basketball

Stotts steps in as Blazers coach

The Dallas assistant coach brings head coaching experience to Portland
Aug. 7, 2012

The Portland Trail Blazers hired Terry Stotts as head coach on Tuesday, filling the NBA's last coaching vacancy.

The 54-year-old Stotts had a 115-168 record as coach of the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks before spending the past four seasons as an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks. He inherits a team that fell drastically short of expectations last season and heads into the new campaign with a roster that includes forwards LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, and a lot of question marks.

"Terry is one of the elite offensive minds in the NBA, has extensive experience with multiple organizations and was instrumental in the Dallas Mavericks winning the 2011 NBA championship," general manager Neil Olshey said. "He understands the vision for the future of the franchise, appreciates the process involved and will create an environment on the court that will produce championship habits."

Stotts replaces Kaleb Canales, who went 8-15 in an interim role after Nate McMillan was fired.

Stotts and Canales emerged as the finalists for the permanent job, and the men reportedly interviewed with owner Paul Allen over the weekend at the London Olympics. Canales has been in the Trail Blazers organization since 2005. It is unclear if he will remain with the club.

"I'm very pleased to be part of a great franchise in a beautiful city with a such a proud history," Stotts said in a news release. "I look forward to working hard with Neil and our players toward the ultimate goal of bringing another championship to Portland."

Before becoming a head coach, Stotts was an assistant under George Karl for six years in Seattle and four with Milwaukee.

Blazers move slowly toward future

With a coach still uncertain, Portland announces its 2012-13 schedule
Aug. 6, 2012

It won't be long after the London Summer Olympic Games end that the NBA season will come back into view for pro basketball fans across the nation.

In Portland, the NBA season might seem months away as the team has yet to name its head coach or find a team president.

Those issues aside, the Blazers announced their 2012-13 schedule last week, with the season beginning on Halloween at home against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Portland's season includes a seven-game road trip in late December and early January, followed by a six-game homestand.

The Blazers are scheduled to play eight times on ESPN and TNT with seven of the eight at the Rose Garden.

 

 

What about Terry?

Former Blazer Terry Porter would be a good choice for coach
May 21, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Remember Terry Porter?

One of the all-time greatest players in the history of the Portland Trail Blazers?

Porter once coached in the NBA, but his name has seldom been brought up as a possible coach of the Blazers, a team without a coach.

What about Terry as coach of the Blazers?

Porter has been a reporter for the Blazers, an assistant with numerous teams and a head coach in both Milwaukee and Phoenix. Currently, he's an assistant in Minnesota under coach Rick Adelman, who was his coach in Portland.

Portland's management could do a heckuva lot worse that hire Porter as head coach.

He's got a significant background in Portland as a player, experience as a head coach in the league and people love him here.

In chasing Steve Kerr to be general manager, the Blazers have established that they'd do whatever it takes to get their man as GM. What about Terry Porter as coach? He expressed interest publicly in the job last year, although only if the team came after him.

The Blazers could do a heckuva lot worse than chase after Porter as head coach, but that's kind of what they've been doing lately - a heckuva lot worse.

 

Blazers drop home finale to Utah

Jazz keep rolling toward playoffs with 112-91 win at Rose Garden
April 18, 2012

The season is almost over for the Portland Trail Blazers. And, their fans.

Utah's starting backcourt of Devin Harris and Gordon Hayward went off for 50 points and Portland shot just 39 percent from the field in Portland's home finale at the Rose Garden Wednesday night.

Portland got 21 points from Wesley Matthews and 16 points each from Nolan Smith, J.J. Hickson and Luke Babbitt, but dropped its fourth-straight game with three more road contests left in the 2012 season.

The Blazers, who were among the league's hottest teams in the first 10 games, dropped to 28-35. They play at Memphis Saturday, at San Antonio Monday and close the season at Utah on April 26.

 

So, just who's running the Blazers?

SPORTLAND: Monday night it was the Phoenix Suns by 18 points
April 16, 2012

With LaMarcus Aldridge out for the remainder of the season, and Raymond Felton sitting with body aches, the Portland Trail Blazers gamely challenged the Phoenix Suns Monday night on the road, but eventually lost to ensure they'll finish below .500 for the first time in five seasons.

J.J. Hickson scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Jamal Crawford had 22 points, five rebounds and four assists to lead Portland, which fell to 28-34 heading for its home finale Wednesday against Utah.

