Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Marquin Chandler making some noise

Recently caught this highlight on Marquin Chandler as he hit the game-winning shot -- the photo to the right is seconds after his doing so:

Kites Skyrocketing
Yoon Chul
The Korean Times

There is no clear leader in the Korea Basketball League (KBL) with top spot being shared by Dongbu Promy and KT&G Kites.
While defending champion Dongbu Promy lost two games against the Samsung Thunders, the KT&G Kites - on a run of four straight win ― shared first with the Promy with a 7-3 record in the standings... ...The Kites won on the road at SK Knights 79-77... ...Kites imports Calvin Warner and Marquin Chandler combined to score 34 points with 22 rebounds...

The Santa Clara game is coming up on Wednesday

This is just a short note with much more to come early next week. While we are fighting the urge to climb atop the barricades and shout "Free Adrian Oliver" to the NCAA suits in their suites -- wouldn't he be useful against intra-county rival Santa Clara next Wednesday and then most formidable road foe San Diego on December 8? -- we will focus our time and energy on a few notes we have compiled about them hated Broncos.

Santa Clara just lost to Arizona 69-66 as part of the NIT Season Tipoff Tournament in Athens, GA while shooting just north of 55%. But Kerry Keating's squad allowed the Wildcats to shoot a scalding 65%.

Prior to the Arizona matchup, Santa Clara tangled with host Georgia, eventually losing 54-48. The Bulldogs scored just a single basket in the last 12:05 of the game but managed to draw enough fouls to nail 14 free throws during that time.

Georgia also nabbed 11 steals and blocked nine shots while holding Santa Clara to 37.8% shooting from the floor. But the Dawgs shot just 35% themselves.

Santa Clara committed 25 turnovers.

How did big John Bryant do in these games? He earned a double-double against Georgia with 12 points and 13 boards and poured in 24 points along with grabbing eight rebounds against Arizona.

It's near impossible to determine 'factors' for the upcoming SJSU - Santa Clara contest due to the earliness of the season and so many other variables in the preceding games so far.

* Does Santa Clara shoot well, a la the Arizona game or poorly, a la the Georgia matchup?

* Does Santa Clara defend poorly, a la Arizona or well, a la Georgia?

* Is Santa Clara susceptible to turnovers, or not so much?

* Are all simply consistency issues?

More next week. Don't gobble too much.

Monday, November 24, 2008

San Jose State falls by one

We remain mystified why playing on the road has such a dramatic impact in lowering a team's winning percentage but such is fact whether it be in professional or collegiate sports.

That played out Monday night as San Jose State fell 47-46 to home team Presbyterian.

The Spartans led 44-42 after a Blue Hose basket by Al'Lonzo Coleman. DeShawn Wright upped the lead back to four with a putback after a blocked shot.

Presbyterian then missed a free throw and Wright rebounded the miss with 50 seconds remaining.

The Spartans misfired on the next shot and Coleman followed with a short lean-in shot and made the subsequent free throw as he was also fouled.

That reduced the San Jose lead to one.

Tim Pierce was fouled with 14 seconds left but he missed the free throw. The Blue Hose rebounded the miss, came down the court and Coleman again nailed a short shot off his own miss, putting Presbyterian ahead by one with three ticks left on the clock.

After a Spartan timeout, Mac Peterson missed a final try at the buzzer.

Free throws, or rather the missed kind, allowed the Blue Hose to hang around and eventually snatch the win. San Jose State was able to make just nine of 18 charity tosses.

For the game, SJSU shot 36% to Presbyterian's 32%. Pierce led with 14 points and C.J. Webster added 11. Chris Oakes nabbed 10 boards.

San Jose State led 24-19 after the initial 20 minutes. The Spartans shot well (50%) but countered that with 10 turnovers. On the flip side, Presbyterian shot 27%. Rebounds were even with SJSU grabbing 16 to 16 for the Blue Hose.

Presbyterian scored the first two points of the game but San Jose State went on an 11-0 run to take a double digit lead. Crisp Spartan play and on-target shooting in the early minutes made the difference.

