Tag Archives: Pac-12

The Drive Ep 2 Recap: Boyle’s Blurred Board, Larry the Leader

With high spirits considering I knew the entire episode was recorded, I was delighted to see things open with Snoop saying, “We Bruins now.” How could this not be a great episode? I guess setting high expectations is a tough proposition for Colorado.

Alas, what I’d come to discover is that what I missed in mis-DVR’ing the final four minutes was just a power-reel through the most recent weekend of games. We less-than-enthusiastically got to re-live UCLAs sweep of the Ski schools and Askia’s 43. Meh. Continue reading

Pac-12 and Mountain West join officiating forces (The Book buys in)

At this point it’s old news, if it was ever news at all.

The Pac-12 is partnering with the Mountain West to create an officiating super power in which every call will be made correctly, no officials will ever go to Latin lands or receive compensation for aggressively enforcing bench decorum, and Bobby Dibler is in charge.

So I’ve lent myself to jest but this is indeed a mark of change and progress. It’s the improvement Scott promised and a step towards maintaining the confidence of the conference’s constituents. It’s certainly better than just firing Ed Rush and wiping their hands of the mess. Ice Miller got people off hooks; this officiating program is intended to improve.

And so now take a good look at Mr. Bobby Dibler. This is the last time you should see or hear of BD ever again. Ever.



What we have now is a promise of expanded resources, further materials by which officials can learn, grow, develop, and improve their skillz. If you read the Pac-12’s release, it starts to sound like they’ve built a Hogwarts for stripes. I have no idea what sort of positions were previously filled with regards to Pac-12 officiating but Dibler will now have a Deputy Coordinator (“deputy” seems like the wrong title for a referee), a Technology Coordinator, and Game Graders. Good stuff though I’m pretty certain he already had sufficient Game Graders. Just check any message board post-game.

Understandably, everyone is drinking this Kool-Aid. As will I. The NCAA’s head of officiating, John Adams, had this to say:

Broader regional collaboration between conferences is a positive trend for the future of officiating, the game generally and, in particular, the conferences that participate in them.

Dibler, of course, took a sip:

For our officials, this is a great opportunity to improve their officiating skills, maximize their schedles, and reduce travel.

Big DB also notes that he wants nada to do with emailing Sean Miller or anyone else for that matter:

I look forward to outlining…a clear communications process between all our officials, the conferences, and our coaches.

Larry Scott chimed in but I’m not about to quote him. Not out of spite but because he’s the one with all eyes on him; of course he’s drinking the Kool-Aid. He stirred the instant formula in the pitcher and invited everyone to the party. He did a two-story Kool-Aid bong. He’s on board.

Even the Bible thinks this is a good idea:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor
– Ecclesiastes 4:9

I mean, what more do you need? Religiously speaking, the Pac-12/Mountain West officiating conglomerate should see great success.

Who’s willing to bet $5k on it?

Waxing Seniority: Kevin Parrom

With the regular season now wrapped and the Pac-12’s seniors having played their final home games, we’re taking a tour across the conference and bidding this group of seniors farewell.

Brad Hill has been a Wildcat fan and close friend since the beginning of time and contributes to PacHoops always.

As fans we don’t remember career averages, point totals, assist to turnover ratios, or even records. Over time, what really stands out in our memory are the players. Of course some of the best players to come through the U of A had great numbers worthy of memory, but some of the most memorable players didn’t have great numbers. Did you know that Eugene Edgerson averaged less than 5 points a game during his career? Probably not. Do you remember Gene’s afro, knee pads, and the energy he brought into every minute he played? Definitely.

Kevin Parrom is a memorable player. His numbers don’t jump off the stat sheet, but they are solid—he is quietly shooting 41% from behind the arc this year. However, it’s not the numbers that make Kevin Parrom a memorable Wildcat. Fans will remember Kevin Parrom for his toughness on (and off) the court, his courage and perseverance, and the undeniable impact he had on every game he played.

