Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A guard SJSU is monitoring

robert d robinson: "#RecruitRumor Jared Martin @J_mar5 offers f/ Montana State, Cal St Northridge, Loyola Marymount & NAU Interest UCSB, Pepperdine & San Jose St"

UC Santa Barbara has now offered.

He's a 6-foot-5 prep guard out of southern California with a rep as an outstanding shooter.

Coach Tention out recruiting


Coach Rodney Tention was out recruiting at the Double Pumps Hoops Event held in southern California last weekend.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Rick Croy

We remain firmly in the Rodney Tention camp simply based on the concept of fairness. Tention, Mike Lepore and Tyler Ojanen deserve the opportunity to coach the talent they brought into the SJSU men's basketball program.

But just as there is no crying in baseball, some will say fairness has no business in any coaching hire equation regardless of sport. To each his respective own.

However, we have a suggestion if Coach Tention isn't hired as the Spartan head coach by AD Marie Tuite. His name is Rick Croy. It's not publicly known if he has applied but we highly recommend him for the position because he is a demonstrated program AND culture changer. The ultra-successful head coach, currently at Cal Baptist University, has numerous achievements.

His Bay Area bonafides:

* Head Assistant Coach to Randy Bennett at St. Mary's

* B.A. from San Francisco State, three-time all-conference player

* member of 1995 state champions Northgate High (Walnut Creek)

Other bonafides:

* National DII tournament appearances every season at Cal Baptist (four years running), 140-23 overall record

* coached Citrus College to three straight league championship (2008, 2009, 2010) with a 92-9 overall record

* coached Citrus College to state championship 2008 with a 35-1 record

Croy has won everywhere as both a head coach and an assistant. He also has endorsements from a variety of heavy hitters in Nor Cal basketball ranging from Randy Bennett to Frank Allocco to Bob Myers.

Applicable to all coaches at all levels and all other professions too

"Hugh Freeze's fall reminds again we should stop turning football coaches into demigods" -- Dan Wolken

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The troubles

Has a curse been cast upon the San Jose State University men's basketball program? Is an exorcism needed? Sure, we're being facetious but damn, Spartan fans wouldn't be wrong if believing something is seriously awry and has been so for decades.

Leaving behind the hocus-pocus, there are plenty of reasons for this long term failure and that sadly includes a number of SJSU athletic directors hiring friends or former employees as the head coach under the disguise of conducting national job searches. Too often, a deal was already cut yet the assembly of interview panels and the charade of interviews went on so as to give the appearance of thoroughness and fairness. Just as often, but a sometimes separate issue, is the employment of abusers.

Let's rev up the time machine and go back to 1979 when AD Bob Murphy hired Bill Berry away from Michigan State. It doesn't fit the 'friends hiring friends' scenario as there doesn't seem to be any previous 'connections' between the two but Berry's hire deserves detailing because it eventually resulted in the infamous Spartan 10-player revolt. His misconduct -- the repellent mistreatment of the players -- deserves no defense, period. Don't even start. His behavior was unacceptable in any setting let alone a university.

AD Randy Hoffman hired Stan Morrison in 1989 in order to bring some positivity, rather than browbeating and worse, to the program. Morrison wasn't as successful overall as Berry and probably lasted too long but his hire didn't require the employment of an abuser. He was the necessary antidote to the poison and not 'related' to Hoffman.

In 1998, AD Chuck Bell brought in Phil Johnson and he coached for a season before joining the Bulls in the NBA (Chicago Coach Tim Floyd hired Johnson who later returned to SJSU in 2002). In 2005, the media's discovery of three Johnson DUIs led to his dismissal. Any individual with an illness such as alcoholism deserves a degree of empathy but how Bell simply disregarded Johnson's off-the-court behavior is worthy of shame. Johnson's treatment of the players wasn't Berry-like but still fell far short of acceptable.

After Johnson's 2002 single season stint, Bell turned to Steve Barnes (yet another member of the Tim Floyd/Larry Eustachy coaching 'family' to which Bell seemed beholden) and he lasted three years (1999-2001) before he quit showing up for work. The same (mis)behavior towards players continued on, sort of a trademark of this group of coaches. Barnes moved on to coach for, you guessed it, Larry Eustachy, at Iowa State, Southern Mississippi and presently Colorado State. This behavior while at Iowa State is very troubling.

AD Tom Bowen elected to hire George Nessman, a buddy from their De La Salle High days, and, say what you will about Nessman's overall W-L record during his Spartan tenure, players were treated firmly yet fairly. By the way, Nessman coached DLS basketball back when Bowen was the AD there.

After Nessman, AD Gene Bleymaier hired Dave Wojcik -- the connection being the former was the AD at Boise State while the latter assisted with the basketball program. What is true about Wojcik's departure will finally surface at some point.

Isn't it telling that none of these former SJSU coaches has ever headed a D1 basketball program again?

17 seasons since 1979 have been under the brutal auspices of basketball coaches who should have never be allowed to be in charge of anything or anyone. Yet what price has any AD paid for tolerating such evil? This is remarkably maddening and especially sad. Losing, however frustrating, can be dealt with -- how does one, even as an outsider, process the perversion of abuse perpetrated by someone representing Sparta?

End cronyism as the most compelling factor in a hire.

End the toleration of wrongdoing.

Provide the new coach with the resources fully needed to succeed.

All are way past due.

Let's hope we have the AD that is needed.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A message from Ryan Welage


"My third college season at San Jose State, one that I really look forward to launching, awaits. But first an amazing personal growth and service opportunity presents itself to me and I want to make you especially aware of it. While a basketball-driven life is an important focus in my life, I know I need to add more balance, spiritual foundation and selfless service as I press on. I want to build my faith and bring a great message of hope and healing, grace and truth to the world. That’s why I write to you.

This summer I have a chance to have a terrific summer basketball experience by joining an Athletes in Action (AIA) elite basketball team dedicated to victory beyond competition, not just victory in competition. The plan is to barnstorm the giant, basketball-crazed nation of China, the most elite basketball power in all of Asia. Our team will play a series of exhibition games with the best pro teams there, building relationships with China’s elite athletic influencers as well as engaging thousands of fans and conducting youth basketball clinics. All this is aimed at building spiritual movements through personal conversations, very public games, and strategic community service that blesses, serves and challenges others to quietly, confidently follow Jesus too.

My personal goals for the summer include deepening my personal relationship with God, growing me so that I can better grow my San Jose State team, certainly improving my game, and just loving, serving and moving people towards Him. I want to give my life away for a cause greater than myself. Needless to say, this will require some passionate intentionality.

Our special mission runs from July 28-August 14 and is made possible by the giving of God’s people, folks like you willing to invest in missions like this. Each team member is challenged to secure $4200, everyone’s individual’s portion of the team’s total goal. These funds are due July 27st in order for our team to report to training camp and undertake our mission. I’d love to have you on my support team!

Would you prayerfully consider giving to help meet this need?  Be confident that you will be helping to promote positive spiritual movement and good will throughout East Asia.  And be confident that I will represent my Lord, my country, my family and SJSU very well as I go!

There are two easy giving options:
1. Give electronically (credit card or electronic fund transfer) by going to this site: www.give.cru.org/0951649
2. Write a check (payable to Athletes in Action) and send it to the following address:

AIA
Attention: Coach Mo
651 Taylor Drive
Xenia, OH  45385

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at ryanwelage@icloud.com.

