Pac-12 M5: 10.23.12 Edition

Posted by PBaruh on October 23rd, 2012

  1. As if losing David Foster for the year wasn’t enough for the Utah Utes, Aaron Dotson broke his foot in practice yesterday and is scheduled to be out for four to six weeks. Although Dotson hasn’t played for the Utes yet in his career since he transferred from LSU, he was still going to be an integral part of this revamped Utah team. Dotson was projected to be a starter for Larry Krystkowiak and would have provided some immediate talent that the Utes didn’t have at the guard and forward spots last year. He was poised to have a great season for Utah and was prepared to pick up the scoring void. However, not all is lost, as Dotson should be back in December just prior to conference play.
  2. Unlike the traditional team scrimmages that most of the Pac-12 teams had to start off their college basketball season, Mike Montgomery and California decided to go in a different direction. The Golden Bears hosted an outdoor event on Saturday along with the women’s basketball team as they introduced both squads to their fans. Players ran through drills on an outdoor court with an outdoor hoop and were available for autographs afterward. It was a very casual event and an interesting decision at first glance. The mid-day start time and outdoor venue weren’t the typical setting for an opening basketball event, but since they held it prior to the Big Game against Stanford, they were able to get ample support.
  3. As mentioned in yesterday’s Morning Five, the Arizona Wildcats held its Blue and Red game this past Sunday, and the expected players (Nick Johnson, Mark Lyons, and Kevin Parrom) stood out, but a surprise player was Grant Jerrett. Jerrett had 14 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in the game, and yes it’s just a scrimmage, but it will be bad news for the rest of the Pac-12 if Jerrett can contribute right away along with the expected inputs of Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley, the two other incoming freshmen in their big man trio.
  4. It still looks bleak in Westwood with respect to player eligibility. On Sunday, the attorney of Shabazz Muhammad spoke out about the allegations against his client, essentially stating that they are unclear on what the NCAA is looking into. Furthermore, there’s been no discussion of timeline with the NCAA which means that that the UCLA staff has no idea what to expect about his or teammate Kyle Anderson’s eligibility. With the Bruin program unveiling a statue of the legendary Wizard of Westwood soon followed by an unveiling of a newly-renovated Pauley Pavilion, the renaissance season that so many UCLA fans were hoping for may be more window dressing than substance.
  5. USC held its first practice open to the public this past Saturday and all signs point to a much better season this year. Jio Fontan, who sat out all last year with an injury, is back and ready to make an impact and the numerous transfers that USC has on the team this year should make for an interesting dynamic. The Trojans are still awaiting to see if 7’2″ Omar Oraby, a transfer from Rice, will be declared eligible before the season. Either way, all these transfers have chips on their shoulders and want to prove to everyone around them that they will make the most of their second chance. Ultimately, USC will be able to make a case for an NCAA Tournament run, but all of Kevin O’Neill’s transfers must take advantage of their new life in Troy.
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Pac-12 Weekly Five: 09.21.12 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on September 21st, 2012

  1. Coach Larry Krystowiak and Utah picked up a huge commitment this week as San Francisco City College combo guard Delon Wright verbally committed to the Utes. Wright got a sense of just how loud and exuberant Utah’s student section, The Muss, could be when he took a visit to Salt Lake City for last weekend’s Holy War. Krystowiak is certainly getting the guys in place to rebuild a dormant Utah program (four-star small forward Jordan Loveridge is the other big catch, who will be a freshman in 2012-13). Wright will arrive for the 2013-14 season and will have two years of eligibility remaining. He also drew interest from Gonzaga, Washington, Washington State, and St. Mary’s.
  2. Arsalan Kazemi, the man who entered Rice three seasons ago as the first ever native Iranian to play D-I basketball, was granted a transfer from the Owl program on Monday. The senior power forward told Sports Illustrated that Oregon and Kentucky were early leaders for his transfer options. Fall classes at Oregon don’t start until next Monday, September 24, making the Ducks a sensible option. Kazemi also told SI he intends to petition for a hardship waiver in order to play immediately, although he did not say on what grounds the waiver request would include. With the Ducks losing Olu Ashaolu, who emerged as a solid go-to guy in the post toward the end of last season, this would be a huge pick-up for Dana Altman. Kazemi is also in talks with Cincinnati, Texas, Florida, and Ohio State, and has denied that he might turn professional. He is the sixth player to leave Rice this offseason, with the other one of most note to Pac-12 fans being center Omar Oraby. Oraby transferred to USC last Thursday.
  3. Stanford got a pair of commitments from Las Vegas twins Malcolm and Marcus Allen earlier this week. Marcus, a shooting guard, seems more fit to garner early minutes as a freshman, but both definitely have talent at the one and two positions, respectively. Both brothers have been praised for their knack in scoring, making them perfect Johnny Dawkins prototypes. Perhaps even more impressive is the work they’ve done in the classroom, though, with both of them earning weighted 4.8 GPAs in their three years at Centennial High School. Both brothers will be eligible to play beginning in 2013-14.
  4. Stepping away from the recruiting and transfer news that dominates this time of year, Jeff Goodman has a terrific article on the “second chance kids” that will try to bring USC back to national relevance this season. Things got considerably tougher on Kevin O’Neill and company when star guard Maurice Jones announced he was transferring out of the program just a little over two weeks ago. Ruled academically ineligible 10 days before the announcement, Jones wouldn’t have played the 2012-13 season anyway. But it brought back more of the “what else can go wrong” feeling that haunted the Trojans all of last season. Even despite the loss of Jones, the Trojans figure to be much more competitive this year through the play of returnees and newcomers like Jio Fontan, J.T. Terrell, and Eric Wise.
  5. Lastly, it’s that time of year again where Drew and I get to exchange our weekly football picks. Last week Drew took advantage of a pair of home upsets (Stanford over USC and Utah over BYU) to pull within just three games of me.  Things should get really interesting beginning this week now that Pac-12 play begins in earnest. We’ve got a battle of the basement up on the Palouse (Colorado-Washington State), the Drew-Connor rivalry (Oregon State-UCLA), an in-state rivalry featuring two teams coming off close losses (California-USC), and our game of the week, Arizona-Oregon. Utah and Arizona State will also play each other, but I couldn’t think of anything creative for that one. Picks below, with our game of the week prediction in bold:
Game Connor’s Pick (26-7) Drew’s Pick (23-10)
Oregon State at UCLA UCLA UCLA
Colorado at Washington State Washington State Washington State
California at USC USC USC
Utah at Arizona State Arizona State Utah
Arizona at Oregon Oregon 31-17 Oregon 40-28
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