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Tag:Oregon Ducks
Posted on: October 27, 2009 2:55 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2009 10:26 am
 

PAC-10 Preview

Despite the prognostications that the PAC-10 would have down years, six teams have received NCAA Tournament bids in each of the past two seasons, including three Sweet-16 finishes and one Final Four.

But thanks to a mass exodus of talent (27 NBA draftees in three seasons) has the four-season streak of 60% of the conference in the NCAA Tournament in jeopardy, and appears that the pundits prognostications will prove that the third time truly is a charm.

The biggest reason why the PAC-10 could have a down year is because of their youth and lack of quality veteran players. The PAC-10 lost ten players to the NBA draft in 2009, seven of which were first-round picks. If that’s not bad enough, only two players (Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle) from the All-Conference team will return for a 2010 encore. Don’t take a down-year for the PAC-10 to mean they won’t be competitive – after all, this isn’t C-USA.

With a large influx of young talent, including four Top-25 recruiting classes (UCLA, Arizona, Washington, and Oregon State) according to both Rivals.com and Scout.com, the PAC-10 as a whole is staving off the rebuilding process.

In the conference only three teams can be considered to be on the rise compared to a year ago, three more remained stagnant, while four teams have taken a hit on the talent front and have no sure replacement for it.

If the player changes aren’t enough to cause some concern for a lull in the performance of the conference, the coaching changes should. The conference continues to get its coaching make-over with three new coaches taking the sidelines bringing the total to half the league in the past two years.

With all the changes occurring during the off-season, the conference will likely get off to a bumpy start, and fans every where will have to withhold judgment until the end of the season when the obstacles of coaching changes, and youth have all been overcome.

The biggest trend to be aware of is what team can get solid frontcourt play. If any team solid gets surprising dominance in their frontcourt they could have an fast-track to the top of the conference since there is but a select few quality big men in the conference.



Arizona – It was an unfortunate end to a well respected and endeared coach, but it had to happen sometime. Arizona improves their situation as they were finally able to go away from the interim coaches and bring in Sean Miller. They dodged more than one bullet in the process though.

Washington State – The final day for Bennett in Pullman was rumored to have been on the horizon for over a year before he finally left. The Cougars get a solid coach in Bone, but the transition will take a few years before the Cougars could become truly competitive.

USC – The biggest losers in all of the off-season changes were spared the changes at coach either. Scandal, or rumor of one at the very least, ran of Tim Floyd. To replace him they brought in the ever-wandering Kevin O’Neill who has had limited success any where he has gone.

Pre-Season Predictions
Standings:
1. Cal (NCAA)
2. Washington (NCAA)
3. UCLA (NCAA)
4. Arizona (NCAA)
5. Oregon (NIT)
6. Oregon State (NIT)
7. ASU
8. Washington State
9. USC
10. Stanford

Player of the Year: Jerome Randle
Freshman of the Year: Abdul Gaddy
First-Team All PAC-10:                       First All-Freshman Team:
*Chosen by position
PG - Patrick Christopher (CAL)             PG - Abdul Gaddy (UW)
SG - Jerome Randle (CAL)                  SG - Trent Lockett (ASU)
SF - Quincy Pondexter (UW)                SF - Tyler Honeycutt (UCLA)
PF - Joevan Catron (OU)                     PF - Reeves Nelson (UCLA)
C - Michael Dunigan (OU)                   C- Kyryl Natyazhko (UofA)
Team by Team:

Arizona Wildcats
The Wildcats aren't the same team they were a year ago. They've lost Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill, and Lute Olson is now completley out of the picture. But new head coach Sean Miller has done a sensational recruiting job bringing in a Top 25 recruiting class with just under a month's worth of work.
The 'Cats are young and will be relying on freshman or returning role players for significant production, so expect a rough start to the season. But once PAC-10 play rolls around, expect the 'Cats to be ready to compete for a finish in the top half of the conference.

The Big Question: Can the 'Cats over-come the adjustment to their third coach in three seasons, and needing impact play from former role players and incoming freshman to make it to their 26th consecutive NCAA Tournament?
Key Departures: Jordan Hill, Chase Budinger, Zane Johnson
Key Additions: Kyryl Natyazhko, Solomon Hill, Lamot "MoMo" Jones

 

Arizona State Sun Devils
The Sun Devils are the second team to lose their best two players, James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph, to the draft, but they did little to compensate for it. The Sun Devils will return to their meticulous, slow-down offense hoping to grind opponents down with fundamental play.

The Big Question: Can the Sun Devils compesate for the loss of Harden and Pendergraph with a turnaround performance by Eric Boateng and a Freshman of the Year type performance from Trent Lockett?
Key Departures: James Harden, Jeff Pendergraph
Key Arrivals: SG Trent Lockett, SF Victor Rudd

California Golden Bears
With five seniors and two juniors, Cal is by far the most experienced team in the conference. Thanks to that, and returning All-Conference players Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle, the Golden Bears should be the odds-on favorite to win the conference.

The Big Question: With no major changes to their lineup, can the Golden Bears rely on their experience and depth to push them to the top of the conference in Mike Montgomerey's second year in Berkeley?
Key Departures: None
Key Arrivals: None

Oregon Ducks
The Ducks were a surprising disappointment in 2008-2009. Be sure to keep that in mind as they the Ducks have plenty of young talent on their roster, but simply failed to capitalize on it a year ago. The biggest improvement should come from center Michael Dunigan who was a non-factor for much of the year last year. With rumors swirling aobut Ernie Kent's job, the clock could be ticking.

