Saturday, June 29, 2013

Grieves to the East Bay

Former SJSU backcourter Nick Grieves, a two-year walk-on, is now at Cal State East Bay, a DII school in Hayward.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The new frontcourter

Word is that Frank Rogers, out of Salinas High, Cabrillo College (as a freshman) and then USF is joining the San Jose State University team. His departure from another DI school should mean he will be redshirting the 2013-14 year. Not sure if Rogers is walking on or being scholarshipped by the Spartans.

At 6-foot-8 and 210 pounds, he played in 28 games at just under nine minutes a contest, averaging 1.8 points and 1.8 rebounds an outing in his sole season on The Hilltop. He shot 43% from the floor and 52% at the free throw line.

Possessing good mobility, Rogers is more of a faceup rather than a back-to-the-basket four and can help if utilized as such. Don't expect a banger.

A telltale sign

Four players out of the Mountain West Conference were selected in last night's NBA draft -- none from the Western Athletic Conference.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The 2015 class is getting mucho attention

Gamepoint Basketball tweeted: "2015 PG Justin Simon picked up an offer today from San Jose State University."

The 6-foot-4 point guard also has offers from San Diego of the West Coast Conference and UC Irvine of the Big West Conference. He is out of Corona, CA.

Below is some 2012 video:

Hazzard generates Spartan offer

From Josh Gershon: "San Jose State has offered 2015 Los Angeles Loyola (CA) G Max Hazzard"

Spartan Roundball posted about Hazzard and SJSU earlier.

A 2015 prospect of interest

A Jamie Shaw tweet: "Trevor Anderson 6' PG '15 says San Jose St is now in contact"

Cal Poly has already offered and he's done an unofficial visit at North Carolina Charlotte.

Here's a March 2012 report on the young man.

Here's another early look.

Yet another: "Kennedy Charter HS (Charlotte, NC) – Anderson holds an offer from Cal-Poly and is a point guard with a very high ceiling. Extremely good in a high octane transition game, he is fast enough to play at the elite level, has a great handle in traffic and is deadly with the look-ahead pass. A true point."

The time has come to do this

May SJSU replicate this.

From Lipscomb University athletics:
New Lipscomb men’s basketball coach Casey Alexander wants to win basketball games, but he also wants to unite former players, alumni, fans and students behind his program.

Alexander made strides in bringing the former players together with a luncheon Sunday afternoon in the Hall of Fame Room at Allen Arena. Approximately 50 former players, representing teams from the late 1940s to the NCAA Division I era were in attendance. “The whole intent of this lunch was really to share the message for you guys to know that whether you played here one season, four seasons, on the NAIA National Champions, or only played on the freshman team like my Dad did, you are a Bison,” Alexander said to the former players. “It doesn’t matter what era you played in.

“We need every one of you to be a part of this program. We want every one of you to be a part of this program. We want you to know that you are expected here, invited here, wanted here, loved here and celebrated here.”

Alexander, who called Lipscomb athletic director Philip Hutcheson the first day the job was open, stressed  the main reason he wanted to coach Lipscomb was the quality of the people past and present that are a part of the program.

“I know what this group means,” Alexander said. “I also know what the ones who aren’t here, that we need to get back here, can do for us. We have to all do our part to make sure everybody knows we are all here for the same purpose, headed in the same direction and headed for big things.”

Alexander mentioned players from several decades. George McIntosh and Hardeman Herndon represented the 1949 team. Miles Ezell, Howard Johnson and Lee Marsh were present from the 1950 team. John Henderson and Bob Mason were part of the 1951 team.

There were also several members of the Charlie “Tiger” Morris era teams from 1956-66.

Some of the NCAA era players present were James Poindexter, Michael Lusk, Eddie Ard, Corey King, Ryan Roller, Cam Robinson, Ron Sarver and Russell Hankins.

Alexander also welcomed Andy McQueen, the all-time 3-point scorer for the Bisons. He couldn’t resist jokingly referring to the results of a Lipscomb-Belmont game.

“Andy is single-handedly the guy responsible for giving me a career high in points in a Belmont-Lipscomb game in 1995,” Alexander said. “I didn’t have a single game in my high school or college career where I scored 20 or more points in a game. But in that game, when Andy didn’t guard me I had 30. And I didn’t score any points in the game before that or the game after that.”

