Monday, March 31, 2014

Devenir Duruisseau commits

From Devenir Duruisseau's Twitter account: "Officially commited too San Jose state 🏀 will be spending my next 4yrs as a Spartan!"

Jalen James Twitter congratulated him and, what's even more interesting, so did Noah Robotham. Hmmmmmmmm.

Duruisseau is a 6-foot-8, 230 low post forward from Sylmar High in southern California. The Sylmar nickname is the Spartans so make of that what you will. He was named the LA City Division II Player of the Year and his team won the Division II championship.

Long Beach State, Portland, Loyola Marymount and Cal State Fullerton also offered.

Here's a January 2013 feature on him.

Below is a short interview:

Another column on Coach Morrill

Kurt Kragthorp serves up a fair column on the Coach Stew Morrill's situation. Dinosaur? Needs to change? Just needs a different group of better selected players?

Brown departing Sparta

According to this Jeff Goodman list. D.J. Brown is graduating from San Jose State University and leaving the team. He could play his fifth year elsewhere should he choose to do so. Here's a salute to D.J. for his efforts as a Spartan. Best wishes.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Some plain truth on Bulldog basketball

David White has an interesting column on Bulldog basketball in today's Fresno Bee. He concludes with some guarded optimism.

Robotham got to experience Ohio snow

Noah Robotham's tweet while on his trip to Akron (it snowed). Will a Las Vegas kid buy into northeast Ohio when a quick plane trip from San Jose to home (Sin City) and vice versa is available?

It's interesting that Denivir Durant (another SJSU recruiting prospect) re-posted the tweet.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Another article on another Coach Rice

Ed Graney covers the wooing of UNLV Coach Dave Rice by South Florida. That is some serious coin being thrown at him and asking why is a legitimate question. So how would you decide on staying or going?

Friday, March 28, 2014

More praise for Noah Robotham

From Dwain Schallenberger/Utah Select basketball program: "Any college coach listening to me is the Russell Wilson of basketball. 100+wins, heady, skilled-don't miss on him I promise!"

No, that new movie starring Russell Crowe is not about this Noah but four years from now, who knows. Could be one titled "NoahR"

Gotta get this young man signed.

Rice interviewed at Washington State

Jacob Thorpe writes that Boise State Coach Leon Rice has interviewed at Washington State.

This would not be one of those filler type of interviews that makes it look like the selection is wide open.

Jacob Thorpe is back with more, including an Andy Katz/ESPN note that Rice is staying at BSU.

Here's even more.

Today (Saturday): This is getting bizarre: Washington State is visiting Rice in order to try and change his mind.

Guess not for Greg Graham

Dave Reynolds tweeted: "No truth to rumor that Bradley asst coach Greg Graham is candidate for Montana State job. Graham told me he hasn't been contacted."

The Muhammad family

Here's an interesting turn of events on Rashad Muhammad's father, thankfully not connected to Rashad but his brother Shabazz.

The father was just sentenced.

Stew Morrill interviewed

Shawn Harrison interviews Utah State Coach Stew Morrill.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Robotham to trip to Akron

From PoP: "Full Akron coaching staff in to visit with '14 PG Noah Robotham: Bishop Gorman HS (NV) Robotham will visit Akron this Saturday on official"

When your program is the subject of an editorial...

Things are definitely not going merrily along for Utah State basketball as this Herald Journal editorial indicates.

Pay now, benefit later

Marek Warszawski takes a look at Fresno Sate's financial cost of playing in the CBI -- key quote: "If not for the incredible run we had at the end of the season, we probably wouldn't look at this tournament," Associate Athletic Director Paul Ladwig said. "But we're looking at this as money spent on the future of Fresno State basketball."

Read more here:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cutts now directing the Highlanders

Former Spartan Assistant Dennis Cutts is now officially the head coach at UC Riverside. He was the interim this past season.

Greg Graham in the running for MSU opening?

Not sure where he stands but former SJSU assistant Greg Graham is mentioned in conjunction with the opening at Montana State.

How recruiting works

Contrary to what some have written elsewhere, it is the assistant coaches on a staff who 'work' recruits, with the head coach stepping in at appropriate moments and obviously playing the primary role when a prospect is on campus for an official visit.

Note this previous November 18 article, particularly the next-to-last paragraph.

However, now that SJSU is now down to a single assistant, Coach Wojcik is directly involved from the get go of pursuing a talent, now out of necessity.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The latest on prep point Noah Robotham

From Premier Ball: "Oregon St. Asst Coach Nate Pomeday was in to see 2014 PG Noah Robotham. Bishop Gorman (NV)"
Oregon St. Asst Coach Nate Pomeday was in to see 2014 PG Noah Robotham. Bishop Gorman (NV) #recruiting - See more at:
Oregon St. Asst Coach Nate Pomeday was in to see 2014 PG Noah Robotham. Bishop Gorman (NV) #recruiting - See more at:

Godinez no longer interim

From Hoop Dirt: "Bobby Godinez, who took over at Victor Valley College (CA) this past year has had the interim tag removed from his title. He took over the program three weeks before the season started, and led the squad to a 15-12 record (an improvement from the 0-24 record from 2102-13)."

