Thursday, October 30, 2008

The San Jose State 'smalls'

Do not fret as San Jose State's 'bigs' will also be receiving a justified dose of 'love' in the very near future here but today we are focusing on the 'smalls' who are positioned as guards and wings.

Let's begin by flat out offering that this is the BEST EVER group for talent and potential. We tend to limit our use of such four letter words and are hesitant to invoke these statements of grandeur but this is what we believe to be accurate and appropriate. (To those who disagree -- respond accordingly but please be at a minimum tenuously tethered to reality when doing so)

Plus, we are looking at two sophomore starters and a junior as the top three here so the even marked betterment is a possibility!

Our early 2008 take is that Justin Graham and Adrian Oliver (once he has sat out the initial six games of the season due to his transfer) are penciled -- no make that penned -- amend that to read blood - oathed in as starters. Take that to the bank...well, in the light of today's economic times, store that in your personal safe.

Never have two backcourters such as this duo been paired together simultaneously in a San Jose State men's basketball uniform. Each has the capacity to create both for themselves and for their teammates, each is a scrapper, each is a winner.

Our sense (no, we do not get a vote on this since our ballot initiative failed to get enough signatures) is that City College of San Francisco transfer Robert Owens is the likeliest of the other 'smalls' to be next in playing time.

Granted, the accomplishments in a scrimmage do not necessarily translate into the productivity over a season but Owens has always been a tremendous outside shooter with a quick release and he remained as such on Saturday. On top of that, he's very athletic -- not being a slow-footed catch-and-shoot guy who depends on others to create scoring opportunities for himself. What we would also like to see is dribble-drive/ballhandling ability from him but our exposure to his game has been very limited and such might already be present -- at least to some degree.

But let us also not forget Tim Pierce, DaShawn Wright, Mac Peterson and Lance Olivier.

Pierce returns as the team's top three point shot maker and we also liked a couple of his drives to the basket at last Saturday's scrimmage. If this is indeed a wrinkle added to his offensive game then he'll enjoy even more 'open' long-range shot opportunities with opponents now having to account for forays to the basket.

DaShawn Wright will again lead the squad in steals-per-minute and be one of those stealth scorers who compiles his points on putbacks and short to mid-range shots.

Mac Peterson looked much more comfortable on Saturday as compared to last season and will gets his points on kickout passes from the team's 'bigs' for open looks as well as from his fellow 'smalls' penetrating into the paint, drawing defenders and sending him a pass.

Lance Olivier also seemed greater-versed with his role -- it will be interesting to see if his court appearances grows larger as the season progresses.

This bunch may be 'smalls' in relative terms but will be playing a large role in how the San Jose State 2008-2009 season plays out. As we offered in the second paragraph, this year is going to be a fun one with the promise of even greater enjoyment just down the line.

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