Posted on: August 1, 2011 10:48 am
Edited on: August 1, 2011 12:41 pm
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: July 27, 2011 10:50 am
Edited on: July 28, 2011 12:21 pm
By Jeff Goodman
One of these years I’ll get back to the Maui Invitational.
But I’m guessing it won’t be in 2012.
The field was officially released today and it’s solid, but not spectacular. It reads as follows: North Carolina, Butler, Illinois, Marquette, Texas, Mississippi State, USC and Chaminade.
I wanted to go this year with a stacked field that includes Duke, Kansas, Memphis, Michigan, UCLA, Tennessee, Georgetown and Chaminade. However, the issue is actually the mediocre 76 Classic that I would have hit following Maui.
The lone time I’ve actually been to the Maui Invitational was on my honeymoon (yes, my wife is pretty cool) back in 2000 when Arizona beat Illinois to win the event.
Other than, of course, the honeymoon portion of the trip – it was the chance to sit next to the late Pete Newell and pick his brain on the rickety bleachers in the Lahaina Civic Center.
Posted on: June 20, 2011 3:08 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 3:09 pm
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: June 1, 2011 3:02 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 3:21 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
The University of North Carolina is setting up the usual tough non-conference schedule for the 2011-12 season. In addition to the November 11 aircraft carrier game against Michigan State and a November 30 matchup with Wisconsin in the ACC/Big Ten challenge, the Tar Heels will also take part in the 11th annual Las Vegas Invitational. Games will be played in Orleans Arena on November 25 and 26.
The field includes host UNLV, as well as South Carolina of the SEC and Southern Cal from the Pac-12. First-round opponents for the automatic advancers will be Morgan State, Tennessee State, Cal Poly and Mississippi Valley State.
UNC won the event in 2007.
Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: May 23, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: May 23, 2011 5:13 pm
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.
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.
--Glen Dean (from Eastern Washington to Utah)
--Aaron Dotson (from LSU to Utah)
--Evan Gordon (from Liberty to Arizona State)
--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.
Posted on: May 17, 2011 9:30 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2011 9:30 pm
Posted by Jeff Borzello
Katin Reinhardt gave USC a very happy New Year’s when he committed to the Trojans on December 31.
Now, the two have parted ways – Reinhardt decommitted from USC Tuesday night.
“Yes, the dad just told me that he did,” said Gary Franklin Sr., Reinhardt’s AAU coach with California Supreme.
Reinhardt is a 6-foot-5 New Jersey native who plays at Mater Dei (Calif.). He is one of the best shooters in the class of 2012.
Prior to his commitment, Reinhardt was hearing from Colorado, Utah, UCLA, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Villanova and various Pac-10 programs.
Posted on: May 14, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: May 14, 2011 1:35 pm
Posted by Jeff Borzello
Watching Derrick Griffin run the floor and grab alley-oops – over and over and over – you would think he doesn’t even hesitate when going up for a dunk.
Interestingly, the 6-foot-6 forward from Terry (Tex.) does have second thoughts the split-second before he skies over defenders.
“Sometimes, I do get nerves,” Griffin said.
Of course, those thoughts quickly dissipate, turning into a confidence where he knows he can out-leap nearly any opponent.
“Then I just jump,” Griffin said. “If it’s there, I’m going to get it.”
Teamed with two top-10 prospects in twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison, Griffin was the one who stole the show at last weekend’s Nike Baltimore Elite Invitational. He wowed the crowd with one-handed finishes, alley-oops when he rose high above the rim and big-time blocks on the defensive end.
Although he can certainly make an impact at the next level in basketball, Griffin is also a stud football player. As a wide receiver, Griffin reportedly caught 18 touchdown passes, proving to be an impossible match-up with his athleticism and strength.
Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M, Oregon, Kansas and USC have already reached out to the sophomore for both sports.
He has not made up his mind as to which sport he will play in the future, but Griffin knows his development might be better suited for the hardwood.
“If I get taller, I’m going to play basketball,” he said.
Lee to take it to the next level
Britton Lee understands.
The Roman Catholic (Pa.) sophomore knows he’s 5-foot-10 and isn’t yet a pure point guard or a big-time shooter. He knows he has room to improve and has a lot of work to do in order to reach his goals.
“I need to work on my jump shot, need to work on my handle,” Lee said.
