First Yahoo! Team Report of the Year!

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First Yahoo! Team Report of the Year!

Post by ShipstadPilot11 on Fri Oct 23, 2009 8:03 am

These Team Reports from "Yahoo!" (I suspect they are written by an outsider, but I don't know for sure) come out weekly during the season. I was excited to see this first report since it is a sign that basketball is not far off. The reports don't tell anything that we don't already know but I've always been impressed with the insight of the writer.


Portland Team Report

GETTING INSIDE

If any team can challenge Gonzaga for the West Coast Conference title, it’s the Pilots.

They return five starters from last season’s third-place team that brought Portland its best season in 13 years.

The Pilots must show last season’s surprising success was not a fluke and that they can handle the pressure of high expectations. Last season was like a fairy-tale ride in which nothing was expected and everything seemed to go the Pilots’ way.

Picked to finish sixth in the WCC, the Pilots came in third and earned their first winning season in 10 years.

They showed signs of cracking late last season when the stakes rose, and a year of maturity may enable the Pilots to avoid a drop-off this time. Most of their key players are seniors this season.

Eric Reveno was named conference Coach of the Year for making a contender out of a team that seemed headed for eternal mediocrity, and he has brought in players that fit his style.

Portland has more talent than any WCC team, with the possible exception of Gonzaga.

T.J. Campbell was the chief reason for the Pilots’ dramatic and unexpected rise last season, because he gave the Pilots a steady floor leader who can hit the 3-pointer. In fact, the Pilots were one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country, and it will be interesting to see if they can keep it up.

Jared Stohl did not start last season, but played starter’s minutes and he was nearly as good on 3-pointers as Campbell.

Nik Raivio is the team’s top scoring threat and is very capable of leading the conference in scoring this season.

Forward Robin Smeulders seems to be a better player than his numbers show, and he could emerge as a star this season.

Kramer Knutson does not score much, but he does what is needed from a center in Reveno’s style.

Add Luke Sikma, and the Pilots have more good big men than any team in the WCC, which is short on inside players this season.

All the pieces seem to fit together nicely for Portland, a good passing team that likes to run and share the ball, all of which is orchestrated by Campbell, a junior college transfer whose presence changed the entire dynamic of the team.

When he got in foul trouble or struggled, the Pilots had problems last season.

NOTES, QUOTES

• Portland went to Australia in May to play four exhibition games, winning three. Teams are allowed to take overseas trips once every four years, and teams often have good seasons after one of those trips, partly because it provides them with extra practice time.

• Cody Mivshek joined the team as a walk-on this season. He was a two-time all-state high school performer in Colorado.

• Portland played in the Collegeinsiders.com postseason tournament last year. It is the least prestigious of the four postseason tournaments, but it was important to the Pilots because it was their first postseason berth in 10 years.

• Portland ranked second nationally in 3-point shooting percentage last season (41.8 percent), and all the shooters are back this season.

Last Year: 19-13, 9-5 in WCC, third place

Head Coach: Eric Reveno (37-58 career), fourth year at Portland (37-58)

Quote To Note: “T.J. (Campbell) made as big an impact on the team as any one individual on any team.”—Eric Reveno, on the influence of point guard T.J. Campbell, a junior college transfer who joined the Pilots last season.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

Scouting The Newcomers: The only two players the Pilots added were walk-ons, and neither is expected to play much. The Pilots will rely on the same personnel as last year, because it had no seniors on last season’s squad.

Key Early-season Games: The Nov. 21 home game against Oregon is one the Pilots can win and gain some momentum, but a bigger test comes in the 76 Classic in Anaheim, from Nov. 26-29. The Pilots open with UCLA and then face either Minnesota or Butler and will finish up against another strong team (West Virginia, Long Beach State, Clemson or Texas A&M). The Pilots cannot expect to win the event, but these teams are not out of their league anymore. It’s a bold nonconference schedule for Portland, and shows the kind of team Eric Reveno thinks he has.

Program Direction: The Pilots have been going straight up since the arrival of Eric Reveno before the 2006-2007 season.

The Pilots had been a perennial cellar-dweller, and the general belief was that Pilots would never be able to compete in the WCC, for any number of reasons. But after two tough, rebuilding seasons, Portland emerged as a WCC contender last season and figures to stay there this season.

It would seem that Portland will remain in the title chase as long as Reveno remains head coach.

Probable Starting Lineup: PG T.J. Campbell, SG Nik Raivio, SF Ethan Niedermeyer, PF Robin Smeulders, C Kramer Knutson.

Roster Report:

• C John Hegarty, a 7-footer who joined the team at midseason last year, was granted his release in May and signed with a professional team in France.

• G Cody Miyshek and F Ryan Schaefer have joined the team as freshmen walk-ons.

• PG T.J. Campbell led the WCC in 3-point shooting at 53.1 percent, and would have led the country if he had made enough 3-pointers to qualify. He made 76 3-pointers, just four shy of what he needed to qualify.

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Re: First Yahoo! Team Report of the Year!

Post by ShipstadPilot11 on Fri Oct 23, 2009 5:55 pm

From UCLA's Team Report:
Key Early-season Games: The Bruins are part of a strong eight-team field in the 76 Classic at Anaheim, where they better not sleep on a Nov. 26 opener vs. much-improved Portland.
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Re: First Yahoo! Team Report of the Year!

Post by ShipstadPilot11 on Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:09 pm

From Washington's Team Report:
Highlights of the home schedule are a Dec. 19 game vs. improved Portland, and a Dec. 22 matchup with Texas A&M.
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Re: First Yahoo! Team Report of the Year!

Post by ShipstadPilot11 on Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:14 pm

One More. From Idaho's Team Report:
Key Early-season Games: Idaho has three notable road games in the non-conference schedule. They play at Utah on Nov. 13, go about eight miles over the border for a game at Washington State on Dec. 9, and travel to a very good, veteran Portland team Dec. 22 (the Pilots of the West Coast Conference play in Moscow on Dec. 6). That home-and-home will be interesting as it matches two rising programs that each have designs on a making a run at a conference title.
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Re: First Yahoo! Team Report of the Year!

Post by PurplePrideTrumpet on Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:58 pm

I remember well how tough that game was last year. Idaho played us very, very, close. I thought that was a big win for us in terms of how the boys matured last season.

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Re: First Yahoo! Team Report of the Year!

Post by onetouchfutbol on Sat Oct 24, 2009 9:27 am

We are getting SO much respect this year. It's well deserved, but, this is not going to be easy. I hope the strength coach keeps working the players' tails off doing a lot of core exercises to prevent injuries. We can't afford any if we want to live up to expectations.

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Re: First Yahoo! Team Report of the Year!

Post by ShipstadPilot11 on Sat Oct 24, 2009 10:15 am

I hope that we don't go the way of San Diego and crumble under the pressure that follows a low-expectations/high-performance season like ours last year and San Diego's two years ago. I'm truly confident, though, that if we stay healthy we will be able to perform to our potential. This should be an exciting year! Basketball

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