Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A few Aggie nuggets

One of the Utah State fans attended a recent 'road trip' event (where the Aggie coaches hit surrounding towns to drum up interest in USU sports) and here are a few basketball nuggets:

"(Coach Tim) Duryea told us that he has tried to get Corey to introduce him as an undefeated head coach at the events, but he wouldn't do it." Duryea was a longtime assistant to Stew Morrill and now heads the program.

"He likes having the current players on campus for three reasons. Cause he can pay them to run the camps, cause they get school credit for helping run them, and for the strength program." Holding summer camps seems to disappeared vis-a-vis SJSU hoops.

"Jalen (Moore) was at 180 when he graduated from Sky View High, now he is at 220...(David) Colette was at 185, now he is at 237." At 6-foot-8, Moore is Utah State's top talent. Collette is also 6-foot-8 and is three years into the Aggie program, having redshirted as a freshman. Both are starters. Hopefully Cody Schwartz and Ryan Welage will make similar upgrades on the weight scale.

"Would rather play division 2 schools instead of D1 schools in the 300's, cause playing a D2 or D3 school doesn't hurt your RPI like playing a team in the 300s does." Who do you as fans wish to see among those two choices?

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Chappell's will be visiting

Team Superstar tweeted: "C/O 2016 Ryan Chappell & 2018 Zach Chappell will be taking an unofficial visit to San Jose St. on Wed. July 1st."

Both guards play at Capital Christian High in Sacramento.

This is what we're up against

Lobo hoops greats return to Pit for all star game

Geoff Grammer: "Announced attendance at tonight's #LoboAllStar game is 9,497."

Amazing.

Welage here in less than a week

Ryan Welage on Instagram: "6 more days and I'll be playing in Cali." Hit the link for the photo.

Schwartz is packing

Cody Schwartz on Instagram: "One more week and I'll be out in California!" Hit the link for the photo.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Getting in with the kids

The Nor Cal Report: "TeamSuperstarTS quintet, JoVon & Jaden McClanahan, Rob Prince, Derrick Langford, & Jamario Bibb are visiting San Jose State Thursday."

These are Bay Area-located youngsters with 2-3 years still remaining in high school.

SJSU on Saturday, Nevada on Sunday

Via Chris Murray: "Solomon Young, a 6-7/220 PF from Sacramento, on an unofficial visit to Nevada this weekend. Rivals rates him No. 129 recruit in 2016 class."

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Young tripping to Washington Square

Josh Gershon tweeted: "2016 Sacramento (Calif.) post Solomon Young is unofficially visiting San Jose State today."

He's actually not a post as he stands 6-foot-6. Very strong and athletic, effective inside and outside (excellent touch and range on his outside shot), his recruiting situation will be a fascinating one because he oozes potential but needs to show creating skills with the ball from 15-feet out. Would be best positioned collegiately as a wing rather than a power forward. Could be same player as he is now three years from now or could bust out as an all-league talent. Will someone in the Pac-12 make the call? At what level does Young wish to enter college ball?

A point that must be made

The case can certainly be made that this year's SJSU recruiting class is the most promising ever but time will tell. A case in point:

6-foot-9 Ryan Welage (on the left) at a recent workout (hit the link for some video)


The good news is that weight and strength can be developed as most high schoolers have never participated in college'level weight room workouts.

As for a specific skills set, it's develop-able but more as a honing of such rather than starting near ground zero. There is only so much time coaches can spend with their players in the off-season per the NCAA and most of the in-season time is for learning offensive and defensive sets as well as game-specific preparation.

Take the latter when evaluating at a prospect because it can be honed

Friday, June 26, 2015

Person coming for an unofficial

Team Superstar tweeted: "TS16u c/o 2017 Darrin Person Jr, ( @UserDpj32 ) will be taking unofficial visit to San Jose St. July 3rd."

It's a positive start for recruiting higher level prospects in California even if he is two years away from college.

Person is already 6-foot-6 and 216 -- he averaged 16.4 points and 8.8 rebounds a game this season at Immanuel High in Reedley. That production earned him Co-Player of The Year honors from the Fresno Bee.

Meet Ashtin Chastain


With the San Jose State University basketball program evolving and Ashtin Chastain in the midst of his own process of development, a mutual kinship of sorts came to be and now the 6-foot-11, 245-pound Norco High (Riverside County) and Gamepoint Basketball program talent is a Spartan.

According to Chastain, the courtship was rather quick. "It actually happened pretty fast. Three, four weeks ago, I de-committed from a school and [SJSU Assistant] Coach [Mike] Lepore called. He wanted me to come up for a visit."

