Crumpacker: What We Learned - 11/27/17

Nov. 27, 2017

By John Crumpacker – #WCChoops Columnist

Everyone seems to love All-Something teams, from All-America and All-Conference to All-Academic and All-Name (lifetime props to Nick Nurse and Anicet Lavodrama). In that spirit, after a busy week of Thanksgiving tournaments, we present the West Coast Conference All-November team.

These players could well be at the top of the individual statistics by the end of February as teams gird for the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas. Who knows? But after nearly three weeks of non-conference games with another month to go before the start of conference season, these are the players who have distinguished themselves:

The center of attention is Saint Mary’s Jock Landale, a player who has improved every year he’s been on campus. The 6-foot-11 senior from Australia has worked diligently on his game to the point where he’s one of the best post players in the country. Landale is averaging 20.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Backing him up is 7-2 Philipp Hartwich of Portland, who leads the WCC in the early going at 10.0 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game.

At one forward position is Gonzaga’s Johnathan Williams, an early candidate for WCC Player of the Year. Williams may be quiet and unassuming off the court, but on it, he’s a force to be reckoned with. Williams nearly willed the Zags to a win over Florida in the PK80 tournament with 39 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal (see below) in what was eventually a double-overtime win for the Gators.

On Monday, Williams was named WCC Player of the Week for averaging 23.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks over three games in the PK80.

At the other forward position is BYU’s Yoeli Childs, another player who has improved markedly from his freshman season. Now a sophomore, the 6-8 Childs is averaging 15.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. It’s fair to say he’s now the focal point of coach Dave Rose’s team.

On this team, I don’t care where Pacific’s Jahlil Tripp plays – guard, forward, wing, catcher, third base, long snapper, libero, wherever. I want him on my team. He’s 6-5 and can seemingly do it all with averages of 9.0 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists.

Making it all go is point guard Emmett Naar of Saint Mary’s, perhaps the most physically unimpressive player in the conference. On appearance alone, he’d be the last guy selected in a pickup game but the first guy you’d want with the ball in his hands once the game starts. Naar is averaging 14.3 points and a robust 9.0 assists per game.

Along with Hartwich, coming off the bench for my All-November team are K.J. Feagin of Santa Clara, Elijah Bryant of BYU, Josh Perkins of Gonzaga,Kameron Edwards of Pepperdine and Roberto Gallinat of Pacific.

With November about to give way to December, who else wants to have an “All’’ in front of their name?



What We Learned

1) Although some WCC teams did not have the results they were hoping for in last week’s Thanksgiving tournaments, all will eventually be thankful they faced top-flight competition instead of staying at home and beating such opponents as East Central Tech, Delaware Wesleyan A&T and Rhode Island Institute of Overly Dramatic Arts. Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s, Portland and BYU all experienced great competition at a time of the season in which some schools get soft feasting on cupcakes.

2) That said, some schools need all the victories they can get to build momentum and feel good about the season in front of them. Case in point, Pacific, rebuilding under second-year coach Damon Stoudamire. The Tigers beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 78-69 and Canisius 80-58 at home while losing to Texas State 85-78 at the Spanos Center. In the process, Stoudamire discovered a pair of gems in sophomore forward Tripp and junior guard Gallinat.

3) The PK80 tournament was not kind to host Portland. In deep water, the Pilots went 0-3 after losses to heavyweights North Carolina of the ACC and Oklahoma of the Big 12 and a Sunday defeat to DePaul of the Big East. By the time the Pilots faced DePaul in what was an 82-69 defeat, they were worn down from games against the Tar Heels and Sooners. Come March, however, coach Terry Porter and his players will be glad they faced those teams.

Stat Line of the Week
While there were several worthy stat lines turned in by WCC players in a busy holiday week – props to BYU’s Childs, Pepperdine’s Edwards, Jack Williams of Pacific, Isaiah Wright of San Diego and Landale and Naar of Saint Mary’s – the SLOTW must go to forward Gonzaga’s Williams.

In a pulsating double-overtime 111-105 loss to Florida on Friday in the Motion bracket of the PK80 tournament, Williams scored a career-high 39 points on 16-of-22 shooting (6 of 8 from the free throw line) to go with 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal.

Given the quality of competition in the tournament, this is the finest game turned in by a WCC player in 2017-18 – and it’s not even December.

Runners-up for SLOTW go to Landale, who had 33 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists in the Gaels’ 83-81 overtime loss to Georgia in the third-place game of the Wooden Legacy tournament, and Tripp of Pacific. In an 80-58 win over Canisius in the Spanos Center, Tripp had 9 points, 9 rebounds, 11 assists and 3 steals in a productive 31 minutes.

Quote of the Week
“Mark Few is going to the Naismith Hall of Fame. There’s no question about that.’’

That’s ESPN analyst Jay Bilas on the Gonzaga coach, who has taken 18 straight Zags teams to the NCAA Tournament.

Tweet of the Week 
Josh Perkins Retweeted 

Corey Kispert ‏ @corey_kispert
7h7 hours ago

"We weren’t lying" 

Thanks to social media, we see that Josh Perkins showed up for breakfast at the PK80 tournament wearing a leopard-print robe. Style points to the junior guard.

Follow the three dots… 
Watching DePaul-Portland in the seventh-place game of the Victory bracket of the PK80 tournament, it was impossible to see the black numerals on the Blue Devils’ blue jerseys when the camera angle was pulled back to reveal the full court. … One degree of separation: In an otherwise irrelevant note, I used to work with the uncle of Portland sophomore center Joseph Smoyer at the San Francisco Chronicle. Mark Smoyer, now a mover and shaker at Bleacher Report, was the best editor I ever worked with. Furthermore, Joseph Smoyer and I went to the same high school, albeit in different cities four decades apart. Young Smoyer went to Franklin High in Portland while I went to Franklin High in Los Angeles. So there. … Here’s hoping December will be a better month for Santa Clara than November. The Broncos are 1-5 in the 11th month. 

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.


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