Our printer is all screwed up and we were too lazy to go to the library, so if there are missing numbers: Sorry. You’re important. Promise. We tried our best.
WWU 75 @ MSUB 77
MSUB, like what??? Heck yeah. They played their own game. They trusted themselves and that’s exactly what it took. They were leading by five or so for most of the game, but occasionally the Vikings would creep back and start leading and then you could SEE the Jackets recommitting to playing their own game and ultimately… That was the ticket. Nicely done men!
Viking highlights: Kyle Impero had six boards and fourteen points; Jeffrey Parker had nine points and a FULL HOUSE. Off the bench Trey Drechsel had seven boards and 10 points; and Colby Mitchell had 14 points.
Yellowjacket highlights: Emmanuel Johnson had eight boards and fourteen points; Jace Anderson had a hella good night with 18 points on great shooting; Jordan Perry had nine boards and a full house. Off the bench… Brace yourselves: PRESTON BEVERLEY HAD SEVEN BOARDS, 26 POINTS, AND A FULL HOUSE. Way to go Preston!!
Overall an interesting game, if not concerning. The Vikings are frustrating; they’re doing less with more.
WOU 75 @ NNU 53
That score does not tell the whole story. NNU hung with the Wolves a long time. We’re talking until the second half hung with them. So that was good. It was good on both accounts; great to see the Wolves get that separation, great to see NNU hang around.
Wolf highlights: JULIAN NICHOLS had eight assists and 13 points; Tanner Omlid now in a starting role had 12 points; Jordan Wiley had 12 points; and Andy Avgi had seven boards and 11 points.
Crusader highlights: Bouna had a full house, including six boards; Joel Devastey had 10 points; and Kyle Bailey had six boards off the bench.
Devon Alexander returned to the conference play Devon Alexander that we saw last year. Good victory for the Wolves to simply have gotten it done and then a good glimpse into what the Crusaders could potentially be capable of as they keep grinding.
UAF 79 @ SPU 75
What the heck the Falcons are doing is beyond us. They led for HUGE stretches of this game and then gave it up. Oookay then. The good news is: The Nooks took advantage of it and come away from the weekend with a nice sweep.
Nanook highlights: Bangaly Kaba had 15 points; Joe Slcoum had five boards and four assists; Travante Williams had 17 points and six boards; Brandon Davis had nine points and five boards; ALMIR SHOWED UP and had 12 points and five boards. Off the bench Neil Chavez and Isaac Ladines both had six points each.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had seven boards and four assists; Gilles Dierickx had 12 points and five boards; Mitch Penner had 11 boards; Garrett Swanson had nine points and six boards. Off the bench Sam Simpson had six points; Brendan Carroll had 18 points; and Gabe Colosimo had seven points.
Pathetic. Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic; but a very deserved victory for the Nooks -our highest congrats to them.
UAA 91 @ SMU 74
Frustrating. This game was frustrating. The lack of fundamentals that SMU displays is mind boggling. Stupid foul after stupid foul. They’d creep back in on offense and then promptly stop playing defense. Yikes. UAA is a really good team, that is definitive, but at the same time… WHAT WERE THE SAINTS DOING?!?
Seawolf highlights: Suki had 32 points and eight boards on great free throw shooting; Diante Mitchell had 12 points and six boards; Spencer Svejcar had 13 points and six boards; COREY HAMMELL had 17 points and 15 boards; and off the bench Brian McGill had 12 points.
Saint highlights: Cole Preston had 13 points and six assists; Jordan Kitchen had 11 points; Fred Jorg had 11 points and seven boards; and off the bench Rhett Baerlocher had eight points and nine boards.
Overall a very good game for the Seawolves and a pathetic game for the Saints.
CU-PDX 80 @ CWU 85
CU-Portland was in it the whole time, leading through some of it. It just speaks to how much parity is in our conference this year. They came close to beating a CWU team that convincingly beat Western Oregon, so… Things are getting even more interesting. Which way is up? Which way is down? Ask us in another four weeks.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had nine boards; Latrell Wilson had 34 points; Jace Cates had seven points off the bench; and the best sixth man in the conference (Brian doesn’t count) had 12 boards and seven points.
Wildcat highlights: Terry Dawn had 11 points, five boards, and a full house; Gary Jacobs had 22 points and eight boards; Joe Stroud had 26 points and six boards; and off the bench Jerome Bryant had eight points and six boards.
Overall a super good and super intense game. Proud of the Cavs for staying in it and proud of the Wildcats for holding the Cavs off.
Bonus Game: UCSD did in fact beat Cal Poly Pomona by the skin of their teeth, so that was a good, close game.
Interesting weekend of GNAC play. We’re excited for the week. There should be some good discussions. POW noms and the announcement will be tomorrow, per usual. That should be interesting.
Here’s a list of the Player-of-the-Week nominees we’ve had so far this year:
UAF: Bangaly Kaba, Travante Williams
UAA: Suki Wiggs, Diante Mitchell, Corey Hammell
SFU: JJ Pankratz
WWU: Kyle Impero
SPU: Bryce Leavitt, Mitch Penner, Gilles Dierickx
MSUB: Jordan Perry
CWU: Gary Jacobs
NNU: Bouna N’Diaye
WOU: Devon Alexander, Andy Avgi, Alex Roth
Last year we questioned that guys that were having really good games week in and week out weren’t getting nominated because their teammates are having better games. This year, that’s not a problem and it’s making us ask a different question: Are our standards too ridiculous? Do they not work for the GNAC? We’re leaning on the side of “no,” but will look into it as we go into conference play.
Our winners have put up really standard numbers in terms of what we saw last year, so… totally possible, it’s not too hard to achieve, it’s that no one’s getting it consistently with the exception of Andy and Bryce. Our formula actually does take defense into account, so it’s not simply a matter of scoring.