That trip took place last weekend and it proved to be an enjoyable one for Chastain. What clinched the decision for both parties was a face-to-face meeting. "[Head] Coach [Dave] Wojcik and I sat and down and talked and we really clicked. I liked his personality and charisma."

Now, he'll be up here by July 5 to begin summer school.

The Gamepoint Basketball organization is headed by Charlie Mercado Jr. who is also boys varsity coach at Vista High. Chastain played on the Gamepoint 17U AAU squad last season.

"We're an Adidas-sponsored travel team," Mercado said. "Ashtin came to us at 270 pounds and is now down to 245. That was last spring and summer and Ashtin gained exposure by playing with us in tournaments in Kansas City, Boston, Philadelphia and Phoenix."

"We created really strong bonds, it was a good time," Chastain recalled. Maybe more importantly, "I hadn't seen good competition but I saw what elite level players were like and it clicked for me. I now see the game n a different way."

At Norco High this season, Chastain was injured around mid-season and missed the remainder of the games. But during his participation, he averaged 11.4 rebounds and 9.4 rebounds. Norcal was 9-6 going into league but lost the remaining games on its schedule.

About his ailment, Chastain offered, "I broke my foot and had to do four months of rehab. It really made me value my time on the court and it became a blessing in disguise, making me work harder."

SJSU requested film on him last month with Lepore as the lead recruiter. Per Mercado Jr., "Ashtin is healthy now, he feels good and is glad to be part of the team."

Asked to describe what he does best on the court, Chastain offered, "I'm a back-to-the-basket player in the post who is a good passer and good on the boards."

But it wasn't always this way. "As a freshman, I was 6-foot-8 and 295, just pure girth. I was uncoordinated. I've lost a lot of weight and changed my effort level."

Chastain credits three people in particular for his achievement. "My Mom and Dad and my high school coach Jon Cabrera because he saw something in me I didn't see in myself and helped me realize it."

His major will be business.

About the talk of redshirting as a freshman, Chastain said, "we'll take this summer and do an evaluation. But if I prove myself..."

Boise losing a little-used big

Dave Southern writes that 6-foot-11 Kevin Allen is departing the Boise State basketball squad. His fourth college in four years, he just went too high coming out of junior college.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The why of the hire of a Nevada assistant

Chris Murray has posted an article on one of Nevada Coach Eric Musselman's new assistants and it contains a straightforward raison d'ĂȘtre for the hire:

"...[Jay] Morris was hired by Nevada after five seasons as an assistant at Cal State Northridge in large part because of his connections in Los Angeles, which is one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the nation and has been a pipeline in stocking the Wolf Pack's roster over the last couple of decades.

"He knows the L.A. area really well," Musselman said. "We knew that was an area we needed to target and wanted to target. Jay is a guy who doesn't have enemies. He has a personality that is non-confrontational, and I think that's important. He has a great reputation with high school and AAU guys..."

Monday, June 22, 2015

A combo post

Per Chris Murray, Nevada just landed former Oregon State signee 6-foot-8 Cameron Oliver (high degree of potential, lots of work to put in) for this season.

Key paragraph: "...Oliver was recruited to Oregon State by former Beavers associate head coach Doug Stewart, who is now an assistant at Nevada. Oliver was one of the first targets Nevada's new staff, led by head coach Eric Musselman, targeted. Oliver took an official visit to Reno in mid-April..."

It's impossible to say if Oliver would have made the same decision or not without the Stewart connection but sometimes the members of a coaching staff can matter.

+++++

Hawaii has signed a 6-foot-9 Australian transfer from Auburn. The key note:

"...But not only will Purchase potentially provide something for three years after that — his shooting and passing are said to be his greatest assets, especially for his size — he marks the first in what Ganot hopes will be a long line of Australians eager to join the program in seasons to come.

Purchase himself hinted that he’d spoken to several other up-and-coming Aussies who were excited about the prospect of a (relatively) close Division I school with a staff friendly toward their general outlook..."

Having one helps in luring others.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A bit more of Ashtin Chastain

Any official news regarding Ashtin Chastain and San Jose State University may not appear for some time because he will be signing a financial aid agreement due to the legally binding national letter-of-intent period having concluded on May 20. A financial aid agreement means he is not officially connected to the Spartans per NCAA rules and regulations and can change his mind until he enrolls in school, something which is extremely unlikely considering SJSU is the only D1 school offering him.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Spartans eyeing four prospects

Team Superstar double tweeted:

"2016 Alize Travis and Kenneth Wooten pick up strong interest from San Jose St"

Travis is a 5-foot-11 point out of Roosevelt High in Fresno. In 2013 while attending school in Victorville, he participated in a hoops camp and received this writeup: "One of the top players in the camp on both ends of the floor, nobody could stay in front of Travis when he had the ball in his hands. Exceptionally quick, Travis made a ton of positive plays penetrating around the basket. He didn’t take many jumpers, but does shoot well enough to keep defenders honest. On defense, he gets low and really gets after it. He expects to have a big season for Silverado and thinks his team will make an impact with its up-tempo style of play."

