Wednesday, December 31, 2014

There's cold and then there's C-O-L-D

We think it's chilly here. Check out these tweets:

From Joe Sandler (the UNLV play-by-play broadcaster): "Rebels' bus frozen. Can't get to shootaround. Looking for options. Not a lot of cabs in Laramie."

and

There was this Geoff Grammer tweet: "Yeah, so, Laramie, Wyo., would like to welcome everyone to the start of Mountain West conference play."



Take on opponents fans want to see

In the second half of this Ed Graney article, strength of schedule, or lack thereof, is identified even by the top dog of the Mountain West Conference as a problem if credibility is to be expected.

Utah State 66, SJSU 31

The score was 35-12 at halftime but the Spartan slow-it-down offense and zone defense gummed up Utah State until about the eight minute mark of the first half. For USU, 6-foot-8 sophomore Jalen Smith posted an 18 point, 11 rebound double-double but fellow frontcourtter David Collette never got untracked and finished with a single point in 20 minutes of play.

Two positive elements worth noting: the San Jose crew was just -2 in rebounding on the night and garnered 10 assists on 12 made baskets.

Nobody for the Spartans was able to generate any effective offense which wasn't unexpected since but a single current available player -- freshman Darryl Gaynor II -- has that capability. He shot 3-18  but did pass for six assists, the latter a pretty remarkable effort considering the inability of SJSU to put the ball in the basket.

Also, do credit Ivo Basor for his 11 rebounds.

Welage to be a Spartan

Well that didn't take long although it's a little surprising it was 'officially' announced while he was still on campus:

"I am truly blessed to be able to announce that I have committed to San Jose State!!  Through Him all things are possible" -- Ryan Welage

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

More kudos for Clarke

Another Richard Obert tweet: "Not quite the stuff of Sean Elliott but Brandon Clarke's basketball improvement between junior and senior seasons truly magical."

Another Ryan Welage tweet/photo

Here's another Ryan Welage tweet photo (where is this on campus? down near Spartan Stadium? sorry for my lack ignorance on this). This insinuates that Assistant Coach Mike Lepore is his main recruiter, which makes sense as Lepore was last at St. Louis:


Utah State isn't what it was

The 2014-15 Utah State squad is not worthy of their Western Athletic Conference and Big West Conference predecessors. A bold and even provocative statement for sure, but an accurate one. The crew the Spartans will be facing on New Year's Eve doesn't possess a Jaycee Carroll, a Gary Wilkerson, a Tai Wesley or even a Preston Medlin. Aggie recruitment has fallen off and this has unfortunately coincided with a move into a tougher conference.

Even the homecourt advantage in The Spectrum has diminished as the deafening noise and bold cleverness has dissipated. Wild Bill is absent, no longer baring his remarkable torso. Heck, just look at the Logan-ites to-date shooting stats: 42%, 35% and 71% -- very un-Aggie like.

Upfront for Coach Stew Morrill are 6-foot-8 redshirt freshman David Collete (14.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 20 blocks)and 6-foot-8 sophomore Jalen Moore (15.3 points, 7.2 rebounds). Both are playing out of position as Collette is really a power forward and not a center while Moore is a wing and not a grinder inside. Of late, Collette has performed more consistently but Moore has yet to reach that sweet spot. Rebounding, annually a USU strength, is lacking this season.

Outside the paint, it's Chris Smith, JoJo McGlaston and Darius Perkins. Smith, a 6-foot-4 transfer from Yuba College, is averaging 11.1 points per contest but shooting a unique 40% overall yet 41% from long distance. He is a clever scorer inside and draws fouls very well plus he uses screens outside to get open looks. McGlaston is a 6-foot-5 sophomore out of Dublin High in the East Bay and a tremendous athlete but inconsistent with translating that into production. He'll go for 15 points one game but three the next. His accuracy aiming the basketball at the hoop is paltry: 27%, 36% and 59%. Perkins averages 10.3 points and a team best 3.0 in assists but owns a 36/29 assist-to-turnover ratio.

If you do watch the game, make sure to check out Sean Harris (on the right), another transfer from Yuba College. He has the best hair in college hoops although Jalen Moore is a close second:

USU is 7-5 on the season, 5-2 at home. As for the best opponents thus far, it has been a 10-point home loss to BYU plus a seven point road loss to UC Davis. The schedule isn't an impressive one but Morrill knew what he would have this season and targeted opponents carefully

The Aggies can be taken but not with the Spartan squad they will be facing.

Below is Utah State beat reporter Shawn Harrison on the Aggies:

"Nonconference wrap-up: Having been in every game, the Aggies (7-5) exit the nonconference portion of the schedule thinking they should have a few more wins, particularly two overtime losses (at UC Davis and home against South Dakota State) to teams they feel they should have beat. However, Utah State has had to rally for most of its victories, so the record could be worse. Four players are averaging double-digits in scoring in Jalen Moore (15.3), David Collette (14.6), Chris Smith (11.1) and Darius Perkins (10.3). For the first time this year, the Aggies outrebounded an opponent in their last outing. Normally a strength, allowing opponents to own the glass has been a problem, especially on the offensive end. Utah State has been rock solid on defense, holding nine opponents to less than 40 percent shooting from the field.

Emerging player: When redshirt freshman forward David Collette stays out of foul trouble, he is a force. He has highs of 32 points and 14 rebounds and is averaging 14.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks a game.

Best-case scenario: The Aggies start rebounding like teams of the past and improve their shooting percentage to go along with their solid defense. Improved play off the bench compliments four starters who are averaging double figures in the scoring department. The Spectrum continues to be unkind to visiting teams, and Utah State finishes in the top half of the league.

Worse-case scenario: Bigger and more athletic teams expose the rebounding deficiencies that cropped up during the first months of the season. A young and inexperienced group gets blown out a few times and gets intimidated as the conference portion of the season wears on. Collette continues to struggle with foul trouble and there is very little relief from the bench."

Looking at each MWC team thus far

Chris Murray catches MWC fans up with his collective (each team's beat reporter) of how each squad has performed in non-league action.

Jimmy Durkin's SJSU take:

SAN JOSE STATE

Nonconference wrap-up: The Spartans (2-10) showed promise for the first 70 or so minutes of the season. They cruised in the opener against Bethesda and had a 13-point lead on Portland midway through the second half. Since then, everything has spiraled downhill. San Jose State blew that big lead and lost in overtime, and its only two wins have come against non-Division I opponents. Five players are currently suspended, including the Spartans' four leading scorers and there's been little to suggest the team can be competitive in Mountain West play.

Emerging player: Freshman guard Darryl Gaynor Jr. is the only true remaining scorer left until some players return from suspension. He's scored 20 and 24 points, respectively, in the two games since the suspensions were handed down.

Best-case scenario: San Jose State finds some reason — any reason — to feel optimistic about the 2015-16 season by progress from players like Gaynor. Point guard Jalen James and center Leon Bahner should get medical redshirts after suffering season-ending injuries and those could be blessings in disguise for a team that isn't eligible for the conference tournament this year. With any luck, the Spartans surpass last year's conference win total of one.

Worse-case scenario: The suspensions turn into distractions and the players begin to turn and further worsen the on-court product and put building for next year at risk. The record turns truly embarrassing with a winless Mountain West campaign that leads to a 2-28 record with no Division I victories.

— Jimmy Durkin, San Jose Mercury News

Monday, December 29, 2014

Calling it for Colorado State

Raphielle Johnson has measured the non-conference play of each Mountain West Conference team and he calls it for Colorado State as the top league finisher come March.

On Brandon Clarke's latest game

A James Brown tweet: "Desert Vista 80, Chaparral 71. @brandonclarke23 was special. 28 points on 13-19 fg, 12 boards, 5 blocks, 3 steals. DV 12-0 on season."

and

From Richard Obert: "Desert Vista F Brandon Clarke great at not forcing the game. Let's it come to him. Good passer. Smart. Force."

