Monthly Archives: June 2013

Grant Jerrett Left Arizona, Now Considered for Cash

The first things Rece Davis had to say about the 40th pick and the Portland  Trailblazers’ selection of Jerrett were surrounding his choice to declare and his lack of a neck. Bill Simmons remained distraught over his Celtics’ recent trade and dismissed the selection all together.

Grant Jerrett’s NBA career was off to a glowing start.

And then late – while I was researching Andre Roberson’s prospects as a member of the Thunder – I discovered the Arizona dropout was acquired by Roberson’s guaranteed team for “cash considerations.” Whether Jerrett feels he needed quick rationale to validate leaving Tucson is beyond me. I’d hope such validation comes in the form of on-court production. “Cash considerations,” however, won’t soon help his cause.

But maybe the Thunder – who even bothered to yield dollar bills for the kid – see something we don’t. After all, this is the franchise that has traded away the likes of James Harden and Jeff Green and remains a perennial power. They recognized Serge Ibaka at the back of the draft and took heat for selecting Russell Westbrook and Harden as high as they did (how’d that work out?).

So Jerrett joins – or at least has a fighting chance to – the Thunder. Jay Bilas spent much of the draft lead-up referencing wingspan and length and between their two new Pac-12ers, OKC has found such. Roberson measures in at 6’7″ with 6’11” wings while Jerrett touts 6’9″ and 7’2″. Effing condors.

[Insert something about hand size here]

Of course those are the facts on Grant. He’s tall, he’s long, he has advanced footwork and a nice touch. He can shoot a lick. Or at least he can do all of this in an empty gym. He’s perhaps unique to this draft in that he really hasn’t played a ton of basketball. And what “high level” basketball he has played, he’s produced just 5ppg and 3rpg. I compared that to the projected draft upon his declaration to find the average draft pick was putting up 16/6.

But this is why Sam Presti is paid for his job.

The Oklahoma City Thunder made their futures bet with whatever wealth of knowledge they held on Grant Jerrett and the confidence of previously successful evaluations. They also don’t have to give Jerrett a single thing. They’re only on the financial hook to the Trailblazers. Or at least they’re considering it.

It’s game time for Grant.

Shabazz Muhammad Late to Draft, Still Makes Lottery

There’s been significant “year ago” dialogue surrounding Shabazz Muhammad over the past few weeks. After all, it was just a year ago that Ben Howland and the UCLA Bruins were being vaunted for signing the “future #1 draft pick.” He was lauded as a physical specimen. A man amongst boys who could score from beyond and above the rim.

And then the Las Vegas native – with a season in Westwood under his belt – was deemed “overrated.” He fell on draft boards and was considered to be a disappointment at draft combines.

With his stock bottoming out, he was not invited to the coveted green room.

And then he showed up late. An odd incident I missed while two doors down throwing my laundry into the dryer.

So while I suppose I too was late to the Bazz party, none of this will soon matter. Not his age or his Gucci bags or his plane tickets or whether he’s stoked on Larry Drew’s buckets. On Thursday night, Shabazz Muhammad was drafted 14th overall by the Utah Jazz…and promptly traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Some loved it:

While others were simply disappointed in the nomenclature:

Of course no matter the narrative surrounding his controversial Bruin career and the subsequent fall from NBA general manager grace, Muhammad was always considered a one-year Pac-participant. What he leaves behind in Westwood is a blossoming situation.

The significant scoring void can be filled by sophomore, Jordan Adams, who proved himself a capable scorer, if not star, in Muhammad’s shadow last season. Also returning is the Wear family – formidable lookalikes who Bruin faithful hope can conjure up seasons that don’t quite look like their previous outputs. Kyle Anderson is perhaps the most intriguing returner in that he can do a little bit of everything, capable of creating gross mismatches all over the floor. But he is slow which can be excused if he shaves.

They also bring in some impactful newcomers in wings Zach LaVine and – COACH’S KID ALERT!!! – Bryce Alford.

Speaking of coach, the one tasked with shaping Muhammad’s UCLA career, Ben Howland, no longer holds that role. That task now belongs to Steve Alford, the twelfth lead man in Bruins history.

