Thursday, May 30, 2013

Alexander to SJSU

 (photo courtesy of Manteca Bulletin)

Dylan Alexander, out of Weston Ranch High in Stockton, has committed to Coach Dave Wojcik and San Jose State University. The 6-foot-3 backcourter averaged 18.1 points per game last season. He has accepted a recruited walk-on position.

Here's a January 2013 article on Alexander.

He and another talent earned most valuable players honors from the Manteca Bulletin this year.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Jack Karapetyan update of sorts

Talked with Etop Udo-Ema today, who coaches the Compton Magic program of which Jack Karapetyan is a member.

Udo-Ema said that Karapetyan is still taking visits, has yet to decide on a college and that a trip to Kansas State was next in line.

Still no word on any faves but this clip came to mind so, of course, it had to be posted if for no other reason than more humor is needed in this world (sorry for the brief commercial):

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Does McIntyre go the pigskin or hoops route?

Kyle Ringo reports that former Valley Christian High footballer and basketballer Jay McIntyre -- son of you-know-who -- has a gridiron scholarship at Colorado if he so chooses.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Three Spartan basketballers graduate

San Jose State University athletics lists a trio of former northern California prepsters as graduates:

* Calvin Douglas B.A. – Behavioral Science May 2013

* Justin Graham M.A. – Kinesiology (Sport Management) May 2013

* Aalim Moor B.A. – Communication Studies May 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

Way ahead SJSU recruiting

A DeAnte' Mitchell tweet: "Plainfield East (IL) SG Aaron Jordan '15 picked up an offer from San Jose State"

The Spartan staff is definitely working Illinois -- First, Jalen James and also Ore Arogundade who is a 2014 prospect.

Here's a January 2013 interview with the 6-foot-3 Jordan.

Below is a December 2012 YouTube interview:

CBS Sports evaluates the SJSU coachign hire

From CBS Sports on the new basketball coach hire at San Jose State University:
San Jose State

The guy: Dave Wojcik comes to San Jose and replaces George Nessman after three years on Leon Rice's staff at Boise. He was also an assistant for his brother, Doug, at Tulsa -- and at Loyola and Xavier under the late Skip Prosser.

The deal: Wojcik can evaluate talent and will bring toughness to the program. He did a tremendous job helping Leon Rice elevate the Boise program over the last few years.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A little more on Isaac Thornton

Talked yesterday with George Gervin Academy Athletic Director Tim Littlefield (referenced in the previous post) about Spartan signee Isaac Hamilton and here's how he summed up the young man coming to Washington Square: "San Jose State is getting a steal. Isaac's 6-foot-3, very strong and athletic and jumps out of the gym. He can guard two positions [both backcourt spots]. He's an outstanding kid who is also good in the classroom. His parents are both educators."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

Better living through chemistry

Chemistry is an oh-so-important aspect of any entity built around human relationships. Absent such, dysfunction or worse becomes the norm. Present and the whole has the possibility of exceeding the parts.

Long Beach State Coach Dan Monson has been to the mountaintop, turning his program back into one of note. But then came a heavy number of four-year college transfers and the 49er ambiance went to hell.

Those changing basketball programs do so for a myriad of reasons but first and foremost is not playing the amount of court time self-determined as appropriate as well as accepting a certain role on a team.

Go here for an overall informative feature on what went wrong in 2012-13 for The Beach.

With transfers, especially 'name' ones, there can sometimes go a feeling of slumming, of being better than one's current location. That's another coaching headache because the necessary level of respect towards others -- equals and authority figures -- isn't accorded. Check out this article.

James Ennis and Mike Caffey were the returning 49er leaders. Some teammates obviously didn't accept this but weren't willing to out-work the pair in order to earn a position of power.

So how, if at all, is this related to San Jose State University basketball?

Coach Dave Wojcik is laying a foundation with freshmen. He needs point Jalen James (especially) and Rashad Muhammad to become the on-court leaders. Were he to bring in a four-year transfer or even a community college talent who expected to be deigned the program focal point due to seniority status alone, well, that could turn into Long Beach State of this past season redux.

