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Friday, July 29, 2011


CRAWFACTS is news, notes and anything else you wish to call this, about college basketball. Enjoy

Roy Williams---On recent recruiting trip, it was a smart move for Williams to take a look at the USS Carl Vinson (the ship that dumped Osama bin Laden's body at sea) where Williams' North Carolina team will play Michigan State on 11/11/11, it what will be the first ever college basketball game played on an aircraft carrier and of course on a great day when we all pay special tribute to our nation's military.

What was not a smart move, was the first comments by Williams about the game following his tour of this historic ship. Roy Williams by a lot of people's accounts, is not always the soft spoken, gentlemanly guy we see being interviewed on TV. He can at times be quite caustic and sometimes does not think before he speaks. Good example,  following his tour was the fact that instead of talking about the importance of this game and the true meaning of why it is being played, Williams seemed more concerned how his tall players would navigate the narrow hallways and corridors on the ship, prior to going up to the flight deck.

Gee Roy, do you know anything else besides basketball? Naval ships are famous for their small quarters, we have all studied that in history, the meaning of the day is what counts here and deal with it, your players will get over it.

I might also add, as I have written about before, it is an embarrassment that a west coast team is not playing in this game and it seems like if you go to effort of all the logistics it takes to pull this off, why not play a doubleheader. Navy vs. Air Force, plus why was not San Diego State, asked to play in their hometown or Washington or Arizona. Do I dare say, once again an east coast bias.

West Coast Conference---I recently asked the most famous person in college basketball, Dick Vitale, about the men's basketball coaches in the west coast conference. Dick, who never lets the facts get in the way of his constant self promotion (he is a great guy and does care about people), likes the group of coaches and called them "a passionate group". I was kind of looking for a little more out of the self proclaimed guru of college hoops.

Dick, this group of coaches is far beyond passionate, they are the best coaches for a league its size in college basketball. You have Mark Few, who despite his dismal post season record, has been a more than consistent winner. Randy Bennett, who every post season is mentioned in almost every job opening that comes up and add on some of the great rising stars in the coaching ranks in Eric Reveno, Kerry Keating and Rex Walters, who all in the next few years will be coaching at big time programs, if not head coaches in the NBA.

Last but not least, Dave Rose, he not only has churned out big time teams at BYU each year, he has done it battling pancreatic cancer, enough said.

So my message is that Dick Vitale, get to know these coaches even better, know all their names, cause they are all and will be in the future, huge successes.

Pac-12---It is obvious that Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott recognizes the importance of basketball to his league and realizes it needs to be promoted and recognized on a much higher level. More power to him.
On the other hand, sometimes when you have huge success like Scott has had you need to slow down. Many a businesses have failed horribly by expanding too fast and over extending. The new TV deal with ESPN and Fox, was great for the conference and for the networks, but I am concerned about the Pac-12 network and the regional concept which was rolled out this week by Scott and his staff in NewYork.

What is troubling, unless I am missing something really big, these regional "networks" are going to take a long period to develop a major profit stream and will drain monies from the original deal signed with ESPN/Fox. Outside of a parents, a few friends and really, really Pac-12 fanatics, I am not sure who is going to be watching these regional channels.

Sometimes success, breeds greed, I am hoping this is not the case with the Pac-12 and they did not try and one up themselves, with all the new media deals.

please feel free to follow on twitter @wchoops or emails always welcome,

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Am Still Concerned

This is a column just kind of catching you up on few things I have written about in the past three months, sometimes things change, sometimes they stay the same forever and I am even throwing in one complaint.

1. When oh when are schools going to realize that using search firms to select coaches and ADs is a waste of time and waste of money. I have documented this well in the past, but the latest example involves Tennessee, which hired Parker Executive Search to find them a new AD. Spent updwards of $90,000.00 to do so. Parker came back with Dan Radakovich, AD at Georgia Tech, as the sure fire, can't miss candidate. There was only one problem, little did Parker know or quite possible did know that Georgia Tech was going to be slapped with huge penalty by the NCAA, which obviously made Radakovich damaged goods.

The fans, boosters, residents of Tennessee are furious, as you might imagine. Another embarrassment for what was once a proud athletic program. But Parker should be embarrassed as well, it is just another debacle this firm has committed, but for some reason schools just keep using them. Memo to NCAA, you like to pass all kinds of rules, how about no more search firms. Of course it will not happen, Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA was a former client of Parker. What is the buzz word, "just connect the dots" or "follow the money".

2. With all the hype about a new TV deal by the Pac-12 and now today with the announcement of the Pac-12 network and how that will work, why in the world is it still not in the plans for the Pac-12 to play a round robin league schedule in basketball. The addition tells us that would be 22 conference games, thus leaving about eight games for non-conference games. I am not sure how many people are going to turn to watch some pre-season game which pits Minot State against Stanford, as we often see in all leagues during preseason. There is nothing like conference games no matter what the league. It would also improve the RPI of the league and it would increase attendance and as mentioned,  viewership. (At present the Pac-12 has plans to play an 18 game league schedule all the way through 2020-21).

3. I have been contacted by several coaches about the four major rules changes I want to see happen soon, to help keep college basketball popular and bring in new fans, always crucial to any sport.

1) Allow pre-game dunking. Absolute no brainer, if a player hangs on the rim, then give him the "T" just like it would happen during regular time. (Most coaches like my suggestion). Of course with the wisdom which is always pathetic when it comes to rule changes, the NCAA will probably allow pre-game dunking in women's games and continue to prohibit it in men's games. (Did you get the joke, I hope so).

2) Change shot clock to 29 seconds, from 35, speed up the game. (Most coaches like this idea).

3) Time-outs have become a joke in college basketball, limit time-outs no matter who calls them to four per half, plus one 30-second. Time-outs are having a  big affect on the fluidity of the game. (Most coaches hate this idea). I actually feel this would make coaching better and bring more strategy to the game.

4) Eliminate the second overtime and make it a free throw shootout. It would cause players to become better free throw shooters, it would make teams practice free throws more and last, but more important, there would be nothing better than the excitement this would create. (Coaches were evenly split on this, but I am sure after the world cup loss by America, this would change some minds.)

4. We all have one friend like this. My good friend who shall remain nameless always calls at night and wants to discuss the day in sports. Calls is not a good word, it actually should be called wants to argue with me and I do mean argue. I don't even mind being wrong or losing the argument, but what I hate is that my friend does not have internet, he does not have cable tv and he does not even have call waiting. (It is not from lack of funds, he can afford it). I just wish he were a little more educated, if he wants to argue so much. I am sure we all know someone who is a little archaic, I hope you are laughing at me and with me right now.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Crawvelous Top 12

With much apologies I offer my first ever Crawvelous Top 12 (12 for most basketball rosters). This was suppose to go out last Monday, the 18th, but due to technical difficulties it never happened.

My Top 12, consists of people who have the most power in west coast college basketball. I might never do this again, I might do another one in 6 months or it might take a year before you see this again. I actually did work on this for one month, often subtracting and adding names to get it perfect. I am sure you will agree it is perfect.

12---Gregory Hansen....As long time columnist for the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, he has seen it all with Wildcat basketball and continues to churn out quality work. When Greg Hansen writes, you have to read it. Being in the city which has had the most dominate basketball program on the west coast in the last 25 years makes his job very important and powerful, when it comes to west coast college basketball.

11---Danny Miles--Going into his 41st year of coaching the Hustling Owls, it has been well documented the success this man has had in college basketball coaching. Easily by now he should be in the basketball hall of fame, he is not, but will go in soon. Has won two national championships, is second all time in wins for 4-year schools and is even a better human being. Later this summer he will travel to Kenya and Rwanda to help build basketball courts and teach the great game of basketball to orphans in these devastated countries. And it is not the first time he has done this great work.

10---Dan Belluomini... The historian of west coast college basketball. Although he has cutback his TV schedule, he is easily the most recognizable figure nationwide when it comes to TV basketball analysts on the west coast. When Belluomini does a game, I can assure you that your learning curve will go up. After four decades on the west coast people still call and ask him what is going on with college basketball. Not to mention he always has time for everyone, a rare trait these days.

9---Bill McCabe...One of the most pleasant and kind men you would ever meet. But that is not what makes him powerful, what does,  is that he is the men's basketball officiating coordinator for two leagues on the west coast, Pac-12 and Big West. In case you do not think he is powerful, just go and check what a referee for one game, makes in college basketball. I can assure you, people do not referee in college for the love of the game. McCabe's detractors think he would better serve the Pac-12 as football coordinator, a sport he is more familiar with when it comes to officiating and he does not develop fast enough younger officials. He is a power broker.

8---Stew Morrill.... All he does is continue to churn out winning basketball programs at Utah State. His teams play hard, they play great defense and they win. They win so much, Utah State is the best atmosphere for a college basketball game in the country. Don't let the east coast bias fool you, it is twice as good as Duke to watch a college basketball game. That atmosphere has been created by Morrill and it appears he is a lifer with the Aggies. The big knock on him and it is gigantic, he can't seem to win an NCAA tournament game and until he does it will always be a stain on what is a great coaching record.

7---Mike Roth.... The veteran AD at Gonzaga quietly stays in the shadows, of an excellent basketball program, but if truth be known, it is Roth that works magic for all the great national TV games that Gonzaga plays in and makes tons of money for the basketball program. Besides the sports aspect, Roth has created a great business model for the Zags and he does exactly what any great AD should do. Roth has not only created a buzz business wise about Gonzaga basketball, he has done wonders for the greater Spokane community economically.

