Washington Week: Running Down The Returnees

Posted by Connor Pelton on July 11th, 2012

The Huskies return four contributors from last season’s team, along with guard Scott Suggs, who comes back after losing last year to a foot injury. The returnees range from sharpshooters to prolific passers to big men down low. Below, we’ll take a look at each of these returnees in order of their scoring averages in the last season played.

  • C.J. Wilcox, Junior, Shooting Guard (14.2 PPG, 1.1 APG, 3.4 RPG, 0.9 SPG) – If there was ever a player to average a quiet 14.2 PPG, Wilcox was that player last season. The sharpshooter was the one player coach Lorenzo Romar could always count on to make a clutch shot, yet he still was an afterthought to most casual fans because he played behind a pair of NBA first round draft picks in Tony Wroten, Jr., and Terrence Ross. He averaged a solid 28.5 MPG, but was basically fourth in the depth chart behind Wroten, Ross, and Abdul Gaddy. The best night of his season came on a Friday in Reno, where Wilcox played 38 minutes in Washington’s 76-73 overtime loss against Nevada. In that game he matched his average of 14 points and three rebounds, but he also recorded two steals on the defensive end. An interesting trend in Wilcox’s game revealed itself after coming back from a three-game layoff due to a stress-related hip injury. Romar was reluctant to play Wilcox for any substantial amount of time in the first five games of his return, in part because Wilcox was struggling to find his shot. The sophomore guard was only averaging about half his normal production through his first four games back, but then, while still playing fewer minutes than usual, he turned his game up a notch for the final stretch of the season. He poured in 22 points at UCLA, 20 against Northwestern, and 17 each at Oregon State and home against Oregon in an NIT quarterfinal game. By early March, Wilcox had completely gained back the minutes he had lost due to his hip injury. His totals near the end of the season should have Husky fans excited, as his quick-scoring ability should be able to soften the blow left behind by the losses of Ross and Wroten.

    After Losing Their Top Two Guards To The NBA Draft, Wilcox’s Ability To Knock Down The Three When Needed Will Be Huge For The Huskies In 2012-13 (credit: AP)

  • Abdul Gaddy, Senior, Point Guard (8.1 PPG, 2.5 RPG) – Along with Suggs, it will be Gaddy’s responsibility to provide some senior leadership at the guard position. The guy is a terrific passer, and can also kill you with a jumper if you give him enough room.
  • Aziz N’Diaye, Senior, Center (8.0 PPG, 0.3 APG, 7.6 RPG) – N’Diaye is a monster on the glass, pulling down over seven boards a game in 2011-12. But with the departure of Darnell Gant, he will have to increase his production even more. The monster out of Senegal is no slouch either on the offensive end, as he is more than capable of putting in a double-digit scoring night. Twice in 2011-12 he had a stretch of three games with double-digit scoring figures, and he scored a season high 14 points against Seattle U. and California. Without question, N’Diaye will be counted on to shoulder the load in the post and balance out an offense that was mainly guard-oriented last year. Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story

Pac-12 Basketball Fantasy League: Recapping Round One

Posted by Connor Pelton on June 2nd, 2012

In an attempt to pass time throughout the long summer months without basketball, eight Pac-12 writers will be attempting something different this offseason. Beginning this week, the following Pac-12 writers (in first round drafting order) will participate in a fantasy style snake draft of the all-time Pac-12 players and coaches:

1. Andy Wooldridge (Building the Dam)
2. Jack Follman (Pacific Takes)
3. Ben Knibbe (UW Dawg Pound)
4. Connor Pelton (Rush the Court)
5. Drew Murawa (Rush the Court)
6. Mark Sandritter and Jeff Nusser (CougCenter)
7. Adam Butler (Pachoops)
8. David Piper (Addicted to Quack)

The purposes of the fantasy league are: (1) to determine the top 80 players and eight coaches to have ever played/coached for a current Pac-12 school, and (2) to have fun and pass time throughout the long summer months without anything but MLB and soccer. The only guidelines for the draft are that a coach must have been a HEAD COACH at a current Pac-12 school to be eligible, while players have had to PLAYED at a current school to be eligible. After the draft, all eight teams will be placed into a bracket and will advance based on a vote by you, the readers. So far, one round of the draft is complete. We recap it below.

