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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

November 4, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Scouting report: Seattle Pacific

andy poling.jpg
Scouting report: Seattle Pacific
Game info: 7 p.m. tonight at Edmundson Pavilion.
TV: ROOT Sports
Record: 0-0.
Previous game: Beat No. 16 Arizona 69-68 in an exhibition last week.
Stats/schedule: Click here.
Coach: Ryan Looney is 42-16 in his third year with the Falcons and 137-71 overall eight years.
Prediction: Picked to finish second in the Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference by league coaches.
Series: Washington leads 12-0 in the crosstown series.
Last meeting: The Huskies won 86-77 on Nov. 5 2007.
Jobi Wall, a junior transfer from Colorado Christian, scored a game-high 24 points in the Arizona win. He connected on 4 of 8 three-pointers. Wall shot 44 percent behind the arc last season and drew All-America acclaim.
— Junior center Andy Poling (above, right) is the tallest player on the roster at 6 feet 11. He was named honorable mention All-American by the Sporting News. Poling transferred from Gonzaga last year. He shot 55 percent on field goals last season.
— Sophomore point guard David Downs won the GNAC Freshman of the Year award last season. The former Bellevue Christian standout was inserted in the starting lineup midway last season when the Falcons lost their starter point guard.
— SPU is ranked No. 22 among Division II teams. The Falcons are seeking their eighth straight postseason appearance. They return three starters from last season’s team that finished 20-10 record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA D-II Tournament. Since 1994, SPU has made 22 playoff appearances.
— The Falcons have a 3-0 win streak against D-I teams, including wins over Arizona, Eastern Washington (87-82) and Nevada (84-81).
— SPU assistant Grant Leep is a four-year letterman (1999-02) at Washington. He captained the ’02 squad and still holds two three-point records.
— The Falcons took a six-day trip to the Bahamas and swept three professional teams.
F – Jobi Wall, 6-6, 215, Jr., 16.6 ppg., 7.7 rpg.
F – Jake Anderson, 6-6, 210, Jr., 5.8, 3.2
C – Andy Poling, 6-11, 240, Jr., 14.5, 7.0
G – Jeff Dorman, 6-2, 190, Sr., 2.3, 1.1
G – David Downs, 6-2, 185. So., 6.9, 4.3 apg
Washington needs to pressure Downs with point guards Abdul Gaddy and Tony Wroten Jr. to disrupt Seattle Pacific’s offense. However, the key battle is inside. Without 7-foot center Aziz N’Diaye, who is out due to a concussion, the Huskies will rely on 6-8 senior forward Darnell Gant and 6-7 redshirt freshman forward Desmond Simmons to slow down Poling and SPU’s front line.
Here’s a transcript of a recent interview with Looney:

(Take me back to last week and the big win over Arizona. What was it like inside the locker room?) “For starters we had a big alumni function at the game. Our athletic director, director of alumni and president were all at the game with a lot of former players and other alumni. When you look back on it, it was a pretty special night for our institution. We kind of got recognition in a lot different ways. In regards to our team, our focus going in wasn’t necessarily to win the game but to be a better team at the end of the night than we were when we started. And I think that we definitely achieved that. When we walked in the locker room, our guys were going crazy. I told them they had 10 seconds to get it out of their system and they did. But we also talked that night about not letting it be the defining moment of our season. We understand that it’s still really early and in all reality we haven’t won a game yet and have a lot of season left in front of us.”
(It’s not the first time you’ve knocked of Division I teams. This is really becoming old hat for you.) “Yeah it’s been fun. I think that our coaches have done a good job preparing for those games and obviously our kids are motivated to play them too. A big part of it speaks to the character of the kids we have in our team. We’ve worked hard in recruiting to make sure we have sound kids who are competitive and has some type of toughness. In those games particularly, they’ve been able to demonstrate that.”
(As a philosophy do you go into exhibitions scouting the opposition and intent on winning or do you go in wanting to take a look at different lineups and getting a look at your guys?) “We prepare just like we would for a normal game. One of the reasons that we schedule the exhibitions is to start to get our players into whatever the routine will be on game week. Part of our reason for doing it is to get them used to watching film. To get them used to preparing to read a scouting report. And to think about different things about playing another team instead of playing against ourselves every day.”
(If it was possible to sneak up on Washington last week, I’d imagine that’s out the window now.) “I think we’re definitely not going to sneak up on anybody after that. In regards to the game, we’re just thankful to have it. I think it’s pretty special that coach Romar every year plays one of Division II schools in the area. It’s big for our program, but I also think it’s big for fans in the Seattle area to continue to get see some of the local players. Washington is going to be really good. I think our focus is going to be the same as it was last week. We just want to make sure we’re a better team at the end of it, then we were when we started so we’re prepared for our schedule coming up.”
(Can you give me a quick scouting report on your team?) “Our point guard is David Downs. He’s a sophomore from Bellevue Christian High School. He was the freshman of the year in our conference a year ago. Our five man is Andy Poling who is a transfer from Gonzaga. He was an honorable mention all-conference player for us a year ago. He’s gained 21 pounds in the offseason. I think he’ll have a chance to provide us a big-time presence around the basket. We had a transfer from Colorado Christian in Jobi Wall. He’s 6-6 and 215. We play him at the three. He can really shoot it. Great kid. Tough. He’s helped change the culture of our program a little bit. He hasn’t been with us that long, but his teammates voted him one of our team captains. Jake Anderson we started at the four in our last game. He’s been in the program four years now. He’s coming off a knee injury. He’s kind of like the glue guy for us. And then Jeff Dorman from Prairie, Wash started at the two in our last game. To be honest, to this point he’s probably the most improved player in our program. I don’t know that I expected to do what he’s doing this year for us so far.”
(What type of expectations do you have for the team?) “Our expectations right now is just to continue to get better every single day. I said this to other peoples already, our program has been in the Division II national tournament for seven consecutive years and I don’t think we’re planning on that ending any time soon.”
(Are you thinking the Division I is in the future are you comfortable where you’re at?) “I think I can’t necessarily answer that question. That’s a question for an administrator. I would guess that it’s been discussed at some point. But when you look back over the years and all the success that all of our programs have had at the Division II level I would guess we’re pretty comfortable where you’re at. When you play and when you coach, it’s a lot more fun to win and all of our programs have been doing a lot of that.”
(This is your third year, is the program where you want it?) “If you look back over the years all the way back to Les Habegger, Ken Bone and Jeff Hironaka being the head coaches here, there’s a tradition of excellence in the basketball program. So my focus when I got the job a little over two years ago was not necessarily to change that but to build upon it. I do think the style that we play is different than what my predecessors did here. I do think it took a little time to change that part of the program. But I do feel right now for the first time we have a group that’s committed to doing it the way I would like it be done.”
(What type of style is that?) “When you look at us, we have size. We have some guys that are strong. I think we’ve done a great job of committing ourselves in the weight room. But we’re slow and not very athletic. We know that and we don’t try to vary from that either. We try to get the ball inside on offense. Sometimes that means that we’re patient and probably playing a mid-tempo type of style. And then we don’t gamble too much on defense. We just want to be solid.”
(What do you see when you scout Washington?) “A ton of athleticism and length. I think when teams play at a fast pace with them, they’re probably going to be in trouble.”
(How many SUP fans are you expecting?) “Based on all of the people that have called and emailed and texted over the last few days a lot.”
Photo credit: Sports Page Magazine

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