Pac-10 round up for January 11th 2011
The polls came out again Monday and Washington was again the lone Pac-10 team ranked. The Dawgs placed 17th in the AP, 18th in the Coaches and 22nd in the RPI rankings. Believe it or not, UW dropped from 20th in the RPI rankings the previous week, even with two blow-out wins.
Ken Pomeroy has the Huskies ranked 5th in his complicated calculations based ratings system.
Percy Allen of the Seattle Times and Doug Haller of azcentral.com are two beat writers who I regularly follow for “power rankings”. Power rankings, from what I can gather, seem. to be some sort of exercise loosely based on the past weeks performances and the perception of which teams are better than one another.
Whatever it means, Percy’s and Doug’s were both pretty accurate in ranking who the best teams are in the conference in general at this point. Allen picked the first 4 teams in order as UW, USC, ‘Zona, WSU, UCLA and OSU. I agree with all of those picks.
His last four were off in my mind, as I believe that the Ducks are the worst team and Cal will end up as the best of that group. I feel that Stanford has really done nothing to deserve much consideration and that the Cardinal will end up 9th. ASU has severely under performed, to where I thought they would be, but it is still not too late for coach Herb Sendek.
If Herbie can somehow put it together, as he did last year, I would be surprised though. Jamelle McMillan has been a drop off from last year’s senior point guard Derek Glasser and somehow Sendek has not been able to find a good combination that can make up for the loss of last year’s starting center Eric Boateng.
McMillan was out with a groin injury this weekend though, which probably made the sweep at home by the Bay Area schools somewhat easier to explain. If Jamelle comes back strong, I think that ASU will play better, especially with so many good young players. Future star and pretty much go-to-guy Trent Lockett was also out last week in the loss to Oregon State.
Losing Boateng, wouldn’t seem to me to be a player that would be indispensable, but the 5th year senior somewhat held serve after the loss of Jeff Pendergraph to the NBA the year prior. ASU is dropping in my mind, but with Sendek you never know. I’d put the Sun Devils in that 8th spot, but almost neck and neck with Stanford.
As far as Haller’s picks, one should note that if you want to pick who is going to win the Pac-10 Player of the Week, see who Doug picks third on his players of the week. Last week it was UW’s Matthew Bryan-Amaning who won it and this week it was UW’s Isaiah Thomas who won it again.
More on Thomas later, who is just simply playing great ball as the replacement for Abdul Gaddy and should continue to play even better as he settles into the role of distributor. Haller’s picks were also very close to correct in my opinion.
Haller picked the conference in order as UW, USC, Arizona, UCLA, WSU, Stanford, OSU, Cal, ASU and Oregon. I liked his picks 6-10, except that I would have put Stanford in the 9th spot. He did mention that Josh Owens is having a great year, which is good reasoning as to why the Cardinal is having some success early.
Jeremy Green and Owens are a solid inside/out combo, but I’m not buying Stanford. The 1-2 picks are right on the money, as I could also have a hard time choosing between a UCLA team that is obviously talented and a WSU team that is strong at the top, but perhaps thin.
The Cougs did get a good game out of sophomore point guard Reggie Moore which is a good sign for them. The way I see this race UW is the top team, but though the Dawgs proved a lot in LA, they must now still do it on the road this week. A lot of things can go wrong in the Bay Area for a Washington team, as history should clearly demonstrate.
USC is my clear 2nd best team, but the close win over UCLA at home and the overtime loss there to Washington show me that they can be beat at home, let alone on the road. Arizona is the favorite for 3rd for me, though the ‘Cats are struggling somewhat. After that UCLA and WSU are a good choice either way, but I will take WSU, with Moore showing good signs.
ESPN also moved Washington up in their national “Power Rankings” to the 23rd spot from 25th.
My rankings have changed only slightly since Pac-10 play started and all of that has to do with ASU, though I don’t think it is time to assign the Sun Devils to 9th or 10th place. I do feature myself as a predictor and one with the inside track and I hope that I don’t come off too self-important. One thing I would say is if you are predicting what the teams are going to finish as, what is the point of doing it every week?