Now this is not to say Wojcik won't pursue transfers of any sort -- who is to say he hasn't already. It's just that the individual(s) will need to be prospects with the appropriate mindset so as not to impair the symmetry being sought.

Reise has Spartan interest

GPA Scout tweeted: "2014, 6'6, SG, Dillon Reise is a smooth lefty with great feel for the game. Nice stroke an is athletic to go with it"

It's obviously down-the-road but SJSU is listed as showing interest. Reise is a get-able prospect out of Ocean View High in southern California. His size is a nice plus and he's probably not finished topping out yet.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Correcting perception (SJSU applicable)

Here's Northern Arizona Basketball Coach Jack Murphy at a recent fan meet-n-greet:
“The biggest hurdle to overcome in recruiting to NAU is perception,” Murphy said. “Once kids come to campus, once they get to Flagstaff, they’re blown away by our facilities, by the environment, the scenery, the school. I think before that, they have this image in their mind that NAU is a second-rate institution with second-rate facilities. And that’s not reality.”
Murphy is entering his second season at the Big Sky Conference member.

Being new allows the selling of a vision -- after three or four years that is no longer an option. Kids will take a chance on newness and the possibility of becoming one who helped turn around and establish a program.

Getting prospects to visit is the largest hurdle for the 99%-ers as no visit equals no chance. Opposing coaches gladly reinforce any negative image of a school and friends/family are likely to ask 'why are you checking out that place?' when a heretofore cellar dweller is the subject of the conversation. The further away a kid lives from the perception problem institution, the sell is easier, though not easy.

But once on campus, 'reality' can be orchestrated (if need be) and the red carpet sales pitch unrolled. The VIP treatment can also include meeting with the athletic director or even the president of the school.

Most programs do a little squeezing for a commitment before the player gets back on his plane. Sometimes that works, sometimes not. Without getting a 'yes' within a few days post-trip, the odds of landing someone get lesser.

A final thought: having Mountain West Conference membership isn't a cure-all but it sure beats trying to sell the Big Sky Conference.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The latest on the mysterious Mr. Karapetyan

We are currently involved in getting James Karapetyan's photo added to the backs of milk cartons everywhere, along with the imperative Have You Seen Him?

Friday, May 17, 2013

We have it on good authority

Breaking!!! Another White House scandal has emerged!!! FAUX News is reporting that President Obama's security staff has 'sent' James Karapetyan 'on a long vacation' so that he cannot sign with San Jose State University.

Tommy Flanagan, formerly of Weekend Update and now a FAUX Oval Office correspondent, is quoted as offering, "Yeah! That's the ticket!"

fansjsu has more to offer about this conspiracy with his comment below.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Martin to San Jose State University

6-foot-10 Miles Martin, formerly of Homestead High in Santa Clara and now at Westwind Prep in Phoenix, has aligned himself with San Jose State University. He attended Homestead through his junior season and then transferred to Westwind to face much better competition and play under Coach Jeff De Laveaga.

Hope to speak with Coach De Laveaga soon.

(Man, am I flunking geography as the comment explains Homestead High is in Cupertino, not Santa Clara)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Foster goes with Waco (make that Lubbock)

In the end, the lure of the coach he signed with earlier proved too much for Alex Foster and he re-cast his lot with Tubby Smith and Texas Tech -- Michael O'Brien reports.

The 6-foot-8 Chicago prepster tripped to San Jose State University and would have offered a skills set unlike any other power forward on the Spartan roster but the comfort level he had already established proved to be too much to overcome.

In retrospect, it seems a bit odd that Foster didn't immediately re-up with Smith in Waco upon the lack of interest from Minnesota's new head coach but maybe he wanted to check out further options to make sure.

*** thanks for the correction on the geographical inaccuracy)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mike White on starting over (applicable to San Jose State University basketball)

 (photo courtesy of The Advocate)

If there was a ranking system for college basketball coaches, Louisiana Tech Coach Mike White deserves a spot in the Major Achiever category. Just look what he has accomplished:

* taking his very first team to the championship game of the WAC tournament, one win away from Big Dancin'

* going 27-7 overall, 16-2 in league play during his second season, winning the Western Athletic Conference regular season championship

* racking up this success primarily with freshman and sophomores as the major contributors

So how did he establish this flourishing of Bulldog basketball and what are the takeaways that other new coaches could benefit from knowing?