San Jose State

Pierce 5-14 3-7 14
Webster 4-7 3-4 11
Oakes 3-10 0-0 6
Graham 3-4 0-1 6
Wright 3-11 1-1 7
Amberry 0-1 0-0 0
Olivier 0-0 0-0 0
Thomas 0-0 0-0 0
Owens 0-2 2-5 2
Peterson 0-1 0-0 0

Totals 18-50 9-18


Bostic 2-10 3-4 7
Sligh 1-3 0-0 3
Coleman 9-18 4-6 22
Miller 3-9 0-1 9
Johnson 1-7 0-0 2
Davis 0-0 0-0 0
King 1-3 0-1 2
Brown 0-0 0-0 0
Gatkuoth 0-0 0-0 0
Gibbs 1-2 0-0 2
Holmes 0-4 0-0 0

Totals 18-56 7-12

Halftime score – San Jose State 24, Presbyterian 19

Three-point field goals – San Jose State 1-6 (Pierce 1-4, Wright 0-1, Owens 0-1), Presbyterian 4-24 (Miller 3-8, Johnson 0-5, Bostic 0-4, Coleman 0-1, Sligh 1-1, King 0-2, Holmes 0-3)

Rebounds – San Jose State 42 (Oakes 10), Presbyterian 38 (Coleman 13)

Assists – San Jose State 7 (Webster 4), Presbyterian 13 (Bostic 4)

Fouled out – Webster

Total fouls – San Jose State 16, Presbyterian 16

Top Dogs: Best at each position

We wanted to make you aware of a portion of a Rivals article from last week that directly relates to San Jose State basketball.

Rivals posted something quite unique on the opening day of the letter-of-intent signings, selecting the best recruits by position in the various conferences.

Bay Area high schoolers who received the honors, included Chris Brew in the Big West Conference, Aalim Moor and Jerry Brown in the Western Athletic Conference, and Tim Harris in the West Coast Conference.

Here's what appeared:

November 12, 2008

Top Dogs: Best at each position recruiting staff

Western Athletic Conference

Point guard: Aalim Moor, St. Mary's High, San Jose State
Shooting guard: Mark McLaughlin, Nevada
Small forward: Jerry Brown, Fresno State
Power forward: Devonte Elliott, Nevada
Center: Greg Smith, Fresno State

Kevin Fleming checks in

Here's an 'update' note we received from Kevin Fleming

Just wanted to fill you in with a little of what I am doing these days. I recently returned from my first professional basketball job in South America. Go to ( ... for video).

I woke up one day in South America with a cultural slap to the face. Overseas basketball is not for the faint of heart. In my experience, I was able to learn a new and very different culture and was also able to learn a new language, which is at a conversational level only.

I am working on finding a new place for myself in my career as a "pro-baller," which at this point is more difficult than one could expect. I can only correlate this experience to an outside sales professional. Lots of cold-calls and face to face sales, of course I am selling myself and capabilities. I have had success, yet like our world economy, so goes the life of a rising star. Teams fold, payment is unmanageable by teams, and there are less jobs than there are possible employees.

I digress, I am hopeful of finding my niche and can only assume payment will be made as well as my output as an athlete. College was so wonderful. If only us youngsters could understand this and appreciate our time as student-athletes.

I am currently living in San Francisco and wish the weather was the same as beautiful San Jose (missing my apartment on 7th street across from campus). I currently am searching for a job that suits my drive as a competitor that will also pay me for my results... so far outside sales is my calling. I have interviewed at companies such as; ADP, Mass Mutual Financial, Paychex, Autonomy (British company equivalent to Microsoft), Advent Technology, LoopNet,etc...I am in the works for a possible career at Paychex and Autonomy and will find out next week if I get the jobs (let's keep our fingers crossed)!

I am still hopeful of a basketball career and believe that my best play has yet to come, however finding a "real job" is not out of the question.

I am dying for the Spartans to have a great year this year and KNOW that this will take place. I went to a few practices this year and truly believe that Coach Ness has those young men on the right path. I was bummed about the Nebraska game, yet know that the growth is coming and the schedule only fuels their (Spartans) success.

Updates for alumni to my knowledge are as follows:

* D.J. Brown is in Finland playing for a team called LrNMKY averaging 18.3 pts and 6.5 boards a game

* Marquin Chandler is still in the KBL (South Korean Basketball League) for KT&G averaging 24pts and 7 rebounds

* Lance Holloway is in Mexico in the difficult LNBP...I was recently notified that the team folded and he is now U.S. bound

* I averaged 27 pts, 12 rebounds and 6 assists (not bad). would have loved to produce that for SJSU!

I will continue to give you updates as time rolls along. Wish the Rebounders the best and hope the holidays are great.


Kevin Fleming

P.S. I really enjoy the new Blogspot.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

San Jose State versus Presbyterian Monday night

The Presbyterian Blue Hose are back -- San Jose State faces off with the Big South Conference member Monday night in Clinton, South Carolina.

Presbyterian is coming off an eight point loss to Georgia in Athens Friday night: "Bryan Bostic set a new career high with 22 points and led the Presbyterian College men’s basketball team in their 55-47 loss to Georgia at Stegeman Coliseum on Nov. 21...The Blue Hose tied the Bulldogs in rebounding, with each team collecting 31 boards in the game..."

Prior to the contest with Georgia, the Blue Hose lost 76-57 to Houston and opened the season with the Duke Blue Devils, falling 80-47.