Wooten stands 6-foot-8 and averaged a double-double as a sophomore. He sat out this season after transferring in to Manteca High from Stagg High.

and

"2017 Team Superstar 16U Jade Smith and Darrin Person Jr pick up strong interest from San Jose St"

Smith, whose first name is spelled Jade', is a 6-foot-2 point out of St. Joseph Notre Dame High in Alameda. Here's a late November 2014 feature.

Person Jr. is 6-foot-6, 215 and averaged 16.4 points plus 8.8 rebounds as a sophomore. Person was an all-state selection as well as the Fresno Bee Co-Player of the Year for his season at Reedley High.

A big comes aboard

The Train (6-foot-10 Ashtin Chastain) tweeted: "I would love to announce that I am Committing to San Jose State University on a full ride Basketball scholarship!"

The 6-foot-10, 260-pounder decomitted from Cal Baptist. He averaged 11.4 points and 9.4 rebounds this season for Norco High in southern California. It was back on January 20 that Chastain committed to CB.

From MidMajorHoopsReport on March 12, 2014:

MMHR ventured to Perris, CA to check out the Icemen’s 6th Annual College Evaluation Showcase at Citrus Hill High School. There was plenty of talent and fundamental skill work observed. But the cream of the crop was Ashtin Chastain (2015). The big fella, out of Norco HS, measures 6’10” 260 pounds. He has a well put together body. Ashtin is a true back to the basket post player. He posts up strong, has right and left hand baby hooks, and finishes around the basket. Ashtin runs the floor hard, keeps the ball up high, and sets good picks and rolls to the basket hard. He is not a jump out the gym athlete. Ashtin has to get in better condition. Once he does that, his basketball game will go to another level.

Q&A with Ashtin Chastain

MMHR: What is your height, weight, and position?

AC: I’m 6’10” 255 and I am a center.

MMHR: How was your season this year?

AC: I think I improved a lot from last year. I learned a lot about the game. I learned my role on the team is to get it in the post and play hard. I executed well in games and had my best scoring season, averaged a double double. Our team is still learning, but we’ll get there.

MMHR: Did the season live up to your expectations?

AC: It was a good season. We had a little more potential than we fulfilled. It was a good season overall.

MMHR: During your season, what team was your toughest matchup?

AC: Centennial HS. They have 6’8″ and a 6’9″ big, athletic, long guys that are strong and hard to post up. I think I did well. In the first game I had 10 points, but the next game I played good defense and executed better.

MMHR: Which college have attended your practices or games this year?

AC: None. No one has come up and approached me yet.
MMHR: Which colleges are recruiting you the hardest?

AC: Cal Lutheran and Minnesota Duluth.

MMHR: Any scholarship offers?

AC: None yet.

MMHR: What are you looking for in a college program?

AC: Good work ethic, team that wants to win, and a team that feeds the post.

MMHR: Any college visits planned for the off season?

AC: This spring break I’m planning to go to Kansas State. That is my dream school.

MMHR: Are you planning on attending any camps or showcases?

AC: Scoutfocus.com is holding a camp and a couple of things at the Players’ Edge.

MMHR: What are your strengths as a player?

AC: My strength is my strength. I am a big guy and I throw my weight around. Defensively, I’m an agitator and bang with the other post.

MMHR: What are your weaknesses that you would like to turn into strengths?

AC: My ball handling is definitely one of my weaknesses. I need to work on being strong with the ball when I am not dribbling and being able to get by players putting the ball on the floor.

MMHR: What AAU or travel team will you play with this spring and summer?

AC: This spring I will be playing with Icemen with Coach Malecki. This summer is undecided.

MMHR: How many days per week do you work on your game outside your normal team practices?

AC: Every single day. I am in volleyball right now. After practice, I go to LA Fitness and hit the weights and then I work on my shot and post moves.

MMHR: Do you have a Twitter?

AC: I do @chaistain951

MMHR: Who has had the biggest impact on your life when it comes to basketball, life, and school?

AC: I would say my mom. She has been pushing me my whole life. She recently had a brain aneurysm and a stroke in her coma. She is still working back and she is my motivator. She is why I play basketball. She is my rock. I do everything I do for her. I want to get a college scholarship to make her proud.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Spartans following a Sacto wing

Jerina tweeted: "2016 6'6 G/SF Isaiah Bates COS Elite interest from SJState, Eastern Michigan, CSU East Bay (Sacramento,CA)."

