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Tag:Washington State
Posted on: December 19, 2011 9:22 am
Edited on: December 19, 2011 9:33 am
 

Easy to confuse Pac-12 with a mid-major league


By Jeff Goodman

There's no East Coast bias here. The Pac-12 stinks. Plain and simple. 

"No excuses," one head coach in the league texted me. "You're right." 

There's truly no defense for what's gone on out west thus far. The league has been absolutely manhandled. 

Sunday was just another day in the park for the Pac-12, one that saw South Dakota State pummel Washington in Seattle and then watched Virginia go out to Oregon and take care of the Ducks. 

A day prior, there was no shame in Gonzaga working over Arizona in Seattle. But what about Northern Arizona - with a 70-year-old interim head coach -- knocking off Herb Sendek's Arizona State Sun Devils?  Or Georgia going west and beating USC at the Galen Center?

The league doesn't have a single victory against a Top 25 team. In fact, it's nearly impossible to find the most impressive win notched by anyone in the league. It's been so pitiful that a case can be made for Oregon State's come-from-behind win in New Jersey against a young Texas team as the flagship win for the Pac-12 thus far. 

This could be a two-bid league. Probably should be a two-bid league. 

We thought, entering the season, there were four teams that were capable of making a legitimate run to the NCAA tournament. Maybe even a handful - if you want to include an Oregon team that was thrown together due to desperation. 

UCLA appeared formidable on paper, but we quickly learned that one player can truly wreck a season (see: Reeves Nelson). Arizona isn't nearly as talented as some thought, especially with talented freshman Josiah Turner refusing to buy into Sean Miller's approach early in the season. 

Oregon's Dana Altman has already lost his top freshman, Jabari Brown, and is now reliant on a bunch of second-chance guys (i.e. Devoe Joseph, Tony Woods) and Washington, the most talented team in the league, earned its most impressive win against UC Santa Barbara. California was blasted by Missouri and also lost on the road to what everyone figured was a rebuilding San Diego State club. 

Stanford has been the most impressive team in the league thus far with a 9-1 record, but the Cardinal still hasn't notched a victory against an NCAA tourney team. The loss was impressive, against top-ranked Syracuse in New York, but the most significant wins have come against N.C. State and Oklahoma State - a pair of teams likely headed to the NIT. 

Don't even get me started on teams like Arizona State (4-6), Washington State (which lost to UC Riverside), USC (which already has seven losses), Colorado (which has lost to Wyoming and Colorado State) and a dismal Utah team. None will even be on the bubble for the CBI or CollegeInsider.com. 

Listen, I want to defend the Pac-12. I graduated from a school in the league. 

But I'd lose all credibility in doing so. 

The league is currently ranked ninth in the RPI, behind the A-10 and Missouri Valley and barely in front of the WCC and C-USA.  

However, if there's one positive spin I can put on the Pac-12's misery, it's the fact that this league is up for grabs, a complete toss-up right now. It's difficult to imagine a scenario in which the regular-season champ doesn't get an at -large bid to go dancing - and obviously, the tourney winner gets an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. 

That means everyone in the league still has a shot. 

Well, maybe not quite everyone.


Posted on: September 6, 2011 10:09 am
 

Multiple suitors in need of (Wannah) Bail

By Jeff Borzello

Wannah Bail certainly has the name of a basketball player. Extremely long and athletic, Bail also has the build and body of a highly-touted prospect.

This summer, however, Bail felt he didn’t get a chance to show his full host of talents due to a toe injury.

“Not my best, especially coming off injury,” he said. “I had always felt as if I could have done something better, even after giving it my all.”

When healthy, Bail has the physical tools to be a dominant performer. Ranked No. 68 in the CBSSports.com Top 100, the 6-foot-7 power forward runs the floor extremely well and uses his strength to make plays at both ends of the court. He can get solid position for offensive post-ups, and he is a very good shot-blocker and rebounder. If he refines his offensive game, Bail could be a stud.

Bail, a native of the Bahamas, is now enrolled at Lamar Consolidated (Texas) after bouncing around a few high schools in the Lonestar State last year. His recruitment will also begin to sort itself out with coaches finally able to track him during the school season.

