Allen Crabbe

Portland Trail Blazers UFA Guard Elliot Williams Signs Deal With Cavaliers

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Elliot Williams
Elliot Williams | (Portland Trail Blazers)

Elliot Williams has been with the Blazers for the past couple years, but missed all of last season with an Achilles injury, and signed a 2013 deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Williams said during April’s exit interviews that he would like to stay with the team, but the Blazers’ offseason was filled with guard pickups and Williams didn’t make the cut for the training camp roster.

The 24-year-old guard played in just 24 games since he was drafted in the first round in 2010. A shoulder injury was to blame for his other missed time and Williams only saw action in the 2011-12 season.

Portland drafted Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum and Cal guard Allen Crabbe, signed Mo Williams, and retained starter Wes Matthews and backup Will Barton in this offseason.

Williams didn’t play on the team’s summer league squad, though he said he wanted to, adding, “I know a lot of the young guys, it would be a good chance for me to get back going.”

Elliot holds career averages of 3.7 points and 0.8 rebounds per game in the 24 games he played.

The Portland Trail Blazers Select CJ Mccollum No. 10 Overall

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CJ McCollum shakes David Sterns hand (Kathy Willens)
CJ McCollum shakes David Sterns hand
(Kathy Willens)

Due to a few trades and sound decision making, the Portland Trail Blazers ended the 2013 NBA draft stronger than it began.

First, the Blazers selected CJ Mccollum with the 10th overall pick. This pick was a no-brainer considering the lack of other desirable options and because Mccollum will fill the Blazers obvious need of scoring off the bench.

McCollum was a deadly scorer in college, averaging 23.9 points per game and five assists. He also won the Patriot League player of the year twice at Lehigh.

The Blazers next move came via a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs drafted Allen Crabbe 31st and traded him to the Blazers for two future second round picks. Crabbe averaged over 18 points and six rebounds for the Golden Bears and won Pac-12 player of the year as a freshman.

Later in the second round, Portland drafted Jeff Withey. The seven footer out of Kansas will almost certainly help the Blazers defensively and on the glass from day one. The guy is virtually the same player with a little less upside as Steven Adams, but was drafted 39th instead of 12th.

Portland also drafted Arizona forward Grant Jarrett with the 40th pick, but traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder for cash.

Finally, with the 45th pick, the Blazers selected Montenegro’s very own Marko Todorovic. Todorovic will likely not step foot in an NBA game for a while and will be stashed overseas for the foreseeable future.

The rest of the draft was very intriguing as well. The most surprising selection came at number one. While most NBA experts predicted the Cavs would take Noel, Victor Oladipo or Alex Len, Cleveland shocked everyone for the second year in the row by picking former UNLV forward Anthony Bennett instead.

The Pelicans and Sixers were involved in the most notable draft related trade. The Sixers traded all-star point guard Jrue Holliday and a second round pick for Nerlens Noel and a top five protected first round pick. The trade points to the Sixers desire to tank for the much more highly touted 2014 NBA draft and the Pelicans desire to speed up their rebuilding process.

But the biggest trade of the day was between the Nets and Celtics. The C’s traded Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry for three future first round picks, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Keith Bogans and Reggie Evans. Like the Sixers, the C’s seem like they are planning on tanking next season to acquire a high draft pick. The Nets however must be in win immediately mode considering they traded for three aging veterans who probably don’t have more than a year or two left in the tank.

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Cal Takes Down Oregon 48-46, For 11th Straight Win Over UO

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Oregon is making a habit of not being able to make shots in late game situations. After going scoreless in last four minutes of its first meeting against Cal, the Ducks once again came up short Thursday against the Golden Bears.

Freshman Damyean Dotson did a good job defending Cal's Allen Crabbe all game, but it wasn't enough for the Ducks. Credit: Eric Evans
Freshman Damyean Dotson did a good job defending Cal’s Allen Crabbe all game, but it wasn’t enough for the Ducks. Credit: Eric Evans

After a missed jumper by Damyean Dotson set up a last shot for Cal, Justin Cobbs hit a game winner as the buzzer sounded to make the score 48-46. Oregon shot 27.6 percent from the field, 25.9 percent in the second half and was scoreless the last two minutes of the game. The game was back and forth throughout, as the score was tied eight times and changed six times.

Oregon wasn’t good in any aspect of shooting, as they went 2-15 from the three point line and 12-20 from the free throw line. The Ducks struggles from the charity strike was the biggest disappointment for head coach Dana Altman.

“We got to the line, we just didn’t finish enough free throws,” Altman said. “I think that was as big a thing as anything.”

The win for Cal makes it 11 straight for the Golden Bears against Oregon. The streak dates back to 2008 when Ernie Kent was still the coach for the Ducks and E.J. Singler was a senior at South Medford High School.

The loss drops Oregon to 21-6 on the season and 10-4 in conference. Oregon is now in a tie for first place with Arizona. Cal moves to 17-9 on the season and is currently on a five game winning streak.

