Tag Archives: Andy Enfield

Pac-12 Basketball Media: Vini, Vidi, Vici

First off a big thanks to Rush The Court for the opportunity, again, to attend Pac-12 Media Day. Appreciate getting to go and their trust in me to cover the event.

MY RTC THOUGHTS ON LAST YEAR’S BOTTOM HALF OF THE CONFERENCE.

MY RTC THOUGHTS ON LAST YEAR’S TOP HALF OF THE CONFERENCE.

For me, Media Day is about the experience. Larry Scott noted as much in his opening remarks, that it’s an opportunity for the student-athletes to do something they don’t necessarily always get to do. For Brandon Ashley, it was the chance to come home and answer to his mom. She asked the last question of the Power Forward, confirming that he was taking his vitamins and that he was ready for the season. You should’ve seen how Brandon beamed, smiled, and got embarrassed all at the same time. I call it 2015’s first shining moment. Continue reading

Platitudes Revisited for Pac-12 Basketball Media Day

Tomorrow, for the third straight year, I will be attending the Pac-12’s Basketball Media Day. Can’t wait. In all honesty, it’s a little boring. I love the opportunity to go but there are platitudes abound. More gets said by the Guilty Remnant.

The fun part is reading between the lines. Like knowing Andy Enfield ripped UCLA and hearing him have to then praise UCLA. Or listening to Bob Dibler discuss Ed Rush and trips to Cancun. Basically, nothing will be said tomorrow that shocks us.

But what if it didn’t play out that way?

I’ve scripted the questions I’d like to ask and provided what I think coaches will respond with and what I wish they’d respond with. Continue reading

USC Trojans Basketball Preview: Andy got a Point Guard

Well we’re not in El Paso any more, Amanda. Ok, so the Enfields never were in El Paso but I still haven’t come down from Andy’s jab at the guy who used to have his job, Tim Floyd. Nevertheless, getting this Trojan program up to par is going to take a little more than tapping heels and repeating a wishful determination. It’s also going to take more than Katin Reinhardt. But with Byron Wesley returning…wait, he’s in Spokane playing for a national title contender? Well shit. So let’s be serious: Year 2 of the Galen Dunk Center is probably going to be a little rough. Not quite two-conference wins rough, but not a ton better.

Why I Love Them:

Continue reading

Where They Affect the Game: Kyle Anderson

At this point in the season if you haven’t picked up on my new found fascination with shot location data then I should welcome you to the blog. Welcome! But as different shots hold different values, and different players different skill sets, I wanted to learn how and where different players are affecting a basketball game. This is the story of how I got to asking the question.

The transit between my first two BART stops on the way home from work gets no cellular reception. If I’m able to get a Twitter refresh before frantically boarding, it means I scour over the last few hours of tweets. That night I came across this:

In a further panic than the aforementioned refresh, I managed to email myself that tweet as it had piqued my interest. I then went home, ordered $45 of Indian food and watched Elysium with my brother. He passed out while I grabbed my laptop. I was setting out to answer Nieves’ question. Where does a specific player (Kyle Anderson in this case) most effectively and frequently affect a basketball game?

We first needed to know how often Kyle even had a chance to affect the game. One component of this would be to look at a player’s %poss or usage rate. This tells us how often a player is shooting, passing, turning over. It’s a great number but without context it just shows us where the ballhogs are (for better or worse). KenPom often marries usage with ORtg to see if players are being efficient with the possessions they get. It’s a far better marriage than anything Kardashian but not good enough for Neal’s answer.

I needed to know how much of Kyle’s usage was coming at the rim or otherwise. From the hoop-math, I can tell you Kyle’s FG%, percent of shots and assists at the rim, on 2-point jumpers, and from three. I could have told Neal some of these numbers and perhaps satisfied his question. But I wanted to answer it. I knew we’d have to marry up KenPom and hoop-math.

