Saturday, February 28, 2015

Nevada 62, SJSU 51

San Jose State University led at halftime 31-30. But victory was not to be as host Nevada gathered itself late and eventually won the second 20 minutes by 12 points. Coach David Carter's guys earned 47 free throw attempts (making 34) and two Wolf Packers posted scoring and rebounding double-doubles. It was sort of a hack-a-Shaq but on the collegiate level as Ivo Basor and Ryan Singer fouled out.

For the Washington Square crew, Jaleel Williams was big with 21 points, Brandon Mitchell went for 10 points plus eight rebounds and Isaac Thornton totaled nine points, five assists and four boards.

30 of the 51 SJSU shooting attempts were from beyond the arc.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Change in voting for MWC player honors

The newspaper beat reporters and others covering the Mountain West Conference will no longer be allowed to vote for official player post-season honors. There's a spat of sorts going on.

Sports Editor Randy Hansen/Albuquerque Journal has the details. It used to be a formula with coaches having 50% of the vote and media the other 50%.

Matt Stephens has more on this change.

It's Nevada on Saturday afternoon in Reno

The Spartans head to Reno next to take on Nevada in a Saturday afternoon pairing. The Wolf Pack won the earlier matchup 60-57 on February 7.

Nevada is coming off a loss to Air Force and a 14-32 free throw shooting night. Coach David Carter's major domo player A.J. West shot 5-15. Chris Murray offers the game report.

Here's our earlier preview:

"Nevada is a Mountain West Conference team having trouble shooting the basketball accurately. Sound familiar? Losers of seven straight, the Wolf Pack demise is because the braintrust just hasn't done an adequate job of recruiting the past few years. There aren't even any Luke Babbitt-lites or Armon Johnson's on the court in Reno.

Yet the guys from The Biggest Little City in the World lost by just two points to San Diego State a few days ago and they beat UNLV in Vegas by two back in early January. Go figure. They also pummeled Air Force by 18.

6-foot-9, 235 A.J. West is the leading scorer but at a meager 12.5 points per game. His 10.1 boards an outing gives him a double-double average. However, two notes need to be made here: a sizeable portion of his scoring is coming off his offensive rebounding prowess (an amazing 120 versus 81 defensive) and because he has so little competition from his teammates -- the next-in-line is 3.6 a contest coming from a guard. West also has 54 shotblocks to his credit but that shouldn't be much of a factor in Saturday's matchup.

Generally, there is nobody else on Coach David Carter's roster who consistently produces. 6-foot-6 D.J. Fenner, 6-foot-4 Marqueze Coleman, 6-foot-3, 205 Tyron Criswell and 6-foot-3 Michael Perez are all capable of 15 points each time out but they rarely do so as a duo or threesome. Plus, Criswell is the only one in that group shooting above 40% (he's at 44%).

As a team the Wolf Pack are accurate on just 26% of its three-pointers attempted and the group is underwater in steals and turnovers.

So really, who knows what to expect? Which Nevada will show up? Look for Ivo Basor to play a lot in this one in order to try and counter West."

Here's our game report:

"The opportunity was there.

Multiple times.

Nevada kept feeding the fire by misfiring at the foul line.

However, San Jose State University just couldn't quite get over the hump and fell at home 60-57 to Nevada on Saturday afternoon.

A.J. West, as expected, had a big game with 17 points and 15 boards but none of his Wolf Pack teammates could manage a plus game.

For the Spartans, Darryl Gaynor II busted out for 25 points, including 9-9 at the charity stripe, plus seven rebounds (also nine turnovers that marred his effort) and, likewise, nobody else really stepped up for SJSU.

Other Washington Square plusses: 26 free throw attempts, eight rebounds from Brandon Mitchell in 14 minutes of play, eight points, seven rebounds and three assists from Jaleel Williams.

The last 70 seconds of the game for the Spartans:

MISSED LAYUP by MITCHELL, Brandon 01:10    
REBOUND (OFF) by MITCHELL, Brandon 01:10    
MISSED FT SHOT by MITCHELL, Brandon 01:08    
REBOUND (OFF) by (DEADBALL)  01:08    
MISSED FT SHOT by MITCHELL, Brandon 01:08    
REBOUND (DEF) by MITCHELL, Brandon 01:04    
TURNOVER by GAYNOR II, Darryl 00:51    
MISSED 3 PTR by MUHAMMAD, Rashad 00:24    
REBOUND (OFF) by MUHAMMAD, Rashad 00:24    
GOOD! FT SHOT by MUHAMMAD, Rashad 00:15 54-58 
MISSED FT SHOT by MUHAMMAD, Rashad  00:15    
REBOUND (OFF) by WILLIAMS, Jaleel 00:15    
MISSED LAYUP by WILLIAMS, Jaleel 00:14    
REBOUND (DEF) by MITCHELL, Brandon 00:10    
GOOD! FT SHOT by WILLIAMS, Jaleel  00:09 55-58 
MISSED FT SHOT by WILLIAMS, Jaleel 00:09    
REBOUND (DEF) by GAYNOR II, Darryl 00:07    
GOOD! LAYUP by GAYNOR II, Darryl 00:04 57-59" 

Move the MWC tourney?