6---Terry Durham...Who? As the west coast regional referee coordinator for the NCAA, Durham is a force. His year long evaluations of officials, carry huge weight when it comes to post season assignments. By everyone's account, he is also a tireless worker, who is having a major impact on making college basketball officials better. When Durham walks into a game and you are the official, you better have your "A" game. Durham is considered internationally for his teaching ability and is sought out by many to improve their performance. He is the one person on this list that no one has heard about and I am sure he likes it that way.

5---Jamie Zaninovich... As commissioner of the West Coast Conference, Zaninovich is making his mark as a shrewd marketing person and extremely hard worker. He pulled off one of the greatest coups in college sports last year, getting the BYU Cougars to join the WCC for all sports except football beginning this year. I am not so sure WCC basketball coaches will be too happy with him in three years, when they will be thinking why did we let BYU in this league, but from a marketing and business standpoint BYU is a genius move. Zaninovich did fail to bring Seattle U. into the league, a move which will prove in years down the road to be a huge mistake.

4---Lorenzo Romar... Has done a great job as head coach at Washington. He seems to get more and more comfortable each year in his role and as long as he stays at Washington, the Huskies will be a major force in west coast college basketball. Romar has a huge edge in that Seattle is one of the most rich areas in the entire United States when it comes to high school basketball talent and he is well established with all the high school coaches, you can't help but like the guy. Needs to get his team to the final four one of these years.

3---Ben Howland... Coaching at the most storied basketball school in NCCA history is not the easiest thing to do. At UCLA Howland has handled it well, despite not being the most liked guy around basketball circles. No matter what, when your the head basketball coach at UCLA, you are a power broker. Howland has had to juggle his coaching staff in the last few years, but now feels very comfortable with his assistants and although I do not see a championship in the future for UCLA, I do see a final four in the next five years. He is now a fixture at UCLA and it would be shocking if he ever left.

2---Larry Scott... As commissioner of the Pac-12, every league both in college and pros are looking at Scott as a future top executive. He has brought the Pac-12 out of the dark ages and he is also committed to raising the level of Pac-12 basketball on the national scene. He worked a great media rights deal for all the Pac-12 schools as well as it was a great deal for both ESPN and Fox. As any great leader does, he has made some enemies along the way, but not enough to affect his power. If I do this Top 12 a year from now, in my opinion Scott will not be in the list, he will have moved on to a much bigger position in sports, everyone wants him.

1---Sean Miller...Has brought Arizona back to national prominence in basketball. Quite simply he is the best game coach, best player relations' coach and best recruiter of all west coast college basketball coaches. With the class of recruits he brought in this year, he will be in the final four and if he can keep them together (a big if), the following year I predict he will win the national championship. He is an east coast guy all the way, so fans in the desert better hope he falls in love with the area, there will never be a shortage of schools that want his coaching.

So there you go, my first Crawvelous Top 12, some people you know well, some people you are getting to know and some people you will never know, they just stay in the background and perform at high level. They do have one thing in common, the all are HUGE power brokers in west coast college basketball.

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It Is Time For Comeback

On occasion as I have done in the past, I am allowing myself to talk about another sport and not basketball. I hope you will enjoy some of my thoughts today about golf, after all most basketball people I know, love golf as well.

THE GAME: I was first introduced to the game of golf by my great father at the age of 8. I did not have fancy clubs and I wore my tennis shoes, but boy I cherished the times we could even go down to the putting green. It was a special game in my eyes and to this day, 90 percent of my friends, I have met through golf.

In case you have not noticed, golf as a sport is declining, even some dire predictions have it close to burial. This does not have to happen, nor should it. In 2011, everyone wants to blame every decline on the economy, factual in many cases, but for golf the decline started way before the collapse of the economy. It is an awesome sport, you can play it until your 100 and here are my suggestions to bring the game back to its glory and even if I am the only person promoting the game, I will never stop.

1. Golf needs Mr. McMahon. (Mr. McMahon is the greatest sports promoter of all time, in his role as chairman of the WWE). Golf has no spokesperson, someone to beat the drums each and everyday about how great a sport it is. Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, were great, but the young people can't relate to them. The United State Golf Association does many good things, but their abundance of stuffed shirts can't ever seem to think outside of the box and who can relate to a bunch of rich white men and women in today's culture. Tiger is not the answer, he does not want the role, nor should he be expected to head up the role. Someone needs to step forward. I actually on a serious note would like to see George Lopez. The whole world can relate to him, he loves golf and he can get the attention of young people.

2. Golf needs more places to learn the game. It is intimidating for kids and women to go out and start to learn the game on a regulation course. We need learning centers, which people can afford and afford the equipment.

3. For 50 years golf has been saying they are going to address slow play, but nothing ever happens. The average round of 18 holes on any course should take no longer than 3 1/2 hours. Until slow play is addressed and people want to get serious about it, golf will continue to lose players.

4. In addition to learning centers, we need more quality 9- hole golf courses, do I dare to even say 7-hole golf courses, or even 12- hole golf courses. I don't buy it when people say people's lives are so busy today, memo to everyone, lives are busy from day one and have been forever. The ability to still enjoy golf needs to be there for people, while not taking as much time.

I could go on and on, but golf is a game of honor, where else except bowling do you keep your own score and have the ability to penalize yourself and it is game, if you don't play, you are missing out.  I just hate to see it decline, in the manner it is today and we need bright minds to step up and make sure it does not lose all its luster. Someone besides myself, please help with this cause, before it is too late.

More on golf.

SUPERINTENDENTS----Most people do not know their names, but these men and women who condition the great golf courses are the real stars of the game. Getting up at 3:30 in the morning to start your day is tough enough, but being dependent on mother nature everyday is even tougher. It is no wonder that in every survey about golf, superintendents come out number one, when the question is asked who is the most important person at the golf course. I salute all you wonderful people and it is an honor to know many of you.

STEVIE WILLIAMS---- I really get a kick out of all the people who are jumping on Tiger for dismissing Williams as his caddy and jumping on the bandwagon of Williams. I can never feel sorry for someone who has homes in three countries, has the ability to start their own foundation, can drive race cars at his leisure and is in TV commercials, as Williams does.

Stevie, it was not you that made yourself a rich man, it was Tiger Woods who made you wealthy,  famous and a worldwide recognized figure. While Tiger Woods is no poster boy, people forget it was Stevie Williams who treated many a fan like dirt on the golf course, with his boorish attitude and behavior. And for many of the media not to challenge him on losing two years of his life, while waiting for Tiger, I do recall Tiger has played some golf in the last two years.

Stevie Williams instead of ripping on Tiger, you should be thanking him forever. He made you what you are today and you should never forget it, but apparently you already have. Shame on you for doing so.

It will be back to basketball this week.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

12/29/09, A Night Like None Other

I do not hide my love of college basketball. Everyone who knows me will tell you that.

Actually I also can talk about other things like current events, politics and variety of subjects, I have always been a news junkie, I guess it is important for myself to know what is going on in the world. (But I do lead a boring life as I still like the Beach Boys and the last movie I saw was a double feature, Old Yeller and 1,000 Leagues Under the Sea, or was it 10,000). Not even sure why I mentioned that, but guess I felt compelled.

With my love of college basketball and always a hot topic when I talk sports with people, an  often asked question of myself is, what is the strangest thing I have ever seen in college basketball?  Prior to 12/29/09, it would have been impossible to answer, because I did not have a good answer, but after that night/ day, I am not sure anything can top it.

Doubleheaders in basketball are great and I attend as many as I can. On 12/29/09, living an hour away from Portland State University, I headed for the school in downtown Portland really looking forward to seeing a doubleheader, which was a little different angle for most schools in the Portland State women would play the second game of the night, which was to follow the opening contest that was scheduled between the Vikings and D-3, Willamette University, from Salem, Oregon, which is an hour south of Portland.

Knowing the start time of the first game was 5:00 p.m. and also knowing Portland traffic is not good, just like other large cities, I left my house at 1:45, to give myself plenty of time. Also being a guy who likes weather, I checked the forecast right before I left and it was pretty normal for the Willamette Valley, 39 degrees and light rain showers.

As I got about 15 minutes away from my house, it started to snow very lightly. It did not worry me, as I j figured it would last about five minutes and be gone. As I got closer to Portland, I was beginning to think my amateur forecasting, was actually,  amateur. It started snowing harder and in what was normally as mentioned an hour trip, it took me about two hours to get to Portland State.

All this time driving gave me plenty of time to think about a variety of subject (not the latest movies), including the fact did Willamette leave  Salem, Oregon with plenty of time to spare. They did not and actually the direction they were coming from had even more snow than I encountered. They were not only stuck in heavy snow, they were stuck in massive traffic. When it snows even a little in the Portland area, it stops the whole city, the town is not prepared for it, nor are its drivers.

Knowing Willamette would not make the 5:00 p.m. start time, game management at Portland State started to think and develop a plan, how to make the games happen on schedule as best as they could,  as by now it was really snowing, there was about two inches on the ground and the whole Portland metro was frozen in time. With the PSU women scheduled to play Oregon State in the second game and the OSU women already it town, staying in downtown hotel which is about a ten minute bus trip to the PSU gym, an easy plan seem appropriate for PSU management, flip flop the games and get Oregon State to PSU as quickly as possible.

One problem, quick in Portland was not even close to an option on this night. As it turned out, with Willamette still no where in sight, the women's game would still go first, but getting Oregon State to Portland State from where they were staying turned out to be a nightmarish  1 1/2 trip in their bus. It was compounded by the fact the often cantankerous Oregon State coach LaVonda Wagner, despite the team bus being only a block from Portland State, would not let the players walk the block, she insisted front door service, thus delaying things even more,  claiming her highly fit athletes should never ever be expected to walk in snow, not even a block. (Just maybe with that thinking one of the many reasons she got fired at Oregon State).