While it wasn’t the most glamorous hire, met to the moderate-to-mighty chagrin of UCLA faithful, it is a solid hire. He won significantly at his previous stop (New Mexico) and has experience leading a high major program (Head Coach at Iowa) and understands the pressures of being part of a legendary program (played at Indiana for Bob Knight). He was ultimately change for the sake of it but that’s not going to stop him from trying to win with the lineup he’s inherited and the lottery pick he’s lost.

As the previous year would seem to have been a trying one for both the newly drafted Muhammad and the UCLA basketball program each now find themselves in a budding situation, an opportunity to set sail on the seas of change and adventure to discover their new identities in new lands.

(Come on, it’s a UCLA piece, had to go Walton).

Solomon Hill Passes on Late Dining, Becomes First Rounder

Perhaps long ago it was projected that Solomon Hill would be drafted in the first round. But ever since first donning Arizona’s cardinal and navy, things have seemed to be an uphill (no pun) battle for him.

First it was his weight. Arriving on campus soft if not big and in the doghouse with first year coach, Sean Miller. Hill had sights on playing the two-guard while Miller was questioning if he’d play at all. In that freshman campaign, the aspiring two connected on just four three pointers at a 22% clip. By the time he left Tucson, he would make 111 more at a 38% clip. And though he wanted to be a two-guard, his team needed him to be a forward. So he did that; leading the team in rebounding in 2011-12 as the team’s second tallest contributor. The following season, Miller and the Wildcats needed him to do everything. Once again he did, finishing amongst the top-3 Wildcats in nearly every statistical category.

The consummate teammate, Hill worked hard his entire Arizona basketball career and on Thursday night he saw the fruits of his labors.

Solomon Hill was drafted twenty-third overall by the Indiana Pacers. The first round.

Quickly, he was welcomed to the league:

Hill is Miller’s first four-year player to be drafted, a momentous occasion for his proclaimed Player’s Program. Such a talent and meaningful component will undoubtedly be missed.

I, for one, enjoyed watching every bit of the aforementioned development. Each October it looked as if a new player had arrived, energized to be the best player he could be to make his team the best it could become. It near broke me as his most valiant of efforts to come back against the Ohio State University didn’t quite shine.

Floor, meet all of it. Hill’s MO whilst in Tucson.

Alas, this isn’t a post-mortem, it’s a celebration of the kid’s hard work. Bravo, Solo. The Pacers are getting a tremendous worker as mentioned but perhaps, more importantly, they are subtly piecing together a very modern basketball team. They’re compiling the pieces to become a conglomerate of versatile and large defenders. A tone set by the two-time champion Heat and swiftly being adopted across basketball (see: 2012-13 Ohio State Buckeyes, Kawhi-love, Pacers roster).

A closing anecdote:

I was presented with a late arriving invitation to last season’s basketball media day. My first access to credentials, I promptly let work know I was sick while spending the vast majority of media-day-eve preparing myself to ask a plethora of questions. And when finally faced with my moment to confront Solomon – he was alone at the Arizona circular, banquet-style, luncheon table – I anxiously approached. My prepared question somewhere amongst my notes but dancing top of mind.

“Solomon! I’m Adam Butler with SB Nation, how are you today?”

“Good man, how are you?”

Did he just bother to ask me how I was? Indeed I was caught off guard but had question, top of mind. A mission.

“Solomon, I’m from Tucson and I’ve just go to know: Nico’s or Beto’s?”

A brief silence ensued as the 22-year-old contemplated my asinine request to understand for which local taco shop he held an affinity.

“Never been to either one, actually. Heard they’re good, though?”

Never had this collegian been to Tucson’s most notorious – and fantastic – late night dining.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s why he’s headed to the league.

Andre Roberson is About to Thunder Up

For three seasons in Boulder Andre Roberson did nothing but grab rebounds and defend. Thursday night, the talents he’s been showing off at the Coors Event Center went recognized as first round worthy. The 6’7” athlete was picked twenty-sixth and will suit up for the Oklahoma City Thunder this upcoming season. He was the third Pac-12 player selected in the first round.


For Roberson, the pick has to come as somewhat of a surprise as many draft boards did not include the CU departed.

For Colorado fans, the pick may come as no surprise considering they watched the young man lock up each of the Pac’s other draftees. Which is exactly the versatile and dynamic talent that NBA teams – particularly ones set in their scoring – need in order to succeed.

