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Saturday, October 29, 2011

CRAWFACTS, Edition 14

Crawfacts is an assortment of news, notes and anything else you wish to call it, in the world of college basketball.

1. Arizona----Ouch, my preseason pick to win the NCAA tournament this year, right now is making me look awfully bad, after losing their opening exhibition game to Seattle Pacific. There is no other way to put it, an awful loss, even though it was exhibition and the opening game of the season.

The final score was 69-68, helped lots by the fact that Seattle Pacific was 12-12 from the free throw line, while Arizona was 12 for 19. Now you can see why I have harped so much on free throws in the last few months in my blog. Free throws are never given among importance by everyone in basketball.

So telling was this loss, was the fact that the last time Arizona lost an exhibition game to a much inferior opponent was 1984. To Seattle Pacific's big credit, not only this great victory, but last year in exhibition games, they defeated two D-1 opponents, Eastern Washington and Nevada. Ryan Looney is an outstanding coach and he has quite the program at Seattle Pacific and he will be an D-1 coach very soon.

If there is any room for optimism at Arizona, all you have to do is look back 10 years, when Syracuse lost their opening game to a D-3 opponent and then went on to finish 30-5 and got the number one seed in the NCAA tournament. Sean Miller has a young team, but I am not backing down from my pick and they will be there in the end.

2. UCLA---While many are picking the Bruins to win the Pac-12 and everyone expects them to finish in the top three of the Pac-12, I still say the "fallout" from not playing any games in Pauley Pavilion this year will have a big impact on the play of the Bruins. The history of teams who have to play out of their  own arenas cause of renovation has not been good throughout the years in college basketball. And when you think about it, it makes sense. Comfort is great for everyone, including college basketball players.

3. Oregon---Finally after making all of us suffer, the Oregon Ducks will have a center court line this year and that players, officials and fans can see. While better late than never, shame on you Ducks for taking so long for this to happen, but plaudits for making the change.

4. Watching----I am going to be real interested to watch what happens this year at Pepperdine and Eastern Washington, when it comes to coaching. Both schools have first year coaches, Jim Hayford at Eastern Washington and Marty Wilson at Pepperdine. Wilson appears to have so much energy and has made a huge effort to connect with the past at Pepperdine and has reached out to so many people, including the media to bring attention to the Waves' program. As for Hayford, he makes the jump that very few have ever done and even more important, done successfully, coming from a D-3 program at Whitworth, where he dominated the Northwest Conference for many of his 10 years there. Some people in the media have picked his team to finish as high as third in the Big Sky, somewhat of a reach. But I can tell you one thing, if he wins and wins consistently at Eastern Washington, he will be one of the most sought after coaches in the country in a few years.

5. Don't Forget---Shameless plug here, I apologize, but starting November 2nd, this blog will move over to, so bookmark it now please. I have a bit of a name change over there as it will be called Crawford's Court, but I am thrilled to be there, with so many talented people. And even more good news, I will continue to write Crawscorner here 3 days a week, covering some small college basketball, sports business and golf, so if your sick of me, then you now can be doubly sick of me.

emails to or follow myself on twitter @wchoops

As always thank you for reading this blog.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Please allow me for one day not to talk so much about sports, but to talk about life, which is much more important. Sports for the most part have shaped my life and allowed me to meet wonderful, wonderful people.

I hope you will take the time to read this column, it means a lot to myself to write this and is as important as anything I will ever write. It is going to be full of thank yous, which I never can say enough to so many people who have been there for me in my life, in not only the good times, but more importantly the bad times.

Big news, on November 1st, my blog will move to, which is a wonderful website that enhances greatly the work that is done at Comcast Sports Net NW. It is a great opportunity for myself and I want to thank Kevin Berry/David Kamens, for the opportunity. No worries, you will still get a link to the blog on  daily basis and my work with Comcast will continue to be about college basketball and west coast college basketball.

But today, I am not going to tell you about college basketball for one day, but instead tell you about so many wonderful people who have not only supported this blog to get it where it is, but more importantly are just wonderful people and have a huge impact on my life.

Number one always, I want to thank my great family, who made sure I could always be a part of sports, despite limited funds. I would never trade my Mom, Dad or Sister for anyone, period, end of story. Awesome people and so lucky, oh I am fortunate.

My blog would have never gotten off the ground without the technical help of Tim Marsh. I went to college with Tim and he is the model for never asking for anything and always willing to help. Thank you Tim.

