Monday, December 30, 2013

So Nevada kicks off the MWC portion of the schedule

5-8 Nevada comes to town on January 1 for a 7:00 p.m. game.

That means a team being led by senior guard Deonte Burton plus senior guard Jerry Evans who is starting to score much more this season but also a depleted roster.

One thing is sure: the Spartans aren't going to be overwhelmed in the paint as there is no longer a Nick Fazekas or Luke Babbitt on the roster.

Upfront, 6-foot-9 Richard Bell and 6-foot-11 Lucas Stivrins remain projects while 6-foot-8 Ronnie Stevens is injured (shinsplints) and 6-foot-11 Chris Brown is sidelined via medical issues. That leaves 6-foot-9 AJ West, whose eligibility was recently positively adjudicated, plus 6-foot-9 Cheikh Fall as the powers-that-be upfront. West, the starter, is a shotblocker (just five shot attempts in three games) while Fall has yet to display any particular strengths although he currently has more offensive than defensive rebounds 18/12).

Burton (22.5 ppg., 46%, 33% shooting) and the 6-foot-8 Evans (15.3 ppg., 53%, 42% shooting plus a team-leading 6.2 rpg.) head the backcourt, which is missing sophomore Marqueze Coleman (eye injury), another injured Wolf Packer. Either Burton or Evans have been the leading scorer thus far. UTEP transfer Michael Perez (10.2 ppg., 39%, 36% shooting, 4.2 rpg.) heads the three-player guard tandem for Coach David Carter.

6-foot-8, 205 pounded Cole Huff starts at power forward, which he is not (10.2 ppg., 46%, 37%, 5.1 rpg.)

The Wolf Pack have no signature wins this season. That and a loss to Cal State Bakersfield.

A second-division Mountain West Conference finish is looming as opponents are shooting 48% from the floor, meaning Nevada isn't getting anywhere near enough stops to be on the right side of wins. That and being minus in turnovers (for a small starting lineup) are the dooming effects.

Another concern: Burton leads the NCAA is minutes played and obviously is the target of opposing defenses. It's hard to be consistently effective later in games with all that mileage.

Whoever matches up with Burton is in for an obvious handful but it will be most interesting if Coach Carter matches up Evans with Rashad Muhammad since the former is the best defender outside the paint with his long, lean physique and the latter is the top Spartan scorer at 17.3 points an outing.

A point (or two or three) to literally watch for: Nevada has three two-point victories this season (Cal Poly, San Francisco, Chattanooga) but also a pair of two-point (Pacific, Nebraska-Omaha) defeat and a three-point downing (Long beach State).

Geoff Grammer's mid-season MWC team rankings

Geoff Grammer, the New Mexico athletics beat reporter for the Albuquerque Journal, tweeted this:
My MWC midseason breakdown by tier: 
1st: SDSU, UNM 
2nd: BoiseSt 
3rd: UNLV, UtahSt 
4th: Wyo, ColoSt, FresnoSt 
5th: SJSU, Nev, AFA
Here are his picks dated last October.

Looking at the MWC thus far

Raphielle Johnson has posted his non-conference Mountain West Conference season awards and pegs the teams from top to bottom. He has Air Force in the caboose.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Shaw's charges detailed

Matthew Piper has the scoop that Utah State center Jarred Shaw is facing a felony charge plus two misdemeanors.

SJSU faces the Aggies on January 4 in Logan so Shaw will not be available at that point, if at all this season, even if the charges are pled down.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Remember Jaycee Carroll?

Here's an interesting read on Jaycee Carroll, the former Utah State guard who is making quite the comfortable living playing overseas.

From the Complaint Department: who does Bleacher Report require 15 clicks in order to read a full article? It's nearly 2014 and they are back in 1999.

Checking out the performances of the MWC squads

Ken Cross looks at how the various Mountain West Conference teams are performing -- here's his SJSU note:
San Jose State (5-6) - The Spartans could be a lower division MWC squad capable of springing the upset.  They picked up wins over improved Cal State-Fullerton and Pepperdine while winning at Houston.  Interestingly, leading scorer Rashad Muhammad has started only one game, but paces SJSU in scoring at 17.2 ppg.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A dropoff from last season for the MWC

Kyle Goon posits and then offer the background on why this season isn't 2012-13 for the Mountain West Conference.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Helping out the Sullivan family

For those of you who would like to aid the Sullivan family with Dan's funeral expenses, here is the address for Dan's sister:

Debbie Sullivan
405 South English Street
Moore, Oklahoma  73160

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dan Sullivan has passed

From Ancient Spartan at the Spartan Insider Basketball MB:
It was announced today before the basketball game that Spartan great Dan Sullivan passed away. He was 55 years old.

If someone sees an obituary, could you please pot a link here?


Dan was a great defender. His biggest play was in the Big West Conference championship game.


We won our first round game against UCSB, then we had to play the number one seed Utah State Aggies. They started the tradition of standing at the beginning of each half until they scored.


It was Bill Berry's first year as SJSU coach. We entered half time with about a 10 point lead against the Aggies. They stood up to start the second half and we rattled off about 15 unanswered points. They all were sitting down in shock by the time they finally scored. We smoked the league champions 94-68!!! (They had about 1,400 fans there along with 50 Aggiettes and another 50 junior Aggiettes. We had about 50 fans.


Then we had to play #2 seed Long Beach State for the championship. The winner goes to the NCAAs. They had a ton of people there, because it was so close for them. With seconds left in the game, we had the ball up 2 points. Long Beach stole the ball and was going for a breakaway game tying basket and Dan Sullivan somehow came from behind and made a head long dive and just tipped the ball away on the last dribble before the player was going to lay it in. I never saw a play like that before or since. We held them for the last few seconds and won the game and the championship.


I'll never forget Dan Sullivan, one of the all-time great Spartans!!!
Amen. Other than the few Spartan fans, the Anaheim Convention Center was shocked into quiet. We climbed into our orange Pinto and drove around the parking lot screaming and yelling. What a sight that must have been! It was the best moment as a San Jose State University Spartan fan.

Thank you Ancient Spartan for posting about Dan's passing and for your memories.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

More on Jarred Shaw's suspension

Kyle Goon supplies a bit more on the mysterious suspension of Utah State center Jarred Shaw.

Plus, a redshirt freshman center just left the USU program.

Break out the ol' Chuck Taylors and dial up Coach Morrill if you have any eligibility remaining as the Aggies have but one big available at the moment.

Two out, one in for Nevada

San Jose State University faces Nevada on New Year's Day and a couple of breaks seemingly have gone in favor of the Spartans. From Dan Hinxman:
...And while the math pencils out to a negative-1, coach David Carter will take it for the long-term goals of the team.

Carter announced Wednesday that sophomore guard Marqueze Coleman and junior forward Ronnie Stevens Jr., would both require surgery and be out two to four weeks. Both players missed Saturday’s 82-80 loss to Nebraska-Omaha...
However, 6-foot-9 forward A.J. West has finally been cleared to play. He's a shotblocker and the Wolf Pack is in dramatic need of a defensive boost.

Coleman was coming off the bench as the sixth man and scoring 8.2 points per game while the 6-foot-9 Stevens was starting to play better while posting 4.6 points (62% shooting) and 3.3 rebounds per contest averages.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Going silent for the next two pairings

The next two games, December 21 versus Westminster (out of Utah) and the December 28 contest against Pacifica (based in Anaheim) aren't going to be covered here -- previewed or game reported. The reason is neither matchup is worth spending time on. Both should be freebies for attending Spartan fans, probably with valet parking thrown in.

Westminster is currently 7-5 and has a pair of 6-foot-7 frontcourters, one a freshman. The Griffins are members of the Frontier Conference.

Pacifica stands 3-12 presently with victories over Porterville College, Orange Coast College (both JCs) and Laverne University (Shirley must have been pulling a double shift at the brewery). The tallest player for the Gladiators stands 6-foot-6.

Let's hope these pairings were either inherited by Coach Wojcik or the result of the coaching change scheduling scramble.

Luckily, Mountain West Conference play begins January 1 versus Nevada and it's a home game.

Spartans prevail in three OTs

UC Davis came down to San Jose Wednesday night and, after an overtime session, then another and finally a third, the final score was 89-85 in favor of the Spartans.

The Aggies led 37-23 at halftime but San Jose State University owned the second 20 minutes.

Freshman Rashad Muhammad led SJSU with 28 points (6-13 from long distance) while Devante Wilson post 22, aided by 8-10 on free throws.

The Spartans controlled the boards 56-31 but the reverse was true with turnovers at 22-12.

Redshirt frosh Darius (Sacramento High) Graham totaled 16 points for the Davis-ites. As expected, Josh Ritchart, the 6-foot-9 frontcourter for Coach Jim Les, missed the game due to injury.