I was comforted by the fact that I’m not the only musician who fancies himself as a sports insider. MC Hammer, another musical person, went on record a week ago that Stanford football coach Jim Harbaugh had secretly agreed to take the San Francisco 49er’s job. It was offically announced on Monday that Harbaugh took the NFL job.
Also last week the Pac-10 coaches conference call yielded some goodies. Here is what I felt was worth while:
USC coach Kevin O’Neill said that UW was the best team that they’ve faced. That list includes Kansas and Texas. ASU purposely played only five non-conference home games. Bellevue WA’s Aaron Bright of Stanford reminds coach Johnny Dawkins of former ‘Zona point guards Jason Gardner and Nic Wise and last year’s Pac-10 player of the year Jerome Randle of Cal.
Coach Mike Montgomery of Cal said, hours before Gary Franklin transferred, “Gary has come around at that position (point guard) and we feel like he can play there”. According to a source in Northern CA, Franklin left because he thought that “Monty” didn’t want him to play the point, in the short or long term.
Word from my source was that Minnesota transfer Justin Cobbs has looked great in practice and that Montgomery was just making do until Cobbs came in next fall.
Also UCLA coach Ben Howland said that he was going to, “Change our defensive scheme a little bit and keep him closer to the basket and try to cut down on some of his fouls that way”. I guess he didn’t figure it out because Smith again fouled out at USC on Sunday.
A huge scare went through the collective heart of Husky Hoop fans, when two local TV news shows made reports that a Husky Athlete was being questioned in a possible rape case on Monday. Kirotv.com attached a PDF file of the police report, with much of the information removed, but much speculation as to which athlete it is resulted, based on the info that was not.
The reportedly alleged crime occurred at a residence in Seattle’s Central Area, the player was born in 1988 and the way that some of the file’s content’s were poorly blacked out gave weight to further speculation, when king5.com reported that it was in fact a “prominent UW men’s basketball player”.
Coach Lorenzo Romar would not comment, nor would the University of Washington, but on Tuesday at his weekly press conference Romar made a few limited comments. Romar said, “It’s very serious, however there is not enough information for us to determine what’s going to be done here”. Romar also said, “It’s something we take very seriously”.
Romar also confirmed to the media at the Tuesday press event that all of his team would be making this weekend’s trip to the Bay Area, that his starting line-up would remain the same and that sophomore guard Abdul Gaddy will have his knee surgery on Friday.
After the shock of losing Gaddy for the season last week, this was certainly a test of will for this UW team to have this scandalous story blaring over the airwaves and message boards.
On Monday night I welcomed Orange County California AAU coach Mike Moore to “Talkin’ Hoops” and found it hard to not be distracted, as we spoke about the AAU system and his team.
Having been in the same area as almost all of the subjects of George Dohrmann’s break through non-fiction portrayal of a SoCal AAU program, “Play Their Hearts Out”, Moore had some additional and worth while insight to add.
As message boards and twitter posts were racing by about the UW men’s player and speculations as to who it was, what happened and the legal and UW team ramifications, it became hard for me to stay calm during the interview, but Moore did a very good job of keeping us on track.
The UW Athletic Department just released some info on the hot streak that the Dawgs are currently riding. According to the press release UW has won six-straight games overall, are 4-0 in Pac-10 play for the first time since 1984 (6-0 start) and have won 11-straight vs. Pac-10 opponents, their longest streak since the conference formed in 1978.
The Huskies have also won a team record six-straight road contests in Pac-10 action dating back to last season and six-straight against Stanford. That’s saying something because the Cardinal had beat them at Palo Alto for 15 straight years prior to the last two years.
Bad things tend to happen to Washington teams in Maples Pavilion and Husky fans should hope that the UW team have a good enough collective memory to prepare for a tough match-up.
Andy Katz probably doesn’t remember when he raked Brandon Roy over the coals for declaring without an agent for the NBA draft coming out of high school, stating that he should be looking to junior colleges and not the NBA. Now, almost 10 years later Katz is riding the UW bandwagon, stating that the Dawgs are the league’s best program.