He plays for West Campus High during the winter.

Tention is in

Credit bulldogseventy (it feels blasphemous to even type the first seven letters of his board name but we digress) for originally posting this at the InsideTheSpartans basketball message board"At a lunch function Monday at Harry's Hofbrau, word that Rodney Tension hired as new assistant. Any confirmation of that? He is very experienced. Loyola as Head Coach I think."

According to two contacts, one from the north of here and the other from the southland, this is true.

With two stints as a head coach, Tention brings background and understanding regarding both leading a program and assisting. That should be beneficial in making Coach Wojcik feel a greater level of comfort with his overall group.

Another aspect is Tention has recruiting credibility throughout California. There won't be any 'who is this calling?' when he dials up a coach to discuss a recruit.

The 2014-15 Toreros roster has a number of southern California guys on it as well as -- and this is intriguing -- four foreign talents from The Netherlands, Serbia, Germany and Georgia respectively but it's impossible to identify the lead recruiter for each.

With San Diego being a West Coast Conference member, Tention is also already likely familiar with a number of prospects possessing the potential to play in the WCC and thus also the Mountain West Conference.

This hire also goes a long ways towards getting the demographics of the Spartan coaching staff right.

Mike Burns, another San Diego assistant who was let go when Bill Grier was fired in mid-March, just landed at Pacific. None of the Torero coaching staff was retained when new Head Coach Lamont Smith took over.

Tention's playing/coaching career:

Played: USF

Coached:
1988–1989 Skyline CC (assistant)
1989–1991 South Florida (assistant)
1991–1994 College of Notre Dame (assistant)
1994–1997 College of Notre Dame head coach
1997–2005 Arizona (assistant)
2005–2008 Loyola Marymount (head coach)
2008-2011 Stanford (assistant)
2011–2015  San Diego (assistant)

As for his running the Argonauts and Lions programs, Tention enjoyed some degree of success. Now this is not making excuses but nobody has been able to be a consistent winner at either place.

For those interested, here's a fascinating longform look at the LMU program for the last 30 years and why success has been fleeting.

Williams Jr. in the SF Pro-Am

Gary Williams Jr. is playing on the East Bay squad in the San Francisco Pro-Am Basketball League. He's the only current Spartan doing so.

Here is the June-July-August schedule.

East Bay lost 91-80 tonight against Bay Pride.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

New Mexico lands a big

From Geoff Grammer today: "UNM Lobos final scholarship goes to Serbian Nikola Scekic (7-0,250) of MMG Academy in Orlando. Signed & hopes to be on campus by end of June…"

More from Grammer: "There was concern new UNM hoops signee Nikola Scekic would return to Serbia to play pro. @AlanHuss1 & UNM staff kept recruiting anyway."

plus this: "Scekic's prep school coach, Chris Chaney, said he has no doubt Scekic can develop into a pro at a high level (NBA or high Euro league)."

Monday, June 15, 2015

USU signs a frontcourter

Utah State just added a 6-foot-7 frontcourter so there's still hope that a workable big (hey, even 6-foot-8) could still be added to the SJSU roster.

Here's an early look at the Aggie roster (courtesy of treesap32):

1 - Chris Smith - SG - (Sr.)
2 - Darius Perkins - SG/PG - (Sr.)
3 - Trace Cureton - Wing - (Sr.)
4 - Grayson Moore - SF - (RS Sr.)
5 - Lew Evans - PF - (RS Jr.)
6 - Jalen Moore - Wing - (Jr.)
7 - Shane Rector - PG - (Jr.) (Committed 4/27/15)
8 - David Collette - PF - (Soph.)
9 - Elston Jones - C - (Soph.)
10 - Julion Pearre - SG - (Soph.)
11 - Henry Bolton - SG/PG - (Soph.)
12 - Alexis Dargenton - SF - (Soph.) (Committed 6/14/15)
13 - Dusan Majstorovic - SF - (Fr.) (Committed 9/22/14)
Mission - Year 2 - Sam Merrill - PG - (Fr.) (Signed 11/13/13)
Mission - Year 1 - Brock Miller - SG/SF - (Fr.) (Committed 9/9/14)
Mission - Year 1 - Crew Ainge - PG - (Fr.) (Committed 6/6/15)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A great 'inside' look of a college coach out recruiting

Apologies for posting this entire article but it would have required going to the original site and answering ss0me questions for access. A tip o' the hat to Brent Briggeman for his work.


