Showing the love to Oregons best
Introducing the 2003-04 Trib Awards, from what one college basketball reporter has seen, heard, read or simply invented:
Most Irrelevant Award: Sounds like high school logic, the league's coaches giving the Pacific-10 Conference player of the year honor to the best player on the best team (Josh Childress, Stanford). If the same criteria held true in 2002, Oregon's Fred Jones should have gotten the award instead of USC's Sam Clancy.
No way Childress meant more to his team than UO's Luke Jackson did to his. Without an injured Childress, the balanced Cardinal went 9-0. Without Jackson, the Ducks would not have won eight games.
No way Childress had a better year, either. Jackson outscored Childress (21.1 points per game to 15.3), had more assists (4.59 to 2.29), shot better at the free-throw line (.870 to .807) and 3-point line (.443 to .403), and had the better assist-to-turnover ratio (1.68/1 to 1.17/1). Childress barely edged Jackson in rebounding (7.5 to 7.3) and field-goal percentage (.495 to .480). Childress took 222 shots, including 77 from 3-point range. Jackson attempted 379 shots, 149 of them 3s.
'I Would Swim to Hawaii if Coach Asked Me to' Award: Don't get in Dustin Geddis' way, or you'll have 'Nike' embedded on your forehead. Nobody played harder, more intensely, or wanted to win more than the 6-7 University of Portland senior.
MVP (Most Valuable Portlander): Just think, had an Oregon State scholarship not opened up two years ago, this might have been Chris Stephens' second season at Chemeketa Community College. A clutch and confident shooter, Stephens averaged 15.8 points and made many Portlanders remember how they forgot about him at Madison High. He had more of an impact on his team than point guard Aaron Miles did at Kansas.
Best Senior Class: Six of them, including four-year players in twin brothers Matt and Nate Ferrier and Andre Johnson and Jerry Smith, helped Concordia win 20 games in back-to-back seasons. And they played in the honor of classmate Bryan Dunn, who died in an automobile accident in summer 2001 after playing in 29 games as a freshman. 'He was the best player out of all of them,' coach Brad Barbarick says.
'Wish I Could Start My Career Over' Award: Actually, Oregon's Cathrine Kraayeveld and her two blown-out knees should get another chance with a medical hardship year, expected to be approved for next season. She has played in 20 games the past two years, averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds in 2002-03 and 17 points and 9 boards this past season.
Best Rumor: Rumblings in Tucson, Ariz., have Salim Stoudamire playing his last games at Arizona. Writes Greg Hansen in the Arizona Daily Star: 'Salim Stoudamire has another year of eligibility, but when the UA completes this basketball season, he'll be wise to consider if he wishes to continue as a Wildcat. Moreover, the UA will be smart to examine whether it wants to renew his scholarship.'
Hansen intimates Stoudamire should correct his oft-moody attitude, transfer to 'Pepperdine or Portland State or someplace like that' or declare for the pros.
Adds Hansen: 'Whatever Stoudamire decides, he probably is working on his last chance at the UA. One player probably can't bring down a proud and established program like the one at McKale Center. But I doubt that anyone really wants to find out.'
Dearly Departed: PSU women's coach George Wolfe and the Vikings part ways. Anybody want the job?
Biggest Turnaround: The Cascade men and women played in the NAIA Division II Cascade Conference playoffs in 2002-03, and the men played in the national tournament. This year? The men went 6-25 overall (2-16 league), the women 1-25 (1-17).
Five Oregon Guys Who Could Beat Those Blazer Alumni Geezers: The Trib all-stars would be UO's Jackson, OSU's David Lucas, Portland State's Seamus Boxley, Portland's Eugene Jeter and Lewis & Clark's John Mietus. The coach: the Beavers' Jay John.
Hitchhiker of the Year: Gonzaga's Brian Michaelson, the Jesuit grad who has played in 14 games (39 minutes) and scored 10 points. Maybe the Zags will give him a lift all the way to San Antonio.
Most Unhappy: Marshal Hartman left Portland State to pursue other opportunities and to just play and 'have fun.' Translation: He grew tired of coach Heath Schroyer harping on him.
A Pro in the Making: Wilson grad Chris Rodgers, because he puts defense first and knows how to get his shot and play point guard at the same time.
Best-Dressed Coach: Portland's Michael Holton. Does he sleep in a designer suit or what? What's the phone number for GQ magazine?
Biggest Challenge for PSU Announcer Tom Hewitt: Next year, try saying, 'Sheu Oduniyi passes into Nguye Kaladokubo who dumps it off to Marier Angui for the dunk,' really fast. Of course, it needs to happen first.
Five Women Who Could Come Close to Beating UConn: The Trib all-stars are UP's Khalila O'Rielly-Williams, PSU's Sarah Hedgepeth, Oregon's Corrie Mizusawa and OSU's Leilani Estavan and Shannon Howell (on a good night). The coach: OSU's Judy Spoelstra.
'I'm Great at One Thing' Award: OSU's Lamar Hurd, who won't turn the ball over unless the Incredible Hulk rips it from his clutches. Runner-up: UO's James Davis, who is to 3-point baskets what Phil Knight is to making shoes.
And, finally É
Top Performing Portlander: Benson grad Robert Day concluded his career at Western Oregon, averaging 21.2 points a game and scoring 39 points twice. Sorry we never showed the love, man. Signed, the Trib.