Tag Archives: John Gage

Quincy Pondexter did it, who might this year?

Quincy Pondexter arrived in Seattle, a five-star recruit with the promise of NBA written all over him. A program changing prospect, expectations were high. But after his first three seasons as a Husky, those seemed like empty hopes. Not to say he was a total bust, but after he came in with expectations and posted a pretty solid freshman campaign (11/4/2, 109/22), his subsequent two seasons displayed minimal improvement.

Season Pts/Rebs/Assists per game Ortg/Shot%
Freshman 11/4/2 109/22
Sophomore 10/5/2 106/22
Junior 12/6/2 112/22

Consistently sound but was this to be QPon’s ceiling? His 2007 five-star contemporaries were being drafted if not leading their teams to great places. Pondexter got to dance in 2009 but headed into 2009-10, the Dawgs didn’t have particularly high expectations for their senior.

Season Pts/Rebs/Assists per game Ortg/Shot%
Senior 19/7/2 122/26

Pac-12 tournament champions. Sweet 16. Pondexter’s monster year came in the nick of time. And that’s the beauty of college sports. Maybe there’s corruption on the recruiting side of things and a product that’s not quite professional grade, but like watching a Snap Chat, there’s something to knowing that what’s right in front of you will soon be gone. The senior is that rare position in which it’s laid on the line for one full season. There’s no next because, as the commercial says, most of them will be going professional in something other than sports (though if you have a season like Pondexter you’re probably going professional in something related to sports, namely playing them).

Quincy embodied that for a season – a relatively rare accomplishment – and I’m sure we could each recount a moment in which a senior’s gut captivated us. But there is a precedent for what QPon did. I could rattle on about Jason Terry or Kyle Fogg from my backyard. Landry Fields, Carrick Felix, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Aaron Brooks from elsewhere. These were guys that followed similar paths as the aforementioned QPon and erupted with their NCAA clock nearing expiration.

Player Fr-Jr Averages* Senior Year Sr Year Post Season
Jason Terry** 8p 2r 3a 22p 3r 6a NCAA 3 seed. Lost 1st round***
Aaron Brooks 11p 3r 4a 102.4/20.3 18p 4r 4a 117.7/25.1 NCAA 2 seed. Lost E8
Landry Fields 7p 4r 1a 101.1/21.8 22p 9r 3a 109.6/31.2 14-18. No tournaments
Matthew Bryan-Amaning 6p 4r 1a 94.5/20.2 15p 8r 1a 112.5/24.9 NCAA 7 seed. Lost 2d round
Kyle Fogg 8p 2r 2a 106.8/17.8 14p 4r 2a 110.6/23.1 NIT
Carrick Felix 8p 3r 1a 95.1/21.8 15p 8r 2a 110.4/22.2 NIT. Lost 2d round

*These are quick and dirty averages across their first three seasons on campus
**No ORtg and %shot data available
***Utterly broke my heart to see Michael Wright mistakenly step onto the court before inbounding the ball late and sealing a first round exit for one of the greatest Wildcat seniors of all time which I watched alone in my bedroom on an antennaed TV on a Friday afternoon that somehow was a middle school half day.

And so I ask, who could do that this year? Who amongst the statesmen of the Pac-12 can embrace their impending eligibility and have a monster swan song?

John Gage, F, Stanford – This biggun was called the best shooter in the Pac-12 by Jeff Eisenberg. Not many 13mpg players get called out as being the best shooter in a conference. What’s more, Gage is a member of the senior class Dwight Powell stuck around to take care of unfinished business with. With Andy Brown unfortunately off the roster, Gage should have further chances to play that stretch forward position.

Richard Solomon, C, Cal – Another biggun making the breakout senior list, Solomon has tremendous up side that he has yet to realize. I love his athleticism and think he’s on a roster where that athleticism can flourish. He’s foul prone, sure, but if he can manage to refine his game a little, look out.

Angus Brandt, C, Oregon State – He spent last season injured and was poised to break out then. He’s now going to be relied upon even further as Eric Moreland won’t soon be joining the team.

Jermaine Marshall, G, ASU – He put up very solid numbers one season ago at Penn State (15/4/3) and then he graduated to Tempe (not from Tempe). Those are already gaudy numbers but I could see him having the opportunity to go even bigger with Jahii Carson making moves throughout the lane for this spot up shooter.

JT Terrell, G, USC – Terrell is a shooter and would likely seem to thrive in a shooting system. Exit: Kevin O’Neill. Enter: Andy Enfield. Dunk city is going to give Terrell further freedom to fire it up. He’s the top scorer returning to the Galen Center and should likely receive the lion’s share of touches.

Mike Moser, F, Oregon -This one maybe isn’t quite deserving of making this list but as compared to his previous season, Moser is poised to have another monster season. He’s in a system that doesn’t have Anthony Bennett and he’s already shown just how good he can be (2011-12 Moser was 14/10).