The Big Question: Can Kent capitalize on the young talent he has to save his job?
Key Departures: Franz Dorsainvil
Key Additions: SF Jamil Wilson, SF E.J. Singler

Oregon State
Klay Thompson and the Beavers are good. They're not great, but they are good. With a weakened PAC-10 and a solid recruiting class for the Beavers, they could have etched a top 5 finish for the first time in decades. It won't be easy, but they could fight it out. You have to like the progress they've made in just one year under Craig Robinson, and because of that it makes you wonder how high their ceiling will be in years to come.

The Big Question: After making significant strides last year, can the Beavers continue to surprise in 2009-2010 by jumping into the top five of the with the additions of some solid recruits?
Key Departures: Rickey Claitt
Key Arrivals: Roberto Nelson, Jared Cunningham

Stanford Cardinal
Landry Fields is the star for the Cardinal who enter their second year under former Duke assistant Johnny Dawkins. The Cardinal are likely hurting the most after their off-season losses, especially since they relied on bringing in transfers and only one recruit to replace Kenny Brown, Anthony Goods, Lawrence Hill, and Mitch Johnson..

The Big Question:
Can the Cardinal take a step in the right direction despite losing 3 of their 5 starters and a key bench player or will they continue to suffer heavily for another year?
Key Departures: Kenny Brown, Anthony Goods, Lawrence Hill, Mitch Johnson
Key Additions: Gabriel Harris, Andrew Zimmerman

UCLA Bruins
The Bruins once again have reloaded in the off-season. And thanks to arguably the best recruiting class in the conference they look to be in the mix for conference champs come late February. The boys of Westwood are one of only a few teams that managed to stave off a huge drop in talent thanks to their recruiting.

The Big Question: Can the freshman and role players from the past two years turn the Bruins into a serious contender, or will they be like seven of the other teams looking for table scraps after Cal and Washington have cleared through?
Key Departures: Alfred Aboya, Darren Collison, Josh Shipp, Jrue Holiday, James Diefenbach
Key Arrivals: Tyler Honeycutt, Brendan Lane, Mike Moser, Nelson Reeves, Anthony Stover

USC Trojans
Scandal has been associated with USC for the past several years, but that was football … or so we thought. When Tim Floyd basically admitted to the major violation by stepping down, the entire program effectively went with him. The Trojans still have some talent, and a new coach in Kevin O’Neill who demands hard work out of his players, but its not enough. This will be their best year for a while, but they’ll still be in the bottom-half of the conference.

The Big Question: It's not really if, but how far will the Trojans fall without a premier freshman on the wing and no threat to speak of inside the paint.
Key Departures: Tim Floyd, DeMar DeRozan, Taj Gibson, Daniel Hackett, Terence Green, Marcus Johnson, Keith WilkinsonTheir entire 2009 recruiting class.
Key Arrivals: Kevin O’Neill – wow, that’s SAD that he isn’t just a key arrival, but the only key arrival

Washington Huskies
The Huskies electrified people with their backcourt a season ago, and with the addition of Abdul Gaddy, they’ll look to do it again this year. The Huskies, however, are now without Jon Brockman and look to Matthew Bryan-Amaning to fill the void.

The Big Question: Can the Huskies get enough production out of their frontcourt to overcome the Golden Bears for top spot in the conference, or will the loss of Brockman be too much?
Key Departures: Jon Brockman, Justin Dentmon, Artem Wallace
Key Additions: Abdul Gaddy, Charles Garcia, Clarence Trent, C.J. Wilcox

Washington State Cougars
The Cougars were successful the past few seasons thanks to “Bennett-ball.” The Cougars took another hit with the graduation of Taylor Rochestie, Aron Baynes and others that made that offense work. With all the departures, new head coach Ken Bone will give the Cougars a different look as he wants to push the ball and become an up-tempo team. Sure, they have Klay Thompson, but they don’t have the personnel across the lineup to make an up-tempo team work with the success they’ve come accustomed to in Pullman.

The big question: Can Ken Bone capitalize on players like Klay Thompson to make this team a viable running team and prevent the Cougars from falling into the 8-10 spots in the conference?
Key Departures: Tony Bennett, Aron Baynes, Caleb Forrest, Daven Harmeling, Taylor Rochestie
Key Additions: Xavier Thames, Anthony Brown, Reggie Moore


Posted on: December 30, 2008 12:06 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2008 12:12 pm
 

PAC-10: Contenders vs. Pretenders

As PAC-10 play has drawn closer, I've been taking a good look at the different teams and haven't been too startled by what I saw. The only exception to that has been the success of Stanford and their undefeated record after losing the Lopez Twins to the NBA. They are even receiving votes in the AP and the Coaches polls! So I started kicking around the teams trying to sift through the soft OOC schedules, and misleading stats trying to figure out who will challenge for the PAC-10 crown this year.

The obvious choice is going to be UCLA. Sure, they're down from the past two or three years, but they're still a potent team with stifling perimeter defense and the best backcourt in the conference. But I didn't want to just stick with "UCLA wins it... again," I wanted to really dig into the conference. So pretend that UCLA is out of the equation - they lose Collison to a knee injury or for whatever reason the team implodes costing them 5 or 6 games and effectively the conference title.