Alexander pointed to the 1951 team that beat Vanderbilt and also credited the players that helped make the transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division I.

Alexander added that any time there is a transition in coaches it is difficult. Alexander has his assistant coaches in place. The main job for them right now is to find players to fill out the roster for the 2013-2014 season.

“Our players have been incredibly receptive,” Alexander said. “We are off to a good start. But it is going to be hard. The biggest thing we all need to know is that as much as we want it to happen right now we are going to have to have some patience to do it the right way.

“The most important thing right now is that we don’t cut corners. We know absolutely the route we have to take. We have done it before. We know how to make this work. We have to really be steadfast in that approach.”

Alexander wants everyone to be proud of the product as well as the results.
“There won’t be any compromise with that,” Alexander said. “The product is what leads to the results.

“When we intentionally go out and find players that understand what Lipscomb is all about, that want to be a part of what Lipscomb is all about and that celebrate what Lipscomb is all about we are going to have a much better chance to win games. I want to let you know without any reservation that you can be assured we are going to represent you guys the best we can every step of the way.”

Former Lipscomb basketball player Richard Taylor, a member of the 1986 NAIA National Championship Team, introduced Alexander. Allen Banks, also a former player, closed out the presentation following Alexander’s talk. Roger Idstrom, associate head coach, provided the opening prayer.

The luncheon ended with a prayer circle surrounding Alexander and his assistant coaches led by former players John Pierce, the all-time scoring champion in the history of college basketball, and Steve Davidson, a former player and Lipscomb’s director of spiritual outreach.

“I really appreciate Andy Lane and Richard Taylor working together to initiate this event on such short notice,” Alexander said. “We had a great response from our former Bisons.

“This group made our program what it is today and we want to acknowledge their significant contribution.  Their contribution is valued here.  We need them to stay active in this program and help us make a difference for our current players and those yet to come.”

The UNLV Rebels

Here's a look at the UNLV Rebels in 2013-14.

Coach Dave Rice has a load of newcomers coming in and some definite talents returning so the primary question is can he meld together a smooth-working blend? One of many keys to this goal will be who on the UNLV squad will accept and perform in the blue collar dirty work roles.

Three of the top four Rebel scorers are not returning so those spots are open for the filling. Bryce Dejean-Jones was a double figure scorer last season but needs to shoot more accurately and efficiently. Pay attention to see if a working pecking order develops as the season goes on.

Do also watch for 6-foot-9 sophomore Khem Birch, especially as an shotblocker and intimidator in the middle. He should be the next Rebel heading to the Big Show once he displays a more formidable and varied offensive array.

Let's see what Connecticut transfer Roscoe Smith can do. He's 6-foot-7 as is JC transfer Jelan Kendrick. Both could be very solid scorers.

Some say that guard Katin Reinhardt's transfer to USC is a big loss but that is potentially and not based on what was on display last season.

If enough of the players accept the roles they are assigned, then the Rebels will be tough. If selfishness erupts, then...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Utah State Aggies

Here's a look at the Utah State Aggies in 2013-14.

One of the usual rulers of the Western Athletic Conference roost, it will be fascinating to see how Coach Stew Morrill's guys adjust to the move to the Mountain West Conference.

One of the most important keys will be the consistency of center Jarred Shaw and how often he can win his positional battle each game.

Guard Preston Medlin is aces and will remain the top scorer and best talent for the Aggies.

Wing Spencer Butterfield is simply irrepressible -- a double-double of some sort waiting to happen, powered by sheer will and smarts.

Freshman forward Jalen Moore and guard JoJo McGlaston are the top prospects in the 2013 recruiting class but will still need adjustment time. McGlaston has physical talents never before seen in a USU guard but he'll need to learn to play in a very methodical system offensive system, one predicated on carrying out individual responsibility in running a called out play.

Another interesting key will be can Ben Clifford continue his quality contributions at the same level of his WAC tenure?

To each of USU's conference opponents who haven't been an opponent in The Spectrum, have fun.

No team can have the collective number of injuries that waylaid various Aggies last season, right? So here's predicting an upper division finish for Stew Morrill's squad.

The San Jose State Spartans

Here's a look at the San Jose State University Spartans in 2013-14.