One needs to look no further than the success of Kawhi Leonard who found his way into the Spurs’ lineup by defending and boarding (Roberson qualities), while letting the offense come to him as it may.

Alas, this helter-skelter draft is full of “the next Kawhis” but as it were, it seems Andre has a very good shot at legitimately becoming such. The Thunder clearly have a scoring nucleus and could greatly benefit from the defensive versatility Roberson could provide. What’s more: HOLY-BIG-LENGTHY-ATHLETIC-LINEUP, BATMAN! I mean seriously, imagine a lineup of Westbrook, Martin, Roberson, Durant, and Ibaka. Sounds like a dunk contest.

I’ve long been a Roberson fan and I’ll continue to be as he heads to Chesapeake Energy.

Thunder up.

A Pick Short of a Guarantee, Allen Crabbe isn’t Worried

Allen Crabbe’s name wasn’t called by David Stern. It was perhaps disappointing that Adam Silver announced the former Cal forward’s name following the Cleveland Cavalier’s third time on the clock. Crabbe was the first pick of the second round in Thursday’s draft and the Cavs promptly traded the lengthy shooter to the Trailblazers.

Draft day – and this one in particular – can be a wild, unpredictable day. But the Blazers find themselves with a player who is anything but wild and unpredictable. With a marvelous shooting stroke and a tall frame by which to shoot over people, Crabbe seems to have NBA written all over him. The Blazers have now acquired a commodity that will be sorely missed in Berkeley.

But don’t soon feel bad for Mike Montgomery and his Golden Bears. First of all, they have a sweet new floor and will welcome McDonald’s All-American, Jabari Bird. The local – Salesian High, Richmond, CA – will help to replace the scoring Crabbe takes with him to the NBA.

But the most intriguing piece on this forthcoming Cal Bears roster is sophomore Ty Wallace. The dynamic athlete has the ability to guard up and down the lineup and showed a propensity to score from all over the court. Or at least a fearlessness to shoot from anywhere on it. A refined offensive game from Wallace could prove a lethal weapon for the reloaded Cal Bears who finished fourth in 2012-13 season.

Of course that sort of dependence on youth in the wake of a Pac-12 Player of the Year can be daunting. Crabbe scored 18.4 points and grabbed 6.1 boards per game this past season. In layman’s terms: that’s a lot of production. According to many, it was NBA first round-type production. Alas, for reasons only the player-pickers could give us (and they won’t), Crabbe dropped into the latter round in which he will not be guaranteed a contract.

That disappointment, however, didn’t deter from the love and support showered on the newest member of the Portland Trailblazers:

The timing of the pick may not have been to Crabbe’s exact fancy, but he’s league bound.

No bother, right? Time to get to work.


NBA Draft: Andre Roberson the Glue Guy

In a draft lacking star power, value is to be sought. And as we often think of value as bang-for-our-buck, GMs will need to deeply examine their needs and pick accordingly. Selecting talent for the sake of talent is not an option this year.

Andre Roberson, Colorado’s versatile forward and only player in school history with a whole lot of every type of stat, would seem to be the type of talent to do exactly that.

He declared late in the declaration process and I discussed that and other components of Dre’s draft prospects over at AllBuffs. You can read that article here.

He’s the quintessential glue guy and might actually have the best long-term prospects amongst any of the similarly sized and skilled Pac-12 players in this year’s draft. The defensive side is not in question and the versatility he offers there will get him on the floor. It will then boil down to whether or not he can develop a consistent jumper. He can get is garbage buckets (BIRDMANBIRDMAN) but to get regular tick and a lucrative contract, he’s going to have to hit the corner three.

He’ll need to bulk up a touch as well, it’s a physical damn league.

This is the first in some sporadic draft coverage I’m doing across a few different platforms. I’ll post to the others as they come up on The Pac-12 Post and PacificTakes.

And, as I mentioned, there are a lot of like-sized players amongst this Pac-12 class of possible draftees and so I apologize in advance for any and all Kawhi Leonard references. He’s just now become the easiest damn comparison for the exact type of player who boards and plays defense and learns to shoot and goes straight to becoming Bruce Bowen before ever thinking they could ever be MJ.

Oh, and bear in mind that Kawhi Leonard didn’t have an offer from either USC or UCLA. He’s a Riverside native.