Player-of-the-Week Winners, thus far:
UAA: Corey Hammell
SPU: Bryce Leavitt
NNU: Bouna N’Diaye
WOU: Andy Avgi
We’ve given the award out five times; Bryce has won twice, while Cory, Bouna, and Andy have won once each. We like the numbers they’ve put up; the fact that Bouna did in fact play two games during the week he won makes it even better because he hit numbers that put him right in the thick of the other POW winners, so it’s a true win by all accounts.
While we’re proud of those guys, we feel like that list is lacking.
Almir Hadzisehovic (UAF) is still playing a lot, just not playing particularly well. We get that Bangaly Kaba and Travante Williams are good, but that doesn’t inherently make Almir bad, so hopefully he’ll step up more now that conference play is starting.
Brian McGill (UAA) is no longer playing as far as we know. He remains on their roster, but isn’t in their team picture, can’t find anything about injury status, nothing saying “he’s coming back soon,” he’s just gone. We assume if he was participating in an extra curricular program it would be advertised as a GNAC athlete being more than a basketball player. Fact is -he’s a 5th year senior, so as much as we like him: Sometimes you’ve gotta just get a life and ideally that’s what he’s done. We’re hoping that he’s not MIA to deal with his own illness or the illness of a sick family member -if he is, in that case we hope he comes back really soon and everything works out.
Michael Harper (SFU) has a bad case of the turnovers, but is still around.
Mac Johnson (WWU) we have no idea what’s wrong with -he still plays a lot, he’s still 6’8 and 240lbs, but we have no idea where the Mac of the end of last year went and we keep thinking the old him is going to resurface and then it doesn’t.
Mitch Penner (SPU) isn’t taking the step up that we kind of anticipated and yet he’s kinda screwed because every team is just like “Let’s go after Mitch!” because it’s hard to go after Gilles, no one needs to go after Will Parker (he’s the new Lew Thomas), Bryce Leavitt is a point guard -he’s good whether he’s assisting, defending, or scoring; and people just bounce right off of 5th starter Garrett, so what are you going to do? Answer: Go after the ginger.
Trey Ingram (SMU) was our favorite frosh last year and he’s gone into a sophomore slump, so hopefully he’ll bounce back. Not too concerned with this one -it happens, he’ll get through it.
Momir Gataric (MSUB) is redshirting due to injury, which sort of sucks, and sort of is just as well. We’ll be glad to get him back next year and wish him the best in his rehabbing efforts.
Joe Stroud (CWU) is still playing but apparently it’s much harder when you actually have to shoot the ball and are being relied upon -he’s responded poorly so far, granted he’s played somewhere between four and six D2 games, so still plenty of season left.
Mike Wright (NNU) lost all of the people that made him look somewhat decent and so now he just looks like a mess. Yes, he could have stepped up, this theoretically was his team because Bouna was generally the 6th man last year, but… Mike needs to do more. Much more. Maybe during conference play.
Tyler Gutierrez (CU-P) is basically the only returning piece for CU-P and we know we named him as a POW nominee, but he’s not on the list above because he wouldn’t have been nominated if he were on any other team -it was us trying to include the Cavs, and now we’re kind of done. With that: Be adequate.
Julian Nichols (WOU) we really, really don’t know and it’s kind of making us mad to be perfectly honest. Dude is still playing, he’s just not playing well. He was one of our picks for potential player of the year because he had an amazing junior season and not much has really changed and yet he’s not playing well.
With some of that… We feel like writing it off until conference play is kind of weak, considering our conference looked so weak during non-conference. There are good teams, but we feel downright uncomfortable with UAA, WWU, and CWU because non-conference was such a wash and we feel like they’re good teams but they didn’t prove it during non-con and so we’re not sure what it’ll mean during conference play if/when they do win? It seems like it’ll be easy to give them hype and yet what’s the real substance behind that hype?
UAF there’s not as much expectation because they’ve been off for a few years, they’ve got what’s essentially a brand new team, low-pressure; SMU same thing; MSUB and NNU we’re just hoping they don’t drown. CU-Portland and SFU, we hope things remain somewhat humane.
WOU and SPU there’s some concern about upsets and we’ve said this repeatedly: Upsets aren’t a good thing for ANYONE including the teams upsetting them. The better SPU and WOU look the better for our conference as a whole, because they barely proved themselves in non-conference. Our non-con collectively looks much better because of how SPU schedules, never forget that.
When we look at the individual play of guys on other teams… It may just be a more down year on the west coast. Admittedly we really loved last year’s GNAC (shout-outs in particular to non-returners Kevin Rima, Anye Turner, Riley Stockton, Matt Borton, and Alex & Kalidou [no one blames you two for leaving] for helping make our first year of blogging ridiculously fun) and we know that those guys are all super amazing, but… There are amazing guys this year too -Bouna was an irrational favorite last year that’s become legitimate this year; Kyle Impero turned it up at the end of last year and is dominating this year; Bryce Leavitt came out of nowhere and we’re beyond thrilled with his play; Bangaly and Travante are both super fun; Andy we should constantly be in awe of Andy, but still kind of hold a grudge against him because of the second game against SPU last year -we’ll just be honest- even though we know it was Brendan’s fault that the Falcons lost, so… Irrationalities, but we can admit it. We love you Andy, we really do, promise.
So there are plenty of good guys, but there may be far fewer great guys than normal, and that could be making some of the would-be great guys merely look good. We wondered that regularly about Riley Carel’s stats -if they were in fact lower because he’d pass the ball and then the guy he was passing to would turn it over, so he’d skip passing and try and force something and it didn’t work out very well because while they had promising underclassmen, there’s a big difference between promising underclassmen and seasoned upperclassmen. Then again, with Riley -that was his own fault; could have stayed at SPU and been the starting SG on a team with Riley S. and Matt and Mitch, and Cory’s hook shot (Cory and his hook shot we’ve determined to be separate entities) but he decided he wanted to be the star. And that decision proves even more juxtaposed this year with Alex and Kalidou both having transferred to CBU.
