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Posts Tagged ‘Kyle Weaver’

Weaver makes NBA ‘debut’ this afternoon

Posted by Jeff Nusser on July 12, 2008

The broadcast schedule is up online for the NBA summer league in Las Vegas, and if you have a broadband connection, you can catch Kyle Weaver’s first game with the Charlotte Bobcats today at 3 p.m. PT. — all you have to do is become an NBA.com “All-Access” member (which is free). The video from each game also is archived to watch later here if you can’t catch it today.

Derrick Low made his debut yesterday with the Dallas Mavericks, but played only three minutes. He did shoot 1-for-2 and dish out a pair of assists, but here’s to hoping he can get some more minutes to show what he can do.

To track how each does, Weaver has his own summer league page here, while Low’s summer league page is here.

Posted in News | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Weaver lands in a great spot; Low faces uphill battle

Posted by Jeff Nusser on July 4, 2008

Man, it’s been a lot harder finding time to do this than I thought it would — who knew a teacher on “vacation” could be so busy? Hope you all are barbecuing and enjoying your 4th!

Anyway, onto Kyle Weaver. As I checked in periodically with the draft as it unfolded last week, I found myself getting anxious for Weaver. It became clear pretty quickly that he wasn’t going to go in the first round — especially as guys such as CDR and DeAndre Jordan dropped like rocks — so mostly I was just rooting for him to go to a situation where he had a better than even chance of making a roster.

I think he found that when he was drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats.

Outside of being drafted in the first round, going to Charlotte is probably one of the better situations Weaver could have asked for. First of all, let’s start with the Bobcats’ new coach, Larry Brown. After his awful experience in New York, he’s desperate for redemption in Charlotte. He’ll have no patience for shenanigans, or players who make stupid mistakes or have no interest in playing defense.

Weaver is about as free of pretentiousness as a player gets, and we all know how smart he is on offense and how hard he works on defense. He just seems to be exactly the kind of player Brown loves, and while Weaver likely won’t get a guaranteed contract, I’d be pretty shocked if he doesn’t make Charlotte’s roster. The backcourt is a bit crowded there, but this is a team that is probably going to move some parts. Expect Derek Anderson to be gone, and there’s rampant speculation that Raymond Felton is going to be traded after drafting D.J. Augustin.

You can read a great story that focuses exclusively on Weaver here, from his hometown paper. Excellent quotes.

Weaver will get the first chance to show what he can do at the Las Vegas summer league, starting July 11. I’m assuming some of that league’s games will be on NBATV, but there’s not TV schedule out there yet. I’ll pass it along if it looks like Weaver’s going to be on TV.

As for Derrick Low, you all know he didn’t get drafted. He’ll be in that same summer league with Weaver, playing for the Dallas Mavericks, and he’s got a very, very uphill battle to make that roster. But you never know. He also could catch someone else’s eye if it looks like he’s not going to stick with the Mavs.

Posted in NBA Draft, News | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Weaver lands in a great spot; Low faces uphill battle

Weaver looking like a fringe first-rounder

Posted by Jeff Nusser on April 29, 2008

Now that the deadline has passed for underclassmen to declare for the draft, both the 2008-09 college seasons and the 2008 NBA Draft are starting to take shape. This is still pretty preliminary, as a number of players who declared could still come back for their senior seasons, but we’re starting to get an idea of what “experts” think of where these guys will get drafted.

If you’re curious, Kyle Weaver is looking like a fringe first-rounder, according to DraftExpress.com and NBADraft.net. I’d love to tell you what Chad Ford at ESPN.com thinks, since he generally seems to be a little more in tune with what teams actually might do, but all of his content is Insider. If anyone has access to that info, post it in the comments. There are other ones out there, too, but most of them have yet to reflect the guys that actually didn’t declare.

These projections can fluctuate pretty wildly in the next couple of months, based both off of performances at pre-draft camps and team needs/preferences, but it tells you what you need to know about how people are viewing Weaver’s skill set: He’s a winner who projects to point guard at the NBA level with his smarts, passing ability and defensive length. More or less the kind of guy that can help out a team that doesn’t need him to carry the mail, the kind of team found at the bottom of the first round.

I’m no draft expert, but that would seem to be the high end for Weaver, barring a spectacular showing at a pre-draft camp. The guys in front of him on the board are guys not likely to head back to college thanks to their potential, and of course, we all know what a premium the NBA places on potential in the draft over actual proven abilities.