Though Andy still won’t stop hyping his deary Gonzaga, Katz gave Bryan-Amaning a solid review in ESPN for his work over the weekend and stated that, “Itâ€™s not crazy to think Washington could run the table in the Pac-10”. That didn’t stop ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb, who said on TV over the weekend that Gonzaga and San Diego State were the top teams out west.
I guess Gottlieb didn’t contradict Katz, because neither the Zags or the Aztecs are in the Pac-10, but not to mention UW or even USC, WSU (who murdered the Zags or ‘Zona in favor of GU is preposterous. I really don’t think that SDSU would dominate the Pac-10 this year, though they would be a nice addition.
Over the weekend, one constant was the explosive firepower, solid leadership and gaudy assist numbers of Thomas, who not only won the Pac-10 POW award, but made the cut for the Cousy award which goes to the college game’s top point guard, according gohuskies.
Thomas angered an already ruffled Bruin fan base by doing a great job of drawing fouls on UCLA posts Josh Smith and Reeves Nelson and others last weekend in LA. According to Bruin coach Ben Howland in ocregister.com, Thomas was literally “in his man’s jock” an expression used to connote how close you guard someone when you are doing a good job.
“Youâ€™ve got to give Thomas credit. Thomas really sold some of the fouls that he drew. He drew like four fouls on like four guys where heâ€™s just the little guy getting knocked off. One time he had his hand all the way up Reevesâ€™ crotch and was grabbing onto his crotch and everybody saw it except the official and that was obviously not a good call for us.”
On Thursday Thomas also made the cut as a mid-season finalist for the Wooden Award, according to gohuskies.
Things are really going Isaiah’s way, as the Oregon game presented a break away opportunity late, with the game well in hand (that doesn’t sound right in light of the Howland comment), where he was able to convert the first dunk of his career.
Thomas was particularly humble is his reception of the Pac-10 POW award, giving credit to his team mates and dedicating his effort to his injured back court mate:
“It’s a blessing and everything I do is dedicated to my brother (Abdul) Gaddy. It’s an honor to be picked player of the week, but I wish there was an award for the team of the week because without my teammates, I don’t get this award.”
There was so much speculation about what the UW team would look like without Gaddy, who is lost for the year with a torn ACL. I did my best to analyze for Husky Digest, in a free article, how the Dawgs would move on until next fall when Gaddy should return to the line-up.
The story broke on twitter as MontlakeMadness tweeted the bad news for UW fans.
“Rumor is Abdul Gaddy has torn his ACL…. I’m checking my sources and will get it confirmed ASAP. Let’s hope it’s not true.”
It was true and Fox’s Jeff Goodman painted a gloomy picture of how it would affect the Dawgs season.
“A year ago, losing Abdul Gaddy wouldn’t have mattered much to Washington. However, now it could become a crushing blow. Washington â€“ and Gaddy â€“ were just starting to figure things out.”
Diamond Leung of ESPN also stated a negative opinion.
“Yes, the season-ending injury that Washington guard Abdul Gaddy suffered in practice Tuesday will hurt the Huskies. The Pac-10 favorites will now have less margin for error after their starting point guard tore his anterior cruciate ligament, no matter how fired up back-court mate Isaiah Thomas gets over this.”
True to form Leung flip-flopped a bit after Ross’ big performance against Oregon on Thursday in ESPN’s “Weekend Watch” feature. Leung is becoming known for strong opinions and equally noticeable retractions. I like his willingness to voice an opinion though.
“I can’t wait to see how Washington continues to react to the season-ending injury that point guard Abdul Gaddy suffered earlier this week. The Huskies host Oregon State on Saturday, and in their first game since the injury against Oregon, Venoy Overton started and freshman Terrence Ross come off the bench with a career-high 25 points and attempted the most field goals of anyone on the court. Ross has really stepped up since Pac-10 play began, and it should be interesting to see if his role continues to expand in light of Gaddy going down.”
