Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fisher named City Player of the Year

"Keith Fisher of Westchester is City Section player of the year" -- Eric Songheimer/Los Angeles Times

He'll be on the SJSU campus come August.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Leon Rice staying at BSU because...

"Travis Ford hired as new SLU coach" -- Stu Durando/St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Boise State fans can breathe a little easier.

The world of basketball coaching is indeed a unique one as Ford is let go by Oklahoma State for not winning enough--a 3-15 mark in conference this season-- but the powers-that-be in St. Louis think he is just dandy. He was owed for three years on his OSU contract (7.2 million) so the athletic powers there are ecstatic.

NEW NEW NEW -- St. Louis issued this late Tuesday: "Saint Louis University has not hired a men's basketball coach. The process is ongoing."

The future of Augmon

So Stacey Augmon is unlikely to remain on the coaching staff at UNLV. Link

The pressure turns up more than a notch now on Chris Beard but recruit well, win a mess of games and all will soon not necessarily be quiet but will go underground.

Monday, March 28, 2016


Gary Parrish: "I reported last night that Leon Rice is in the mix at SLU. Another coach involved: Fresno State's Rodney Terry, a source told."

SJSU season wrapup /// looking at next season

Someone could probably do a graduate thesis on the San Jose State University season that recently concluded, but that won't happen. So here is a much briefer take alongside a peek at 2016-17.

The season of the missing point guard is thankfully over. Missing that particular element negatively impacted so many other elements and to such a degree that any numbers put up by anyone on the Spartans really need to be disposed of and a blank slate drawn up to begin again.

The good news is that Nai Carlisle is coming to Washington Square to fill the position. The not-so-good news is that he's a freshman so expectations need to be toned down some. He'll be a day one starter, in fact, he would have started this season for SJSU. But there will be some growing pains to be endured.

Guard Terrell Brown isn't a point but his blazing speed will be a sorely needed addition this coming season. His shooting consistency needs work but he'll create for himself and others by blowing past defenders. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and that's a plus.

Forward Keith Fisher's return-to-the-court status is unknown since he recently tore his ACL. If he can go when the season opens, he'll add a no-back-down level of toughness upfront.

The biggest question mark is who will be at center for the Spartans? Leon Bahner is not a 30-minutes-a-game answer and 6-foot-10 Ashtin Chastain has yet to take to the court in a college game. Has the latter progressed enough defensively to be an asset? Chances are he will shoot well enough but can he also provide a positive impact rebounding?

Having Carlisle on board will reduce the number of turnovers 'credited' to SJSU but others also must do their share in the reduction as progress in this area was not apparent on a team-wide basis this season.

The defensive effort, at least statistically, wasn't a doomed-to-defeat factor in 2015-16. However, two questions remain unanswered:

1) who in the backcourt and the frontcourt will take it upon themselves to become a plus defender?

2) as an entity, does the squad have the mental makeup necessary to progress towards being a tough team to score points against?

Offensively, greater scoring efficiency should come with additional experience. It's critical that freshman Jaycee Hillsman become a sniper in the vein of an Anthony Drmic, popping from outside and also getting to the foul line with frequency. He's the youngest guy who is best equipped to perform in that role. Senior Gary Williams Jr. should up his shooting accuracy once playing with a solid point. Those are two guys who need to provide a consistent amount of points without having to resort to volume shooting. Can Brandon Clarke at least become a catch-and-shoot guy? The ability to create on the bounce outside of the paint would really open up his game but we'll settle for more point production facing the basket as a sophomore.

Weight and strength are another set of critical elements. Ryan Welage, Cody Schwartz and even Ryan Singer cannot return next season at their current figures  if improvement in the W-L record is to be expected. Come September, what the scale says for each of that trio will be a barometer of how serious they took their respective summers.

Something to think about: Fresno Bee editorial

"We are excited to see the Fresno State men’s basketball team qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 15 years. And like many in the Valley, we are crossing our fingers that the Bulldogs can upset a Utah team led by star forward Jakob Poeltl Thursday in Denver.

