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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Mt. Rushmore state of Oregon Sports Legends

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

The great Mychal Thompson got me thinking here. He asked on Twitter yesterday the Mt. Rushmore of LA sports legends?

Great question, but why not the same for my home state of Oregon. Here are my 4, of course subject to lots of debate and corrections.

Danny Miles—- 44 years as MBB coach at Oregon Tech, 1,000 wins plus and 3 national titles , a complete joke he is not in Naismith Hall of Fame.

Mel Counts— Played in final four, won an Olympic Gold Medal and NBA Championship. Only a few have accomplished that. An Oregon State Beavers icon.

Brad Smith—- Greatest WBB Coach in state of Oregon ever. His impact on the game changed women’s basketball not only in the state, but nationally.

Jon Spoelstra— All you need to say is, Greatest Sports Marketer Ever. His genius rings around the world.

Now your turn please.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

A Lion On Roller Skates!

Plotting An Evening "Drive" --Trey Fountain 23 pts on 9 of 10 shooting

By Harry Cummins

     ' The night a house became a HOME....

     Trey with a brand new pair of roller skates, Coach Bickley with a brand new key....

     Jaeden jumps on a lightning bolt...Zach dances with a dagger...

    ....and Justin with just another 35 point "off-night"

Multnomah Lions 104
Evergreen      98 overtime!

Poetry in motion

Sunday, January 12, 2020

It Is Not Always The Biggies

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

The legendary writer Harry Cummins has documented this before on Craw’s Corner, so I am now jumping on the bandwagon not that I ever fell off.

D-1 basketball gets lots of attention as it should, but right here in the small Pacific Northwest lots of great things are happening on “lower levels” of hoops which we all can appreciate.

1. Walla Walla Washington, which has a couple of noteworthy things going on. NWAC legendary coach Bobbi Hazeltine has another great WBB team that has won 12 in row. Staying in Walla Walla, Eric Bridgeland at D-3 Whitman has turned them into a national power and they are rolling again.

2. Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon has two teams of note. The MBB & WBB teams have combined record of 31-1 and have won 24 straight games. Not too shabby.

3. Into his 43rd year of coaching basketball, NWAC icon Clif Wegner is doing great work with a 14-1 record at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Oregon.

Oregon City, Oregon.

4. Skagit Valley, coached by NWAC legend Carl Howell just went to 17-0, in that 17 was a huge championship win in December at the above Clif Wegner Basketball Classic.

5. Last but not least the 5’ 6” senior guard at NAIA Multnomah University, Justin Martin,  in Portland, Oregon, returned from missing 3 games to score 40 and 74 in big road wins for Lions in Cascade Collegiate Conference league play.

Apologies to any great stories I left out, totally unintentional, as my intentions are there always.

Turn The Music Down

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

I attend tons of basketball games every year in person, but this post is not about me. It is however about showing respect for basketball fans.

You want more fans.? Turn the dam music down.

Administrators, ADs and coaches come up to me all time wringing there hands saying, “where are the fans”?

Well, I can say for sure it is not the only reason , but it is a reason , the music is just too loud.

Not everyone, but some game management people tell me, “ the players like loud music”. They also like playing before more than a handful of fans.

Well yes they do, but players also like good coaching, good playing conditions, good food and nice uniforms.

A great fan experience will bring fans and bring them back. Turn down the music, at least so you don’t have to shout to the person next to you, who is one foot away.

This is a certainty, keep turning up the music and there will not be plenty of good seats available, there will be PLENTY OF GOOD SECTIONS AVAILABLE.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Justin Martin Shatters His Own NAIA Record With 74 Point Masterpiece!

A Volcanic Justin Martin Blows Up Record Book..Again!

By Harry Cummins

     Coming off a massive 40 point performance the previous night, Multnomah's Justin Martin, it appeared, was only warming up!

     The 5'9" senior guard broke his own all-time NAIA Division 11 single game scoring record with a jaw-dropping 74 point performance as the Lions won a wild 118-111 overtime Cascade Collegiate Conference shootout over host Northwest Christian University Saturday night in Eugene, Oregon.

     Martin shot an incredible 15 of 22 from 3 point range and scored 45 points in the second half and overtime, including 21 of Multnomah's 22 points in the extra session.  The 15 baskets from long-range equaled his own record set last year in his 71 point performance against cross-town rival Warner Pacific.  The 15 3's in a single game are the second most  ever recorded in NAIA history.