It was a foul fest as Coach Dave Wojcik's group went to the charity stripe 35 times, 37 for the Aggies.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Shaw sidelined at Utah State

It's a ways down the road until SJSU meets Utah State but Aggie Coach Stew Morrill just suspended center Jarred Shaw and it looks like it's over a matter where the courts will be involved. Shaw is USU's leading scorer and rebounder.

A snippet:
Utah State coach Stew Morrill declined to comment on the specific violation or how long the Aggies would be without Shaw to the Tribune. On his radio coaches’ show with Al Lewis on 610 AM KVNU, Morrill said that the violation would have legal implications.

"We’ll let the case take its course," Morrill said in the interview. "We’ll see what happens in terms of the legal part of it and all that before we get into it too much. But it’s just unfortunate. Really bad choices on his part, and he’s going to have to pay the price. Until we see where it all goes, it’s hard to get too much into it."

Monday, December 16, 2013

Three minutes with Coach Wojcik

Below is three minutes with Coach Wojcik:

A college coach salary feature from USA TODAY

Yes, this is a basketball blog but this is too interesting not to post. Hit the links and start rooting around.

According to USA TODAY, the following are the salaries for the SJSU assistant football coaches:

* Jimmie Dougherty - $205,004

* Terry Malley - $124,812

* Kenwick Thompson - $125,004

* James Jones - $110,004

* Alfred Guidici - $102,008

* Donte Williams - $100,008

* Hank Fraley - $90,000

* Greg Lewis - $70,008

* Joe Stabb - $70,008

SJSU Head Coach Ron Caragher is listed at $525,000

As for hoops, only the salaries of a number of head coaches are listed. Those in the Mountain West Conference are:

* Steve Alford - $1,247,700 (who has since moved on to UCLA)

* Steve Fisher - $857,500

* Dave Rice - $765,954

Fascinating information. Make some comparisons to see what salary competition SJSU is facing.

So, what's in your wallet?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Jeremiah Ingram update

SJSU signee Jeremiah Ingram is performing well in his sophomore season at Colby Community College. The 6-foot-7 forward's current numbers after 12 games:

* 20.2 points
* shooting 50%, 29% and 69%
* 8.6 rebounds
* 26/34 assist-to-turnover ratio
* 16 blocked shots
* 15 steals

Josh Ritchart injured

Count Josh Ritchart of UC Davis out against San Jose State University on Wednesday:
Aggie center Josh Ritchart, who started 2013 on fire, will miss another three or four games, according to the big center. He hurt his right lower leg against Utah last month, but kept playing well. However, the injury continued to bother him and he’s been relegated to a support boot for almost two weeks...
That's a big hole: "Forward Josh Ritchart stands 6-foot-9 but he's more comfortable facing the basket than with his back to it. He's bringing 17.3 and 6.6 boards an outing...

Friday, December 13, 2013

It's SJSU versus UC Davis on Wednesday

This one is going to be an interesting matchup as neither squad offers much of an inside game so it may very well be who shoots well enough/defends well enough to defeat the other.

What has set back the Aggies is the season-ending injury to 6-foot-7 JT Adenrele, nominally their solely effective in-the-paint player. He injured his left knee back in mid-August and won't be returning until next season.

Forward Josh Ritchart stands 6-foot-9 but he's more comfortable facing the basket than with his back to it. He's bringing 17.3 and 6.6 boards an outing with one third of his shots having come from beyond the three-point line. He's also shooting a remarkable 63% overall, 56% from long distance. Why he is shooting but 56% on his free throws is inexplicable. Last season, Ritchart finished at 44%, 36% and 72% overall.

Junior backcourter Corey Hawkins is the top scorer for Coach Jim Les at 17.6 points per game, plus 5.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He is shooting 42%, 24% and 74% respectively and 25/13 are his assist-to-turnover figures.

Senior backcourter Ryan Sypkens is mired in a mysterious season-long slump, averaging 9.6 points per outing with 39%, 38% and 1.000% accuracies. 69 of his 87 shots from the floor have been trey attempts. However, he buried 46% of his trey attempts back in 2012-13.

Darius Graham is a redshirt freshman starting at the point, putting up 7.4 points and a team-leading 4.4 assists each time out. His assist-to-turnover ratio is 44/25. The underclassmen is shooting 48%, 45% and 65% respectively.

Davis stands 2-7 (0-3 at home, 0-4 on the road, 2-0 neutral site) with wins versus SIU Edwardsville and Loyola Chicago (were not going to count them beating Holy Names University). TheAggie  losses are to Portland, Utah, Portland State, Sacramento State, Idaho, Seattle and Nevada.

Playing small this season has calculated into a 30.2 - 36.4 rebounding deficit versus opponents, plus a 178 - 224 free throw attempt deficit.

UC Davis plays Stanford on Friday.

The lack of size hasn't hurt the Spartans boardwork -- just a minus nine overall. SJSU is getting out-shot 39% to 43% overall but owning distance accuracy 37% to 34% alongside 75 more attempts over opponents. The free throw attempt deficit for Washington Square is minus 63 so that is somewhat similar to the Aggies.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Women's basketball gets a transfer


A Chris Roemer tweet: "2012 Nyre Harris is transferring from AZ to & the Spartans of SJSU"

She is listed as a sophomore this season and has played nine minutes in one game.

On the Arizona women's basketball site, there is an article detailing the latest recruiting class for the Wildcats and it consists of five guards.

A description of the 5-foot-8 Nyre (out of Lincoln High in Stockton) from back in 2011: "A smallish, but super-fast guard. She likes to split defenders off the bounce and uses her feet very well on her dribble moves. She can lose a defender, left or right, off the dribble and stop and pop, knowing not to wander after beating her person. She has good vision, even at light speed, and doesn't telegraph her passes. She will be disruptive on defense."

Monday, December 9, 2013

Team and player betterment

Saw an article recently by Dan Hanner in which he analyzed certain teams with a history of getting better as the season moved into January and February and that got me thinking about the history of San Jose State University basketball. 

The question is: when was the last time a SJSU team progressed during the season?

Second question: has this ever happened?

A team's progression is based on individuals becoming higher calibre and more consistent performers as well as these players demonstrating a 'five-playing-as-one -- no individual ego' method of operation.

The foremost issue preventing this betterment at Washington Square has been because damn near everyone on the roster, from November to March, annually displaying who they were and what they have to offer minus any upgrade in productivity or proficiency. Translated: what was witnessed at the beginning of practice was what was viewed at the season's end for the last 10, 15, 25 years.

Why?

A generalization of sorts is required but three intermingled factors are usually involved:

* recruits were at their apogee when signed and that was that for advancement

* recruits failed to work hard enough over the period of their scholarship in order to realize their respective potential

* the coaching staff failed to realize the most possible out of recruits

As to playing as a meshing collective versus five individuals out on the court doing their separate things, a lack of the necessary culture was absent. Certainly not in everyone but enough so that it was evident in the results. The more recent teams featuring Adrian Oliver and C.J. Webster were the ones with the most promise but never got on the same page and a winning record was never achieved.

So how about the present?

Jalen James and Rashad Muhammad have shown fine promise early on, demonstrating the potential for greater production, consistency and efficiency. They are the two talents on the current roster with the capability of winning their respective positions on a nightly basis.

As for the remainder of the roster, the jury is still out on some and the verdict has been rendered on others.

The biggest remaining key: Matt Pollard. The body and athleticism are there, just not enough reps so that moves are much more instinctual rather than a thought-out process.

Jordan Baker gets back on the floor next season and that will be another plus player potential added to the lineup. Let's see if he has maxed out his potential or if he still has room for betterment and achieves that.

It's going to be important next season for James, Muhammad and Baker to mesh and not be counting touches or shots. The 2013-14 season has James and Muhammad establishing themselves as team leaders but Baker will have to be part of such in 2014-5 and hopefully 'we' and not 'me' will be at the forefront.

James named Co-Player of the Week

A half isn't a the whole thing but obviously beats 0% -- SJSU's Jalen James has been named the Mountain West Conference Co-Player of the Week:

Sunday, December 8, 2013

So how about Jalen James as the MWC Player of the Week?

So how about Jalen James as the MWC Player of the Week?

Yes, he did go scoreless and assistless with six rebounds versus Weber State but his 12/13/10 against Houston is just the third triple-double in league history.

We'll know soon.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

SJSI wins by four

On Saturday, San Jose State University came into Houston and promptly upended the  Cougars 72-68 as freshman point Jalen James posted a 12 point/13 rebound/10 assist triple-double. He did incur six turnovers but that's easily overlooked and overpowered by his positive output. Fellow frosh Rashad Muhammad added 21 points, aided by 5-7 shooting from long distance.

The win was achieved despite just 24 minutes of play by Chris Cunningham.