For the record, the other members of the Big South Conference are: Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Gardner-Webb, High Point, Liberty, Radford, UNC-Ashville, Winthrop and VMI.


From the Presbyterian athletics department:

The 2008-09 season will begin Gregg Nibert’s 20th season in charge of the Blue Hose men’s basketball program. The winningest coach in program history, Nibert has led the Blue Hose to 332 wins during his 19 years at the helm of the Blue Hose. Overall, the Blue Hose have compiled a record of 332-231 during his tenure...

During his 19-year tenure at Presbyterian College, Nibert has compiled six 20-win seasons. His Blue Hose teams finished in the top four in the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) regular season standings 14 times, winning the SAC Championship twice (1992-93 & 1996-97) and the Food Lion SAC Tournament title once (1995-96). He has also been named the SAC Coach-of-the-Year twice for his efforts (1993 and 1997).

ROSTER (by position)

We don't know about the Dandy part but the Blue Hose roster is chock full of Diaper kids, eight in all being in their initial year of college, along with three sophomores;

Kevin Davis G 6-2 180 Fr.
Dominic King G 6-0 175 Fr.
Pierre Miller PG 5-10 160 So.
Dan Brown G 5-11 160 Fr.
Josh Johnson G 6-3 185 So.
Chase Holmes G 6-4 205 Fr.
Aaron Gibbs SG 6-3 200 Fr.

Bryan Bostic SF 6-3 200 Sr.
Travis Sligh F 6-4 210 Sr.
Walt Allen F 6-4 220 Jr.
Jake Troyli PF 6-9 185 Fr.
Kyle Jazwiecki F 6-8 220 Fr.

Steven Yien Gatkuoth C 7-0 220 Fr.
Al'Lonzo Coleman C 6-7 230 So.


Courtesy of SJSU, here's the opening paragraph of the writeup from last season's matchup at Walt McPherson Court:

Men's Basketball Downs Presbyterian, 68-64 Courtesy: San Jose State Athletics SID Lawrence Fan 12/22/2007 San Jose, Calif. - San Jose State University produced a 15-0 first-half run, put four players in double-figure scoring and never trailed in downing visiting Presbyterian College, 68-64, in non-conference men’s basketball action at The Event Center on Saturday, December 22...

Justin Graham and Chris Oakes scored 13 apiece with DeVonte Thomas and DaShawn Wright each posting 11.

This is not based on anything official but we expect to find C.J. Webster playing for SJSU, at least for some minutes. He posted eight points and nine boards in last year's contest.


It appears that sophomore Al'Lonzo Coleman is the top player for the Blue Hose. After two games, he was leading Presbyterian with both a 16.0 ppg. average and 7.0 rebounds a contest. Coleman did register 10 turnovers in two games so it bears watching if that is an anomaly or typical.

Senior Bryan Bostic is another go-to guy and he was at 10 ppg. prior to his 22 point breakout against Georgia.

Freshman Dominic King is the top scorer in the backcourt at 9.3 ppg. with soph Pierre Miller the starting point.


In 2008-2009, Presbyterian is committing 23.5 turnovers per game, a figure attributed to the youth and experience of the squad.

Oh yes, about the Blue Hose nickname: (from the PC site): "Several rumors exist and Ray Frank in his book, “What’s In A Nick­name” delved into the subject. Frank discovered that there were many opinions.

One story had it that the Presbyterian Scotch-Irish wore blue stockings in the Puritan beginnings of the United States. Another said that a fierce war-like band of Scotch-Irish named the Hose painted their entire bodies blue before going into battle.

Yet, probably the true story lies in a letter dated June 15, 1935, written by then PC athletic director Walter Johnson to an inquiring English professor in Virginia.
[Quoting from Walter Johnson’s letter] ‘It was about the second or third year, 1915, if I remember right, Stockings. I think it happened this way: I changed uniform colors to blue, wearing blue stockings and jerseys, and some sports writer started calling in his articles the Presbyterian College teams the Blue Stockings.’

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Eric Musselman has a fascinating post

Former and future NBA coach Eric Musselman had a fascinating post the other day at his blog. It featured his analysis of some of the players in the recent Nevada - San Diego game. For some reason he uses Reno instead of Nevada in his description:

Scouting San Diego, Reno, ASU, and SDSU
Eric Musselman's Basketball Notebook
November 19, 2008

...In the first game, USD controlled the tempo as Reno had trouble scoring. I thought San Diego did a good job executing at both ends of the floor. They're well-coached. Reno also did a nice job mixing up their defenses and the guys played hard the entire game.

For Reno, sophomore guard Armon Johnson, last year's WAC Freshman of the Year, is an inconsistent shooter, but he can get his shot off. A lefty, he changes speed with the dribble, which is high at times. He could be a possible NBDL prospect in two years. For a young guy, he really communicates with his teammates well and shows signs of leadership.

