Washington Week: Players Not Returning

Posted by Connor Pelton on July 10th, 2012

Out of the seven players who played major minutes for Washington in 2011-12, one is lost to graduation and the other two decided to depart Seattle early for the NBA Draft. A fourth player, also graduating, only averaged 2.8 MPG and picked up those minutes in garbage time. The two players that skipped town early were guards, but there are both young and experienced players waiting in the wings at the position who are ready to take over. Replacing a pair of senior forwards will be a slightly more difficult task, especially early on in the season when the Huskies will face Seton Hall, Saint Louis, Connecticut, and possibly Ohio State. Below we fill you in on their details in their order of importance to the program.

  • Terrence Ross – Two years ago, Ross came out of Portland’s Jefferson High School (where he played alongside former Kentucky forward Terrence Jones) and immediately earned good playing time with the Huskies. He had a solid freshman season, averaging 8.0 PPG and 2.8 RPG while playing behind Isaiah Thomas. Then came last season, and with Thomas gone and guard Scott Suggs lost due to a foot injury, Ross’ production and responsibilities grew. He averaged 16.4 PPG in an average of 31.1 MPG, but his reason to leave school early lies within the increased production on the boards. Ross bulked up over the summer and became much more active in a small forward type role, averaging 6.4 RPG.
Terrence Ross Blossomed Into A Top Ten Pick After A Terrific Sophomore Season (credit: Yardbarker)
  • Tony Wroten, Jr. – 16.0 PPG and 5.0 RPG were enough for Wroten to head to the NBA after just one season on Montlake. The freshman was a huge part of every game, and he knew how to perform the job that needed to be done night in and night out. Only seven points against Florida Atlantic? No problem, as he focused on dishing out four assists to the guys that were making shots. Only eight points against Utah? He made up for it on the other end of the court by getting two steals, which ended up being huge in just a four-point win. The point is, despite many of his freshman mistakes, Wroten was a do-everything type of player, and he will be sorely missed in 2012-13.
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California Week: Will Improvement on the Offensive Glass Be Key to a Good Season in 2012-13?

Posted by Connor Pelton on June 22nd, 2012

For a team that made the NCAA Tournament in 2011-12, California’s extra scoring opportunities per game rate was quite low. The Golden Bears only averaged 1.9 ESOPG last season, which came in at 91st in the nation and sixth in the Pac-12. That’s not terrible, but it only converts to nearly four points per game, five if you throw a three in there. Take a team like VCU for example. The Rams averaged 7.7 ESOPG last season, meaning that they gained nearly 16 extra points a game if they had converted all of those (and that’s assuming all of the extra buckets came in the form of two-pointers). VCU finished the season with a record of 29-7, and 20 of those 29 wins were decided by 14 points or less. But the Rams earned all of those extra points, mainly because of the great work that coach Shaka Smart and company do stressing the importance of offensive rebounding.

Season

Team

Extra Scoring Chances

National Ranking

2011-12

California

1.9

91

2010-11

California

-1.3

236

2009-10

California

0.6

142

2008-09

California

-0.1

170

2007-08

Golden State

N/A

N/A

2006-07

Golden State

N/A

N/A

2005-06

Golden State

N/A

N/A

2004-05

Golden State

N/A

N/A

2003-04

Stanford

1.5

95

2002-03

Stanford

0.8

117

h/t to TeamRankings for statistics

Allen Crabbe and Richard Solomon will be the key to those extra opportunities in 2012-13. Sophomore forward David Kravish was by far the leader among 2012-13 returnees in offensive rebounding, so he will serve as a catalyst for the other guys. Kravish averaged two ORPG last season, which is a good number, especially for a young and wiry freshman. But after him, things dropped considerably for the Golden Bears. If they can bring their extra scoring opportunities per game up to four, and convert three of those possessions a game for a total of say, seven points, it could be a very good year for Cal. The Bears lost five games by seven points or less in 2011-12, and if they could have won three of those their final regular season record would have been 27-6. Then, all of a sudden your Pac-12 champions are in the mix for top three NCAA seed, not playing in Dayton on the Wednesday before the Tournament even starts. While that may seem like a stretch, it can all be solved with just a few more offensive rebounds each game.

Of course, none of this is as easy as I’m making it sound. This will take an entire team effort, not just by the bigs and coaching staff. An important part of offensive rebounding is having your guards shoot the ball when your forwards and centers are in a position to get that rebound, not sitting on the wing or on top of the free throw line. While Crabbe and Justin Cobbs are great shooters, if they can make sure that their shots come in the rhythm of the offense, the Bears will see their offensive efficiency skyrocket.

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California Week: Running Down the Returnees

Posted by Connor Pelton on June 20th, 2012

Five different players who earned significant playing time in 2011-12 return for California. Despite losing the Pac-12 Defensive and Player of the Year and their top scorer in the post, the Golden Bears return a solid foundation that should lead them to a second straight NCAA Tournament and fifth consecutive postseason berth. Below we’ll take a look at those five players, in order of last season’s scoring average.