The first reader ever of my blog, was my GREAT friend Terry Durham. Thank you Terry, along with my friends Dale Scott and Terry Gierke, it is criminal that all three of these people are not in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, for being legendary sports officials. But more important, terrific human beings and readers of this blog. Very funny people as well, who make me laugh often.

In 1991, Tom Christy and Bob Senseman, had the brilliance to hire myself to work with golf course superintendents. One of the best things that ever happened in my life. Out of that came my great friendship not only with them, but with golf course superintendents Russ Vandehey and Gordon Kiyokawa. Gordon, Bob and Russ, are there for me everyday, through thick and thin. Golf courses superintendents are not only the salt of the earth people, but there is a reason why every survey ever taken by golfers, they are voted the most important people at the golf course. You guys I can never thank enough. Beautiful human beings to say the least.

Since 1999, I have had the honor to work with Marv French. Another person that it is criminal he is not in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. All he did was found Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, one of the five best 36 hole golf facilities in the world. Out of working with Marv, I would never have been able to meet Mike Trimboli. Marv and Mike, thank you so much for all you do for me, you are not only legendary sports people, you are even better world class human beings.

And the list goes on, oh it goes on. Jonathan Heins, Jim Moore (great writer, Coug fan), Dr.  Steve Brenner, Ivan Kafoury (radio legend), Mark Sanchez (great journalist), Doug Merlino, Kenny Vance (NBA guru), Cody Harrod, Ken Kuzmaak (brillant basketball evaluator), Dave Haglund (best sports commish in college sports), Chris Maples, Bobby Thompson, Bruce Hubbard, Mike Smithey, John Melonas, Lanny Bennett, Mitch Copp, Gavin Amato, Dr. Dan Beeson (congrats Dan for being inducted into the Phoenix/Talent hall of fame this weekend) Harry Yewens (Texas golf legend) and Rob Closs, thank you so much for being devoted readers of my blog and thank you so much for being friends, who care about giving back to people everyday.

Also a big thank you to basketball coaches, Danny Miles, Andy McClouskey, Kerry Keating and Eric Reveno. With the exception of Andy, I have never met these  gentleman, but I feel like I have, for every time I write something about them, they take their valuable time to thank me. They would not have to do that, it shows something about the quality of individuals they are indeed.

Thank you to media people Tom Hewitt, Ron Callan and Jay Reese for mentioning my blog and having myself on their radio programs. Great professionals and great guys.

I would be totally remiss, if I did not mention my boss at Adventist Medical Center, Kim Earp. Kim runs our cancer unit at the hospital flawlessly. When you work, as I do part time in the cancer unit of a major hospital, it brings you back down to earth quickly. It is  humbling and a great honor to be a small part of a great team of compassionate professionals, who bring it everyday.

Dan Belluomini, you are a treasure. You are the historian of west coast college basketball, no one knows more about college basketball than you do and you have always been a class act. It is an honor to know you.

It is also an honor to know my good friends Mike Lund and Jim Jorgensen, you guys are great and it is not often you can say, you have known someone for 25 years plus and never ever had a cross word or argument. Thank you Jim and Mike for being friends.

Jon Spoelstra and Jack Garrison all I can say is thank you for being great friends and truly being there in the bad times as well as the good. You ask nothing and give everything.

So once again thank you to everyone who reads this blog, friends or not. It has been great fun to write this and I will continue on this site until November 1st, when I move to Comcast and be able to be part of a great website and work with legendary sportswriter Dwight Jaynes, who I have known for 53 years. Ouch.

And thank you Kerry Eggers and Steve Brandon from the Portland Tribune. I knew both of you before you became famous, now you are icons in the Oregon media scene.

Lastly, thank you Cleveland High School (If not for Cleveland, would never have met my friend Jim Clair, Hall of Famer and who reads my blog everyday). Best time of my life and learned so much, as well as thank you Eastmoreland Golf Course, where so much of my life was shaped and I met so many wonderful people and where ironically, my great father died on the 18th green of heart attack. Miss you so much MOM and DAD.

emails to or follow on twitter @wchoops

And please do not forget to follow these great blogs

Kevin McCarthy--------


Dan (the Generals Fan)

You guys are great and thank you for supporting my blog.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

CRAWVELOUS TOP 12 Teams/ October 20th

Ok here we go with my first ever Crawvelous Top 12, west coast college basketball. As the year goes along I will update this often, might even have my top 12 coaches list, maybe even have my top 12 referees and top 12 arenas, or whatever else you might ask for.