Another young guy for Reno, freshman Luke Babbitt, is a PF at the college level, but he does not have an NBA position. He's 6-9, but must get stronger. Has ball skills. In warm ups looked to shoot ball well with range. Like Johnson, Babbitt is a lefty who really favors his left... Go here for the remainder.

Remember "Hoop Dreams"?

Remember this film?

'Hoop Dreams' film players remain friends; lives have diverged
Hoops stars no longer, the players featured in the 1994 film remain friends, though their lives have diverged
Sara Olkon
Chicago Tribune
November 14, 2008

It's a chilly morning and two old friends are supposed to meet for a game of hoops. The shy, steadier of the pair arrives early. The other, a fun-loving extrovert, arrives almost two hours late.

The tardy one, Arthur Agee, strolls into his buddy's office with a smile and talk of car trouble. William Gates immediately forgives him.

For more than a decade, the pair have been bound by unexpected fame. The two Chicago high school basketball players were featured in the 1994 hit documentary "Hoop Dreams." Now in their mid-30s, their contrasting fates may surprise the many people who saw the movie.

Gates, the reserved one, has become an authoritative force who leads a church in the Cabrini area. He is married with four kids. Agee, a spirited charmer, doesn't have a regular job but is launching a line of "Hoop Dreams" apparel. He has five kids by five different women.

"You ain't even Mr. Gates, now it's Pastor Gates," Agee said as the two men embraced.

Much has changed since filmmakers began chronicling their lives in 1987, when the 14-year-olds saw the NBA as their way out of poverty. Enduring close to three-hour commutes, the boys enrolled at St. Joseph High School in suburban Westchester as freshmen. The private Catholic school had famously launched the career of retired NBA point guard Isiah Thomas, whom both kids had long idolized.
.. Go here for the remainder.


Thank you to RW for pointing this out: so now it's CruzanKid in lieu of Truth10 at another fan site. We apparently missed the court proceeding but we'll dig deep to locate a public record of the name change. Who thought that one up?

Finding Spartan fever in Lincoln

Hey, we know these guys. What are they doing in Lincoln surrounded by all that red?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Spartans in a 79-37 romp

Will they or won't they?

That was the most captivating question of the night and in this context: would Cal Maritime make it to double figures by halftime?

The Keelhaulers did, chalking up 12 points by the conclusion of the initial 20 minutes of play.

San Jose State had 39 points.

The final score was 79-37.

Cal Maritime could have sent out a starting unit of John Paul Jones, Bull Halsey, Bluebeard, Blackbeard and Jack Sparrow and it wouldn't have mattered. But the Keelhaulers played hard and ran their sets -- it was a case of just way too much athleticism to overcome.

The best part was that nobody got hurt. That and seeing Garrett Ton, Jerelle Wilson and newcomer John Williams take to the court, with each scoring at least a basket. C.J. Webster was in uniform but didn't participate.

San Jose State (79)

Pierce 5-9 2-3 14
Owens 7-11 0-0 19
Oakes 5-7 1-2 11
Wright 4-6 2-3 10
Graham 3-5 0-0 6
Amberry 1-3 0-0 2
Olivier 0-2 0-0 0
Thomas 1-7 0-0 2
Williams 2-3 0-0 5
Peterson 1-4 2-2 5
Ton 1-1 0-0 2
Wilson 1-1 1-1 3

Totals 31-59 (9-23) 8-11

Cal Maritime (37)

Gerardo 0-2 0-0 0
Stites 3-9 0-0 6
Raj 2-8 2-5 ;
Johnson 3-9 0-0 8
Medeiros 1-12 2-2 4
Gresham 0-0 0-0 0
Kinman 0-2 0-0 ;
Prendeble 2-3 0-0 4
Wood 0-0 0-0 0
Ferguson 2-7 2-2 7
Hazel 0-0 0-0 0
Sarrade 1-1 0-0 2

Totals 14-53 (3-16) 6-9

Three-point field goals
– Cal Maritime 3-16 (Johnson 2-3, Medeiros 0-6, Kinman 0-2, Ferguson 1-5), San Jose State 9-23 (Pierce 2-6, Owens 5-7, Graham 0-2, Olivier 0-2, Williams 1-2; Peterson 1-4)

– Cal Maritime 25 (Stites 7), San Jose State 43 (Thomas 8)

– Cal Maritime 7 (Medeiros 3), San Jose State 21 (Graham 7)

Total fouls
– Cal Maritime 14, San Jose State 10

Defending will be THE key to a WAC championship

When is the last time (first time?) a defensive play -- other than a shotblock accompanied by the announcer's pet phrase -- has appeared on ESPN's Sports Center? Yet the Boston Celtics are the 'defending' world champions because of the commitment the team made towards making it as difficult as possible for opponents to score. Here's a snippet about that team metamorphosis:

Commitment to defense delivers title No. 17 for Celtics
John Hollinger

...With the arrival of Kevin Garnett and the addition of ace defensive assistant Tom Thibodeau, the Celtics had the third-best defensive efficiency mark since the league began tracking turnovers in 1973-74, helping them to a league-best 66 wins despite fairly modest offensive numbers...

