Georgetown Poses Huge Challenge for Huskies
The big, bad Hoyas of Georgetown come to Anaheim to meet the Dawgs on a neutral floor Saturday Morning at 11AM (PST) on FSN in a nationally televised contest. John Thompson the 3rd’s team is led by Greg Monroe, a six-foot-eleven center that is coming into his own and will probably inhabit one of the top positions in this June’s NBA draft lottery.
With an impressive showing against Butler early this week Monroe set a career high in scoring with 24 points and also added 15 rebounds, showing that he is getting better by the game. Greg comes into this game red hot and most national prognosticators are picking GU. Andy Katz of ESPN feels that Monroe can keep up with the fast paced Huskies.
“The pace will be quicker against Washington. That shouldn’t matter. Monroe can run on both ends of the court.”
Katz goes on to make the point that the Pac-10 is desperate for quality out of conference wins and the GU/UW game is one of the last chances to right the ship going into conference play. He then goes on to assert that there is a chance that the Pac-10 could only get one bid, if it doesn’t have any decent out of conference wins.
I do not agree with that logic at all. ESPN is always underselling the Pac-10 and what better time than a year when the WCC has had a great non-conference slate so far, at least for them, to really pump up a notion that Mark Few tried to also suggest, which was that the WCC “May” be better than the Pac-10.
Just because UCLA and Arizona are down doesn’t mean that the conference is all that bad. Cal is getting their guys back and will be a very good team come conference play.
Washington has the most potential this year of anyone in my opinion. Oregon is going to get their guys back and Oregon State is going to get their show on the road in conference play I believe. I feel that WSU, ASU and Arizona will fight it out to get into the top-5 in the conference standings and all three of those teams have a chance to challenge the Oregon schools.
UCLA, USC and Stanford are likely the worst teams, but the Trojans could actually look quite a bit different in conference play than they did in non-conference, with the addition of Leonard Washington and Mike Gerrity, so I would have to give them the edge over the other two.
One would think that Stanford can get some wins, with their money players in Jeremy Green and Landry Fields and a handful of decent role players, but I think that they will look overmatched against most of the league. UCLA is still very talented, but has some huge holes.
The Bruins are even worse than I thought they would be, but maybe they find a way to get some decent guard play out of non-guards like Tyler Honeycutt and Mike Roll to aid their cause. I still think that UCLA will have a very difficult time against the teams that have enough decent guards, Stanford and USC the possible exceptions.
I think that UCLA, the Cardinal and USC will duke it out for the last three spots.
Katz continues to flesh out his rant about the Pac-10 getting one, maybe two bids in another piece for ESPN.
He makes some decent points, but the Pac-10 has been a traditionally slow starting league and is full of talent that will find itself in conference play. Won’t the WCC? Not so much. Gonzaga is very good, but Portland and St. Marys are no more than Cinderella stories at best nationally. That doesn’t mean that UW should sleep on that game with the Pilots at Hec-Ed next weekend however.
Getting back to Georgetown, Percy Allen of the Seattle Times did an interview with Washington Post reporter Liz Clarke, who covers GU. Clarke said, “I’m real curious to see which team will dictate the tempo, who can impose their style of play on the other”.
Jay Bilas of ESPN offers a dissenting opinion and believes that Washington will win. “I favor Washington in this one. Georgetown has not done a great job of putting teams away, and the Huskies can score. A lot.”
Montlake Madness feels that Georgetown will take it saying that, “Georgetown is bigger, but they’re still athletic and, they’re a more efficient team than the Dawgs have been so far.”
One UW player that will not be smaller than his counterpart is Quincy Pondexter. Though he will perform in the Nutcracker this holiday season, he is not going to wear a tutu.
Quincy is all business and no pushover. He has really come into his own as a player and could use this game to catapult onto the national scene. Fox Sports just included Pondexter in a feature that focused on the top-10 national player of the year candidates.
Many of the NBA scouts are also coming around to watch the senior who has really come into his own as a scorer, rebounder and all-around player. NBADraft.net has Q going in the 2nd round at #38.
Draftexpress (who have Quincy going #24 in the 1st round) did a feature on Pondexter this week stating that, “Looking to the next level, where combo forwards are thriving and perimeter roles are being redefined, Pondexter has a tremendous amount of potential, capable of playing inside and outside on both ends of the floor”.
Pondexter will need help from not only Isaiah Thomas, who must find a way to help his team win, with a very tall and difficult mountain to climb in the Hoya’s, but also from someone else on the squad.
Against Texas Tech it was Elston Turner who showed that he can get busy in the scoring column and a great game from ET, especially from three-point land, will be a very nice development for the Dawgs.
Against Northridge it was Abdul Gaddy, showing that he can also score when there is an opening and provide sound ball control and distribution to best take advantage of what Georgetown leaves open.
Scout did a feature on Gaddy which quotes the freshman, the senior leader Quincy and Head Coach Lorenzo Romar.
Romar seems to feel that the light will start turning on and when it does look out.
