Can Never Ignore The Readers Of, The Best In Basketball


Can Never Ignore The Readers Of, The Best In Basketball

By Greg Crawford, College Basketball Insider, @wchoops
From The Email Screen---I respond back to most people that email me, but sometimes I love to answer questions and today is the day. So hold on, even if you do not like my answers. It is fun and you can always comment on the question and answer.
"Greg, do you think Oregon State will go to the NCAA tournament this year, after a 22 year absence"? Roger-Corvallis Oregon.
Roger, I do think they will be in the NCAA tournament come March. The Beavers have the talent, what scares me is the lack of big people depth and the fact that those big men who play, can't make free throws, thus making it easy for opponents to foul them down the end.
"Greg, my Ducks are so dominant in sports, will they be back in the NCAA tournament this season"? Dick--Eugene, Oregon
Dick, of course the Ducks will be in the tournament this season. You can count on it, put it in the book. And if you want to learn more about the Ducks, just watch Talkin Ducks coming up on Comcast SportsNet the first week in January.
"Greg, you always tout Gonzaga, I have to think you are a graduate, they are not that good". George---Tacoma, Washington
George, not even close to being a Zag graduate. I went to an academic school, not Gonzaga and a school that could advance in the postseason. But with that said, I say Zags in the final four this year, for the first time ever, how does that sound.
"Greg, I just do not see Colorado as being a good team, like you always seem to claim, am I wrong"? Roger---Denver, Colorado
Roger, you are not wrong, it is just in a football conference like the Pac-12, we seem to tie in schools that are bad in football, just assuming they will be bad in basketball. It was not good for the Buffs to lose at Wyoming and then get blown out by Kansas. I still think even with a young team they are going to finish third in Pac-12 regular season.
"Greg, what makes you think you know so much about basketball and I wish Comcast had someone else doing this besides you"? Larry---Chehalis, Washington
Larry I know so much because I am old and I have lifetime contract with Comcast, so do not mess with Crawford's Court :).
"Greg, are you ever afraid of Richard Lucas on the set of Talkin Ducks, you give him lots of grief and he is so much bigger than you"? April--Northwest, Portland
April, Richard's mom likes me, so I am safe for now, but thanks for your concern.
"Greg, who is the best player in your opinion in the WCC"? Jake---Santa Clara, California
Jake, seeing where your from, of course the best player is Kevin Foster of the Broncos, kidding aside, I firmly believe he is the best player.
"Greg, care to pick a team that might schock everyone in the Pac-12"?---Jonathan---Seattle, Washington
USC, they have some talent, plus some very good big people. It might be time for them to explode in the league, watch how they play in month of January.
"Greg, you seem to have lots of knowledge about Seattle University, I keep waiting for a good team here, but still waiting. Is Cameron Dollar on the hot seat as coach"? Fran---Seattle, Washington
Yes, getting warmer all the time for my money.
"Greg, is Lorenzo Romar, ever going to leave Washington"? Gregory---Bellingham, Washington
I did not feel this way two years past, but now I think he is lifer at his alma mater, does a very good job and one day will have a final four team for the Huskies
"Greg, of Oregon's four D-1 schools, which of the four coaches will either be fired or leave for another job first"? Charles--Salem, Oregon
Charles, excellent as are most of the questions asked of me, I would say Dana Altman. I think he will leave in the next three years, the other three, Reveno, Geving and Robinson will be present for long, long time at their schools.
"Greg, do you follow the professional game, as closely as the NBA"? Sandy---Sellwood, Portland, Oregon
Yes, I love all basketball, as much as I can I even follow high school basketball, love the game of basketbll and actually do not like football, but keep up on it some.
"Greg, who is going to be coach of the year in the Pac-12 this season"? Cary--Burbank, California
Cary, that would be Ben Howland, I say the Bruins still have great chance of either winning the conference tournament andor the regular season.
"Greg, do you have a favorite basketball team that you actually root for and follow all the time"? Garrett---Bozeman, Montana
Garrett, yes I do, it is any team that Rick Adelman coaches. I think he is one of the best coaches, managers, I have ever seen in all of sports and not to discount, how much of a quality person he is.
"Greg, who is the best college basketball player you have ever seen on the west coast"? Kathy--Pendleton, Oregon
My answer might shock you, but it is Stan Love when he played at Oregon. There is a reason, Kevin is a super-star.
"Greg, what do you think of the Pac-12 network"? James---Sacramento, California
Excellent network, high quality work they put out, especially in basketball
"Greg, do you see a rising star in the basketball coaching ranks I should watch out for in the next few years"? Keith----Phoenix, Arizona
How about several that I think are doing good work now and have a bright future, which no one talks about these guys. Rod Barnes, Kerry Keating, Jim Hayford, Tyler Geving and Bob Cantu at USC. I know I miss many, so I apologize, but those are just a few.
Once again Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and next Friday, after giving them a week off, we will be back with Wolf's World, My Adopted Team and cranking it up on 2013 NBA draft picks now in college, plus Craw's Nine Top Coaches. and twiiter@wchoops