     The NAIA record for 3 points baskets made in a game is held by Chad Bickley, who is, ironically,the brother of current Multnomah head coach, Curt Bickley. Chad sank 18 3 pointers while playing for Christian Heritage (Calif) in a 1996 game vs Patten.

    Martin, in his final season with the Lions after transferring from Wenatchee Valley College in Washington, showcased a bevy of acrobatic drives to the baskets, allowing him to convert 19 of 21 from the line, establishing a NAIA D-2 season high.

     Martin's historic 74 point outburst also surpassed the present NCAA Division 1 record of 72 points, set in 1991 by Kevin Bradshaw of United States International in a game against Loyola Marymount.  It was also the third highest single game point total in NAIA history!!  Martin now owns the 3rd and 4th  highest scoring NAIA individual point games ever recorded.

     Earlier this season,J.J. Culver of Wayland Baptist posted a 100 point game, the second highest in NAIA history. Clarence "Bevo" Francis of Rio Grande (Ohio) is the only other player in NAIA history to have a 100 point game, scoring an NAIA record 113 points in 1954.

     Nearly lost in the record setting night was the performance of Multnomah freshman Jaeden Ingram of Puyallup, Washington, who posted a 23 point, 13 rebound double-double effort. Martin and Ingram combined to score 97 of the Lions 118 points.  Multnomah converted 23 of 40 from the 3 pt. range (57.5%) They currently hold the NAIA record for 3 point shots made in a game (38) which came last season against NCAA foe Pacific University.

Promising Frosh Ingram soared to 23 point, 13 rebound night." Jaden's 3 pt corner shot to send the game into OT was insane" said  coach Curt Bickley

      Northwest Christian had 5 players in double figures, paced by Ernest Ugoagu who had 33 points in defeat.  Shawn Carson had 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Logan Sand and Logan Davis had 18 and 17 points respectively.

     Northwest Christian held a slim 54-50 halftime advantage and the two teams went to overtime deadlocked at 96.  The Beacons enjoyed a healthy 12 point advantage, 85-73, with 4:50 left in regulation.  Martin then dominated the late stages of the second half and overtime with his 3 point blitz.

     "I told Justin when we were down 12 late, that the only chance we had was for him to shoot us back into it from 3. No two's, all 3's.  He went out and hit 4 in a row.  Who does that", said coach  Bickley in a jubiliant post game press conference.

     Lions center Stephan Zavydovskyy had 9 rebounds and 6 blocked shots on the night and Bickley claims "Steph was the defensive key late that gave Justin the opportunity to shoot us back into it."

     "I really have no words for how special Justin is.  A lot of players talk about spending 6 hours a day in the gym, but I have witnessed it this summer and now he is seeing the results of that effort", says Bickley

    Prior to Martin 40 point performance against Corban Friday night, he had missed the Lions previous 3 games, but returned to the lineup just in time to help Multnomah (9-8,2-5)sweep the weekend games and move back into contention for a CCC playoff spot.

      It was the first ever sweep of back-to-back road games for the Lions in the CCC

     Martin amassed 114 points in the two games, a 57 point average.  He currently leads Division 2 of the NAIA in scoring at 34.71 ppg and is seeking to become a rare back-to-back national scoring champion.

     Martin's 53 point game earlier this season was the NAIA D-2 high water mark until his stratospheric Saturday night.

     More remarkably perhaps, he has now posted 70 plus scoring games in consecutive seasons, sending statisticians scurrying.

     It should also send Multnomah fans scampering for seats for the upcoming 7- game home stand beginning next weekend in their tiny Portland, Oregon gym



Friday, January 10, 2020

Multnomah's Justin Martin Returns With A 40 Point Exclamation!

Justin Martin-another big night in bid for back-to-back national scoring titles

By Harry Cummins

     Sitting out his team's last 3 games, the NAIA's D-2 leading scorer, Justin Martin, poured in 40 points tonight in his return, resulting in a thrilling 97-93 road win for the Multnomah Lions (8-8) over Corban University.

    Forrest Smith tallied 19 points, as well, for the victors, 16 coming in a sizzling first half. Sophomore Zach Richardson added 15 points on 4 of 7 3's in the win.  Martin converted a career-high 16 of  his 17 free throw attempts in scoring 40 or more points for the 4th time this season.  His 53 point outburst earlier this season is the high point mark in NAIA D-2 for 2019-2020.

