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Thread: Look ahead by ESPN

  1. #1
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    Default Look ahead by ESPN

    MAR 23

    By Adam Finkelstein | ESPN.com

    In order to return to the NCAA tournament, a team needs contributions from both returning players and incoming recruits. Here's a look at Gonzaga and its chances of dancing again in 2015.


    Possible 2014-2015 starting five:
    G: Kevin Pangos
    G: Gary Bell, Jr.
    F: Kyle Dranginis
    F: Kyle Wiltjer
    C: Przemek Karnowski

    Who it loses: The Zags lose a pair of starters in Sam Dower and David Stockton, along with a key member of their second unit in Drew Barham. Dower was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder and a versatile offensive weapon inside of 16 feet. Stockton is the true floor general who played alongside Pangos in a dual point guard lineup for Mark Few. Barham made shots and was a zone buster off the bench. He also had enough size to plug a couple of different positions. The trio combined to play more than 70 minutes per game.

    Who it adds: ESPN 100 PG Josh Perkins is the gem of this year’s recruiting class. He arrives with all the talent to make an immediate impact, but he’ll have to rebound from a somewhat disappointing senior season to prove he can be the type of efficient decision-maker and shooter the Zags rely on. Bryan Alberts is a 6-foot-3 combo-guard with an intriguing upside thanks to his length, athleticism and ability to create his own shot. Silas Melson will be a college-ready scorer with good athleticism and shooting range. Wiltjer, a transfer from Kentucky, also becomes eligible next season after having to sit out this season.

    What it means for next season: This will be Pangos’ team in 2014-15, even more so than this season. He’ll take on most of the ball-handling and point guard responsibilities while mentoring Perkins in the process. Bell is likely to slide over a spot after starting alongside Pangos and Stockton this season in a three-guard lineup, while Dranginis should take over the starting spot on the wing, while Wiltjer will step right in at the four spot and Karnowski continue to anchor the team in the middle. Gerard Coleman will provide some instant offense off the bench. Karnowski is expected to anchor the team in the middle, while Nunez could replace Dower up front to give the Zags some added length in the starting rotation.

    Trending: Level. The Zags should be poised to remain one of America’s elite mid-major programs. Pangos and Bell will be as good of a backcourt as there is on the West Coast and Wiltjer and Karnowski should be equally formidable up front. Combine that with versatile parts such as Nunez, Coleman, and Dranginis along with some perimeter firepower off the bench, and Gonzaga will continue to be the team to beat in the West Coast Conference.

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    I think it says a lot about this year's team and a fair amount about which direction media expectations are "trending" for Gonzaga, that we are only level from this year to next in this preview. We have more talent coming in than we are losing, we are gaining size and length at our guard positions, and we have an intriguing transfer who's been training hard and practicing with the team for a year coming in as a new starter.

    My expectations are higher for next year than they were for this year's squad. I'm think our season rises or falls based on Pangos' recovery and his level of play next year.

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    This may change when the Sabonis news becomes "official" and in the public domain (with the cavaet that nothing is in the bag until it is in the bag ... all indications continue to look overwhelmingly positive).

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    Good write-up until the end plus Alberts is 6'5" not 6'3".
    Go Zags!!!

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    The ESPN folks have no idea how good Silas Melson is. He's top 75 caliber, but he just didn't get a lot of AAU exposure.

    ESPN also fails to recognize the impact of Pangos' injuries. Just getting him healthy alone will cause an upward trend with the program. He was reduced to being a stand still jump shooter most of this year.

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    I like that they characterized Perkins season as a disappointment even though he started for one of the best HS Prep programs in the country. I guess they only look at points scored when a recruit is coming in. I think next years team will be much better myself...

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    They also fail to recognize that Huntington Prep is one of the worst coached basketball teams I have ever seen at the high school level. Perkins is one of the better passers that has come through the high school ranks in the past 5 years, and all the coach does is have him bring the ball up and hand it off to teammates.

