Tag Archives: Jahii Carson

Week 5 Pac-12 Hoops Preview

Had the President addressed the State of the Pac-12 (SOTP) I think he would have had a difficult time explaining it. Particularly to a democratic nation. After all, the Pac-12 right now resembles an oligarchy. Anyhow, that’ll do for the politics speak unless you want to watch COTUS react to FOTUS and LeBron. Anyhow, this is the last weekend of the first half and we’ll finish it in February which is four weeks away from March and :). Yeah, an emoji. Gameday is following me to Boulder and, to my Colorado readers and my Washington readers, good luck.

GotW: There are some good ones on the slate. I think Arizona has one of its toughest tests at Cal on Saturday (#ImGoing) and I think the Rocky Mountain Riot – or the Snow Fight, or the Ski Skirmish, or the Mountain Melee, or the Rocky Rumble – is huge (Saturday 11am PST)! Utah hasn’t won on the road and really needs to pick one up because the “awww! they played really tough” dialogue is fulfilling for only so long. At a certain point they’re going to have to fill the win column before they’re forced to think they suck (they don’t). Meanwhile, the Buffs need a win to convince themselves they’re capable of doing such without Spencer Dinwiddie. But that’s not even the GotW! I’m picking UCLAOregon (Thursday 6pm PST) as the GotW because UCLA is the real deal and Oregon used to be. This is a great opportunity for the Ducks to get their mojo back – I mean their real mojo – because Illinois is now just slightly worse than Georgetown who’s just slightly worse than Mississippi. Let’s call it “How Dana got his grove back?”

Game to Avoid: I understand the expansion of the schedule to Wednesday-Sunday; but maybe, just maybe, we avoid Superbowl Sunday? This year, tipping off pre-noon and right about the time we’re exploring prop bets about seeing Bruno Mars’ exposed-yet-not nipple, UCLA will be tipping off against Oregon State. The interesting thing, however, is this is probably a very watchable game. UCLA on the road is anything but a sure thing and Oregon State is enigmatic and a possible Sunday spoiler. Furthermore, I know you’re going to be in front of a TV. Therefore, this game very well may be un-avoidable. Instead I’m going to say that you should avoid USC at Oregon State because it’s at the same time on Thursday (6pm PST) as UCLA at Oregon and that’s some must watch right thurrrrr (aforementioned GotW).

Something to Prove: Last week the Oregon Ducks had something to prove and split their trip to Washington. I don’t entirely know if that’s necessarily proving anything but it did end the losing streak. They remain in the conversation of dancing teams with a top-50 KenPom and RPI. But now’s their chance to actually prove something. The UCLA Bruins – in the aforementioned PacHoops GotW – will pay a visit to The Matt as the highest rated team (21st in KP) the Ducks will have played since last March. Whoa! Things aren’t dead for the Ducks – not by any means – but at 2-5 with no wins at home Dana’s boys are going to have start taking care of business at some point. How Dana got his grove back!

Something to Lose: I’m split here. On the one hand we have the Arizona State Sun Devils. This is a team that dropped their first conference game to UW at home then seemed to fall off the radar. Since then they’ve dropped games – on the road! – to Arizona and UCLA, aka the conference elite. In some regard, that’s excusable. But the Herbivores are in the Bay Area this weekend and that can be one of the toughest road trips going. They get swept and we’re looking at a sub-.500 conference team. It might be split-or-go-home time. Then there’s my other team with something to lose. The Arizona schools are tough and pose a great threat to most any squad. Thus, the California Golden Bears are faced with tough home task. The expectation is obviously to win – or at least a split since they’re playing #1 – but the formula that USC used to whoop Cal is a familiar one to ASU. Pe’Shon Howard (12/6/10) at the point and Nikola Jovanovic (23/2) as a scoring big could resemble something of a Carson/Bachynski combo. Precedent set.

The YouTuber: I hope this is happening right now as you read this:

A Friday Runaround the Pac: It Sucks Edition!