But our enthusiasm for the Bulldogs and their coach, Rodney Terry, is rooted in much more than the obvious successes of a 25-9 record, a Mountain West Conference Tournament championship and a nine-game winning streak to close the regular season.

 This year’s trip to the NCAA Tournament for the Fresno State men’s basketball team and Coach Rodney Terry is a reminder that old-fashioned virtues are a foundation for long-term success.

He is humble, hardworking and doesn’t believe in shortcuts. He holds his players accountable for their actions on and off the court. Never, in our judgment, has he exhibited the win-at-all-costs mentality that inevitably embarrasses universities and communities – and today is threatening the integrity of college athletics.

Many college coaches, especially when visiting the homes of potential recruits, talk up character development and academics. But, when their big salaries and win-loss records are on the line, they ignore the fact that talented players aren’t hitting the books or staying out of trouble.

Terry, however, has made clear his commitment to, as he says, seeing “young men grow.” Translation: He is as much in the people business as he is in the basketball business. That’s how it should be at every level of youth, high school and college athletics

“They’re like my own sons,” Terry told The Bee’s Marek Warszawski. “I don’t have any kids myself right now, so ... every day I live for those guys and I live through those guys, and just to make a difference in their lives is the most important thing for me.”

Beyond that, it’s apparent that Terry and his assistants place extra importance on getting their players to buy into the team-first concept. On Feb. 3, the Bulldogs inexplicably lost a road game to a less-talented San Jose State team.

It was a miserable performance that created a make-or-break point for Fresno State. Three days later, the Bulldogs gutted out a double-overtime victory over Nevada-Las Vegas and backed that up by knocking off perennial conference kingpin San Diego State, 58-57. And now they’re just the sixth Fresno State team to taste the sweet nectar of playing in the NCAA Tournament.

Senior guard Marvelle Harris, the Mountain West player of the year and conference tournament most valuable player, is the heart and soul of the Bulldogs. But a host of other players have contributed mightily to the team’s success. Indeed, you never know who will come through in the clutch – one game it’s Cullen Russo, another game it’s Karachi Edo, Julien Lewis or Cesar Guerrero. That’s the beauty of the Bulldogs. They’re a team, not a collection of individuals, as often is the case in college basketball.

It’s 100 times easier to chart a successful path for an athletic team than it is to unify a diverse region behind a political and economic plan that increases prosperity and elevates the quality of life.

But our political leaders would be wise to incorporate some of what has taken Terry and his team to the NCAA Tournament: Be humble, set high standards, be resilient and think long term.

Sunday, March 27, 2016


The Lobo Lair: "Coming from someone very close to the #UNLV search, if Chris Beard turns down UNLV, their next target is #CSU coach, Larry Eustachy."

Stop the presses, UNLV has a new coach

Mark Anderson tweeted: "UNLV picks Beard as new basketball coach."

"UNLV picks Beard as new basketball coach" -- Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review Journal

That's Chris Beard, now formerly of Arkansas Little Rock and if you predicted this happening two weeks ago, then please contact me on Monday about the direction of the stock market for this coming week.

Rice to the Golden Arches?

Dave Southern: "Multiple sources have confirmed with me Boise State coach Leon Rice has interviewed for the Saint Louis vacancy."


Friday, March 25, 2016

As the world turns...

"Mick Cronin 'lied,' told Nevada-Las Vegas he wanted to be next coach, UNLV athletic director says"

Geoff Grammer"UNLV AD: "He left saying he would be our head coach." ... In good faith, TKM thought he was going to Cincy to tell his bosses & team." 

Matt Youmans"UNLV is 0 for 2. Turned down by Dixon before a foolish courtship of Cronin. Two-plus months to get here? Continue the circus"

Dave Hall: "I'm assessing double technicals to Mick Cronin and Tina Kunzer Murphy."

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Congratulations to Sid Williams

Former Spartan Sid Williams is being inducted into the Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame on June 8. He played at Aargon High in San Mateo.

"The Hall of Fame, founded in 1989, honors sports figures who have had an impact on the Peninsula athletic scene and beyond. The Hall of Fame induction banquet is presented annually by the San Mateo County/Silicon Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, headquartered in Burlingame. Currently, there are more than 250 members of the Hall of Fame."