     Multnomah shot 49% from the field, 44% from long range for the contest.  Smith added 8 rebounds to his big scoring night, while Martin, 2nd in the nation in assists per game, collected 5 more.  With his 40 point outpouring, Martin further solidifies his bid for back-to-back national scoring titles.  He currently sits atop national scoring charts, averaging 31.69 ppg.

     AJ Hodges paced Corban with 23 points.

     The Lions win tonight, their first ever at Corban, was also their first of the year (1-5) in conference play.  They now travel to Eugene Saturday night to take on Northwest Christian University.   They return home January 17 to launch a key 7 game home stand, Justin Martin back in tow, in an effort to climb back into the Cascade Collegiate Conference playoff race.

    The stunning new video screen just installed in the lobby of Jim Skagen Court on the campus of Multnomah University might simply read.."He's Back"

Thursday, January 9, 2020

What Is The Single Most Important Stat On A Basketball Scoresheet?

By Harry Cummins

     What do you look for when you first pick up a basketball box score?  What do coaches first look for?  Is there a single most important stat that predicates winning results?

     Of course the answers are as varied as who's looking.  Basketball stats can be both simple and complex.  So many categories, combinations and variables will determine who will win any given game.  How important is it for each player on the floor to understand how a coach wants a final box score to look like.. and what should their individual and collective roles be against a specific opponent? 

     Realizing if you dominate one key category in the box score, but are badly outplayed in many others, your chances of winning are greatly reduced.  If your defensive rebounding is awful and you have far more turnovers than your opponent, it may be hard to win despite superior shooting statistics.  One category begets another.

    If your want complexity, turnovers themselves must be more closely examined under the light of   an opponent's defensive pressure applied during most the game. Was it intense or practically non-existent?  Was your best ball-handler not in your lineup?  Each box score comes with multiple
variables and questions that must be correctly applied and constantly adjusted by coaches during the course of a game.

     So with all that said....for the purpose of this exercise, if you must select  a single statistic, other than the final score of course, that most determines victory.  What would it be?

     Of course, ultimately I look at the inter-relationship of everything on a box score...but what do I look for first?

     Team Shots (FGA's) Attempted! 

     I would say this especially holds true at the higher levels of the game where better shooters abound. More attempts from better shooters should mean more baskets made.  Hopefully, many other categories for your team won't collapse and offset this primary stat. It goes without saying that nights when you shoot a dismal 20 for 80 from the field... most likely won't result in your desired outcome.

     No matter what category or categories you may select...look more closely at the next box score you come across, and put your own theories to the test.  It is a great way to enhance your enjoyment of this wonderful game and draw attention to the multi-skilled athletes who play it.



Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Sir Charles... And The Kids From 'Nowhere'

By Harry Cummins

     Leave it to Sir Charles Barkley to put the subjects of talent, luck and work ethic into perspective:

     "I hate it when people say 'they came out of nowhere', No they didn't.
     They have been working their ass off for a long time. They finally just got a break."

Monday, January 6, 2020

A Pinstripe Centurial

By Harry Cummins

     On this day 100 years ago, pitcher Babe Ruth was acquired by the New York Yankees from their rival, the Boston Red Sox.  The price was record-setting at the time, $125,000.  It represented the largest cash sum ever doled out for a baseball player.

     Fast forward a century.  The Bronx Bombers recently emptied their coffers once again, snatching pitcher Gerrit Cole from their modern-day rival for baseball supremacy, the Houston Astros.

     This time the price....$324 million!!

     Unless Cole can miraculously mutate into a home run icon like the 'Babe'........well....I am just doing the math.

     The National Pastime in America ...will it survive another 100 years??


Sunday, January 5, 2020

Bill Gates, No Apology Necessary

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

In his always kind way, Bill Gates was apologizing last
 week for his net worth. The co founder of Microsoft figures it is around $109 billion, give or take a few pennies.

Apologies not necessary Bill. All the money you give to charity, all the lives you have saved and the economy you have created. Really Bill, no apologies needed.

The USA is greatest country in the world. It has a major flaw however when it comes to successful people. So many want to tear those people down, shamefully. I am not one of those teardowners and proud not to be.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Six Owls in Double Figures as #2 Oregon Tech Routs Multnomah

Oregon Tech head coach Justin Parnell

By Harry Cummins

     (Portland,Oregon) The nation's Number 2 ranked Oregon Tech Owls parlayed six players in double figures, along with 13 assists from national leader Mitchell Fink to overwhelm Multnomah 118-83, as the out-manned Lions played the contest without Justin Martin, the current NAIA D-2 and Cascade Collegiate Conference's leading scorer.

