Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A critical event to emulate

No, it doesn't have to exactly be this (see below) but long overdue is a change from new Spartan basketball coaches acting like San Jose State University basketball didn't exist prior to their arrival and former players being viewed as either invisible or, worse yet, pariahs.
The University of Oklahoma men's basketball program will welcome back former OU players and coaches at an alumni event on Aug. 23-24.

This is the third year for the Sooner Basketball Family Weekend.

Head coach Lon Kruger says the event is one of the most fun things the program gets to do each year.

Activities during the event include golf, a scholarship fund dinner and alumni game. The public is invited to attend each of the events and will have the opportunity for autographs with former OU players and coaches.

Honorees scheduled to be on hand include Harvey Grant, Blake Griffin, Stacey King, Hollis Price and family members of the late Lester Lane and Wayman Tisdale.
It can be done here if the will to honor family is deemed important. The intense July focus on recruiting is over, summer practice is taking place and the time for reaching out is overdue.

Read more here:

Nevada Coach Carter has options

Chris Murray writes about SJSU Mountain West Conference foe Nevada -- does Coach David Carter go big, go small or mix it up?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Allegri to announce football and hoops

"...San José State University alum Justin Allegri has been named the new voice of Spartans’ football and men’s basketball as announced today by Learfield Sports’ Spartan Sports Properties, the multimedia rights holder for San José State Athletics.

Allegri becomes lead radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Spartans in both sports beginning with the 2013-’14 athletic season, having called commercial men’s basketball broadcasts and games for the student station last season. As part of its rights relationship with SJSU Athletics, Spartan Sports Properties handles all operations for the Spartan Sports Network including securing all radio affiliates and talent..."

Remember Gustavo Ayon?

Probably very few remember that this 6-foot-10, 240 pound guy was signed by SJSU for the 2006 season but there was an eligibility issue and he turned pro instead -- what a difference he would have made:
"...The Hawks have claimed Gustavo Ayon off of waivers, a league source tells Shams Charania of RealGM.  Ayon tipped the signing earlier in the afternoon, writing "Go Atlanta Hawks" on his Facebook page earlier in the afternoon.

The Bucks released Ayon on Thursday due to their glut in the frontcourt, but the 6'10" big man received heavy interest due to his inside presence and affordable $1.5MM contract.  Ayon is expected to get a fair trial to earn a spot in a Hawks rotation that has lacked a young, developing center alongside Al Horford, Charania writes. The 28-year-old has averaged 4.8 PPG and 4.3 RPG in two NBA seasons for three different clubs..."

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Baker to be a Spartan

Been in Las Vegas since Wednesday checking out a trio of basketball tournament featuring seemingly 10,000 high school players. So of course, this popped up -- we're in catchup mode:

Via West Coast Convo: "Former Pepperdine guard Jordan Baker will transfer to San Jose State

His 96 free throw attempts in 30 games needs upping and his overall shooting percentage, 39%, will also appreciate with more drives to the hoop which he should be able to manage at 6-foot-4 and 190. A third of his shot attempts were treys and he finished at a solid 37%. He led Pepperdine in assists (89) and turnovers (101) but managed just 28 steals. There's a lot for a coaching staff to work with here and a year away from the court will give him the time to refine certain aspects of his game.

Here's an earlier article from the Colorado State perspective.

Here's a June report on Baker saying goodby to the Waves.

Below is video from 2012-13:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Meet Miles Martin

Add Miles Martin's name to the list of those who left the comfort and security of home in order to better themselves in their chosen field. Also add him to the tally of those who succeeded.

Martin recently received NCAA clearance and will be an active member of the 2013-14 San Jose State University basketball team. He will add another big body -- 6-foot-10, 240 pounds -- to the Spartan roster

So how did all of this come about?

"I played two years at Homestead High [in Cupertino, beginning his sophomore year]." This was at 220 pounds and also versus nobody near his size as there is a dearth of bigs throughout Santa Clara County.

"With the aid of my AAU Coach Nelson Washington," Martin transferred to Westwind Prep in Phoenix where he faced better competition in practice than he did during the season back home.

Westwind is well known for getting prospects to the DI level.

Asked what his goals were upon arriving in Phoenix, Martin said, "better my grade point average, face better competition and get stronger.