Steve Luhm makes the case for a move of the Mountain West Conference tournament from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City. How about Phoenix? Hell what about San Jose? The Spartans could use any available advantage.

Clarke with a double-double

Brandon Clarke compiled 18 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots in the Desert Vista High victory over Mesa last night in the state quarterfinals.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A couple of thoughts after reading Wilner's article

The reading of Jon Wilner's article on San Jose State University basketball history provoked a number of thoughts, including this one:

It was short-lived (we'll never know if it could have turned into something more) but the 2009-2010 Spartan roster (I don't use 'team' here for a particular reason) that contained Adrian Oliver, C.J. Webster, Chris Oakes and Justin Graham as mainstays, with designated shooters Robert Owens and Mac Peterson, had all the necessary elements to be a winner, except for cohesion. Oliver and Webster were never able to beneficially let alone mutually co-exist because each, first and foremost, wanted to be the focal point of the offense. The record therefore was a less than capable 14-17 and Webster subsequently departed with a year of eligibility remaining.

It also needs noting that Justin Graham hadn't fully recovered that season from surgeries on his wrist. I'll always believe that Graham was the most valuable player throughout this whole time simply because he was always willing to lessen his shot attempts and create for others, not caring how many points he scored. Too many others did and sacrificing for a greater good was not the pervasive spirit of the team.

On a different note, the 17-16 mark of the 'winning' 2010-11 season must always be remembered that counting a 95-62 victory over DIII Puget Sound made it so. That and a bevy of down-in-the-mouth opponents. But the 75-72 victory over Oregon in Eugene was one for the ages.

CSU wins 72-56

Even minus J.J. Avila, host Colorado State still had too much firepower and downed San Jose State University 72-56 on Wednesday.

It was 17-3 early on and 41-23 after the initial 20 minutes. The Spartans closed the margin to 10 with seven and a half or so minutes remaining but then fell back.

Jaleel Williams was solid with 20 points (4-9 from long distance) plus eight boards while Rashad Muhammad finished with 18 points on 18 attempts. Freshman guard Danny Mahoney tallied five assists in 14 minutes of play.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

You make your call.

Satire involving the use of Adolf Hitler in any capacity is always a very thin ice proposition. Depicting New Mexico Coach Craig Neal as the Fuhrer seems appalling even if no harmful intent is meant (and it isn't here). The early feedback however is surprisingly positive.

You make your call.

Avila sidelined for SJSU game

From Matt Stephens: "Larry Eustachy said after practice today JJ Avila won't play vs. SJSU..."

Monday, February 23, 2015

Meet Justin Allegri

Most people, whether just listening to a sporting event on the radio or watching one on television, believe they could perform the task of a play-by-play announcer or color commentator. Actually, make that do a damn better job than those actually those receiving paychecks for such. You just talk about what you are seeing and what you know, right?

But imagine the dead air or the gibberish that would be forthcoming if a neophyte assumed the microphone given public speaking is the foremost personal fear throughout the world alongside possessing zip, zero, nada of the actual skills set required to broadcast a game.

Thankfully, Justin Allegri is the voice of San Jose State University (SJSU) athletics -- football and basketball specifically -- and the wannabees and cranks laden with false braggadocio but not much else are few and far between.

But who is this person behind the mic and how did he get there in 2013?

It begins with a life immersed with baseball whether it be listening to, watching and especially playing. Announcing wasn't in the picture yet.

"I had a bunch of baseball cards, boxes full of them, I had a Ken Griffey Jr. video game and we played wiffle ball in the front yard," Allegri recalled. "My Dad was always listening to Giants games on KNBR." There was also participation in  T-ball, Little League and Pony League.

Allegri attended Santa Cruz High and Cabrillo College, playing baseball at both. Then it was on to a four-year college and the choosing of a major.

"I wanted to stay in sports and I liked telling stories and my brother attended SJSU." So it came down to going over the hill or to one of a few other schools and he went with Washington Square. That turned out to be a fortuitous decision.

To say Allegri majored in Television, Radio, Film and Theater with a minor in Broadcast Journalism is factual but much too concise.

"SJSU had a radio station and I got hooked on it." He began as a DJ and eventually worked his way up to the position of KSJS Sports Director and also Program Director. Allegri announced Spartan baseball, basketball and football games for KSJS as well as becoming synonymous with San Jose State University hockey, members of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

Along the way, it was a steady stream of skill-building in editing websites, creating graphics and performing video editing.

Allegri also worked performing various tasks for media giants ESPN, Fox Sports and CNN as well as 95.7 The GAME during Oakland Athletics broadcasts.

In 2012, he became the voice of the Bellingham (WA) Bells of the summer West Coast League, calling 60 games.

Thankful for the bevy of top grade sports announcers throughout the Bay Area, Allegri offered, "There are so many, Jon Miller, Ted Robinson, Randy Hahn, Dan Rusanowsky, Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper." For most of us, it's never strays beyond an enjoyment level but for Allegri it's like attending graduate school of sorts when listening to these announcers.