 

Now I'd love to pick my Arizona Wildcats, that would be a great farewell gift to Olson for putting this team together, and a nice reward for Pennell and Co. who stepped in to pick up the pieces in the wake of Olson's sudden retirement. However, they're a very inexperienced team that is relying on three main players and a supporting cast that is largely unknown and mostly unproven. So, to prevent the homer pick of Arizona, we'll pretend that Jordan Hill's strained calf muscle is a torn ligament and he can't play until next year.

 

Let's whittle down the options here by eliminating teams that even with just eight teams to choose from, still don't have a chance. First to go is clearly Oregon State. They are barely a .500 team against competition that is severely sub-par of PAC-10 caliber. With losses to Howard, Yale, Montana State to name a few, there is little hope of them picking up 2 wins this season.

Aron BaynesNext off the board has to be Washington State. I like their program and their deliberate style, but at some point when push comes to shove you need a guy that can get to the rim, and take over a big game. Their leading scorers (Aron Baynes 11.4 ppg, Klay Thompson 11.0 ppg, and Taylor Rochestie 10.2 ppg) are not players that can get terribly physical and have yet to show up against a quality team. All four of their losses have come against the only opponents on their schedule that could compete in the PAC-10. During these losses (Pitt, Baylor, Gonzaga, and LSU) their three leading scorers combined for an average of 26 points. If they want to compete, someone needs to step up.

Elimination next stops in Eugene, Oregon with the ducks. They lost a lot of talent gone to wasted efforts last year, and brought in a solid recruiting class. Their youth isn't coming along as quickly as Ernie Kent would probably like, and they've lost a couple ugly games because of it. If I were going strictly by record, they'd be off the board before WSU; However, they do have a good amount of talent and finally have a good inside presence with Michael Dunigan. Dunigan is a bad performance or two away from having been the Ducks' leading scorer to this point. The potential of this team far exceeds Washington State right now, and that's why Oregon gets a spot ahead of WSU.

Picking the middle of the remaining teams is almost like splitting hairs. Stanford is undefeated because of exceptional backcourt performances, and Washington has three losses, and no quality wins, but have a huge frontcourt advantage. So who's next? It has to be Stanford. I'm impressed with their 9-0 record after losing the Lopez Twins and all frontcourt presence. That is, I'm impressed until I look at who they've played. They’re only reasonably good win is Santa Clara, and only by 8 points. Guard play is extremely important, especially in the PAC-10. But with opposing guards like Harden, DeRozan, Rochestie,  Randle and Christopher to face off against, it's going to be difficult to outmatch any team in the backcourt. Stanford needs more inside presence if they want to win the conference this year.

Like I said, this is like splitting hairs. Stanford needs inside presence, but Washington needs another scorer. The frontcourt of Jon Brockman and Matthew Bryan-Amaning is the most formidable in the conference and the size advantage alone is what sets them ahead of Stanford. But the Huskies are still waiting for Quincy Pondexter to step up consistently and become the wingman he has the potential to be. Pondexter has only had three of those games this year with 21 points, 16 points, and 14 points, but not one of them against a good defensive team. If Washington wants the title they need a guard taller than 6' to step up.

The remaining three teams are clearly head and shoulders above the five I've already covered. And picking the gem amongst them is extremely difficult. I know that no matter what order I put them in, there is going to be debate and argument over it. Each team has a solid case for the best of the group, but ultimately I feel it comes down to who has the most rounded unit combined with coaching ability. Since coaching adjustments, team management, and when push comes to shove the coach is blamed if they fail, and only given a quiet congratulations if they succeed, the head coach has to be the distinguishing factor amongst these three teams.

For that reason, USC has to come off the board. Tim Floyd has done a good job with these kids. They play a very physical and aggressive style of basketball. Combined with four legitimate scorers and you've got a recipe for success. But my problem with this team comes back to Tim Floyd. It isn't their style or abilities that has me concerned. It's the fact that Floyd has permitted this program to become merely a stepping stone for players like Mayo and DeRozan to take until they are allowed to move on to the NBA. That type of individual play leads to turnovers (conference high 16.8 per game), and will ultimately cost them games against teams with better chemistry. It's Floyd's job to counter that, and I don't believe he's capable of it - after all, it was his recruiting that built that scenario.

So now we're down to Arizona State and CAL. An easy pick if you listen to the media, right? Wrong. Take a look at both teams stats. Statistically they are almost identical with the majority of their scoring coming from four players, and fewer than 5 point per game from the rest. The largest separation between the two teams, statistically, is opponents points per game. CAL is giving up 64.3 while ASU is only 58. So who do you take? I go with CAL.

First while Arizona State has gotten additional help from Rihards Kuksiks who has doubled his ppg production from a year ago up to 10.8 points per game, they still don't get consistent production from anyone except James Harden, and that's a problem. Arizona State is only as good as Harden performs within his team. Want proof? Look no further than the IUPUI and BYU games. Against IUPUI he didn't show up and was too busy talking with Amare Stoudemire behind the ASU bench to care. He tallied 9 points and ASU got lucky. The other problem is if he becomes selfish against a good team. Harden dropped 30 on a good BYU team, but ASU struggled to a controversial win. Harden can carry the Sun Devils far, but if they want to be best out of this group it's going to take a team effort.