On Brazelton

Word now from two unconnected individuals is that Coach Brazelton has filed an appeal to his dismissal so that process will have to be waded through, and seeing that its the holiday time, don't expect an quick decision. This has to be a play for his remaining salary, or at least a portion of it, because there's no way he could return to a staff after being let go.

Adjust ticket prices for each game

Chris Murray tweeted that Nevada is offering $6 game tickets for anyone to sit in the student section Saturday versus Air Force.

Smart move. More teams should do this especially when a low level NAIA squad is the opponent and the feeling for fans is 'I'm paying the same amount as when San Diego State or Vegas comes to town?????'

Durkin eyes the MWC at midway point

Jimmy Durkin provides his look at the Mountain West Conference as league play is set to begin.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Ryan Welage campus photo

Ryan Welage posted this of himself on the SJSU campus:


Welage in San Jose

6-foot-9 2015 prospect Ryan Welage hits San Jose State University today. In two games yesterday, he scored 31 and then 39 points respectively.

A Chad Davis tweet: "Some college BB coach is going to look like a genius when he gets @RyanWelage32 to join his team. Good student, good teammate, hard worker!"

Saturday, December 27, 2014

More on signee Brandon Clarke

A Richard Obert tweet: "Brandon Clarke triple double in Desert Vista 90-78 win over Tempe. 16 points, 15 rebounds, 10 blocks. Making run at midseason POY."

From an accompanying Obert article on Arizona prep hoops tonight:

"Brandon Clarke may be the most improved basketball player in the state this season.

After leading Phoenix Desert Vista to a 4-0 record and a title at the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas with two triple-doubles last week, the 6-foot-7 senior wing registered another triple double in Saturday's 90-78 win over Tempe in the Visit Mesa Challenge at Mountain View.

Clarke had 16 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocks.

He was named top performer at Tarkanian.

Clarke had 90 points, 55 rebounds, 25 assists, and 37 blocks in Las Vegas, where 11-0 Desert Vista won the select division.

'We became a true family in Vegas,' first-year Desert Vista coach Tony Darden said. 'We bonded on another level. Did a lot together from team builders..."

Fresno drops top recruit

Robert Kuwada reports that Fresno State has dropped its top recruit from the 2014 class due to behavorial issues.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pertaining to belief in the ability to win

Here is Coach Bob Walsh writing about one of his earlier teams going up against a DI opponent:
"...We went on the road with a mentality like we weren’t supposed to win – like winning on the road was really tough.  We didn’t have a lot of good reasons to believe we could win those games, because we never really did..."
Another snippet:
"...How do you get a group of people who don’t have a great history of success to believe in themselves? It’s a very tough challenge, because it’s hard to really believe in something until you’ve accomplished it..."
This is material applicable to San Jose State University basketball. Hit the link above for the full article.

Here's a firing of a staff member at Oklahoma

The Oklahoman got right to the bottom of this recruiting no-no involving Oklahoma's strength and conditioning coach. Didn't know boosters were still so blatant.

Chris Murray's weekly MWC team rankings

Chris Murray offers his weekly Mountain West Conference team rankings. He has Colorado State on top.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Welage coming on December 28

Trevor Andershock tweeted: "Greensburg 2015 forward Ryan Welage has an official visit set to San Jose State for December 28th." He's a 6-foot-9 frontcourter.

Here's a feature from August.

More press for Schwartz

Here's another feature -- print and video -- on San Jose State University signee Cody Schwartz.

WSU 82, SJSU 53

In Pullman tonight, Washington State downed San Jose State University 82-53. It was a very similar set of 20 minutes sessions with the Cougars winning both, 42-27 and then 40-26 although the Spartans did lead 11-6 before the onslaught. As expected, Coach Wojcik has just seven players at his disposal, one a tight end from the football squad.

Freshman guard Darryl Gaynor II led SJSU with 24 points but required 27 shots to reach that total. His five assists also led the team. Walk-on forward Ivo Basor's nine rebounds also was tops.

6-foot-10 Josh Hawkinson totaled 25 points plus 13 rebounds to lead WSU.


Praise for the play of Brandon Clarke, Spartan signee

From Jason P. Skoda: "DV boys hoops moved to 2-0 in Tarkanian Classic in Vegas with 79-54 win over Clackamas as [Brandon] Clarke had triple double - 25, 10, 10." He also blocked five shots.

and

Desert Vista Hoops: "Desert Vista 73 vs Gray Co Academy 47 Brandon Clarke 18pts 12reb 10blks."

and

Marc A. Beasley: "Congrats to Brandon Clarke (Desert Vista), who was named MVP of the Select Division in the Tark Classic."

and

Frank Burlison: "Stud performance by @brandonclarke23 for Desert Vista in impressive Select Division final. Easy choice for MOP in the division."

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A little pub for Brandon Clarke

Rivals National Basketball Analyst Eric Bossi was at a Las Vegas-based tourney today and came across a San Jose State University signee:

(in order)

"I like what I see early from San Jose State committed wing Brandon Clarke of Desert Vista."

and

"Clarke just pinned a shot to glass with one hand, brought it down, made outlet pass then outran everybody to finish with 2 handed jam."

and

"Have been impressed by both Brandon Clarke and sophomore Caleb Simmons of Desert Vista. Clarke really intriguing 6-6’ish wing w/bounce."

More on Frank Ginda

A moment for football: here's David Witte/Los Banos Enterprise on Spartan signee Frank Ginda. The young man is finishing high school early and will enroll at San Jose State University in early January, an unusual move for a prep.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Team status reports courtesy of Jimmy Durkin

Jimmy Durkin and the other beat reporters for the respective Mountain West Conference teams offer up weekly status reports.

Meet Frank Ginda

Just to throw curve (to make this a baseball and football reference on a basketball blog), here's the earlier article on Frank Ginda, the Pacheco High linebacker, who just signed with SJSU.

Hoop Dirt on SJSU

Via Hoop Dirt:
"Crazy stuff happening at San Jose State lately. SJSU head coach Dave Wojcik recently suspended five players for unspecified reasons. Because of this, Wojcik had to turn to the football team to add two bodies to his roster. All of this has been pubic information. What has been kept quiet however is the status of one of the assistant coaches. According to a great source, and confirmed by another, SJSU's associate head coach has either been suspended or terminated. There has been no official announcement, but from what I've heard, it is actually unrelated to the player suspensions. I would expect an official announcement any day. More on this as I hear it."

Chris Murray's MWC team rankings for this week

Chris Murray has San Diego State over Colorado State in his latest MWC rankings but it's getting close. UNLV at #5 isn't a surprise but shouldn't the Rebels always be in the top three considering the talent level of the prospects available to them? New Mexico is hemorrhaging players due to injury so the sixth spot can't be argued. Nevada is imitating The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight and is at #10. The article's headline labels SJSU dysfunctional.

Monday, December 15, 2014

What has happened

So in addition to the handful of players not in uniform. various individuals are posting about the absence of Associate Head Coach Chris Brazelton from the Spartan bench on Saturday,

With the former, student privacy laws prevent SJSU from acknowledging what went down (although the story behind the story of similar situations involving athletes at campuses elsewhere make it into print at some point so expect this one to also do so).

As for the latter, personnel actions typically also will not be publicly discussed but SJSU will need to at least acknowledge Brazelton's departure.



Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seattle 54, SJSU 38

It's getting bizarre and ridiculous.

One almost expected Phil Ford to appear on court running the Four Corners offense as the shorthanded Spartans were game against Seattle, utilizing a delaying type strategy of letting the shot clock run down by holding the ball but ultimately simply not enough skill and size was available and the Redhawks won 54-38 tonight.

More talent appeared in street clothes than in uniform on the Washington Square roster as Jordan Baker, Rashad Muhammad, Frank Rogers, Jaleel Williams and Matt Pollard didn't dress due to a rules infraction. They are under indefinite suspension. The lack of elder leadership is disgusting at this point -- that's three upperclassmen and a critical sophomore. Baker and Rogers also missed the initial three matchups of this season.

