It was only a matter of time that the Pacific Tigers would need to say goodbye to head coach Damon Stoudamire. After staying in discussion for the job at Arizona, Stoudamire was poached by the Boston Celtics to join the coaching staff of Ime Udoka. Stoudamire did an admirable job with the Tigers and helped rebuild the culture for the program. In an effort to retain that effort, Athletic Director Janet Lucas elevated longtime assistant Leonard Perry to the head coaching position.
Holding onto the work already built allowed for the Tigers to hold onto the majority of last year’s roster. The biggest returner is junior point guard Pierre Crockrell Jr., who may be one of the most under-the-radar players in the conference. Crockrell has an incredibly tidy statline, averaging 4.1 assists and 1.6 turnovers last year. He is adept at directing the offense in traffic and shows crafty patience in finding lanes to score or to dish out to the open man.
The major issue last year is Crockrell didn’t have the surrounding talent to benefit from his elite court vision and decision-making. The Tigers added three guards in the portal that are solid shooters in Luke Avdalovic, Nick Blake, and Khaleb Wilson-Rouse. Jalen Brown is a returning scorer that shot 40% from three while appearing in just nine games last season.
Alphonso Anderson could be the biggest newcomer for Pacific as he’s coming off of a season with Utah State that earned him Mountain West Sixth-Man of the Year. Anderson is able to play multiple positions and is solid in the post or playing as a stretch-four with a decent midrange and perimeter game. He joins senior Jeremiah Bailey as the two big scoring threats in the frontcourt.
It’s a big ask to expect Pacific to be fighting with the top teams in the conference but overall folks may be sleeping on the potential of the Tigers. At the very least they will be a threat to whomever they play on any given night.