Huskies down St. Martin’s in exhibition opener

Nov 7, 2010, 2:16 AM | Updated: Apr 5, 2011, 11:20 am

(Assisting me this year on some of the UW home games is Craig Yamada, Editor in Chief of Montlake Madness. Here is Craig’s quick game recap of the Saint Martin’s exhibition game.)

There were several questions around the 2010-11 UW Men’s Basketball coming into this season. Many of those began to be answered in tonight’s dismantling of the Saint Martin’s Saints, 97-76.

A half filled Hec Edmundson Arena welcomed their Huskies with enthusiasm and electricity as they stepped on the floor for the first time since March. A starting five consisting of Abdul Gaddy, Isaiah Thomas, Justin Holiday, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Scott Suggs opened the game.

The Dawgs found themselves shaking off some expected rust in the first three minutes of the game as they struggled to find baskets early on. Saints senior center, Blake Poole, led his team with 21 points in the game and helped give the Saints the early advantage.

However it didn’t take UW long to find their rhythm as they unleashed a barrage of baskets inside and out, led by Justin Holiday, Scott Suggs and Matthew Bryan-Amaning.

Many wondered how this team would fare with the losses of Quincy Pondexter and Elston Turner and the range they brought with them. That question was soon answered on the heels of seven first half three pointers by the hands of Justin Holiday (3), Scott Suggs (3) and Terrence Ross (1).

UW finished the day with 10 of 17 shooting from beyond the arc. Holiday and Matthew Bryan-Amaning took the scoring load by storm in this game finishing with 17 and 20 points respectively.

MBA looks like a refined version of his former self to begin 2010. He has found his comfort with the drop step and the up and under move in the post. He had his way with the Saints defenders as he even chipped in a ‘Tim Duncan style’ 10-foot jumper off the glass in the second half.

MBA’s summer play with Great Britain’s national team seems to have done wonders with his confidence.

By the 8:53 mark in the first half, the Huskies had opened a ten point lead on the Saints. They never looked back.

Isaiah Thomas was not playing his usual role of scorer in this game. With Venoy Overton sitting out with a nagging hamstring injury, Thomas was given the reigns to the offense at PG whenever Abdul Gaddy went to the bench. Thomas was a leader by example out there by diving on the floor and making defensive plays.

Thomas played the role of general as he dished out dimes left and right to the open man. He garnered a total of 11 assists tonight and finished with a total of 8 points.

IT spoke about his ball distribution tonight;

“We got a lot of shooters on this team, and I feel like when they shoot the ball is going to go in so I told them I was going to get them open to hit a shot and they did a good job with that tonight”.

The bright surprise in the first half was the emergence of the originally advertised Abdul Gaddy. Gaddy, with a number change to 0, looked slender and more agile. He made it to the rim at will as he beat his man off the dribble on numerous occasions with an arsenal of flashy crossovers.

Gaddy also was able to score off low post screens as he flashed to the elbow and got the ball into the paint. Gaddy finished the night with 12 points on 5 for 8 shooting. On defense, Gaddy seems to have found his comfort zone as he is easily able to slip through screens and stay with his man.

Isaiah Thomas was asked if any of the new guys were impressive tonight.

“I think Terrence Ross, but not really impressive because I’ve been around him and I know what they can do. It’s your guys’ basically first time seeing them.”

Terrence Ross came in with confidence with six first quarter points. Lorenzo had coined Terrence Ross as “one of the most athletic players he has ever coached”. And today, we bore witness to that claim. Terrence is easily the most talented player on this team and his upside will be limitless in this offense.

After going 0-3 in his first three shots, Ross was able to convert a layup and foul off a pass from Isaiah Thomas. He soon followed up with a deep three late in the first half. Later in the second half he was able to convert an acrobatic alley-oop off a difficult pass from Justin Holiday in transition. Ross also tied MBA for the team lead in rebounding with 6.

Aziz N’Diaye and Ross were the first players off the bench in the first half. N’Diaye struggled early with foul trouble as he seems to be still learning the pace of the D1 level. He ended the first half with no points.