“It’s going good,” Bail said of his recruitment. “I’m really enjoying it.”

For now, Bail is hearing from Auburn, St. John’s, Houston, Texas Tech, Florida State, Maryland, Kansas, South Florida, Indiana, Texas A&M, Baylor, Washington State and others. All besides Kansas have offered.

Bail plans to take his recruitment slowly, but did take a visit to Houston on Saturday, when the Cougars beat UCLA in the football season opener. Michael Carey and Chicken Knowles also joined him on campus.

Don’t look for a decision soon.

“I have no favorites,” he said.

Photo: Adidas Nations

Posted on: August 1, 2011 10:48 am
Edited on: August 1, 2011 12:41 pm
 

Pac-12 Offseason Report

By Jeff Goodman

I graduated from a Pac-12 school, but it's still going to take me a while before I don't keep saying Pac-10. Anyway, here's the Pac-12 Offseason Report. 

Pac-12 Offseason Report

Arizona – Archie Miller left to become the head coach at Dayton and was replaced by Joe Pasternak, who was previously the head coach at New Orleans. The Wildcats will play in the Coaches vs. Cancer and also have non-league games against San Diego State (11-23), at Florida (12-7), at Clemson (12-10) at Gonzaga (12-17 in Seattle). Lamont “Momo” Jones (Iona) and Daniel Berejano (Colorado State) both transferred out of the program.

Arizona State – The Sun Devils will play in the Old Spice Classic in Florida and have non-league games against New Mexico (11-18), at Tulsa (12-3) and against Nevada (12-7). Brandon Dunson (Azusa Pacific) and Corey Hawkins (UC Davis) both transferred out while Sendek & Co. added Eric Gordon’s brother, Evan, from Liberty.

California – The Bears will play in the CBE Classic in Kansas City and also have non-conference dates at San Diego State (12-3) and at UNLV (12-23). Mike Montgomery’s team will also travel to Sweden, Norway and Denmark from Aug. 12-22. Justin Cobbs is eligible this season after sitting out last season following a transfer from Minnesota.

Colorado – Tad Boyle & Co. will play in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off (11-17/20) and also has non-league games set against Georgia (11-28), at Colorado State (11-30) and against Fresno (12-7). Carlon Brown (Utah) is eligible this year after sitting out last season.

Oregon – The Ducks will go to Italy from Aug. 22 through Sept. 2. Dana Altman’s team will also host a four-team event from Dec. 20-22 that includes N.C. Central, Prairie View A&M and Stephen F. Austin and also play Virginia on Dec. 18. Three players left the program: Malcolm Armstead (Wichita State), Martin Seiferth (Eastern Washington) and Teondre Williams (Clayton State) while Olu Ashaolu (Louisiana Tech) came in and will be eligible to play this season and Tony Woods also decided to transfer to Eugene.

Oregon State – The Beavers will play in the Legends Classic and don’t have any big-time non-league games. Eric Moreland is eligible after sitting out last season following his transfer from UTEP.

Stanford – Johnny Dawkins and his team will go to Spain from Sept. 3-14. Charles Payne was promoted to an assistant spot and replaces Rodney Tention (San Diego). The Cardinal will play in the Preseason NIT and also have non-league games against N.C. State (12-4) and against Butler (12-23).  

UCLA – Scott Duncan left to join friend Larry Shatt’s staff at Wyoming and was replaced by former Atlanta Celtics summer coach Korey McCray. Ben Howland’s team will play in the Maui Invitational and also has non-conference contests against Texas (12-3), vs. Richmond (12-23) and at St. John’s (2-18). Larry Drew (North Carolina) transferred into the program and will sit out while two more former Tar Heels – David and Travis Wear – are eligible this season.