Riley got to score a lot of points and be the go-to guy, but never even made the conference tournament. Alex and Kalidou are now playing on a team favored to win the Pac-West and that’s 100% in control of their own destiny regarding an at-large berth in the regional tournament, much less conference tournament.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go as a group.
In an hour we’ll check in with some of our favorite GNAC alums/former players now playing on non-GNAC teams.
Tomorrow and Wednesday we’ll be taking a look at what we currently know vs. want to know about each team/group of guys in our conference currently.
Up super late, yes, yes, it sucks, but… Birthday shenanigans. Somehow, sometimes a life outside of basketball exists. Most of the time it doesn’t, but occasionally it does.
Seattle Pacific 89 @ Simon Fraser 55
Can’t spell slaughter without laughter? Sure. Not much to be said about this game, so on with the highlights.
SPU highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a low-key game for himself grabbing eight boards, five assists, and 10 points in a quick 26 minutes; Will Parker had five assists; Gilles Dierickx had six boards and seven points; Mitch Penner had six boards, three assists, and 13 points; Garrett Swanson had four boards, two assists, two steals, and fifteen points. Off the bench Sam Simpson had five points; Brendan Carroll had eight points; Joe Rasmussen had a huge night (for him) with five boards and 18 points. Good to see the Falcons use the entirety of their bench.
SFU highlights: Oshea Gairey had four steals; Max Barkeley shot 80% on 10 free throws; Michael Harper had eight points. Really no highlights aside from the free throws because although there were points scored, all of the shooting was so bad (30% from the field, 18% from beyond the arc) that it was negated. Good job SPU defense.
Overall what really is there to be said? Congrats SPU.
MSUB 76 @ Concordia 59
Don’t let the score fool you -this game was close for a long time before MSUB pulled away in the second half. Lots of really good numbers, good win for MSUB to get, although something tells us their coaching staff would disagree. Still, really good defensive effort for the Yellowjackets. Good rebounding by both teams, but MSUB definitely got the best of it finishing with a huge 52 boards.
MSUB highlights: Emmanuel Johnson had a full house with nine boards, one assist, two steals, a block, two fouls, and six points; Jace Anderson had 13 points; Jordan Perry had nine boards and four steals. Off the bench: Kendall Denham had 13 points; and Cade Alcorn had a whopping 13 boards and 12 points.
CU-PDX highlights: Drew Martin had eight boards; Riley Hawken had a full house with six boards, two assists, a steal, a block, three fouls, and 14 points; Tyler Gutierrez had five boards, three assists, and nine points. Off the bench John Erickson had eight points; and Taylor Harris had four boards.
Not the best game for anyone involved but we’re super proud of MSUB for getting it done and look forward to seeing them make some progress against WOU tomorrow.
Saint Martin’s 68, Western Washington 71
This was a really, really, really good game. Maybe the biggest highlight was finally watching Fred Jorg play in person and he is 100% the real deal. That’ll be part of our discussions post on Wednesday. This game was back and forth 100%, SMU did put themselves in a position to win it at the end and just couldn’t get it done. WWU finally started rebounding, which was great because they weren’t shooting well -SMU was playing some amazing defense. This turned out to be the game of the night, so… Exciting stuff.
SMU highlights: Cole Preston had five boards, six points, and 12 points; Jordan Kitchen was a monster with six blocks; Tyler Copp had four assists and nine points; Fred Jorg had 12 points, six boards, and two assists. Off the bench Isaac Bianchini had nine points; and Michael Painer also chipped in nine points.
WWU highlights: Ricardo Maxwell played a full forty minutes and grabbed five boards, four assists, and 12 points; Kyle Impero played 38 minutes grabbing nine boards, three steals, and 16 points; Colby Mitchell had nine boards and nine points; Jeff Parker had eight boards, two assists, one steal, and fourteen points; Mac Johnson had 11 points. Off the bench Harris Javier chipped in six points, but the bench really didn’t do much besides relieve the starters.
So glad to see that rebounding number from WWU, ridiculously proud of them. SMU, there really isn’t anything bad to say. WWU shot really poorly, SMU shot really well, so… Good defense. SMU’s defense is impressive. WWU, keep grinding.
Northwest Nazarene 72 @ Alaska-Fairbanks 77
Grind it out close game. The Nooks should be worried. The Crusaders should be proud considering they’ve looked like a mess but went onto the tundra and almost got the win. Very, very back and forth game with some questionable free throw shooting. Make your free throws.
NNU highlights: Joel Devastey had nine boards; Bouna N’Diaye had six boards; Detwon Rogers had 11 boards and 25 points although a terrible six turnovers; Mike Wright had eight assists, four steals, a block, four fouls, and 16 points for the full house, BUT he had five turnovers. This entire team had more turnovers than a bake sale and had they not, then likely would have won. Even with all of those turnovers they almost did.
UAF highlights: Alex Duncan had three steals; Bangaly Kaba had six boards, four assists, and nine points; Joe Slocum had three steals; Travante Williams had 12 boards, two assists, four steals, and 21 points; Almir had nine boards and 17 points. Off the bench Isaac Ladines had 17 points.
Decent game for both teams. Proud of NNU for staying in it when we’d completely written them off. Practice makes progress, they’re heading into the ragingly hot UAA and it’s going to be a battle, but now we’ve seen they’ll at least show up.
Central Washington 65 @ Alaska-Anchorage 93
So much for game of the night. No, we’ve been questioning CWU all year because their non-conference did nothing to improve them. UAA, on the other hand had a good non-conference schedule even if it didn’t help the collective conference much.
CWU highlights: Joey Roppo had 12 points; Gary Jacobs had 10; Joe Stroud had nine boards, four steals, and 14 points; Devin Matthews had seven boards and nine points. CWU got nothing from their bench. UAA shut them down mercilessly.
UAA highlights: Suki Wiggs had five boards and 21 points; Diante Mitchell had six assists and 17 points; COREY HAMMELL had 13 boards and 19 points. Off the bench: Christian Leckband had five boards and 11 points; Damian Fulp had a full house; Tayler Thompson had a full house with six boards, 10 points, two assists, along with one block, one steal, and one foul.
