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NHR Top 100: #32 Allen Crabbe, SG, Cal

2 Nov

PHOTO: Getty Images

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

Number 32 – Allen Crabbe, SG, Soph., Cal

I always liked it when coaches would lean over to their colleagues in the uncomfortable bleachers at an AAU event and say without hesitation “he’s a pro,” nodding their head in the direction of a kid that they knew was bound for stardom.

I tried that last year while watching Crabbe. “He’s a pro,” I’d say to some of my media row brethren. The uniformed laughed.

I stand by it. Crabbe is a pro. He has the size, the shot, the potential and the team to become an instant star in college basketball. From my vantage point at Matthew Knight Arena, Crabbe was the best player to roll through my point of view last season.

USA Basketball could have used his outside touch this summer on the U19 team. Had he been there, the finish may have had something to do with gold. Crabbe was out due to a concession.

After the season ended, I wrote this about Crabbe:

“You don’t know the name if you live east of the Rocky Mountains. Heck, you probably don’t even know the name if you live east of California but Allen Crabbe is a star in waiting. The Cal Bear sophomore-to-be was the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year this season after a stellar college debut. The long-armed wing averaged 16.4 points a game in the 2011 calendar year. He scored over 20 points in four of his last five games of the year. Crabbe is a terrific shooter, incredibly confident and surging at the right time. Don’t be surprised to see him become a hot name on NBA draft boards next year.”

Hey, he’s a pro.

2010-2011 STATS: 13.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2 apg, 44.6% FG, 40% 3PT

NHR Top 100: #33 Reeves Nelson, PF, UCLA

2 Nov

PHOTO: Getty Images

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

Number 33 – Reeves Nelson, PF, Jr., UCLA

Tough guy? Check. Great rebounder? Check. Mismatch? Check. Smack-talker? Check. Will tackle his grandmother for a loose ball? Check.

Sounds like a Big East power forward, right? Check…wait, don’t check that. Nelson, a California kid, is the resident tough guy in the Pac-12 and one of the reasons why the Bruins are being touted as a team to be reckoned with on the West Coast this year. Continue reading

NHR Top 100: #36 Jared Cunningham, SG, Oregon State

31 Oct

PHOTO: Getty Images

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

Number 36 – Jared Cunningham, SG, Jr., Oregon State

The National Hoops Report is a big fan of the flying Beaver from NorCal, aka Flight Time.

He was a national favorite last year with his amazing put back dunk against Arizona (the best #dunkage of the season if you ask the NHR) and he’s also known for being a defensive dynamo. In fact, he’s one of the top five defenders in America. That’s a fact. Continue reading

Small roster is no laughing matter for Southern Cal

29 Oct

Southern Cal will need Maurice Jones to stay healthy all year. That's no joke. (PHOTO: OC Register)

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

Kevin O’Neill is a funny guy but the only laughter that he’s letting out these days is in the form of a nervous chuckle.

The Trojans will be a brand new team this year. It was a fire sale, of sorts, around Trojan-land over the last two years and the Galen Center will have new faces running up and down the hardwood. It is never easy to project a team that has no base to judge a team on.

O’Neill doesn’t really have a clue either. Continue reading

Young Arizona team faces early season growing pains

28 Oct

Arizona freshman Nick Johnson was one of the few bright spots in Arizona's exhibition loss on Thursday.

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

If you stayed up late to watch the amazing game 6 of the World Series, you may have caught the note that Arizona lost to Seattle Pacific in an exhibition game 69-68. Continue reading

Oregon ready for new year

15 Oct

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

Eugene, Oregon is a hopping spot this weekend as ESPN’s College Game Day is in town for the Ducks football game against Arizona State. Across the river at Matthew Knight Arena, the fans packed into one of the nicest arena’s in America to see a new breed of Ducks start the season off. Continue reading

NHR Top 100: #56 Josh Smith, C, UCLA

13 Oct

PHOTO: Getty Images

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

Number 56 – Josh Smith, C, Soph., UCLA

This ranking is based solely on two things: he’s coached by a fine coach in Ben Howland and the natural ability is hard to deny.

