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.
emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or please follow on twitter @wchoops