UP, Viks get help in bid to catch up
The makeovers at Portland and Portland State continue, although the coaches aren't promising immediate results.
Coach Michael Holton will not say that his UP team has been transformed from Danny DeVito to Brad Pitt. Never will his counterpart, Heath Schroyer, convincingly say that PSU has gone from Phyllis Diller to Heidi Klum.
A lot of makeup still needs to be applied before either team becomes easy on the eyes Ñ winning games and even thinking about being invited to the Big Dance.
Holton has signed five players. Two scholarships were available at the end of the season, and three more opened up when UP dropped center Eric Soderberg and guard Brian Kim and forward Ghislain Sema ended his career because of stress fractures in his foot.
'That's disappointing,' Holton says of Sema, a player he wanted to keep. 'He couldn't compete at this level on a consistent basis.'
The Pilot frontcourt and defense needed help Ñ something about being outrebounded by an average of 9.6 and allowing opponents to shoot .461 last season.
Holton went to Australia to secure the skilled 6-9 Chris Jackson and expects him to play next season. The Pilots signed 6-8, 180-pound forward Dreshawn Vance from Walnut, Calif., who could redshirt.
Both can rebound, but Holton calls Jackson an inside-outside threat, not a back-to-the-basket big man. Vance is 'more your wiry shot-blocker and a run-the-floor type of guy,' Holton says. 'He can get moved around. He needs some development. You can add strength. You can't necessarily increase skills.'
Holton thinks that Andreas Gahlmann will battle for a starting spot in the post. Dustin Geddis and Patrick Galos will play power forward.
The Pilots' backcourt strength (Donald Wilson, Eugene Jeter) has been supplemented with the signings of 6-2 Sean Smith, who sat out last year after a stellar career at Vancouver's Hudson's Bay High, where he averaged 25 points a game his senior year; 6-3 Darren Cooper, the Benson grad who played at Eastern Washington; and versatile 6-5 Devin Peal of Richmond, Calif.
Smith is a lights-out shooter along the lines of Casey Frandsen. Cooper will not be available until December because of NCAA transfer rules. He should spell Jeter and Adam Quick at the point, play some shooting guard and excel defensively. Peal doesn't float around the perimeter but gets involved on defense, rebounding and scoring inside. 'A utility player,' Holton says.
Schroyer won five games his first year but clearly looked forward to 2003-04, when seven essentially new players will take the floor Ñ junior college guards Will Funn and Blake Walker, athletic Texas El-Paso transfer Antone Jarrell, injured redshirt forwards Marshal Hartman and Seamus Boxley, 6-10 Nigerian Nguye Kaladokubo and 6-2 guard Deshawn Anderson. Eight others return.
Kaladokubo Ñ the Vikings call him 'Bob' Ñ was to sign this week. He played at Midland (Texas) JC. He's 6-10 and 260 and will push returning post Seth Scott in practice. Literally, push. 'Bob' will provide defense and rebounding, leaving the scoring to Scott.
Anderson, from Fresno JC, hasn't been put on scholarship Ñ yet Ñ but he has enrolled at PSU. Schroyer says he will make an impact next year.