“I’ve been almost amazed at how important it is for him to do things right. To make sure that, ‘no I don’t want anything given to me. I’m going to get this right. Leave me alone. I’m going to get this right’. Players with his stature nowadays, a lot of times, want favors. ‘Just throw me out there. I’ll be alright’. It’s important for him to do things right. As he’s learning it, once he gets it, there will be no looking back at that point.”
Romar told Percy Allen at the Wooden Classic press conference that the starting line-up is still not set
The tinkering seems to be in the area of Greg Monroe and who can do the best job of keeping him in check, while allowing UW to keep the pace up. “It could be Darnell (Gant) (and) his ability to defend Greg Monroe.
We’ll see. Depending on how that game goes we could make adjustments like wait a minute, we can not play against this team if we go small. But it could be we got to stay small because we have an advantage because it’s hard for them to keep up with us.”
This goes back to something that Liz Clarke of the Washington Post said. She was wondering, “Which team will dictate the tempo” and saw that as the key to the game.
Earlier in the week Romar spoke at length about what an honor it was to be associated with Coach John Wooden, who was not at the press conference on Friday.
Romar also appeared on 710 ESPN on the Brock and Salk Show, where he explained how his team is progressing and how they have been processing what they learned in the loss at Texas Tech.
The Dawgpack was chosen as the #6 toughest student rooting section in the nation, according to Collegehoops.net which was made reference to by a feature on the San Diego State Aztecs student section.
The Huskies lone 2010 signee, Desmond Simmons, was featured in the Bay Area edition of the November ESPN RISE Magazine
I believe that Desmond is a winner and is all about winning ball games and championships. You can tell by the way he deflects questions about himself, instead choosing to talk about the team. He believes that he and his team can do it.
“I’m very confident that we can go back and win another state championship. With this group of guys, I know we’ll do whatever it takes.”
Washington’s 2010 commit Enes Kanter, who looks to sign in the spring of 2010, is just starting to get national recognition, but those on the inside of the basketball world seem to know all about him. Enes has moved up to #16 in NBAdraft.net and still was projected at #12 in draftexpress.com in the 2011 draft.
According to Allen in the Times Kanter’s prep coach Derryck “Tank” Thornton said, “Kanter may visit the Huskies in Anaheim this weekend” and that Enes, “Scored 32 points and had 21 rebounds to lead Stoneridge Prep in a victory last week against Rise Academy from Philadelphia”.
Kanter is putting up huge number against big time prep school competition and should be able to help Washington in an area that they really need help in scoring on the low block.
Should Matthew Bryan-Amaning continue to improve his low post game and Tyreese Breshers get his rust worked off this season, the addition of Kanter could really give the Huskies a radically different look in the paint next year.
The loss of Jon Brockman has been giving UW a puzzle to figure out. How do you make up for that kind of loss? The answer appears to be by everyone pitching in, as Percy also illustrates how different guys are improving their production in different areas to pick up the slack.
More Recruiting News
ESPN will be focusing on some of the top prep players in the nation in some of its basketball programming, including Husky 2010 recruit Terence Jones and Kentwood’s Josh Smith, a UCLA signee in the class of 2010.
Smith received a minor knee injury over the past week. It looks to be nothing serious, but there is still some question as to what the diagnosis is, according to his family.
Though Kanter and Simmons appears to me to be right up there close to what UCLA signed in the fall period in Smith and guard Tyler Lamb, Rivals, in their Pac-10 recruiting rankings, felt quite differently. They named UW in the #9 spot in the league, while putting Stanford at #1 and the Bruins at #2.
The list overall is rather absurd, with Arizona, Oregon State and Washington State ranked ahead of Washington, who have the highest regarded player of all in Kanter, according to a number of pro scouts that a source of ours has spoken to.
Enes does get mentioned as the, “Best pro prospect” and “Impact player”, but I guess these lists are solely for the purpose of changing around every few month to fill space on these network recruiting sites.
WSU Beats Upstart Vandals
WSU held off a strong rally late against the Idaho Vandals in Pullman on Wednesday night to win 76-64. Klay Thompson had 25 points and 9 rebounds, while DeAngelo Casto scored 13 with 14 boards and 4 blocks. Reggie Moore also scored in double figures with 12.
This was the same Idaho team that beat up on Portland up the road in Moscow, ID just days before by 20, but the Cougars seemed to have their number all night, despite a couple of nice runs by the Vandals.
It never really seemed like Idaho was going to do more than wake up the Cougs, whose trio of Klay, Casto and Moore is looking like a very potent attack as we take stock of what is out there up and down the Pac-10. Scout did a nice photo gallery of the WSU/Idaho game.
Charles Garcia Getting Major Attention
Seattle U is finishing its 6-game road swing in Cheney WA against the Eastern Washington Eagles tonight. The big news for the Redhawks is all of the press that Charles Garcia is getting from those that cover the NBA draft. Draft Express did a feature on Chuck that really fleshed out their reasoning for projecting him as the #20 pick in the 1st round of the 2010 NBA draft.