Somebody really cool that we barely know about who’s role is suddenly expanded or talent realized because of the fleeting nature of his time on the campus where he’s fallen in love with coaches and teammates and fans and the experience since arriving a green, 18-year-old with aspirations of t-shirts and hats – Any names come to minds?

Getting to know Stanford: Same but different?

Obviously in the words below I’ll dive into these Cardinal but I’d like to begin with Maples Pavilion. I grew up watching the backboards sway and the floors bounce. We’d turn down the TV volume as Arthur Lee’s Cardinal became Jason Terry’s daddy. We’ve seen Tiger act-a-fan court side (hated it but appreciated it). It’s an intimate venue and an easy place to catch a game. It should be every bit of the 3.5 point home court advantage and then some. Currently, however, it is not. The team hasn’t won at Monty levels in awhile and hasn’t been subsequently supported. It’s a shame because – living in the Bay Area – I want to see some rowdy. Do I really have to head to USF for Gonzaga’s visit?

Why I love them: Dwight Powell, Josh Huestis, Anthony Brown, Stefan Nastic, John Gage, and Aaron Bright. That was Johnny Dawkins’ 2010 recruiting class and every single one of them is on this team. “There’s unfinished business,” Dwight Powell says. You’re darn right there is and that’s coming out of a senior who just may be feeling the urgency of his imminent graduation. But boy do I love seniors and boy do I love seniors that are supported by a junior, Chasson Randle. This team has talent at every position and has the quintessential PG to run a Stanford basketball team. Then there’s the whole do-it-for-Andy storyline where these guys have a teammate, Andy Brown, who will be sorely missed from this team. This off-season he suffered his fourth ACL tear, ending his Cardinal career. He’s no longer on the team but promises to be he’ll continue to be a part of the team. Powerful stuff.

Why I hate them: They ain’t done shit! As stated, this is one helluva crew and I love their makeup and the things they appear to be capable of. But that aforementioned senior class is just 26-28 in Pac-12 play with two NIT appearances (I will begrudge them a 2012 NIT championship  but will also note they closed their season 5-8 to “earn” that un-invitational). College basketball is a dance recital and the Cards haven’t been dancing. Not since 2008 when there were two guys who looked alike who you might’ve heard of (Hi, Brook! Hi, Robin!). Maybe that’s why they signed Marcus and Malcolm Allen? No, shared DNA ain’t fixing this. And I’m not entirely sure I’m buying what Johnny Dawkins and Powell were telling us about what’s different for this team, “We’re thinking differently.” What does that even mean? The team did go through NAVY Seal training (see below) and have tested and pushed themselves in ways they supposedly have not before. I applaud that. I understand and appreciate culture shifts. I actually talked to a close friend who is a Red Sox fan about John Farrell’s work in Boston. He’s taken a dumpster fire and last place team with seven free agents to the World Series and baseball’s best record. Shifts are possible. But that also included a leadership change and that’s a path I never like to head down. I’m selling the “change of thinking” thing and buying – speculatively – the urgency of seniority.

Stat you need to know:

88%

That is the usage percentage returning to Maples this season. Compare that to the next most in Pac-12: Colorado’s 69%. Frankly, I’ve already gone in on this whole what-will-they-do-with-all-that-returning-skill thing so I’ll just say remind you they’re returning a 9-9 team.

In their words: My man, @kevo408, calls D-League hoops for the Santa Cruz Warriors, is all over the Pac-12 Post, and attended this here Stanford spot. Thanks, Danna Man.

Marcus is the scorer and Malcolm the passer from what I recall. Marcus is certainly more highly touted but I’m not sure they’ll be the major factors. It’s really a do-or-die year for the Card. They’re going to be tested early with Bucknell, BYU, Northwestern, a trip to Denver and UCONN. They’ll take on Beilein’s Wolverines in Brooklyn and could draw Pitt there as well in the Legends Classic. They haven’t proven yet they can close a team out. I can’t count the number of ways these guys lost games last year: Powell missing a DUNK down two at USC; Powell not knowing the clock and making the game tying layup after the buzzer; Randle fouling beyond mid-court with less than a second left in a tie ball game. Do they haveit? I don’t know. But I want to see them in the Dance.