As it turned out, the OSU women finally made it to Portland State, their  game with the Vikings started a little after 8:00 p.m., but it was not the end of the story.

Unlike Oregon State, the Willamette team got sick of being on their bus and stuck in traffic, they walked the final mile to Portland State. (Big plaudits for showing the courage to do so.)

The Bearcats were determined to play the Viking men and they did, the tip-off coming at 10:38 p.m., PST,  only 5 hours and 38 minutes after the scheduled 5 o'clock tip. The game ended at 12:42 a.m., December 30th, 2009, in what will go down in history as the latest ending game college basketball game ever, west coast time.

Actually in a tribute to the Portland State fans, even with the awful weather outside, traffic still bumper to bumper well after midnight, as I counted,  there were still 502 fans in stands when the game ended and it turned out to be a good college basketball game, with Portland State winning 97-90.

And in case you care, I did get home, but keeping in mind what is a late night normal 55 minute trip home for me, my three hours plus trip home gave me once again plenty of time to think, still just not about movies.

And of course despite the fact the Portland State gym holds 1,500 fans at best, 15 years from now, over 10,000 people will tell you that they were at this weirdest of weird basketball doubleheaders in downtown Portland, Oregon, 12/29/2009.

Also, a few quick final lessons from this day/night/day. 1) Never drive in Portland, Oregon when it is snowing. 2) If it is snowing and your the visiting team, please give yourself a little extra time. 3) If your a fan, live close to where you like to attend basketball games. 4) Do not be an amateur weather forecaster and maybe even a weather forecaster period. 5) If your a basketball coach, do not be a jerk. 6) D-3 athletes are not only good students, they are not afraid to have a little fun.

A night I will never forget and a night I hope you enjoyed hearing about.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011


CRAWFACTS is news, notes, and whatever else readers wish to call it.

Lorenzo Romar---I was told by a great source yesterday that if the Minnesota Timberwolves were to approach Romar he would still listen about their vacant head coaching position even at this point. Of course being at the school where he starred and graduated from is Romar's dream job, but sometimes the grass is greener, as in the green we use to pay for our groceries. Romar is one of the most liked and honest coaches in all of college basketball. Romar's name was one of the first mentioned when it was obvious that Kurt Rambis would lose his job with the Wolves. He has denied he would be interested, it is unlikely the Wolves are looking at him as of right now, but he would be an outstanding NBA coach, with his people skills. In my opinion he will not finish out his coaching career at Washington, he is a wanted coach by many people.

U of P/Portland State---About six weeks past a strong supporter of University of Portland basketball told me the Pilots would not be playing Portland State this year in basketball. After getting over the mild shock, I decided not to write about it, thinking this person could not be correct and even if he was at the time, this would change. It has not, no Vikings/Pilots game for the first time since 1998-99.

For all the great readers of this blog outside of Portland, Oregon I can understand you saying "who cares". But for people inside the city of Portland and even Oregon and SW Washington this is a big deal. It is the only college basketball rivalry around and quite frankly these two teams should have been playing twice per year, as compared to the one time that has been happening since 98.

On a much, much, much smaller scale this is the equivalent of UCLA not playing USC. I am getting hammered by fans from both sides on this issue and all I can say is your right. In one of the poorest college basketball towns for its size in the country, Portland, Oregon deserves this game each year.

Besides the rivalry aspect, it is a 20 minute bus trip between the schools and obviously a money saver in an age when both schools are not cash rich with their budgets. The game was also starting to become popular and drawing some "decent" crowds at both home sites.

I hope this is not true, but I have been told it was U of Portland that did not want to play the game. If that is the case, I can only say that the real reason is that Portland State has won four out of the last five meetings, which the Pilots were obviously embarrassed about. It is easy to talk about scheduling conflicts as the Pilots have done, but the bottom line is that this game was good for college basketball fans and they will be the losers. Shame on you University of Portland. This did not have to happen.

Fighting Sioux---Will North Dakota enter the Big Sky on July 1st, 2012 with the nickname Fighting Sioux, or will be something else like "come to our state and turn left to get to Regina, Canada". In case you have not heard,  the NCAA, with one of their 10,000 or so rules, has declared the Fighting Sioux to be an abusive nickname and ordered them to drop it. The school said fine, but that did not end things. The North Dakota legislature in a formal vote have ordered North Dakota to keep the name. If they do keep the name, they will in ineligible to host any NCAA championship events and their mascot will also be banned from NCAA events (darn).

On the serious side, nicknames that are offensive is a touchy subject. The Sioux Tribes in North Dakota have long wanted the name changed, but there also is the other side who argues for keeping tradition. For sure, this is an interesting case and the outcome will be watched by many in sports. I actually went to a high school which I loved and still love, Cleveland High School, which changed its nickname about 20 years past from Indians to Warriors. Puzzling, in that to me Warriors was a step backwards in the offensive category from Indians.

Brandon Davies----It is 99 percent certain Davies will return in the fall and be eligible to play basketball for the Cougars after sitting out his suspension for breaking the BYU honor code. Of course this is bad news for the West Coast Conference opponents of the Cougars. Easily even without Davies returning, the Cougars would have been projected in the top three of the WCC, now that might move to contender and top two. BYU, coach Dave Rose has also made it clear, he wants to even up the tempo more in Provo on offense, so with that style and the great BYU national following, conference road games for the Cougars should sellout almost every game.

Blogging----I am not complaining in the least, I love writing this blog, it is all about you great readers which keeps me going, but it is not as easy as it might seem. It takes research, keeping your ear to the ground and hard work. While some in the "mainstream" media pooh pooh bloggers and for sure lots of sports information directors do, to myself bloggers in sports have made everyone better writers. As I always say, there is a reason that McDonalds and Wendys are always close to each other, competition is what makes America the greatest country in the world.

Two blogs that do a great job of covering the Big Sky and the Western Athletic Conference are: and

EDITOR'S NOTE: I will return on Friday, of this week.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Do Not Mess With NESS

On occasion we find some some very smart people who make educated and key decisions in college athletics.

I would like to applaud the decision makers who last week decided not to extend the contract of head coach George Nessman at San Jose State, but instead do even better and give him a NEW three year contract.

Nessman earned it.

Despite the fact that San Jose State went only 17-16, last season, Nessman has the Spartans on the rise and it is time to start paying attention to the Spartans in college basketball.

If you have watched Nessman over the years it is obvious that he can coach the game of basketball. Sometimes even the best of coaching, doing all the right things and making key moves in a game, is not even enough to win the game. That has happened at San Jose State over the years in basketball, but expect that to continue, but to now translate into wins, instead of losses.

George Nessman took over the Spartans head coaching job in the 2005-06 season. His first couple of years were not the best, but since that time San Jose State is on the move and I think headed to being a force in west coast college basketball.

To prove how good of a job Nessman has done with the Spartans program, here is a little documentation.

The 17 wins last year were the most wins in basketball for the Spartans since 1981. Going 17-16 was the first winning season for the program since 1994. With their appearance in the post season at the CBI, it had not happened for the Spartans since 1996, playing after the regular season. Since joining the Western Athletic Conference in 1996, last season was the first time for San Jose State to make it to the semifinals of the WAC tournament.

Even with the above mentioned it improvement, it might have been easy for the Spartans to change coaches and not show patience. For the good of their program they chose not to do that and instead stick with a very good basketball coach.

George Nessman does not get the flashy headlines like many coaches do. His teams have not been on TV that much, so not many people know about them and very few people have been paying attention to Spartan basketball.

Warning: You better start paying attention. Nessman is a very good coach, who is making a difference at at a school with very little basketball history, very little sports history and at present very small fan base.

Nessman has taken over what many thought would be an impossible task and has made it possible for San Jose State to succeed in basketball. He is a rising star in the coaching ranks and he has a program on the rise.

It will be lots of fun to watch his program not only this year, but in the future. I have a feeling it will not be disappointing.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

It Will Be Sad And Bad

Sometimes it is ok to change your opinion on something. That is what makes opinions, thoughts and even arguments about sports so fun.

I have changed my mind in past few days about how the NBA lockout will affect college basketball.

I now do not think it will HELP. I previously thought it might be good for college basketball, but after thinking it through, I have allowed myself to change my mind.

In some cases college basketball does not need help. Many places it is at the peak of popularity, impossible to get tickets and teams are on TV every time they play. Other schools need a big shot in the arm and programs are a disaster, any help would improve things.

Anything that is bad for basketball, is bad for all of basketball. Basketball is basketball no matter what the level and an NBA lockout will sour fans on the game, not only just the NBA, but the game of basketball as a whole. No one wins in any lockout/strike, period.

There are many schools of thought out there that the college game and the NBA have a completely different set of fans, I do not totally buy into that theory. I do think there is a large group of college/NBA fans who publicly like to pooh-pooh the game, but privately are watching it every night on TV. Much bigger crossover than people would think, otherwise the NBA would never get the TV ratings it does and be as popular worldwide as it is.

While I was kind of shocked and even disturbed as to an NBA lockout and in denial, I have now come to realization it is for real and even worse, lots of people I respect and are insiders who know their stuff regarding the NBA, are telling me there will not be one game played and the entire 2011-12 season will be LOST.

Of course we will survive and about a year past, nearly everyone will forgive and things will be back to normal. But for some people if there is not an NBA season or even half a season,  there lives will not be normal.