USC – The Trojans will take a trip to Brazil from Aug. 12-21. Ryan Hannick is out as the director of basketball operations and has been replaced by Jamal Bode, Kevin O’Neill’s former manager at Arizona. O’Neill & Co. will play in the Las Vegas Invitational (11-25/26) and the Trojans will also play at Minnesota (12-3), New Mexico at home (12-10), Georgia at home (12-17) and Kansas at home (12-22) in the non-league slate. Bryce Jones (UNLV) left the program while Ari Stewart (Wake Forest) and Eric Wise (UC Irvine) both transferred in. Aaron Fuller (Iowa) is eligible this season after sitting out last year.

Utah – New coach Larry Krystkowiak put together a staff of Tommy Connor, DeMarlo Slocum, Andy Hill and Norm Parrish (director of basketball operations). The Utes will play in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas and also have non-league games at Fresno (12-3), vs. BYU (12-10) and vs. Cal State Fullerton (12-7). Utah has added Glen Dean (Eastern Washington) and Aaron Dotson (LSU) while Will Clyburn (Iowa State) and J.J. O’Brien (San Diego State) left the program.

Washington – The Huskies are hosting an event with Florida Atlantic, Georgia State and Portland and will also play in the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 6 against Marquette in NYC. Lorenzo Romar’s team will also play at Saint Louis (11-20), at Nevada (12-2) and against Duke at Madison Square Garden (12-10).

Washington State – Ken Bone’s team will play in the 76 Classic in Anaheim and also against Pepperdine in the Cougar Hardwood Classic on Dec. 22 in Seattle. The Cougars will also face Gonzaga on Nov. 14 on the road. Andre Winston (Portland State) left while Royce Woolridge (Kansas) transferred into the program. Mike Ladd (Fresno) is eligible after sitting out last year.

Offseason reports: Big 12 
Posted on: June 20, 2011 3:08 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 3:09 pm
 

Brandon Ashley stakes claim to top-five ranking

INTERESTED TEAMS:



By Jeff Borzello

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – When discussing the top players in the class of 2012, Brandon Ashley is not always mentioned in the case for number one.

Ashley takes offense to that.

“I definitely feel like I belong in the top five,” he said. “I know I’m just as good or better. My skill level is not an issue. I just have to play harder, play more consistently.”

The 6-foot-9 forward from Bishop O’Dowd (Calif.) certainly made his case at the NBPA Top 100 camp last week. Ashley showed off his all-around skill set, scoring with his back to the basket and knocking down face-up jumpers. He runs the floor better than most big men, and also handles the ball and passes well for someone his size.

Ashley’s potential is through the roof, and when he brings maximum effort, he is tough to contain.

“I’m trying to become an all-around better player, an inside-outside player,” he said.

Ashley has plenty of suitors at this point, but said he is ready to cut down his list in the near future. For now, though, it seems a number of colleges have a shot at him.

“I’m wide-open, but a lot of the same schools [are involved],” Ashley said. “The Pac-10, the SEC, Kansas, schools like that. Everyone is coming at me the hardest.”

In addition to the entire Pac-10 and Kansas, Wake Forest, Texas, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Connecticut and others are also recruiting him.

One school mentioned in association with Ashley in the past has been Kentucky, but he said the Wildcats’ pursuit has tailed off.

“They’ve sent me a few emails, but that’s it,” he said.

When Ashley does make a final decision – which doesn’t look like any time soon – he is looking for a school that already has established talent on the roster

 “I want to go to a place where I’m surrounded by good players, with a good coaching staff,” Ashley said.

Photo: Media 411


Posted on: May 23, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: May 23, 2011 5:13 pm
 

Conference Catch-ups: the Pac-12

Everybody say 'hey' to the new guy!

Posted by Eric Angevine

It may still feel like the Final Four just ended, but for most schools, the offseason is now more than two months old. With that in mind, all of us at the blog are going to take this week to give you what we’re calling “Conference Catch-Ups.” The motive is to recap the biggest storylines in college basketball’s offseason so far, plus keep your appetite whetted in what is the longest offseason in major American sports.