It's difficult for most to even offer a sense of what to expect from Coach Dave Wojcik's squad in the coming season since very little remains and so many new players have been added. The link above is a solid listing of signees plus the new coaching staff so credit is due there.

The Spartans are going to be led on the floor by freshmen Jalen James and Rashad Muhammad. The other signees are, at least at this point, complementary types and role players and in Seinfeldian mode, there's nothing wrong with that.

Forward Chris Cunningham will certainly help upfront -- he's probably maxed out his potential as he enters his senior season (as he has already redshirted a year) but maybe Wojcik and Company can draw even more efficiency from him.

Lumps will be taken, especially early on so it will be important to see how the 'kids' respond. James and Muhammad will develop into winning their positions nightly but it will be critical for at least two of the frontcourters to perform similarly sooner rather than later. Freshman center Matt Pollard can achieve that in time so patience with him will be necessary.

Monday, June 24, 2013

New recruiting target for SJSU

A Jamie Shaw tweet: "Ikenna Smart 6'10 F says Buffalo and San Jose are now in contact"

Smart is  a member of the Team Loaded squad out of Richmond, Virginia during spring and summer. He currently attends New Garden Friends School in Greensboro, North Carolina. He will be a senior this coming school year.

From a June 20, 2013 post:
Ikenna Smart 6’10/210
New Garden Friends (Greensboro) – Team Loaded NC
Looks the part. Long with wide shoulders and runs, no glides up and down the court. Has a good motor and defends and boards at a very high level.
Like other Spartan recruit Ore Agundade, Smart is Nigerian.

Below is video of Smart (not sure of the date of this filming):

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Figuring out the scholarship status of each Spartan

So besides D.J. Brown, Jaleel Williams, Chris Cunningham and Mike VanKirk as returnees to the San Jose State University men's basketball program, official school announcements have been posted on:

* Devante Wilson

* Matt Pollard

* Brandon Mitchell

* Isaac Thornton

* Jalen James, Rashad Muhammad

All of these press releases came before the conclusion of the NCAA signing period on May 21.

After that date, no official announcements can be issued until the student-athlete is actually enrolled in school.

As for the rest: 

Andrew Young is in limbo, awaiting an NCAA ruling on his status to play DI in 2013-14.

Missing are Miles Martin, Dylan Alexander and now Rae Jackson.

So this means Martin and Alexander are walk-ons (this was already known about Alexander but Martin's commitment came when the NCAA signing period was in effect and no press release was forthcoming from SJSU).

Jackson's status (on scholarship or walk-on?) is still to be determined and hopefully that can be determined prior to the start of classes.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

An NCAA signing clarification

Saw this on a JC transfer coming into Cal Poly and thought the clarification was significant:
"...Bolden said he committed to Cal Poly on a campus visit the last week of May, which fell outside the NCAA national letter of intent signing period and prohibits the university from introducing him until he enrolls..."
So it's apparently wait until the fall for formal notice unless a signee in this type of timeframe begins his college matriculation in summer school.

Read more here:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Another guard on the way

Learned this week that El Cerrito High and Oakland Soldier backcourter Rae Jackson will be coming to SJSU after all. He's 6-foot-2 and earlier attended Rodriguez High in Fairfield before coming down to the East Bay.

Here are two cut-n-pastes from an earlier article around the time of his transfer:
"...El Cerrito Head Coach Michael Booker says of his future point guard, "Rae has many strengths but I think his greatest strength is his triple threat ability. Rae has the ball handling skills needed to drive to the basket and finish strong with either hand, he has the ability to shoot his jump-shot off the dribble, spotting up or coming off screens and he has the court vision to find and pass to teammates for easy scoring opportunities...."

"...I think Rae has the ability to play collegially at the division one level," says Booker. "I think that Rae at the next level would immediately help any program in need of a point guard/basketball player. Rae is a good student who meets all the requirements to attend a four year college, he is a good teammate, his skill level and basketball IQ is very good. He can defend his position and he understands a team defensive system. More importantly, he understands how to use his strengths to help his team succeed..."
Below is a 2012 Jackson highlight tape:

Back in January, Jackson gave a verbal commit to SJSU but that was with the previous coaching staff:

Whether Jackson is scholarshipped or is following in the footsteps of Dylan Alexander is still to be determined.