The list will be based off the six conferences that play D-1 basketball out west, which are, West Coast Conference, Western Athletic Conference, Big Sky, Big West, Pac-12 and Mountain West. Do you agree that there are too may wests in those conferences and as well, too many bigs.

As I say, always dangerous, always controversial and but never wrong. Right.


1. Arizona---- Will win the NCAA championship this year.

2. Gonzaga-- To be the champ, beat the champ. No better regular season team in all of sports.

3. San Diego State---No Steve Fisher is not 90 years old, but  he is a great basketball coach.

4. California--- It is time to bring Mike Montgomery back, might be Cal's year

5. Utah State---Never challenge Stew Morrill, like Mark Few, needs to win in NCAA tourney

6. UCLA--- Every game will be on the road for Bruins, never can figure out Ben Howland

7. BYU--- Dave Rose, one heck of a coach, plus he beat pancreatic cancer for now, enough said.

8. New Mexico--- As long as Steve Alford is with the Lobos, they will win, win big

9. Oregon---  Dana Altman will make big dance, slowing building national program in Eugene.

10. Santa Clara--- Great coach in Kerry Keating, does wonders at Santa Clara, nice person as well

11. Hawaii---Biggest surprise in the group, but have to go with the WAC Daddy, he knows WAC

12. Weber State---Talented, but Randy Rahe will figure out how to get them out of Top 12

So there it is, lots to chew over for you great readers and lots to think about as the season is less than 10 days from starting. And I would be the first to say this is not your normal Top 12, but I can also tell you I know basketball and I look beyond just the norm. More often than not, I am right more than I am wrong, but one thing I can do is always laugh at myself and I never take myself too seriously and neither should any of you.

Basketball is a sport, granted also a business, but LIFE is REAL. Enjoy and let me know as you will, where I went wrong here.

emails to or follow on twitter @wchoops

As always thank you for reading this column, greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Any Of These Guys Would Make Winners

I am always interested in the coaching side of basketball, especially college basketball, where the head coach might be more important than any other sport around.

And without question the two best leagues on the west coast in college basketball are the West Coast Conference and the Pac-12.

So with my interest in coaching and with the help of a nameless famous retired NBA executive, together we created our list of top five coaches in both the WCC and Pac-12 heading into the 2011-12 season. We based our selections off of three different categories, 1)Bench/In Game Coaching 2) Recruiting 3) Could this person win anywhere they are coaching.

With that into account, here is our ranking, but instead of ranking by league separation, we thought it might be better to have top 10 list, combining the two leagues and for sure a lot more fun for you readers which is much more important.

10. Tad Boyle, Colorado--- Most people could not even tell you who coaches Colorado, but basketball people know what a good coach Boyle is. He did wonders turning a dismal Northern Colorado team around before going to the Buffalos this past season. Excellent recruiter, who is always going to be on lists to be hired at other schools. Pac-12 coaches should be nervous about him in the league.

9. Kerry Keating, Santa Clara---A coach to watch for many years to come. It took him awhile to get things going at Santa Clara, but now he appears to have the Broncos in a great position for years to come. There are people that are made to be Doctors and there are people made to be basketball coaches. The Broncos will have trouble keeping Keating, he is on the short list of many schools. Enough said.

8. Randy Bennett, St. Mary's--- For sure at present he belongs in the top 10, but also could easily drop out. While having lots of wins at St. Mary's, he has not been able to break through the Gonzaga dominance and create a real WCC rivalry, but none the less, for coaching at a small school, in a small arena, Bennett has done a nice job. He has been on short lists of teams seeking coaches, but he might just be a lifer at St. Mary's.

7. Dana Altman. Oregon--- A lot of people wondered what the heck the Ducks were doing hiring Altman. Now they know, the Ducks did know what they were doing. 21 wins in his first year with inferior talent, says much, this year as documented in my previous columns, the Ducks should go dancing. If they do, Altman will be one of the hottest coaching commodities in the country, but who would leave Oregon..... money, facilities and an athletic program that is totally committed to winning.

6. Dave Rose, BYU---For now, he has beat pancreatic cancer, probably that is all you need to know about Rose. Sure he is at BYU, but he still has to coach talent and he has done a great job of doing so over the years. There is not a shortage of programs in the country who would love to have Rose as their head coach. He oozes winning.