The Big Stories

Twelve to tango: It’s the Pac-12 now, which might take some getting used to. At least it’s numerically correct, unlike the 10-member Big 12 and the 12-member Big Ten. In adding Utah from the Mountain West, the Pac-12 has brought aboard a once-dominant squad (The Utes reached the Sweet 16 in 2005 and the final game in 1998) that has fallen on hard times. Head coach Jim Boylen was jettisoned after a second straight losing season, and former Montana and NBA head coach Larry Krystkowiak was brought on board. Colorado, despite finishing out of the running in their final season in the Big 12, comes in with a lot of momentum, most of it attached to the person of second-year head man Tad Boyle, a Colorado native who calls the Buffs his “dream job”. Both squads may start out rough, but a change of scenery might do them good.

It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there: The Pac-12 still gets its share of top players, but stars continue to leave after spending just a year or two out West. This season saw the departures of Derrick Williams (Arizona), Alec Burks (Colorado), Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto (Washington State), Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee (UCLA), Nikola Vucevic (USC) and Isaiah Thomas (Washington).  Even Colorado’s Ryan Kelly and Jeremy Green of Stanford took the plunge, though neither has any real chance of getting the call.

Miller puts down roots in the desert: Who can blame the players for wanting to leave when the coaches are burning up the revolving door? With more than half the league’s head men logging less than five years at their respective jobs, sticking around almost seems like a bad career move. That didn’t stop Sean Miller from turning down overtures from just about every other power conference in the nation this spring. He flirted more heavily with Maryland than with anyone else, but eventually accepted an extension to stay in Tucson. It’s sunny there, and he just came off of an Elite Eight appearance. Sounds like a pretty good deal, no?

The Great Unknown

Can this conference recover? Ben Howland’s teams made the Final Four (or better) in every year from 2006 to 2008. Then success bred failure as all of the program’s most talented players jetted off to the golden shores of the NBA long before their eligibility could expire. The league is still reeling from frequent transfers, as well. The strongest programs right now look to be Arizona, Washington and, with more talent on the way, UCLA again. In fact, had the Wildcats broken through to the final weekend this past March, would we even be asking this question?

NBA Draft report

As pointed out above, half the darn league seems to be out the door each season. The superstar out of this bunch is Williams, who has the athleticism and size to throw down some nasty inside dunks, paired with a sweet outside stroke that keeps opponents whirling. Toss in a tendency to make the big, sometimes game-winning play on offense and defense and you’ve got an easy lottery pick.

Alec Burks, who played his career in the Big 12, is considered to be a likely first-rounder, as are Klay Thompson and Tyler Honeycutt. Big man Nikola Vucevic looks like a high second rounder, and everything else is a crapshoot. It would be one thing if all those players left for obvious gain, but so many of them are unlikely to see their dreams come true.

Transference

Coming
              
--Larry Drew II (from North Carolina).

--Glen Dean (from Eastern Washington to Utah)

--Aaron Dotson (from LSU to Utah)

--Evan Gordon (from Liberty to Arizona State)

Going
              
--Lamont ‘MoMo’ Jones (from Arizona)

--Malcolm Armstead (from Oregon)

--Teondre Williams (from Oregon)

--Daniel Berejano (from Arizona to Nevada)

--Will Clyburn (from Utah to Iowa State)

 

Team commentary in 20 words or Less

Arizona: The Derrick and MoMo show is no more, but Miller is staying put. Wildcats rebuilt fast, however, and look good to go under Sean Miller.

Arizona State: Herb Sendek is playing small-ball with guys who can’t shoot straight. Will freshman PG Jahii Carson be able to turn the bus?

Cal: The Bears struggled with a wet-behind-the-ears starting lineup, but all that teaching time could pay off this year.

Colorado: The Buffs have a couple of decent young players, a hot head coach and a little momentum going into their new digs. With little certainty at the top of the Pac-12, they could have opportunities.

Oregon: Dana Altman proved he can coach by building a CBI championship team out of E.J. Singler and duct tape. Year two could be fun.

Oregon State: Craig Robinson is going to be up for re-election around the same time as his brother in law. Running mate Jared Cunningham could make the race exciting.

Stanford: Johnny Dawkins reeled in one of the best young point guards in the nation in Chasson Randle. Still looking for a reliable scorer with Jeremy Green gone.

UCLA: The Wear twins plus Josh Smith makes this a huge team, but the Bruins are still in need of a reliable point guard.