Houston's big TaShawn Thomas came into the game averaging a double-double but was held to 10 points plus three boards in 34 minutes. The second most difficult matchup on the Cougars, Daniel House, did not play and LJ Rose, who was averaging over 11 points per outing, finished with two.

SJSU shot remarkably well, 49% overall, 14-26 from three-point range and 14-15 at the foul line.

Remarkably, the Cougars led 41-29 at the half but a Spartan 43 point second 20 minutes (the primary comeback took place the last 10 minutes) reversed that advantage.

7-foot Matt Pollard who is from Houston did not see action earned 15 minutes of PT, while Isaac Thornton, who hails from San Antonio, was on the floor for 10 minutes and Jaleel Williams, from Killeen, saw six minutes of action. The latter hurt his knee early and did not return.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Spartans versus Houston on Saturday

It's 6-3 Houston coming up on Saturday afternoon for San Jose State University, this with the Cougars coming off a 74-57 loss on the road to Texas A&M on Wednesday and the Spartans falling last Saturday at Weber State.

6-foot-8 junior TaShawn Thomas leads the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 17.1 points plus 10.3 rebounds. He has also recorded 35 blocks in nine games and is shooting 62% in the paint. His Achilles heel is a 51% accuracy at the charity stripe.

Daniel House, a 6-foot-7 sophomore guard/forward, is second in those categories with 15.6 and 5.7 averages. Last season, he was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Year.

LJ Rose is the third player in double figures with 11.3 points per outing but his shooting numbers are confounding -- he sits at 40% but is at 46% from long distance. From the foul line, the 6-foot-4 sophomore is making 86% of his attempts.

Also worthy of mention is 6-foot-10, 190 Danrad Knowles, a redshirt sophomore averaging 6.3 points and 4.4 rebounds, with the nickname "Chicken." His foul line percentage is 67% so we'll assume his moniker is based on an enormous affinity for fowl.

The most notable offensive differential is that on the season, Houston has gone to the foul line 35 more times than its collective opponents. It's the opposite direction for SJSU at 180 versus 238. Keep a watch on that.

The Cougars started out the season with five wins (Texas State, Texas Pan American, Texas San Antonio, Lehigh and Howard) before falling to Stanford and Texas Tech in a New York-based tournament. Then it was a victory over Texas A&M Corpus Christi prior to the loss to TAM.

Obviously, Thomas is going to be a load for the Spartans, meaning Chris Cunningham is going to have his hands full while needing to stay out of foul trouble.

Another key is limiting the number of Houston-ites who enjoy big games -- Thomas is going to get his numbers in this matchup but what needs preventing is not allowing say two other Cougars to also enjoy big or bigger games than usual.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thames named MWC PoW

San Diego State's Xavier Thames (out of the Sacramento area) is the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week:

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Spartans fall 72-55

SJSU went into Ogden hoping to continue its win streak but the Weber Staters had something else in mind, like garnering their first of the season, and the latter prevailed 72-55.

Rashad Muhammad finished with a team-leading 17 points but required 16 shot attempts while frontcourt teammate Chris Cunningham finished with 14 boards and an efficient 10 points (5-7 shooting). Jaleel Williams corralled eight caroms plus 14 points but went 1-10 from long distance and ended the evening with 19 shot attempts.

Deficit numbers

* Overall, the Spartans shot 32% to the Wildcats' 48%.

* Coach Dave Wolcik's guys earned but 10 free throws versus 33 for the victors (although just 19 were made).

Next up is a very tough 6-2 Houston squad in H-town.

Meet Ali Bettencourt

Switching matters up a bit, below is an article I wrote for the Nor Cal Preps site:

Bettencourt keeps the faith

Coaches live, preach and demand loyalty above all else from players. Nothing else comes close as a must-have trait. So when Oak Ridge High sharpshooter Ali Bettencourt, who it's worth noting sees college coaching in her future, lost her university coach to-be because of a promotion, she was delighted that the welcome mat was available to her at the new location.

photo of Ali Bettencourt

The 5-foot-10 Bettencourt verbally pledged to Sacramento State Coach Jamie Craighead back in July. However, a coaching opening at San Jose State University of the Mountain West Conference came to fruition in mid-September and Craighead was hired to take over the Spartan program.

This put the status of the 36th-ranked 2014 prospect in the NCP Top 40 up in the air. That is, until Craighead extended an offer to come to San Jose and then Bettencourt committed a second time. This past week, the first-team All-Delta River League (DRL) honoree signed and submitted her national letter-of-intent.

Call that doubling down on allegiance plus the move also still allows her family to catch home games.

“I bonded with Coach Craighead,” Bettencourt explained. “We had good communication I didn't want to start over with a whole new relationship and I knew I would enjoy playing for her.”

As to her down-the-road coaching ambitions: “I love the sport so much, I don't want to leave it.” Bettencourt is undecided on a major but look for it to have a connection to her future employment goal.

Asked her best skills, Bettencourt was succinct and direct: “I shoot.” But she was quick to credit her trainer for her accuracy. “Al Green made my shot what it is today My freshman year, my shot was completely different than it is now and I would get frustrated. I worked with Al, changed my shot and that helped me with my confidence and keeping my mind straight.”

The facets Bettencourt is working on to better are “my dribbling and taking defenders one-on-one.”

Rather than having a sibling rivalry, she counts her sister Carly as one of her biggest influences. “A lot of me wanting to play is because of my sister. I copied her.” When it came time to choose between soccer and basketball because of the time commitments involved, Bettencourt went with the latter, as her sister did earlier.

Her parents also rank right up there in influence “because they supported me in my decision.”

Bettencourt played exclusively as a shooting guard during the spring and summer with the Cal Sparks NorCal. But this coming season, she will be adding to her court repertoire, “I'm one of the taller player on our team so I'll also be working in the post.” Oak Ridge posted a 28-5 overall record last season,10-0 in the DRL.

Recounting her best moment to date on the court, Bettencourt said, “it was two games before we played at ARCO, against Wilcox and star Joeseta Fatuesi. I had 27 points, including seven three-pointers and the rest of our team also shot well.”

Oak Ridge won 49-32.

“I was thinking 'wow, that just really happened.'”

Then came a 51-50 road win over Heritage High before the Trojans fell 56-45 to Berkeley High in the Nor Cal championship game.

Cal Sparks Norcal Coach Michele Massari knows Bettercourt well.

“She's a pure shooter, someone who trains hard and loves basketball.”

Coach Craighead would certainly agree with that assessment and add in loyal.

Friday, November 29, 2013

SJSU versus host Weber State on Saturday

The Weber State basketball team is going to be mad on Saturday night. Whether that transfers into better play and a win remains to be seen but the Wildcats are coming off a home loss to Utah State and own a 0-3 overall record, and the latter especially just won't do in Ogden.

Plus, Weber has never opened up a season with an 0-4 record and stand at 92-14 at home in Coach Randy Rahe's eight seasons.

Considering all the success Rahe and his guys enjoyed during the Damian Lillard era plus a 30-7 last year, the basketball program has produced justified high expectations. Even for 2013-14, both the league's coaches and the beat reporters selected the Ogden-ites as the pre-season choice to finish first in the Big Sky Conference.

So with road losses at BYU (not unexpected) and Colorado State (which is down from last season) and the aforementioned home downer versus USU, it should be a scratching and clawing squad looking to right itself.

6-foot-4 senior guard Davion Berry leads the Wildcats and his is an interesting history. He came out of Hayward High minus DI offers so he signed with Cal State Monterey Bay. After an extremely impressive freshman year, Weber came calling and he transferred. Berry is averaging 18.7 points per game, tops on the team, as is his 23 trips to the foul line.

6-foot-10 center Kyle Tresnak is second in scoring with 14.3 points an outing and he's shooting 61% overall.

At 14 points per contest is 6-foot-2 freshman Jeremy Senglin and he's at 5-9 from long distance.

The best athlete on the team is 6-foot-9 junior Joel Bolomboy with 9.0 and 8.7 averages in scoring and rebounding.

Senior point Julian Richardson has been up-and-down thus far and he's another former Bay Area resident, having played at West High in Tracy.

Three statistics jump out as major causes of Weber's current problems: being out-shot 44% to 49%, out-rebounded by four per game and having a 33/18 'proficiency' in turnovers.

So it will be a veteran (Richardson) versus a freshman (Jalen James) at the point as well as a possible matching up of frosh Rashad Muhammad against the senior Berry. Let's see if tomorrow night turns out to be a case of youth wasted on the young or the kids taking it to their elders.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

"Those are the little things that we have to break through"

Cut and pasted from Abbey Mastracco's article on how Reggie Theus is working to develop a new basketball culture and athletics mindset at Cal State Northridge:
"As soon as I'm done, remind me that I need to talk to Dr. (Brandon) Martin about a tailgating thing for the volleyball team," Theus said. "I'm glad you reminded me about that."
Theus has been working with the fraternities and sororities on campus to organize a tailgate for the upstart women's volleyball team, which is in contention for its first-ever Big West title. But the event has been met by resistance from CSUN officials.
 
