There are three new hires this year, but we’ll go down our usual list of schools so everyone’s clear on where people stand.
UAF: Greg Sparling is going into his second season with the Nooks after spending 22 years at CWU. Finished playing at CWU in ’90, and so we assume he’s about 50 -in other words: he has a lot of time left in his career.
UAA: Rusty Osborne is going into his 16th season with the Seawolves. Got his BS at the University of Texas in ’88 and so we assume he’s early mid-50s and thus has plenty of years left.
SFU: Steve Hansen is going into his third year with the Clan and graduated from high school (‘scuse us: secondary school) in 1992, making him approximately mid-40s. He’s got a lot of years left in the tank and looks to have the Clan on a great trajectory.
WWU: Tony Dominguez is going into his eighth season with the Vikings and this will be our fourth year calling for his head. He’s never made the tournament with his own guys and when the NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR has transferred out of your program, it’s time for the admin to pull the trigger. For those wondering: He’s also about 50 years old, having graduated from WWU in ’94.
SPU: Grant Leep is going into his fourth season as the head coach of the Falcons. He is rapidly approaching 40, having graduated from the University of Washington in ’02.
SMU: Alex Pribble has moved on to become an assistant at D1 Seattle U.! He spent four amazing seasons with the Saints.
CWU: Brandon Rinta is entering his second season with the Wildcats. He graduated from CWU in ’01, so congrats to Brandon on hitting the big 4-0.
NNU: Paul Rush is entering his third season as the head coach of the Nighthawks. It’s unclear how old he is seeing as there is zero alma mater information available about him -we assume he’s mid-late 30s, seeing as he started coaching high school in 2003, and it wouldn’t surprise us if he was doing it concurrently with his undergraduate enrollment.
MSUB: Mick Durham is entering his second season with the Yellowjackets after spending seven years at UAF. He graduated from Montana State in ’79, and thus is likely to be approaching or just past 60.
CU-PDX: Brad Barbarick has stepped down after 25 years at CU-Portland. He’s in his mid-50s, having graduated from Columbia Christian in the mid 80s, so still plenty of years left in the tank.
WOU: Jim Shaw has bumped back up to D1, becoming an assistant at WSU after spending four years with the Wolves. He graduated from WOU in ’85, thus is in approximately his mid-late 50s.
TL;DR: Alex Pribble/SMU —> Seattle U. assistant; Jim Shaw/WOU —> WSU assistant; Brad Barbarick/CU-PDX —> stepped down.
Aside from Tony Dominguez (and maybe even including Tony Dominguez) everyone is pretty safe. Greg Sparling, Mick Durham, and Brandon Rinta are all early on; Rusty Osborne continues to underperform but should still be safe especially with the institutional instability; and Steve Hansen, Grant Leep, and Paul Rush is doing well -the three should all receive contract extensions.
Now, let’s talk about who the new coaches are:
Saint Martin’s: AARON LANDON!!!!!!
We love this hire. He comes via South Puget Sound Community College, so he knows the area, he knows the guys, he’s come to a ton of SMU games, and his players have been great both on the court and as human beings. We go to a lot of SMU games and so we’ve talked to a ton of his formers and… All we can say is that SMU knocked this hire out of the park, AD Bob Grisham is still king. He had a huge task post-Prib because the expectations have risen, and… Again, we’re just thrilled. While Coach Landon does have a bit of a rebuild on his hands, we would more term it a regeneration because he’s already been coaching in the area, guys already know him, so all of those connections are already there. It is absolutely amazing. Can’t wait to get down there.
CU-Portland: Rodrick Rhodes.
We’re pretty cool to this hire, just because he has minimal background in the Northwest. He’s originally from Kentucky, went to UK before transferring to USC in ’97 (meaning he’s mid-40s), played in the NBA and overseas, then went home and coached in the east for a long while. He’s got elite pedigree as a former Mac All-American and first round NBA draft pick, but… He’s from back east. While he most recently coached at NNU for a couple of years, we are partial to hires within the west coast coaching fraternity. That said, his pedigree suggests he has a great basketball mind and so it’s awesome to have that in the GNAC coaching realm, and to a point it’s good to bring in new blood from the basketball Taj Mahal. ‘Taj Mahal’ not Mecca because the basketball mecca is Indiana no ifs, ands, nor buts.
Western Oregon: Wes Pifer.