Godinez is a former Spartan footballer who has turned to coaching basketball.

Monday, March 24, 2014

New Mexico could be hurting next season

It's known that guard Kendall Williams and frontcourter Cameron Bairstow have completed their athletic eligibility at New Mexico, leaving gigantic holes for Coach Craig Neal to somehow fill. Now, the word is 7-0 center Alex Kirk may also be departing, for the NBA, Europe or another school.

If such a dramatic turn happens, look for New Mexico to endure a losing season because that's just too much talent to lose all at once and remain competitive. Minus Kirk, the Lobo roster looks to consist of role players,

But New Mexico fans will not take defeats piling up lightly.

Let's see what Kirk decides.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Chris Murray heard back

As fully expected, Chris Murray was deluged with responses after posting his column about Nevada's need to seriously upgrade its financial commitment to athletics if being competitive is the expectation.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Impossible to know so it's all speculation

So what to make of the departures of Assistant Coaches Omar Lowery and Jack Kennedy after their initial year at San Jose State University?

That's difficult, if not impossible to answer, in the absence of any specific knowledge of the situations for these two.

Regarding Kennedy: at the Dons Central message board (Kennedy previously worked at USF), this was posted: "I heard he's marrying into wealth. Doesn't need to coach anymore."

Message board veracity is strictly buyer beware but the coaching profession is not one that makes for an easy adjustment come marriage vows. But this projected scenario -- his impending wedding, not the bank accounts of his in-laws -- has previously circulated.

As for Lowery, it's a list of maybes. Personality conflict? Cost of living? Not landing recruits? As for his background, he's a Midwest guy (primarily Wisconsin) with some time in Texas and a short stint in New Mexico before the last four years at Cal Poly.

But it is unusual for any coach to depart prior to having another position lined up.

Is any of this tied to not having received a 'yes' from any of the recently visiting recruiting targets Noah Robotham, Denevir Duruisseau and Rokas Gustys? (just saw that Butler is coming in soon to look at Gustys). These are the guys at the top of thew Spartan wish list. There obviously is still time to land any of the three but it's a guarantee that each was pressed for a commitment before they left Washington Square and none stepped up.

Kyle Davis saying good by to Utah State?

According to several USU sports message boards (buyer beware), it looks like another Utah State player will be departing early from The Spectrum -- 6-foot-7 sophomore forward Kyle Davis. He averaged 9.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and a team-leading 39 blocked shots.

Two others have already said they are leaving and the school acknowledged both.

Aggie fans are now all over the various message boards worrying about the status of freshman forward Jalen Moore.

Winning seemingly covered up some 'issues' in Logan.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Two assistants are leaving

From Hoop Dirt: "From an excellent source…San Jose State assistants Omar Lowery and Jack Kennedy have resigned. They had both just completed their first seasons on Dave Wojcik’s staff. Lowery had come to SJSU from Cal Poly, and Kennedy from the University of San Francisco. No word yet on possible replacements."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Murray minces nothing

Chris Murray has posted a defense of Nevada Coach David Carter's record and employs the term 'putrid' in describing the funding Carter receives (which is on par with that of SJSU men's basketball).

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A pair of Utah State players are departing

It's become an annual event and now two more players are leaving Logan.

Kyle Goon reports.

Rice wanted at Washington State

Jeff Nusser writes (speculates) that Washington State might be looking at Boise State Coach Leon Rice.

But why would there be interest? It's Pac-12 in name and salary only. The same goes with Morrill, Monson, Terry and Tinkle (who said thanks but no thanks to getting involved in the SJSU opening of a year ago).

Then Randy Bennett? C'mon on now, this is heading to rediculousness.

It's a guess here but Ernie Kent more than likely wants back into coaching but nobody is beating down his door, so...

The job needs to go to the best possible recruiter.

Barry Bolton writes about what Pullman doesn't have to offer.

Bone's departure also means that Tim Marrion is out and that's too bad.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Recruiting around the MWC

* A prep big out of Arizona, Elston Jones, has given a verbal to Utah State. He's 6-foot-10 and 230. Kyle Goon offers a solid report.


* From Verbal Commits: "2014 Fork Union (VA) F Tavarius Shine will be taking an official visit to Utah State on 3/28-3/29"

He's listed as a 6-foot-5, 185 pound forward and originally out of Texas. According to VC, Houston, James Madison, Long Island and Wofford are or were in the mix with JM and LI having offered. Shine's is a strange talent level for Coach Morrill to be pursuing considering the recent flak about USU needing MWC-level recruits. 

