Tag Archives: LeBron James

Week 4 Pac-12 Hoops Preview

We’ve reached a little beyond the halfway point of the first half which means we’ve completed one quarter of the Pac-12 season. Math! But that’s the obvious and there’s really no need to discuss points in schedule unless it’s in reference to our proximity to the glory of March. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve had to give a tentative reply, an ambiguous answer, or a confirming no to a request for my time during March I’d have $4. That’s a lot of invites you guys! Who wants to Segway?

GotW: There is some spice in this week’s lineup with Colorado visiting Arizona, Utah hitting the road fresh off their home stand, and Oregon’s implosion (too early, right?). And while we’re taking a funneled approach to one single game, I’ll note that the Bay Area’s trip to Los Angeles is a huge road trip. Stanford is playing some inspired ball once again and UCLA is just good (I’m ok with the Utah loss). Which ultimately lands us on the anchor of the Pac-12 slate, Cal’s visit to Pauley. I think I’m going to try to extrapolate this matchup later in the week but Sunday’s battle in Westwood is a significant one as UCLA really needs this one to keep pace atop the conference. They’ve dropped one at home to Arizona and then the aforementioned Ute-flop. That’s two losses as compared to Cal’s zero. One guy that could prove important in this game is Jordan Adams. He’s unmistakably one of the best players in this conference but since the conference season started, he’s shooting just 37.5% from the field. That’s compared to 49.6% out of conference. To say Adams is slumping is to say the Ron Jeremy ‘Wrecking Ball’ video is weird. Both are true. The Bruins need Adams, however. No one needs that Jeremy video.

Game to Avoid: Oregon State is visiting Washington State and this one – on a Wednesday at 7pm – is doing nothing for me. I’ll get the obligatory positives out of the way in stating that Roberto Nelson is really great and it was a great win the Beavers on Sunday. Big kudos, guys! Later in this post you’ll even see a great GIF of Craig’s sister (it’s awesome). But I could do other things beyond watch this. Namely, DOUBLE BIRTHDAY PARTY SATURDAY!

Something to Prove: I’ve harped on their record while making passive jokes and statistical analyses of their defense. These are criticisms and I do this out of love. We believe in the things we love but at a certain point, even the things you love can let you down. SO PROVE SOMETHING TO ME OREGON DUCKS! Their road isn’t soon getting any easier even if Spencer and I called the trip to the Evergreen State the easiest. They’ve buried themselves in a hole that might not be big enough to dance in if they don’t PROVE SOMETHING TO ME. Or us. Or really – because this is all stemming from the defensive end and defense becomes a matter of effort – to themselves. The Ducks need to prove to themselves that they’re for real and they haven’t necessarily put themselves in a good position to do it. At 1-4 they’re already in an uncomfortable place and this weekend they’re not at home. If I had the insights I’d get personal and maybe start naming names but I don’t have anything beyond anecdotes and a hunch. I don’t like to call out names on that. But soon…And after all of that Duck talk, I think Arizona State has something to prove this weekend. They’ve underwhelmed thus far and that’s pretty boring. Jahii Carson should not be associated with boring. This is a big weekend for the Sun Devils if for no other reason than they should hold serve at home. Yes, Colorado and Utah are imposing threats but when you have things to prove – in my estimation – it has more to do with the man (men) in the mirror than any adversary. Whatcha got, Devils?

Something to Lose: I think we’re still at that point in the season (the one quarter point as we calculated) in which no one has anything major to lose just yet. Besides, I can’t say that Oregon has something to lose and prove in the same preview (they have more to lose). It’s UCLA here. They dropped that tough one at Utah which I’m OK excusing as a road hiccup. And now they’re back into Pauley and hosting what amounts to a pair of tough NorCal teams. Cal we’re noticing is balanced and pretty much tough as Monty’s while Stanford is enigmatically talented with age on its side. UCLA will be the best team on the court in both of their games this weekend but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to win. The Bruins remain a youthful group with a slumping (as mentioned above) Jordan Adams. They’re arguably not entering this weekend the most confident group but they are at home and they are the better team. That equates to expectations and expectations mean you’ve got something to lose. Sorry Bruins.