Round One

#1 (Andy Wooldridge) – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar/Lew Alcindor, Center, UCLA

No question on this one. Two-time Player of the Year, three-time First Team All-American, three National Championships, and three NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player awards make Abdul-Jabbar/Alcindor an easy choice at number one.

Lew Alcindor is Our Overall #1 Pick

#2 (Jack Follman) – Bill Walton, Center, UCLA

Walton’s accomplishments are very similar to that of Abdul-Jabbar’s. Walton was named Player of the Year twice, was a three-time First Team All-American, and won a pair of National Championships. While Jabbar was a no-doubter at number one, Walton was the easy second choice.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Pac-12 Morning Five: 11.11.11 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on November 11th, 2011

  1. Colorado comes into the season losing their four top-scorers from a year ago, so all five Buffalo newcomers are going to have to play huge roles in 2011-12. Leading the newcomers is senior guard Carlon Brown, a transfer from Utah. Brown averaged 12.6 PPG two years ago with the Utes before transferring due to repeated ”clashes” with the coaching staff. Also in the CU backcourt will be freshman Spencer Dinwiddie, who will bring a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio into Boulder. Dinwiddie is a true point guard in every sense of the word, something that the Buffaloes will surely miss after losing star guard Alec Burks.
  2. Washington begins play on Saturday against Georgia State and Clifford Kahn has the season preview. The article focuses on the youth this season on Montlake as 9 out of the 14 players on the roster are either freshmen or sophomoroes. While the five guys that aren’t in that group will certainly make some noise (Abdul Gaddy, Aziz N’Diaye, Brendan Sherrer, Scott Suggs, and Darnell Gant), sophomore Terrence Ross and freshman Tony Wroten, Jr., will be looked at to lead the team on the court.
  3. On a night when games like Central Arkansas-Stanford dominate the Pac-12 slate, no opening night Pac-12 game is anticipated more than Oregon-Vanderbilt. If it wasn’t for a certain game between North Carolina and Michigan State earlier in the evening, UO-VU would be the best game of the day. By far. The new-look Ducks, coming into the season with high expectations, will venture into Memorial Gymnasium Friday night to face the N0. 7 Commodores. The game is full of intrigue, but can the Ducks keep it close?  If their exhibition game last week against Grand Canyon is any indication, then no, Oregon will be lucky to be in it at halftime. But if the Ducks can build an early lead on some hot shooting, who kows, maybe we’ll be talking about a huge upset tomorrow morning.
  4. Down the road in Corvallis on Saturday, the opponent might not be Vanderbilt, but the game will still be huge. It is the second annual Nike N7 Game, an event meant to bring sport to Native American and Aboriginal youth. Oregon State coach Craig Robinson and center Joe Burton (Who grew up in the Soboba Indian reservation) welcomed the idea, originally formed by Sam McCracken, manager of Nike’s Native American business. “We were looking for a cause to get behind, as a program,’’ Robinson said. “Coaches vs. cancer is everywhere – we didn’t think we’d be able to make an impact. We were very supportive, but we wanted something we could put our imprint on.” The game will tipoff at 1:30 PM PST against Cal State Bakersfield.
  5. The battle for the Civapple Axellcup continues into its third week with me clinging on to a one game lead. The pick of the week last weekend belonged to Drew though, who not only correctly picked UCLA to beat Arizona State, but also picked them to win by one point. Low and behold, thanks to missed field goal at the gun, UCLA defeated the Sun Devils, 29-28. This week’s slate is highlighted by two games; Washington-USC and our “predict the score” game, Oregon-Stanford.