From Pomeroy we could capture Kyle’s possession data and from hoop-math his location data. Our first calculation was to understand how often he had the ball, uncovering how many possessions Kyle was involved in per game. It’s a complex stat but after consult of greater minds than my own, we agreed that the following would suffice in ball parking Kyle (or any player’s) individual possessions per game:

Individual Possessions/game = (team possessions per game)*(%min)*(%poss)

This is taking into account the total number of possessions a player’s team is getting per game, the percentage of minutes he’s on the floor for those possessions, and the percentage of possessions he’s involved in. With this number we understand approximately how many shots, assists, and turnovers Kyle is a part of. More visually:

Player Team PP % Min % Poss Poss/Game
Kyle Anderson 71.20 0.82 0.26 15.37
Slow-Mo gets the third most possessions per game amongst ‘participants’ in my initial study involving the Pac-12 elite (only Roberto Nelson and Jahii Carson were getting more touches per contest). With the knowledge of how often Anderson was doing something, it was time to discover where he was doing it.
Here is where I have to tell you that our final answer is going to be inexact. That’s ok, right? A study like this is a fun examination into that great middle ground between perception and reality. Without Synergy Sports I’m not soon going to look at all of Kyle’s possessions to discover how often he is indeed getting into the paint and scoring or dishing. But the perception is that he’s doing it often; it’s why Nieves asked the question and I imagine you’ve noticed it too because I know your team’s struggled to stop it. What we’re figuring out here is approximately how often Kyle Anderson is helping his team be successful from inside the arc. Kapeesh?

And so how often are those 15-ish possessions resulting in something around the rim?

Player % poss resulting in rim score % poss resulting in play at rim Success % at Rim
Kyle Anderson 33.57% 41.64% 80.63%

So more than 40% of the time Kyle Anderson is involved in a play, it results in something happening at the rim. And on 34.51% of Anderson’s possessions, someone in powder blue (Anderson or otherwise) is scoring at the rim. Stand alone numbers are rarely significant but let me tell you something: that’s significant. I’ve exhausted rim data on the blog but if the average FG% at the rim is 61% then it would seem to behoove your team to shoot there. Kyle Anderson ensure that it happens more than 40% of the time!It was the fourth highest percentage of possessions in the study but the third most scores at the rim per game (5.16) against the fifth most plays there (6.4).

And he’s not just flailing in there, diving recklessly into the paint with no where to go. Looking at the difference between his scores and plays at the rim (those last two numbers from the paragraph above), we find that 80.63% of his rim possessions are resulting in two for the blue. That’s the fourth best percentage amongst the guys I studied. By comparison, Jahii Carson has 40.06% of his possessions at the rim (shot taken or assist made) but only 62.05% of those result in a rim score (more on Carson later this week).

Here is the full table ranked by success at the rim:

Player % poss resulting in rim score % poss resulting in play at rim Success % at Rim
TJ McConnell 44.25 49.84 88.79
Nick Johnson 28.04 32.18 87.13
Delon Wright 50.65 61.23 82.71
Kyle Anderson 33.57 41.64 80.63
CJ Wilcox 21.80 27.25 80.00
Pe’Shon Howard 38.34 48.54 78.99
Nigel Williams-Goss 26.17 35.09 74.59
Askia Booker 29.00 38.95 74.45
Justin Cobbs 29.93 40.62 73.68
Brett Comer (2013) 51.18 72.47 70.63
Roberto Nelson 26.96 40.43 66.67
Chasson Randle 20.96 33.14 63.25
Jahii Carson 24.86 40.06 62.05

This is a ranking of effectiveness when making plays at rim (third column). The players chosen was essentially arbitrary and ad-hoc based on who I thought was driving and dishing. Email or tweet me if you want me to get your guy. There are infinite depths by which to dive further into this and I intend to do that on a team-by-team basis over the coming weeks. But above is a Pac-12 snap shot.

Oh, and you’ll notice Brett Comer. Brett was Andy Enfield’s Florida Gulf Coast point guard and I figured the leader of Dunk City would be an interesting study. Turns out I was right as he CRUSHES the Pac-12 guys in percentage of plays at the rim (72.47%). Anyhow, more on that later.

Back to your question, Neal. Kyle Anderson is creating a play at the rim 6.4 times per game and turning 5.16 of those into a score or assist. Only Delon Wright creates more scores at the rim and he’s a freak (7.08). But as the question asked about Kyle’s time in the paint, we could also include the two-point data. I was hesitant to do such considering that’s a much bigger and less effective shooting range. Plus, the Wear twins love shooting twos with their foot on the arc and ain’t nobody but evidently Kyle Anderson got time for that.

As it were, amongst those studied, he creates the second highest percentage of scores from 2-point range (3.92/game, 25.5% of his possessions). He’s the fourth most successful at converting these plays to points (54.75%). Once again, Anderson is setting his teammates up to be successful, but like I said, the two-point data doesn’t fully scratch the itch. The rimformation answers Nieves’ trigger question.

But to examine Anderson as a complete game affecting package, we had to see what he did in creating threes, too.