In February, his Texas high school coach said, "...Shine has range that extends beyond the 3-point arc and showed that aspect of his game earlier in the season before focusing on his strength as a mid-range scorer. Shine played the point earlier in his high school career before moving to the wing the last two years. “He makes a lot of solid basketball plays,” Martin said. “The knock on him is that he is not overly flashy, but that is what I like about him. He makes really good basketball decisions...”

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Big recruiting weekend -- very important next few days

At least three recruits were hosted/are being hosted the past weekend and a bit beyond by San Jose State University:

* From Rick Lewis: "Rokas "The Rock" Gustys is on an official visit to San Jose State this weekend"

* From PoP: "'14 6'8 PF Devenir Duruisseau (Sylmar HS) Is on official visit at San Jose St"  (Looks like this weekend or possibly beginning on Sunday)

* From PoP: "'14 PG Noah Robotham (Bishop Gorman HS) is set to take his official visit tomorrow to San Jose St." (Monday) (Same high school at Rashad Muhammad.

Getting visits is a triumph in itself. Find a good Lithuanian restaurant in San Jose for Gustys.

For background on this trio, go here.

Chris Murray looking at next season's Wolf Pack

Chris Murray writes that, even minus Deonte Burton, the Wolf Pack is in good shape to compete in the Mountain West Conference. But who will be the go-to guy down the stretch and at the end of games?

Then, Murray looks at the 2014-15 roster.

Fresno Bee columnist supports keeping Terry

Marek Warszawski writes that keeping Coach Rodney Terry is a no-brainer for Fresno State. The reasons: talent acquisition and player development are much higher than pre-Terry.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Being a Spartan basketball fan: what a long, strange and unfulfilling trip it's been

What isn't really understood (or maybe is intellectually but not emotionally) is how led-on, lied to and just plain used Spartan basketball fans have been for decades.

Sure, them are strong words but essentially accurate.

There was never a chance to be successful, to actually build a program that, more often than not, could sport a winning record.

Some of this was due to funding (salaries, recruiting budgets), actually the lack of.

Some was because of the choices as head basketball coach by the various athletics directors. The hires were not the 'best available' choices but rather comfort level, bring-in-a-buddy decisions. There was greater allegiance to friends than to San Jose State University or the supporters opening up their wallets and pocketbooks.

Yet the annual calls continued to go out: 'we need money for this or that piece of equipment' or 'join The Rebounders so that we can be more competitive' et al.

It was a sham.

Granted, some involved had the best intentions. Effort was applied.

But truth or any acknowledgement of realism were lacking.

By now you are probably thinking, and this is certainly a fair question to ask, what can those now in charge do about the past?

Nothing in terms of changing it. Obviously.

However, they can better understand the why of the beatdown Spartan hoops fan psyche. How money was literally thrown away year after year, donated to a losing cause. It was akin to giving money to the addicted -- actually more accurately picture those with a monkey on their back forking $$$ over to ever changing grifters -- with a bottom line knowing of what the end result would be. Yet the mutual pathology could never be acknowledged.

This is why some are wary. It's not because of the present but the past.

It's "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice (actually make that a dozen times), shame on me.

Some have re-committed and good for them. Others just can't bear the thought of diving in again and having their hearts stomped on once more.

Yes, faithfulness and dedication can be wonderful qualities.

But at this point they must be earned.

On a related note, Chris Murray covers the unrealistic expectations of Wolf Pack fans. Very interesting.

Also, below are the budget disparities within MWC basketball:

Yes, proverbial lightning can strike and get a program headed in the right direction so that fans appear in droves and revenues increase dramatically, but how often does that really happen? (is such any sort of realistic expectation?)

Ditto with gradual annual improvement but paid butts in the seats usually don't appear until the win totals reach the mid 20s or so and that realistically takes more than one season with such a record.

The budget disparities (except for Utah State) are embarrassing but they are what they are.


73 $4,448,245 New Mexico Lobos Albuquerque, NM

74 $4,432,238 San Diego State Aztecs San Diego, CA

89 $3,760,187 UNLV Rebels Las Vegas, NV

100 $3,041,051 Wyoming Cowboys Laramie, WY

109 $2,650,118 Utah State Aggies Logan, UT

123 $2,425,345 Colorado State Rams Fort Collins, CO

170 $1,804,214 Fresno State Bulldogs Fresno, CA

176 $1,729,154 Boise State Broncos Boise, ID

211 $1,459,913 Nevada Wolf Pack Reno, NV

214 $1,441,347 San Jose State Spartans San Jose, CA

Giving, in its various forms, for so many years (decades) hasn't resulted in much if any difference. But SJSU needs so, so much more in order to become competitive.

It's the ultimate conundrum.

