Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ron Bergman has passed

Ron Bergman, whose beat at one point included SJSU men's basketball, has passed. Wish the Spartans had given him a greater reason for coverage.

Below are a couple of articles.

Dennis Brown/Tim Kawakami

Susan Slusser

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

No more NCAA heavyhandedness

Jimmy Durkin reports that the NCAA restrictions imposed on the SJSU men's basketball program have been lifted.

That is quite the anchor being disposed of and actually gives the coaching staff some leeway in bringing in at least one recruit with a questionable academic history/commitment. Maybe the remaining recruiting pool of bigs has been able to be expanded now as such remains a major need for the 2015-16 season.

Brown checking out SJSU

Team Arsenal (out of the East Bay) tweeted: "2016 guard Terrell Brown set to take a visit to San Jose State University." 

On May 10, Ronnie Flores tweeted: "Terrell Brown 6-2 (Moreau Catholic/Team Arsenal) one of best outside shooters @ #BayAreaSpringShowcase . Quite talented & keeps improving."

Brown plays high school ball at Moreau Catholic for Coach Frank Knight. He averaged 12.4 points per game this season.

Below is video from his junior season:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Randolph to Utah Valley University

Jon Rothstein tweeted: "Xavier transfer Brandon Randolph told @CBSSports he has committed to Utah Valley. Two years of eligibility remaining."

UVU is a member of the Western Athletic Conference and just hired a new head coach.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Not good news

It appears that Xavier Jones transferred to Florida Southern College but apparently never played college basketball again after leaving San Jose State University. Now he is wanted for murder. LINK

Sunday, May 24, 2015

What Nevada will look like in the 2015-16 season

Chris Murray projects the starters and reserves for Nevada next season. The Wolf Pack also have three D1 transfers sitting out in 2015-16.

It will definitely be another rough one next season

Wally Rank isn't coming through the door. Nor Tariq Abdul-Wahad.

Being brutally honest (but just making observations and not casting judgments), there isn't a single returning scholarship player who can consistently win his position in a Mountain West Conference game-by-game basis for San Jose State University next season.

The crew this description applies to are:

* center Leon Bahner
* point guard Jalen James
* small forward Brandon Mitchell
* forward/guard Princeton Onwas
* power forward Ryan Singer
* guard Isaac Thornton

Granted, each may explode in this game or that one but just not steadily produce. Also, a dependable points creator plus someone who develop a good shot attempt when it's necessary appears absent.

The newcomers-to-date are (with two more schollies to hand out):

* forward Brandon Clark
* shooting guard Jaycee Hillsman
* forward Cody Schwartz
* point Gary Williams Jr.
* forward Ryan Welage

Schwartz and Welage have promising offensive talents but woefully lack the strength and width to jump right into the fray and be unfailing producers. Clark is wonderfully athletic and will aid the defensive effort and on the boards but not offensively, at least not right away. Hillman looks to have a college-ready body and there will be plenty of shot attempts available so look for him to be called upon from the get-go. But as a freshman, it will be two steps forward, one step back. Williams Jr. has a golden opportunity to make the 2015-16 squad his team, to figuratively put these guys on his back and carry them. However, he will need help, complements if you will -- guys who can finish inside when fed the ball and teammates who can hit with 40% accuracy from outside. Those two elements are not a given looking at the current roster.

2015-16 is going to be another difficult season.

We can only speculate on the why part

Based on experience, even asking Rashad Muhammad and Darryl Gaynor II directly about their departures wouldn't necessarily generate the actual reasons why.

So we can only truly speculate.

But this factor seems a good bet, at least for Muhammad. He saw another struggling season coming up for his junior year, another five or so win record and made the calculation it was not worth it to continue here. Really, who can knock him?

Other possible elements:

He was pretty much given free reign on the court as a freshman and sophomore because, aided by his length, he was about the only player who get a semi-decent shot off, especially when the shot clock was winding down. That had to be attractive.

But there wasn't really another player on the team to challenge him in practice, to force him to dig deeper, to expand his skills set. However, maybe such is giving him unearned credit.

Maybe he desired more talented teammates, ones who could draw the defensive focus away from him.