Anderson blows the rest of these players out of the water when it comes to effectively creating three pointers. Of his possessions that result in a trey,  78.95% of them are successful. Next best in conference is Jahii Carson’s 69.93% (which is why I believe he has such a low rim success rate but, again, more on him later). And this isn’t even a diluted stat. Anderson creates the second most three point scores per game (3).

So between the rim and three data, I’m drawn to three conclusions: 1) Kyle has a great ability to draw multiple defenders to himself, 2) he’s very adept at finding the man left or the hole created, and 3) his own shooting. Slow-Mo in an efficient 22-42 from distance this year and so he’s either shooting a good three or passing to one.

To summarize (again): 80% of Kyle Anderson possessions that result in a rim shot or three point shot go in the hoop. Kyle’s helping you help him.
Steve Alford Kyle AndersonWe’ve long known Anderson was a terrific basketball player and we’ve long called him a unique talent. As we said early on, this was a look at the balance between perception and reality. We assumed this about Kyle, we’ve proven this about Kyle. Only he and TJ McConnell rank in the top four of all three locations by way of success percentage and he’s the only one who is 6’9″ within that two-man subset. Unique to be certain.

I’m going to use this information to hopefully learn a little more – and share -about each of your teams. As I mentioned, I found the Dunk City stuff to be fascinating as well as the Jahii Carson stuff (Jahishalls are real). Stay tuned and thanks for reading through this 1567 word marathon.

Nine Astute Observations from the Pac-12’s First Half

1) Injuries f***ing suck – Jernard Jarreau, Aaron Bright, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Brandon Ashley. If I’m missing others I apologize but when the court is taken devoid these characters it sucks. The Dawgs miss JJ’s size as he projected to help their thin front court that’s become the Perris Blackwell show (I think Rain Man Jr. just got called for a foul). While Aaron Bright is missing out on creating something profoundly special with the same six guys he signed to play college with four years ago. That 2010 six-man class of Dawkins’ has been through quite a bit and it sucks Aaron Bright won’t be a part of their last hoorah. Schools, let alone Colorado, don’t often come across dynamic, 6’5″ point guards capable of taking a game over on either side of the ball. Spencer Dinwiddie was the centerpiece of a tour d’buff, sweeping the nation and conference by storm. And Brandon? Let’s just say I’m going to miss seeing him each night with that team. Injuries f***ing suck. Get well soon, gentlemen.

2) Transfers kinda work – Jermaine Marshall is raining Jahishalls in Tempe. The transfer from Penn State is scoring 15.3ppg and hitting 48% of his threes – 91.2% of which are assisted (presumably by Jahii Carson). Just south, in Tucson, TJ McConnell is being called the most important piece of the #2 team in the country. In ski country, Delon Wright is quickly becoming recognized as one of the best players in the conference. He’s a guard taking 60% of his shots at the rim and making 75% of them. That’s nuts. His line reads like this: 16/7/5. And then there’s Transfer U. Individually, each of Oregon’s transfers (Moser, Young, Calliste, Amardi) are having fine seasons. But as a collective (along with the rest of the Ducks) things have been…better? Since entering the calendar year, Dana’s team is 3-6 and barely looked that good. This past weekend, Dana defended his use of transfers (ironic word choice!). Basketball is indeed a team sport and with such there are strong components of unity and other teamly terms. Oregon has some great talent, but does that make a great team? Nine more games.

3) If you want to play fast you still can go to UCLA – By now we’re all familiar with Andy Enfield’s line from earlier this year lauding his lolly-gagging Trojans to “go to UCLA if you want to play slow.” Well now, halfway through conference play and twenty-plus games into the season, here are the many ways UCLA is outpacing USC:

UCLA USC
Tempo 71.9 70.4
Avg Poss Length 15.1 15.8
% Shots in Transition 28.90% 25.40%
Head-to-head 107 73

The Battle of Los Angeles reignites Saturday in the Galen Center. Put your seatbelt on.

4) Parity? Mediocrity? No, it’s gotta be parity – We began the first weeks of Pac-12 play and had four teams ranked in the top-25. Sure, not at once, but between two separate poll releases, each of Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, and UCLA were ranked. This is far from the end-all-be-all barometer, but just a few weeks removed, Oregon is in ninth place, UCLA holds a loss to Oregon State, and Colorado is still learning it’s way through the post-Dinwiddie era. Even Arizona just lost Brandon Ashley. Further, the third place Cal Bears hold a win over Arizona (KenPom #1) and a loss to USC (KenPom #130). The results are unexpected and the games great. Amongst conferences, the Pac-12 ranks as having the 4th fewest blowout losses. I think that’s something to cheer?

