B+ or A- grade based on their performance this season” but said that “he would give himself and his assistants a C grade”. They also reported that, “He will revise his player conduct plan after three players, Casto, Moore and Thompson, were cited for marijuana-related charges during the season”.
With the Cougs adding Shelton, Tacoma guard Devonte Lacy and California post Greg Sequele the Cougs will be three players over the 13 man limit. If both Klay and DeAngelo leave they will still of course be one over.Scout did a feature on Thursday explaining some of the likely outcomes, which include players transferring, taken off scholarship and medical casualties. Since Thompson or Casto have not declared yet, one of the the earliest of early preseason predictions for 2011-2012 from lostlettermen.com , have WSU at 18th in their top-25.
“The era of irrelevance is over. Wazzu should return all five starters, including stud Klay Thompson â€“ that is, if he doesnâ€™t go pro and stays away from the reefer.”
The stupid pot jokes will obviously continue from those that get paid to write one liners, but I would bet that Bone will find an antidote to his “pot problem”.
On Wednesday Coast2coasthoops.com reported, according to sources, that Williams “Will be entering the 2011 NBA Draft”. Up to now no official statement has been made by Williams to confirm or deny this report. On Sunday Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports reported, according to sources, that ‘Zona assistant Archie Miller accepted the head coaching job at Dayton. That report was later confirmed numerous reports.
On Tuesday azcentral.com reported that junior guard Brandon Dunson has, “Asked for his scholarship release”. Dunson was not used much. With the loss in two consecutive years on two senior PG’s in Derek Glasser and Jamelle McMillan, ASU currently has no back-up for the highly touted freshman Carson. It would appear that Spring Signing Period could provide an answer though and hopefully it will be a better fit for coach Herb Sendek than Dunson provided.
Duck coach Dana Altman returned to his old stomping grounds in Omaha NE, when Oregon traveled for the 1st game of the CBI Championship last Monday. Creighton Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen said in Omaha.com that he hoped that Blue Jay fans would give Altman support, to a point.
“Iâ€™ll be the disappointed if a majority of our fans donâ€™t recognize what Dana has meant to our program. I would think that the majority of our fans will properly recognize that. What I would hope is that when Dana and Oregon are introduced, our fans will thank him in the right way for the 16 years he spent here. Then, while the game is going on, theyâ€™ll root like hell for us.â€
The fans did give Altman a warm response, but the Blue Jays team did not, as the Ducks were beaten 84-76. senior post Joevan Catron led Oregon with 15 points and nine boards, while junior guard Garrett Sim and senior guard Jay-R Strowbridge had 14 points apiece. Johnathan Loyd and E.J. Singler scored 10 a piece for the Ducks. On Wednesday the series moved to Eugene where the Ducks turned the tables. Oregon won 71-58 as again Catron was “Top Duck” with 18 points. Junior guard Malcolm Armstead followed with 14 points and Singler added 10. The story of that game for Oregon was defense, as the Ducks forced 20 Blue Jay TO’s, 13 of which were steals.
Oregon took the final 71-69, though it came down to the final seconds. Catron scored a career high 29 points, but it was Singler whose bank shot with 2-seconds to play secured the win. Singler finished with 15 points. As I mentioned earlier, the half-court stripe or lack there of at Matthew Knight Arena played a huge role at a key point in the game and ultimately Oregon’s season. Creighton was called for an over and back with the game tied at 69 and Blue Jay ball.
He only scored two points, but 2011 Beaver post signee Daniel Gomis played in the national high school championship game on ESPN on Saturday. Gomis was the only fall signee for OSU, though Swedish 2011 guard Charles Barton, Jr. has reportedly committed and will sign in the spring signing period which starts April 13th and runs to May 18th 2011. The Beavers lost four seniors in guards Calvin Haynes and Lathan Wallace and posts Omari Johnson and Daniel Deane. They should have two open spots left.
Last Monday the LA Times reported that sophomore post Tyler Honeycutt would leave UCLA for the NBA draft. Honeycutt said that he would hire an agent. Also that day, junior guard Malcolm Lee declared, but said he would not hire an agent at this point, leaving it open still that he could return. The Times also reported that junior guard Larry Drew, who left UNC mid-season was transferring, but would have to sit out the 2011-2012 season. He will have one year of eligibility remaining.
UCLAbruins.com podcasted the press conference where coach Ben Howland and Honeycutt answered questions from the media. There was talk that sophomore post Reeves Nelson would consider declaring, but on Monday his mother told the LA Times that would not likely be the case.
“As of right now, we would like him to stay in school and more than likely that’s what he’ll end up doing.”
According to NBADraft.net, freshman post Josh Smith is, “sending out feelers with NBA teams to see where he could expect to be drafted if he were to test the draft process this year”. They went on to say that most analysts feel that Smith is a late 2nd round pick at best at this point, who has a lot of work to do yet and weight concerns. ESPN’s Diamond Leung was optimistic last Monday about the Bruins next year despite the loss of Honeycutt.
“And when it all shakes out, UCLA could easily be the favorite going into next season. The Bruins lose their best athlete in Honeycutt, but won’t miss his 100 turnovers and could return most of their roster to go along with transfers David and Travis Wear.”