Great performance by UAA. Did exactly what they needed to do. With a performance like that it’s hard to think NNU will come in and be able to do much, but the Seawolves need to commit and hopefully have a similar performance on Saturday.
Good night of basketball. The big highlight was definitely SMU -we’ve liked them all year and were worried about Fred, but that fear has been abated, so that’s great. Really super happy to see WWU find their rebounding chops. UAA was phenomenal. Game previews’ll be up tomorrow at 11am.
It was a rough day. Two Pac-West teams collapsed down the stretch and the GNAC failed to take advantage of it. CU-PDX is having some growing pains. WOU and SPU played a couple of ugly games, but at least got it done.
Dominican 74 vs. Alaska-Fairbanks 69
The good news is that this game was ultimately as evenly matched as we thought it would be. The bad news is the GNAC did not come out on top and this one hurts and hurts big because it wasn’t an actual road game; it was a neutral site and Dominican was collapsing down the stretch and UAF did nothing. While getting a win at UAF will always be seen as quality, this loss diminishes the strength of what a win against UAF means at home, and that is bad for all GNAC teams -UAF most definitely included.
Highlights: Bengaly Kaba had nine boards and nine points; Joe Slocum had a full house consisting of five boards, three assists, two steals, one block, four fouls, and 10 points; Trevante Williams had four assists, two steals, and 18 points; Almir had five boards, two assists, and 11 points. Off the bench Brandon Davis was again providing quality minutes with five boards, three assists, and 16 points.
No truly horrible numbers from a team standpoint, although there were some bad numbers from various people, but… We won’t get into that. You know you who are.
Cal State East Bay 57, Seattle Pacific 71
Don’t let the score fool you -this game was garbage. It had the potential to be a let down game and 100% was. It’s good to see the Falcons get this win rather than giving it up ala their loss to Concordia Irvine, but at the same time we’re really not happy with it because it was so sloppy.
Highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a full house with seven boards, five assists, two steals, two blocks, four fouls, and 11 points; Mitch Penner had a full house with seven boards, two assists, a steal, two blocks, three fouls, and 24 points. Off the bench Sam Simpson had nine points and Nathan Streufert had 14 points and four boards.
Concordia Irvine 97, Concordia Portland 78
Not as bad as yesterday, but much worse than they did against CU-Irvine previously. Sad moment to realize that they weren’t fired up to get a redemption victory. Oh well.
Highlights: Drew Martin had 18 points; Davis Nuami had six assists, two steals, and 10 points; Latrell Wilson had 17 points; Tyler Gutierrez had 13 points. Off the bench Jarrett Gray had seven points and three boards.
The team finished with a whopping 20 turnovers, which will never be a recipe for success. Concordia-Irvine was NAIA D1, whereas Concordia-Portland was NAIA D2, so… You could make an argument that it makes sense that CU-I is having an easier time, except that’s BS because there’s this thing called recruiting, and it can be pretty cool if you do it right. C’mon CU-PDX, you can do this, we believe in you.
Dixie State 75, MSU-Billings 72
SO. MUCH. RAGE. Really MSUB, really? You couldn’t get this freaking win even though Dixie State was doing everything in their power to hand it to you? We mentioned Dominican collapsing down the stretch… Dixie was literally trying to vomit this win on top of you and you couldn’t do it even at home. Shame on you.
Highlights: Marc Matthews had 22 points; Emmanuel Johnson had eight boards and seven points; Christian Evans had seven boards and 12 points. Off the bench Jordan Perry had another really good game finishing with seven boards, three assists, and fourteen points.
Let’s hope you learned your lesson and will now take advantage of teams properly when they attempt to gift you a win. Got it? Good. Glad we could have this talk, Yellowjackets.
Holy Names 75, Western Oregon 84
Another let down game, although how you play a let down game when you played Monterey Bay we’ll never figure out, but go figure. Call it playing down to the competition, WOU did just that.
Highlights: Devon Alexander had a full house with seven boards, one assist, three steals, one block, three fouls, and eight points (on less than stellar shooting); Julian Nichols had six boards, six assists, two steals, three fouls, and 16 points; Andy Avgi had a great game grabbing five boards, one assist, three steals, and 29 points, while shooting 80% on 10 FTs. Off the bench Kadeem Strickland grabbed four assists and a steal, while JJ Chirnside had five points and three boards.
We wouldn’t call this a good day for the Wolves considering the team they were facing was 1-6, but they got it done and that’s exactly what good teams do, so onward.
Because SFU is in fact playing two D2 games this week, just today and tomorrow, we’re gonna go ahead and postpone the POW nominations and announcement until Tuesday. Tomorrow we’ll check in with the D2 non-conference schedule and discuss what we know so far. Yes, SFU will play a game tomorrow as well, but that’s easy to modify when they win 😉
The WWU & SFU game previews will be up in an hour.
It’s going up late so we’re just gonna jump right in:
Dixie State 71, Alaska-Fairbanks 58
Joe Slocum needs to be benched. We’re kind of fed up and done with him at this point because we expected an extra year would do him a solid. A couple years ago UAF had four good guys and Joe was that fifth starter that wasn’t great but was better than the bench. We figured this year he’d had a redshirt year, he plays guard which means the entire offense flows through him, and we were so ready to go “Solid returning pieces, experienced point guard, bam, this is gonna be good.” No. Although this loss wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
Highlights: Bengaly Kaba had five boards, four assists, one steal, one block, three fouls, and 10 points for the full house; Trevante Williams had four steals; Almir had five boards, three blocks, and four fouls. Off the bench Brandon Davis had seven points.
Nothing really to write home about. Lots of bad shooting. This game was wholly winnable and they didn’t do it and it’s a stain on our conference, and it’s a big stain on UAF because they don’t have an opportunity to procure another quality “neutral” win let alone a quality non-conference road win. Now they’re looking at going into WOU, WWU, and SPU as necessary wins to prove their worth. Good luck Nooks.