5) (non) Shooting guards – With all these guards you might suspect they’d be taking a bunch of threes. After all, this is college basketball, it’s a high value shot, and guards love to shoot. Not the case. As a conference, the Pac-12 ranks 32nd of 33 in the percentage of threes they take. Just 29.1% of Pac-12 shots are taken from distance. That’s a conference with guys like CJ Wilcox, Chasson Randle, Roberto Nelson, Jordan Adams, and Jahii Carson. The average percentage of shots from downtown is 32.3%. When Pac teams are shooting from distance, they’re doing a decent job of making them, too. Their collective 35.2% 3FG% ranks 15th amongst conferences. The average 3FG% is 34.3%. It’s something of a most interesting man situation: We don’t often shoot threes, but when we do, we make a slightly above average amount of them. But what I find really odd is that while it would seem there is a concerted effort to not shoot threes, the Pac ranks 26th amongst the 33 conferences in 2pt FG%. WTF, guys? You’re passing on threes to miss twos? There’s no doubt something to be said about defense in here but as far as observations go, this was interesting.

6) But wait…there’s more – Those guards are really good. Thirteen of the top 15 scorers in the conference are guards. Fifteen of the top-25 ORtgs in the Pac-12 are guards. Furthermore, the All-Conference team is likely to not include a few of these guys: Roberto Nelson, TJ McConnell, Nigel Williams-Goss, Chasson Randle, Justin Cobbs, CJ Wilcox, Askia Booker, or Delon Wright. Hell, even Jordan Adams could get squeezed by his own teammate, Kyle Anderson (serious POY candidate).

7) Tweet! Whistle! Tweettweet! – The first thing addressed at Pac-12 media day was college basketball’s new rules. That we’d hear more whistles and see more free throws. It was a concerted effort to make the following chart look the way that it does:

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 11.04.41 PM

See that progressive, 18-year downward trend in scoring? The NCAA wanted to do away with it and it appears they have. Here’s how it’s looking in the Pac-12:

  • Efficiency – Up 2.9 points per 100 possessions as teams are getting more points per possessions due to more FTs and more possessions (I’ll prove that later)
  • Tempo – Up 2.1% or 1.4 possessions per game as possession length is shortening on the whole and thus leading to more frequent possessions (trust me on that stat, I just don’t have it for the whole conference)
  • TO% – Down 3.7% as more turnovers are turning into, say, fouls? Which leads us to…
  • ST% – Down 5.3% because, same as above, that bit of extra contact isn’t two the other way as often as it’s two for free
  • FTrate – Up 18.6% to 32.5%. This is arguably the most obvious factor as everything listed above is pointing towards this very increase
  • FT% –  Up 2.2% which I just think is kind of funny considering there are so many more free throws being taken and everyone is now shooting them better. Well done kids.

8) Defense Travels – This title is a little misleading because the Pac-12 is one of the worst road conferences out there. Optimistically said, it appears Pac-12 teams enjoy the greatest home court advantage because they’re winning 68.5% of those games. Now defense leads this observation point because if we look down two lists – the conference rankings by record and by defensive efficiency – we find:

By Record By Defensive Efficiency
Arizona Arizona
UCLA UCLA
Cal ASU
ASU Cal
Stanford Utah
Colorado Stan
Oregon State Colorado
Washington Oregon
Oregon Washington
Utah Oregon State
WSU WSU
USC USC

On this list, only Oregon State and Utah differ by one ranking or less. My takeaway? Defense is pretty telling. And here’s what to make of Oregon State being in three spots ahead of their defensive efficiency and Utah five spots below. OSU: has played just four road games and one of those included Washington State. They’ve essentially pulled a “Ducks” and have managed to ride first half’s most efficient offense (108.7) to their 5-4 mark. Utah: now ranks as the 350th luckiest team in the nation. That’s the 2nd most unlucky squad and basically means they exceed expectations but not enough to get a win. I keep citing this for the Utes and what it’s ultimately going to explain is a TOP-4 FINISH IN-CONFERENCE NEXT SEASON. Boom you heard it hear first. Shall I say it again? Utah will finish amongst the top-4 teams in the 2014-15 Pac-12 and return to the NCAA tournament. But for now they’re in tenth place.

9) Nine – That’s how many games to this…and embedding this video marks the triumphant return of Husky Cheerleader Hair Toss (absolutely no pun) to the blog. Welcome back!

