The Good, the Bad and the Monday Wrap Up

Jan 4, 2010, 9:03 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2011, 11:20 am

The Huskies played poorly against Oregon as a team and UW Head Coach also deserve to be held accountable. Why weren’t the Huskies briefed on how good Oregon’s Malcolm Armstead was going to be? Why weren’t the Dawgs big guys prepared for the type of challenge that they were going to get from Michael Dunigan?

What part of the non-conference by Armstead did they see, let alone the unbelievable resurgence of Tajuan Porter against WSU? Lorenzo Romar explained the loss as a product of lack of “Grit”.

“I didn’t think we had the Husky grit that we need to have to get this done today. I thought maybe that was missing. “

I think it was more than that. Romar said in the post game press conference that Ernie Kent told him about Armstead and how good he was last summer, but acted shocked as to how good he was going up against his team.

“He’s really good. He had a great reputation coming in. I watched him on film and I just thought, wait a minute, this guy is tremendous. Hard to miss a guy like that when you’re playing against him.”

The season is about 15 games old there kids. If you saw him on film and thought he was “Tremendous”, why couldn’t you and your staff prepare your kids to stop him? Armstead and for that matter Dunigan (when healthy) have been doing this all year. Malcolm and Michael have ramped up their efforts as the year has gone by. How closely did the UW coaches look at the film of the WSU game?

Are they that confident that if they get their guys ready to play “Their game” that they can beat anyone, ala John Wooden and UCLA? I’m afraid that they cannot afford to be that confident and UW fans have to hope that this experience on Saturday against the Ducks served as a major slap in the face followed by an ice cold shower.

Steve Kelley at the Seattle Times wondered if this effort by the Dawgs was in fact, “Casual Saturday”.

It’s going to take much more than just showing up for Washington to accomplish anything this year. Like I’ve said before here, UW is very average in the front court. It takes a sincere effort just to minimize the damage that this disparity causes them.

The hope for UW fans should be that over the course of this year that the coaches can build something functional, but going from the Jon Brockman led group of last year (basically Jon and Quincy Pondexter doing all of the work, Matthew Bryan-Amaning coming off the bench to produce mixed results and Darnell Gant doing his best to stay out of the way) to this year’s post group is a huge step down.

John McGrath of the Morning News Tribune did a nice feature on the serious need for rebounding help down at the Dub.

The good news is that Oregon and USC have the two best groups of post players in the league and if the Dawgs come with their lunch buckets from here on out they can still win plenty of games with the players on their roster. That said, everyone on UW, outside of Quincy, Isaiah Thomas and Venoy Overton (though his role is somewhat limited) needs to adjust their chin strap and come down to earth here.

Reggie Moore is showing fans in this state what kind of impact a freshman PG can have and though Abdul Gaddy is a great prospect, he is not yet ready to take the reins like Moore has for the Cougars. For the record, despite loving Reggie’s game as much as I do, UW should not bemoan taking Gaddy over Moore. Abdul is going to be a major story in college basketball, as long as he doesn’t pull a Spencer Hawes and leave for the NBA as soon as he can.

If he sticks around for 3-4 years UW will get plenty of value from choosing him over Moore who I believe UW could have chosen. The down side of that right now is that Moore could help this UW team a lot more than Abdul at the present, so right there at least at that roster spot UW are also rebuilding over the departure of Justin Dentmon as well. At the other guards, Scott Suggs has improved while Elston Turner has improved every facet of his game except what the Huskies need from him, which is reliable outside shooting.

Both Scott and ET, along with Abdul, Isaiah and Venoy are not getting the job done behind the arc. When Teondre Williams, not to mention Porter and Armstead shot the ball, they looked much stronger from outside the stripe than their Washington counterparts.

As a group UW still has a very big weakness in that facet of the game that Dentmon’s hot Pac-10 run made up for last year. It is a glaring weakness at the present, only outshone by the lack of post scoring, defense and rebounding. Put those two together and there will be trouble against almost anyone the Huskies face from here on out.

