Tuesday, October 7, 2008

We re-visit the past

We like to re-visit the past every so often, especially so in a comparison to life and events today in order to determine if a situation has improved, stayed the same or regressed. In our opinion, nowhere is the contrast greater -- at least in local college basketball -- than between the 2004-2005 San Jose State men's basketball roster and the current one. The level of talent/potential is so far greater, there's no comparison.

Plus, consider just how much earlier this statement could have been written had Coach Nessman operated like far too many other coaches and simply clear cut the roster he inherited and brought in 'his' players? That a too-often overlooked element that some negative Johnny One Notes conveniently and purposely overlook.

Here is the last Phil Johnson-coached roster broken down by experience.

Demetrius Brown SR
Marquin Chandler SR
Kareem Guilbeaux SR
Michael McFadden SR

Demetrius missed the year due to injury. Marquin flat-out carried the team as best he could. Kareem was heady but had to play far too many minutes than appropriate. Michael had his moments.

Eric Bloom JR
Alex Elam JR
Mark Fresby JR
Tyree Gardner JR
Ryan Miller JR
Matt Misko JR
Kenny Smith JR
Donta Watson JR
Cheo White JR

Only Alex and Matt ever played all that much out of this entire group, with Tyree coming in third. Donta decided not to compete for playing time and departed. Eric, Ryan and Kenny never fully recovered from long-lingering injuries. Mark Fresby was quickly gone. Cheo was a walk-on.

Lance Holloway SO
Joe Udeoji SO

Both Lance and Joe were walk-ons.

What jumps out at us is the absence of any freshman or sophomore scholarshipped classes, a deadly factor that is an unsustainable practice for any basketball program looking to be consistent and competitive.

Plus, we are certainly grateful for and laud the effort from all these young men but a retrospective look tells us that but two or possibly three of the student-athletes were truly WAC-level starting talents.

That's quite an inheritance.

Now consider the season soon upon us:

Tim Pierce SR
DeVonte Thomas SR
DaShawn Wright SR

Chris Oakes JR
Robert Owens JR
Mac Peterson JR
C.J. Webster JR
Jerelle Wilson JR

Oliver Caballero SO
Justin Graham SO
Adrian Oliver SO
Lance Olivier SO
Kyle Thomas SO redshirt

Clint Amberry FR
Garrett Ton FR

First off, this is a much, much better and also healthier distribution of recruiting classes. There's at minimum a starter residing in each of the first three classes, some with more. Tim has started a number of games as has DaShawn. Then, there's Chris and C.J. as definite frontcourt returning and continuing starters and also keep in mind that, prior to his senior season, C.J. will be applying for the reinstatement of his freshman year of eligibility. We're hearing good things about Robert but time will tell if he garners starts. Justin...well, he's going to be a four-year starter. Adrian is starting from here on out. We believe Kyle Thomas has starting potential but that's for 2009-2010. We also believe Clint will be a starter -- certainly a major minutes player -- before his eligibility is complete.

Gee folks (sorry to go Palin on you), consider how much advancement has been made -- the evidence is undeniable.

The most recent additions -- Adrian Oliver and Robert Owens and Kyle Thomas -- are proof positive that the roster upswing continues. We've already determined Oliver as a coming WAC star but Owens will be at least a major minutes player. He displays long-distance shooting range and owns the most-sweetest shooting form. We won't see Thomas until next year but having a 6-8 or so wing with inside/outside scoring prowess is going to cause matchup problems for WAC opponents in 2009-2010 and beyond.

We would love to see Oliver in uniform from the get-go this season instead of his being sidelined for six games due to NCAA transfer rules because having the full team together from game one would be the best measuring tool but he'll be available soon enough.

Let's see who gets added to the roster come the approaching November signing period. One freshman-to-be point is already lined up.

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