Here are his thoughts, ideas and best practices:

Q: In the beginning, how did you go about selling your vision to new recruits?

Mike White: "The biggest selling point upon arrival in Ruston was playing time, opportunity, people, and style of play. We thought that offering a vision of an up-tempo pressing style, along with "need" leading to opportunity, were perhaps most important in attracting recruits."

Q: Does that vision sale differ now in recruiting (as joining up seems a more attractive sell but you now have a successful program where playing time will be harder to earn)?

Mike White: "The recruiting pitch has definitely differed, becoming both easier and harder at the same time. We are more recognizable after having had some success, and we also can sell CUSA. However, immediate opportunity for playing time is no longer as easy to sell."

Q: The task and mantra for most new coaches is "the culture must be changed" -- how and what must a coach do to facilitate that transformation he desires/what did you do at LT?

Mike White: "'Changing the culture' can sometimes be disparaging to programs and student-athletes, so we spent more time talking about "creating our own culture."  Demands and expectations on and off the court were the biggest culture factors.  Nothing creates culture, however, more than the kids that you sign. We made some decisions on day one about the types of kids that we wanted to coach, and we've remained convicted to those principles."
Q: What factors went into your decision regarding using an uptempo offensive pace and pressing defensively?

Mike White: "Our style of play was decided upon to simply help us recruit and put people in the stands. I feel like most kids want to play uptempo, and I also feel like we have a very athletic recruiting base. Also, our fans have embraced the way that our kids play. They appreciate the effort put forth, especially in our press."

Q: As a coach at a mid major, is it easier/more difficult to become successful (turning around the W-L record) or easier/more difficult to keep being successful? or are they similar tasks requiring similar approaches? or maybe tasks requiring different strategies?

Mike White: "Producing a winner and sustaining success are two different animals. I don't know which is harder, but they are very different, in my opinion. We spent countless time talking about this subject as a team last season. For the first time, we became the "hunted" and had to mentally adjust in several ways. I thought that our guys handled it pretty well, but it was definitely a very different mindset than in year one, and more difficult in many ways. It remains to be seen how we'll handle year three, with the biggest expectations ahead of us. I marvel at the few mid-major programs that are able to achieve great success every year."

We thank Coach White for sharing his thoughts.

Monday, May 13, 2013

More on Matt Pollard

Spoke with Steve Walton, the general manager of the Houston Celtics (Matt Pollard's AAU team), and what he had to say about his protege was illuminating.

He began philosophically -- "you can draw from the character of a person how he will perform."
As for Pollard, Walton offered he came to the Celtics "really raw" as he was "new to the game" and "a diamond in the rough."

Pollard began making some noise during his senior season at Kashmere High in Houston. Stephen F. Austin, Wright State and some SWAC schools, along with various DIIs and junior colleges, were interested.

But it was decided the young man would benefit from a post-prep year so he put recruiting on hold and headed off to the Shooting 4 Greatness Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Pollard's improvement throughout the season resulted in schools such as Mississippi, Cincinnati, Seton Hall and South Carolina paying attention. Gamecock Coach Frank Martin came to a couple of games.

By late March-early April, Oklahoma, Kansas State and North Texas had interest.

Then San Jose State University Coach Steve Wojcik called, expressed strong interest and wanted to fly Pollard in on a recruiting visit.

According to Walton, once Pollard arrived in California and checked matters out, it was a done deal.

About Pollard the player and person, Walton said, ""Matt wants to be a winner, he has the will and drive to be the best, he is dedicated and focused on his craft. He has worked hard, lost weight but is strong with great hands."

Walton continued, "we call him Baby Bynum {after former Laker Andrew Bynum]. He has a million dollar smile and he's also the kindest person I've ever met."

But the young man isn't a finished project.

"He still needs polish and he's participating in off-season workouts."

