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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Class, What Did We Learn Today?

As we are less than a month away from the start of the college basketball season, I am hoping that everyone in the last five months has learned something which can make college basketball even a better game and more exciting game than it is today.

We also hope that everyone can forget the awful, boring, pathetic, effortless championship game that Butler and Connecticut put on last April. I guess if I wanted everyone to forget, I should not have reminded you. Sorry.

My love of college basketball I would hope is well documented, but I do agree with some of the critics that the game has become a little stagnate and is losing some of its appeal.

Over the last five months of this column, I have made several suggestions, which college basketball should have implemented for the 2011-12 season, but now I am hoping that all you great readers will look at this upcoming season and say, "Crawscorner is right and these changes need to happen in college basketball soon".

In case your new to this column or  missed what I wrote or even need a little refresher here we go with some things I feel are mandatory to improve the college basketball game.

1. Bring back pre-game dunking. Right now it is not allowed once the officials take the court, which is generally 30 minutes prior to tip-off. This is such a stupid rule. Allow dunking in pre-game, just make the penalties the same as they are in the game, if the player hangs on the rim, it is a technical foul. I do not know one single person who does not like dunking, the players love it and it would bring fans to game much earlier, thus allowing more concessions sales, as well as you would attract more kids to the games, which is always good for the future.

2. Correct the timeout situation in college basketball. It is one of the top three complaints from fans about the game and once again, schools need to remember that fans are not your enemy, they are your CUSTOMERS. And please do not blame TV/radio, they need their timeouts to pay for the broadcasts, which I have mentioned many times, so many people who can't afford to attend the games, or have physical limitations that do not allow them to do so and often depend on  these games as the highlight of their day.

Her is a simple way to do timeouts in college basketball. Do not have any team timeouts, just have a 90 second timeout under the 16:00, 12:00, 8:00 and 4:00 minute mark on the first dead ball after these times and allow one 30 second timeout per team per half. I have talked to numerous broadcast people and this more than satisfies their need for commercials and it should more than satisfy coaches to implement strategy. Phil Jackson won a whole lot of championships and so did Bobby Knight, not calling lots of timeouts.

Right now the game is being ruined by the timeout rules, this is a simple solution to a major problem.

3. I was not trying to be funny when I suggested this change. Never play a second overtime, but instead have a free throw shootout. Copy soccer, (No I really didn't mention soccer did I), yes I did. Shootouts are just great and so exciting, but pressure filled and so much fun for the fans. There also is motive in my madness, it might just make free throw shooting better in college basketball, as I have documented, free throw shooting in college basketball has not improved since 1965, SHOCKING.

4. And finally, for all you schools that never get any people out to games or your attendance is miserable, hire a marketing person who has some passion, wants to think outside of the box and cares about the game. There are plenty of great sports people out there looking for work. I am getting sick of the same old promotions, the wringing of hands about lack of attendance and the lack of passion. Get with it schools, it not only your job to educate people, it is also your job to promote athletics. If you need any advice on how to market your product better, please just contact myself, I am willing to help.

Big thank you to both Kevin McCarthy, who runs one of the top three college basketball blogs in the country, and Jonathan Reed, who runs, for their kindness these past few months. And speaking of Jonathan, best of luck in his upcoming marriage in 9 days, we know his bride is getting a great man, cause anyone who has the courage to write a daily blog on Big Sky basketball has to be a great man.

Ok for all you people that want help with marketing, or you just wish to comment on this column, you can email myself at or as always, please follow myself on twitter @wchoops.
Thank you for your readership, which is reaching all time highs as we march to opening tip-offs a month away.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

CRAWFACTS, Edition 12

UCLA---I hate to say that I told you, but I did tell you so. The best off-season move in college basketball  as I documented when it happened, was for Ben Howland to hire Korey McCray as an assistant basketball coach. I watch coaches and coaching moves and this was a gem of a hire by Howland. For the class of 2012, the Bruins already have commitments from Jordan Adams (Oak Hill), Dominic Artis (Findlay Prep) and Kyle Anderson (St. Anthony). All three of these players come out of top flight programs and easily Anderson is one of the top five players in the country. And this might just be the tip of the iceberg, as McCray has had a long time coaching relationship with Shaq Goodwin, a top ten high school player in the country and is leaning towards being a Bruin. While Sean Miller might just be the best recruiter as head coach, McCray is going to become the best assistant coaching recruiter in all of college basketball. The Bruins are back and a good team in Westwood can do nothing but help west coast college basketball.

PREDICITIONS---As I also have said in the past it is fun to make predictions, sometimes it is dangerous and I have always been willing to take the heat when I am wrong and will always accept your praise when I am right.

Prediction 1---Mark Few will leave Gonzaga after the 2011-12 season for a better college coaching job. While Few has had great success in regular season, for the most part his teams have not done well in post-season. More and more not only are fans becoming restless with the lack of post-season success, but also Few is starting to see more and more players leaving the program, i.e., Demetri Goodson and Manny Arop, leaving this past season. There is always a time to stay and there is always a good time to leave. Despite denials, Few has flirted with other jobs in the past, my feeling is he will leave after this year.