Also hearing that another forward -- no not the inimitable James K -- might be in the mix but haven't nailed that down so don't take it to the bank.

More on Andrew Young, Part II

It's interesting reading the message board posters at Inside Sparta hash out the pros and cons of acquiring the services (if such a thing happens) of 6-foot-8 Andrew Young.

Having seen Young play when he was a sophomore at Monterey Peninsula College, my forecast is Young will be on the court for 25+ minutes a game for SJSU. He can score inside, rebound adequately and also possesses superb passing vision, a talent put to good use when he was double and triple-teamed as a Lobo. Young is strong and physically ready to face the Mountain West Conference challenge.

Currently, it's looking like Chris Cunningham is the only big on the roster remotely ready for MWC action as Mike VanKirk, Miles Martin and Matt Pollard will all need more time. A second big (even a third for a few minutes) will be necessary. Young's availability also means another set of five fouls would be available and that's a critical component.

Plus, some fans are a bit over-the-top regarding Cunningham's rebounding numbers as what needs to be remembered is he had virtually no teammate competition inside for caroms coming off the glass. This is not any sort of a knock, just an observation.

Although he has yet to detail his plans, a solid guess is Wojcik will go with a starting lineup of one big and four smalls a la Boise State. But the Spartans cannot succeed with just a single frontcourter.

Here's hoping the NCAA in its often bizarre wisdom gets this one right.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Succeeding at life

Scott Phillips looks at Coach Buzz Williams, the Marquette basketball program and elements that make up the culture of that enterprise.

Now this is standard stuff: "It’s about accountability day-after-day and impacting our guys in a positive way so that when their career is finished, they’ll be prepared to succeed,” Williams told NBC Sports...

However admirable, that's yada, yada, yada territory.

But the separation, the extraordinary difference comes with:
“We spend an inordinate amount of time off-the-floor talking about communication and the ways that we can improve that,” Williams said. “We teach guys how to properly introduce themselves, how to make eye contact with people, how body language affects other people and how to say certain things and certain phrases. Every player is taught about body language and how to communicate to others by using basketball examples.”
Hit the link above for a remarkable read.

May Coach Wojcik replicate all this.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

More on Andrew Young

Learned some more about the Andrew Young and San Jose State University situation: The 6-foot-8 Young loved his time at Texas A&M and College Station and it's a family matter behind his decision to get back closer to home.

He has applied for an NCAA waiver to play this season with the Spartans and is awaiting the response. If approved, he plays in the 2013-14 season. If denied, he can appeal. If that is also turned down, he will turn to the DII ranks in order to participate immediately.

Young doesn't have a redshirt year available due to already using that status while at Monterey Peninsula College (student-athletes have five years to play four after leaving high school and enrolling in college).

Monday, June 17, 2013

Young moving from TAM to SJSU

Haven't completely nailed it down as yet but it looks like former Monterey Peninsula College big Andrew Young is transferring to San Jose State University.

A June 12 Young tweet: "I'm playin at San Jose state this coming year..."

A friend's tweet: "I think my heart sank when I found out is leaving =\ Hope you enjoy SJSU tho!"

The 6-foot-8, 240 pound Young played in 32 games at Texas A&M as a reserve this past season (his junior year), totaling 2.8 points and 2.9 rebounds an outing at 13.1 minutes. Overall, he shot 36% from the floor and 71% at the free throw line .

At Monterey Peninsula College, Young averaged 21.8 points and 14.2 rebounds during the 2011-2012 season, both tops in the state. His production resulted in him being selected as a first-team all-stater by the California Community College Athletic Association. Off the court, he earned dean’s list honors.

An Braxton Huggins - SJSU update of sorts

From Team Superstar Coach LeRohn Dodson: "Cal State Bakersfield offers 6'4 G Braxton Huggins of Mira Monte HS. Now has offers from Fresno State, San Jose State, Northridge, UC Irvine"

This offer is from the Coach Dave Wojcik regime.

Here's an earlier post on SJSU and Huggins.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Nevada Wolf Pack

Here's a look at the Nevada Wolf Pack in 2013-14.

Coach David Carter still has Deonte Burton at his disposal and that's a plus although scouts want to see the senior take his game beyond what has been on display thus far. No, it's not that Burton hasn't produced but more about showing better floor leadership/judgment and the ability to dominate, at least for some stretches of time.

