Tag Archives: Jermaine Marshall

Session 4 Preview: Ducks, Bruins, Devils, Card

You know the great fallacy of men is that we don’t like drama. We’ve bro’d out over so many fresh coldies citing how much we hate and don’t need drama as the conversation turns to how excited your are to watch this month. The mystique is in the unknown, the drama. The unexpected becoming reality, narrative unfolding and collapsing before us. We don’t like drama. We crave it. Just don’t date it.

Here’s the evening’s preview of drama.

#7 Oregon vs. #2 UCLA, Yes Please O’Clock at Get to a TV Standard Time
The Scoring Game

Before Oregon started this little eight gamer, we allowed ourselves some optimism because they had arguably the toughest stretch of their schedule upcoming: @UCLA, ASU, AZ. And then news broke that Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams did something likely sophomoric (another intended pun) and would not participate in that game. This. Because when you start 13-0 and then go 2-8 we start to care less about how you’re winning and more about whether or not you ever will again. The Ducks are and I can’t agree more with this Ernie Kent quote:

The scariest thing is that they’ve got their swag back.

I wouldn’t even call it scary. I’d call it Errol Childress. This is a group of transfers – a team that spent the middle portion of their season playing uninspired, lackadaisical basketball – who came to Eugene to Just Do It. And now they have their swag back!? We criticize the system of aggregating these castoffs and are quick to highlight its faults as this team faltered. But now they have their swag back. Because for all of the chemistry flaws we could cite that caused their near collapse, we can redefine those – certainly now – as strengths. Their strengths are their weaknesses. SWAG.

Damyean DotsonOf course while we’re on this narrative kick, did you see the ass kicking UCLA just endured? I haven’t really discussed it much but note that teams were putting up 1.16 points per possession against the Cougs in the thirteen games since they’d last held a team below 1.00ppp. So naturally WSU would hold the conference’s best offense (1.15ppp) to 0.82ppp. Only Mississippi Valley State and San Francisco State fared worse against the Cougs. All of which is to say that game was literally an aberration. You couldn’t run that through a simulator a gajillion times and never get an event remotely close to that. Which is to say UCLA would seem to be pissed and far from defined by that game/outcome. Furthermore, UCLA has lost 3 of 4 to the Ducks and probably thinks they should have won the Wear family miracle so that both David and Travis could stake claim to last second heroics in defeating Oregon. Alas, stories aside, this is a great match up.

Our first stop down match up lane is with Oregon’s offense. I’ve called them a mid-major with a budget and I’m going to stick to that. Yes it’s important for them to get defensive stops but it’s not their strength (SWAG). The three point shot is important to them. During this eight game win streak, they’ve maintained 33% of their offense from distance (their season average) but are shooting a blistering 46% from deep. Aside from these eight games, the Ducks shot a great 37%. But 46% as a team? Compare that to their losses where we find the Ducks taking 56% of their shots from deep and connecting on just 33% of those shots. Fair to say the Ducks live by the three and die by it? Now consider the fact that UCLA allows teams to shoot 41% of their offense from deep and begin to make your game considerations. Of course if Oregon is going to try and outscore you, UCLA is the team that can counter by outscoring them. They lead the conference in offense and they do that by getting into transition. They get into transition by stealing basketballs (Jordan Adams is the school’s all-time single season steals leader). UCLA is sixth in the nation in creating fast break offense from a turnover. Meanwhile, Oregon ranks fourth in the conference and 41st nationally in TO%. It means they take care of the ball pretty well and limit opponents to the 12th lowest percentage of transition offense from a steal, 4.1% (IT’S MARCH AND I’M DEEP DEEP DEEP DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE). In some regards, it would seem Oregon has the transition antidote, but collectively, the Ducks are an average (128th) team in limiting transition attempts. In summary: 

DUCK SWAG AND SHOOT. BRUIN MAD AND RUN

#3 ASU vs. #6 Stanford, Do you actually think this game will tip remotely close to its scheduled tip after three games, three intermissions, and a clearing of the venue? PST
The What’s Stanford Going to Do Game