Two bigs and a point

6-foot-9, 245 Rokas (Oak Hill Academy) Gustys, 6-foot-8 Devenir (Sylmar High, D2 City Player of the Year) Duruisseau and 6-foot Noah (Bishop Gorman High) Robotham each has an offer from San Jose State University.

These three are needed, desperately. 

Now none are individual saviours but collectively they represent what SJSU basketball lacks -- two bigs and another point. Or described differently: muscle, strength and a willingness to be physical inside plus ballhandling cleverness alongside the ability to get separation with the ball.

Let's really hope Coach Wojcik and his staff can land these specific guys. They are who and what is needed. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Interesting headline

From out of Utah: "Is Logan now a football town, or still a basketball town?"

Each Mountain West Conference newbie -- Utah State, SJSU, Nevada and Fresno State -- certainly found out this week that the MWC is not the WAC.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Coming and going at Utah State

The following is from USUBlue and details the final destinations of the recruits in Utah State's last six recruiting classes. There's a whole lotta turnover going on and quite a number of recruitments in the 'never should have been' category. Winning helps soften the numerous departures but so many clearing out and heading elsewheres makes it difficult to maintain the needed "spacing" between classes so that a coach has the optimum number in each year and not something like six seniors graduating all at once:
Well, in my opinion recruiting had fallen off for at least 6 years, but I didn't realize how much. IMHO, even at the WAC level, our recruiting has been getting worse. Here's the numbers -- of the 34 LOI players (Harris and Clifford not counted - weird situations) that were signed by USU, only 10 of the those finished eligibility at USU and 6 are still uncertain about where they will finish. 18 players left USU for whatever reason before using up their eligibility -- or less than 40% finished (10/28), with 6 undecided. Not a good trend no matter what conference nor how blue the glasses.

08-09 Left Early 4, 2 Finished

Stavon Williams - Left early
Rich Sirju - Left Early
Deremy Geiger - Left Early
Dominique Cooks - Left Early
Brady Jardine - OK
Jared Quayle - OK

09-10 Left Early 2, 2 Finished
Tyrone White - Left early
Anthony DiLoreto - Left Early
Preston Medlin - OK
Brian Green - OK

10-11 Left Early 3, 1 Finished 
James Walker - Left early
Leon Cooper - Left Early
Antonio Bumpus - Left Early
Brockeith Pane - OK

11-12 Left Early 4, 3 Finished

Mitch Bruneel - Left early
Adam Thoseby - Left Early
Steven Thornton - Left Early
Igor Premasunic - Left Early
Kyiesean Reed - OK
Jordan Stone - OK
Jared Shaw - OK
Danny Berger - ?

12-13 Left Early 4, 2 Finished (Marcel uncertain)   

Quincy Bair - Left early
Matt Lopez - Left Early
Riley Bradshaw - Left Early
Marvin Jean - Left Early
TeNale Rolland - OK
Spencer Butterfield - OK
Marcel Davis - ?

13-14 Left Early 1, 0 Finished (4 Uncertain)  

Carson Shanks - Left early
Viko Noma'aea - ?
Jalen Moore - ?
Jojo McGlaston - ?
Kyle Davis - ? 

Changes in next season's tourney?

Chris Murray writes about the possibility of changes to next year's Mountain West Conference tournament.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It's no contest

Wow. What can be written after an 83-52 MWC tournament defeat at the hands of Boise State?

With just two points supplied by the best Bronco talent Anthony Drmic (although he's been hindered by a nagging injury for some time now and hasn't been practicing).

It began 25-0. With 8:00 remaining, the score was 29-6 with SJSU shooting 2-11, having six turnovers and seemingly unable to defend the dribble drive of BSU.

There were also too many attempts of shots that, as commentators offer, would have been available anytime in the offensive sequence.

At the half, it was 46-14.

But the Spartans won the second 20 minutes 38-37 so there was at least no give up.

Rashad Muhammad led with 13 points while Chris Cunningham totaled 11 points plus nine boards.

Let's hope with this one that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Two more game previews

John Cassillo and Dave Southern preview the San Jose State University - Boise State matchup.

From Cassillo:
...Boise State has fallen short of its ceiling all season long. And after starting 8-0 on the year, they're just 11-12 since. With no one on the team over 6'9", they've been dominated on the boards and just as bad, have failed to really distribute the ball much on offense either (averaging just 11.8 assists per game). Most importantly for this game and any others they'll be playing in the Mountain West Conference Tournament will be alleviating at least one of those issues and getting Ryan Watkins some help under the basket...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Winning the tourney

Chris Murray provides the odds plus commentary regarding the chances each MWC team has in winning the tournament.

Bulletin board material

From UNLV's Khem Birch: "Congrats to Thames he killed us both games. But I have Nvr seen anybody ELEVATE there game in a year like Bairstow."