Prediction 2---Eric Reveno, who has somewhat of a rebuilding job this year with his Portland Pilots will once again win 20 games and will leave the North Portland school for a better job. University of Portland is an outstanding school, with one of the best arenas in west coast college basketball, but they in no way can pay Reveno what he is worth. Eric Reveno is maybe the best coach in college basketball that no one has heard of in the general sports world. In the world of college basketball, everyone knows about Reveno and the job he has done in taking a program when he arrived that was so far down, it was thought impossible to win even 10 games per year. The quality of life in Portland, Oregon is pretty darn good, but though no one wants to admit it, you can make your own quality of life with money and a better coaching job, Reveno will have plenty of offers.

Prediction 3---Unless Cameron Dollar has a monster year with Seattle University, the Redhawks will think about making a change as they enter play in the Western Athletic Conference. So far in his tenure as heading up the Redhawks, Dollar has been average at best and his recruiting seems to be missing something. Quite frankly he should have been winning more games than now and as I have documented, the Redhawks have the ability to dominate the WAC when they enter league play in 2012. One thing is certain, with the major commitment that Seattle University has put into bringing back basketball and money that they have spent, the demand to have a winning program is there. Dollar now needs to show he can produce, or else it will almost be mandatory that he is replaced.

SANTA CLARA---You have to feel for Kerry Keating, not only an outstanding coach, but a really nice person, in his loss of top player Marc Trasolini for the entire 2011-12 season with a torn ACL. Trasolini is a native of Vancouver, B.C. and in the Broncos' trip to Canada in early September, Trasolini in front of many family and friends was injured in the first game of the trip, sadly. The Broncos are coming off a year where they snuck up on everyone and won 24 games, including the championship of the CIT post-season tournament. The great Stan Love, Kevin' father and a guy who knows basketball as well as anyone in the world, told me way back when Keating was an assistant coach at UCLA, that Keating would be a big time college coach in the very near future and nothing he has done so far at Santa Clara has made myself feel any differently about what Love said.

PORTLAND STATE---And speaking of coaches it is not often you talk about a head coach doing a great job, while only having a .435 winning percentage after only two years as head coach. Tyler Geving at Portland State is the exception to the rule. Last year he won one more game than the previous year, not usually not a big deal, but it was big deal when you consider the Vikings were short handed playing most of the year without year star player Phil Nelson and also the fact the Portland State was on probation due to a low APR, due to the lack of previous coach Ken Bone not minding the store during his tenure with the Vikings. Like Ben Howland, Geving also made a brilliant off season move in the summer of 2010, when he hired veteran west coast assistant coach Andy McClouskey. McClouskey is a steadying influence and great to have on a bench for a young head coach. The Vikings are now off of probation, they have some good players, including one outstanding player in Chehales Tapscott and as I have written about before are my favorite to win the Big Sky.

BYU---For all you West Coast Conference fans who were hoping for a quick bolt out of the WCC for the Cougars, mainly cause they will make waves and might possibly end the domination of Gonzaga in basketball, do not hold your breath. I have been told by some people who should know that the Cougars plan to stay in the WCC for awhile, there are not plans to move to the Big 12 and they like being in the WCC, while still being an independent in football. And by the way, they are looking forward to the challenge of beating Gonzaga, many have February 2nd circled, the first meeting of the two basketball powers, in WCC play.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Big Guy Needs To Step Up

It is time, it is way overdue, it needs to happen immediately.

The time is now for President Obama and his staff to inject themselves in the the NBA lockout and get this things solved.

David Stern and the President are friends, many of the present NBA players were out helping him get elected, so what better scenario could there be than for the President to get involved in this labor fight.

History dictates that Presidents have shied away from labor disputes unless the security and safety of the country is at stake. I have news for everyone, our security in case you have not noticed is at stake every single day. Part of our security in the great United States is the economy, which at present it teetering on becoming the next big depression.

Sports is a big part of the economy of our country, maybe not as big as some people who skew the statistics would lead us to believe, but it still is important to the overall economy. We all know that in this dispute, most of the owners can withstand a long lockout, even missing the whole year. We also know many of the players, who per their leaders are more than prepared to miss the whole season to make their point and win this dispute and of course we know that NBA players always handle their money wisely.

The big guys can always survive, the little guys can't. So many people that we will never hear about will be affected greatly by an extended lockout and many people who work for teams in the front office will lose their jobs. It has already happened. Some restaurants, stores, people who park cars, that depend on an NBA season will be so affected by loss of income and I could go on and on even more about jobs and people who will suffer because of no income.

The sad part about the above is that when it really comes down to it, most NBA owners and players could care less, but President Obama should care lots and it is time for him to get involved and I mean put the whole force of the government to get this solved. And for those who will say his hands are tied, the government's hands are never tied, they can do what they want anywhere and anytime.

Besides the more than obvious economic impact of losing or having a delayed season in any sport, there is always the social side. Many people look to sports as a release, a way to have a little enjoyment, in what at present is not an enjoyable time in the this country. People love their sports, we need sports, it part of our culture and will be forever, no matter what people say that want to pooh, pooh the impact of sports.

I will say this, if there is a major loss of games in the NBA or if as some smart people are saying the loss of a whole season, the NBA will never recover, it will never be the same. Times are different than in 1999, the last time their was a work stoppage in the NBA. Resentment will be overwhelming this time and people will turn to other sports, perhaps even college basketball will pick up some new needed fans.