Williams (1978-1981) was a ninth round pick by Portland in the 1981 NBA draft after being named the PCAA Tournament Most Valuable Player. He also played on the 1980 San Jose State University team that went to the Big Dance and faced Missouri.

The MWC coach pay scale may be getting blown up

Jeff Goodman: "UNLV making a strong push for Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin. Been told UNLV could pay in the $3 million range, plus no state tax."

$3,000,000 in the MWC?

Who are the moneybags in Vegas supporting this push? Previous coaches were earning $700k a year. Does Cronin have some incriminating pictures of the Rebel AD?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Doing the best you can in your assigned role with what you have

The numbers 5.3 points and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 41%, 32% and 68% are not overly impressive, especially as a starter. Neither is a 78/51 assist-to-turnover ratio as a point. Now 43 steals, yes, that is certainly a positive statistic.

The above is junior Isaac Thornton's numerical production for the 2015-16 season.

However, consider two elements:

1. He played on a team which shot just 42% overall so a number of what would have qualified as assists on better-shooting teams went for naught because of errant shots that should have been successful--of course, just how many is impossible to determine. Consider that St. Mary's, an NIT team, shot 51% this season but maybe that's cherrypicking.

2. More importantly, Thornton played out of position all season. He isn't a true point--best utilized as a situational backcourter--but who else on the team was going to fulfill that role? It's as if in a sense that Thornton took one for the team although the playing time surely was gratifying.

Some may call this is a backhanded compliment but it isn't meant as such. More simply to point out that sometimes a player is called upon to do the best he can for the team with his talents even if the role doesn't align with those skills. Thornton did just that for his teammates and should be both recognized and lauded for doing so.

This doesn't look good for Stacey Augmon

The LoboLair: "Mick Cronin will visit UNLV Monday and Tuesday. A private plane will be send to pickup the Cincinnati coach"

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Devonte Klines to Montana State

6-foot-2 Saddleback College freshman guard Devonte Klines has cast his lot with Montana State of the Big Sky Conference. SJSU offered Klines in early January.

"...Klines joined the Gauchos this winter from Santa Margarita Catholic High School and instantly jumped into the starting lineup, often being called upon to guard the No. 1 offensive threat from opposing teams. Klines averaged 7.2 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals-per-game, playing in all 33 contests. He was rewarded with All-Orange Empire Conference Second Team recognition..."

Klines tripped to Bozeman last month.

Saw him in the state community college tournament this past weekend (admittedly a very small viewing time). He plays for a team with a very methodical offensive style. Saddleback beat Fresno City College on Saturday and Klines enjoyed 10 points, three boards and a trio of steals while shooting 3-8, 2-3 and 2-4 in 26 minutes. The next day versus City College of San Francisco (which won the championship), he tallied zero points, two boards and one assist, shooting 0-5, 0-2 and 0-0 in 27 minutes.

It looks like he could have been a valuable asset for the Spartans defensively (which would be helpful) but his offensive game remains a work in progress. He's not a point nor a penetrating backcourter (very few free throws), at least at this point. What's promising is him having three remaining years of eligibility.

Wojcik with 19

Sophomore guard Jake Wojcik scored 19 points (four treys) and grabbed five rebounds in Bellarmine's 50-46 loss to Menlo Atherton. The Bells are now out of the state playoffs.

The UNLV opening

Mark Anderson: "Todd Simon, Stacey Augmon and Ryan Miller interviewed for the #unlvmbb job yesterday."

That's the existing staff and more will be interviewing. The town will be split if it isn't Augmon getting the job but winning reduces a lot of schisms.

MWC tournament payouts diminishing

"Lack of NCAA Tournament teams hurts Mountain West, UNM" -- Geoff grammer/Albuquerque Journal

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Keith Fisher update

Spartan signee Keith Fisher, a 6-foot-7 forward at Westchester high has torn his ACL in the last game of the season:  Frank Burlison on March 14: "Despite losing likely L.A. City Player of the Year Keith Fisher to a torn ACL late in the first quarter, the Comets took No. 2 Bishop Montgomery into OT before losing Friday night."