Possibly he determined that SJSU or even the Mountain West Conference wasn't where someone with his self-perceived ability/potential should be performing (although that obviously wasn't present during his recruitment process unless he felt he settled -- but why wouldn't he have then left after year one?)

I'd go with the initial suggestion as the primary factor.

With Gaynor, it's a bit harder reading the proverbial tea leaves.

He received much more playing time than he would have anywhere else as a freshman (24.3 minutes a game, 21 starts). His amount of on court minutes likely would have lessened considering the return of Jalen James and the addition of Gary Williams Jr. But my sense is he was also being asked to modify his game, to make better on-court decisions with the ball and to shoot less and with greater intelligence and didn't react well.

College of Southern Idaho (his new home) is a national junior college, one with a very well thought of basketball reputation (usually 5-6 players on the roster any year go D1, some fairly high). The odds for playing time will be better there. Maybe the losing loomed as a reason but only time will tell if being in Burley, Idaho rather than San Jose turns out to be the better situation for his basketball future.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Durkin on Muhammad's departure

Jimmy Durkin offers a number of details surrounding the departure of Rashad Muhammad.

The other shoe has dropped

Jeff Goodman: "Shabazz Muhammad's brother, Rashad, is transferring from San Jose State, sources told ESPN. Sophomore averaged 13.9 ppg this past season."

I now believe this program is cursed.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Bulldogs land a big

Robert Kuwada reports that Fresno State is bringing in a solid 6-foot-9 JC big plus a JC point.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Brandon Randolph note

From Ryan Silver, an AAU coach in southern California: "Xavier transfer Brandon Randolph looking very impressive in open runs this afternoon. Someone will be getting a big time player soon."

Below the Mendoza Line

Jimmy Durkin with a !!Yikes!! tweet: "With #SJSU baseball finishing the season 13-44, the three major men's teams (FB, MBB, BASE) combined for a .182 winning percentage at 18-81."

AD Bleymeier should be having a foot foot or two but the SJSU Prez doesn't seem in position to apply any firestarter due to his own miscues. All the head coaches involved have very tough jobs but right now it looks like staffing hires in the Spartan Athletic department are, shall we say, currently residing in the questionable category and this doesn't even include the assistant coach turnover in men's hoops.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Spartan recruit going for prep year

MaCio Teague tweeted: "I'm blessed to say next year I will be attending Montverde Prep Academy, FL Thanks for all the support it's much appreciated!"

It will be a post-high school season for him and then back into the recruiting mix.

This should be adopted by every league -- it's fair to fans

Rob Dauster: "On Tuesday, the Sun Belt announced that the league’s annual spring meetings had spawned one change in men’s basketball: Any school that schedules more than two non-Division I programs will be fined $50,000.

I like this rule, although I’m not sure just how much of an effect it’s really going to have. For starters, we’re talking about the Sun Belt here. There are only so many quality games that the teams in this conference are going to be able to play in a given season. Is anyone really going to notice if, hypothetically, Texas State plays UT-Pan American instead of a third NAIA program? Probably not.

I’m not naive to the issues that low- and mid-major programs have putting together a schedule. It’s hard for them to get non-conference home games, especially against power conference opponents, and sometimes the only way to play in front of the home fans is to do so against non-Division I teams. But they’ll still get two of those games a season, and if the worst thing to come out of this rule is that a school like Texas State has to play at Baylor and at Texas and at Texas A&M in the same season, than at the very least it should help the RPI, the school’s athletic budget and potentially give them a chance at landing a season-defining upset.

I’d really love to see the power conferences implement a rule like this, forcing the bigger schools to play more home-and-homes, whether it comes against other power conference programs or mid-major schools. The more big games that are played on campus in November and December, the better it is for the sport."

Saturday, May 16, 2015

5 For 5

San Jose State University athletics is in the midst of a '5 For 5" fundraising campaign. Hopefully, it will be extremely successful.

Now feel free to kill the messenger, disregard the messenger, criticize the messenge., but damn, so much for establishing a feeling of inclusion with the Spartan men's basketball program. It brings alive the Sam Goldwyn-attributed saying "include me out."

Why so?

