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Husky Men's Basketball

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

November 14, 2011 at 12:30 PM

Scouting report: Portland

Nemanja+Mitrovic+Ayodeji+Egbeyemi+WCC+Basketball+EhggNbU7FjAl.jpg
Scouting report: Portland
Game info: 7 p.m. Monday at Edmundson Pavilion.
TV/Radio: ROOT Sports/KJR 950 AM
Record: 2-0.
Stats/schedule: Click here.
Coach: Eric Reveno is 80-81 in is sixth year with the Pilots.
Prediction: Picked seventh in the nine-team WCC preseason poll.
Series: Washington leads 13-2, including an 8-0 win streak at home.
Last meeting: Isaiah Thomas and Justin Holiday scored 20 points and Matthew Bryan-Amaning had 15 to lead the Huskies to a 94-72 win Dec. 6, 2010.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Senior guard Nemanja Mitrovic (far right) finished last season No. 6 in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (46.3) and 20th in threes made per game (2.9). He was an all-WCC pick last season. He tallied 18 points in the opener against Florida Atlantic and 13 versus Georgia State. Mitrovic was chosen to the preseason all-WCC team.
— Forward Ryan Nicholas is one of five freshmen who is receiving significant minutes. He’s averaging 11.5 points and 8.5 rebounds after two games.
OVERVIEW:
— Portland beat Florida Atlantic 70-65 on Saturday and knocked off Georgia State 66-61 Sunday.
— Young doesn’t begin to describe Portland. Embryonic is more like. The familiar faces (Kramer Knutson, Luke Sikma, Jared Stohl, T.J. Campbell, Nik Raivio and Robin Smeulders) are gone. They helped the Pilots to consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time since becoming a Division I program in 1958. Portland also made three straight trips to CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT).
— The Pilots have just three upperclassmen in Mitrovic and backup senior guard Eric Waterford and junior Derrick Rodgers. They also have five freshmen and six sophomores.
— Senior guard Eric Waterford, who started 23 games last season, has not played this season because of a calf injury.
— Sophomore guard Tanner Riley injured his ankle, but he’s played spot minutes in the past two games.
— Portland was one of the best three-point shooting teams in recent years, but the Pilots are more athletic than any other team since Reveno has been coach.
STARTING LINEUP:
F – Ryan Nicholas, 6-7, 235, Fr., 2.7 ppg., 1.8 rpg.
C – Riley Barker, 6-9, 225, Fr., 2.5, 1.4
G – Nemanja Mitrovic, 6-5, 200, Sr., 13.5, 3.6
G – David Carr, 6-3, 170, Fr., 0.0, 0.0
G – Tim Douglas, 5-10, 155, So., 7.7, 3.0 apg.
*Last season’s statistics
KEY MATCHUP:
— Mitrovic is the star of the offense, but if he doesn’t receive some help he won’t get many open looks. He’s been able to 46.3 percent on three-pointers because he was surrounded by other quality shooters. Most of them are gone. Douglas is also a threat. As a freshman, he moved into the starting lineup late season and started nine games. He was also twice named WCC Player of the Week and scored a career-high 27 points last season.
Here’s a transcript from a recent interview with Reveno.


(Give me a quick update on Portland.) “We got two seniors and a junior, five sophomores and five freshmen. I think it’s the best freshmen class we’ve had so I’m really excited about our potential. We need our veterans to play well. Nemanja Mitrovic is preseason all-conference. He’s going to play well for us. Eric Waterford is coming off injury and he hasn’t played yet in this tournament, but Derrick Rodgers has played well as a junior and provided some leadership. We got some young guys like Tim Douglas at the point and Ryan Nicholas is really improving and playing well. Then our big guys Riley Barker is a sophomore and Thomas van der Mars is a freshman. So there’s a lot of new faces. I like our guys. I think we’re more athletic than we’ve been. A little bit faster. I think I may have already coached in my young career the best three-point shooting team I’ll ever coach in my career. We not as good as we have been, but we’re more athletic.”
(Are you revamping the offense?) “We’ve tried to emphasize balance. In order to get our perimeter game going, we have to establish something inside. We had guards who weren’t particularly athletic, but they could shoot it. … Now I think we have a little more balance to where we can maybe beat a guy off the dribble a little bit better. We have guys that can hit an open shot and then our post players, they can score in the low post. Right now we’re balanced. And we’re deeper than we’ve ever been.”
(Looks like you have some height as well.) “Yeah. We got some big in there. Against the athletes we’ve seen this weekend, they can put a body on someone and they have some length to bother some people. We are bigger at the post.”
(What are you hoping to accomplish during the tournament?) “We’re just trying to get better every day. I think the level of athleticism that we’re playing in this tournament is really good for us. In the West Coast Conference, these teams are as athletic as any that we’ll see with the exception of maybe Gonzaga. Washington is a cut above athletically. They’re going to try to bother us with their athleticism. We’re more athletic, but we got learn how to use it. Learn how to be strong and tough and hang with guys athletically. So it’s a good experience for us.”
(Have you been surprised by your team in the first two games?) “Pleasantly surprised. That’s funny because I really didn’t know what to expect coming into the first weekend. I was real pleased (Saturday) night and it’s funny how quickly your expectations raise. I thought we played a real inconsistent game (Sunday) night against a very gritty, tough team that exposed some things for us. It was a good learning opportunity. I told the guys we got to get better each night out so (Monday) I got to try to do better.”
(For a young team, your squad kept its poise in two relatively close wins.) “Thank you. We scored the last seven points in the game (Saturday) and (Sunday) we finished it off well. Give them a lot of credit because we haven’t drilled as much situational stuff as I would have liked to at this point in the season. With the older group, we were working on situations and stuff like that. But we’re farther behind. So we’re putting a lot of pressure on them to make plays, be strong and do things that we haven’t worked on. Our veterans have got to be able to handle that, but we got to figure it out. So we’re a little bit behind on some stuff.”
(What’s your thoughts on playing Washington?) “I always appreciate the opportunity to play the Huskies. I got at lot of respect for the program. Coach (Lorenzo) Romar and I joke sometimes when I was at Stanford as an assistant, we were 17-0 (in conference) and they knocked us off here. I’ve had some good memories here. It’s a class program and it’s a pleasure to play them. It’s a tough basketball challenge. You kind of know what they’re going to do and how they’re going to come after you. They’re going to make it real hard for us to run offense. I think it will be really good for our guys. They seem to have some really good size this year and some bigs who are just as athletic and can play at the pace they like to play. Blocking shots with their elbows so we got to be ready to go.”

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