 

Week 1 Pac-12 Hoops Review

Hey welcome back to me and the weekly reviews, huh? The first weekend has wrapped and because of the new year holiday and no Wednesday games, it went as fast as a USC offense speeding bullet. And while the Polar Vortex annihilated the rest of the country, most of us out here were in shorts. At least I was. A Vortex of Comfort if you will. Anyhow, let’s get this going like a Colts comeback.

The weekend:

Leader in the Clubhouse: The obvious choice would be the number one Arizona Wildcats. We’ll hold off on glowing about them because everyone else is. I’m going to give this award to the Colorado Buffaloes this week. They sustained a great effort from the Transfer Monsters (48 points from Moser, Young, and Calliste after their 16 point collective on Thursday) and held court at home (also worth noting is that Booker and Dinwiddie combined for 50 and I read a flurry of “Dinwiddie the pro!” tweets). I liked that because for many intents and purposes, Oregon was headed to Boulder with the taste of a loss on their tongues. They of course did win on Thursday, but beyond that they had every desire to come into The Keg for blood. Sounds obvious but the external motivators beyond a scoreboard and competition were there. And the Buffs absorbed that and endured. 13-2.

Biggest Loser: Toss up here. What do you say? I’m deciding between ASU and Stanford and I’m going to pick the latter because the Sun Devils still come out of the weekend with a win. Washington would go on – following their ASU stomping – to show quite competitively in Tucson so I’ve become a touch more of a UW believer. Point being, Stanford dropped a home game to their arch rival and former coach who was short two of their best players and propagated the dialogue about the health of their program and heat of their coaches seat. Yes, all of that on a Thursday night.

What We Learned: There were some nice contests to kick things off and I think we were all reminded of the enigmatic nature of conference sports, but Utah. Sure they lost on a last second steal-n-dunk – you know, just the way Dana likely drew things up – but they played like the winners for all 45 minutes. Prior to the game, Utah was interesting, at best, to me. I gchatted all about it and ‘interesting’ was literally the only thing we could come up with (we meaning me, James, and Jason). Such a conclusion made that game Thursday night all the more, well, interesting. AND THEN THE GAME ACTUALLY HAPPENED! I loved Jordan Loveridge’s night and the way Utah played and conducted themselves. And I still think full credit is owed to Oregon. Winning conference road games is to be celebrated. Losing conference home games is a tough pill to swallow. That’s why I think Utah’s effort was a moral victory but not necessarily one they have to like. Oh, and then they kicked the hell out of OSU. Utah’s legit.

In Defense Of: I conjured this new segment up while on a run Sunday morning. Figured it was a good spot to play devil’s advocate, ruffle some feathers, or rant a little bit. Namely this came to mind because I think Kaleb Tarczewski gets far too much criticism for bad hands. He’s like the giant second grader who gets picked on but is expected to handle it because he’s a behemoth. I know because I was that kid. But I don’t want to do that because I kinda already did that. So here is the segment where I defend Steve Alford! I don’t think he needs to be defended necessarily. More I just needed a reason to discuss UCLA in this piece. 107 points on your little brother nemesis who’s already accused you of being the slow ones? That was awesome. It was this:

So yes, I was a big fan of what UCLA pulled off this weekend. Also, just to note, amongst 107 points just 17 came from a combined four post players. Interesting nugget to watch as we head into Thursday’s Arizona @ UCLA tilt.

The YouTuber: This is just kinda nuts.

Big Pac-12 Weekend So I Preview it and an Anniversary

I don’t love doing game-by-game previews as there are smarter and better basketball analysts out there. But this weekend is a big one for the Pac. Today also marks the 16th anniversary of my becoming a man. Mazel tov. photo(5)

But enough about me and more about the Conference of Champions. Big weekend.

ASU @ DePaul, Friday 4pm PST –  The Devils are hobbling into this one as they’ve lost two of three and then kicked the hell out of Arizona to host the Pac-12 Football Championship game in which they are a 3 point favorite over Stanford. What the f***. Look for DePaul’s Oliver Purnell to be wearing an oversize light colored suit

Cal @ UCSB, Friday 7pm PST – Both Cal and UCSB ranked lower than my alma mater – UCSD – in a recent list of smart as hell schools. Basically I shouldn’t waste my time here. But I once played 3/5 of the UCSD starting five in pickup and won. So I do care and I want to note that Cal is undefeated when Richard Solomon is in the lineup. He projects to be in tonight’s lineup. Interesting note brought to my attention by @jgisland, these are the lines of UCSB’s games against P-12 opponents in sequential order: -14 at Colorado, -11.5 at UCLA, pick ’em hosting Cal.

