Huskies Getting Huge Hype
First of all I’d like to personally congratulate Quincy Pondexter on Pac-10 Player of the Week award. I have a feeling that this will be just the beginning for Q and Isaiah Thomas this season. After watching a lot of hoops over the last few days I would not be surprised to see those two as the top players in the Pac-10 this season. I know it’s early and there are a number of other guys that are going to make their case, but that’s just my gut feeling.
Isaiah is not falling short in getting his share of accolades, landing himself on the cover of Sports Illustrated for their college basketball preview (regional edition). Montlake Madness put a copy on their site.
Thomas is tied for 1st in the nation in scoring with LaceDarius Dunn of Baylor, scoring 74 points, while Pondexter is currently tied for 9th with Kevin Palmer of Texas A+M C.C., who this past week upset Oregon State. Interestingly, Tacoma’s Anthony Johnson of Montana (who UW faces next after San Jose State) is tied with red-hot Rotnei Clarke of Arkansas for 7th place, though Clark has only played 2 games and is scoring 33.5 PPG which leads the nation.
Tajuan Porter of Oregon has scored 18.7 ppg and is 21st on the list. Charles Garcia of Seattle U and Benny Valentine of EWU is tied for 53rd with 48 points, though Chuck has done his damage in only two games and is scoring at a 24 ppg clip.
Andy Katz in his column went as far as to project that Isaiah, “Might lead the Pac-10 in scoring”, which is rather big of him. Even Seth Davis at Sports Illustrated is getting the same feeling as he picked UW as his “Dark horse” to make the Final Four today.
The national polls both placed UW at #14, not that I think that UW fans should care. Polls this early should be discouraged.
Percy Allen of the Seattle Times offered his Pac-10 power rankings and pushed UW up to the #1 spot. Percy dropped Cal one spot, while boosting Oregon up one to #3, but then pushed ASU up from #8 to #4, which I think is a bit much.
He dropped UCLA from #6 to #8 and bumped up the Cougs from #7 to #5, which both make some sense, but then plunged the OSU Beavers into the #10 spot, even below Stanford and USC (who he promoted from #10 to #7).
I think that the Beavers are going to work their way out of this funk. They did it last year after losing to Howard, etc. I think that a better “Power rankings” right now would be:
I think that UCLA will get better, but they have so many problems in the back court that it will be very tough to really get into the Pac-10 race. I also think that OSU will get better and they do have the pieces available to get into the race, especially when Roberto Nelson gets back in late December, as we are hearing he will. ASU is well coached, has balance and veterans, but nothing special in the area of play makers.
Pounding Eric Boateng down low against TCU for a 3-point win is impressive for some people, but this is November and I am not going to pick Boateng as All Pac-10 quite yet. I think that for now ASU looks good, based on players that are veterans and a system that is in place, but as teams get their own legs, I don’t see Ty Abbott, Boateng, Derrick Glasser and company doing much more than 7th or 8th unless freshman Trent Lockett really picks things up fast.
Lockett has potential and has already replaced Jerren Shipp in the starting line-up. Even if Trent has a better season than I expect and I’m high on him, ASU will probably fight it out with UCLA and USC for the 7-9 spots. I feel that OSU will be in the NCAA’s this year along with UW, Cal and Oregon. The 5th spot in the Pac-10 will be between WSU and ‘Zona at the end in my mind. Stanford is just not going to get out of the cellar, regardless to what they do here in November.
Like a number of the teams in the Pac-10, Abdul Gaddy is going to get better as the year rolls on. Dime Magazine did a very complimentary feature on Gaddy that included an interview.
Gaddy states in the interview that he saw Lorenzo Romar as a good role model as being one of the main reasons he chose UW and that Brandon Roy is his favorite player. Nothing new from Gaddy, but a good solid interview that portrays him and the UW program in a good light.