Collectively, this all makes it sound like the Spartans are getting a quality prospect but, even better, a quality person. Character counts.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Way to go Tim

A big congratulations goes out to Tim Marrion and his new bride on their marriage this past week.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Andoh goes across the country

Former Spartan David Andoh has committed to Wagner -- per this Adam Zagoria tweet: "David Andoh, a 6-7 stretch 4 from San Jose, is transferring to Wagner. Will have 3 yrs after sitting out this year"

Wagner's coach is Bahir Mason and the school, located in Staten Island, plays in the Northeast Conference.

Andoh is a Montreal native and I believe his parents are currently back there so he will definitely be closer to home.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Courting Alex Foster

robbsilv33 made note at the Insider Sparta basketball message board of one Alex Foster having tripped to SJSU.

Nobody comes from as far as Chicago unless the Spartan coaching staff is serious and ready to offer but this 6-foot-8 young man has a very interesting recruitment background.

Foster originally signed with Minnesota and Coach Tubby Smith back in November 2012 (here's an article on that) but Smith was let go (he's now the head coach at Texas Tech) and eventually replaced by Richard Pitino, the son of you-know-who, and Pitino wasn't interested in retaining Foster's services -- "According to Gopher Illustrated, Foster received a call from “an assistant” said to be Kimani Young, who told the Chicago native that Minnesota plans to move in a different direction..."

So the young man went back into the recruiting barrel.

Below are snippets from various Foster features:
“Alex Foster is a young man that can play both forward positions,” said Tubby Smith. “He is a lefty that has an all-around game - the ability to put the ball on the floor at his size, shoot with range and has a very good basketball I.Q.”

An honor roll student all three years at De La Salle...

This long and athletic forward has a good basketball body for such a young player. He slithers between defenders for nice finishes or drawing fouls. Foster also displayed the ability to rebound with authority in a crowd. He runs the floor very well and is quick to the ball. Foster has developing good hands and makes plays with his consistent effort.

He has a funny release on his shot especially from the free throw line. His form is not bad but he releases his guide hand too soon which at times moves his shot off line. This young lefty is raw and must continue to work to develop his overall skills and at times seems to still finding his way but the talent and potential are very evident.

Bottom Line:
Alex is a lefty post player that is smooth and talented. He is a little raw right now but is developing a face-up basket game...
Foster had completed an official visit with Smith at Texas Tech but curiously didn't re-commit to who was going to be his college coach.

It also looks like he has tripped to Rhode Island.


Below is video of Foster:

More about Matt Pollard

 Matt Pollard with his Houston Celtics AAU team

Jim Hicks is Mr. Houston basketball and runs the RCS Sports site. So naturally he is a go-to guy for finding out about prospects in H-Town, including recent San Jose State University signee 6-foot-11 Matt Pollard.

Hicks is a straight talker, offering what he has witnessed rather than sugar-coating any description.

Asked about Pollard and SJSU, Hicks said, "it's a win-win as long as expectations don't exceed reality. Pollard is long and has a good body but a lot of developing to do."

To the issue of redshirting versus playing right away, he offered, "a redshirt season would be helpful but he might be able to pull a six and an eight [points and rebounds a game]."

Per Hicks, Oklahoma and Old Miss flirted with Pollard but ultimately didn't step up.

Dunklin decides

Dalante Dunkin, a US Santa Barbara bounceback backcourter mentioned early on as an SJSU recruiting target has tweeted: "I have decided to play a year at Saddleback CC"

An additional offer for Karapetyan

Phantom Basketball tweeted: "Arizona State offered Jack Karapetyan last night! He will take official visit this weekend"

One of the keys to his college basketball success will be knowing what early role he is willing to perform. High school guys often get into the game of bragging rights vis-a-vis recruiting and not necessarily what is the best level at which to play.

We'll know shortly.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

More offers for Karapetyan

A Verbal Commits tweet: "2013 Cathedral (CA) SF James Karapetyan has recently picked up offers from Kansas St, LBSU, and UC-Davis among others"

SJSU is among his many suitors.

The deadline to sign a letter-of-intent is May 15 but recruits can sign a non-binding financial aid agreement after that date.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

More on Devante Wilson

So who would know the most about new Spartan Devante Wilson?

