Saturday, January 31, 2015

New Mexico 67, SJSU 41

It's hard but not impossible to win being out-rebounded by 10

But shooting 25% makes it a double whammy and with 32 of 52 shots being trey attempts.

But do give credit to Rashad Muhammad for leading with 15 points and for earning five shots from the foul line on the night as well as Jaleel Williams' 14 points plus 10 rebounds.

The score was 31-15 at halftime.


New Mexico beat reporter on the state of Spartan hoops

Geoff Grammer covers the how-it-got-to-this territory about SJSU basketball.

Friday, January 30, 2015

SJSU @ NM Saturday 6:00 p.m.

Normally being associated with something called "The Pit" is not a bragging fact. But things are different in "The Land of Enchantment -- Albuquerque in particular  -- as basketball is king, queen and probably rest of the court there. Since 1966, the New Mexico basketball team has played underground on a court 37 feet below street level and that has apparently been quite amenable since average attendance is over 15,000 per game.

With Alburquerque itself being 5,000 plus feet above sea level, such a mix probably gives opposing players the bends.

Last but not least, "The Pit" has actually undergone a name change of sorts. In late 2014, a local restaurant chain paid five million dollars to own the naming rights through 2025 so it's actually now titled WisePies Arena. However, to the locals, it will always be called its birth name.

Lobo basketball was supposed to drop this season since two seven-footers graduated and the four-year starter at the point did likewise. Then Cullen Neal, the son of the coach, went out for this season with an injury after starting out at 17 points per game. But 13-7 and 5-3 (8-2 at home) indicate current life isn't, well, anything near the pits for New Mexico.

That's because defending has been the calling card in 2014-15. As the latest UNM press release spelled out: "The Lobos are one of only two programs in the nation to not allow 70 points or more in a game this season, joining the Cincinnati Bearcats. It’s a New Mexico defense that is on pace to finish the season with top ten marks in program history in points allowed, defensive field goal percentage, and defensive three-point field goal percentage."

Coach Craig Neal's guys are holding opponents to 39% overall shooting, 29% from long distance.

SJSU will not be matching up with an offensive powerhouse. 6-foot-5 Deshawn Delaney leads New Mexico in both scoring and rebounding with 12.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest averages. Guard Hugh Greenwood, who is cribbing a look from a certain Justin Graham, averages 11.9 points plus a team best 70 assists. No other Lobo is scoring in double figures.

The game begins at 6:00 p.m. Mountain Time

MWC basketball

From Mark Zeigler: "Just FYI: Mountain West currently nation's No. 12 basketball conference in both RPI and kenpom ratings. Big West is currently No. 13.

It's really hard to believe that the Big West is that close but maybe it's a one year anomaly with one league down and the other way up.

From Matt Stephens: "Conference expansion is the worst thing to happen to Mountain West basketball. Nevada, SJSU and Fresno State bring down league RPI."

Can't argue that. Need big improvements in all three of those programs. But as other noted, the latest incarnation of the MWC came about because of football.

Prep Hoops Indiana honors SJSU-commit Welage

Congrats to our PHI Player of the Week, Greensburg's Ryan Welage

While the eyes of basketball fanatics around the state have turned towards the impending clash of titans in the 4A tournament, Greensburg PF Ryan Welage has made sure that the attention is spread a bit more evenly between classes. The 6’9” power forward has led the Pirates to three straight victories and a #5 spot in 3A classification.

Welage led all scorers in the matchup against Madison with 43 points (70% FG), 16 rebounds, and two blocks, pushing the Pirates to a 92-82 win over the Cubs. Just a day later, Welage led all scorers again with a 47-point game against South Decatur, picking up 13 rebounds along the way and outscoring the entire Cougars team in a 68-31 victory for Greensburg.

"I was just concentrated on helping my team win the game," Welage said in an interview Wednesday evening. "I just kept telling myself to be patient and pick my spots to attack, but I knew I was getting hot."

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Patty offered

Per Brad Winston, SJSU has extended an offer to A.J. Patty of Vicennes Junior College in Indiana. He stands 6-foot-8 and weighs 210

It's a squad that made it to the NJCAA Final Four the last two years and is currently ranked #2 nationally with a 20-0 record.

Last year as a freshman, he averaged 4.9 points and 3.7 rebounds. This time around, 14.7 points and 8.6 boards, He's shooting 51%, 45% and 77% respectively.

Bradley and Morehead State offered back in November.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Air Force 66, SJSU 52

At halftime, Air Force owned a 29-23 advantage and it was still anyone's game.

One would think that with the Falcons' top scorer producing zero points and Jaleel Williams posting a 16 point, seven rebound line that a victory would be in grasp. The Spartans came close, even at times in the second half, but could never get the score tied.

Rashad Muhammad began the game 'en fuego' as he achieved 11 points fairly early but unfortunately that was his total at the final buzzer. Darryl Gaynor II enjoyed a solid shooting outing and finished with 15 points but suffered five turnovers. Isaac Thornton was tops with five assists.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Desert Vista (Brandon Clarke) falls to Corona Del Sol

Corona Del Sol turned back Desert Vista High last night 71-57. CDS has a 6-foot-7 forward who has signed with New Mexico plus a freshman big (already with offers from UCLA, Arizona, Connecticut, New Mexico and more) and a sophomore point (whose recruiting will go national). The game was a sellout, 3,000 in attendance.

