Crumpacker: What We Learned - 11/15/17
Recapping the opening #WCChoops weekend
By John Crumpacker - #WCChoops Columnist
Asked about the role he envisioned for himself in his senior season at Portland, Philipp Hartwich replied, “A little bit of everything.’’
After two games and a 1-1 record for the Pilots, that’s turning out to be an understatement. The 7-foot-2 product of Cologne, Germany, is doing quite a bit more than just a little bit of everything. He already has 20 points, 28 rebounds and 10 blocked shots, and it’s not even Thanksgiving. (See Stat Line of the Week, below.)
Hartwich said he strives to be a “rim protector’’ (check) who is able to “offensively get easy baskets.’’ (check).
“I’m fairly positive and optimistic,’’ he said about the Pilots’ fortunes in 2017-18. “We are very young. I think we’re deeper this year. We won’t have to play as many minutes.’’
With the way Hartwich has started the season, however, coach Terry Porter will probably want him to play as many minutes as he’s able. In today’s often position-less style basketball, true post players like Hartwich are becoming rarer and rarer.
Hartwich is an example of a player who heeded Porter’s mandate following the coach’s first season at Portland in 2016-17.
“I challenged them to come back in great shape,’’ Porter said. “The first two weeks showed our team has made strides. Our roster of players is stronger than last year. We have good size and athleticism. Now it’s about going out and playing on a high level.’’|
For Hartwich, that’s another check. This is clearly a player working to get the most out of his senior season. Like many players around the WCC, he wants to continue playing basketball once he receives his degree in journalism.
“After my basketball career, I’d like to get into some kind of broadcasting,’’ Hartwich said. “That would be cool.’’
For now, though, what’s cool for Hartwich is the way he’s grabbing rebounds, swatting away opponents’ shots and scoring when the opportunity presents itself. A little bit of everything, in other words. Maybe a lot more.
What We Learned
1) This columnist is a big believer in being happy where you are instead of endlessly striving for the Next Big Thing. Case in point, Randy Bennett of Saint Mary’s. With his success in Moraga – he’s 362-156 in 16 years – he undoubtedly had other offers to move on to so-called “bigger’’ schools. The heck with that. Bennett instead signed a 10-year contract extension. It’s a good move for both parties. “My family and I truly enjoy being in such a supportive community and raising our family in this environment,’’ Bennett said in a statement.
2) After a 29-5 record in 2016-17, Bennett’s No. 21-ranked Gaels will rely even more heavily on the scoring of Calvin (Headband) Hermanson. In Saint Mary’s 85-68 season-opening win over St. Francis in a battle of the Saints, Hermanson had 24 points on 9-of-10 shooting (and 5-of-6 from beyond the arc). Asked about his offensive output, which was anything but offensive, Hermanson said, “I wasn’t keeping track. I was just trying to shoot the best shot for us.’’
3) It’s often said that powerhouse programs -- high school, college or the professional level -- do not rebuild, they reload. Gonzaga, coming off its epic 2016-17 season that saw the Zags fall six points short of North Carolina in the NCAA championship game, opened the season ranked No. 18 with a 97-69 win over Texas Southern (alma mater of gap-toothed former NFL star and current TV smoothie Michael Strahan). The Zags got 13 points from a senior (guard Silas Melson), 20 points from a junior (Josh Perkins), 11 points from a sophomore (Rui Hashimura) and 10 points from a freshman (Corey Kispert). All told, Gonzaga had five players in double-figure scoring and two others with nine points each.
Stat Line of the Week
The first SLOTW (pronounced slot-wuh), goes to Portland’s Hartwich. In an 80-75 loss to Portland State in the opener, he used every one of his 86 inches to gather in 18 rebounds and block six shots to go with 10 points. Hartwich was 3-for-3 on his field goal attempts, 4 of 9 from the free throw line and added one assist and one steal in a productive 31 minutes. In Portland’s second game, Hartwich had 10 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in an easy win over Walla Walla.
Quote of the Week
“You want to get tested early, and I feel that it was the first time we had some real adversity.’’
That’s Saint Mary’s Bennett, on trailing early against defending WAC champion New Mexico State before prevailing 92-74.
Tweet of the Week
Orly Wahba, Kindness Boomerang: Nov. 13th,"Do something wonderful, people may imitate it." Albert Schweitzer: momentum 1 kind act at a time.
(Dunlap is perhaps the only coach in the conference who would reference a quote from someone like Wahba, a teacher, entrepreneur and community activist whose simple goal is to make the world a kinder place.)
Six conference teams will tee it up tonight with BYU at Princeton, Cal State Fullerton at Saint Mary’s, Nevada at Santa Clara, Robert Morris at San Diego, UC Riverside at Loyola Marymount and UC Davis at Pacific.
Follow the three dots...
Rarely do you see a player smile after fouling out but that was the case in Gonzaga’s rout of Howard. When Hachimura got whistled for foul No. 5, he went to the bench with 12 points and a smile on his face. He had the most impressive moment of the game when, in the first half, he dribbled the ball the length of the court, terminated just beyond the free throw line and sailed in for an imposing dunk that gave the Zags a 25-8 lead following an and-one. … In a 120-70 win over La Verne (but not LaShirley), Santa Clara had six players in double figures, topped by guard K.J. Feagin’s 21 points in 26 minutes … In its 91-61 victory over Mississippi Valley State (alma mater of Jerry Rice) guards Bryant and Haws combined for 41 points while teammate Yoeli Childs had 13 points, 6 assists and 5 blocked shots … Loyola Marymount came up just short in its opener at Texas-Arlington as James Bateman had 23 points and Cameron Allen 16. … How about that? Saint Mary’s had the top three 3-point field goal percentage shooters in the conference last year and all of them return for 2017-18 in Calvin Hermanson (.431), Evan Fitzner (.429) and Emmett Naar (.424). … Pepperdine topped 100 points for the first time since 2008 in a 107-82 win vs. Div. III Cal Lutheran. Kameron Edwards, who missed 2016-17 because of a broken jaw, had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Waves.
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.