Plus, Jalen James is out for the season and Leon Bahner has a foot injury that may have him joining James.

Freshman Darryl Gaynor II led the Spartans with a season high 20 points. That was a plus although he required 18 shots to reach that total.

Two of Ron Caragher's guys, wide receiver Tyler Winston and tight end Andrew Vollert took to the court as a necessity for Coach Wojcik.

Jimmy Durkin tweeted this: "Tyler Winston and Andrew Vollert's status on the team will be handled on a game-by-game basis. Both could be needed next week at Wash. St."

Durkin offered more.

Spartan athletics game reports.

Seattle athletics game reports.

There are three divisions within the MWC so far this season

Looking at this Geoff Grammer tweet:

Mountain West KenPom rankings (12/11/14):

26 SDSU
59 Wyo
60 CSU
70 BSU
77 UNM
128 UNLV
137 USU
171 AFA
222 FS
225 Nev
320 SJSU

Look at the gap between New Mexico and Las Vegas and then the one between Air Force and Fresno State.

One of the reasons for San Diego State's success

From a Mark Ziegler article:

...Hands-off approach: Buried on the stat sheet is one of the secrets why the Aztecs are 7-2 and ranked 18th despite some major issues on offense: They simply don’t foul.

Against Long Beach State, they had 13. Subtract the six charging fouls in the first half (that may or may not have been charges) and the two intentional fouls to burn clock in the final seconds, and they committed five fouls in 40 minutes on the defensive end. Most teams typically average 20.

This season, the Aztecs have committed just 136 fouls, which rank fifth nationally among teams that have played nine games. That has already translated to more than 100 extra free throws than their opponents, 232 to 119. Thursday it was 25-2 and, even as poorly as the Aztecs shoot free throws, meant 13 extra points from the line.

Another way to look at it is the “free throw rate” used by college basketball stat guru Ken Pomeroy and considered among his most important metrics. It’s free throws attempted divided by field goals attempted, a measurement of a team’s ability to get to the line. The national average is 37.7. SDSU is holding opponents to 23.7, eighth-best out of 351 Division I teams.

It even helps in close games. Up four with 14.4 seconds left, Fisher called timeout to instruct his players, with only four team fouls, to burn clock by twice fouling intentionally. That took six seconds off the clock, and it wasn’t until 3.5 seconds left that Long Beach State managed to get up a shot.

This is something extremely difficult to get an entire team to do.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Regarding the cancellation of the December breakfast get-together with Coach Wojcik

San Jose State University needs a basketball coach who keeps outreach going through thick and thin. Someone who is welcoming and inclusive who will stand up and detail where he sees the program now and why, plus offers a vision for the future, and why that will happen.

Losing is tough but if Spartan fans have shown anything it is patience. Decades of it. They deserve better. Setbacks and rough patches are going to happen.

The litany of SJSU basketball coaches has been many things, one being an inability to connect with fans and supporters and respect them. At times in the past, it seemed like a blatant desire not to.

Let's bury that tradition.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dan Monson with a very unique contract

This is fascinating. Long Beach State has seemingly taken on all comers by traveling to the campuses of various top echelon opponents and one of the reasons for doing so is financial but in a way not known until now.

Mark Ziegler reports.

A snippet:

...What [Coach Dan] Monson doesn’t mention is that the brutal string of road games against college basketball blue bloods also yields him hundreds of thousands of dollars each season. In a unique arrangement, clauses in his last two contracts with Long Beach State allow him to keep a sizeable chunk of the sometimes six-figure guarantees that schools pay for a one-off “buy” game in their arena.

Since 2011-12, according to documents obtained by U-T San Diego, Monson has been eligible to receive nearly $1 million of the $1.46 million paid to Long Beach State from 16 buy games he scheduled...

Some message board posters were writing that SJSU should be pursuing Monson before Coach Wojcik was hired. Monson isn't going anywhere (California, near a beach, in the middle of a great recruiting area, big bucks).

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Spartan take care of St. Katherine

San Jose State University battled with St. Katherine tonight before emerging with a 74-63 victory. (I digress but wouldn't St. K and the Sinners make a great title of a band? Of course, you would need a Katherine or Kay or Kate as the lead singer and less-than-saints backing her.)

Now Katherine wasn't great (my misspelled attempted at a history joke) but kept close to the crew from Washington Square all night. It was 33-30 at the half.

Rashad Muhammad went 0-6 from beyond the arc but still managed 22 points thanks to his 8-9 accuracy at the foul line. It was nice to see him at the charity stripe so often. Jaleel Williams shot well at 6-10 and finished with 16 points plus six boards.

SJSU owned the boards 52-29 but committed 22 turnovers as the Firebirds were credited with 14 steals. San Jose State University's going 20-37 on free throws aided St. Kate remaining close.

Spartan athletics game reports.

Cody Schwartz interviewed

Scott Venci has an interview up of SJSU signee Cody Schwartz.

Chris Murray's weekly MWC team rankings

Chris Murray's Mountain West Conference weekly team rankings are out -- there's definitely a division, a top tier and a mediocre group if you will. Other than Air Force, the latter is made up of the newest comers to the conference.

Remember Rokas Gustys?

Remember SJSU pursuing center Rokas Gustys last year? He was the 6-foot-9, 260 pound Lithuanian who eventually went with Hofstra. Here are his current numbers:

* six games, five starts, 19.3 minutes a contest
* 4.3 points, shooting 48% and 40% respectively
* 7.2 rebounds a night, split almost evenly
* averaging 2.8 fouls

Hofstra currently stands 6-2 overall.

Remember Jamuni McNeace?

Remember SJSU pursuing Jamuni McNeace, the 6-foot-10, 200 pounder out of the Texas prep ranks last year? He was the opposite of Rokas Gustys, being extremely agile and a shotblocker but obviously in need of additional weight and strength.

FYI, McNeace has yet to play this season and is likely going to redshirt.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hope on the horizon

From Evan Siegle: "West De Pere didn't get the win against Ashwaubenon but (SJSU signee) Cody Schwartz had some monster dunks!"



Hope on the horizon II

Here's new signee Brandon Clarke is action -- the best is him acknowledging the passer and not acting like Superman afterwards:

Dearth of local, regional, state recruits

In the recent San Jose State University - Santa Clara University matchup, the rosters of both were revealing.

SJSU has Frank Rogers out of Salinas.

Santa Clara has one player from Fresno and another from southern California.

That's it for Golden State recruiting.

Graham back to BK Inter Bratislava

BK Inter Bratislava announced the return in SBL of the 1988 guard Justin Graham.

The former San Jose State University player started this season in Hungary with Zalakeramia-ZTE playing 7 games with 9.7ppg, 4.9rpg and 4.6apg. He played for two seasons in Bratislava winning for two times the league title as one of the best players in 2014 season closing the year with 12.9ppg, 7.4rpg and 2.8apg in 41 games.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Santa Clara 61, SJSU 50

It was a matchup tied at halftime 32 apiece although San Jose State University led most of the way but Santa Clara distanced itself in the second 20 minutes to win 61-50. SJSU was the nominal host although there is but four miles between the locations of the two schools.

Rashad Muhammad led the Spartans with an efficient 15 points (5-6 shooting). Forward Frank Rogers was similar at 5-8 and completed the evening with 13 points and a team-leading eight boards -- four offensively, four defensively. In the backcourt, Jordan Baker totaled 12 points, six assists and five rebounds.

Jared Brownridge led the Broncos with 20 points on 7-10 accuracy overall and 5-6 from beyond the arc. Fellow guard Brandon Clark though was 2-14 from the floor.

It's next to impossible to determine the differences between the two sqauds but San Jose endured 20 turnovers to 11 for the victors.

Point Jalen James did not play and Mercury News beat reporter Jimmy Durkin reported that the sophomore guard is out for the season with a leg injury.

Can Nevada financially compete?

Chris Murray looks at the athletic budgetary differences within the Mountain West Conference and closes with the literally and figuratively million dollar question.