Hopefully, sophomore Marqueze Coleman will be ready to play a much larger role because that will give the Pack a plus backcourt.

6-foot-6 freshman D.J. Fenner will have the opportunity to earn time at the three his being ready to contribute early would be a major plus.

Three upperclass players have transferred out to as yet destinations unknown but those departures were not consistent contributors and the freeing up of those scholarships is actually a plus.

However, a problem that appears to still exist is solid scoring, rebounding and scoring prevention from either the four or five, or both, spots. A trio of bigs were signed but nobody in that trifecta appears to possess the all-around skills needed. The defense inside will be better for Carter's squad in the coming season -- that will be a plus and a necessary change -- but who is going to score and board remains an unanswered question.

Just not seeing a lot of players who will be winning their nightly positional battle so it's a .500 at best for Carter's guys.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Fresno State Bulldogs

Here's a look at the Fresno State Bulldogs in 2013-14.

Coach Rodney Terry sure is doing the job in recruiting -- it's more a matter of the younger, inexperienced Bulldogs shedding such a mantle sooner rather than later. You can't hurry love and the same goes for comprehension of the college game.

Sophomore center Robert Upshaw can at least reach a draw if not win the nightly battle in the middle IF he is ready to work harder.

The combination of sophomore Braeden Anderson and JC transfer Alex Davis also have the potential to do the same at the four spot.

Terry can three-guard the rest of the positions, even smallish if necessary. It looks like Tyler Johnson, Cezar Guerrero and Allen Huddleston are the favorites and that's 6-foot-2, 6-foot-0 and 6-foot-2 respectively. But that will also mean no plus player at the point. Sophomore backcourter Marvelle Wynn is one to watch but again not necessarily as a court general.

The Bulldogs could surely use a 6-foot-6 or so wing who can both shoot from outside and create on the dribble drive and freshman Paul Watson just might do that but in time.

Guerrero will be the leading scorer for the Bulldogs with Johnson coming in second. However, it will be consistency or lack thereof involving Upshaw, Anderson and Davis that make or break the Fresno State season.

It's looking like a .500 squad unless the fours and fives are ready, willing and able to be a force.

MWC basketball preview

Not much in the way of SJSU coverage but Jeff Borzello takes a look at the Mountain West Conference in 2013-14.

A snippet:

    Boise State
    New Mexico
    San Diego State
    Utah State

Friday, June 14, 2013

A James Karapetyan update (of sorts)

No word yet on his college choice but rumor has it that James Karapetyan is starring in the title role of "Waiting For Godot" on Broadway.

Ideas for upcoming events

With school now out, it does seem too late to honor the loyalty of those student-athletes who stuck it out through San Jose State University's extremely tough basketball season and the resulting changeover.

But here are a couple of ideas for the future.

Cal Poly, a member of the Big West Conference, is hosting its annual hoops banquet (although it's just beverages and dessert) with an admission fee of $5. Not being a college administrator or bean counter, that sounds like an incredibly attractive bargain. The entrance fee indicates the event is not meant to generate a surplus, let alone break even on the cost but is designed rather to get as many fans as possible in attendance to celebrate the players and staff.

Plus, Lipscomb University (located in Nashville and a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference) is hosting a very unusual event but one that will hopefully be replicated at Washington Square:
New Lipscomb basketball Coach Casey Alexander is inviting all former Lipscomb basketball players and program assistants to join him for a luncheon on Sunday, June 23 at 1:00 p.m.  The complimentary meal will take place in the Hall of Fame Room in Allen Arena. All former players and program assistants are asked to RSVP Richard Taylor, Class of 1987 and member of Lipscomb's 1986 NAIA National Championship team is helping organize the event.

"With the hiring of Coach Alexander, Bison Basketball has opened a new chapter in Lipscomb's history," said Taylor. "Casey has no doubt demonstrated that he understands what it takes to establish a program, teach the game, and mentor young men.  I think it is a very exciting time for Bison Basketball,"

"I hope everyone agrees that this is an important time for all Bisons to stay connected to the program and establish a connection with our new coach," Taylor continued. "I hope we will have a great turnout to support Coach Alexander. I have already heard Casey say several times that the players of the past are why Bison Basketball is great and that involvement from past players and program assistants will have a significant impact on the program in the future.  I agree with him and I am excited that he feels this way!"