Thanks for considering me for this special mission. I’m truly grateful for any support you can send.

Sincerely,
Ryan Welage"

Monday, July 10, 2017

Coach Wojcik is gone

"Men's Basketball Head Coach Dave Wojcik Resigns" -- SJSU athletics.

This isn't passing the smell test but until more is known...

Now it's time to go with Rodney Tention as the head coach on a three-year contract. He, Mike Lepore and Tyler Ojanen brought the current roster together and deserve the opportunity to coach these players now that the corner is seemingly being turned.

A national recruiting search seems exciting because it's full of the dreamy unknown -- like a Christmas present under the tree -- but Tention, Lepore and Ojanen have worked for and deserve the opportunity.

Do it now and restore focus on getting the players and program better. Tention played at USF and has coached at Skyline College, Notre Dame de Namur and Stanford so he has knowledge and relationships throughout the area.

Tention's coaching bio:
  • 1988–1989 Skyline CC assistant
  • 1989–1991 South Florida assistant
  • 1991–1994 College of Notre Dame assistant
  • 1994–1997 College of Notre Dame
  • 1997–2005 Arizona assistant
  • 2005–2008 Loyola Marymount
  • 2008–2011 Stanford assistant
  • 2011–2015 San Diego assistant
  • 2015–present San Jose State assistant
Jon Wilner on Tention's hire at Stanford: "...He played for USF and coached at the College of Notre Dame. He knows the Bay Area, he’s a good recruiter, and he knows many former Stanford players/staffers, so he might have a clue about how the school works. (The ex-Cardinal players/staffers speak well of him, by the way.)"

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Hartwell earns top ranking

Jamal Hartwell, recently offered by San Jose State University, was rated the top prospect at this event.

Good question

Kevin Sweeney: "San Jose State is a very interesting team. Pretty much everything back, including POY candidate Brandon Clarke. Can they find consistency?"

How soon can a MWC-level backcourt be on display for the Spartans?

The silence is getting stranger and stranger

The delay in either announcing a contract extension for Coach Dave Wojcik or his dismissal is mystifying.

New AD Marie Tuite was hired in mid-May. She certainly is familiar with San Jose State University men's basketball since her tenure with Spartan athletics began in 2010.

If she wishes to make a coaching change, then do it. If an extension for Wojcik is in order, issue it.

Generally, a coach is let go soon after the season ends but having the top position in SJSU athletics unfilled until May prevented that sort of timeline. But we're nearing two months into Tuite's heading of Spartan athletics and it's past time for a move to be made.

Now maybe, just maybe, Tuite has extended an extension offer to Wojcik and he has turned it down due to some of the terms. That scenario/stalemate would leave Wojcik in the final year/season of his contract.

How that would effect recruiting is, well, complicated. November 2017 is the next signing period and an extension, if it is coming and acceptable to Wojcik, is not likely to occur by that time. The odds are next to none of a coach in the final year of his contract signing a new recruit in November.

But will Sienna commit Jake (Bellarmine College Prep) Wojcik ink his letter-of-intent then or wait until the second signing period in April 2018? What about his buddy Logan (St. Francis) Johnson -- in which time frame will he make his choice official? Neither of these guys are four or five star talents but they play very well together, making the other more effective. Wojcik is the shooter and Johnson the dribble drive guy. Yes, SJSU has offers out to other prospects but these two reside at the very top of the Spartan board when sign-ability is taken into account.

 As to what factors involving an extension might be of concern to Tuite, try the Jordan Baker/Frank Rogers, etc. suspension-then-dismissal scenario back in 2015. We have a good idea as to why those suspensions took place but not actual evidence so we won't speculate.

Much more recently, Terrell Brown's recent dismissal doesn't help the case for Wojcik.

A number of transfers have also taken place: Rashad Muhammad, Darryl Gaynor Jr., Cody Schwartz, Leon Bahner, Matt Pollard and these may also be a negative factor.

However, let's make the case for offering Coach Wojcik a two-year extension on top of this coming season. It's less than some have suggested because fielding a winning program hasn't been achieved, at least as yet.

But credit Wojcik and his staff for the bringing in of Walter Graves III, Noah Baumann and Keith Fisher III who are all set to make their debut in the 2017-18 season. The potential of all three is so much higher than anyone from the earlier classes of signees, save for Brandon Clarke (and even he wasn't all that heralded at the time of his signing). So recruiting has picked up which was a necessity and remains so.

Three years (or less), provides ample time for putting in place a winning program. If the Spartans are a winner this coming season or even the next then the odds are better for Tuite and Wojcik to have a meeting of the minds. We say the sooner the better for long-suffering Spartan fans.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Spartans offer a 2019 So Cal two guard

SJSU has offer 6-foot-3 2019 two guard Joseph Octave who has taken an unofficial visit to Washington Square.

Joseph Octave: "All Glory to God! Blessed to have received an offer from San Jose State"

Keeping it in the family, part one

Verbal Commits: "2019 La Lumiere (IN) G Paxson Wojcik has received an offer from San Jose State."

The 6-foot-5 wing also has an offer from DePaul. He taken quite the number of unofficial visits (Loyola, Belmont, Sienna, Holy Cross) with Santa Clara coming up and he is also participating in the Stanford team camp.


Wojcik is also a very serious student having earned Scholar Athlete honors at La Lumiere.

"At a time in a teen’s life when all that matters is how to milk the most out of a day of video games with his buddies, sophomore Paxson Wojcik was thinking out of the box.

Way out of the box.

A left-handed guard whose father, Doug Wojcik, played at Navy before college coaching stops at Notre Dame, North Carolina and Michigan State as an assistant, and Tulsa and College of Charleston as a head coach, the younger Wojcik first started thinking about attending prep school in eighth grade.

“I’ve always talked with my parents about sacrifice, and it was a sacrifice to come here,” the 6-4 Wojcik said. “But the year that I’ve been here has been great. It’s been awesome.”

Wojcik landed at LaLumiere, in part because his father coached Heirman at Tulsa. LaLumiere felt like home, but he missed home back in South Carolina. Missed his parents. Missed his younger brother, Denham, who played this past season on the varsity of his high school team as a 14-year-old and helped win a state championship.

“It’s hard,” said Wojcik, who averaged 3.6 points and shot 46.5 percent from 3 this season.

As can be the academics. On days they didn’t play, the Lakers had mandatory two-hour study halls every night. Days before scheduled road trips, Wojcik and his teammates made sure to message or meet with their teachers to stay up-to-date on their assignments.

“There’s a bunch of other places where academics might be a second priority,” Wojcik said. “Here, school comes first and the community comes second and then basketball."

Keeping it in the family, part two

Denham Wojcik: "Grateful to receive my first offer from San Jose State University! Go Spartans!"

He's out of Charleston, South Carolina where his father Dave last coached in college.

Jamie Shaw: "Love how 5'10 '21 Denham Wojcik of @tmpbasketball 16s plays. Playing up 2 ages has complete control of game. Very heady"

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Spartans offer a 2018 So Cal prep point

Dinos Trigonis: "San Jose State has offered 2018 PG Jamal Hartwell (Fairfax/Los Angeles). Will attend Pangos Premier 80 Showcase July 12 @ Westminster HS/CA"

Hartwell was named the co-MVP of his league and his father is an assistant coach at Fairfax High.

The MWC: looking back and ahead

"Mountain West 2016-17 Post-Mortem"

Can/will SJSU surprise? Nobody is even mentioning the Spartans.

