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."


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:


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."


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.


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


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


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."


"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."


"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):

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.


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.


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.