President Obama loves sports, he loves basketball, he also loves politics and he wants to be re-elected, which is real iffy at this point in time. What  greater publicity  move could a President make than to help solve a labor dispute that most of the country is watching closely. Mr. President it is time to move, it is time for you to inject your popularity with the participants and get this solved. You have the power and the influence to do just such.

And a final message to all who say they could care less. You should care about anyone who is about to lose their job as many associated with the NBA will and more importantly, there is nothing greater than showing compassion for other people, which is exactly what this is about. Forget the owners and players if you do not like them, think about the people who depend on the NBA for their income, they do need our support.

Whether you like sports or not, when it comes to the economy, unemployment and the social impact, we all should care and as the leader of our country, President Obama should care the most. It is time for the big guy to step up and step up big time.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One Last Time

You have my word here, this is the last time I will write about this, I promise.

For some reason I just can't let go of this subject, for not only the reason I think it is important, but I keep getting reminded of it, by fans of the teams all over the place.

And since this blog is literally read by people all over the world, what I am about to write about is not just a local issue, there is an underlying message for everyone who owns a business or does business with a business, which obviously includes the whole world.

For the life of me, I can't figure out still,  why Portland State and University of Portland are not going to play each other in men's basketball this year. For the record, at best the schools are 25 minutes apart by even the slowest of drivers. There is also not another D-1 basketball program within 85 miles of each school.

Even worse, here are some schools which the teams have on their schedule this year at home. Portland has both Concordia of Oregon and Concordia of California, plus they are playing Lewis and Clark, which by the way is 30 minutes from the Pilot campus. Portland State has Walla Walla College and Linfield. Out of respect, it is tough for each school to schedule and actually they do as good as possible, as basketball scheduling is becoming increasingly tough for all D-1 schools.

But with having to schedule the above basketball powerhouses at home, why oh why Pilots and Vikings did you end your series and quite frankly what was becoming a pretty good basketball rivalry.

I was even so curious and was being hounded by so many, I contacted Larry Williams, Pilot athletic director and his Portland State counterpart Torrie Chisholm, both fine men and both should be credited with getting back to myself extremely quick. But at the same time while I respect their quick answers, it was hard to figure out the answers, I would have to say that both did very well in political correctness classes, even were A+ students.

And at this point, I am at the point of I don't want to hear any excuses, any reasons and I really don't care who is at fault,  if someone is,  for canceling this series and very good rivalry. All I and hundreds of other care about is just playing the darn game, if not only once per year, but it should be played twice every year.

Now for my underlying message, businesses today and even in the toughest economic conditions since the Depression, have forgotten about customer service. Athletics in all schools is not a department, it is a business, no matter what the size of the school. The bottom line is give your customers what they want and trust me, the fans of both of these schools who are there customers want this game and they want it every year, period.

Just like not playing this game is stupid, stupid and even more stupid, it is the same that for the first time in like 40 years, Utah and Utah State will not play this year. A great rivalry ended and just like the Portland State/Portland game, people in Utah are mad and very frustrated.

There are very few rivalries out west in basketball to begin with, so why end two of the better ones and please, for all you cynics out there, there are people all over who do care about college basketball and more importantly rivalries.

Let me say something positive about Portland State and University of Portland. I have many friends who work at both schools, I know so many quality people who love their experience as students at both places and both schools are great venues to watch games. Portland State not only for most years has good teams, they have the best pep band in all of college basketball and Portland, has something you never see, not only a great arena, but great concession food and free parking for all games.

In addition, three years ago yours truly slipped in the parking lot on some ice at University of Portland and took a hard fall, only to realize quickly that there must have been 20 students rush over to me and see if I was ok, never forgotten. And at Portland State, you will never see a better game operations in sports which is overseen by the legendary Assistant Athletic Director/SID Mike Lund. Makes it a fun place to be for fans, just not at either place will you see this rivalry.

So with all my angst and all my plaudits, I do want this message to get out. By not playing rivalry games, schools are cheating their fans and more importantly, it shows a complete lack of customer service.

And yes, Crawscorner is always right and even more importantly, the customer is always RIGHT.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Stop, Wait, Think

As they say in Texas all the time, "hold the horses", that does not appear to what the present Pac-12 is doing right now.

I know it is really chic at present to mix up your conference, out maneuver the other conferences and get as big as possible, it is the talk of the entire sports world.

One thing forgotten, while football drives the bus in college athletics, basketball at the very least sits in the co-pilot seat.

So with that said, if and everything is a big if right now and can even change as I write this on Monday September 19th with conference alignment, if the Pac-12 succeeds in bringing in Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Texas Tech and Texas, it really does nothing for basketball, it actually will bring basketball down.

Now for those who do not think basketball is that important I remind everyone who thinks that way,  that the biggest sporting event in the world is not the Super Bowl, it is March Madness which just happens to be a basketball event. Quite frankly the way China is going,  basketball will soon replace soccer as the biggest sport in the world.

That is why I say bringing into the Pac-12 schools that have been absolutely horrible in basketball in the last few years, Oklahoma St., Texas Tech and Oklahoma is really, really bad for what would be Pac-16 basketball. Texas will enhance the Pac-16 basketball landscape, as the Longhorns finally realized about 15 years past, that we have to maintain a basketball arena, so we better start having a good team.

