Stonehouse's 2010-11 Preview

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Stonehouse's 2010-11 Preview

Post by Stonehouse on Wed May 26, 2010 8:27 pm

It's a fair question.

Gonzaga... every time I think they will be down, they win the WCC again and are a Top 25 team. At this point, they are what they are... last year was probably the most down they are going to be in a while with all those young players. Harris is a stud, Gray is inconsistent but still talented, Sacre is an enigma but capable if he can stay on the floor. I think their point guard (Goodsen) is weak, but I really like the Magnisto Arop kid they had on the bench - I think he's going to be a force. And Kelly Olynyk really killed the Pilots - I think he's going to improve and be effective as well.

SMC will definitely miss Samhan and Allen and they don't really have any returning post players, but Rob Jones (former All-WCC player) is coming in from San Diego and they have a transfer ready to go who would have been Creighton's starting center last year. But really, it's their guards... Dellavadova and McConnell are awesome, and they've got great depth all up and down their roster. They aren't going anywhere. They'll be different - probably much more up and down/run and gun - but they'll still be really, really good.

And LMU... shoot, who knows about LMU. If everything goes right for them, they could win the WCC going away. Viney, Teel, Davis, Hamilton, DuBois... they could be scary good. They probably will still be a bit inconsistent, but they've got a ton of talent.

San Francisco loses Lowhorn and Vaughn but... honestly... Lowhorn wasn't quite the player he was last season as in the previous two seasons. They've got solid returning players - Green, Colario, Diarra - and lots of new guys coming in, including O'Connor who would have been their starting PG as a freshman last year before he got injured in a pre-season scrimmage. Plus they signed a wing player (Avery Johnson) who UP recruited really hard and who drew serious Pac-10 interest. I think they'll be on par with last year's team and potentially even a bit better.

Santa Clara will be better by default with Foster back and healthy. Robert Smith at PG is good, and Trasolini is a beast in the paint. They are a team that has a lot of potential and a lot of highly-regarded players on their roster, but it's time for them to actually go out and prove some things. A lot is riding on this season for Kerry Keating. But do I think they'll be 3-11 in the WCC with an abysmal overall record again? No way.

Pepperdine doesn't lose anybody, but other than Keion Bell... eh. It's a problem UP faced a few years ago - sure, you return everyone, but if everyone you return isn't that great, how much better can you really get.

San Diego? Woof. Guys like Manresa and Rancifer look like they have potential and they have some highly-rated recruits coming in, but I don't know... from where I sit, they are a last place team.

Portland is really the only team in the WCC that seems poised to take a step backward, as much as it pains me to say. Now, I do think we will still be competitive and won't be bad by any stretch, but I don't really know if we can over-estimate the impact of losing TJ. He really is what made us so good the past two years. Smeulders will be missed for sure. Raivio will be missed, though I think Stohl proved himself capable in Raivio's absence during the second half of the season. We can cope with losing Niedermeyer and Ito.

Five major keys come up for the Pilots:

1) Who will play the point? Is Tim Douglas, the kid from LA, ready to jump in and be a scoring point? I know the coaches like him, but still... life as a freshman PG is hard out there in NCAA D1 basketball. Derrick Rodgers is definitely physically ready (6'1", 205) but it's hard to get a read on him based on his limited JuCo minutes. And I think the Eric Waterford experiment has ended, unless he really, really, really improves over the off season. So either way, we're going to have a newcomer at the point. But I'm actually not too too worried - nervous, sure, but not fretting - remember, Taishi had an excellent freshman season as a newcomer and TJ was amazing as a newcomer. So this coaching staff has proven they are capable of getting someone ready for the season.

2) How good can Luke be? This, maybe even more than the previous point, is the most crucial to if the Pilots will remain a competitive, over .500 team or a team in a rebuilding year. Personally, I think he's capable of putting up the kind of numbers that would put him in the WCC POY conversation. His rebounding, his shooting, his passing, his defense... he's got it all. But we've never really seen him truly take it to that level on a consistent basis. Now that he'll be a starter getting 30+ minutes and being the go-to guy, will he finally cross the bridge to being the dominant guy I know he can be? I hope so, because we'll need him to.