Once again, it comes down to team chemistry and how well they play as a collective unit and how much faith I have in the coach. This CAL team has had the most talent in the conference, outside of UCLA, for the past couple of years, but hasn't been able to capitalize on it under Ben Braun. With the hiring of Mike Montgomery this team almost instantly became better. Montgomery has these kids playing hard, shooting well, and playing as a team. That's why I have CAL ahead of USC, ahead of ASU, and ahead of the other teams in this scenario. CAL is getting great production from all over the court. They have the size to compete with Brockman & Washington, and the guards to compete with anybody in the conference.

Posted on: December 28, 2008 10:39 pm
 

PAC-10 Power Rankings (Pre-Conference)

There are still a few non-conference games remaining for the PAC-10 before the conference action begins this weekend. But most of the games are quite insignificant, and likely won't have much bearing on my rankings anyhow. Without furture ado, here are my PAC-10 Power Rankings heading into conference play.

  1. UCLA: Despite early struggles, they are a solid team with Collison at the helm. That three-guard lineup of Collison, Shipp, and Holiday is the best in the conference and enough to give any team fits.
  2. Arizona : They have a few ugly losses, but they have the best win in the conference (over Gonzaga). The Big Three are carrying a lot of the load and they have been getting help from unexpected talent. The youth is a concern.
  3. CAL: I said before the season, they are a surprise team to watch out for. Montgomery almost has you forgetting that they lost Ryan Anderson to the NBA. They're a great shooting team with a lot of long-range weapons.
  4. ASU: They've only got one loss, but that's not indicative of their struggles against a soft schedule. Harden is a beast that will carry this team far, but he's going to need a lot more help against the PAC-10.
  5. USC: Their record is padded because of their OOC schedule. DeRozan has performed well, but he's not even scratching Mayo numbers yet. They've got a few scorers and an average defense.Look for a loss or two in the second week of conference play.
  6. Stanford: They played a light OOC schedule, only eight games, but they won them all. With one of the wins coming over Santa Clara, they have done enough to deserve this spot for now. Their lacking frontcourt will cost them this spot... soon.
  7. Washington: Brockman is finally getting some offensive help, and a bit more muscle down low as well. They'll be moderately successful in PAC-10 play because of their interior size alone. They still need Pondexter to step it up another notch.
  8. Washington State: They got blasted by a couple of top-tier programs in non-conference play. I understand that the deliberate offense reduces points, but to only have three guys in double-digits (and just barely) isn't good. They need someone to step up and be a scoring threat in the worst kind of way.
  9. Oregon: They are a young team without a signature win, and some ugly losses. Ernie Kent will be on the hot seat if he can't get his freshmen to perform and fast. Don't sleep on Oregon though, they have the talent, just lack experience - and that's a great recipe for a second-half surge.
  10. Oregon State: Any surprise that they are here? With losses to Howard, Nevada, Yale, Montana State, and Iowa State it's not looking good that they'll pick up a win any time soon. The new coach has a huge task in front of him, maybe his brother-in-law can use some of that Senate Seat Money to buy off a couple refs for him. Just kidding, but seriously - it looks like they may go two straight seasons without a conference win. That's BAD!
Posted on: October 19, 2008 2:56 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2008 12:36 am
 

PAC-10 '08-'09 Basketball Preview

Year-in and year-out the PAC-10 is one of the best conferences in the nation. Last year the conference sent 6 teams to the NCAA Tournament and 2 more to the NIT. The conference also produced five of the top 11, and 7 total first round and 5 second round picks in the NBA draft. There is no doubt about the talent and competitiveness this conference holds.

As the past seven months have passed the PAC-10 has received some serious remodelling. There have been enough changes in the players and personnel within this conference to make your head spin. Now that the dust is seeming to settle, it’s time to exit the bunkers and catch up with PAC-10 basketball.

Since this is a rebuilding year for the conference as a whole, every team has a story line or two that can be followed. Many teams have lost star players and head coaches - the most notable of which is the breaking story of Hall of Fame Coach Lute Olson packing his bags within weeks of the season starting. How will the teams fall into place this year?

  • Can Arizona sustain at least one year without Olson before falling into the cellar of the PAC-10?
  • What is it going to be like when the Mike Montgomery led Cal team faces off against Stanford?
  • Who is going to challenge UCLA for the top spot in the conference?
  • Will UCLA make their fourth consecutive Final Four appearance?
  • Who’s better, DeMar DeRozan or Jrue Holiday?
  • What in the world is Stanford going to do without the Lopez twins?
  • Can Oregon State improve on their abysmal performance from last year with a new head coach?

The list goes on and on. Because of that, I’ve broken each team into separate blog entries. To access it, either scroll down until you find the team you’re curious about, or simply click on the team name in the “Projected Finish.”

By compiling information from scout.com, rivals.com, maxpreps.com, sportsline.com, the teams official websites, and a few other sites I have produced  an in depth look into each team. You’ll find a breakdown of the team roster by front court, backcourt, and bench. There’s information on who has left and what it means for the team, and who the team brought in to replace them. Albeit, this is not an all-encompassing list and there will be discrepancies in regards to the starting lineups. Without being at the practices and seeing each of the players, I am left merely with speculation based upon the information I have been able to gather and each teams needs.

I also took the spin of focusing on a recruits strengths more than their weaknesses. Let the criticism come from their performance in college, not high school - high school isn’t a business yet. Also, if I couldn’t find anything negative, I didn’t hypothesize. So if you have a different view on a recruit, and you’ve seen more than I have in regards to someone, chances are you’re probably right. If a recruit’s name is hyperlinked it goes to a highlight video for that individual player.

