Papè Jam 2004 Just Around the Corner!

The Papè Jam is just around the corner. This year, the seventh annual contest that matches the Oregon Men's and Women's teams to out of conference opponents will be played on Saturday, December 4, 2004, at the Rose Garden in Portland. This year the men will take on Vanderbilt, while the women will play George Washington.

For three straight years, the Ducks have put a first round pick into the NBA draft. That streak probably will end this year, as there are no seniors on the roster. Will that mean there will be no star power going into the Papè Jam this December? Not according to Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, the "bible of college basketball" that selected Oregon freshman Malik Hairston as its preseason national newcomer of the year. Hairston, 6-6, 200, Detroit (Mich.) Renaissance HS, was thought to be the best high school senior that did not immediately enter the NBA draft. The nimble Hairston plays the wing or small forward and will likely take up the slack from departing Luke Jackson and Andre Joseph. Hairston surprised the collegiate basketball world last winter when he selected the Ducks over the likes of Kansas, Michigan, Arizona, UCLA, Oklahoma, Ohio State and North Carolina. Joining Hairston in a recruiting class that could well be the best since the days of Greg Ballard, Stu Jackson and Ernie Kent, are sharpshooting swing man Bryce Taylor, 6-4, 190, North Hollywood (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake School; power forward Maarty Leunen, 6-9, 200, Redmond (Ore.) Redmond HS; shooting guard Chamberlain Oguchi, 6-4, 185, Richmond (Texas) George Bush HS; and point guard Kenny Love, 6-2, Casper Junior College.

The incoming recruits join veterans, Aaron Brooks, Ian Crosswhite, Mitch Platt, Matt Short, Ray Schafer, Adam Zahn, Jordan Kent and Adrian Stelly. Last season, the Ducks finished 18-13 for the year, with a semi-final round appearance in the NIT, losing to a very strong Michigan team, 78-53. Many felt that losing Jackson, James Davis and Andre Joseph, the Ducks would struggle because one player on the current roster (Crosswhite, 12.5 ppg) had a scoring average in double figures. Aaron Brooks, 6-0, 160, is a fine point guard and his season was hampered last year because of a freak accident when he broke his hand against UCLA. Brooks averaged 7.0 ppg, and had 51 assists in 21 games played last season. Platt, 6-10, 265, injured his ankle in last year's Papè Jam and struggled through the year to regain his form he showed early in the 2003-04 campaign. Joining Platt on the inside are redshirt freshman Ray Schafer, 7-0, 245, and Matt Short, 7-0, 235. Short also was injured for a great deal of the season last year, missing nine games. An ignited Crosswhite, 7-0, 250, can be worth the price of admission to any game he plays in.

Oregon will face Vanderbilt in a return Papè Jam match-up. Kevin Stallings coaches the Commodores, in his sixth season at the Nashville campus. The Commodores were 23-10 last year and set a number of school records including most consecutive wins to begin a season (12) and most victories at home (15). The 23 win mark was the third most in school history. Vanderbilt also made it to the NCAA "Big Dance" last March, beating Western Michigan and North Carolina State to make it to the "Sweet 16". There they would lose to the eventual national champion, Connecticut.

"We took a huge step last year in turning a corner of sorts," said Stallings in his coach's biography "We think that we are in the position now to be consistently productive and successful. That's been our aspiration from day one — to build a program that can win and win consistently. Because we have been able to build it the right way we feel like now we are in a position to do that."

The unusual thing about Vanderbilt is that there is no Vanderbilt Athletic Department. Last year, Vanderbilt's chancellor, Gordon Gee, disbanded the university's athletic department, putting it under the division of student life and university affairs. Vanderbilt is the smallest university in the SEC with fewer than 6,000 undergraduates, stands by its ideals in what the role of athletics are in university life. The school has routinely led the nation in graduation rates and rejected one of the best high school players in Nashville history because his grades were not good enough. In an age of high-pressure performance on Athletic Departments to succeed by financially and in playing competition, Vanderbilt is something very different.

Guard Mario Moore, 5-11, 11.2 ppg, leads the Commodores. Center Dawid (that's right, not David) Przybyszewski, 7-2, 8.3 ppg, is a native of Torun, Poland. Swing man Corey Smith, 6-6, 6.8 ppg, and 4.2 rpg might be the team's best athlete.

The Duck women are coming off a disappointing 14-15 record. Last year, Bev Smith's squad labored under adversity. The team's best player, forward Catherine Kraayeveld, 6-4, was injured early and knocked out for the season and the team never quite recovered. This season, the Ducks are led by senior center Andrea Bills, 6-3, senior guard Brandi Davis, 6-0, senior guard Kedzie Gunderson, 6-0 and senior guard Corrie Mizusawa, 5-8. Kraayeveld hopes to regain her form in her senior season to make the Ducks a force in the Pac-10.

The women will face George Washington at the Papè Jam. John McKowen coaches George Washington, in his 15th season in the head position. The Colonials finished the year with an impressive 22-8 record last season, including a trip to the NCAA tournament, but were knocked out by DePaul in the first round.

Junior forward Anna Montanana, 6-1, a Street & Smith Honorable mention leads George Washington, bringing in a 12.0 scoring average, redshirt senior Cathy Joens, 5-11 is the leading scorer with an 19.4 ppg average. Senior center Ugo Oha, has a 13.8 ppg average and led the team last year with a total of 213 rebounds in 30 games.

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