I can also tell you that in addition to the above three teams that will do nothing for Pac-16 basketball, what makes it even worse is that no one was jumping up and down about this year's editons Colorado and Utah, when it comes to basketball. 

As a matter of fact, I have been told by people at ESPN and Fox, they would have done the new TV deal, even if the Pac-10 would have still existed, the Pac-10 is that big of a property, with LA, Phoenix and Seattle and the Bay Area all being markets where sports fans watch a higher volume of sports on TV than other large markets.

I have written about the disgust with many that the Pac-12 will not play a round robin league schedule in basketball at least until 2021, adding four more teams as might possibly happen, makes a round robin league schedule for basketball now impossible.

Of course I can't stop any of this nonsense, I am all for progress, new inventions, creative thinking, but it appears that basketball is a sport the Pac-12 could care less about, if the Pac-16 does come about.

A much better scenario would have been to bring in Texas and BYU, two schools with a great history as of the last 15 years in both football and basketball, which would still given the Pac-12, Pac-14 a powerhouse league.

Expansion is great, exciting, but sometimes the reason most businesses fail is they expand too quickly and do not think things through. In this case the cart is before the horse and no one was watching the horse.

For all the brilliant moves the Pac-12 makes, this Pac-16 scenario might be pretty dumb.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Just Not Football Please

Recently I have the pleasure of having lunch with two giants in the sports officiating business, Terry Gierke and Dale Scott.

For those of you who are just returning from the moon or do not follow sports that well, Terry Gierke is a retired NFL official, with super bowls and 15 playoff games and 22 years in the NFL. Dale Scott is a major league umpire, who at the end of this month will complete his 26th year in major league baseball, is a crew chief, has worked three world series and is considered by all to be one of the top three umpires in major league baseball.

Quite frankly it is shameful and should be an embarrassment to the Oregon Sports Hall of  Fame that both of these outstanding gentleman have yet to be inducted for that great honor and it needs to happen soon.

What struck myself the most about the lunch is that in sports officiating it is easy to get jaded, cynical and any other words you can think of about a profession that  is constantly under the eye of everyone, constant criticism, you never have any home games and for sure there is seldom pats on the back.

With all that said, Gierke and Scott are far from jaded. It was thrilling to hear them talk about sports officiating and how much they still care about the subject, how excited they are to still be involved and how much respect they have for the profession.

To translate this all to basketball, starting this year the Pac-12 in football has spent thousands to improve their football officiating and upgrade from what many thought was an inferior product. Of course if you have been following the the first two weeks of football, perhaps so far the money has been wasted, but on a serious note, the effort they are putting in will pay dividends you would have to think down the road.

But was Pac-12 basketball officiating which has  woefully been below standards for years given the same makeover?  So far it appears it has been forgotten and we might just see the same old thing that we have seen for years, an inferior product on the floor when it comes to officiating. One thing for sure, the Pac-12 has the money to improve the product, but there has to be a commitment.

As a matter of fact, the same amount of money should be put into basketball as is being done for football, the product is that important to the league on both the men and women's side. The technology is available to make people better, implement it, plus there needs to be more training and educating of officials by the Pac-12.

I might also add that while we heard ongoing comments coming from the Pac-12 to the media about how much they were going to change the football officiating program and make it better, there has been dead silence about basketball. I hate to tell the Pac-12, but your basketball officiating program, was much worse than your football officials. Simply, it needs to improve and it can improve, but it takes effort, people who can get the job done and putting the teeth into making things better, not just talk about making things better.

One final comment about college basketball officiating in general, will somebody please step up and force officials not to work so many games in a season. You can never convince myself that an official who is working his ninth night in a row, all in different cities is as fresh as the first night of the nine game period. As much as college officials are paid, they do not need to work nine nights in row or sometime even longer periods of time, in a row. It is not fair to schools, players and fans and is horrible for the game as a whole.

Deep down, most people who know anything about sports, respect officials, it is just the hope of many and especially when it comes to the Pac-12 that it gets better, please. It is too important a part of the game, not to improve.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Will Be Watching Closely

With the start of the NCAA basketball season a little over a month away, there are many things to look at for this coming season, as always it should be an exciting year and for west coast fans here are a few of my thoughts on what I will be watching closely.

1. How will the UCLA Bruins do playing every game on the road? The history of sports is that teams that play out of their buildings do not fair well and of course the Bruins are out of cozy Pauley Pavilion because of its remodel for the entire season. Major challenge for Ben Howland. 

2. Will Jim Hayford have any shot of turning what for the most part has been a dismal program at Eastern Washington around? It was a gutsy athletic director move to hire Hayford, who had huge success at D-3 Whitworth, but the jump from D-3 basketball to D-1 is a huge step, especially when it comes to recruiting. Do not bet against Hayford.

3. Can Arizona win the national championship? They are my choice to do as such, they have the talent to go all the way, they have a great coach and a coach who right now in Sean Miller has become the best recruiter in the country, end of story.

4. Will Johnny Dawkins be able to prove at Stanford that he is a D-1 head coach that can win. Dawkins received a contract extension over the summer, a move that shocked everyone, because so far he has been a major disappointment for the Cardinal. It is time for him to step up, otherwise you might be seeing the head coach at Stanford with the name Eric Reveno.