Projected Finish:

  1. UCLA - They have more talent and depth than anyone else in the conference. This spot is theirs to lose.
  2. Arizona State - Might be a bit high, but I'm giving Pendergraph and Harden the benefit of the doubt here. Someone else needs to step up.
  3. USC - They've got Taj Gibson and DeMar DeRozan - that's a huge one-two punch. But they like the Sun Devils need more help down low. They'll be a fun team to watch.
  4. Washington State - They're deliberate offense is painful to watch, but it is effective and they've got the shooters to make it work.
  5. Oregon - Should be a bumpy year for a young team, but they'll get better as the year progresses. Should be interesting to see what Ernie Kent can do with a true center.
  6. Arizona - Originally I had them up at 3 with Lute Olson at the helm. They have solid leadership with Wise, Budinger, and Hill, but have too much youth. They've lost a lot, can the leaders carry them through?
  7. CAL - Mike Montgomery will get these kids playing to their potential and then some. The losses of Anderson, Hardin and Verneisel hurt, but they'll take a step forward this year with better coaching.
  8. Stanford - They're in a world of hurt. No front court, and an average backcourt. They do have talent, but they're not strong enough to win many games this year.
  9. Washington - I'm undervaluing them here a bit, but until I see that Brockman has real help down low, I'm not going to buy into these guys.
  10. Oregon State - When a win is improvement over last year, you can't help but take a step forward. The Beavers are a long way from their glory days.

**Click on the team name to go to their individual team report or simply keep scrolling down.

Pre-Season All-Conference

Point Guard - Darren Collison UCLA
Shooting Guard - James Harden ASU
Small Forward - Chase Budinger Arizona
Power Forward - Jordan Hill Arizona
Center - Jon Brockman - Washington

PAC-10 Player of the Year: James Harden ASU
PAC-10 Freshman of the Year: Jrue Holiday UCLA

 

Posted on: October 17, 2008 7:48 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2008 12:35 am
 

Oregon Ducks '08-'09 Preview

Oregon Ducks

Head Coach: Ernie Kent
Last Season’s Results: Conf. 9-10 (6th), Overall 18-14. Post Season: None?

Roster

Backcourt: The Ducks are built around speed with Kamyron Brown and Tejuan Porter being the feature guards. Porter is better without the ball, so despite being a meager 5’6” he is the shooting guard. He has great range and lightening quick moves. His lack of height will be problematic at times for the Ducks, especially against some of the taller teams in the nation.

 LeKendric Longmire will likely get the nod as a starter early on, but depending on how Matthew Humphrey and the other freshmen guards progress he could find himself coming off the bench relatively quickly.

Frontcourt: It appears as though the Ducks will have a problem on the low block after the departure of Maarty Leunen.  But they have their first true center, in Michael Dunigan, who should be able to match up with every center in the PAC-10. Joevan Catron looks to have a break out year as he will be an every-day starter, and expected to provide leadership in the paint. Catron has improved continually throughout his college career under Ernie Kent.

Bench: Matthew Humphrey, Teondre Williams, Garrett Sim, Josh Crittle, and Frantz Dorsainvil will be the primary bench players as the Ducks are a very young team. Because of the combination of youth and average talent on the bench expect extremely varying effectiveness from bench players. Ernie Kent will have to change his rotation consistently throughout the season to whoever is successful at the time.

Key Departures: Malik Hairston, Maarty Leunen, and Bryce Taylor were a major driving force for the Ducks. There is a lot of talent and scoring that has to be found somewhere. Ernie Kent had a special recruiting class four years ago. Will he do it again this year?

Key Recruits:
C- Michael Dunigan - Will be a brick on the low block. While he’s not the tallest guy, he has the weight to fight efficiently on the low block for position on both ends of the floor.  He’s the first true big man that has suited up in an Oregon jersey in a long time. It should be interesting to see how Ernie Kent can utilize him.

C-Josh Crittle - Another big man recruit for Oregon that  looks to be just another big body down low and a decent role player. Look for Crittle and Matthew Humphrey to help build team chemistry as they played high school ball at Hales Franciscan together.

SG- Matthew Humphrey - Hard working shooting guard  with a long reach. He’s a great long-ball shooter and should claim a starting spot before conference play begins.

SG - Teondre Williams - This kid has great leaping ability, and is a true threat with the ball in his hands. He can get to the rim and create his own shot. Unfortunately he can over-penetrate and doesn’t always make the right decision.

PG - Garrett Sim is a very knowledgeable player with great floor vision. He’s a bit undersized, but with time will be a solid combo guard for the Ducks.
*Click on linked recruit names for their highlight videos.

Strengths: Oregon’s strength under Ernie Kent has always been speed. Oregon is once again loaded up on guards. They can shoot the three, and create shots for themselves as well as teammates.

Weaknesses: Oregon has two major flaws. The low post will be a big problem as they lack depth and experience. Although Dunigan and Catron should develop nicely throughout the year and will be a pleasant surprise for the team. The biggest problem Oregon has is their youth. It will be a bumpy season filled with learning experiences for the Ducks. Teams will try and exploit this, pressuring the young Ducks into poor decisions and turnovers. The lack of experience will be prevalent late in games and on the road.