UW was able to go on a run to close out the second half in transition off of steals and putting their hands in passing lanes. Their defensive intensity has not skipped a beat in the off season as they forced 27 turnovers today.

The Huskies went in at halftime with a 55-36 lead.

Coming out of the second half, the Huskies continued the onslaught led by C.J. Wilcox. C.J. struggled to get his shot rolling in the early going, but in the second half he was able to show his range with 10 second half points with two from deep.

Ross and Gaddy continued their stellar play from the first half over to the second half with six points each. Gaddy unveiled his improved jump shot developed during the summer. He shot the ball with out hesitation, going 2 for 3 on his jumpers.

Aziz N’Diaye came off the bench with 17:01 left in the second half. Aziz started picking his game up as he started owning the offensive glass in the second half. He dispelled some of the doubts about his free throw shooting as he went 2-2 from the stripe. He also was able to get a garbage bucket late in the second half before committing his fifth foul.

The one area UW struggled was on the defensive glass as the Saints were able to garner 16 offensive rebounds. Romar chimed in with his observations.

“Usually a rebounding mindset is something we have pretty well. That didn’t happen tonight.”

All in all, the Huskies passed their first test and look battle ready to open their non-conference schedule against McNeese State next Saturday.


– Darnell Gant did not play due to a pulled hamstring
– MBA mightily struggled from the free throw line tonight, going 2 for 9
– MBA and N’Diaye both fouled out today
– N’Diaye was always the first player off the bench, but struggles to control his body to avoid foul calls
– Scott Suggs looks like he did last year, a shooter
– Holiday picked up where he left off against West Virginia last year by scoring from beyond the arc and with his mid-range jumper. Look for him to be one of the leading scorers, night in and night out
– IT’s role is destined to change night after night depending on the match up and personnel available for UW. Tonight he was a true PG

Husky Huddle

Isaiah Thomas was outspoken in his support of his Huskies this week, as he did a media “tour” of sorts. As a guest blogger for ESPN’s premium site, Thomas reportedly landed some doozies, as he previewed the Pac-10.

According to Rivals Isaiah said on Arizona State, “I don’t even know who’s on that team anymore. They’re slow. They play so slow it’s draining to play against them”. Of USC IT said, “I think of Reggie Bush and football when I think of that school, not basketball” and added “I don’t even know who their coach is”.

Thomas stuck it to USC further when he tweeted to Jeff Goodman of Fox, who didn’t choose a single Dawg in his preseason All Pac-10 team in his conference preview on Thursday.

“Damn Jeff Goodman u have NOBODY from Uw on ur preseason pac10 all-league 1st team? That’s how u feel lol? Were gonna MAKE u change ur mind! And I’m not mad I’m not on there I could care less. BUT holiday is better than Honeycutt and @MBALIVE11 (Mathew Bryan-Amaning) is 10times better than Vucevic”

Goodman did pick UW to win it, but added a huge zinger along the way towards the conference.

“The Pac-10 was brutal last season. It may be much of the same this year. Two teams made their way into the NCAA tournament a year ago — Washington and California — and it could be a two-bid league again this time around.”

Yahoo blogger Jeff Eisenberg reviewed all of the tweets back and forth between Goodman and Thomas, including all of Goodman’s apologetic back-tracking in his Dagger Blog

I like this and I applaud Goodman for not treating UW like media darlings. I think that the Dawgs in general don’t play well as favorites, especially this team which blundered away their season, were it not for such a great finish last year. I hope this means that Isaiah and the rest of the guys are focused on games and what they need to work on, not Sportscenter.

Sporting News did give UW a little more pub, as they picked Venoy Overton as the #9 player in the conference, while picking Isaiah at #2.

Washington Assistant Coach Paul Fortier was picked by Goodman as the #3 assistant in the conference. Paul does a great job in my opinion and it’s good to see him get some recognition. I also think that he is likely beyond letting stuff like this distract him after a distinguished 4-year career at UW, plus many years as a pro player and D1 assistant coach.

Terrence Ross was given a bit of “love” from Bleacher Report, when named as one of the top-25 “biggest impact freshmen. No other Pac-10 players were listed.

