NBE Basketball Report
Raphielle Johnson, Teams

LEFT COAST LAYUPS (12/20/2012): HOLIDAY SEASON BRINGS ELIGIBLE MID-YEAR TRANSFERS

December 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Raphielle Johnson

 

For many teams across the country the end of the fall semester takes on added importance, as mid-year transfers are completing the year in residency the NCAA requires of student-athletes that go from one four-year school to another. While the governing body has become a bit more lenient in the handing out of waivers that make players eligible immediately, the numbers tend to be tilted in the direction of having to sit out. And if a program enters the season shorthanded, those mid-year players become even more important.

 

That’s the case with a few of the teams on the west coast, with Long Beach State immediately coming to mind. The plight of Dan Monson’s club has been discussed here ad nauseum, as the reigning Big West champions played the bulk of their non-conference schedule with just nine available players. And while Loyola Marymount transfer Edgar Garibay was available in the 49ers’ 89-70 loss at UCLA Keala King and Tony Freeland weren’t, and that made a big difference against the Bruins. Garibay played just six minutes in the loss, but truth be told King and Freeland are the mid-year additions expected to have a major impact for the 49ers.

 

King’s arrival will give Long Beach State a much-needed consistent perimeter scorer, as Mike Caffey has to run the show and Peter Pappageorge isn’t a player the 49ers want to ask to score 15+ points on a consistent basis. As for Freeland, his presence is expected to allow James Ennis to shift back to the three, and when combined with Dan Jennings (27 points, six rebounds last night) inside should make the 49ers all the more formidable in the front court. King and Freeland will see their first action on December 29, when the 49ers open Big West play against Pacific.

 

But those 49ers aren’t the only mid-year additions of note out west. UNLV welcomed Pittsburgh transfer Khem Birch to the rotation at UTEP on Monday night, a game the Runnin’ Rebels won by a 62-60 margin. Birch, understandably rusty after sitting out the last year, tallied four points and three rebounds in 14 minutes of action Monday night. His eligibility is key for UNLV due to the absence of Mike Moser, who is out with a dislocated right elbow. Birch won’t be expected to be an offensive juggernaut and frankly that would be unfair as he’s still developing on that end of the floor. But with Moser and his 8.3 rebounds per game unavailable, Dave Rice will need Birch to chip in on the glass.

 

However not all of the key additions are transfers, as Montana welcomed back a player critical to their hopes of repeating as Big Sky champions last week. Senior guard Will Cherry, who missed the start of the season due to a broken foot, made his debut in the Grizzlies’ 68-67 double overtime loss to South Dakota State. Cherry played 13 minutes in the defeat, finishing with two points and four rebounds, and like Birch he was rusty in his debut. But the ability to pair Cherry with Kareem Jamar on the perimeter makes Wayne Tinkle’s team a factor in the Big Sky race, one that tilted in Weber State’s direction once Cherry went down.

 

With teams becoming whole at the end of the semester, conference races can take on an entirely different complexion. Who will have the biggest impact? Of the players mentioned above the pick here would be Freeland, as his presence will allow James Ennis to move back to the three. Ennis, picked in the preseason to be Big West Player of the Year, has been playing the four for much of The Beach’s early schedule due to a lack of bodies. No longer having to do so, look for Ennis’ production to take off when conference play begins.

 

Big Sky

Player of the Week: Weber State guard/forward Davion Berry

Berry was one of the bright spots in the Wildcats’ 78-68 loss to BYU on Saturday, as he tallied a career-high 25 points. Berry, who shot 10-of-14 from the field, also racked up two rebounds, two assists and two steals in the loss. His 12-point run in the first five minutes of the second half brought the Wildcats to within two, but they were unable to get over the hump.

 

Conference play begins: The Big Sky begins league play this week, with Northern Arizona and Southern Utah picking up victories on Monday night. Jack Murphy’s Lumberjacks matched their conference win total from last season with an 87-80 win over Montana State, snapping a 15-game Big Sky losing streak. And in a matchup of teams playing their first conference game as Big Sky members, Southern Utah beat North Dakota 79-67 thanks to 21 points and ten rebounds from Jackson Stevenett and 18 points from Wade Collie. But back to NAU for a moment, as they’ve got one of the nation’s most productive freshmen in guard DeWayne Russell. Coach Murphy and his staff have done a very good job with this group thus far, and with Montana visiting Flagstaff on Wednesday night the Lumberjacks have a big opportunity in front of them.