Key Dates:
Nov 25 @ Alabama
Dec 7 vs. Kansas State
Jan 4 vs. UCLA
Jan 24 @ CAL

Outlook: Despite Oregon’s weakness and youth they will be a competitive team who is learning a lot. Oregon will need to grow as a team if they want to continually push the ball and force the tempo. Like many of the PAC-10 teams Oregon is rebuilding this year. This team is a year or two away from competing with the elite teams in the conference.

Projected Finish: Fifth  in the PAC-10. NIT

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 1, 2008 5:22 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2008 2:16 am
 

Pac-10: Off-season Changes - Updated 04/27

I will be updating this list continually until June 16, the deadline for withdrawing for the NBA Draft, at which point I will do my Way-too-Early to count PAC-10 Predictions.

For the full list of Top Underclassment nationwide click here: The List

Arizona Wildcats (Updated 04/08)

So Long Seniors: Jawann McClellan is the biggest loss out of the seniors that Arizona has. He was a redshirt player that played his heart out for this team. He was the only senior on the starting roster. Other senior departures include C - Kirk Walters, G- Daniel Dillon, F - Bret Brielmaier, and although he had one more year of eligibility Mohamed Tangara has opted to transfer, opening up one more roster spot.

Say "hi" to Lebron for me: Jerryd Bayless has declared for the NBA draft. Arizona is going to be able to replace his offensive output with the addition of Jennings. But Arizona needs to build on what they have, not just replace and sustain.

Chase Budinger has opted to declare for the draft, but will not be signing with an agent at this time. Sounds to me like he's just getting a feel for the waters, but I would expect to see him back in an Arizona uniform next year. He has until 06/16 to withdraw his name. If he doesn't do so, Arizona will be sorely hurting for offensive production next year.

Decisions, Decisions:  Jamelle Horne has opted to stay at Arizona. Apparently the concern was that Olson would pull another LOA stunt next year. He and his father both needed to know that Olson was going to be around for Horne to remain a Wildcat.

Nic Wise on the other hand has been pretty tight lipped recently. He and his parents have met with Olson a few times, but no word one way or another has leaked out. The longer this goes on, the more concerned I am. He would be a solid PG, or back-up (depending on the lineup Olson puts on the floor). Without him, Arizona will be short handed on the bench once again.

Watch out, Incoming!! : PG Brandon Jennings is the #1 high school player in the nation is clearly the biggest addition. But Arizona has 4-star recruits coming in to fill in the holes in their line-up. Even with Bayless gone, Arizona will still have a formidable offense, especially if Budinger opts to return. Unfortunately, there won't be much of a bench if things continue how they are.

Arizona State Sun Devils (Updated 04/08)

So Long Seniors: Antwi Atuahene is the only senior booking out of ASU. Not much of a loss as a senior, and shouldn't be hard to replace.

Say "hi" to Lebron for me: None.

Stickin' Around: Harden has opted to stay put for ASU, which is a huge plus for them considering they have basically no recruiting class worth the letter of intent they sign. Pendergraph still has not made any indication as to what his intentions are. Because he is an underclassmen and was not utterly dominant this past year, I would expect that he sticks around for his Senior season.

Watch out, Incoming!!: With only two Three-Star recruits signed, PF Rhode and SF Coy, Arizona State is not going to make any upward movement even if Harden and Pendergraph stick around. This is certainly a recruiting class to sleep on.

California Golden Bears

So Long Seniors: DeVon Hardin and Eric Vierneisel are both hitting the road. Hardin was a key player for the Bears last year, and Vierneisel was a good role player off the bench. Both will be missed.

Say "Hi" to Lebron for me: Ryan Anderson has declared for the draft, but has not hired an agent. So chances are, as long as the workouts go well, he will get drafted later in the first round, but he can withdraw his name after getting an idea of his draft stock and return for his Junior season.

Watch out, Incoming!!: Cal has a sub-par recruiting class. They will get a4-Star Recruit in shooting guard Seeley, and 3-star point guard Sim. Both should be positive role players, but Cal will be scrambling to find an answer for the loss of Ryan Anderson. Their biggest question has been resolved, however, as they have hired Mike Montgomery as their head coach. Montgomery is a phenomenal coach and will turn Cal into a force in the PAC-10.

Oregon Ducks

So Long Seniors: This Ducks team will look completely different next year as they are losing 5 seniors, including Hairston, Leunen, Taylor, Platt, and Schafer. The loss of that much senior leadership, especially Leunen, will hurt them significantly.

Say "Hi" to Lebron for me: No players have declared at this time, but I expect at least Hairston and Leunen will try out for the NBA.

Watch out, Incoming!!: Oregon has one of the largest draft classes in the conference with an entire starting lineup coming in. They have three Four-Star Recruits (SG Williams, SG Humphrey, and C Dunigan) and two Three-Star Recruits (PF Crittle and SF Wiley). These replacements aren't going to overwhelm anybody next year. Despite that they should be back to running like mad again next year, and will be another senior heavy team in four. Oregon builds teams for experience, not for instant results.

Oregon State Beavers (Updated 04/27)

So Long Seniors: OSU is only losing Marcel Jones  this off season, but considering that he lead the team in scoring, this is a significant loss.

Say "Hi" to Lebron for me: Much to my surprise C.J. Giles (a Junior) is jumping ship to go pro. A pathetic OSU team just got worse, I didn't think it was possible.

Watch out, Incoming!!:  A pair of 2-Star shooting guards (Jones and Rose) have signed onto become Beavs.... More importantly the Beavs have signed Coach Johnson, from Brown University. He has had some success at Brown, but coming to the monster PAC-10 I doubt this guy is going to make much of a difference this year. If you're an OSU fan, set your expectations high, however, at 2 conference wins.