"My thought is, why are they resisting these guys wanting to tailgate to support the volleyball team?" Theus said. "That should be something that the university wants them to do … Those are the little things that we have to break through."

Theus is the basketball coach, but he's also part of a bigger picture of what the university is trying to accomplish. Cal State Northridge wants to shed its commuter school image and become one of the top mid-major athletic programs on the West Coast.
Yes, turf and political squabbles do exist as well as a 'if it's not my sport then who cares' attitude but Theus gets it. Northridge, like so many institutions, has a number of significant problems to overcome -- a tailgate should be a no-brainer and met with enthusiastic support.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Spartans fall 86-69

Riding a two-game win streak, the Spartans entered the Rose City with momentum. The Pilots led 37-33 at the half, leaving open the opportunity for SJSU to grab a win. But Portland Coach Eric Reveno's crew won the second 20 minutes by a decisive 49-36 margin so now it's on to Ogden, Utah for a Saturday matchup with Weber State.

It was a game in which to be rash, Rashad Muhammad in particular, as the freshman wing totaled 23 points on a spectacular night of shooting: 7-11 overall, 4-5 from long distance and 5-5 from the foul line. Let's overlook his four turnovers.

Fellow frosh Jalen James was also very efficient as well as productive with 10 points (5-8 shooting), eight boards and two assists.

But nobody else really showed up, at least in the box score.

For the Pilots, wing Kevin Bailey enjoyed one of his hot nights and concluded with 22 points. The two Portland bigs -- Ryan Nicholas and Thomas van der Mars -- ended the evening with just 11 points apiece but the former did corral 14 rebounds.

Portland's off-the-bench marksman Bobby Sharp was limited to three attempts but two other players, Korey Thieleke and David Carr, shot 3-3 and 3-4 respectively. They entered the pairing averaging 2.7 and 0.7 points respectively and well as shooting 29% and 17%.

The Pilots finished with a 53% team shooting, 64% from three-point range.

0-3 Weber State lost its Tuesday home opener 77-71 to Utah State.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's at Portland on Wednesday

It's road trip time again as San Jose State University plays Portland of the West Coast Conference in the City of Roses on Wednesday night.

Piloted by former Stanford player and assistant coach Eric Reveno, Portland has played quite the interesting schedule thus far:

* a 100-83 home win over UC Davis

* a 79-73 loss to Oregon State in Corvallis

* an 82-67 loss to Michigan State in East Lansing

* an 88-74 home victory over Idaho

* a 69-52 home success versus Columbia

* a 77-72 home double overtime loss to North Texas

Senior forward Ryan Nicholas is Mr. Big for the Pilots. At 6-foot-7 and 245, he's the leading scorer (15.2) and rebounder (9.2) on the team. 6-foot-11 and 235 junior Thomas van der Mars has come on strong of late and is producing 12.0 points and 6.2 rebounds a contest.

Another starter is junior Kevin Bailey, a very athletic wing but a hot-and-cold shooter.

Sophomore Bryce Pressley is not a big scorer at the point but possesses a 3-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. The son of former NBA-er Harold Pressley is also large for the position at 6-foot-4 and 200 and is overall is better suited for an off guard.

The fifth starter is 5-foot-11 Alec Winterling who is deadly at the foul line (his 27 attempts are tied for tops on the team) but woeful elsewhere, at least to date. The hope is that he will become an asset at the point but he currently sports 13/15 assist-to-turnover numbers.

Also, do not leave guard Bobby Sharp unattended as he has taken twice as many trey attempts as any teammate despite coming off the bench.

As a squad, Portland is shooting 32% from long distance and going to the foul line 26 times per game. Reveno likes to play a physical game and has a pair of frontcourters who can do so.

The coaches pre-season poll had the Pilots finishing ninth with no all league selections.

The major key will be how well the Spartans handle the Nicholas/van der Mars duo in the paint. If they are the big points guys for the night, alongside another Portland double figure scorer, then SJSU will have trouble earning the win.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The newcomers-to-be in the Mountain West

Tom Kensler/Denver Post provides a nice summary of the new Mountain West Conference talents via the initial signing period. San Diego State is off the chain -- how is Aztec Assistant Coach Justin Hutson not running a program?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Schollies to hand out

How many scholarships does Coach Wojcik have to hand out come April after the signing this month of Colby College forward Jeremiah Ingram?

It's a maximum of 13 that can be issued and here are those student-athletes currently being 'shipped:

1.  Jordan Baker
2.  D.J. Brown
3.  Chris Cunningham
4.  Jalen James
5.  Brandon Mitchell
6.  Rashad Muhammad
7.  Matt Pollard
8.  Frank Rogers
9.  Isaac Thornton
10. Mike VanKirk
11. Jaleel Williams
12. Devante Wilson

For next season, subtract Cunningham and insert Ingram.

That leaves one available scholarship.

Dylan Alexander may be awarded it but it's way too early to speculate despite his promising start.

Plus, injuries may open up a scholarship spot or more.

But it's looking like another big is a necessity based on play to date as iIt will be hard to make inroads in the Mountain West Conference without a nightly contributing big man.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Remember the Titans became abusing the Titans

Most explosions are not good. But the loud one early afternoon that emanated from Walt McPherson was just fine to the tune of a San Jose State University 49-19 halftime lead over Cal State Fullerton. The Spartan broke out on a 22-4 run, never looked back and won in an 81-59 rout.

Devante Wilson continued dialing in from long distance (4-10) while forward Chris Cunningham posted a 13/10 double-double. Rashad Muhammad and D.J. Brown each finished with a team-leading 17 points.

Coach Woljcik's guys went to the charity stripe 34 times AND COMMITTED JUST FIVE TURNOVERS!!! Frosh point Jalen James posted four assists to nary a miscue.

The leading scorer for the Titans, Alex Harris, did not play due to a right ankle sprain.

Friday, November 22, 2013

So what do we know (or don't) so far?

Very few games have been played but what can we surmise from what has been on display to date?

* 6-foot-11 Matt Pollard would have greatly benefited from a using a redshirt season this year but the inability of Andrew Young to transfer in kiboshed that. He needs repetition, repetition, repetition.

* Mike VanKirk's movement still doesn't look like he is 100% healthy -- whether it's a still in recovery situation or what will be his new normal has to be determined.

* Chris Cunningham isn't getting many touches -- 17 shot attempts with some of those being putbacks -- but is also second on the team in turnovers. Gotta get him some stickum for the holidays.

* Staying with the frontcourters, can 6-foot-9 redshirt Frank Rogers play with the physicality needed to match up with next year's MWC opponents?

* Fellow redshirt Jordan Baker is really, really going to help at the two guard next season. The Spartans need a game in-game out scorer who can be counted on to produce a certain number of points. Baker is needed now as Coach Wojcik is having to start some guys who really are MWC backups.

* Jalen James and Rashad Muhammad are the real, if currently inconsistent, deal -- really want to see them in their junior seasons when they should be winning their nightly matchups.

* Can Jaleel Williams turn that corner of being a 15/7 guy every night, with the 15 coming via offensive efficiency?

* If Dylan Alexander continues to advance, he'll be on scholarship in 2014-15.

* Devante Wilson, Isaac Thornton and Brandon Mitchell are so far showing as role players and there is nothing wrong with that because you can't have five guys on the court looking first and foremost for their shot.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

SJSU welcomes the Titans Saturday afternoon

It's a big howdy to Cal State Fullerton on Saturday afternoon (note the 12:30 start)  and new Titan Head Coach Dedrique Taylor.

The Orange County-ites are 1-0 at home, 1-2 away with an 84-55 road win against Montana State, a 75-71 loss up in the Emerald City to Seattle, a double figure victory over host Santa Clara 86-73 and a 76-62 loss to USC.

The Spartans fell to the Broncos 89-77 in the For What It's Worth Department of Comparisons.

The Titans are not a power team what with a pair of 6-foot-9 talents followed next on the height chart with a 6-foot-7 forward.

6-foot-2 junior guard Alex Harris, out of El Cerrito High, is Fullerton's top scorer at 17.7 points per game on 53%, 37% and 83% shooting. But he's definitely firing away from outside since he has been to the foul line just six times to date. Look for Harris to have his personal cheering section at Walt McPherson Court.

Former USF guard senior Michael Williams comes next on the scoring chart at 14.0 points per contest. Senior Marquis Horne, at 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, leads the frontcourt at 12.5 points an outing.