Coach Alexander's goal is to gather as many former players and program assistants and share his vision for the Lipscomb basketball program and hear from former players about the dreams they have for Bison basketball.

Players are encouraged to share event details with their teammates and other Bison players they stay in contact with on a regular basis.

Former players unable to attend the event are asked to share with the Athletic Department contact information for future Bison Basketball events. Also, if you would like to send Coach Alexander an e-mail you can do so at:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Colorado State Rams

Here's a look at the Colorado State Rams in 2013-14.

After a 26-9, 11-5 second place finish, Coach Larry Eustachy's guys are coming off their best season in many years but a quintet of talented contributors have left the building. 7-foot Colton Iverson, who might here his name called in the second round of the upcoming NBA draft, is the most prominent departure as he averaged 14.2 points plus 9.8 rebounds last go-around. But the other four personnel losses were also starters in 2012-13.

So who is still in Colorado Springs?

6-foot-7 J.J. Avila, a transfer from Navy, will lead the frontcourt with returnee Jessie Carr heading the backcourt. Eustachy's teams always play physical -- that will never change but it's difficult to see the coming season being another banner one.

It's looking like a rebuilding year.

The Boise State Broncos

Here's a look at the Boise State Broncos in 2013-14.

Coach Leon Rice's squad will be doing it again with shooters and playmakers plus one big, a formula that worked very well (21-11, 9-7) last season.

Backcourters Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks are the top Bronco scorers and fellow guard Jeff Elorriaga is one of the best catch-and-shoot marksmen around. Out of his 225 total shot attempts, 188 were from beyond the three-point line and he connected on 42% of them. Incredibly, he's a former walk-on.

Let's see how much help Ryan Watkins, the nominal big, can get upfront from newcomer frontcourters James Webb and Nicholas Duncan.

To illustrate the degree in which Boise played small, Watkins at 6-foot-8 was the starter in the middle and on the court for 23 minutes an outing. He averaged 8.4 points and 6.8 boards each time out while shooting 62%. Yet Rice's squad out-rebounded opponents on the year.

Boise State will be an upper division finisher in the coming season.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Another 2015 recruiting target

A Mike Richardson tweet: "Michigan State and San Jose State are expressing solid interest in 2015 (IL) PF Myles Carter"

Going up against the big boys and working the Land of Lincoln like its home ground.

Carter stands 6-foot-7, weighs 210 and is out of Chicago. A truncated ESPN description: "A big body with a broad frame and ample strength in both his upper and lower body, Carter has the physical tools to be very productive on the interior. He doesn't mind contact inside the lane and gives a fairly wide target when posting up..."

From Chicago Hoops: "A tall, long and mobile post who brings a great deal of upside potential to the table. Can be a real menace defensively with his ability to alter and block shots inside. Frame will fill out strong in time. Good rebounding skills. A player to watch with his best basketball still in front of him."

Spartan basketball and the APR

In Jon Wilner's article noting dramatic and continued APR improvement in most of the sports offered by SJSU athletics, men's basketball:
"...The SJSU men’s basketball team earned a perfect single-year score — yep: academic perfection for Spartan basketball.

The credit goes to former coach George Nessman, who was dismissed earlier this spring, and to former athletic director Tom Bowen, who put in place the academic support system that has propelled across-the-board APR improvement at SJSU..."

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Air Force Falcons

Most people when they think of Air Force Academy athletics, conjure up the success the football program has enjoyed over the years and don't know a heckuva lot about Falcon hoops.

However, the Falcons finished a marvelous 8-8 in Mountain West Conference play, 18-14 overall last season.

Here's a snapshot of AFA basketball for 2013-14 but five seniors, each an integral part of the success of Coach Dave Pilipovich's program go-around, have departed, including a big time scorer.

It looks like a rebuilding year.

Arogundade gets an invite and goes visiting

From Rotimi Ade: "S/o to Amanze Egekeze and Ore Arogundade, invited to the Nike Global Challenge taking place in D.C to represent Team Africa!!!"

Arogundade is a Spartan recruiting target (see earlier post).