The owners, top level front office people, coaches and players will hardly will feel hardly a dent economically, but as you go further down the pecking order, the economics of an NBA lockout for many people will be an economic disaster.

Many teams are starting to slowly eliminate employees from their work force and it is only going to get worse. The Charlotte Bobcats just cut a lot of their employees off their payroll, including their longtime radio broadcaster. As we all know the NBA office staff was just decreased by 11 percent. Of course, as in most firings or layoffs, it is the people who can afford it the least, who are the first to get cut.

I am not worried about the loss of games, but I am worried about the many people who will lose their jobs in this mess. Unemployment is high even, it does not need to increase because of stupidity and bright minds not being able to solve this lockout. We always think about wins and losses, but we seldom think about the impact sports has on the economy, it is much greater than even most projections have it and it is a large part of the big piece of the world economy.

My complaining, ranting, writing, more than likely is not going to help, but at least I want to do my part to offer a suggestion to solve the lockout.

What would be wrong with eliminating the entire economic model at present, I mean wiping out the whole thing and starting fresh.

How about going to a sliding scale, where there is guaranteed base pay for all players depending on their abilities, but any additional monies to players would be based on how much profit your team makes and the accounting would be solely done by an independent audit, no cooking the books. It would force teams to manage their business like a business, you would see a much more competitive league and it is the ultimate of capitalism. It can work, it just takes some people who care on both sides to make it happen. Greed never wins, smart business decisions always do.

It is a simple formula, but one that would work. The businesses that succeed are the ones that keep it simple and smart. Profit is only gained by smart economics and solid business model, at this time the entire NBA business model is broken beyond repair.

Once again it is fair to ask, why do I care? I care because an NBA lockout is bad for basketball, not just the NBA, but all of basketball, I care because really good people in many cases are going to lose their jobs for a long period of time and I care because any work stoppage in any sport is bad for the economy and it affects every American, not just people who love the game, but even people who could care less about sports.

I am even of the thinking to commiting the ultimate "sin",  politicians and even the President need to get involved in solving this huge mess. Why not,  they do it with other areas of the economy and sports is no different when it comes to the end game.

And I might add, would love to see David Stern and Adam Silver, announce today that they are reducing their own pay to $1.00 until this pathetic situation resolved. It would be the fair and honorable thing to do, but these two guys have not stood the test of time and actually need to resign and ride off into the sunset with the millions they have garnered from their often ineptness of running the NBA.

For the love of the college game and the love of basketball, we can only hope the NBA lockout is solved, but I am not optimistic and I feel for the "little" people and the impact this will have on their lives. I know I am not the only one who feels this way, I just wish the greedy, selfish, spoiled people who can solve this, felt the same way, but it is obvious they could care less.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Where Will Elevator Stop In 2011-12

Despite the fact that many people do not even look at west coast college basketball seriously and it has been forgotten by the east coast media in many circles (not whining, just stating a fact), it will be a really interesting year coming up for teams out west in the 2011-12 season. Here are just a few thoughts.

1. Arizona---They have a real chance to challenge for the NCAA championship. There is no question that Sean Miller has established himself as  a powerful force in the coaching ranks and he will have his most talented group yet in Tucson. Of course paper only looks good, when your writing on it, but look for Arizona to be in the final four.

2. Eastern Washington---Hiring new coach Jim Hayford from the D-3 ranks was iffy, chancy and anything else you want to call it, but a winner is a winner and Hayford has been highly successful at D-3 Whitworth. In case you have not been watching he is doing a good job of recruiting in his first stint as a head coach at D-1 and it will be good for the Big Sky if he can change the basketball culture in Cheney, Washington.

3. Painting The Line---In my efforts to follow this, I have heard nothing about Oregon showing us a center court line, that we can see. It had an impact on games last year, it will impact games in the future if it is not made more visible. Not to mention it is very hard to watch games on TV that are played at Oregon, with no visible center court line. The center court line is a huge part of the history of college basketball and as I have said, it is always fine to be edgy, but it is not fine to be disrespectful to the great game of basketball. Ducks, you have things going in basketball, just paint your darn center court line, so you don't have to stand two feet from it with a magnifying glass just to see it.

4. Johnny Dawkins----It will be time for Dawkins to show us something at Stanford. To the amazement of lots of people, Dawkins was just given a contract extension, despite a record of .500 in his three years with the Cardinal. Coming out of the Duke basketball program, it was the thought that Dawkins would make a big splash, so far not even a ripple. He might not be the coach we all thought he would be.

5. Oregon State----Are the Beavers going to move out of neutral and once again have an impact on college basketball as they did on a somewhat regular basis prior to 1990, or are we going to see the same old pathetic situation we have seen in Corvallis. Craig Robinson also needs to prove himself as a head coach, he really has done nothing to improve Beaver basketball and the pressure will mount for his teams to produce. With its history, the Pac-12 needs a strong presence in Corvallis.

6. UCLA---How will the Bruins do playing every game on the road. It will test them for sure, most teams who have played games out of their home court for year because of renovation (Pauley Pavilion is undergoing a complete renovation and not available in 2011-12) have not faired well. I would say look for the Bruins to have a down year this season, but bounce back strong next year with what is already a great looking recruiting class.

7. Max Good---My favorite name in coaching and one of my favorite coaches to watch with his sideline antics. It would be nice for his Loyola Marymount team to have some success on the floor this year after being a disaster last year. If Good is bad, then there is a good chance it will be no "good" when it comes to him returning to the Lions' sideline in 2012. At some point in the West Coast Conference, teams besides Gonzaga, St. Mary's and likely BYU, need to make an impact and get the league more spots in the NCAA tournament.

8. Seattle U.---The Redhawks have one of the best traditions in all of college basketball back a few years, well documented in past Craw's Corner columns. It is time though for them to start showing some improvement on the floor and win more games. It hard to move up from D-2 to D-1 as the Redhawks did three years past, but at some point the wins need to come, or else the varnish will wear off quickly and the move will not look good. It will help being in the WAC starting in 2012, a league they could potentially dominate, but so far it is all talk.

9. Steve Alford---Despite some chances to move, Alford has stayed as coach at New Mexico. He has been consistently good with the Lobos and you heard it here first, in the next five years, he will take his team to the final four one of those seasons. He is a great recruiter and now that he does not have to play BYU twice, that will help. The Lobos are one of basketball's sleeping giants. Great fans, great state and always excellent basketball. The next step is coming.

10. Hall of Fame----Will others like myself catch onto the fact that Danny Miles at Oregon Tech deserves and should be in the basketball hall of fame in Springfield, Mass. Going into his 41st season, it is time he got his just do and if I can do my little part to help, then so be it. Media in Oregon should be talking about it more and basketball fans worldwide need to hear his great story. This blog is gaining a huge following and part of my mission is to recognize and honor basketball people who deserve accolades like the hall of fame and have contributed so much. Miles is a perfect fit.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

FEW and Far Between

Gonzaga basketball fans are spoiled.

If you say anything in the slightest vein that they take as derogatory against their team, you get all kinds of criticism thrown back your way.

It gets even worse, if you ever say anything bad about head coach Mark Few.

But never fearing a little bit of challenge, here we go. After all it is sports, it is college basketball and no one ever takes those two things seriously, lol. (That is my last lol period, big opponent of the term).

Despite the fact that Mark Few's teams play very poor defense often, he is an outstanding coach. (Note to Gonzaga fans, I gave him a compliment.)

For the record, he after all as head coach of the Gonzaga Bulldogs, since the 1999-2000 season has some sterling stats. His teams have gone to the NCAA tournament every year he has been at Gonzaga. Coach Few's record at Gonzaga is 315-83, his league record in the WCC even more incredible at 149-19 wins to losses.

It gets better, as Few's teams have won 11 straight league championships and even more impressive nine WCC tournament championships and only once was during that time was the tournament held in Gonzaga's home city of Spokane, Washington. Very impressive.

Let's keep it going, in Few's 11 years and looking at all the 355 D-1 schools during that period,  it is almost impossible to get one first team all-america, Few has had two, in Dan Dickau and Adam Morrison. Every game is sold out and has been for years and last but not least, Few has been coach of the year six times in the WCC and has had nine different players named WCC player of the year.

Actually over Few's 11 years at Gonzaga, not one D-1 school can even come close to matching the Zags record of league and WCC tournament play.

Here is where it gets a little sticky for both myself and maybe some others. Under Few, the Zags have made four sweet sixteen appearances, but never have made it to the elite 8. I wondered if anyone else looked at this as a flaw, so I did a little Craw's Corner investigative reporting.

I called three people who have season tickets to Gonzaga games that I knew,  would tell it like it is. Not a scientific sample, but these three guys can bring it.

The results, two are not always happy that the Zags do not go further in NCCA play, one even going as far to say that he would not be crushed if Few left Spokane for a better job, he closed with, despite his record, he has warn out his welcome. His supporter, was equally vocal bringing out some good points in that Gonzaga is able to bring some top teams Spokane and when you watch them at home they always win and for him that was more than satisfactory.

But in sports, when is not enough, not enough. It does seem odd to myself that Gonzaga has never been to the elite 8, especially with some of their talent in recent years and players who have gone on to be drafted in the NBA. I would even go so far as to say the Zags are somewhat of a major disappointment in NCAA tournament play or maybe even at times a big failure.

With all that said, for now, I would call Mark Few an outstanding regular season coach, but a below average when it comes NCAA tournament play. I might even call him a little overrated as a coach.