Stanford Cardinal (Updated 04/27)

So Long Seniors: Finger, Washington and Prowitt are all gone. In and of itself that's not a huge deal. Their biggest loss would be Washington, but the departure of Taj Finger hurts a lot more now that the Lopez Twins have decided to go pro.

He's no senior.. at least in regards to graduating class, but he's splitting. Trent Johnson is bookin' out to LSU. Stanford's hopes for the 08/09 season are diminishing even quicker than Arizona's. What a blow. Maybe they'll pick up K.O. and save us the trouble of a lawsuit and paying him.

Say "Hi" to Lebron for me: With yesterday's announcement that both Brook and Robin are jumping out of the tree for the NBA, this team is going to take a severe hit. Even serviceable back-up, Finger, is hitting the trail.

Watch out, incoming!!: More importantly than the recruiting class is Johnson's replacement, Dawkins. No idea what this guy is He might be a good pick-up, but I would've liked to see Stanford pick up a marquee coach instead. They have the talent and track record at Stanford to do it, to me this is settling for what was easy. Stanford has a couple of players coming in, but nobody is going to even come close to replacing the Lopez twins, Taj Finger, and Washington. They've still got some time left to use the recently opened scholarships, but with no legitimate big men left on the boards, Stanford is going to take a huge drop in talent next year.

UCLA Bruins (Updated 04/27)

So Long Seniors: UCLA is only losing two seniors, Mata-Real and Lee. Mata-Real was probably the ugliest player in college basketball, but was a serviceable bench player.

Say "Hi" to Lebron for me: Love and Westbrook have both declared for the draft. Both have the talent to go, although I'm surprised that Westbrook is leaving early simply because he has a lot of potential to increase his draft stock with another year in the college game. Even more surprising is that Mbah Moute has also thrown his name into the hat. Shipp has shocked me by declaring for the draft, chances are it is simply to test the waters and withdraw his name. But it's more than I expected.

Stickin' Around: Collison goes four years?! That's a shock. I expect that Mbah-Moute and Shipp will both withdraw their names from the draft list and return for next season. I sure don't want them to, but I don't see them staying in. Love an Westbrook are as good as gone though.

Watch out, incoming: UCLA is reloading again this year. To accompany their strong upcoming senior class they are adding a Top 10 recruiting class as well. The feature player is PG Jrue Holliday, but he will be in good company as he's surrounded by three 4-Star recruits. UCLA will be fighting with Arizona for best in the conference next year.

USC Trojans (Updated 04/27)

So Long Seniors: None

Say "Hi" to Lebron for me: OJ Mayo has been gone since day one. He never intended on staying more than the required year in the NCAA's. Davon Jefferson has tugged at the Trojans' hearts this off-season. First saying he'll be back, then flip-flopping and declaring for the draft. He's yet to hire an agent, so he could just be testing the waters, the story line behind this indicates as much.

Stickin' Around:  Gibson, and Hacket as I expected will be back next year.

Watch out, Incoming!!: USC has another premier freshman shooting guard in DeRozan coming in. They've also got a bunch of role players as well. USC should be solid again next year, remaining in the top half of the Pac-10

Washington Huskies

So Long Seniors: Appleby and Morris are the only seniors that will be leaving. Neither one of them has NBA talent, however Appleby's shooting ability was key for Washington. His long range capabilities will be missed.

Say "Hi" to Lebron for me: None.

Watch out, Incoming!!: Washington is doing a nice job reloading a bit with three Four-star recruits and a Three-Star shooting guard. The problem is that none of these guys could replace Brockman if he chooses to leave. Brockmans status combined with this recruiting class will do to things. If he stays the top 4 in the division will be really crowded, but if he goes the bottom 4 will be crowded.

Washington State Cougars

So Long Seniors: Washington State was more senior heavy than Oregon. They're losing Cowgill, Weaver, Low, Cross, and Henry. It's nice to see that, but unfortunately that was the core of their team. They'll be asking for a lot to replace these guys next year.

Watch out, Incoming!!: Washington State looks like they will be a much smaller team next year, with three Three-Star shooting guards, a powerforward and a small forward (both 3-Star recruits as well), WSU won't have a strong inside presence. I really like the program up at Washington State, but I just don't see this team competing without Love and Weaver next year. It will back towards the bottom of the pile.

Posted on: March 3, 2008 11:09 am
 

Pac-10 Power Rankings: 02/03/2008

Special addition this week: What each team will need to do in order to make the NCAA Tournament (if its even a possibility).

