Saturday, November 30, 2013

Spartans fall 72-55

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

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

Deficit numbers

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

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

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

Meet Ali Bettencourt

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

Bettencourt keeps the faith

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

photo of Ali Bettencourt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oak Ridge won 49-32.

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

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

Cal Sparks Norcal Coach Michele Massari knows Bettercourt well.

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

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

Friday, November 29, 2013

SJSU versus host Weber State on Saturday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 28, 2013

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Spartans fall 86-69

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's at Portland on Wednesday

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

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

* a 100-83 home win over UC Davis

* a 79-73 loss to Oregon State in Corvallis

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

* an 88-74 home victory over Idaho

* a 69-52 home success versus Columbia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 25, 2013

The newcomers-to-be in the Mountain West

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

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Schollies to hand out

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

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

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

For next season, subtract Cunningham and insert Ingram.

That leaves one available scholarship.

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

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

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

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Remember the Titans became abusing the Titans

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 22, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

SJSU welcomes the Titans Saturday afternoon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Spartans win down south

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SJSU versus Pepperdine on Wednesday

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

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

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

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

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

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

Washington Square points to ponder

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The MWC is down so far

From Michael Rogner:

It's early, but damn, Mountain West

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

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

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

Burton named POW

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

Meet newest Spartan Jeremiah Ingram

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Spartans fall to JM

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

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

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

Saturday, November 16, 2013

NIU 60, SJSU 59

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

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

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

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

The great news is just nine turnovers for the Spartans.


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

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

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

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Spartans fall by three

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

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

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

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

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


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

As previously posted:

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

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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

This weekend's basketball games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

This is fascinating

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Santa Clara triumphs

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

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

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

The second 20 minutes shooting numbers: 17-31.

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

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

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

More on Jeremiah Ingram

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

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

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

2013-14 statistics thus far

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

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

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

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

New basketball commit

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

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

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

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

Below is a dunk from the opening game this season:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Santa Clara on Tueaday

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

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

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

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

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

A bit more on KSham

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

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

Friday, November 8, 2013

Yes Virginia, Boise can score

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

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Will this carry over to SJSU?

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

Terry & his Bulldogs

Carter's bigs needs to make an impression

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

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Miles Martin to redshirt

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

The Spartans run roughshop over PCU

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

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

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

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

Pacific Union tonight

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

So what did we learn from last night?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Otters topple the Spartans

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

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

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

SJSU offers a young Illinois big

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

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

Here's a late October interview.

So it begins

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Carter's continuance rides on bigs

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

Friday, November 1, 2013

Keep watch on Pollard

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

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

A little men's basketball from the Spartan Daily

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