OK OK! That was a cheap shot considering the entire 2009 class projected to be Leonard-types with Moser, Honeycutt, and Nelson on-boarding and all of whom projected as better prospects in HS. But it’s still interesting to play the look-what-you-missed game.


Chris Bosh hit the first shot of the game – as confident and cooly as Rafa in Paris – with his fresh new cut. Was his new found confidence a byproduct of his new look?

And when the fourth quarter hit, King James went mostly HAM sans headband; looking every part the self-anointed King he is but without his signature “crown.” With naked head, he scored half his points.

Refreshed look. Refreshed game. Bosh and Bron.

The Heat prevailed. Game 7 ensues.




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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?

Pac-12 releases Ice Miller report & we still need a better program

The website of Ice Miller, LLP looks a lot like something a first year computer science major would create…in 1997 (POST UPDATE: I was contacted by Ice Miller on August 2, 2016 and asked to remove the previously posted photo. Below is now their updated logo per their request):ICE-Logo_DARK_GRAY_RGB


This is eons from Web 2.0 but that’s not the point.

The point is that Ice Miller is the legal firm tasked by the “Pac-12’s CEO Group Executive Committee” to dive into the events leading up to and surrounding the clusterbang that became the 2013 Pac-12 tournament. Read the thing here.

To summarize those events:

And now we’re here and Ice has interviewed 42 people, reviewed reports and talked to those reporters, consulted with the NCAA, watched video and read documents to come to the following:

Due to the diversity of reported recollections about the Arizona-Colorado post-Game and the Arizona-UCLA pre-game, a singularly reliable understanding of the events of either meeting cannot be reconstructed.

I’m sorry, come again? Your high priced investigation, two months long and involving the aforementioned efforts resulted in not even an understanding?

Well, allow me mine then.

First of all, I’ve long felt that this investigation would be fruitless. It was and has proven to be an expensive reconstruction of the past that, unless something new was discovered (i.e. Michal Irving sipping Pinas poolside at a posh Cancun all-inclusive), we would all read and get upset again.

It also highlights for me human nature.

Have you ever read A Million Little Pieces? Fantastic read but a tale that got author James Frey into some heat. As it were, he didn’t recount his own life’s history all too well and someone investigated his quickly famed memoir to find holes. They found ’em and Oprah got pissed. Of course this incited a deep questioning of what is memoir and would eventually prompt journalist, David Carr to write his own memoir, The Night of the Gun. Carr had taken particular offense to Frey’s muddled story and sought to tell his own tale of alcoholism and life at rock bottom. His twist? He was going to report on it. Use his skills as an investigative journalist to recount his journey through hell as those around him and involved – on many levels – had seen it.

What he found was that his recollection of things was grossly skewed. One example: He would recall that the moment his twin daughters were born he checked into rehab, sobered up and became the man and father he had always intended to be (that’s to say a good one). The reality he discovered through his reporting, however, suggests otherwise. He spent another 9 months following their birth playing the role of shit father and druggie. At one point leaving his daughters in a running car while he got high in a crack house.

Rock. Bottom.

He would eventually sober up but I encourage you to read the book for yourself. Both of them. Because the point I’m trying to make here is that we create our own realities. We see the world through our own filters and so it makes great sense that Ice Miller found a “diversity” of recollections. That both Frey and Carr perceived their own lives far differently than the rest of the world.

Reading through the report, I’m not surprised that two officials recount Rush as “professional and business-like” and acting not at all “derogatory or demeaning” following the Arizona-Colorado game (evidently when things began to spice up with regards to bench decorum and bribery). That’s what they saw. And three other officials in the exact same room reported Rush as “animated… worked up… pretty aggressive…ranting and raving…and out of control.” Naturally, the other two refs in the room reported something falling between these two “extremes.”

The other exchanges and meetings play out the same way. X officials in the room thought he was funny. X other officials thought he was scary. The remaining officials were picking their noses.

But I suppose it makes good sense that we find ourselves with but a disjointed and inconclusive history considering what Ice was specifically tasked with uncovering:

(i) the occurrence, nature, and impact of certain statements publicly attributed to the Coordinator;

(ii) the integrity of the officiating in the March 15th Arizona-UCLA semifinal game; and

(iii) the conduct of Arizona’s Head Coach after the Arizona – UCLA game and the resulting disciplinary sanctions imposed by the Commissioner.

