WHAT WE'VE LEARNED - WCC BASKETBALL - NON-CONFERENCE WEEK THREE
By John Crumpacker, WCC Columnist | @CrumpackerOnWCC
There was a period in my professional life when, immersed in covering pro football, I didn't pay much attention to college basketball. During that time the language of the roundball game changed, apparently.
The old-timey designations of "guards,'' "forwards'' and "centers'' were reduced to numbers, although not many teams have true 5's anymore. More like a couple of 1's, several 2's, a bunch of 3's and maybe a 4 or two living large as 3's.
Coaches are slaves to the new jargon, sad to say. When their forwards and center turn in a good game, coaches invariably say, "Our bigs played well.'' It stands to reason that if you have "bigs,'' you have to have "littles,'' but no one refers to guards as "littles.'' Why the heck not?
Even more annoying is the term "score the basketball'' that is in common usage today. Please explain to me how you can score without the basketball.
Lastly, there is apparently a place on the court, two places, actually, called the "elbows.'' How this differs from the wings, those spots on the court usually occupied by 3's or sometimes 2's or 4's masquerading as 3's, I have no idea. Again, please explain.
While pondering these existential issues, WHAT WE LEARNED from last week's games is fairly straight-forward and not couched in unacceptable terminology.
Stat line of the week
If he remains in his current role throughout the season, Sabonis, Gonzaga's 6-foot-10 freshman, could be regarded as the Sixth Man of the Year. Certainly he would be starting at most every other Division I school. In the Zags' 73-66 victory over St. John's in the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-off at Madison Square Garden, Sabonis shot 6-for-6 from the field and finished with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists in 26 minutes.
Tweet of the week
Joe Lunardi @ESPNLunardi
Updated Seed List (CAPS=AQs): 01-UK, 02-DUKE, 03-WISC, 04-TEXAS, 05-ZONA, 06-Lville, 07-UVa, 08-ZAGS, 09-WICH, 10-NOVA, 11-Unc, 12-Kansas.
Quote of the Week
"Tomorrow, I have no classes. It's awesome. It's how school should be.'' That's Saint Mary's guard Aaron Bright, working towards a master's in Leadership in Moraga after earning his undergraduate degree from Stanford. That's called preparing oneself for the Real World.
Good Wishes of the Week
To Gonzaga's Josh Perkins, who broke his jaw against Georgia in the NIT Tip-off when an opponent's flying leg caught him flush on the mandible in an inadvertent encounter that was cringe-worthy every time replays showed the incident. Enjoy those shakes and smoothies, Josh. And what a great post-script it was to learn that his father plans to go on a similar liquid diet for the length of his son's recovery.
FOLLOW THE THREE DOTS...
Slow start, relatively speaking, at the free throw line for San Diego's Johnny "Deadeye'' Dee. He's making them at an .867 clip (26 of 30) after missing one chance in the Toreros' 68-66 loss to Western Michigan. ... At this early point in the season, ESPN bracket guru Joe Lunardi (see above) has three WCC teams making the NCAA Tournament in March: Gonzaga, BYU and Saint Mary's. ... I want to call the tournament in Nashville that Portland participated in the Music City Challenge, which seems oh so reasonable, but no, the official name apparently is the Challenge in Music City. ... Speaking of which, the 5-1 Pilots lost to Valparaiso 70-55 in the championship game but may have found a gem in 6-5 freshman guard D'Marques Tyson. In just 17 minutes he pumped in 25 points, making 6 of 8 shots from three-point range. ... Pacific got a dandy game from reserve guard Dulani Robinson in its 75-64 loss to Colorado State at the Great Alaska Shootout. The 5-9 junior from Oakland and City College of San Francisco had 26 points on 7-of-10 shooting from beyond the three-point line. ... How about that? Saint Mary's received one vote in this week's Associated Press Top 25 poll.
John Crumpacker spent more than three decades working at the San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle. During his career he has covered the full gamut of sports from prep to professionals. Most recently, Crumpacker served as the beat writer for Cal through the end of the 2013-14 season. In addition to covering 10 Olympic Games, Crumpacker served as the beat writer for the San Francisco 49ers. He is a two-time winner of the Track & Field Writers of America annual writing award and has several APSE Top 10 writing awards.