Evaluation period: Air Force men's basketball coach Dave Pilopovich keeps eye out for future cadets
Brent Briggeman
The Gazette 
May 30, 2015

Players with unreal vertical leaps were throwing down dunks, lobbing alley-oops to each other off the backboard and generally treating an AAU tournament like it was a Harlem Globetrotters performance.

Dave Pilipovich expressed no interest. He scarcely glanced that direction.

The Air Force coach's attention was monopolized by a player on another court who was new to his radar. Recruited by some Ivy League schools and available, this 6-foot-4 guard could drive, shoot, defend and play above the rim. That he had been vetted academically by some of the top schools was an obvious bonus, and Pilipovich was excited.

Evaluation periods in college basketball set when NCAA coaches can scour the country to watch high school-age players. Contact with players at these events is forbidden, but plenty can be learned from watching a teenager on the court and in his interactions with teammates, officials, coaches and, sometimes most telling, his parents. There's also a chance to see players against a variety of competition.

Pilipovich allowed The Gazette's Brent Briggeman to join him for a weekend of observation at the Pangos Sports Spectacular in mid-April. Plenty of conditions were attached, as Pilipovich couldn't break NCAA rules regarding discussion of particular athletes. This isn't about that, but the process, pace, strategy and emotions of a weekend spent evaluating potential recruits.

It became apparent quickly that above-the-rim flash wasn't what Pilipovich was after. He wanted to use his time on players who could be future cadets.

Dave Pilipovich remembers the first time he saw future Air Force players on the court

***

The first game the Air Force coach watched was played in an auxiliary gym at Bishop Gorman High School.

The school, made famous by the ESPN-produced documentary about Snoop Dogg's football-playing son, is a breathtaking ode to Vegas' excess. The sprawling campus and its $96 million facilities put most colleges to shame.

Randall Cunningham's son went there. Gary Payton's son is there now. In fact, Julian Payton played in this tournament, showing up in a red BMW convertible.

Despite the impressive surroundings, the quiet auxiliary gym served as a reminder this weekend was going to be spent watching amateurs in mostly empty venues.

Pilipovich pulled out his list of about a dozen players to watch and pointed out the ones playing in this first game. This sheet proved to be like a grocery list in that it was only a starting point. By the end of the weekend his cart contained many new names, while many others were left on the shelf.

One player, who Pilipovich had learned about through a tip and had seen only in an online video, was removed from the list almost immediately in the first game. Overly skinny and displaying no outstanding skills, "he's two years away from being two years away," Pilipovich noted.

Then came the second game, featuring a team Pilipovich had seen many times over the years and that has provided a steady pipeline for recruits.

This is where Pilipovich began picking up on the details.

Two players left him far from excited. One had altered his shooting form, starting down around the waist. The other showed little in the way of an outside shot.

Neither played his way off the list, but the weekend wasn't off to a resounding start.

In the next game, a red flag arose. The player on Air Force's list showed no touch around the basket, but his height alone made him worth tracking. Pilipoivich saw that the player's eyes moved not to his coach but to his dad at every stoppage and each time he sat on the bench. The dad was keeping stats, monitoring the clock, tracking each movement closer than the pit bosses a few miles away.

Was this a kid and family Pilipovich wanted to invite onto his team? Was this a kid who was going to fit as a cadet?

Again, not an electrifying start. But the outlook quickly changed.

***

The first game Pilipovich saw the 5-foot-11 point guard play, he took note. There was nothing special about him athletically, but there was something about his feel for the game that the coach liked.

The excitement came on a second viewing, after some research.

The kid was the son of a high-level basketball coach, which explained his poise and court savvy. Pilipovich's sources told him this player was sharp academically and available.

Pilipovich does nothing to hide his emotions, and he was bouncing at this point.

Still, he had to exhibit some restraint. He wasn't going to be able to talk to anyone directly about this player for a few days. And even in his euphoria, he's fine with the need for a little patience. After all, he knows what these evaluation periods used to be like.

Before the no-contact rule was implemented, games were followed by a receiving line like a wedding. Pilipovich recalled waiting for at least 15 minutes to talk to a player. Often he would have to skip the next game, particularly if it was at another venue.

And it didn't stop there. Coaches would learn where the players were staying and send notes and faxes to the hotel. Letters were slipped under doors.

Pilipovich didn't talk to any players or AAU coaches at this event, but made a point to make his presence known. One 20-minute trek across town to see half a game was made for the sole purpose of being seen. The game included no one on the recruiting list, but it was a program with a strong relationship with Air Force that Pilipovich values, so he wanted to make sure the coach saw him there.