...Of course, the reason the Celtics' defense was such a huge factor was because their three stars bought into it. While Garnett has been a beast defensively his whole career, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen weren't exactly renowned for their defensive skills. When a pair of offseason trades united the trio in Beantown, the expectation was that they'd be a quality offensive team but wouldn't get enough stops to beat the Detroits and San Antonios of the world in May and June.

Yet defense is as much about effort as talent, and something clicked when the new big three got to Boston this fall. Garnett was the league's Defensive Player of the Year, while Allen and Pierce were the main defenders on [Kobe] Bryant, and kept the league MVP in check throughout the finals.

"We held each other accountable to get on the floor every time there was a loose ball, to help in rotation when somebody was beat," said Allen. "We didn't expect any less from Paul, they didn't expect less out of me. If Kevin was out of position we let him know, and everybody followed suit. It was that accountability all year long, that everybody knew when you came in here, we don't care about the offensive end."

So we are going out on the proverbial limb to say whichever team defends the best in the WAC this season is going to win the conference.

Our basis for such a prediction: there are a number of WAC teams this season that have the requisite firepower -- the scoring and shooting talent and skills -- to put up serious points on the scoreboard. They appear fairly equal in this strength. So the one squad pledged to focus the most attention on setting up roadblocks to opponents scoring will separate itself from the others and be the league leader.

However, there are a number of aspects about this to explore.

Before anyone replies that defending requires superb quickness and pogostick jumping ability so let's look at the rosters to see who wins there, well, just refer to this list of last season's All-WAC Defensive Team:

Matt Bauscher, Boise State
Matt Gibson, Hawai'i
Lyndale Burelson, Nevada
JaVale McGee, Nevada
Fred Peete, New Mexico State

Granted, McGee was blessed with long arms and excellent athletic ability although he wasn't a solid man-to-man defender but Matt Bauscher, Matt Gibson, Lyndale Burleson and Fred Peete earned their spots through commitment and grit. They made up their respective minds to defend, did so and were awarded for there efforts.

But one of the problems in determining what constitutes good defense is how to document this points preventing passion. Is it simply the team scoring defense stat? Or the team field goal percentage defense number? Maybe a combination of the two? Plus other characteristics? Can it truly be reflected in measurements?

That's because what also has to be factored into the above is who is employing what ways to limit scoreboard fuse-blowing -- a slowdown a la holding the ball til the last 10 seconds of each possession, playing the variations of a zone, never fastbreaking. Heck, some squads probably also utilize prayer or the issuance of an opponent hex or spell.

So there's a lot to muddy the water.

Employing last season's numbers (not extrapolating them for 2008-2009 determinations but for illustration purposes) Nevada, Utah State and New Mexico State were in the top four in scoring defense, along with Fresno State. The remaining five squads had but 1.1 points a game separating them in their differentials but were a ways behind the four best.

But very curiously, Boise State finished last in scoring defense and yet won both the league championship and the conference tournament! So what gives? Is all of the above that's been written just so much manure?

Our take: let's count the BSU WAC tourney victory as at least partially an anomaly since almost anything can happen in a short series. But then how can Boise State winning the league be explained?

We call it a harmonic convergence.

The 2007-2008 Broncos were comprised mostly of very experienced seniors: a physical guy inside (Matt Nelson), someone who could defend in the paint and also further out (Reggie Larry), a veteran who was experienced at playing position and team 'D' well (Tyler Tiedeman), a stocky and strong player who led the team in steals (Anthony Thomas) and an underrated glue guy who was rarely out of position (Matt Bauscher). In this group, only Larry possessed great athletic ability.

Yes, experience definitely played a factor in Boise's success but it needs the accompaniment of maturity. The knowing what to do, the accepting of it and the doing it.

Here's another somewhat contradiction of figures -- last season's team scoring defense numbers in the WAC -- note the caboose here:

Team Avg/G

1. Nevada 69.8
2. Utah State 70.7
3. Fresno State 70.8
4. New Mexico State 72.4
5. San Jose State 74.6
6. Louisiana Tech 74.8
7. Hawai`i 75.4
8. Idaho 16 1208 75.5
9. Boise State 16 1211 75.7

But look at shooting percentage defense -- where Boise jumps from last to fourth, a statistic that tells the most compelling portion of the Broncos 2007-2008 tale:

# Team Pct

1. Nevada .430
2. Fresno State .441
3. New Mexico State .442
4. Boise State .442
5. Utah State .442
6. San Jose State .466
7. Idaho .482
8. Hawai`i .482
9. Louisiana Tech .529

Greg Graham's team did have so many things fall into place but credit must also be given for the taking advantage of such.