3) Can Jared be as effective without TJ? Jared is the country's best three point shooter. He's incredible, he's automatic, and he's shown he can be more than just a sniper with the way his overall game developed last year. But will opposing teams be able to take him out of the game if they don't have to worry about TJ? I'm worried about this, because we've seen it happen before - St. Mary's is especially good at doing this. I think for him to get his shots (which we'll need him to do), we're going to have to be very deliberate about running plays for him because he won't have all the opportunities that TJ created.

4) Are Jasonn and Nem ready for big roles? I know we all were encouraged by Jasonn's late-season performance. He was playing good defense, scoring, using his physicality, earning minutes... it was a beautiful thing to see after watching him struggle to find his way for a few seasons. With Robin gone, we'll need Jasonn more... will he be ready to give 20 minutes a game? He is a real wild card for us, because if he builds on what he did at the end of the season and becomes a guy who can consistently score in the paint and alter the way teams have to play defense against us, he would make us the team so much better. I am very anxious to watch his development, because I think he could be a difference-maker for us.

As for Nem, he proved himself a capable scorer, and I think he will assume most of Ethan's minutes which, honestly, I think he probably should have earned more of last year. It's hard to get a read on whether or not the coaches really trust him out there - I know they love his shooting stroke and his fearlessness on offense, but I'm not sure if his abilities on the defensive end are up to par. Being the amateur I am, I love his offense and can see his range, but it's hard for me to see if/where he hurts us in other ways out on the floor.

5) Riley and Nicholas: impact freshmen? I am expecting big things from both of these guys, but I don't know if those big things will start coming next year. Of the two, I expect Riley to have the most opportunity, because he'll likely be the go-to back-up for Jared and Nem. Nicholas is a work horse and he seems like the type of guy who is really going to push the upper-classmen ahead of him for minutes. I think he could provide a lot of energy off the bench and could be the type of hustle/gritty player that the coaches just love. With only five returning guys I expect to see significant minutes (Luke, Jared, Kramer, Jasonn, Nem), clearly the freshmen are going to have lots of opportunities. Douglas and Rodgers are going to get minutes just because we don't have any other PGs, but if Riley and Nicholas can provide some spark and scoring off the bench, it will make out team significantly more competitive.

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Re: Stonehouse's 2010-11 Preview

Post by Stonehouse on Thu May 27, 2010 3:34 pm

Whoa! Look at that... this magically became its own thread. Smile

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Re: Stonehouse's 2010-11 Preview

Post by Geezaldinho on Thu May 27, 2010 3:50 pm

Stoney- how can you ignore a guard that Rev says can slap the backboard above the box?

From my perspective, all three of the late signees can be good contributors just from their athletic prowess.

The addition of all three of the late guys was a real Boone to this class.

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Re: Stonehouse's 2010-11 Preview

Post by Stonehouse on Thu May 27, 2010 4:18 pm

Daniel Boone? Because if you're talking about Daniel Boone, I'm pretty sure I got a coonskin cap from the Alamo when I went to a cousin's wedding in San Antonio 20 years ago. Oh yes, I'm that cool.

I didn't mean to downplay Thieleke or Barker... I just honestly don't know what to expect out of them. BJ Porter could high-jump nearly 7 feet... but that didn't necessarily translate into him having a big impact as a freshman. So who knows with Thieleke? From everything I've heard, he is a great talent and will likely compete for minutes. But... will he be able to get in front of Nem, a seasoned veteran who looked quite good late in the season, and Riley, arguably our most highly-regarded recruit? I don't know.

What I am looking forward to is popping into some open gyms this Summer now that I'm on campus every day. Not sure if all the new guys are here for Summer school or not, but I bet a lot of them will be for the second session later in the Summer.

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