Lots of people all over have been waiting for the Zags to step up come March and April and it has not happened. It gets even more challenging now with BYU joining the WCC, it will force pressure on Gonzaga as they have to keep winning the leagues, as history dictates, the WCC hardly ever being in contention for an at large berth.

Ok let's just say it, Mark Few is not as good a coach as he is made out to be.

One last thing, Gonzaga, if you always claim your as good for basketball as you are, then show us and play your northwest brothers, Oregon State, Oregon and Washington on a regular basis. You need to act like your the kings of the northwest and do the right thing, instead of at times acting like spoiled brats.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks for all the great emails and wondering where I went. I am here, hopefully better than ever, I am just going to cut back during these summer months on my writing a little bit. Not to worry, you will still receive Craw's Corner  on a fairly regular basis and I still appreciate your readership very much. I might also have a big announcement coming up soon regarding this column, keep reading.

emails to and comments always welcome below the column

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The SKY Is Falling

I fully admit I am a basketball junkie.

I also fully admit that I enjoy the business side of basketball, equally to the games.

Attendance figures and basketball schedules, I look at each and every day during the season. If I am the only person in America, it is also an exciting time for myself right now as basketball schedules for the teams I follow closely start to trickle out.

One league I have followed closely for years, too many years to even count,  is the Big Sky. The Big Sky teams play in states I have always been fascinated with, Washington, Idaho, California, Utah, Montana, Oregon and Colorado. Gorgeous states, that are populated by wonderful people.

If you watch and follow the Big Sky, it is easy to recognize that outside of Idaho State, it is a league for its size that has outstanding basketball coaches, a really quality group of assistant coaches who I am sure are woefully underpaid and the basketball is usually really exciting. Games are fun to watch, great to take the family too and you usually can get a pretty good seat.

It is the watch and follow part these days that is troublesome. Yes you could say the in the Big Sky the Sky is falling. Last year the average home attendance for all Big Sky men's games was 2,288. That figure stands out even more, when you consider out the 355 D-1 teams, Big Sky member Weber State ranked 93rd in attendance with average attendance of just under 6,000. Not bad.

Obviously if  you throw out Weber State, attendance in the rest of the league borders on being pathetic. Granted, at least two places in the league have very small arenas, Sacramento State and Portland State, but even those schools  fail each night to come even close to selling out. 

Even a sadder fact is that six teams in the Big Sky  averaged less than the D-3 leader in home attendance last year, Hope University, which had an average home attendance of just under 3,000 fans.

Is there "hope' for the Big Sky. I would like to think so, but it is not going to happen overnight, it will take some long hours and hard work and it will take some creativity, something the Big Sky office is noted for.

And speaking of scheduling, one thing that really damages the Big Sky attendance is the ability to attract quality teams to play in pre-season games. Of the three teams that have their schedules out for 2011-12, here is a sample of the schools that  Big Sky teams will play in pre-season at home.

South Dakota, Cal State Davis, Pacific Lutheran, Colorado Christian, Cal State Bakersfield, Mayville State, Northern New Mexico, Willamette and Linfield (twice). As you can see all  big time basketball powerhouses.  (I have to add, in the heyday of Linfield basketball with the likes of Dan Beeson, Mike Smithey and John Melonas, Linfield might have beaten most of the Big Sky teams they played, but those days are long over.)

As more Big Sky basketball schedules trickle out, I am sure the you will see additional powerhouses on the home schedules like Wales and Johnson, Concordia and Minot State. The Big Sky teams actually play some great teams on the road in  pre-season, home games, well there is nothing you can say about most of the teams they play, because half the time, nobody has ever heard of them as noted above.

Ok, ok, I might be the only person that cares, but I am going to offer some advice to the Big Sky office, a league I love and care about, as to how to get more people watching your basketball games and hopefully being able to attract great teams for home pre-season games. Here goes:

1. Re-brand the entire league. Even go as far to change the name. The Big Sky no longer fits, with expansion happening in both basketball and football, Big Sky is too Montana(ish) and it no longer fits.

2. Stop treating basketball as a second hand sport compared to football. Memo to Big Sky office, football in the Big Sky is FCS, basketball is D-1. Basketball should be your dominant sport.

3. The greatest sports marketer of all time, Jon Spoelstra lives in one of the Big Sky cities, Portland. Have him do a seminar to all Big Sky staff and marketing people in the respective schools. He would make a difference and get people thinking in the right direction. In basketball terms, Spoelstra is a made three point shot and getting fouled and making the free throw.

4. Have Mike Lund, from Portland State, do the same as Spoelstra, when it comes to media relations. Lund is great, he knows what he is doing and his advice should and needs to  be made available to all schools.

5. A drastic measure, but maybe for a few years Big Sky teams quit playing home pre-season games. Sure it would affect everyone's record, but maybe not the RPI. No one wants to come and watch the above mentioned teams play, that is obvious.

Hey, no can ever question my love and loyalty to Big Sky basketball. It is a good product, watched and followed by far less people these days than should happen and rather than complain, I offered some great solutions. I just hope the right people are listening.

By the way, I do have some name changes for the league, but why should I do their work for them. As many readers as this blog has, writing about them should be enough, at least I hope it helps.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011



Kerry Keating----Congratulations to coach Keating on his recent extension of his contract at Santa Clara, not the easiest place to win ball games and recruit. Of course it was Craw's Corner that selected Keating as its first ever west coast coach of the year last season. And you can repeat for that honor, so we will watch what the Broncos can do in the tough West Coast Conference and getting tougher with the addition of BYU.

MLB All-Star Game----We want to wish a great reader of this blog, a great umpire and an even greater person, Dale Scott, the best of luck as he was chosen to be the home plate umpire of this coming Tuesday's major league all-star game. Quite an honor and well deserved for a person who has been at the top of his game for 26 years. By the way, kind of puzzling why Dale Scott is not a member of the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. He along with Terry Gierke and Terry Durham are people that have been overlooked as sports officials, giants at their craft and just flat deserve to be in the Oregon Sports HOF.

Johnny Dawkins----I along with many other people were kind of surprised that Dawkins got a contract extension recently. With an under .500 career record for the Cardinal, the Stanford administration must see something that other people do not. It is going to be even tougher for Stanford to move up in the Pac-12, with almost ever team this year being improved and new members Utah and Colorado coming onboard. Utah on paper appears to have at least an equal team to Stanford and Colorado appears to be much better. As noted in Craw's Corner last week that Rodney Tention is no longer an assistant at Stanford, moving to San Diego, it now is apparent that Dawkins was asked to shake up his staff, before the extension would be granted. It happens often in basketball coaching, change your staff or else no extension.

Sean Kemp Jr.----Nice signing by the Washington Huskies. The oldest of Sean Kemp's many children, by many different women, has the potential to be a nice player for the Huskies. Of course the big question in Seattle is if Romar will be coaching the Huskies this coming season. I have learned that he still is one of the top three choices of David Kahn to replace Kurt Rambis as the coach of the NBA Minnesota Timberwolves. Romar has denied any interest, says he wants to finish his career in Seattle. That may happen, but we have heard that from many basketball coaches and boom, the next thing we know is they are gone.

Five Years Past----I wrote this past week that often people and coaches in sports stay too long at the same place or do not know when to retire. I thought it would be fun to look at some west coast schools and see who was coaching the basketball team in the 2006-07 season and who is coaching at the school as we enter 2011

California-----2006- Ben Braun, 2011-Mike Montgomery

San Francisco----2006-Jessie Evans, 2011-Rex Walters

Washington St.----2006-Tony Bennett, 2011-Ken Bone

Oregon----2006-Ernie Kent, 2011-Dana Altman

UNLV----2006-Lon Kruger, 2011-David Rice

San Diego----2006-Brad Holland, 2011-Billy Grier

USC-----2006-Tim Floyd, 2011-Kevin O'Neill

Boise St.----2006-Greg Graham, 2011-Leon Rice

Arizona----2006-Lute Olson, 2011-Sean Miller

San Jose St.----2006-George Nessman, 2011-George Nessman

Congrats San Jose St. for sticking with a good coach. Seems like Lute Olson has been away from Arizona longer that five years and boy does time fly.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

The Pilots Are No Longer Bluffing

About the only thing that is bad for Portland Pilots basketball coach Eric Reveno lately,  is that some people still can't pronounce his last name and often he is confused  in looks with Colorado head coach Tad Boyle.

Otherwise things are pretty darn good for Reveno as he enters his sixth season for the Pilot,  a school which sits on "The BLUFF  in north Portland with a beautiful campus and beautiful views of the Willamette river.

Reveno had a shaky start at University of Portland. His first team went 9-23 in the 2006-07 season and the next year was not much better. In fairness, Reveno inherited a mess from previous coach Michael Holton. In maybe the most gutsy move in the history of Pilot athletics, athletic director Larry Williams bought out Holton's contract at the end of the 2006 season.

As of right now the move looks brilliant. Although attendance is still not where it needs to be, it has risen in each year under Reveno, people are starting to talk about the Pilots for the first time in ages and more importantly, in the last three years the team has gone 60-36 and advanced to play in the CIT post season tournament each year.

Even with all the regular season success, the Pilots have struggled in the West Coast Conference tournament, I am sure something that weighs on the mind of Reveno. In the last 20 years prior to the the arrival of Reveno, the Pilots were most noted in athletics for having a great women's soccer team and every year winning their league championship in men's cross country. Under Reveno, Pilot basketball is changing that.

Lately I have often said that Reveno is the best head basketball coach in D-1 that no one knows about. The city of Portland is not a good college basketball town, the Pilots history in basketball for the most part is,  there is little history and with its high academic standards and lack of a basketbal history, it makes recruiting athletes hard.

