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Welcome back to the Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog. Yes, we're still alive, and with the 2015-16 season rapidly approaching, it's time to fire up the old blog for another season. Check back here throughout the year for updates on all things Rider and Princeton, including coverage of both the MAAC and Ivy League. Feel free to drop me a line on twitter @kj_franko ( or email

Friday, December 20, 2013

South Point Holiday Hoops Classic primer

Las Vegas, Nev. 

Dec. 20: Princeton Tigers (8-1) vs. Pacific Tigers (8-1), 7:30 p.m. PT (10:30 ET) Dec 21: Princeton Tigers vs. Portland Pilots (6-4), 8:00 p.m. (11:00 ET)

Coaches: Princeton – Mitch Henderson (third season, 45-24 overall). Pacific – Ron Verlin (first season, 8-1 overall). Portland – Eric Reveno (eighth season, 102-128 overall).

Probable Starters
Princeton: C Hans Brase (6-8, sophomore, 12.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.9 APG). F Will Barrett (6-10, senior, 11.1 PPG, 3.7 RPG). G Ben Hazel (6-5, junior, 10.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG). G Jimmy Sherburne (6-3, senior, 7.2 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 3 APG). G T.J. Bray (6-5, senior, 15 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 7.2 APG).

Pacific: F Khalil Kelley (6-8, senior, 8.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG). F Trevin Harris (6-5, senior, 5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.3 APG). F Tony Gill (6-8, senior, 12.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1 APG). G Andrew Bock (6-2, senior, 12.6 PPG, 2.1 RPF, 2.7 APG). G Sama Taku (6-2, senior, 12 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.4 APG). Key Reserves: G T.J. Wallace (6-2, freshman, 7.2 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 1.6 APG). C Tim Thomas (6-10, senior 4.1 PPG, 2.4 RPG). F Andrew Short (6-3, junior, 3.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1 APG).

Portland: F Ryan Nicholas (6-7, senior, 13.2 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 1.2 APG). C Thomas van der Mars (6-11, junior, 12.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.2 APG). G Kevin Bailey (6-5, junior, 17.6 PPG, 3 RPG, 2.3 APG). G Bryce Pressley (6-4, sophomore, 6.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.7 APG). G Alec Wintering (5-11, freshman, 7.6 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 3.9 APG). Key Reserves: G Bobby Sharp (6-2, junior, 8 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1 APG). C Riley Barker (6-10, junior, 2.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG). F-C Volodymyr Gerun (6-10, junior, 4.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG).

Sherburne Back: Friday’s game against Pacific should mark the return of fifth-year senior guard Jimmy Sherburne, who was suspended for the last three games for an unspecified violation of team rules. Though the Tigers didn’t miss much of a beat without Sherburne in the lineup — they beat FDU, Rutgers and Penn State in his absence — he has played well this season, and gives the Tigers another solid ball handler to help T.J. Bray in the backcourt.

Against Pacific: On paper at least, this looks like the more difficult of the two games for Princeton, as Pacific will be the fourth team in’s top-100 they’ve played this season. The west coast Tigers’ only loss of the season came to Oregon, while their most impressive win of the season came two weeks ago at Utah State. They are current projected to finish fourth in the WCC, behind Gonzaga, St. Mary’s and BYU.

Against Portland: Though the Pilots aren’t projected to finish near the top of the WCC, they do feature one of the toughest scorers in the conference in 6-foot-5 guard Kevin Bailey, who is tied for fifth in the league at 17.6 points per game.

Mitch Henderson on the Tigers defense:

I think we are a work in progress on both ends of the floor, but especially defensively. I would think every team in this tournament we are in right now and most every team across the country — if you look at the top 10 teams in the country, they happen to be the top defensive teams, most likely. Ohio State is third in the country and they are the best defensive team in the country. I think with the exception of Syracuse, all the top 10 teams in the country are great defensive teams. I’m fully aware, and so are our guys, that we really have to be a great defensive team. We’re capable, we just have to keep pounding away at it. It’s just the little things, competing on every possession. Having Jimmy and T.J, together really helps us with that.

On containing smaller guards:

I’ve seen everybody struggle against those players. I hope that rules continue to get called the way they do, because it’s a fastpaced game that rewards the offensive player, but we are going to have to continue to work on dribble penetration.

On Pacific:

Unfortunately, when you are studying teams, nobody on the east coast knows about this pacific team. We know that they are very good and have a lot of good pieces. They have two really good guards, and some post players that can score in lots of different ways. It’s going to be another really nice challenge for us. This group, we’ve done a really good job of trying to get better every game and not really thinking too much about what else is going on.

On Pacific/Portland: 

For me, I take a look at the rankings because it’s a helpful tool, but it really does not tell the whole picture. If you look at us and look at our numbers, it doesn’t tell you everything. You have to look at these teams, and they are two very good teams capable of beating just about anybody. Pacific has one loss at Oregon, and they were up 21-10 and kind of cruising in the first half. They went to Utah State and won. Portland has a couple nice wins, they beat a a pretty good Columbia team at their place. You look at the numbers, and there are players. Kevin Bailey is as talented a player as we’ve seen. We’ll have to put our bodies in front of him and work together to stop him.


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