Crumpacker: What We Think – WCC Week Two
Recapping Week Two Of #WCChoops Action
By John Crumpacker #WCChoops Columnist
On paper, or rather, in cyberspace, San Francisco figures to beat Pepperdine in Malibu on Saturday afternoon in the WCC Game of the Week. The Dons are 9-6 overall and 1-1 after the first week of conference play. The Waves are 3-11 and 0-2 and once again hit hard with injuries.
However, Pepperdine could represent a “trap’’ game for the Dons, who host BYU two nights earlier in what is probably regarded as the bigger game for coach Kyle Smith’s team. Then again, if USF shoots as well from behind the arc as it did at Portland, the Waves will be at ebb tide on Saturday. The Dons rained down 15 3-pointers (in 42 attempts) in their 84-61 victory at Portland.
“I was able to knock ‘em down,’’ said guard Jordan Ratinho, who connected on 4 of 9 treys. “Those threes got the team going. It was good for us. We happen to have a lot of good shooters. That’s why we were able to get the win.’’
Taking part in the parade of treys along with Ratinho were guards Souley Boum (3 of 6) and Frankie Ferrari (3 of 7) and forward Chase Foster (3 of 7). The freshman Boum finished with 26 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists in a masterful performance.
“He’s a great player, definitely a great offensive player,’’ Ratinho said. “He’s a competitor.’’
The Dons are in fifth place in the standings and are looking for a finish in the top half of the WCC at season’s end.
“Everybody’s got to be ready,’’ Ratinho said. “Coach plays a lot of guys. We’re getting better at sharing the ball.’’
That’s not good news for Pepperdine in the Game of the Week at Firestone Fieldhouse.
What We Think
- San Diego will find out what it’s made of Saturday night when it faces Saint Mary’s in Moraga. Coach Lamont Smith has the Toreros on a roll at 11-3, the program’s best start since joining Division I in 1979. USD will need every bit of its terrific defense to have a chance against the Gaels, winners of eight straight and with a 9-0 record at home thus far. Saint Mary’s is fond of the 3-point shot, while USD is equally fond of defending the 3-point shot, leading all Div. I teams in field goal percentage defense beyond the arc, .241.
- Likewise, San Francisco will be tested at home by BYU (12-3) on Thursday night at the Sobrato Center. The Cougars are 12-1 vs. the Dons since joining the WCC in 2011. Along with Jock Landale and Emmett Naar of Saint Mary’s, BYU has the best pair of teammates in the conference in guard Elijah Bryant and forward Yoeli Childs. The game will likely turn on how the Dons defend those two Cougars.
- Pacific has improved in coach Damon Stoudamire’s second season in Stockton, but how much? This will be a revealing week for the Tigers, who play at Saint Mary’s on Thursday night and are home against BYU on Saturday night. Saint Mary’s has won nine straight vs. Pacific. The Tigers got off to a 1-1 start in conference play by defending the rim (4.4 blocks per game) and taking the ball away from opponents (7.5 steals per game).
Finding new homes
Whether they are redshirt transfers sitting out a year or graduate transfers eligible to play right away, players transferring from one Division I school to another is a reality that is re-shaping college basketball. More than a few programs would not be where they are now without the hybrid vigor of transfers.
In that spirit, we present the WCC’s All-Transfer team for 2017-18, composed of players switching allegiances from one D-I school to their current landing spots:
Isaiah Pineiro, San Diego – Portland State
Isaiah Wright, San Diego – Utah
Henry Caruso, Santa Clara – Princeton
Franklin Porter, Portland – Saint Mary’s
Eric Cooper, Jr. – Nevada
Jack Williams, Pacific – Long Beach State
Of these magnificent seven, only Caruso is a graduate transfer. The others all sat out a season before joining their new teams. Caruso, a stalwart rebounder, can play the 2 or 3 for the Broncos. Porter’s move to Portland was a natural one once his father, Terry, was named head coach of the Pilots. Williams is a dependable forward for the Tigers, averaging 9.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Cooper is a skilled guard on a struggling Pepperdine team.
Saving the best for last, where would San Diego be without the contributions of the Isaiah’s, Pineiro and Wright? Certainly not 11-3 and 2-0 in conference.
How about that?
Landale and Johnathan Williams of Gonzaga are tied for the national lead in most made field goals in a game this season at 16. Landale must like the number 3. He’s been named WCC Player of the Week three times and has turned in three 30-point games thus far.
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. Crumpacker has been covering #WCChoops since the 2014-15 season.