Portland has reached the NBA Playoffs the past three seasons and finished 41-41 in 2008, but can finish only at 32-34 if it wins its remaining four games, three of which are on the road.

The struggles the team has had this season leave plenty of questions for fans, starting with just who's going to be leading the rebuilding process that seems to have been going on since the season began with the team having an "acting" or interim general manager all season.

Monday, the Sportland crew delved into how the Blazers might go about rebuilding themselves into a playoff team and stumbled on the very first question any fan will be asking as the playoffs begin without the team: who's running the Blazers?

Who's the General Manager that's going to lead the rebuilding process? And, even, who wants to move to a team that's fired two GMs in the past three years and had an "acting" GM for an entire season?

On the side that makes the job appealing is the flexibility the team has with draft picks and ability to attract free agents because of salary cap room. And, the team has shown the ability to spend money in the past. But, is that the future?

Also, the Sportsland crew jumped into the struggles the Portland Timbers are having with holding a lead as the top team in MLS heads for Jeld-Wen Field.

Those topics and the regular topics of What We're Watching, What Plucks Your Ducks and What Makes Your Beaver Eager are all part of the show.

 

Dallas avenges last-second loss

Mavs roll into Portland for routine 97-94 victory
April 13, 2012

Without LaMarcus Aldridge to hit a last-second shot, the Portland Trail Blazers fell 97-94 to the Dallas Mavericks Friday night, a loss that extinguished whatever miraculous hope the team's fans had of reaching the NBA Playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.

Nicolas Batum had 20 points and eight rebounds and J.J. Hickson had 13 points and 10 rebounds starting in place of Aldridge, who sat out a second straight game with a hip injury. Aldridge is listed as day-to-day.

Portland fell to 28-32 and can win only as many as 34 games with a six-game win streak.

Dirk Nowitzki had 24 points to lead Dallas, which lost to the Blazers on a last-second shot in Dallas a week earlier. The Mavericks, the defending league champions, improved to 34-26 and are in sixth place in the Western Conference standings, 1.5 games ahead of Houston and Denver, which are tied at 32-27. Phoenix, 31-28, and Utah, 31-29, are also in the battle for a playoff spot.

Portland plays five of its remaining six games on the road, beginning at Sacramento Sunday. The Blazers' final home game is Wednesday against Utah.

 

Hard work pays off for Jones, Kentucky

COLUMN: Former Jefferson standout earns high praise for his consistency
April 2, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Congrats Coach Cal, and those boys who got you your first NCAA men's basketball title Monday night.

Especially, the Portlanders: Terrence Jones and Kyle Wiltjer; both of whom have experienced quite a lot of success in their young basketball careers. Each has three state titles and, now, an NCAA title in hand.

Their careers are ready to be judged by their professional results with Jones on the fast-track to this year's NBA Draft. Of the players on the Kentucky roster, he might have done the most good for himself during the title run simply by not doing too much.

Even though Jones is among the players analysts regularly consider an NBA Lottery pick, he's also regularly viewed as a questionable talent, something that gets written about as "when he shows up," which isn't a great thing to have in your talent bio.

Jones has developed that line for years, which I got to see first-hand at Jefferson.

The Democrats won Class 5A titles in 2008, '09 and '10, but during his final two seasons he was basically allowed to do whatever in most games. Jefferson lost only two games to another Portland Interscholastic League team in those three seasons, and I happened to see one - to Franklin, a Class 6A school that didn't win a playoff game. The Demos lost because the Quakers were an inspired, scrappy group, and Jefferson regularly played defense with four players. Jones rarely crossed mid-court to play defense. He did this in a lot of games as a junior and senior, and didn't move to Kentucky with a ton of fans from the PIL, something honed even further when he picked Washington as his school of choice via the Internet, then changed his mind five minutes later.

For people who work hard and value commitment, Jones didn't head to Kentucky with a lot of fans who'd seen him in person.

(As Jefferson is my neighborhood school and I've often volunteered there, I visited the campus plenty and Jones was almost always in the main hall, no matter what time I visited.)

During his freshman season in Lexington, he played quite a bit and seemed to always be listed among the top 10 players headed for the 2011 NBA Draft as a small forward. The lockout was probably one of the best things that could have happened to him as it helped those around him motivate him to stay in school.