Others were lighter handed in their assessments, like Matt Nordlander of CBS Sports.
“Senior Venoy Overton is the likely successor to Gaddy in the starting lineup, and I’m actually optimistic of Overton’s role on this team. This news doesn’t damage Washington’s chances too much of winning the Pac-10, but it could have an erosive effect on the team’s seeding in The Tournament. Gaddy’s play had become of such quality that this could conceivably cost UW a seed line, maybe two if his absence throws the team off balance.”
Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated actually felt like he was still driving the Husky bandwagon. Davis felt on Monday that the Dawgs would be “just as good if not better” after the loss of Gaddy.
Thomas was saddened but saw the bad break as just another turn in the road.
“We lost a big part of our team, but it’s not the end of the season, it’s the start of the new season in the Pac-10.”
Thomas went on to state that he was prepared for a new role, as he successfully played as a freshman when he led the Dawgs to an out right Pac-10 title.
“If they need me to score more, pass more, I’m just going to go out there and play basketball.”
Romar seemed to feel confident that his team would not go down the tubes in the wake of the bad news.
“The guys will rally. Everybody loves Abdul. I think we’ll rally up and be ready to play.”
Romar also felt that all will work out for Abdul.
“He’ll be back. He’s going t work hard. He’ll be back as strong as ever.”
King5.com spoke with Gaddy on Wednesday and Abdul said that future Husky guard Tony Wroten and current NBA guard Jamal Crawford, who have both been through rehabbing after an ACL tear, talked to him and gave him optimism.
Gaddy said that he was also optimistic about his team mates going on to greats things this season without him on the court.
“I think our team will be fine. We got great veterans on our team. We’re old enough. They’ll handle it well.”
I think that Washington will be a great team this year, though they will have to start over in a way without Gaddy. Based on what I saw over the weekend against the Oregon schools, Thomas and Overton are enough point guards to achieve a lot.
The additional minutes for players like Terrence Ross, Scott Suggs and C.J. Wilcox will also pay dividends long and short term.
Ross provided much optimism for Husky fans, with his dynamic play in LA. Terrence continued to give UW fans even more hope, in light of the loss of Gaddy, back home in Seattle against the Oregon schools.
After the LA trip Romar told the media that he didn’t want Ross to hesitate to shoot, even though he is only a freshman.
“Weâ€™re not necessarily trying to get him a conscience. When guys are scorers, I donâ€™t like to say a whole lot to them. Heâ€™s talented. He can score in bunches. I donâ€™t care what year he is.”
Ross was the focus of Gohuskies Gregg Bell’s preview feature for the visits from the Oregon schools and told Bell that he appreciates Romar’s “green light”.
“A lot of guys (at other schools) tell me their freshman and their sophomore years they didn’t have a green light. I don’t want to take advantage of it too much, then have it taken away. But I definitely like it.”
Romar actually compared Ross in terms of his raw talent coming in to NBA players Brandon Roy and Spencer Hawes, who he said are the top players talent wise that he’s coached at UW, when he spoke to the media on Tuesday.
“In terms of just his talent alone, right up there with Brandon Roy. Brandon Roy had signed when we got here. Spencer Hawes is really talented. To be able to do what he does at 6-11. The way he passes and shoots and all that, he’s really talented. Terrence is up there. He’s up there in the top couple.”
Ross validated Romar’s comments with his game high 25 points against Oregon on Thursday. He had an off game on Saturday with 14 points, much of it in garbage time, but his stats in Pac-10 play are really good.
Romar told the media after the Oregon game that Ross is definitely an emerging star in the making.
â€œ(Ross has) done it on the road. Heâ€™s done it in tight situations. Heâ€™s been pretty consistent lately. If he would have played more in the second half Iâ€™m sure he would have been in double digits against UCLA. Heâ€™s really come into his own quickly. Heâ€™s giving the coaching staff a lot of confidence in him.”
