Lock These People In A Room, College Basketball Would Change For Better


Lock These People In A Room, College Basketball Would Change For Better

Attendance---When you get some brilliant people in a room, that are not afraid to express their opinion, lots of good happens.
That is exactly the scenario in Portland, Oregon over the weekend, when a TOWN HALL took place on how to increase basketball attendance on all levels of college and high school basketball. In attendance were coaches, media, athletic administrators, top flight marketing people and fans who care about the game of basketball.

The discussion was lively, spirited and full of great ideas. In case you have missed previous Crawford's Courts, for the fifth straight time in the 2011-12 season, attendance at D-1 basketball games decreased. It remains stagnant on the all levels of basketball for both men and women. So much so, that one out of four team in D-1 basketball in the last four years has seen at least a 20 percent drop in attendance. High school basketball by some accounts in the last 10 years has seen a decrease in attendance of at least 40 percent nationwide. This can only be described as a CRISIS on all levels and I am going to continue to write about it, because it needs attention.

Back to the weekend. The basic theme that came out of the TOWN HALL, which was open to the public, was that there needs to be a better experience created for the fan, who not only wants to see a great product on the floor but also wants to be entertained. And not necessarily by the cheesy promotions that some schools try to pass off year after year. No wonder the nation if overweight, with all these pizza promotions that every school seems to thrive on. Hey I like pizza, just like everyone else, but let's get creative people.

So if you would like to know more about the TOWN HALL you can email me, but out of respect for the people who did show up and also people that contributed ideas, but were not able to make it, I do not wish to spill all the beans here in Crawford's Court.
One more thing I can assure about, we all were unanimous as well, that if things don't change to make it a better experience for students and fans to attend games, you might as well play all your games on the road. Schools get with it, plenty of talented people want to work in the sports business, if you have someone in your area of marketing, promotion and ticket sales that is not cutting the mustard, make a change, it is that simple.

Seattle U---As a long time long time follower and admirer of Seattle University basketball, it is great to see the Redhawks playing in a league and actually a pretty good basketball league, the Western Athletic Conference. Even though the team is 0-3, I have to think for everyone league play sure as heck beats an independent schedule, which is mandatory for four years, when a team such as Seattle did, when they went from D-2 to D-1.

Mac's Message--- It is Monday, so time for another wonderful message, per a question from a reader, from Portland State assistant basketball coach, Andy McClouskey.

"Coach Mac, we have some athletes on the Viks basketball team, what is the thinking of a full court press and putting more pressure on the offense. Also, what makes a good full court press in your expert opinion?" Jason---Sellwood District---Portland, Oregon

"Jason, I appreciate you see that we do have good athletes on the Vikings team this season. It is interesting that you think of athletes and go to the next step to PRESS and apply more pressure. Going into the season we were thinking we might be able to press a little more with this group and use our speed and quickness to apply more pressure. We also felt that we might have the depth to play that way. Then as the pre-season practices came we had so many injuries to key players that getting that part of our defense in became lesser of a priority. We just could not expand our defense to include pressing on a full time basis. We have used the press to our advantage in a few games and it has been good to us.

I think what makes a good press is similar to what makes a good half court defense.
1. You must have great basketball protection so do not give up easy shots at the rim.
2. You must apply constant pressure to the ball-handler so they can't pass or advance the ball freely.
3. You must anticipate passes when the ball is double teamed so that interceptions or steals can be a result of the pressure.
All this has to take place with limited gambling and it is more the offense making mistakes as a result of the pressure as opposed to STEALING the ball. We are going to take advantage of the offensive mistakes when they occur yet not gamble to help the offense if that makes sense.

There are many ways to play and put together a team and sometimes team issues or injury situations dictate policy, so to speak.

Thanks, Happy New Year and Go Viks." Coach Mac---Portland State

Craw's Nine---Best nine teams in the six western leagues that play D-1 basketball. Remember, this is in the moment, record counts, but not the total way to get into the Craw's Nine.
9. Montana---Will Cherry is back for the Griz, do I need to say more.
8. Weber St.---No drop off, after losing maybe the best player ever in Big Sky
7. Arizona State--Good pre-league and off to fast start on Pac-12
6. Utah State----WAC is going to have tough time with these guys, this season
5. Oregon---They are deep, quick, great shooters and a wonderful team
4. Arizona---In the moment, not the best part of their season, still unbeaten
3. UCLA---I picked them in September to win the Pac-12 and sticking with it.
2. Wyoming---Big test, now they get the giants in Mt. West, but they earned number 2
1. Gonzaga---Final Four, I see it coming and big move to top of Craw's Nine

"100 in 90"---Big week, saw six games, moving my total to the year to 35, on pace. Really enjoyed watching the Clackamas Community College women's team this past week beat SWOCC in the opening of NWAACC league play.
Scores---I am slipping, bad week last week, especially picking the Beavers to beat the Ducks. I am 30-8 for the year, but I really finish strong, so watch out.
110 Arizona (62) at Oregon (78) Ducks are the better team after this one
110 Sacramento St. (60) at Portland State (94) PSU plays best game of the year.
112 Denver (64) at Seattle (69) Good chance for Redhawks to win WAC home game
112 Portland (58) at Loyola (59) Tough start for Pilots in WCC, road is brutal
112 Washington (83) at Stanford (73) Romar always wins big in January
113 Michigan (79) at Ohio State (77) OT--- This is the year for Big Blue.

GregCrawford@csnnw.com and twitter @wchoops askGregCrawford

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 facebook.com/csnnw.

Inside scoop on Oregon State at Pac-12 Media Day

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

Posted by CSNNW on Friday, July 15, 2016
[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 CSNNW on Thursday, July 14, 2016

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

Posted by CSNNW on Thursday, July 14, 2016

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

Posted by CSNNW 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 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.