 

Schedule (Wednesday – Saturday)

Wednesday

8:35 PM Montana at Northern Arizona

10:05 PM Montana State at Sacramento State

 

Thursday

9:05 PM Weber State at Eastern Washington

10:35 PM Idaho State at Portland State

 

Friday

6 PM Southern Utah at Denver

8:05 PM Northern Colorado at North Dakota

8:30 PM Northern Arizona at Colorado

10:05 PM Montana at Sacramento State

 

Saturday

5:05 PM Idaho State at Eastern Washington

10:35 PM Weber State at Portland State

 

Big West

Player of the Week: Cal State Fullerton guard/forward D.J. Seeley

Seeley averaged 19.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game in leading the Titans to wins over Idaho State and Texas Southern. In the win at Texas Southern the senior from Stockton, California tallied 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting and seven assists with just one turnover.

 

Warriors host Diamond Head Classic: Hawai’i welcomes some stiff competition to the islands this weekend as they’ll host the Diamond Head Classic. Their opener will provide Hawai’i with their biggest challenge of the season, as they take on a Miami squad that some believe could be the second best team in the ACC. Vander Joaquim will have to play well in his matchup with Hurricane big men Kenny Kadji and Reggie Johnson, and Miami’s perimeter firepower (led by Shane Larkin and Durand Scott) could give the Warriors trouble. Gib Arnold’s team has already taken on UNLV so they won’t be intimidated, and it would hurt to get a big game from Christian Standhardinger.

 

Schedule (Wednesday – Saturday)

Wednesday

10 PM Pacific at Saint Mary’s

 

Thursday

7:30 PM UC Davis at Southern Illinois

9 PM Cal Poly at Washington (P12N)

11 PM UC Irvine at USC (P12N)

 

Friday

9 PM UCSB at Wyoming

10:05 PM UC Davis vs. Utah State

10:30 PM Cal State Northridge at Utah (P12N)

10:30 PM California Maritime at Pacific

 

Saturday

4 PM Air Force at UC Riverside

7:30 PM Nicholls State at UC Davis

9:05 PM Hope International at Cal State Fullerton

12:30 AM Miami (FL) at Hawai’i (Diamond Head Classic; ESPNU)

 

Mountain West

Player of the Week: Boise State guard Anthony Drmic

Drmic absolutely torched LSU in the Broncos’ 89-70 win on Friday night, shooting 12-of-18 from the field for a career-high 34 points. The outing marked the first time in Drmic’s college career that he’s surpassed the 30-point mark.

 

No ignoring Iverson’s impact: Much was made about Minnesota transfer Colton Iverson becoming eligible at Colorado State this season, as the 7-footer gives the Rams front court size that was missing in their run to the NCAA tournament last year. Well Iverson has more than lived up to the billing for Larry Eustachy, as he’s the lone player in the Mountain West averaging a double-double (15.8 ppg, 11.1 rpg). On top of that Colorado State is leading the country in rebounding margin, as they’re grabbing an average of 16.1 more caroms per game than their opponents. Colorado State ended a two-game losing streak with an 83-55 win over North Florida, out-rebounding the Ospreys 41-23 and shooting 51% from the field.

 

Schedule (Wednesday – Sunday)

Wednesday

9 PM Cal State Bakersfield at Colorado State

9 PM No. 16 New Mexico at New Mexico State (ESPN3)

10 PM Northern Iowa at No. 21 UNLV

 

Thursday

9 PM Idaho at Boise State (ROOT)

 

Friday

9 PM UCSB at Wyoming

10 PM Cal State San Marcos at Nevada

 

Saturday

2:30 PM South Dakota State at No. 16 New Mexico

4 PM Air Force at UC Riverside

6 PM No. 18 San Diego State vs. San Francisco (Diamond Head Classic; ESPNU)

10 PM Canisius at No. 21 UNLV

10:30 PM Portland vs. Colorado State

11 PM Fresno State at UCLA (P12N)

 

Sunday

3 PM Boise State vs. New Orleans

 

Pac-12

Player of the Week: Colorado forward Andre Roberson

Roberson earned his first Pac-12 Player of the Week honor with an outstanding performance in the Buffaloes’ 50-43 win at Fresno State. Roberson finished with 17 points (7-of-12 FG) and 20 rebounds, and it’s the first time in more than a decade that a Colorado player has grabbed 20 boards in a game.

 

Wildcats give Pac-12 a needed holiday gift: Not to be lost in the hoopla of Arizona’s 65-64 comeback victory over then-No. 5 Florida on Saturday night was the fact that the Pac-12 was in dire need of such a win. The last time a Pac-12 team beat a non-conference opponent ranked in the Top 10 was back in December 2009, when USC beat No. 9 Tennessee 77-55. Mark Lyons’ shot may have capped the rally but it took the contributions of many to get Arizona in position to win the game. Solomon Hill scored a team-high 18 points and Nick Johnson tallied 15, and players such as Kevin Parrom, Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett also made key contributions.