5-star forward Michael Porter Jr. commits to UW


5-star forward Michael Porter Jr. commits to UW

The Husky basketball team just got a whole lot better. In a move that many UW fans expected, 5-star small forward Michael Porter Jr. officially announced his commitment to Washington on Friday.

Porter, a senior at Seattle’s Nathan Hale High School took to his Twitter page to make the announcement.

The news comes as no surprise, as the connections between Porter and UW are many. Porter’s father, Michael Porter Sr., was hired as an assistant coach on Lorenzo Romar’s staff at Washington earlier this year, and many thought the move would sway Porter Jr. to UW as well. It looks like it did.

Not only is his father on the coaching staff at Washington, but his current coach at Nathan Hale is Husky legend, and former Trail Blazers star Brandon Roy.

With his dad on staff and Roy coaching him his final year at NHHS, many fans thought the official committment was nothing more than a formality. 

Porter comes to Washington as one of the most sought after recruits in the class of 2017. He ranks in the Top-5 nationally on most recruiting sites, including a No.2 ranking by Rivals, No.2 by 24/7 Sports, and No.4 according to ESPN.

Porter Jr. and his father aren’t the only members of the family to join the Husky basketball team in the coming years. Porter’s younger brother, Jontay Porter, committed to Washington last summer, and is considered one of the Top-100 recruits in the class of 2018. 

Needless to say, the Porter family is taking over the University of Washington.


FACEBOOK LIVE: Videos from Pac-12 Media Days


FACEBOOK LIVE: Videos from Pac-12 Media Days

Check out these Facebook Live videos from Pac-12 Media Days, and be sure to check in for more LIVE videos at

Inside scoop on Oregon State at Pac-12 Media Day

[LIVE] Inside scoop on Oregon State Football at Pac-12 Media Day

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[LIVE] Hollywood: Inside scoop on Oregon at Pac-12 Media Day

[LIVE] from Hollywood: Inside scoop on Oregon Football at Pac-12 Conference Media Day

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LIVE Coach Helfrich talking Oregon Ducks Football; Devon Allen, Dakota Prukop, Brady Hoke and more!

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USC Trojans CB Adoree' Jackson was in Eugene for the Olympic Trials, "the best place ever"

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USC Trojan Football's OT Zack Banner talking UCLA Football rivalry and that small (sarcasm) preseason game versus Alabama.

Posted by CSNNW on Thursday, July 14, 2016

LIVE: Washington State University Athletics football coach Mike Leach

Posted by CSNNW on Thursday, July 14, 2016

Unlikely walk-off homer sends UCSB and Andrew Checketts to CWS

Unlikely walk-off homer sends UCSB and Andrew Checketts to CWS

If you haven't seen this highlight yet, you need to check it out immediately. Third-string catcher Sam Cohen, a freshman, batting with his team trailing 3-0, two strikes, one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday against No. 2 national seed Louisville, hammered a grand slam home run to win the game and send his team to the College World Series.

Cohen was batting for just the 27th time this season against a closer who had been taken in the first round of the recent June draft. It was one of the most shocking walk-off homers I've ever seen and it was obviously a big moment for Gaucho Coach Andrew Checketts.

If that name sounds familiar, it should. Checketts was an all-state pitcher at West Linn High School and pitched three seasons at Oregon State. He later served as George Horton's first pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Oregon and I think his loss has been difficult for the Ducks to overcome. It was obvious when he was with Oregon that he had a bright future as a head coach and he's been sensational at UC Santa Barbara.