These efforts were noticed. In a staff meeting two days after the coaches returned from the evaluation weekend, one of Pilipovich's assistants said a parent of a player reached out via email to say he had noticed the Air Force coach at a game and wanted him to know his son was extremely interested. The coach had already made positive notes about the player, so he jumped up the priority list.

***

Most schools are working just as diligently as Air Force, just focusing their attention in other areas. The Falcons don't need to check the waiver wire that is the transfer community, they waste no time looking into junior colleges and exert little effort on players younger than juniors.

Coaches at AAU basketball tournaments stick out via their shirts

Major programs closely track freshmen and sophomores, catching them early in the process. Air Force has the luxury of waiting and seeing which players develop into those who might fit their profile.

Pilipovich watched just one game of players full of in-state sophomores, and if anything he came away disappointed. The team looked good, to the point where they would play themselves right out of Air Force's range.

It's not waving a white flag when Air Force backs off a talent beyond its reach, it's just reality. If this were car shopping, Pilipovich wants no part of wandering onto a lot beyond his price range. Why become attached to something you can't have?

And if you're begging someone to come to the academy, what happens when the road grows truly difficult? No one benefits from a player who can't or won't stick it out.

When Pilipovich says, "We can't get him," on multiple occasions, it is without a trace of defeat in his voice.

Assistant Kurt Kanaskie spent nine years as an assistant at Penn State in the Big Ten and two years in the same capacity with Virginia Tech in the ACC before arriving at Air Force last year. The difference he has seen is that the Falcons' initial pool of recruits shrinks faster than others because of the qualifications and interest, but while a Virginia Tech might spend its attention on just a handful of players after it whittles down the list, the number Air Force seriously pursues is much larger.

"We're trying to get guys who can compete academically, that can compete in the Mountain West Conference and are willing to serve their country for at least five years," Kanaskie said. "That's a tough task."

Also, Air Force must find enough recruits to not only account for a few direct-enter players each year, but also another 12 to fill the prep school roster.

And the crop has to be deep enough for attrition.

Pilipovich wishes he could trust all that is told him by recruits, their families and even their high school and AAU coaches, but that's not the case. All are trying to sell something. Besides that, even if the intentions are pure, unforeseen variables can change everything.

That's why observing can be so valuable. You can project a lot about a player just by how he carries himself. A Texas recruit lost his spot on Air Force's list in Las Vegas not just because he barely played in the game that Pilipovich witnessed, but as a result of his lethargic body language. Passive isn't going to cut it at Air Force, and Pilipovich would rather see that firsthand than have a coach falsely sing the players' praises.

In listening to what is discussed at the staff meeting, where coaches share notes, basketball talent is far from the only topic. One potential recruit has a stepfather who is a former Marine and would love to send the player to an academy. Another kid already has his pilot's license, offering Air Force an obvious advantage.

Height, quickness and shooting touch are considered, but other factors - particularly mutual interest - are just as important.

***

"We just fell into something," Pilipovich said. "This is big."

Pilipovich, days before the event, learned that the son of a well-known pro basketball executive was still available as his senior year was coming to a close. Pilipovich had watched film and came away impressed, but he didn't realize that player was here until he noticed the famous father in the gym.

So, the day's schedule was amended on the fly.

Pilipovich was impressed with his size and, particularly, his shot. From a talent perspective, there was no doubt he would be good enough for Air Force.

The list grew by one and Pilipovich was again giddy. Air Force may spend much of its time shopping in the bargain bin, but that just makes the quality finds that much more exhilarating.

Days after the tournament, the executive's son was removed from Air Force's list after failing to return six phone calls. But all was not lost. In the process of watching him, Pilipovich had been given an extra chance to see another potential recruit who had started the weekend on the list but hadn't dazzled in a previous viewing. In this game, the players even frequently guarded each other.

Pilipovich became more and more intrigued by this other player, so even as the executive's son was removed as quickly as he was added to the list this new player improved his status.

This was how the list continued to evolve. Another player was added after a chance conversation when Pilipovich and a coach he trusts from another school crossed paths on the way to a gym (Pilipovich, by the way, knows everyone. Even the facilities manager at Bishop Gorman is a longtime acquaintance with whom Pilipovich worked at Eastern Michigan). That coach told Pilipovich of a recruit his team no longer had a spot for, but who met every qualification for Air Force. Pilipovich was pressed for time, as the deadline to get seniors started on the application process hung just days away, but this was something he was going to explore.

"How about that," he said. "We spend all this time watching games and then we might get someone because of a conversation in a parking lot."

***

Pilipovich's list, by the time he presented his notes to his assistants two days after returning, was vastly different than when it began.