SJSU signee Brandon Clarke scored 12 points.


Sophomore point guard Alex Barcello tried to silence Phoenix Desert Vista's big student section with two 3s to open Tuesday's battle between the top two ranked boys basketball teams in the state.

After host Tempe Corona del Sol got to 12 points, its student section, dressed in black, let out a roar on "Silent Night."

It got louder from there, and top-ranked Corona del Sol held back No. 2 Desert Vista for a 71-57 Division I victory.

Barcello finished with 31 points, including eight points during a two-minute stretch in the fourth quarter that gave Corona del Sol (21-1) a 53-44 lead after Desert Vista (20-2) had gotten within four.

Corona del Sol hasn't lost at home since December 2010.

"I just took what they gave me," Barcello said. "They started double-teaming me in the second half and I just kicked it out to my teammates."

It was an overall great defensive effort that kept quick and aggressive Desert Vista at bay.

Leading scorer Brandon Clarke didn't have a big impact offensively until a quick flourish late in the third quarter when Desert Vista was trying to get out of a 13-point hole.

Clarke, who had 12 points, picked up his fourth foul with seven minutes left.

He returned a minute later, after 6-foot-10 freshman Marvin Bagley III returned after sitting the first two minutes of the quarter.

Bagley didn't have one of his better offensive games but he impacted it defensively, along with wing Dane Kuiper (15 points) and guard Tyrell Henderson (12 points).

Bagley and Kuiper both scraped the glass in the second quarter to reject shots. Henderson blocked three shots in the second half. Corona del Sol disrupted Desert Vista's offensive flow, as players rushed awkward shots.

Bordow: Attitude, talent stand out for Bagley

"We couldn't get the offense in a rhythm because of some other things, the environment," Desert Vista coach Tony Darden said.

There was a line wrapped halfway around Corona del Sol's gym 40 minutes before the game to get into a gym that was already packed for the 4 o'clock freshman game.

"We tell our kids, 'A lot of times we're going to be fighting more than five guys'," Darden said. "We just had other things we had to overcome."

Ryan Welage's last two games

So how is Spartan signee Ryan Welage doing lately?

Ryan Welage, Greensburg: The 6-9 San Jose State recruit averaged 45.0 points in two games. He posted 43 points and 17 rebounds in a 92-82 win over Madison and followed it with a school-record 47 points and 13 rebounds in a 68-31 win over South Decatur. He eclipsed the old record of 45 points set by Bob Barker in 1967.

The weekly MWC beat report

Here's the weekly Mountain West Conference roundup with each team's newspaper beat reporter providing an update.

Jimmy Durkin on the Spartans:

The team probably needed the week off it received after its most recent defeat, an 86-36 drubbing at Boise State that's the second-most lopsided defeat in Mountain West history.

The 36 points isn't even the Spartans' lowest scoring game of the season. They put up just 33 in the Mountain West opening loss to Utah State. It's the third time they've been held up 40 points and the seventh time they've failed to score at least 45. SJSU's average margin of defeat is at a whopping 15.7 points and only one of its seven MW losses has been by single digits.

The season hasn't gone a ton better for Air Force, the Spartans' next opponent. The Falcons are just 1-7 in Mountain West play. Who was that one win against? You guessed it.

San Jose State was throttled 78-56 in Colorado Springs on Jan. 7 in a game in which Rashad Muhammad scored 26 points but got little help.

There are precious few remaining chances for the Spartans to get a conference win this year, which would also serve as their first win over a Division I opponent. Air Force is one of those opportunities, along with a pair of meetings with Nevada (SJSU's only MW win last year was against the Wolf Pack).

Monday, January 26, 2015

Can SJSU win on Wednesday?

Call me crazy.

You wouldn't be the first and your pejorative would actually be a rather mild one compared to others directed this way.

Anyway, here goes: San Jose State University has a chance to defeat Air Force on Wednesday.

Here's why:

* elevation, actually the lack thereof

The game will be played at sea level rather than the 6,500 feet of Colorado Springs and that should help reduce any in-game fatigue the shorthanded Spartans experience.

* Max Yon is out on personal leave

The Air Force senior guard produced 13 points and six rebounds in the January 7 matchup between these two teams that concluded as a 78-56 loss for the visiting Washington Square crew. He shot 5-8 overall, 2-3 from beyond the arc.

* Rashad Muhammad

The best Spartan talent for producing points, he tallied 26 back on January 7, shooting 6-12. Daryl Gaynor II also shot well, 4-8 overall, 2-4 from long distance for 11 points but did suffer seven turnovers, half of what the team committed.

* Jaleel Williams

He produced just three points and four boards in 38 minutes. It's within the realm of possibility for his point total to say be tripled on Wednesday. It won't be a victory without an elevated game from him.

