Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

An ode to Verne Lundquist’s calls and everything college basketball

Posts Tagged ‘California Bears’

Pac-10 Preview Roundup

Posted by Patrick on November 9, 2008

Links to my other posts: 1.UCLA, 2.Arizona State, 3.Washington, 4.USC, 5.Arizona, 6.Washington State, 7.Cal, 8.Stanford, 9.Oregon, 10.Oregon State

First Team:

James Harden (G-Arizona State)

Darren Collison (G-UCLA)

Jon Brockman (F-Washington)

DeMar DeRozan (G-USC)

Chase Budinger (F-Arizona)

Second Team:

Jrue Holiday (G-UCLA)

Taj Gibson (F-USC)

Jeff Pendergraph (F-Arizona State)

Aron Baynes (C-Washington State)

Patrick Christopher (F-Cal)

Third Team:

Quincy Pondexter (F-Washington)

Mitch Johnson (G-Stanford)

Derek Glasser (G-Arizona State)

J’Mison Morgan (C-UCLA)

Daniel Hackett (G-USC)

Player of the Year:

1) James Harden, Arizona State

2) Jon Brockman, Washington

3) Darren Collison, UCLA

Defensive Player of the Year: Darren Collison, UCLA

Breakthrough Player of the Year: Derek Glasser, Arizona State

Freshman of the Year: DeMar DeRozan, USC

Coach of the Year: Herb Sendek, Arizona State

Dark Horse Player: Tajuan Porter, Oregon

Dark Horse Team: Washington State

NCAA Teams: 5

NIT Teams: 3

CBI Teams: 1

Top Five Games:

1. Arizona State at UCLA (1/17)

2. UCLA at USC (1/11)

3. Arizona State at Washington (2/26)

4. USC at Arizona State (2/15)

5. USC at UCLA (2/4)

The SEC Preview will be up at some point this week. Oh yeah, and there is a college basketball game tomorrow night, in case your wondering.

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Pac 10 Preview (#10-#7)

Posted by Patrick on November 3, 2008

The Pac-10 was arguably the best conference in college basketball last season. However, the talent level is way down in 2008-09. The top of the conference should still have teams that can contend for a Final Four, but the conference is not particularly well-rounded. These are the bottom four teams of the conference: some are teams that have never really been to the top, and some are teams that will be getting their first taste of the basement in a long time. It will still be a very interesting season out West, but I don’t see these teams doing much.

10. Oregon State Beavers– Coach: Craig Robinson (1st Year)

Backcourt: Josh Tarver and Ricky Claitt led a backcourt that can’t hold their own even against mid major teams. While Tarver does get the basket somewhat well, he has a terrible knack for turning the ball over. His 62 turnovers in 31 games (only averaging 24.4 minutes per game) is pretty bad, and he led the Beavers in that category- 20 ahead of the second place man. Claitt should never shoot threes- as he was 3-29 last season from behind the arc- and I can’t imagine how poor he could be this year now that the line has been moved back.

Frontcourt: Josh’s twin brother Seth is probably the Beavers best player, although he only averages around 10 PPG. Roeland Schaftenaar is the center, yet last year he wasn’t even in the top four on Oregon State for total rebounds. The frontcourt is certainly better than the backcourt, but after these two players there isn’t much else to offer.

Bottom Line: This program is struggling and will have a lot of trouble winning a game in the Pac-10. For Last season, Oregon State managed to lose their opening game to Colorado State, a team that went winless in the Mountain West. This season, the Beavers look worse. While the coaching change was needed, I don’t know if getting an Ivy League coach was the right move. OSU should pray that maybe a top mid-major coach wants to move on to the Pac-10 and try to rebuild this program, but until then don’t expect anything from these guys.

Starting Lineup:

PG-Josh Tarver (Jr.)

SG- Rickey Claitt (Sr.)

SF- Seth Tarver (Jr.)

PF-Omari Johnson (So.)

C- Roeland Schaftenaar (Jr.)

9. Oregon Ducks– Coach: Ernie Kent (11th Year)

Backcourt– Tajuan Porter leads a young team and can be a big scoring threat. However, he loves to shoot even when he is having an off night. Joevan Catron is the next best option in the Ducks backcourt. He can also stroke it at times, but most of the problem in this backcourt is shot selection and turning the ball over. If they can take better shots and hang onto the ball it could make a huge difference in the standings. The Ducks have a freshman phenom in Teondre Williams, but I am hesitant to say he will play a huge role quite yet.

Frontcourt– This is where Oregon falls behind most of their Pac-10 competition. They have freshman Michael Dunigan who can be a force down low, but if other teams are concentrating on him and can box him out, the Ducks offense will be crippled. The fact that Oregon’s best option in the paint is a freshman shows the inexperience of Oregon. As a result, it’s tough to project them much higher that second to last.