UCLA @ Missouri, Saturday 930am PST – UCLA’s first test! They’re heading across the country to play Frank Haith fresh off a five game suspension. Both teams are undefeated and only one is ranked. If you’re not yet on the Zach LaVine train, I suggest getting on board. And while there’s definitively not a Kyle Anderson express train, get on the boat. He’s good. Also, holy Walter White, Missouri.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff @ OSU, Saturday 12pm PST – Arkansas – Pine Bluff isn’t Arkansas – Little Rock which is the birthplace of one of our Presidents? Another fun fact is that the Golden Lions rank 333rd in KenPom which isn’t last! They also yield the 5th worst eFG% to their opponents while Oregon State has the 7th best eFG%. I don’t often gamble, but when I do, I pick OSU in this one. I think?

Kansas @ Colorado, Saturday 1215pm PST – Rock chalk Ralphie oooooeeeee we’ve been anticipating this one in the Keg. No one likes anyone in this one and Andrew Wiggins is a bust. Or has the flu. Or is overrated. Or is Canadian. Whatever the case, Spencer Dinwiddie had to bow out early from last year’s 54-90 contest in Lawrence. Is he a difference maker? Me thinks yes.

Fresno State @ Utah, Saturday 2pm PST – The other day I was talking with the Addicted to Quack guys and I said that Fresno State was a good challenge for Utah because it’s a school we’ve actually heard of. And I wasn’t kidding. The Utes of run out to a 6-1 record with a win over The Evergreen State Geoducks. Read about it. Throw in the Grand Canyon Antelopes coached by Thunder Dan Marjerle and you’ve got a regular RPI buster. Alas, Fresno’s KenPom rating isn’t in the 300s so it should pose some semblance of a challenge. And get to know Delon Wright 15/7/6.

UNLV @ Arizona, Saturday 215pm PST – Arizona is hosting this game as their Whiteout 4.0. Hate is a strong word and I don’t hate this idea but I’m not a huge fan of it. I’m of the “act like you’ve been there before” ilk and Arizona was last there on March 13, 2003 if you know what I’m talking about. Arizona wins this game and you’ll be hearing from me on Monday.

WSU @ Idaho, Saturday 7pm PST – Tabacco Road ain’t got shit on this Cougar-Vandals rivalry. These campuses are 6.7 miles apart. And unlike K vs. Roy you actually have to cross state lines to attend this game. There could be steep legal ramifications to that as I don’t know what the liquor laws are in these respective states. Or other weird laws like the fact that in Idaho: “You may not fish on a camel’s back.” How am I doing in hyping this one?

Washington @ SDSU, Sunday 12pm PST – Boise State head coach Chris Petersen holds up the trophy after his team defeated Texas Christian University (TCU) in the 39th annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Glendale

Oregon @ Mississippi, Sunday 2pm PST – The only thing louder than Marshall Henderson in all of college sport is Oregon’s fashion. Additionally, on the theme of challenges, this will be Oregon’s first big challenge since South Korea and Georgetown. I love it when teams go on the road to face good teams so I’m proud of you, Ducks.

Boston College @ USC, Sunday 4pm PST– Steve Donahue played basketball at Ursinus College. Andy Enfield played basketball at Johns Hopkins University. They are both in the Centennial Conference. Now Donahue is a touch older than Enfield (another point I’m sure Enfield has talked shit about) so they never played one another, but I’m curious how vitriolic and deep the Ursinus Bear-Johns Hopkins Blue Jay rivalry runs.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 10 Things We’re Pac-12 Thankful For

1) Andy Enfield’s Mouth
This thing has been a riot and I love it. The running of one’s mouth is a beautiful pastime of sport and perhaps one of the things I miss most about playing baseball. And the reason we talk so much shit in baseball is we have so much time to do nothing but run our mouths. So while Alford might be busy getting to the NCAA tournament, Enfield has all sorts of time on his hands to flap his gums and get us thinking about USC basketball. It’s exciting. It’s fun. It’s spice. And it’s anything but slow. Additionally, as someone who puts a high premium on where he lives (mom’s in real estate: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION) I absolutely love, cherish, adore, support, this quote:

“Tim Floyd shows up every day at work and realizes he lives in El Paso, Texas.”

-Andy Enfield

2) Vegas
It’s taken just the slightest of urges from others attending the event for me to get back on the bandwagon. Now, to be clear, I was never not on the bandwagon, just trying to be fiscally and familial-ly conservative. I’m pretty certain I’m in and looking for financiers. Any takers? But seriously, this three year contract with the MGM is going to be renewed faster than you can detect testosterone in Seahawk piss. If you haven’t made the plans to do it, make ’em. And if the conference runs back their 12/12/12 deal, you have to.

