Archive for October, 2011

blue ribbon

October 31st, 2011

of all the preseason basketball magazines, the one that i think is head and shoulders above the rest is Blue Ribbon. Its not cheap, but its reports on every team are detailed and, for the most part, accurate. You cannot buy it on the newsstand, but you can order it online.

I wont detail everything Blue Ribbon says about the 2011 version of the Rainbows, but here is a summary.

First, Blue Ribbon provides a grade in four areas. Back-court; Bench/Depth;Front-court; and Intangibles ( coaching, etc). Hawaii's grades are, respectively, A-: B;B+: and B+. Pretty darn good.

The article mentions some of the off-season issues, such as the " investigation, ( still not reported publicly),  the recruiting issues with four recruits not admitted, and the hold-up on the contract, but it has generally very positive things to say about the team's prospects for this year.

It states that Hawaii could finish in the top half of the league. It discusses Zane Johnson, Vander and Stokes as keys to the team, along with Miah. It quotes Gib as talking about the depth at Guard with backups Miles and Tavita, and mentions the strong Asia trip for Thomas and what everyone hopes is a change of attitude.

It predicts replacing Amis will be difficult ( no question), but states once the Hawaii " big-men" get " comfortable"  and the WAC season begins. Hawaii could contend as Vander and Johnson will make it hard to defend Hawaii's inside-outside game.

And finally, Blue Ribbon says give Gib a " round of applause " for last year's success, but " demand" more of him this season as Hawaii tries to challenge Nevada, Utah State, and New Mexico State. I think Gib welcomes that challenge.

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if you missed last night-The New NCAA Rules

October 28th, 2011

Hoopstalk competed against game 6 of the World Series last night, and as good as i think our show was, I know almost everyone was glued to the game.

But if you missed it, you missed our conversation with Gib about the new NCAA rules pertaining to student athletes. Overall, Gib, who told us he had not yet had time to closely study them, liked some provisions and did not like others.

He liked the new recruiting rules opening up contact in April and allowing social media contact ( texts, etc). He did not like the new academic rules which will require prospective freshman to have a 2.3 GPA in core courses, and will require JC transfers to have a 2.5 GP.. Essentially Gib said " last he checked",  nonathletes only need a 2.0 to graduate. By the way, a freshman whose core average is between 2.0 and 2.3 can get financial aid and practice, but he/she cannot compete, but will have four years of eligibility.

Gib was not sure about the new rule allowing, on a conference by conference basis, schools to give up to 2000 dsollars in additional benefits to athletes. His concern is that it might provide a significant recruiting advantage to teams in bigger conferences, a concern that appears real to me when you consider UH is moving to the Big West next year.

Finally Gib is very concerned about the impact on college basketball caused by the new APR rule which increases the minimum APR to compete in post season tournaments. Academic performance and transfers impact the APR, and NABC ( National Association of Basketball Coaches) share Gib's concerns . A fun fact.  Had the rule been in effect last year, UCONN, the National Champ, would have been ineligible to compete. Think about what the rule might mean to other traditional basketball powerhouses like Kentucky, Syracuse, and others.

What do you think about the new rules, especially the ones that deal with academics. There is no doubt that football and basketball will be greatly affected, and some traditional powerhouses are going to have to clean up their academic inadequacies or face the loss of bowl games and post season tournaments. Some say the new rules go too far and others say not far enough. Personally, i like them. I think big-time college sports has been moving in the wrong direction, with the emphasis on winning overwhelming the fact that these are  STUDENT athletes. I also like the 2000 dollar benefit rule. Student athletes bring in big money to their respective institutions, and deserve at least a little of the spoils. I know some will argue that the student who is on, for example, a music scholarship also bring benefits to his/her school, and there is merit in providing some stipend for them too, but let's face it, there is little financial comparison between what big-time sports bring in and other endeavors ( i know, many Universities actually lose money on athletics). Anyway, i am sure there are many opinions about the new rules. Go ahead and weigh in

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Up and Running

October 25th, 2011

Now that practice has begun in earnest, the Hoopstalk blog is off and running. It should be a very interesting season as Coach Gib and the boys try to better last season's 19 win season and make some sort of post season tournament once again.

Both the preseason polls and magazines are out, and UH appears in the top four in most of them. Both the WAC coaches and the Media picked UH 4th, with Zane Johnson picked by both polls all WAC first team. Shaquille Stokes was picked by the media as the Newcomer of the Year. Vander was named to the coaches preseason first team as well.

The magazines look for Nevada to be the clear preseason number 1, while the WAC media selected Utah State. Considering, for example, that USA Today has selected four Nevada players to its first team all WAC, I think Nevada is clearly the class of the league.

The bottom of the WAC, which includes Idaho, Fresno, San Jose, and La Tech, look to be as weak as ever. In fact, the WAC may be as weak a league as its been in recent memory with not a single team getting a single vote in the preseason polls.  But Nevada could surprise some folks.

The Uh schedule is not very strong. Outside of UNLV, Gonzaga, and Xavier ( a possible second round opponent in the Diamond Head Classic), the rest of the non conference schedule is very weak. The non Gonzaga road games, non conference , should be easy wins. Pepperdine is picked last by many in the West Coast Conference and Pacific is picked 7th in the Big West. The non WAC  home schedule is equally weak. Northridge is picked next to last in the Big West, Eastern Washington lost 20 games last season, Auburn is picked 9th in the SEC, you get the picture.

So , how many games do i think UH will win?  I think they could win 20. I think they will finish 3 or 4th in the WAC. There RPI will not be good because of the league and the schedule, so not sure wha their post season changes are. But I look for a very successful year, although there are some holes that need to be filed before opening tip off on Nov 14th.

How many games do you think the Rainbows will win?

Don't forget Hoopstalk, now on weekly on Thursday nights at 6 pm on ESPN 1420. This week's guests will be Coach Arnold and Dana Altman, head coach of the Oregon Ducks

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polls and contracts

October 11th, 2011

the votes are in  My preseason poll, based upon you, my loyal readers, is as follows: Utah State;UH;New Mexico State;Nevada;Fresno;San Jose State;Idaho; and La Tech. My vote had Nevada second and UHthird, and Idaho 5 th and Fresno 7th, but the readers rule.

What's going on with Gib"s contract?  It's only been 6 months since the season ended.. Lots of discussion on the supposed terms. Too much money ( 345,000)? Three years vrs five years? Yet, here we are days away from the official start of practice in year two, and still no written agreement.

Hard to figure out who will be the loser if this goes on much longer. The coach, who might not win 19 games this year , or UH, who may find itself with a coach sought out by bigger name schools if he has another successful year.

I am interested in your thoughts. Is 345,000 too much for a coach who only has one year under his belt when you consider Riley never made more than 225,000 and the volleyball and baseball coaches dont make anywhere near that. or is the right amount  for a coach who won 19 games, brought back fans to the program,  and would still not be the top pay for a WAC Basketball Coach ( i think it would place him third)?

 And is three years too little or 5 years too much? Gib told me that the length of his contract is very important to recruiting and stability. Others say 5 years is too long and is unrealistic for a coach with only one year under his belt. Who do you think is to blame for the current status of the contract. A coach who is asking for too much or an Administrationthat does not appear to see any urgency in getting the job done? or maybe you think both sides have to share the blame/ Or maybe they are seconds away from a deal and there is no issue?

Tonight on Hoops Talk, Jackson and i will be discussing these issues in detail and hope to hear from you here and on the air. 7:30 on ESPN 1420.  296-1420.

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WAC Preseason Poll- Your time to vote

October 6th, 2011

did you ever read a preseason poll selected by the media and say to yourself, "" I wish I could have voted". Well, now you can. I have my ballot for the basketball preseason poll and i am asking each of you to weigh in. Who is the preseason number 1? Where do you think UH will finish?

List the 8 teams in the WAC  in order from first to last. The teams, in alphabetical order, are Fresno, UH, Idaho, La Tech, Nevada, New Mexico State, San Jose State, and Utah State. Also, let me know if you think any UH player deserves to be put on the preseason all WAC first team.

I will compile all the responses and submit a consensus poll next week .  All responses need to be in by monday.

The next hoopstalk radio show on ESPN 1420 will be Tuesday at 7:30.

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tomorrow at 7:30

October 3rd, 2011

next hoops talk is tuesday at 7:30 on ESPN 1420. We will be taking a look at the national scene, including the WAC.

For those of you who missed last week's show with Gib, we discussed his recruiting philosophy, including a discussion of the 4 recruits who did not enroll. He talked about taking a chance on a kid with academic issues, in the hope that the recruit might become eligible or at a minimum, develop a relationship that could lead to a subsequent admission after junior college.

i asked Gib about his contract and the scuttlebutt  that it will be 345,000 and be for 3 to 6 years. Although he couldn't comment directly on the negotiations, he told me that the most important thing to him is the length of the contract. That factor influences recruits and gives long term stability to the program according to Gib. Next, and obviously, compensation is important.  300,000 plus is substantially more than any prior UH basketball coach, including Riley who coached here for over 15 years and took the team to three NCAA Tournaments, but times are changing and the rumored salary would make Gib one of the three highest paid coaches in the WAC and the highest paid coach in the Big West, but is substantially lower than basketball coaches salaries in the major conferences.

I also asked him how he felt about incentives. He told me that UH does not provide incentives for academic performance, which I totally agree with, but does provide incentives for wins, post-season and attendance.

Finally we discussed his views on this year's team. He is , not surprisingly, optimistic, but made no guarantees on whether this year's team would  better last year's win total. He acknowledged the losses of  Hiram and Bill, but he is excited about the returning guys and the new players. The Basketball pre-season magazines are starting to come out, and the ones I have seen have UH in the top half of the WAC, behind Utah State, Nevada, and New Mexico State.

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