5. Lorenzo Romar, Washington--- In one of the richest recruiting areas in all the country, Seattle, Romar continues to win, year in and year out. With his talent pool to choose from each year, it appears that Romar will finish out his career at Washington, but if he said he would like to leave, there would be no shortage of jobs offered to him. Romar someday will win a national championship at Washington.

4. Mike Montgomery, California--- Actually it would be easy to throw darts at this choice with his failure in the pros at Golden State, but Montgomery has withstood the test of time at Stanford and at California. Some people have picked him to win the Pac-12 this season, I do not agree, but his consistent winning, makes his an obvious top 10 choice.

3. Eric Reveno, Portland--- As I have told you many times, the best coach in the country that most people have never heard of. What he has done with the Pilots is nothing short of miracle. There is no way the Pilots can keep him much longer. One other key point, high school coaches love the guy, so important in the ongoing recruiting battles. He could turn the Washington Generals into a winner.

2. Mark Few, Gonzaga--- Quite possibly the might be the mistake on the list, but how can you argue with 11 straight WCC championships and 13 straight NCAA appearances. Horrible success in the NCAA tournament, but maybe the greatest regular season accomplishment in sports with the domination. The big question here is would he win at another school, we might find out next year as I think Few will leave Gonzaga after this season.

1. Sean Miller, Arizona--- Of course I have picked the Wildcats to win the NCAA championship this year. Miller is the best head coach recruiter in the country. He makes great in-game adjustments and he will soon be on the east coast coaching somewhere. When a job opens, he is the number one choice of everyone. He is the definition of winning.

Ok, where did I go wrong, please tell me as I know you will and the first batch of emails I am sure will come from my friends at UCLA, just a hint.

emails to or please follow myself on twitter @wchoops

As always, thank you for reading this column.

Friday, October 14, 2011

It Is Up To "U" Of Portland

The great part about sports is that there is always another game the next day, your team is always in contention on opening day and the most important thing about sports it allows fans to DREAM about so many what ifs.

I even am even so certain about dreaming that somewhere in the country today there is somebody dreaming about Kansas City/Houston in the world series. I also am certain that a good friend of mine in Sacramento, Jim Jorgensen dreams everyday that NBA basketball will return to Sacramento. (It has been missing, even since Rick Adelman was fired as coach of the Kings). As a native Portlander, I am also dreaming that someday the Rose City, will have more than one major league team. (And yes I know before someone corrects me, Portland has soccer and even though it is a great game, fun for many, you can never call the MLS, major league, when players leave their teams during the season to play in other events and your referees are not even employees of the league).

But back to basketball, more specifically college basketball, which opens today for real with the start of practices and some creative marketing people trying to outdo each other by coming up with new ways to create a buzz about what use to be called "Midnight Madness". It is an exciting time for everyone who loves the college game and even more exciting we only have to wait 2 1/2 more weeks for the first games.

Since you already know, if you paid attention above, I am from Oregon, so please allow me occasionally in this blog to become a little provincial as I am going too today.

Keeping with my dream theme, I have forever dreamed ever since Portland State brought back basketball in 1996, that all four D-1 programs in Oregon would go to the NCAA tournament in the same year. Sometimes dreams do have a chance, sometimes is the key here. Is 2012 the year? I have not woke up yet, so I think it has a chance of happening, of which I probably will never have another dream like this again.

And in case you think my dreams are crazy, a little breakdown here.

In the last 10 days I have documented  that I feel strongly that both the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers will go dancing in 2012. Dana Altman oozes with winning, what he did in his first year at Oregon as I documented in my last blog was nothing short of amazing, now he has some talent to work with and with his coaching, his players, I am calling the Ducks a lock for NCAA in 2012.

Continuing the trend, the Oregon State Beavers as I have noted over the past several months, have not been to the NCAA since 1990. For the first time in ages, they have some depth, an almost certain all Pac-12 performer in Jared Cunningham and a favorable schedule, to possibly win 24 games. And if they do win 24 games, the "Committee", which is alway looking for great stories to put in the NCAA, is not going to leave out the President of United States' brother-in-law.

Moving on to the Portland entries in the D-1 basketball.

