portland pilots basketball

Pilots score big with hoop hire

Tue, 03/23/2021 - 1:15pm
Cliff Pfenning
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Last seen: 8 hours 37 min ago
Joined: 2010-07-01

When the University of Portland announced its hire for men's basketball coach Monday night, it didn't take long to figure out they pretty much - in hoop terms - drained a Damian Lillard-esque 3-pointer from 40 feet with Shantay Legans.

Legans comes to Portland after four years as head coach at Eastern Washington, and of significant note - after taking the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament and a knockdown, dragout battle with Kansas Saturday, a 93-84 loss.

In his four seasons as head coach, Legans was 75-49, won the Big Sky Conference regular-season title twice and the tournament this season to reach the Big Dance. Legans was at the school eight years prior, so he's been in Cheney, Wash., the past 12 years. Taking the Portland job seems like a great career move, even if there's plenty of reason so think it isn't.

The bright side for Legans is that he's 39, and even modest success with the Pilots might make him an attractive hire for a mid-major conference school such as Dayton. The West Coast Conference could be considered a mid-major conference, but rarely does it put two teams into the NCAA Tournament even if its top team, Gonzaga, is among the best in the nation. And, success at Portland is going to be easy to judge because the program is so far removed from ninth in the 10-team league. In his five years at Portland, head coach Terry Porter led the school only as high as ninth one time. When the school finally let him go in February, the Pilots had just been beat the night before 105-60 in large part due to being outrebounded 46-12.

Success at the University of Portland will be easy to guage.

Success at the University of Portland is not going to be easy to create. The school hasn't been to the NCAAs since 1996, and that's going to be a hard task with Gonzaga on top and Brigham Young right behind it. The Pilots have had some success, even as recently as 2015 when they reached the Collegeinsider.com Tournament for the fourth time in seven seasons. But all those appearances were one-and-done and led the team finished as high as third only twice in coach Eric Reveno's 10 seasons. The school wanted more from its program and fired Reveno, who has become a significant factor in recruiting at Georgia Tech.

Porter had the name and local buzz from his Trail Blazers career, but never had the skills as a recruiter, and he simply did not seem to exist on social media or any media in a way that coaches need to exist these days. Porter was 43-103 in his days at Portland. The Pilots won just five conference games under Porter.

Legans' ability to wipe the program clean from Porter's failures will be key to his success, but that's what a new coach can do. And he's got the Rose City to sell to prospective recruits, including those looking to transfer and wanting an up-close glimpse of Damian Lillard. Coming off a tournament run is a big deal in that cleansing process.

Portland seems like it made a great hire in Legans, which also brings up if Legans is successful in Portland as he was at Eastern Washington, how long will he be in Portland?




Are the Pilots really grounded?

Terry Porter needs to let Tony Broadous sell him on the future
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

In following sports, it’s the job of media to do just that - follow sports from when it happens. Very rarely does that involve actually lobbying for an outcome, especially in regards to coaching.

But, there’s an opportunity to do just that within the college coaching community in Oregon, and we’re going to take that on. I’m going to take that on with regards to the University of Portland and men’s basketball coach Terry Porter and Portland Community College coach Tony Broadous. It involves the challenge of Porter taking a look at Broadous as an incoming assistant coach and possible successor to his role as head coach. That would be one of the most unique and exciting stories in college basketball in the upcoming year for a program that currently has one of the most unexciting outlooks.

So, coach Porter and the UP athletic department, please take a look at this, and meet with this guy because this is truly exciting and you desperately need that - excitement. And so does sports media.

This stems from a story last week about Porter being supported by the athletic department to finish out the fifth and final year of his contract from 2016. That’s after four years of losing records and only seven combined wins in West Coast Conference play - finishing this season with 15 consecutive losses. Were the social conditions different it’s not hard to think UP and Porter would have gracefully parted ways, and the Pilots would be scouring the land for a new coach. But, that didn’t happen and in the upcoming year it’s also not hard to see the program as everyone being on a one-year contract, other than a few scholarship players. The team might have three returning starters, but none of them averaged more than 12 points per game, and most of the team will have some junior college background or be coming directly from a junior college. The team is likely to have only one player viewed as a three-star recruit coming out of high school from a five-star scale.