Yahoo played the “Shoulda game” as they looked at “Ten non-conference games that won’t happen but should” and Gonzaga vs. UW was listed at #5. Also listed from the Pac-10 was UCLA vs. Pitt and USC, because of Bruin Coach Ben Howland’s connection and USC vs. Notre Dame because of the intense football rivalry.

Washington AD Scott Woodward added fuel to the UW/GU fire, when he stated to the Morning News Tribune’s Don Ruiz that Washington will seek BCS conference opponents to replace the Big-12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.

When asked if the series ending might mean UW seeking to renew their series with the Zags, Woodward responded to the negative.

“No. We will probably do what we did with the Big 12 series: schedule some nice BCS-style teams to do home-and-away with — we just won’t do it within the purview of the Big 12 hardwood classic. So, we’ll probably play some Big 12 schools, maybe look at playing an SEC school or a Big 10 school or a Big East school, ACC: We’re open. We obviously consult on it, but I give that authority to (coach Lorenzo Romar) to schedule.”

It sounds to me that Romar is not jumping up and down to schedule the Zags and I applaud that course of action. UW doesn’t gain from playing the Zags, no matter how many people would watch it on TV. UW needs to play those other major non-conference opponents much more and playing GU is a step backward in my mind.

I say let the WSU Cougars play them, as I think that this benefits the Pac-10 more when the Cougs beat the Zags and command a greater share of that media and recruiting market. Maybe the OSU Beavers or the Oregon Ducks could benefit, but Washington clearly has something that the Zags will likely never have, being the dominant team in the biggest NW market.

Why not enhance that by playing home and homes with other teams that are equally yoked like Texas, Georgia Tech, Ohio State or Tennessee? Boise state, Montana and Portland don’t automatically get UW home and homes and frankly an opportunity to play in Portland is much more attractive than Spokane.

UW recruits well in the PDX and it is a market worth building upon. Spokane is not and if the Zags want to play the Dawgs they should have taken UW’s decent offer to play at the Key Arena, rather than insult it. Zag Coach Mark Few obviously showed his cards with that comment about “Bigfoot having my baby” being as likely as his team playing under those terms.

I hope that is the end of it and UW and GU meet in the NCAA tournament, when it means something other than just mindless fodder for hot-headed fan gloating and taunting.

Texas Tech and Texas A+M will provide the last UW opponents for the “Hardwood Series” this season. Tech is going to make for a very tough home game for the Dawgs and A+M will be a very tough road challenge. The Aggies are underrated this year generally, because of the loss of stars Donald Sloan, Bryan Davis and Derrick Roland. picked A+M at #41 nationally and in previwing the Aggies show just how many solid players they have this year. Coach Mark Turgeon’s program is one that seems to reload every year, so UW will have their hands traveling to College Station.

Bracket talk is already starting, though not a single D1 game that counts has been played. Yahoo did a bracket projection that picked UW as a 5 seed. This means that they feel that the Dawgs will likely win a game in the dance, but not make it back to the Sweet-16 and the 19th best team.

Yahoo projected Gonzaga as a Sweet-16 team but just short of the Elite-8 at #9 overall. ‘Zona was also picked to win their 1st NCAA game, but miss the Sweet-16 at 29th overall. UCLA was picked to make the tournament but not win a game at 39th overall as was future conference team Colorado at 49th overall.

ESPN’s Dick Vitale made his projections for the Big-6 conferences and picked UW to win it. He picked WSU as his #4 team after ‘Zona and UCLA, which is intelligent in my opinion, but then blew that one out picking Stanford at #5. His Duke crazy orientation just got the best of him, as Stanford Coach Johnny Dawkins is a former Dukie assistant and star player.

Vitale is truly obnoxious. This series of tweets from the former coach and long time buffoonish commentator on Saturday speaks volumes.