Gaddy will get better as the year goes along and hopefully so will the post players, but this season becomes only a rebuilding year at some point that sets the stage for C.J. Wilcox and Enes Kanter, unless these two facets of the game are dealt with effectively. With Charles Garcia not clearing admissions, why would the staff red-shirt Wilcox if he was their best shooter? Why tie two hands behind your back when you already have one back there?

Like I said in the game story for the Oregon game, the Ducks are turning a corner before our eyes and have yet to peak by any means. Bring in Joevan Catron and Matt Humphrey and this group of Ducks could start looking more than a little like the Georgetown team that figuratively said at the beginning of the 2nd half to UW down in Anaheim that we know how to beat you, we are going to do it and you can’t stop up. All Washington could respond with was ‘You got us, we give up’ and the rest was history.

This year’s Ducks don’t resemble last year’s under construction Oregon team. They are for real and stand to lose only Catron and Porter, while likely gaining another high end recruiting class in the spring signing period. Last year’s spring brought Armstead and pro prospect Jamil Wilson to Eugene while this year Terence Jones is right there in the mix along with a number of other major talents.

Somehow (I have my beliefs as to how, but that’s a discussion for another time and place) Oregon is getting guys top-10 at their position nationally and fairly consistently and for all of the talk about Ernie Kent losing his job, he and his staff looked very professional to me on Saturday. Kent may have put any talk to rest about his dismissal with the win at Hec-Ed alone, let alone what he could do the rest of the season and in the spring signing period.

The Beavers gave UW a game at Hec-Ed on New Year’s Eve, but the Dawgs played with that cool air of confidence, as they have quite a bit this year, as if they could get it up when they wanted to and close out the win.

That will work at times for Washington, but not against very good teams. The Dawgs showed that they can play hard against a good team in Texas A+M, but it is hard to judge that win with the effect that the injury to Derrick Roland may have had on the Aggies.

The Huskies have too much to work on and too many holes to go very far with that approach and have yet to show anyone that they have the maturity to beat anyone on the road. The Arizona trip has been a very tough weekend for Washington over the years and they will have to look like a different team to get a win down there. Overton felt that the Dawgs just need to regain or maintain their confidence.

“We’ve got to come back together, not let this game drop our confidence and just be ready.”

The coaches are communicating some worthwhile concepts though to their kids. Paul Fortier was quoted in the Times going into the weekend that everyone would be “Gunning” for the Dawgs who are the defending champs. We’ve seen this now in a big way with Oregon and should expect teams all during conference play to be at their best against UW.

In my opinion the Dawgs also had better put all of their focus on Arizona State and completely forget about what a great team they were or are supposed to be if they are to have any chance of getting a win next Friday in Tempe.

Pondexter said that the Dawgs were perhaps too cocky in the Oregon game, even mentioning Venoy, and then back tracked a bit in an interview on KJR-AM today. Percy Allen printed out those comments in his blog today.

The Huskies dropped quite a bit in the national polls, but still remain in the top-25 in both. The Dawgs are currently #24 in the AP poll and #22 in the ESPN/USA Today poll.

Joe Lunardi and his Bracketology were updated today and Washington was listed as a #5 seed that would travel to Spokane to face Rhode Island in the 1st round. Oregon was chosen as a #12 seed and also will travel to Spokane to play the Zags. That would be a very tough 1st round match-up for both teams. Cal was listed as a #9 seed that will travel to Milwaukee WI to face Temple and there were no other Pac-10 teams listed even on the 1st four and next four out lists.

One thing I would like to point out is that I have been taking this Oregon team very seriously so far this year in my analysis, unlike the majority of those covering the Pac-10 who have for the most part been writing them off. I am also not writing off the Beavers who could gain a huge measure of confidence this week in their rival game against the Duck in Eugene OR. Even the Oregonian marginalized both of the Oregon teams in their conference preview piece right before this past weekend.

The Beavers will take on Seattle U in Corvallis on Wednesday night at 5:30PM (PST) before the trip down the road to the Emerald City to face the Ducks.