Here’s the picks:

Game Connor (9-3) Drew (8-4)
Arizona at Colorado Arizona Arizona
Washington at USC USC USC
Oregon State at California California California
UCLA at Utah Utah UCLA
Oregon at Stanford Stanford 46, Oregon 43 Oregon 41, Stanford 34
Arizona State at Washington State Arizona State Arizona State
Share this story

Pac-12 Team Previews: Washington State

Posted by Connor Pelton on November 7th, 2011

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be previewing each of the Pac-12 teams as we head into the season.

Washington State Cougars

Strengths.  The Cougars return four starters from last year’s NIT Final Four team in junior guard Reggie Moore, senior guard Marcus Capers, and senior forward Abe Lodwick. However, the biggest contributions could come from the three incoming guards, Mike Ladd, DaVonte Lacy, and Dexter Kernich-Drew. Those three will be needed at the two guard since both Moore and Capers will be at the point. Coming into the season as a Top 50 shooting guard, Lacy is the star of the group. In their exhibition on Saturday against Lewis-Clark State, Lacy proved his value with a 21-point performance. The frontcourt will be held down by Lodwick (when he returns from a left foot injury), junior power forward Brock Motum, and junior center Steven Bjornstad. With Motum and Bjornstad at 6’10″ and 6’11″, respectively, opposing defenses will have trouble matching up in the post.

Lacy has proved early on that he is the go-to guy at shooting guard

Weaknesses.  The Cougars lost two of their three best players from last year in forward DeAngleo Casto and guard Klay Thompson. Those two accounted for 45% of the 2010-11 Wazzu offense. The team will be tested early on with six of their first nine games away from Pullman. For a team that is looking to rreutrn to the NIT, that is a very tough start.

Nonconference Tests.  The Cougars have a relatively easy OOC slate, with only three games that should really challenge them. The first is their regular season opener at Gonzaga. The game will be played at 9:00 PM PST and is the first game of ESPN’s annual 25-Hour Tipoff Marathon. The next challenges will come in the second and third rounds of the 76 Classic down in Anaheim during Thanksgiving weekend. On Nov. 25 they will most likely meet New Mexico in the semifinals, and on Nov. 27 a championship meeting with Villanova looks to be in the cards.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Pac-12 Team Previews: Oregon State

Posted by Connor Pelton on October 27th, 2011

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be previewing each of the Pac-12 teams as we head into the season.

Oregon State Beavers

Strengths.  The Beavers might just have the best three-guard rotation in the conference. They are led by junior Jared Cunningham, who is a consistent jump shot away from being considered for Pac-12 Player of the Year come March. Then there are sophomores Roberto Nelson and Ahmad Starks, who after shaky starts to their freshman campaigns, had breakout performances towards the end of last year. Both are capable of taking over a game when Cunningham needs a breather. On the bench at guard will be Challe Barton, Jullian Powers, C.J. Mitchell, and Michael Moyer. Barton and Mitchell are the definitions of a combo-guard, and both should see some minutes when the others are in foul trouble. Powers and Moyer will most likely not see any game action this year.

Weaknesses.  As strong as the backcourt is, the frontcourt is that much of a weakness. Sophomore Devon Collier and junior Joe Burton will be the starters down low. But while Collier showed glimpses of greatness last year, Burton always seemed to throw the ball away or airball the point-blank layup (don’t ask). If the Beavers are to go to the NCAAs this season like  Craig Robinson is calling for, these two need to perform at a high level for 40 minutes each night.

It's tough to watch when your starting center can't put home a layup

Nonconference Tests.  Everyone, except maybe their exhibition against Pacific (Oregon). I’m just kidding (kinda), but it seems as if every nonconference game last season was an adventure for Oregon State. On paper, the Beavers should fly through all of their non-conference games except for three: Nov. 19 vs Texas ( East Rutherford, NJ), Nov. 21 vs NC State or Vanderbilt (East Rutherford, NJ), and Dec. 4 vs Montana (Corvallis). I’m predicting that Oregon State goes 2-1 in that stretch, but there is a strong possibility of an 3-0 or 0-3 finish, depending on what Beaver team shows up.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story