2007-08 Basketball Preview: The Great Alaska Shootout

Share on your favorite social network:
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someoneGoogle+share on TumblrShare on Reddit

Although you don’t see any Kentuckys, Dukes or North Carolinas in this year’s
Great Alaska Shootout, the 3-day event in Anchorage still features a very
talented field. From Bobby Knight and Texas Tech to arguably the two best
mid-majors in the nation in Gonzaga and Butler, there are three days of
challenging basketball ahead for the Hokies.


Eastern Washington (1-3)

The Hokies will face Eastern Washington in their first game in Alaska, at
1:45 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Eastern Washington lost Rodney Stuckey to the NBA in the offseason. He was a
first round pick of the Detroit Pistons. As a result, the Eagles have a lot of
holes to fill this year. They haven’t been very successful thus far, sporting a
1-3 record. They were easily defeated by Washington State, New Mexico and
Washington. Their one win came against UC-Riverside.

The Eagles are a guard oriented team. The Hokies will have a size advantage
in this game. If Tech can shut down Kellen Williams, Eastern Washington’s best
player, then they’ve got a good shot to win, though with such a young team, you
never really know how they are going to play.

Eastern Washington’s backcourt is entirely new. They have never played
together before. DeLeon and Stanojevic are JUCOs in their first year at Eastern
Washington, and Gross is a true freshman.


Eastern Washington Starters

Pos

Name

Year

Ht

Wt

Pts

Rebs

Assists

G

Adris DeLeon

Jr.

5-11

165

11.8

2.3

12

G

Trey Gross

Fr.

6-2

175

9

1.3

3

G

Milan Stanojevic

Jr.

6-2

195

4.3

1.3

7

F

Kellen Williams

Sr.

6-4

205

10.5

7.8

8

F

Brandon Moore

So.

6-9

240

4.5

2.5

0


Michigan (2-1)

Michigan is being coached by John Beilein, the former WVU head man.
Historically, Beilein’s teams have been perimeter oriented. If the Hokies face
Michigan during this event, don’t be afraid of Tech having inexperienced guards.
Michigan starts two freshmen in the backcourt, so they are just as inexperienced
as the Hokies.

Michigan has defeated Radford and Brown at home, and were blown out by
Georgetown 74-52 on the road. If the Hokies end up playing Michigan, Seth
Greenberg is likely to have a very long phone conversations with older brother
Brad Greenberg, who is now the head coach at Radford.

The Wolverines return just one starter from last season.


Michigan Starters

Pos

Name

Year

Ht

Wt

Pts

Rebs

Assists

G

Kelvin Grady

Fr.

5-11

170

12.3

2.3

9

G

Manny Harris

Fr.

6-5

170

16

2.3

8

F

Ron Coleman

Sr.

6-6

210

1.7

4.7

10

F

DeShawn Sims

So.

6-8

225

13.7

4

1

C

Zack Gibson

So.

6-10

220

6.7

4

1


Butler (3-0)

#25 Butler could be the favorite to win the Great Alaska Shootout. They won
the Preseason NIT last season with victories over Indiana, Tennessee, Notre Dame
and Gonzaga. They return three starters from that team, though they do have a
new coach, Brad Stevens. Stevens is only 30, which makes him the youngest head
coach in college basketball.

Butler was ranked in the top 10 for part of last season, and reached the
Sweet 16. They have five senior starters. The Bulldogs will light you up from
the outside if you don’t get out and guard them.

VT would have a size advantage on the inside in this game, but there is no
substitute for experience. This would be a tough matchup for the Hokies. Guards
Mike Green and A.J. Graves are First Team All-Horizon League, and Graves is
Preseason Horizon League Player of the Year.


Butler Starters

Pos

Name

Year

Ht

Wt

Pts

Rebs

Assists

G

Mike Green

Sr.

6-1

175

11

6.7

10

G

A.J. Graves

Sr.

6-1

155

19.7

3.3

6

F

Julian Betko

Sr.

6-5

200

4

3

4

F

Drew Streicher

Sr.

6-7

200

4

2.7

2

C

Pete Campbell

Sr.