What must also happen:

* Shooting percentage

SJSU shot a respectable 45% overall last time but any likelihood of that going higher is nil. So what the Spartans must do is somehow diminish the Cadets shooting percentage -- 61% in the earlier pairing cannot be repeated.

* (Reducing) scoring in the paint

SJSU isn't going to put up big numbers close to the basket this season but the 46-16 point differential in the last game has to become much closer. Therefore, reducing layups and chippies are tied as job one defensively.

And no, neither Miss Cleo, The Amazing Kreskin nor Carnak the Magnificent were consulted for this post.

The financial side of college athletic scholarships

Mike Brohard writes about the financial side of a college athletic scholarship, what is covered, what isn't, how it changes if a student-athlete moves off campus, etc. This is a solid and informative read.

Wilner's Top 10 Bay Area college basketball players

Rashad Muhammad nabs the @10 spot in Jon Wilner's rankings of Bay Area college basketball players.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Monroe's Doctrine

Switching sports for a moment, here's a link to a feature on SJSU football commit Dakari Monroe.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Spartans 'babysitting' Welage

In Greensburg High's latest game, 6-foot-8 SJSU commit Ryan Welage finished with 43 points plus 17 rebounds.

Via Curtis Chatham: "San Jose coach in the house to watch Madison vs Greensburg. Ryan Welage committed to San Jose earlier this season."

Have to admit it's a good line

Paul Gerke/KIVI TV in Boise had some fun after the Boise State - San Jose State University game on Wednesday: "The Boise State men's basketball team beat San Jose State 86-36 Wednesday night, in a slaughter of Spartans unseen since the Battle of Thermopylae."

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Bulldogs get a Pac-12 transfer

Robert Kuwada reports that Fresno State has picked up a guard transferring from Washington.

Boise St. 86, San Jose State University 36

This one was over early. Try 45-17 at halftime, with the Spartans shooting 4-17 and committing 13 turnovers. Lengthy pass attempts against the Bronco press were not ending up in the right team's hands.

Rashad Muhammad's 13 points and Brandon Mitchell's eight rebounds led the Spartans.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The weekly MWC team roundup

Here is the weekly roundup on each Mountain West Conference team.

From Jimmy Durkin:

What’s left to say about the Spartans as they embark on the final half of another terribly long year?

The players and coach Dave Wojcik still have positive attitudes — remarkably so, in fact — perhaps unburdened by the expectations of winning.

“I don’t want to be down,” Wojcik said. “If they see me down, then they’re down. I’m staying upbeat.”

Since putting a scare into Wyoming almost three weeks ago, something made possible in part by the Cowboys’ own style of play, San Jose State has lost its past four games by an average of 24 points.

“I think they’re playing their butts off,” Wojcik said. “They’re giving me everything they have and I know that. I just wish they would have some success. I feel for those guys because they are giving us everything.”

Wojcik hopes that will eventually translate into at least a win or two. That’s going to be tough this week though at Boise State, where Wojcik spent three years as an assistant before taking the job at SJSU.

“They’re going to want to kick (our) backsides, a little bit more because of me,” Wojcik said.

Monday, January 19, 2015

If it's Wednesday, it must be Boise State

SJSU travels north and east next to face Boise State on Wednesday evening. It's a Bronco squad hurting a bit from injury but one coming off a very successful weekend. A loss at Colorado State to open up Mountain West Conference play was followed by a home defeat to Utah State and then dropping one to Wyoming in Laramie. But a recent overtime road success versus UNLV was matched by beating New Mexico by 10 points in The Pit on Saturday.

Right now, it's the Derrick Marks Show. The husky (210 pounds) senior guard tallied 31 points against New Mexico, 28 versus Vegas, 16 matching up with Wyoming's tough defense and put 31 on Utah State. For the season, he's averaging 18.6 points a game, shooting 52% overall, 51% from long distance and 84% at the foul line. His beyond the arc accuracy thus far though is just 36% in league play.

After Marks, it's anyone's guess who will provide the scoring as it's been different players providing double figures each night. Usually it's 6-foot-9 James Webb at 10.1 points (but he's primarily an outside player), plus 6-foot-4 backcourter Mikey Thompson with 9.2 points.

Boise also has 6-foot-9 Nick Duncan upfront. He is averaging 8.4 points an outing but shooting 35% and 30%. More than two thirds of his shots have been three-point attempts so he and Webb will be a new wrinkle for the Spartans. An ankle malady was slowing him down earlier.

6-foot-4 Anthony Drmic was averaging 15 points per contest but is out for the remainder of the season due to an ankle injury.

Boise State notes from Dave Southern

Dave Southern is the Boise State beat reporter for the idaho Statesman:

(Derrick) Marks and sophomore forward James Webb III have carried the Broncos offensively as of late (they had 54 points combined Sunday), but Boise State coach Leon Rice is hopeful others can step up. Junior guard Mikey Thompson is 15-of-57 (26.3 percent) from the field in his last seven games, and sophomore forward Nick Duncan is 16-of-65 (24.6 percent) in his last seven. Duncan did hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with less than four minutes to play.