To which they answered (i) jokes, (ii) kinda, (iii) bad Sean. So as Ice stated, they could come to no understanding. These three answers had already been understood.

I mean, I was there and have to agree with Ice’s thought that, “In sum, the Arizona-UCLA game was fairly, although imperfectly, officiated.”

I’ve also come to understand that it’s clear something was lost in translation. That whether Ed Rush was speaking as a jester or a businessman, the hard reporting is such that even Ice believes:

The Coordinator of Officiating’s statements regarding bench decorum in the pre-game officiating meeting prior to the Arizona-UCLA game prompted greater strictness in the manner with which the officials enforced bench decorum guidelines in the Arizona-UCLA game. But for the Coordinator’s statements regarding bench decorum in the March 15 pre-game meeting, the technical foul assessed against Arizona’s Head Coach during the Arizona-UCLA game would likely not have been called.

Which makes the report’s subsequent paragraph a difficult pill for me to swallow. It’s the section in which Ice says that the game was officiated with integrity. Seems like odd logic. Especially as they continue down a path of discussing how Rush’s pre-game comments indeed held affect on the enforcement of that night’s bench decorum. A point that, really, I have no problem with. If the finding is such that officials were to uphold bench decorum rules and Miller and Howland were justly warned, then whammy T him up. The report makes no bones about Rush’s enthusiasm for the enforcement of this rule.

But what goes perhaps calculatedly unmentioned is the so-called bribing. They cite Rush’s “emphatic” pre-game as the reason for a T that would’ve otherwise gone unassessed. Never mentioning foreign destinations or cash.

And then, of course, there’s my favorite part:

According to the Coordinator’s colleague, the Coordinator’s immediate reaction was, “Oh, shit. That’s not good,” because the technical foul did not appear warranted.

Utter gold.

And that is why Rush quit. Or was squeezed out. Because this isn’t a difficult case. You’re a referee, you can’t even tickle the game’s integrity. Regardless of the diverse recounting or where rules emphasis was placed, someone felt it necessary to blow this whistle as the game’s integrity was now in question.

And now the CEO Group Executive Committee (what kind of name is that?) has their review of the events. They can cite their due diligence in gaining a full understanding of what a joke sounds like, what a joke doesn’t sound like, and how 42 different people thought it was hilarious or otherwise.

But it’s really time for the latter part of what the conference mentioned when announcing this Independent Review. The release notes, “In addition [to the review of events], Ray and Scott expect that the review will contribute to a broader examination of the officiating program.” Ray being CEO Group Chair Edward J. Ray.

Because the only thing to understand from all of this is that it was indeed a clusterbang and as clusterbangs go, fixing is in order. It’s time to review the program, find out how to best uphold the game’s integrity and how to deliver a quality product to the players and coaches. And sure, these silly events resulted in a number of “Oh Shit” moments, but where’s the report on Pac-12 officiating on the whole? Why are refs still pining for games and jumping all over their given seaboard (if not the whole country) to get themselves gigs? Why, sometimes, do they utterly stink? But most importantly, what’s being done to get better?

Ray’s quote in accepting all of this from Ice states that, “The report provides valuable lessons for all parties, which will be incorporated in how we restructure the men’s basketball officiating program and policies.”

One can only hope.

So I’m OK considering the hatchet buried. That’s ultimately what the Pac-12’s CEO Group Executive Committee was buying here. And so long as there is a better officiating product and we all – but namely the players and coaches – believe that there is a fair and just upholding of the law, I’ll buy it, too.

And I leave you with some of my favorite gems from the report:

Ice Miller interviewed the Pac-12 Enterprises junior staff member in-person and knows the person’s identity.

Jim Rosborough – Volunteer Coach, Women’s Tennis

The Head Coach formulated his anti-Pac-12 mindset at the 4:37 mark

It is likely that if the Junior Staff Member had been an experienced college athletics administrator familiar with coaches’ post-game emotions, the Junior Staff Member’s reaction to the Head Coach’s conduct would have been far less pronounced.

The content of Head Coach’s statements fits into two categories, expressions of general frustration (e.g., “Fuck the Pac-12” and, “Bullshit conference”) and expressions about cheating (e.g., “Cheat-

ass conference” and, “Cheating fucking conference”).

Not all five attendees report the same exact offer. Some report $3,000 instead of $5,000 or a cruise instead of a trip to Cancun.