He offered takes on a number of different broadcasting queries.

"There's a degree of pressure to make your own broadcast sound unique but establish yourself as a broadcaster before using a catchphrase." So no "He. could. go. all. the. way!" or ""It might be, it could be, it is... a home run!" so far for him.

As for homerism, "I think it's more of a regional type of thing. Some listeners and fan bases want that."

About honing his talent, "my personal view is it's all about dedication to your craft and the amount of time you put into it. In my mind, preparation makes the broadcast so I try and prepare for every scenario even though I may only cover a third [of the material]. You know the 10,000 hours idea (Malcolm Gladwell's premise that ten thousand hours of practice is required to master a subject), I'm actually keeping track of my on air and prep time."

When the game isn't close or seemingly already decided, "I can go several ways and I'll to vary it . Knowing the team inside and out really helps and stories come in handy. Telling a relevant story is one way to go."

To the question of feedback, "It's up to the individual to decide what is relevant. I really want feedback coming from professionals but I like to hear opinions and criticism -- that's how you get better."

About doing games solo versus pairing up, "In basketball and football, the color commentator is crucial because there isn't much time for the play-by-play voice to do much more than call the game. Having two stellar color commentators makes my job easier and the broadcast so much more entertaining. In baseball, you can get away without one because there is more down time, I can add color while still doing play-by-play."

What most people don't realize is that any number of elements are taking place besides calling the game. "We're doing a bunch of other things while broadcasting like looking up stats and checking for trends."

He welcomes his broadcasting companions. "Kevin Richardson is very good at football and Joe Boylan is a phenomenal with basketball."

Here's a typical time frame for Allegri, using the day of the recent home game against Utah State: "If it's a 7:00 p.m. game, I'll go to the shootaround at 1:00 p.m. and then come back to the office at 2:00 p.m. [After doing additional preparation], "I'll head over to The Event Center at 5:00 p.m." And then, of course, the job doesn't end when the final buzzer goes off.

But baseball hasn't taken a back seat, at least not in his off time. Allegri plays on a summer softball team with his brother, who coaches high school baseball, and his father.

There's one more tale to tell and it's one that will have many men of a certain age grimacing while nodding their heads.

"My Dad has a treehouse when he was growing up in the 60's where he would pin up his baseball cards. One of those was a Willie Mays rookie card. He nailed it to the treehouse wall."

There went what could have been a very valuable family heirloom.

So what does the future hold for Allegri? "I will be a voice in the upcoming PlayStation video game MLB The Show 15. I will be a radio show host in the loading menus. This is a major stepping stone in my career. Millions of people play this game, I am very excited. In addition to that, I will be broadcasting a select amount of games for the San Jose Giants this summer."

San Jose State University's own seems on his way.

Teague named Cincy PoY

Corey Albertson reports that MaCio Teague is the Division I Cincinnati Player of the Year.

Wilner weighs in

From Jon Wilner: "San Jose State basketball program can't find winning formula"

In Fort Collins on Wednesday

San Jose State University takes to the court Wednesday night against Colorado State, 23-5 and 10-5, in Fort Collins.

6-foot-8 J.J. Avila is the best talent on the team and a multi-level producer --  top scorer, rebounder and in assists -- so his possible absence due to back spasms would create a large hole.

The Rams have been to the foul line 155 more times than opponents and own a +6 per game rebounding ratio but again, those categories would lessen minus Avila.

The game report from January 17:

"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 hand afterwards."

The game preview:

"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."

Avila questionable for Wednesday

J.J. Avila, the most difficult to guard Colorado Stater, may miss Wednesday's game versus San Jose State University due to a back issue.

A new assistant coach

So Coach Wojcik will be hiring another assistant coach, probably this summer. It's senseless to make wild stabs or guesses at who this might be as he may not even know who at this point. But it should be someone with solid northern California connections, especially the East Bay and Sacramento areas.


Southern California is currently a no-go zone for San Jose State University. Sure, there may hopefully be an exception made at some point (and the sooner the better) but the Spartans have burned too many bridges in and around Los Angeles. The Keith Shamburger and Joe Henson sagas soured relations with a number of high school and club team coaches in that area and the current Spartan win-loss record isn't changing any minds right now. Time (although who can predict how long?) and a competitive team will eventually change this.

Unfortunately, there aren't any sort of solid inroads into the northern California prep scene either because SJSU is MIA from any sort of college basketball radar. The terrific seasons UC Davis and Sacramento State are enjoying will only make this even more difficult.

The result? There's nobody from California period on the current roster (or in the batch of newest signees) who was originally scheduled to be on scholarship. That's jaw-dropping for a Mountain West Conference member located in the Bay Area, even though Coach Wojcik's tenure at Washington Square is but a brief two years.

The new assistant, whenever that hire takes place, needs to be someone with established Nor Cal credibility (plus SoCal would be a bonus but let's not get greedy). He needs to be an individual who is already respected and can get in doors currently closed to the Spartans.