His performances over the weekend surprised some folks and it seems as if he is looking to continue to improve. He is looking as if he can compete favorably with Justin Holiday (who also has been looking to have improved on the offensive end) and Elston Turner for minutes at the 3rd guard spot behind Quincy and when Pondexter moves to the 4 which should be often. Turner is a player that should have his break out game soon and I would expect him to find some minutes at the 2.
Next year after Quincy moves on, Suggs, Holiday and Turner will compete for minutes at these same spots, along with freshman Desmond Simmons and C.J. Wilcox. There could also be a guy by the name of Terrence Jones in that spot as well. Replacing Quincy will not be easy, but UW is certainly going to have depth on the wing regardless to whether Jones signs or not.
Percy Allen did his live chat feature again today.
As time runs out on this overcast Wednesday afternoon in Seattle, Terrence Jones is almost certain to wait until Spring Period to sign his letter. Jones’s mom was quoted in Zag Blog as saying that he is likely to wait.
“It’s looking that way. I can’t say for sure unless he has a breakout tomorrow [Wednesday] and calls me and tells me he’s ready to make a decision.”
ESPN’s Kansas site reported today that Washington is in the “Top tier” of Jones’ favorites:
“With regards to Jones’ recruitment, there appears to be two tiers. The consistent, first tier schools for his services are Kentucky, Washington, and Oregon, all three of which have received official visits from the versatile forward. Other schools that are still mentioned as possibilities, which fall into the second tier, are Kansas, UCLA and Arizona.”
We feel that though Kentucky is going to make a huge push for Jones, he and his family are going to opt to stay closer to home. It is also interesting to note that Oklahoma was not included in that list, but the list was not a direct quote from Jones or his mom, so this could all just be someone with a Kansas fan site’s speculation.
Basketball Prospectus ran an analysis piece on the UW/PSU game.
In the piece, author Kevin Pelton praised Pondexter, Thomas and UW’s depth, while pointing out that Gaddy is a work in progress and that the Vikings are a team that is not what they were last year.
Former Dawg Joe Wolfinger is doing well at the Citadel, starting for them at Center. In his last game, a one point loss to Charleston Southern, he scored 10 points and had 9 boards, while in the previous game he had 20 and 12.
What he needs is playing time and an opportunity to get untracked in game situations. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made a very good impression down there and landed himself a decent pro contract.
Future UW opponent Georgetown had a very tough time with Temple yesterday, but the Hoyas pulled out the 46-45 win. Not an impressive showing offensively from a team with 3 McDonalds AA’s on it, including arguably the best big man in D1 in Greg Monroe. If UW can slow down Monroe, I think that they have the defense to win this game, though Temple did exactly the opposite to what UW will do and that was to grind it out “Bennettball” style.
Seattle U Loses 2nd straight on the road
Seattle U’s Charles Garcia put in 30 points, logged 8 rebounds and on the bad side was forced into 9 turnovers, as a Cameron Dollar team lost on the road at Portland for the 2nd year in a row. Garcia will have an opportunity to show his stuff in the Key Arena tomorrow night against former ASU Sun Devil Sylvester Seay and NBA prospect Paul George of the Fresno State.
You have to wonder what Seattle U would look like with another player, preferably a good guard who could also deliver Garcia the ball, not to mention what Washington would do with a guy that could score this well.
Zags Impressive in Loss to Spartans
The Zags looked very impressive against last year’s runner up Michigan State, who is currently ranked #2 in the nation.
I was really impressed with Robert Sacre from Vancouver BC and Elias Harris from Germany. It’s nice to see the local teams do well, but I still don’t care if UW ever plays them. Dave Boling of the MNT disagrees.
Cougs Nip Eastern Washington
WSU beat EWU in what is often a tough match-up for some reason for the Cougs and the Zags for some reason. Klay Thompson proved to be the difference, as he came off a DeAngelo Casto screen with 42.1 seconds left to bury a 22-footer and secure the win. Thompson finished with 24 on a poor shooting night, while Deangelo had 15 and Reggie Moore 14 in what is starting to look like a three-headed offense. The Cougars must find another offensive threat or two if they want to be successful this season, but having another proven go-to-guy in Moore is a very nice development for them.