Growing pains or...?

"Hey, what's that sound?
Everybody look - what's going down?"

Thank you Buffalo Springfield.

So is the sound being emitted by San Jose State University basketball (hopefully) growing pains?

Or what has been a far too long soundtrack loop?

Well, everyone has an opinion but nobody really knows. It's also too early in the season for any absolutes.

+++++++

As upperclassmen, guard Jordan Baker and forward Frank Rogers must become consistent backcourt and frontcourt leaders and producers. Both have DI experience and each practiced with the team last season so an early element of rustiness is expected but should be tempered by familiarity. Anything less is subpar.

Baker was the significant veteran pickup. The knock hanging on him has been inefficiency, meaning simultaneously involved in too many turnovers alongside forcing matters to be in that #1 role as top scorer. From a recent Spartan Daily article:

According to Baker and Spartan men's basketball head coach Dave Wojcik, the year spent practicing and learning helped fine tune the junior guard's game.

"Although he didn't play in actual games last year because he transferred, during practices I thought his shot selection was poor and he would just take bad shots sometimes," Wojcik said. "I talked to him a lot about knowing what the time, score and situation was. Maybe we don't need a quick shot and instead we need to move the ball more, which has helped him be more efficient."

As a third year collegian, a team's top scorer should already have such an awareness.

Plus, Rogers as a go-to-guy up front is a simple miscast. He's more of a second on the roster power forward type -- not a lead and more than likely not a starter. Consistency has also been his bugaboo.

Coach Wojcik annointed Jalen James as his "coach on the floor" last year and the young man may turn out to be solid as an upperclassmen but, at best, the jury currently remains out. Can he win his position against opposing points in a game? Not in the MWC and, so far, not very often elsewhere. But there is no veteran point to bring in when James isn't playing well. To call this season a make-or-break one for James is a reach. Thus far, he is still missing a proven big man to play with but he still needs to show both efficiency and stability towards the end of this season. If such isn't present then starting another year with the point position as a question mark belies the transition to a successful program.

Rashad Muhammad was Wojick's second significant recruit. He's a shooter, although inconsistent, and currently isn't demonstrating much else in his repertoire. Does he win his position on a game-by-game basis? No. Once in a while he busts out but that's it. Is it in his future to better his particular opponent nightly? The jury remains out as he needs to make a big jump.

The Spartan bigs are currently  limited role players. It seems freshman Leon Bahner has the best potential of the lot but his development to a consistent producer is more than a year away. Matt Pollard looks to be a longterm project and Ryan Singer will have to change his body before he can compete. In an ideal world, both should be redshirting this season.

The remainder of the roster are role players, not lead types. That is fine but alongside several standouts who are nightly winning their positional matchps.

An interesting case is the redshirt forward Princeton Onwas, a transfer from Utah. He left because he wasn't going to play much this season as the Utes brought in better and more promising talents. He's known as a very athletic defensive type which is handy but he averaged 4.8 points and 2.6 rebounds last season, shooting 20% from three and and 42% from the foul line. Yes, he did start 11 games but that was out of necessity. He may end up being the top defensive guy on the squad but his addition wasn't critical.

But the crux of the matter is that coaches don't know what they are going to get each game from every single player on the roster and that is not the makeup of a winning team.

Now maybe James and Muhammad will mature into players who can competitively play in the MWC. Maybe Baker will get 'it' sooner rather than later. But (and this isn't fair to Coach Wojcik) if past is prologue, well...

The additions of Cody Schwartz and Brandon Clarke will help next season but the former will need time to develop a Mountain West Conference body and the latter will face expanding his offensive repertoire. SJSU remains a landing spot for guys who need to re-make their physicality (the frontcourters) and raise their basketball skill levels (the wings and backcourters). That won't cut it in the MWC.

Remember that recruiting is no longer is shackled ... except by the APR ... meaning the requirement is to not bring athletes who have no interest in being students. The Spartan roster could consist of 13 out-of-state talents if need be and it's close to that right now. This wasn't an option just a few years ago.

The month of February is going to be a critical bellwether for SJSU hoops as progress will need to be demonstrated for there to be hope.

Now go out and kick some Bronco butt today.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Santa Clara loses a starter

"Santa Clara fifth-year senior forward Yannick Atanga will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn ACL in his knee, the school announced Friday."

He's been out since early in the season and being missed since he was the best 'big' of the Broncos frontcourt. A freshman is now starting in place of Atanga.

The recipe for a win: stay focused on Brandon Clark and Jared Brownridge in the Santa Clara backcourt and make them have inefficient games

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Press for JBaker

Samson So profiles Spartan backcourter Jordan Baker.

The Aggies too much for SJSU

UC Davis was 14 points better than visiting San Jose State University tonight, 70-56,  as two of the Aggie upperclassmen proved the most difficult to contain. Fifth-year senior forward Josh Ritchart finished with 21 points plus eight boards while sharpshooting guard Corey Hawkins totaled 20 points. The former shot 4-5 from long distance. Over half the Davis shot attempts were three-pointers.

Coming off the bench, Rashad Muhammad led with 20 points in 30 minutes of play. He shot 7-11 overall. In 34 minutes, Jordan Baker produced seven points, six rebounds and three assists but shot 2-11.

It was another slow start for the Spartans, falling behind 10-2 from the outset. They never led. Consistency remains a missing element at both ends of the floor.

Box

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tell us how you really feel....

Hawaii's play-by-play announcer apparently wasn't impressed by the high culture and amenities of Raisinville.

Switching to football for a moment

A Brad Hoiseth tweet: "Long Beach City (JUCO) coaches tell me QB Kenny Potter has received a new offer from San Jose State."

His stats this season: 10 games, 191-296 attempts/completions, 2808 yards, 29 touchdowns, nine interceptions. LBCC operates a read option offense so he is used to making split second decisions. He stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 215, sports a 3.8 grade point average and will be a December graduate so he will be able to enroll early in the school of his choice.

Here's a November 1 article.

Here's a September 26 feature.

Updates on each MWC team

Here is a solid team-by-team update on each Mountain West Conference squad.

SJSU offers Indiana forward

San Jose State University offered 6-foot-9 2015 prospect Ryan Welage last night:
"...Welage, a 6-9 senior at Class 3A third-ranked Greensburg, had 43 points and 25 rebounds as the Pirates defeated South Dearborn 79-38 last week. Welage, a key player on Greensburg's back-to-back 3A state championship teams, was 17-for-26 from the field and 9-for-10 from the free-throw line..."
He's out of Indiana. Here's an August 7 feature.

From back in March:

Ryan Welage: 6'7" Power Forward, Greensburg H.S.

Offers:

Interest: Indiana, Purdue, Nebraska, Indiana State

Ryan had a huge summer that turned a lot of college coach's heads. He can pretty much do it all on the offensive end of the floor. He has nice skills in the post, finishes at the rim, and can step outside and shoot the ball out to 3-point range. Even though he isn't very strong he does rebound the ball pretty well. If he can get stronger and improve his ball handling he will be a high-major prospect.

Monday, December 1, 2014

New Mexico lands $5,000,000

From Lobo Basketball: "We are very excited to announce our naming rights gift for our home court. WisePies Arena aka The Pit."

Geoff Grammer provides the background.

WisePies. Taco Bell Arena. Foodstuffs seems to be the thing. That would go against The Event Center becoming say The Adobe.

Bulldog mania, not so fast

Fresno Bee columnist Marek Warszawski has some 'splaining to do about his recent positive writeup on the now 1-5 Bulldogs.

The most recent additions to the MWC are really struggling minus 3-2 Utah State but remember that the Aggies used to dominate the WAC.

Princeton 69, SJSU 54

Play continued down in Anaheim Sunday afternoon and this time it was Princeton turning back San Jose State University 69-54. The Tigers led 30-19 at halftime.

The good news was Jordan Baker busting out with 23 points, going 9-13 overall and 4-5 from long distance. He also grabbed a tops on the team six boards and passed out a squad best four assists. His only discordant note was four turnovers.

Freshman bigs Ryan Singer and Leon Bahner combined for 30 minutes of action but produced just two points, two rebounds and two assists.

Coming off a strong showing a game earlier, Frank Rogers shot 2-11 and committed four turnovers.

Rashad Muhammad was on the court for just four minutes.

The Spartans were down 10-0 before scoring, then fought back but eventually gave up another 10 point run prior to halftime.

Spartan athletics game reports.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Observations on Wyoming & San Diego State

A couple of observations from Jon Rothstein:

"Wyoming's defense has been flawless so far

The Cowboys have held their past four opponents to 46 points or fewer and 37 percent or worse shooting from the field. Wyoming hasn't played any juggernauts during that stretch but it did defeat Colorado -- which is expected to be one of the better teams in the Pac-12 -- 56-33 on Nov. 22. Larry Shyatt's team has role allocation, experience, and possibly the best the best player in the Mountain West Conference in skilled forward Larry Nance Jr. (12.8 points, 5.8 rebounds). If you defend, you have a chance at any level, and this team defends each time it takes the floor."

and

"San Diego State's length reminds me of the West Virginia team that went to the Final Four in 2010 with Devin Ebanks, Kevin Jones, Wellington Smith and Da'Sean Butler. The Aztecs have never been a program that has liked to put labels on positions, and that was obvious in the second half of the Maui Invitational final against Arizona. During a two-minute stretch late in the game, Steve Fisher opted not to play with a true post presence and instead played a "five long" lineup with Trey Kell (6-4), J.J. O'Brien (6-7), Dwayne Polee (6-7), Winston Shepard (6-8) and freshman Malik Pope (6-8). That's a nightmare lineup for opponents to potentially deal with down the road."

The Cowboys and the Aztecs match up on January 14 and February 11 -- keep an eye out for 0-0 ties.

Western Michigan bops the Spartans

Despite not having a big to intimidate inside offensively and defensively, Western Michigan still took it to San Jose State University tonight 79-60 down in Fullerton. It was 36-21 after the initial 20 minutes.

The Broncos shot 55% overall, 71% (10-14) from long distance.

For the Spartans, Frank Rogers nailed a trio of treys and finished with 17 points (7-10 shooting) but nobody else stepped forward.

Jimmy Durkin game reports.

Washington 78, SJSU 56

A win wasn't expected and neither did it happen tonight as San Jose State University met up in Fullerton with Washington as part of the Wooden Legacy tournament. The final score was 78-56 and this with 14 missed free throws by the Huskies. The Seattle-ites led 40-23 at halftime.

Rashad Muhammad led the Spartans with 15 points with Jaleel Williams totaling 11 points plus five boards. Frank Rogers fouled out in 18 minutes while Leon Bahner and Matt Pollard were whistled for three fouls apiece in 15 and 16 minutes respectively. Don't know if it's mostly a matter of trying to do too much but Jordan Baker shot 2-11 and had five turnovers.

It's Western Michigan Friday for the Spartans. WM fell 77-53 to Long Beach State tonight. The Broncos have two guys 6-foot-8 on the roster, both sophomores, plus 6-foot-10 and a 6-foot-11 freshman centers so there's inexperience up front. Their primary scoring is coming from two guards and two smallish forwards.

Spartan athletics game reports.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Why hasn't more winning happened?

Jonathan Abrams digs into the question whether Loyola Marymount can ever become a consistent winner. The Hank Gathers, Bo Kimble, Jeff Fryer (remember him?) years were definitely an anomaly but the Lions have a wonderful campus, are located near the beach, play in a respected basketball league and seemingly should never have to leave southern California to recruit. So what gives? Can Mike Dunlap, the new coach, change the program's trajectory? If so, why? If not, why not?

Ask the same question about San Jose State University basketball. Obviously there are a different set of draws and objections for basketball talents here but it's worth serious thought.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Titans by four

San Jose State University went down to the Land of Orange (not to be confused in any way with "Orange is the New Black" territory and was turned back 70-66 on Saturday afternoon. Former El Cerrito High guard Alex Harris led Cal State Fullerton with 20 points.

For the Spartans, Jaleel Williams shot 6-9 overall, on his way to a team-leading 16 points. Jordan Baker shot 5-14 on the game but with five assists and Frank Rogers went 4-15. He was 1-4 from beyond the arc but did grab eight caroms.

SJSU generated just nine free throw attempts to 29 for the hosts -- the Titans were whistled for a mere 10 fouls -- but won the battle of the boards 40-33.

Spartan athletics game reports.

Fullerton athletics game reports.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The MWC this season (so far)

Mark Zeigler (who covers San Diego State sports) tweeted: "I might be wrong about the MW being a 1-bid league. NCAA selection committee might just say: Uh, we're not taking anyone."

But pretty soon, a sportscaster is going to confuse a San Diego State basketball win with a hockey score.

UNLV was just routed 89-60 by Stanford. Granted the Running Rebels are young but still.

New Mexico has lost Cullen Neal for a while due to injury and he's been playing the best ball on the team with 26 and then 23 points in the first two games for the Lobos.

Fresno State has been pitiful thus far (a 73-52 loss to host Northern Arizona, previously an 89-74 defeat in Malibu to Pepperdine).

Utah State has been behind at halftime all three games but come back to win each one (Weber State, Illinois State and Santa Clara).

Boise State stands 3-0 but each has been a single figure victory versus San Diego, Loyola Marymount and Montana respectively. It's at Wisconsin is tomorrow so that will be a big test.

Colorado State is 2-0 but that's been home games against Montana and Georgia State.

Wyoming is also undefeated versus Northern Colorado and Western State. Colorado comes to Laramie tomorrow.

Underwhelming.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Aztecs give up 27

It may seem like a football score but San Diego State defeated Cal State Bakersfield in Maui 51-27 last night.

The Aztec defense is going to set some records this season. The Roadrunners shot 12-56 overall, 1-20 from long distance and connected on 2-5 with free throws.

Steve Fisher's guys weren't all that much better though, going 14-57 on the game and 3-24 beyond the arc. 20-29 on free throws helped out.

San Diego State comes to Walt McPherson Court on February 21. Will a scoreboard be needed or will fingers and toes do?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pepperdine 66 - SJSU 44

The Waves rolled over host San Jose State University tonight, 63-44, as the Spartans damaged their chances for success more than the opponents. SJSU shot 15-50 overall, 3-17 from long distance and was guilty of 20 turnovers. The score was 26-22 at the half.

Points in the paint was also a killer, 20-2 in favor of the visitors.

On the positive side, it was 14 assists on 15 baskets for Coach Dave Wojcik's guys and Frank Rogers just missed a double-double with 11 boards and nine points. He also blocked two shots.

Jordan Baker didn't exactly wreak havoc on his former college team, finishing with five points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. He shot 2-11 overall in 36 minutes.

Jimmy Durkin game reports.

Samuel Brannan game reports.

Here's the Spartan athletics game report.

Here's the Pepperdine point of view.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Portland 73, SJSU 68

Portland Coach Eric Reveno returned 'home' today (if the 18 miles to Stanford constitutes a close enough proximity) and doubled his enjoyment with his Pilots winning 73-68 over San Jose State University.

But for the first time Spartan fans got to witness guard Jordan Baker and forward Frank Rogers on the court and that dynamic duo produced 17 points and 16 points respectively. They teamed up in a manner as with 0:54 on the clock, Baker missed both free throws but Rogers grabbed the second miss, scored the basket while being fouled and made the resulting free throw. That effort put SJSU up 62-60 at the time.

Baker shot 3-8 at the free throw line and committed six turnovers so let's hope his being back for the first time accounts for these.

A highlight was freshman guard Darryl Gaynor II's 12 points against a very solid opponent this time. Portland was listed in sixth place (of 10) in the 2014-15 West Coach Conference coaches poll.

The Washington Square crew led 37-26 after the first 20 minutes and also led in overtime at one point but Portland prevailed.

Spartan athletics game reports.

Portland athletics game reports.

Jimmy Durkin game reports.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Spartans handle Bethesda

If you knew where Bethesda University was located before tonight, well, get thee to a Jeopardy contestant audition pronto.

Said school's basketball team matched up with San Jose State University tonight and the result was a 67-44 victory for the Spartans.

The most important takeaway? The continued productive play of freshman guard Darryl Gaynor II who enjoyed nine assists to but a single turnover.

The Spartan athletics game report is here while the Jimmy Durkin/Mercury News narrative is here.

Isaac Thornton, Jordan Baker and Frank Rogers did not play for SJSU.

Portland is in Sunday at 1:00 p.m. for the first 'real' opponent of the season.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cody Schwartz on his signing with SJSU

In both video and print, Cody Schwartz explains his commitment and signing with San Jose State University.

More on signee Brandon Clarke

Spoke with Tony Darden, the head basketball coach at Desert Vista High in Phoenix, and he elaborated about his player Brandon Clarke who signed a letter-of-intent with San Jose State University today.

"Brandon is a great student and leader who is going to do big things. He's the best defender in the state and can guard the 1-5 spots. Brandon is a pass-first guy and a good scorer who can take guys off the dribble. He's very athletic and really smart."

He added, "Brandon is very fond of the San Jose State coaching staff" and noted that Tyler Ojanen, who earlier coached high school basketball and played his first two years of college hoops in Phoenix, was instrumental in Clarke's signing.

Northeastern, Lafayette, Columbia, Colgate, Santa Clara among others recruiting the 6-foot-6 Clarke.

Note: Darden, who played collegiately at Coastal Carolina and professionally overseas and in the American Basketball Association, also was an assistant coach at the high school current Spartan guard Jordan Baker attended. That team went all the way to the state championship game one year.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The signings of Cody Schwartz and Brandon Clarke

SJSU athletics on new basketball signees Cody Schwartz and Brandon Clark:

An ESPN four-star rated forward, Cody Schwartz, and one of the most versatile small forwards in the state of Arizona, Brandon Clarke, have signed national letters-of-intent to compete for San José State University beginning the 2015-16 season. Head coach Dave Wojcik made the announcement.

"We are pleased to announce the addition of two fine young men to our basketball family," Wojcik said. "Brandon Clarke is an extremely versatile forward that can play multiple positions. Brandon is someone who will make everyone else on our team better by utilizing his length, playmaking ability, and intelligence." 

"Cody Schwartz is an exceptionally skilled forward that will be a very difficult matchup for teams because of his ability to score in the post and from the perimeter. Cody's skill level and basketball IQ will impact the game for us on both ends of the floor."

Schwartz, a 6-foot-8 forward, averaged 18.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.1 steals as a junior at West De Pere (Wis.) High School. Schwartz was dominant, scoring 20 or more points in 12 games while leading the Phantoms to the Division II Wisconsin State Championship tournament. 

Schwartz garnered attention from around the country for being the top perimeter shooter in the state. He was a 2014 Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) first-team Division II All State selection, and received an AP All-State honorable mention. The four-star recruit according to ESPN is also ranked 26th on ESPN's Top-100 Power Forwards list in America. Schwartz becomes first ever four-star recruit to sign with San José State men's basketball. Schwartz had received scholarship offers from Creighton, Marquette, Toledo and Nebraska before committing to San José State University. 

Clarke, a 6-foot-7 forward, starred as a junior at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Clarke averaged 15 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks, and 2.5 steals per game in 2013-14, and was rated in the state's top-five for most versatile players by Arizona Power Basketball. 

The All-Tribune honorable mention player is also ranked 12th on AZCentral.com's Top-20 Recruit List. 

"Both Brandon and Cody come from tremendous families that stress the importance of the standards that our program has been built on," Wojcik added. "Both are honor roll students with above 3.0 GPA's and value hard work and dedication in the classroom. There is no doubt that both young men will make a significant impact to the San José State community."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Big week for SJSU and Cody Schwartz

2015 high school basketball prospects can begin signing national letters-of-intent on Wednesday, November 12 and it's fully expected 6-foot-8 200 pound Cody Schwartz will ink with San Jose State University Coach Dave Wojcik on that day or soon thereafter.

Out of West De Pere High and the Wisconsin Blizzard club team, Schwartz blew up over the summer  and here's what Blizzard Coach Chas Pronschinske recently said about the young man:

"Cody has tremendous upside and his ceiling is very high once he fills out his body. He's very versatile -- he can play the perimeter and shoot to 23 feet plus go inside and get to the basket. He'll be a great addition."

He added, "Nebraska, Creighton and Marquette all offered" (two of of which were in the Big Dance last season) but Schwartz made the call to go with San Jose State University.

Schwartz also led his West De Pere team to the Division 2 state semi finals last year.

It's obviously up to the Spartan coaching staff to decide but playing Schwartz as a stretch forward seems the most advantageous given his inside.outside offensive talents.

Pronschinske also said Schwartz "is a very good student" with a 3.0+ grade point average. "He's going to bring great energy to the program."

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Shamburger leads Missou

Missouri handled University of Missouri-St. Louis 77-54 on Saturday in an exhibition game with former Spartan Keith Shamburger leading the Tigers with a well-rounded 13 points, six rebound, six assist, three steal line. He is in his final year of eligibility after having transferred from Hawaii.

SJSU 65 - ND de Namur 58

No this wasn't a Greek mythology tale pitting the Spartans against the Argonauts, it was real as San Jose State University matched up with visiting Notre Dame de Namur last night and emerged with a 65-58 victory.

SJSU freshman Darryl Gaynor II came through in the second half and finished with 15 points while fellow frosh Leon Bahner led on the boards with 14. Doing his usual stat-stuffing effort despite not shooting well, Isaac Thornton enjoyed an 11 rebound, six point, four steal, two assist line.

Solid free throw shooting, 22-28, aided the victory as otherwise it was 19-53 overall and 5-23 from beyond the arc.

Spartan athletics game reports.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

When you're the only game in town, or the state...

Via Mike Vorel: "Our 36-page Wyoming hoops preview drops a week from today. Extremely proud of this. You don't want to miss it."

He covers Wyoming sports for the Casper Star-Tribune

The San Jose Mercury News will likely do one article, consisting of maybe eight paragraphs.

But enough of beating that ol' dessicated horse.

Lowery at San Houston State

It's official -- former SJSU assistant coach Omar Lowery is on the staff at Sam Houston State of the Southland Conference.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Three player updates

UPDATES:

Senior guard Devante Wilson will be redshirting this season which will allow him to have the chance of playing in the Mountain West Conference tournament come 2015-16. With that season off, he really needs to upgrade his shooting accuracy and consistency (32% overall, 32% from long distance). 171 or his total of 238 shot attempts were three-pointers but that will percentage will lessen.

Juniors Jordan Baker and Frank Rogers were suspended for the Cal State East Bay game which isn't quite demonstrating upperclassmen leadership. Get it together guys.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

SJSU 84 - CSEB 65

Cal State East Bay hung around but the outcome was never in doubt as San Jose State University downed the Pioneers 84-65 this afternoon.

For the Washington Square crew, Rashad Muhammad led with 19 points and added three assists. Jaleel Williams and Jalen James each totaled 16, with the former shooting 5-8 overall, 3-4 from long distance. Rounding out the starting five, sophomore Isaac Thornton proved to be a stats-stuffer with eight points, seven boards and a team-leading five assists while freshman big Leon Bahner finished with seven boards and a pair of blocked shots.

Freshman guard Darryl Gaynor II contributed 15 points, aided by going 10-10 from the foul line and frosh power forward Ryan Singer nabbed six rebounds in 18 minutes.

Not playing for the Spartans were upperclassmen Jordan Baker, Frank Rogers and Devante Wilson. They were on the SJSU bench but not suited up.

Here's the game reports from Spartan athletics.

SJSU versus Cal State East Bay

San Jose State University opens the season today at 4 p.m. hosting Cal State East Bay. The latter fell 94-50 to California on Halloween night and also faces Santa Clara later this week. The Bears were just too athletic and physical for the Pioneers.

This means former Spartan guard Nick Grieves is returning and look for him to roam the perimeter for three-point shot openings.

Probably the most important aspects to watch for is who plays the most in the paint for SJSU and who displays rebounding and defensive prowess -- two critical areas needing improvement for the Spartans. Can freshmen Leon Bahner and Ryan Singer contribute in Mountain West Conference play? Has sophomore Matt Pollard improved?

Also, is Frank Rogers willing to bang bodies?

It will be the debut for junior guard Jordan Baker so do note what shots he and Rashad Muhammad get within the offense.

Boise St. with two out of CA

Boise State is mining northern and southern California and this isn't a good trend:

"The Broncos picked up a verbal commitment Saturday night from Paris Austin, a point guard out of Bishop O'Dowd High in Oakland, Calif. Austin is rated as a four-star recruit by ESPN.com and is one of Rivals.com's top 150 national recruits, at No. 142."

A 5-foot-11 point, Austin was a SJSU target until he cut his list of suitors to three. Montana made the semifinal cut, meaning SJSU couldn't beat out a Big Sky program, albeit a very successful one.

6-foot-7 190 guard Chandler Hutchinson is a BSU freshman out of southern California:
"Three-year letterwinner at Mission Viejo High School under head coach Troy Roelen...believed to be first top 100 recruit in program history, ranked No. 80 in ESPN 100 for class of 2014, rated as No. 7 prospect in California and No. 19 small forward in the country."
Gotta win some games this season, meaningful ones, or this will keep happening.

Playing catchup requires discovering and lining up guys before the hordes of others. That's what the Broncos did with Hutchinson.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The rich getting richer

UNLV has landed another promising recruit -- via Jeff Borzello: "Jalen Poyser is a quality pickup for UNLV. At his best off the dribble, but he also shot over 40% from 3-point range on the EYBL circuit." 

Poyser is a 2015 6-foot-4 shooting guard out of Canada, and while not necessarily a blue-chipper, he looks to be someone who would likely spend four years on campus which is a need for the Running Rebels program..

He visited Rhode Island and Oklahoma but played for Todd Simon, now a Vegas assistant, when both were at Findlay Prep.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

CSU Coach Larry Eustachy trying different approach

Matt Stephens writes that Colorado State Coach Larry Eustachy is coaching 'differently' this season.

Eustachy and now senior Daniel Bejarano almost went at it last season as Kelly Lyell reported back in early February but it appears to be one of those heated moments that look worse than they really are.

Here's another side of Eustachy.

SI on the MWC

SI's Zac Ellis projects a 4-14 conference record for San Jose State University this season.

In a bit of a surprise, he envisions a 9-9 finish for New Mexico, which won't go down well in Albuquerque.

More on what's happening up in Nevada

Dan Hinxman catches up with the 2014-15 Nevada basketball squad.

An informative look at the top talents at UNLV this season

It does requires some clicking through (hate that) but Taylor Bern does a solid job of analyzing each prominent 2014-15 UNLV player.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New Mexico with most NBA-ers of the MWC teams

This seems like a surprise but probably shouldn't be: "Mountain West players on NBA rosters (Lobos have the most)"

You would think it would be San Diego State since the Aztecs are receiving so much current adulation. But that's of late.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Air Force coach displays good sense of humor

Geoff Grammer previews Air Force in the 2013-14 season. It concludes:

“Three years ago, my first year as a head coach, we were selected last in the conference,” [Dave] Pilipovich noted. “Last year, we were next to last. This year, now we’re two spots from the bottom. So we’re trending in the right way.

“Eight more years, we’re going to be No. 1 in the country, definitely in the conference.”

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Grammer on SJSU in 2014-15

Geoff Grammer, the Albuquerque beat reporter for New Mexico athletics, previews this season's San Jose State University Spartans.

A snippet:
“I know where we’re headed here,” Wojcik said. “That’s what I’m excited about. Where it’s going and how we’re getting there. We’re building it. In my opinion it’s never really been built here and sustained over a period of time.”
That's not just an opinion, it's a fact. Of course, it's also never been competitively funded. Let us hope that has seriously changed.

Has this ever happened before?

Colorado State Coach Larry Eustachy may just employ a starting lineup this season consisting of all transfers:
"...In fact, Eustachy's entire starting lineup could likely be comprised of transfers — as guards Antwan Scott (Grambling State) and Daniel Bejarano (Arizona) and forwards J.J. Avila (Navy), Stanton Kidd (North Carolina Central) and Tiel Daniels (Southern Illinois) all began their college careers elsewhere. Guards Gian Clavell (Northwest Tech), John Gillon (Arkansas-Little Rock), Fred Richardson III (Lee College/Oregon) and forward/center Marcus Holt (Paris Junior College) are also with (at least) their second school..."
So there's no competition in calling CSU Transfer U.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Karapetyan looking for a new home

A former Spartan recruiting target, 6-foot-7 James 'Jack' Karapetyan, is leaving Kansas State. The talk is that he will return home to southern California. Long Beach State (the most likely if they have room) and UC Davis also offered back when. He medically redshirted in Manhattan last season. Went too high.

Duruisseau to the Pac-12

Call this one a shocker (to me) -- Reggie Rankin tweeted: "6'9 Devenir Duruisseau (Fishburne Military School) has committed to Washington. Athletic versatile scorer Confirmed"

Let's see what height he is listed at next season in Seattle.

So he turned down Long Beach State, then SJSU and lands in the Pac-12. Gotta say he wins the day in recruiting.

The Bulldogs want to progress defensively

Robert Kuwada reports that Fresno State is looking to make the same leap forward defensively this season as took place at the offensive end in 2013-14.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Another MWC preview

Matt Norlander of CBSSports previews the Mountain West Conference. Below is his SJSU entry:

San Jose State

You wonder when a program like this can not only climb out of the basement, but actually get to the top half of the league. Resources and facilities are part of the prob, but in general, this is a league when SJSU isn't set up to have success in most years. The team won seven games last year and was ranked 302 overall in KenPom. It was relatively young, so perhaps getting to double digit wins this year is a possibility. Rashad Muhammad is the star, and if he really breaks out he'll have a good shot at making Mountain West Third Team.

Wyoming will be tough this season

Here are a couple of features on Wyoming basketball in the 2014-15 season -- link  link

It remains mind-boggling how the coaching staff there can get talent to both spend time in Laramie and 'enjoy' the wonderful winter weather.

Utah State will be young and inexperienced

Shawn Harrison writes about this being an unusual Aggie team this season.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Teague goes with Ball State

Kyle Neddenriep writes: "Ball State coach James Whitford scored a big win on the recruiting trail with the commitment of Pike 6-8 forward Tahjai Teague on Tuesday. Teague picked Ball State over San Jose State, but had interest throughout the recruiting process from high-major Division I programs. Jerry Meyer, a national recruiting analyst from 247sports.com, tweeted that he had Teague as a four-star prospect and that he was "vastly under recruited."

+++++++

Ben Breiner wrote about the announcement.

+++++++

The following is also from Kyle Neddenriep:

Pike senior Tahjai Teague committed to Ball State on Tuesday.

The 6-8 Teague took an official visit to the Ball State campus over the weekend. He picked Ball State over San Jose State, where he also took an official visit.
"It was mostly about the coaches," Teague said of his decision. "I think Ball State is definitely heading in the right direction. Coach (James) Whitford said he likes my athleticism, I can rebound and that I can get up and down the court."

+++++++

Here's another article on the Teague commit.

No idea if the Cody Schwartz commit had SJSU backing off here. Teague is 6-foot-8, 190 and Schwartz 6-foot-8, 180. Schwartz is the better outside shooter although Teague looks to have more defensive potential.