3) Hoop-math.com
Start down this rabbit hole and you’re going to learn so much about your team and other teams that you’re not going to know what to do with yourself. But let me give you warning: With great knowledge comes great power. Let me walk you through a recent conversation.

Roommate: Nick Johnson cannot slash. Never gets to the rim.

Me: He actually takes 40% of his shots – second most on the team – at the rim.

RM: Well he doesn’t finish well.

Me: As it were, Nick connects on this at-the-rim shots at a 90% clip.

RM: *silence

The moral of the story: Don’t use hoop-math to be a dick.

4) LobPueblo

 

5) Crime free school zones Larry Krystkowiak is a giant of a man and he hates thieves (so much so that Utah has hovered in the mid-200s by way of steal % rating the past two seasons). But locking fools up is exactly what K intends to do. And I’m not just talking about criminals. We’re transitioning to recruiting where K has garnered the last few mega-talents out of Utah in the thriving Jordan Loveridge and the soon-to-be-Ute, Brekkott Chapman.

6) Recruiting
While this has nothing to do with the Pac-12 directly, Cliff Alexander pulls the biggest dick move as component of the weirdest part of college hoops fandom. In this case, I couldn’t be happier this happened to Illinois:

CliffAlexander

7) Arizona State social media
Firstly, Herb Sendek posts lots of photos with lots of friends and fans and has some random quips about random stuff. That’s fine, it’s twitter, but give it a scroll and tell me there aren’t any head scratchers. And then there’s Jahii Carson’s mom giving new meaning to the term ‘helicopter parent.’ (it’s a blocked account but you can learn a lot from the mentions in that linked search) She trolls the internet for any criticisms of her son – which she won’t soon find here – and once even referenced marriage to him. Alas, she once complimented my article about Jahii so…I’m cool.

8) Graduate school
Last season’s first team All-Conference team touted one graduate and – as I’m revisiting this list – I’m confused as to how EJ Singler made first-team and Arsalan Kazemi was honorable mention. Alas, the point here is that there have been some wonderfully impactful graduate students in the Pac-12 and this year is no different. Keep a close eye on Mike Moser (Oregon), Jermaine Marshall (ASU), Pe’Shon Howard (USC), and Jason Calliste (Oregon).

9) Bags of cash and trips to Mexico
While that sounds like my weekend, that’s what was being offered up by the ousted head of officiating. Now can you imagine if Ed Rush had endured that whole scandal and then had to get on a mic and tell all of us that “this season, the rules are changing to be called even tighter so referees are going to be even more noticed in the outcome of a given game and the central topic of conversation in the season’s early goings.” I don’t imagine that would’ve gone over well so here’s to you, Bobby Dibler. Keep on keepin’ on.

10) You
I started this blog two seasons ago with no goal but to have my own basketball forum. We’ve evolved since that first post and I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful to have you actually read this thing and I’m beyond thankful when we interact via email, twitter, g-chat, text, radio, comment fields, or just collective thought. Connecting with people is the spice of life and this awkwardly named website that my mom still thinks is pa-choops and others still think is a blog misspelled for guy named Paco has allowed me to connect with so many of you. Thank you. You’re the best.

My Interview with Yahoo’s Jeff Eisenberg

I got the opportunity, through my work with Pacific Takes, to interview Yahoo’s Jeff Eisenberg. He’s a hoops guru based in the west so he knows his westerly hoop. He’s also from the Bay and a UCLA grad so he really knows this conference. And the rest of the nation as well.

Alas, the assignment came through and I really had no idea what I was to accomplish with the thing. It was offered, I accepted. End of expectations.

LISTEN TO ME ASK JEFF EISENBERG QUESTIONS

The the whole thing jumped on me when I was told the interview would take place on Monday afternoon. Boom, I did it and let’s be serious, it’s always great talking Pac-12 hoops. This was my first venture into asking OTHERS about the conference and so there’s no doubt some amateurism shining through (I think I say absolutely following almost all of his questions. wtf). It was also my first dabble into Garage Band which I found to be remarkably easy. Note that the intro and close took a few extra takes to get to where they are because my roommate wouldn’t let me publish until I cut some “ummms.”

Despite this being a new venture for me, Jeff was the consummate professional and I appreciated his time. We chatted about the state of the conference, Arizona, UCLA, Andy Enfield running his mouth, Jahii Carson running the world, and what is the Stanford.

