Archive | September, 2012

Redhawks get coverage boost: Eight games this season to be televised regionally

25 Sep

National attention is all well and good, but there’s something to be said for growing a local following too.

The 10 games Seattle U will play this season that will be broadcast, including eight regionally on Root Sports, will help with that.

Six games against WAC opponents, the home opener against Montana State and the crosstown showdown against Washington will be broadcast on the network in the northwest. The other two games being shown are road matchups against “power” conferences – Stanford, which will be broadcast on the Pac-12 network, and Virginia, available on the online platform ESPN3.

This is a notable improvement from last year, when just four Redhawk men’s basketball games were on television.

One reason this number has increased is the birth of the Pac-12 network. In previous years, Root/FSN broadcast the majority of Pac-10 and Pac-12 basketball games of regional teams like Washington and Washington State. But with a new home for many of those contests, and a contract with ESPN allowing even more games broadcast on the national network, Root Sports had a bit of a gap open up this year.

Enter Seattle University, in its first season in a Division-1 conference in many years. The Redhawks, and probably Gonzaga as well, will likely have an increased number of basketball games on Root Sports in years to come to fill in that gap.

For this year, one downside is that seven of the eight games on Root are home games, so if you have season tickets and are going to the games already, you aren’t really getting helped out by the increased number of televised games this year.

But maybe that changes next year. For now, this is a tiny step in the right direction in getting more media coverage for Redhawk basketball.

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Could Seattle U make a big move to the Big West?

20 Sep

Everyone and their mother knows that the Western Athletic Conference is disintegrating.

The WAC, as of right now, will have just four schools in the 2013-14 season – Denver, Idaho, New Mexico State and, of course, Seattle University. And if Idaho completes a rumored move to the Big Sky, that total could be three.

So why not look West?

Even if the WAC somehow does manage to scrap together enough members to limp on, the conference will be full of teams that will jump at the first opportunity to leave for greener pastures.

Idaho considering a move to the Big Sky is proof of that. So is Boise State moving their own non-football athletics programs to the Big West, a move that could very well provide a blueprint for the Redhawks’ athletic futures.

The Big West has recently been a very regional league, with all the conference members based in the state of California. Until 2012, when first Hawaii, then Boise State moved their non-football programs into the conference (after each bailing on the WAC not long before).

Why is the Big West interested in adding teams so far outside their geographic footprint? In a word, money. From USA Today:

“According to the school release, Boise State’s entry fee to join the Big West is $2.5 million — which will be paid in five annual payments. The Broncos will also pay a travel cost per conference visiting team for regular season competitions in Boise at an estimated cost of $750,000 per year, an equity share into the league’s reserve to be determined at a later date and a one-time membership initiation fee estimated at $50,000.”

That’s a fairly sizeable payment, but one Seattle University should be willing to afford. The school has already put a lot of money towards bringing their athletics programs back to Division I. Not being willing to put in a little more to ensure the successful future of those programs would be incredibly shortsighted.

It would also seem like a perfect fit from the conference’s point of view. Adding Seattle would bring the conference to an even 12 teams, when  Boise State and San Diego State join in 2013. Seattle would provide a new major media market, and a northern travel partner for the Broncos.

The conference would be strong in basketball, too, with quality opponents like San Diego State, UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State.

A move to Seattle U’s original Division-I home, the WCC, remains the dream scenario for the Redhawks. But since that doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon, and the WAC doesn’t seem likely to be a strong conference anytime soon, the Big West could be a very palatable third option for Seattle U.

Redhawks need to win to earn national TV exposure

13 Sep

Here are the WAC basketball games that will be televised on ESPN’s networks this season. You might notice one team, in particular, missing.

Nov. 11 New Mexico State at Oregon State 6:30 p.m. PT ESPNU

Nov. 26 San Jose State at Kansas 8:00 p.m. CT ESPNU

Dec. 29 Denver at Louisiana Tech 7:00 p.m. CT ERT

Jan. 17 Idaho at Louisiana Tech 7:00 p.m. CT ERT

Jan. 23 Denver at New Mexico State 9:00 p.m. MT ESPNU

Jan. 31 Utah State at Idaho 7:00 p.m. PT ERT

Feb. 16 New Mexico State at Utah State 9:00 p.m. MT ESPNU

Feb. 28 Utah State at Louisiana Tech 7:00 p.m. CT ERT

March 2 New Mexico State at Denver 4:00 p.m. MT ERT

March 16 WAC Tournament Women’s Championship 12:00 p.m. PT ESPNU

March 16 WAC Tournament Men’s Championship 8:00 p.m. PT

Anyone who thought the move to a conference in Division-I was going to give the Redhawks more media attention is, thus far, going to have to wait at least one season.