“Facts that I have Enes Kanter @UK CoachCalipari should be suspended for 9 games-played 9 pro games”

“Trust me I know the 1 per 1 rule is out – my VBDI (VITALE BALD DOME INDEX ) tells me Kanter UK should play but sit out about 9 g”

“Kanter’s dollars r for school expenses & not cash to him – His DAD handled the case – Kanter should play with limited penalty! My opinion”

Why is this clown making the same argument that dirty bird John Calipari has been trumpeting in the press? Is Vitale this naive to think that nothing shady is happening in “Coach Cal’s” world or is Dick just there to provide smoke and fully aware of the Calipari who is the poster child of shady side of college basketball in my opinion.

If you even have to ask, you are probably too out of touch. I give it Vitale knows and is part of what I believe to be a scam 95% and Dick too blissfully stupid the other 5%.

UW produced a Commercial for season tickets that shows Isaiah, Venoy, Holiday and Matt under the bleachers at Hec-Ed playing in the dark. It’s a bit strange, but it does look menacing to me. A number of fans on message boards have said that it looks to have been produced by an amateur.

I’m no pro film maker, so I’ll split the difference by saying that the spot (available on youtube) comes off as inspired.

Husky hoops great and KJR-AM radio commentator Eldridge Recasner was inducted into the Pac-10 Hall of Fame. These is an impressive Youtube highlight video that shows why he is such and important part of UW Hoop History.

Husky Recruiting Corner

Rivals updated their recruiting rankings and UW was dropped from their top-20 classes of 2011. UW had moved into the list after the commitment of Tony Wroten Jr. ‘Zona and Oregon were #8 and #19 respectively.

Wroten was listed as the #8 shooting guard in ESPN’s updated position rankings for the class of 2011.

UW is in the race for Angelo Chol and Norvel Pelle, the #11 and #14 power forwards on ESPN’s 2011 position rankings.

Pelle visited St. John’s on Friday and according to reports attended the Johnnies exhibition game at Madison Square Garden in NYC. A number of analysts feel that St. John’s could get a commitment soon from Pelle, but others feel others are in the

On Tuesday Jerry Meyer of Rivals stated that Pelle had three top schools with a couple of others hanging around.

“All signs also point to five-star prospect Norvel Pelle signing during the early period. Kansas, St. John’s and Washington are his top three options. Oregon and UCLA also are making a push.”

On Thursday Meyer said, “As for Pelle, Kansas is in his top three, but I have a feeling that St. John’s is the team to beat”.

Also on Tuesday Norvel’s family confirmed to Zagsblog that Pelle would in fact visit St. Johns on Friday, his 1st official visit.

TheRecruitScoop tweeted on Thursday, “Don’t be surprised if 6’10 Center Norvel Pelle of California commits to St. John’s on his official visit to the Queens campus this weekend”.

Joel Francisco of ESPN reported on Friday that St. John’s look to be the one, but if a commit doesn’t happen soon, all bets are off.

“Pelle is scheduled to visit St. John’s this weekend and the Red Storm appear to be the heavy favorite according to our sources. Washington, Kansas and UCLA are the next tier of teams that have a shot at Pelle. If a commitment doesn’t happen after this weekend, let the speculation begin.”

Husky Digest has reported that Norvel stated to them that he intended to visit UW and other news sources had confirmed that as well. We’ll see if the Big Apple visit does the trick for Pelle or not.

In regards to Chol, according to Rival’s UCLA site, “It appears that Kansas and Arizona lead for his services as of now”. According to ESPN on Friday, Chol is still very open to his top-5.

“There are no leaders at this point and he has kept his recruiting pretty close to the vest. In addition, all the schools mentioned above will lack quality depth at the 4-spot heading into next season.”

2012 UW guard recruit Martin Dixon-Green was the subject of a feature for Canadian hoops blog where he talked about UW’s interest and pursuit of him.

“‘The first school that came out to see me was Washington and I absolutely killed.’ said Martin. Washington offered and the rest as they say is history. Since then, UConn, Boston College, and Oklahoma have all offered, while Virginia, Pittsburgh, Nebraska, Cleveland State, and New Mexico State have shown considerable interest.”