To start a fundraising attempt -- the requesting of financial contributions -- in the midst of the departure of a freshman prospect who provided some of the few highlights during the season is one thing because a roll out is usually planned in advance and, once set, future blips obviously cannot be foreseen.

But to do so without formally acknowledging a player departure, especially after the withdrawal has been formally published elsewhere, is simply a slap in the face to those whose money is being requested.

There's nothing wrong with asking. But when it coincides with a disregard for acknowledging the known, well, that's unacceptable behavior.

So what if a player has left? Shift happens. Make the announcement and piggyback a 'we need funds more than ever so we can land talents who want to be at SJSU' message on to that. Take a negative and work it towards a positive, a 'we will use this gifting to work harder than ever in bringing in student-athletes you will be proud of' campaign.

Certifying reality goes a lot further than mum's the word when appealing for assistance.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Hawaii's proposed self-penalty

This, although not the actual and final NCAA determination, may effect Brandon Randolph's decision to keep Hawaii in his mix of schools. Also not sure where Hawaii stands right now2 with open scholarships. Will it be enough to boost SJSU's chances?

Gib Arnold is hosed -- his level of radioactivity will certainly hinder in any D1 coaching searches.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Different approach by Nevada

Chris Murray reports Nevada is going to wait a year before beginning cost-of-attendance payments to athletes.

Looking at the departures

Junkie@Inside Sparta posted a list of the departed players since the beginning of Coach Wojcik's tenure. If I may, here it is:

1. Xavier Jones Transferred to Florida Southern

2. Stephon Smith Transferred to Northwood (FL)

3. David Andoh Transferred to Merritt CC

4. Nick Grieves Transferred to Cal State East Bay

5. Louis Garrett Transferred to Dixie State

6. Alex Brown Transferred to Kentucky Wesleyan

7. Dylan Alexander Transferred to Casper CC

8. D.J. Brown Transferred to Texas State

9. Jordan Baker Dismissed from the team due to violating team rules

10. Frank Rogers Dismissed from the team due to violating team rules

11. Matt Pollard Suspended indefinitely due to violating team rules; then transferred

12. Darryl Gaynor, Jr. Transferred to Southern Idaho

There was a grasping of straws if you will in the last year or so of Coach Nessman's tenure, meaning the majority of the recruits were not of the solid WAC contributor level (let alone Mountain West Conference) and some were also not good teammates/citizens. Desperation will do that.

Doing some of this from memory is dangerous at my age (please do point out inaccuracies) but Xavier Jones left the locker room and therefore the team at halftime of an in-season game. I can't find any record of him actually playing at DII Florida Southern.

Stephon Smith brought width to the squad but just never developed a skills set. He had no impact later at Northwood, an NAIA DIII school.

David Andoh (and this is not a judgment but a fact) attended several high schools and several colleges. I believe he left SJSU of his own volition, changed his mind later at some point but the door was closed, if not nailed shut by then. He enjoyed a solid junior year at Liberty University, a D1 school in Virginia, but there is chatter of yet another departure.

Nick Grieves was a Spartan walk-on. As a DII Cal State East Bay senior, he posted an 8.5 points a contest average, shooting 38%, 36% and 56% respectively.

Louis Garrett was not going to help in MWC play and many forget he also received a suspension during his junior season. At DII Dixie State, he averaged 9.6 points plus 3.9 rebounds a game as a senior, shooting 40%, 29% and 78% respectively.

Alex Brown was never able to stay long wherever he was. Suspended from the team as a Spartan, Brown was also sidelined for a violation of team rules just before the season opener at Kentucky Wesleyan. I don't believe he ever played in the Bluegrass State during the regular season.

Dylan Alexander was another walk-on. He just finished his sophomore season at Casper College in Wyoming -- haven't seen any news about his next destination as yet.

D.J. Brown averaged 7.2 points and 2.7 assists this season at Texas State, shooting 37%, 36% and 78%.  I don't know who made the decision about his transfer -- himself or Coach Wojcik.

Jordan Baker self-immolated. If the timeline is as assumed, how does a guy sit out for a season but keep clean and then blows it when he is back on the court? Maybe that assumption is incorrect and something from his redshirt year finally surfaced.

Frank Rogers likewise.