Zags Play in Seattle Today
The Zags dodged a bullet as their star senior guard Matt Bouldin according to AP, “bumped heads with an Augustana player during the first half of Wednesday’s game and did not return to action”, but it was determined that he is fine and will return against Davidson in Seattle tonight at Key Arena. The Zags are a very good team and most of their top players are very young.
It would be well worth the time of local hoop fans to go see their game live if they can. This Zag team, made up mostly of foreign players is tough and gritty. The AP did a feature on this new look bunch of bang and scrap Bulldogs.
Jason King at Rivals picked the Zags as the top “Non Big-6 conference team” and though I often find holes in King’s game, I agree with him 100% this time.
Mark Few unfortunately is not satisfied in having his team speak for themselves and has to add fat to the fire by stating that, “Right now you can make a very easy argument it’s the best league (WCC) on the West Coast” on KJR-AM. No it’s not Mark, nor will it ever be. You are really hard to like, even if your team is always good enough to dominate that second rung league out here.
One of the major reasons for the Zags success this year is German import Elias Harris, who along with Canadian Robert Sacre forms a surprisingly tough and talented front line in only their 1st year together.
Sacre was not used much in the past by the Zags, but he has what it takes to fill the middle, while Harris is his dynamic partner. Fellow Canadian Kelly Olynyk has also surprised with his play off the bench. The Seattle Times did a nice background feature on Harris.
Pac-10 Round Up
Percy Allen did his Pac-10 power rankings and again put UW on top. Cal has finally worked their way to the #2 spot, while Cinderella ASU is in the #3 hole. WSU is at #4, which is clearly deserved and Arizona is in the #5 spot. Percy moved the Beavers up from the bottom to the #6 spot and I think that they will continue to climb the ladder as we get closer to Pac-10 play.
Stanford, Oregon, USC and UCLA round out the rankings in that order, but I expect the Ducks to vault up quite a bit as we get into Pac-10 play as well. Stanford is going to drop I feel and the great showing against Kentucky will more serve as evidence that the Pac-10 is not the 2nd best league in the west, more so than that they are a team that will contend.
Cal got Theo Robertson back, which is a huge step for them and though the senior only scored 8 points and had a rather crumby 22-minute night for him with 3 turnovers, at least he’s back. Patrick Christopher’s 22 points and 9 boards instead led Cal to a 79-54 spanking of the Pacific Tigers in Stockton, CA.
To win in impressive fashion over the Tigers on the road doesn’t sound like much, but to do that and get Theo back is.
Cal has gotten a lot of work for Jorge Gutierrez, who again scored in double figures with 10 points, but more importantly continues to fill up stat sheets with his all-around game. Jorge had 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal, but now Cal has even more depth behind its solid core of four seniors. The other 2, Jerome Randle and Jamal Boykin scored 15 and 13 respectively.
ASU provided evidence that they are really not the Pac-10 title contender that many had thought, based on their early season performances, by losing in Provo, UT to BYU 81-68. Derek Glasser scored 25 points for the Sun Devils and Rihards Kuksiks added 10. Trent Lockett was kept rather silent with 7 points, as was Eric Boateng with 6.
ASU will have better games, but I feel as if they, as well as Stanford have been somewhat over praised for what they have accomplished early, while other teams with much more talent have struggled. That is not to say that their brand of grind it out efficiency will not be at all successful come conference time, just not that good in my opinion.
USC beat up the same Sacramento State Hornet team that beat Oregon State, by a score of 51-36 on Wednesday then struggled to beat Idaho State tonight 59-53. The Trojans again only played 6 players, other than for 4 minutes. Against Sac State the Trojans gave up 25 turnovers, while Dwight Lewis led them in scoring with 16 points.
Alex Stepheson was impressive with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 7 blocks and Nikola Vucevic had 14 points and 15 boards, but the Trojans were really sloppy throughout the game. Against Idaho State they kept the turnovers to a dull roar with 17, but shot rather poorly from the line at 56% on 25 attempts.
Again Lewis was the top gun with 19, followed by Stepheson with 16. This time Marcus Johnson was the only other double figure scorer with 10 points.
‘Zona rebounded from their demoralizing loss to Oklahoma with an 83-67 win over Louisiana Tech in Tucson on Wednesday. Nic Wise led the ‘Cats with 24 points, while Jamelle Horne also scored 20. The outstanding young forward tandem of Derrick Williams and Solomon Hill went for 14 and 11 respectively, while 5th starter Kyle Fogg also scored 11.
More Hoops Notes
Avery Bradley from Puyallup WA is starting to find his A-game in Texas, as he led the Longhorns to a 107-74 win over a good Long Beach State team at home in Austin. TX. I think as the season wears on Bradley will become a very big story nationally.
The NCAA Tournament could be going through more major changes, as a new 96 team format is reportedly on the table according to ESPN’s Andy Katz. I like the idea that the tournament be expanded.
Finally former UCLA post player Drew Gordon is very interested in San Diego State, according to his dad.