Mike Lepore's single basket

"The Shot of a Lifetime" -- Mike Crossman

SJSU Assistant Coach Mike Lepore made just one basket in his playing career at Wake Forest. This story doesn't get written if he had tallied 10, 20 or 30 baskets.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Spartans exploring a 2019 SoCal guard

Dinos Trigonis: "2019 nat'l sleeper 6-4 G Robert McRae (Fairfax/LA CA) has heard from Wash St, UCSB, Pepperdine, Penn, Montana, San Jose St., UCSB & Denver"

"Fairfax unveils freshman Robert McRae" -- Eric Sondheimer
(from 2015)

Friday, June 16, 2017

Can SJSU become an asset?

Part of a Chris Murray interview with Nevada AD Doug Knuth:

RGJ: You said Nevada was part of the issue with the Mountain West. This year was your best season in terms of average finish in the Mountain West. Do you feel like you’re now an asset to the conference?

DK: “I don’t know if we’re an asset yet. I would say we’re not as big of a liability as we were. I’m just being honest. Anybody who would look at us the last few years in a couple of sports, they would say, ‘You’re not helping the conference. In fact, you’re hurting and bringing some of us down.’ We’ve gotten back to a position we’re middle of the pack and top quarter in some sports. We’re not hurting the conference as much, but I wouldn’t call us an asset. Someday we will say, ‘Nevada has done a really great job and they’re winning conference championships and they’re in the top three in half their sports,’ and then we become one of the assets.”

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Scratch one from Muhammad's list of suitors

"Report: UNLV Recruiting Miami Transfer Rashad Muhammad" -- Tyler Bischoff

It's important to check the update noted at the top of the article as not all suitors that are named by a recruit are necessarily truly in the hunt.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Muhammad with multiple suitors

Jon Rothstein: "Miami grad transfer Rashad Muhammad tells me he's received interest from Georgia Tech, Western Kentucky, UNLV, Portland, and Washington."

Interest is located in a different universe than an actual offer but why even the 'feelers' for a one-dimensional player who has already blown through two programs? Not trying to knock the young man -- it's a fair and accurate assessment.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

This is based on pure speculation and nothing more

This is based on pure speculation and nothing more...

It appears San Jose State University has one scholarship available for the 2017-18 recruiting class, that being fifth-year senior Jalen James. Ryan Singer could become a graduate transfer if he has completed the necessary requirements to do so in what would be his four years at SJSU but that obviously remains to be seen.

Noah Baumann will be a freshman this coming season and likely the best long-distance shooter on the team, thus highlighting the major remaining team need. Another outside marksmen would really be beneficial. Walter Graves may eventually help in that area but not likely immediately.

The answer to this deficiency lies really close to home. It's Jake Wojcik of Bellarmine College Prep, a 6-foot-4 2018 prospect

One recent evaluation: "Wojcik was one of the better shooters in the event. He gets great lift on his shot and he is always on balance. He has a quick release on his shot and he is equally effective off the catch as he is off the dribble. Has the IQ to be secondary ball handler and facilitator."

Yes, Wojcik announced an early commitment to Sienna University in Albany, New York. The Saints play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The earliest he can sign will be mid-November.

But will Jake Wojcik sign with Sienna if his father receives a lengthy extension of his contract at SJSU?

Just asking.

Also, one of Jake Wojcik's best friends (they are rivals in the West Catholic Athletic League but play on the same travel team), 6-foot-2 Tyler Johnson of St. Francis High and also in the 2018 class, was just recently offered by the Spartans. His recent evaluation: "Tough, physical, assertive, and athletic describe this blue-collar point guard. He gets in the lane with savvy and IQ and his vision is high-level. He can defend both guard positions as well as rebound and lead the break. For his game to go to another level his jump shot needs to get more consistent."

Might some home cooking and close to home cooking be the answers for the Spartan backcourt needs?

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A look at next season's Mountain West Conference

"Mountain West Stock Watch: UNLV’s rebuild, New Mexico’s teardown, others" -- Eli Boettger

The Spartan excerpt:

"San Jose State
Notable additions: Oumar Barry (4* JUCO transfer), Keith Fisher (3* redshirt), Nai Carlisle (3*)

Significant departures: Gary Williams, Jr. (7.1 PPG, 2.6 RPG), Isaac Thornton (4.6 PPG), Cody Schwartz (3.8 PPG), E.J. Boyce (3.9 PPG)

San Jose State’s losses are minor, and I don’t think many people are aware of the talent that Dave Wojcik is bringing in this fall. Oumar Barry, Keith Fisher and Nai Carlisle are all nationally-rated recruits that provide a spark at the guard, wing and forward position. Let’s not forget that the Spartans also bring back one of the most efficient players in the conference in Brandon Clarke (17.3 PPG) and also Ryan Welage (13.2 PPG). A top five league finish is a very realistic possibility for SJSU in ‘17-18.


Stock: Up"

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Graves scholarship

Verbal Commits: "Former San Jose State G E.J. Boyce is transferring to Saint Martin's (DII)." 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Learn more about Walter Graves III

6-foot-7, 190 wing Walter Graves III has committed to playing at San Jose State University for the 2017-18 season. To get a better sense of who the young man is and the degree of his basketball skills, we contacted Jeff Young who coached Graves as a freshman, sophomore and junior at Clovis West High.

"I've known Walter since he was 11 years old. He has a terrific personality, very outgoing -- you can't help but like him and his smile ... 

... I've always been drawn to those who outworked others, not necessarily those who are most talented, and Walter is someone with talent who works very hard ... 

... He is exciting [on the court], fun to watch and he enjoys being out there. Walter is a gem of an athlete who plays above the rim and is a shotblocker ...

... Walter played in the paint for us because he was the tallest guy and he can score in there as well as shoot the three and the mid-range shot. He just needs to work on bettering his skills. He is best in transition ...

Here's an analysis of Graves' game after a 2016 event: "Graves is an athletic wing that is very active. He looks to impose his will on smaller defenders with his chiseled frame and can take defenders off the dribble from the 3-point line. When a shot goes up, Graves looks to corral every rebound in sight; defensively, he uses his athleticism to alter shots and/or send them into the bleachers."

From a tournament this past weekend: "There wasn't a better slasher/finisher at this event than Urbina-Graves. Ideal Division 1 frame with long arms and he is explosive in transition. He scored in a variety of ways and he was engaged at both ends as a rebounder and weak-side defender."

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

San Joaquin wing commit

Josh Gershon: "SanJoseState landed a commitment from 2017 Splash City forward Walter Graves."

His commitment post.

He's 6-foot-7, 190 and out of Clovis West High where he played for Coach Vance Walberg this season. The young man possesses tremendous athleticism.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Meet Oumar Barry

So who and what is San Jose State University getting in signing 6-foot-11, 220 Oumar Barry? We recently chatted with Iowa Western Community College Coach Michael Johnette to find out:

"A very intelligent and thoughtful young man with a 3.7 grade point average. He came from West Africa to attend high school and ran with it ... Oumar has a high character, a very good basketball motor and showed really quality improvement this year. He needed to get some college minutes [after playing little at DePaul] and he has developed his offensive game ... He and De'Quon Lake (6-foot-10 and an Arizona State signee from Iowa Western) benefited from practicing against each other all season ... Oumar is a rim protector and a catch and finish guy offensively. He understands the game well and is an eager learner, he can help with ball screens and he recovers quickly ... Oumar wanted to be patient with recruiting because he felt he committed too fast with DePaul and it helped that Coach Wojcik took a personal interest in his recruitment."