So that's last year's statistics. We don't have this year's -- at least not yet. There have been tremendous personnel changes for Nevada, Utah State, New Mexico State and Fresno State. San Jose State has added talent and realistically lost nobody of critical importance. Louisiana Tech is basically fielding an entire new team so simply toss out last year's numbers as invalid.

So does anyone have predictions as to which squad will set the pace defensively in this year's WAC?

Just who has the necessary combination of skill, effort, commitment, understanding and experience?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Keelhaulers are coming!

The Keelhaulers are scheduled to dock themselves Wednesday evening at Walt McPherson Court. Yes, Cal Maritime, a member of the California Pacific Conference, will be here to play San Jose State in a 7:00 p.m. contest.

Just what is a keelhauler and what the heck is the origin of that particular nickname? From the CM athletics site: "Keelhauling was a form of corporal punishment that was formerly practiced as a punishment in the Dutch and English navies. It was used as a way to punish members of the crew who were guilty of serious breaches of the ship's code of conduct. Keelhauling involved tying the hands of a crewmember to a rope and hauling him under the keel of the ship. The practice of keelhauling was formally abolished in 1853."

This nickname ranks right up there with UCSC's infamous Banana Slug.

Cal Maritime is actually a member of the California State University system and offers bachelor’s degrees in international business and logistics, facilities engineering technology, global studies and maritime affairs, marine engineering technology, marine transportation, and mechanical engineering.

As for the basketball team, CM is headed by Bryan Rooney who has longtime Bay Area basketball connections, having coached previously at San Francisco State and Dominican University.

Here's Rooney's roster:

Cesar Gerardo -- Forward 6-1 Senior
Daniel Gresham -- Guard 6-0 Junior
Lee Murray -- Guard 5-8 Freshman
Eddie Williams -- Guard 6-4 Sophomore
Zac Kinman -- Guard 6-2 Freshman
Robert Awil -- Guard 6-0 Sophomore
David Prendable -- Forward 6-7 Sophomore
Andrew Johnson -- Guard 6-1 Senior
Dwight Wood -- Guard 6-4 Freshman
Andrew Medeiros -- Guard 6-1 Junior
Jamesa Ferguson -- Guard 5-11 Senior
John Stiles -- Forward 6-7 Junior
Leo Sarrade -- Forward 6-4 Junior
Alex Raj -- Center 6-7 Junior

Raj is the current leading scorer at 10 ppg., with Stiles at 7.3 ppg. and Medeiros contributing 7 ppg.

Cal Maritime was picked to finish sixth in the league play this season.

Maybe the Spartan Band can work up a spirited version of "Fifteen Men on a Dead Man's Chest" and we in the stands call shout out "Arrrrrrr" in our best pirate fashion and dare the Cal Maritimers to even attempt a keelhauling of the Spartans.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A look at SJSU's 'bigs' in 2008-2009

We covered the San Jose State 'smalls' earlier so now it's time for the 'bigs.'

To put it bluntly, we as fans are spoiled -- and that is something hard to type considering the marathon of mediocrity the Spartan basketball devoted have endured. The Spartans have two of the better frontcourters in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) -- but we aren't satisfied.

We want more.

But maybe that's actually good -- more later on that.

Granted, it's human nature, the nature of the beast -- supply your own phrase here -- but it's curious how quickly we have forgotten the troubled times where either undersized or undertalented stopgaps did their best in the middle for SJSU but were simply never going to be enough to be competitive.

But the past need not haunt -- so where are we today?

C.J. Webster is a 2008-2009 pre-season all-conference WAC pick and Chris Oakes posted the best rebounding number, 7.2 per game, of any league returnee.

Webster is the best passing big man in the WAC, no ifs ands or buts. He scored 12.3 ppg. while shooting 66% and nabbed 6.6 rebounds a contest in 27 and a half minutes each time out.

Oakes delivered these numbers during conference play: in 25 minutes a game, he averaged 10.1 points, the aforementioned 7.1 boards (51 offensive, 63 defensive) and blocked 16 shots. He was charged with 54 fouls (Webster was whistled for 56).

All of these statistics are lights years better than anything produced in the many previous decades.

For comparison sakes, Utah State's Gary Wilkinson averaged 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game (41 offensive and 84 defensively respectively), along with seven blocked shots in 30 minutes of play per league game. Referees called 34 fouls on him -- for perspective, 'banger' teammate Tai Wesley was nailed with 55 infractions.