Full disclosure, I have been following the Big Sky for so many years I can't remember. I have discovered if you have two high quality players you can win the Big Sky and Big Sky tournament and advance to the NCAA. My call this year is for the Portland State Vikings to go to the NCAA tournament. Speaking of two quality players the Viks have two potential first team Big Sky players in Chehalis Tapscott and Charles Odum. While everyone is picking Weber State to walk away with the Big Sky title, keep in mind that despite almost every year he has the league's best talent, Randy Rahe has really underachieved in Ogden as coach of the Wildcats. I think he is to a degree an overrated coach.

Ok, now we have three in the NCAA and for you math people out there, my dream is 75 percent complete. Now the big pressure, falls on the Portland Pilots. Of course as I have told you for months the Pilots have the best coach in basketball that hardly anyone has heard of in Eric Reveno. He has done some magical things with Portland and each year, he has been able to get more and more out of his players. Although this is predicted to be a rebuilding year, nothing surprises me from a Reveno coached team. And even though they might suffer a little in the pre-season with a very tough schedule, the Pilots do open at Gonzaga and I am dreaming of a big upset. And I am dreaming of an NCAA beth for the team from North Portland, something they have not accomplished since 1996, so your on notice Pilots, the pressure is on.

It is often that you do get a pretty good recap in your dreams, so my locks for the NCAA tourney are Oregon, Oregon State and Portland State. The theme here is let's go Pilots, let's go Pilots, please make my dream come true.

I know what your thinking and the answer is NO. I am not going to wake up from this one, I have waited so long in this state to see some good college basketball from our D-1 teams all at the same time, you can only wake me up in March.

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Thank you for reading this always.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oregon Ducks Came Out Much The Better

In the Oregon Duck's bungled procedural effort to find a basketball coach to replace fired Ernie Kent following the 2009 season, they just might have stumbled upon what could go down as one of the best coaching hires in the school's history.

Quietly Dana Altman is building a powerful basketball program in Eugene. Still to this day in the state of Oregon, if you walked down the street and talk to all non-ducks, probably only 1 in 10 people could tell you who the head basketball coach at University of Oregon is. As a matter of fact, despite a pathetic performance so far, Paul Westhead, the women's coach is much more famous.

And knowing what I know about Altman, while he cares deeply about Oregon basketball, he could care about who knows who is he is or even what he does. In a high profile school, that is known around the world for many things involving their athletic department, going into his second year as head coach of the Ducks, Altman continues to fly under the radar. 

But most of the time, in sports at least, flying under the radar is often very good and I can tell you not only from my standpoint, but from people in the basketball know, they all tell me two things, Dana Altman is a terrific bench coach and no one is going to outwork him in the ongoing college basketball recruiting battles. And while it is still going to take Altman sometime to really get things going, it is not all bad to have the glitz and glamour of the Oregon Duck athletic machine behind him, not to mention that fact the Ducks might just have the best arena in all of college basketball, in Matt Knight Arena.

And I  would go even as far as to say, while all the attention these days is on the Oregon football program, Dana Altman will bring a national championship to Oregon, long before the Ducks win one in football. He is that good at what he does.

 Where in the past, people would often say if someone in basketball is successful they will leave for better job, there probably are not that many better jobs in the country for a person like Altman than in Eugene. He is at a school that is always going to support athletics, as mentioned plays in a great arena, in a superb conference and he loves golf and has access to one of the great golf courses in all the world, in Eugene Country Club. What more can a guy ask for?

While in the first two years coaching the Ducks, Altman often had to will hjs teams to victories with great coaching, this year he will have some really good talent to work with. All the attention of the new players coming into the program has been on potential super-star Jabari Brown and rightfully so, but a player that everyone should get familiar with, is newcomer from the Seattle area, Brett Kingma. Kingma is player in high school that all of a sudden you would look at the boxscore and he would have 40 points. He should fit in great with the Altman system.

In Altman's first  season, his Ducks played some pretty good defense, considering the lack of overall talent on the team, now I am sure they will play even better defense with more  talent, but as compared to the first two years, there will be plenty of offensive punch on the team, which was lacking badly in the past two years.

I have always felt that teams who have taken advantage of the NCCA rules that allows you to take your basketball team in the summer to play games in different countries gives them a huge edge. The Ducks took a trip to Italy earlier this summer, it will help them lots in this coming season.

This Duck team has the potential to do something special this year and surprise everyone. I not only have them going to the NCAA tournament, but I also feel they will make it all the way to the "sweet 16".