Overton was picked by Bleacher Report as one of the “Biggest Pests in College Basketball”
“Overton is simply the best on-ball defender for the Huskies and maybe the best in the Pac-10. Listed at 6’0″, Overton plays bigger and is a physical guard. He is currently averaging 1.5 steals per game in about 20 minutes per contest, but his value extends beyond the numbers.”
The truth is Overton’s steals are down this season, possibly because of his quickness being hampered by an array of injuries that have been nagging him. If Venoy is able to get back to 100% health, UW will definitely benefit. As is his ability to handle the ball and make plays will keep him games.
Overton started both games last weekend and played 20-minutes against Oregon and 29 minutes against OSU. Against the Beavs Venoy grabbed a couple of steals to go with his 7 assists. Both of those numbers, in light of the loss of Gaddy and Venoy’s come back from injury were good signs for UW fans.
UW will need Ross, Scott Suggs (who had a very solid game against OSU on 4-6 from three) and Overton to step up in the Bay Area this weekend. If Wilcox is ready to contribute, that would be even better.
Washington faces Stanford in Palo Alto CA on Thursday at 7 p.m. (PST), then goes up the road to Berkeley CA three days later to play Cal on Sunday at 7 p.m. (PST).
UW fans should hope that Wilcox can get back to the shape that he was in when he scored 20 points against Long Beach State and other strong outings early in the year. Washington ran an impressive 8-man rotation against the Oregon schools, but having one more guy available will help in tight games, especially with foul trouble.
UW is short on big men and long on guards, but Wilcox is a real weapon from the perimeter and if he can come off the bench for some instant threes, UW is going to have that much more of a pad to help them win games.
Bryan-Amaning finally got the full attention of ESPN in their “Weekly Watch” feature on Monday. Matt led off the “More performances that wowed us”.
SI’s Luke Winn, one day prior to the announcement about Gaddy predicted UW to be the “Second half surprise team”.
“Three-loss Washington was the best unranked team in America as of New Year’s Day, and it wasn’t even close. The Huskies will be top 10 by season’s end and maybe even top five, if power forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning (who averaged 19.5 points and nine rebounds in this weekend’s visit to the Los Angeles schools) continues his recent dominance.”
Quite a few observers started to pipe up about Washington though last week, in the wake of the road sweep of the LA schools, including USC coach Kevin O’Neill, who used UW as a good example as to why the Coaches poll is a flawed concept in ESPN.
“I thought Washington was the most talented team we’ve played, top to bottom. I have no interest in doing it (voting in the coaches poll). I never want to do it. It’s a conflict of interest, and it’s a farce, let’s face it.”
Though what I saw over the weekend at Hec-Ed should be encouraging to UW fans, what I heard Dick Vitale say on Saturday, while doing the color for the UNC/Texas game turned my stomach and more than likely would theirs. Vitale in all of his horribleness stated that if Enes Kanter had signed with Washington, then the NCAA would have cleared him.
A Kentucky blogger tweeted this proudly, for those of you who don’t believe me.
I’ve said plenty about why I have little admiration for Vitale, but that statement is just the icing on the cake. If the NCAA did deep six John Calipari and his crew by nailing them a bit hard on Kanter I say good. In basketball they call it a make-up call, when a ref makes a bad call then makes another one that favors the other team.
Calipari has been getting away with a litany of “foul” behavior for quite a while, yet the NCAA has yet to nail him, allowing Kanter to play would have been a benefit of the doubt that “Paypal Cal” does not deserve.
The Cougs started off the week with a setback, though not as severe as Washington’s with the loss of Gaddy for the year. Sophomore point guard Reggie Moore was caught with Marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to a report from KREM.com.
Reggie was not suspended by the Cougs and on Thursday helped the Cougs handle the Beavers easily in Pullman WA 84-70.
Moore had 11 points and nine assists, which was good for WSU fans to see, as Reggie has been slow to get back to last year’s form after his wrist injury. Junior guard Klay Thompson scored 29 points to lead all scorers, while junior guard Faisal Aden came off the bench for 15. Junior guard Marcus Capers also scored 12. Thompson had 10 rebounds.