Western Oregon 81 @ Notre Dame de Namur 51
Lots of good numbers, but now we’re just flat-out worried about Julian Nichols. Another bad game and this was against ND de Namur of all teams. Other than that though, it was a very well spaced win, lots of time for the bench folks, good experience builder, yada yada yada.
Highlights: Alex Roth had 13 points; Julian Nichols had four assists; Jordan Wiley had 15 points; Andy Avgi had 24 points, seven boards, one assist, and three steals. Off the bench Kadeem Strickland had 11 points and four assists.
Wolves did exactly what they were expected to do and with that: continuing on the grind.
Dominican 92 @ MSU-Billings 74
Good team effort, not horrible numbers, questionable shooting. With the last, we’ll commend-ish Dominican’s defense. The reality is this is exactly what Dominican wanted to do and wanted to prove. Dominican has tended to exist either as one of the lower seeds in the tournament or just missing out, so this win against MSUB helped them on that quest. MSUB is a well coached team and it wasn’t ugly per say, but it bordered on it. Losing by 20? Yeah. Borders on it at the very least.
Highlights: Marc Matthews had five boards, four assists, a steal, a block, three fouls, and eight points; Jace Anderson had 17 points; Christian Evans had 10 points and five boards; Cade Alcorn had five boards. Off the bench Preston Beverly had 12 points and six boards; Jordan Perry had 16 points, six boards, and four assists.
Really like what MSUB is getting out of their bench. Remember, last year Western Washington only went seven deep so it’s totally possible to have some amount of success even while having a very short bench.
Concordia-Portland 70 @ Cal Baptist 102
Lots of really horrible, nasty numbers to the point that we can’t overlook it even for the conference baby brother. You’re our baby brother, that means you represent us, and it means you better do it with some level of respectability even if you’re getting blown out. The shooting numbers were vomit inducing. You guys all play D2 basketball, it ain’t D1, but you’ve still supposedly proven that you function on a relatively high level on a basketball court and these numbers do not do that.
Highlights: Tyler Gutierrez had fourteen boards. Off the bench: James Phillips had seven points; Jarrett Gray had five points. The team overall had a low number of turnovers, but… the other team was able to grab 65 rebounds. 65. There were were a grand total of 101 rebounds grabbed in this game. That is some really, really, really bad shooting.
Seattle Pacific 62 @ Chico State 50
We’re going to try really, really, really hard not to down play this win even though everything in us wants to because that’s how we watch WWU and SPU -great, you won by double digits, you messed up here, and here, and that can never happen again, but… It was a positively brilliant game for both teams. Chico State was picked to finish first in the CCAA, they’ve gone to the tournament the last couple of years, they’re incredibly well coached, and if you’re looking for a basketball game to watch: Watch a Chico State home game; their broadcaster is the cream of the crop.
Highlights: Bryce Leavitt had fourteen rebounds, five assists, and sixteen points. Gilles Dierickx four boards, 20 points and two fouls; Mitch Penner had six boards and 10 points; Garrett Swanson had seven boards, two assists, seven points, and three fouls.
This win is big. It is a true road win, it’s against a well coached team that made the tournament and that’s projected to make the tournament again. SPU executed as flawlessly as we’ve ever seen, their defense was stifling, and while they were doing it… It still almost wasn’t enough. Chico crept back in after the Falcons were up 16. SPU shot 75% from the free throw line and needed every single one of those shots. The boards that were being grabbed… If you want to see why basketball is a beautiful and kinetic game, watch the tape of this one, it was pretty freakin’ textbook in terms of fundamental basketball. Did everyone have a great game? No. But every single person visibly did their job with the mindset that “It doesn’t matter what I do, it matters what we do.” And what they did was go into Chico State and procure a win.
Tonight’s game previews will be up in an hour, just in time for UAF to take on Dominican.
CWU 94, SFU 82
WWU 115, Multnomah 71
WOU 82, Fresno Pacific 73
UAA 69, Hawaii Pacific 65
CU-Irvine 72, CU-PDX 62
CSU-East Bay 64, MSUB 50
SPU 80, Dixie State 74
UAF 112, Chaminade 102
Not going to cover the SFU/CWU & WWU/Multnomah games just because we count both as exhibitions rather than just the latter. In the one sense we got a sense of what CWU wants to do and yet in the other sense we haven’t seen either team at all, so… We’re gonna hold our judgment for now.
WOU 82, Fresno Pacific 73
A cleaner game than Friday, that is for sure. There’s a fine line between “keep shooting” and “start distributing” and the Wolves continue to cross it, particularly regarding three pointers. Highlights: Devon Alexander had five boards and four assists while finishing with 17 points; Alex Roth had nine boards and 16 points; JULIAN NICHOLS had six boards, six assists, three steals, four fouls, and sixteen points; Jordan Wiley had seven boards while finishing with 13 points. Off the bench Tanner Omlid had 12 points, four boards, and three steals.
Not a bad win for the Wolves -closer than expected, but they got it done once again without Andy. It’s hard to say whether or not it was a good learning experience -coaches would say yes, but having All-American (in multiple ways) Andy in there makes the flow entirely different, so… They were cohesive enough, but having him back should up it tenfold.
CU-Irvine 72, CU-PDX 62
Anything can happen in a “rivalry” game? Something like that. CU-PDX did much better than expected, which is great to see, Still have no idea what’s going on with them for good or bad; just that they’re new. Highlights: Drew Martin had seven boards, five assists, and 10 points; Riley Hawkin had 11 boards, five fouls, and eight points; Tyler Gutierrez had five boards and 19 points. Off the bench Jarrett Gray had five boards.