How about Lee College Coach Roy Champagne? In that position for 18 seasons as well as being the school's athletic director for five years, he obviously knows his basketball. Having mentored the 6-foot-4, 215 pound Wilson since 2011, he's the one who can provide the most accurate and current description.

Call Lee a bonafide member of the Wilson fan club.

As for Wilson the person:

"Devante has been a pleasure to have here. He's a top shelf young man who comes from a great family," Lee offered, adding 'it wouldn't be possible to find a greater kid. He's disciplined and he goes to class."

Regarding Wilson the basketball player:

"When he steps in the gym, he's in shooting range. Devante made nine three's in one game for us. But he can also attack the basket and finish at the rim. He has a great body and will dive on the floor for the ball -- he's a blue collar guy.

Asked how San Jose State University became aware of Wilson, Champagne explained," Omar Lowery. He's been coming through here for five years now." New at SJSU, Lowery had a four year stint at Cal Poly and a preceding three at Texas State.

Also, Wilson is originally from Oklahoma and Coach Wojcik assisted his brother Doug when the latter was head coach at Tulsa.

Also, Kenton Brooks serves up a feature on Wilson's signing.

Next is Matt Pollard

 (Pollard in a Houston Celtics uniform)

Described as a late bloomer (that's a reference to his skills set not physical characteristics) in one article, 6-foot-11, 240-pound Matt Pollard is now a Spartan.

Not much in terms of background information is available but he had an offer from Texas Southern back in 2012 plus interest from Sam Houston State but he instead went the prep school route.

Jim Hicks had him at #56 in his rankings of Houston area seniors back in 2012.

We'll find out more and report back.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Boyd to Fullerton

According to this tweet, Joe Boyd has joined up with the Titans: "Another Magic Off the Board. Congrats to who will be going to CalStateFullerton"

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The next MWC tournament

The format of the next Mountain West Conference tournament is still to be determined but Eric Angevine has details of the formats being considered.

Andy Katz offers more:
The Mountain West Conference met last week in Phoenix to go over an 18-game schedule for next season with an 11-team league they weren't expecting to originally have a year ago. Boise State and San Diego State returned to the league, or rather never left, instead of going to the Big East. The league was already planning on adding Utah State and San Jose State. And with the league coming off a record percentage of five out of nine teams making the NCAA tournament field, the conference had to take advantage of the momentum. The San Diego Union-Tribune first put out what will be the new scheduling format for this league -- ensuring the top teams play each other twice in an unbalanced schedule. This is what the Big East did for years to satisfy television partners CBS and ESPN. And with the same television partners, that's exactly what is going to happen in the MWC, too. The Tribune reported the vote was 8-3 by the coaches to do a random schedule. But the athletic directors overruled the coaches and with good reason. The networks want/need the top teams to play twice. That means you're almost guaranteed to see San Diego State, UNLV and New Mexico playing twice so that CBS, which picks first, and ESPN each get one of the matchups. While this means lesser-profile teams in the league, like Utah State, may not have as hard of a schedule, the aforementioned teams will ultimately have a stronger power rating. Schools will play eight teams twice and two teams once. The MWC had the perfect model with a nine-team, 16-game round-robin schedule. A 10-team, 18-game round-robin is even more perfect like the Big 12. But an 11-team, 18-game schedule where the projected top teams play twice for television is the best scenario for a league that wants to continue to be relevant. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

SJSU with another pickup

A Harold Rivera tweet: "Brandon Mitchell (Ridgeway) commits to San Jose St."

Hmmm. On the 'net, he is a mystery man -- not much available. He's a solidly built 6-foot-5 and listed as a small forward out of Ridgeway High in Memphis. His club team was the Memphis Hoopers.

Have to do some digging on this one.

Friday, May 3, 2013


 going from popcorn to hopefully something more elegant

 Not only is Coach Wojcik bringing is prep talent, the other key that should fuel success for San Jose State University basketball is the ceilings his signees possess.

One aspect that stifled past opportunities for advancement in Spartan hoops was the bringing in of prospects who either had already reached their potential or were close to that barrier. Thus, be it a high school or junior college recruit, very little was ever witnessed in skills improvement.