The Beavers gave WSU a game, coming within 61-57 with 7:31 to play, but the Cougs just had too much firepower for OSU. Overall it was just better shooters for WSU, as they led the Beavs in FG% (51-34), FT% (81-71) and 3-point% (38-33). Thompson took the game over really, once the Beavs had come within four with assists, scores and tough rebounds.
It was Klay’s 3rd career double-double, but his 2nd in two games. WSU won the battle of the boards. but according to the Spokesman-Review, “(Coach Ken) Bone expressed some disappointment with his team’s toughness inside when Oregon State started attacking the glass”.
Against Oregon on Saturday, Thompson nearly had another double-double with 16 points and eight boards, as the Cougs handled the Ducks in similar fashion 77-63. Moore again upped the ante with 15 points and five assists, though he still had three turnovers. Moore was really the star of the game though, scoring early on when the game was on the line.
I see Reggie getting better and better as the year rolls on and the Cougs being a definite contender in the Pac-10 race. Marcus Capers also had a good game with 13 points and nine boards, while Deangelo Casto scored 12 points and grabbed seven boards.
There was a Youtube highlight reel of the WSU win from WSUCougarAthletics.
The Cougs will next travel to Berkeley CA to face the Bears on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (PST).
The Sun Devils were swept by the Bay Area Schools in Tempe AZ this past weekend and it appears that coach Herb Sendek is still grasping for answers, while also dealing with a number of key injuries. In a piece in Scout on Wednesday, Sendek talked at length about the trials and tribulations of his team. I t really seems like a rebuilding year for ASU.
On Thursday ASU lost to Stanford 55-41 as the Sun Devils provided anemic offensive power, despite a decent defensive effort. Sophomore post Ruslan Pateev, sophomore forward Carrick Felix and sophomore guard Trent Lockett led ASU with 10 points a piece, but Lockett was the only starter in double figures and the Sun Devils were again out rebounded.
Another notable stat for ASU was 3-point shooting where they shot a pathetic 1-14 for seven per cent
Scout ran an editorial on how much the team missed senior point guard Jamelle McMillan, which makes sense. I’ve seen enough of Sendek’s coaching to realize that he will get these guys to play well, if healthy. The question remains whether he has enough strength in the middle this year, but he is a crafty guy and could put something together still this year.
ASU played better on Saturday against Cal, but lost 65-61 anyway. This time senior guard Ty Abbott broke out for 18 points, while senior forward Rihards Kuksiks scored 10. Abbott also led ASU on the glass with six boards. It seems as if ASU made progress, which could mean that Sendek has tinkered enough to find something that works.
The Sun Devils will next face Tulsa in Tempe on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. (PST) before traveling to Tucson to face ‘Zona on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. (PST).
The ‘Cats had a tough challenge from Cal on Thursday, but hung on for 73-71 win in Tucson AZ. Sophomore post Derrick Williams played his usual dominant role with 31 points and 12 boards. Junior guard Kyle Fogg and senior forward Jamelle Horne scored 10 a piece.
Cal played well and ‘Zona got a break when the Bears were unable to get a foul called with 14 seconds to play and behind one, until around the two second mark. Bear freshman guard missed a foul shot on the previous play that would have tied the game.
Sophomore point guard Lamont Jones took care of the ball better with one turnover and two assists, which was a good sign for the ‘Cats.
After the tragic shooting in Tucson of the U.S. Congresswoman, a federal judge and others, Arizona’s game with Stanford was moved to Sunday. ‘Zona may have been a bit shocked by the events in their home town, but the senior Horne showed leadership in leading the ‘Cats to a 67-57 win. Horne scored 16 points and had 12 boards off the bench.
Williams followed Horne with an off night of 14 points, nine boards and six turnovers. Jones again had a decent night protecting the ball with eight points, four assists and two TO’s, which was again progress. The difference for the ‘Cats in the game was their shooting from outside at 10-17, compared to Stanford with 2-12.
Fogg said after the game to the Daily Star that his effort was dedicated to the fans, who had been through so much in the day prior.