Quotable:

“”I just want to thank all of my teammates.”
– Andy Brown

Outlook: I want desperately to say I like this team’s prospects but they return that 9-9 team that underwhelmed me season long (except when I saw them demolish Oregon). Have I mentioned that? Everyone else across the conference is rolling out rosters that  make the Cardinal an afterthought. I keep thinking about them and I can’t imagine three guys named Allen (Marcus, Malcolm, and Rosco) making a tournament changing impact. Which means that if we’re going to believe in these Cardinal, well we have to believe something different; the same approach Dawkins and team are taking. I’m all for mental fortitude I just don’t know if you can force it. I’ve seen my fair share of players asked to be leaders and get handed the How to Lead for Dummies book. That usually turns into a disingenuous, untrusted teammate. These aren’t bad guys. Just guys who are asked to be something they’re not (perhaps reference: Lyons, Mark). But I’ll tell you what, if any school was going to be clever enough to figure this stuff out…

A video:

Your Not-So-Pac-12-Media Preseason Awards

Last week the Pac-12 announced the media’s preseason predictions. They’ve picked Arizona to win it although they awarded more first place votes to UCLA – indicative of the unstable state that program appears to be in. Alas, we can’t have this be our only predictive conversation.

Following last season, we awarded the Not So Coaches Pac-12 Awards. The Dorothy, The Steinbrenner, The Grecian, and others were all awarded to the most deserving of candidates. Now, on the cusp of a highly anticipated 2012-13 Pac-12 basketball season, I present, the Not So Pac-12 Media Preseason Awards:

The Casey Jacobsen: Awarded to the player most likely to frost his tips

  • Pick: Ken Bone, WSU
  • Look, sometimes its tough to look cool when all you do is stand on a sideline and shout. And, with so many players getting busted for possession, Ken Bone needs to find a way to better relate to his team. Maybe a stop by the stylist is his best option.
  • Others considered: Rosco Allen (Stanford), Roster (ASU),

The Jorge Guitierrez: Awarded to the player most likely to piss off opposing players and fans

  • Pick: Mark Lyons, Arizona
  • Not only is he a seemingly unprecedented transfer with title implications, but by all accounts he’s got a mouth, is havoc on the defensive end, and became renowned for his participation in the Xavier-Cincinnati melee. He’s going to beat you – or at least try real hard to – and then let you know about it.
  • Others considered: Aaron Bright (Stanford), Jio Fontan (USC), Nick Johnson (Arizona), EJ Singler (Oregon)

The Brock Motum: Awarded to the best player you’ve never heard of

  • Pick: Devon Collier, Oregon State
  • It was hard not to pick Brock himself as the dude barely gets any love already despite projecting to have another stellar season lost in Pullman. But Collier has only gotten better year-over-year and projects to flourish with the departure of Jared Cunningham and the pending emergence of Roberto Nelson and Ahmad Starks.
  • Others considered: Dewayne Dedmon (USC), Scott Suggs (UW), Davonte Lacy (WSU)

The Josiah Turner/Jabari Brown: Awarded to the player most likely to miss expectations by a year and a mile

  • Pick: Shabazz Muhammad
  • At this point, this isn’t even a preseason pick, we’re just giving it to him. Odds are he won’t play a game in new, old, or otherwise Pauley; but if he does I’ll swallow the crow whole. His commitment to UCLA had Howland and crew a pre-pre-season top-10 team. Now they’re not.
  • Others considered: Dominic Artis (Oregon), Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona), JT Terrell (USC)

Player I Want to Party With: (no criteria provided)

  • Pick: Brock Motum (WSU)
  • If you’ve never traveled abroad and stayed at a hostel with an Australian, I suggest you do it.
  • Others considered:

The RomCom: Awarded to the player that most resembles a cast member of Love Actually

  • Pick: Angus Brandt

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Others considered: Unanimous decision

The 2007 Patriots: Awarded to the team most likely to lose you money

  • Pick: USC Trojans
  • Here is the team that’s super interesting and I’ve called the hipster pick but they were 1-17 last year! Sure they’re grossly revamped but we know absolutely nothing about them but everyone keeps picking them. What if they’re wrong and the juice is flowing the wrong way?
  • Others considered: Arizona Wildcats, UCLA Bruins

The 2001 Patriots: Awarded to the team most likely to make you money

  • Pick: Washington Huskies
  • Not many people are high on the Huskies but they have heavy experience at three critical positions at the point, wing, and center and a wild card in RS senior Scott Suggs. Maybe, just maybe, the Huskies can eek out a competitive season and spoil the preseason predictions.
  • Others considered: Stanford Cardinal, USC Trojans

The Golden Mane: Awarded to the most luscious locks in the conference

  • Pick: EJ Singler
  • He cut them. They’re gone and he looks like an everyman but we’re awarding him this for potential. What if he grows it out over the season? I want it to happen. Make it so.
  • Others considered: Angelo Chol (Arizona), John Gage (Stanford), Sabatino Chen (Colorado),

Best Iranian: Awarded to the best Iranian born player in the conference

  • Pick: Arsalan Kazemi
  • Uh…pretty sure he’s the only one to play D-1 ball. Ever.
  • Others considered: Unanimous decision