Just for Fun: Early WCC Prediction

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Just for Fun: Early WCC Prediction

Post by Stonehouse on Mon Jul 23, 2007 2:54 pm

I posted this the other day over on DonsCentral... figured I should post it here too! I took some heat from some LMU fans about what I said about Tention. They seem to have a lot of confidence in their incoming recruits (just like I do with UP). I have a soft spot for LMU so I do hope they can be better than I say, but honestly I really don't think it's going to happen.

* * *

It's a bit slow on the boards... or maybe I'm just bored at work. Here is what I'm thinking the WCC will look like at the beginning of March 2008. I'm sure this will change as the season gets closer, but this is what I'm thinking right now:

1 - Gonzaga 13-1
2 - SMC 11-3
3 - San Diego 8-6
4 - San Francico 7-7
5 - Santa Clara 5-9
6 - Portland 5-9
7 - Pepperdine 5-9
8 - LMU 2-12

Gonzaga: I'm not sure I'm buying them as a top 15 team, but you can't deny the talent they are bringing back. Assuming Heytvelt can put down the bong and stay away from the shroom muffins long enough to stay eligible, he will be the best post in the league. And personally I think losing Mallon is addition by subtraction, as Kuso's game fits with Heytvelt's a lot more. Pargo and Bouldin are a really good back court, even if Pargo is a bit overrated (the guy can't really shoot), and freaking Downs aka Skeletor is cold-blooded from downtown. Throw in Pendergraft off the bench along with all their newcomers (at least one of them will stick, probably) and they've got the making of a really good team. At the same time, I also think that they could totally implode if Heytvelt goes on a trip and f's things up again and if Pargo or Downs start pouting about shots. It's definitely a volatile group, but assuming they all will be healthy and not suspended, they are clearly the cream of the crop.

SMC: I said this a bit ago, but I really think they are poised for a great season. They've got a good big three in the S-Squad Samhan, Simpson, and Smith (who looked really, really good at the end of last season), and their role players like Hunter and O'Leary are very solid. I haven't seen the freshman PG Mills play, but everything I hear about him makes him sound like a total stud and I really do think he will step right in and contribute. They might not be terribly deep (especially in the post... not sure if I'm buying Yusef Smith as a back-up center), but I think they might be close to the level of the Marigney-Adjiwanou-Kickert-Rowland team that got an at-large bid.

San Diego: I know, I know... San Diego? But Grier is familiar with the WCC and should do an OK job as head coach. I'm not sure if I like him as a long-term solution, but with the amount of inherited talent he should be OK next year. I'm thinking this is the year Pomare finally decides to play hard (or is that too much to ask?) and I think Brandon Johnson is just as good if not better than Pargo. Another player I really like is Ray Murdock. He's quietly good... he can hit the three and plays great perimiter defense. Danny Brown is a good shooter, and DeJon Jackson and Chris Lewis looked OK as freshman last year. I know they lost some good players in DeRogatis and Cohen, but I really do believe that USD has a lot of pieces in place to be a solid team. Plus they've got a few well-rated froshies coming in, most notably Robert Jones.

USF: With Kellogg, and easy choice for #3 and a 10-4 record or so. Without him... the Dons really need the freshman to step up. I think Quezada is a good player, but I'm not entirely sure he's going to be much more than a long-bomber and a penetrator. For me, a team like USF that likes to play up-tempo really needs someone who can distribute the ball or else it will just turn into five guys playing one-on-one instead of a cohesive offense. It sounds like Lowhorn is going to be a terror down low and I'm sure Taylor will be able to step in and start, but I just think there are too many question marks. A guy who I think could be crucial is (don't laugh) Danny Cavic. I've always liked his game and I think he is a guy who can replace some of Kellogg's scoring. Watkins was solid as a freshman and I'm sure he will improve, and McKines sounds like a stud, but as of now I'm just not sure that there is enough depth overall and especially at the guard position. I hate to say it, because I've become a fan of the Dons as a result of this board, but unless some guys really step up for the Dons, I think they will be in for a season very much like last year, i.e. tons of talent but disappointing results.