Today, with an emphasis on brevity, I wanted to fly through the Pac-12 as we watch it somewhat begin to bottom itself out. I ask that you read that opening line with that wide-eyed look of faux joy and genuine insincerity when you say something true and painful that you don’t really want to wrap your mind around but you must. Because this conference currently has teams in free fall, limbo, shock, and infancy. There’s one team of predictable performance and after that things appear to suck (they don’t but let’s just be fans on a Friday before a fun weekend. Hey…WHO’S BROTHER IS IN TOWN? This guy!)

Utah – They’re lost on the road, struggling to survive and scraping by on whatever they can. They’re not winning but they’re not dying either. This is a brief plot summary of Utah’s season and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Larry Krystkowiak, fortunately, is more articulate than The Son.

Washington State – You need talent to win basketball games and DaVonte Lacy hasn’t played (excluding an injury inducing 11 minutes against ASU) since Bieber retired. Also, not even DaVonte is enough here.

Washington – The Huskies are proving that you can win with a bad offense and a bad defense. Seriously, they’re 4-3 and yet in the bottom half of in the conference in ORtg, eFG%, TO%, OR%, FTrate, 2P%. 3P%, FT%, and Tempo and each of the corresponding defensive calculations. That’s bottom half in 16 of 18 categories and the only two (defensive eFG% and 3p% against) correspond mathematically and the latter is often tossed up to luck. You silly purple team.

USC – DJ MalSki, their top defender.

UCLA “You’ve got to make Tony mad. He had a really ugly outfit on. He wore red in our office, and that’s just something you don’t do. Make fun of his outfit a lot and that bothers him.” – Steve Alford on how to get Tony Parker going. He’d score 22 on 9-14 against Stanford. Curious if Xavier Johnson was listening?

Stanford – Just not that good. But maybe tonight?

Oregon State – FLOTUS GIF!

Oregon – I mean, why not Washington State, too?

Colorado – There’s still something there (if not just a raging, irrational fire in the belly of Xavier Johnson who has now predicted a 20-point blow out of #1 Arizona on 2/22 in Boulder a game I will be attending) but it’s tough to play the two best teams in the conference after losing your best player. That said, in light of XJ’s comments, maybe a shift in humility is in order?

California – I’m going to chalk up their loss at USC to the MalSki effect. Cal’s seen zone defenses and fast offenses and man defenses and deliberate offenses, but they ain’t never seen beats like that.

Arizona State – Jahii Carson shoots 31% in ASU losses (5) and 50% in ASU wins (14). Stop Jahii, win the game. And may the odds be ever in your favor.

Arizona What a team. What a game. How fun. I’m going to sleep in the desert tonight.” – Bill Walton.

Week 4 Pac-12 Hoops Preview

We’ve reached a little beyond the halfway point of the first half which means we’ve completed one quarter of the Pac-12 season. Math! But that’s the obvious and there’s really no need to discuss points in schedule unless it’s in reference to our proximity to the glory of March. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve had to give a tentative reply, an ambiguous answer, or a confirming no to a request for my time during March I’d have $4. That’s a lot of invites you guys! Who wants to Segway?

GotW: There is some spice in this week’s lineup with Colorado visiting Arizona, Utah hitting the road fresh off their home stand, and Oregon’s implosion (too early, right?). And while we’re taking a funneled approach to one single game, I’ll note that the Bay Area’s trip to Los Angeles is a huge road trip. Stanford is playing some inspired ball once again and UCLA is just good (I’m ok with the Utah loss). Which ultimately lands us on the anchor of the Pac-12 slate, Cal’s visit to Pauley. I think I’m going to try to extrapolate this matchup later in the week but Sunday’s battle in Westwood is a significant one as UCLA really needs this one to keep pace atop the conference. They’ve dropped one at home to Arizona and then the aforementioned Ute-flop. That’s two losses as compared to Cal’s zero. One guy that could prove important in this game is Jordan Adams. He’s unmistakably one of the best players in this conference but since the conference season started, he’s shooting just 37.5% from the field. That’s compared to 49.6% out of conference. To say Adams is slumping is to say the Ron Jeremy ‘Wrecking Ball’ video is weird. Both are true. The Bruins need Adams, however. No one needs that Jeremy video.