Getting into the first round would be huge for Weaver. The difference between the 30th overall pick and the 31st? Two years guaranteed at just under $1 million each with team options for the third and fourth years vs. the prospect of a non-guaranteed contract.

As for Derrick Low? He had some well-publicized difficulties at the Portsmouth Invitational draft camp, and isn’t on anyone’s radar as even a second round pick at the moment. But that could change, too, with a good showing at another camp.

Posted in Around the 'Net, NBA Draft | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

One down, five to go

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 20, 2008

So, how about those halftime adjustments?

With WSU and Winthrop tied at the half, I identified five things that were going wrong for the Cougs that allowed the Eagles to hang close. Some of it was Winthrop; most of it was our own doing. TB and the boys must have had the blog on the laptop at halftime, because here’s what happened:

  1. Too many turnovers — 1st half: 5; 2nd half: 3.
  2. Too many offensive rebounds — 1st half 5; 2nd half 1.
  3. Too much Taj McCullough — 1st half 15 points; 2nd half 2 points.
  4. Too many 3s given up — 1st half 4-for-8; 2nd half 2-for-11.
  5. Too little Low — 1st half zero points; 2nd half 11 points.

I honestly don’t have enough superlatives to describe that second half of basketball. What a veteran, gutty performance. It was so calm, so collected, that you’d hardly know they were being threatened by a lesser team. They knew, if they shored up a few things and kept doing what they were doing, that they were going to be able to stop Winthrop and get some things going offensively.

To me, this game illustrates perfectly the difference between last year’s team and this year’s team. With the offense sputtering tonight, Kyle Weaver was able to carry us until the rest of the team got going. Not only that, but our offense was able to keep us in it, even as the other team played out of its collective mind. And of course, Aron Baynes had just the kind of game we all thought he could — some nice post moves against smaller guys and dunks off guard penetration.

That was as dominant a stretch of basketball as you’ll see in this tournament, No. 1 seed or otherwise. To hold any tournament team that’s not a No. 16 seed to single digit points for the vast majority of a half is just spectacular. It even allowed us to get a little rest for the regulars, which is no small thing this time of year.

And don’t take it for granted that that’s what high seeds do — just look at all the trouble Duke had with Belmont and Xavier had with Georgia. (And Wisconsin is having with Cal State-Fullerton. Go Josh Akognon!) This was just what the doctor ordered. If a deep run into this tournament isn’t in the cards, it won’t be because this team isn’t ready.

I’ll probably have some additional thoughts tomorrow once all the stats roll in, but you should be doing what I’m doing right now: Basking in the glow of a tremendous victory.

One down, five to go.

Posted in Game Analysis, NCAA Tournament | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

GAME THREAD: No. 3 WSU vs. No. 14 Winthrop

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 20, 2008

Cougars (24-8) vs. Eagles (22-11)

Pepsi Center (Denver, Colo.), 4:20 p.m. PDT
TV: CBS

A lot of national pundits are dreading this game, saying it probably will be the most boring game of the opening round. If you’re a fan of another team and think teams that value every possession on both offense and defense are boring, then I guess you’re probably going to not like this game very much. But since one man’s boring is a Coug fan’s beautiful, this game will positively be eye candy to us, especially since it’s unlikely that any other team is going to beat us at what we do best.

Now, a lot of people have said this game features two teams that mirror each other. That’s probably true in terms of style — Winthrop averages 63.7 possessions (291st nationally) and WSU 59.1 (336th) thanks to patient offense and hard-nosed defense — but that’s where the comparisons ought to end.

While most people associate the Cougs with defense, and rightly so, they often do so at the expense of recognizing the offense, which is one of the best in the country (21st in offensive efficiency). There is no such confusion with Winthrop. The Eagles are one of the most defense-depended teams in the tournament, ranking 14th nationally in defensive efficiency (89.8), but just 228th in offensive efficiency (97.1). Honestly, this is a team the Cougs should have very little difficulty shutting down.

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Posted in Game Threads, NCAA Tournament | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

A day I’ll always remember

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 10, 2008

I have a lot of conflicting feelings about what I witnessed in Pullman on Saturday, mostly because I think the game represented two very separate and distinct experiences as a Cougar basketball fan.

The first experience, and obviously the one I will remember most fondly once this season is in the rear view mirror, is of being able to give these five seniors the hero’s send off they all so richly deserved. As I contributed my voice to the cheers that descended from the rafters, I thought of all the joy these guys have brought us — not only in the successes of the past two years, but in the lumps they took the first two years as we learned to love Bennett ball.