Friday, April 21, 2017

JC big goes with SJSU

"MEN'S BASKETBALL SIGNS 6-FOOT-11 BIG MAN OUMAR BARRY" -- Spartan athletics

Great individual, great student, not much of a threat offensively on the court but finally some rim protection.

Barry was at DePaul but left amidst a coaching change and not getting on the court very often and transferred to Iowa Western Community College this past season. He averaged 4.4 points per game on 62% and 41% shooting respectively plus 4.4 rebounds an outing. Barry had 36 blocked shots in 32 games and made one start. His minutes per game average has so far remained elusive.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Schwartz heading home

Junior-to-be Cody Schwartz has announced he is heading back to The Dairy State to play for Wisconsin-Green Bay.

He'll be playing in the Horizon League after sitting out a season. The Phoenix shot 32% from three-point range this season (Schwartz finished at 38%) and posted an 18-14 overall record, 12-6 in conference. Just 10 free throws on the season as well as being a defensive liability didn't bode well for greater playing time for him with the Spartans in 2017-18.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A new recruiting prospect out of the Bay Area

Julius V: "2018 Garrett Pascoe 6'3 PG receiving serious interest from Stanford, San Fransisco, San Jose St, Davidson, Liberty, CS Fullerton, & More!"

Also: "2018 Garrett Pascoe 6'3 PG Clayton Valley HS recruitment heating up! Grew 5 inches in HS that's why all of West Coast MMs hasn't offered yet"

Some video

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Noah Robotham

Christian PoP'oola: "Akron junior PG Noah Robotham has received his release and will transfer. Robotham is one of the most polished playmakers in the county."

Originally out of Las Vegas (UNLV will be pursuing him hard), Robotham was a San Jose State University target while a high school senior. He enjoyed two 20+ wins seasons while at Akron but his coach was hired to run the Duquesne program at the end of March. Does Robotham follow him, return home or?

One Akron player has already announced his plan to transfer to Duquesne.

Robotham would certainly solve the Spartan need at the point but would first have to sit out a season.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Mitchell turning to football

Former Spartan basketball player Brandon Mitchell is morphing into a wide receiver for the SJSU football team.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

New Mexico fires Craig Neal

"At the 11th hour, UNM decides it can’t afford to retain Neal" -- Geoff Grammer

What strange timing. What changed since March 10 when Neal was deemed coming back by his AD? One thing: there were a number of player defections since then including top talent Elijah Brown.

Geoff Grammer also posted this: "At least two Lobo players who have recently announced plans to transfer have already confirmed they could stay depending on new coach."

Friday, March 17, 2017

Wichita St. is not coming to the Mountain West

No, moi is not being consulted by the powers-that-be but, simply put, why trade the Missouri Valley Conference for the Mountain West Conference? That's a nothingburger and does nada for Wichita State's basketball interests.

"Wichita State looking to change conferences" -- McKenzie Dalgleish

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Taking a look backwards and forwards

Well, well, well, what a rollercoaster of a season. Some fans are hopeful, some are apprehensive, some are confused. Some are all three. Here's a stream of consciousness look at 2016-17 from a longtime fan with some projections regarding next season. But just remember, moi expected bigger things from Ryan Singer and a solid year from Nai Carlisle this go-around so reader beware. Apologies for any offending bluntness but all are observations and not personal criticism.

Brandon Clarke elevated his game but in the areas he was already demonstrating degrees of proficiency. His 57% foul line accuracy (56% last season) is still a major bugaboo and, after two seasons, it's appearing that such is the norm for him. But that number raises questions about the team's best offensive talent having the ball in his hands late in a tight game. However, the most prominent question regarding the 6-foot-8 Clarke is whether or not the Spartans can keep him? He has two years of eligibility remaining and, even if he is the most loyal of student-athletes, Clarke has to be at least pondering the possibility of playing out his college tenure for a mediocre team versus moving on to a better opportunity for success. Other programs will certainly be making a run at him, testing his attachment to SJSU. It will seemingly boil down to what does Clarke envision for the immediate future of Spartan basketball -- greater success or more of the same?

6-foot-10 Ryan Welage is two years in with the program and it's fair to say that he prefers facing the basket offensively, is not a good rebounder and is a liability on defense -- yes, I'm not expecting a Christmas card from the Welages come December. It's now time to accept what he brings -- the ability to bring his opponent outside, shoot efficiently at times and an unquenchable work ethic -- so employ that judiciously, and work around the deficiencies.

...6-foot-8 Cody Schwartz with 10 free throws on the season? He is one-dimensional  -- outside shooting -- yet not consistent enough even in that element. Schwartz is also a defensive liability. The amount of his playing time next season will be a bellwether for this team as a solid program will not have him out on the court very often unless he demonstrates a broadening of his skills set.

...The competitiveness of 6-foot-10 Ryan Singer will be on display as it's most likely he will play even less in 2017-18 than he did this season (68 minutes). The hope was that added weight would increase his effectiveness but that turned out to be an inaccurate projection. He may be near to graduating since he redshirted in 2015-16 and such may influence him to remain. Which is of greater importance to Singer, something that varies widely from player to player: getting on the floor or having a degree from SJSU?

...6-foot-2 E.J. Boyce is not a D-1 level player. Having typed that, he could possibly be useful as a catch-and-shoot guy on a squad with numerous offensive threats, teammates who draw double teams, but that's not SJSU at the moment. However, a promise was made to scholarship him for his final two seasons and keeping a commitment regardless of how a player is capable of performing on the court is a non-negotiable value for any program I choose to follow.

...6-foot-2 Terrell Brown was a freshman yet his downs balanced out with displays of explosive potential. He was the sole creator on offense this season (a role that needs at least two of his teammates need to join in and soon) and is still learning what is and isn't accomplishable on the college level. One area where Brown could really help in the future is as a plus defender (not necessarily just steals but more of sealing off dribble drives) because a majority of the other Spartans simply lack the quickness to perform in that role. Brown isn't a point and therefore needs to solidify his outside shooting consistency in order to make his dribble-drive forays more lethal. Added strength will also allow him to be a more effective finisher.

...6-foot-6 Jaycee Hillsman is a good shooter if he remains 15-feet in on offense (46% overall, 83% at the foul line but just 10-35 from beyond the arc). That dictates playing as a three much more than a two. Get him closer to the basket so he can launch more dribble-drives.

...6-foot-5 Isaiah Nichols displayed early promise as a freshman and as such deserves another season before his shooting strengths and weaknesses are fully determined. But his 31-61 at the foul line is troubling for a player who will have the ball in his hands a lot. Maybe that's an anomaly, more due to the "yips" but a backcourter cannot play a lot if that proves to be the norm.

...6-foot-11 Ashtin Chastain will be a career backup. The effort seems there but the body movement is lacking.

...6-foot-4 Jalen James, bless him, has given his all but isn't a starting point on a good college team. He has played three seasons and sat out a fourth as a medical redshirt after being injured early in December in 2014 so he could become a graduate transfer if he earns his degree at the end of this academic year. But he didn't appear as one of the departing players at the last home game so it seems he will be returning to Washington Square for another year.

