May 13, 2013 at 12:30 AM
Six future Pac-12 players competed in Saturday’s inaugural West Coast All-Star Classic at the ShoWare Center.
None scored more points than Bothell High’s Zach LaVine, who is headed to UCLA, and California-bound Jordan Matthews. They each had 19 points and Arizona-bound Elliott Pitts had 11 to help the West team to a 123-121 victory.
Washington incoming freshman Jahmel Taylor scored 18 and Darin Johnson nine while Hallice Cooke (Oregon State) chipped in three for the East squad.
Here’s a few observations:
— Taylor (video interview above) is fearless, which is probably a good trait for a 5-11 and 160-pound point guard. He constantly probed and attacked the defense with dribble drives and passes into the post. Several bounce passes missed the mark or were intercepted. Taylor’s three-point shot was also erratic. He missed at least two three-point attempts and made one. Still, he offset his deficiencies with hustle, determination and leadership. He’s also a non-stop chatterbox. He’ll take playful verbal barbs at opposing players and is constantly giving instructions to teammates.
Taylor is one of the reasons the East team cut a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to two. It was as if someone forgot to tell him it was an all-star game. He spent more time on the floor than every other player combined. He also looked as if he was going to try and take a charge late in the game, but decided against it.
In the fourth quarter, Taylor was paired against LaVine. Despite surrendering four inches, Taylor held his own. At times he used his quickness to stay in front and keep LaVine out of the lane. Other times, LaVine was able to turn the corner and get to the rim.
— Admittedly, Johnson (video interview below) didn’t have his best game. He started the game on the bench with Taylor and never got into any rhythm. It was as if he was waiting to get into the groove. Johnson was able to connect with Taylor on a couple of scoring plays, but mostly Johnson didn’t appear overly engaged in the game.
— LaVine did a little of everything. He entertained the sparse crowd with a high-flying, rim-rattling dunk in the third quarter. He also drained a couple of long-range jumpers. He’s listed at 6-3 and 165 pounds, but he plays above the rim and is surprisingly explosive. LaVine is not adverse to driving in traffic and stuffing a dunk. He’s also just as likely to pull up for a transition 3.
— Pitts is smooth. The 6-5 guard displayed nice range on his shot while knocking down two three-pointers.
— Matthews is solid. He didn’t do anything flashy, but at the end of the night he was one of the game’s top scorers.
— Didn’t really notice Cooke.
— Arguably the best player on the floor was BYU-bound Eric Mika. He had a smile on his face most of the game and seemed to enjoy plaing against Missouri-bound Torren Jones. Mike is an athletic big man at 6-9 and 220 pounds. He scored a game-high 28 points and won the MVP trophy. He also had five blocks and five dunks. He runs the floor well and finishes strong at the rim.
— And speaking of Jones, he might be the first person in the history of all-star games to get disqualified because of fouls.
May 11, 2013 at 4:26 PM
Here’s a couple of videos of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar at today’s Marv Harshman memorial service.
And here’s the second part.
May 11, 2013 at 3:53 PM
Thought I’d post some videos from today’s Marv Harshman memorial service at the University of Washington.
The list of speakers included: David and Rick Harshman, Jim Van Beek, Bob Houbregs, Sue Beyer, Detlef Shrempf, Hugh Campbell, Lorenzo Romar, Steve Hawes, Bud Norris, Jud Heathcote and Margaret Symons.
Here’s a couple videos from Schrempf.
And here’s the second part.
May 10, 2013 at 11:16 PM
The first night of the inaugural West Coast All-Star Classic belonged to Zach LaVine, who thrilled the crowd at Rainier Beach High with a brilliant display of high-flying acrobatics to win the slam dunk contest.
“I got about 7-8 dunks I know I can get a pretty good score on,” he said. “I haven’t lost a dunk contest in about three years so I always keep my dunks in hand. It was fun. It’s always fun and to know this was the last one for me in high school makes it even more special.”
LaVine, who won the dunk title last week at the BallisLife All-American Game, was the favorite Friday night in a field that included Ohio State signee Kameron Williams, Michigan State signee Gavin Schilling, Fresno State signee Karachi Soma Edo, Rainier Beach High star Marquis Davis (Santa Clara) and Garfield High standout Tucker Haymond (Western Michigan).
Most contestants drew low scores from a panel of celebrity judges that included Hall of Famer Gary Payton, for Sonics legend Shawn Kemp, Boston Celtics forward Terrence Williams, Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse and former Oregon coach Ernie Kent.