USC: The Trojans are losing Nikola Vucevic to the NBA and don’t look to have anything spectacular on the way in.

Washington: Top scorers Isaiah Thomas and Matthew Bryan-Amaning are gone, but the Huskies have a loaded freshman class coming in.

Washington State: Klay Thompson was a predictable loss, but the toughness of DeAngelo Casto will be missed as well. This team needs to find a new personality.

Utah: With a new head coach and transfers going in and out all over the place, this team is starting from scratch.


Photos: US Presswire

Big East Conference Catch-up

Posted on: May 13, 2011 4:35 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2011 4:39 pm
 

Recruiting Notebook: Thornwell on the rise

Posted by Jeff Borzello

The class of 2013 is going to be known for its depth at the wing position, and one player making his way up the rankings is Sindarius Thornwell.

Thornwell, a 6-foot-4 sophomore from Lancaster (S.C.), makes an immediate impact because of his length and athleticism. He handles the ball and distributes well for someone his size, and is also adept at finishing.

“I’m quick and I can handle the ball,” Thornwell said. “I’m always attacking and I play defense.”

Plenty of colleges have taken notice of the versatile 2013 prospect.

Thornwell currently holds offers from South Carolina, Clemson, Tennessee State, Georgia Southern and Charlotte. He also has interest from Louisville, UCF and the entire ACC besides North Carolina and Duke.

Thornwell, who has visited Clemson and South Carolina, knows exactly what he needs in a school.

“I’m looking for playing style, good academics and playing time,” he said. “That’s it.”

2013 big man looking to improve

Most 6-foot-10 sophomores can get by on size and length alone. Andre Walker, on the other hand, is constantly looking to get better.

As it stands, he is a talented but raw big man who can run the floor and finish after he catches it.

“I need to make strong moves and play better defense,” Walker said. “I need to get better, get stronger. I also want to work on my perimeter game. I’m working hard.”

The Clarksburg (Md.) native is hearing from DePaul, Washington State, VCU, Northwestern, George Mason and Maryland.

Whitfield transfers to team with Tyler Lewis

North Carolina is loaded with prospects in the class of 2012. One player flying under the radar is Shane Whitfield, a 6-foot-5 forward.

In an attempt to make a name for himself, Whitfield is transferring next year to Forsyth Country Day School (N.C.). There, he will team up with North Carolina State commit Tyler Lewis in hopes of increasing his recruitment.

“It’s better competition,” Whitfield said. “I want to get better everyday.”

Right now, Whitfield has offers from Delaware, American, Campbell and Holy Cross, with interest from Richmond, Charlotte and East Carolina.

Other notes:

- A Texas team in need of impact players could pick up one this weekend. Recently available Sterling Gibbs and North Carolina State transfer Ryan Harrow are both visiting Austin this weekend.

- Unsigned 2011 center Daouda Soumaoro is currently on an official visit to Washington. Soumaoro took a trip to St. John’s recently, and said he enjoyed it.

- Top-50 2012 forward Ricardo Gathers is taking an unofficial visit to St. John’s this weekend. The Louisiana native also wants to take a trip to Florida.

Photo: 6manbasketball.com 

Posted on: April 18, 2011 4:03 pm
 

Making the Leap: Klay Thompson tests waters

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Washington State did not have a single senior on its roster this past season, yet might be without two of its best players next year.

DeAngelo Casto already announced he was going pro, but leading scorer Klay Thompson’s announcement Monday will make more of a splash.

Thompson, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard who averaged 21.6 points last season, said he would test the waters of the NBA draft, but would not hire an agent. He leaves open the option of returning to the Cougars for his senior campaign.

“He wants to get a couple of workouts to see where he fits,” said Mychal Thompson, Klay’s father and a former NBA player. “It was a very difficult decision. He’s very sentimental about college, and it’s not 100 percent he’s leaving.”
NBA Draft

Without Casto and Thompson, the Cougars could struggle next season in the Pac-12. Thompson was one of the most dominant perimeter scorers in college basketball, while Casto provided an inside presence.