  1.   UCLA  (E) - They did a solid job of taking care of business in Tempe, but were extremely fortunate to escape Tucson with a win on Sunday. They're still on top of the conference, but this Thursday they'll face off with Stanford who is only 1 game back. They can seal the regular season bragging rights (and imo the real conference championship) with a win. They've already locked themselves into the NCAA Tournament, but are fighting for a #1 seed. They will lock that up with a win over Stanford and a decent stretch in the conference tournament.
  2.   Stanford (E) - They took care of business at home against the Washington schools. Who would have thought that their match-up with UCLA this week would have had so many implications? Stanford is looking for a #2 seed (and has an outside chance at a #1 seed) but they need to sweep UCLA & USC this week and win the Conference tournament for any of that to happen.
  3.   Washington St.(+1) - Only three teams last week didn't lose a game, UCLA, Stanford, and Oregon. Washington State had only one loss and it was a respectable loss to Stanford @ Maples. Can't fault them for that one. They're in the tournament, but are fighting for a higher seed.
  4.   Arizona St. (+2) - They got utterly man-handled by UCLA on Thursday, but showed some pride in bouncing back and utterly owning USC & OJ Mayo on Saturday. They're higher in my power rankings than USC & Zona, but they're less likely to make the tournament. Why? Because they have the weakest SOS & rpi of the three. They have the fewest impressive wins as well. What does that mean? They have to sweep the Oregon schools and win their first game in the conference tournament.
  5.   USC (-2) - They took advantage of a depleted Arizona team on Thursday. But got absolutely owned by ASU on Saturday. They're 18-10 going into this week. They should be fine as long as they don't lose to California. They have to at least split, but if they fail to they'll have to make a nice run in the conference tournament.
  6.   Arizona (-1) - This team has a lot of talent, and is much better than the #6 team in the conference when healthy. They lost a tough one at home against UCLA on Senior's Night. They certainly proved they can play tough without Nic Wise, but hopefully he should be back in time to help Arizona build up their Tournament Resume a little more. Arizona is relying on their SOS, RPI, and record vs. the Top 100 in the RPI. Those figures are all impressive, so I think 1 more win should get them in, however if they want to lock in at a 6 seed they need to win 3 straight here.
  7.   Oregon (E)  - They're Jekyll and Hyde season rolls on, and it seems to be more Hyde than Jekyll. A win over OSU doesn't provide evidence that they've righted the ship here. Their hopes of making their tournament are fading quickly, and they'll need to win 4 straight if they hope to make it into the tournament.
  8. Washington (+1)  - These guys seem to have finally righted their ship. They fought hard and lost a close one to Stanford, followed by blowing out Cal on Saturday. Unfortunately it is too little, too late for these guys. They're already down the drain with no chance of making the NCAA Tournament outside of earning the automatic bid from the conference championship.
  9.   California (-1) - Swept by the Washington schools, not a good way to hold an outside shot (despite the slimmest of chances) of a Tourney appearance. These guys have a TON of talent on their roster, including the conferences leading scorer. It just doesn't make sense how they have so much talent, yet can't amass a record higher than .500 in the conference. They've got enough depth and talent to go toe to toe with UCLA and Stanford, but their coaching just can't get them to perform. These guys are down to their last chip for the NCAA Tournament: Winning the Pac-10 Tournament.
  10. Oregon St. (E) - These guys are on a completely different plateau from the rest of the conference. Unfortunately, they're looking up. I have to give them credit for not giving up, and not cashing in their chips. Despite losing all 16 conference games so far (with another 2 likely to come) they have still played hard. Nothing to be ashamed of in this conference. You'd run the tables in the Big Sky! You've still got one more card to play, unfortunately it's probably a 3 of clubs and that won't win the conference tournament for ya'. Good luck finding a new coach!

 

Posted on: February 25, 2008 2:27 am
 

PAC-10 Power Rankings - 02/25/2008

  1.   UCLA  (E) - They did a nice job coming from behind against Oregon for the second time this year. They are too deep to be run on for 40 minutes, and are too talented to play strictly half court. They are fallable, as Washington showed a few weeks ago, but they are clearly the cream of the PAC-10.
  2.   Stanford (E) - They kept things rolling as they completed the sweep against CAL this week. Their final weeks match-up against UCLA could decide the fate of the conference. Stanford is keeping the conference race interesting.
  3.   USC (+2) - They're good. But chances are their #3 spot is a fleeting ranking. I simply can't justify putting anyone before them right now. Should be interesting to see how they handle the Arizona teams in Tempe & Tucson this coming week.
  4.   Washington St.(-1) - They're a solid team, but aren't the most athletic, and teams have been exploiting that. If they can tighten up their defense again they can be an imposing force, but they haven't been able to slow teams down enough as of late.
  5.   Arizona (-1) - That loss to Washington was a tough one, but they showed when the refs aren't calling fouls every 47 seconds they have the capability of beating teams. They need to get Nic Wise back if they hope to make an impact in the conference tourney. They'll struggle against the pressure of USC and UCLA this week.
  6.   Arizona St. (E)- They did a nice job picking up the win against Washington this past week, but looked bad and were trying to fight an uphill battle all game against Washington State. Even with a completely healthy team they're looking at getting swept by the LA schools.
  7.   Oregon (E) - They managed to get up against UCLA, but still couldn't manage to hold onto the lead. The fact they haven't been able to put it together during PAC-10 play doesn't mean they aren't a scary team. They've got speed and height, a dangerous combo.
  8.   California (E) - has even more talent than Oregon, including Ryan Anderson, but perpetually get less out of their players. They've got to tighten up that defense if they want to get into the NCAA tourney.
  9. Washington (E) - They did a nice job exploiting Arizona's weakness this week, especially the lack of bench, but got man handled by ASU. These guys just can't seem to get a match-up advantage over anyone this year and they don't have the talent to control an entire game.
  10. Oregon St. (E) - As far as basketball is concerned, these guys aren't even in the same conference talent wise. Arizona has faced a lot of uncontrollable adversity this year, Oregon State has seen just as much. Only they inflicted it themselves. There's no debating they are the cellar floor to the PAC-10.
 
 
 
 
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