"The crazy thing is that James was 7-for-7 from 3, Nick's going to have one of those games and I think he'll have it soon," Rice said. "He's not making all of them, but he made a big one (Sunday). … I can see us being even better in a month. Mikey had one point, but he can go and get 20..."

...The 6-foot-9 sophomore has made 12 3-pointers in his last three games after making 10 all season before that. In Mountain West games, he's averaging 12.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. On the season, he's 42-of-57 on two-point shots (73.7 percent) and 22-of-45 on 3-pointers (48.9 percent). His dunks are already well-known, as is ability to rebound (15 against UNLV), but with his outside game showing up, Webb is becoming a force in the league...

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Funny how sentiment changes

Coach David Carter's Wolf Pack beats UNLV and he's the toast of the state. Nevada loses very badly to Colorado State and Carter's toast.

Chris Murray writes about this swing in favorability.

The MWC versus the MVC

A challenge matchup of conferences featuring members of the Mountain West taking on those of the Missouri Valley appear to be heading to fruition. These pairings haven't taken place since 2012.

Not sure what the impetus for renewal is but if this takes St. Katherine off the schedules of any MWC teams, then go for it.

Colorado State 70, San Jose State University 41

Colorado State didn't shoot all that well on Saturday night, try 40%, but still had no trouble with San Jose State University because the Spartans were accurate on just 21% of their attempts. The Rams were also granted 11 more free throw tries and easily won the boards battle at 46-27.

Isaac Thornton posted the best line for SJSU at 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.

The Washington Square guys were down by 12 at the half but the game got out of hands afterwards.

There's just not much more to write.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Tillo offered by SJSU

From Jon Young: "...Another player to watch is Sioux City North’s Daniel Tillo. The 6-5 shooting guard, who averaged 21.6 points per game as a junior, is being offered scholarships from San Jose State, Northern Colorado and South Dakota. He is also being recruited in football and baseball..."

DANIEL TILLO, sr., Sioux City North: Offers from San Jose State, Northern Colorado, South Dakota

Here's one feature.

Here's a more recent one.

Colorado State Saturday

Coach Larry Eustachy's teams always present toughness, a physicality in all aspects of the game but especially on the boards and in the paint. So yes, the Rams this season are close to a +6 in rebounding and have attempted 120 more foul shots than opponents.

J.J. Avila at 6-foot-8/250 leads in scoring and boardwork with 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds a contest plus his 33 steals is also tops and his 56 assists are second. That's Renaissance Man basketball.

6-foot-8/225 Stanton Kidd comes in at 11.6 points and 5.0 boards respectively. 6-foot-5/210 Daniel Bejarano, the nominal starter at the point, owns 10.8 and 7.0 marks and has a 57/28 assist-to-turnover ratio. Another to watch is 6-foot guard John Gillon, possessor of a 57/21 assist-to-turnover mark. Remarkably, he plays just 20 minutes a game yet leads in free throws attempted and made.

CS jumped out to a 16-0 mark to open the season and is now 16-2 overall, 3-2 in the Mountain West Conference with losses at New Mexico (66-53) and at home to Wyoming (60-54).

The last Ram game was an anomaly --  at least the scoring margin -- a 98-42 homecourt romp over Nevada.

The other aspect to CS is it being Transfer U. Avila came from the Naval Academy. Kidd from North Carolina Central, Bejarano started out with Arizona and Gillon moved over from Arkansas Little Rock. In fact, just five of the 14 players dotting the Ram roster are Eustachy high school signees.

Also, do say hello to Steve Barnes, one of Eustachy's assistants, if you're so inclined.

Terrence Johnson and SJSU

6-foot-3 Terrence Johnson plays football and basketball for Cienega High in Arizona and wants to do so in college. SJSU has interest, or at least did so last summer:

"So far, Johnson said he has received football scholarship offers from Arizona and SDSU plus basketball offers from Portland and Weber State. In addition, San Jose State has been recruiting him for basketball — but said it’s OK if he wants to play football, too — and Montana has pitched him with a reverse, football-first idea..."

It appears he is rated a better prospect on the gridiron. UC Davis just offered.

More on BClarke

Via Jared Cohen:

Most Improved Player: I am sure there have been many players from around the state that have made great improvement from the junior to senior year this season. But the only I keep hearing about the most is Desert Vista senior forward Brandon Clarke. The Thunder last season were a young and talented team that was having trouble getting over the hump against other elite teams in division I. This year that has all changed as the Thunder are out to a 16-1 start. A large part of that has been because of the play of Clarke who has elevated his game to another level. He is averaging close to a triple double in the 17 games played at just under 17 points, just under 10 rebounds and six blocks per game. All are stats that lead the team. Last season he averaged nine points, five rebounds and two blocks. His presence along with the three other teammates that average double digit scoring per game is the result of the Thunder already at the beginning of January matching the exact number of wins they had all of last season. San Jose State is getting a fantastic player who is just getting better and better in Clarke.

Welage doing just fine

A Kelly Lowhorn tweet: "The state's leading scorer, Greensburg's Ryan Welage, had 27 points tonight in the Pirates blowout win over rival Batesville."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Kept in the dark

So how did certain Mountain West Conference game announcers know about the official dismissals of Jordan Baker and Frank Rogers plus the transfer of Matt Pollard (as was posted on screen in a graphic during a game last Saturday)?