Jackson Moore/InsideTheSpartans reports on this.

Here's a January 14 feature on Fisher.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A little humor

Idaho Statesman's Dave Southern, who covers Boise State sports, emerging from his inexpensive Las Vegas hotel room. The Statesman suits really need to bring their per diems into the 21st century. LINK

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Colorado St. 80, SJSU 61

San Jose State University was eliminated in the initial round of the Mountain West Conference tournament by Colorado State 80-61 on Thursday as the Rams jumped out to a 43-24 lead at the half.

Frank (Salinas High) Rogers came to play, posting  an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double for the Spartans but he and his teammates collectively shot just 23-64, 3-21 and 12-21 respectively. Brandon Clarke provided yet another interesting line with nine points, five boards, two steals and two blocked shots.

Kelly Lyell/The Coloradoan game reports


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

From the coaches: MWC honorees /// Brandon Clarke selected



Josh Adams Sr. G  Wyoming
Elijah Brown So. G New Mexico
*Marvelle Harris Sr. G Fresno State
Trey Kell So. G San Diego State
James Webb III Jr. FBoise State


Marqueze Coleman Sr. G Nevada
Patrick McCaw So. GUNLV
Antwan Scott Sr. G Colorado State
Winston Shepard Sr. F San Diego State
Tim Williams Jr. F New Mexico


Jeremy Hemsley Fr. G San Diego State
Jalen Moore Jr. W Utah State
Cameron Oliver Fr. F Nevada
Chris Smith Sr. G Utah State
Mikey Thompson Sr. G Boise State


Hayden Graham Jr. F Air Force
Jason McManamen Jr. G Wyoming


Marvelle Harris Sr. G Fresno State
Patrick McCaw So. G UNLV
Cameron Oliver Fr. F Nevada
Winston Shepard Sr. F San Diego State
Skylar Spencer Sr. F San Diego State


Player of the Year:
Marvelle Harris Sr. G Fresno State

Defensive Player of the Year:
Skylar Spencer Sr. F San Diego State

Freshman of the Year:
Jeremy Hemsley Fr. G San Diego State

Newcomer of the Year:
Elijah Brown So. G New Mexico

Sixth Man of the Year:
Brandon Clarke Fr. G San José State

Coach of the Year:
Steve Fisher San Diego State

Another set of MWC honorees

Raphielle Johnson has selected his Mountain West Conference honorees:

Mountain West Player of the Year: Josh Adams, Wyoming

Fresno State’s Marvelle Harris certainly has a good argument here, given his individual excellence and the fact that he led his team to 13 conference wins. But the pick here is Adams because of how productive he was despite playing with a young supporting cast that virtually guaranteed that defenses were geared towards shutting him down. The senior still averaged 23.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in Mountain West play. He also ranked in the top ten in field goal percentage, three-point percentage, steals and assist-to-turnover ratio.

Mountain West Coach of the Year: Steve Fisher, San Diego State

Fisher’s Aztecs were the class of the Mountain West by a wide margin, winning the conference by three games. When a team wins the conference by a comfortable margin, as was the case here, the head coach deserves to be rewarded. San Diego State’s defense grabbed the headlines, but they were also able to do enough offensively to separate themselves from the pack.

First-Team All-Mountain West:

Josh Adams, Wyoming (POY)
Marvelle Harris, Fresno State: Harris averaged 22.7 points and 4.5 assists per game in Mountain West play, ranking third in scoring and first in assists while also leading the conference in steals (2.6 per game).

Elijah Brown, New Mexico: Brown finished second in the conference behind Adams in scoring (22.9 ppg in conference play), and he was also ranked in the top ten in field goal percentage, assists, free throw percentage and three-point percentage.

Trey Kell, San Diego State: The champs deserve to have someone on the first team, and while Shepard could have an argument because of his versatility the pick here is Kell. He gave SDSU a much-needed offensive spark in league play.