5. Can anyone challenge Utah State in the Western Athletic Conference? I do not see it happen, they just have the dominant program right now and no end in site, despite the fact that this year's team at least on paper is one of the  "weaker" Utah State teams in some years.

6. Can Craig Robinson show us he can coach in the Pac-12? He has some nice talent this year at Oregon State, but to say he has had success with the Beavers would be a huge false premise. Like Dawkins, so far Robinson has been a major disappointment, this year is critical for the Beavers.

7. Is Dana Altman for real? This guy had a great first year at Oregon, he had some real talent this year that has the potential to not only get to March Madness, but also win some games. Do not bet against Altman taking his Ducks to the Sweet 16 this year, they are that good and he is that good as a coach.

8. Can the Portland State Vikings honor my prediction? I have them winning the Big Sky regular season championship and hosting the post season tournament. Chehales Tapscott should be the best player in the league and one player in the Big Sky can take you to the championship.

9. How will New Mexico fair this year? Steve Alford is a very good coach, outstanding recruiter and I am waiting for his Lobos at some point in Alford's tenure to sneak up on everyone and be a final four team. That is right,  final four team, once again can anyone spell BUTLER.

10. Will BYU be BYU? Can anyone break one of the greatest regular season dominance in the history of sports and I am talking about the strangle hold that Gonzaga has on the West Coast Conference. BYU is a threat to challenge the Bulldogs, many have tried and all have failed. I would never bet against Mark Few in regular season and always bet against him in post season.

11. Will west coast teams ever learn how to market their basketball teams? Marketing of college basketball teams is pathetic for the most part and please never tell me it is money and constant change of employees. It comes down to thinking outside the box and being a little creative, the days of opening the doors and they will come are over. Here is my free tip to all athletic departments, just go and buy your staff a copy of Jon Spoelstra's new book, "Marketing Outrageously, Redux". It will be the best investment you ever make.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

It Has Been One Fun Run

As we I head into the sixth month of writing this blog, I will be transitioning more about the upcoming season as it rapidly approaches after today, but I thought it might be a little bit of fun to talk about some of the highlights of the last five months, of which many of you might consider low-lights, which is fine as well.

Before the highlights, I must add writing this blog has been a fun experience, especially the 100s of comments I get back from people, whether it be some proofreading errors, telling me I am all wet, or praising my thoughts. I would also be remiss in not taking a little shot about some people in the media who think it is funny to keep using the tired line about "most bloggers are people who write from their mother's basement". Most bloggers take their work seriously, at least I do, they care about putting out a quality product, they often do it for therapy for themselves and last but most important, writing on any subject has been a large part of the culture of the world, so as the kids of today say, "deal with it."

Five month highlights or low-lights.

1. I have had lots of fun writing about the great accomplishments of Danny Miles, head basketball coach at Oregon Tech. I have even gone so far as to promote him for the basketball hall of fame, heck if anyone ever deserved to be in there it is Miles. And I can tell you this, when I write about him, it is still the highest read column in the history of this blog. It is heartwarming for myself to hear from so many people whose life has been touched by Danny Miles, both on and off the court. His time to go in the Hall is now, not later, I hope he is in the class of 2012.

2. When you write a blog, if you want it to be worth reading you have to do your homework, that was why I was stunned to find out that free throw shooting in the NCAA has basically not improved since 1965, maybe the most stunning statistic in all of sports. Is it technique, is it mental, is it lack of practice? I know one thing for sure, if I was an NCAA coach I would bring in the great Brian Levenson, from Core Mental Training to make my team better. Brian is awesome and one of the best mental sports coaches in the world.

3. It was fun, it actually was not written as a lark, but instead it was what I thought was a pretty darn good idea. But did I think it would gain any traction, no way. When I wrote about no second overtimes in games, instead going to a free throw shootout for many reasons, the idea has actually gained some steam and I had at least one member of the NCAA rules committee give me call. Now will it go anywhere, I doubt it, but it will not be because of lack of trying.  I plan to continue to pursue the idea with basketball people.

4. Also lots of fun to find out that David Stern, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson did not save the NBA. What saved the NBA was the fact that Bill Russell felt dissed by Harlem Globetrotter owner Abe Saperstein and instead of signing with Globbies, he signed with the Celtics, thus creating the start of one of the greatest dynasties in sports and bringing credibility to the NBA. Sticking with the Globetrotter theme, they played a big role in another NBA dynasty when at the last minute in 1975, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar decided to sign with the Lakers, rather than go to the Trotters, thus creating "Showtime" with the Lakers and bringing so much attention to NBA basketball worldwide.

Well, I am going to stop right there, enough, you can always read my previous stories and quite frankly, all of my work should be a highlight, otherwise I should not be doing this.

Finally, big, big thank you to Kevin, who runs the great blog,, for linking several of my articles in his Sunday column. It was nice to be treated greatly by such a pro and someone who is so respected in the basketball world.

All I can say to everyone is a BIG THANK YOU and you have my commitment to keep this blog as fresh, informative and entertaining as I can possibly make it.