But somehow, each of the last three years Reveno has gotten the job done. He will be challenged once again this year with a young team that will have only two seniors, but one of those seniors Nemanga Mitrovic has the potential to be the best three point shooter in the country. The rest of his teammates will have to develop quickly if the team hopes to win 20 games again this season, but it is obvious now you never bet against Eric Reveno accomplishing anything.

If you ever make it to Portland during basketball season, it is worth the trip to watch the Pilots play. Their arena, The Chiles Center, does not have a bad seat in the house, it even offers some items  in the concession stands that differ from the normal crap and most important, parking is always free.

I did think of a couple more bad things. You can't email Coach Reveno, he is the only staff member that does not list an email. This is a disturbing trend in college athletics, not being able to email the head coach. Bad customer service. Also, it is not good that the Pilots play their cross town buddies, Portland State only once during pre-season. In days of tight budgets and shortfalls it just seems so natural these teams should play twice, not once.

In college basketball often programs can sustain for years after their head coach moves on, many examples. But in the case of the Pilots, when Eric Reveno moves on, the program could easily suffer. It is obvious he is a coach that knows how to put a program together under not the best of circumstances and he knows how to win.

If the Pilots can keep him, great. If he leaves for a better job, not great.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Over Staying Your Welcome

When I recently watched the ESPN special featuring Joe Paterno and Mike Krzyzewski like everyone else I had some thoughts and opinions.

Of course per usual when he is involved in any ESPN production, the best part of the show was host Rece Davis. Is there anything that guy can't do?  He is simply the best studio host in broadcasting right now and in my opinion the best of all time. If a young person wants to go into broadcasting just watch and copy Rece Davis and you will be a success.

Back to my thoughts. It is hard for myself to watch Coach K on anything. I have heard way too many negative things about him and have never been a big fan. It is hard to watch Joe Paterno period. I use to be a big fan, always rooted for Penn State, I do not anymore as Paterno has stayed too long. It is painful to watch him be interviewed, it is also painful to watch him on the sidelines. Of course we all know he has a great staff and they are running the program, Coach Paterno just stands there, literally.

When it comes to college basketball, I am a firm believer that coaches should move often, especially when they are riding the crest of success. Of course there are a few exceptions. Coach K when it comes to wins and losses is an example, but we often forget, he even took a year off to get healthy and recharge his batteries back in the early 90s.

Maybe it is because I am old, but I have seen too many coaches stay at the same place too long, only to not only wear out their welcome, but go from successful years, to poor years and lose their job. Staying is your profession for a long time is great, staying at the same place your asking for trouble.

Fans, boosters and administrations are fickle. In sports if your not successful, everyone will turn on you in a heartbeat.

Perfect example, ex-Oregon coach Ernie Kent. In the early 2000s Kent was the hottest coaching name in the country, he could have had lots of jobs that were waiting for him to accept. He chose to stay with the Ducks, in 2011,  after being ousted by Oregon in 2010, he couldn't even get a decent interview for a basketball head coaching job. Sticking on the west coast, Mike Montgomery stayed too long at Stanford, now being at Cal, some  people do not even know he is still in coaching. I even worry about Wayne Tinkle at Montana, a really good coach, is he going to stay too long with the Griz and not move when he should.

As mentioned above there are some exceptions to staying too long in the same place. I have written about two of them, Danny Miles and Brad Jackson. Both of these coaches have sustained the test of time and continue to be at the top of their games and their role in shaping young people's lives goes way beyond coaching basketball and obviously quality of life means just as much as making big bucks. I do have a feeling both of them will know when it is a good time to retire and I also have a strong feeling both of them will be real active doing lots of volunteer work and helping lots of people upon their retirement.

Speaking of retirement, in basketball it should also apply to referees. Because the money is so great,  more and more we are seeing referees stay too long. Jim Burr and Tim Higgins, who were both involved in the debacle at the Big East tournament last year and literally were fired from working any more games in the tournament,  have stayed too long. They can't cover the court and actually often embarrass themselves in games. It is time for them to be off the court and evaluating officials, not working games.

Retirement is always a touchy subject for everyone. What I don't want to see is someone else making the decision for you to retire or even worse be fired.

Sports even has its own set of unwritten rules. Move when your a success, do not wear out your welcome and retire before you become an embarrassment. And don't forget, even when you do retire, plenty of people are looking for your great skills in the volunteer field.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

With Tad It Will Not Be Sad

There are just some college basketball coaches that are made to rebuild programs and are made to WIN.

In my mind, Colorado Buffalo coach Tad Boyle fits that mold.

While Boyle is still young in his coaching career and even has a below .500 record overall as a head coach when you look at is his overall body of work, it is impressive.

Rob Closs was an outstanding player for Dick Harter with the Oregon Ducks and has carried on his relationship with the Ducks by being their  TV analyst for Duck basketball games. Back in 1994 standing next to Closs in Mac Court during warm-ups it was Closs who told me to look at the Oregon bench. I did and he went on to tell me there are two guys sitting over there as Duck assistants that will be big time college head coaches in the future.

Closs per usual was so right on one of the people and is headed to be right on the other. Those two people he pointed out were Mark Turgeon and Tad Boyle, who were in their first year as being assistants for head coach Jerry Green. Turgeon who will coach Maryland this year after a great run at Texas A&M has turned into being one of the top young coaches in college basketball and Boyle is headed in that direction.

I would warn all Pac-12 fans, coaches and anyone else that will listen, do not ever take the Colorado Buffalos for granted as long as Tad Boyle is their head coach. It is a school with very little basketball tradition, but Boyle just might change that.

In Boyle's first year as head college basketball coach he went 4-24 at the Northern Colorado Bears. In his last year with the Bears he guided them to a 25-8 record and a trip to the College Insider Tournament. What a turnaround in four years, he changed the entire culture of Bears' basketball.

In his home state,  that obviously caught the attention of many people, landing  Boyle the head coaching job at Colorado last year. He didn't even take the normal three years to put the program on the map. In his first year he won 24 games and he team played great in a very tough basketball conference, the Big 12.

If you had one beef with a team that should have gotten into the NCAA tournament it was Boyle's Buffalos. All of basketball was shocked when the Buffs did not make the big dance, but in a tribute to Boyle's coaching he kept the team focused, taking them to the semifinals of the NIT.

Boyle did not rest after the season. He did something that has not happened for 21 years at Colorado, he was able to recruit not just one player out of the Los Angeles area, but three quality players. Point guards Askia Baker and Spencer Dinwiddie, along with power forward Damiene Cain will join the Buffs this coming season and the three have a chance to be impact players.

Of course the Buffs lost two high quality players in Alec Burks and Cory Higgins, not easy players to replace, but Boyle always finds a way to win.

As for Pac-12 play, the Buffs have not played Arizona State and Washington State since 1969. It has been almost as long since they have played USC and UCLA, the last time being 1975 and 1977 respectively. Those match-ups will also help the Buffs in recruiting, especially playing the LA schools in the rich California basketball talent area and giving his three recruits a chance to play in front of family and friends.

If Tad Boyle has one flaw, he keeps calling Colorado his "dream job". (Boyle is a native of Greeley, Colorado). In these days of high powered college basketball, big money and an ever abundance of players to recruit, there are no dream jobs. Boyle is the lowest paid basketball coach in the Pac-12 at around $590,000 per year, he was mentioned for a couple of openings this year and another year like he had last year with the Buffs, he will become even a hotter commodity.

The Buffs for sure are a program to watch as they join the Pac-12 and Tad Boyle is a coach to watch as well, being a graduate of Kansas where he captained the team in 1985, playing for Larry Brown, coaching under Jerry Green, being around Mark Turgeon, his total basketball culture has been about winning and he continues that as head coach.

At least I warned you early enough Pac-12.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How Much Is Too Much

For a long period of time, I have always wondered why NCAA college basketball teams need so many darn assistant coaches.

I watch some teams and it almost seems at times there is more men in suits on the bench than there are substitutes.

By NCAA rules teams are allowed, one head coach, three assistants and a director of basketball operations, whose scope in limited as to the duties.

Without question the hardest job in college basketball is an assistant coaching position. There just in my mind is too many assistant coaches on each team.

Assistant coaches are woefully UNDERPAID, they work long hours, they are constantly studying videotape, running practices in many cases, making sure all the redshirts are doing what they need to do to get better, recruiting and making sure that 18-22 year old young men are staying out of trouble, going to class and conducting their lives in a manner that their parents, the school and community can be proud. Not even close to being a cake walk job in these times.

Some assistant coaches might read this column and be irritated with myself about saying there are too many assistant coaches. I can understand that as they need to stick up for their profession and they should do just that.

I actually am writing this out of respect for every assistant coach and I actually want to get you the money your more than deserve. One way to do that, without raising the budget, is to eliminate one assistant coaching position and take that money and give it to the two remaining assistants. I will never be convinced that a team needs three assistants and a director of basketball operations. Too many cooks spoil the broth.

Two of the greatest coaches in the history of the NBA won championships with only one assistant coach. The 1977 champion Portland team won the title with Jack Ramsay and Jack McKinney as its only two coaches. Going a little further north, in 1979 Lenny Wilkens won the championship with only one man at his side, Les Habegger.

I am not saying we have to go back to 1979, but basketball is basketball, good coaches win and bad coaches get fired.

I want assistant coaches to make more money, I have so much respect for the job they do and seldom get any credit for their work, I just want to see less, so you all can make more.

