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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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