Mixing sports metaphors, he went three for three. He actually got to 255 pounds at one point but has reduced that by 15.

So what will be be bringing to SJSU basketball? "My size and a low post presence who can play with his back to the basket and score with both hands." It's been some time since that appeared for the home team at Walt McPherson Court.

It was last year's coaching staff that began the initial pursuit of Martin but he credits "Coach Washington in helping keep the new staff interested." He also calls Washington his biggest basketball influence because "he noticed me at Homestead and brought me on to his AAU team."

What's interesting to keep in mind is that fellow Mountain West Conference member Nevada extended an offer for Martin to redshirt there next season "but I had more contact with Coach Wojcik and Coach Kennedy" and that communication turned the tide to SJSU's favor.

While he isn't sure of his major just yet but he has interest in sports medicine and physical therapy.

Ask to recall his best basketball moment, Martin offered, "It was in the summer league of my junior year, we were down by eight and a teammates threw me a lob pass that I dunked and got an andone. Nobody expected it and we came back to win that game."

So why basketball for Martin and not some other sport? "I played every sport but I was tired at the end of each season of every one but basketball. It was a passion for me and I never needed or wanted a break."

SJSU liking smallish points

Via Verbal Commits: "Northern Illinois, New Orleans, & San Jose St are expressing interest in 2015 Northwest (IN) G Harris Brown"

Loyola Chicago has already offered.

Brown is a 5-foot-10 lead guard out of Indianapolis with deep three-point range and the hops to dunk.

Here's one report dated July 23: "Harris is a good outside shooter and is quick enough to get around defenders and drive to the basket. Contributed at the varsity level for a good Northwest team his freshman season. Plays a very physical game for a small guard, fearless on the court."

Here's another dated May 9: "This kid is fun. Harris is a quick point guard who can score in a ton of ways. He drives well but does have some trouble finishing through contact. His favorite shot is the 3 in the corner which he falls in love with a little too much. He can make plays and set his teammates up but has more of a scorer's mentality right now. Brown has a good motor and is aggressive on both ends of the court."

Below is video:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Brown finds a new home

Former San Jose State University center Alex Brown has found a new home for his senior season -- DII Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro. Gotta love the name of his new coach: Happy Osborne.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Former Chicago prepster now in Texas gets offered

A Verbal Commits tweet: "La. Tech & SJSU have both offered 2014 Allen (TX)/Danny Granger D1 Amb. C Jamuni McNeace"

McNeace is 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-4 wingspan but is on the light side.

From a May 7 event comes this analysis: "McNeace was the longest player in the event.  His upside is tremendous, with a 7 foot plus wingspan. Around the goal he tries (and usually succeeds) in dunking everything.  Jamuni is a high major shot blocker and interior defensive presence.  Once his offensive game emerges, the sky’s the limit for the Chicago native who ended up in the Dallas area. Jamuni plays for the Danny Granger D1 Ambassadors (NM)."

He also picked up offers from North Texas and Southwestern Louisiana this weekend.

This still hurts

From Dayton Morinaga:
"...Matched against recent NBA Summer League participant Derrick Low, [Keith] hamburger was up for the challenge and led his Clark Hatch Fitness team to a thrilling 127-123 double-overtime victory over Solar Universe in the second of two games at Manoa Valley District Park gym.

Shamburger, a 6-foot junior point guard for the University of Hawai’i basketball team, scored 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting, and grabbed 11 rebounds in the upset victory.

“Finally felt good to play good in this thing,” Shamburger said of his best performance of the Summer League so far. “It was a big win; played against Derrick, it was good competition...”

Friday, July 19, 2013

A USU Aggie health update

From Kyle Goon comes updates on some of the Utah State Aggies.