He is tripping to Drake and then St. Louis U today and tomorrow respectively.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A shout out to Justin Graham

Imagine what Justin Graham could have accomplished in his San Jose State University tenure if not impeded for more than a season with a lingering wrist injury. This on top of being the Spartan all-time leader is assists.

That thought came to mind upon reading that Graham's team, BK Inter Bratislava, based in Slovakia, won the Slovak Extraliga championship 82-80 versus Komarno on June 1.

In 29 games and at 30.7 minutes per contest this season, Graham averaged 11.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per outing.

The best memory of Justin? Him taking apart multi-tattooed Hawaii upperclassmen backcourter Matt Gibson time after time, utilizing dribble-drives resulting in layups, close-in shots and multiple trips to the foul line. Not sure if that was the game in which he scored 29 points on 7-9 overall shooting plus 14-17 from the foul line -- we'll leave that for those with keener recollections.

Congratulations to Justin.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A bit more on Isaac Thornton

Blue Zertuche/Texas Hoops (a Rivals sub is required) offers a bit more on Spartan signee Isaac Thornton:
San Jose State got a new coach and a new roster over the last month or so, and adding depth to their guard position is 6-foot scoring combo, Isaac Thornton of San Antonio Sam Houston. The fast guard has a quick trigger and a motor when he plays out on the wing. He can get his shot off and score in bunches when he is in the flow of the game. Thornton is a deep sleeper, and was recruited hard by hometown division III, Trinity University and division II St. Mary's.
All reports indicate Thornton is a great kid from a great family but it looks like he'll need time in order to be able to contribute.

The MWC tourney format

Taylor Bern has the details of the 2014 Mountain West Conference tournament format.

Another 2015 prospect: Max Hazzard

Ray Thomas/Oakland Soldiers tweeted: " SJST is really interested" in a 'conversation' about the recruitment of Loyola High/Oakland Soldier backcourter Max Hazzard.

This D1 Circuit tweet says he has offers from UC Irvine and Cal Poly.

Hazzard is a 6-foot, 160-pound 2015 prospect. He is the grandson of former UCLA star Walt Hazzard (Mahdi Abdul-Rahman), who died in 2011. Max's brother is an Arizona walk-on who just completed his first season there.

Below is some video:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Alexander gets Spartanized

6-foot-3 Dylan Alexander has been a points producer since seemingly forever at Weston Ranch High. With his prep eligibility now completed, he has decided to take his skills set to San Jose State University (SJSU) and the Mountain West Conference.

At 18.1 points per game as a senior in the 2012-13 season, Alexander continued to work the scoreboard. That resulted in a certain coach retaining interest despite a change of location and Alexander made the call to become a recruited walk-on with the Spartans.

So why the choice of SJSU?

"The coaching staff was completely honest with me and I had a sense of comfortability," Alexander explained. "Jack Kennedy was recruiting me when he was at USF, so I was familiar with him (when Kennedy moved from The Hilltop to Washington Square to become an assistant under new Spartan Coach Dave Wojcik)."

Wojcik has a senior, two juniors plus a sophomore on his returnee roster and now has added a junior college transfer plus a bevy of high school prospects, with all but one being backcourters.

Despite possessing the always-needed skill to connect from long range,  Alexander isn't just a one trick pony.

"I was a main scorer in high school but with club basketball I wasn't 'the guy' so it helped in my ability to make plays passing, along with my shooting." Alexander was a member of the Lakeshow Pump-n-Run squad of late and earlier a Bay Area Hoosier.

He also noted "my basketball IQ is one of my better skills."

Hoosier Coach Philippe Doherty was prolific in his praise of Alexander: "Dylan should be confident going to the next level because he is a smart, talented young player with his best years ahead of him and comes from one of the most supportive, intelligent, focused, and grounded families I have ever dealt with. He is young for his class but a bouncy athlete who can score the basketball. The ability to put the basketball in the hole is vital and Dylan can do that. That skill set will translate immediately at the next level. Dylan is a prototypical 2 guard who also has the ability to put it on the floor. He also has the ability to guard you and if he does that consistently he will have a chance to make an impact at the next level."

From his discussions with the SJSU coaching staff, it looks like he'll be positioned as a two guard/wing as "they will be running a lot of four guard sets."  