In that respect, the game did not even come close to disappointing. As Ryan Appleby’s last chance to send the game to a third overtime clanged off the rim (do you realize that guy never beat WSU in his three years in Seattle?), Aron Baynes practically stomped a hole in the Friel Court floor, the seniors smiled weary, exhausted smiles, and I high-fived anyone within reach of me. (Except for the guy to my left who spent the entire game trying to impress his girlfriend with his “knowledge” of basketball and superfluous string of profanties. I didn’t high-five him. But that’s another story.) Watching the players gather at midcourt for one final time at Beasley and then thank the fans back for their support — specifically the Zzu Cru, which stepped up huge with spring break already underway — just made me feel so proud to be a Coug.

But during the game itself, I had a heck of a hard time separating that experience from the one that kept staring me in the face — the one that let the Huskies hang around far longer than they should have, the one that scares me to death going forward from here, now that the postseason is upon us.

For the fourth time in five games, the offense performed well below its season standard. What’s weird about it is there’s not really one thing you can point to as a neat and tidy explanation for the issues that have caused the funk. In two games, it was simply poor shooting (Arizona State, Arizona); in another, an inability to get anywhere near the rim or to the free throw line for the most critical stretch of the game (Stanford); against Washington, it was turnovers and poor free throw shooting.

The problem with having no tidy explanation, of course, is that there are no tidy fixes, either. So we’re left to wonder: Is there something bigger going on here? At various times throughout the year I’ve openly wondered if this team is tiring, given not only the heavy minutes most of our starters log but the nature of those grinding minutes thanks to the Cougar basketball style. And I’ll openly wonder it again.

I think this team is a lot more worn down and banged up than anyone is letting on. Daven Harmeling was completely ineffective again, getting absolutely abused on defense, thanks to his lack of lateral movement, to the tune of three fouls in four minutes. Kyle Weaver clearly is playing hurt, something that was exacerbated when he landed hard in the game. I don’t know if they showed it on TV, but many times Weaver was the last to leave the huddle, sitting on his chair until the very last second he had to get up and limp his way into position. He is battling, but he made some uncharacteristically boneheaded decisions with the ball in that game, which makes you wonder if his pain is getting into his head.

Then, there is the not-so-obvious candidate. For about 38 minutes, Aron Baynes was having a flashback to his freshman year, and someone close to the program speculated after the game that he might be playing through some back issues. It would make sense, because he just didn’t look like the same guy out there for most of that game, allowing a lot of rebounds that he normally just does not give up. It also might help explain his sudden ineptitude from the free throw line — when you’re dealing with that big of a body, it doesn’t take much to throw off a shot.

For the Cougs, Weaver, Baynes and Harmeling are three important cogs that serve distinctly unique and important roles on this team. For all that Ptowncoug wants to rail against Baynes being a focal point of the offense, you saw how much the game changed once Baynes started being aggressive around the basket, how the threat of him scoring opened things up for everyone else. You’ve also seen at times this year how a healthy Harmeling completely changes the way teams defend us. And it doesn’t even need to be stated what Weaver means to our offense.

Additionally, I think it affected us on the defensive end, too. We’ve been doing such an outstanding job of rebounding as of late that we’ve started to take it for granted. We did a spectacular job of keeping the Huskies from making shots on Saturday, but we got absolutely destroyed on the glass. A lot of the credit has to be given to Washington, which was relentless in its pursuit of the ball. But how does Weaver play 44 minutes and grab only three rebounds? Or Baynes play 38 and grab only eight? How do we get outrebounded by nearly 20? We know what the point of emphasis will be heading towards Thursday, especially after Oregon did a similar thing to Arizona on the glass in its win on Saturday.

Now, I know everyone is banged up this time of year. But one of the interesting things about the way this team is constructed — besides lacking a lot of depth — is that it’s not a team full of interchangeable parts. When one of these guys isn’t able to do his job, it’s to the detriment of the whole. And this whole needs to be functioning at its tip-top level very soon. Let’s hope some of this stuff heals up a bit between now and Thursday.

That said, nothing can take away from the fun I had this weekend, and the memories I made. I couldn’t stand the thought of having to get to November’s Apple Cup with the Huskies finally breaking the streak. Thank goodness I don’t have to.

Seven in a row, baby!

Posted in Game Analysis | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

Thank goodness Brook Lopez will be in the NBA next year

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 3, 2008

I tried to be upset about Saturday. I really did. And it worked for a while, as I thought about how our chance for a signature win had disintegrated before my very eyes under an avalanche of Brook Lopez and stunningly ineffective offense.