Two prospects getting eyeballed by SJSU

Caught this today (a Rivals sub is required):
Milwaukee Rebels (WI) duo Damontrae Jefferson and David Burrell continues to fly under the radar. Jefferson - a 2015 point guard - is a high energy player, who can shoot it, control the tempo and push the ball. Burrell - a 2014 wing - can get to the basket at will and score. It's his bread and butter, which has college coaches interested. According to their AAU coach Shelby Paris, both are receiving college looks from San Jose State, Oral Roberts, Louisiana Tech, Western Kentucky, New Mexico State and IPFW.
Jefferson is a 5-foot-8 point out of Jacksonville. Below is some video:

Burrell  is a 6-foot-6 high flyer out of Milwaukee. Below is some video:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A little more on junior-to-be Cameron Walker

Andrew Masuda offers video and print on SJSU recruiting target Cameron Walker. The best guess is that Walker will end up choosing a Pac-12 level program.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The latest on Andrew Young

Two July 16 Andrew Young tweets:
"I'm on the last step with the NCAA w/ my waiver. Been workin with coach Omar all summer to transfer to SJSU from Texas A&M"
"well if they say yes, then I'll be out there mid august. I'm taking two summer classes at A&M before I head out"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Another offer out to a 2015-er

From Verbal Commits: "2015 Granger (UT)/Utah Prospects F Makol Mawien received an offer from San Jose State"

A pair of tweets from Joel Francisco:

"Its early but 6-8 Makol Mawien is Top 5 bigs in west coast class of 2015: Right there with Zimmerman, Jeter, Rabb, Comanche, etc."


"Ready to head out..thoughts from yesterday: Really like 2015 Makol Mawien (Utah Prospects)...great feet/hands/bounce @ 6-8.#.Pangos16"

Utah State and Utah have already offered.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Another 2014 offer: Marcus Bryan

From Marcus Bryan: "Picked up offers from Jacksonville U, long Beach State, and San Jose State this week. Gotta keep workin!"

Bryan is a 6-8 225 pound power forward who re-classified to the 2014 class and transferred to a prep school. This coming season, he will be at Tilton School in New Hampshire. Rick Lewis has those details.

Also, he gave a verbal to Appalachian State in October 2012 but decommitted in November.

Below is some Bryan video -- it looks like he can face up to 15-feet and also play with his back-to-the-basket:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Apples and oranges

From Myron Medcalf/ESPN:
Utah State (WAC to Mountain West): Utah or Las Vegas?

Stew Morrill is old-school. He's been a head coach for nearly 30 years, 15 of them with Utah State.

Change has been rare for the longtime leader. So he's not completely comfortable with the current turbulence in college sports.

"It concerns me how quickly the landscape can shift and change, how decisions can be made without everybody's best interest at heart," he said. "Geographically, I just have always felt there needs to be some geographical sense as to what league you're in. You kind of just hold your breath that everything is going to stabilize."

But he's excited about the potential that Utah State's switch from the WAC to the Mountain West may grant his program.

Utah State boasts one of the nation's most passionate fan bases, recognized for its stirring pregame "I believe that we will win" chant. And according to a poll released last year, Logan, Utah, is the No. 3 college town in the country. All of that coupled with one of the nation's lowest crime rates should help Morrill sell the program to a larger pool of recruits with the help of the Mountain West's national recognition and TV exposure.

"We've got a home-court advantage," Morrill said. "The more we can portray that to potential recruits and get that out there, the better for us."

But Utah State was a powerhouse in the WAC. And now the Aggies are positioned in a fortified conference that features five teams that earned NCAA tourney bids last season.

And although Logan has a certain appeal, Morrill recognizes that it might not surpass San Diego State's beaches and UNLV's nightlife in the eyes of potential recruits.

"If a kid visits Vegas and a kid visits Utah, obviously we've got our work cut out for us to impress upon him the differences in the quality of a college town," he said.
The premise put forth by Morrill is odd.The Aggies and the Rebels/Aztecs have not and will will not be competing against each other for the same talents, regardless of residing in the same conference.

Another 2015 Spartan offer

Verbal Commits: "San Jose State has offered 2015 Bishop O'Dowd (CA)/Dream Vision G Paris Austin, his first"

Here's a photo and video of Davis.

Here's a truncated ESPN description: "Despite his size, Austin has fairly long arms and he is a quality athlete. He plays with excellent poise for a young point guard and generally makes sound decisions. He has a solid burst off the dribble and his head is always up while penetrating"

He's 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Branding --- Marketing --- Promoting

So Ron Caragher is now on a-tweeting.

Jimmy Durkin also tweeted here and here that other Spartan football coaches are Twittering.


Having a presence is needed. It can be an essential part of promoting a brand.