Santa Clara: I'm actually not high on them at all and I secretly hope that Portland might even be able to finish ahead of them. But they do have a good big guy in Bryant and Angley and Henke are good role players. I think Angley has a lot of room for improvement... if he performs to the level that I think he can, than they should be OK. If he does what he did last year... they may be in trouble. Lattimer was supposed to be a stud but didn't show me anything last year. Calvin Johson... eh. Not terrific. They do have a hot shot recruit in 7-footer Scott Thompson (from Idaho), but you never can count on freshman. So who knows? I think they overperformed last year, especially with the drama surrounding Davey - the whole win-one-for-the-Gipper thing - and I don't know how Keating will do in year one.

Portland: Well, naturally I have to have high hopes for my beloved Pilots. They have NO returning post players after Jamie Jones flunked out, but the Flying Dutchman Robin Smeulders is a returning redshirt and is pretty solid. 6-11 Canadian freshman Jaisonn Hannibal is a man-child but is raw... they will be counting on him big time. Sherrard Watson is the only senior and is a erratic player at the small forward, though he improved tremendously last year and I wouldn't be shocked if he really stepped it up again last year. Remember what he did against USF last year? I think he can have more games like that next year. Ito is a good point guard who can shoot pretty well from the outside, but the real story is Nik Raivio. Everything I've heard is that he is really killing in open gyms and that he looks totally ready to step in and be the team's top scorer. I think he's going to be a really good player and provide the Pilots with some good offensive punch. After that it's a bit of a crap shoot, though watch out for incoming freshman combo guard Jared Stohl... he's a dead-eye gym rat and I have the feeling he will be good for a few bombs a game. They will be young and inexperienced, but I think the coaches really proved themselves last year and that they will only improve as they start playing with their own players. Sure I'm a homer, but I really do think that the Pilots can surprise a few people... and at the very least, they should be able to beat LMU and Pepperdine, right? Right!

Pepperdine: Ugh. Who knows? It's hard to even know who's on their roster, and though they have some big name recruits coming, they don't have anybody else. They'll win some games just because they are so disruptive for other teams, but unless they have guys that can actually hit shots (they didn't last year), this team just won't be a threat. Of course, Walberg did promise that they would lead the nation in scoring in his second year, so at least we've got that to look forward too! The big question for me is if, like last year, they will have more suits on their bench than jerseys.

LMU: Yucko. I think this might be nearing the end of the line for Tention. He did well with inherited players, but he hasn't recruited squat. If they don't get a program-changer signed soon, they will be bad for the next few years. They've got nothing to even be excited about for next season... John Ziri? Marko Deric? Cory Counts? Ugh. I couldn't even name who I think their starters will be. Maybe they can pull a rabbit out of a hat, but right now they look like they could go winless in the WCC.

Whew!


Last edited by on Fri Jul 27, 2007 8:44 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Just for Fun: Early WCC Prediction

Post by MJGoGaels on Tue Jul 24, 2007 6:14 pm

1 - Gonzaga 12-2
2 - SMC 11-3
3 - San Diego 7-7
4 - Santa Clara 7-7
5 - USF 5-9
6 - Pepperdine 5-9
7 - Portland 4-9
8 - LMU 2-12

I think the math is right...
My evolving opinion is if someone is going to catch GU it's this year because the way the recruiting is going they will be tough to remove from the top. Without Ravio - leadership will be harder to come by this season.

Like you I believe that LMU is really a body without a head and will get walked on until Tention's recruits mature or show that they are something special.

USD and SCU will be very similiar - dangerous at times show brillance but flawed without stellar outside shooting.

Pepperdine and Portland and USF are just wild cards. UP jumped up and beat the Gaels on the road, which was a great victory for them. But the lack of retention just has this group wide open. I could see USF really finishing 7th if the remaining players don't rally around one anotherl.

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Re: Just for Fun: Early WCC Prediction

Post by Stonehouse on Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:00 pm

You're right about GU for sure. Their only senior this year (I think) is Pendergraft, who is a decent player but not great by any stretch.

The way their recruiting is going (and assuming those guys pan out... you can't really believe the message board hype about 8 NBA players or whatever) they will be very far ahead in terms of talent. Ugh. Last year was the best chance and Santa Clara pissed it away. This year will be tough, but I think SMC is looking really strong and could do it.

As for the bottom half, it really is a total shuffle. With USF now having only 9 scholarship players, it is really, really hard to know what to expect. They've still got some good talent with Quezada and Lowhorn, but depth is definitely going to be a problem and they only have three guards - one who is a freshman and one who is walk-on.

Honestly, I'm starting to feel more and more confident that USD is going to be No. 3.