Game to Avoid: Oregon State is visiting Washington State and this one – on a Wednesday at 7pm – is doing nothing for me. I’ll get the obligatory positives out of the way in stating that Roberto Nelson is really great and it was a great win the Beavers on Sunday. Big kudos, guys! Later in this post you’ll even see a great GIF of Craig’s sister (it’s awesome). But I could do other things beyond watch this. Namely, DOUBLE BIRTHDAY PARTY SATURDAY!

Something to Prove: I’ve harped on their record while making passive jokes and statistical analyses of their defense. These are criticisms and I do this out of love. We believe in the things we love but at a certain point, even the things you love can let you down. SO PROVE SOMETHING TO ME OREGON DUCKS! Their road isn’t soon getting any easier even if Spencer and I called the trip to the Evergreen State the easiest. They’ve buried themselves in a hole that might not be big enough to dance in if they don’t PROVE SOMETHING TO ME. Or us. Or really – because this is all stemming from the defensive end and defense becomes a matter of effort – to themselves. The Ducks need to prove to themselves that they’re for real and they haven’t necessarily put themselves in a good position to do it. At 1-4 they’re already in an uncomfortable place and this weekend they’re not at home. If I had the insights I’d get personal and maybe start naming names but I don’t have anything beyond anecdotes and a hunch. I don’t like to call out names on that. But soon…And after all of that Duck talk, I think Arizona State has something to prove this weekend. They’ve underwhelmed thus far and that’s pretty boring. Jahii Carson should not be associated with boring. This is a big weekend for the Sun Devils if for no other reason than they should hold serve at home. Yes, Colorado and Utah are imposing threats but when you have things to prove – in my estimation – it has more to do with the man (men) in the mirror than any adversary. Whatcha got, Devils?

Something to Lose: I think we’re still at that point in the season (the one quarter point as we calculated) in which no one has anything major to lose just yet. Besides, I can’t say that Oregon has something to lose and prove in the same preview (they have more to lose). It’s UCLA here. They dropped that tough one at Utah which I’m OK excusing as a road hiccup. And now they’re back into Pauley and hosting what amounts to a pair of tough NorCal teams. Cal we’re noticing is balanced and pretty much tough as Monty’s while Stanford is enigmatically talented with age on its side. UCLA will be the best team on the court in both of their games this weekend but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to win. The Bruins remain a youthful group with a slumping (as mentioned above) Jordan Adams. They’re arguably not entering this weekend the most confident group but they are at home and they are the better team. That equates to expectations and expectations mean you’ve got something to lose. Sorry Bruins.

The YouTuber: For the second straight week I’m going to drop a GIF on you and for the second straight week it’s worth it. I present to you: Craig’s sister getting buckets! And how awesome is LeBron? (ok, and the video)MichelleObama

WANE: We didn’t watch all the games. Or even any.

WANE regroups despite a lot of distractions during a three-day weekend. My parents were in town and Spencer just had to jump on the Forty Niner bandwagon and absorb all the energy an NFC Championship Game brings to a metropolitan. It was also absolutely gorgeous in the Bay Area so a bunch of mid-day hoops was going to be tough. I did catch the end of Oregon State-Oregon which was…well, we talk about. Listen:

 

The triumphant return of the table of contents:

0:00 – Completely unprepared

0:19 – The Confession begins – Segways and hangovers

1:43 – Actual first reference of Pac-12 basketball…then a return to Segways

3:19 – Adam makes a remarkable pun using ‘segway’ and Spence talks about the abuse of his own body

4:07 – A return to basketball!