Kevin Parrom will always be remembered for announcing the beginning of the Sean Miller era of Arizona Basketball. Fans have come to expect Miller’s teams to be typified by hard nosed, gritty, and defensive-minded basketball players. Kevin Parrom announced that style of play on January 23, 2010. On that date, Wildcat fans will remember Parrom racing down the court to stop the Sun Devil’s Ty Abbot from making an easy dunk and igniting a raucous Wells Fargo Arena crowd. Kevin leapt up, reached for the ball, and fouled Ty Abbot—hard.

Parrom wasn’t trying to injure Abbot, but he was going to make sure he earned those points. Parrom later tweeted: “No easy buckets.” Does anything encapsulate the Sean Miller mantra more succinctly or accurately? If I had to pick a phrase to put above the door in the Wildcat’s locker room it would be: “No Easy Buckets.”

But fans also admired Parrom for his courage and perseverance. His junior season has been well documented: in one year he lost his grandmother and mother to cancer, was sidelined by a gunshot wound, and then just when he was getting back to full strength broke his foot. Fans’ hearts and support poured out to this kid, and it showed. When he entered a game for the first time after coming back from the shooting, the crowd stood and cheered as loudly as they had for any victory.  When Parrom was taken out of the game after 18 minutes, six points, four rebounds, and two assists Sean Miller hugged him like you hug your children. It was a moment as indelible as any in the collective memory of Wildcat fans.



My dad told me that one Tucson afternoon a couple weeks ago he had no plans to go to the game against WSU, but after reading an article in SI about Parrom, he said to himself, “I have to go support this guy!” My dad went, Kevin Parrom hit 5 three-point buckets—that’s what fans remember.

Twelve Pac: Weekend Roundup

Arizona: This team continues to make no secret of the fact that they’re learning, have yet to develop a PG (Josiah Turner was benched)  and have little-to-no interior presence. That said, they’re 3-0, played their best half of basketball Sunday (44-25 in the 2nd half), and have the heart-and-soul of their program back. Yes, Kevin Parrom made his emotional return to the McKale Center and provided not only a spark but quality play. In 18 minutes he went for 6 points, 4 boards, and 2 assists. With Parrom back, Arizona should begin to look a lot less shaky.

Arizona State: Like others, ASU looked like a team that was learning, committing 22 turnovers en route to a sloppy win over Montana State. Trent Lockett played well (17 & 10) which is a good sign for the Sun Devils because they simply don’t have much by way of talent. They’re going to need him to keep that up. Good sign: ASU outrebounded the Bobcats, a critical stat that the Sun Devils failed at all last season.

Colorado: They beat the linkless wonders (no link on ESPN.com) and had a very encouraging performance from Andre Roberson. The motor of all motors, Roberson is going to need to score for this team to win more than expected. That said, there will be no questions about his rebounding. In 28 minutes he grabbed 15 boards and added a clean 13 points – 4-of-9 shooting including one three-pointer. Next step: put up numbers against a team that gets ESPN-love.

Utah: DNP but tipoff tonight against USD. Prediction: lots and lots of learning. Brand new for Utah this season is the coach, thirteen players, and the conference. Not a recipe for success (disaster rather).

USC: The Trojans received solid performances from their two key players – Maurice Jones and Aaron Fuller – in skating past Cal State Northridge.Here’s a problem though: USC missed every single three point shot they took. As in zero-for-fifteen. Dewayne Dedmon contributed 16 points as well. This Trojans team is going to be very interesting if for no other reason than Kevin O’Neil. The dude manages to keep teams above water if nothing else.

UCLA: Without getting too prescriptive one game into the season, Ben Howland needs to figure this stuff out. Josh Smith has made no improvements to his conditioning, Lazeric Jones is taking eleven shots and missing ten, the vaunted front-court grabs just four more boards than LMU, and the Bruins score just 58 points at home against an LMU team missing their best player. This doesn’t bode well for the season outlook but like I said, it’s just game one, UCLA should just get the panic button out of the drawer.