Those names were combined with those gathered from his assistants after their weekend observing in different cities. In all, about 65 potential recruits were discussed.

Checking in with Pilipovich a month later, many of the players he watched in Las Vegas remain in consideration. He knows some will drop off over time. Others may arrive at the prep school and drop off after that. Fewer will actually be welcomed into the cadet wing. And how many will one day graduate as officers? Who knows? Only one, Chase Kammerer, did after the 2014 season. Six more threw up their hat in Falcon Stadium on Thursday.

That process has to start somewhere. And for some it started when they caught the coach's eye at a tournament in Las Vegas. In almost every case, it didn't happen because of high-flying theatrics, but because of a display of intangibles that provided reason for hope that they could fit at Air Force and see this long journey to its completion.

That's what Pilipovich wants to see most of all.

Welage owns the boards

In a matchup tonight of the Kentucky Boys All-Stars versus the Indiana Boys All-Stars, the Hoosiers prevailed 88-77. San Jose State University commit Ryan Welage totaled a game-best 12 rebounds alongside 11 points. He shot 2-8 overall, 4-4 at the foul line.

Friday, June 12, 2015

An interesting look at Eric Musselman's initial weeks on the job

Here's a fascinating Associated Press article on new Nevada Coach Eric Musselman, especially the section detailing the flurry of action right after he was hired.

Call it a 24/7/365 life although such often references Las Vegas which is a definite no-no when engaging Wolf Pack fans and Reno residents.

Coach Wojcik must have experienced the same in his move from Boise to San Jose.

Offer out to 2016 guard

From Verbal Commits: "2016 Mission Bay (CA) G Justin Moore has received an offer from San Jose State."

He's a 6-foot-4 point out of San Diego.

Arizona State, San Diego State and USC have also extended offers.

This is from a year ago: "Moore did not play his freshman year, but more than made up for it during the spring and summer, when he played on the 17u level for San Diego All Stars, in addition to a solid showcase performance at the Frosh Soph Camp in Georgia in June. Moore is blessed with great size, length and athleticism for the point position. He has the coveted third gear, which allows him to blow by defenders after lulling them to sleep with his initial move. His size, speed and athleticism allow him to get to the rim at the high school level. Moore pairs his physical attributes with great vision and handle, and is a great passer in transition. His one significant flaw is his shot from the perimeter, which is decent from 12 feet in, but his mechanics tend to fall apart as he extends his range. It is something that he has worked on, so we expect that to improve over time. Additionally, Moore has spells where his motor fluctuates, which will need to even out."

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Interesting recruiting tidbit

Talked with a coach of one of the prominent northern California travel teams today -- his guys play in tournaments during the spring and summer once the high school season concludes -- and he offered an interesting take about SJSU: "It's not us (meaning the coaches), San Jose has to win some games. Right now, the kids don't want to go there."

So that's the truth -- at least with his players. Right now, it's easier (not easy mind you) to bring in out-of-staters who aren't all that familiar with SJSU basketball history and who will be impressed by the Spartan affiliation with the Mountain West Conference and maybe even the Silicon Valley location.

But the days are coming to a close for a roster makeup featuring such a demographic as scholarships costs need to be lowered.

As written here recently, "how about also hiring an assistant possessing authentic credibility with some of the most bountiful high school and travel team programs in the Golden State?"

That would be a solid start. Combining that with winning some games and the Spartans can become a mid-major player once again in the fertile California prep basketball harvest.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Three trips for Muhammad

Jon Rothstein tweeted: "San Jose State transfer Rashad Muhammad told @CBSSports he plans to visit Miami, Wake Forest, and South Florida. Averaged 13.9 PPG."

Hmmmm. As for South Florida, see this.

A little perspective please but concern is certainly legitimate

Let's get this point out of the way immediately: no coach, beyond issues of committing NCAA or other legal infractions or demonstrating the temperament of someone who should not be allowed to supervise or work around other individuals, should be let go after two seasons. It's not going to happen to Coach Wojcik, nor should it even be seriously considered by any fair-minded Spartan fan (who has no power in the situation anyway other than expressing sentiment).

However, the feeling for jettisoning is to a degree understandable. Some of that fervor is based on what has happened during Wojcik's tenure but it's mostly because of a compilation of disastrous decades of Spartan basketball fueled by nepotistic hirings and personalities not conducive to engendering enthusiasm -- greater loyalty to friends and buddies than the university, program and the student-athletes.

This short-rope reaction is a by-product of fan burnout. Promises are made anew, the calls for donations ramp up. 'we're gonna turn this around' again becomes the latest mantra. Yet nothing changes vis-a-vis the perennial on-court failures. Call it Groundhog Day redux with a side of serial Little Mary Sunshine-ism. Fool me four, five, six times and...damn, I must be the sap.