6-7

200

11.7

4.3

4


Western Kentucky (3-0)

Western Kentucky is a very good team that returns four starters off a squad that went 22-11 last season. Star player Courtney Lee returns, and the
Hilltoppers could very well have ended up in the NCAA tournament had he not been
injured for the Sun Belt Tournament.

Western Kentucky is a program that is used to winning. They have won 20 or
more games in each of the past three seasons. They are a dark horse to win the
Great Alaksa Shootout. They open with Gonzaga.


Western Kentucky Starters

Pos

Name

Year

Ht

Wt

Pts

Rebs

Assists

G

Tyrone Brazelton

Sr.

6-0

180

16

1

10

G

A.J. Slaughter

So.

6-3

180

6

3.7

5

G

Courtney Lee

Sr

6-5

200

24.3

4

2

F

Mike Walker

Sr.

6-7

220

5.3

6

3

C

D.J. Magley

Fr.

6-9

260

3.3

2.7

3


Gonzaga (3-0)

Gonzaga is a good, experienced, well-coached basketball team, as usual. They
are used to playing in these types of events, and I’m sure many people are
picking them to win this year’s Great Alaska Shootout. They will take on Western
Kentucky in their first game, and it could very well be the best overall game of
the 3-day event.

The Zags won’t blow you away with athletes, but they have very good
basketball talent. They return three starters from last season’s 23-11 team.
Head coach Mark Few has won 211 games in eight seasons, and was recently given a
contract extension through 2017.

This year should be no different for Gonzaga. They will find themselves in
the NCAA tournament at season’s end.


Gonzaga Starters

Pos

Name

Year

Ht

Wt

Pts

Rebs

Assists

G

Jeremy Pargo

Jr.

6-2

219

14.7

4.3

11

G

Matt Bouldin

So.

6-5

214

10.3

5.3

7

G

Micah Downs

Jr.

6-8

180

6.7

4.3

6

G

David Pendergraft

Sr.

6-6

223

6

5

3

F

Abdullahi Kuso

Sr.

6-9

228

9.7

3

0


Texas Tech (2-1)

Bobby Knight has obviously not been as successful at Texas Tech as he was at
Indiana. The Red Raiders are off to a 2-1 start this year, with wins over UC-Riverside
and Stephen F. Austin, and a loss to Sam Houston State. Texas Tech has
struggled offensively, scoring just 54 points in their loss.

The Red Raiders face host Alaska-Anchorage in their opening game of the
Shootout. The Seawolves have won at least one game in the event for six straight
years. Although they are a D-II school, they are dangerous.


Texas Tech Starters

Pos

Name

Year

Ht

Wt

Pts

Rebs

Assists

G

Martin Zeno

So.

6-5

202

19.3

5

8

G

Alan Voskuil

Jr.

6-3

175

13

4.3

10

G

Damir Suljagic

So.

6-8

248

4.7

5.7

3

G

Charlie Burgess

Sr.

6-1

193

3

1.7

1

F

Decensae White

So.

6-6

215

6.5

2.5

2

Note: No Alaska-Anchorage Preview because they are DII.

Assessing Virginia Tech’s Chances

Virginia Tech is too young and inexperienced to stand a reasonable chance of
winning a tournament like this against such good competition. The worst part is
that each of the other teams have already played at least three games, while the
young Hokies have just one game under their belts.

Tech’s best chance of reaching the championship would be for Michigan to
upset Butler. If the Hokies can get past Eastern Washington, I’d like their
chances against Michigan’s two freshmen guards much better than I’d like their
chances against Butler and their five senior starters.

I think the best-case scenario for the Hokies would be a third place finish,
but that’s probably a long shot as well.

TV Coverage

Coverage of the G.A.S. is limited, with a mix of ESPN2 (Michigan and Butler
tonight at 11:30 Eastern Time), ESPNU (Western Kentucky vs. Gonzaga Thanksgiving
night, 11:30), and ESPN360 (some games). On Friday night/Saturday morning, at
12:30 a.m. on ESPN2, a G.A.S. game is scheduled. Beyond that, it’s not clear
what games will or won’t be televised. Internet searches on the Great Alaska
Shootout produced conflicting, confusing, outdated information. The best link we’ve seen for brackets and broadcast info is below (with thanks to 134323Hokie for finding the link).

Share on your favorite social network:
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someoneGoogle+share on TumblrShare on Reddit