But then I remembered I was at my son’s first birthday party. It was awful tough to be mad when this was staring me in the face all day:

So it was that I didn’t get a chance to put up a game thread — I could not get to a computer at all from the time I left Wenatchee on Friday until last night when I got back to Wenatchee last night. I apologize for that, and can truthfully tell you that it won’t happen again this year.

Back to Saturday’s game. It’s not tough to figure out where this one went wrong.

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Posted in Game Analysis | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Best performance of the season so far

Posted by Jeff Nusser on February 29, 2008

Today’s going to be a two-post day, because I’m finding as I’m writing that I have a lot to say. (Which, of course, will come as a complete shock to anyone who knows me.) Here’s the first one, a look back at last night. I’ll have one a little later on the defense.

In the wake of the Arizona loss, we were left with a number of questions floating around in our heads.

We wondered if the offensive funk against the Sun Devils and the Wildcats was an aberration or a sign of something bigger, such as tired legs. We wondered if we should simply chalk the second consecutive poor performance against Arizona to matchup problems.

Most of all, we wondered if the four-game win streak, in which the Cougs played the kind of defense that reminded us of last year, was a mirage — and if our hopes for a high NCAA seeding were slipping away before our eyes.

After last night, there should be very little doubt about the answers to those questions. And the answers are all positive.

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Posted in Game Analysis | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Basketball is beautiful and Kyle Weaver is awesome

Posted by Jeff Nusser on February 11, 2008

I finally got a chance to watch the USC game in its entirety today on ESPN360, and all I really want to do is watch it again. At the risk of offending Jo-Jo, soccer is not the beautiful game — basketball, when it’s played the way the Cougars played it on Saturday in dismantling USC, is.

I say that not because we ran roughshod over USC, because we really didn’t, despite what the final score said. No, it was beautiful because this was Cougar basketball at its finest — methodical and opportunistic. Somewhere, Dick Bennett was smiling broadly. (Despite what we saw for three years, he does smile.)

The performance was most impressive for its sheer, cold efficiency. Check out the game flow from ESPN.com:

ESPN WSU-USC

Notice how the graph steadily gets wider as the game goes along? That’s our offense just being steady-eddie, sharing the ball to the tune of 17 assists. Notice those long flat spots for USC? That’s our defense turning up the juice. Just awesome on all fronts.

Right now, though, nothing is more awesome than Kyle Weaver. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Breakdowns, Game Analysis | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Are the Cougs tired?

Posted by Jeff Nusser on February 6, 2008

Early this season, I mentioned that I was concerned about the minutes our starters were logging, especially in blowouts. Then, as this team slugged its way through the first seven games of the Pac-10 season, we all pointed to some road weariness before the start of this four-game homestand.

With that, I pose this question: Is it possible Tony Bennett deserves some of the blame for our failing defense? Here’s what I said in his grade report at the end of the non-conference season:

It certainly appears Tony Bennett is putting all his eggs into this season. His starters have logged heavy minutes in a lot of blowouts, as he tries to get this team into peak performance shape before Pac-10 play. Development of younger players has been largely pushed to the side. … However, the measurement of the job Bennett does will come at the end of the year when this NCAA Tournament-or-bust strategy can truly be evaluated.

A number of people said to me that starters on other teams were logging just as heavy of minutes as our frontline players, and to a certain extent, that’s true. Taylor Rochestie leads the team in percentage of minutes played at 81.2, far behind Pac-10 guys like O.J. Mayo (90.1), Patrick Christopher (87.3) or Chase Budinger (86.5 percent).

However, the big difference is this: In most of those situations, it’s a player or two from each team who’s spending so much time on the floor. In the Cougars’ case, it’s all the starters — especially the three guards — who are carrying such a heavy load. WSU starters are playing 76.6 percent of the available minutes — 27th nationally. Arizona and USC are the only Pac-10 teams who exceed that.

Additionally, among Pac-10 players, the Cougars have three of the top 14 players in terms of percentage of minutes played: Rochestie (seventh), Kyle Weaver (10th, 80.6 percent) and Derrick Low (14th, 78.7). No other team has more than two in those top 14, and some — UCLA, Arizona State and Washington — have only one.

For a team that already doesn’t have the quickest feet, this could be another reason why we’re seeing such a drop off in defensive effectiveness. Just some food for thought.

Posted in Breakdowns | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »