Monday, December 30, 2013

So Nevada kicks off the MWC portion of the schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Geoff Grammer's mid-season MWC team rankings

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

Looking at the MWC thus far

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

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Shaw's charges detailed

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

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

Friday, December 27, 2013

Remember Jaycee Carroll?

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

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

Checking out the performances of the MWC squads

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

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A dropoff from last season for the MWC

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

Monday, December 23, 2013

Helping out the Sullivan family

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

Debbie Sullivan
405 South English Street
Moore, Oklahoma  73160

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dan Sullivan has passed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 19, 2013

More on Jarred Shaw's suspension

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

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

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

Two out, one in for Nevada

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Going silent for the next two pairings

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

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

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

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

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

Spartans prevail in three OTs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Shaw sidelined at Utah State

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

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

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

Monday, December 16, 2013

Three minutes with Coach Wojcik

Below is three minutes with Coach Wojcik:

A college coach salary feature from USA TODAY

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

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

* Jimmie Dougherty - $205,004

* Terry Malley - $124,812

* Kenwick Thompson - $125,004

* James Jones - $110,004

* Alfred Guidici - $102,008

* Donte Williams - $100,008

* Hank Fraley - $90,000

* Greg Lewis - $70,008

* Joe Stabb - $70,008

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

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

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

* Steve Fisher - $857,500

* Dave Rice - $765,954

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

So, what's in your wallet?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Jeremiah Ingram update

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

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

Josh Ritchart injured

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

Friday, December 13, 2013

It's SJSU versus UC Davis on Wednesday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UC Davis plays Stanford on Friday.

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

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Women's basketball gets a transfer

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 9, 2013

Team and player betterment

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

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

Second question: has this ever happened?

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

So how about the present?

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

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

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

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

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

James named Co-Player of the Week

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

Sunday, December 8, 2013

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

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

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

We'll know soon.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

SJSI wins by four

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Spartans versus Houston on Saturday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thames named MWC PoW

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