On a personal level, I was doing some television work on Duck baseball games for a couple of seasons and found him to be as open and helpful as just about any coach I've ever worked with. I wish him all the luck in the world as UCSB heads to Omaha and its first-ever College World Series.



Porter names Ben Johnson to men’s basketball staff


Porter names Ben Johnson to men’s basketball staff

Ben Johnson, a former assistant coach at Washington State with extensive playing and coaching experience in Australia, has joined Terry Porter’s men’s basketball staff at University of Portland as an assistant coach.

“It didn’t take long for me to recognize that Ben would be a great addition to our staff after we reconnected last month,” Porter said. “Ben has great experience coaching at the collegiate level, specifically here in the Pacific Northwest. He also has great knowledge of coaching and talent-evaluation in Australia. Most importantly, Ben and his family will be an excellent fit for the University of Portland community and the basketball program.”

Johnson, like Porter, is an extension of the Dick Bennett coaching tree. Johnson teamed with Bennett’s son, Tony Bennett, to lead Wisconsin-Green Bay to great success from 1989-92 while playing for Dick Bennett. The Bennetts and Johnson would later reunite at Washington State and lead the Cougars to unprecedented success on the court.

"It is a tremendous honor for me to join Coach Porter's coaching staff at the University of Portland,” Johnson said. “My family and I are extremely grateful for this opportunity. I am looking forward to helping him, our coaching staff, as well as current and future players build a very competitive basketball program.”

Johnson spent nine seasons at Washington State serving two years under Dick Bennett and then three more under Tony Bennett. Johnson assisted in recruiting, scouting and all other coaching duties while helping Cougars to three consecutive postseason appearances (two NCAA, one NIT), the second such occurrence in school history. 

He remained on the WSU staff four more seasons under new head coach Ken Bone, before returning to Australia, where he had a successful professional playing and coaching career. 

Johnson had great success in recruiting Australian players to Washington State, most notably two-time Pac-12 All-Conference forward Brock Motum and current NBA center Aron Baynes. WSU’s success during Johnson’s tenure included two seasons of 26 wins (2006-08), which tied the school record. The Cougars also were ranked No. 4 nationally at one point, the highest ranking in program history. WSU also had two players earn Pac-10 Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors.

From 2013-16, Johnson served as the South State Performance Manager for Basketball Queensland in Australia. His duties involved program planning and talent identification of the U14-U20 age groups. He also provided coaching mentorship and development.

In April 2016, Johnson coached at the prestigious U18 Australian Junior Championships – where his Queensland South State team reached the national championship final and finished as silver medalists.

After graduating from UW-Green Bay in 1992 with a degree in business communication, Johnson played three years of professional basketball in Cairns, Australia from 1993-95. His time overseas coincided with the beginning of his coaching career as he worked as a basketball youth development officer and state clinician. During those years, he coached and developed hundreds of Australian players at the local, junior and state representative levels.

From 1995-2002, Johnson cut his teeth in collegiate basketball coaching by returning to UW-Green Bay, where he served as an assistant coach. In 1996, he helped guide his alma mater to another NCAA Tournament appearance.

Johnson returned to Australia in 2002, where he got his first head coaching position at the U23 level for the Kuiyam Pride. The following year, Johnson also took on head coaching duties for the Kuiyam Pride Women. The Pride Women competed in the professional Australian Basketball League. Following the 2003 season, Johnson was named Queensland Australian Basketball League Women's Coach of the Year.

FOR TRANSACTIONS: University of Portland names Ben Johnson assistant men’s basketball coach.

PSU football player Kyle Smith passes away, second Viking this offseason


PSU football player Kyle Smith passes away, second Viking this offseason

Portland State Athletics is deeply saddened to announce the passing of student-athlete Kyle Smith on Wednesday evening. Smith, a senior-to-be offensive lineman on the Viking football team, died in his apartment near the PSU campus. 

Kyle is a native of Elmira, OR. He was a first-team All-State performer as an offensive and defensive lineman at Elmira High School. After taking a redshirt season at Portland State in 2012, Kyle started 36 straight games Portland State, playing the vital position of left tackle. He was a second team All-Big Sky Conference selection in 2015.

