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.


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


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)


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.


Monday, January 16, 2017

From the Dept. of No-Brainers

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:


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.