From Larry Nance Jr.: "Bairstow deserved POY... Everyone knows that"

Boise -- Wednesday -- Vegas

San Jose State University takes on Boise State Wednesday night in Las Vegas as part of the opening night of the Mountain West Conference tournament.

For what it's worth: Coach Leon Rice's guys are coming off a road loss to Air Force. The season didn't go quite as expected as this was a veteran team expected to challenge for the league title. Instead, the finish was a fifth-place tie with Wyoming and Fresno State.

The 19-12, 9-9 Broncos are led by 6-foot-8 Ryan Watkins and 6-foot-6 wing Anthony Drmic, both Second Team All Conference selections, as well as 6-foot-3 guard Derrick Marks, who earned Honorable Mention status. The emergence of Watkins was unexpected but gave the Broncos a semblance of an inside game.

Here's a fascinating article on how Rice has renamed the traditional basketball positions.

These two teams met just once in league play, a 76-56 BSU victory on January 25:

Boise State put this one to bed early on, leading 46-28 at the half and there weren't necessarily bright spots for the Spartans to write home about. Let's take 24 free throw attempts (and 18 made), a decent effort on the boards, Boise State shooting 43% but that's about it. 12 turnovers looks okay but 10 took place in the first 20 minutes.

For the hosts, center Ryan Watkins put up another double-double (18 points, 16 rebounds) as BSU's lone inside big is making a run for All-MWC consideration with his perked-up play of late. But no other plus BSU performances were on display.

A telling note: "The Spartans went without a field goal in the second half from the 13:45 mark all the way until there were just 35 seconds left in the game."

The downsides:

Rashad Muhammad was shut out in 17 minutes of play.
Three assists on 16 baskets were credited to SJSU alongside 36% overall shooting.
In a way (although most would argue with this), the game was actually winnable if San Jose State University had brought their best game but credit must be given to the Broncos for preventing that possibility.
Can there be a positive takeaway for SJSU? Yes, if it's a continued learning of the practice and effort individually and collectively that is mandatory in order to have a chance for a victory in the Mountain West Conference.

Here's our preview to that game:
Call it a Homecoming Game for Coach Wojcik as he is taking on Leon Rice, his former boss. Also, call Boise State (13-6, 3-3, 8-2 at home) a team that can and will match three-point shots with the Spartans.

The leading Bronco scorer is 6-foot-6 Aussie Anthony Drmic and the junior possesses a very quick release on his shot. The top scorer at 18.1 points per game, he is shooting 46%, 34% and 78% respectively.

6-foot-3 junior Derrick Marks just gets better every season. In 2013-14, he's averaging just below 16 points an outing, with 44%, 26% and 81% accuracy.

These two guys are generally the one-two punch in scoring and statistically are #2 and #1 in getting to the foul line.

Each will generally get their points so the key is reducing their efficiency rates, at least to some degree. Drmic isn't deadly from outside and Marks much worse as their numbers indicate so defensive choices may be made regarding that aspect.

What the Broncos do is play intelligently and unselfishly, using multiple screens to get open looks at the basket.

Ryan Watkins is sort of a silent partner on the squad if such is applicable to someone 6-foot-8 and averaging a double-double (10.8 points/10.4 rebounds). He's not necessarily imposing but teams tend to forget about him, focusing on others and that's when Watkins can go to work offensively plus on the offensive boards as his rebounding split is 93 offensively to 104 defensively.

6-foot-2 Jeff Elioraga is a designated three-point shooter (47%) and former walk-on. Catch-and-shoot is his method of operation and 97 of his 107 shooting attempts have been from long distance. He's another who benefits from all the defensive attention the others generate.

Another talent out of Oz, Nick Duncan is a 6-foot-8 freshman who started last game in order to match up with New Mexico's Cameron Bairstow. His early claim to fame is a shooting range that extends beyond the arc despite his size -- he's shooting 53% from distance.

6-foot-3 Mikey Thompson comes off the bench and brings offensive firepower at 8.9 points a night. The sophomore is shooting 47% overall and is far more effective within 15-feet on in plus he has the ability to generate getting to the foul line.

Boise State plays small but still possess a 36-30 rebounding advantage each game as well being +50 in steals.

Here's an odd set of stats: the Broncos have scored 730 points to date in the first 20 minutes of games, allowing opponents just 586. But it's much, much closer in the second half of matchups at 771-730. Let's see if that plays out tomorrow.

Worth noting is Igor Hadziomerovic, a third Australian (by way of Serbia). But the 6-foot-4 junior is experiencing a down season at 4.8 points per contest.

Coach Wojcik know the Boise players and their tendencies. Can that be advantaged?