Was this knowledge due to a requirement that each team in the MWC keep the league office current with its officially eligible players?

Regardless of the circumstances, "outsiders" if you will had this information and posted it.

San Jose State University athletics didn't bother to do so, at least not to its basketball fans, supporters and donors.

Hey SJSU, news alert -- roster changes happen.

Spartan basketball fans and supporters deserved to be among the first notified. They pony up the money for season tickets, gameday tickets and donations. That kind of information exchange is an informal quid pro quo.

Why should anyone come to a game if they don't have any way of knowing who will be playing for San Jose State University?

It's making a statement (even if, to be generous, this was an inadvertent oversight) that those who make the effort to be in the stands, sometimes requiring an hour or two drive, aren't important.

This clandestine mindset is disingenuous and serves no positive purpose. It makes the affiliation with SJSU men's basketball harder to gain traction, let alone maintain. That's deadly given the decades of futility Spartan hoops fans have already endured.

Interesting figures

The following was posted at the USUFans Basketball MB and is salary only, fringe benefits, etc. not included:

CSU - Larry Eustachy - $910k
SDSU - Steve Fisher - $907k
UNM - Craig Neal - $750k
UNLV - Dave Rice - $700k
UW - Larry Shyatt - $700k
BSU - Leon Rice - $596k
USU - Stew Morrill - $500k
UNR - Dave Carter - $400k
FSU - Rodney Terry - $350k
AFA - Dave Pilipovich - $350k
SJSU - Dave Wojcik - $172k

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fresno State 73, SJSU 62

The Spartans were down by just two at the half but Fresno State advanced the lead early in the second 20 minutes and won 73-62 tonight at Walt McPherson Court.

Sophomore Rashad Muhammad led with 16 points followed by Jaleel Williams' 13 and he also contributed six boards. Brandon Mitchell filled the stat sheet coming close to a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds, all in 20 minutes of court time.

SJSU out-boarded the Bulldogs 33- 25 and remarkably shot 26 free throws to 16 for the visitors. A 17-11 deficit in turnovers hindered the chances for victory though. Fresno also made 26 baskets to 18 for the Spartans.

Robert Kuwada game reports.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The weekly MWC team reports

The newspaper beat reporters for the various Mountain West Conference teams offer up their takes this week on each squad.

SJSU hosts Fresno St.

Yes, it's that time although the allure has worn off. There's no more crimson scare as the Red Wave has receded so don't expect much of that color in the stands surrounding Walt McPherson Court on Wednesday night when the Spartans take on Fresno State.

Coach Rodney Terry's squad is guard-oriented, with 6-foot-4 Marvelle Harris coming off a 40-point game versus Nevada and standing atop the individual scoring chart in the Mountain West Conference at 18.5 points per game. That and his 5.2 rebounds plus 62 assists leads Fresno in those categories.

6-foot-8 Alex Davis is the nominal big and injuries have curtailed his effectiveness (4.1 points and 3.8 rebounds an outing). This is not a team that will overpower anyone -- it's a squad built on speed and skill although the latter, specifically shooting prowess, waxes and wanes. See second-leading scorer 6-foot-4 Julienne Lewis at 39% overall shooting and 17% from beyond the arc plus 6-foot-7 Paul Watson, third place in scoring, at 36% overall shooting.

As a team, Fresno State is at 43% overall shooting, 30% from long distance and 70% from the foul line.

The Dogs opened conference play with a loss at New Mexico, then notched two victories at home against San Diego State and Utah State, followed by a road win versus the Wolf Pack.

Fresno Bee Bulldog beat reporter Robert Kuwada covers what's been up with the Raisinettes.

North Carolina St. over Duke produced this

Yes, this is real potty humor but...

Chris Murray's latest MWC team rankings

Chris Murray is out with his weekly Mountain West Conference team rankings. Boise State at #9 is a shocker -- the loss of Anthony Drmic certainly hurts but the expectation that others on the team would step up is a valid, if yet unfulfilled, one.
Plus, maybe the next Wyoming and San Diego State matchup will end in regulation at 0-0.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Guerrero back for the Bulldogs

File this one under When It Rains, It Pours: "Fresno State's Cezar Guerrero is expected to play Wednesday vs. San Jose State, source tells ESPN."

Guerrero started at the point last season but academics waylaid him until now. 3-1 Fresno comes to Walt McPherson court on Wednesday. The Bulldogs own wins over San Diego State, Utah State and Nevada.

Mac still at it

From Reginald Milligan: "Behind Mac Peterson 30pts the San Francisco Rumble beat the Central Valley Titans 114-102 in A.B.A. action last night Joseph Lee Rec Center."

Sunday, January 11, 2015

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

From March 15, 2014 -- being reposted almost in its entirety:

WHAT isn't really understood (or maybe is intellectually but not emotionally) is how led-on, lied to and just plain abused 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 hopefully, more often than not, could sport a winning record.

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

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 determinations or bring-in-a-buddy decisions. There was greater allegiance to friends than to San Jose State University itself or the supporters who annually open up their wallets and checkbooks.