And while Chip Kelly for near future always gets the headlines when people talk about Oregon athletics, upon further review, the best coach at Oregon might just be Dan Altman. He for sure will not fly under the radar much longer, keep an eye on him in 2011-12, he will become a headliner.

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Thank you for reading this.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It Is Now Or Never

It is pretty hard to fathom that 30 years ago, before a lot of readers of this blog were even born,  the Oregon State Beavers basketball team was ranked number one, yes that is right, number one in the country for 25 straight weeks. They finished the season that year 26-2, losing a devastating game to Kansas State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

It also hard to fathom the following about the Oregon State basketball program.

1. The last time they went to the NCAA basketball tournament was 1990.

2. Since 1990, the Beavers have had six coaches, none of them having a winning record as head coach of the Beavers, including present coach Craig Robinson.

3. Even with one of the most consistently poor college basketball program since 1990, the Beavers still rank as the 16th winningest all-time program in NCAA history.

4. Up to the year 2000, the Beavers had the most all time wins of any college basketball program west of the Mississippi, no longer the case.

5. Since 1990, the Beaver have had only two all Pac-10/Pac-12 first team all conference players.

6. There are four D-1 basketball programs in the state of Oregon and all but the Beavers have been to the NCAA tournament at least once since 1990, including Portland State, which brought back their program in 1996 after a 17 year absence from even having a basketball program.

The above says lots about the past, but what about the future.

Beaver head coach Craig Robinson is not on the hot seat, you are not going to fire the President of the United States' brother in law, plain and simple, but Robinson is on the hot seat to produce a better showing than he has since taking over the program in 2008. The last two years under Robinson have been dismal to say the least.

Fast forwarding to this year, on paper the Beavers will have the best and deepest team they have had in years. As I have said in this blog before, paper is only good to look at visually. We are really going to find out this year if Robinson can coach and get out from under the huge amount of publicity he has received for logical reasons.

Plus the Beavers have a real chance to win 20 games this year, they have a pretty easy pre-season schedule, adding to that is they play most of their pre-season games at home and in league play should be helped that they can beat newcomer Utah twice.

Of course all of this has to done with good players as well and Oregon State have good players on their roster. Jared Cunningham should challenge to be an all Pac-12 performer. He has had the great opportunity to work out this summer with Beaver all time great Gary Payton. That will help. Ahmad Starks has year under his belt, should play much better this year and even though he is small, is a lockdown defender. Roberto Nelson is a question mark, if he can play even slightly up to his potential, he can become a big time player in the Pac-12.

The Beavers will be the most weakest at center, which will a committee of centers, with the lead being taken by Joe Burton, who at times has shown flashes of brilliance, but only at times. Two players that could really be keys this year for the Beavers will be newcomers Daniel Gomis and Challe Barton. Gomis is fighting a leg injury, but once he recovers, any player coming out of the famous Oak Hill program, including Gomis, will help any basketball team. Barton could be the surprise of the Pac-12 and a big surprise player for the Beavers. He is  really good, even as a freshman, he should see plenty of playing time.

To the credit of Craig Robinson, he for now has ditched the 5:00 a.m. practices, instead the Beavers will practice at 1:30. I never have gotten any college coach scheduling practices before the sun comes up. Sure it sounds real macho for teams to say they do this,  I am sure there are exceptions to the rule, but these players are still kids and they do like to sleep in, I do not know a kid who does not. You want practices to be productive, not something kids dread going too.

Now for the shocker for Beaver fans and fans of college basketball. I am saying right now, right it down, the Beavers will go dancing this year for the first time since 1990. They have the players, they have deep team and they have the schedule which sets up nicely to make the NCAA tournament.

And last but equally as important, I can guarantee you that if Oregon State is on the bubble for the NCAA tournament, no one on the selection committee is going to leave out the President of the Unites States' brother in law. That committee may be foolish at times, but they are forever political.

emails to or please follow on twitter @wchoops.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CRAWFACTS, Edition 13

Crawfacts is an assortment of info, unknown facts, suggestions and even an occasional gripe, so enjoy and feel free to comment about anything you wish.