    I guarantee you that Perkins won't be doing that at Gonzaga next year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CDC84 View Post
    They also fail to recognize that Huntington Prep is one of the worst coached basketball teams I have ever seen at the high school level. Perkins is one of the better passers that has come through the high school ranks in the past 5 years, and all the coach does is have him bring the ball up and hand it off to teammates.

    I guarantee you that Perkins won't be doing that at Gonzaga next year.
    That's exactly what I saw when HP was on TV. I actually think he would have been better stay in Colorado.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WBM View Post
    I think it says a lot about this year's team and a fair amount about which direction media expectations are "trending" for Gonzaga, that we are only level from this year to next in this preview. We have more talent coming in than we are losing, we are gaining size and length at our guard positions, and we have an intriguing transfer who's been training hard and practicing with the team for a year coming in as a new starter.

    My expectations are higher for next year than they were for this year's squad. I'm think our season rises or falls based on Pangos' recovery and his level of play next year.
    I really agree with this.

    I don't think ESPN really did their homework here. Perkins' numbers may have been down, but he didn't have a disappointing senior season. Numbers aren't everything and it doesn't change who he is as a prospect. Plus, Melson and Alberts are better and more athletic than ESPN states here. And if Wiltjer - he was averaging 10 and 5ish his last season at Kentucky - takes even a quarter to half the jump that Olynyk did during his redshirt year, he's going to be a handful for opponents next year. Then there's Dranginis, who I expect to become the player his potential shows he can be. And to top it all off, methinks Karno is going to take another jump in his game and body this off-season and be an absolute monster next season - probably the biggest, baddest centre on the entire West Coast, if not the nation, regardless of conference.

    Maybe I drank a bit too much kool-aid, but my expectations are quite high for next season's squad. I see so much good there.

    *Just waiting and waiting on this Sabonis news. Ooooo feeling frisky about next season already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CDC84 View Post
    The ESPN folks have no idea how good Silas Melson is. He's top 75 caliber, but he just didn't get a lot of AAU exposure.

    ESPN also fails to recognize the impact of Pangos' injuries. Just getting him healthy alone will cause an upward trend with the program. He was reduced to being a stand still jump shooter most of this year.
    how many times have you seen melson play in person this year? also, how many kids do you typically watch live & assess every year? curious because rivals & scout also appear to have the kid outside their top 150. doesnt mean he cant play, i just find it interesting when one dude on a message board calls the recruiting guys wrong on a particular kid, when hey see hundreds of kids every year and are responsible for putting them all in order, as opposed to cherry picking one here or there of specific interest and trying to put that individual kid in a range.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbbfanatic View Post
    how many times have you seen melson play in person this year? also, how many kids do you typically watch live & assess every year? curious because rivals & scout also appear to have the kid outside their top 150. doesnt mean he cant play, i just find it interesting when one dude on a message board calls the recruiting guys wrong on a particular kid, when hey see hundreds of kids every year and are responsible for putting them all in order, as opposed to cherry picking one here or there of specific interest and trying to put that individual kid in a range.
    cbb I believe the point is your recruiting gurus may not have seen Melson as often as they see other guys because of Melson's lack of AAU experience. Not as if this hasn't happened before ... Edwards was unknown. Morrison was unknown. It's how Gonzaga has bee able to thrive

    It's not like GU is a big time Villanova type of program and can waltz in and get Too 50
    Kids at will.

    cbb. If you think GU's players are rated correctly how do you explain their consistent Top 25 status despite a lack of Top
    25 recruiting? Or are the experts always correct?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoZags View Post
    cbb I believe the point is your recruiting gurus may not have seen Melson as often as they see other guys because of Melson's lack of AAU experience. Not as if this hasn't happened before ... Edwards was unknown. Morrison was unknown. It's how Gonzaga has bee able to thrive

    It's not like GU is a big time Villanova type of program and can waltz in and get Too 50
    Kids at will.