6-foot-8 frontcourter Joe Boyd had the Spartans in his recruitment consideration before going with the OC so do check him out and be sure to give him a Bronx cheer or two. He's playing 21 minutes each time out, grabbing 6 rebounds while scoring four points a matchup.

In the pre-season media poll, Fullerton was prognosticated to finish eighth in the Big West Conference.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Spartans win down south

Pepperdine led San Jose State University 44-34 at the half and more than likely entered the locker room feeling rather comfortable as team leaders Brendan Lane had 12 points and forward Stacy Davis 10. The shooting percentage difference between the teams: 52% to 31%.

But with eight minutes remaining, the Spartans were up 68-65, leaning on hot three-point shooting.

With just less than five minutes on the clock, the Waves were up 72-68.

At the 2:45 mark, it was tied at 75. Rashad Muhammad then hit a three-pointer

With 33 sticks showing, Jaleel Williams also hit a trey.

SJSU won the second 20 minutes in a remarkable production of points, 49-33.

Lane just missed a double-double with 20 points and nine boards. He also blocked six shots. Davis finished with 20/9.

For the Spartans, junior forward Jaleel Williams led with 23 points plus he added eight rebounds. JC transfer newcomer Devante Wilson was en fuego from three-point range, going 6-10 on his way to an early career high of 20 points. Forward Chris Cunningham contributed 11 rebounds to the cause.

San Jose State University was a best for the season 14-27 from beyond the arc. and enjoyed a season low six turnovers. The Spartan shooting from distance breakdown: 4-12 first half, 10-15 second half. The Wave went 5-11 and then 0-11.

SJSU versus Pepperdine on Wednesday

So it's undefeated (San Diego Christian, UC Riverside and Central Michigan, the latter two on the road) Pepperdine Wednesday night for the Spartans down in Malibu.

The Wave have been second tier dwellers in the West Coast Conference for seemingly eons, this despite the most beautifully-situated campus in America and membership in the respected WCC. Coach Marty Wilson is in his third season and is now making some headway.

His top player is 6-foot-6 forward sophomore Stacy Davis, who is averaging just under 24 points and well as seven rebounds per game. He's shooting 70% from the floor and is 4-4 from three-point range while getting to the line nine times per contest.

Second in performance on the team is 6-foot-10 center Brendan Lane, formerly of UCLA and out of the Sacramento area. He rarely played as a Bruin but graduated in three years (in economics, youza!), sat out in 2012-13 redshirting and is back for his final season of eligibility. Lane is averaging a 12.3/11.0 double-double but isn't any sort of a bruiser inside.

5-foot-10 frosh guard Jeremy Major is not playing like a newcomer. He's averaging 8.3 points each time out while shooting 56%. Throw in a team-leading 14 assists versus six turnovers and he's obviously another building block for Wilson.

As a team, the Wave are shooting a scorching 51%.

Washington Square points to ponder

* Will Chris Cunningham again be a member of the Witness Protection Program and therefore of an unknown address to his teammates with the ball?

* The Jalen James - Jeremy Major mano-a-mano matchup bears watching -- can SJSU prevail statistically?

Too bad Pepperdine transfer Jordan Baker can't suit up for this one on the Spartan side.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The MWC is down so far

From Michael Rogner:

It's early, but damn, Mountain West

Through the first few games the Mountain West is currently rated as the 10th strongest conference according to Ken Pomeroy. Last year they were 5th. They haven't been weaker than 7th in three years, and haven't been below 9th since Pomeroy began tracking things a dozen years ago.

And it can't be blamed in the new guys, either. Yes, San Jose State is terrible (No. 287 at Pomeroy), but Utah State is one of three top-50 teams in the conference. Here are there Pomeroy rankings from this year and last, ranked by biggest negative margins. I see you, UNLV, hiding behind Air Force.

Team     2012-13     2013-14     Difference
Air Force     98            254            156
UNLV           41            159            118
Colorado State 30         83              53
San Diego State 35       65              30
Wyoming    113           130             17
Fresno State 104         117             13
New Mexico 19              22               3
Nevada      177            179               2
Boise State  54              41             13
San Jose St. 315          287             28
Utah State    118           50              68

Burton named POW

Nevada's Deonte Burton has been named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Meet newest Spartan Jeremiah Ingram

According to Colby Community College Head Coach Rusty Grafel, San Jose State University is getting a complete package with the signing of Jeremiah Ingram.

Ingram is a 6-foot-7 sophomore at Colby and a "3/4, 4/3 who is really long, can really put it on the floor and has a high ceiling," per Granfel. "He can make a highlight reel."

A qualifier out of high school, Granfel said Ingram is a latecomer to basketball -- "he started playing as a freshman or sophomore [in high school] and didn't play AAU ball." It can be difficult for a prospect to attain recognition without participation in the various regional, statewide and national tournaments that take place during spring and summer. Out of Michigan, Ingram attended a year of prep school in Kansas before what will be two years at Colby.

Ingram sports a 3.2 grade point average and Granfel offered that "he is a really smart kid."

The marriage was a fast-moving event as Ingram visited San Jose at the end of October. Assistant Coach Chris Brazelton was the lead recruiter.

The Spartans need a frontcourter who can win his position on a nightly basis and Ingram certainly projects that capability.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Spartans fall to JM

The road is quite the fickle mistress as San Jose State University found out, falling in their third consecutive matchup in the Northern Illinois-based tournament, this time 79-66 to James Madison today.

Freshman wing Rashad Muhammad again led the scoring parade for SJSU with 18 points but shot 5-16 overall. Fellow frosh Dylan Alexander added an early in his career high 12 points. The Washington Square contingent finished 10-40 from three-point range, losing the overall shooting contest 52% to 26%.

Senior forward Chris Cunningham played just 17 minutes, taking but one shot although he grabbed six rebounds.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

NIU 60, SJSU 59

It was almost time for San Jose State University basketball tonight as the Spartans pushed host Northern Illinois to the end only to fall 60-59.

Four players scored in double figures for the Washington Square-ites: Jaleel Williams 13 points (plus six boards), DJ Brown 12, Jalen James and Rashad Muhammad 11 apiece.

It was another ugly shooting night as SJSU went 35%, 32% and 63% to 35%, 20% and 70% for JIU.

Forward Chris Cunningham finished with a trio of points and rebounds, taking two shots from the floor. Like last night, foul trouble prevailed as he was whistled four times.

The great news is just nine turnovers for the Spartans.

+++++

Here's the earlier writeup for tomorrow night's matchup:

James Madison has played just once and that was a 20-point loss to Virginia, 61-41. 14 points was the JM halftime total. Colonial Athletic Association members, the Dukes received the prediction of a seventh place finish with sophomore guard Andre Nation selected as a Second Team All Leaguer although he won't be facing the Spartans due to a 16 game suspension.

An update: JM bested Northern Illinois 60-55 on Friday but fell tonight to Milwaukee 77-66. The latter beat SJSU 64-61.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Spartans fall by three

In a close one, it was Milwaukee over San Jose State University tonight by the score of 64-61. Neither team shot well with the victors at 37%, 33% and 63% and the Spartans finishing at 39%, 38% and 65%.

Freshman Rashad Muhammad led with 17 points and also corralled six rebounds while fellow frosh Jalen James produced a line of 12 points, six board and five assists. It's also noteworthy that he incurred but three turnovers.

Chris Cunningham fouled out is 22 minutes of play, getting up but two shot attempts.

Freshman big Matt Pollard produced four points and a pair of rebounds in 17 minutes, his first extended period of court time.

SJSU did win the rebounding battle 43-34 but loss the turnover count 18-11.

+++++

Now it's on to battle host Northern Illinois which lost tonight to James Madison 60-55.

As previously posted:

...Northern Illinois has started the season with with a 68-66 home loss to Omaha, a game in which the former led until the final minutes. Mid America Conference members, the Huskies were paced by sophomore wing Darrell Bowie's 16 points plus 13 by sophomore guard Daveon Balls. Shooting 3-16 from long distance and 15-28 from the foul line waylaid the prospects for a win.

The pre-season media poll had Northern Illinois finishing fifth in the West Division of the conference.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

This weekend's basketball games

Wisconsin Milwaukee, Northern Illinois and James Madison walk into a bar...

Uh, sorry, wrong context. Now if it was George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, well...

San Jose State University faces Wisconsin Milwaukee, Northern Illinois and James Madison this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday in back-to-back-to-back matchups as part of the NIU Invitational.

Milwaukee is a member of the Horizon League, with a four point loss to Loyola (Chicago) and a four point win over Davidson, both road contests, so far this season. 6-foot-8 sophomore Matt Tibby is positively stuck on 21 points having scored that amount in both games for the Panthers. He is also averaging 8.5 rebounds a contest.

As a team, they are shooting 28% from long distance and averaging 16 turnovers each night.