...6-foot-2 Nai Carlisle is a bit of a conundrum. He's strong at 200 pounds so physically he is ready. But Carlisle wasn't able to seize the opportunity this season and that makes it difficult to climb aboard his bandwagon once again. He and Terrell Brown are a tantilizing, if very young, pairing.

...6-foot-8 Keith Fisher III needs to be ready to play a strong defensive role as well as be a complementary rebounder to Brandon Clarke. Yes, he will be just a redshirt freshman but nobody else on the roster looks capable of fulfilling those roles right now. This guy is going to be a major key if the team is to move forward next season.

...6-foot-5 Arizona prepster signee Noah Bauman averaged 10.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in his high school senior year. He shot 44% overall, 35% from long distance and 81% at the foul line (34-42 on free throws). His shot attempts were almost evenly divided between two-pointers and three-pointers. He finished third on the team in scoring.

...Scholarship numbers look like this: it appears there are 12 returning players who were or will be on scholarship plus Noah Baumann and 13 is the total allowed by the NCAA. Another offer to extend, two actually, are really needed but, again that is dependent on who decides to stay or go. This team badly needs a servicable frontcourter as well as a creator-type with shooting range at the two/three.

...Who has peaked and who is going to get better? That's a series of critical determinations needing to be made in going forward. Will Hillsman and/or Nichols step forward or be pretty much the same? Is Schwartz simply who he is? Does anyone on the present roster have the sorely needed requisite shooting capability alongside the necessary consistency?

...Coach Wojcik's contract status -- not the $64,000 question, much more than that -- is also in need of resolution and it's a conflicted situation. This is a team finishing the season on a five game losing streak. SJSU fell by six at home to Utah State late in the season but lost 90-64 to that same team in the opening round of the Mountain West Conference tournament. A 7-11 conference record during a weak MWC season is a hard-to-be-satisfied-with achievement.

...On the positive side, a basketball p-r-o-g-r-a-m actually exists. After some early coaching and player hiccups, the players are committed, they appear to be 'good' kids and the elements necessary for the team to get better seem in place. Why would it make any sense to start anew yet again?

...But here is the crux of the issue: next season's league finish is the critical mass element -- forget about pre-season or overall records because those can easily be inflated. Does this team possess the capability of taking a step up within the Mountain West Conference, to be a first division finisher and maybe a lurking contender for the top spot? Or is reaching .500 the best that can or should be expected? Remember Nevada will be tough again next season regardless of whether Cam Oliver stay or goes. Boise will again be difficult. New Mexico better be, or else. San Diego State will be tougher. UNLV damn well better be or there will again be nuclear explosions in the Nevada desert. Colorado State is always tough. Fresno State is on the rise. So...

...All the shareholders with a stake in the contract situation will know so much more come March 2018. Plus, Coach Wojcik's present contract concludes a year from now unless he earns an automatic additional season for posting a winning record. Unless a player or players transfer, the roster for next season is known. So why should fans expect a better finish a year hence as greater experience is no guarantee of improvement.

...On the other hand, does coming down to the wire on Coach Wojcik's contract handicap him too much with recruiting? I say no. A better season is ultimately a win-win as it will bring a long term contract extension and attention as well as commitments from the level of recruits needed to make SJSU a consistent Mountain West Conference upper division program. The same finish or something worse extinguishes interest from the necessary recruits and also eliminates a hefty financial buyout SJSU can little afford.

Another element to consider is the new athletic director will want some evaluation time before deciding on an extension, or not. That seems to preclude any quick change in Coach Wojcik's status.

An AD tidbit

From a March 3 Sacramento Bee article on candidate for the Hornet open AD position:

"...Mark Massari – The deputy athletic director at Oregon State, Massari is a Sac State graduate, having played linebacker for Bob Mattos from 1988 to 1992. At OSU, he oversees external affairs, strategic planning and business and fan development efforts, and he is the athletic department’s chief marketing and revenue officer. Massari served as the UC Santa Barbara athletic director for six years and has drawn interest from San Jose State for its vacant AD post..."

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Utah State 90, SJSU 64

After a halftime tie, Utah State blew out San Jose State University 59-30 in the second 20 minutes in taking a Mountain West Conference quarterfinal matchup in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Credit should be given to Brandon Clarke for his 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocked shots but he had just four shot attempts IN THE GAME.

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A blast from the past

After a big Ripon High victory, Justin Graham got shorn as a result. Hopefully, it won't be a repeat of the Samson and Delilah episode. LINK

All-MWC media poll

The following are the results from the Mountain West Conference media poll:

All-Mountain West First Team

G Gian Clavell, Colorado State, Sr. — 154

G Marcus Marshall, Nevada, Sr. — 147
F Emmanuel Omogbo, Colorado State, Sr. — 132
F Brandon Clarke, San Jose State, So. — 129
F Cameron Oliver, Nevada, So. — 118

All-Mountain West Second Team

G/F Chandler Hutchison, Boise State, Jr. — 113

G Elijah Brown, New Mexico, Jr. — 106
F Jordan Caroline, Nevada, So. — 88
F Jalen Moore, Utah State, Sr. — 80
G Deshon Taylor, Fresno State, So. — 58

All-Mountain West Third Team

G D.J. Fenner, Nevada, Sr. — 51

G Koby McEwen, Utah State, Fr. — 31
G Trey Kell, San Diego State, Jr. — 28
G Jaron Hopkins, Fresno State, Jr. — 24
G Jovan Mooring, UNLV, Jr. — 14

All-Mountain West Honorable Mention

Hayden Graham, Air Force; Prentiss Nixon, CSU; Dakarai Allen, San Diego State; Zylan Cheatham, San Diego State; Paris Austin, Boise State; Hayden Dalton, Wyoming; Justin James, Wyoming; Tim Williams, New Mexico.


Individual awards

Player of the Year: Gian Clavell, Colorado State (4)

(others receiving votes: Marcus Marshall, Nevada; Emmanuel Omogbo, Colorado State; Cameron Oliver, Nevada)

Coach of the Year: Larry Eustachy, Colorado State (8)
(others receiving votes: Eric Musselman, Nevada; Dave Wojcik, San Jose State)

Newcomer of the Year: Marcus Marshall, Nevada (8)
(others receiving votes: Jordan Caroline, Nevada; Deshon Taylor, Fresno State)

Freshman of the Year: Koby McEwen, Utah State (11)

Defensive Player of the Year: Cameron Oliver, Nevada (4)
(others receiving votes: Dakarai Allen, San Diego State; Brandon Clarke, San Jose State; Emmanuel Omogbo, Colorado State; Jaron Hopkins, Fresno State)

Sixth Man of the Year: Justin James, Wyoming (7)
(others receiving votes: Paris Austin, Boise State; Hayden Dalton, Wyoming)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Wyoming 74, SJSU 62

Wyoming won both 20 minute sessions in defeating San Jose State University 74-62 in Laramie on Saturday. Brandon Clarke was again big via 20 points plus nine boards and three blocks while teammate Ryan Welage provided 19 points.

The Cowboys shot 50% overall including 11-21 from three-point range and the Spartans were guilty of 21 turnovers in receiving negligible contributions from its backcourters.

The Washington Square crew has now lost five of their last six games.