Bottom Line: This team needs to start playing defense or they will get run off the court in this conference. Obviously they won’t be able to compete with UCLA or Arizona State, but if they want to finish in the top half of the conference they will need to stop teams from putting up ridiculous numbers on offense. The guards also need to stop chucking up three pointers when they’re down. Having a viable option in the paint with Dunigan will help them in close games, but I still don’t see many wins from the Ducks in 2008-09.

Starting Lineup:

PG- Tajuan Porter (So.)

SG- Teondre Williams (Fr.)

G/F- Joevan Catron (So.)

F- Frantz Dorsainvil (Jr.)

C- MIchael Dunigan (Fr.)

8. Stanford Cardinal– Coach: Johnny Dawkins (1st year)

Backcourt– The Cardinal return most of their backcourt players in Mitch Johnson and Anthony Goods. Johnson will be running point and Goods will most likely be getting the start at shooting guard if the Cardinal run a three guard offense.  Jeremy Green is one of the best freshman guards in the nation and he will take on a strong role for Stanford. He has a great outside shot and could help this team down the stretch.

Frontcourt– Obviously Stanford lost an awful lot in the frontcourt after Brooke and Robin Lopez declared for the NBA Draft after their sophomore seasons. Lawrence Hill is the only experienced big man, and Josh Owens is a sophomore that got very limited playing time last season but showed that with some work he can be a good player. Jarrett Mann, another freshman, should also see plenty of playing time while this group tries to pick up the slack left by the Lopez twins.

Bottom LIne: Its difficult to put such a talented program that plays great defense this low in the conference, but with virtually no big men and a new coach Stanford will go through some major pains.  If Mitch Johnson can take leadership of this team it’s possible that they can finish much higher than 8th, but that’s a big if.

Starting Lineup:

PG- MItch Johnson (Sr.)

SG- Anthony Goods (Sr.)

G- Jeremy Green (Fr.)

G/F- Jarrett Mann (Fr.)

F- Lawrence Hill (Jr.)

7. California Bears- Coach: Mike Montgomery (1st year)

Backcourt: Believe it or not, Cal has one of the best backcourts in the conference. Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle have both proved that they can score and are experienced players. Of course, the departure of Ryan Anderson hurts this team tremendously. However, DJ Seeley (a freshman) is going to fit in nicely at point right away.

Frontcourt: The frontcourt is definitely a  weakness for Cal and where they fall behind other teams in the conference. Harper Kamp and Jamal Boykin are their best bets down low. They’re both undersized and are barely Pac-10 caliber frontcourt players.

Bottom Line: Cal will be a great team in 2009-10 but not this season, unless Christopher and Randle can put up Ryan Anderson like numbers. Cal also needs to play defense if they want a shot at an NCAA bid they’ve been striving for over the last couple seasons.

Starting LIneup:

PG- DJ Seeley (Fr.)

SG- Patrick Christopher (Jr.)

G- Jerome Randle (Jr.)

F- Jamal Boykin (Jr.)

F- Harper Kamp (So.)

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Top 15 Freshmen; Friday News And Notes

Posted by Zach on October 31, 2008

One of the best parts of opening a new college basketball season is seeing the fresh crop of freshmen in action for the first time. Two years ago, Kevin Durant surpassed any expectation and became the best player in the country. Last year, the likes of Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo and Kevin Love highlighted the deepest and most talented freshman class ever assembled. What’s in store for this year? Most prognosticators suggest this class is much weaker and supremely less talented. I respectfully disagree. This year’s freshman crop has athletes, scorers, dominating big men and all-around superstars who will shine for prominent national programs. Here’s my top 15 from the list:

1. DeMar DeRozan, USC:
I have high expectations for the young DeRozan out of Compton, a player whose highlight-reel athleticism and scoring ability is unmatched among his peers. If DeRozan plays to his potential, I feel he can match the production of O.J. Mayo last season and team up with Taj Gibson and Daniel Hackett in bringing USC back to the top of the Pac-10.

2. Jrue Holiday, UCLA: Holiday is a 6’3 combo guard with an exceptional all-around game who does nothing but win. He’s the perfect Ben Howland player in that he’s smart on the floor and is advanced defensively for an incoming freshman. He could start immediately for the Bruins and headlines their impressive recruiting class.

3. B.J. Mullens, Ohio State:
Mullens is a versatile 7-footer (yes, it’s possible) who can face the basket or mix it up inside with his steady frame. He could be an impact double-double man right away for Thad Matta, and his upside is so high some have him pegged as the #1 pick in the next NBA Draft.