Matt Pollard left of his own volition. He may have become a serviceable backup big as an upperclassmen but his basketball stature earned him zero leeway after he messed up.

Darryl Gaynor II provided some highlight moments this past season but had a long way to go in regards to decision-making and shooting accuracy (granted some of that due to the situation he was in).My sense, simply based on conjecture, is that he both rated himself as a better prospect/talent than most others and didn't want to use any further eligibility on a team looking at another very rough season.

A number of these departures had already happened or were underway before Coach Wojcik became the head coach. Those cannot be tagged to him. Behavioral issues and academic inattention combined to self-write one-way departure tickets for a number of the guys.

On Coach Wojcik's watch, Baker certainly, Rogers to a degree and Gaynor down the line could have talent-wise helped stabilize the program. Yes, player movement is an annual constant nowadays to every program but it's usually guys at the tail end of the roster who are looking for more court time. Misjudgements of character were made.

But what's more disturbing is the shuffling among the assistant coaches. It's Coach Wojcik's choice to hire whoever he wishes to bring aboard, that's a given. But the turnover rate is alarming. Only he can answer this question but are his latest hires based more on trust factors rather than the ability to get more talented prospects to come to Washington Square? The cost-of-attendance outlay currently being determined is going to impact both the basketball recruiting budget and the number of out-of-state signees allowed on the roster. San Jose State University has to re-establish a presence in California. Can this be done with the present assistant coaching staff? Or is it simply more a matter of winning some games before the current Spartan rep lessens its in-state tarnish?

Anyone know?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Colorado State cost-of-attendance amounts

Per Matt Stephens, Colorado State has settled on the amounts it will pay Ram student-athletes:

"...This stipend is in addition to athletic scholarships. It will provide an in-state student-athlete on full scholarship an extra $2,400 per year, and $3,100 per year for out-of-state athletes. Football, men's basketball, women's basketball, volleyball and tennis are the full-scholarship sports at CSU. Sports that offer partial scholarships — men's and women's cross country, men's and women's track and field, men's and women's golf, softball and swimming and diving — will receive a percentage of the cost-of-attendance stipend equal to the percentage of a full scholarship they receive..."

Also, "Utah State's stipend will be $3,720 and Wyoming's is set at $3,240. Estimated stipends from Boise State and Fresno State are $5,100 and 3,500..."

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Beddeo to prep school

SoCal prep point Ryan Beddeo, per Sean McKillop: "PG Ryan Beddeo officially 2016 Brewster Academy."

BA is one of the top basketball prep schools in New England (New Hampshire).

Monday, May 11, 2015

Gaynor gone

At Verbal Commits, this is listed for Daryl Gaynor II:

Status: Transferred from San Jose State
Year 2014 (SO)
Position Point Guard
Height 6-2
Weight 170
Hometown Las Vegas, NV
High School Durango High School
Junior College: College of Southern Idaho

Word out of Las Vegas is that he won't be the last one. Let's see if that is true.

Wyoming paying $3,240 for CoA

Robert Gagliardi reports that Wyoming will be playing its student-athletes $3,240 for full cost of attendance in addition to scholarships.

A transfer guard looking at SJSU

From Jon Rothstein: "Xavier transfer Brandon Randolph told @CBSSports he plans to visit Hawaii and also has added San Jose State to the mix. Already visited NAU."

He is a 6-foot-1 190 who was very well thought of coming out of the southern California prep ranks. Randolph was beat out by a newcomer this year for the backup spot this season and another point is returning next season for Cincy after being out due to injury.

From this site:

Defense D:

By the numbers - at least rate stats - Randolph wasn't so bad. His assist rate was more than twice LAJ's, and his TO rate was less than half. He shot 54.5% (albeit on just 6-11) from behind the arc, enough to overcome mediocre 2P% numbers and get his EFG% to 52.3%. His ORtg of 100.9 speaks to a basically average offensive player, which isn't bad for a backup. So why did he rate so low with both me and all of you?

It was the feel of the game when Randolph came in that doomed him. He played this year like a player fighting himself to do what he was coached to do rather than what he would instinctively do. The result was tentative, confused play that generally slowed down the pace of Xavier's offense. LAJ made plenty of mistakes, but he always attacked the defense and Xavier played with energy when he was on the floor. Randolph struggled to set the defense on its heels, and that more than anything else contributed to his problems.

