Fast Start To College Basketball In 2013


Fast Start To College Basketball In 2013

Fastbreaks----While polls in sports often do not mean that much as we all know, it is the final poll that counts, it is fun to watch the polls, especially for fans, athletes and even coaches, yes they do watch the polls. That is why, what a joke for Wyoming not to be in the Top 25. 13-0, member of the Mt. West and wins at home over Colorado and on the road against SMU. Give me a break, I don't care who is 13-0 in January, they need to be in the Top 25.

You asked for it, so here we go. Huge Civil War showdown on Sunday night, Ducks travel to Corvallis to take on the Beavers. Just a thought, nothing in stone, but something tells me the winner of this game might get in the NCAA tournament for sure come March. With that said, final score on Sunday night, OREGON STATE 82 OREGON 80.

Great opening night to the Pac-12 on Thursday. Two overtime games. Arizona State continues to surprise, USC proved they are going to be a tough out, UCLA freshmen are so good and despite losing, Colorado proves they can play with anyone in the league. It appears to me right now that the winner of the regular season title in the Pac-12 will come down to the games played between Arizona and UCLA. I think those two teams are head and shoulders above the rest of the league.
Mac's Message---"Coach Mac, outside of Coach Geving what coaches do you admire, not only for their coaching, but their character"? Howard---Lincoln City, Oregon

"Howard, thanks for your interesting question. I have thought about it lots and really think it is a hard one to answer. First of all I really believe there are lots of dedicated coaches out there who show great integrity, their teams play the right way and are in coaching for the right reasons. So when you ask who I admire, the list is quite long. If I name a few, I am sure a few days I would say to myself, Why didn't I mention Coach X,Y, Z."

College coaches are in a unique select group because there are fewer than 350 D-1 head coaches. So right there with this select group--and small number, I admire most coaches who reach the status of HEAD COACH. Logic dictates my admiration.
Let me give you three coaches that I admire for said reasons. Perhaps I selected these three because they all have ties to the Big Sky Conference. This list could be longer and I do intend to offend anyone, but space is limited.

With Coach Stew Morrill at Utah State you have someone who has won at every stop, Montana, Colorado State and now Utah State. You never hear any NCAA issues or problems with his teams. His home-court record at Utah State is amazing and while I am telling you from first hand experience, the Spectrum is a great venue and the student section is what college basketball is all about.

Trent Johnson, TCU head coach is the ultimate gym rat as a coach and is so well organized each and everyday. He has the competitiveness of a back street boxing gym fighter, yet demands his players do things the right way and holds them accountable on the court, in the community and in the classroom. He will win at TCU, just like he did at LSU, Nevada and Stanford and will join a select few coaches who have taken four different teams to the NCAA tournament.

Lastly, but not least Mark Few has done great things in Spokane as a head coach. The job he and he wife Marcie have done with Coaches vs. Cancer gala is remarkable and DOLLARS raised ample. And regardless of what people say, most people would not have stayed in Spokane with the many opportunities for a better pay day. Mark has won consistently, his ability to schedule big time opponents is unmatched and the "Battle In Seattle" are obvious big time pluses.

All three have ties to the Big Sky, hence Portland State. Morrill started in Montana, taking over for Mike Montgomery. Trent Johnson was a rugged rebounder for the Big Sky champion Boise State Broncos in the mid-seventies. Greg Crawford is the only one around old enough to remember that the Zags were the only Catholic school ever to be a member of the Big Sky.

Howard, thanks for the question and may I say it was the best and most difficult of the year. Happy New Year." Coach McClouskey---Portland State University.

Attendance---If you are a basketball fan and like me, want more people to attend games live both on the high school and college level, then please feel free to attend a TOWN HALL, titled "Bodies In Seats" on Sunday, January 6th, in the Garden Cafe of Adventist Medical Center, starting at 12:45--3:00. Address of Adventist Medical Center is 10123 SE Market---Portland, Oregon. The ideas will be flowing, everyone will get a chance to speak and this is an important matter for all basketball lovers. I will be there and want to see you as well.

Wolf's World----"Coach Wolf, always curious in general how does the team travel and where do you practice on the road. Also, what do players eat and do they always eat together on the road?" Hank----Downtown, Portland, Oregon

"Hank, Happy New Year to you and to everyone who visits Crawford's Court, for the scoop on college basketball. We are excited to start conference play this weekend and it just so happens we start on the road so your question is quite timely.
As for travel and specifics of you question, I would love to give you some insight and what the typical road warrior goes through in a college basketball season. As you read this, we will be in the midst of our first 2 game road trip in the WCC. NCAA rules preclude us from departing 48 hours before a scheduled game and usually we have classes to work around. Typically we depart campus on a Wednesday after classes are out, but since school is out, on this trip, we left campus at 9:45 am for 11:45 departure (Coach Reveno's standard two hour campus departure window). Checking in a travel part of 20 plus is not always easy (we get a chuckle out the faces we see when we arrive at the gate).