"I feel we have the most united, close-knit football team in America, and we just lost a major piece of that team in Kyle. Right now we have two concerns, Kyle's family and our football players," said Viking Head Coach Bruce Barnum. "The program is being tested but we will come out of this on top."

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Kyle Smith," said Director of Athletics Mark Rountree. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.  I would ask the Viking family to support our student-athletes and coaches with love and caring during this difficult time. We must all must show resolve to cope with this tragedy as best we can."

Tragically, Kyle is the second Viking football player to pass away this off-season. PSU lost linebacker AJ Schlatter on Jan. 17 due to complications following surgery.

The thoughts and prayers of everyone in the Portland State program are with the Smith family. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Villanova wins national title on Kris Jenkins' buzzer-beater


Villanova wins national title on Kris Jenkins' buzzer-beater

 Kris Jenkins buried a three-pointer as time expired to give Villanova a 77-74 win over North Carolina Monday night in an absolutely riveting NCAA Tournament championship game.

North Carolina’s Marcus Paige had tied the game with 4.7 seconds left with a wild, off-balance three that set the Tar Heel fans at NRG Stadium into a frenzy.

That basket capped a 17-7 run that tied the game after Villanova led by 10 with 4:42 left.

After a Villanova timeout, senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono brought the ball up court and with two seconds left swung it back to a trailing Jenkins on the right wing. He squared up and hit nothing but net, setting off a wild celebration before nearly 75,000 fans at NRG Stadium.

“Kris Jenkins lives for that moment,” coach Jay Wright said.


Final Four Preview: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 2 Villanova


Final Four Preview: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 2 Villanova

WHEN: Saturday April 2nd, 6:09 p.m. E.T.

MAJOR STORYLINES: Both Lon Kruger and Jay Wright are two of the most underrated coaches in all of college basketball. Both are on track for what may potentially be a Hall of Fame career, but that’s not the only thing that they have in common: This is the furthest that either of them has ever advanced in the NCAA tournament, and both of them have only been to a single Final Four before this season. In other words, their Final Four résumé kind of hinges on how they end up performing in this weekend. Only one of them will be able to leave town while being able to say that they have played for a national title.

The storyline that is going to matter during the game itself will be the ability of these two teams to hit threes. We’ve been over this time and again — Oklahoma and Villanova both shoot more than 40 percent of their field goal attempts from beyond the three-point line — and NRG Stadium is notorious for being a building where three-point shooting goes to die. Villanova has proven that they can win games when they aren’t shooting the ball well. Can Oklahoma?

KEY MATCHUP: Who is guarding Buddy Hield. Do I really need to explain this one? I don’t think I do, mostly because I already spent 1,500 words breaking down how Hield gets guarded.


Final Four Preview: No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 10 Syracuse


Final Four Preview: No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 10 Syracuse

WHEN: Saturday, April 2nd, 8:49 p.m. ET

MAJOR STORYLINES: So I don’t know if you’ve heard about this or not, but apparently both Syracuse and North Carolina are dealing with these NCAA investigations. Have you heard any mention of that at all? Has that been a ‘thing’?

The bigger story here — beyond the crazy things that wacky old Jim Boeheim likes to say at press conferences when he’s long past caring about what the media thinks — is whether or not this is the last time that we are going to see Roy Williams on a college basketball court. I’m not predicting that to be the case, but let me paint you a picture: He’s got vertigo, he’s got bad knees, he’s 64 years old and he’s coaching a program that will be down for a couple of years as the NCAA investigation into the academic scandal at UNC the last four years as crippled his recruiting. This may be the last time for a long time that the Tar Heels are good enough to win a national title. If they do win, would Ol’ Roy ride off into the sunset?

KEY MATCHUP: Those front courts. North Carolina’s is really, really good. Syracuse’s is … well, they’re not. These are the two stats that you need to know: North Carolina was the third-best offensive rebounding team in the country this season. There were only 14 teams in all of college basketball that were worse at getting defensive rebounds than Syracuse. How will that matchup play out?