After all, SJSU is situated in the heart of Silicon Valley and connectivity, not in that certain place in Egypt.

As for the basketball coaches, Chris Brazelton has just started. Omar Lowery has a twitter account but protects his tweets. Nothing for Jack Kennedy or Coach Wojcik although the latter started one while at BSU.

So in narrowing the focus considering the Spartan hoops subject matter of this blog, what and where is the strategic vision and planning regarding the marketing, branding and promotion of SJSU basketball? There is a new staff, therefore a fresh beginning, meaning opportunity abounds.

In general, coaches should not be responsible for such -- that's not their area of expertise (maybe John Calpari excepted) -- but absolutely need to play a part as they are the face of the program.

But far too often this is an area that is an athletics afterthought or it's placed in the hands of a youngster close out of college, someone minus ties to and familiarity with Silicon Valley, let alone SJSU itself. The result: typically a billboard or two might get plastered with a catch-Spartan-excitement exclamation and that constitutes and becomes the campaign.

For so long, it's been the same old attendees at the basketball games, the core 500 or so. Now winning is often offered as a cure-all and that's certainly true to a large degree. However, if a tree falls in the forest (SJSU enjoys a successful season) but 99% of the population in the Santa Clara Valley is unaware of this, what is the reality?

It's perplexing that some of SJSU's best and brightest donors, many who are successful in product marketing and branding at their own businesses and places of employment, aren't brought in to offer their expertise.

It's baffling that a roundup of former Spartans roundballers, the too often shunted aside and ignored, remain in that status rather than an attempt be made to reach out and respectfully bring them back into the fold.

It's confounding that a resurrection of the Spartan Rebounders, hopefully with a different title and not composed solely for the purpose of extracting donations, isn't looming on the horizon.

Now is the time to build momentum.

Not November.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Nevada in the running for a big

Chris Murray reports that Nevada Coach David Carter is awaiting the decision by a 2013 junior college big. What's fascinating is the the centers for Nevada all seem to have a certain specialty -- much better on offense or with shotblocking or rebounding but none offer plus skills in more than a single aspect.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The state of SJSU's basketball APR

It's kept under wraps because it's personal information but one has to wonder how James Kinney, Louis Garrett, Alex Brown, Chris Jones and Xavier Jones all finished academically for San Jose State University.

Each is a question mark vis-a-vis the Spartan basketball team's APR standing.

This could mean a big hit, a medium one or not at all but only the overdosed optimistic reside in the camp of the latter.

As Specific As Possible

It's believed Lavanne Pennington is on target and close to graduating but not yet done.

Reading the proverbial tea leaves, it appears David Andoh was in good academic standing when he transferred. The same for Stephon Smith.

Aalim Moor participated in graduation ceremonies so he kept his part of the agreement and did so in four years.

Chris Cunningham is a fifth year senior and should have the necessary credits to earn his degree at the end of next season. But whether his departure opens up a scholarship for a new recruit, as they say, remains to be seen.

Looking at Boise State

Dave Southorn takes a look at one of the Mountain West Conference opponents San Jose State University will be facing this season -- the Boise State Broncos.

Southern offers more in this feature, highlighting the top returning Bronco.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The 2013-2014 roster

Here's the official 2013-2014 San Jose State University men's basketball roster:

* Dylan Alexander G 6-4 190 FR Stockton, Calif. (Westin Ranch HS)
* D.J. Brown G 6-2 185 JR Los Angeles, Calif. (Chino Hills HS)
* Chris Cunningham F 6-9 240 SR Pomona, Calif. (Santa Clara University)
* Jalen James G 6-3 170 FR Chicago, Ill. (La Lumiere School)
* Miles Martin C 6-10 235 FR Sunnyvale, Calif. (Westwind Prep)
* Brandon Mitchell F 6-7 210 FR Memphis, Tenn. (Ridgeway HS)
* Rashad Muhammad G 6-6 180 FR Las Vegas, Nev. (Bishop Gorman HS)
* Matt Pollard C 7-0 265 FR Houston, Texas (Shooting for Greatness Academy)
* Isaac Thornton G 6-3 170 FR San Antonio, Texas (Sam Houston HS)
* Mike VanKirk C 7-1 240 SO Palmdale, Calif. (La Jolla Prep)
* Jaleel Williams F 6-7 220 JR Killeen, Texas (Ellison HS)
* Devante Wilson G 6-4 215 JR Muskogee, Okla. (Lee College)

Still no Director of Basketball Operations announced as yet.