Because the WCC is a big city league, we always fly commercial and leave the chartered flights to the spoiled and pampered. (I am sure they can hear me in Spokane). We can get anywhere in the league from Portland, in two hours or less. Once on the ground, we take a charter bus to the hotel. The NCAA has a rule on how meals can be provided, but we choose to feed the team together with one of our set menus that is designed to maximize their nutritional needs.

Out team manager will help the coaching staff set up the conference room with our video equipment, projector and theater setting for our film sessions. The team will then head to practice (league courtesy provides each team practice time the day before and day of the game). Following practice we head back for dinner and another film session. Following bed check and lights out, the coaches meet on game plan notes and the next day schedule.

Game day is dictated by tip-off time, but we try and mimic what we do for home game. Team breakfast, film session, then boarding the bus for shoot-around, which is combination of strategic game planning, light shooting and free throw practice. We then return to hotel, reconvene for pre-game meal 3 12 hours before tip and arrive at the arena 90 minutes before game time, to prep the locker room for scouting report and Coach Reveno's pre-game talk.

Post game we will breakdown the process of the film that night. We will generate a short edit to show the team the next day, but our typical Friday film session is geared towards teaching and putting in the game plan for the next opponent. This weekend we will actually bus up to Pepperdine from San Diego.

I think the most important part of any road trip is consistency of routine. Guys learn know how to best get themselves ready and work within the structure of what we are used to doing on each trip. These are business trips, so despite well fed and housed in the comforts of a hotel, it is not like we are heading to Sea World while in San Diego. Our 1 priority is to help prepare out student athletes to win basketball games. Hopefully as you read this, we will have gotten the first win on the trip, with another to follow on 15 in Malibu."
Thanks, Coach Wolf----U of Portland Pilots. and twitter askGregCrawford

PK80: 16-Team college hoops tournament comes to Portland in 2017


PK80: 16-Team college hoops tournament comes to Portland in 2017

Next November the Rose Quarter will play host to one of the largest regular season tournaments in the history of college basketball. Welcome to PK80 – The Phil Knight Invitational.

Held in honor of the Nike co-founder’s 80 birthday, PK80will see 12 teams from around the nation and four local schools converge on the Rose City. 

Portland’s own University of Portland and Portland State University will carry the torch for PDX, while Gonzaga and the University of Oregon will also help them represent the northwest.

The four northwest school will be joined by 12 of the best college basketball programs in the nation; Arkansas, Butler, Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Georgetown, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stanford and Texas.

The invitational consists of two eight team brackets, with each bracket only having one school from each conference. The the winners of each bracket playing in a championship game.

In total the participants have combined for 23 national titles, 89 final four appearance, and 391 NCAA Tournament Invitations. Needless to say, this tournament is sort of a big deal.

The invitational starts on Thursday, November 23 and ends on Sunday, November 24(with no games played on Saturday).

Here are what some of the participating coaches are saying, via the official press release:

“It’s an honor to be included in this prestigious group of college basketball programs and to get the chance to participate in an event as exciting as the PK80. The level of competition, as well as the college basketball atmosphere, will make it a tremendous experience for everyone involved, especially the student-athletes. After all he’s done for college basketball, there is no more appropriate way to help Phil Knight celebrate such a special birthday.” – UConn head coach Kevin Ollie

“Phil Knight has been a visionary and an innovator for a long time. PK80 is a unique way we can honor him and the contributions he has made not just to the game of basketball, but to all of sport.” – Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski

“What a great way to celebrate Phil Knight and all that he and Nike have done for college basketball and the Florida Gators. We’re excited and honored to be part of this field that features so many excellent programs.” – Florida head coach Mike White

It's exciting to be a part of this tournament. It is a privilege to be involved in an event that honors Phil Knight.  Mr. Knight has not only been pivotal figure in college athletics, but he has been a driving force in the entire sports industry. We are proud to participate in an event that celebrates him. – Georgetown head coach John Thompson III

“We’ve been fortunate to play in some incredible preseason events, but we’ve never been a part of something this amazing – both in terms of quantity and quality of the teams. This is sure to be an incredible experience for all the student-athletes. It’s only fitting to pay tribute to a one-of-a-kind man with a one-of-a-kind event. Phil Knight has revolutionized modern day fitness, while setting the gold standard for shoes and apparel, not just in basketball, but across all other sports and activities as well.” – Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

“What a thrill for North Carolina Basketball to be playing in such a special event to honor a truly special man. PK80 not only brings together some of the top basketball programs in the game, it honors a giant in business and sports. Mr. Knight has a wonderful ability to touch people’s lives and do great things, both in and out of the sports world. I’ll always cherish my friendship with him.” – North Carolina head coach Roy Williams

For more information, visit

College football opens in Australia tonight? That's just wrong

College football opens in Australia tonight? That's just wrong

Yes, college football opens its season tonight in a matchup between California and Hawaii. And it's not enough to just play this game in Honolulu -- the teams must go to Sydney, Australia for this one.