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Re: Just for Fun: Early WCC Prediction

Post by Geezaldinho on Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:06 pm

MJ-

could you make your logo a little bigger?

I can't quite make it out

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Re: Just for Fun: Early WCC Prediction

Post by MJGoGaels on Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:44 am

LOL. I just added it and it guess it is helpful if your class year is under 1977 or so. I'll try an adjustment on the next post. thanks.

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Re: Just for Fun: Early WCC Prediction

Post by Stonehouse on Fri Jul 27, 2007 1:52 pm

Just adding on to this... unconfirmed reports on Dons Central say that Myron Strong, an incoming freshman guard, also isn't going to be coming to USF. If true, this is a MAJOR blow... more major of a blow than McKines and Hardy not coming, IMO.

If true, that means the team has two (count 'em) TWO guards on the roster. Manny Quezada and a walk-on sophomore. I suppose Danny Cavic can slide over and play the two, but really... I don't know what they're going to do in terms of guard depth. They might have to hold open try-outs and just see what happens.

I feel really badly for all those Dons fans... at the beginning of the summer, they appeared to be a lock for No. 3 and a contendor for No. 2 in the WCC. Now... shoot... they might finish under the Pilots if Strong isn't coming and the team is in total turmoil under a lame-duck coach. (Sound familiar?... that pretty much describes the Pilots in Holton's last season.)

For the sake of the future of that program and for the WCC, let's hope the USF ship can right itself after all this craziness and that Strong will indeed come in.

Anyway... MJ, I like the new logo!

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Re: Just for Fun: Early WCC Prediction

Post by Rochin54 on Fri Jul 27, 2007 7:18 pm

Wow, that is huge. I haven't been following the Dons as of late, and didn't realize they had lost so much so recently. I really did think they were one of the teams that could make a run for the top three in the conference...wow.

UPDATE: just took a look-see over at DC, and they now say that Stong IS coming. Even still, I wasn't aware of McKines not making it in.

Anyway, I've been thinking a little bit about how the conference may shale out next year, and here is what I'm thinking:

Gonzaga
SMC
USD
USF
Santa Clara
Portland
Pepp
LMU

Here's the deal: I think Gonazaga will run away with the conference this year, They are superior in talent. The only way they do not run away with it will be the result of the lack of team chemistry, which seems to have been a problem in Spokane since "Ammo" became a "big deal."

I think SMC has a very good shot at the number 2 spot, but will no doubt lose some games...at least three if you ask me (GU twice and at least one other game).

The rest of the conference is an absolute crapshoot to me. USD and SCU: new coaches with experienced players - how will they respond? USF: mass exeodus, disgruntled follks all over? UP: lots of new faces but lots of energy within the program...could they surprise some folks? Pepperdine: how in the heck will the Wahlberg experiment pan out...WHO KNOWS????? LMU...WHO KNOWS????

I'm a bit dissapointed in the WCC. A few years back, it seemed to be the conference on the rise. Perhaps these things are cyclical, but it just seems that no schools were really able to hold their success. I think Bennett has done a great job down at SMC holding things together, and I really did think that Holland was a pretty good coach down at USD, and of course Davey had some great years at SCU...but it appears that the WCC may be in a world of hurt past the top 2 teams this year. I hope that Reveno can capitalize on this, get some wins in conference, and in turn help out his recruiting efforts.

My preiliminary thoughts without exerting much research effort, I humbly submit.

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Re: Just for Fun: Early WCC Prediction

Post by Stonehouse on Fri Jul 27, 2007 8:36 pm

Hey copy cat Rochin... that was my order! Wink

Very good news about Strong - I'm glad to hear it!

And you are totally right about the WCC... it was only a few years ago that it got three teams into post-season play and a 7 or 8 conference RPI ranking. Lots of quality non-conference wins throughout the conference. I remember that going into that year's (2002-3) league play I think every WCC team had a winning record.

But then it has slipped. St. Mary's has held strong except for the blip last year (though they still were No. 3 in conference and destroyed us in the WCC tournament). USF has had the talent but has never been able to get over the hump. Pepperdine and Portland imploded and have now rebuilt.

USD has remained its solid self... I was surprised they canned Holland because he gave them exactly what I want for UP - consistently competitive, never any violations, always high graduation rates... really a model program. Except they were never great, so I guess that did them in.