DANNY MILES COURT---It is my understanding that the good folks in Klamath Falls, Oregon are getting closer to their goal of raising $150,000 for a new basketball court at Oregon Tech. The present floor is 46 years old, so a new court is long overdue. Of course the court is named after iconic Oregon Tech basketball coach Danny Miles, who will begin his 41st year this season heading up the Owls and one of the very few great basketball people in the country that is not in the basketball hall of fame, that should be. I learned in the last few months in writing this blog, that Klamath Falls and Oregon Tech, which is headed  up by its classy president Chris Maples, are some of nicest people on the planet, so I really would have hoped instead of doing all this awesome fundraising, it would have been nice for Jeld-Wen, an international company with a huge presence in Klamath Falls would have not just stepped up and built Oregon Tech a new floor, after all Jeld-Wen is one of the largest window and door makers in the world and they did just do a naming rights deal for a new soccer stadium in Portland, Oregon. As is all politics are local, all charity should be local.

ANNOUNCERS---And speaking of classy people, you will not find two finer than Dan Belluomini and Rob Closs, who both have had a large presence as basketball analysts on the west coast. Belluomini as I have documented is the historian of west coast basketball, no one knows more about west coast basketball than Dan and has worked so many games over the years for ABC, CBS and Fox.

Closs has been the analyst for Oregon Ducks' basketball for years and knows his stuff and is always studying the game like crazy. I also give him big plaudits for not being afraid to criticize the Ducks when they have it coming to them and when your an Oregon alum and your doing their broadcasts, trust me, you will hear the wrath from many in Eugene and beyond for even the slightest peep of Duck criticism.

I bring these two fine people up because as we are a year away, I really hope that Fox, ESPN and the Pac-12 will take note of their historic work over the years and find a spot for both to continue on their stellar careers. As a matter of fact, big suggestion to the Pac-12, bring both of them on as studio hosts for your new TV network. Pac-12, you could not make a better move, not only from historical standpoint, but also from the fact, it would totally enhance your broadcasts.

NBA LOCKOUT----If you are not on twitter, shame on you. By the way you can follow myself if you are on twitter @wchoops. Twitter is fun for many reasons. It is educational at times, downright hilarious at times and for all you business people out there, it is a great way to promote your business or even a great way for some people who want too, to promote themselves, as many do, or at least try to do.

As sad as the NBA lockout is and please do not say you do not care, cause you should, as by conservative estimates it is going to affect around 50,000 jobs in this country either eliminating them or cutting way back on income and these jobs have nothing to do with players, owners or agents.

But back to twitter, there were a couple of hilarious comments yesterday about the lockout. One person claimed the players are such important people to the culture of sports and the game,  that they are underpaid and they are some of the most important people in the world and he was serious. My one answer to that is, the average NBA players makes upward of 2 million per year, in comparison, the average space shuttle astronaut, when the program was running made $71,000 per year. Yau those NBA players are really important. Another great tweet, which made me laugh hard, it is no longer, "Occupy Wall Street", it is now, "Occupy NBA". So true.

MATCH UPS---Here are several reasons why my pointed columns about Portland State-University of Portland and Utah-Utah State not playing this year in men's basketball is a complete joke and should be a total embarrassment for whoever is at fault for the elimination of these rivalries.

1. New Mexico and New Mexico State, in different conferences, are playing each other twice in the pre-season. The state of New Mexico has great people and great basketball fans, both schools say their fans deserve this game, not once, but twice.

2. Despite the Washington Huskies having nothing to gain, they are once again playing cross city competitor Seattle Redhawks. Hats off Lorenzo Romar, for doing what is good for basketball and what is good for the city of Seattle.

3. San Diego State is going across town, to play the horrible basketball program,  San Diego. Steve Fisher you are a credit to the game.

4. Despite Boise State leaving for the Mountain West and now not in the same conference as cross-state  Idaho which competes in the WAC, the only two D-1 programs in the state will continue to play each other on neutral floor on New Year's Eve in Nampa Idaho. (Before someone corrects me, Idaho State is a D-3, program, who just happens to play in a D-1 league).

5. California will play San Jose State. Schools fairly close, once again, Cal has lots to lose here, but hats off to Mike Montgomery and along these lines, Arizona State will play Northern Arizona in pre-season. another good in-state battle, of which Northern Arizona has a chance to win, against a weak ASU team.

6. Lastly, why is it that the Portland State/U of Portland women are going to play each other this year and not the men?

Do I need to say anymore on this subject? No, I probably do not, but who knows, I might break my word and have even more to say once the season starts and then tons of people will miss these rivalry games and I will be even more hot under the collar, as are hundreds of other fans of the game.