Wilkinson is a unanimous pre-season all-league selection and some have him as the mostly likely to be the WAC most valuable player come March 2009.

So despite the trickiness of using numbers for determinations and the subterfuge that numbers can provide in masking true contribution, the indications are that both Webster and Oakes, at the very least, reside in the same neighborhood as Wilkinson. Maybe not the same street but close by. And if Wilkinson is being so highly lauded for his play...

But we want more.

However, so does the Spartan coaching staff and Webster and Oakes themselves. Everyone in the equation expects more.

The point here is that we need a greater appreciation for what we are currently seeing out on the floor from this pair. Oakes is entering his junior year, having just become an upperclassmen. Webster is listed as a junior but is truly a sophomore in experience -- still an underclassmen. Such is a factor whether one wishes to accept this or not.

We say the best is yet to come and that time is both on the sides of Oakes and Webster and aligned with our predictions.

So we will get more.

But we would be guilty to some degree of simple excessive fan-dom in stopping here.

With Ollie Caballero an unknown at the moment, San Jose State's 'bigs' are Webster, Oakes, redshirt frosh Clint Amberry and senior DeVonte Thomas, who is nominally a small forward. Depth and experience are valid concerns as Amberry is getting his first taste of D-1 action and Thomas at 6-4 has matchup limitations.

Our observation is that Webster and Oakes need to play more consistent positional defense this season, with less reaching. This at least theoretically would translate into fewer fouls and less time on the bench due to foul concerns.

The duo needs to extend their playing time this season to at least 30 minutes a game, even a couple of minutes higher if fatigue won't hinder their respective effectiveness and if their respective production can grow commensurately with the added court time.

That's because Amberry is going to endure what almost all freshman go through -- the ups-and-downs of a first season, especially but not solely at the defensive end where physical play reigns. Although his public exposure has been fairly limited, Amberry has displayed the potential to be a contributor but it would be foolhardy to count on him for consistent production so very early in his college career.

DeVonte Thomas is going to help this season -- there is nobody stronger or more athletic on the roster. However, to expect him to hold his own against opponents four or five inches taller during substantial playing time is going too far out on the proverbial limb. He will certainly bang others around on the court and back down to no one but there are limitations.

We also need to mention Garrett Ton. The 6-8 walk-on will help at the defensive end this season. His offensive game still looks raw but containing others while Webster and/or Oakes are getting a breather will be a valuable asset.


Webster and Oakes are two very valuable if sometimes under-appreciated assets. Keeping them on the court longer this season will be huge given the inexperience or lack of size that their backups present. Depth with the 'bigs' may be problematical but let's see how Webster and Oakes progress as well as how Amberry adjusts and Thomas matches up.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another Joe Henson photo

Joe Henson is the 'big' signed last week by San Jose State out of Pasadena High. We came across another photo of Joe -- here it is.

San Jose State falls to Nebraska

Well, the road trip was a split.

We like what Charles Dickens wrote opening "The Tale of Two Cities" although it's a passage admittedly over the top if applied to any sporting event:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us..."

Ultimately, the Cornhuskers played better for more periods of time this afternoon, controlling the tempo more often than not and that led to a 63-46 win over San Jose State. It was Nebraska's 26th consecutive homecourt non-conference victory.

The critical portion of the game took place when the Spartans, down 38-20 after the initial 20 minutes, staged a comeback in and around the seven minute mark of the second half and pulled with five points at 43-38. Momentum shifted and the greater pressure was felt by Nebraska. But the Cornhuskers responded in lightning quick fashion with a three-pointer followed by a steal and a traditional three-pointer, a basket and a free throw. The eventual result was a 17-0 run.

The Spartans never recovered.

A Justin Graham pass leading to an Oakes layup reduced the difference to nine points at 40-31. Robert Owens nailed a trey with 7:34 left to make it 42-34 and Owens' two foul shots brought the contest to the 43-38 five point differential.

Chris Oakes continued his fine play, piggybacking another double-double -- 12 points and 10 boards -- on to the one he posted Friday. He also was credited with four blocked shots. Tim Pierce also posted his own with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

25 Spartan turnovers alongside 16 Nebraska steals doomed San Jose State. SJSU shot 36% for the game.

Here's Coach George Nessman on the game: "...They sped us up. The game, for almost the entire first half, was played at Nebraska’s tempo and pace. (It’s) not comfortable for us, not to say that we like to play slow, you know that, but it was a very scrambled up game. They’ve got three, four guards at a time, sometimes five out on the floor, that’s to their favor. For the first 10 minutes of the second half, the game was played more at our favor, forcing them on the perimeter, taking jump shots and not getting offensive rebounds off of that. We were able to come down and run our offense and run it inside, (we) got ourselves back in the game only to see, in a quick burst, them put pressure on us. We coughed it up, and we deserve to lose because of that."