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Saturday, September 10, 2011











Friday, September 9, 2011

We Could Lose Whole Generation

If you are a regular reader of this blog or if joining, welcome, but on occasion I do write about something different than college basketball. Please allow me to do so today.

Of course my two passions in sports are basketball and golf. I do not play basketball, when I do get the rare occasion to play golf anymore, it is evident right away I play poorly. But it never deters my love of both games. I love the business side of both, sometimes as much as the action itself.

And speaking of golf, I am worried about its future. And I mean really worried.

Never to be one for heavy stats, there is one telling statistic about golf that everyone needs to know.

For every golfer who enters the game, there is 1.8 people leaving. A telling story about the state of the game.

The two major reasons that people quit golf, 1) Play is too slow and it takes up too much time 2) There are not that many places where a person can learn to play the game (learning centers, driving ranges and par 3s).

With all this said, I personally have been saying, screaming and telling anyone on a street corner that will listen, THERE IS NO TRUE SPOKESPERSON FOR GOLF THAT ALL PEOPLE CAN RELATE TOO. It it is that simple.

It might surprise people, while Tiger Woods brought lots of new eyeballs to golf, he barely made a dent in people wanting to play the game. And that is ok, it is not Woods' responsibility to do as such.

So who is responsible for promoting the game? You would have to think that the United State Golf Association would be the leaders. An organization that everyone use to respect and even revere, has now turned into a political machine, which seems to be headed into the wrong direction under its present leadership. (I need to give no greater example of what I just said, than the USGA choice to give their premier event, the US OPEN to Chambers Bay, passing over Pumpkin Ridge. A complete political decision, which also is a complete joke).

The PGA of America tries, but they are a stale organization which seems to be stuck in mud, kind like "we have done things for 50 years like this and we are not going to change" theory.

So where does this leave us. It in my opinion leaves us in dire straits and more importantly we are in danger of losing a whole generation of golf players of which we will never be able to recover.

Perhaps I and a handful of others are the only ones that care, but I am never going to stop trying to tell people what a great game golf is and what fun everyone will have playing the game. It is a game you can easily play at 7 years of age and at 90 years of age. And as I often preach, it is truly a game of honor. What other sport can you think of that the player polices their own game, as you do in golf, often calling penalties on yourself, when no one else would even know you broke the rules.

Do I have solutions? I do have one. If you are a golfer, take someone out course or driving range, even if they just watch who has never played before. Keep talking about the game to your friends when you get a chance and keep promoting it every chance you can get.

To save the game, it is going to take the players who love the game to do it on an individual basis, it for sure it not going to come from organizations that are suppose to do this work, they have failed in this area and just do not get it. Sometimes it takes a block by block operation to make things better and this is how we have to look at golf, if it is going to survive as a sport.

Note to golf courses as well. Put some teeth into policing slow play, which has been an ongoing issue with golf for years. Quit worrying about alienating one player, who is affecting many. Do not be afraid to challenge the slow player, tell them to get moving and if they object, tell them they are not welcome back on your property. It is all about fun and business.

Finally, with all this said, there is hope. It is not too late. There is a reason that more endangered species are being taken off the list than, one coming on the list. That has happened do to some great work by individuals, not organizations or governing bodies. I am sick of hearing about golf summits, slogans, groups who say they want to promote the game. They are not getting the job done.

The job needs to get done by individuals. We still can save this precious game, but time is running out. We need to move now, not tomorrow. I am never going to give up and if you are a golfer, please do not give up and start promoting the game, to everyone you see and know. We can change the culture and feeling about golf, it just is going to take work. START TODAY.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Can Anyone Step UP???

1999 seemed to be a decent year, as best as I can remember.

If I am not mistaken Bill Clinton was winding down his presidency, we had no clue as to what was to hit the greatest country in the world in 2001 and there was not one person in the country who new what a "hanging chad" is/was.

1999, also started what is the greatest run in the history of NCAA regular season college basketball, might not ever be duplicated and even bigger it might not end for awhile.

Since 1999, the Gonzaga Bulldogs in men's basketball the have won the West Coast Conference regular season conference title, they have appeared in the big dance every year since then and all but two of those years, won the conference post season tournament, that being done with the post season conference tournament only once in that time being held on their home court.

When you sit back and look at it, you just have to go WOW.  In fact the Bulldogs have been so dominant, unlike other leagues, there is no rivalry games for Gonzaga. You can say all you want about St Mary's being a rival, they are not and will not be until they can win the regular season conference title or consistently beat the Zags in the league tournament.

And what about the future? We will know much about Gonzaga for this year during the pre-season. Just a small example of their schedule in November and December, on November 30th Notre Dame pays its first visit ever to Spokane, the same for Michigan State on the 10th of December, then the really big test in pre-season comes in Seattle, when the Zags will play Arizona in their annual "battle of Seattle". It actually should be called the battle against the future NCAA champ, as the Wildcats will either win the title in 2012 or at the very least 2013.

It has been said that as coach of the Bulldogs, Mark Few lost much when his top assistant Leon Rice left to take the head position at Boise State, this year we might know even more how much that loss hurts in the second year of Rice being gone. I doubt if it affects the Bulldogs much, they still have a very good coaching staff.

So who is going to step up and challenge the Bulldogs in the WCC? Maybe the answer is in the question, UP. We will know early as University of Portland visits Gonzaga in the league opener on December 28th. (Going on record right now, that game will be won by Portland).