James Webb III, Boise State: The preseason pick for Mountain West POY, Webb averaged 16.1 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game in conference play.
Second Team All-Mountain West:

Marqueze Coleman, Nevada
Patrick McCaw, UNLV
Antwan Scott, Colorado State
Winston Shepard, San Diego State
Tim Williams, New Mexico

Monday, March 7, 2016

Mark Ziegler pulls no punches

Mark Ziegler: "...SDSU has separated itself in recent years from the Mountain West pack, but one of the conference’s strengths was always its equality at the top. Look at the one-bid leagues across the county. Many of them have a single dominant program and a bunch of pretenders. With BYU and Utah long gone, UNLV and New Mexico are the only other true “basketball schools” able to devote the resources required to raise the conference’s national profile.

Both are train wrecks. The Rebels have been reduced to an interim coach, five scholarship players and a guy who was working the front desk at the Wynn hotel. The Lobos are 3-13 over the last two Februarys and have a head coach on skating on melting ice amid whispers of wholesale transfers. UNLV could miss the postseason for a third straight year, New Mexico for a second straight.

Most schools in the Mountain West don’t have the history or pedigree or money or fan base or arenas to compete at a high level in men’s basketball. Three currently do. And only one currently is..."

Files this one under "MWC Presidents: Because we can..."

"Mountain West’s cost-saving move on basketball tournaments will be pricey" -- Ed Graney/Las Vegas Review-Journal

Robert Gagliardi: "Duryea said Shyatt and Fisher are collecting data to go back to their schools stating case that moving MW Tourney to 8 teams is bad."

Sunday, March 6, 2016

SJSU versus Colorado State

So it's the Spartans versus Colorado State next Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. in Las Vegas. The winner of that matchup moves on to face............drumroll............Boise State.

The game versus the Rams is a winnable one although the Spartans lost twice in January to Colorado State, 85-84 at home in overtime and then 74-66 in Fort Collins.

The first game report.

The second game report.

It's worth noting that Princeton Onwas scored big in both games, first 24 points and then 20. If he can strike again that just might be the boost needed to overcome Larry Eustachy's guys.

The media selection for MWC honors

Below are the media choices for All Mountain West Conference honors:

Player of the Year: Josh Adams, Wyoming (7)
(my comment: it was neck and neck between Adams and Marvelle Harris -- I went with the former)

Coach of the Year: Steve Fisher, San Diego State (7)
(my comment: I selected Eric Musselman because Nevada went 10-8 despite injuries, a big in-season defection and not necessarily inheriting all that much talent)

Newcomer of the Year: Elijah Brown, New Mexico (6)

Freshman of the Year: Cameron Oliver, Nevada (7)

Defensive Player of the Year: Skylar Spencer, San Diego State (5)
(my comment: hard to argue with this although I went with Cam Oliver who had 2.3 blocks to Spencer's 1.6 but that stat obviously is missing altered and intimidated shots)

Sixth Man of the Year: Tyron Criswell, Nevada (5)

First Team

Josh Adams, Wyoming, Sr. – 160 points (7)
Marvelle Harris, Fresno State, Sr. – 156 (4)
James Webb III, Boise State, Jr. – 137
Elijah Brown, New Mexico, So. – 135
Tim Williams, New Mexico, Jr. – 104

Second Team

Marqueze Coleman, Nevada, Sr. – 95
Winston Shepard, San Diego State, Sr. – 80
Patrick McCaw, UNLV, So. – 72
Cameron Oliver, Nevada, Fr. – 61
Antwan Scott, Colorado State, Sr. – 47

Third Team

Jalen Moore, Utah State, Jr. – 44
Chris Smith, Utah State, Sr. – 43
Jeremy Hemsley, San Diego State, Fr. – 40
Trey Kell, San Diego State, So. – 36
Mikey Thompson, Boise State, Sr. – 23

(my comment: I went with only Winston Shepard here but Jeremy Hensley was certainly a strong consideration. In retrospect, a case can be made for Helmsley over Shepard.)