Monday, March 10, 2014

The official MWC honorees

Here are all the Mountain West Conference official honorees -- the selections were announced this morning. The Spartans got no love:
First Team All-Mountain West
F Cameron Bairstow, New Mexico, Sr.
G Deonte Burton, Nevada, Sr.
G Kendall Williams, New Mexico, Sr.
G Xavier Thames, San Diego State, Sr.
F Larry Nance Jr., Wyoming, Jr.

Second Team All-Mountain West

G/F Anthony Drmic, Boise State, Jr.
F Ryan Watkins, Boise State, Sr.
G Daniel Bejarano, Colorado State, Jr.
G Tyler Johnson, Fresno State, Sr.
F Khem Birch, UNLV, Jr.

Third Team All-Mountain West

G Tre’ Coggins, Air Force, So.
F J.J. Avila, Colorado State, Jr.
C Alex Kirk, New Mexico, Jr.
F Josh Davis, San Diego State, Sr.
G Bryce Dejean-Jones, UNLV, Jr.

All-Defensive Team

C Alex Kirk, New Mexico, Jr.
G Kendall Williams, New Mexico, Sr.
F Skylar Spencer, San Diego State, So.
G Xavier Thames, San Diego State, Sr.
F Khem Birch, UNLV, Jr.
F Larry Nance Jr., Wyoming, Jr.

Honorable Mention All-Mountain West

G Derrick Marks, Boise State, Jr.
G Marvelle Harris, Fresno State, So.
F Cole Huff, Nevada, So.
G Hugh Greenwood, New Mexico, Jr.
F JJ O’Brien, San Diego State, Jr.
F Winston Shepard, San Diego State, So.
F Roscoe Smith, UNLV, Sr.
G/F Spencer Butterfield, Utah State, Sr.
C Jarred Shaw, Utah State, Sr.

Mountain West Player of the Year

Xavier Thames, Sr., G, San Diego State

Defensive Player of the Year

Khem Birch, Jr., F, UNLV

Newcomer of the Year

Josh Davis, Sr., F, San Diego State

Freshman of the Year

Paul Watson, Fr., G/F, Fresno State

Sixth Man of the Year

Dwayne Polee II, Jr., F, San Diego State

Coach of the Year

Steve Fisher, San Diego State

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Two Mountain West Conference honoree submissions

The official awards will be announced on Monday by the Mountain West Conference.

From Geoff Grammer:
Mountain West Player of the Year
F Cameron Bairstow, Sr., New Mexico

Coach of the Year
Steve Fisher, San Diego State

All Mountain West — First Team
G Xavier Thames, Sr., San Diego State
G Kendall Williams, Sr., New Mexico
G Deonte Burton, Sr., Nevada
F Cameron Bairstow, Sr., New Mexico
F Larry Nance Jr., Jr., Wyoming
Head here for the remainder of his choices.

From Matt Stephens: hit the link (an SJSU talent nabs one award)

Next game is Wednesday

San Jose State University plays Boise State on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the opening night slate of the Mountain West Conference tournament. The Broncos are coming off a Saturday night overtime loss at Air Force. LINK

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Fresno bests SJSU

In a game that started off r-e-a-l slow (9-6 at the 10:45 mark) and became never in doubt thanks to a 35-13 halftime lead, Fresno State topped San Jose State University 69-56 tonight at Walt McPherson Court. To their credit, the Spartans did close to nine, 43-34 at one point, but this is a team that struggles to manufacture offensive consistency.

Ex-St. Francis High backcourter Tyler Johnson went for 12 points, nine boards and five assists in his senior season return home.

Frosh Rashad Muhammad paced SJSU with 17 points but required 21 shot attempts to reach his total. Fellow freshman Jalen James led the Spartans with both seven rebounds and five assists.

San Jose was out-shot 48% to 35% and had 11 free throw tries to 23 for the Bulldogs.

A sort of game preview

Robert Kuwada looks at the healthier state of a couple of Bulldogs plus more in this sort of game preview.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fresno State on Saturday to close out the regular season

It's Fresno State coming to town on Saturday night for a matchup that will be important to the Bulldogs. Finishing in sixth place is at stake with the theory being the higher the finish the 'easier' the matchup come Mountain West Conference tourney time next week.

Also, the Tyler Johnson Brigade will be out in full red force as the former St. Francis High grad will be performing in front of family and friends for what will be for many viewers the last time to see him play college basketball.

After starting MWC play with a a miserable 1-7 record, the Bulldogs have fashioned a 7-2 slate since thus amplifying the reality that tangible improvement can be made over the course of the schedule.

Our February 8 game report on these two teams:
Fresno State wasted no time in putting a hurt on the Spartans and ended up leading 50-29 after the initial 20 minutes. The final score was 82-56. For FSU, former St. Francis High guard Tyler Johnson went for 15 points, 10 rebounds and a quartet of assists. Fellow backcourter Cezar Guerrero, who entered the matchup averaging 13.8 points on 41% and 37% shooting finished with 23, going 8-13 overall and 5-9 from beyond the arc.