    cbb. If you think GU's players are rated correctly how do you explain their consistent Top 25 status despite a lack of Top
    25 recruiting? Or are the experts always correct?
    i only ask because it feels like cherry picking. the talent guys arent perfect, they have to sort through hundreds of kids --- no small task. and i agree that lack of aau exposure can hurt with those rankings for a particular kid (this can also help), but that just means the assessment is incomplete (and they all are by nature to varying degrees) --- not necessarily that it is wrong. who knows, maybe with more exposure, thoughts on this kid would drop, hard to say either way unless you watch 100s of kids, like these guys do.

    just feels like around here its a lot of victim talk... GU commits always under-appreciated, always underrated, etc

    and villanova hardly pulls top 50 kids out of their hat either - 75-100 kids, sure, but top 50s are a battle

    i dont necessarily think GU prospects are always or even usually rated correctly -- i really dont know or care if they are, especially since so many are under the radar, foreign, transfers, etc but to the top 25 question, i would say that gonzaga doesnt have a top 25 caliber talent-filled roster most years (exceptions would be morrison/batista teams and a few others). The majority of their opponents will still be overmatched from a talent perspective though, and combined with GU's relatively smart play and not beating themselves, they rack up enough wins (avoid losses is more accurate) to be ranked and stay ranked a lot of years. as we've all seen, you dont really have to beat a ton of good teams (or any) to be ranked these days, you just have to take care of business and not lose to bad teams.

    to keep it really relevant, look at the pattern of GU's rises up the polls in many years... hover a bit in the ooc as they take some losses against solid comp and a lot of other teams are playing the soft part of their schedule, then as conference play starts and the BCS teams grind each others records down, gonzaga is able to stay pretty clean in the wcc and the climb begins simply by not losing to teams like lmu, portland, st marys, etc. last year it went all the way to #1 with a 1-2 record against ranked teams. this year they couldnt stay as clean as needed in conference to keep the ranking, but you could see how they were getting close late in the year without really notching a lot of great wins in the process. so yeah, i dont think you need a top 25 talent roster to be ranked in the top 25. not if you are a big name mid major

    did wichita state have top 5/top 1 talent this year? i dont think so. kentucky was completely unranked but are absolutely a top 3 talent roster. lots of things at play. the best rosters dont always come together as great teams

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbbfanatic View Post
    i only ask because it feels like cherry picking. the talent guys arent perfect, they have to sort through hundreds of kids --- no small task. and i agree that lack of aau exposure can hurt with those rankings for a particular kid (this can also help), but that just means the assessment is incomplete (and they all are by nature to varying degrees) --- not necessarily that it is wrong. who knows, maybe with more exposure, thoughts on this kid would drop, hard to say either way unless you watch 100s of kids, like these guys do.

    just feels like around here its a lot of victim talk... GU commits always under-appreciated, always underrated, etc

    and villanova hardly pulls top 50 kids out of their hat either - 75-100 kids, sure, but top 50s are a battle

    i dont necessarily think GU prospects are always or even usually rated correctly -- i really dont know or care if they are, especially since so many are under the radar, foreign, transfers, etc but to the top 25 question, i would say that gonzaga doesnt have a top 25 caliber talent-filled roster most years (exceptions would be morrison/batista teams and a few others). The majority of their opponents will still be overmatched from a talent perspective though, and combined with GU's relatively smart play and not beating themselves, they rack up enough wins (avoid losses is more accurate) to be ranked and stay ranked a lot of years. as we've all seen, you dont really have to beat a ton of good teams (or any) to be ranked these days, you just have to take care of business and not lose to bad teams.