4:37 – We begin discussing the 1-4 Oregon Ducks and there’s a Nate-Rob reference. But one and four…

5:58 – First reference of Arizona. As in the Arizona Wildcats. Maybe you’ve heard of them? We thought it was their most complete game of the year. And more on that game

6:59 – Spencer references seven Wildcats in double figure for the second time in one minute

8:01 – JAHISAHLL

8:35 – Onto the Arizona-Colorado rivalry and a brief look in to gambling. But not really. We talk a lot about Askia Booker again and I don’t think we even reference Josh Scott which is probably a disservice to Arizona fans because many eyes should be on him for Thursday’s contest. But Booker’s weekend…

12:31 – A transition into the Colorado-ASU game and how those two teams really match up in an interesting way.

13:13 – PAGING ROGER GOODELL: CONCUSSION REFERENCE

14:20 – Abruptly Spencer brings Utah into the conversation and we VERY passively move into prediction mode. Who should be more successful in their trip to the desert?

17:48 – And so begins a conversation about travel theory. Who would you rather play and when? And segues into What is the toughest road trip in the conference?

19:16 – Spencer makes like a dictionary. Seriously he makes a Webster-like reference about Stanford. How fitting.

20:49 – An all too long discussion about the liquor laws and where to acquire that vice when visiting the state of Utah.

22:07 – Traveling to play Washington isn’t all too bad. But Washington State you might have to go to Moscow. Idaho of course. And another liquor law issue arises.

24:19 – Obligatory reference of the road trips we haven’t discussed.

24:39 – While talking about how tough traveling through the Apple State might be we then still declare it the easiest road trip.

25:50 – Just listen to this series of communications out of Spencer’s mouth

26:30 – Another gambling reference-ish, with regards to Arizona and Cal as the leaders of the Pac

26:53 – Computer! My computer makes an appearance!

28:33 – Adam makes a pun involving Cal

30:46 – Tangent: NCAA Ski and Water Polo championships. University of the Pacific makes it’s WANE debut.

31:43 – One last thing that Spencer wants to discuss: The Stanford Cardinal.

32:56 – Prolonged goodbye with Dr. King references, a thank you to presumed listeners, Spencer gets a fact egregiously wrong, roommate Time is mentioned but not heard, I call myself an Adult (ha!), and a salute to Chasson Randle. Also a hopefully NOT empty promise.

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.

Fourteen Things to Watch in Pac-12 Conference Play

Conference play will tip tonight. That’s a fun fact to let sink and now’s a good time to let your loved ones know that Thursdays and Saturdays are booked (and the occasional Wednesday. And the occasional Friday. And the occasional Sunday. And all of March). I love conference play because it means something. A “good win” doesn’t just carry a nice perception, it moves you up the ladder. And we know that college basketball is all about getting to the top of ladders. With scissors.

Fourteen things to watch in this 2014 Pac-12 season:

  1. The Games and Stories – An elementary opening point for a ‘must watch’ list, but as we head into this most anticipated of Pac-12 conference seasons, I am acutely aware that I don’t want to watch Southern University play a ton of games. I’m not that stoked on seeing Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Weber State, or Evergreen State (St. Katherine, for that matter). And I mean no offense. I just don’t know them from Adam and I want the drama. I don’t care if UW and WSU rate outside the top-100 on KenPom. That’s the damn Apple Cup. USC is the 4th worst team remaining on UCLA’s schedule. BUT THEY’RE THE ONLY SCHOOL YAPPING AT UCLA. Suddenly we’re privy to subtext that wasn’t there when the opponents were [Directional] State Tech. Arizona is the top team, but Spencer Dinwiddie has already said he thinks his team is the cream of the crop. I have running bets about Arizona V. Oregon and I love the Arizona-Washington rivalry. Last time Cal and Stanford faced off, STANFORD’S ENTIRE ASSISTANT COACHING STAFF WAS EJECTED. Prior to last season, there hadn’t been an in-conference matchup of ranked teams since 2011. This year we’ve already got one in the first week (#10 Oregon @ #20 Colorado)…with more to follow! It’s conference time.
  2. Ben Carter – He has just three games under his belt (flipping shoe swag) and really just one of consequence. In that game – against BYU – he managed 4 points, 4 boards, 3 assists. Not quite Arsalan Kazemi yet not even close, either. But he’s long been considered a budding piece of what Dana Altman is trying to accomplish. And now’s the time. From a personnel standpoint, the Ducks can’t quite hit the boards the way they used to. Or rather, the way Tony Woods and Kazemi did. They’ve shifted from a top 10 defense to a top 10 offense. The best offensive team Dana Altman has ever coached. As we move forward, the emergence of a Robin to Mike Moser’s Batman could greatly benefit the Ducks.
  3. DaVonte Lacy – There aren’t going to be many reasons to watch Washington State so I present this guy:
  4. Washington’s Front Court… amongst so many other things in Seattle – Maybe there isn’t much to watch here as this team has become decimated through recruiting failures and injury (RIP Jernard Jarreau). Perris Blackwell is a fine player, but he’s one man. This is Romar’s worst defensive team since – well it’s literally the worst defense he’s ever coached. They rank 287th in defensive efficiency giving up 1.09 points per possession. Woof. Teams are shooting a 54% eFG against them, otherwise known as 318th best nationally. Double Woof. And that front court that doesn’t necessarily exist? Allowing 70% shooting at the rim. Teams are shooting 56% from 2-point range and I could go on but I won’t because as the Dawgs allow more and more points it raises more and more questions I don’t want to discuss about the health of Husky Hoops. So why watch? Because it could be something of a last hoorah.
  5. Oregon’s SOS – It has to improve. Or perhaps better said: it’s going to. They’ll play all of Arizona (State and the good guys) and UCLA twice while only escaping a visit from Colorado. Amongst KenPom’s top-25 teams, the Ducks have the 5th easiest schedule. Completely to their credit, they’ve handled that schedule. But as the going gets tough we’ll get to see whether or not this team will Win the Day.
  6. Cal’s Injury Bug – First they dropped two tough games without Richard Solomon in the lineup at the Maui Invitational. Then Kreklow and Bird sustained injuries and it’s pretty wide open as to when either of these two is coming back. You don’t need me to tell you that’s not good. I love Bird’s skill set and he carried the Bears through a few games earlier this year. They’ll now rely even more heavily on seniors Cobbs and Solomon as well as soph Ty Wallace and junior David Kravish. That’s a nice foursome, but nothing close to what this team is with Ricky and Jabari. Will their absence cost the Bears a chance to dance?
  7. The POY Race – I wrote really early in the year about this because why not? This is going to shake out to be a really great race because there are so many players that will be worthy of the title for so many different reasons. From Joseph Young who gets points like a Fuel Band to Kyle Anderson who does everything like a Swiss Knife,  how will voters (Pac-12 coaches) evaluate? Value (Nick Johnson, Anderson, Delon Wright, Mike Moser)? Skill (Young, Jahii Carson, Jordan Adams)? Whatever the case, it’s not going to be Jorge Gutierrez.
  8. Arizona’s Depth – Or lack thereof. They’re a damn talented team who then ranks 312th in percentage of bench minutes. The Pac-12 season is a grind and getting into the Yorks, Pitts’, and Korcheks of this lineup could help alleviate some of stress on the core-six. But it’s a really good core-six. One thing I’ve long been interested in – ever since he started the first game of the year – is the development of Gabe York. He wasn’t expected to be getting much tick – his defense a liability and a thorn in Miller’s side. But he’s shown some ability to defend but it’s his shooting ability (42% 3FG%) that I believe could make Arizona the hands down favorite to win this whole damn thing. But he’s not quite there yet. Conference play will be his chance to cut his teeth in some big games.
  9. Hot Seats – I hate this topic but it’s going to come up and as a given team maybe does worse than we might expect, there could be some seats warming up all over the conference. The influx of coaching talent across both football and basketball in the past 3 years has been impressive and if you’re not keeping up with the Joneses then you’re just losing sporting events. There are going to be a few ADs with tough decisions in the coming months. You already know which ones they are and so do they.
  10. Dunks
  11. Delon Wright and the Scorin’ Utes – Larry K’s team has exceeded the 120-point mark twice this season and they’re third in the nation in points per game (87.4). They’ve also played nothing short of a middle school schedule but that’s a whole different topic. Delon Wright has been an incredible addition to this team. He’s doing almost everything for them: 15/7/6, 138.3 ORtg. The obvious here is that I’m intrigued to see how he fairs against better competition; which begins tonight as he and the Utes host #10 Oregon and all of the guard talent in the world. The other thing to note about Utah here is that they have the fifth highest eFG% in the nation. Again, the schedule stuff, but at a certain point we have to appreciate that what Larry K’s team is doing is simply efficient. Excited to see how it translates. They’re 11-1.
  12. Jahii Carson – Because he’s Jahii Carson.
  13. #20 Colorado – The lede here is that they’re ranked and Tad’s making a name of this program and Spencer Dinwiddie is likely league-bound and then something else about Askia Booker putting up shots like a Tri-Delt. It’s all true. But let’s take a moment to think about Josh “Jelly” Scott as we head to conference play. The guard play in this conference is obscene. The Arizona bigs have been getting their love but how about Scott? Here are his numbers in Colorado’s last four games: 15 points and 11 boards. That’s a lot of everything you’d want from your big. He takes just 7 shots per game to get his points, which is grossly efficient. And this is the point in the blurb that I mention his free throw rate: 88.2. That’s a 147% increase over last season’s FTRate. He’s drawing greater than 6 fouls per forty minutes. Once perceived as soft, he’s banging his way to the free throw line and offensive success. Such a post asset is going to bode well for the Buffs as we make our way towards March.
  14. Vegas – Things happen there that should stay there. You know this and I know this and the Vegas travel bureau markets that. Certain things should stay there including the Pac-12 tournament. This will be year two of the three year contract that I fully expect to be renewed. But I don’t expect many teams to be sticking around Vegas. What I mean is I think there’s going to be a hearty number (seven) of Pac-12 teams leaving Vegas for the big dance. I also think this Pac-12 tourney is going to be as fun as it gets. Hoops on basketball on baskethoops.