We’re mixed about this hire. Again: he’s not west coast and it leaves a bad taste in our mouth. That said he’s clearly a super smiley person and smiley people are the best. We feel warm happy feelings just looking at him AND he has a fantastic resume and background in D2, so… We’ll see. Western Oregon returns pretty literally nothing (Riley Hawken isn’t using his final year of eligibility) which means it’s all on Coach Pifer and so… It could be a big rebuilding year or they could be relatively fine. We’ll see. Again: We’re trying to acclimatize to the idea that it is good to get new knowledge in the ranks, but… Can’t we just do that via participating in coaching conferences back east and call it good?
That’s all for this week. Next week we’ll take a look at the returning players.
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!
Good morning and welcome to the sixth year of the GNAC Men’s Basketblog.
There is a ton of stuff to talk about this year pre-season, but we always like to wait until October to get started because the Washington schools start insanely late -in the last week of September- and so their rosters don’t lock in until that point.
The GNAC All-Conference team as well as the West Region All-Tournament team posts will be burned tomorrow, so that’s exciting.
Other pre-season blogging you can look forward to:
- Coaching changes.
- Numerous key returning players -while the coaches experienced major turnover, we return a huge majority of fantastic guys.
- Pre-season all conference teams.
- Pre-season poll.
- D2 West Non-Con schedules.
- The Alaska schools situation via Alaskans voting for a drastic funding cut.
- The California right-to-use likeness legislation (SB 206) and how it might affect D2.
Aside from that… Can we take a minute to note just how much we dislike SMU changing their preferred hashtag from ‘SaintsAlive’ to ‘SaintsStrong’? ‘SaintsStrong’ is what you would use if your campus experienced some type of school shooting or other major tragedy. And actually, our school used ‘FalconStrong’ after the shooting in 2014, and we hated it because at SPU ‘Falcon’ is usually used as a parody word of ‘F*ck*n’ (e.g. we’re Falcon Awesome) and so it seemed in really poor taste. We would have preferred ‘SPUStrong’ or ‘FalconsForever’ or something along those lines.
Anyway… Next week and there on out it’ll be on Mondays at 10am. Thoughts are with our eastern GNAC’ers in their current weather chaos.
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!
It’s a day late, but… We were planning and plotting things *strokes beard.* First though, let’s talk about the disaster that was the latest Northwest Nazarene game.
Northwest Nazarene 50 @ San Francisco State 81
And yes: It was that bad. It was that bad throughout the whole game. The number of sarcastic jokes we made was higher than the number of shots NNU made, not that it took much. A disaster to the Nth degree. See, this is what happens when you do things like not lose to Dominican -we start actually critiquing your play and treating you like you should be playing somewhat adequately. And yes: The win against Dominican has been down-graded to simply a non-loss, rather than a win, because the Crusaders didn’t win: the Penguins beat themselves because why would they wake up to play a team like NN-who?
Highlights: Bouna played -40- minutes!! And had 10 points. Off the bench Joel Devastey had 11 points; and Marko Lepovic had nine points. The rest of the guys made too many stupid mistakes (turnovers and terrible shooting percentages) to count.
Basically what this game taught is if you feel the need to quadruple team Bouna, you’ll be just fine because no one else can do anything anyway. You broke our hearts NNU, how dare you.
In better news… An unexpected Blog Blitz is coming!! Because this non-conference was such a complete wash, here are some of the in-depth discussions we have planned for Christmas week:
- The West vs. the West
- The West vs. the Rest
- Discussing the Top 25, post non-conference. Theoretically a new one will come out this week.
- The Transitive Property of D2 Basketball.
- Christmas Shenanigans!
- GNAC K-W-L, non-conference edition.
- Non-Conference POW acknowledgements -who we’re excited about, what we want to see more of, etc.
And then we’ll be back to the normal schedule of discussions, game previews, etc.
Finally: We will be acknowledging Christmas. Christmas is an American holiday. Christians co-opted the trees from pagans, Christ from the Ancient Egyptians, and Santa Claus from the Turks. There is nothing sacred about Christmas unless you think of it as a melting pot holiday and a reminder that the USA has been and should continue to be made strong and great because of diversity, not in spite of it.
MID-SEASON!! We’ve officially made it half way through. So far, so exhausted. But it’s a good exhausted right? And kind of terrifying and sad to think that it’s pretty much half over. Probably more than half over because let’s be real: No GNAC team is making the Elite Eight.