Coach Wojcik's MWC Tipoff tweets

Some tweets from Coach Wojcik today at the MWC Tipoff via MW Men's Basketball:

Wojcik: we’ll be better w/ the ball this year. We value it better & we’re not turning it over as much

and

Wojcik: these guys may not look big, but they’re wirey strong and mentally tough

and

Wojcik: I think we’re good at shooting and we’ll be better this year as a year older

Fresno can now practice five-on-five

Robert Kuwada writes about Fresno State basketball finally having some roster depth and, strange as it sounds, five-on-five practices are now commonplace for the Bulldogs.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hinxman predicts SJSU at #10

Dan Hinxman, the Nevada athletics beat reporter for the Reno Gazette-Journal, offer some different team prognostications: "For full disclosure, my MW preseason ballot: 1. SDSU, 2, Wyo., 3. CSU, 4. BS, 5. UNLV, 6. FS, 7. UNM, 8. Nev., 9. USU, 10. SJSU, 11. AFA.

Wyoming sports beat reporter and his MWC predictions

Mike Vorel's MWC pre-season team prognostication: "In case you were wondering, my MW hoops poll: 1. SDSU 2. Wyo 3. Boise 4. UNM 5. CSU 6. UNLV 7. Fresno 8. AFA 9. Nevada 10. USU 11. SJSU." 

He's a reporter for the Casper Star-Tribune.

Lowery back to Texas?

Via HoopDirt:
"I have heard from two separate sources that former San Jose State assistant Omar Lowery is the leader for the vacant assistant spot at Sam Houston State. Both sources told me that the official word could come as early as today. Lowery spent one season at SJSU before resigning this past spring. He has also been an assistant at Cal Poly (2009-2013), and Texas State (2006-2009). Lowery has been back in his native Wisconsin teaching since his departure from SJSU."
Former Spartan Assistant Coach Talvin Hester is at Houston.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Chris Murray ranks Nevada's 2014-15 roster

Chris Murray details the top 10 talents on the Nevada squad this season. There doesn't appear to be any Luke Babbits or Deonte Burtons so the emergence of a player or two is needed for the Wolf Pack to contend.

Anthony Drmic and the Boise State Broncos

Anthony Drmic if finally healthy and that bodes well for Boise State's chances in the MWC.

Note: The Broncos will scrimmage at Bronco Gym at 7 p.m. Saturday, followed by a meet-and-greet for fans. Entry and parking are free. What's SJSU doing?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

More on the commit from Cody Schwartz

Evan Flood talked with new SJSU commit Cody Schwartz:

West De Pere (Wis.) 2015 Forward Cody Schwartz made San Jose State very happy on Tuesday. The senior stretch forward committed to the Spartans after taking an official visit there this past weekend, giving them a huge addition to their 2015 recruiting class. 

“It’s a great area,” Schwartz told NY2LA Sports. “I was surprised how welcoming the guys were. Hanging out with the coaches and players, they were just a really great group of guys. I just felt like they were guys I really wanted to be with. 

“Coach (Dave) Wojcik is a guy that would run through a wall for you, do anything for you to help you succeed. I just had a good vibe from everything. I gave it a day and I just felt like I had to commit there. I liked it so much, I had to take that opportunity...” 

Hit this link for the remainder.

One other snippet: "I had other offers get taken away from me because guys took the offer. San Jose State had another recruit coming in this weekend. I liked them so much, I couldn’t second guess myself and take other visits. I went with my gut and felt like it was a good decision for me.” 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

This is big

Now there are no guarantees in life minus the proverbial death and taxes but San Jose State University landing Cody Schwartz is big. First, the announcement:

Per Doug Ritchay, FOX11Sports:

West De Pere basketball standout Cody Schwartz tweeted Tuesday he has committed to play college basketball at San Jose State.

Schwartz tweeted, Tuesday, “After a long recruiting process I am so happy to say I have made my choice to play college basketball at San Jose State! #GoSpartans”

Schwartz had other offers from Green Bay, Marquette, Creighton, Nebraska, Northern Iowa, St. Joseph’s and Toledo

Schwartz is a 6-8 small forward with 3-point range. Last season, he averaged 18.5 points per game in leading the Phantoms to the Division 2 state tournament for the first time since 1933...

Here is a July 20 feature.

Below is video from 2013:



Schwartz can do something no one else at his position on the Spartan roster, whether it be at the wing or eventually the power forward spot, does -- shoot accurately from outside. The potential is there to be a top flight Mountain West Conference performer, an element seemingly missing from Coach Wojcik's second recruiting class.

The 24/7Sports folks has predicted him to become a Creighton Bluejay.

Hendricks to SJSU

In a momentary change of sports, here's my article on Folsom High defensive end Lukas Hendricks who has given a commitment to San Jose State University.

Now back to our regularly scheduled sport.

Monday, October 6, 2014

SJSU offers 2016 big Klay Stall

Compton Magic tweeted: "6-8 Klay Stall #Basha has picked up an offer from San Jose State. @iklaystall_5 is currently on an unofficial there."

It is his third DI offer thus far for the 2016 210 pounder (Eastern Washington, Portland State)

He also visited UC Santa Barbara this weekend.


Keegan Pope takes a turn in the barrel with his forecast of the Mountain West Conference finish and the players to be honored. His Spartan thinking:

11. San Jose State

Simply put, the Spartans just aren’t very good. While they return four starters and standout freshman Rashad Muhammad, there also isn’t much to look forward about in San Jose. Due to NCAA APR violations, San Jose State is ineligible for postseason play, including the Mountain West conference tournament. Expect them to struggle yet again, possibly leapfrogging only Utah State or Air Force in the final league standings.

Dave Southern goes Miss Cleo

Dave Southern bravely details his Mountain West Conference ballot, detailing the league finish and those who will earn honors. His Washington Square take::

11. San Jose State

Old friend Dave Wojcik, in his first season, quickly made the Spartans a reflection of himself — tough and gritty. Some good players are back, but the climb out of the basement will take at least another year after going 1-17 in MW games in 2013-14.

Geoff Grammer plays Karnak the Magnificent

Geoff Grammer has posted his pre-season selections for post-season honors in the Mountain West Conference.

His SJSU forecast:
"11. San Jose StateThe rebuilding job continues. The team has four returning starters and a 13 points per game scorer off the bench in sophomore Rashad Muhammad. They should win more than one league game as they did last season, but I’m not sure it will be many more."

The top MWC squads with major holes to fill

Mark Ziegler writes that it's 2014-15 if ever there was a year for top team vulnerability in the Mountain West Conference as:

...San Diego State must replace Xavier Thames and Josh Davis, which means it lost its leaders in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, free throws and 3-pointers – plus the Mountain West player of the year and newcomer of the year...

...It’s [UNLV] replacing all five starters...

...The [New Mexico] Lobos lost their top three players and 73 percent of their scoring...

...Utah State coach Stew Morrill has only four returnees...

Friday, October 3, 2014

What is SJSU basketball doing?

From Santa Clara athletics:

"Catch a sneak peek of the 2014-15 Bronco men's basketball team as they play an inter-squad scrimmage in the Leavey Center during Grand Reunion Weekend on Sat., Oct. 11 at 9 am. The Red and White Scrimmage will last from 9 am - 10:30 am. It is free and open to the public.    

Due to new NCAA rules, college basketball is returning to practice earlier this year - hence the official start of practice for the Broncos is Oct. 3 and not Oct. 15 as in year's past.

The team will be available after the scrimmage to speak with fans and sign autographs.  Fans will have their first opportunity to meet and see our four new additions to the team, Kai Healey, Matt Hubbard, Evan Wardlow and Stephen Edwards!  

As part of the Grand Reunion, there will also be food and drink provided by the Alumni Office.

All Santa Clara University Basketball Alumni are invited to join the staff for a light breakfast at 8:00am in the Leavey Center Suite.  Please contact Kyle Bailey at Kjbailey@scu.edu to RSVP!"