Cash stipends to NCAA student-athletes is going to be in place soon. SJSU will have to pony up if the desire is to remain competitive with other MWC members in recruiting. So the future situation of a basketball roster loaded with more expensive out of state scholarshipped recruits isn't going to be financially feasible. In-state recruits receiving cash stipends will have to be the way to go.

Let's see who is hired.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

San Diego St. 74, SJSU 56

For the first 20 minutes, San Jose State University was San Diego State's equal, even leading at the horn 36-35. But the second half was a different chapter, verse, book -- you name it -- with the Aztecs finishing on top 74-56. The Spartans were absent from the scoring tally for two long stretches in the second period lasting nearly 14 minutes.

Steve Fisher's crew shooting 15-28 at the foul line also helped the blue and gold.

It was Darryl Gaynor as The Man show early on, scoring 10 points before eight minutes ticked off the clock and he concluded with 23 points and four assists but, alas seven turnovers.

Rashad Muhammad was on top with 24 points via 8-14, 5-8 and 6-7 accuracy. The foul line attempts were a continuation of his becoming more familiar with the charity stripe of late -- a very good sign.

As a team, Coach Wojcik's guys concluded with these shooting numbers: 44%, 48% and 78%, each pretty remarkable considering the vaunted Aztec defensive prowess.

Friday, February 20, 2015

San Diego State on Saturday night

San Diego State is by no means an points-producing juggernaut -- defensively yes, and that's how a 21-6 overall record, 13-3 in the Mountain West Conference has been achieved. Try allowing opponents to shoot just 37% overall and 28% on trey attempts. Wow.

Back to the scoring point thing: Ageel Quinn at 6-foot-3 leads at 11.4 points per game with 6-foot-8 Winston Shepard at 10.7. These are the sole double-figure scorers. 6-foot-7 J.J. O'Brien is the most well-round talent at 9.4 point,s 5.4 boards and a team-leading 70 assists and 41 steals. 6-foot-10 Skylar Spencer in the middle has 71 blocked shots to his credit and a number of intimidations. 6-foot-9 freshman Malik Pope is a future NBA-er. However, offensive consistency is not an Aztec strength.

Expect the Spartans to be in the 40s at game's end. Evidence suggests this (Wyoming tallied 41, Utah State and New Mexico 42 and then later 46 for the Lobos, 46 also for Boise State).

There will be a contingent from the Sacramento area at Walt McPherson Court on Saturday cheering on the Aztecs as four of Coach Steve Fisher's crew come from in and around the California state capital.

This is the first and only meeting of these two teams for the 2014-15 season.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Clarke in the running

Spartan signee Brandon Clarke is in the running for a spot on the five-player All-Arizona team:

Brandon Clarke, Phoenix Desert Vista, 6-7, Sr.

Make huge strides since his junior season under new coach Tony Darden. A high-flyer who might be a better defender than he is offensive player, and he can fill it up. He has had close to 10 triple doubles this season for points, rebounds and blocked shots. He is the key to Desert Vista making a run to the Division I final, especially if guard Quincy Taylor isn't able to play after the elbow injury suffered against Phoenix Central in the Super Sectional.

Prepsters Marvin Bagley II and Alex Barcello are guaranteed spots. Markus Howard is another. That leaves two spots and here's saying Clarke nabs one of those.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Teague offered

This is the important element, an offer rather than just looking  -- from All Ohio Basketball: "2015 Walnut Hills G MaCio Teague (@_Mr_DoWork) has been offered by San Jose State, congrats!"

Mike Dyer provides more.

The SJSU Mountain West Conference offer is a higher level than most of his others. Teague took an official visit to Yale in late September.

Here's an article on his 51 point explosion.

Like his quick release. Doesn't appear ultra athletic and may be more of a catch-and-shoot or a one or two dribble shoot guy but don't give him any sort of a open look or he's money.

Utah State 76, SJSU 54

San Jose State University actually owned the lead Wednesday night until the 8:30 mark and the score was 23-18 with just less than six minutes to go in the first half but Utah State then extended the margin to 40-27 by halftime. A little "dance" after 14 minutes of play between an Aggie and an SJSU player may have fired up the visitors.

The final score was 76-54.

The highlights for the host Spartans:

* 20 points from senior Jaleel Williams, including 4-9 from beyond the arc.

* Sophomore Rashad Muhammad with 12 points, six boards and five assists plus six attempts at the foul line.

* Isaac Thornton, also a sophomore, with nine points, seven rebounds and four assists.

* A total of 17 assists on 19 baskets

Cody Schwartz with a recent dunk

Spartan signee Cody Schwartz flushes it (looks like he weighs a bit more than commit Ryan Welage):


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The beat reporters check in

Here's the weekly beat reporter roundup on each Mountain West Conference team.

Utah State on Wednesday

Utah State Coach Stew Morrill is retiring so Wednesday will be his final visit to Walt McPherson Court. Not to be rude hosts but wouldn't it be just fine for the Spartans to have him depart with a defeat?

These two team met earlier but it was a Washington Square crew racked with player suspensions. However, USU has gotten better as a team in the meantime. Try a 14-10 overall record and 7-5 in the Mountain West Conference, tied with Fresno State for fifth place.