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Rotation Is A Good Thing

In a very short time, Larry Scott, Pac-12 commissioner and his astute executive team, will start taking bids on where to host the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament.

The contract is up after this coming basketball season at the Staples Center, so 2013 is wide open and it is anybody's guess as to where the event will take place.

One thing is certain, it should not return to the Staples Center in Los Angeles. They just flat do not deserve the game any longer, the tournament for most part has been poorly attended and despite the storied program at UCLA, Los Angeles is not a good college basketball town, it is all about the Lakers.

Begs the question, who does deserve the tournament? It actually is a hard question to answer, so let's examine some of the choices.

Seattle---Even though it is the NBA, they lost the Seattle Sonics, so just how good of a town for basketball is Seattle? The Seattle U. Redhawks, have drawn well so far in Key Arena since returning to D-1, despite having below average teams. The Huskies do well, but if they did not have such a winning team their crowds by most estimates would be sparse. Seattle will place a bid for the tournament, so that does show some interest. That bid will be for Key Arena to host.

Las Vegas--Rumors always abound about Vegas being a site for post season. The Big Sky even toyed with it this year, but a crowded field which already sees the Mt. West, WAC and West Coast Conference playing there, it seems like a long shot. Once thing is for certain, Las Vegas knows how to promote and put on events, so don't automatically count them out.

Sacramento---The closest Pac-12 team is the Cal Bears, but Sacramento is a great basketball city. They might lose the Kings, but the way the great fans have supported the team through some terrible losing seasons and the passion for basketball makes this a choice to at least look at in the future. It would probably be even a better choice if the Kings left, as the community would be starved for basketball.

Salt Lake City---Would be a great advantage for  Pac-12 newcomer Utah, but Salt Lake City is a great basketball town and Utah is a great basketball state. It does not get any bigger than the Olympics so there are many people in town who know how to put on quality events. For sure, this city needs to be on the list and highly considered.

Portland--A funny college basketball town. The city's two D-1 teams, Portland State and U. of Portland do not draw well. Kentucky came to town last year and so did Duke, playing Portland and Oregon, respectively and neither game came even close to selling out the 20,000 seat Rose Garden. But on the positive side, in 2009 the first round NCAA regionals sold out quickly and the 2012 NCAA regionals in Portland are expected to do the same. Portland needs a look.

Tucson---Without question, this would be a good choice. Actually it would be my first choice. The fans of the Wildcats deserve it with their support they have shown over the years, even in the short down time and above all, Arizona has held up Pac-12 basketball at a high level for so many years, it would be nice to reward them for it.

Spokane---Thought I would throw it in, for one reason. They have an active sports commission who has attracted some very nice, high profile events to the area, so it would get the community support and the backing of people who know what they are doing when it comes to hosting not only basketball, but other sporting events.

Of course all these above cities, do need to make bids and I am certain all of the above are at least thinking about making plans to bid and some have already said they will, such as Seattle.

Here is just a thought for the Pac-12, cause even though they might not listen to Craw's Corner, they do read this blog in the offices.

Pac-12, don't get locked into one city. Rotate this tournament around to all of the above and even more additions. After one year, it gets old and stale in the same venue, it creates a lot more buzz, if a new venue is the site of Pac-12 men's tournament each year. It also would help the league promote and market their game, fans in these cities would really have something to look forward too and there is nothing better than spreading the excitement, after all the Pac-12 is a big area.

Pac-12 basketball needs a big shot in the arm, rotating the conference tournament would be a great start.

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Your Bucket Should Contain

The term "bucket list" will go down in history as one of the great sayings of the first half of this century, all the hip people use the term, I am not hip or even cool, but I do know what west coast basketball fans should see in the next few years if possible.

With the season actually less than four months away, it is time to start planning. Not everyone can afford to travel, they might not have the health to do so, so all of the things I am going to talk about can be seen on TV, but if you can go live, GO FOR IT. Nothing like being there in person.

1. UTAH STATE----- The best college basketball atmosphere of any arena in the country. Logan, Utah is a beautiful city and the Aggie fans are just great to watch. They are into the game, have some great songs they sing during the time-outs and do it for the most part in a respectful manner. I am sure it helps they win all the time at home, so get there soon, before Stew Morrill decides to leave as head coach and that would set the program back. Stew, just win an NCCA tournament game sometime please.

2. Power Pep Band--- The Portland State Vikings have the best pep band out west. Small gym, but usually you can get into the Stott Center. While the teams have had some nice success in the past five years, this band is worth it. They not only can play music, they are entertaining, constantly on the opponents and referees. They even have a trombone player who I am not sure if he ever puts his lips to the mouthpiece, but he is worth watching the whole evening with his antics. The great part is none of these band members will ever graduate, not being PSU students, I am not sure where they come from, but one thing is certain they fit Portland, Oregon's unofficial motto, "keep Portland weird".

3. Maui Classic-- I have never been, but everyone who has,  always wants to go back soon. Once again small gym, usually hotter than heck inside, but without question the best field of any of the pre-season tournaments. Usually held the  week of Thanksgiving, you also will see plenty of famous basketball people hanging around, after all it is Hawaii, in the start of winter. If the talented teams are not enough, there is always the suspense if the home team Chaminade will pull a huge upset, as they have done on occasion.

4. Haas Pavilion---The California Bears are an up and down team, you never know each year what you are going to get on the floor, but for sure it is worth going and watching the season ticket holders that sit behind the scorer's table. They ooze San Francisco, not Berkeley, old time quality people. You can just tell Bear season tickets have been in the family since the first game in the school's history. These men are the true example of rail-birds, they love the Bears and they love sitting on the rail. There is nothing else like it in the Pac-12.

5. Gonzaga--If you can get in. Good atmosphere, if your in the arena and you do not have either white, blue or red as part of your attire, you can guarantee that someone will go out and buy you a shirt and then ask you to pay for it. Of course the Zags, along with Arizona and UCLA have been the kings of west coast basketball in the last 20 years. And kings fits the way the fans act. Not all, but many Gonzaga fans are the kings of arrogance. I just like to go and watch the arrogance, but I have more class than to go into the arena and hold a sign up "just get to the elite 8", which is missing on the resume. Zag fans,  act like you have never been there before.

6. The Pit---The greatest name of any basketball arena in the world. Frank Mercogliano of the New Mexico staff (one of the really good guys in sports) recently told me how it got the name. I was looking for more of an exotic answer, but the floor basically is just like any pit you would see, deep into the ground and  that is all to the story. But beyond, the Lobos are usually very good and the place is loud, fun and the second best west coast atmosphere in basketball, next to Utah State. In addition, the people in New Mexico are as friendly as it gets. This is a must see.

7. Of course there are other places, Pauley Pavilion, Warner Pacific College in the middle of Portland, Oregon, both Alaska schools that play in the GNAC conference and Mac Court.

Uh oh, I forgot, Mac Court is no longer, progress is great but there was just something about the old place that is hard to forget.

So there is plenty of choices and I kind of wrote this as a tribute to my good friend Jim Jorgensen, who loves to travel around to unique sports venues, I hope I gave him something to think about.

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Sorry, But The Stats Make The Case

This is not an indictment of women, it is not even an indictment of women playing basketball, but something has to give.

In the fiscal year ending 2010, of the public NCAA D-1 schools playing basketball, 93 percent of men's programs made money, not one women's basketball program made money.

You would have to think that with all the publicity, all the record breaking winning streaks and a coach that is on TV almost every night during the season, the Connecticut  Huskies women's basketball team would have made tons of money. Not so. For the fiscal year 2010, the giants of women's basketball lost $740,000 dollars. OUCH.

Last year the average ticket price of NCAA men's games was $19.00, the average price for women's games was $7.00. Average attendance for all D-1 men's games was right around 5,100 and the women were at 1,100.

Is there a picture forming here, I think so. Women are not carrying their share of the load in basketball, the games in most cases are not exciting to watch and schools have to take hard look at the value of women's basketball.

What it boils down to is that the women basketball coaches are paid way to much money and ruins any chance of the a school making a profit. In this day of cutbacks, budget shortfalls and rising tuitions, there is no way that women's coach, who is the CEO of the program, should be paid 75 percent of revenues, which is the case at numerous schools. (For the record, it would be unheard for a business to pay the CEO 75 percent of revenues).

More stats......Sorry. In the six largest conferences, of the 53 public schools in those conferences, once again for the fiscal year ending in 2010, the men's basketball programs showed a profit of $240 million and women showed a loss of $109 million. In the Big Ten, the lowest profit for men was Purdue with $3 million, of course no women's teams even came close  to a profit. Texas A&M, which won the NCAA championship women's basketball championship last year, in 2010 lost $2.4 million on their program.

Women, like men deserve a chance to play college basketball. There is nothing like the college experience of athletics and bonding with teammates, many of which you will have as friends for life.

What not is deserved is what women basketball coaches make in salary. Perhaps many of the men coaches are making too much, but if they are showing a profit, it is hard to argue. True it is the fault of the schools for giving these coaches too much money, but as we move down the road, something is going to have to give.

In the year 2013, Geno Auriemma at Connecticut will be making $1.8 million and his team will still be losing money. This is a business model that no one can justify as being good, as are all the other documented statistics about the staggering financial losses for women's college basketball. True there are other lesser sports that lose money, but with women's basketball on TV every night of the week, basketball being a high profile sports and men showing a profit at 93 percent of the schools, change should not even be considered, it should be necessary.

If schools cut total academic programs out as many have done, cut back on all employees, then they sure as heck better start thinking about cutting the salaries of women's basketball coaches, which is dragging the programs down and heading for an economic meltdown.