Defense: D

Randolph never really got a chance to make an impact on defense. We didn't really get a look at Randolph in the 1-3-1 because it was on the way in as he was on the way out. In man, he was not convincing on or off the ball, seeming to have trouble knowing when to track his man as opposed to helping off or digging in the post. He was never a lockdown guy on a ballhandler and he didn't badger shooters off the ball like Dee Davis. He was a good rebounder for a guard, which I suppose isn't nothing.

Overall grade: D

Honestly, it was a lack of playing time as much as anything the derailed Randolph's season and ultimately his career. I didn't see what was happening every day in practice, but Coach Mack did and apparently it didn't thrill him. After two seasons with Xavier, it became clear that Brandon wasn't a fit with the program, nor was the program a fit for him.

Looks like more of a point than a two but capable of playing both. He'll need to sit out a year due to transferring.

Hawaii is awaiting its NCAA fate for illegal actions by the previous coaching staff so that may factor into Randolph's decision. Randolph would surely receive the most playing time due to lesser competition at Northern Arizona but that's in the Big Sky Conference.

*** Monday night: Hawaii just landed a 6-foot-4 JC guard, a combo shooter/passer, one that this article says SJSU was also recruiting.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Prep forward signs

Alex Kline tweeted: "2015 wing Jaycee Hillsman of Don Bosco Prep (IN) committed to San Jose State today."

Gotta be an interesting story here here as the 6-foot-6 prepster visited Washington Square in late March but said yes today. Boston College offered in late February, Toledo in October 2014.

He played spring and summer ball with the Illinois Dawgs travel team and his year at Don Bosco was a post-high school season. Hillsman is from Illinois and played as a senior at Simeon High in Chicago, sat out there as a junior and started out originally in Champaign.

Below is February 2015 video:

Monday, May 4, 2015

Another point offered

Coach Sean McKillop tweeted: "2015 PG Ryan Beddeo has received an offer from San Jose State."

Beddeo tripped to Marist (NY) last weekend.

Out of West Ranch High, he's 6-foot-2 (on a good day) 170 and apparently making some degree of noise this spring playing for Rick Isaac's H Squad down in southern California. He would be a nice one to land and break the current impasse between SJSU hoops and the southern California high school/travel teams. The offer does bring into question how many minutes can be divided between Jalen James, Gary Williams Jr. and Beddeo, if the latter comes aboard.

Here's a January 2014 Beddeo feature.

Here's video:

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The new Fresno State AD

Warszawski: AD Jim Bartko cares about concerns of Bulldogs fans. No, really. He does.
Marek Warszawski
The Fresno Bee
May 2, 2015

This might take some getting used to, Bulldogs fans, but the guy in charge cares what you think.

No, really. He does.

“Ask my wife,” Fresno State athletic director Jim Bartko says. “At night I’m lying in bed thinking about what our fans are saying.”

Is this a new era, or what?

Last week Fresno State released the results of an extensive fan survey that Bartko commissioned in March after unveiling his blueprint for the future of Bulldogs sports.

More than 2,500 people responded online over a three-week period, 1,830 of whom completed every question. Of the respondents, 85% ranked their loyalty to Fresno State athletics as either “extremely high” (50%) or “high” (35%). Sixty-two percent indicated they’ve been fans for at least 20 years, 59% are season-ticket holders and 44% are Bulldog Foundation donors.

So for the most part, these folks represent the reddest of the Red Wave. But that didn’t seem to color their perspective.

For example, did you know 30% of the fan base thinks Bulldogs sports has a less-than-favorable public image?

Or 29% believes Fresno State athletics aren’t being properly managed?

Or 63% have little interest in donating money toward student-athlete scholarships?

Or that 88% have no inclination to support women’s teams?

Now you do.

Really, though, this is about more than how 2,500 people answered. It’s about Fresno State’s willingness to be questioned. How the new boss volunteered to stand naked in a shower, without a curtain, and put his department’s shortcomings on display.

“We need to hear what people say, and we need to listen and make certain changes,” Bartko says.

“When you hear something one time, it’s one time. But when you hear the same thing 10 times or more, it’s time to do something about it.”