The big three for the Aggies remain: Jalen Moore at 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds, David Collette with 13.0 points, 5.1 boards and 51 blocked shots plus Chris Smith in the backcourt offering 11.7 points. Darius Perkins is the point and leads with 83 assists.

The Achilles heel for Utah State is rebounding. They are a -7 per game but the Spartans are a -5. so call it a push.

Smith, Sean Harris and JoJo McGlaston are out of northern California so there should be a rooting section of sorts for them in attendance.

The game report from 12.31.14:

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 Moore posted an 18 point, 11 rebound double-double but fellow frontcourter 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.

Here was the game preview:

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:

Stew Morrill's last fan luncheon

AggiesForever offers what transpired during retiring Utah State Coach Stew Morrill's last fan luncheon. The subjects covered are interesting:

This was kind of bittersweet today. I know there are some here who are not big fans, but he has run a clean program and, by all usual means, will go down as the most successful coach in USU history. Did he win the national championship? No. Could he have. Probably not. Could he have gone farther than he did by recruiting better? Maybe. Would he had as many players graduate? Probably not. Would any of us ever have been totally happy short of winning it all? Probably not. Are some of us delusional? Maybe. That's why they calls us fans.

Anyway he said this has been a very fun team to coach. At the first of the year, he did not know if that would be the case. But as the season has wore on it has become really obvious that they like each other and they like playing for him. He said when he looks back on his career 27 of the 29 teams he has coached will be worthy to have their pictures on the wall of his den. He also said 15 of the 17 he coached at USU would be worthy, so any ideas which two won't make the cut? Probably his first team, which just wasn't very good and had few players he recruited, and last years bunch which he rarely talks about at all, and had more backstabbing and bickering than probably any other team he ever coached. But he didn't say that, that's just my observation.

He was asked who his favorite player of all was, and he went off on a long discussion about how hard it is to single out players. Then he said, "But of course, Spencer Nelson . . . . . and his voice kind of trailed off, and he got tears in his eyes, and he couldn't say anything for a moment. Then he pounded his fist on the podium and after another pause said . . . "Spencer Nelson is a special kid. He could make everybody happy just by showing up." So I think we know who the favorite was. Then he went on to also name Jaycee Carroll, Shawn Daniels, and Tai Wesley. "Tai Wesley was a hard nosed sonuvagun, and turned himself into a really good player," he said.

He said Desmond Pinegar recently came back as a highlighted player beofre a game and told Vicky how much Stew changed who he was and impacted his life in many meaningful ways, and Vicky said, "Why don't you go tell Stew that." So after the game, Desmond grabbed Stew and told him how he would have never played 12 years as a professional player, including parts of two in the NBA, if it wasn't for him. And Stew asked him if he remembered the time he got mad and called Pinegar the "most selfish sonuvabitch I have ever coached?" Desmond said he remembered, but that was something he really needed to hear. Stew said, "I still probably shouldn't have said that . . . even if it was true. Do you guys really know how good Desmond Pinegar was? He had 25 and 12 versus Kansas in the N-C-2-A's. He was a really special player."

Somebody asked him what is the biggest thing he has learned as a coach over the years? He said "I learned this from Jerry Tarkanian. If you really want to win, all you need is 8 really good players and then four others who can cheer like crazy!" He said he remembered the first time he had a team in the NCAA tournament at Montana, they went in as a 16 seed against 1 seed UNLV. He said, "I told my team, we have our usual challenge today so here's the defensive assignments. You get Larry Johnson, you get Stacey Augmon, you get Greg Anthony, and you take George Ackles . . . and on it went. I think we got beat 98 to 60 or something like that." He said it was really hard to isolate a favorite USU team, because there were so many factors that played into it. 

He was asked about this years team, and he said they just love to play basketball. He said Jalen Moore is the most even-keeled player he has ever coached-- always the same no matter what. He said Chris Smith is one of the happiest players he has every coached, and that ticks him off sometimes. He would like him to be a little meaner. He said, "I told Chris he is pretty damn lazy sometimes, and he said, yeah I know coach and laughed it off. He's just a really happy guy." 

He said one time after UNLV beat a team he was coaching by a bunch, it was learned that two players at UNLV (don't remember the names) admitted to shaving points in that game. Then he laughed and said, "When we played down in Vegas this year, I wondered if that is what our team was doing, the way we lost down there. We're up by 7 points with 52 seconds left-- you usually think you have a win in that situation." But he said this team is steadily improving and with all of them coming back next year (except Sean Harris) and the addition of Lew Evans and Grayson Moore, and then a few guys that will be back from missions and brought in by the new coach, next year has the potential to be pretty special.

He said no matter where he goes, whether he stays in Cache Valley or not, he will cheer for USU. "USU has been very special to me. Sometimes, you get coaches who get fired or stay too long and leave mad. Then they spend all their time hoping the new guy loses every game. But not me. I will always be for the Aggies. USU has treated me so well. I could have never asked for a better situation." Probably why he stayed 17 years.