St. Mary's has had their chance as documented. Randy Bennett, who appears now that he might be a lifer St. Mary's as head coach, has yet to show me his program is in the same "league" as Gonzaga, until he does, I will not waste your time writing about it. Could it possibly be Santa Clara or San Francisco? Both of those teams have outstanding young coaches in Kerry Keating and Rex Walters, but still are not at the level of Gonzaga when it comes to depth and talent. I am also excited to see what Marty Wilson can do with Pepperdine.

Reality does tell us that the only hope to unseat Gonzaga for the near future more than likely rests with Brigham Young University. With the return of Brandon Davis from suspension, the Cougars got much better and do have a legitimate chance to finally unseat the Zags for the regular season title, we all know BYU under Dave Rose will be good every year. Once again for the schedule watchers, the first ever meeting in WCC league play will take place on February 2nd in Provo, with the rematch coming late in February in Spokane.

Full disclosure, I really do hope someone can topple the kings of West Coast Conference basketball. Gonzaga has some of the most arrogant fans around, Mark Few is an overrated coach (he has done literally nothing in the NCAA tournament, that is why I say overrated and can anyone spell BUTLER),  so please do not tell me just getting there means something. Getting back to the fans, sometimes you do have the right to be arrogant when it comes to WCC play, but get back to me when once again you do something in the NCAA tournament.

The WCC is a league with average players and outstanding head coaches. It is also a league that has become somewhat boring because of the regular season domination of Gonzaga. Here is one guy that hopes it changes, but I am not holding my breath. Hats off to Gonzaga for great regular season play, hats crushed for shameful NCAA play.

Sometimes things never do change, such is the case in the WCC, but as the greatest pro wrestler of all time Lonnie Mayne use to say, "just perhaps there is excitement in the air".

As they say at your local neighborhood court, the rest of the WCC, "just bring it" for a change, for actually a literal change.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011


Well it is almost Labor Day, actually will we be celebrating Labor Day in years to come, since by real stats, 45 percent of America's labor force does not have full time jobs, seems like the holiday has run its course to myself, but for those who do have a job, enjoy the day off if you have it off.

Crawfacts, is news, notes and whatever else you wish to call it, go right ahead.

WCC---In the West Coast Conference, as I have pointed out has the best group of mens basketball coaches for a league its size in the country, just remember you heard it here first, we might have another good one joining the group. Marty Wilson the new coach at Pepperdine, in my opinion given a little time, might have an impact on the league. The basketball people I know, who understand the college game tell me Wilsonis really good and can get the job done at Pepperdine, which it has been a long time for success on the gorgeous campus. I have had some brief communication with Coach Wilson in the past couple of days, so I really am hoping for a good year for him and I am impressed.

Reveno---Sticking in the WCC, as I have mentioned before, Eric Reveno is a gem of a coach at U of Portland. He is so good that I recently asked a top NBA executive to give me five coaches he liked as people to watch in the coaching ranks, both college and NBA, Reveno was in the top five. Now true that is just one person's opinion, but I am sure it is shared by many other people that know the game. I truly admire the great job he had done with the Pilots to turn a stale program into a winner, the big issue like all rising coaching stars is that U. of Portland will never be able to keep him around long enough to win the WCC championship. Too many quality programs will come calling when they see the job he has done at a school that had fallen deep into woods and didn't appear to have a way out, until Reveno arrive. He is one of the best in the business right now.

Oregon State---The Beavers just picked up recently another top flight recruit in Jarmal Reid. Reid is a versatile player, out of Georgia, who will be able to help the Beavers greatly when he arrives in the 2012-13 season. It is obvious, Craig Robinson can recruit, now that has to translate becoming a good bench coach, something I have yet to see out of him. Full disclosure, I kind of grew up as far back as the 50s, yes in the 50s, liking Oregon State basketball, so it has been so sad to see how far it has fallen. As a matter of fact, not the case anymore, but at one time the Beavers had more wins than any team in college basketball, west of the Mississippi. So sad they have not been to the NCAA tournament since 1990, you talk about a program that has fallen on hard times, as well as attendance is at an all time low.

I actually do root for any teams, but at least I can pull for the Beavers to rebound. It is time for the all the talk that comes out of Corvallis to end and action on the floor needs to take place. Do I dare say, "Go Beavs".

Interesting---Good question to think about on holiday weekend. Of the basketball players, not that you know, but you can actually call friends, what is your all-time starting five of those friends. I would really be interested in you sending me your all time friends basketball team, I will even do a column on that subject. Remember, not players you see or know of, these have to be actual friends of yours, send me the top five. which will be tough decisions for many.

Twitter---Have to admit, I resisted for long time to set up a twitter account. Now I can't do without it, great tool for communication and for people who want to improve their life and improve their business dealings it is a must. It took me way too long to come around, I am really kicking myself why it took me so long and why I was so stubborn. Shame on me. By the way, follow me @wchoops.

