Former UP starter leading the way at point guard for PSU

by: COURTESY OF PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY - Tim Douglas, former Portland Pilot, starts at point guard for Portland State. The Vikings and Pilots play at Stott Center at 7 p.m. Saturday.It's not going to be Tim Douglas versus the Portland Pilots on Saturday night.

But a lot of eyes will be on Douglas when he starts at point guard for Portland State. And he admittedly is "excited" about the 7 p.m. crosstown rivalry game at Stott Center.

"It's not every day you get to play against your former teammates," he says. "I've got a little extra motivation."

Douglas spent two years at UP. He played in 59 games, starting 24 and averaging 8.1 points and 3.0 assists.

His career-high scoring game came against PSU on Dec. 18, 2010, when he poured in 27 points as the Pilots topped the Vikings 78-67.

"We had some guys who could shoot the 3, so they (the Vikings) had to stay out on those guys, and they were overplaying on defense," Douglas says. The scoring opportunities that night "kind of came to me."

But over time, Douglas became less than completely happy with his basketball situation on The Bluff.

"I was turning into too much of a robot," he says. "I was passing the ball where I was supposed to pass it, rather than reading and reacting or having the freedom offensively to go with my instincts."

He decided to transfer, somewhere.

"I just felt that for me it would be better to go where the style of play fit better," he says.

He says he considered going to the east coast or back to California (he is from Cerritos), but Portland State wound up being just the place for him.

A friend, Charles Odum, was playing for the Vikings, and the two had been teammates at Mayfair High. "He told me Portland State was a good place to play," Douglas says.

PSU would accept all his credits from UP — Douglas is a pre-med major who hopes to be a doctor — "and I just thought, why re-acclimate myself to somewhere completely different when I like the city of Portland and can stay here?"

Per NCAA rules, Douglas had to sit out last season as a transfer.

"I'm a pretty positive person, so I looked at it as an advantage," he says. "I got to take a year to focus on school, to get myself stronger, physically, to work on my game, and to learn the offense."

The 5-10, 160-pounder has started every game this season for PSU (4-2), and he leads the Vikings in minutes (35.8 per game), points (14.8) and assists (3.8).

"My role is similar to what it was (at UP)," he says, "but I'd say I have more opportunities here to make plays off the dribble or the pick-and-roll, whereas UP relies more on the half-court offense, and I'd do things more if I just had to at the end of the shot clock.

"Here, it's a little more free-flowing, and I have a little more freedom if a play breaks down."

Part of it, he knows, is that he is now a junior, so he is expected to be — and says he is — more mature and a better leader.

"A lot of it is mental, and just how I handle situations, just being a better player, leader and teammate," he says. At UP, "I was a younger guy who was expected to be an older guy."

Douglas says he still is friends and stays in touch with several of the Pilots, who have a 5-3 preseason record.

"I'm lucky to have had great teammates there and to have great teammates here," he says. "I see a bunch of those guys often, and I know everyone on their team — Tanner Riley, Ryan Nicholas, John and Kevin Bailey, Thomas van der Mars ...

"Tanner and I are probably the closest. We came in together at UP. We had some big plans. Of course, time goes on, and things change."

Douglas says he has chosen not to call or text his Pilot friends this week. He says he doesn't want to get too fired up for the game.

As for Saturday's match-up — the only time Portland and Portland State will meet this season — Douglas says it will be a challenge, especially for the more guard-oriented Vikings to defend the Pilots' inside game.

"Coach Rev (Eric Reveno) does a great job working with the big guys, and their team is playing well," Douglas says.

Douglas says he doesn't care about scoring another 27 points.

"No, I just want to win," he says. "When we won (in 2010), it was pretty exciting, because I was playing against Charles Odum and I wanted those bragging rights."

Douglas would like to have those bragging rights again, only wearing a Portland State uniform this time.

It would make it easier for him to resume those texts and conversations with his former teammates.

"I could make some phone calls again," he says, with a chuckle. "Hopefully I won't have to turn my phone off after the game."

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