The YouTuber: For the second straight week I’m going to drop a GIF on you and for the second straight week it’s worth it. I present to you: Craig’s sister getting buckets! And how awesome is LeBron? (ok, and the video)MichelleObama


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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Not So Coaches Pac-12 Conference Awards

Yesterday marked the announcement of an underwhelming but no less congratulations-worthy Pac-12 awards. Jorge was POY and dPOY; LoRo COY; Brock MIP; and Wroten FOY.

Whether I agree or disagree, gentlemen, I congratulate you. The coaches spoke and so it is. Bravo.

A Few Notes:

  • USC was eliminated from awards consideration in most categories due to five season-ending injuries
  • Thanks are in order to the selection committee: Hatty, Doctor J, BH, Baby Dock, Sweet Child, and Tiny Dancer (I had full veto power)
  • For all the crap this conference took, it was a fun year with six teams in it to the wire. And with that painful final weekend, in a sick and rubber necking kind of way, I’m even more intrigued by what’s about to transpire in the Staples Center. Oh March.

Now, here are your Not So Coaches Pac-12 Awards:

The Dorothy – Awarded to the league’s worst home team.

UCLA Bruins

I dunno about you but I’ve always had a Judy Garland crush. The wavy hair, the red lips, the bold adventurousness of Dorothy. But she had to run away in order to find out there’s no place like home. The 2011-12 season was just that for the homeless UCLA Bruins. Sure they compiled an impressive 8-1 home record – completely backwards from a “worst” award – but they never played in Westwood, finished seventh in conference attendance, and hosted half their games on rival USC’s campus. Perhaps this trying year – from LMU to Reeves to Sports Illustrated – has been their journey through Oz. A path of self discovery to eventually click their heels, close their eyes, repeat a cutesy phrase and come to realize it was all just a dream. Also considered: USC (1-8 at the Galen Center not including a 10-point loss to UCLA on their own campus)

The Steinbrenner – Awarded to the one player you’d want on your team, and hate on theirs.

Jorge Gutierrez

Ask Cal fans and they love him. Ask Yankees fans and they love him. Common denominator? Everyone else hates them. And if everyone hates you it probably means you’re doing things they’re not which is usually winning. We’re all west coasters so I see no need for further explanation using words like “hatred,” “Yankees,” or “Steinbrenner.” But Jorge (pure coincidence on the George/Jorge thing), for all the holes and flaws in his Pac-12 POY awarding, is a winner. He plays HAM and buzzer-to-buzzer so it’s no wonder the coaches doled out the career achievement POY award. And as my Montlake Madness friends said, “Put it this way, if I could have one player off of any team, it would be Guti.” Hence: The Steinbrenner. Jorge also fought a coach not unlike a Billy Martin incident. Also considered: EJ Singler as the jack-of-all trades brother of a Dukie and the hair cause you know you wish you could rock it.

The Grecian – Awarded to the team that did the least for the collective.

Utah Utes

Welcome to the Conference of Champions! Larry K and his eleven new players did no favors by way of improving conference perception this year. When parts of the early season conversation revolve around the odds Utah would be the worst BCS conference team of all-time, then you know it’s going to be bad. I mean, people were excited by the prospect of Utah’s historical misery. Their time will come – it’s not as if basketball is foreign to Utah (still bitter) – but it certainly wasn’t 2011-12, finishing with a BCS and league worst RPI of 266. But they’ll always have Stanford. Also considered: Arizona State who compiled a 10-20 season but still managed to give their coach a contract extension and of course USC was considered.

The BooYaPop – Awarded to the most surprising and unsuspecting season long performance.

Brock Motum

Firstly, we’re Americans and so we always go crazy – either jealously or adoringly – when a foreigner excels at our stuff. Just look at Jeremy Lin. So when Brock Motum, the junior Aussie, exploded into the conference’s most offensively efficient and wonderful player – a stat geek’s wet dream – it came as a complete and utter surprise. Of course I’ll have it be known that I wrote on the subject of Brock’s potential breakout in November (ignore the stuff about WSU jumping into the conference’s upper half, deal? Deal.) but that’s neither here nor there. Motum had a terrific season, and won the Most Improved award which in reality sucks but it’s the coaches way of rewarding the kid that wouldn’t otherwise win anything cause isn’t that good. I’m unfortunately all too familiar with this one except they also threw in Best Attitude with my Most Improved award at Lute Olson Basketball Camp and if that doesn’t scream “fat kid” I don’t know what does.  I’ve grossly digressed and I’m not going to get into the naming of this award. If you understand it, you know I got you. Also considered: Garret Sim has a career year as a senior, jumping his FG%, 3 FG%, and scoring a combined 35%.