I asked him if he still had the cowpie Ross Peterson gave him at the Juniper Inn after the first time he grabbed a mic and uttered a famous four-letter word on the basketball floor his first or second year at USU. He related the story about the fans throwing stuff on the floor and him jumping up, grabbing the mic and saying, "Hey, why are quit throwing s*** on the floor!" He said as soon as he said it, he wondered if he would get fired since he knew USU was a conservative community. He said Vicky was driving home from a volleyball game and was listening on the radio when she heard the "diatribe" carried live on KVNU, and she wondered, "What in the hell were you thinking when you said that?" It was all pretty funny.

He told the usual jokes and it was funny. We'll probably never see another coach at USU, with the longevity and the ability to let loose with the fans like Stew. He said the "slickness" of coaching now days is changing the way things are done. He also said AAU basketball has changed the way things are done and, in many ways, that's not all bad either, though there are some bad elements to it. He got two standing ovations from the audience and it was a great final luncheon for him in SLC. There were about 70 people there, too bad there were not more.

Murray on each MWC squad

Here are Chris Murray's weekly takes on each Mountain West Conference team.

Fresno chartering

Robert Kuwada reports a booster has stepped up with $150,000 so that Fresno State basketball can use charter flights the remainder of the season.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Wyoming 77, SJSU 60

Even minus Larry Nance, Wyoming still shot 56% overall and turned back visiting San Jose State University 77-60 today. It was a game featuring quite the number of three-point attempts: SJSU 10-25 (out of 49 total), the Cowboys 7-22, (out of 50 total).

Rashad Muhammad led with 23 points (6-10 overall, 4-10 from beyond the arc. The most heartening number was him going to the foul line eight times. He also grabbed 10 boards for a double-double.

As a team, the Washington Square crew earned 26 foul line attempts to 19 for Wyoming.

Also, Jaleel Williams finished with 14 points and five rebounds, shooting 4-8 from long range.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Nance won't play

Larry Nance will not play Saturday against the Spartans.

Durkin interviewed on SJSU hoops

Robert Gagliardi talked with Jimmy Durkin as San Jose State University gets ready to face Wyoming on Saturday.

So much is undetermined and therefore unknown regarding Spartan basketball.

What remains so viscerally frustrating is it's impossible to see progress because of the many holes that remain and the upgrades that are needed.

But let's soldier on anyway, item by item, individual by individual, regarding SJSU's team prospects in 2015-16.

Not in any particular order:

* Can Jalen James, who by all accounts is a fine young man, become a plus point or a top tier 'quarterback' in the Mountain West Conference?

It's confounding (sorry to be repetitive) because an appropriate analysis of James cannot be performed because of the missing surrounding ingredients that are necessary to be in place in order to be successful (no center, no consistent shooters, everyone inexperienced). Having written the above, signing a JC point still would be helpful in case James cannot make the jump or gets injured again. Granted, a coach doesn't want to throw his first 'big' recruit, the guy who broke the ice when there was zero evidence for coming aboard, under the proverbial bus but there is also loyalty to the rest of the team to be considered. As for Darryl Gaynor II -- at least for now -- he's looking more like a two, plus his turnover rate is a concern but again, get him playing with four other actual MWC level talents on the court is necessary before issuing a full-fledged analysis.

The recent offer to post grad combo guard Juwan Anderson is evidence that the Spartan brain trust is thinking along these same lines. Not having seen him play at Suffield Academy this season -- he has supposedly come on of late -- it's impossible to determine how much of a positive factor he could play. Anderson was at Bishop O'Dowd High in Oakland last year and the consensus is his decision to take a 12 month period to work on his skills set before entering college was a justifiable one.


* Another need is a JC big, even someone 6-foot-8 if he weighs 240. There has to be an offensive presence inside, someone who can create the space necessary to get at least 10 shots a game. That talent is missing from the current roster.

Vincennes College's A.J. Patty possesses MWC athleticism but he's probably 6-foot-7 and should be positioned at the four. Plus, he's nowhere near 240. Sure he would help but by himself he's not the answer.

But can JC talents inside and at the point be lured to Washington Square is a fair question. Valid prospects with two remaining years of eligibility will be reticent to sign on afraid that the chances of the squad being successful in that short time frame are iffy.


* Of those on the current roster, only Rashad Muhammad has displayed the potential to win his position each game and, yes, he still has a ways to go. His teammates currently come off as role players when a building block or three is necessary.


* The three new recruits for next season are promising. But the two power forwards will each need 30 pounds of muscle before they can truly compete in the Mountain West Conference and Brandon Clarke, although an elite athlete at 6-foot-7, will make more of his mark defensively and on the boards, not with scoring.


* What redshirt Princeton Onwas will bring to the floor is defensive effect. Granted, there is no plus defender on the roster right now so he will help in that aspect -- just don't expect a multitude of points to come from him.

Defending as a unit is another aspect that must be upgraded and not necessarily even shotblocking -- much more a five-man concerted team effort of making matters more difficult for opponents is a must. Although a portion of the team will be young next season, there will be enough experience so that expectations of a much more hard-nosed effect defensively are valid.