The coaches predicted WM as a ninth place finisher in 2013-14 and 5-foot-10 senior guard Jordan Aaron was awarded a pre-season spot as a Second Team honoree.

After four straight winning seasons, the Panthers dropped off to an 8-24 overall record last year.

+++++

As for the hosts, Northern iIlinois has started the season with with a 68-66 home loss to Omaha, a game in which the former led until the final minutes. Mid America Conference members, the Huskies were paced by sophomore wing Darrell Bowie's 16 points plus 13 by sophomore guard Daveon Balls. Shooting 3-16 from long distance and 15-28 from the foul line waylaid the prospects for a win.

The pre-season media poll had Northern Illinois finishing fifth in the West Division of the conference.

+++++


James Madison has played just once and that was a 20-point loss to Virginia, 61-41. 14 points was the JM halftime total. Colonial Athletic Association members, the Dukes received the prediction of a seventh place finish with sophomore guard Andre Nation selected as a Second Team All Leaguer although he won't be facing the Spartan due to a 16 game suspension.

This is fascinating

The following evaluation (scroll down about halfway) of Boise State's Derricks Marks amply demonstrates the gap in talent level between being in the NBA and being a solid college scorer.
...Measured at 6'3”, 206 pounds, Marks will not wow scouts with his physical attributes. He has an average build with only decent speed and acceleration. He doesn't have tremendous explosiveness and because of this, he struggles to finish consistently in the paint at the Missouri Valley Conference level. Marks finds crafty ways to score for Boise State, but he may struggle to replicate this in the NBA against more athletic defenders.

Due to his lack of athleticism, Marks struggles to get to the rim off the dribble which causes him to settle for mid-range pull up jump shots. He does shoot well off the dribble, converting 44% on such shots according to Synergy Sports, as he is great at squaring to the rim and getting on balance for his attempts. Marks is able to offset some of his struggles of getting to the rim by possessing an excellent series of ball and shot fakes, which allows him to get to the line 7.6 times per 40 minutes pace adjusted...
and
...Defensively, Marks is a liability at this point in his career and will need to make some major leaps to become a serviceable defender going forward. Marks is already at a disadvantage due to his below average physical tools, and he compounds the issue with poor footwork and awareness. He often runs into screens or take poor routes around them due to having tunnel vision on his man and not recognizing the screen being set on him.

Marks pressures the ball well, which helps him force 2.4 steals per 40 minutes pace adjusted . However, he has poor footwork when moving laterally which allows offensive players to easily beat him off the dribble. He can sometimes be lazy playing defense off the ball and teams will want to see him put forth better effort on this side of the court.
..
This is not to say Marks won't find himself in The Big Show if he closes his gaps -- it's more to demonstrate what we as fans are oblivious to when watching a game.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Santa Clara triumphs

One of the long-standing maxims of basketball is don't let a team hang around if you have them on the ropes. Apply the proverbial killer instinct and bury the opponent or regret may be in your future.

Santa Clara a-l-m-o-s-t learned this lesson tonight as the Broncos had San Jose State University in position to apply the hammer at different times and failed to do so, either sledge or ball peen. So the Spartans staged a late second half comeback that brought a degree of unease to Broncoville before Coach Kerry Keating's guys triumphed 89-77.

The Spartans were down 42-28 at the half after shooting 7-24.

The second 20 minutes shooting numbers: 17-31.

In 27 minutes, Jaleel Williams posted 20 points, aided by a marvelous 8-8 from the foul line.  

Chris Cunningham went for 12/7 but it's a mystery again why he put up such few shots -- just five. That has to change.

Yes, he's but a freshman but point Jalen James can't continue with six turnovers per game, like tonight. His learning curve with that particular aspect will be crucial.

More on Jeremiah Ingram

The 6-foot-7 Ingram should be signing and submitting his national letter-of-intent this week. The official signing period is November 13-20.

FWIW - Here's what one message poster wrote: "Kid's a 3.0 student, and highly athletic. He's a forward, not a SG."

FWIW II - Another typed: "Talked to someone who actually has seen him play, and he tells me this kid is very good."

2013-14 statistics thus far

22.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, shooting 44%, 11% and 72% (he's definitely not a distance marksman)

* 30 points, 11 rebounds, 12-17 overall shooting
* 16 points, 10 rebounds, four blocked shots (didn't shoot well in this game)
* 21 points, six rebounds, four blocked shots (again didn't shoot well)
* 15 points, six rebounds, fouled out, playing just 15 minutes
* 29 points, 13 rebounds

Discard the initial three games as the last two have been against junior college opponents.

The keys: a lot of talent and physical ability to work with and hone, he's someone who has the potential to win his position during a Mountain West Conference matchup. SJSU has to land/produce many more of these types in order to be competitive. Does he sign if SJSU was still in the WAC? More than likely not.

New basketball commit

Via Brad Winton: "Remember Jeremiah Ingram's (Colby CC) name next season. San Jose State just stole one"

Coach Wojcik is going against his stated disdain for building via JC transfers. As to why...

From Rick Lewis on August 13, 2013:
6’7 2014 Jeremiah Ingram of Colby Community College
 Ingram was a very intriguing prospect. We liked his ability to put the ball on the floor, although he has a tendency to dribble with his back to the basket at times. That being said, Ingram made a few big time moves off the dribble. One was his right to left cross over move that got him to the rim almost every single time and the other was a nifty reverse spin move that he used near the paint. Ingram was able to finish around the rim using either hand or we really liked the ability to Ingram stepping out and knocking down 3-point perimeter jumpers. He has really good elevation on his jumper with a high release, although he will need to get his shot off quicker at times. He created a mismatch at the WG position with his length and height.
13.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists last season with 40%, 25% and 73% shooting. But he's averaging 22 points plus 12 boards in four games so far this season.

He's 6-foot-7 and originally from Detroit.

Below is a dunk from the opening game this season:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Santa Clara on Tueaday

It's at Santa Clara next, 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

Let's see if Bronco senior guard Evan Roquemore is healthy enough (back injury) to play as he is the best talent and producer on the team. Freshman backcourter Jared Brownridge lacks experience but has the best shooting touch and range on the squad. Another frosh, Jalen Richard, played very well in Santa Clara's opener.

If Roquemore is unable to go, look for a freshman - freshman backcourt battle between these two teams.

This will also be an interesting frontcourt matchup. 7-foot Robert Garrett and 6-foot-9 senior John McArthur aren't big time scorers plus neither is 6-foot-7 Jerry Brown who transferred up from Fresno State for his last season of eligibility or 6-foot-7 junior Yannick Atanga. So Coach Kerry Keating doesn't have an imposing frontline but a veteran one -- let's see if Chris Cunningham can do some damage.

A Bronco assessment from the Mercury News:
SCOUTING REPORT: The Broncos start this season in a rebuilding stage, as school all-time leading scorer Kevin Foster and Marc Trasolini (No. 5 on the Broncos' all-time scoring list) were seniors last season and combined for 34.7 points per game. In addition, Roquemore, the top returning scorer from last season, has a lower back injury and in all likelihood is out for the opener. He should be ready by the San Jose State game on Nov. 12, Keating said. "You are really rebuilding every year," Keating said. "What we are really trying to do is build to get to a higher level." ... The Broncos have five returners with starting experience, including the 6-foot Clark. He led the Broncos with 17 points, seven assists and two steals in their exhibition opener, an 89-60 win over San Diego Christian on Nov. 2. Besides Roquemore and Clark, senior forward John McArthur (De La Salle High), and junior guards Denzel Johnson and Julian Clarke also have starting experience.

A bit more on KSham

Hawaii took down visiting Central Michigan 78-68 the other night with a certain player posting this line: "[Keith] Shamburger finished with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists while playing all 40 minutes..."

Here is his recent introduction to fans in the islands. A key quote:
“I never had this many weapons,” he said. “At San Jose, I had Adrian (Oliver) and Justin (Graham); those were key weapons, but just guards. I never had a team where the whole five can do a lot of things … it’s just good to be out there playing with players who just want to win.”
Call him disloyal or call him prescient. But we can all agree we lost a solid talent.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Yes Virginia, Boise can score

Boise State returned all five starters and proved they are ready for the season in taking down former WAC member Texas Arlington 118-73. This against a team known for its defensive play. A 61-39 initial half ended the contest early on.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Will this carry over to SJSU?

Dave Southern begins his Boise State basketball article with: "Coach Leon Rice is replacing traditional position names of guard, forward, center with trigger, gunner, pusher, pitcher, crash..."

Terry & his Bulldogs

Carter's bigs needs to make an impression

Dan Hinxman goes long is a look at Nevada Coach David Carter's tenure and how his group of bigs must come through this season.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Miles Martin to redshirt

6-foot-10 former Homestead big Miles Martin, who was going to be a Spartan until the NCAA denied the academic credits he earned at Westwind Prep, is going to redshirt this season at Riverside City College:
After thinking and talking to coach Mathews, I will be redshirting this year at RCC. Gives me a 3rd year at a 4 year; exactly what I want!