LaVine was the last contestant in the first round, but after his first attempt it was clear he’d win the competition.
The wiry 6-4 Bothell guard who will play at UCLA next season season leaped toward the rim, maneuvered the ball between his legs in the air before flushing a right-handed jam. He received five 10s from the judges.
LaVine’s next attempt was somewhat modest, but he was given another perfect score.
His winning dunk was a slight variation of his between-the-legs first attempt, however, he flushed a reverse jam before falling to the floor. (Video highlights above). The crowd went crazy. Every judge waived cards that read 10 and LaVine was mobbed on the court by players and fans.
He easily won the title. After some urging from the MC, LaVine gave the fans one more highlight, which was arguably his best dunk. He bounced high off the floor and wrapped the ball around his waist before hammering a thunderous jam.
Earlier in the night, Seattle Prep star D.J. Fenner, who will play at Nevada next season, won the three-point competition.
April 17, 2013 at 6:17 PM
The first day of the spring signing period went off without a hitch for Washington, which added guards Jahmel Taylor and Mike Anderson to a class that includes guards Nigel Williams-Goss and Darin Johnson.
Coach Lorenzo Romar said the Huskies have 12 players on the roster. The team has another scholarship to give, but he was unsure if UW will sign anyone else. If the Huskies did sign someone, it would most likely bring in a big man, Romar said.
Washington lists Taylor at 5-11 and Romar said he reminds him of former UW standout Justin Dentmon.
Romar said the Huskies began recruiting Anderson when it became apparent they could lose junior guard C.J. Wilcox, who is considering turning pro.
At the moment there’s really nothing new to report. Wilcox is still going through the process of collecting as much information as he can before making a decision before the NBA’s April 28 deadline.
April 11, 2013 at 4:22 PM
You can make a strong case for Nigel Williams-Goss being the best point guard among the 2013 incoming freshmen.
The 6-3, 185-pound standout, who signed with Washington, starred in the McDonald’s All-American game last week (video highlights above) and will play in the Jordan Brand Classic on Friday.
This week Max Preps selected him a first-team All-American. Williams-Goss is one of two Pac-12 players on the squad joining Aaron Gordon, who is attending Arizona.
There’s not another incoming player in the conference included among the top 25 players on Max Preps’ five All-American teams.
Pac-12 players on the honorable mention list include: Jabari Bird (California), Rondae Jefferson (Arizona), Zach Lavine (UCLA) and Roschon Prince (USC).
AROUND THE PAC-12:
— Tanner Lancona, a 6-8 forward who signed with Washington State last November, tweeted today that he’s not going to play for the Cougars and will pursue other options.
— New USC coach Andy Enfield made a big splash with his second hire. He added Tony Bland, an assistant at San Diego State. It’s a win-win for USC and Bland. The Trojans get a well respected recruiter with ties to Southern California. Bland reportedly gets a big raise in salary from $120,000 to $300,000 annually. Enfield first hire was Jason Hart, a LA native who spent last season at Pepperdine.
— Rob Dauster at NBCsports.com writes: “All of a sudden, USC looks like the program on the rise out west.”
— Arizona’s Kevin Parrom decided not to pursue a fifth-year waiver and his Wildcats career is officially over.
— Fun story about USC athletic director Pat Haden who has a small role in a campus play.
— And here’s a link to catch action at the Portsmouth Invitational. Former UW player Aziz N’Diaye and former WSU star Brock Motum team up at 5 p.m. PST in a consolation game.
April 2, 2013 at 7:52 PM
Normally this is the time of year when we celebrate the pageantry of college basketball. Anticipation builds for Saturday’s Final Four games and Monday’s national championship contest.
But this week is different.
On Monday news broke of a scandal involving Ed Rush, the head of officiating in the Pac-12, who made inappropriate comments during the conference tournament. Citing unnamed sources, CBSsports.com reported Rush told officials to get tougher on coaches and offered a $5,000 bounty and a trip to Cancun to the ref who gave a technical foul to Arizona coach Sean Miller or ejected him from a game. Sure enough, Miller was given a technical foul in the conference tourney semifinals.
After an internal investigation, the Pac-12 concluded Rush was joking when he made the comments. The conference plans to retain to Rush.
“I do not find anything that rises to a fireable offense or a breach of ethics or a breach of the integrity of officiating or the program,” commissioner Larry Scott told ESPN.