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Friday, March 3, 2017

Chris Murray offers his MWC honorees

Chris Murray makes his MVP pick: "...MARCUS MARSHALL ALSO DESERVES the MW player of the year award. The sharp-shooting guard leads the MW in scoring and 3-pointers made, is second in free throws made and third in assists. He’s also the best player on the best team in the league. Colorado State’s Gian Clavell, Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison and Marshall’s teammate, Cameron Oliver, also have cases for player of the year. Marshall’s four-game mini-slump a couple of weeks ago opened an argument to select someone else, but Marshall has been the MW’s best player from start to finish..."

Also: "MY ALL-MW FIRST TEAM INCLUDES Marshall, Oliver, Hutchison, Clavell and SJSU’s Brandon Clarke. My second team consists of Nevada’s Jordan Caroline and D.J. Fenner, Colorado State’s Emmanuel Ombogo, New Mexico’s Elijah Brown and Utah State Jalen Moore. Marshall is my MW newcomer of the year, Utah State’s Koby McEwen my MW freshman of the year, SDSU’s Dakari Allen my MW defensive player of the year and Wyoming’s Hayden Dalton my MW sixth man of the year..."

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Nevada 82, SJSU 67

Visiting Nevada jumped out to a 47-24 halftime lead and San Jose State University never could recover before falling 82-67. The score was 64-54 halfway through the second 20 minutes but the advance was repelled.

Ryan Welage led the Spartans with 16 points but needed 14 shot attempts to do so while Brandon Clarke posted a 13 point (nine shots), nine rebound, five assist line. Guard Isaac Thornton enjoyed an unusual line of eight points plus 10 boards.

For the Wolf Pack, Cameron Oliver produced 13 points (11 shots), six boards, two assists and two blocks.

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Thinking out loud

Conventional wisdom is that Brandon Clarke cannot win Player of the Year honors because the Spartans are not competing for the top spot in the Mountain West Conference.

But does that change is SJSU beats Nevada tonight?

Clarke is currently ranked #3 in scoring and rebounding and tops in shotblocking. Is there really another player who has performed as consistently as Clarke? Maybe Cam Oliver. That and the fact that the Wolf Pack will likely finish no worse than second are indeed large obstacles.

We'll know soon enough but tonight will tell us a lot.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

BSU 85, SJSU 78

Up in the Land of Famous Taters on Saturday, Boise State held off San Jose Srare University 85-78. The Spartans were down by nine points at the half and scored fifty points in the second 20 minutes but couldn't close the gap. The Broncos shot 47% for the contest to 39% for the visitors.

Terrell Brown led SJSU with 15 points and three of his teammates contributed 14: Brandon Clarke, Ryan Welage and Gary Williams Jr. However, only the latter shot well at 7-12. Clarke also produced 14 rebounds, five blocks and three assists.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Utah St. 81, SJSU 75

The Utah State backcourt out-performed its Spartan counterparts, shooting 14-24 overall, and San Jose State University allowed the visiting Aggies to shoot 55% as a team in falling 81-75 Wednesday night. USU came into the game shooting 45%.

Ryan Welage led with 20 points, Jaycee Hillsman tallied 13, Brandon Clarke totaled 12 points, 10 boards, five assists, two steals and two blocks plus Isaiah Nichols contributed 11 points.

The Spartans finished an amazing 12-21 from beyond the arc but earned just 10 free throws.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

SJSU 83, Air Force 78 OT

It was the tale of two halves on Saturday in Silicon Valley as Air Force jumped out to a 41-28 lead after 20 minutes but San Jose State University took period two by a 42-29 margin and also the overtime period 13-8 to win 83-78.

Brandon Clarke bounced back with an all-around game of 22 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots. Isaac Thornton totaled 17 points powered by shooting 8-8 at the foul line and Brandon Mitchell played well with 12 points and five boards.

The Falcons had no physical matchup for Clarke plus an inability to hold on to leads.

"Conference road losing streak hits 20 as Air Force can't hold lead at San Jose State" -- Brent Briggeman

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Spartans fall to Fresno State

A 35-30 San Jose State University halftime lead dissipated as Fresno State won the second 20 minutes 47-24 in Raisinville on Wednesday.

For the Spartans, Ryan Welage led with 19 points and Terrell Brown scored 18. Brandon Clarke was held to four points on eight shot attempts but did contribute 10 boards plus four blocked shots.

Both teams shot 47% but SJSU committed 20 turnovers to 12 for the Bulldogs.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Loved his game-winner against Utah State to get SJSU into the Big Dance in 1996 but...

...methinks Rich Taylor isn't telling the whole truth here. He also has a very interesting post-SJSU history.

"Oklahoma City Thunder fans need to let the Durant hate go" -- Marc J. Spears

An excerpt: "Rich Taylor, a well-known Thunder fan, left all his Durant jerseys on his downtown Oklahoma City doorstep and put a “For Sale Sign” on the lawn on July 4. Taylor also passed out T-shirts for Durant’s return that read, “KowarD,” on the front with a cupcake on the back. The former San Jose State basketball player relentlessly trash-talked with Durant and teammate Draymond Green from his seat behind the Warriors’ bench during the game Feb. 11. After Green and Taylor exchanged words, security had to calm both down. Green said Taylor called Durant the “p-word” as well a “little boy.”

“That guy was disrespectful to us the entire night,” Green said. “Cheer. Heckle. Heckle all you want. But don’t be disrespectful. Calling guys p-words and all this stuff: ‘Get over there, little boy.’ He was disrespectful the entire night …

“This ain’t the ancient times. Slave days are over.”

Taylor says he taunted Durant without cussing or crossing the line and he teased Green about his reputation for kicking during some games. He maintained that he never said anything racist or vulgar during the game and that security would have ejected him if he did.

“I wish I could have cussed out [Green], but one word and they would have tossed me out of the arena,” Taylor told The Undefeated. “The only person that used that kind of language was KD toward me. But [Warriors coach Steve] Kerr said I deserved it for riding [Durant] all game and he was right. As far as anything racial, that’s just a millionaire whose skin I got under a little too easy...”

Clarke name PoW

Brandon Clarke is again the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week.

He will certainly be an all-conference selection -- can he grab Most Valuable Player honors too? Methinks so but only if the Spartans keep winning.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Make it four in a row as freshman Terrell (Moreau Catholic) Brown sank the game-winning shot with 13.5 seconds remaining to propel San Jose State University to a 76-74 victory over UNLV in Sin City on Saturday. A 45-38 second half did the trick for the Spartans.

Four Washington Square players scored in double figures: Jaycee Hillsman led with 16 points, Brandon Clarke scored 13 points alongside seven boards and five blocked shots, Ryan Welage tallied 12 as did Brown.

As a team, SJSU shot 52.8% and 81.3% respectively.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

SJSU 76, San Diego St. 71

Brandon Clarke shot 11-15 on the night in scoring a game high 22 points and Terrell Brown added 13 as San Jose State University downed San Diego State University 76-71 on Tuesday.

The Spartans held the Aztecs to 37.3% overall shooting and went to the foul line 26 times versus 21 for Coach Steve Fisher's guys. Coach Dave Wojcik's crew committed but 10 turnovers to 15 for SDSU.

Mark Ziegler game reports.

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A turning of the wheel

"A coach’s joy and grief: SJSU’s Wojcik loses dad during team’s breakthrough winning streak" -- Jon Wilner

Saturday, February 4, 2017

SJSU 78, New Mexico 68

New Mexico's best player (Tim Williams) was injured and out of action, let's get that fact out there immediately. But this was the Lobos and in The Pit as San Jose State University surprisingly won by double digits, 78-68, on Saturday.