In his sophomore season, he continued to develop as a player, and hopefully as a person, and won an NCAA title, which is a pretty rare accomplishment - just ask Coach John Calipari.

His draft ranking seems to have slipped in the past year - from that Top 5 to Top 15 arena - which will affect his rookie contract, but the extra year has likely given him a better shot at a longer pro career.

So, what kind of professional is Terrence Jones likely to be? That's the question for every draftee.

Jones showed a lot of what his true potential is, at least in his early years, during the Final Four. He's mostly going to be a defensive presence. Almost all of his points were scored on dunks, finishing a fastbreak or cleaning up someone else's miss. He rarely attempted a jump shot, or even posted up despite his size: 6-foot-9, 252 pounds.

Jones entered Kentucky as a shooter, a small forward, but only attempted seven 3-point shots in six tournament games as a sophomore. He made just 13 of 26 free throws in the same six games. He finished the Final Four with just 15 total points, but grabbed 14 rebounds and had four blocked shots. He helped both Louisville and Kansas struggle to score inside - both teams missed numerous dunks.

What Jones did in this tournament is provide a better idea for NBA general managers of who he can be as a rookie, what role he can play: mostly as a garbage man on offense and general stud on defense.

There's room for that kind of player in the NBA, especially one that's in the neighborhood of winning a title without having to lean on him for too much in the early part of his career.

Of course, there's a lot of other guys in the league already in that position and not looking to give up their minutes very easily.

So, bravo TJ, for starting the long process of winning back the fans of hard work and commitment, a fan base that doesn't look for points, but results.

 

TJ starting to get some fans back

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 7:21am
Cliff Pfenning
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Congrats Coach Cal, and those boys who got you your first NCAA men's basketball title Monday night.

Especially, the Portlanders: Terrence Jones and Kyle Wiltjer; both of whom have experienced quite a lot of success in their young basketball careers. Each has three state titles and, now, an NCAA title in hand.

Their careers are ready to be judged by their professional results with Jones on the fast-track to this year's NBA Draft. Of the players on the Kentucky roster, he might have done the most good for himself during the title run simply by not doing too much.

Even though Jones is among the players analysts regularly consider an NBA Lottery pick, he's also regularly viewed as a questionable talent, something that gets written about as "when he shows up," which isn't a great thing to have in your talent bio.

Jones has developed that line for years, which I got to see first-hand at Jefferson.

The Democrats won Class 5A titles in 2008, '09 and '10, but during his final two seasons he was basically allowed to do whatever in most games. Jefferson lost only two games to another Portland Interscholastic League team in those three seasons, and I happened to see one - to Franklin, a Class 6A school that didn't win a playoff game. The Demos lost because the Quakers were an inspired, scrappy group, and Jefferson regularly played defense with four players. Jones rarely crossed mid-court to play defense. He did this in a lot of games as a junior and senior, and didn't move to Kentucky with a ton of fans from the PIL, something honed even further when he picked Washington as his school of choice via the Internet, then changed his mind five minutes later.

For people who work hard and value commitment, Jones didn't head to Kentucky with a lot of fans who'd seen him in person.

(As Jefferson is my neighborhood school and I've often volunteered there, I visited the campus plenty and Jones was almost always in the main hall, no matter what time I visited.)

During his freshman season in Lexington, he played quite a bit and seemed to always be listed among the top 10 players headed for the 2011 NBA Draft as a small forward. The lockout was probably one of the best things that could have happened to him as it helped those around him motivate him to stay in school.

In his sophomore season, he continued to develop as a player, and hopefully as a person, and won an NCAA title, which is a pretty rare accomplishment - just ask Coach John Calipari.
His draft ranking seems to have slipped in the past year - from that Top 5 to Top 15 arena - which will affect his rookie contract, but the extra year has likely given him a better shot at a longer pro career.

So, what kind of professional is Terrence Jones likely to be? That's the question for every draftee.

Jones showed a lot of what his true potential is, at least in his early years, during the Final Four. He's mostly going to be a defensive presence. Almost all of his points were scored on dunks, finishing a fastbreak or cleaning up someone else's miss. He rarely attempted a jump shot, or even posted up despite his size: 6-foot-9, 252 pounds.