What has, and probably always will be, in question are his ever-changing weight issues. He’s bigger than ever before, according to some reports over the summer. Then there are reports saying Smith is down 10 more pounds.

Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. Continue reading

California Dreaming: How Arizona is taking over the Golden State

6 Oct

Photo: Getty Images

By Brian Flinn
National Hoops Report        

Just a few short years ago, legendary Arizona coach Lute Olson decided to hang them up. The Wildcats had reached new heights under their longtime head coach, and after controversy, illness, and a drop off in production, the team that had once made the NCAA’s 25 times in a row ceased to exist.

What was Arizona’s answer to replacing such a legend? Hiring Xavier coach Sean Miller.

Xavier has had a history of being a launching pad for good young coaches, producing the likes of Skipp Prosser, Thad Matta, and Miller. Within his first season as the new boss for the Wildcats, Miller had proven that Arizona would be a power on the recruiting trail, despite a disappointing 16-15 record that year.

While Miller has gotten top players from all over the country, recently he has set his eyes on the fertile recruiting area that is California. What makes this foray into the area more interesting is that fellow PAC-12 teams UCLA, Cal, USC, and Stanford all reside in the state as well, meaning the Wildcats are doing a lot of recruiting in their neighbors’ backyards.

The pipeline from California emerged this past season with Miller getting top point guard Josiah Turner to come to Tucson as well as fellow top 100 prospect Angelo Chol. Turner was the best player in the class of 2011 to come out of California, and Chol was the second best big man to come from the state. While those two should team with fellow freshmen Nick Johnson and Sidiki Johnson to form a solid nucleus this season, its next year’s class that have Arizona fans really excited.

Three top 50 players in the class of 2012 have already committed to Arizona, and all of them are from California. Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett are two of the top big men in the country as well as the two best players in the state. Gabe York is a talented combo guard who is the third best player and best guard coming out of California this season.

To put it bluntly, Arizona has put a stranglehold on recruiting California. It is worth mentioning that the Wildcats are also involved with center Robert Upshaw, the fourth best player in the state. While Upshaw seems to be a backup plan if Arizona can’t land Kaleb Twarzewski, it would be impressive if they were able to land the top 4 players in the state.

So why the sudden dominance of Arizona in California?

Stanford has had problems returning to the level they were once at when the Lopez twins were roaming the paint. USC is still dealing with controversy sparked by Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo, and UCLA will always have the image of a team that doesn’t let its players reach their potential under Ben Howland. Cal is a solid program that has yet to make the jump to be a consistent contender in March, and until they do, it will be hard to lure in the top recruits in the state.

The recruiting area that is California is up for grabs right now, and Arizona is making a serious push to take over as the top dogs in the conference because they recruiting the state so well.

Look for Miller and company to continue to pull top prospects out of the state as long as he is the boss there. If the Wildcats can do that, it might be another 25 years before they miss the tournament again.

The Mighty Ducks: Dana Altman is quietly building a giant in Oregon

25 Aug

By Brian Flinn
National Hoops Report

One of the biggest storylines last season was the search for a new head coach in Oregon. Candidates ranged from established coaches like Tom Izzo to Brad Stevens. In the end the Ducks ended up with Creighton head man Dana Altman, it was regarded as a solid, if unspectacular hire. Continue reading

NHR Top 100: #70 Olu Ashaolu, PF, Oregon

22 Aug

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

Number 70 – Olu Ashaolu, PF, Sr., Oregon

There is a new regime in Eugene for the Oregon Ducks basketball program. Dana Altman said all year that he was enjoying his team and respected the effort that it took to have a good run late in the season en route to a CBI championship. At the end of the season, Altman said he was ready to get his own players in the new Matthew Knight Arena and begin his team with his players.

Ashaolu was one of the first pieces. The fifth year senior transfer from Louisiana Tech is exactly what Oregon needed. Continue reading