Stanford: The Cardinal played better than their football counterparts and handily beat Central Arkansas. With injured potential breakout star, Dwight Powell, in street clothes five Cardinal(s) scored in double figures, led by Aaron Bright. Prized freshman, Chasson Randle, debuted with 15-6-4. Additionally, he went to the free-throw line nine times, a sign the Cardinal may have found a scoring threat to replace the departed Jeremy Green.

California: The most impressive team to-date. Cal quickly improved to 2-0 and the most impressive part, and what has everyone calling Cal a legitimate squad, each player knows and fills their role (thus far).  Allen Crabbe is taking (and making) the bulk of the shots, Jorge Gutierrez is distributing and leading, Harper Kamp is solidifying a developing interior, and the role players are being role players. Not too much. Not too little. A relatively standard Monty team. The early and building hoopla is likely deserved.

Oregon: A lot has been said about this team being a possible upset machine. They had a good showing against a highly touted Vanderbilt team; who promptly turned around and lost to Cleveland State at home. This doesn’t reflect too poorly upon the Ducks but it doesn’t help them. The good news: they shot the ball well, Tony Woods debuted strong (Jabari Brown did OK), and the two-headed point guard of Sim and Loyd played solid (combined: 7-11-12). The Ducks have a lot of new faces and it may take some time for that sleeper label to become reality.

Washington: Like Arizona, let’s just say that the Huskies are 2-0. They haven’t looked good doing it but wins are wins, right? Terrence Ross has struggled some (33% shooting) and the turnover bug may haunt them some, too (29 through two games). But, there are some bright spots: Aziz N’Diaye is rebounding and blocking shots (20 boards, 8 blocks through two games) and Abdul Gaddy is playing well. CJ Wilcox has also been a solid contributor. It appears Romar may be running a short bench with only seven players reaching double figures in minutes in either game. This team will improve when Scott Suggs returns.

Washington State: Tonight is their big night, taking on Gonzaga, in Spokane. They’ll be kicking off ESPN’s Marathon of college hoops coverage. Watch for an improved Reggie Moore. He and Faisal Aden are vital to the Cougars’ success and each is a gametime decision for this game (groin, concussion).


A Twelve Pac

  1. Game of the weekend. Oregon @ #7 Vanderbilt, 11/11/11, 7pm PST . Can the under-the-radar Ducks make some early national noise in Tennessee? It’ll be tough. Some have Vandy doing big things this year, returning five starters and all.
  2. SI cover jinx? Reeves Nelson is gracing the west coast version of SI’s college hoops preview (if they’d only been more creative). Nelson busted his ankle in practice and is now questionable for tonight’s game. Coincidence?
  3. Parrom practices. Kevin Parrom is back to practice which is great news for a great kid and a growing Arizona team. He’ll return to NYC next week where he was shot a month ago.
  4. ASU Pre-Party. Coming in at 17th on the Princeton Review’s top party schools, it’s no surprise ASU scheduled their season opener for 2:30pm on a Friday. Better double check those Nalogenes.
  5. You’re welcome, east coast. MSU and UNC travel west to play outdoors on a ship. At tip-off: East Lansing 35 degrees, Chapel Hill 37 degrees, San Diego 65 degrees. Nuff said.
  6. The house Jorge built. I’ve long felt Cal’s Jorge Gutierrez is the quintessential player you hate on their team and adore on yours. He confirmed that in a recent interview, “This is my court, and you play the way I want you to play.” Yeah.
  7. Gershon weighs in. Scout’s west coast recruiting guru (dude knows his stuff) Josh Gershon tells us about the Pac’s recruiting class. He ranks it second amongst all the conferences and really just has a lot to say about Sean Miller’s class.
  8. Mmmm, cupcakes. The twelvers, other than Oregon, will kick their respective seasons off with some pretty easy opponents, most notably Colorado who takes on Ft. Lewis. I don’t know Ft. Lewis and they don’t even have linkage on ESPN. Ouch, but CU could use a few of these.
  9. Dead horse beating. It’s been awhile since anyone has said “Pac-12” and “good” in the same sentence but they’re trying real hard now. I love Larry Scott and he’s trying hardest. This conversation, however, has become a beaten horse and probably a cozy excuse. Here’s a nice read on the conference’s relevancy efforts.
  10. Terrence Ross > You. I think I might post this with every Twelve Pac but he was just recently listed on the Naismith Preseason Watch List. He’s one of three Pac-12 players (Josh Smith and Reeves Nelson) but I’d most prefer to watch T.Ross play so I’ll give him the most love.
  11. Dunkless. I’ve watched two Arizona games and they have yet to dunk. But wait! Nick Johnson and Jesse Perry have both grabbed rim (NJ linked). Perhaps this guy dunked them out?
  12. 131 games today. Seven will be played by Pac-12 teams. Be excited. In fact, let’s:

Rank ’em how you will, it’s Game Time

The college basketball interwebs have been blowing up with stat geek info and opinion polls lately. Amongst it all, and as tons of prognosticators have divulged their thoughts on teams and conferences and players, Ken Pomeroy’s ever-fascinating 2011-12 ratings were released.

Kentucky debuted at number one, closely followed by Ohio State and North Carolina. His mathematically based ratings didn’t deviate greatly from the eye-ball – and oft criticized – rankings of the ESPN/USA Today or the AP. The Pac-12 doesn’t rate so high with KP. Cal and Arizona are the highest rated teams at 36 and 37, respectively. Comparatively, the major polls have Arizona (over) ranked at 16 and Cal (appropriately) at 24. UCLA, who is in both polls as a top-20 team, rates as Pomeroy’s 46th best team which is where I would begin to disagree. But that’s the beauty of it.

In his blog post where Pomeroy explains his math, he writes, “I’d encourage you to Google college basketball ratings or even try the opinion polls for something that is more your style.” He shoes you away if you don’t care which is refreshing in a day and age where sabermetrics attempt to mute any and all arguments (as Jason Whitlock ranted).

Now allow me to be clear, especially after linking a Whitlock tirade: I don’t think Ken Pomeroy is ruining college basketball. I love what his numbers bring. They’re thought provoking, insightful, and add depth to the national conversation. His stance isn’t elitist. He’s a fan.

So on the verge of the season’s first tip-off, with Pomeroy and others projecting the season’s outcome – anointing Kentucky or UNC the national champion without making a single shot – I’m reminded why the games are played.

They’re played for big moments, bitter defeats, and Gus (see what I did there?). For this, this, and this. Not to mention this. They play because the ball may bounce any which way and for that we watch. We need to watch.

Pomeroy and all other season projections are fun and all but god damn the games are great. I could YouTube you to death with moments past – here’s just another – but now we’re on the verge of making a whole new highlight reel of moments.

So we can go ahead and rank the teams however we think, factor, or feel; no matter how you slice it, it’s Game Time.

All treat for the Pac-12 this Halloween

It was indeed a treat of a Halloween for the Pac-12. Before noon pacific, the conference had secured three huge commitments.

Dominic Artis committed to Oregon, Rosco Allen to Stanford, and Kaleb Tarczewski to Arizona. By Ballin’ is a Habit’s consensus rankings, that’s 61 to Eugene, 68 to Palo Alto, and 8 to Tucson.

The biggest treat of the day is Tarczewski who will bring immediate interior help to a young and developing Arizona frontcourt. He’ll be joining Sean Miller’s already impressive (tops in the nation) 2012 class including Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett, and Gabe York. From a talent standpoint, this is obviously a huge get for the Wildcats, but it’s an example of the rich getting richer – no Robin Hood here. Miller managed to swoop the big man right off Kansas front porch and I imagine he’ll have no regrets as the seven-footer owns the McKale paint.