Of the 350 NCAA Div. I programs, the Pilots will probably be No. 350 in expectations for the coming season, and you cannot recruit high school standouts at No. 350. Men’s basketball is the most fluid sport in the NCAA so a new coach next year will be able to put together a decent team in a summer, but that coach is also very likely to be a couple good seasons away from jumping to a better situation with more money involved.

Enter Tony Broadous, a lifelong Portlander with community connections who got very good reviews - excited reviews - from the story I wrote after UP announced its commitment to Terry Porter. For a little insight on why the UP program has gotten to where it is, Terry Porter does not know Tony Broadous, even though he’s only two miles away from the UP campus. You would think that when Porter got here in 2016, he would have gone directly to Broadous on Day One and bought him lunch at the Chapel Pub or at least a mocha at Dutch Bros., and asked what the lay of the land is, especially because he had no college coaching experience. That didn’t happen, and still hasn’t happened even though junior college players are such a key part of the UP roster.

Broadous, who had just finished year four in 2016, took the Portland program from a winless season to a conference title in just two years, so he’s got skills in recruiting and coaching. That’s with a program that had never even been to the conference playoffs before he got there. And, it’s the excitement involved that makes this plan at least worthy of a look on Porter’s behalf.

If Broadous can sell Porter on himself and a vision for where the program might go if he’s involved, well that takes the team from No. 350 to at least 300 in terms of “hey, pay some attention to UP this season.” If he’s brought in as an assistant for recruiting, and is able to land, say at least two three-star recruits, well then a year of grooming within the Div. I environment might very well lead to an opportunity to get to No. 250 in his rookie season as head coach. That’s probably where Porter was in his rookie season in terms of national interest. In terms of local interest, that would happen immediately, and that’s something that leads to a crowd and more recruiting juice.

If Mark Few can sell Spokane, Wash., across the world, Tony Broadous should be able to sell Portland, If he can’t in a season, he’s not the guy. But, if he can, then Disney+ will be paying attention, because it loves an underdog and that's what going from a former NBA coach to community college coach in a year involves. Maybe Porter could move into an administrative role within the athletic department? He’s a classy guy, and represents the school well. It just hasn’t happened on the court.

So, where we started is sports media longing to cover stories that have drama and intrigue in them, and this is one that at least deserves a burger or a mocha from Porter. Will he take on that challenge? That would be two classy guys talking about what might be, and that’s what college athletics is about. Even if it's takeout and from six feet apart.

The University athletics department has not responded to requests for comment.


Canzano misses boat on Pilots hoop - like everyone else

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 8:37am
Cliff Pfenning
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Last seen: 8 hours 37 min ago
Joined: 2010-07-01

To get a handle on the University of Portland men's basketball program these days, you only had to follow the website coachesdatabase.com in February and look for head coach Terry Porter's name. The site has a section called the Hot Seat Report. From the hottest to just warm, the editors give you a good idea of who needs to perform the most, and the fastest, including Danny Manning at Wake Forest, Donyell Marshall at Central Connecticut and, for a time, Patrick Ewing at Georgetown.

But, Porter's name wasn't on that list.

At the tail end of a 15-game losing streak that closed the program's fourth straight season of finishing last or ninth in the 10-team West Coast Conference, Porter didn't make the even mildly hot list until Feb. 26. What's that say? Nobody's paying attention. And when nobody's paying attention to your basketball program, it probably shouldn't be your basketball program anymore.

In these challenging times, though, Portland announced Tuesday that Porter would return for the fifth and final year of the 2016 contract he signed that directed his focus from the NBA, where he was head coach for both the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, to the college game, where he has gotten to coach his two sons. The excitement Porter initially brought due to his long, memorable playing career with the Trail Blazers helped the school attract boosters, but it never transferred to the court. In four seasons, the Pilots won just seven conference games combined, including just one the past two seasons.