MIZZOU---I have made strong suggestions to Missouri who seems to relish the fact that they continue to tease their huge fan base and alumni, as to where they will finally wind up, either staying in the Big 12 (or whatever it will be called) or bolting for the SEC. A better choice would be to join the Big Sky. They actually then might be able to be competitive in football for a change and also they would make a strong showing in basketball. Hey, why not. Doug Fullerton, get on the phone.

MATCH UPS---No I am not going back to my forever rant, so relax, but here is a great match-up for all basketball fans in the Pacific Northwest. On November 21st, BYU-Hawaii will play Western Washington in Bellingham. This has the makings of a classic D-2 game, which by the way, D-2 basketball on the west coast is awesome. BYU-Hawaii lost last year in the championship game of D-2 and will probably lead the entire nation this year in scoring and Western Washington not only has a great program each year, but they have one of the finest basketball coaches in all of basketball in Brad Jackson. He will be starting his 27th year for the Vikings. Quite frankly Jackson is such a good coach, he could make the Washington Generals, the worst team in all of basketball, a winner. My hats off to him for his work all these years in basketball, but more importantly developing so many fine young men who have gone on to be successful people. like Jackson has been for years.

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Thank you for reading this blog and all the basketball columns, greatly appreciated.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Circle This One Please

If you are a basketball fan or even better a fan of west coast basketball, then you will want to block out December 17th for sure.

On that date at 1:00 p.m., it might be the best pre-season game of any for west coast college basketball, when Arizona battles Gonzaga in Seattle on CBS. (As a side note, between the two schools, they will appear on national television 31 times this year during the regular season, not bad. )

While many are picking the UCLA Bruins to win the Pac-12 this, I disagree, thinking it will be the Arizona Wildcats to win the initial Pac-12 basketball championship and I have even gone as far as to pick them to win the NCAA championship, they are that good. Also important to keep in mind that with the renovation of Pauley Pavilion this year, the Bruins will have no home games, which will hurt.

I think coaches are more important in basketball than any other NCAA sport and Arizona has a gem in Sean Miller. He is not only an outstanding in- game coach, but he is proving himself to be one of the top three head coaches in the country when it comes to recruiting. Two things to watch this season is will the loss of Miller's brother, Archie, who was his top assistant have a big impact and also the shooting last week of reserve player Kevin Parrom in New York City impact on the team. It is always unreal scary for young men to have a friend and teammate get hurt, let alone get shot. (At this time Parrom is expected to recover fully).

The Wildcats have the stability of Kyle Fogg as a returner, plus top super freshmen recruits in Angelo Choi and Josiah Turner. The talented players coming into college today can hardly be called freshmen, they have so much experience playing basketball and have been exposed to so much pressure prior to entering college, they are more than ready. Bottom line, look for the Wildcats to easily win 30 games, once again.

Gonzaga on the other hand will be a team to watch this year for many reasons. Do they have the players to compete on a high level, as the have in the past? Can they continue one of the greatest dominant performances in sports in the last 25 years and win their 12 straight regular season championship? Is this Mark Few's last year in Spokane and will he leave for a better job? How much challenge will BYU bring to Gonzaga as they enter league play in the first year?

One thing I can tell you is, Gonzaga has some good players coming back in Robert Sacre, Marquise Carter, David Stockton and Sam Dower. Stockton, the son of hall of famer John, shocked everyone last year with his play, sometimes he even shocked his teammates with spectacular passes that they were not ready for. Sacre on paper is also the best player in the conference.

While Gonzaga has been a dismal failure in the NCAA tournament, there is no disputing the awesome success during the regular season and I expect that to continue as the Zags will win their 12 consecutive  regular season championship this year, despite the challenge of newcomer BYU and rest of the outstanding teams in what is a very good basketball conference.

And speaking of good basketball, why not have the Pac 12/WCC challenge each year. Why has this not happened before now and just take the top nine teams in each conference and play each other the following year in match-ups per your positioning in the conference the previous season. Maybe the real reason is the fear that this might show that the WCC is on par with the Pac-12 in basketball, make no mistake about it.

So keep December 17th free and I give big plaudits for Arizona playing Gonzaga and once again I give  big plaudits for behinds the scenes guru, Mike Roth, the Gonzaga athletic director for his years of always scheduling quality opponents for the Zags in pre-season. He will never get enough credit for what he has done for Gonzaga basketball.

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