USC Voluntarily Self-Administers Penalties

That leads us to the big news of the weekend off the court and that is the self imposed issuance of sanctions by USC to its Men’s Basketball program. USC will forfeit its games that used O.J. Mayo and also forfeit its post season prospects by not participating in any post season tournament, including the Pac-10 Tournament. As a result the Pac-10 (according to numerous reports) is leaning towards giving the 7th seed of this new Pac-9 Tournament a bye and having the only Wednesday game involve the 8-9 teams.

This is not a fair remedy to the situation in my opinion by any means. It penalizes in many ways the wrong people and is much too lenient. USC’s basketball program does need to be penalized, as well as its football program in my opinion, but this was not the best way top do it. I like forfeiting the season in which Mayo played, but in my opinion there was much more to the problems at USC.

A very deep investigation needs to be done by the NCAA and the Pac-10. Then those governing bodies need to make a much fuller judgment about the USC Athletic Program. It should have been done a lot sooner, as this information about Mayo was available last spring. A statement from the Pac-10 today seemed to intimate that little else besides what USC has done would be administered by the conference. I hope that the NCAA will not give USC a pass if the conference does.

I believe what I have heard from reliable sources that Alex Stepheson would have left USC and very likely come to Washington, if this type of sanction had been issued in time for this year. That could have certainly changed the complexion of UW’s now questionable front court and put a huge stop in the hole left by Brockman.

Cougar Corner

Oregon State stayed close to WSU Saturday as it did to the Dawgs last Thursday night. Reggie Moore was the story, winning the game for the Cougs at both ends, while Klay Thompson had a very sub-par outing. Moore led all scorers with a career high 19 points and drew a charge against Calvin Haynes with the Cougars up two in the final stages of the game.

The Cougs were then fouled, but made only one of two free throws to give OSU a chance to tie with a three, but Haynes attempt was off the mark and WSU won 65-60. Moore is making a huge case for Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.

Against the Ducks it was amazing efforts by Porter and Armstead, as well as solid post play from Dunigan, much as it was against Washington. The Cougars though acted as if they wanted to prove something, unlike the Dawgs who literally gave in when the game was on the line. Tajuan had 31 points including an incredible run of threes down the stretch to force overtime after the Cougs had this one fairly well in hand.

There was also the horrible call at the end of the game in which the officials called a technical foul on WSU when the crowd rushed the court after the Cougars had hit the apparent game winner on a lay in by Deangelo Casto. Porter hit both shots to force overtime then Armstead hit the game winner on a coast to coast drive to the hoop to make the final score 91-89. Thompson had 33 points, while Casto followed with 15 and 12 rebounds. Nikola Koprivica and Xavier Thames each came off the bench for 11 points and Moore finished with 10 before fouling out.

Dunigan had 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Armstead had 16 points and 7 assists. For his efforts against the Washington schools, Dunigan was awarded the Pac-10 Player of the Week award today.

It was a very hard loss for WSU against the Ducks, with the technical foul call and all, but I’m sure UW fans would trade results with the Cougars compared to what happened two days later. A loss is a loss though and now the Cougs go down to Arizona to face the ‘Cats at 5:30 PM (PST).

Bert Klasy at MyNorthwest.com vented his frustration with the referees, but correctly pointed out that the Cougars never should have let the Ducks get close enough to allow that to happen.

Seattle U Having Mid-Season Slump

I saw trouble brewing when I looked at their schedule going into the season, but Cameron Dollar got his guys to play out of their minds to some very impressive early season wins. Unfortunately this Redhawk team is coming back down to earth, despite all of the attention of NBA scouts to star player Charles Garcia. Five NBA scouts watched Garcia and Harvards Jeremy Lin duke it out on Saturday night in Seattle, but Harvard embarrassed Seattle U on its home floor 92-71.

Lin is getting noticed and ESPN did a blog feature today that focused on the Crimson star.