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 history.

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 a mostly motley crew of ever changing grifters -- with a bottom line knowledge of what the end result would be. Yet the mutual pathology could never be admitted.

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.

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.

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.


Below is an addition:

IF one believed in such an element, an impressive case could be made that San Jose State University basketball is simply jinxed, forever to be flawed and the ugly stepchild in whatever association it holds membership.

But that not being the case, at least with jinxes, how do the latest events -- the firing of an associate head coach and the suspension of close to half the team -- get psychologically processed by fans and supporters in lieu of Spartan hoops history? Then comes the coup de gras for the season with two upperclassmen being booted from the program and a third player departing due to seeing the proverbial hand writing on the wall.

There is no all encompassing answer -- it will be up to each individual.

The chorus coming from Washington Square is always stay strong and believe.

But already there is a history, albeit short.

Jack Kennedy, Omar Lowery and now Chris Brazelton -- the trio making up last season's coaching staff, are gone, reasons and motivation generally unknown.

Two upperclassmen, who should be at least among the leaders/elder statesmen on a young team, instead become poison pills with their behavior.

It's painful to type this but there is a question of hiring judgment lingering that isn't going away soon. Coach Wojcik brought in all these individuals and the responsibility lies with him. To his credit, current assistant coaches Mike Lepore and Tyler Ojanen seem solid but the batting average of coach and player hires, to mix sports metaphors, must improve.

Player development has been, let's just say iffy, yet it's is too short a time period for a full-on judgment. So a pass is probably deserved here until more time goes by. However, new recruits Cody Schwartz, Brandon Clarke and Ryan Welage display potential with their respective skill sets but two will need drastic body development to be effective factors in the Mountain West Conference. Each also seems like a solid citizen which is obviously becoming a more crucial element.

So how to continue to believe? What's the formula in order to do so?

Durkin on the official word

Jimmy Durkin reports on the official word of two players departing the San Jose State University basketball program and a third transferring.

Do credit Evan Pope for initially discovering this turn of events on Saturday.

One sidenote - from Matt Stephens, the Coloradoan beat reporter for Colorado State athletics:

"Baker wanted to come to CSU until SJSU visit."

Three gone from the team

Evan Pope at the Inside The Spartans Basketball MB has posted that during his viewing of last night's Vegas-SJSU game, a graphic came on the screen explaining that Jordan Baker and Frank Rogers have been dismissed from the team and that Matt Pollard is transferring.

Had heard that Rogers was gone for the season but couldn't get confirmation of that.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

UNLV 74, SJSU 40

UNLV was 'on' enough tonight to handle San Jose State University handily 74-40. The Spartans were consistent though with 20 points in each 20 minute period. Senior forward Jaleel Williams led with 17 but required 19 shot attempts. Junior forward Ivo Basor grabbed 10 boards.

In their return home, Darryl Gaynor II shot 2-16 and Rashad Muhammad 0-11. Overall, the Spartans shot 14-60, 2-19 from beyond the arc and were credited with just two assists.

Matt Youmans/Las Vegas Review-Journal game reports.

Taylor Bern/Las Vegas Sun game reports.

Friday, January 9, 2015

D.J. Brown living large

D.J. Brown graduated from SJSU with a year of eligibility remaining and now is at Texas State. Here is what he has been up to recently.

Spartans in Vegas on Saturday

So UNLV has the top scorer, top rebounder, top shotblocker and top assist players in the Mountain West Conference. That's a shuddering thought.

But which Vegas team will show up Saturday?

After all, the Rebels are 0-2 right now with 76-71 losses at Wyoming and most recently 64-62 to Nevada at the Thomas and Mack.

Will it be the squad that earlier defeated Arizona 76-71? Or the crew that needed overtime to beat Portland by two and eeked past Morehead State by just a single point? Or the guys who have committed 19 more turnovers than their collective opponents this season?

6-foot-9 Christian Wood is going to be a load with his best-on-the-team 15.5 points and 9.9 boards a contest. Goodluck Okonoboh at 6-foot-10 has 42 shot rejections 14 games. 6-foot-3 point Cody Doolin is Mr. Steady in the backcourt. 6-foot-6 freshman Rashad Vaughn is the wildcard as he can go off (17.5 points an outing) or become a non-factor.

Adam Hill issued grades after the loss to Nevada.

Stew Morrill retiring after this season

This one will be fascinating because who jumps in as candidates will dictate the perception of how the Utah State job is perceived. LINK

Aggie fans think USU is a 'warm'  as opposed to 'hot' commodity. Let's see.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Clarke moving on up

Richard Obert/AZ Central has updated his boys basketball player rankings and a certain SJSU signee is in the top five:

No. 4 Brandon Clarke, Phoenix Desert Vista, 6-7, Sr.

This San Jose State signee has improved as much as any player in the state, showing off a great knack for blocking shots and putting up double-doubles for points and rebounds. He is the main reason Desert Vista is off to a 14-1 start. San Jose State is going to be happy for a long time with this kid on the floor. Very unselfish, he makes his teammates better and impacts the game at both ends of the court with his hustle and skills.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Air Force 78, SJSU 56

It was just a deficit of 37-26 at the half but Air Force ended the first 20 minutes on a roll and that momentum continued as the Cadets turned back San Jose State University 78-56 in Colorado Springs tonight.