The LeBron – Awarded to the team that passes in the end.

California Golden Bears

We’re all too familiar with the LeBron-clutch debate and if you’re not, turn on ESPN. But just because the greatest basketball player on earth gets a bad rep as a non-closer, doesn’t mean it’s a fad. It’s the opposite. So I ask you, Cal Bears, what the eff? This league was countlessly theirs to win and they closed like that? I wish you all could have seen my face as I wrote that cause it looked really sad. Kinda like you might look if you had LeBron, Wade, and Bosh on a roster and Udonis Haslem was taking the final shot (that said, there’s nothing awkward or sad about Steve Kerr taking the final shot). Moral of the story? If you’re going to be the best, close. Ask Mariano. Also considered: The Washington Huskies too tried their darndest in not winning the Pac that was eventually handed to them.

The Susan Boyle – Awarded to the coach that most exceeded expectations.

Tad Boyle

Susan Boyle sang the hell out of that Les Mis song and I might have cried watching it if singing humans didn’t make me so damn uncomfortable. Then there’s Tad. Picked to finish eleventh he led the rebuilding Buffs to a sixth place finish. Based on our very complex algorithm, Boyle wins the Susan Boyle in a landslide (algorithm: true finish – expected finish = level of exceeded expectations). Boyle scored a -5 here where Ben Howland conversely scored +4 to finish last (again, USC was eliminated from award consideration but KO did score a +5). Boyle (Tad that is) was overlooked for COY because, frankly, there ain’t much sexy about finishing sixth in a horrible conference. But whenever you can stick it to the talking heads – AKA me and those who prognosticate things like preseason rankings – then kudos are in order. Well done. Plus I’m pretty sure Susan Boyle has laid at least a make out or an OTPHJ on Simon Cowell. Also considered: Dana Altman and Ken Bone each scored a -2 when inputting their data into the Susan Boyle algorithm (SBA).

All Smooth Team:

Terrence Ross, Washington
Allen Crabbe, California
DeVoe Joseph, Oregon
Solomon Hill, Arizona
Jared Cunningham, Oregon State

All Fundamentals Team:

The Wear Family, UCLA
Brock Motum, Washington State
Kyle Fogg, Arizona
Jorge Gutierrez, California
Aaron Bright, Stanford

All Awkward Team:

Jesse Perry, Arizona
Aziz N’Diaye, Washington
Kyryl Natyazhko, Arizona
John Gage, Stanford
Reeves Nelson, UCLA

All Greg Oden (formerly the Old Man Face Team):

Olu Ashalou, Oregon
Solomon Hill, Arizona
EJ Singler, Oregon
Andrew Zimmerman, Stanford
Kyle Cain, Arizona State

Week 5 Pac-12 Basketball Review

This post can also be seen at ryanrecker.com. Worth the visit if you like a good podcast or some legit prose. Ryan is the Sports Director at KVOA-Tucson.

The Pac-12 finally got their marquee non-conference win. Granted, it didn’t involve a basket or a ball or even a scoreboard. Arizona outdrew both the ACC (Florida State) and Big East (Pitt) combined in ESPN College GameDay attendance. BOOM! Put that in your calculator and RPI it!