Good for UW fans to see UW’s Raphael Chillious working so hard on the recruiting trail. It really looks as if “Chill” is a good fit for a Husky team that is looking to increase it’s national profile on the court, as well as with prospects.

2011 UW wing recruit Roscoe Allen got some nice praise from Rivals UCLA site.

“Allen is a top ranked wing and plays the whole floor exceedingly well. He has the handle of a great point guard and the shooting range of a great two guard. Allen can get to the hoop though heavy traffic and can score in the key like a power forward.”

Washington was not mentioned recently in an update in ESPN, but the Dawgs have been on him for a good while. we’ll see if that report was not the entire story, as many are along the way, especially this early on. If UW does well on the court this season expect a number of kids to be mentioned them more prominently going into the summer.

Pac-12 Round Up

Sources informed me that WSU JC Transfer Faisal Aden was ready to be the legitimate scoring threat needed to open things up for WSU this season. According to a report in Scout on the Cougars exhibition game, this is starting to be verified.

“Aden put on a show in the first 20 minutes, draining 3-of-4 from downtown and 4-of-5 overall.”

“He scored 15 points in the first half and 22 for the game. In all, he made 9-of-13 shots”

The competition had something to do with this, as Lewis and Clark State should be no match for a Pac-10 team, but this is a very good sign for Coug fans.

According to a report from ‘Zona was exposed by Utah’s big men in the two teams closed scrimmage.

It may be that Pac-10 fans will see more of big Kyryl Natyazhko or Alex Jacobson and less of Derrick Williams at the 5 spot.

Rivals did a feature on 21 year old ASU freshman post Jordan Bachynski, who is seven-foot-two and 245 lbs. A Mormon mission after high school has given Jordan a chance to mature, but has left him out of competitive hoops for a few years. According to the piece, Bachynski played at a prep school in Florida after high school in Canada as well.

ASU needs help in the middle, though the rest of their squad appears to be loaded. If Jordan of sophomore Ruslan Pateev can be effective that would be huge for the Sun Devils. If not, look for athletic undersized freshman post Kyle Cain to see time.

Oregon win it’s exhibition game against Northwest Christian University 80-53, according to Scout.

The good news for Duck fans was that senior Joevan Catron played. Oregon Coach Dana Altman has expressed doubt that Catron would be able to get his health on track this season. The bad news was that Oregon had 20 turnovers to only 11 assists against what appears to be a very poor team.

UCLA freshman post Josh Smith from Kent WA sprained his wrist in the Bruin’s blow out win over Westmont, but according to the AP, “A team spokesman says an X-ray taken Friday was negative” and his status is listed as “day to day.”

The Colorodo Buffs went toe to toe with two major Pac-12 recruiting power players and came out on top. According to ESPN, 2011 PG prospect Spencer Dinwiddie “chose the Buffaloes over Harvard, Oregon, UCLA and UNLV”.

Dinwiddie has been a late bloomer and is thought to be a great prospect and will likely help the Buffs transition into the Pac-12 in coming years.

NW Round Up

According to Seattle U’s official site, “The Seattle University athletic department today announced a partnership with FSN Northwest to broadcast a minimum of four Seattle University men’s basketball games from KeyArena at Seattle Center during the 2010-11 season.”

Those games will be against the OSU Beavers, Idaho, Portland and Washington.

The Redhawks also announced that, “Comcast SportsNet Northwest will broadcast the men’s basketball game between Seattle University and the University of Maryland live from College Park, Md., Monday, Nov. 8”.

Gonzaga dealt with Southern Oregon in Spokane on Friday effectively 90-58, according to the AP.

Senior guard Steven Gray and red-shirt freshman forward Sam Dower led the Zags with 17 points a piece.

Big Sky Preview

Paul Glidewell is my official hoop-addicted connection in Missoula. He always seems to know the low down on what is up in the Big Sky. Paul was kind enough to write a nice preview of the league, which includes a number of NW schools and players, from a Husky perspective. Paul is also a Washington alum and follows the Dawgs very astutely.

The following are his thoughts on the Big Sky. I hope you enjoy them:

Question: Why care about the Big Sky Conference?