It’s a little surprising. The major media market of Seattle has their team in zero ESPN games, while the not-exactly-noted-metropolis of Ruston, Louisiana has three (all home games for Louisiana Tech), and the little town of Moscow, home to the University of Idaho, has two.

But what those schools do have is some name value. All have been WAC members for more than one season, save for Denver. All have had at least SOME basketball success recently, save for San Jose State. Seattle is going to be in its first season in a Division-I conference in more than 30 years, and has neither of those two things.

The cure for that lack of name recognition? Winning. As much of it as possible.

A winning record would give Seattle a very good chance at making one of the two minor postseason tournaments. Last year, Utah State made the CIT with a 17-15 record, 8-6 in conference play. That should be a reasonably attainable goal for the Redhawks to aim for.

Of course, if Seattle U wins the WAC tournament, they’ll be headed for the NCAA tournament and big-time media exposure.

If they win the WAC regular season, they’ll at least be headed to the NIT. But those might be long-shots for a young team that just lost their best overall player, Aaron Broussard, to graduation.

Either way, it’s going to be very difficult for the Redhawks to capture media attention and national TV exposure this season. But winning this season would be a good step towards increasing their exposure for years to come.

Redhawks freshman David Trimble has potential to make an impact

10 Sep

A name that has flown under the radar for nearly the entire year is freshman Redhawk point guard David Trimble.

It’s not because of anything that he did or didn’t do. Trimble led his Davis High School to the Washington 4A state basketball championship last year. He won the Associated Press state player of the year award for all classifications last year. He literally could have not have had a better year to end his high-school career.

If that wasn’t enough, he was clocked at a 4.6 40-yard-dash time in football, and picked up an offer from Idaho State. This is a serious athlete we’re talking about.

Why he didn’t receive more attention during the recruiting season is a mystery (possibly having something to do with his playing for a relatively unknown high school in a rural part of the state), but it stands to benefit Seattle U.

Trimble was one of two true freshmen to make the team’s trip to China this August and September, with center Jack Crook being the other. Perhaps that’s an early sign that Trimble is going to play some part for coach Cameron Dollar this season.

He certainly seems mature enough for a true freshman just entering college. Trimble sounds composed beyond his years in this interview from March. Check it out – highlights of his play in the 2012 state tournament are included as well.

Seattle has a very guard-heavy team in 2012, with 10 of 16 roster players manning that position. It’s not going to be easy for Trimble to climb up the depth chart to make an impact this season, but he looks like he has all the tools to do so.

Redhawks in China: More than just basketball

6 Sep

One way to look at Seattle University’s recent two-week trip to China, which they returned to from yesterday, would be as an exhibition season that finished with a 1-4 record.

The Redhawks beat a Lithuanian team, lost to a Canadian team, and fell to the Chinese national team three times.

That in and of itself is nothing to be ashamed of – China is currently ranked 10th in the world by FIBA, and are the top basketball team in Asia. In one of the games, the Redhawks lost at the buzzer. That’s a last-second loss against a top-flight NATIONAL TEAM, in an away environment on the road.

And remember, this is a national team that just got back from a trip to the Olympics. They went from facing the national teams of Spain and Russia to facing Seattle University in a matter of weeks.

So before the official exhibition season has even started, Seattle’s basketball team has experience playing in hostile environments, against quality competition. That ought to make those conference games against New Mexico State and Utah State in early 2013 a little less intimidating.

The trip was also a way to get a relatively inexperienced team to gel together. Of the 12 players on the China trip, only one – junior Sterling Carter – has played as a Redhawk for two or more seasons. Five of the others hadn’t set foot on the court for the Redhawks before the team took off for China on August 22.

Now, players like freshman guard David Trimble and freshman forward Jack Crook won’t be blindsided when they play in their first college games. They’ll know what to expect. Playing at San Jose State probably won’t seem as scary as playing at Beijing.

Lastly, there were non-basketball reasons for the China trip, as well. I’ll quote coach Cameron Dollar from his Twitter posts to sum up those:

Cameron Dollar ‏@Coach_Dollar The people in China were wonderful to us. Very warm, friendly, and hospitable. They really took care of us at every spot along our tour.

Cameron Dollar ‏@Coach_Dollar Highlight of the trip for me was seeing our players grow and become educated about people and a place they once never knew of.

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