John Canzano, The Oregonian's sports columnist, wrote the school probably should work its way out of Porter's final year back in February. After Tuesday's announcement, he wrote again the school should have worked its way into another coach. "They punted," Canzano wrote. I'd agree with that except for the state of the world today, and making a coaching move of a popular and well-respected guy in charge truly unnecessary regardless of wins. The need to win at UP just isn't that great these days, and Porter already has a contract.

Anything short of a Disney+ "Miracle on the Bluff" season, though, and UP will be looking for another coach in 12 months.

In compiling a short list of candidates, Canzano showcased just how little attention the Pilots generate even to experienced journalists, and he missed the perfect candidate who's just two miles away from the Chiles Center. It's Tony Broadous, head coach of the Portland Community College program for the past eight seasons (and Grant High for a decade before that).

There is not a better choice for the Portland Pilots than Broadous, and he needs to be on the radar for the school because when I've talked with sports folks in the area about him at the University of Portland the main response has been "now that would be exciting."

Broadous moved from Grant, which won the state title in 2008 under his guidance, to PCC in 2012 with the idea that might lead to a four-year school in the future. The Panthers had just come off a winless season in which they lost games by an average of 37 points. The program had never been to the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges playoffs in spite of the fact half the eight teams in their division qualified each year by finishing fourth or higher. In spite of sitting directly across the street from Jefferson High, the program had basically no pulse. That changed quickly.

In year one under Broadous, Portland missed the playoffs by just one win, and in year two ... it won the NWAACC title. Two years removed from a winless season, PCC had a league title (2014) in its first-ever trip to the playoffs.

In the past six seasons, in spite of being the only full-time coach and having no budget for anything but Facetime chats, Portland has been to the playoffs again four times, and reached the NWAACC tournament semifinals in 2018. They were headed to the tournament again this season before it was cancelled.

Moving from a former NBA coach and local basketball legend to a community college coach would be quite a gamble for UP, but that's exactly the kind of thing Disney+ was made for - and the Pilots desperately need that kind of attention. Broadous, 51, is worthy of that opportunity starting with his connections in Portland. People know him. And, his connections around the region - coaches know him. And, his work on the court - PCC is a regular winner and has all-league players each season.

Given the opportunity to recruit to a four-year program, with numerous full-time assistants, it's exciting to think what might happen in the Chiles Center starting in 2021.

Broadous isn't going to be an expensive hire - maybe the program could use some of that savings on an additional recruiting coordinator - and he's probably going to be extremely loyal if some success brings other schools calling.

Canzano's short list of successors had a few names tossed in to look impressive starting with Portlander and former Blazer Damon Stoudamire, the head coach of WCC rival Pacific. After three losing seasons, Stoudamire was on the Hot Seat for much of this season, but the Tigers won 23 games, and he was recently named the nation's minority coach of the year. One more solid season and big name programs will come calling. Portland's calls next season - even this past season - would be going to voicemail.

Former UC Santa Barbara coach Bob Williams made the list, but he's, well, who is he again to Portland fans?

Greg Clink has guided Chico State to regular success at Div. II, but he's been there for 12 secure seasons and, again, who's he to Portland fans?

Barret Peery is the head coach at Portland State, and has averaged 18 wins per season in his first three years there. Moving across town wouldn't be a stretch, but would involve rebuilding another program and he's got a lot more of a shot at winning a conference title in the program he's already building.

And, finally, former UNLV head coach Dave Rice, who led his alma mater to NCAA trips twice in five (full) seasons, more than a dozen wins over higher ranked teams, and claimed the top pick in the NBA Draft (2013 - Anthony Bennett) as program highlights. But, the school abruptly fired him during his sixth season - that doesn't speak well about making boosters happy. Since 2017, he's been an assistant at Washington, which finished last in the Pac-12 this season.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few has been vocal about WCC members needing to spend more on their programs so as to get more teams to the NCAA Tournament - and the riches that conference members share in. But, money doesn't always buy success in any sport, and neither do big names as the school has found out. Coaches sell dreams that need to turn into reality, and Broadous has enough of that on his resume to be able to recruit on Day One, in spite of that resume just being at the high school and community college level. And he's going to need to jump right in on Day One because of not having any ability to recruit during the season.