Sophomore Rashad Muhammad finished with 26 points for the Spartans,  freshman Darryl Gaynor II totaled 11 points and sophomore Isaac Thornton finished with six assists as Spartan highlights.

27 of the 49 Washington Square shot attempts came from beyond the arc. AF shot 61% for the game and this was a team missing its best frontcourter due to season-ending injury.

The Spartans are now 0-3 in Mountain West Conference play. Next up is UNLV on Saturday.

Brett Smith - a rock and a hard place

Robert Klemko has a cautionary tale all about Brett Smith, the former Wyoming quarterback who was first committed to San Jose State University football but changed his mind. Marcus Arroyo helped convince him to come to Laramie and then Arroyo left to become the quarterback coach at Cal for Jeff Tedford. Hey, it's a business.

A couple of snippets:

"...they recall the missteps that have kept Brett here instead of being on an NFL roster—or even back at the University of Wyoming for his senior season. It’s a catalog of realizations, all seemingly obvious in hindsight, that were ambiguous at the moment of execution..."


"...The same pool of scouts that labeled Smith Rds. 4-7—meaning they could see him being one of the draft’s 256 picks—told him just weeks later he wasn’t among the top 335 prospects invited to the 2014 combine..."

What's puzzling is that Smith never consulted with his Cowboy head coach before making the decision to turn pro.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The week take on each MWC team

Geoff Grammer (the Albuquerque Journal beat reporter for New Mexico athletics) offers up the collective update from each respective beat reporter of each Mountain West Conference team.

Another Welage signing article

Eric Wohlford adds his article to Ryan Welage signing group. This one has the best Welage photo.

Murray's weekly MWC team rankings

Chris Murray is out with his weekly Mountain West Conference team rankings. Colorado State remain on top.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Job #1 for the new Fresno AD

Marek Warszawski/Fresno Bee writes that job #1 for the new Fresno athletic director is getting butts in seats for men's basketball. As Fresno and the surrounding towns has grown exponentially, very few are coming to see Bulldog basketball.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Ground the Air Force

That is the mission for San Jose State University basketball in Colorado Springs on Wednesday.

AF (7-6, 0-2) has played a rather cupcake schedule full of Grambling States, Colorado Christians and Western States. As for common foes, Coach Dave Pilipovich's guys lost 81-75 on the road to UC Davis.

The Falcons are coming off an 80-62 bopping by up-to-then offensive laggard Nevada. The Wolf Pack shot 48%, dominated the rebounding and went to the foul line 17 more times (a total of 35) -- this with a frontline featuring really just a solitary solid shotblocker/rebounder.

To win, the AF typically must get strong, efficient efforts from this trio:

* 6-foot-4 senior guard Max Yon -- 14.7 points per game, 51%, 42%, 71% shooting respectively. Half of his shots have been from long distance.

* 6-foot-9, 220 senior Marek Olesinski - -8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds a game, 51%, 36% (41 trey attempts) and 79% shooting  

* 6-foot-6 senior Justin Hammonds -- 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds a game

Trevor Lyons is the point and owns a 29/10 assist-to-turnover ratio while fellow guard Matt Mooney is averaging 7.1 points alongside a 32/17 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Second leading scorer and top boardman this season Kamryn Williams is injured and sidelined while guard Tre' Coggins, last season's leading scorer, transferred and is sitting out this season at Cal State Fullerton.

As a team AF is connecting on 49% of all shot attempts, holding opponents to 40%, so this is a team that can shoot. There won't be any physical overpowering but rather a unique offense employed, often labeled the Princeton style. It's generally four players on the perimeter with a big at the top of the key. Players are always in motion, attempting to find or create a breakdown to utilize. There will be lots of screens and backdoor cuts.

Another factor is elevation as Colorado Springs is 6,000 feet high. The Spartans will need all the (bodies) lungs they can muster.

More on the Welage commit

Kyle Neddenriep talked with Ryan Welage after the Greensburg High big committed to San Jose State University.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Wyoming 64, SJSU 59

Well, wasn't that a game! Regardless of any nonsense talk about Wyoming not being up for such a matchup, it was the carrying out of the game plan and the Cowboys not making the needed adjustments that made it just 64-59 in favor of Wyoming.

Rashad Muhammad and Jaleel Williams were allowed to return to action which gave the Spartans more offensive weapons and depth.

Darryl Gaynor II led with 17 points (7-18 shooting), Ivo Basor tallied 14 on a perfect shooting night (6-6 overall, 2-2 at the freethrow line) and Muhammad contributed 13 (5-17 shooting).

