Pepperdine

Updated on March 7, 2018 in WCC Tourney
10 on March 4, 2018

Can we all admit that Pepperdine looked like a much different team in this tourney? They played a well-rested St. Mary’s tough.

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0 on March 4, 2018

Better, but SMC played like crap.  If they play like that I don’t care who their 1st round NCAA opponent is they will get bounced.  Pepp has been missing pieces all year and finally got full strength at the end, but that’s still a garbage team.  SMC should have blown them out of the water, but they were lucky come away with the W.  Hopefully that game is a wake up call for SMC (even though I don’t like them, I do cheer for WCC success in the NCAA’s).

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4 on March 4, 2018

Pepp is better than their record indicated. They’ve had a ridiculous # injuries and missed games including starters and key players like Cameron Edwards. And still weren’t fully healthy for the tourney, starter Cooper has been out of late.
IMO, there same talent on that roster including several young guys. With Wilson departing it will be interesting to see how many guys leave. Freshmen Colby Ross is probably the biggest risk, I could see another decent program like SDSU try to cherry pick him. Breaking down their returning talent compared to us:
– Edwards > Vrankic
– Berthow > Hauser
– Cooper (injured) > Walters
– KJ > Ross but not by much and Ross is probably as good or better than KJ was a freshmen.

There’s some talent there and superior athleticism at several positions so not surprised they beat us. Show’s how far we need to go and why it is so critical that Sendek recruit well including getting immediate impact from several newbies per year….this so far Vrankic is the only Sendek recruit to have an immediate impact.

on March 5, 2018

Josip can’t hold Edwards jock and has been proven in each game…. and don’t give me he’s just a freshman because above you say breaking down the returning talent….

Potentially can be, as of now no way. Josip can’t play physical at all and that’s the biggest difference. At that position it’s a very big difference.

This is not to say Josip can’t/won’t be as good…. but at this particular point…. no way.

That’s 1 of the biggest problems with this team is physicality… and please don’t let a big have any athleticism…. murder!

No answer for childs, landale, hichimura… the Big for LMU gave us almost 25. We need major help in the interior. No one is afraid to drive on us…

on March 5, 2018

Yep.
I’ve tried to be as gentle as possible re: Vrankic. He’s the best of Sendek’s recruits so far, will be an inportant part of what is hopefully steady program improvement over the next couple of years. He displays some skills on offense, his court vision and passing is advanced for a freshmen forward (something that is tough to teach) and I like his ability to use his left or right driving and finishing.

But athleticism and especially strength is lacking, freshmen or not. We had a couple of forwards (though not enough) during KK’s tenure in Kratch and Trasolini that displayed much better athleticism and strength as freshmen along with good offensive skill. That superior athleticism translated to much better defense and rebounding. Whereas Vrankic gets thoroughly dominated in the paint by other young WCC forwards, not just the elite guys at GU, SMC and BYU but young, underclassmen at the other programs similar to us….Edwards at Pepp, Scott at LMU, Diabate at Portland plus guys like Juwan Gray at USD and Renfro who aren’t terribly strong but are elite athletes.

And on O his actual offensive metrics were just so-so, roughly 47-48% on 2pt field goals and low 20% from 3….neither are good, you’d like your forwards/posts to shoot at least 55-60% on 2ptrs. Freethrows were just OK.

I expect he will be able to add some weight and strength, and hopefully improve his athleticism a little… a lot easier to improve strength and add weight than it is to improve quickness, vert, etc. But Vrankic is listed at only 205lbs…he needs to get up to 220+ but that probably won’t happen until his junior or senior year. Keep in mind that practice for the 2018/19 season is only 7 months away, difficult to add more than 10 quality pounds in that timeframe.
And during the season most teams are still hitting the weight room but it’s typically more of a maintenance focus. It’s difficult to do the quality workouts in terms of intensity, difficulty and frequency needed to add weight/strength during the season….in fact some guys struggle to maintain their weight in season given the rigor of regular team practices.

Unless the roster changes w/ the addition of someone like Otchere or Edwards surprises in terms of his readiness for D1 hoops then I fear what our interior D and rebounding will look like. We were a mediocre to below average rebounding team this season and we lose our top two rebounders in Caruso and Big E, and there’s zero above average rebounders returning, Jadersten probably the best. Surely a year of filling out will aid Vrankic and Walters but how much???

on March 5, 2018

Good post, well thought out.

Interior play has dogged SCU (and many mid-majors trying to take a step forward).

I would add Niyi Harrison to group of KK forwards who came onto campus with athleticism and strength (relative to others)… 

Anyway, I remain at least somewhat optimistic that Sendek can make players better after they come on campus. Hopefully there’s an S&C program to match. 

on March 5, 2018

I remain fairly confident that Vrankic will be an All WCC player before his Santa Clara career is up but agree defending the post will probably never be his strong suit.  Even guys like Kratch redshirted and he did not really contribute much until his redshirt Junior year. Vrankic played more minutes per game this year than Niyi ever did in his career. Trasolini was a very good player at Santa Clara but he should have been a “special” player given his length and touch.  But like I said, I think I agree with pretty much everyone that we need a big upgrade of length/athleticism somewhere on the roster  to complement the skill sets of our existing players.

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2 on March 6, 2018

‘Nashty-
Agree on Niyi. Omitted him partly for brevity (which I probably still failed at). No question Niyi was probably the most athletic ‘4’ KK recruited but just so-so O skills and limited perimeter skills whereas Traz and Kratch are more comparable to Vrankic given their perimeter shooting ability.
Another solid KK era ‘4’ is Dowdell though technically he was DD’s recruit but only played under KK. Started as a frosh, averaged around 10pts and 4-5rebs, decent athlete and tough, hard-nosed player, evidenced by the fact he played some Aussie Rules Football when he returned home after SCU.
If we don’t land Otchere or someone similar for 2018/19 then i’d settle for a Dowdell 2.0….someone 225+, decent athlete, tough, physical player, defends the post well maybe undersized for the 5 but still capable of playing there some given strength and physicality. Wouldn’t push us to another tier but at least keeps us from being completely outmuscled and manhandled in the paint.

on March 6, 2018

Dowdell went on to play Aussie Rules football professionally for a bit, though he’s back in the Bay now putting that SCU degree to work! 

Our bigs for next year as it stands would be Jadersten, Roche, Vrankic, with freshman Ezekial Richards and Juan Ducasse. 

Players can improve, etc., but given what we know now about that group, immediate help would be a major boon. Everyone looks good on their highlight reel, but Otchere does look like the type of athlete we don’t often have, and he is a little older with a bit more time to have matured. Sign me up, or some suitable equivalent. 

Wouldn’t it mean one piece of off-season roster attrition to accommodate another signee? 

on March 6, 2018

Roster/scholarships…yes, on paper all 13 scholarships for 18/19 are spoken for.
But transfers/attrition are inevitable in today’s game even if things are going well for a program.
I’d expect at least 1, maybe 2 departures creating space for Otchere (or similar) plus maybe 1 other player if space permits.
I have no inside knowledge of who’s a candidate for early departure but logic would dictate a young undersclassmen who didn’t play much this season. I’d be surprised if one of the returning seniors (KJ, Hauser or Jadersten) departed but I guess anything is possible.

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0 on March 7, 2018

We need a Travis Niesen clone.

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