The Spartans run roughshop over PCU

As expected, host SJSU ran roughshod over Pacific Union College tonight to the tune of 94-32. Junior forward Jaleel Williams led the Spartans with 17 points (7-12 shooting) in 13 minutes of play. Frosh guard Isaac Thornton finished with seven points, four assists plus a team-leading seven rebounds.

Coach Dave Wojcik started three freshman (Thornton, Jalen Jones and Brandon Mitchell), an inexperienced junior (Williams) and a senior (Cunningham)

It wasn't needed but senior power forward Chris Cunningham put up just six shot attempts, the same number as Monday against Cal State University Monterey Bay. However, he was on the court for just 15 minutes.

The next matchuip is Tuesday, November 12 versus Santa Clara.

Pacific Union tonight

So it's Pacific Union College (based in Angwin in the wine country) tonight at Walt McPherson Court. Count on a victory from this one as PUC lost 86-35 to the Oregon Institute of Technology the other night and currently sports an 0-3 record.

The Pioneers pressed one opponent so it will be interesting if that tactic is employed against SJSU. 6-foot-5 Jordan Greenwell appears to be the top scoring threat.

The tallest Pacific Union player stands 6-foot-6 so Chris Cunningham should be on the receiving end of entry passes all night long. Or else.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

So what did we learn from last night?

It's important to be careful about any sort of rush to judgment so always keep such in mind:

* "The best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores" -- the late Al McGuire.

* Kudos to Chris Cunningham for his 17/17 double-double but he should not be fourth in the number of shots taken from the starting five -- for SJSU to have a chance to win, Cunningham must be #1 or #2

* The franchise players are (obviously) Jalen James and Rashad Muhammad but another big is needed, one who can contribute right away next season. Having someone around 6-foot-8/6-foot-9 who is mobile and can duplicate if not exceed Chris Cunningham's contributions is a must in order to reach Mountain West Conference competitiveness. Coach Wojcik doesn't want to bring in JC guys but the Spartans won't be landing a prepster able to perform right away in this role.

* It is going to be a long season -- the keys are will it be a learning one for the majority of the team? will the losses build backbones or eat away at confidence levels?

* Credit Jimmy Durkin for this post game press conference shot:



Monday, November 4, 2013

The Otters topple the Spartans

Cal State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) battled West Coast Conference member San Diego (picked to finish fifth by the league's coaches) tough just the other evening before falling short but tonight the Otters held on to a late lead to win over San Jose State University 78-69.

It was a game of getting Fertig-ed as CSUMB sophomore guard Alex Fertig, the son of Jack, a former assistant at Tennessee, USC and Fresno State, totaled 31 points, including making 17 free throws.

At the half, it was 40-34 in favor of the Otters and SJSU fell further behind entering the second 20 minutes before a 14-0 Spartan scoring run made it back into a contest.

SJSU offers a young Illinois big

Thanks to a tip, the news is that a 6-foot-9 sophomore out of Illinois has received a Spartan offer.

A tweet from Carleton Williams: "Got my first offer last night from San Jose State"

Here's a late October interview.

So it begins

Cal State University Monterey Bay comes to Walt McPherson Court tonight at 7 p.m.

The Otters boast one 6-foot-9 player and three measuring up at 6-foot-7. 6-foot-3 sophomore backcourter Alex Fertig is probably the best talent on the team

On October 26, Coach Bob Bishop's guys battled West Coast Conference member San Diego before falling 90-81. Both frontcourt starters for CSUMB fouled out despite the Toreros being a more perimeter-oriented team. Also, the Otters shot 10-20 from ling distance and 48% overall.

Expect Chris Cunningham to be the leading SJSU scorer and rebounder in this one.

A guess at the Spartan starting five: (depending on whether Coach Wojcik goes small or big):

BIG

* Matt Pollard
* Chris Cunningham
* Jaleel Williams
* Rashad Muhammad
* Jalen James

SMALL

* Chris Cunningham
* Jaleel Williams
* Rashad Muhammad
* DJ Brown
* Jalen James

The first is the one containing the talents with the most potential plus the size that will be needed come Mountain West Conference games.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Carter's continuance rides on bigs

Chris Murray takes a look at the guys in the middle for Nevada, past and present, and how this season's big are the key to Coach David Carter remaining in Reno.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Keep watch on Pollard

Besides frosh Jalen James, the team leader at the point, do watch the play of freshman center Matt Pollard. It doesn't appear that he's the 7-feet he is currently listed as but he'll be the key to SJSU eventually possessing a Mountain West Conference competitive frontcourt.

Yes, senior Chris Cunningham will be the bellwether post this season but Pollard is the big who has the most potential of anyone on the sqaud -- it's just a matter of when that turns into consistent production.

A little men's basketball from the Spartan Daily

Allison Williams/Spartan Daily offers an article on Spartan men's basketball, with quotes from Coach Wojcik.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Getting more from Moore

Kyle Goon explains that a freshman could be an important factor in Utah State's season -- his father played for the Aggies.

Looking at the BSU frontcourt

Michael Steen writes about the element he says will make or break Boise basketball in 2013-14 -- the frontcourt.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

Comparing the MWC & the WAC

From the For-What-It's-Worth-Department (not a knock on KP) Mr. Analytics Ken Pomeroy has issued his 2014 pre-season team rankings and the best of the Mountain West Conference come out this way:

#17 New Mexico

#42 Boise State

#64 San Diego State

#69 UNLV

#78 Utah State 

SJSU is positioned at #272

For comparison's sake, the first WAC team is New Mexico State at #90.

At the risk of repeating ourselves, we're not in Kansas anymore. It's a whole new basketball universe.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Zylan Cheatham picks San Diego State

Coach Steve Fisher and San Diego State is just loading up on excellent prospects and Percy Allen details another Aztec-to-be.

Get SDSU to the Pac-12 and quick what with Cheatham plus fellow prepsters Trey Kell, Kevin Zabo and Malik Pope. This will infuriate some but there's just no way the second tier Mountain West Conference programs will be able to compete. Plus, even the highest rated of these guys will play at least two seasons before serious pro consideration.

It's way past time for honoring former Spartan basketballers

Take a read -- a lot of valid points are made here:

Marek Warszawski
The Fresno Bee


They call it a tunnel, but it's really a bridge.

When the Bulldogs take the field Saturday night against UNLV for homecoming, they'll run through a tunnel formed by former players. Last year, 200 Bulldogs alumni made up that tunnel. This year, 300 are expected.

Down in that tunnel, Paris Gaines will look to his left and see Alan Harper. He'll look to his right and see Devon Banks. They'll look back at him, hear the roaring crowd and be transported to 2001, the last time they played together.

"I'll feel so proud and so blessed standing next to my teammates and next to guys who graduated in the '80s, the '70s, and the decades before that," said Gaines, a former 1,000-yard rusher.

"Whether we graduated in 2001 or '81, the one thing that connects us is we all put that helmet on."

That's what makes the tunnel more like a bridge, one that spans generations of players and joins them to the program and to Fresno State.

For an instant, time just vanishes.

"It's one of those moments words can't describe," said Lance Dueker, a linebacker from 1989-1991. "You're filled with chills and excitement. Brought me back 25 years."

But our bridge doesn't stop there, in the past. It also extends to current players, the guys wearing helmets and pads.

So when the 2013 Bulldogs see hundreds of jacked-up alums on the field during pregame, it's a jolt of realization that they're part of something bigger. Bigger than themselves, and bigger than the team.

Defensive end Nikko Motta, who grew up in Sanger as a Fresno State fan, understands this better than most.

Thinking about last year's tunnel, Motta recalled an encounter with his high school athletic director, ex-Bulldog Jesse Hardwick.

"Afterward he came up and loved me, smacked me on the head and was all fired up," Motta said. "That was pretty special for me. …

"Those are the guys who started this tradition. It didn't just happen. We didn't magically become good. We're just continuing what they built."

Pride and tradition are a huge part of college football, elements that can't be measured on a stat sheet. Especially to former players. The feeling of being part of something means more to them than any yards, tackles or touchdowns.

For many years at Fresno State, this bridge was out. Or at least in dire need of repair. But things have been mended, thanks in large part to a determined ex-Bulldog.

In some ways, Kevin Jordan was the ideal repairman because his career straddled Fresno State's two most recent eras. The lineman was recruited by Jim Sweeney and played for Pat Hill.

Jordan, who graduated in 2000, spent a couple of seasons on NFL rosters until multiple knee surgeries cut short his career. He returned to Fresno in 2007 to found Keeping Youth Journeying Onward, a nonprofit that operates six group homes for at-risk youths.

