Head of the Pack

November 12, 2008

romeo-demarsmallAs a follow up to my perfect preseason conference predictions, I figured I’d let you all know who will be walking away with the individual awards at the end of the year.

Just like my conference predictions, I’ll start out at the top. The league MVP this year, like the past two years, will come from the eventual league champ, UCLA. Darren Collison is my pick for a few simple reasons. According to the past couple years, winning matters for this award and Collison will do more of it than other worthy candidates. Once again he’s a preseason all american and he’s a ball dominate point guard. He also spearheads the smothering defense of the Bruins.

brynnFreshman of the year could be a real battle. Isaiah Thomas is probably going to put up a lot of numbers at UW. Klay Thompson might not put up huge numbers, but will be a key contributor at WSU. Demar Derozan will almost certainly lead the league in highlights. But to find the best of the bunch, you have to go back to Westwood. Jrue Holiday is not only the most talented freshman in the league, he might be the best player in the league. He has a chance to lead UCLA in scoring, assists, and steals if DC starts giving up the ball. Simply put, he’s just better than the rest of the freshman, so he gets my vote.

For defensive player of the year I decided to stay in L.A. Except this time I’m going across town to the Men of Troy. With UCLA playing so well over the past few years, a lot of people haven’t noticed the steady improvement at USC. One of the most overlooked and underappreciated players in the league is Daniel Hackett. At 6′5″ he’s a big point guard, and has been one of the better defenders since he left high school a year early to play at SC.

Here’s my breakdown of the all conference teams.

1st Team
Darren Collison
James Harden
Jon Brockman
Daniel Hackett
Jrue Holiday

2nd Team
Chase Budinger
Taj Gibson
Taylor Rochestie
Jeff Pendergraph
Patrick Christopher

3rd Team
Isaiah Thomas
Jordan Hill

Demar Derozan
Tajuan Porter
Aron Baynes

Freshman Team
Holiday
Thomas
Derozan
Michael Dunigan
Klay Thompson

@ the Yard

About three weeks ago I was anxiously awaiting news about UCLA’s media day since UCLA football had once again failed to live up to their early season glory (clearly everyone who knows me knows I knew this was about what to expect this year, but still). uclafab5_frosh-1

Back to hoops though, there may only be two teams in the Pac who are even as good as they were last year. UW SHOULD be better than last year, but they’re relying on a 5′8″ two guard to be their savior. However, they still have Jon Brockman and Q-Pon, though enigmatic, has huge upside and this is the year he has to put it together. ASU returns everyone of note (which is basically James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph) from a team who got snubbed from the tourney, but they have no difference making recruits which makes it hard for me to buy into a team who hasn’t actually done anything yet.

The best team in the league is Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Fix for O.J.

May 13, 2008

Let me start out controversially enough to hopefully pique your interest, but I will not elaborate immediately:

“The improper benefits issue is a covertly systematic form of racism.”

I am NOT just rabble rousing, and I am NOT calling those people who are offended by improper benefits ‘racist’. However, we need to consider the young men whom are frequently at the epicenters of the biggest scandals. Because they are in fact just that, young men with eyes set on a golden ticket and a chance to deliver their families from poverty. Conventional wisdom might tell some of us that if the golden ticket were there at a young age, then it would still be there when a person were officially eligible to receive money.

While it would be hard to put yourself in those shoes, try to think about how far away that payday must seem to a teenage boy with the weight of saving his family on his shoulders. Read the rest of this entry »

The Bitter 48

March 26, 2008

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Or is it the Sweet 16?

            It’s gettin a little played out to just blame the refs every time your favorite team loses or your least favorite squad wins.  Check the scoreboard at the end of the game, read it, and quit actin like, well, use your imagination.

Read the rest of this entry »

PJN: Tourney Go Time!

March 18, 2008

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    I’ve had a couple requests to breakdown the brackets before things get goin’, so I figured I better get on this. I figured I’d just go region through region, and give you all places where I think upsets could happen, as well as give you who I think will play in the regional finals and then my Final Four picks: Read the rest of this entry »

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First of all, we gotta change this UL, there has to be something better than that, Esa, get on it!

So, as this week has gone on, there have been some upsets, some beat downs, some coaches calling a timeout with 2:04 left in the game, with their team down 4, and walking into the locker room for the duration of the timeout, and some more horrible officiating. Where to begin…? Read the rest of this entry »

Dissent in the UL

March 13, 2008

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I know I am in fact a Pac-10 guy.  So is it wrong for me to doubt that the Pac-10 is as good as ESPN says we are?  We have 1 great team in UCLA, 1 really good team in Stanford, and then we have 3 alright teams that I think get way too much cred in Wazzou, SoCal, and Arizona State.  And why are we even still talking about Oregon, Arizona and Washington?  For all the times in football season that I complain about East Coast bias, you’d think I would just embrace generous praise… Oregon is just so obviously inconsistent and unclutch!  Getting a berth just seems so unjust… you must acquit.

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What up ya’ll, it’s your boy Petejn back to drop a little more college hoops knowledge. Hopefully you’re all immersed in the week that is conference tourneys! I’m currently watchin one of my sleeper picks get drilled. If Rider can make the comeback, I’d love ‘em for it, but you gotta understand their second best player, Ryan Thompson, is out with an injury. I may know my stuff, but even I can’t predict injuries! This second go round I’ma hit you up with a list of teams that I feel have a chance to make it to San Antonio, but I don’t feel can win it all. Read the rest of this entry »

NW Hoops musings

March 7, 2008

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I’ve been debating with friends for a while over who will be the better pro of the 3 Oregon Duck Seniors that will get drafted. I hear that Maarty doesn’t have the physical tools, that Bryce is too inconsistent, and that Malik is going to be a force. Almost universally I hear this. I have trouble believing that Maarty won’t find at least a Luke Walton/David Lee niche. (is it terrible that I necessarily lumped him in with 2 other white forwards that aren’t terribly athletic, but do the dirty work that coaches love?) And I think with the reduced pressure of his team NEEDING him to score to succeed, Bryce will open the flood gates and be a nice little Michael Finley-type. I mean, “yes”, obviously Finley was needed to score early in his career… so maybe I should say: Jason Kapono instead.

…and…

Who do the Blazers need in the draft this year? PG? Specifically Darren Collison, Jerryd Bayless, another shocking early pick and Derrick Rose? SF? Danilo Gallinari, Tyler Smith, or Ryan Anderson? …or my personal favorite that might not make sense: Kevin Love?

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What up ya’ll, I’m here to breakdown the Big Dance for anyone who wants the truth. I figure I’ll take it step by step so I don’t overflow your systems right off the bat. I’m gonna throw out a list of sleepers, pretenders and contenders as we’re getting down to tourney time. Here’s the first installment, hope you enjoy. Read the rest of this entry »