UAA 69, Hawaii Pacific 65
UAA wins a close again without Brian McGill. Christian Leckband had nine boards and fourteen points; Corey Hammell had 13 points and 12 boards but an awful six turnovers; Suki Wiggs had five boards, 26 points, and four assists. The Seawolves collectively shot 84% from the line -awesome. Great job. Good learning experience, winning in a close match-up. Kinda feel like the Seawolves played down to their competition, so that’s something to work on, but not a bad day.
Cal State East Bay 64, MSUB 50
Not a whole lotta good coming from the Yellowjackets. Horrifying shooting numbers and more turnovers than a bake sale. Emmanuel Johnson had five boards and fourteen points; Marc Matthews had five boards and 18 points; Christian Evans had nine boards and six points. Guess the thing to keep in mind is that the Yellowjackets often play low scoring games, which leads to less than spectacular numbers but just because of how low the score is. Last year there was a kid that should have been guaranteed a double-double but didn’t get one against MSUB just because the collective numbers were super low (he was one short).
SPU 80, Dixie State 74
The Falcons were leading by roughly 20 at the half and it was fantastic and then they decided to stop rebounding. It’s rare we see a number this low from SPU, but they’re young. They’re learning. Rebounding shouldn’t be something you need to learn if you’ve managed to make your way to playing DII college basketball. Riley Stockton is spinning in Spain.
Grumbles aside: Brendan Carroll had 30 points while shooting 75% -YES 75%- from three, grabbing two steals, and managing just one turnover; Mitch Penner had nine points; BRYCE LEAVITT had eight boards, 14 points, and 12 assists, getting crazy close to that triple double action; Garrett Swanson had eight points. Also of note: Nathan Streufert had five fouls -he’s a big dude, so we like to see that; if you’re gonna foul, make sure they feel it. It got rough, but the Falcons pulled it out, and we’re sure their coach is tearing his hair out… er, growing hair? Over the rebounding number.
Point Loma 74, SMU 59
Good outing for the Saints. Really good growth and learning experience. 11 guys saw more than 10 minutes; eight guys saw more than fifteen. Because of the minute distribution not tons of highlights by our usual standards, but seven guys had at least five points. Jordan Kitchen had 10 points; Tyler Copp had nine points. Not great rebounding numbers, but everyone had at least one. The Saints are young, with a new coach, and just trying to feel things out. Of note Fred Jorg only picked up four boards -at 300lbs, his conditioning is likely terrible, so we’re thinking it’s the “second game” effect; GNAC teams, be aware.
UAF 112, Chaminade 102
What is there to say about this game? Amazing minute distribution. A ridiculously tiny amount of turnovers to the point that we’re questioning if the stat taker knows what turnovers are because there were that few mixed with very few rebounds in such a high scoring game, so… Hmmm.
Great building game for the Nooks. Chaminade tends to be pretty good; middle to upper middle pack of the Pac-West. Highlights: Bangaly Kaba had 7 boards and 17 points; Joe Slocum was terrible from the field but 100% on his six free throws; Travante Williams had a FULL HOUSE with six boards, two assists, three steals, one block, one foul, and 25 points; Almir had five boards. Off the bench Ashton Edwards had 15 points; and Zach Pederson grabbed four boards in just 10 minutes.
Probably the most interesting thing is that this is what SMU wants to do, but isn’t quite able to do just yet. We see it though, we see the goal.
Player-of-the-weekend will be posted tomorrow. This week continues the crazy -lots of match-ups with BYU-H, which will be a great chance for us to see what the Wildcats and Vikings really look like, and we’ll see about the discussions. As always -drink water, get sleep, and have a great Sunday!
On the list of things we hate, which includes the Oregon Ducks, slow drivers, and peas -there’s a special spot of loathing for writing out pre-season lists. It sucks. Or, at least it sucks this year. It wouldn’t suck nearly as much if we hadn’t lost half the guys we intended to put on this list in the first place, but oh well. Here we go.
G Julian Nichols -Western Oregon, Sr.
F Joe Stroud -Central Washington, Sr.
F Andy Avgi -Western Oregon, Sr.
W Mitch Penner -Seattle Pacific, Sr.
?? Transfer -Your favorite GNAC School
G Joe Slocum, Alaska Fairbanks, Sr.
G Brian McGill, Alaska Anchorage, Sr.
F Momir Gataric -MSU-Billings, Sr.
C Mac Johnson -Western Washington, Sr.
?? Transfer -Your favorite GNAC School
Again: We’re not going to touch transfers because of what is now dubbed the “Jake Ehlers Rule.” For those not familiar with Jake: He was the Oregon 5a Player of the Year two years in a row before going to Portland State and playing terribly then transferring to Seattle Pacific, playing terribly, and endangering the career of one of his teammates.
Here’s the list of other returning guys that we’re also very intrigued by:
UAF: Almir Hadzisehovic
UAA: Sjur Berg
SFU: Michael Harper
WWU: Ricardo Maxwell
SPU: Garrett Swanson
SMU: Tyler Copp, Trey Ingram
MSUB: Kendall Denham
CWU: Terry Dawn, Joey Roppo
NNU: Mike Wright,
CU-PDX: Tyler Gutierrez?
WOU: Devon Alexander, Jordan Wiley, Buster Souza (yes, it’s because of his name; so what?)
Plus all of the incoming transfers that could knock our socks off. The league is something of 65%+ new this year so we really don’t know what we’re dealing with but we can’t wait to find out!
It’s a little odd to make this Discussions post this early, but… Why not? Someone asked us about why we would have any faith in Garrett Swanson, and shockingly… Because he’s one of the few returning forwards, rather than stretch guards, that actually saw playing time in the GNAC last year.
With this… Husky-isms. One of Don James’s biggest philosophies was that often times the biggest battle of the week occurred in practice against the Scout Team. This means that we’re going to take bench players from SPU, WWU, WOU, those sorts of schools, more seriously because they face better competition in practice.
It’s been said before: if SFU finishes last in conference and all of their starters leave, that means the guys that remain couldn’t beat the team that finished last in conference. Which means that for this list they’re not gonna get any consideration because SFU is going to be relying on dynamite transfers. Dynamite transfers are a real and very awesome thing in the GNAC -this isn’t the post for them, but we will say that we did specifically reserve them spots on our pre-season all conference teams.
