College Basketball Nation: Eric Reveno

Portland on a roll with developing pros

August, 24, 2011
When Portland visits Rupp Arena on Nov. 26, it will go up against a Kentucky program that under John Calipari has produced nine NBA draft picks (counting Enes Kanter) in the past two years.

But did you know the Pilots also have an impressive track record of putting players in the pros? Coach Eric Reveno has managed to graduate nine players over the past two seasons, and all of them have signed professional contracts to play overseas.

Included in this year's crop of pros are a player with NBA bloodlines in Luke Sikma, top 3-point shooter Jared Stohl and reserve center Jasonn Hannibal. If their success sounds like a recruiting pitch for Reveno to use, know that he already has.

"I put our ability to help someone be the best they can be against anybody," he said.

The players Reveno developed have helped Portland win 60 games over the past three seasons. The next step for the Pilots is to capture their first NCAA tournament bid since 1996, and Reveno wants to see if the current players can get the program over the hump.

Portland returns all-conference guard Nemanja Mitrovic and veteran backcourt mates Eric Waterford and Derrick Rodgers. The rest of the team consists of underclassmen, and Reveno is also bringing in a recruiting class highlighted by guard Kevin Bailey.

"We're in an intriguing stage in our growth," Reveno said. "I know we're going to get there. I'm curious about this year."

It's also an interesting time in the West Coast Conference. BYU is coming into the conference with its history of success. Perennial WCC champion Gonzaga is going after UCLA's consecutive conference crowns streak. Saint Mary's isn't far removed from its Sweet 16 success, and San Francisco and Santa Clara are programs on the rise.

That doesn't leave Portland a lot of room for error, but the Pilots are doing well in their "three-legged mission," as Reveno called it. They're graduating players. They're turning them into pros. The hope is that the championships will eventually come now that so many pros are being developed.

"That's a cornerstone of a championship program, but we can't quite call ourselves a championship program until we win a championship," Reveno said. "This is a foundation. There's something undeniably going well.

"But how are they going to win a championship? That’s what we're excited about, taking it to the next level."
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- During last week's EYBL Peach Jam, surveyed 15 head coaches on a range of topics. Here are their responses on a topic involving their fellow coaches.

There are five seconds left in a tie game. Your opponent has the ball. What coach would you most worry about diagramming the last play?

Rick Barnes, Texas: Dean Smith. “No question. He was a great situation guy.’’

Mark Fox, Georgia: “It’s the guy with the best players. I don’t care what the play is.’’

Darrin Horn, South Carolina: “It’s about the players, not the pen. Whoever has the best players wins.’’

Ben Howland, UCLA: Tom Izzo, Jim Boeheim or Jim Calhoun. “Those three guys have been through just about every situation you can imagine.’’

Bob Huggins, West Virginia: Rick Pitino. “I think he’s a pretty good coach but I also think he inspires confidence in his players and that’s so important in those end-game situations.’’

Tom Izzo, Michigan State: Mike Krzyzewski. “He’s been doing this a long time and his track record speaks for itself. Plus he can say, ‘Eenie, meenie, miney mo and pick the guy who will beat you.’’

Kerry Keating, Santa Clara: Eric Reveno. “He went to Stanford. He has three degrees. One of them has to help him come up with a good endgame play.’’

Phil Martelli, Saint Joseph’s: The tree of Thad Matta. “Matta, Sean Miller, Chris Mack. They have so many plays that they can cover just about anything.’’

Fran McCaffery, Iowa: Tom Izzo. “He runs really good late-game stuff. You have to be concise with your switching and your trapping.’’

Josh Pastner, Memphis: John Calipari. “In those situations you have to be quick with your thinking and he really is. He grabs the board and draws up something immediately. It’s a gift, really.’’ Pastner also named Jeff Van Gundy.

Rick Pitino, Louisville: Dean Smith. “He was a great timeout guy. He lived for that. Plus he had great players. Who do you want, Jordan or Worthy to beat you?”

Mark Turgeon, Maryland: John Beilein. “He’s a terrific X's and O's guy.’’

Bruce Weber, Illinois: Kevin Stallings. “I coached with him and I know how good he is. I always say he’s an offensive genius.’’

Roy Williams, North Carolina: Dean Smith. “We practiced it every day. There was nothing we could face that he hadn’t practiced, so when it happened you were ready.’’

Jay Wright, Villanova: John Beilein. “I know he lives and dies by the 3 but he’d also have an option, a guy driving to the rim. He wouldn’t go to a player but to a play.’’