Now at least there is the sense that the new SJSU basketballers carry the capacity to get better as the clock ticks in their college hoops tenure.

But it also must be noted that each of the four new signees has an out-of-state address so the recruiting purse strings currently are looser than ever before. That was a necessary adjustment for any chance to move upward.

Isaac Thornton comes aboard

He's been listed anywhere from 6-foot-0 to 6-foot-3 so we'll settle on 6-foot-2 as new San Jose State University signee Isaac Thornton's current height.

Thornton's a backcourter out of San Antonio, Texas where he played high school ball for his father at Sam Houston High.

From a March 23, 2013 Texas Hoops article: "...Heading back south, Isaac Thornton is one player that is hard to handle do to his sharp shooting from the outside. He can slide by defenders to score in the lane and create off the dribble..."

A snippet from a different article: "...Thornton plays well on both ends of the court. He moves well with and without the ball, but he's more valuable when he gets to the lane. He has decent handles and lost a defender on a couple occasions. He plays with a lot of body control and poise..."

On tape, Thornton displays good athleticism, a nice stroke on his outside shot and the ability to split defenders on dribble-drives. It appears he was called upon to be more of a scorer in the prep ranks so it's difficult to tell if he'll be a 1 or a 2 or a combo guard collegiately. One impressive note: Thornton earned Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 3A All-State boys basketball academic first team this season.

Below is some video:

Wilson a Spartan

A Brad Winton tweet: "Devante Wilson (6-4/SG/2013) of Lee College has committed to San Jose State."

Who is the young man and what are his bonafides?

He's a 6-foot-4, 215 pound sophomore originally out of Oklahoma. His statistics this season are possibly truncated by the fact that he is listed as participating in 22 games when the team actually played 34. Maybe he was injured as numbers for him in a big stretch of games are absent.

Wilson averaged 10.0 points and 4.3 rebounds a contest, shooting 41% overall, 40% from three-point range and 73% at the foul line. he nabbed 33 steals.

Various writeups describe him as very athletic.

Here's a July 28, 2011 article in his hometown newspaper featuring Wilson.

Here's something from a December 2010 article:
"Devante Wilson, 6’4 SF Muskogee: Wilson has the ability to drive the basketball from the top of the key with power and strong enough to rebound amongst taller players. Wilson has the potential to be a mid major prospect."
Here's a December 2010 feature on the Wilson family.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Jack Karapetyan offered

Jack Karapetyan is a 6-foot-7, 200-or so pound 2013 forward out of the southern California prep ranks. He plays club team ball with the Compton Magic (the same one as Rashad Muhammad).

It's difficult to track official but more importantly current offers. However, it looks like UC Irvine, UC Davis, Seattle, Long Beach State, Kansas State and San Jose State University have extended invitations, with the latter two seemingly the most recent.

 Here's one snippet on Karapetyan: "Somebody needs to be jumping all over unsigned senior Jack Karapetyan from Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral Prep. A 6-foot-7 forward, he can play at either the three or the four and is skilled. He can shoot with range, he is clever around the basket, and he is good with the dribble. He plays strong, he's tough, and he seems like somebody capable of helping on the upper mid-major to lower-end high-major level sooner than later."

Here's another from March 25: "One of the top available unsigned seniors on the West Coast.  Big wing who really competes and can score from anywhere on the floor.  Look for him to garner high major interest on the spring circuit. Qualifier."

The young man is taking his time to decide and any leaning is pure speculation. His approach on the court seems to dovetail with the intensity Coach Wojcik is seeking. He shoots with range and offers a quick release.

Below is video:

The assistant coaches are now official

What was known weeks ago is now official so welcome aboard to Chris Brazelton, Jack Kennedy and Omar Lowery.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

One more on Muhammad

A little late with this but here's another Rashad Muhammad - San Jose State University signing article.

Davis lands at COS

Dan Kukla reports that former SJSU Assistant Coach Brent Davis is now the athletics director and associate dean of physical education at College of the Sequoias. It's a move that will allow him to remain in the state retirement system so that's a plus.