Oregon was in the bonus at the 13:14 mark in the second half but only shot 6 free throws from that point on. Two of those free throws were missed by freshman Ben Carter to keep the score 41-41. Singler struggled all night, leading to 7 points on 1-12 shooting. He spoke to media after the game about the loss.

Singler EJ Singler struggled shooting and went 1-7 from three point range. Credit: Eric Evans
Singler EJ Singler struggled shooting and went 1-7 from three point range. Credit: Eric Evans

“Just hurts. I thought we had it today. It’s a tough game to lose.” Singler also said the Ducks gave up too many baskets down the stretch, as Oregon was outscored 10-4 in transition.

“Down the stretch we let them get too easy transition points,” Singler said.

Cal’s two stars, Cobbs and Allen Crabbe had 14 and 12 points respectively. The two had 17 combined points in the second half, fueling Cal to a victory. Singler spoke about the game winner from Cobbs.

“We were playing great D, but he made a great shot.”

After the first game against Cal, Arsalan Kazemi said he let his coach down and responded with 11 points, 18 rebounds and four steals. Those 18 rebounds were a season high for Kazemi and gave him his 52nd double double of his career. It was one rebound shy of tying his career high.

Oregon outscored Cal’s bench 17-8, led by Carlos Emory‘s team high 13 points. Oregon also owned a 15-2 advantage in second chance points and won the turnover battle 16-10. While those are the stats that usually indicate a win for Oregon, its poor shooting was too much to overcome.

As Altman said “We did a lot of good things, we just didn’t finish.” The Ducks will look to come back strong Saturday when they face 15-11 Stanford at 6 p.m.

CAL MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
R. Solomon 29 3-9 0-0 2-2 4 11 1 0 2 2 4 8
D. Kravish 33 1-5 0-0 0-0 0 7 1 1 2 0 3 2
J. Cobbs 38 6-11 0-0 2-4 0 8 7 0 1 8 1 14
A. Crabbe 36 5-12 1-4 1-2 0 5 1 1 0 2 3 12
T. Wallace 31 2-5 0-0 0-0 1 2 1 0 1 2 4 4
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
B. Bak 4 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
B. Smith 15 0-3 0-2 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 0 2 0
R. Thurman 14 3-3 0-0 2-4 0 2 0 1 0 2 1 8
TEAM   FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
20-49 1-6 7-12 5 37 13 4 6 16 19 48
    40.8% 16.7% 58.3%
DUCKS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
E.J. Singler 34 1-12 1-7 4-6 2 7 2 0 0 2 3 7
A. Kazemi 31 3-9 0-0 5-7 5 18 0 4 1 0 1 11
T. Woods 24 1-3 0-0 0-1 1 3 1 0 0 0 1 2
J. Loyd 35 0-6 0-2 0-0 0 1 4 5 0 3 1 0
D. Dotson 28 4-12 0-4 1-2 1 3 1 0 0 3 1 9
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
C. Emory 26 5-11 1-2 2-2 3 4 0 0 0 1 3 13
B. Carter 8 0-1 0-0 0-2 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0
W. Moore 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
W. Austin 9 2-4 0-0 0-0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 4
TEAM   FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
16-58 2-15 12-20 13 38 8 12 3 10 12 46
    27.6% 13.3% 60.0%

A New Chapter Begins….

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— Sam Finley, EDN Sports Editor

We knew it was likely, and now a new chapter begins for Oregon football.  Mere days after the Ducks’ Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin, star running back LaMichael James made it official on Friday by announcing that he would forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.

LaMichael James is taking his talents to the next level. (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

“It really was a difficult decision,” said James. “Especially after winning the big game and sharing that moment with my teammates. It was kind of like that you don’t want to go out another way.”

The 2010 Doak Walker Award winner rewrote the record books during his three years as a Duck. He’s scored the most points with 348, and his 58 touchdowns are the most overall. For that matter, his career 5,082 rushing yards rank second all-time in Pac-12 Conference history. Still, with all he’s accomplished, James said it was a tough choice to walk away from people he now considers family.

“I love my (running backs) coach (Gary Campbell) to the end and I’ll always be a part of his life,” he explained. “That, and not being in the locker room with my teammates will be very difficult for me.”

LaMichael James will finish as Oregon's all-time leading scorer and rusher. (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

In the end, however, he believes there’s not much more he can accomplish playing in college. That, and he’s only a couple courses away from graduating.

“Ultimately, it came down to almost having my degree,” James stated. “I’ve also achieved just about everything that I possibly can at this level. I could win the Heisman or the BCS Title, but that’s just not likely. I feel like I’m going out with a bang.”

Now that he’s officially decided to go pro, James is excited to be able to have a chance at doing something only so many can consider a legitimate possibility.

“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “I’ve thought about playing in the NFL all my life. Who wouldn’t? I’m glad I can come a step closer to accomplishing those goals.”