Artis is a solid pickup for Oregon and is the second commitment from the Oakland Soldiers to commit to the school. Dana Altman will have Jabari Brown on this year’s roster. After de-commiting from UCLA last month, Artis had much of the west coast after him. Settling on Oregon his huge for Altman as he looks to establish his Ducks amongst the conference elite.

And then there’s Allen. A young man who grew a lot in a little time and somewhat lost his position. From wing to power forward, Allen is settling into his 6’8″ frame and should bring a very solid skill set to Johnny Dawkins’ Cardinal squad.

With the recent decline of Pac-12 hoops, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Miller’s rapid recruiting successes have put heavy pressure on the rest of the conference to up its game. Granted, there has been somewhat of a absence of high school talent coming out of the west, but that hasn’t stopped Ben Howland this off season. He’s secured the nation’s #2 class, hauling in two East Coasters in Kyle Anderson (NJ) and Jordan Adams (GA). Success breeds success and today’s commitments is evidence of that.

As more and more talent stays or heads west, the better everyone will be. And maybe then, the conference can life up to its monicker: The Conference of Champions.

Old or young, just be a good point guard

Many will tell you that winning college basketball has a lot to do with your point guard. After all, they’re the one handling the ball more often than not.

Dana O’Neil took a look at the position for the four preseason title favorites: UConn, Kentucky, Ohio State, and North Carolina. Each team is absolutely loaded with talent but also saddled with youth at the point. This, O’Neil points out, does not bode well for their title chances. There have been only six underclassmen floor generals to lead their team to a national championship in the last twenty years (Arizona’s Mike Bibby being one of them).

While I agree that experience at the helm is a great advantage, I don’t think youth is a death certificate. There are some omissions to O’Neil’s piece. For example, she fails to mention that Derrick Rose (UM), Darren Collison (UCLA), Mike Conley Jr. (OSU), Travis Walton (MSU) and Ronald Nored (Butler) were all underclassmen national runners up over the last six seasons. Championships are a terrific measure of success, but runner up ain’t too shabby and perhaps demonstrates that talent trumps experience.

Shifting from a national perspective to the West, the Pac-12 hasn’t quite followed the trend of the national champions. Of the last eleven conference champions (outright, not tournament) seven have been underclassmen, just two were seniors (Jerome Randall of Cal and Michael McDonald of Stanford), and one was the conference POY (Randall). Also of note, only one of these players (Luke Ridnour in 2003) was a lottery pick but five have played in the NBA. They may be young but they are talented.

Examining the crop of 2011-12 Pac-12 point guards shows us that we have an experienced group but not necessarily the most talented. There are six seniors and eight total upperclassmen. There are only two projected starting freshman (Josiah Tuner of AZ and Jahii Carson of ASU) but Carson has yet to qualify and hasn’t practiced with the Sun Devils. Although an argument can be made that Tony Wroten, Washington’s talented freshman, could be a starting point, I believe junior Abdul Gaddy is the lead guard for the Huskies. And while the league’s floor generals may be long in the tooth, they’re also short on accolades. Only Jorge Gutierrez received any conference recognition last season, making First Team All-Conference.

But per O’Neil’s logic, the Pac-12 is set up to have some pretty sturdy squads based on experience. Her fellow media-folk appear to agree. The Pac-12 media poll picked UCLA and Cal to finish first and second in the conference. Not coincidentally, these two teams are led by senior point guards.

Perhaps O’Neil says it best, “The special ones get it.” With the ball in their hand, they make their team better. So who, amongst the Pac’s point guards, gets it? Who’s going to lead their team better than the others? The young or the old? The wise or the green?

We’ll take a deeper look in the next few days as I breakdown each team’s point guard situation.