    to keep it really relevant, look at the pattern of GU's rises up the polls in many years... hover a bit in the ooc as they take some losses against solid comp and a lot of other teams are playing the soft part of their schedule, then as conference play starts and the BCS teams grind each others records down, gonzaga is able to stay pretty clean in the wcc and the climb begins simply by not losing to teams like lmu, portland, st marys, etc. last year it went all the way to #1 with a 1-2 record against ranked teams. this year they couldnt stay as clean as needed in conference to keep the ranking, but you could see how they were getting close late in the year without really notching a lot of great wins in the process. so yeah, i dont think you need a top 25 talent roster to be ranked in the top 25. not if you are a big name mid major

    did wichita state have top 5/top 1 talent this year? i dont think so. kentucky was completely unranked but are absolutely a top 3 talent roster. lots of things at play. the best rosters dont always come together as great teams
    It "feels" like you've got a severe superiority complex. If you don't like what you read on this board, why bother? Why not just share your infinite wisdom with somebody that cares.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbbfanatic View Post
    how many times have you seen melson play in person this year? also, how many kids do you typically watch live & assess every year? curious because rivals & scout also appear to have the kid outside their top 150. doesnt mean he cant play, i just find it interesting when one dude on a message board calls the recruiting guys wrong on a particular kid, when hey see hundreds of kids every year and are responsible for putting them all in order, as opposed to cherry picking one here or there of specific interest and trying to put that individual kid in a range.
    Adam Morrison was outside the top 200 when he set the 4A state tourney scoring record in leading Mead to a runner up finish v a Franklin team with 4 D1 players, including McD AA and future NBAer Aaron Brooks.

    Morrison was every bit as good as Brooks in that tourney; I'd argue a bit better. I went all 4 days that year.

    GU's staff has a track record of finding players who are better than their ranking.

    Melson's hs coach calls him a 6'3 Terrence Ross.

    The recruiting experts seeing hundreds of kids in an AAU setting kind of makes the point. AAU is crap basketball, for one thing, and when they're looking at that many players they're basically ranking on individual skills, size, and athleticism. Important attributes but not the whole picture, as guys like Adam prove. Basketball iq and subtle skills get overlooked in that scenario to a large extent.

    I saw Melson play 2 AAU games last summer and he didn't play well, as I've posted. But putting up the numbers he did at probably the premier bb school in Oregon is pretty indisputable evidence.

    If you have read CDC's posts over time, you'd realize he's not some random message board poster like you and me. He's one of the couple handfuls of people here who actually know stuff. Better to listen to and learn from such people.

    T

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    So does a perennial top 25 team have top 25 talent or not. If not, then what is the definition of top 25 talent?
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    The reason guys like Melson get overlooked is a lack of AAU exposure. The general idea among recruiting "experts" is that if you aren't AAU, you can't possibly be even close to Top 100 talent. The bottom line is that Melson can play and play better than his rankings indicate. Frankly, it doesn't really matter what the "experts" think, all that matters is how the player performs at the next level. I am confident that this class will become one of the most significant we've brought in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelo Roncalli View Post
    It "feels" like you've got a severe superiority complex.
    This should be in the ### Calling the Kettle Black Hall of Fame.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelo Roncalli View Post
    It "feels" like you've got a severe superiority complex. If you don't like what you read on this board, why bother? Why not just share your infinite wisdom with somebody that cares.
    read it how you want... i was trying to have a college basketball discussion -- no more, no less.

    maynards response is the kind of response that works for me... you know, responses, points, pieces of information, history, etc.

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    From Melson's Gatorade POY writeup at USA Today:

    "He may be the best guard the Portland Interscholastic League has seen since (1990-91 Gatorade Oregon Player of the Year) Damon Stoudamire,” said Jeffrey McGee, head coach of rival Franklin. “Every opposing coach plans and executes their game plan around dealing with Silas. Overall, his love for the game can be seen in every effort he makes on the court.”
    The state of Oregon has produced a lot of really good D-1 basketball players since 1990-91. Coach McGee has seen Melson play many, many more times than any recruiting analyst.. He's not only seen him, but he's had to scout against him in an effort to beat Jefferson HS in real organized basketball games that really matter to people. Being that he's a rival coach and not just some guy trying to pump up his own player, his words are quite meaningful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maynard g krebs View Post
    Adam Morrison was outside the top 200 when he set the 4A state tourney scoring record in leading Mead to a runner up finish v a Franklin team with 4 D1 players, including McD AA and future NBAer Aaron Brooks.