* The currently used offensive plans are very limited (by necessity) and don't require difficult decision-making for opponents. There is no in-the-paint scorer to draw multiple defenders. There's no shooting consistency so defenders don't have to help in order to stop anyone. It's hard to see anyone on the Spartans with a consistent dribble-drive game as part of his offensive repertoire. All this must evolve.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wyoming in Laramie on Saturday afternoon

Wyoming at home is a different team than the one that ventures out on the road. Cowboy fans pack the joint, really appreciative of what Coach Larry Shyatt has built.

But here's the real monkeywrench for Saturday: will Larry Nance play?

Easily the best talent on the team, Nance missed the last two games -- a 67-41 road loss to San Diego State preceded by a 73-50 defeat at Air Force -- due to a mild case of mononucleosis.

The latest is that Nance's playing possibility is a day-by-day call. He hasn't been practicing.

If the Cowboy scoring output stays within the range of those last two game then SJSU certainly has a chance.

Maybe it was an aberration but regardless the Spartans played tough at home on January 3, losing 63-59 to a Wyoming crew that enjoyed Nance's 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Here's what we wrote as a preview back then:

"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."

Here's the game report:

"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."

Great read on why Nevada 2014-15 is where it is

Chris Murray provides a long and insightful take on how Nevada went from on the border of national prominence to the present. Hint: early entries.

Plus, the landing of Nick Fazekas out of Colorado who nobody else wanted or got into the recruiting scrum too late.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The MWC beat reporter team reports

Here's the weekly Mountain West Conference team reports provided by the newspaper beat reporters for each squad.

Jimmy Durkin's contribution:

"The Spartans finally played in a competitive game, but with little experience in that environment the result was predictable: San Jose State lost to Nevada, 60-57, on Saturday to remain winless in the Mountain West and against Division I competition.

"You have to make plays down the stretch, and we didn't do that offensively or defensively," coach Dave Wojcik said.

True freshman Darryl Gaynor II had a career-high 25 points, including a 9 of 9 effort at the free-throw line. Efforts like that are about the only thing San Jose State can hope to glean from this season.

Gaynor was, at most, supposed to provide some depth off the bench at point guard for sophomore Jalen James. But with James lost for the year to an ankle injury, Gaynor has made 14 starts and is third on the team in minutes and points.

The problem is, most of the others seeing court time aren't expected to be future starters.

Sophomore guard and leading scorer Rashad Muhammad is the exception, but among the remaining heavy minute players, only sophomore guard Isaac Thornton will likely have a major role next year.

Forward Jaleel Williams, the second-leading scorer, is a senior, while forwards Brandon Mitchell (sophomore), Ivo Basor (junior) and Ryan Singer (freshman) and walk-on freshman guard Danny Mahoney should continue to be bench players in the future.

So while the future bench may be getting some experience, the Spartans will probably still have a raw starting five next year that could very well feature two true freshmen.

Cody Schwartz, a 6-foot-8 forward from Wisconsin, rated a four-star recruit by ESPN and 6-7 forward Brandon Clarke from Phoenix could be starters from the day they reach campus. Teaming with 6-11 German center Leon Bahner, a freshman who should receive a medical redshirt this year, could give the team a decent front court next year."

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

SJSU offers Anderson

From Alex Kline"San Jose State offered 2015 guard Juwan Anderson of Suffield Academy (CT), his coach said." The six-footer played at Bishop O'Dowd and was a member of the Oakland Rebels at one point.

ESPN, if this is still current, has San Francisco, Portland, Pacific, Northern Arizona, Cal State Bakersfield and Florida A&M, also offering. California has recently displayed interest.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Turning around a long moribund basketball program

Jeff Roberts has written a very good read on the factors involved as the newish head coach at Fairleigh Dickinson is slowly turning the men's basketball program around.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Nevada wins

The opportunity was there.

Multiple times.

Nevada kept feeding the fire by misfiring at the foul line.

However, San Jose State University just couldn't quite get over the hump and fell at home 60-57 to Nevada on Saturday afternoon.

A.J. West, as expected, had a big game with 17 points and 15 boards but none of his Wolf Pack teammates could manage a plus game.

For the Spartans, Darryl Gaynor II busted out for 25 points, including 9-9 at the charity stripe, plus seven rebounds (also nine turnovers that marred his effort) and, likewise, nobody else really stepped up for SJSU.

Other Washington Square plusses: 26 free throw attempts, eight rebounds from Brandon Mitchell in 14 minutes of play, eight points, seven rebounds and three assists from Jaleel Williams.

The last 70 seconds of the game for the Spartans:

REBOUND (OFF) by MITCHELL, Brandon 01:10
REBOUND (DEF) by MITCHELL, Brandon 01:04
TURNOVER by GAYNOR II, Darryl 00:51
MISSED 3 PTR by MUHAMMAD, Rashad 00:24
REBOUND (OFF) by MUHAMMAD, Rashad 00:24
GOOD! FT SHOT by MUHAMMAD, Rashad 00:15 54-58
REBOUND (OFF) by WILLIAMS, Jaleel 00:15
REBOUND (DEF) by MITCHELL, Brandon 00:10
GOOD! FT SHOT by WILLIAMS, Jaleel 00:09 55-58
REBOUND (DEF) by GAYNOR II, Darryl 00:07
GOOD! LAYUP by GAYNOR II, Darryl 00:04 57-59

Murrays keys for a Nevada victory

Chris Murray offers his keys to the game if Nevada is to top SJSU today.