Official Release: Porter named Pilots head coach


Official Release: Porter named Pilots head coach

Portland basketball icon Terry Porter has been named head men’s basketball coach at the University of Portland, Athletic Director Scott Leykam announced today. Porter, a 17-year NBA veteran player and former NBA head coach, becomes the 21st basketball head coach in Pilot history. 

The University has planned an introductory press conference for Tuesday at noon at the Chiles Center to officially introduce Porter. The event will be open to the public and season ticket packages will be available for sale. 

“This is a very exciting day for the University of Portland and Pilot Basketball,” Leykam said. “Terry brings a phenomenal basketball pedigree to campus having coached and competed at the highest levels. He also will be a perfect fit for our campus and its mission of teaching and learning, faith and formation, and service and leadership. Terry has proven that he is a man of high character and integrity with a competitive drive that will translate well to this new opportunity. We want the City of Portland to embrace us and get on board with an exciting new chapter of Pilot Basketball.”

“I am honored that Scott Leykam and University President Fr. Mark Poorman have given me this great opportunity,” Porter said. “I’m excited about working tirelessly to continue to build this program up and establish a great tradition of Portland Basketball. I have been blessed to coach at the highest level in the NBA, but college has always intrigued me because of the impact that my college coach, Dick Bennett, has had on my life. To now have the opportunity, in my hometown of Portland, to impact other young men’s lives is phenomenal and to be able to do so at a prestigious academic institution means a lot.”

Porter, 52, was a standout for the Portland Trail Blazers and had his jersey retired by the franchise in 2009. During his 17-year NBA career, Porter averaged 12.2 points, 5.6 assists, 1.2 steals, made two All-Star appearances (1991, 1993), two trips to the NBA Finals (1990, 1992) and scored 15,586 career points. He currently ranks 14th on the NBA’s all-time assist leaderboard (7,160).

A Milwaukee, Wisc. native, Porter brings extensive NBA coaching experience to the Pilots. He was the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks for two seasons (2003-05), including leading the team to the 2004 NBA Playoffs. He served one season as head coach of the Phoenix Suns (2008-09) and was also an assistant coach at Minnesota, Sacramento and Detroit. 

The notable coaches that Porter played for throughout his career include Jack Ramsay, Rick Adelman, Flip Saunders, Pat Riley and Gregg Popovich. Porter also played for legendary college head coach Dick Bennett at Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Bennett would go on to great success with UW-Green Bay, Wisconsin and Washington State.

Porter, a long-time team ambassador for the Trail Blazers since his retirement, has not only been a fan favorite from his playing days, but also one of the biggest community contributors of any Portland-area celebrity. He is a Boys and Girls Club Hall of Fame member and still actively participates in many other community ventures.

Pilots to name Terry Porter head men's basketball coach


Pilots to name Terry Porter head men's basketball coach

Terry Porter has verbally agreed to take the job as the new men's basketball coach at the University of Portland, according to multiple sources close to Porter and the university.

Contract details have not been finalized but both sides are comfortable they will be ironed out soon.

Reached Friday afternoon, Porter declined to comment.

Porter brings extensive NBA coaching experience to the job. He was the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks for two seasons (2003-2005) and the Phoenix Suns (2008-2009) and an assistant at Minnesota, Sacramento and Detroit. He was a Portland Trail Blazer for the first 10 years of a 17-year career as an NBA player and a two-time NBA all-star. During his career he played for noted coaches Gregg Popovich, Rick Adelman and Pat Riley. Porter played his college basketball at Wisconsin-Stevens Point under Dick Bennett, who later went on to coach at Wisconsin and Washington State.

He is one of the most popular players in Trail Blazer history and in his retirement moved back to Portland. He has been a regular fixture at charity events and fund-raisers in the area and worked as an ambassador for the Trail Blazers and did TV work for the Blazers and Comcast SportsNet. There is no question he'll bring attention and interest in the Pilot basketball program and the school itself. He has long expressed an interest in coaching at the collegiate level and this would be an opportunity to build a program in his adopted hometown.

It is believed he already has most of his coaching staff together and one person close to the program said, "They have never had a group of assistants of this caliber at Portland."

Porter replaces Eric Reveno, who coached 10 years at Portland, compiling a 140-178 record overall and a 60-96 mark in the West Coast Conference.