On Tuesday, ESPN revealed a compilation video (above) from 2010-12 of Rutger’s men’s basketball coach Mike Rice yelling homophobic slurs at his players, kicking them, grabbing them, shoving them and throwing basketballs at them from point-blank range as if they were playing dodge ball. After seeing the video in December, athletic director Tim Pernetti fined Rice $50,000 and suspended him for three games.
The whistle-blower in this case Eric Murdock, a former Rutgers director of player personnel, compiled the video and gave it to his supervisors last summer. His contract was not renewed. He plans to sue the university for wrongful termination.
At the moment, Pernetti is standing behind Rice. However, sentiment is building for his dismissal.
Basketball analyst Jalen Rose said via twitter Rice should be fired immediately.
April 1, 2013 at 5:08 PM
It’s time for Aaron Gordon to make a decision.
The 6-7, 210-pound forward from San Jose, Calif. is the biggest 2013 prospect who hasn’t committed to a school. The five-star prospect is expected to announce his decision 9:30 a.m. PT Tuesday to reporters at the McDonald’s All-American practices in Chicago.
The schools vying for his services include: Washington, Arizona, Oregon and Kentucky.
The Huskies have been targeting Gordon for several years. A little while back, there were hopes among UW fans of landing a dream 2013 class that included: Jabari Parker, Jabari Bird, Issac Hamilton and Gordon.
Coach Lorenzo Romar seemed to go all in on the 2013 class when the Huskies failed to sign anyone in 2012 that made an immediate contribution. The Huskies signed three transfers. Perris Blackwell and Gilles Dierickx redshirted while Mark McLaughlin never played at UW.
One by one, Washington’s top targets picked other schools.
Parker committed to Duke. Bird signed with California and Hamilton chose UTEP.
However, Gordon remained a high priority and he kept the Huskies on a list that started with 15 and now includes four.
Realistically only three remain. He hasn’t officially dropped Kentucky, but the Wildcats took themselves out the Gordon derby two weeks ago when they picked up Julius Randle, who is considered the top power forward in the nation.
Gordon eliminated Oregon when he initially narrowed his list to three, but recently added the Ducks. Oregon made an unexpected run to the NCAA tournament Sweet 16 and adding Gordon could make the Ducks a Final Four contender next season.
I’ve talked to Gordon more than a dozen times over the past year and I’d be very surprised if he picked Oregon.
Everything tells me it’s Arizona or Washington in that order. A few months ago, I thought the Huskies were in the driver’s seat. But not any more. Not exactly sure what happened.
Washington fans may want to access blame if the Huskies whiff on Gordon and that’s understandable considering his stature. He’s a program-changing recruit. Check out the highlights (above).
He’s a legitimate high-school superstar. He’s a coach’s dream because he works hard, brings tremendous energy to the floor and he has a tremendous desire to get better each and every day. He averaged 21.6 points 15.7 rebounds 3.3 assist 2.1 blocks last season.
At Washington he would be the centerpiece of a young team with several players moving into new roles. You’d have to think Gordon would be good enough to start the season opener and he’d play near the top of the key and on the low block in Romar’s high-post offense. He’d also get to pair with Nigel Williams-Goss, a McDonald’s All-American who is considered one of the top high school point guards in the country.
At Arizona, Gordon would likely vie with five-star incoming freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson for the small forward spot vacated by all-Pac-12 standout Solomon Hill. On the one hand, the Wildcats coach Sean Miller has history developing post players including Hill and Derrick Williams, the No. 2 pick in the 2011 NBA draft. But you have to wonder how Gordon will get minutes on a crowded front line that includes Hollis-Jefferson, forwards Grant Jefferson and Brandon Ashley, who were 2012 five-star prospects, center Kaleb Tarczewski and forward Angelo Chol.
Give credit to Miller for keeping everyone happy in this day and age when players transfer at the drop of a hat.
Apparently he’s done a good job selling Gordon he can be a perimeter player at Arizona in the mold of Scottie Pippen or Shawn Marion. Truth is, Gordon isn’t a perimeter player. He’s a post player. Think of a shorter Blake Griffin. Gordon may not want to hear that, but it’s the truth. His shooting, ball-handling and passing skills are deficient. However, he’s an incredibly explosive low-post player.
You could argue that among the teams pursuing Gordon, Washington needs his talents more than any other. However, barring a last-minute reversal it appears Gordon will choose Arizona.
Here’s a look at the predictions of ESPN writers. None of them picked the Huskies.