Asked to compare his situation as a freshman vis-a-vis where he is now, Alexander recalled his underclassman days when "I would talk at teammates, not talk to them." A transformation of that aspect of communication has now blossomed into his positive leadership.

He noted his biggest basketball influence as being 'my big brother." Come September, Griffin Alexander will be entering his senior year as a backcourter at UC Merced. Utilizing discretion as the better part of valor, no inquiry was made as to who currently rules the family's Stockton homecourt.

Alexander is planning on majoring in kinesology.

He wished to "thank my family for being there for me" plus "Ruben Luna (who was a coach and now is a trainer for Alexander), Coach Phil Doherty and Coach Chris Teevan (at Weston Ranch) for their assistance along the way."

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Introducing Jalen , make that Jared, Armstrong

Let's hope the younger Spartans fans -- the ones with the best memories -- can be counted on to recall this at the opportune time: SJSU has issued an invite to Jared Armstrong, a 2015 guard prospect out of Pennsylvania.

This per Mike Richardson: "San Jose State has offered 2015 (PA) PG Jared Armstrong"

Armstrong is a 5-foor-9 backcourter who was an honorable mention selection to Jason Hickman's MaxPreps 2011-12 Boys Basketball Freshmen All-American Team. He averaged 16.1 points per game in his sophomore season.

*** thanks for the typo catch in the headline, my bad

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Meet Aalim Moor, 2013 SJSU alumnus

Almost any talk about loyalty is grounded in the sense there is a payoff for carrying out such behavior.

But the reality is there is no guaranteed benefit as sometimes there is a reward, sometimes not.

And sometimes the bounty from such behavior proves to be a less than visible dividend.

Take Aalim Moor.

In June 2009, Moor came out of St. Mary's High in Berkeley, heralded for his play and desired by multiple college basketball programs. His team reached the NorCal championship game in both his sophomore and senior seasons and, as a senior, he earned 2009 CalHi Sports Division IV all-state team honors. During his tenure as a Panther, 113 wins were achieved with him manning the point.

Moor then chose to become a Spartan. San Jose State University (SJSU) and San Jose became his adopted home.

Four years later, he possesses a B.A. in Communication Studies with a plan to next earn a Master's degree from SJSU in counseling.

However, getting on the court proved to be a bewitching process -- solid practices resulting in pine time come the opening jump ball.

Moor participated in 14 games as a freshman, 17 outings as a sophomore and saw action in 13 contests as a junior. It was entry into 21 games during his final season in 2012-13, one in which he totaled a career-best 14 points against WAC champion Louisiana Tech, going 6-12 from the floor alongside four assists. Moor also scored nine points at New Mexico State, ending up 4-5 in his shooting. 323 minutes out of his playing time total of 475 came as a senior. Yet ponder this conundrum: in his Spartan career, he shot 44% from the floor, 42% from three-point range, with a 29/21 assist-to-turnover ratio -- marks better than most around him.

But as the team and program continued to struggle and eventually disintegrated in the 2012-13 season, Moor figuratively carried the Spartan banner, leading the cheers for his teammates and both challenging and pumping up those not playing to their potential. He was the ultimate teammate, an antidote to the me-me-me plague so evident in sports and elsewhere.

His take: "if I couldn't help out on the court, it was how can I contribute? I had friendships that I will cherish for a lifetime and we were close, like a family."

On a team also not overly successful academically, Moor performed well in this domain, graduating in a now unheard of four years. He posted a 3.4 grade point average in his last semester.

Speaking of his education, He offered, "I loved it. Overall, it was amazing. My degree will do me wonders and I was part of a great experience. I want to thank my academic advisor, Gina Archimede-Medina, for pushing me and keeping me on track."

Plus as someone who carries influence and credibility in the East Bay basketball community, he is going to continue to advise others.

"People looked out for me when I was younger and in my four years here so I want to be a big brother to those seeking advice."

Overall, the basketball component didn't work out fully as desired yet he still repped SJSU well and will continue to do so. The educational component certainly proved fruitful, what with his degree. In his time at Washington Square, Moor developed what will be lifelong relationships with fellow athletes, students and professors and he remains true to his school.

"This is my home and it always will be."

His Spartan loyalty will be lifelong. That's just who he is.

The sky is not the limit, it's only the view.