 

Schedule (Wednesday – Saturday)

Wednesday

8 PM Oregon at UTEP (CBSSN)

10 PM Howard at Oregon State (P12N)

 

Thursday

9 PM Cal Poly at Washington (P12N)

11 PM UC Irvine at USC (P12N)

 

Friday

8:30 PM Northern Arizona at Colorado (P12N)

9 PM Stanford at Northwestern (BTN)

10:30 PM Cal State Northridge at Utah (P12N)

10:30 PM Buffalo vs. Washington State (P12N)

 

Saturday

1:30 PM USC at Georgia (ESPN3)

2 PM Arizona State at Texas Tech

3 PM Houston Baptist at Oregon (P12N)

5 PM Prairie View A&M at California (P12N)

7 PM Northern Illinois at Washington (P12N)

9 PM San Diego vs. Oregon State (P12N)

10:30 PM No. 4 Arizona vs. East Tennessee State (Diamond Head Classic; ESPNU)

11 PM Fresno State at UCLA (P12N)

 

WCC

Player of the Week: BYU forward Brandon Davies

Davies was outstanding in the Cougars’ 78-68 win over Weber State, scoring a career-high 33 points and grabbing eight rebounds. The win is BYU’s first road win of the season, and it comes just in the nick of time as they visit Baylor on Friday night.

 

Broncos keep on rolling: After wins over San Jose State, Pacific and Cal Poly Santa Clara pushed its record to 9-2, their best start since the 1988-89 season. Obviously the return of guard Kevin Foster and forward Marc Trasolini has been a major factor in the improvement of Kerry Keating’s squad, but another important factor has been their offensive execution. Santa Clara is averaging 18 assists per game, a number that ranks sixth nationally and their assist percentage (percentage of made baskets that come as a result of an assist) of 65.8% ranks 13th. With the Broncos playing as they have, there’s a chance Santa Clara could show up for a game at top-ranked Duke on December 29 with just two losses.

 

Schedule (Wednesday – Sunday)

Wednesday

5 PM Pepperdine vs. Alabama State

9 PM Campbell at No. 14 Gonzaga (ROOT)

10 PM North Florida at Portland

10 PM Pacific at Saint Mary’s

11 PM Ole Miss at Loyola Marymount (ESPNU)

 

Thursday

8 PM Pepperdine at Tulane

 

Friday

9 PM BYU at Baylor (ESPN2)

11:15 PM Alcorn State at Santa Clara

 

Saturday

3 PM Saint Mary’s at Northern Iowa

3:30 PM Loyola Marymount at Saint Louis

6 PM No. 18 San Diego State vs. San Francisco (Diamond Head Classic; ESPNU)

9 PM San Diego vs. Oregon State (P12N)

10:30 PM Portland vs. Colorado State

 

Sunday

6:30 PM James Madison vs. San Diego

 

WAC

Player of the Week: Denver forward Royce O’Neale

O’Neale posted a double-double in the Pioneers’ lone contest last week, scoring 17 points (7-of-9 FG), grabbing ten rebounds and dishing out four assists in an 82-47 win over Omaha.

 

Balance, defense the key for UT Arlington: Heading into their game against No. 24 Oklahoma State on Wednesday night Scott Cross’ Mavericks have won four of their last five games. Two big reasons: offensive balance and their work on the defensive end. Outside of their 70-54 loss at Texas no team in the last five games has managed to reach the 60-point mark against UT Arlington, and for the season only the Longhorns (45.1%) have shot better than 38% from the floor. Offensively UT Arlington has two players averaging more than ten points per game (Karol Gruszecki and Jordan Reves) and five others averaging between six and 9.9 points. Winning in Stillwater will be a tough task to say the least, but maybe the Mavericks have enough to be a factor in the WAC race when league play begins next month.

 

Schedule (Wednesday – Sunday)

Wednesday

8 PM UT-Arlington at No. 24 Oklahoma State

9 PM No. 16 New Mexico at New Mexico State (ESPN3)

10 PM Northern Illinois at Seattle

 

Thursday

7 PM Texas State at Central Michigan

9 PM Idaho at Boise State (ROOT)

10:05 PM Nicholls State at Utah State

 

Friday

6 PM Southern Utah at Denver

8 PM UTSA at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

10:05 PM UC Davis vs. Utah State

 

Saturday

9 PM Missouri State at New Mexico State (ESPN3)

10 PM Campbell at Seattle

10:05 PM Southern Illinois at Utah State

11:30 PM San Jose State vs. James Madison

 

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