But what do you think? Does Washington still have a chance at landing Gordon?
March 26, 2013 at 4:22 PM
Apologies for the delay in posting video from coach Lorenzo Romar’s press conference Tuesday. But here it is. Be forewarned it’s lengthy, which is partly why we broke it up in two videos. However, there’s plenty to digest.
For starters Romar talks about the 18-16 season and says the Huskies just couldn’t get over the hump and was too inconsistent. “That was the story of our season,” he said. Romar also took responsibility adding: “There’s something as a head coach I did not do so that we were more on the same page. … It goes back to me.”
Here’s a few takeaways:
— Romar has met with C.J. Wilcox, who is contemplating leaving school a year early to declare for the NBA draft. Wilcox has submitted paperwork to the NBA Undergraduate Committee, which gives draft hopefuls feedback from NBA team executives. Romar believes the information in the report will be the No. 1 criteria Wilcox will use to base his decision.
— Romar talked about sophomore forward Matin Breunig, who decided to transfer. He supported the decision. He said Breunig chose to leave to find a place where he could get more playing time. Romar called Breuning “a great guy.” Breunig will remain at UW at least through the spring and will workout with players.
— Romar blamed many of UW’s problems on a lack of depth, which he admits has been an issue the past two seasons. He touched on the loss of Mark McLaughlin, the junior college star given a scholarship but never played for the Huskies. Romar promised a lack of depth among the perimeter players will not be an issue next season. He didn’t talk about it because he can’t due to NCAA rules, but Romar was probably alluding to the addition of JC standout Mike Anderson, a 6-5 guard.
— Romar admitted Washington didn’t have the personnel to apply the type of defensive pressure in the backcourt that’s been characteristic of Husky basketball. The Huskies hardly ever pressed full court and no one other than Andrew Andrews really got up in opponents to make them feel uncomfortable. Romar reasoned because UW didn’t force many turnovers, it led to fewer transition opportunities and fewer points. The Huskies averaged just 5.2 steals, which he said is one of the lowest if not the lowest in the past 11 years.
— When pressed about how he plans to squeeze more points out of the offense that averaged 67.9 points – the fewest since 2001 – Romar gave a vague response. He didn’t have a good answer other than to say: “We’ll have more basket-makers. Sometimes it’s that simple.” But it’s not. At this point, it’s a leap of faith to believe the Huskies can dramatically improve offensively when they’ll lose at least three of the top four scorers. If C.J. Wilcox takes off for the NBA, then Andrews (7.8 points per game) is the leading returning scorer.
— Romar said Perris Blackwell, who sat out last season after transferring from San Francisco, is a basket-maker. He’s tough. At 6-9, he’s not ideal at center, but he’s strong enough to take on most post players in the Pac-12, per Romar. The coach also likened him to a bigger Jamaal Williams. Romar said Blackwell can play alongside Shawn Kemp Jr.
— Speaking of chemistry, Romar believes Andrews and star recruit Nigel Williams-Goss can mutually co-exist even though both are natural point guards. It would seem, one of them will have to take on more scoring duties as a second guard, but Romar isn’t filling out the starting lineup right now.
— Romar said Kemp averaged about 8.5 points in the last eight games, which is a good sign. He called Kemp a freshman knowing full well the big guy is a sophomore. But because Kemp had a long layoff before arriving at UW, it would seem Romar doesn’t think his freshman season was indicative of what type of player he’ll be. Romar thinks Kemp’s performance down the stretch this season bodes well for the future.
— Romar was equally optimistic about Jernard Jarreau, Hikeem Stewart and Gilles Dierickx.
— What you won’t see on the video is Romar talking about the Huskies taking charges. It’s one of the hustle statistics Washington charts and he believes it’s an indicator to gauge whether the defense is dialed into an opponent. He often talks about wanting players to get as excited about taking charges as they do about dropping a dunk on an opponent. Anyway, Romar didn’t have the exact numbers, but said UW did a poor job this season taking charges.
— He also said he was hoping to add a couple of recruits. Granted he said that before the Anderson news, so theoretically the Huskies have just one slot open.
March 18, 2013 at 10:27 PM
The Huskies practiced Monday before jumping on a bus that took them to Sea-Tac Airport and a flight to Utah. No. 6 seed begins the National Invitation Tournament with a first-round game 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at No. 3 seed BYU.
Coach Lorenzo Romar said the team is excited about playing in the NIT.