  • Allen Crabbe, Junior, Wing (15.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG) – Out of California’s 34 games in 2011-12, Crabbe played 30+ minutes in 28 of them. The sophomore wing was a workhorse, consistently scoring in double digits (28 times in 34 games) and pulling down five or more rebounds a night (24 times). If you look at his stat sheet throughout the season, you will only find a few games in which Crabbe didn’t have a “good” night, according to his averages. And even in those three games, Cal won all three times by a combined 41 points, so he obviously knew when to take his off nights. Another sign of his consistency is in his numbers from his freshman to sophomore years – they barely change. Crabbe played a third of a minute more in 2011-12, scored 1.8 more points, pulled down 0.4 more rebounds, and 0.1 more assists and blocks. The only statistic that decreased was in the steals category – by 0.4. It’s kind of eerie in a way, but it is also a testament to how consistent Crabbe is. Mike Montgomery and staff have to like the fact that night in and night out, they know they are going to get a solid performance from him.

Crabbe’s Smooth Jumper Led The Golden Bears To The NCAA Tournament In 2011-12 (credit: Andy Wooldridge)

  • Justin Cobbs, Junior, Point Guard (12.9 PPG, 5.0 APG, 41.3 3FG%) – Cobbs got off to just about as good a start as any transfer player can have. The sophomore point guard averaged 11 points in his first seven games, good enough to take Brandon Smith’s starting spot right out from underneath him. Cobb’s best game came right in the middle of a six-game winning streak for the Golden Bears, when he exploded for 28 points, eight assists, and four steals in a crucial 86-83 victory over Oregon. From a scoring and sharing the ball standpoint, Cobbs did an outstanding job in his sophomore year. As we progress through the summer and into the fall, the next step is for Cobbs to become a more vocal leader on the court. “He’ll have the ball in his hands a lot, so how he responds to Coach Montgomery will have a huge impact on team chemistry. He has a lot of potential, but it’s things like leadership, decision-making, body language, and consistency that are on the wish list,” says “Kodiak” of California Golden Blogs.

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California Week: Players Not Returning

Posted by Connor Pelton on June 20th, 2012

While California will return four different players from its 2011-12 seven-man rotation, there are three players who saw significant time last year that will be departing. The two players that coach Mike Montgomery will miss the most are seniors, but two promising guards will be transferring out of the program as well due to the logjam at the position. Below, we’ll take a look at the four players who have moved on from the program and how big of an impact their losses will have.

  • Harper Kamp – The loss of Kamp will do the most damage early on in the 2012-13 season. Throughout stretches of last season’s campaign, Kamp was the only Bear in the low post who could score the ball consistently. Until the Bears are able to find a solid replacement for Kamp, they will struggle balancing out the already guard-heavy offense. Junior forward Richard Solomon will be the best immediate option as he had shown flashes of brilliance before being declared academically ineligible halfway through last season. Highly touted power forward signee Kaileb Rodriguez will also garner a lot of looks early on, where hopefully he’ll be able to hone his game against lesser competition before facing the rigors of a Pac-12 schedule. Kamp will likely go undrafted in the June 28 NBA Draft, but with his style of play, he will certainly end up competing professionally somewhere.

Kamp Gets Ready To Tap In A Missed Shot

  • Jorge Gutierrez - Anytime you lose the conference’s player of the year, it’s tough. Cal has always been deep at the guard position, but when shots weren’t falling, Gutierrez was the man you could rely on to knock down a clutch jumper. Even if his own shots weren’t going down, he still impacted the game through something else (steals, defense, etc.). If it wasn’t through just plain hustle (i.e., getting every lose ball in his general vicinity, choking defense), it was on the glass or finding the open man. The stats, even if they are ridiculous (13.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 4.1 APG), don’t begin to explain how much the guard will be missed for his hustle and heart.
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Be My Valentine – 14 Iconic Moments We’ve Loved This Season

Posted by EJacoby on February 14th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.

Are you riding solo this Valentine’s Day? If you can’t have a significant other, you can always love sports. What is more beautiful to watch than a buzzer-beating shot, an unlikely upset win, or a swarm of students rushing the court? Here to cheer you up, we present a reminder of 14 lovely moments in college basketball this season, in honor of the 14th:

Be Our Hoops Valentine...

1. Racers’ Pursuit of Perfection (December 11) – Murray State beat then-ranked Memphis on the road to improve their record to 10-0, and fans and analysts immediately began to take notice of this OVC school. This win set off the idea that the Racers could perhaps run the table this season, and while it did not happen, it would be two full months before they lost a game.

2. Teach Us How to Dougie (January 7) – Creighton has now lost three straight games to drop out of the Top 25 rankings for the first time in weeks, but they’d been providing a great story all season in the form of Doug McDermott. The sophomore forward, son of Creighton head coach Greg McDermott, and former teammate of Harrison Barnes in high school, went for 44 points and eight rebounds in a road win over Bradley that kickstarted his campaign for National Player of the Year. His candidacy for the award has since died down, but he’s still third in the nation in points per game (22.9).

3. Watford’s Buzzer-Beater (December 10) – Indiana got off to a fast start this season, but the Hoosiers took it to another level when they knocked off #1 Kentucky at home to improve to 9-0 back in December. Down by two, it took this shot by Christian Watford to beat the buzzer and provide us with one of the most memorable highlights of the year. The shot signified that IU basketball is officially back. See it below.

4. Rivers’ Buzzer-Beater (February 8) – Perhaps the only more recognizable moment of this season than Watford’s shot was a similar one from Duke’s Austin Rivers. Down by two at Chapel Hill on the final possession, the freshman provided this season’s iconic moment thus far by nailing a game-winner at the buzzer to beat North Carolina. The main difference between the two shots? Rivers’ came on the road, silencing the UNC crowd and sending them into shock.

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