If you were watching the Stanford-WSU game then you definitely don’t live on the East coast (I see you, CE). But you also heard Don MacLean exhaust the Stanford-must-win narrative. Now, to be fair, it was his fourth game of the day – a marathon. I imagine he did well at XS last night but that’s probably a tale we won’t soon hear. On that note, how much do you think KO is hating being relegated to the SF studio show when – you know – Vegas? Digression. Stanford needed to win that game – obvs – and they did. Post-game, Dwight Powell dropped the rare truth-and-reality bomb when he noted that he had never been to the NCAA tournament. Now I already mentioned that MacLean exhausted it and I already mentioned that I didn’t want to exhaust it when discussing Cal. But in Stanford’s case, this may be nonexhaustive. They’re the class that stayed – nary a one transferring or leaving early, a rarity these days. And they’ve never been to the NCAA tournament. So where are they today? Who cares. The Card need a few less f**ks given and some more of the Ernie-sais-quais: SWAG. Matt said it great on WANE yesterday, “…they don’t do anything easy. Stanford does things the hard way.” Which I thought was the easiest way (see what I did there?) to describe the Cardinal. In diving further into it, I got to thinking about how we make things easier for ourselves. Usually, when I want to make something easier, I’ll ask a friend. I’ll seek help. I’ll look for an assist! AHA! So I looked at Stanford’s assist rate and – low and behold – it’s the lowest in the conference. They have two First-Team All-Conference performers (Powell and Randle), an All-Defensive stud (Huestis), and the most improved player (Anthony Brown) in the conference. It’s a team littered with talent working in silos. Which would explain how/why Stanford has no bad losses (aka teams less talented than them) and really only a handful of quality wins (@ UConn, UCLA, Oregon). They’re 4-8 against the RPI top-50.

But maybe that’s enough about the Cardinal. Because they’re playing Maroon and a few contemporaries of mine like ASU to make a run into the championship game. They’ve got the right pieces – play making point guard, shooting off-guard, game changing big – and the venue is neutral which means it’s not a road game. The Herbivores were just 2-7 on the road this season. And there’s further data to suggest that the MGM serves as Jahii’s friendly confines. In last year’s Pac-12 tournament, Carson averaged 29 points on 61% shooting. He mixed in 11 assists and 9 boards while he was at it. So is it worth noting that Carson averaged 25ppg on 61% shooting against Stanford this season? Probably not (sarcasm font). But what we should note is that the Cardinal are pretty big up front. The third component of ASU’s projected success – game changing big in the form of a Bachynski – was a moderate factor in losing to Stanford (36 minutes, 7 points, 10 boards, 2 blocks) and a non-factor in beating them (15 minutes, 2 points, 3 boards, 0 blocks, 4 fouls). Is he a factor in this game? Hard to say. Stefan Nastic isn’t afraid to bump and Jordan isn’t afraid to flop. For all their size, however, the Cardinal make little effort to get to the rim. They rank 304th nationally in percentage of shots at the rim, begging the question – if we haven’t asked it already – is Bachynski a factor in this game? I mean, having an NBA prospect man the paint never really hurt anyone but it would seem that this will be the Jahii show. And he’s not afraid of that.

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.

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.

Six thoughts on Five Days of Pac Hoops

This first week of the college basketball season has really moved fast as we’re already going to have a new number one team and I’ve already completely written off Stanford’s season and proposed trading Washington State. It’s gonna be a good one.

Here’s a few observations from close-to-the-first week:

What if this really is Richard Solomon? And Ty Wallace?

Through just two games the big Bear has grabbed 26 rebounds. Maybe that’s not sustainable but I’ve long touted the necessity of his improvement for Cal to be a frightening contender. They’ve got the pieces to contend but to strike fear? That’s Solomon’s job. What’s more is he’s committed just four fouls in those two games. It’s obviously early but these are auspicious signs for Monty’s front court. And Ty Wallace is 18/5/4.

BUT OREGON SUSPENDS DOMINIC ARTIS AND BEN CARTER!

Old news, yes, but then Johnathan Loyd missed no shots, turned no balls over, and assisted on seven buckets as the Ducks beat JOSH SMITH’S Hoyas. I’ve said it a few times now but Oregon is the only team that could survive this suspension. They have more guards than jersey combinations. We ultimately, however, have no idea what Carter is going to bring to the table. Would he have helped to stop Josh Smith? Probably, but the front court will continue to be a place to focus for the Ducks as they shoot their way through these suspensions.

Tony Parker’s development at UCLA:

Luc and I agree that UCLA’s ceiling is primarily dependent on this kid’s development. He allows the Wear family to become role players and that’s what they are: very good role players. Tony Parker could be a star and if he is, Jordan Adams is going to rain Manna from heaven and it’s rumored that Kyle Anderson would shave. Here are Tony’s two stat lines:

  • vs. Drexel: 20min, 3-6 FG, 6pts, 5rbs, 1blk, 4fls
  • vs. Oakland: 34 min, 10-12 FG, 21pts, 12rbs, 3blks, 3fls

I’m going to conclude that Tony Parker plays his best basketball when he’s on the court. Fair? Keep him out of foul trouble and the Bruins just might have the big man they’ve coveted to open the floor for Adams threes and Wear jumpers. Going to elaborate on this one later.