Leader in the Clubhouse: This is a tough one to call so let’s talk it out:

Cal has the track record and has consistently looked like the team to beat
But Washington marched into Tucson and left with a win
But Cal just beat the Huskies in Seattle
But Washington couldn’t hold court against the Jackrabbits
But Cal has lost to the Cougars and Beavers
But Washington has the tougher SOS
But Cal has the higher RPI

Back-and-forth to be sure and I ultimately give the edge to Cal here, but the point isn’t the aforementioned bolds and italics. The point here is that halfway through the Pac-12 season I think the cream has finally risen to the top. Or, perhaps better said, the pretenders are showing their true colors. Allow ourselves some optimism and we’ll call it the former but whilst on the topic of true colors, UW showed theirs. By wrecking the whiteout, UW finally got that road win so many of us needed to see in order to take the HecEd homers seriously. The proverbial corner turned, Romar’s squad has pieced together what I’d call a nice in-conference resume. There’s still half-a-schedule to play but at 7-2, both the Huskies and Bears can rightfully claim to be the conference’s elite. These two, unfortunately, won’t tip off again this season (unless it’s in the Staples Center) and that’s really a shame because the one time they did it was a helluva game. Shout out here to USC for winning their first conference game.

Game of the Weekend: The Block, Part II OR The Foul, Part II. What do you want to call it? Presumably the former if you’re a Husky, the latter a Wildcat – you’ll recall this. While Tony Wroten’s block may not have had quite the drama of Derrick Williams’ a year ago, it was no less game saving and no less gigantic. The man-amongst-boys freshman may have efficiency, turnover, and overuse issues, but he owns the lead on a quickly improving if not good team and made the play of the game as the final buzzer sounded. Of course – and we’re back to asking if you’re a Husky or a Wildcat – the play of the game could also have been the blocking call with just over five seconds remaining in the newly tied game. There’s no doubt it was a foul but why did Josiah Turner need to try and draw a charge there? Freshman mistake? Lost in the moment? Did he just Horne-it? Whatever it was, it put the Huskies at the line for a chance to seal the victory which CJ Wilcox did. Cold blooded, if you will. But I need ask no question regarding your allegiance when I tell you that this was a terrific basketball game and fit the billing of the GOtW. Perhaps lost amidst the hectic finish to this game was Solomon Hill’s night. He missed two shots and took eighteen. Sweet efficiency did he have a ballgame finishing with 28 and 11, his third straight double-double. Also, Terrence Ross: good.

The Big Loser: A case could be made here for a number of teams: Colorado seemingly can’t get over the hump and win on the road; Oregon lost at home to Oregon State; Stanford and Arizona have dropped to 5-4; WSU lost to ASU; Utah lost to USC. Looking back over that list I’m reminded that we’d previously said we were going to be optimists in this post so I won’t mention the foul stench of sub-mediocrity. I digress and move on to my final answer: Stanford. Sure they lost on the road in a rivalry game but this team is offensively inept and it’s beginning to glare. They’ve lost three straight in which they’re shooting a cringe-worthy 36% from the field and 19% from distance, a shot the Cardinal rely far too heavily upon to shoot so poorly. I’d love to give Johnny Dawkins’ crew the benefit of the doubt and excuse this losing streak to playing on the road, but that’s too many excuses for a team that played a non-non-conference schedule. I’m selling my Cardinal stock but investing in their classmates.

What We Learned: Sometimes life just isn’t fair. You’ll recall that Arizona junior, Kevin Parrom, was shot in the hand and leg while visiting his dying mother on the heels of losing his grandmother? Yeah, that month occurred this past summer and the road back has been a long one for Parrom. But he was back. The Wildcats’ spark plug understandably needed more time than perhaps fan patience would allow but he was back, averaging 9/5/3 in the three games leading up to Saturday’s whiteout, demonstrating the complete and gritty style he’s come to be known for. And in that game, in leading the Wildcats to a halftime lead, the junior put up 7/3/2 in just ten minutes of play. Kevin Parrom was indeed back. But when the second half began, Kevin wasn’t back. He wasn’t on the court, he wasn’t on the bench. Nothing was said by the ESPN crew and when the cameras finally found him, he was wearing a boot. You see the human foot accounts for about one-eighth of the bones in an adult – a significant number in the grand scheme of things and subsequently an increased probability of breakage. Basic math, right? The odds played out on Saturday and Kevin Parrom’s season was declared over. A broken foot to blame. Grandmother, mother, mortality; no, life isn’t always fair. But maybe to break Kevin Parrom you must actually break him. Incapacitate him so he can’t be the heart-and-soul of a basketball team, recover from heartache amongst teammates and family, or play the game he loves. Nope. Not breaking Kevin Parrom can break Kevin Parrom. Just ask him.

Early Week YouTuber: This happened.