Still -there are all kinds of fun posts planned for this week, starting
today tomorrow! Unfortunately there’s going to be a slight delay because the GNAC website was down last night as of roughly 9:30pm PST and didn’t go back up until at least 3am.
To tide you over, here is the gist of what happened:
WOU 90 @ WWU 87
The Vikings went up, went down, went up, and then couldn’t hang on and the Wolves got the victory in Carver. Really, really good news for said Wolves, really bad news for everyone else.
SMU 87 @ SFU 97
Similar back and forth game -SFU would go up, SMU would reel the Clan back in, SFU would go up, SMU would reel them back in, and ultimately SFU went up and stayed there. But only once; no need to preemptively put your arms up and down; they simply won.
NNU 57 @ UAA 67
Similarly -UAA would go up, NNU would get back in it; UAA goes up, NNU gets back in it; UAA goes up. They had Brian, which obviously helped, but it was a close game. This is the other side of the learning experience for NNU. We’ll see what they do with it.
CWU 74 @ UAF 70
Huge win for the Wildcats. They swept the Alaska schools. Fourth time in conference history it’s been done. UAF was back in it at the very last second and just couldn’t hang on. They’re going to kick themselves for a long time on this one.
SPU 60 @ MSUB 44
There were tense moments but ultimately the Falcons pulled through it. Nothing too much to say; the Falcons got it done, per usual. Big thing was they needed WWU and UAF to win and the fact that neither team did means the Falcons’ position is precarious at best.
What happened yesterday will go up tomorrow, likely along with the usual POW stuff, but all of it’ll be later in the day than usual.
Tentatively there is now an actual algorithm that will be used when deciding the player-of-the-week. So far it seems to hold up well and has been checked against most short term variables such as player position, wins/losses, blow-outs/close victories, and tempo of offense; it was checked against SFU’s prolific offense, as well as UW’s display of defense against SDSU, and then a middle-of-the-pack starting line-up, and various other performances of the week.
The good news is it also makes our conference look fairly respectable -it hasn’t been tested against the line-ups of any of the current top 5 teams, but it should give players in context, rather than the league itself because it negates a lot. The idea is essentially hockey weighted basketball stats and thus player effectiveness rating.
Also, here’s where there’s some crow-eating about Riley Carel: he was the most effective guy on his team during the UAF game, BUT compared to other effective guys that night he was middle-of-the-pack. He can play better and he knows it.
It’s been tested quite well for how brief of a time it’s actually been played with (roughly five hours), but here are some major questions with answers that should be delivered over the next couple of months:
- Trends -will the same guys win all the time and does it matter if they do?
- Does it take into account stylistic differences among teams?
- What are the long-term lurking variables and can they be nullified?
- Do teams that go deeper inevitably suffer because things are more spread out?
With the first question: that happens anyway -guys are called starters and/or play major minutes for a reason. The second, so far so good, but again: long term trends. Obviously some of the lurking variables are known, but it’s the more esoteric that there aren’t answers for yet. Teams that go deep still have guys that are scoring most of the points to get them that deep; this was checked against a prep team that played a majority of blowouts (90% of regular season games).
Player-of-the-week will be posted soon.
If you’re missing that reference, click. You’re welcome.
Good morning and welcome to the first day of conference play!
Western 105, Quest 48
A salmon cheers in the distance; no one cares. This blog is a pretty big homer of WWU and yet… no.
This is the third post of four that’ll be going up today because November was insane and December is less insane. Thankfully. It was fun though, was it not? And we know a heck of a lot more than we did a month ago (duh).
As such, we never looked at who the CCAA was playing in non-region and to be frank: It doesn’t matter at this point either. It will be something to look at come the end of the month, as will the conference preview.
This isn’t us dodging a bullet; this is us wanting to look at everything in one lump sum.
Seattle Pacific at Northwest Nazarene
MSU-Billings at Central Washington
Alaska-Anchorage at Saint Martin’s
Alaska-Fairbanks at Western Oregon
The urge to make predictions has arisen:
- UAA and SPU should both win.
- WOU should win.
- MSUB at CWU is theoretically going to be a heck of an amazing game. Central has a better resume, but MSUB has played a lot of obligation teams that kind of screw them over regardless; if they win, it means nothing, and if they lose it looks horrible. We love the Yellowjackets, so we’re giving them the benefit of the doubt and they just came off a great win against Black Hills State, so… toss up, the game is likely to be a toss-up.