“The fans really needed something positive from what happened Saturday. For me, it was a little more inspiration to go out there and play as hard as I can to help get the fans the win.”
Fogg was a big key for the ‘Cats on defense in keeping Stanford to such a low percentage from outside the arc.
The ‘Cats will next host ASU in Tucson on Saturday at 11:30 p.m. (PST).
Though the Bears lost to ‘Zona 73-71, they showed that they are a team to be reconned with in the Pac-10 and that freshman guard Allen Crabbe is a star in the making. On Wednesday ESPN reported that freshman guard Gary Franklin Jr. was going to transfer out, according to coach Montgomery and his dad Gary Sr.
Montgomery told the Mercury News that, “He has dreams to play in the NBA and doesn’t feel like he’ll be able to do it here”. “Monty” added, “”He feels like he needs to be a point (guard) at the next level” and “He doesn’t want to do school for four years.”
This is sad. Franklin is the 4th high profile star from LA’s Mater Dei High School in recent years to transfer, including the Wear Twins (David and Travis) and Taylor King who changed directions between his recruiting and college career four times. There is way too much focus given to these teenagers in regards to their NBA potential.
Much of it is based on the input of those that seek to benefit from their pro futures who really don’t seem to care about reality or anything other than their own narrow agenda. On Saturday Franklin Sr. told ESPN that his son was strongly considering “New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV”, plus others.
On Friday the list had grown to, “UNLV, New Mexico, Texas A&M, Georgetown, UTEP and San Jose State” according to the San Diego Union.
According a conversation with Franklin Sr., Sports Illustrated’s “Truth and Rumors” reported on Tuesday that “SDSU is at or near the top of his son’s list of potential destinations, which also includes Baylor, Providence, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and New Mexico”.
It sounds as if Franklin is playing the field at this point, but that the Aztecs seem to be the favorite.
Franklin’s transfer left the Bears with eight scholarship players, but Cal stepped up and gave the ‘Cats a whale of a game on Thursday. Crabbe led the way with 17 points, followed by junior guard Jorge Gutierrez with 14 and junior post Harper Kamp and senior post Markhuri Sanders-Frison’s with 12 a piece.
Montgomery implied to sfgate.com that the ‘Cats were probably the beneficiaries of some “home cookin'” by the Pac-10 refs.
“You can’t defend the foul line. Williams had 22 foul shots and our center (Sanders-Frison) had zero. Zero?”
Montgomery also told Scout that Crabbe being an important player for him is no surprise.
“He was state player of the year in California. It’s not like he’s a dog. He’s just getting more confident.”
Gutierrez led the way for the Bears with 21 points and Crabbe again starred with 17 points, as Cal beat ASU in Tempe on Saturday 65-61. The Bears dominated the boards, as I previously mentioned, led by Sanders-Frison who turned in a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Kamp nearly had a double-double with 10 and 9.
The Bears were thin with Franklin, so this new look is paper thin, with previously little used junior Nigel Carter the first guard off the bench for either of the three perimeter positions and former walk-on Brandon Smith starting.
The Bears next host WSU on 7:30 p.m. (PST) in Berkeley.
The Cardinal, like Cal also got a split in the desert. On Thursday in the 55-41 win over ASU it was junior Josh Owens who led the way with 15 points and 11 boards in the defensive tussle. Junior wing Jerrett Mann also squeezed out points and rebounds with 11 and 7. Usual leader junior Jeremy Green was quiet with seven points and four TO’s.
On Sunday Owens kept it going strong with 18 points, but was only able to gather three boards. Green got back on track with 15 points, but that was on 5-14 from the field and 1-5 from 3-point land in the 67-57 road loss in Tucson. Owens is a feel good story, as he has come back strong from an undisclosed illness that kept him out all of last season.
Stanford next host Washington at 7PM on Thursday in Palo Alto.
The Beavs fought hard against WSU on Thursday, but just didn’t have enough firepower on both ends to contain the talented and relatively experienced Cougs who beat them 84-70. Sophomore guard Jared Cunningham was again very impressive with 18 points, five steals and eight rebounds, followed by senior guard Lathen Wallace with 12 points and five boards.