Adding Drew to the Wear Twins in 2012-2013 would be a reuniting of three former Tar Heels, though neither appeared to do very well in Chapel Hill. Former Bruin guard Brian Morrison of Kirkland WA also transferred from UNC to UCLA in 2003 and played two years in Westwood.Fox Sports’ Jeff Goodman did not give Drew a tremendous endorsement when on March 21st he stated that the Tar Heels would not have made the Elite-8, had he stayed on the team, even as a back-up. Goodman tried to paint the picture that Drew perhaps gave UNC a chemistry problem.
“One source said that multiple players on the Tar Heels team didnâ€™t even have Drewâ€™s number in their cell phones.”
UCLA assistant coach Scott Duncan left the Bruin staff for a job on the Wyoming staff, according to the LA Times on Friday. According to the Times, ” Duncan, 55, was the Bruins’ point man on recruiting since the departure of Kerry Keating and helped secure recruiting classes ranked in the top 15 the last two years”.
It would seem that either the Bruins are looking to bring in a bigger player in the recruiting game or Duncan just wanted out. The Bruins had not done very well this past year, though 2011 guard Norman Powell is a great prospect. If Lee stays and no one transfers, which has been another problem recently in Westwood, UCLA looks like they could improved.
They came in second in the Pac-10 THIS Past season and should be considered the favorite over ‘Zona, UW and possibly WSU this next year, depending on how spring recruiting and who decides to leave for the pros.Bleacher Report picked UCLA on Tuesday as one of 10 teams that could make next year’s Final Four.
According to ocregister.com last Tuesday, “USC is asking for its home basketball game against Kansas to be moved from Galen Center to Wichita, Kan., in hopes of getting a sellout”. The post went on to say, “According to a report by cbssports.com. The Trojans would get all gate proceeds from the 15,000-seat Intrust Arena”.
No official word as to whether this will come to happen, but I doubt it will as this could set a dangerous precedent. The Trojans have a commitment from 2011 Orange County CA guard Katin Reinhardt. A video highlight reel from ballislife.com shows Reinhardt to be quite a prospect with good size, slick handles and a nice stroke.
Last Monday before the one point loss to Alabama in the NIT semis, ESPN did a feature on the Buffs titled, “NIT: Colorado’s antidote to NCAA’s snub”. Yes Colorado was snubbed unfairly by the NCAA Tournament Committee, but the Buffs didn’t hang their heads. Instead they made it to Madison Square Garden, but unfortunately lost at the buzzer 62-61, as Alec Burks missed a shot from the top of the key that bounced off the back of the rim.
Colorado will likely pose Burks to the NBA draft, plus senior guards Cory Higgins and Levi Knutson and senior post Marcus Relphorde. Much like Washington, should Thomas stay in the draft, that is a lot to lose, but also like the Huskies, the Buffs are in pretty good shape as a program. ESPN agreed with that opinion on Wednesday, when he posted that, “Colorado has momentum going into Pac-12”.
According to numerous reports on Sunday, NBA assistant, former NBA star and Montana Griz head coach Larry Krystkowiak was hired by Utah to coach in the new Pac-12. Former Alabama coach Mark Gottfried who was hired by North Carolina State on Tuesday had been a serious candidate, according to sltrib.com.
Jon Rothstein broke the news about the Utah job in a tweet.
“New Jersey Nets assistant Larry Krystkowiak is hired be the new head coach of Utah.”
Current Griz coach Wayne Tinkle, who served on Krystkowiak’s staff in Missoula told Yahoo that he thinks it is a perfect fit.
“I wouldn’t be concerned that he’s been out of the college game because he’s going to surround himself with great people and really get after it. I’m confident he’ll put guys on his staff who have great connections out West. He’ll do a great job identifying guys to work with and they’ll get going first thing because they know that entering that league, they’ll have to step up the talent level.”
Krystkowiak coached the Griz to two straight NCAA appearances in 2005 and 2006. In 2005 they met the first seeded Washington Huskies and gave them a decent game. In 2006 they beat fifth-seeded Nevada to make it pas the 1st round. Utah has a solid history, that dates back to the era of Rick Majerus, but since the big man who lived in hotels, the Utes have spiraled downward as a program through current Gonzaga assistant and former UW assistant Ray Giacolletti and Jim Boylen. Fans and the Salt Lake City Media are skeptical, as a feature on sltrib.com on Monday with comments illustrates.Blocku.com , a Utah fan site talked as if they were underwhelmed.
“We fans definitely hoped for at least a coach who had more experience than just two years at Montana.”
Krystkowiak gave the impression to the media on Monday that he meant to shake things up.
“I need to find 15 guys, 13 on scholarship, that are willing to make some sacrifices. If they bring that passion and commitment, I’m confident we can get to a place we’re all very proud of.”
Krystkowiak played in Salt Lake City for the NBA’s Jazz, among other league stops.According to sltrib.com on Monday, “Leading scorers Josh Watkins, Will Clyburn and J.J. Oâ€™Brien all said they are undecided whether they will transfer”.
“Krysto” as they call him, will have to keep the team together, while getting out on the recruiting trail and getting lucky in the spring period or this team could be a mess next year in an improved Pac-12. After what Altman did at Oregon this year though anything is possible.