Which is so totally unnecessary.

For several years now, it's been professional teams -- trying desperately to make their "brand" worldwide -- heading outside the country for games. In the beginning it was just non-counting preseason or exhibition games that went to Europe, Asia, Mexico or wherever. But now the NBA, Major-League Baseball and the NFL are moving regular-season, counting games outside the country.

And I don't think that's fair -- to players or fans. It's a hardship to players and so unfair to fans, especially in football where there are so few home games during a season. Why allow one of those to be played outside the country? It's a betrayal to loyal fans and a hardship for players because of the long travel and often sub-par condition of foreign playing fields.

And at the college level, it's ridiculous. There are reasons for doing this, of course. Most of them have to do with money, in one way or another And at the college level, it's simply unfair to unpaid players who have to make trips of that length to play in front of crowds that probably don't include their families or friends.

I can't really believe this is happening, actually.

The players at Hawaii this season ought to be allowed to accumulate frequent-flier miles for a schedule that is cruel and unusual punishment. They open the season in Australia, then next play at Michigan before finally getting a home game in the third week of the season. Then it's to Tucson, Ariz., for a game the following week before finally getting a bye week. But the Rainbow Warriors never get two consecutive home games during the entire season -- it's a constant zig-zag between the island and the mainland.

That's terrible. But of course, we're seeing the colleges chase the dollars just like the pros these days. And so it's no surprise they'd go all the way to Australia to chase a few more bucks.


The case of Portland State's incredible new shrinking arena


The case of Portland State's incredible new shrinking arena

Portland State has begun construction of it's new "pavilion" on campus, in case you haven't noticed. But I find it interesting how much the vision for the new arena has changed over the last few years.

This project is a little more than half of what I remembered it was supposed to be.

Webster's has a definition for "pavilion" that is "a large building that is used for sports or public events." As such, I'm not sure the "pavilion" part of "Viking Pavilion" applies these days. I wouldn't call this new structure "large."

At one time, I seem to remember the seating capacity of that building was going to be somewhere near 7,000. But I couldn't find any written evidence of that. But I have found various accounts listing the projected seating capacity of the arena as 5,500, and then "nearly 6,000-seat," and 5,000, then it dropped to "4,700 for sports," then I found 4,800, and now I'm reading mostly 3,000. On top of that, the early renderings of the building always showed what appeared to be a new arena sitting atop the previous Stott Center -- a spanking new top floor for the building.

The drawings I'm seeing now aren't so grandiose. Mike Lund, Portland State associate athletic director media/communications, provided the latest rendering, which is used with this post. And he explained the loss in seating capacity:

"When the project was first introduced the thought was we would be able to get about 5000 seats," he wrote in an email. "As plans evolved and space was actually worked out that was reduced down to 3000-3500. We do have to provide for a lot of academic space, larger sports medicine facility, more offices and some classrooms. I don't really think the seating will be a big issue for us."

And about the different look of the structure:

"As for the structure, the arena will not be on top. The building is being gutted on the east side. When reconstruction begins the final project will be taller than the original building so it is going up."

The Stott Center seating capacity previously was barely more than 1,000 so anything larger is an improvement. But I must say I'm disappointed that PSU is going to so much expense and trouble to build an arena for its Division I basketball program that is apparently going to seat just 3,000. That's too small. And yes, I know the program struggles to draw a thousand people to its games now.

But really, I had hope that the Portland State vision for the future would be something more than 3,000 fans per game.



CFB Playoff moves semifinals from New Year's Eve

CFB Playoff moves semifinals from New Year's Eve

Future college football playoff semifinal games will be played on Saturdays and holidays, instead of on New Year's Eve. 

“We tried to do something special with New Year’s Eve, even when it fell on a weekday," said Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the College Football Playoff. "But after studying this to see if it worked, we think we can do better.  These adjustments will allow more people to experience the games they enjoy so much.  For these four years, our previous call is reversed.”

Barrett Sallee of Bleacher Report tweeted the adjustments and dates for the upcoming semifinals:

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

Posted by CSN Northwest on Thursday, July 14, 2016

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

Posted by CSN Northwest on Thursday, July 14, 2016

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

Posted by CSN Northwest on Thursday, July 14, 2016

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

Posted by CSN Northwest on Thursday, July 14, 2016

LIVE: Washington State University Athletics football coach Mike Leach

Posted by CSN Northwest 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.