With that, RETURNING PLAYERS of note:
Joe Slocum (UAF) -redshirted last year, started the year before that, surrounded by modest talent.
Brian McGill (UAA) -not a great returning cast, but with good transfers anything is possible.
Ricardo Maxwell/Harris Javier (WWU) -both started a lot, both had good moments, tend to veer on the side of Ricardo Maxwell but both saw a lot of minutes considering WWU only went seven deep.
Kyle Impero (WWU) -largely served as the 6th man last year but really played well late as he got comfortable at D2.
Trey Ingram (SMU) -young, but incredibly promising; love this kid.
Kendall Denham (MSUB) -again, young but very, very, promising, has great chemistry with Momir.
Gary Jacobs/Joey Roppo/Terry Dawn (CWU) -all had a number of good moments, CWU it’s about the whole team, their chemistry was just fantastic.
Julian Nichols (WOU) -our favorite returning guard in the conference.
Devon Alexander (WOU) -had a really great non-conference and then was comparatively silent in conference play.
Noticeably absent: SPU -no. No. No. NO. NNU -Mike Wright is a poor man’s Brendan Carroll and Brendan Carroll is nowhere to be found on this list. SFU -Michael Harper is middle of the pack and until we know what the Clan bring in to support him, it just doesn’t seem like he’ll have a very easy time showing his abilities. CU-PDX -??? Graduated everybody.
Garrett Swanson (SPU) -this is almost 100% because of his body. 6’6/230lbs of rock hard muscle. He is the opposite of the power
forward SPU had last year, and we don’t think he’ll be as good, but he still should be effective.
Mitch Penner (SPU) -Kid can play 1-4 competently, but is definitely best at small forward; can the Falcons keep him there?
Victor Ieronymides (SMU) -Ish. This may be us giving SMU the benefit of the doubt. Had good moments.
Momir Gataric (MSUB) -good chemistry with Kendall, good weight, 6’5/210ish? Very solid last year.
JOE STROUD (CWU) -our favorite returning power forward, cancer is gone, elite teamwork, let’s see it. Can’t wait.
Jordan Wiley (WOU) -had moments of quality.
ANDY AVGI (WOU) -our favorite returning small forward.
Noticeably absent: UAA -Christian Leckbend & Sjur Berg; just because Kalidou is gone doesn’t mean they get spots on this list. SFU -no one. WWU -no one. NNU; no one. CU-PDX; ???.
We were asked about why were looking forward to Andy & Garrett matching up and honestly it’s because they’re two of the biggest forwards on two of the most “known” teams (aside from WWU), and WWU merely returns a guard sized forward (6’6/200lb Jeff Parker) and then brings in a 6’8/220 frosh. It seems likely that WWU’s inevitably gonna end up sticking (C) Mac Johnson on Andy, which those two match up really, really, really well, but we’re not sure what Blake Bowen is gonna be able to do in the paint, so… could be very exploitable if WOU brings in a good supporting cast.
Why we’re curious about SPU using Garrett is that he’s one of the only forwards (and the only returning forward) that will actually be dealing with Andy because Andy is such a banger and most other teams will likely be sending in their respective centers. It’ll be interesting to see what the JuCo guys do and how the teams try and neutralize him. While every coach will tell you “We don’t game plan for one particular player, we play our game and they play theirs,” we have to call BS. If you don’t game plan to try and neutralize Andy, you’re asking for trouble; if you see Andy positively crushing a team, remember: the team didn’t plan to fail, they likely failed to plan.
D2 centers can be rare creatures and we actually really like both of those two a lot. Mac has decent footwork, has been proven to shoot the three, and should have a good supporting cast of guards if not forwards. Breaking in a couple of forwards could actually really work in making him a huge focal of the WWU offense, so if he can take the mantle things could look fantastic. Almir is another of our favorite guys and it really is going to depend on his supporting cast in a sense, because he can’t do it all himself. He had a number of super good games and we can’t wait to see his progress this year.
That’s pretty much who/what’s returning. Can’t wait to see what the transfers bring in. And remember returners: Ask not what your transfers can do for you, but what you can do for your transfers -we transferred into the GNAC once upon a time and the cultural adjustment was rough, so be nice.
Warning: Hyperbole and enthusiasm ahead.
This is our second year with the whole GNAC and there are so many guys we’re excited about. It’s basically this comfortably warm bubble filling up our insides because last year the list merely included guys from WWU, SPU, and MSUB but this year the list is much* more diverse.
Julian Nichols (WOU) -the pre-season premier guard in our conference. He was SO close to winning Player of the Year.
Andy Avgi? (WOU) -the favorite, ’cause football is the best AND he’s a very, very good basketball player.
Mitch Penner (SPU) -Killer SF, great leader, great energy, isn’t getting shoved to PG.
Mac Johnson (WWU) -The premier returning center. He really seemed to click late last year, so lots of potential.
Joe Stroud (CWU) -POWER FORWARDS ARE THE BEST.
John Erickson (CU-P) -Once upon a time played for UAA, now is at CU-P, so curious.
The list is smaller than anticipated largely because so many guys that would be up there, left: Ruben (UAF), Kalidou (UAA), Patrick Simon II (SFU), Joey Schreiber (WWU), Caleb Dressler (CWU), Erik Kinney (NNU), Alex Birketoft (NNU), and potentially Andy Avgi of WOU. Although, we fully support Andy playing football -he’s a Pete Carroll type of player, thus the benefits could be bigger than the GNAC. If Pete Carroll doesn’t see what we see… he may receive a strongly worded letter. Grrrrr. Woof, woof, woof. Arf?
There are also a number of guys left off that list because we’re just not sure about the pieces around them. Guys like Brian McGill (UAA), Almir (UAF), Michael Harper (SFU), Trey Ingram (SMU), Momir (MSUB), and Kendall Denham (MSUB).