Yet the coaches and ADs involved are not so-called bad individuals. Some had serious personal issues, others major blind spots and deficiencies -- sort of like us (but we don't head a now Mountain West Conference basketball program).

Yes, there are current issues with staff and player turnover within the past two seasons -- the recent departure of Chuck Driesell being the latest. Driesell wasn't long for SJSU hoops anyway but this set a record (if such Washington Square coaching statistics are kept).

Any athletic director of sound mind and reason is going to be concerned and you can bet Gene Bleymeier is troubled. You can also wager that this unease has been discussed. Coach Wojcik has, in hindsight and overall, made some poor assistant selections. The bottom line though is no money is available to make any head coaching change even if such was desired. So the front-and-center question remains has Wojcik learned from these poor choices?

I would argue that the addition of Driesell wasn't what was most needed for this program. Yes, Wojcik surely felt burned by some of his former hires and both knew and, most importantly, trusted the former head coach of The Citadel -- there would be no surprises in behavior and judgment.

SJSU must begin making inroads into northern and southern California prep circles. A roster full of out-of-state signees is no longer a financial reality given that dollar amount plus the funding that is now needed for the newly implemented cost of living outlays for scholarship student-athletes.

Winning some games will do wonders for the reputation of Spartan basketball but how about also hiring an assistant possessing authentic credibility with some of the most bountiful high school and travel team programs in the Golden State?

The next assistant hire will be telling. What is most comfortable for Coach Wojcik may not be best for the program. Which prevails?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Friday, June 5, 2015

A tidbit on Muhammad's new home?

Talk about eyestrain in reading the tea leaves...

Watch to see if Rashad Muhammad partners up with University of South Florida because there might be an interesting connection to such a move: from this March 2013 article which primarily focused on Shabazz Muhammad (Rashad's brother) and father (Ron Holmes):

"...Another important source of travel funds was a 34-year-old financial planner named Ben Lincoln.

The son of a high school coach and a former student manager of the University of South Florida basketball team, Lincoln runs his own wealth management firm in Charlotte, N.C. A basketball fanatic, he travels the country watching games. His client list includes former college coach Brad Greenberg.

Through his brother, an assistant coach at Muhammad's high school, Lincoln met Holmes. He now calls him a close friend. Starting in March 2010, Lincoln paid for at least three visits to the University of North Carolina and Duke, covering airfare and hotel bills for Holmes and his son.

Lincoln was in L.A. this month to watch UCLA play. In an interview, Lincoln said he couldn't remember exactly how much he spent, but that he paid for the trips because the family was tight on funds, something Holmes denies.

"Ben offered to pay, so I let him," Holmes said..."

Plus this:

"...Then, on Nov. 9, 2012, hours before UCLA's opener against Indiana State, the NCAA ruled [Shabazz] Muhammad ineligible for accepting travel and lodging from Lincoln that it later valued at $1,600. That sidelined him indefinitely while the NCAA and the university negotiated an appropriate penalty..."

Of course heading to the Land of Sunshine may have zero, zip, nada meaning as correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation vis-a-vis the Ben Lincoln affiliation. Even if so, that likely couldn't have been the sole factor in any future decision to play at USF.

Musselman's addition aiding Nevada's coffers

Chris Murray with "Musselman brings buzz back to Wolf Pack basketball"

A snippet: "...The Wolf Pack has already sold more new season tickets this offseason than it did all of last offseason, and Nevada doesn't play its first game for five more months, so the numbers will continue to climb..."

Not a lot of Spartans in the SF Pro AM

Not seeing the names of a lot of San Jose State University alums on the rosters of the teams making up the San Francisco Pro-Am.

Mac Peterson is playing for the Bay Raiders as is Moses Omolade (if he counts). The school and coaching staff stuck with Omolade even though he never gained D1 eligibility and he earned his degree. That's is commendable.

Don't know if Justin Graham or Adrian Oliver will be taking to the court this summer.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

More on Muhammad

More from Jeff Goodman: "Rashad Muhammad (Shabazz brother) has gotten release from San Jose State. Has heard from Wake, Louisville, USF, Creighton and Minnesota."

It's interesting to read some trashing his play while at SJSU -- such was not being posted prior to his departure, so might the rose-tinted spectacles have been replaced with a much darker hue?

It would be good for him to be at Louisville because he would be challenged in practice everyday as well as being 'truthed' by Pitino on what needs to change in his game. Any excuses would fall flat if he then didn't advance his skills set. Not so sure about the other possibilities. Let's see if he goes with what would be his toughest challenge.