Lin scored 21 points and freshman reserve Kyle Casey had a career-high 19 to lead Harvard. Garcia scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds to lead Seattle, while Chris Gweth chipped in 17 points. Seattle goes from the frying pan into the fire now, traveling to Corvallis OR to meet the Oregon State Beavers on Wednesday. The Beavers will be hungry for a win after falling short to both Washington schools over the weekend. Craig Robinson now also has a little more pressure and concerns off his plate as his new son Austin Lucas Robinson was born today.

Speaking of things to do with childbirth, Seattle U’s loss to Harvard followed a spanking by the Loyola Marymount Lions of the WCC in LA CA 104-89. Mike Boxley led the way for SU with 21 points while Charles Garcia chipped in 17, plus 7 rebounds. The story of this one was balanced scoring from the Lions who featured 6 players in double figures including guards Vernon Teel with 24 and Jarred DuBois with 21. Drew Viney, who transferred from Oregon, has thrived with the Lions and has scored 17 points per game.

Viney had 19 against the Redhawks and was a player that at one time really wanted to go to Washington, so there might have been some payback involved towards coach Dollar. Seattle is now 6-9 and it doesn’t get easier much from here. Dollar is an amazing coach though and it should be interesting to see if he can inspire his young team to fight their way out of this slump.

Zags Almost Blow it but Hold On to Win in OT

Unlike the Cougars, Gonzaga was forced into overtime by a team that they should have put away, but came away a winner. Illinois trailed by 21 in the first half, but the Zags gave the lead away and then some, trailing to the Illini by as many as 8 in the 2nd half. The Bulldogs pulled out the big win on the road in the extra period 85-83 as Matt Bouldin was the hero down the stretch. Steven Gray led the Zags with 20 points, while Elias Harris and Robert Sacre scored 19 each Bouldin finished with 18. Harris also had 16 all important boards, while Bouldin added 7 big assists.

Gonzaga also got a commit from a 2011 guard from Idaho. ESPN did a report on the pledge.

“Gonzaga landed its first 2011 recruit this week when point guard Kyle Dranginis verbally committed to the Bulldogs, the Idaho Statesman reports. Dranginis, who is averaging 21 points for Skyview, was also being pursued by Boise State, Utah, Utah State, Notre Dame and Washington State, among others.”

Pac-10 Round Up

UCLA gave up a 16-point lead early in the 2nd half over Arizona State on New Year’s Eve, but hung on to beat the Sun Devils at Pauley Pavilion 72-70. It was hot shooting by Nikola Dragovic, who tied career highs with 6 threes and 23 points that did in ASU, who showed remarkable discipline on defense to erase the huge lead. Malcolm Lee followed with 16 points for the Bruins, while Rihards Kuksiks led ASU with 15 points, while Ty Abbott and Derek Glasser each had 12. ASU will host Washington this Friday night at 7:30 PM (PST).

UCLA was then soundly beaten at home on Saturday by ‘Zona 77-63. This time Dragovic, Lee and senior Mike Roll were a tepid 3-14 from three and only 12-32 from the field. Reeves Nelson added 10 points and 8 boards, but the ‘Cats got red hot 9-12 shooting from Kyle Fogg who finished with 25 points to lead all scorers. Jamelle Horne and Derrick Williams kicked in 17 and 16 respectively, but Arizona beat UCLA in almost every major statistical category to just wear down the Bruins who just seemed to never catch fire.

Finally the Drew Gordon saga at UCLA has ended as the forward officially transferred to New Mexico, a team that is currently riding high in the polls and a favorite in the Mountain West Conference.

USC took care of both of the Arizona schools, beating the ‘Cats on New Years Eve 56-50 and ASU 47-37.

Against ASU it was Mike Gerrity and Marcus Johnson who co-led the Trojans with 12 points each in the defensive struggle and against ‘Zona it was Johnson again and this time Dwight Lewis who led USC with 14 a piece in another low scoring game.

The sunny afterglow of the sweep of the Arizona schools was erased by the hard luck news of the self administered sanctions for this team of veteran players, but the truth is that this group really had no other options and all had a good idea that this was going to happen.