Ryan Welage was on with his shot and also on the boards as his 20 points and eight rebounds testify. Brandon Clarke and Terrell Brown scored 17 points apiece with Clarke adding four blocked shots.

It was a night of cohesiveness and Coach Dave Wojcik primarily stuck with who was working well together as four Spartans played 30 plus minutes. SJSU shot 54% overall, 7-16 on trey attempts plus 17 for 27 at the foul line.

Conversely, New Mexico earned just 18 free throws and limited guard Elijah Brown to 6-18 accuracy.

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Geoff Grammer's game report.

Some tweets from Geoff Grammer, the Lobo beat reporter:

"Talking with @SJSUMBB head coach Dave Wojcik after game today was rough. Emotional week for him. Wore his father's tie in today's game.

and

"@SJSUMBB locker room erupted louder than I've heard any opposing team after a win in the Pit when Dave Wojcik walked in after game."

and

SJSU coach Dave Wojcik on passing of father this week: "He was our rock. You never think your rock is going to break, or crack. It broke..."

and

"Leaving the Pit, Dave Wojcik showed me about 20 voicemails from his dad after past games. "He watched them all. And I'm never deleting them"

and

"Wojcik (cont.) ... And he's looking over us. He's a guardian angel and I'm very proud to say he's my father."

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A bit of new information

"San Jose State’s Brandon Clarke grows into major role, prepares for UNLV" -- Mark Anderson

SJSU 76, UNLV 72

San Jose State University staged a comeback behind 23 points and 15 rebounds (plus five rejections) from Brandon Clarke and edged visiting UNLV 76-72 on Saturday. Ryan Welage shot 8-14 on his way to 19 points. Terrell Brown started and, although he didn't shoot all that well, tallied 14 points and went to the foul line eight times, sinking six.

The Runnin' Rebels held a 36-27 halftime lead.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Colorado State 81, SJSU 72

Colorado State was a bit better points-wise in each half than San Jose State University and concluded the matchup with an 81-72 victory. As usual sophomore Brandon Clarke enjoyed team-bests with 24 points, 12 boards and four assists. Freshman guard Terrell Brown produced 13 points but required 12 shot attempts to do so.

26 of the Spartan shot attempts were three-pointers and SJSU allowed the Rams to shot 49% overall.

Game report

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Boise St. 75, SJSU 65

At home on Saturday, San Jose State University fell to Boise State 75-65 despite the Spartans getting 26 points from Brandon Clarke. He shot 11-14 from the floor but just 4-9 at the foul line. Jaycee Hillsman efficiently totaled a solid 14 points on 5-8, 0-1 and 4-5 accuracy.

BSU shot 22-44 overall plus 26-35 from the foul line. SJSU went 23-57 as a team, just 1-13 from long distance and 18-26 on free throws.

The Idaho-ites jumped out to a 43-40 halftime lead.

Game report (There's a doozy of a statement in the ninth paragraph)

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wyoming 80, SJSU 70

Wyoming bolted out to a 50-31 halftime lead and went on to defeat San Jose State University 80-70 on Wednesday in San Jose. The closest the Spartans got was eight points around the 2:30 mark. Less freethrows, more turnovers and first half foul trouble combined to sink SJSU.

Brandon Clarke was once again solid with 19 points plus 13 boards and freshman Isaiah Nichols scored nine on a very efficient 3-3 shooting from the floor and 3-4 at the foul line.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

From the Dept. of No-Brainers

This one had to be the easiest selection of the season thus far:

"CLARKE VOTED MW PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR SECOND TIME

For the second time this season San José State forward Brandon Clarke is the Mountain West Player of the Week. The award comes on the heels of his career-high 36-point performance which propelled the Spartans to an 89-85 victory on the road at Air Force..." LINK

Saturday, January 14, 2017

SJSU 89, Air Force 85

Air Force suffered from an overdose of Vitamin C on Saturday but San Jose State University thought it was just the right dosage as sophomore Brandon Clarke scored 36 points on 12-16 overall shooting plus 5-5 at the foul line. Five is obviously his favorite number -- at least tonight -- as he also managed five boards, five assists and five steals.

Hopefully waking up from a long dormancy, Cody Schwartz produced a 14 point, five assist, three rebound line while E.J. Boyce contributed 14 while shooting 4-5 from long distance.

A Brandon Mitchell led to a Clarke dunk for SJSU's final points on the night with 11 seconds remaining.

The Spartans shot 60.7% overall, 10-21 from long distance and 11-13 at the charity stripe. A remarkable 23 assists were earned on 34 baskets. 25 fouls were committed leading to 30 free throw attempts for AF.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

The 2016-17 season

The Mountain West Conference was deemed a down league back in the pre-season and now a number of talented players  -- Malik Pope, Elijah Foster, Karachi Edo, William McDowell-White -- are injured, suspended for either personal or academic behavior or have moved on elsewhere.

This is the season for the Spartans to make a move. The question is are they ready to do so?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

San Diego State 76, SJSU 61

The Aztecs righted themselves and ended a three-game losing streak by defeating San Jose State University 76-61 on Tuesday. Only Brandon Clarke enjoyed a 'plus' game with 25 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a pair of blocked shots -- all team bests.

The matchup was effectively over at halftime as San Diego owned a 42-23 lead at that point. Clarke missed the majority of the first 20 minutes due to foul trouble.

The Spartans shot 3-20 from long distance and earned just 12 free throw attempts versus 26 for the hosts.

Mark Ziegler game reports.

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Saturday, January 7, 2017

SJSU 69, Fresno St. 62

It was a close one until the very end before Bulldog Coach Rodney Terry lost it and was awarded a pair of technical fouls and that's the boost San Jose State University needed in a 69-62 victory on Saturday. The Bulldogs last 50 seconds was a mix of fouls, missed free throws, turnovers and technicals (see below)

Gary Williams II become one with going to the hoop and shot 11-12 at the foul line on his way to a team-best 18 points. Brandon Clarke tallied 15 points plus five blocked shots and Jalen James was solid with 12 points, six boards, four assists and a pair of steals.

The last 50 seconds:

0:50 Foul on Karachi Edo. 62 - 61
0:50 Brandon Clarke made Free Throw. 62 - 62
0:50 Brandon Clarke missed Free Throw. 62 - 62
0:50 Brandon Mitchell Offensive Rebound. 62 - 62
0:21 Jalen James made Jumper. Assisted by Isaac Thornton. 62 - 64
0:14 Paul Watson Turnover. 62 - 64
0:14 Foul on Paul Watson. 62 - 64
0:14 San José St Timeout 62 - 64
0:14 Technical Foul on Fresno St. 62 - 64
0:14 Gary Williams Jr. made Free Throw. 62 - 65
0:14 Gary Williams Jr. made Free Throw. 62 - 66
0:12 Technical Foul on Fresno St. 62 - 66
0:12 Gary Williams Jr. made Free Throw. 62 - 67
0:12 Gary Williams Jr. missed Free Throw. 62 - 67
0:12 San José St Deadball Team Rebound. 62 - 67
0:11 Ryan Welage Turnover. 62 - 66
0:11 Foul on Cullen Russo. 62 - 67
0:11 Ryan Welage made Free Throw. 62 - 68
0:11 Ryan Welage made Free Throw. 62 - 69
0:10 Paul Watson Steal. 62 - 66
0:08 Paul Watson Turnover. 62 - 66
0:07 Deshon Taylor missed Three Point Jumper. 62 - 69
0:07 Brandon Clarke Defensive Rebound. 62 - 69
0:00 End of Game 62 - 69

Robert Kuwada game reports.