With that said, Lee also envisions himself as a major conference player.
“I think I can go high-major,” he said.
For now, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Xavier and Niagara are showing varying levels of interest.
- The U-16 group of the Team Final AAU program is one of the top groups in the country, although they also play up an age group in a few tournaments. In addition to Lee and high-major prospects Austin Colbert, Rondae Jefferson and Davon Reed, head coach Rob Brown also has plenty of other players at his disposal.
Yosef Yacob, a 6-foot point guard from Archbishop Carroll (Pa.), is hearing from Canisius, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph’s and Drexel. Yacob is long and an effective facilitator.
Johnnie Davis might be undersized at 6-foot-4, but the Neumann-Goretti (Pa.) forward is productive. Davis is hearing from schools like Niagara and George Mason, but also has high-majors like Pittsburgh tracking him.
- At the Nike Baltimore Elite Invitational last weekend, the New Jersey Playaz should have run roughshod over Threat 220. One player wouldn’t let that happen, though: Junius Thomas.
Thomas, a 6-foot-5 forward from Anacostia (D.C.), was outstanding. He blocked shots, finished above the rim, dominated the glass and single-handedly kept an undermanned Threat team in the game. While they eventually lost, Thomas might have been the most impressive player all game.
If he can get his academics in order, he has the potential to be at least a mid-level player. Thomas did mention hearing from St. Bonaventure and Clemson
Posted on: March 16, 2011 9:44 am
Posted by Jeff Borzello
Besides picking a champion and the Final Four, the most common question concerning the NCAA tournament brackets are Cinderellas and sleepers in the double-digit seeds. While the 13 seeds might be the strongest ever, many of the best mid-major teams received difficult draws.
Belmont has a disciplined opponent in Wisconsin, which won’t rattle or turn the ball over; Oakland drew Texas, which can match up with Keith Benson on the inside; Louisville shoots too well for Morehead State; and Kentucky will be able to play in the half-court with Princeton. For the No. 12 seeds, Vanderbilt has the defensive personnel to guard Richmond, while Kansas State should be prepared for Utah State.
For upsets, though, check out the No. 11 seed line. It’s not far-fetched to think that all four will advance into the round of 32.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles were up and down all season, but they proved time and time again that they are capable of beating high-quality teams. Against Xavier, Marquette has the personnel to come out on top. Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder are match-up nightmares in the frontcourt, as Xavier’s big men, Kenny Frease and Jamel McLean, will be drawn away from the rim. They can’t compete with Butler and Crowder on the perimeter. Tu Holloway is capable of carrying the Musketeers, but Marquette has the size and length on the perimeter to give him problems.
Missouri: I actually envision the Tigers reaching the Sweet 16. Sure, they were inconsistent during Big 12 play and were awful away from Columbia, but hear me out. Missouri runs the “Fastest 40 Minutes,” which is difficult to prepare for on short notice, but is beatable when you see it over and over again. The Tigers had a great non-conference season, but struggled within the conference. Big 12 opponents knew what to expect. Cincinnati will have trouble with Missouri’s speed and athleticism, while a tired Connecticut team that has struggled against defensive pressure all season is waiting in the second round.
USC/VCU: While I think USC will beat VCU, both teams are more than capable of knocking off Georgetown. USC gets great frontcourt production from Nikola Vucevic and Alex Stepheson, which will make life difficult for the Hoyas in the paint. Marcus Simmons is a lockdown defender who can slow down Austin Freeman. VCU plays an aggressive brand of defense that relies on pressure and turnovers; without a healthy Chris Wright, the Hoyas won’t be able to handle the Rams. If Wright is back to 100 percent, though, Georgetown can make a deep run. It’s doubtful, though.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs were left for dead in early February, when they were 15-9 and struggling mightily. Since then, they have rattled off nine straight wins and get pitted against a St. John’s team not playing its best basketball of the season. The Red Storm lost two their final four games, and barely escaped against Rutgers. Moreover, they lost D.J. Kennedy for the season with an injury. Gonzaga struggles to defend the perimeter, but the Red Storm have a scant few players who can knock down the three – and Kennedy was one of them. St. John’s struggles on the glass, while Gonzaga has Elias Harris, Robert Sacre and co. down low. If Demetri Goodson and Marquise Carter take care of the ball against the pressure, Gonzaga should win.
Photo: US Presswire