Over the summer and spring after the stories came out about Tim Floyd and the cash payments to Rodney Guillory witnessed by runner Louis Johnson, most everyone on the USC team that could leave did. If these sanctions had been delivered earlier, Alex Stepheson quietly came up to visit Seattle last summer and according to Husky Digest sources was very interested in coming to Seattle if he could get his release from USC.

Guard Donte Smith attempted to transfer, but chose to play in the Pac-10 rather than the Big West’s UC Irvine which was the best offer he could get. Johnson entered the NBA draft but was not selected allowing him to return to school. There may have been more stories on the current players but, Demar Derozan, Taj Gibson, Daniel Hackett left for the pros successfully, while Dwight Lewis tested the waters but decided his best option was to stay and play one more year.

2009 Recruiting signees Derrick Williams and Lamont “Momo” Jones received their releases and went to Arizona, while Noel Johnson did the same and opted for Clemson. Andy Katz at ESPN took the opposite argument talking about how the team and its new coach are wrongly paying the price.

I don’t agree with Katz here, as I feel that though the guys here are innocent to an extent, other than the coach who is being paid well to be there, these guys all came here knowing what the culture was all about and unlike others couldn’t leave when the word started getting out.

Jeff Goodman makes the point for Fox Sports that the ban hurts the Pac-10 and that I agree with.

USC has the best front court in the conference, a solid senior wing in Johnson with a capable back-up in Marcus Simmons and two great senior guards in the PG Gerrity and the SG Lewis. They are very likely a team that will finish in the top-4 in the league.

The fact that they can’t go to the postseason, makes it harder for the 5th team to get in than they would if they were eligible, as the committee may feel that the conference that is already being maligned for it’s showing in its non-conference schedule it even less enamored.

I’m starting to feel that a three bid league is what we may see for the first time since 2003-2004 for the Pac-10 when once beaten Stanford, surging Washington and Arizona represented the conference.

Cal will very likely be one of those three or maybe four Pac-10 teams and they flexed their muscles on Saturday against the Stanford Cardinal in Haas Pavilion 92-66.

Jerome Randle scored 24 points and had seven assists to lead the Bears, while Max Zhang surprised with a career-high 13 points, four rebounds and three blocks. For the Cardinal Jeremy Green had 23 points and Landry Fields had 20 points and 10 boards, but Stanford got little production elsewhere. Omondi Amoke had 13 off the bench for Cal and Theo Robertson kicked in 10 with 6 boards.

Husky Recruiting Corner

The Les Schwab Invitational featured a number of high profile prospects including Washington 2010 recruits Terrence Jones and Dwayne Polee. Jones spoke about his recruiting and his current high school team in a video on Oregon Live. Jones and Polee both had excellent showings at the event.

The Seattle Times reported on Franklin’s Anrio Adams a 2012 UW recruit that is really tearing it up saying that Adams, “Scored a team-high 25 points, but the Quakers lost 73-71 to Mesa (Ariz.) in the MaxPreps Holiday Classic in San Diego”.

Star 2011 PF and UW recruit Angelo Chol matched up with 2010 Cal Signees Richard Solomon and Allen Crabbe and the two future Bears got the best of the highly regarded younger post, but it wasn’t for Chol’s lack of talent or efforts.

“Chol demonstrated why he is considered a high-level recruit for the Division I level. The lengthy lefty scored in a variety of ways inside and out. His go-to move is a jump hook over his right shoulder. He gets great elevation on it and his release is quick. He can knock down the jump shot at the elbow as well, although it isn’t as consistent as it needs to be — but much improved from a year ago. In addition, he shows his savvy for the game with his passing ability — he made a number of fine passes out of the paint area. Despite being very wiry, he is a very solid rebounder to boot. Physically he has a slight frame, but he is very quick off his feet, and he can run all day in transition. Defensively, he has the lateral quickness to guard a 4 and the bounce and length to check a 5.”

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The Good, the Bad and the Monday Wrap Up