     Oregon Tech (13-2,3-2) opened the game with blistering shooting from behind the arc by Seth Erickson, Scotty Burge and Tyler Heib to forge a 51-35 halftime advantage.  The Owls shot an identical 54% from the field in each half in recording their highest offensive output of the season.

     Heib and Erickson paced the Owls with 17 points each, while the trio of Matt Van Tassell, Harrison Steiger, and Burge all had 14 points.  Garret Albrecht collected 11 points and 10 boards to record a double-double performance while Lachlan McKimm pulled down 10 rebounds as well.

     Oregon Tech is the nation's number one team in scoring defense and held high-scoring Multnomah (6-7,0-4) well under their average (100.08 ppg)  The Lions were missing their leading scorer, Justin Martin, whose absence was not explained.

    The Owls suffered a crippling setback of their own early in the second half when Kaison Faust had to leave the game with a serious shoulder injury.  Faust, a fast-rising sophomore, was coming off a career high 22 point game in the Owls recent win over Eastern Oregon on December 21.  Faust hit 4 of 7 shots in the first half, scoring all 8 of his points and playing lock-step defense on Multnomah's own sophomore sensation, Zach Richardson.

Dan Johnson photo- Smothering D by Faust on Richardson

     Freshman Jaden Ingram paced Multnomah with a career high 25 points,18 coming in the first half.  Richardson, one of top 3 point marksman in the nation, managed 19 points on 5 baskets from long distance. Richardson is 2nd in the CCC in 3 pt baskets made per game, second only to Martin.

     Fink's 13 assists were his second highest total this year, second only to the 17 career helpers he registered in his last contest against Eastern Oregon.  The two time Player of the Year in the Cascade Collegiate Conference, Fink is closing in on the all-time OIT career assists record.

     The Hustlin' Owls travel to near-by Warner Pacific Saturday night to take on the Knights, who dropped a close 100-92 game to visiting Southern Oregon Friday. Southern Oregon travels crosstown to Multnomah Sat.night.  Once again, Martin is not expected to play for the Lions.



Thursday, January 2, 2020

Don Larsen - 1929-2020

by Harry Cummins

     In our imperfect lives.....cherish those perfect moments.



Wednesday, January 1, 2020

PGA Tour Back

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

The 2020 run of PGA Tour starts tomorrow in Hawaii. Yes, time does fly.

Here are my five predicted power brokers on PGA Tour in 2020.

5. Collin Morikawa —- Best in my mind of the new breed.

4. Jordan Spieth —-- Will win at least two tournaments this year.

3. Rory—- He is Rory and Rory is so good.

2. Jon Rahm —— Pay attention to how great he really is.

1. Justin Thomas—— Healthy again, will dominate the Tour

A Hole In The World

By Harry Cummins

     Some of you may remember the 2003 release of "Hole In The World", the Eagles song written by Don Henley and the late Glenn Frey, in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks.

     Much has happened since then, in and to our world , supplying this song with added meaning as we embark on the year 2020.

     My wish is that each of us use the coming year to try to lessen the impact of these empty spaces in our world. In our communities.  May we each work to lessen the greater hole that exists in the human heart.

   There's a hole in the world tonight
   There's a cloud of fear and sorrow
   There's a hole in the world tonight
   Don't let there be a hole in the world tomorrow

          They say that anger is just love disappointed
          They say that love is just a state of mind
          But all this fighting over who is anointed
          Oh, how can people be so blind?

     There's a hole in the world tonight
     There's a cloud of fear and sorrow
     There's a hole in the world tonight
     Don't let there be a hole in the world ...tomorrow.

                             Glen Frey/Don Henley

Replay Needs To Go Away

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

2020 truly is the year of sports referee. ( think about it)

Let’s start out their year by giving those referees a big present. STOP USiNG REPLAY.

Has replay really helped officiating? No. There are more controversies than ever before.

We don’t need all these delays, the games are long enough without them.

Officials are scrutinized quite heavily these days by their bosses, instead of replay just get rid of horrible officials. Replay has never worked the way it was intended, it is now time to make the right CALL and eliminate it from Sports officiating and put it in the trash.