Ditto for Santa Clara. I think the sustained success of Gonzaga and their increasing recruiting abilities are really the root cause of why Holland and Davey got canned. Their AD's want better than 3rd or 4th place every year and no scandals. They want to win and want to get to the NCAAs. Which of course is what I want too, but look what can happen to programs (Portland at the tail end of Holton, right now with USF) what can happen when they try too hard to reach that next level.

Who I feel really sorry for is LMU. If they would have had Worthy for WCC play last year, I truly believe they could have competed with GU and SCU for the title. Very tough luck, and now the cupboard is seemingly bare. I like Tention so I hope their new guys do well, but honestly I'm not holding my breath.

As for your point about this being a good time to capitilize for UP, I TOTALLY agree. We still might be a year too early, but honestly I really like the situation the Pilots will be in over the next few seasons. All the recruits will have had plenty of time to work with the coaches, and all of them are solid students and will be able to avoid all those flunking out problems that have plagued us in the past few seasons. Just think... two years from now we could have an all-senior back court in their third year starting together in Ito and Raivio, four upper classmen post players in Smeulders, Hannibal, Sikma and Knutson, two experienced wings in Niedermeyer and Porter, and a total gunner in Stohl. Add in the sophomores and freshmen (two each) and that has the makings of a terrific team, assuming all the guys stick around and pan out.

And by that time, there's a good chance Randy Bennett will be coaching at Cal or somewhere like that, which will hurt St. Mary's. Who knows how Grier and Keating will do... Keating has the pedigree, Grier has the WCC savvy. I'm sure they'll do fine, but at least the Pilots will have a leg up in terms of one extra year of coaching experience.

So I'm with you, Rochin... the future does look pretty good for the Pilots. Let's just hope it will all work out!!! Smile

Oh, and as for GU... this thread just got linked on the GU site, so we'll probably be getting a lot of Zag traffic the next day or too. I just wanted to say that my initial post on here was pretty tongue-in-cheek... I think GU is poised to have a terrific season and will be a better TEAM than when they had Morrison. Pendergraft is an ideal captain for the team - they just better hope that Heytvelt has his extracarriculars past him!

I would also encourage some of our guests to sign up... we're a new site and need more posters... yes, even Zag posters! Smile

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Re: Just for Fun: Early WCC Prediction

Post by ZagManFan on Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:20 pm

Stonehouse, since the invitation was given, I thought I would chime in. Nice post and nicely done on the site.

Let's starts out by saying that we are extremely excited to get this season started. This could be one of the best if not the best team we have had. I am a bit reserved until I actually see how Josh dedicates himself to bball though. If 100% then I truly think this is a top 15 team.

BAD NEWS FOR WCC!! Pargo has been working on his shot EXTREMELY hard this off-season and from reports has really improved. So not only is he almost impossible to guard in the open court, but now has a more consistent shot to complement that skill set.

Many still don't know about "Downtown" Ira Brown yet, but you will. The guy is an absolute physical specimen among the likes college bball has never seen. Just a beast.

What most people are going to be surprised is going to be our interior defense. The shot blockers that we have this year are just amazing. Not only will the interior be well covered, but the perimeter shot blocking is there as well. We could very well be among the leaders in that area this year.


So yes, we are very excited here in Spokane, but I am also excited for the WCC. I keep seeing more and more talent coming into this league and for one welcome it. I would love to see this league just explode with talent.

Once again, thanks fore the invite.

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Re: Just for Fun: Early WCC Prediction

Post by Stonehouse on Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:19 am

Well it would indeed be trouble for the WCC if Pargo develops into a consistent shooter.

And from everything I've read about Ira Brown, he sounds like a total stud. I think the one trick may be where he fits in to the rotation. At 6'4" (right?) he's really undersized to play in the post, which fits his skill set best. I'm sure he'll play out on the wing, but does he have the shot/speed to keep up with the littler guys? I'll have to see him play first, but I do believe that he will be a fine player... any 24 year old has the advantage of strength and experience.

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Re: Just for Fun: Early WCC Prediction

Post by MJGoGaels on Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:37 pm

While Freshman don't win championships (Ohio State and Texas know this), they build huge momentum, I may still short the stock of USF even below 5th with the recent announcements. Here's a good recap of where the Dons stand http://norcalpreps.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=696958

I find no joy in the misery of our mutual opponent.

Stonehouse, can you update the OOC schedule as best as you have it in a new post.

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