What I’m hearing from the new guy in charge on Bulldog Lane is a humbleness and willingness to engage and seek input, qualities that have been sorely missing.

Thinking back to how things used to operate, the word that comes to mind is arrogance.

Through the 1980s and ’90s, Fresno State was the only show in town, a town without the Internet or a million TV channels, and the people in charge knew and took advantage of it. They were about as pliant as cast iron.

Really, there was no need. The Bulldog Foundation kept churning out money for scholarships. The stands were always packed.

Things began to shift during the regime of Thomas Boeh, who inherited a Title IX mess and presided during a time of budget tightening. The arrogance went away and was replaced by corporate callousness.

Boeh’s sole concern (and he told me this more than once) was for the welfare of student-athletes. When it came to the concerns of fans and boosters, he was as indifferent as a statue.

During Barkto’s first four months on the job, a different tone has sounded. The guy listens to everyone, and not with deaf ears.

“He gives you the feeling that he’s interested in what you have to say,” says Nick Dvorak, a past Bulldog Foundation president. “I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to have an AD who wants to grow the program and is looking for help to do it.”

A survey question having to do with public engagement is a good example of what I’m talking about.

By and large, Bulldogs fans said they were satisfied with the emails, phone calls and mailings they get from the university. The athletic department Web site ( received mostly favorable marks, as well.

But when it came to face-to-face interaction with athletic department representatives, 41% of those surveyed indicated there was too little.

“I’ve been hearing that for three months,” Bartko says. “That’s been the one constant.”

Bartko responded by revamping the development staff and adding two new assistant directors: Taylor Tedford and James Sewell.

Tedford, the Fresno-raised son of former Bulldogs quarterback Jeff Tedford, will team with associate director of major gifts Adam Brooks to cover the South Valley. Sewell, who has been on the BDF staff for five years, will work with director of major gifts Jared Coy in spanning Fresno and points north.

“Each one of those guys is going to have specific cities assigned to them, and it’s going to be their responsibly to engage the community on a daily basis,” Bartko says. “We want those face-to-face connections.”

In addition, Fresno State will soon begin a nationwide search for a new senior director of development, a person that will report directly to the AD and oversee all athletics fundraising. Bartko hopes to have the position filled by July 1.

No question this is still Bartko’s honeymoon period. He hasn’t had to fire any coaches, cut any sports or punish any knuckleheaded behavior by a football or basketball player.

But there’s no question things are different. The new boss wants every Bulldogs fan to feel connected to the program, to feel like their voice is being heard. Bartko does so much listening it keeps him awake at night.

Just ask his wife.


More than 2,500 Bulldogs fans responded to a survey commissioned by Athletic Director Jim Bartko regarding their connection to Fresno State’s sports teams and motivations for supporting them. Here’s a sampling of the results:

The public image of Fresno State Athletics is:

• Excellent, 13% (286 votes)

• Good, 57% (1,297)

• Average, 27% (603)

• Poor, 3% (73)

Do you believe the leadership of Fresno State Athletics provides appropriate management of the image and legacy of the university’s athletics program?

• Yes, 71% (1,596 votes)

• No, 29% (651)

Which areas are you most interested in supporting?

• Facility enhancements:

True, 31% (319 votes)

False, 69% (711)

• Student-athlete scholarships:

True, 37% (380 votes)

False, 63% (650)

• Women’s athletics:

True, 12% (126 votes)

False, 88% (904)

• Specific sports:

Football: 66% (306 votes)

Men’s basketball: 9% (41)

Women’s basketball: 5% (21)

Both basketball teams: 1% (5)

Baseball: 6% (29)

Softball: 4% (17)

Volleyball: 0% (2)

Other: 9% (43)

What might motivate you to give to Fresno State athletics? (Answer on a 1-to-5 scale with 5 being the most valuable):

• I want to help the program win:

1, 9% (2 votes)

2, 5% (3 votes)

3, 20% (205 votes)

4, 26% (276 votes)

5, 41% (429 votes)

• I want to support the student-athletes and their education:

1, 10% (102 votes)

2, 10% (110)

3, 27% (278)

4, 28% (289)

5, 26% (270)