UP is still feeling the glow of its women's basketball team performing a Disney+ miracle by playing its way into the NCAA Tournament under a first-year coach and having been picked for last by conference head coaches. That coach, Michael Meek, was a former high school coach at Southridge in Beaverton, who moved to NCAA Div. III's George Fox in 2011.

So, the Pilots are secure for another season under Porter, but the coaching search for his replacement has likely already begun. When the names start to go on the big chalkboard, hopefully the school's athletic director, Scott Leykam, and his associates will take more than a few minutes to dream about what the Chiles Center might look like with maybe the nation's biggest underdog on the sideline at one of the nation's biggest underdogs as a program. That's a story made for the Magic Kingdom.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misidentified Barret Peery as the former head coach at Portland State and assistant on the UP staff. We regret that error.

Pilots punch their ticket!!!!!

UP women play their way into NCAA Tourney with OT thriller
Staff Report

And, the immaculate season continues for the University of Portland women's basketball team.

Picked for last in the West Coast Conference entering the season, the Pilots won two consecutive thrillers that likely left all players and coaches with no nails as they get ready for the NCAA Tournament.

A day after beating top seed and No. 11 Gonzaga 70-69, Portland beat second seed San Diego 64-63 in overtime to win the conference tournament title and earn its first NCAA Tournament berth since the Clinton Administration.

Sophomore Haylee Andrews, who scored the winning points in Monday's upset with five seconds left, hit a jumper with 1:05 to put the Pilots ahead of San Diego and the Gauchos got off only one more shot - a missed three-pointer with four seconds left.

Portland, led by first-year coach Michael Meek, heads to the NCAAs for the first time since 1997 with a 21-11 record and a likely spot in one of the two potential first/second-round host sites: Eugene and Corvallis.

Andrews finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while freshman Alex Fowler had 21 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Kate Andersen had six points and four assists before fouling out.


Beavers lead in-state NCAA sweep

OSU, Oregon, PSU and Portland all score conference wins Thursday
Jan. 22, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

Oregon State’s incredible home-court run continued unabated on Thursday night as the Beavers knocked off UCLA 66-55 to remain undefeated at Gill Coliseum on a night all four of Oregon’s NCAA Div. I schools won.

The Beavers (13-5, 4-2 Pac-12) improved to 11-0 at home, equaling their best start since the 1981-82 team won all 11 of its home games. They have now defeated UCLA three times in a row at Gill Coliseum for the first time since 1989-91.

Junior guard Gary Payton II had 18 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals in leading the Beavers to their fourth win in their last five games. He had 15 points five rebounds and four steals in the first half alone.

In Eugene, Oregon beat Southern Cal 75-67, Portland beat visiting Pacific 72-69, and Portland State beat Weber State on the road, 69-63.

A week ago, all four schools lost on Thursday night.

OSU sophomore guard Malcolm Duvivier went 8-of-8 from the line in the closing 54 seconds and finished with 19 points, six rebounds and five assists as the Beavers scored another emotional win before an energized crowd of 6,024 - the memory of the team’s upset of No. 7 Arizona two weeks ago still fresh.

The Beavers shot 51 percent (22-43) from the field, hit 16 of 18 free throws and limited the Bruins (11-8, 3-3) to 31 percent shooting overall (19-62) and 24 percent (6-25) from 3-point range.

The Ducks ended a two-game losing streak with a late surge against the Trojans, who rallied back from a 16-2 deficit to tie the game at 61-all. Oregon then hit a 9-0 run to take over the game before a crowd of 5,652 at Matthew Knight Arena.

Joseph Young led Oregon with 19 points.

Sophomore guard Alec Wintering hit a 3-point shot at the buzzer to provide the winning margin for the Pilots at the Chiles Center.
Kevin Bailey led the team with 21 points, and Thomas Vander Mars added 17 points and eight rebounds for teh Pilots, who take on St. Mary’s Saturday. The Gaels lost at Gonzaga

Thursday in a battle for the WCC lead.


Thursday’s win boosted the Vikings into fifth place in the Big Sky Conference, and bumped the Wildcats to seventh - the standings would have been switched had the outcome been reversed. PSU plays at last-place Idaho State Saturday.


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