You should probably get used to this:

And these dunklights:

The new starter

Much ado about Colorado’s returning of four starters. It’s a nicety for any team and a recipe for high expectations. They lost Andre Roberson who is actually averaging 2 rebounds a game for the Buffaloes this season despite not playing a game or even being eligible. But keep an eye on his replacement, Wesley Gordon. He’s a thick athlete (6’9″ 225lbs) and is swiftly putting up competitive numbers: 11 points, 8 rebounds. There’s a team-wide learning curve but those things tend to flatten out when there’s talent around. Wesley Gordon’s pretty talented.

 

Ranking the Pac-12 back courts

This was no easy task. Back courts across the Pac-12 are loaded this season and a major reason why the Pac is Back. Thus, not coincidentally, this list most closely resembles how I think the conference will shake out. There are big guards and small guards and quick guards and shooters. Veterans and pups. I’d pit this group against any in the country. Alas, they’re just going to pick on each other like Miami Dolphins.

  1. Oregon – Sure the Ducks just lost Dominic Artis to entrepreneurship, but they replace him with the 2013 Pac-12 Tournament MVP. Oregon has guard depth as deep as this guy is drunk. Joseph Young (18ppg), Damyean Dotson (11ppg), Jason Calliste (11ppg), Johnathan Loyd (5ppg), Dominic Artis (9ppg). [somewhere Mike Moser smiles].
  2. Arizona – You can try and tell me that TJ McConnell hasn’t played at the highest level but I’m not about to knock him for that. I’ve watched mid-major talent the last four years in the Pac-12. I know what good looks like when I see it. He’s joined by the ever improving Nick Johnson with Jordin Mayes backing each of them up. I like these pieces.
  3. Colorado – Came very close to being second on this list. While Dinwiddie vs. McConnell is not a draw (Mayor wins out), Askia Booker’s propensity to shoot and to pull up and to fire as compared to everything Nick Johnson does….well I’m giving the collective nod to the Cats. But man, Spencer Dinwiddie is good.
  4. ASU – This might be too low of a ranking for the Devils. Carson is one of the nation’s best and the addition of Jermaine Marshall is an upgrade over the departed Evan Gordon. Did I mention Jahii Carson is good?
  5. California – Aside from Loyd (who will be filling in for Artis) Cobbs is the first senior to make this list (and I’m not counting Marshall, either). He’s joined by Jabari Bird, a McDonald’s AA who isn’t getting near the love he might deserve because of Commissioner (Aaron) Gordon. But the wildcard here is Ty Wallace who I think could have a monster year for the Bears.
  6. Washington – I’ve heard mixed reviews on Nigel Williams-Goss and that’s OK. Another burger All-American, he’s an incoming freshman so there’s going to be equal parts question marks and hype. I get it. But CJ Wilcox. CJ Wilcox. CJ Wilcox. Perhaps the best shooter in the conference is now a senior and very well could have the dynamic, distributing PG to get him even more touches in ideal spots. The rules changes should also help to get him even more open looks. BOMBS AWAY. (Andrew Andrews mention)
  7. UCLA – Their point guard is 6’9″ and goes by the name of slow-mo. That would seem inauspicious but Kyle Anderson is one unique talent. The Bruins are going to miss LD2 but Anderson’s play making and size will make UCLA a tough out. Oh, and that Jordan Adams kid is my favorite.
  8. Stanford – Last year I was very high on the prospects of Chasson Randle who I loved watching slash into the lane and get buckets. He could shoot it, too. His trajectory plateaued last season and he hit a cold streak from the field (44% from 3FG to 36%). This came inopportunely at the same time as Aaron Bright’s cold spell (44% from 3FG to 32%). So what’s the norm, I ask?
  9. Oregon State – Roberto Nelson is a fine player who can score with anyone in this conference. It appears, however, that he’s a one man show with Ahmad Starks (who was really high on him anyways?) departed. Challe Barton will get a crack at PG duties and there’s one more thing I want to mention: Malcolm Duvivier. Why you might ask? Because he’s definitively not Andrew Wiggins. But he is a Canadian prep star who reclassified from 2014 to 2013 to play American College Basketball. Ya hoser.
  10. Washington State – I’m a sucker for veterans – perhaps above talent? No – and the Cougars, for whatever their season will become, feature DaVonte Lacy and Royce Woolridge. These two are nice players for Ken Bone, adding to the guard depth of the conference more than wins for WSU.
  11. USC – JT Terrell should benefit greatly from Dunk City as he’s an athletic guard who wants to get up and down the floor. Or at least get his shots up. Additionally Pe’Shon Howard is a nice pickup for ball handling duties as Enfield’s offense has a tendency for turnovers.
  12. Utah – I’m relatively high on Brandon Taylor. I liked his work down the stretch for the Utes but he’s a sophomore guard with little experience leading a team full of even less experience. His learning curve is steep and I wish him luck swimming in the deep end.