Jones entered Kentucky as a shooter, a small forward, but only attempted seven 3-point shots in six tournament games as a sophomore. He made just 13 of 26 free throws in the same six games. He finished the Final Four with just 15 total points, but grabbed 14 rebounds and had four blocked shots. He helped both Louisville and Kansas struggle to score inside - both teams missed numerous dunks.

What Jones did in this tournament is provide a better idea for NBA general managers of who he can be as a rookie, what role he can play: mostly as a garbage man on offense and general stud on defense.

There's room for that kind of player in the NBA, especially one that's in the neighborhood of winning a title without having to lean on him for too much in the early part of his career.

Of course, there's a lot of other guys in the league already in that position and not looking to give up their minutes very easily.

So, bravo TJ, for starting the long process of winning back the fans of hard work and commitment, a fan base that doesn't look for points, but results.

 

Portland connection reaches NCAA title game

Jones, Wiltjer help Kentucky into National Title game Monday night
March 31, 2012

With recent memory of their play in the Portland area having not yet faced, Terrence Jones and Kyle Wiltjer will take the Rose City's reputation as a basketball resource to the highest stage in college basketball Monday - the National Championship Game.

Jones, who won three state titles while at Jefferson High, had 6 points and 7 rebounds, and Wiltjer, who won three state titles while at Jesuit, came off the bench and scored 5 points in 7 minutes as Kentucky fought off Louisville 69-61 in the semifinals at the New Orleands Superdome Saturday.

Kentucky, ranked No. 1 for most of the season, will play Kansas Monday night in the title game seeking its first title since 1998.

Wildcats' coach John Calipari, who recruited both Jones and Wiltjer to Lexington, will be looking for his first national championship. The Wildcats lost to eventual champion Connecticut in the Final Four last year.

Kansas beat Ohio State 64-62 in the other semifinal Saturday, rallying from a 13-point deficit to win.

Fans on espn.com have made Kentucky a significant favorite, running 70 to 30 percent nationally with only Kansas voters picking the Jayhawks to win.

Kentuky shot 57 percent from the field for the game - just missing the record for a Final Four appearance (61 percent by UNLV in 1990), but was tied 49-all midway through the second half as Louisville, which entered the Big East Conference tournament having lost four straight games, rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit with offensive rebounding and plain willpower.

The Wildcats were able to outshoot them and never trailed in the game.

 

 

Jesuit again leads state field of champions

Crusaders recover from Fall with two titles
March 27, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

After missing out on a state title in fall for the first time in 20 years, Jesuit High rallied with titles in boys basketball and girls swimming this winter in OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires championship finals.

The basketball team went so far as to become the first team to score a four-peat at any level, beating upstart Lake Oswego in the Class 6A final at the Rose Garden.

In other highlights, South Medford, which had never played past the quarterfinals, won the 6A girls basketball title with an unbeaten season.

And, Dayton, a runner-up the past two years in 3A boys basketball, with several key players having lost the 3A football title on the final play, won the state title, beating Horizon Christian - its nemesis the past two years - in the final.

The winter included the stall-ball tactic used by Willamette in the 5A girls hoop final that got some afficianados calling for a shot clock.

Summit won both boys and girls team swim titles - the second sport the school has won both boys and girls team titles to go along with cross country in fall.

Here is a list of the winter sports champions:

 

BOYS BASKETBALL

6A: Jesuit 52, Lake Oswego 42

5A: Corvallis 63, Milwaukie 51

4A: Central 49, Phoenix 47

3A: Dayton 58, Horizon Christian (Tualatin) 35

2A: East Linn Christian 36, Western Mennonite 32

1A: Horizon Christian (Hood River) 58, McKenzie 46

GIRLS BASKETBALL

6A:South Medford

5A: Springfield 16, Willamette 7

4A: Henley 41, Sutherlin 35

3A: Vale 43, Valley Catholic 29

2A: Regis 59, Scio 49

1A: McKenzie 44, St. Paul 33

WRESTLING

6A: Roseburg

5A: Dallas

4A: Cascade

3A: Nyssa

2A: Culver

BOYS SWIMMING

6A: Sunset

5A: Summit

4A: Cottage Grove

GIRLS SWIMMING

6A: Jesuit

5A: Summit

4A: Henley

CHEERLEADING

6A/5A LARGE: Tualatin

6A SMALL: Westview

5A SMALL: Wilson

4A LARGE: Sweet Home

4A SMALL: North Marion

3A: North Douglas

COED: Springfield

 

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