In what is now becoming a bit of a broken record, the Bulldogs shot 49% for the game, the Spartans 30%.
Our game preview of that matchup:
It's Fresno State on Saturday afternoon (remember when this was THE rivalry?) down in the San Joaquin.

The Bulldogs are 10-13 overall, 3-7 in conference play and, to some unmeasurable degree, that record can laid at the missing bodies of Robert Upshaw and Braden Anderson.

No, there isn't anything macabre about the preceding sentence so let's explain.

The former is now on the roster at Washington after a tumultuous freshman season of suspensions and his 6-foot-10, 240 frame is missed. His late departure didn't allow time for a replacement recruit. The 6-foot-9 Anderson suffered season-missing injuries in an auto accident early this school year so Coach Rodney Terry has been forced to play small ball.

Senior guard Tyler Johnson stands just 6-foot-4 but he is not only the leader scorer for Fresno State (15.9) but tops in rebounding too (7.2). Also second in assists as he has staked out a mighty impressive claim for all-conference honors.

Another backcourter, 6-foot-4 sophomore Marvelle Harris is playing the Avis role -- second in scoring (14.6) and boardplay (5.3) but he is rather streaky. When on, he's near unstoppable but he still endures periods of disappearances.

A third guard, 5-foot-11 sophomore Cezar Guerrero checks in third in scoring (13.8) plus is the team assist leader with 95. 6-foot-7 freshman wing Paul Watson boasts of 10.1 points plus 4.8 boards per game.

The nominal big for the the Bulldogs is 6-foot-9, 205 junior Alex Davis and he provides 5.5 points plus 4.4 rebounds an outing but leads in blocked shots with 36...

...This certainly is a matchup-able team for the Spartans but also one that possesses a greater degree of experience. It will be tough to win if Fresno State is allowed to get into a flow so San Jose State University's singular goal is not to allow any point runs and make the Bulldogs have to grind it out. Such is the best chance for success.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Colorado State 78, San Jose State University 66

Despite 19 points from Jaleel Williams (plus a team-leading six boards), 14 from Isaac Thornton and Jalen James' seven assists to one turnover, SJSU fell 78-66 tonight to host Colorado State.

The Spartans shot well, 44% overall, 48% from beyond the arc (12-25) and 6-7 from the foul line. CSU attempted 10 less three-pointers but enjoyed 32 opportunities at the charity stripe.

Rashad Muhammad went 2-10 (2-7 from long distance) so it's been some time now for a points explosion from him.

Within the initial three minutes, Devante Wilson buried a pair of treys but finished the night with those six points.

Matt Stephens live-tweeted the game.

He also provided this game report.

Monday, March 3, 2014

At Colorado State on Wednesday

When you have to head into a fort for a matchup, expect tough going. So San Jose State University meets up with Colorado State in -- Fort Collins -- on Wednesday, senior night night to be exact.

The Rams are 15-14 overall this season, 6-10 in the Mountain West Conference and good for eighth place. Coach Larry Eustachy's guys are coming off a 78-70 road loss to UNLV (not bad at all), with three victories and four losses this past month.

It's still 6-foot-7, 240 J.J. Avila (16.8), 6-foot-4 Daniel Bejarano (16.7 and 6-foot-4 Jon Octeus (13.3) as the top scorers but CSU is behind its collective opponents in shooting overall and long distance marksmanship (43% to 44% and 33% to 36%) albeit not by much. But the Rams are better on the boards 37 to 33, have committed about 100 less fouls and are close to 50 less turnovers.

Can Rashad Muhammad go for another 28 points? That's doesn't seem likely considering his recent slump but there will be a time when he busts out of it so why not Hump Day?

The outcome between these two teams back on January 8:
It was a clash of the Rams and the Spartans on Walt McPherson Court tonight with the former departing holding a 66-64 victory. The matchup was close throughout as Coach Larry Eustachy's guys nailed 8-10 free throws near the end to get back into the lead and hold it.
As expected, CSU leading scorer J.J. Avila led the way totaling 21 points (although he shot just 6-20 overall) plus 14 boards, split seven and seven. Daniel Bejarano totaled 15 points, seven rebounds and a team-leading five assists.

On the SJSU ledger, Rashad Muhammad continue to pile up the points, finishing with a season high 28, including 5-6 from long distance. Chris Cunningham enjoyed a 13/5 night, Jaleel Williams 11/6 and freshman point Jalen James earned seven assists but was also whistled for six TOs.