Act now before there is nothing left to act on.

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Saturday, July 2, 2011


In my ongoing efforts to bring you great readers some historical stories about west coast college basketball, here we go:

Despite its dismal record and horrible basketball it has produced since 1990, as documented in this blog, Oregon State  has a rich history when it comes to west coast basketball and influence nationally as well.

When you talk about the history of Oregon State, you have to talk about Mel Counts, who came to Oregon State from Coos Bay, Oregon, a small, but beautiful city on the Oregon coast.

He played great at Oregon State under famous coach Armory "Slats" Gill, in both 1963 and 1964. Counts' 63 team made it all the way to the NCAA national championship semifinal game only to lose to the Cincinnati Bearcats, in a very lopsided game. In 1964 Counts had an even greater individual basketball year, although the Beavers lost to Seattle U., in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

After the season things got even more monumental  for Mel Counts as he was seventh player taken in the first round of the NBA draft by the Boston Celtics and during the summer of 64 (isn't there some song by that name), Counts played on the gold medal winning United States basketball team.

If that wasn't enough for any young man out of Coos Bay, it kept getting better. Not only did Counts get to hone his game even more by being the back-up center to the great Bill Russell for the Boston Celtics, it also gave  Counts two NBA championship rings, as the Celtics won NBA the title in in 1965 and 1966,

(For all the stat and trivia guys who read this blog, Mel Counts has the distinction of being one of only 45 basketball players in the world to win an NBA title and an Olympic gold medal.)

It got even more exciting for Counts, but maybe not as much fun as he continued his career in the NBA, with the Baltimore Bullets for short stint before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. While with the Lakers Counts played in three straight NBA finals, 1967-69 and the Lakers lost in all three.

Of those finals, the most memorable was in 1969, when in game seven of the championship finals and the Lakers down nine points, with six minutes to go  Counts was inserted into the game for Wilt Chamberlain, who picked up his fifth foul and also appeared to be injured on the same play as he fouled.

Chamberlain never returned to the game, even though he appeared healthy enough too.  Counts played the rest of the game and played great, scoring six points, getting five rebounds and three assists all in the six minute period, but it still was not enough, as the Lakers lost the game 108-106 and lost the NBA championship in the process.

To this day, Laker fans around the world are still bummed at then Laker coach Butch van Breda Kolff for not putting Chamberlain back into the game. Would it have made the difference, who knows as we never will find out, but for sure, Counts played great in the final six minutes, better than most back-ups could ever do. Because of Chamberlain not getting back into the game, by all accounts a coaches' decision, many of the top basketball historians have proclaimed this game as the most controversial post season game seven ever in the history of the NBA. (Also for the record, up to this game, Chamberlain had never fouled out of game in his career and many thought if he would have stayed in this game, he was doomed to pick up his sixth foul).

Mel Counts closed out his career in the NBA in 1976, with the New Orleans Jazz, but when we all look back there are very few basketball players who can say they played in an NCAA basketball championship semifinal, were drafted by the Boston Celtics, won an Olympic gold medal, won two NBA championships and were the back-up for two of the five greatest players in the history of the game, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain and played 12 years in the NBA.

Nice going Mr. Counts and in the history of west coast basketball, you do COUNT(s).


CRAWFACTS is news, notes, fun facts, serious facts, so enjoy please.

1. Seattle U----Sad news last week in the passing of Carl Ervin. Ervin has some great years for the then Redhawks in their previous go around of D-1 basketball. He played point guard from 1976-80, was one of the best passers of the basketball ever on the west coast and is part of what is a great history of Seattle U. basketball.

2. Portland State---Bob Mariani was a fixture sitting behind the scorer's table at both men's and women's games at Portland State. Mr. Mariani recently passed away and will be missed by all. His daughter Teri is of course one of the great names in Portland State athletic history, being the long time highly successful softball coach and after retirement serving as interim athletic director in 2006 after Tom Burman left for Wyoming.

3. Schedules----Two really good pre-league match-ups for west coast teams will be Washington playing Duke at Madison Square Garden in December and a New Year's Eve contest with Gonzaga traveling to Xavier. Significant,  because of all the great early season games on TV, that is about it for west coast schools, either a real bias, or the fact west coast basketball needs to schedule better early season games to get back on the map.

4. Stanford----Johnny Dawkins has done a below average job at Stanford in his three years, no one can dispute it. One possible sign a coach might be on the hot seat in basketball is when there is an assistant coaching change that seems odd. Rodney Tention after three years on the bench at Stanford has left for San Diego. We all know, that you do not leave as an assistant at Stanford to become an assistant at San Diego unless there is really good reason and most of the time those "reasons" are not good. You heard it here first, unless Dawkins has a stellar year and gets the Cardinals into the NCAA tournament, he will be replaced by Eric Reveno, who has done wonders at the University of Portland and is a former Stanford assistant and a Stanford grad.

5. Lorenzo Romar----I got a kick out of all the pundits and fans who were commenting that Romar would not be a  good coach in the pros, with one of the reasons he has never coached there. Of course there was quite a stir last week in Seattle when Romar was mentioned as a possible successor to Kurt Rambis, which probably leaked out from Minnesota's  totally inept GM David Kahn and might even be a fact, as Rambis is still there as coach in Minnesota as of today. Hey, if Mark Jackson, who has never coached a game anywhere in basketball can be hired by the Golden State Warriors as its new coach, then Lorenzo Romar can sure as heck coach in the pros. Romar has done a great job with the Huskies and he has a trait that professional players love. Everyone who knows Romar, plays for him or has dealt with him, likes him very much. In the NBA, it is all about communication when it comes to success.

6. Pac-12---Up and running and we wish it much success in basketball. It appears to have some good leadership and has a nice TV deal in place  starting in the 2012-13 season. Speaking of the TV deal, I would like to take to task all the media who think the networks got fleeced in the deal. First of all the last time I checked, they are not turning out the lights at the both FOX and ESPN, almost universally those two networks do not make bad deals. Secondly, this deal is for 12 years and when you factor all the numbers out, it is a great deal right now for both parties and I have hunch, at the end of the deal, the Pac-12 people will be saying, gosh we should have gotten more.

7. Larry Scott---He has accomplished a lot as Pac-12 commissioner. Look for him to leave the position in the next two years and return to working in the tennis world, where his real love is and where he was before coming to the Pac-12. You move when your a hot commodity and in the sports world, never stay too long when your an executive. Before Scott leaves, sources tell me he has on his agenda to improve the basketball officiating program, much the same as he recently did with the football officiating. Pac-12 basketball officiating while getting better, is still not where it should be compared to other leagues.

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Friday, July 1, 2011

75 Days Of A Great Experience

We all are saying it today, "boy, I can't believe the year is half over already".

I also can't believe it has been 2 1/2 months since I produced my first column in this blog. It has been a great experience and even more so, I have learned a lot about what readers enjoy, do not enjoy and how passionate people are about college basketball.

As we start the second half of the year, I think it might be fun to share with you great readers some things I have learned and hopefully what you have learned as well.

1. Readers love my CRAWFACTS and when you have success with something keep it going. I plan to write the CRAWFACTS column at least once a week from here on out.

2. The most sensitive people in basketball are referees. If you even write one thing about them that they construe as negative, they let you know about it. You would think that people who are under constant criticism, would be a little more cautious about giving out unfound criticism, but in the long run, I appreciate all my critics and just thrilled people would take the time to read this blog.

3. Some people just read this blog to correct my grammar or look for a mistake. I would be the first to admit that often I miss something in proofreading and do have some typos, which is great when people pick that up, but as far as my grammar, I could care less about it. I write this for fun, to hopefully inform and to entertain, so for all you people who want to correct my grammar, write your own blog and good luck to you. A wordsmith I am not.

4. History still means something. Writing about "old time" players always brings a huge response and it is always something when researching that I learn as much as hopefully the readers do. I will continue to do more of bringing you the history of college basketball.

5. Readers like to hear about people who are huge part of college basketball, but are not in the headlines everyday. The responses I get from writing about Danny Miles, from OIT and Brad Jackson, from Western Washington are nothing short of heartwarming. Two people and there are many, many more who could have moved on to make huge money, but have chosen to stay at schools they love and have helped shaped the lives of many students.

6. Some Sports Information Directors at schools are just awesome and others are as arrogant as it gets. I would like to train the arrogant one on just a few things, such as returning calls or emails, saying thank you and quit acting like your the most important person in an athletic department, you are NOT. For the great ones, hats off, long hours, horrible pay and you just keep churning out quality work. It is not forgotten on my part.

7. Oregon Duck fans, well..............I might not call them passionate, instead,  what I do know is that if you say even one thing critical of the Ducks, they come out of the woodwork, many times totally ignoring the facts and never thinking their school can do anything wrong no matter what the subject.

8. I really appreciate the people in the media who read this blog daily and often write emails to myself. Many of them are big time broadcasters and many are big time writers, so they could easily pooh-pooh a person like myself. They choose not to and it shows why they are successful. Being an important person does not make you resistant to be being nice. After all, as my great father always said, "there is no price for being nice".

So, I have learned a lot in 75 days and I am sure that the learning curve will never stop. As long as my fingers work, I will continue to do this and my main goals are that it never gets stale, it always informs and even more important it always entertains. I love reading the emails from all of you and thank you.

Lastly I would be totally remiss, not to thank my friend TIM MARSH. Tim set this blog up for myself and it would not be here today, without his great help. He never complained with my stupid questions, instead he just rolled up his sleeves as he does for many people and got the job done. Tim, thank you.

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