Golf----Getting a little tired of all the jerks who are attacking Jack Nicklaus for his ideas about how to grow the game, which has sadly lost so many players due to the economy in the past few years. Nicklaus has suggested and is promoting, golf courses that have 12 holes and making the hole much bigger that it is at present, so people will make more putts. I love any ideas to grow the game and get people interested in golf. It is a tremendous game, you can play it until your 100 and please tell me, is there another sport in the world (I am sure there might be), where you call penalties on yourself? Yau, sure, I can just see the mouthy Coach K, calling a technical foul on himself. You bet.

So Jack, you still are the greatest player ever in the game and my hat is off to you for thinking outside the box, creating a buzz and hopefully more players. But in fairness, it was my good friend Gordon Kiyokawa, who first told me there should be 7 hole golf courses available to people, so Jack, even though you were late to the party, the party is still rolling.

Lastly---Please on this holiday weekend, do not forget all the people on the east coast who are still suffering from hurricane damage, the state of Lousiana, which is soaked, the state of Texas that is baked and the heros who are fighting the wildland fires on the west coast. Many people are suffering, please, please never forget these people. While many other countries are now hiding under rocks, Americans always will and always have reached out to help our fellow Americans in a time of great hardship. Thank you for reading, greatly appreciated.

Do not forget to check out and

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Everyone Wants Them, Who Gets Them

If you can keep constant track of all the conference changes, then your the best and will get mentioned in Craw's Corner, as a big time person.

For sure it makes for great banter and great for sports fans everywhere with all the changes, it is just hard to keep track of.

The latest big news just in case you haven't not been following is what will Brigham Young University do. Will they stay with the West Coast Conference? Will they move to the Big-12, bolting the WCC after a short stint, or will they join the Big East, yes the Big East, which has been talked about.

Of course this coming season, BYU will play in the West Coast Conference, with the exception of football, where the Cougars will play as an independent, much like Notre Dame has done for years, with the backing of a huge TV contract by NBC for the Irish.

Since this column is all about basketball, it intrigues me greatly as to where BYU will wind up, if they wind up somewhere else at all and decide to leave the WCC.

I know one thing for sure, no matter where BYU basketball goes, they are a huge draw, they are always good and they have a fan base that is worldwide. As matter of fact, I have to think that outside of Gonzaga, St. Mary's and Santa Clara, every team in the WCC can hardly wait for the Cougars to visit their buildings, as it is almost a guaranteed sellout, with the following they have.

My take on this is that if BYU can get an guarantee that Texas will stay in the Big-12, that is where they will eventually end up. The advantages to them are just too great, much better than being an independent in football and playing all the other sports in the WCC.

It never seemed to makes sense to myself that BYU joined the WCC, but boy was it fun to think that in men's basketball, Gonzaga and St. Mary's would have another strong challenger, plus the way San Francisco, Portland and Santa Clara, have benefited from great young coaches it is an exciting league to watch in basketball and very competitive.

I have to chuckle about the comments of some that it would hurt the image and brand of BYU if they were to leave the WCC so soon after joining. Note to everyone, even at BYU it is all about the finances and it did not seem to matter that BYU left the Mountain West, loyalty ends quickly, where money starts and flashes.

There is some tough decisions to make by lots of schools as the conference shake-ups continue and everyone postures for a great financial future. I even have to think that if BYU does leave the WCC, it might cause the WCC to re-think their postiion on Seattle University and perhaps they would bolt the Western Athletic Conference, if offered a spot in the WCC, which is a much better fit and situation than being in the WAC for the Redhawks.

As I often say it will be fun to watch, it will be tension filled for lots of people and the WCC will be dealt a big blow if BYU ups and leaves.

Stay tuned.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

September SHOCKER

Here we go, new month, new attitude, new energy and ready to roll into the start of the college basketball season.

Since I do not believe in the jinx theory, nor do I subscribe to the crawscorner hex as some have suggested.

I am going to make the boldest prediction I have ever made and you all need to take notice.

The Portland State Vikings will win the Big Sky championship this year in men's basketball. Yes those Vikings who play in a clean, sparkling, but awfully small arena,  the Stott Center, which is seldom filled, but as noted, has the best band of any school in the country, with the band having an average of what I would guess 50 years old.

Back to the basketball court, the Vikings have lots of talent, they are flying under the radar and they have a good young coach, who will get even better, once he learns to spend less time barking at officials. (Note to Coach Tyler Geving, there is a point in time that too much complaining to refs and they just tune you out, save your voice).

In my mind the Vikings will have the best player in the league this year in Chehales Tapscott. Just a good talent who continues to improve all aspects of his game. Charles Odum is also a player not many people talk about, but there is not a better driver of the basketball to the hoop, in all of college basketball and an improving defender.

When you toss in Washington State transfer Michael Harthun, who some are forgetting was one of the best high school players ever in the state of Oregon, plus the potential of freshman redshirt Brandon Catalda, clogging up the middle, the Vikings have some talent.

Unlike other leagues around the country, it is easy to win the Big Sky. There are at best three quality teams in the league and the Viks can match up to any of them.

And a great note about Portland State, after having a dismal APR under Ken Bone, Coach Geving gets it and the Viks have shown as dramatic an improvement in that area as any team in the country.

I said I am back, better than ever, and coming out strong, with a great prediction, which will come true in March. Put it on your whatever you use to keep track of things, Viks win Big Sky title and then win tournament and meet Purdue in first round the NCAA tournament.

emails to, please follow on twitter @wchoops