Jordan Adams Makes Layups Not Jumpers

I’ve long felt that Jordan Adams is a tremendous basketball player. And then yesterday afternoon happened.

I was meandering through KenPom, looking at the percentage of minutes played lists. I was curious which players were getting run into the ground by their coaches. This endeavor lead me to the discovery that there are only 3 players taller than 6’6″ on the top-100 of %min played list. Big men can’t run. But back to Adams.

The primary Player Stats page defaults to ORtg and I saw Jordan Adams at the top of it. I didn’t think too much of it as I spend a lot of time around Pac-12 stats and he tends to be at the top of a lot of lists. What’s more, he’s alphabetically inclined to top lists. But as I dug down my %min worm hole, I realized that Jordan Adams was atop the national ORtg list.

 

My oh my that’s impressive. I’ve said it in many places but Jordan is one of my favorite players in the conference and it came as no major surprise that he led in this category. Last season he put up a highly respectable 114.9 ORtg which out ORtg’d even the great Shabazz Muhammad.

Now quickly let us be clear that he leads in ORtg amongst players with at least 28% of possessions used. Which is to say that he’s the best offender amongst the players making the most offense.

But here’s where things begin to get interesting.

We’ve all raved about Adams’ mid-range game. And it’s good. He built last season’s formidable 114.9 rating by taking 39% of his shots in that range. Like we said, he’s a sound mid-ranger and one would expect that talent to continue into this season. Let’s take a look:

JordanAdamsShooting

First let’s confirm that in 2012-13 Jordan was a good mid-range shooter. He took 39% of his shots from there and hit 45.1% of them. It was the highest 2pt FG% on the team aside from Josh Smith’s 1-of-2 shooting and Sooren Derboghosian’s 1-of-1. Mid-range, indeed.

But here’s where things get really interesting.