Teams to be excited for:
Every. Single. One; it’s a new year of basketball! But specifically WWU because they return far more than anyone else. We actually can see that team and see what it’ll theoretically be like and they look great even without knowing the specific awesomeness the new guys are going to bring.
No one else really has a team coming back. UAF, SPU, CWU, CU-P, WOU all return plenty of pieces but none that really have that “wow” factor collectively. You could make a solid argument for CWU, but why wasn’t Dom off that team? You cannot tell us that if they had truly adequate scoring options he would have still been on it. Why? See: Western Washington saying “good-bye” to Jaamon Echols.
UAA suffers from higher expectations than UAF in any given year. SFU suffers from no expectations in any given year. MSUB suffers from no clue as for what to expect in any given year. SMU we love to death and back but three pieces returning with one not being a center… Yikes.
This is gonna be said over and over again, but: We really don’t know what to make of this coming year. It’s gonna be great, ’cause basketball, but the first eight weeks or so are going to be one steaming pile of puzzlement with a side of schedule reticence.
We’re like the Joe Lunardi of GNAC prognostication, and to an extent West Region bracketology. So many guesses, so much BS, but all in good fun. Our “official” pre-season poll will go up in October.
We finally looked at what CU-Portland brings back: zilch. We also lost even more guys than the already insane number we knew we were losing in June. The June prognostication looks ridiculous from where we stand now. Similarly -these are gonna change again next month. And the month after that. And we’ll do a final “SPIT IS GETTING REAL NOW, LET’S GO!!!!!!!!” ranking just before conference play gets cereal in January, because these things are stupid and stupid fun is good fun.
1. Western Washington. They bring back Harris Javier, Mac Johnson, Kyle Impero, Ricardo Maxwell, Jeff Parker, and more. And those are all actual recognizable names that saw some good minutes! They also bring back carpetbagger Brett Kingma, who is the Riley Carel of Mill Creek. He’s a Falcon by blood, the fact that he didn’t end up at SPU speaks volumes.
2. Western Oregon. We won’t know Andy’s status for a while, but… Devon Alexander had some good early season games, Julian Nichols is great and amazing and almost won player of the year, Jordan Wiley picked up some POW noms, new coaching staff, we love Jim Shaw. If we ever list their coach as ‘Brad Shaw’ sorry in advance -Jim’s son, Brad, was in the same class year of WesCo Basketball that we were and so… we go back.
3. Seattle Pacific. HOOOOOMER pick. Sort of. Thing is, they’ve got Mitch, they’ve got Gilles (good for twice as much homerism), they’ve got Brendan Carroll, Bryce Leavitt, and Garrett Swanson, all of whom started multiple games last year, plus they have plenty of guys that have been in the program for multiple years and have never seen more than an ounce of playing time. Good distribution of height, proven coaching staff, and the rest of the GNAC -what are we gonna do? That’s the real thing here.
4. Central Washington. Never underestimate a good power forward and elite teamwork. They probably should actually get the nod over SPU because Joey Roppo is good, Gary Jacobs wasn’t bad, and Prairie, er, Terry Dawn is legit. Guess we’re sticking them at fourth because we usually give the SPU guys too little credit, and so this kind of balances things out. We know the numbers for the CWU guys, but have no clue what the SPU ones are because we never cared. Whoops.
5. Alaska-Fairbanks. They lost a lot: Ruben, Kyle, Adam, BUT they return Joe Slocum, Almir, and Isaac Ladines. Now, do we think it’ll be successful? No. Do we think it’ll be embarrassingly bad? No. They’re lucky in the fact that the GNAC suffered massive skills drain almost everywhere.
6. Alaska-Anchorage. It’s completely unknown, they return Brian McGill and Sjur Berg as for recognizable names, and hmmm… But it’s still always difficult to play in Anchorage and we feel like their recruiting pitch is pretty quality. Still, they go on too many dates… but they can’t make ’em stay… That’s just what we say-ay-ay mmm, and so they’re just gonna shake it off, shake it off.
7. Saint Martin’s. Admittedly, we’re really sad that Brent is gone and Cameron [happily] is on his Mission. Still: Tyler Copp, Trey Ingram, Isaac Bianchini, Victor Ieronymides, new and very promising coaching staff, good things are on the horizon.
8. Concordia-Portland. This is honestly just a shot in the dark, because they’ve got a bunch of transfers coming in and they’re not going to be expected to do much, so expect the unexpected if they can gel and acclimate quickly.
9. MSU-Billings. Yikes. Momir Gataric and Kendall Denham make-up the most quality pair returned from the bottom three teams + proven coaching staff = potential.
10. Simon Fraser. They no longer have Sango, they no longer have Patrick Simon II, they do have Michael Harper,
Adam Westfall, Hidde Vos, and JJ Pankratz which are all recognizable names, but… only Michael Harper received a POW nom, and it’s still Simon Fraser. Another team we’d love to see improve, but we’re a little heartbroken after the major psych-out of last year.
11. Northwest Nazarene. The thing is, this team would be like if SPU’s best returning player was Brendan Carroll; the projected reality would be more turnovers than a bake sale. That’s Mike Wright, without nearly the talent that Brendan would still likely be surrounded with if put into that scenario.
One thing that is going to happen this year that we’re REALLLY excited for (okay, at this point everything’s exciting ’cause we just want basketball) is conference power rankings. Not sure how often we’re gonna post them, but we’ll take the teams we’re projecting to make the conference tourney and throw them up with the reasoning. Depending, we’ll also give you the bottom five and the reasons they’re not, ’cause otherwise there’ll be people going “But UAF beat WWU by five!” Um, yeah: “Mac Johnson was out with the flu THAT DOESN’T COUNT.”
Speaking of which: Get your flu shot early and wash your hands often. The GNAC Basketball Plague makes the rounds every year, so do what you can to prevent it and help keep GNAC basketball great.