San Jose State University shot an impressive 47% as a team while holding CSU to 40% and the Spartans also won the battle of the boards 29-26. But it was 19 turnovers versus just nine for the Rams.
The preview of that contest:
So it's Colorado State and Coach Larry Eustachy (as well as Assistant Coach Steve Barnes who really, really wanted the position Coach Wojcik got in late March of last year) coming in Wednesday night. The Rams have lost a ton of talent due to graduation and 2013-14 has been pegged to be a rebuilding year

Eustachy's guys are currently 9-6 overall, 0-2 in the Mountain West Conference, a 71-61 loss at home to San Diego State and an 80-72 defeat to host New Mexico. Both are respectable setbacks considering the Aztecs and Lobos are of the top three squads in the league.

On the season, Colorado State has beaten who they were supposed to, except possibly an 80-70 ambush by Denver.

Everywhere Eustachy has coached, his gang have been known for a tough and physical playing style. Therefore, the Rams boast a 39-33.4 advantage in team rebounding plus a 446-315 lead in season free throw attempts.

Here's the who:

* 6-foot-7, 240 Naval Academy transfer J.J. Avila leads in point production at both 18.9 points and 52 assists a game, the latter an unusual feat for a forward

* At 6-foot-4, Daniel Bejarano is tops in rebounding with a 9.4 average and second with 15.1 points an outing

* 6-foot-4 backcourter Jon Octeus is third in scoring with 12.2 points per contest and he is also surprisingly tied for the team lead with 84 free throw tries despite his stationing on the court.

* Another guard, 6-foot-4 Joe DiCiman is the 'designated' three point shooter with a team-leading 50 attempts but a 34% connection rate

* Do watch for backcourter Daniel Cohn who is 14-29 from long distance on the season as well as sporting an extremely attractive 20/5 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Colorado State doesn't possess overwhelming size but they go hard and make contact. Coach Wojcik's frontcourters will be tested on the fouls count.

Unlike in other Spartan games this season, don't look for a number of wide open shot attempts despite SJSU's proclivity for firing away from far away as Eustachy will simply not stand for that.

This is a good test for the youthful Spartans. They won't be overwhelmed by talent but the consistent body contact on the court will be new and challenging. 

Adrian Oliver to New Zealand

Former Modesto Christian star Adrian Oliver has signed to play in New Zealand:
Sharpshooter Jack Leasure won't be back with the Taranaki Mountain Airs in 2014.

Mountain Airs coach Daryn Shaw confirmed yesterday the American guard would not be back for a fifth season.

"I would have been more than happy to have Jack back," Shaw said yesterday.

"But he couldn't commit and I had to make a decision.

"There were a few complications. Jack's wife is expecting their second child and he's coaching fulltime.

"It was a bit tricky."

Shaw said he would have also liked to re-sign Kenny Gabriel who impressed fans last season with his athleticism and ability to slam dunk.

"Kenny's an exciting talent and it would have been good to have him back. But he's committed to playing in Greece."

With Leasure and Gabriel off the radar, Shaw went searching for two imports.

"I've signed two and they're both really exciting players.

"Two young players who are hungry and looking for a chance to get their careers going," he said.

The two are big man Gabe Knutson and shooting guard Adrian Oliver, both Americans.

Knutson is a 23-year-old 2.05m (6ft 9in) forward who played for Lehigh University before playing stints in Bulgaria and Slovakia.

"He's a good solid forward, not massive, but a skilful big man," said Shaw.

Oliver is a 25-year-old 1.9m (6ft 3in) guard who had two years with the University of Washington and three years with San Jose State, before picking up contracts in Greece and Poland as well as with NBA development team Reno Bighorns. "Adrian comes with some impressive credentials. I've seen clips of him playing and he's a good shooter . . . really exciting."

Shaw said with a limited budget, it was good to secure two young players looking to improve their games.

"These two kids want to play here and they're coming for the right reasons." 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Utah State 75, SJSU 58

Spencer (Del Oro High, Yuba College) Butterfield liked being back in California to the tune of 22 points (6-8 from beyond the arc) and the season long Spartan problem in the middle also re-appeared in the form of Jarred Shaw's 19 points plus 17 rebounds as San Jose State University fell at home to Utah State 75-58.

Being topped in board play by 15 rebounds (granted the many Spartan misses contributed to the 46-31 differential) and connecting on a low percentage of attempts (30% overall, 23% on treys) are not the means to a victory. Just about half the SJSU aims and fires were of the long distance variety.

D.J. Brown produced a solid shooting game with 15 points and Chris Cunningham's 10 points plus nine rebounds and a pair of blocked shots were the highlights for the Washington Square-ites. Another plus was getting to the foul line for 31 opportunities.

It took SJSU close to five minutes to move their scoreboard number from zero as D.J. Brown's trey at the 15:17 mark broke the ice to make it 12-3.

The Spartans did make it 67-56 late in the game but could only put up two more points after that.

Something to look forward to is that 4/5 of the Aggies starting lineup departs and the proverbial cupboard looks a bit bare for 2014-15.

Go here for game photos.