Cunningham marred those totals with five turnovers though.
The Beavs clawed back from a 19-point deficit at 41-22 to be down 12 at the half and within four with 7:30 to play. Coming back through out the game just took all that the Beavers had and they were unable to stop WSU from making their own run to close it out.
Coach Craig Robinson told the Gazette-Times that he was surprised that his guys weren’t more ready to start strong against WSU.
“You would think that when you have a chance to play a team that’s at the top of the league, you’re ready right from the start.”
To their credit the Beavs were ready to go against Washington, jumping out to a nine point lead at 37-28 with three minutes to go in the 1st half. After that point though, UW really caught fire, as the Dawgs outscored OSU 75-35 the rest of the way.
Cunningham was again the story for the Beavs with 21 points, followed by an impressive 1st trip to Hec-Ed for freshman guard Roberto Nelson with 15 points. Freshman guard Ahmad Starks seemed to say ‘move over IT’ with a couple of big shots in the face of the Pac-10 Player of the Week, before Thomas set the record straight during the Dawgs avalanche of a run.
Starks finished with 10 points, but OSU looked like an impressive group of young players. If Robinson can keep this group together, these Beavs can go places in the Pac-10 over the next couple of years.
OSU next host UCLA in Corvallis OR at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Oregon was led in the loss to UW in Seattle on Thursday by senior post Joevan Catron with 20 points, followed by junior guard Garrett Sim with 13. Against the Cougs on Saturday in Pullman Sim, who had a good weekend led the way with 13 points, followed by freshman guard Jonathan Loyd with 11 points and junior guard Teondre Williams with 10. The Ducks are in last place where I believed they would be.
In their next contest they will host USC on Thursday in the brand new Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene OR at 7:30 p.m. (PST).
On Wednesday the LA Times ran a feature on freshmen Bryce Jones and Garrett Jackson. Both big guard Jones and small forward Jackson seem to have had their minutes slashed with the addition of junior transfer Jio Fontan.
In Jackson’s case I think it is more that coach O’Neill is wanting to shrink the rotation in league play, with the quality front court that he has to work with in junior post Nikola Vucevic, senior post Alex Stepheson and senior forward Marcus Simmons.
In Jones case, it really does seem that Fontan is a factor, but against UCLA on Sunday, Bryce was able to make his minutes count in the 63-52 win on the Trojan’s home floor.
Vucevic led all scorers with 20 points, while Stepheson led both teams on the glass with 16 boards. Stepheson also scored 13 and Fontan was able to score 10, despite being the focus of UCLA’s defensive effort. Jones scored six points in only 14 minutes, while fellow freshman guard Maurice Jones scored nine points and led the Trojans in steals with four.
USC is probably the best team in the Pac-10 at this point, with the loss of Gaddy from Washington, but we will see how the two teams progress over the course of conference play. O’Neill’s teams have a tendency to trail off, where Romar’s have a tendency to get better as the season moves on.
The Trojans will play at Oregon in Eugene to open the brand new Matthew Knight Arena on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (PST).
After the 63-52 road loss at USC, Bruin freshman post Josh Smith complained about the USC team celebrating as the game wound down and it was obvious that they would prevail. Smith told Yahoo blogger Jeff Eisenberg that the Trojans were out of line.
“When the other team starts to celebrate with 40 seconds left, that’s just kind of a slap in the face. Don’t get me wrong. They won fair and square. Nothing against them. But with 40 seconds left, you just let the clock run out, shake our hands and go celebrate in the locker room.”
Smith fouled out with eight point in 22 minutes, but sophomore forward Reeves Nelson was more effective with 14 points and eight boards. sophomore forward Tyler Honeycutt had 10 points and 9 rebounds, but also committed 7 TO’s, which was a huge factor for UCLA. Junior guard Jerime Anderson scored 11 points and was a bright spot for the Bruins.
UCLA will attempt to regroup at Oregon State on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. (PST).