Friday, February 6, 2015

It's Nevada on Saturday @ 3:00 p.m.

Nevada is a Mountain West Conference team having trouble shooting the basketball accurately. Sound familiar? Losers of seven straight, the Wolf Pack demise is because the braintrust just hasn't done an adequate job of recruiting the past few years. There aren't even any Luke Babbitt-lites or Armon Johnson's on the court in Reno.

Yet the guys from The Biggest Little City in the World lost by just two points to San Diego State a few days ago and they beat UNLV in Vegas by two back in early January. Go figure. They also pummeled Air Force by 18.

6-foot-9, 235 A.J. West is the leading scorer but at a meager 12.5 points per game. His 10.1 boards an outing gives him a double-double average. However, two notes need to be made here: a sizeable portion of his scoring is coming off his offensive rebounding prowess (an amazing 120 versus 81 defensive) and because he has so little competition from his teammates -- the next-in-line is 3.6 a contest coming from a guard. West also has 54 shotblocks to his credit but that shouldn't be much of a factor in Saturday's matchup.

Generally, there is nobody else on Coach David Carter's roster who consistently produces. 6-foot-6 D.J. Fenner, 6-foot-4 Marqueze Coleman, 6-foot-3, 205 Tyron Criswell and 6-foot-3 Michael Perez are all capable of 15 points each time out but they rarely do so as a duo or threesome. Plus, Criswell is the only one in that group shooting above 40% (he's at 44%).

As a team the Wolf Pack are accurate on just 26% of its three-pointers attempted and the group is underwater in steals and turnovers.

So really, who knows what to expect? Which Nevada will show up? Look for Ivo Basor to play a lot in this one in order to try and counter West.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Schwartz with game winner

From the Green Bay Press Gazette: "Cody Schwartz totaled 26 points, including the winning 3-pointer with .8 seconds remaining, as West De Pere edged Denmark 64-62 on Tuesday in Bay Conference boys basketball game..."

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fresno St. 81, SJSU 63

The score was 37-31 after 20 minutes so San Jose State University was within striking range of Fresno State. The Spartans then got the deficit down to three before falling back 81-63 last night.

The Bulldogs played small ball, not playing anyone over 6-foot-7 and that may be stretching it an inch.

Although San Jose won the boards 32-27, elsewhere it was a different story: 3 steals to 14 and a corresponding 19 turnovers to just eight.

Rashad Muhammad tallied 16 points and four assists but shot 3-12 overall. His 8-11 at the foul line was a very pleasing number of attempts. Isaac Thornton shot 5-7 overall on his way to 14 points. He passed out three assists. Jaleel Williams finished with 10 points plus seven boards. Ivo Basor nabbed a very solid and team-leading eight rebounds in 27 minutes of play.

One third of SJSU's shot attempts were from beyond the arc and the squad earned 23 free throw tries.

Davis still suspended, Guerrero will start

Robert Kuwada reports that forward Alex Davis is still suspended by Fresno State and will not play tonight while Cezar Guerrero will be the starter at the point.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

MWC team reports for this week

Here's the collection of MWC basketball team reports for this week as compiled by the various beat reporters.

Fresno State on the road Wednesday

The Spartans will be facing the Raisinettes on Wednesday down in the San Joaquin. Back on January 14, it was 73-62 with homestanding SJSU on the downside.

Our writeup then:

"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."

The 10-12, 5-4 Bulldogs are not doing all that well and are small ball oriented.
Marvelle Harris is averaging 17.6 points per game, Cezar Guerrero 11.8, Paul Watson 11.7 ppg and Julien Lewis 10.9. However, Watson is the tallest at 6-foot-7.

6-foot-9 Braeden Anderson just hasn't come on after missing last season due to the aftereffects of an automobile accident. Alex Davis, also 6-foot-9, is on suspension.

This is a team that started 0-6 against DI teams this season which produced a major amount of fan grumbling. Then, some wins arrived to quiet matters down but it's been an off-and-on effort since with the highlight of the season being a 59-57 January 3 home win versus San Diego State. Colorado State just clobbered the Bulldogs 80-57 last Saturday.

Grammer on the best players in the MWC right now

Being at the halfway point through Mountain West Conference play, Geoff Grammer selected his top players.

Murray's weekly MWC team rankings

Chris Murray offers his weekly Mountain West Conference team rankings.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Clarke with another big game

6-foot-7 Spartan signee Brandon Clarke posted a triple double tonight consisting of 22 points, 11 boards and 10 blocked shots in Desert Vista's win over Mountain Pointe High.

Jason Skoda game reports.

A Skoda tweet: "DV's Clarke has 314 career blocks. The old record was 221 by Michael Proctor."

Switching momentarily to a football subject

Chris Murray writes about a USA TODAY database compilation on football recruiting expenses for college teams, including the Mountain West Conference.