Answer: The Big Sky Conference certainly isn’t a premier mid-major, but it always has a few teams who are frisky enough to generate a few early season upsets and occasionally make some noise in the NCAA Tournament (The Big Sky is awarded one automatic bid).

For example, early-season last year the Montana Grizzlies went into Oregon and beat them 68-55, six days later they traveled to Seattle and came within 4 points of defeating the then No.14 ranked Huskies.

A Husky/Grizzly re-match nearly occurred in the NCAA tournament after the Grizzlies pushed New Mexico to the brink of elimination.

After the game I had more than one Husky fan confess to me that as much as they wanted to root for the Grizzlies, deep down inside they were rooting for New Mexico because they were nervous about the Huskies having to match up with the Grizzlies a 2nd time.

In retrospect those feelings very well may have been valid has Huskies then coasted to an easy victory over New Mexico. I have doubts Huskies could have put it on cruise-control had they faced the Grizzlies – another example of a large team that proved a poor match-up for the Huskies last season.

The Big Sky Conference, like several major conferences, is also in the middle of some changes. Last week North Dakota University and Southern Utah University agreed to join the conference next July.

However, at the same time, University of Montana and Montana State University have an offer to join the WAC. Both teams were two of the six original universities to form the Big Sky Conference back in 1963.

For geographical reasons (a few Seattle area kids who play for Big Sky teams, a number of Pac-10/Big Sky games and because each season a few Big Sky teams can be dangerous) do your best to catch a few of their games if you can. It likely will be well worth your time.

Question: Will any Big Sky conference teams be ‘good’ this year?

Answer: Probably not as good as last year where the Grizzlies nearly advanced to the 2nd round and there were a number of upsets by Big Sky teams throughout the season. Due to graduation and attrition the conference as a whole lost several of their best players.

Following is a brief breakdown of what the experts are projecting:

Projected Top Four Teams:

Weber State is the consensus favorite among media and coaches to win the Big Sky.

On Weber State, they lost 3 starters, but return Damian Lillard. Damian is the reigning league MVP, was 27th in the nation (and #1 in the Big Sky) with nearly a 20 point ppg average. He is also one of several exciting Big Sky guards.

After Weber State, both coaches and media agree that rounding out the top 4 should be the Montana Grizzlies, Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona, though not necessarily in that order. Of the Grizzlies I would say that by losing last year’s hero Anthony Johnson it would be easy to assume the Grizzlies are unable to compete for the league title.

However they return arguably the best big man in the Big Sky conference in center Brian Qvale (13 pts, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks vs. the Huskies last year). Brian, along with a stellar recruiting class (including a couple JC recruits who should have immediate impact) may be enough to once again put Grizzlies in the title race.

Northern Colorado is a team very fun to watch and very dangerous. They are very well coached and very unafraid to shoot 3’s, shoot 3’s again and then shoot 3’s one more time. They return 3 starters included Devon Beitzel who last year, before suffering a season ending injury, was 3rd in the nation with his 44.4% 3 point shooting.

About Northern Arizona, if Damian Lillard isn’t the best player in the Big Sky conference, then guard Cameron Jones probably is. Jones submitted his name for last spring’s draft, but never hired an agent and withdrew, but his eyes will be set on getting noticed by NBA scouts this coming season.

I suspect this season will be a classic, “as Cameron Jones goes, so goes NAU”.

Projected to finish in the middle of the pack:

One of these three teams MAYBE could vie for a shot at the league title…but none of the ‘experts’ think so.

Montana State Bobcats – 12 Players on the roster who have never played DI ball.

Eastern Washington Eagles – Led by two dynamic Seattle area guards – Glen Dean and Jeffrey Forbes

Portland State – Due to poor APR scores the Vikings are not allowed post-season conference play. Will this be a motivator for former Husky Phil Nelson and his teammates?

Rounding out the conference:

Both Idaho State and Sacramento State are in rebuilding modes. Sacramento State has arguably been the worst team in Division I the past few years. Both have a lot of hope for the future, but it is highly unlikely they’ll be contenders yet Idaho State is a big team and return 4 starters.

