Tag Archives: Royce Woolridge

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.

Getting to know Washington State: Brock’s in Italy

I’ve been struggling to piece this one together. I think from the outset components of Ken Bone’s time at Washington State have been doomed. Tony Bennett is one of the few coaches who can compete with him in the cool name department (see QUOTABLE below) and who also set an unparallel-able bar in Pullman. Now to be clear, I’m not writing a fire and brimstone preview. I’m also not about to say “quite the contrary.” I’m just saying that there isn’t anything particularly interesting about this team. They’ve lost one of my favorite Pac-12 players of All-Time in Brock Motum. The Australian was my two time reigning Australian of the Year (which I’ve already awarded to Angus Brandt for this season) and he was really good at basketball. The saving grace of Cougar hoop. And now he’s gone to Italy and so too is long time assistant, Ben Johnson. They’ve lost him to Australia, too. Something about down undah.

Why I love them: It’s hard to love something you don’t know and there really isn’t a ton to know about this Cougar team. So I went to their Official Roster and that’s when I fell in love. For someone working in UX (user experience) and guiding different design teams to optimize a digital experience, I appreciate things like hover boxes that help with name pronunciation. You would think Apple Cup rivals, the Washington Huskies, would develop a stand alone page to help with the pronunciation of Giles Dierickx. The Cougars may not get a ton of love nationally or coastally, but god dammit you’re going to pronounce their names right. Additionally, I appreciate the back court of DaVonte Lacy and Royce Woolridge. They’re veterans (JR and rJR, respectively) and have shouldered the point guard role in the excuse of Reggie Moore. They were due help in the arrival of Danny Lawhorn – a JuCo standout set to take over at the one – but HEGONE. I have heard good things about red-shirt freshman, [cue] Johnson, and Dexter [KER-nick]-Drew. So there’s that.

Why I hate them: BROCKMOTUMHow can you be a fan of this conference and be glad to see him leave? He was the consummate collegian and I loved his game. How glorious was it to see him go HAM in Vegas – 28 points in a loss to UW – during his final game (a friend of mine saw him going the other time of HAM on the Strip but that’s a different tale and please note that Aussies party harder than anyone else. Anyone.). Alas, their roster comes at us guard heavy and in a league that already touts Jahii Carson, CJ Wilcox, Justin Cobbs, Nick Johnson, Jordan Adams, Damyean Dotson, TJ McConnell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Chasson Randle, Jarbari Bird, Joseph Young, Nigel Williams-Goss, Jermaine Marshall, Aaron Bright, Dominic Artis…do you get my point?

Stat you need to know:

-.134

To be honest, I have no idea what this number means as a number by itself. With context however, this is the 345th worst luck in Division-1 basketball. It basically means that the Cougars were in a lot of ball games (projected to win, arguably) that they wound up losing. There were 10 games last season they lost by 5 or fewer points. Often a poor luck scoring can translate into an improved record the following year. The logic suggests that you lost a bunch of games you were projected to win one year (youth, tough bounces, monitors) and that you’ll get those bounces the following year. Ya know…get better. But I wouldn’t soon hang my hat on luck, Cougar fans, but it is something.

Quotable:

“I’m cheering for Washington State to win the Pac-12 this year only because I don’t want their coach to get fired. There aren’t enough good porn names in sports, so Ken Bone getting axed would be a huge loss.” – Mark Titus

Outlook: Bleak. There’s early hot seat talk and that’s never a good thing. There’s nothing returning in the front court and lots lost. DJ Shelton will man the middle. He did tout a 21.7 DR% which I suppose is encouraging. Addtionally, Ken Bone’s best teams play fast. Or at least swifter than the average bear. His last three seasons, however, Bone’s teams have been playing increasingly slower from his better teams. They’ve also been getting increasingly worse in the ORtg and DRtg department. In analytics we call this a downward trend. But how about that Titus quote, eh?