In terms of the returnees, Faisal Aden started strong at the guard position, but faded at times down the stretch. Reggie Moore is a playmaker that runs the offense, while Marcus Capers is an elite on-ball defender. Brock Motum and Abe Lodwick will also have to step up in the starting lineup. The recruiting class isn’t likely to make too big of an impact.

The Pac-12 should take a step forward next season, but without Thompson, it remains to be seen if Washington State will be a part of the movement.

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 22, 2011 10:48 am
 

Tough teams still battling in NIT's final eight

Posted by Eric Angevine

The NIT is an interesting beast. Conference champions who don't get auto-bids go there, as do power-conference teams who feel 'snubbed' by the NCAA selection committee. It's an interesting time to see which teams roll over and give up and which keep on fighting.

Of the notable snubs, a couple have shown that fight. Several haven't. Harvard went out in the first round, which is no shame, but the score was lamentable. A 71-54 loss at Oklahoma State put an early end to one of the finest seasons in Crimson history. Tommy Amaker is getting passing mention as a candidate for a job higher up the totem pole, so there's a lot of doubt surrounding the program at a time when the next step seems to be well within reach.

Last year's champ, Dayton, lost by ten at home to start the tourney. Fifth-seeded Nebraska managed just 49 points in a loss to Wichita State, and Coastal Carolina was rock-bottom in the first round, scoring just 44.  Virginia Tech made the second round as a No. 1 seed, then bowed in OT at home when Wichita State came calling.

Speaking of the Shockers, enough about the letdowns. Let's talk about which teams are setting up to make a trip to Madison Square Garden at the end of March.

Andrew Goudelock could shine at MSG, if he gets thereIn one regional final, 1-seed Alabama and 2-seed Miami meet up. Anthony Grant's Crimson Tide defeated Coastal Carolina and New Mexico to arrive at this juncture. The Hurricanes went through conference champions Florida Atlantic and Missouri State. Frank Haith had a strange, error-filled finish in the ACC tournament. Against Virginia, the mistakes evened out in his favor. Against North Carolina, the breaks went to the other team. The Tide are doubtless looking to prove that their rise in Grant's second season is a meaningful turnaround. Getting to MSG will show real progress on that front.

Next up are No. 1 Colorado and the MAC regular season champs, No. 7 Kent State. Colorado, which seemed poised to make the Big Dance in Tad Boyle's first season, are making up for the snub by cruising past Texas Southern and Cal. The Golden Flashes put the coda on No. 2 St. Mary's postseason collapse in the first round, then nipped Fairfield 72-68 to get one round away from New York City. The talent advantage here is all on the Buffs' side of the court, and Boyle is looking to make a positive statement as his team prepares for Pac-12 play next season.

Rather than sit at home and mope about missing the NCAA tourney again, the No. 4 Northwestern Wildcats have gone on a tear in the NIT. The purple warriors swamped Horizon champs Milwaukee and took down ACC also-ran Boston College to get to this point, where they'll meet No. 2 Washington State. Cougars star Klay Thompson scored 26 in the second round to knock out Oklahoma State, after WSU took care of Long Beach State in round one. It will be interesting to see if this matchup goes the way of veteran coach Bill Carmody or tips to up-and-coming Ken Bone.

The last quarterfinal matchup is very intriguing. In a matchup of mid-major toughs, No. 4 Wichita State will meet Bobby Cremins and No. 6 College of Charleston. The Shockers had an impressive road to this point, and could be favored to cut down some nets in MSG. They beat Nebraska and Virginia Tech -- two teams with fairly strong at-large resumes -- to get here. If there's an equalizer on the other side of the court, it's composed of two parts: Cremins' vast experience, and the seldom-seen play of Andrew Goudelock (right). The 6-foot-2 senior scored 39 in the first round to oust defending NIT champs Dayton, then joined in a more balanced effort to send Cleveland State packing. It's a shame only one of these teams can get to the Garden.

NIT games resume tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET, with Kent State at Colorado on ESPN.

CBS Sports NIT page

Photo: US Presswire

More NCAA tournament coverage
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com