Question: Which players should I care about?

A list of Big Sky conference players that would be worth your time watching includes Lillard (possibly the most electric Big Sky conference player), Jones (NBA body, possibly game to go with it and also Landry Field’s cousin), Nelson (former Husky, now ready to finish his senior season at Portland State), Beitzel (3 point specialist), Qvale (should be the most dominant center in the Big Sky), Dean and Forbes.

Unfortunately, due to injury Glen Dean will be unable to play in EWU’s 11/16 contest vs. Washington.

Other Seattle area kids playing in the Big Sky Conference are Melvin Jones of Portland State (Chief Sealth HS) and Mathias Ward (Gig Harbor HS).

Question: What games should I care about?

To me every Pac-12/Big Sky conference game is worth following. This season there are 13 with the potential for a 14th:

11/12 Idaho State at Colorado
11/14 Idaho State at Arizona
11/16 Eastern Washington at Washington, Weber State at Utah and Northern Colorado at Arizona
11-17 Montana at Utah
11/26 Both Weber State and Arizona State are in the Alaska Shootout and could meet up
11/30 Sacramento State at Washington State
12/5 Montana at UCLA and Portland State at Oregon
12/11 Northern Arizona at USC
12/15 Montana at Oregon State
12/16 Northern Arizona at Arizona
12/21 Montana State at UCLA

Also of note to NW fans:

Eastern Washington at Gonzaga on 11/30 and Seattle University has six games vs. Big Sky Conference teams on their schedule. Maybe the Big Sky Conference doesn’t get the attention of other conferences, but it is loaded with fun guard play, some teams with a lot of potential and maybe even a few NBA prospects lurking on a roster or two.

Thanks Paul for that great report and just to let you know, Jeff Goodman of Fox tweeted confirmation of your report about Big Sky expansion.

“It’s confirmed that both Southern Utah and North Dakota are headed to the Big Sky in July of 2012”

I hope that Montana and MSU join the WAC. They are natural rivals and would make the new WAC much stronger and themselves stronger as well by being at D1 in football and a better league in hoops. I’d love to see Seattle U join the WAC in hoops as well. Look out for the Redhawks and Cameron Dollar and I’m sure that I will be watching those and other Big Sky tilts.

NCAA Corruption

Being the subject of a controversial book like George Dohrmann’s “Play Their Hearts Out” could have been devastating to a young man, but Demetrius walker sounded surprisingly satisfied and forward thinking when interviewed by’s Doug Haller on Tuesday.

This is proof positive that talking about and addressing the shady side of hoops is it’s own reward. As it has been said often, the truth will set you free.

USC’s Men’s hoops program was able to get away with well placed self-sanctions, that the NCAA chose to accept when they issued judgment after extensive investigation of both hoops and football. I feel that the hoops program got off light, but the football team was punished appropriately, which many cynical observers thought would never happen.

Overall I’m pleased with how the NCAA dealt with USC, but reportedly Rodneu Guillory, the “person of interest” named by as involved in the O.J. Mayo case is not. A former associate of Guillory, Louis Johnson confessed publicly that USC Coach Tim Floyd gave Guillory $1,000 for O.J. Mayo.

It was also reported in the media as speculation that Guillory was what is known as a “runner”, commonly known as a street level go-between that actually negotiates and then executes pay-offs to players from agents, boosters, shoe companies acting as surrogates for big-time athletic programs and other assorted unethical or illegal tasks.

Now Guillory has sued the NCAA for $25 Million for defamation, stating that he was never a runner, according to the LA Times. One hopes that more is discovered during the course of this civil case that can lead to further discovery of the truth.

I believe that clearly this activity goes on and needs to be flushed out as much as possible from the landscape of college hoops.

Cedric McAfee is a high level prospect. His AAU coach is William Rhodes of Memphis Select. According to a report on, Rhodes has reported that a number of people have come into Cedric’s life and proposed improper compensation, as well as jobs for Rhodes and others in seeking McAfee.

Rhodes gives an interview in a series of audio files in the article that paint a picture that certainly begs further investigation.

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