Faisal Aden, the JC transfer from Florida that was reported to have committed to Coach Ken Bone just last week, officially signed his Letter of Intent, according to the WSU Athletic Department.
Around the Pac-10
The Bruins put on a horrid show at home against a middle of the road (at best) Big West team. Cal State Fullerton is not the team of the mid-80’s that beat Chris Welp and the Huskies at their place in 1986, while I sat and watched in horror. That team, which included future NBA great Cedric Ceballos had a lot of talent and were probably on the level of a team like UNLV of St. Mary’s today. This Titan team is just run of the mill Big West stuff, made up of mostly Southern California kids that couldn’t even get a sniff from UCLA. They showed them though, beating the Uclans by 1 in double overtime.
The game wasn’t so much about the Titans, because other than this game, no one is going to remember them (subtle sports movie pun intended), this is game was about how bad UCLA is. Not how they were here early in the season, not how bad they could be if they play badly and not because of some excuse like injuries or missed practices. This UCLA team is the worst one that I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen every one going back to Lou Alcindor’s senior year (yes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the greatest center in history, played 4 years in college kids).
‘Zona could be starting another freshman in Solomon Hill.
Andy Katz picked the Ducks as one of his 10 programs primed to rise this season. I agree with the logic here. The Ducks have a lot of talent coming back that underachieved last year AND some really good puzzle pieces that were brought in for this season like Jamil Wilson who is a rebounding, athletic freak and only a pure freshman. Malcolm Armstead is not starting, but is dishing assists better than anyone on the squad.
Stanford Lost at San Diego 77-64 on Friday; beat Cal Poly 70-53 on Sunday and got their 2nd best scoring option after senior Landry Fields, Jeremy Green, back from suspension. Green was rusty, shooting 20.8 percent from the field.
The Cardinal then lost to Oral Roberts tonight. Not good for the Pac-10, but they only lost by two and Jeremy Green had his shooting touch back going for 20 on 6-11 from the field and 4-9 from three. Landry Fields led Stanford with 28.
USC looked respectable in beating UC Riverside, a team from the Big West picked ahead of CSF, 77-67.
There was a good analysis piece from Scout.
The Trojans could put some good things together under discipline oriented coach Kevin O’Neill. Right now they have 6 scholarship athletes available to play, but soon Alex Stepheson will be back and then later they will get back PG Mike Gerrity and PF Leonard Washington. The only scholarship PG available, Donte Smith, who was looking to transfer in the off-season to UC Irvine (another Big West school), played 40 minutes against UCR.
At least the Trojans have some firepower in Dwight Lewis, unlike ASU, who is woefully short of experienced scorers and UCLA who only has Malcolm Lee, who just can’t seem to stay on his feet for more than a moment or two and Mike Roll, who can catch and shoot from distance, but that is about it. I would have to believe that USC and UCLA will be fighting it out with ASU for the 7-9 spots in the league this year, unless one or both of the LA schools just self destruct from chemistry issues.
I could seriously see that happening with all of the prima donnas on that UCLA squad and the beatings that they will take this year. For USC, if the NCAA acts on the program during the season, it could really hurt their chemistry and morale. I actually think that USC stands a better chance of weathering a storm like that than UCLA, as the Trojans have already been through significant loss this past off-season.
ASU beat Texas State convincingly as Trent Lockett had a coming out party of sorts.
In the next game against TCU, as we mentioned earlier, Boateng was the story. Lockett went cold from the field, only scoring 3 points, but had 11 rebounds to again be a major difference for the Sun Devils.
OSU signed Devon Collier, the highly regarded PF from the Bronx NY. He should be an excellent added puzzle piece for the Beavers next fall, who will lose Calvin Hampton and Roeland Schaftenaar.