Back in town, Jordan kept running into ex-teammates and other former Bulldogs, and many of them shared the same complaint. They felt disconnected.

"A lot of guys just didn't feel welcome," Jordan said. "In their eyes, Fresno State was looking for money instead of just welcoming them back."

While Fresno State has honored star players and standout teams, there had never been an effective effort to include all former Bulldogs, whether they were All-Americans or walk-ons that barely saw the field.

That isn't to say no former players stayed involved. Dueker and business partner Jeff Thiesen of Thiesen Dueker Financial Consulting Group are as plugged in as any ex-'Dogs. In the '90s, they started a football alumni network that has since morphed into Club Red, now part of the Bulldog Foundation. But Dueker understands the underlying sentiment.

"When Pat Hill came in, he changed so much of what Coach Sweeney did," Dueker said. "Not in a malicious way. He was just trying to move the program forward, but a lot of guys maybe felt alienated by that. They felt a little bit less welcome."

Enter Tim DeRuyter, who replaced Hill following the 2011 season and instantly embraced all Bulldogs traditions, no matter the era.

Jordan sensed the opportunity for a fresh start, so after he and DeRuyter got to know each other (KYJO hired 11 current players in 2012 to work as summer youth counselors), he approached the coach about a plan to engage the alumni. For DeRuyter, it was a "No, duh" moment.

"I've been here 20 months — I didn't build this program," he said. "It's those players who played here over the decades that built it, and for them to feel some ownership in it and be able to be recognized and have a connection with the current guys is just a great situation. I commend Kevin and the guys he's working with for getting this going."

This is about more than back-slapping and reminiscing. Fresno State benefits, too.

Take the case of Juan Bautista, a former walk-on who went on to medical school.

Now Dr. Bautista is back practicing in his hometown. But he wasn't involved in his alma mater until last year's homecoming. In the months since, he started donating money to the BDF and gave a presentation to Fresno State's sophomore male athletes about sexual health.

"I'd go to games, but I didn't know anyone there," he said. "Now my Bulldog pride is back in a big way."

That's why Bautista and dozens of ex-Bulldogs will gather tonight at the Duncan Building and lead current players to a 7 p.m. pep rally at Bulldog Boulevard.

That's why so many are participating in Saturday's BBQ Cookoff from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at O'Neill Park. And that's why you'll see so many of them on the field during pregame, forming that alumni tunnel.

It's all part of Bring It Home Weekend, a second-year tradition that already feels as comfortable as old slippers.

"It doesn't matter who the coach is, because coaches come and go," Jordan said. "But the one thing you can't change is that we were all Bulldogs.

"So it's up to us to keep tradition going. Nobody else."


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Here's what's taking place here:

Reconnect, Reminisce & Cheer For The Spartans
Oct. 24, 2013


Join San Jose State University Athletics and the Order of Sparta for the 2013 All-Sports Reunion at the Saturday, November 9 home football game when the Spartans host San Diego State in Spartan Stadium.

Athletes, former coaches and staff from all years and all sports are invited to reconnect and reminisce. Enjoy the chance to meet up again with former athletes and coaches in your sport over the years and your friends from other teams as well.

The All-Sports Reunion kicks off at 3:30 p.m. with a fun, family-friendly pregame tailgate located in the Fan Fiesta lot located at the corner of 10th Street and Stadium Way. The tailgate ends at 7:00 p.m. when the Spartans will march into Spartan Stadium and rally the football team to victory.

Tickets for the All-Sports Reunion are free for former San Jose State University student-athletes. There is a $25.00 per person charge for each guest. Food, drinks and a game ticket are included with your registration, but parking is not.

For more information and to make reservations, contact Amy Friedhoff of San Jose State Athletics at (408) 924-1445 or amy.friedhoff@sjsu.edu


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A noble and certainly laudable SJSU event -- let's hope it will be extremely successful.

A suggestion: a basketball-only get-together for former players. The time is way past due. Let's end the could-care-less shunning.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Wolf Pack are big on the frotnline this season

Chris Murray assesses the five talents making up Nevada's frontcourt this season. Each has different strengths and weaknesses but all are true bigs. Let's see if a scorer emerges.

New Mexico basketball is bigtime

College Sports Madness has New Mexico as the 16th best team this season. The Lobos come to Walt McPherson Court on January 11.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Underclassmen Ford hitting SJSU

Lester Diaz tweeted: "...Ford has unofficial at San Jose State..."

That's 5-foot-11 2016 sophomore Jordan Ford out of Folsom High. He averaged 13.5 points and 3.3 assists as a frosh.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Geoff Grammer previews the Spartans

Geoff Grammer previewed the 2013-14 San Jose State Spartans and a number of Coach Wojcik quotes are sprinkled throughout. One example:
“Year three for me in my mind is what I’m targeting.”

Monday, October 21, 2013

Utah State with another backcourter

Utah State sure is stocking up on guard types for next season -- per Verbal Commits: "2014 Miami Dade College (FL) G Darius Perkins has committed to Utah State"

He tripped to Logan the weekend of October 12-13 and is known as a very solid scorer with excellent shooting range.

The 6-foot-2, 205 pound Perkins had academic troubles last season and was unable to play as of January. This article has him back for the 2013-14 season.

So that makes four USU commits thus far for the November signing period -- all backcourters:

* Henry Bolton, 6-foot-1, combo guard, Rhode Island HS
* Julion Pearre, 6-foot-2, SG, Texas HS
* Chris Smith, 6-foot-4, SG/SF, Yuba College
* Darius Perkins, 6-foot-2, CG, Florida JC

As for next season (2014-15), the Aggies are projected to have junior Marcel Davis as the starter at the point, with 6-foot-4 JoJo McGlaston either as a sophomore or a redshirt freshman. Plus, there are other fringe sort of prospects.

Carter in Cyprus

Former Spartan Wil Carter is now playing professionally in Cyprus: "Cypriot team Keravnos Strovolou announced on his official website the signing of the American power-forward Wil Carter. He spent his rookie season in Holland with Shoeters Den Bosch and averaged 12.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game."
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Sunday, October 20, 2013

How does an opposing coach compete with this?

From Mark Ziegler:
SDSU and New Mexico don’t play until February, but they are already going head-to-head. Both schools are finalists for four-star forward Zylan Cheatham, who has already visited SDSU and was in Albuquerque this weekend.

Cheatham’s visit coincided with New Mexico’s Midnight Madness festivities, called the Lobo Howl and attended by 10,000-plus. People waved “Z” signs and chanted, “We want Z.” Fans also showed up at his hotel upon his arrival.
How doesSJSU and others compete with this for the hearts and minds of recruits?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

SJSU in on a 2015-er

Per Lester Diaz: "Jordan Roberson is 6'4 "has high interest from San Jose State, Portland, Irvine, UOP, Utah State, medium Fullerton, Cornell"

Northern Arizona has already offered.

Roberson is a 2015 guard out of Cordova High in the Sacramento area.

Friday, October 18, 2013

If Boise basketball can do it...

Jeff Eisenberg covers the rise of Boise State basketball.

A snippet from the opening:
...Rice walked onto the court for Boise State's season-opening exhibition game against UC-Colorado Springs three years ago and discovered that cavernous 12,500-seat Taco Bell Arena was nearly empty. The announced crowd that night was 1,599, but Rice doubts there were even half that many fans in attendance.

"You could hear crickets," Rice said. "You could have fired a cannon in there and you wouldn't have hit anybody. I have three sons, and one of my sons said to me, 'Oh dad, there's nobody here.' I told him, 'Just hang in there. We're going to get it going. We'll have an amazing fan base.'"
There's just so many things to comment on.

SJSU fans have literally gone to their graves waiting for a successful Spartan basketball program (notice the use of the word program and not season although when was the last one there?)

Those still remaining are wary of getting hopes up because such has been dashed and crushed so many times. Once, twice, thrice burned...

It's understandable.

It's reasonable.

Plus, Boise didn't have the spectre of Cal and Stanford plus a plethora of professional teams casting any 'competitiors' into the shadows.

But yet, I still believe SJSU hoops can become a successful program, meaning one that commands attention for more than a floor design plus national respect. No, making it to the Final Four is not part of the dream -- let's be real.

A larger recruiting budget has opened up territory, and thus talents, previously unavailable.

An assistant coaching staff, one that has an aptitude and respect previously off limits due to salary offerings, is in place.

We have a head coach who sees defeat as unacceptable.

The most honest way to put matters now is that San Jose State University men's basketball has a chance, unlike ever before.

Terrence Johnson hearing from the Spartans

From AZ Power Basketball: "AZ Power 2015 G is hearing from Weber St, Portland, Gonzaga, San Jose St, Santa Clara, NAU, & Grand Canyon"

Here's the young man's background and photo.