James considers the chance to play on Sundays a dream come true. (Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

He’ll soon hire an agent, and will begin training for the February scouting combine in Indianapolis.  With any luck, the 5’9, 195 pounder hopes he can defy the logic of where he’ll finish in the draft.

“The draft advisory board told me I could be picked as high as the third round,” he clamied. “Right now, I’m hoping to go in the second round depending on how I perform at the combine.”

With all the stuff he’s preparing for in the next phase, James hasn’t had much time to look back at the standard he’s set at Oregon. Unquestionably, though, he’s raised the bar for future Ducks and is proud to have played in Eugene.

“It’s probably the best time I’ve ever had in my life, he explained. “It has taught me a lot of different lessons, and I think the credit has to go to head coach Chip Kelly as well as coach Campbell. I’ve never really been on a resilient team where everybody puts the team before each other and there are no independent superstars. This year’s team that won the Rose Bowl was the best by far where teammates are concerned.”

LaMichael hasn't had the chance to look back at his many accomplishments at Oregon. (Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Now the guy who is, arguably, greatest running back in Oregon history is ready to take on the challenges of the NFL as easily as he dodged so many opposing defensive players at Autzen Stadium.

“I feel like I can be successful at the next level,” James said. “After that, I feel like I’ll be successful at whatever career path I choose.”

For the record, I think LaMichael could surprise some people in the pros. It’s highly unlikely that he’ll be an every down back, but could definitely make an impact as a situational player or on special teams.

The Oregon running game will also move along fine with Kenjon Barner, De’Anthony Thomas, and Tra Carson still in the stable.  By the same token, there will never be another guy moved the way James did. There may also not be another one who could stay so humble no matter how brightly his star shined in the Willamette Valley.

From a reporter’s standpoint, he was always willing to answer my questions in a respectful manner.  I wish him the best and hope I can get a word in with him from time to time wherever he winds up.

Now then, let’s move onto a few other items. First off, it is still very hard to get a good read on the Oregon men’s basketball team. The Ducks looked ready to take on the upper tier of the Pac-12 conference on Thursday with a solid 78-67 win against Stanford.

Dana Altman needs his Ducks to be a little more consistent if they're going to make the postseason. (Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, Oregon didn’t follow up on that performance on Sunday in a deflating 77-60 loss to Cal.  Head coach Dana Altman didn’t hesitate listing the reasons for the defeat.

“There were a number of things we needed to work on,” he said. “We had the opportunities, but we gave up easy baskets. The tempo favored Cal in the second half and they had it going for them.”

No question about it.  The Ducks battled the Bears for 20 minutes, and only trailed 30-27 at halftime.  Then Allen Crabbe got hot for Cal, scoring 26 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.  At the same time, Oregon simply couldn’t match them shot for shot.

But perhaps the real reason the Ducks dropped a tough one at Matt Knight Arena was the inconsistent play of Devoe Joseph.  The 6’4 guard could do no wrong against the Cardinal when he led all scorers with 30 points.

Yet on Sunday, Joseph had trouble getting it going early and only had five points in the first half (and a total of 14 on the night).

If this talented, but young, Oregon team is going to find its way into postseason, they’ll need to get some more consistency from Joseph as well as get a little tougher on defense.  This coming week will be a challenge for them as they head on the road to play the Arizona schools.

Should they get a split on that trip, they might just keep themselves in the race for a very reachable Pac-12 title.  I certainly like the potential of this team. If they can play like they did against Stanford, then they’ve got a very decent shot at getting Oregon’s first NCAA bid since 2008. But they’ve got to clean up their mistakes sooner than later.

When it comes to the Oregon women’s basketball team, however, I’m not as sold. Sure, those Ducks have an overall 9-7 record, but are 1-3 in Pac-12 play. Moreover, they games they’ve lost haven’t been close.  They got pasted 90-67 on Saturday against Cal, and were walloped 93-70 two night prior at Stanford. (Though, in fairness, almost everyone loses badly to the Cardinal these days).

For Oregon to have any chance to be successful on a given evening, they’ll need to have both Nia Jackson and Amanda Johnson healthy. They recently got back Jackson, but Johnson is still out with an injured thumb.

Thus, for an otherwise very young squad, wins are going to be very hard to come by. If anyone can eventually turn this program around, head coach Paul Westhead is more than capable. But it looks like season number three of the rebuilding project is going to be a very long one indeed.

Switching to the prep level, the Sheldon boys seem to be putting things together. On Thursday, the Irish prevailed over Marist 66-64.  They’re now 3-1 in the Midwestern League play, and it looks like head coach Ron Lampe has another solid squad on his hands.  Time will tell as the season goes on, but with Connor Strahm and Dillon Miller as spectacular on the court as they are on the gridiron, you’ve got to like their chances down the stretch.

Until next time, I’ll see you in the bleachers.