Let’s cut straight to the criticisms: few players have made marked improvements in the Tad Boyle program. There have been some – even three NBA draft picks – but with regards to making an individual “leap,” we qualitatively and quantitatively haven’t seen much. It’s concerning and it draws my attention to Dom Collier. It wasn’t the glamorous freshman campaign we might’ve expected. So unglamorous that Xavier Talton ticked big minutes at the point guard spot despite an 83.4 ORtg. That’s bad. So combine this with a team that already wasn’t overwhelmingly talented and the loss of arguably CU’s most dynamic player, Xavier Johnson (achilles), and I’m not high on CU hoops. But I’m an optimist. Not Rothstein-ian, but when examining rosters in the fall, the spirit ought be hopeful. Josh Scott is healthy and the Buffs have called a spade a spade: last season was a nightmare. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. The Buffs know it. Now what they do about it – or what they’ve done about it, rather – should manifest on and off the court. Maybe the season’s future isn’t bright, but this season should have a lot more external (as opposed to internal) fight.
Spencer Dinwiddie has set aside time with members of the media to declare where he’ll be taking his rehabilitation. The reality of this situation is such that The Mayor is making a terribly difficult decision: Stay or go? That, of course, is the simplification of the choice but he’s in a tough spot picking between two unknowns. His health is unclear and his draft stock is equally uncertain. We don’t know what he’ll do.
But we know he’ll sit in front of a microphone – or a bunch of iPhones as I’m not entirely sure how this thing will go down – make a declaration, and the second biggest shoe of the Pac-12 off-season will drop.
Yes, replacing Monty was big (welcome, Cuonzo); and yes it was interesting to see Bill Moos’ pick (welcome back, Ernie); and yes it was funny to kind of maybe, you know if circumstances were to dictate such, follow the possible consideration of Nigel Williams-Goss’ departure. And when Nick Johnson declared for the draft, it was a touch surprising but it really just means that Arizona goes from unbelievably good to believably elite. The Beavers chose to keep Craig Robinson, Craig’s best returner decided to go, and Zach LaVine’s dad went moderate-to-full helicopter parent in discussing playing time, going so far as to say:
“If it doesn’t work out, you get a divorce. I don’t blame anybody.”
There have been many decisions already in this brief off-season but none will have as immediate and large of an impact as those made by Jordan Adams and The Mayor.
Adams already made his intentions public: he’s staying. This gives UCLA a known commodity for their 2014-15 campaign in an important second year for Steve Alford. Coach can lean on the POY front runner as he gets a very different roster up to speed. Welcome to the Powell and Adams show.
Which brings us to the second shoe. A shoe that rests below a reconstructed knee that is the basis of all this uncertainty. There’s no use discussing what this presser would look like had Spencer never hurt his knee in Seattle. That’s just a cruel waltz down an unpleasant memory lane. Revisionism only ever helped Marty and Doc.
And whether he should or should not go is beyond the scope of my analysis. I can offer no insights into what a player should do when it comes to his future, his earning potential, and what NBA teams are telling him. At least he can eat all the snacks he wants in Boulder now. This is an incredibly personal decision for a young man in a situation I have zero personal experience with. I know Spencer Dinwiddie is a terrific basketball player and I know he aspires to play in the NBA and has the skills to fulfill that aspiration. It’s a dream he’s as close to as he may ever be. The question (aside from Stay or Go?) is whether or not the NBA wants him. Again, I don’t know and I won’t venture to guess. For my money (I have very little), he can play in The League.
Of course what I can definitely tell you is that his decision will have a gross impact on the 2014-15 Pac-12 basketball season. With Dinwiddie, Colorado is a top-15 team, the second best roster in the Pac, and very realistically has sights set on the school’s first round of 16 since the beginning of Beatlemania. John Wooden had won just one title at the time of the Buffs’ last trip to the second weekend (1963). It’s been awhile.
Without The Mayor in Boulder, the course of 2014-15 changes. We’ve had a glimpse of what the Buffs look like when he’s on the bench and allow me to show you the scoring differentials against NCAA teams with and without him:
That’s +3 with the kid and minus-128 without him. I suppose I could break into a Where They Affect The Game here but the numbers are too outstanding. Dinwiddie means something and today, at 1:30pm MST, he’ll drop the second biggest shoe on the Pac-12’s forthcoming season.
No matter what he says, I wish him luck. As noted, this is a personal and monstrous decisions. Dinwiddie strikes me as a bright kid, he’ll make the right choice for him. Good luck, Spencer.
And note, no matter his direction, Dom Collier is headed to Boulder.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 ;).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.