I’m hoping this serves as just the beginning to further vocal ventures and that you enjoy what Jeff’s got to say. I had fun.

Pac-12 Basketball Recruiting: Early signing period links

Aside from Herb Sendek’s twitter account, recruiting is the weirdest thing in college basketball. I follow it but I hate myself for following it. It’s the future of your program and it’s lusting for 17 year-olds. I hate that I just wrote that. But LOIs have been signed – binding contracts more firmly kept than a Kardashian prenuptial – and the 2014 classes are taking pretty firm shape.

Here are some notes and links on the Pac-12’s early signing period:

Washington State

Tremaine Isabell is a PG out of Seattle. He’s unrated by the scouting services but Jeff Nusser gives a good synopsis of what the Cougs are getting here. The question, of course, is who’s Isabell going to be playing for next season?

Washington – 

The Dawgs have inked two essentially local talents in Olympia’s Donaven Dorsey and British Columbia’s Tristan Etienne. Here, Percy Allen breaks down the significance of these post commitments. He has some interesting notes on Romar’s recruiting direction.

Oregon –

N/A as no one has graduated yet to transfer. I keeeeed! Dana’s bringing in four new players in Dwayne Benjamin, Michael Chandler, Ray Kasongo, and Casey Benson (a product from my home state!). Chandler might be the most interesting of these pickups as he’s a former top-50 prospect who couldn’t qualify and went the JC route.

Oregon State

Another class that might not play for the coach they signed with, the Beavers signed four noobs: Isaiah Manderson, Chai Baker, Devin Watson and….THE MITTEN! Yes it’s Gary Payton’s son (Gary Payton Jr.) who has earned the nickname THE MITTEN in the shadow of his father’s glove.

Cal

Monty has never been known as a mega recruiter but he picks up 4-star point guard, Ahmaad Rorie a season removed from an outstanding class including Jabari Bird.

Stanford

Dawkins brings in an excellent class that is rated 14th by Scout. We of course aren’t positive if he’ll still be the coach in 2014 but that’s neither here nor there. We do know that the Cardinal are about to lose a lot of talent so garnering this class is imperative for the Cardinal to fight on ;).

UCLA – 

Kevon Looney picked UCLA in a late surprise but no one should really care about that part. The fact is that Alford has reeled in a talented big man for a season in which he’s about to lose the Wear family. This was a critical get and the first big one of Alford’s UCLA tenure. They also signed Gyorgy Goloman. I know nothing of this Hungarian but it is also worth noting that Isaac Hamilton is kind of a piece of this class as he’s “transferring” from UTEP.

USC – 

Any Enfield made the first big splash in the revamped LA coaching scene when he garnered a commitment from Jordan McLaughlin. Joining the LA-area guard in Enfield’s 2014 class are forward Malik Price-Martin and center Jabari Craig. Another transfer note is that the Trojans will pick up Katin Reinhardt amongst others but I can’t keep up with all the transfers so…good luck.

Arizona –

Sean Miller continues to own California as he grabbed both Parker Jackson Cartwright and Stanley Johnson out of LA. The Wildcats also got a commitment from 5-or4-star PF, Craig Victor who I sometimes call Victor Craig and vice versa. Kadeem Allen also joins the 2014 class as a Juco addition in the back court. Miller expects his class to grow (Justise Winslow on Wednesday? Myles Turner in the spring?).

Arizona State –

Herb is finding strength in numbers. He’s inked six kids to his 2014 class as he’s about to lose Jahii and Jordan and Jermaine (the killer J’s?). Here is his class: C Octavious Ellis (JC), SG Gerry Blakes (JC), SG Roosevelt Scott (JC), PG Tra Holder, C Connor MacDougall, PG Kodi Justice. Holder and MacDougall are 4-stars and the latter is a local kid out of Phoenix and that’s critical to successful programs.

Colorado –

As I noted in the above ASU snippet, garnering the locals is critical. While Tad Boyle missed out on mega recruit and Colorado native, Josh Perkins, he’s did manage to get Dominique Collier – a four-star recruit from Denver’s East HS. Joining Dom will be Tory Miller out of NH.

Utah –

Larry K has seemingly revamped his lineup in each of his three seasons at Utah. But he’s starting to get things done on the recruiting trail and is following my favorite model: the aforementioned keeping-local-talent. His 2014 class includes: Isaiah Wright, Kyle Kuzma, and Brekkott Chapman. Chapman is the gem of this class. He’s a local four-star, power forward and has a cool first name.