    Morrison was every bit as good as Brooks in that tourney; I'd argue a bit better. I went all 4 days that year.

    GU's staff has a track record of finding players who are better than their ranking.

    Melson's hs coach calls him a 6'3 Terrence Ross.

    The recruiting experts seeing hundreds of kids in an AAU setting kind of makes the point. AAU is crap basketball, for one thing, and when they're looking at that many players they're basically ranking on individual skills, size, and athleticism. Important attributes but not the whole picture, as guys like Adam prove. Basketball iq and subtle skills get overlooked in that scenario to a large extent.

    I saw Melson play 2 AAU games last summer and he didn't play well, as I've posted. But putting up the numbers he did at probably the premier bb school in Oregon is pretty indisputable evidence.

    If you have read CDC's posts over time, you'd realize he's not some random message board poster like you and me. He's one of the couple handfuls of people here who actually know stuff. Better to listen to and learn from such people.

    T
    i dont disagree with most of what you say, though i'd temper HS coach comments as much as i would recruiting gurus. i would think that there is no such thing as a 6'3 terrence ross (his height/length are a big part of who he is as a player)

    listen and learn? i do plenty of that, but it isnt based on the name of the poster. that does little for me.

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    I hadn't seen that quote...good stuff! Thanks for sharing, CDC.

    Quote Originally Posted by CDC84 View Post
    From Melson's Gatorade POY writeup at USA Today:



    The state of Oregon has produced a lot of really good D-1 basketball players since 1990-91. Coach McGee has seen Melson play many, many more times than any recruiting analyst.. He's not only seen him, but he's had to scout against him in an effort to beat Jefferson HS in real organized basketball games that really matter to people. Being that he's a rival coach and not just some guy trying to pump up his own player, his words are quite meaningful.
    Go Zags!!!

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    Over 1 million high schools basketball players in the United States each year-- only so much a scout can do-- I gotta agree --most tend to watch the AAU circuit and tourneys to identify who they think are the best-- so many will get missed.

    Good writeup from Coach McGee -- he has some idea what Melson is capable of.

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    I think we struck gold with these 3 guards. No doubt Josh will be better here. Silas is D1 ready and he's tough. If Alberts gets his knees working like normal, he'll be second to none.
    All will learn lots from our present kids.
    Bigs will still be a chore. Kyle will be a very good shooter but he's wispy and won't bang much when needed. Nontheless, he's a good basketball player who has seen and learned much in his travels.
    Nunez,Karno and perhaps Edwards ( who may redshirt). I like Edwards a lot.really he never let us down in his spot minutes. An athletic big who can work longminutes is what we need. 6 8 -6 9.kid. We should be ranked highly with all our returnees .well top 20 anyway. SHould be a fun season.

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    Angelo, you're over your storage limit, so I'm going to respond publicly. Might as well do that since I'm the one who popped off anyway.

    I was just super upset with that last game, and when I come to the board I get even more frustrated at the way people shut down any form of dissent. You were just at the right place, at the right time, right before my wifi hotspot was going to expire. Sorry about that.

    I just need to step away from this board, and remind myself that it's full of people half my age, who are the most rabid of the rabid.

    Anyway, sorry about that. And thanks for letting me sit in your seat

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    I was just super upset with that last game, and when I come to the board I get even more frustrated at the way people shut down any form of dissent. You were just at the right place, at the right time, right before my wifi hotspot was going to expire. Sorry about that.

    I just need to step away from this board, and remind myself that it's full of people half my age, who are the most rabid of the rabid.
    Surfmonkey. If I were you I'd make a few burritos, it's great therapy. Even better is instructing other people in "How To Make A Burrito"!

    I'd really enjoy one of Mikeness' game evaluations about now. That would make for some real fireworks on the board and we could keep from eating our young.
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