WWU and SFU have their travel pairing day and so they only play a game on Saturday. The game is at SFU, and… count us as very intrigued, but that’s a post for either tomorrow or Saturday morning.
Tonight’s games will be tweeted live updates of, woo-hoo! Things are finally calming down enough to allow it again. Very exciting stuff.
Speaking of which: we just unfollowed a ton of people on twitter, but fear not: it was all various D2 athletic conferences from around the country and then CCAA/Pac-West schools; our feed was just too crazy and full of irrelevant information.
The general athletic feed of every Pac-West school can be found here; the general athletic feed of every CCAA school can be found here; feeds of various conferences can be found here; finally, the GNAC feeds can be found here.
Player of the week for the past week will still be named; hopefully tomorrow.
Anything else? OH. Patrick Simon II. We call him Patrick Simon the Second because Seattle Pacific had a different 6’8 Patrick Simon the last couple of years (currently playing in Germany); SPU is a prominent team in our conference, Pat was arguably the best player in our conference, and he just graduated last year, so it makes sense to distinguish and we want the current Pat to make his own name.
Good luck tonight to the Crusaders, Falcons, Yellowjackets, Wildcats, Saints, Seawolves, Wolves, and Nanooks!
Good morning! One feature that it became abundantly clear needs to be a thing is a player-of-the-week as designated by the GNAC Men’s Basketblog. Usually this’ll be based around a combination of double-doubles, full houses, or other qualities like that.
A full house is basically the opposite of Club Trillion; a player needs to get at least one of each: a rebound, assist, steal, block, and score points. Turnovers are not necessary, but are forgiven.
If you have someone that didn’t statistically stand out that you think was the heart of your team and should get the nomination instead: tweet at us, or leave a comment.
Nominations will be posted on Mondays, with the winner post occurring on Wednesdays.
UAF: Adam Griffin/Ruben Silvas/Almir Hadsizehovic –No one distinguishes between the three, but all played well.
UAA: Brian McGill –consistency.
SFU: Sango Niang –rebounds + points = wins.
WWU: Anye Turner –blocks.
SPU: Riley Stockton — incredible balance; did what it takes to make the guys around him better.
MSUB: Austin Hudson –double-double.
CWU: Gary Jacobs/Julian Vaughn/Jordan Russell — T/O issues plague two of them, but they’re still valuable.
NNU: Kevin Rima/Bouna N’Diaye –Kevin had a double-double, Bouna had a full house!
SMU: Trey Ingram –assists + full house!!
WOU: Andy Avgi –points + rebounding.
Great job to all of the guys! If there’s a twitter account we haven’t linked that you want linked, please do in fact say something. This blog is about bringing some much deserved attention to some straight up ballin’ guys that don’t usually get it.
It was a fantastic and crazy weekend. The post about Saturday’s games (which these nominations did take into account) should be up by the end of today.
Here is some of what’s on the horizon:
- conference perspective
- schedule musings
- NON-CONFERENCE COVERAGE AND ANALYSIS
- GNAC bias
Covering the non-conference analysis is really, really important. One of the things that makes Division II different than D1 is knowing the potential opponents we’ll face in March from the first game of the season. This past year, by January 1st, the regional was going to be in southern California, with the 90% odds on San Bernardino hosting.
After non-conference season comes conference play (mostly) and this past year because non-conference was such a wash for the GNAC, every conference result had potentially huge implications. It was really funny to get to the end of the first conference round robin and realize we knew exactly as much as we did when non-conference play ended. That was hilarious if not aggravating.
People will probably be worried that since this blog is being written by an alum of a particular GNAC school that it’ll have biases about that school… meh. I picked my school to lose in the middle of a game when the opposing team was down by 10 and had a sub .500 record. Oh and it was our senior night. The opposing team won, I took a bunch of heat for it… Fact is: it wasn’t my fault.
And while it might be hard to believe: I know men’s basketball. I’ve watched a heck of a lot of it. I watch a heck of a lot of it every year. I’ve watched 35+ games a year in person since 2004, ranging from middle school select to NBA. I’m a straight-up hoopaholic and I’m not looking to go to rehab any time soon.
I never expected to find myself caring about division two basketball, but… here we are, and thus:
Welcome to the coverage of GNAC Men’s Basketball.