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Steve Fisher ain't going out like this, period

"Mid-Major Roundup: San Diego State no longer a power" -- Nathan Giese

The media elsewhere actually cover college basketball

"Stephens: Institutional failure created CSU basketball disaster"

Maybe I'm being overly harsh with the headline but it actually appears that Bay Area college basketball teams have to force coverage by either being successful or doing something illegal -- it doesn't happen here otherwise. That why coaching changes and new hires at San Jose State University and Santa Clara are lacking any 'inside' level of coverage in the regional media -- something so often found elsewhere. There are no specific beat reporters which results in no developments of contacts and go-to sources and thus, no scoops.

The bottom line for any college coach is defined as such: by winning more games, sometimes many more, than losing. If you win, academic and personnel concerns fall to the wayside. That's reality. Having such sports take place at a college or university makes zero difference.

Coach Eustachy playing his trio of academically deficient Rams as long as he legally can simply lays out priorities. His and Colorado State's. It is the order of the college athletics universe.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Colorado St. 76, SJSU 71

Colorado State simply had a core of players who performed better and therefore grabbed a 76-71 victory over host San Jose State University on Wednesday. Four Rams scored in double figures, three of them guards plus a forward posted a double-double.

Brandon Clarke was super-sized for the Spartans with 24 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. He shot 10-12 overall and 4-6 at the foul line. The only other Spartan with a plus game was guard E.J. Boyce who shot 4-7 from long distance for 12 points.

SJSU earned just eight free throw attempts, making six.

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Going back in the time machine

It's always intriguing to dream about what could have been and sometimes frustrating too. In that vein, here are a couple of past Spartan recruiting targets:

Noah Robotham, 6-foot-1, junior
11 games, 27.6 minutes, 10.5 points, 2.3 assists, 2.0 rebounds
shooting 43%, 43% and 80%

He's out of Las Vegas -- not sure why he went with Akron as a college choice -- and plays the point although he is tied for second in assists on the Zips who are currently 11-3.

Robotham would have been an immediate starter.

+++++++

Rokas Gustys, 6-foot-9, 260, junior
15 games, 28.1 minutes, 9.2 points, 13.2 rebounds
shooting 52% overall, 23% FT

He's out of Lithuania and played prep ball at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. There was probably zero likelihood of getting him out of choosing to play back east but certainly worth a shot.

Just imagine a solid bruiser in the middle owning the boards.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Colorado State will be hurting in mid-January

Colorado State just announced that three players are academically ineligible for the spring semester putting the Rams roster at seven. But it looks like the trio can play until January 17 meaning they should be in uniform for Wednesday's matchup.

From a game preview:

"Atmosphere

Can the Rams bring the kind of energy they need to perform their best into a 5,000-seat arena full of only 500 or so fans?

San Jose State’s Event Center is the most difficult place to play in the Mountain West, CSU coach Larry Eustachy said Tuesday, because of its limited attendance. With classes out of session for the winter break, attendance will be well below the Spartans’ announced average for their first seven home games of 1,555.

“It’s just all about bringing intensity in an empty gym,” CSU forward Emmanuel Omogbo said. “The game can be over early if we just go out and out-determine them. Or, it can be one of those games where we let them get comfortable and confident in their home gym, they start hitting shots, there’s nobody in there. Then the referees are on their side, and they’ve got the momentum now...”

Monday, January 2, 2017

Questions and admissions

SJSU stands 5-5 after five home games and five away with conference play now underway. Will this .500 winning percentage be maintained? elevated? lessened? Your guess is as good as ours.

Because we earlier predicted that a winning Spartan season would, in part, be predicated on getting a solid defensive effort plus board work from 6-foot-10 Ryan Singer. As he is averaging just 4.5 minutes per game, it looks like we are going to be wrong with that forecast. But let's see how the remaining schedule plays out to see if, indeed, the season is successful.

It's still early but Ashtin Chastain physically is appearing to be a career backup so, minus the usage of Singer, the middle currently is all on the shoulders of Ryan Welage. He remains physically unimposing, isn't necessarily all that agile and sports just a single blocked shot after 10 games. He remains up-and-down with his scoring and rebounding production and the team typically wins when he delivers and loses when he falls short. In league play, can the Spartans win both games they are supposed to as well as some they are not predicted while sporting just a single and inconsistent big?

It could be argued that Brandon Clarke is part of a inside tandem as he's an excellent shotblocker and tremendous offensive rebounder. However, a second center, one who can have an effect on the boards as well as be a factor defensively, remains needed for when Welage is enduring an off-night and to offset his current weaknesses. Yes, Keith Fisher III will help in certain areas upfront next season but that's down the road and nobody is mistaking him for a big. A power forward, yes, but Fisher doesn't currently have the needed height and weight to be a difference maker solely playing the middle.

Heck, the question even remains if Welage can be an everynight, count-on contributor but Coach Dave Wojcik is betting on that and only time will tell. At the end of this season, a determination will be made if Welage is at the level of a player who can be paired with Brandon Clarke to build a team around, or not.

+++++

Strike two. We also offered that it would be best to go with Nai Carlisle at the point and live with the times when his lack of college experience would undoubtedly appear. Uh, that hasn't been the reality since he's being redshirted. Jalen James is showing more at the point this season -- his shooting remains improved but still questionable -- however, a 24-12 assist-to-turnover ration is solid. More assists would obviously be preferable but that's dependent on teammates making a higher percentage of their shots and SJSU is currently accurate on just 41% of its overall shot attempts.

6-foot-5 prep guard signee Noah Baumann will help in this area in 2017-18 but do remember that he will be a freshman so what about now? Jaycee Hillsman seems more suited to the wing as his shooting range is 15-feet and, to his credit, he has earned 32 free throw attempts, second on the team. Freshman Isaiah Nichols is in a deep shooting slump and it's unlikely he will work out of that during conference play when defenses are much more so zeroed in on 'likes' and 'tendencies.' Gary Williams Jr. has enjoyed his moments and should get more open looks if he can continue his dribble-drives. Terrell Brown is still adjusting to the college game and an uptick in consistency would be welcomed but not likely right now. It is just a lost season Cody Schwartz who is not just inaccurate with his shooting but has yet to go to the foul line. E.J. Boyce is workable as a catch-and-shoot guy but on a different team where defenses have to intensely focus on two or three others or pay a lethal price. The guess here is that he'll be on a DII team next season.

Short of placing Brandon Clarke on the rack in desperation of stretching his frame a few more inches, apparent needs for next season are a 6-foot-9, 6-foot-10 center who won't necessarily need to score. Settling for defensive effect and rebounding will be enough. Can such be acquired?

Another critical element: projecting who will grow into their roles. Can Jaycee Hillsman produce 10-12 points each night? What will Isaiah Nichols show as a sophomore and beyond? Terrell Brown is a blur but he's not a point so can he shoot well enough from outside to create driving lanes against solid defenses?

Personnel movement down the road? Jalen James will likely be granted another season of eligibility. Does he remain at SJSU or play the field as a graduate transfer? The same for Brandon Mitchell. Even Cody Schwartz's situation looks iffy if he wishes to get on the court. Will Ryan Singer remain if his playing time remains as is? So there may be room for other signees.