Two elements aided the closeness:

1. San Jose put up 54 shots in spite of a slow-it-down offense to just 38 for the visitors

2. Wyoming made the decision to not apply defensive pressure, thus just five turnovers for the Spartans.

There were also two moments in which a Washington Square mulligan was needed:

1. Yes, good looks were hard to establish but Rashad Muhammad's forced trey attempt with 1:34 remaining wasn't necessary -- not sure if he even saw the basket

2) Darryl Gaynor's foul of Riley Grabau (the best in the nation at the line) when SJSU was down by one at the 1:57 mark

A 30-6 deficit at the charity stripe wasn't unexpected but obviously hurt the Spartan chances for a victory.

Jimmy Durkin game reports.

As does Robert Gagliardi.

Wyoming versus SJSU tonight

Larry Nance Jr. If you need a reason to go to the game tonight at Walt McPherson Court, then the Pre Season Player of the Year selection Nance is it. Some of you may remember his father (13 seasons with Phoenix and Cleveland in the NBA) who earned the nickname "The High-Ayatolla of Slamola" for his leaping ability on blocks, dunks and rebounds. Well, like father, like son.

Here's a great breakdown of Nance's offensive play in a recent game against UNLV. Wyoming won at home, 76-71.

Recently per Jon Rothstein:

"Larry Nance Jr. would be a major factor in any conference in America

Smooth, skilled and always under control, the versatile forward is on a tear for the Cowboys, who are looking more and more like a legitimate threat to win the Mountain West Conference. Nance has made 20 of 31 field goals over his last two games and is averaging 30.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks during that span. Blessed with great size at 6-8 along with an unbelievable feel for the game, Nance is an effortless passer who can dominate a game without it ever feeling like he's forcing things. Despite missing the second half of last season with an ACL tear, the senior power forward looks like he's back in vintage form and his profile will only continue to rise as Wyoming becomes more of a factor nationally. Normally only players from UNLV, San Diego State or New Mexico get individual recognition for their efforts when people are highlighting players from the Mountain West but more and more people will understand just how good Nance is as this season progresses."

Not to be glib but Spartans Ivo Basor and Ryan Singer surely suffered from nightmares last night. It will probably be a mix of zone defense and Sag City from the other SJSU defenders in an effort to slow Nance down.

Here's some numbers you need to know:

"...On the season, Wyoming averages 64.4 points per game on 51 percent from the field and 34 percent beyond the arc. The Cowboys rank first in the MW and ninth nationally in field-goal percentage, while their 1.53 assist-to-turnover ratio is first in the MW and ninth in the nation. Defensively, the Pokes allow 51.4 points per game on 40 and 35 percent, respectively. UW's scoring defense is third in the NCAA, while its 13.7 fouls per game are fourth..."

A bit on the primary Cowboy personnel:

"...Senior forward Larry Nance Jr. racked up a team-high 29 points against UNLV and now has 60 points in his last two games after scoring 31 at Montana State on Dec. 23. The MW Preseason Player of the Year leads Wyoming at 15.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game, while his 58 percent from the field is 28th in the NCAA. Senior forward Derek Cooke Jr. has been equally as impressive with double-figure points in his last four games, a first in his career. He averages 9.0 points per contest, thanks in part to a team-high 33 dunks this season, and adds 4.7 rebounds. Cooke shoots a MW-high 78 percent from the field. Senior guard Riley Grabau will play in his 100th game in Brown and Gold on Saturday. He notched 12 points against the Rebels, including 6-of-6 in free throws and shoots a MW-best 90 percent at the charity stripe. Junior guard Josh Adams contributes 4.0 assists per game to go with 9.9 points. He ranks second in the MW in assists and third in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.2. Senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. rounds out UW's probable starters at 8.2 points, 3.6 boards and 3.2 dimes.

They sure do have a lot of familial juniors on the squad.

This game will not be close (the Cowboys are too strong defensively even if the offense has an off night) and hard as it may be to type this, in a weird way it's difficult not to cheer for Wyoming (other than this game and the rematch there on 2/14). Compared to San Diego State, UNLV and New Mexico, their winters are brutal, rarely is there a DI prep prospect in the state to recruit and they are somehow able to sign kids out of Florida (two on the current roster, two more signed for next season). That tops selling ice cubes to Eskimos.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Remember Noah Robotham?

It's neither here nor there at this point but former Spartan point guard recruiting target Noah Robotham (out of Las Vegas), who went with Akron, is enjoying a solid freshman season at the point.

His numbers to date: 12 games, 12 starts, just under 31 minutes a contest (the most on the team), 9.8 points (on 41% overall shooting, 36% from three and 72 at the foul line), 3.1 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals an outing.

But you can't cry over spilled milk. Actually you can but then you have two messes to clean up.

A bit more on Ryan Welage

From Trevor Andershock, comes a bit more on new Spartan signee Ryan Welage. The key paragraph:
The 2015 prospect will be a 'stretch 4' and maybe even a 'stretch 5' to start his career at San Jose State. His perimeter shooting will be a huge asset to him getting on the floor immediately for the Spartans. Welage is not an explosive athlete, so adding muscle will be very important to his success at the next level. His basketball intelligence will also help him get on the floor early. His shooting and IQ will be two things that he relies on early in his career.

Wyoming coming to town

Robert Gagliardi talked with Jimmy Durkin as Wyoming comes to town to face San Jose State University.