4. Samardo Samuels, Louisville: Samuels is a gem for Rick Pitino in a conference where you need a scoring big man. He’s an aggressive forward with great instincts and a knack for the rim. Samuels is extremely powerful for a freshman and will challenge players like Luke Harangody immediately.

5. Tyreke Evans, Memphis: Evans has to be Memphis’ best player from day one if John Calipari wants to return to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Thing is, he very well could be. The dynamic Evans is a confident scorer with excellent range and finishing ability.

6. Greg Monroe, Georgetown: Monroe has dropped on some recruiting charts, but I still feel he’s a perfect player for Georgetown and will shine. He’s blessed with a wide frame and tremendous rebounding skills under the rim. It might take Monroe a year to mold into a feared scorer in the Big East.

7. Willie Warren, Oklahoma:
Warren is a huge reason why I feel Oklahoma can be a top ten team right away. This versatile guard simply has a knack for scoring and should be that second impact players Jeff Capel needs beside Blake Griffin. Warren does need to improve his defense, though.

8. Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest:
I love what Aminu brings to the table for a rising Wake Forest team. He’s an excellent perimeter scorer who can face up mid-range and hit shots. Also, not many can match his athleticism and drive on the court. You don’t find scoring 6’8 small forwards every day.

9. Kemba Walker, Connecticut:
Walker is such an advanced point guard at his age, it’s silly. He reminds of Derrick Rose with his court vision, toughness and leadership. He’s also stout defensively and should see extensive minutes right away for a loaded Connecticut team.

10. Scotty Hopson, Tennessee:
Hopson is an extremely talented prospect who originally signed with Mississippi State. He rebounds well for a guard and can also score consistently. The talent is certainly there, and he’ll provide a steady duo with Tyler Smith in Knoxville this season.

11. Luke Babbitt, 12. Iman Shumpert, 13. Devin Ebanks, 14. Delvin Roe, 15. JaMychal Green

Some quick news and notes on this Friday:

– Roy Williams is planning a news conference today to give us more information regarding the Tyler Hansbrough injury. My guess: Williams estimates they’ll be without Hansbrough for the entire month of November and set a best-case scenario for December 3 vs. Michigan State in Detroit. What the Tar Heels cannot afford to do is rush the ultra-competitive Hansbrough back to action too quickly, because then the stress “reaction” can turn into a Marcus Ginyard stress “fracture.” Then, you’re talking about being without Hansbrough for the entire season, and the entire goal is to have him 100% for March.

– The NCAA has passed legislation disallowing those early practices that Kentucky and Illinois enjoyed as a way to kick off their season because it gives them a recruiting advantage. Maybe so, but, as Gary Parrish so accurately describes, doesn’t the NCAA have more important things to take care of? Like, coaches hiring AAU coaches of their top recruits as an advantage a la John Wall? Taking care of that loophole instead of eliminating early practices for next October seems to make sense.

– Arizona lost their top incoming freshman for this season, Jeff Withey. As I’ve stated before, Arizona could have a mini-Indiana on their hands next season if Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill enter the NBA Draft. They have zero recruits for 2009 because their Pac-10 rivals are stealing them all. Withey, a 6’11 center, was ranked as the #35 overall player by He joins Brandon Jennings and Emmanuel Negedu as 2008 recruits that have jettisoned from Tuscon.

– Some surprising news out of Tennessee as J.P. Prince will miss 3-5 weeks with a shoulder injury he suffered in practice. If Prince cannot return in time for the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Siena’s chances of pulling an upset just went up a few notches. And if you don’t think it can happen….it can happen. Siena returns everyone from that thrashing of Vanderbilt.

– Prep star Kenny Boynton made his decision yesterday and will attend the University of Florida. Billy Donovan is assembling an impressive recruiting class for 2009, rebuilding quite successfully after losing that national championship core. He chose Florida over USC, Duke and Texas. Boynton might be the quickest and purest scorer in the entire class, ranked as the #2 SG by He’s an absolute gem in what should be a tremendous backcourt for the 2009-10 Gators.

Andy Katz has a piece on new California coach Mike Montgomery. I thought that was a great hire by Cal. It’ll stir up the Stanford rivalry again and Montgomery is a proven college coach with a track record. His failures at Golden State are irrelevant to whether he can get the job done at Berkeley.

– Nevada all-WAC guard Brandon Fields petty larceny charge has been dropped, but he remains suspended by coach Mark Fox. Don’t expect Fields to miss any significant action. Nevada should be the WAC favorite with Fields, Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson.

– What to expect from this site the next week or so: Big East #1, Pac-10 Preview, Big-12 Preview, ACC #5-1, Preseason Bracketology, Awards, Top 25, Games to Watch and possibly some more as we gear up for the start of college basketball.

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