We expected Adams to continue to hit his pull ups and floaters. Knock down jumpers in Alford’s pro-style sets. But look at the size of the red slice in 12-13 versus 13-14. He’s halved the number of two point jumpers he’s taking. A season ago he wow-ed us with 39% mid-range offense and now he’s taken that two-fifths of offense to the rack!!!!

We spent the entire off-season talking about how slashing guards like Carson and Dinwiddie would benefit from rule changes intended to “open the game up.” Well those two continue to do their thing. Not a ton has changed, the rules just supplemented their game.

But what we’re seeing with Jordan Adams is the game actually opening up. Perhaps a step slow last season, he now has the freedom to get past a defender and connect at the rim. His ORtg sky rockets and he gets easy buckets.

Further demonstrating Adams’ transformation and genius is that his FTA/FGA rate has improved by a gaudy 21.9 percentage points (41.5% –> 63.4%). Carson’s is actually down 13.3 points and Dinwiddie is just stupid. Last season he had the 19th best FT rate at 76.7% and he’s now 16th at 102.6%. Holy charity stripe.

What Pac-12 teams must concern themselves with, however, is that while Adams is taking fewer 2-point jumpers – which are traditionally considered a “good shot” for the defense – he’s currently connecting on 52.5% of them. From three he’s upped his FG% to 37% and I suppose it goes without saying but his FG% at the rim is high. How high? He shoots 67% at the rim which leads me to the question:

What can’t Jordan Adams do?

Note: This piece would not be possible without the glorious insights of hoop-math.com. Go there and have your mind blown.

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.

Yesterday it was anyone. Today: Jahii POY

Yesterday I wrote about the Pac-12 POY race. I introduced some new names and addressed the progress of some of the serious contenders. I even explained why a few guys would have great years but won’t win the award.

Jahii Carson is going to win the Pac-12 POY award.

Maybe it’s the Holiday Egg Nog and the spirit of hyperbole in this jolly time of family, giving, and caring. A Happy Hanukkah Eve to you and yours. But Carson does things on a basketball court that the other kids can’t. Quickly with the numbers: He plays has scored or assisted on 46% of the Sun Devils’ made baskets. He’s 5’10” and he’s half their offense. And when he’s not on the floor:

Now I’ve already once mentioned hyperbole and I already made a prediction that he’d be the POY. We’re just 170 words into this party and that’s already transpired. But Carson is doing it. Doing everything. And on Monday night he did it again, leading ASU to their first win over a ranked opponent since January 8, 2010. One week after that win, in Tempe, I’d run my best Half-Marathon: 1:37:22. There’s no correlation between the two events, but note it has been a long time since ASU beat a ranked opponent.

Hell, with Jahii’s latest 23 point, 5 assist and >50% shooting effort, he made this happen:

You guys, I know Herb’s weird but that’s him doing what can only be described as a variation of the dirty bird – perhaps the unkempt fowl? – after a November win. November, not March. A home November win against a team that scored 35 points in a 40 minute basketball game.

Carson has people wildly excited about a program that’s had their coach on the hot seat for 2.5 years. As mentioned, it was the Devils’ first victory over a ranked opponent in 1418 days and even Buzz Williams might dance to that (though I doubt it).

I’m not going to dive into the stats on why Carson is so fantastic. You can already see and read and hear about that in a multitude of other places. Yesterday I asked Jeff Eisenberg if he thought we could put Carson in the National POY conversation. He wouldn’t bite but if the Devils start to become for real, rattle off a win against another ranked opponent this week in Creighton and garner themselves a top-25 ranking they can maintain, I say “Why no Jahii?”

But before we wrap this party, I’ll advocate for the Devil momentarily (I realize the irony in using that idiom here as any article that talks about how great an ASU student-athlete is intrinsically advocating for the Devil), he hasn’t won the big game just yet. He and the Devils have won just one top-25 game with the opportunity to do it again on Thursday.

I’ll be paying attention if I’m not in a turkey and pie coma. And everyone else should be, too. Maybe it’s the holiday hyperbole, but Jahii Carson is your Pac-12 POY.