Monday, July 8, 2013

SJSU hoops with an ESPN mention

ESPN's Jason King has posted a new article titled -- "New landscape: Winners & losers" -- about this coming season in college basketball and SJSU has a mention:
Utah State and San Jose State: Both schools escaped the deteriorating WAC and landed in one of the nation's fastest-rising hoops conferences: the Mountain West. Utah State has made eight NCAA tournament appearances since 2000, but will have to step up its game even more if it hopes to compete consistently with the powers of its new league. SJSU won only nine games last season. Hopefully joining the MWC will jump-start the program's recruiting efforts. Also, you could label the MWC as a winner simply for keeping San Diego State and Boise State, both of whom were set to play basketball in the Big West (and football in the Big East) but returned before ever playing a game as a member of the conference.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Looking at Nevada next season

Chris Murray writes about the composition of Nevada's team for next season. The trio of departees were 'soft' players and that is a deadly trait for frontcourters. But hey, that was known when they were recruited but coaching staffs are often optimistic that a transformation that be made.

Coach David Carter is hoping the replacements will be both more stout defensively and on the boards.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

SJSU hoops: the critical point was 2009-2010

This is not to castigate but rather to pinpoint: just where/when/why did the last coaching tenure at SJSU go wrong? And if such a time can be identified, what can be learned from such?

The quipsters will say all went to hades from the get-go but, really, a serious look is deserved.

So here's our best attempt:

The 2009-2010 season.

The 14-17/6-10 one.

The one is which SJSU out-shot and out-rebounded opponents (albeit the margins weren't large) but compiled 91 less assists and 79 more turnovers

Why did this failure-to-launch happen?

For at least three specific reasons:

1) A heralded recruiting class -- freshmen Anthony Dixon, Chris Jones, Aalim Moor and Joe Henson plus JC transfer Moses Omolade -- proved to be what the folks on "Shark Tank" call a nothing burger. Getting basically zero from this group that season (and ultimately for the remainder of their times at Washington Square) was an 0-5 whiff and something very, very few, if any, programs can sustain and still succeed.

2) With both needing and expecting 30+ minutes a game of playing time, meshing Chris Oakes and C.J. Webster simultaneously on the court never materialized. One specific memory: Utah State running a play utilizing perfect spacing that resulted in the Aggies back-to-back getting the same wing an open look from the corner for made three-pointers as neither SJSU big would leave the paint.

3) The clash between Adrian Oliver and Webster as team go-to guy/leader was never successfully resolved. This whose-team-it-was conundrum resulted in the absence of an all-for-one, one-for-all energy.

By the way, Webster's inability to get into shape also never took place over his entire time here and resulted in his less-than-maximum production. One can't lead without exerting 100% effort -- it's an impossibility.

Also, Justin Graham deserves credit for performing whatever task was asked of him. He would score when necessary but also unselfishly distributed the ball when that need came to the forefront. Graham was the ultimate team player.

Think about this: this team consisted of Oakes, Webster, Oliver, Justin Graham (but still hampered with a wrist ailment) plus Robert Owens and Mac Peterson having their best years as Spartans and yet a .500 record wasn't achieved.

The takeaways from this analysis:

* Accuracy in prospect talent analysis is critical to success.

* Players both accepting and performing specific assigned roles is a must.

* Clearcut and harmonious leadership is an absolute.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Jones to the Sunshine State

Former SJSU backcourter Xavier Jones has transferred to Florida Southern College, per Verbal Commits.

KMan makes his decision

For those still following: SoCal forward Jack Karapetyan went with Manhattan...Kansas that is. K State is in the Big 12 Conference

Monday, July 1, 2013

Another 2015 prospect

Kahlil Simplis was at San Jose State University this weekend: "Unofficial with Jeffrey and San Jose St. Was really cool. Thanks coaching staff."

The 6-foot Simplis was also at a USF basketball camp this weekend.

He is a 2015 point from southern California and has an offer from Cal State Northridge.

Here's an April 2013 interview.