Honorable mention: Hayden Graham, Air Force; Anthony Drmic, Boise State; Emmanuel Omogbo and Tiel Daniels, Colorado State; Skylar Spencer, San Diego State; Cullen Russo, Fresno State; Stephen Zimmerman Jr., UNLV; Jason McManamen, Wyoming.

Others receiving award votes:

Player of the Year: Marvelle Harris, Fresno State.
Coach of the Year: Eric Musselman, Nevada; Rodney Terry, Fresno State.
Newcomer of the Year: Tim Williams, New Mexico
Freshman of the Year: Jeremy Hemsley, San Diego State.
Defensive Player of the Year: Cameron Oliver, Nevada; Patrick McCaw, UNLV.
Sixth Man of the Year: Brandon Clarke and Princeton Onwas, San Jose State; Cullen Russo, Fresno State.

My Mountain West Conference choices

Below is what I submitted as my choices:

First Team

1.  Josh Adams, Wyoming (also Player of the Year)
2.  Marvelle Harris, Fresno State
3.  Elijah Brown, New Mexico
4.  Tim Williams, New Mexico
5.  James Webb, Boise State

Second Team

6.  Marqueze Coleman, Nevada
7.  Antwan Scott, Colorado State
8.  Chris Smith, Utah State
9.  Hayden Graham, Air Force
10. Cameron Oliver, Nevada

Third Team 

11. Stephen Zimmerman, UNLV
12. Patrick McCaw, UNLV
13. Mikey Thompson, Boise State
14. Jalen Moore, Utah State
15. Winston Shepard, San Diego State

Coach of the Year: Eric Musselman (did the most with the least)

Defensive Player of the Year: Cameron Oliver

Newcomer of the Year: Cameron Oliver

Freshman of the Year: Cameron Oliver

Westchester and Fisher win again

(Keith Fisher and Coach Ed Azzam)

Westchester High beat Narbonne 51-42 on Saturday with 6-foot-7 SJSU signee Keith Fisher, named the Western League Most Valuable Player, scoring 14 points.

"Westchester survives late Narbonne rally to win City Section title" -- Nick Ingram/South Bay Daily Breeze

The state playoffs begin on Friday and Westchester plays Bishop Montgomery High.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

SJSU 68, BSU 63

In a major upset, San Jose State University hosted and defeated Boise State 68-63 on Saturday due in large part to 21 points and 10 rebounds from freshman forward Brandon Clarke. Also, Gary Williams Jr. provided 14 points for the Spartans as did Princeton Onwas who shot 12-14 at the foul line. Jalen James wasn't an offensive threat on the night but contributed 10 rebounds plus a team-leading four assists.

It was SJSU making a points run just past midway in the second half and the Broncos couldn't counter until too little too late. BSU also shot just 2-19 from beyond the arc.

Dave Southern game reports.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Why the presidential secrecy?

"MW Coaches Ignored on 8-team Tournament Decision" -- Tracy Ringolsby

There's no crying over spilled milk in basketball

"Rokas Gustys, Hofstra: Gustys was the CAA’s most dominant interior presence, as he led the league in both rebounding (15.1 rpg) and field goal percentage (68.7 percent) while also averaging 16.4 points per contest in CAA games."

He visited SJSU but chose to remain back east. Just imagine what a difference he would have made this season for the Spartans. Oh well.

Murray has Musselman as MWC Coach of the Year

Chris Murray has selected Nevada Coach Eric Musselman as his Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Wyoming 81, SJSU 78

Despite the elevation and being on the road, San Jose State University was just one made three-pointer away from a tie at the end, a Wyoming 81-78 victory. The Spartans led 42-41 at halftime.

Frank Rogers achieved a 15 point, seven rebound, four assist line before fouling out, meaning he led in points and boards and was tied for tops in assists. Gary Williams Jr. tallied 14 points, five caroms plus a pair of assists and steals, Jalen James enjoyed 11 points powered by 3-4 long distance shooting and Brandon Clarke also scored 12. Isaac Thornton finished in double figures with 10, alongside four assists.

Josh Adams was off from three for the Cowboys, shooting 1-8 but he went 6-16 overall and lived at the line with 15-17.