Update on former Spartan Menelik Barbary

Came across this update on former San Jose Stater Menelik Barbary:

VOO Verviers-Pepinster has announced that they have added American center Menelik Barbary to their roster to replace the departed Duane Irwin. {Barbary] moved to Europe to play in Romania for CSU Altassib Sibiu where in 20 games he had averages of 13.4 ppg and 8.0 rpg. He started this season in Austria playing for the Furstenfeld Panthers but requested his release from the team after 4 games in which he scored 5.3 ppg and grabbed 4.3 rpg in 21 minutes a game.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

One more Aalim Moor photo

Somehow we forgot to include this one in the photo montage presented the other day featuring new Spartan Aalim Moor.

What's especially important about this particular shot taken in 2001 is that it features Aalim and Brian Shaw, himself yet another in the long line of ballers from Oakland. Shaw is currently an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers.

We should title the phot "The lineage continues..."

Nice Justin Graham photo

Here's a photo of Justin Graham taking it to a South Dakota State defender Thursday night in the San Jose State 70-62 victory to open the season.

San Jose State at Nebraska on Sunday

The late writer Nelson Algren is credited for saying: "Never play cards with any man named Doc." Now we have no idea if Algren was a college basketball aficionado but we would have enjoyed his take on Sunday's matchup between San Jose State and Nebraska. Why? Because one Doc Sadler coaches the Cornhuskers.

Kenneth Lee Sadler doesn't possess a medical degree nor did he ever stay in a Holiday Inn Express so here's the answer to the acquisition of his curious nickname: "...Who saved everyone on 'Gunsmoke'? Doc, that's who. Sadler had a hat that he wore all the time when he was young that was signed by Doc from 'Gunsmoke,' so apparently the name stuck there. ('Gunsmoke' is a old TV show for you young-uns..."

With that settled, here's a quote that seems to sum up Sadler, in both his basketball philosophy and his vocabulary: “I’m not one of those dudes who gets much out of losing,” Sadler told reporters after the Huskers led the Jayhawks into the second half before falling by 10 points. “We didn’t come into this game to play close.”

Now on to Sunday afternoon's game.

Nebraska has won eight straight season openers so do the odds favor a ninth or is it past time for a loss? The Cornhuskers are 29-7 overall at home since Sadler arrived two seasons ago, along with a 20-0 home record against non-conference opponents. His teams won 17 games in 2006-07 and 20 last season.

Three seniors -- Ade Dagunduro, Steve Harley and Paul Velander -- provide the ballast for Nebraska. In an earlier exhibition game win against Chadron State, Dagunduro and Harley combined for 22 points and seven steals while Velander contributed six points and three assists. The Huskers forced 27 turnovers and nabbed 17 steals against their NAIA opponent while each team nabbed 33 rebounds. Freshman Eschaunte "Bear" Jones, who is dealing with a sore foot, scored 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Another frosh, redshirt freshman Toney McCray, led Nebraska with 18 points and seven rebounds. He was 6-of-8 from the field. Sadler liked the Husker offensive ball movement but thought his team took too many three-pointers, shooting 8-23.

Here's the expected starting five for Sadler:

PG ­ Cookie Miller 5’7” Sophomore
SG ­ Steve Harley 5’11” Senior

SF ­ Ade Dagunduro 6’5” Senior

PF ­ Ryan Anderson 6’4” Junior

C ­ Chris Balham 6’8” Junior

Nebraska isn't big -- check out the power forward, one who will probably be based 18-20 feet from the basket -- but plays hard. Actually, size is on the way for the Cornhuskers but not for this game and maybe not this season. Sadler knows his team will be small in comparison to others in the conference so het employs a fast pace to counter the height disadvantage. Here's more on the Cornhusker bigs:

Sadler holds out hope for Husker big man
Brian Rosenthal

Lincoln Journal Star

Octpber 15, 2008

The best thing about the start of basketball practice, Nebraska coach Doc Sadler joked, is that questions about Nebraska’s big men are finally subsiding.
“Everybody knows we don’t have one,” he said, “so they quit asking about it.”

That comment elicited laughter Wednesday at the season’s first practice. Of course, the lack of a big man on Nebraska’s roster really is no laughing matter.

The Huskers’ tallest player — 6-foot-11, 260-pound freshman Christopher Niemann — can’t play this season. Niemann, a native of Germany, was ruled ineligible by the NCAA for his participation on a club team in which teammates were paid. Whenever Niemann finally sees the court, fans will be impressed, Sadler said. “He’s much better than I thought he was,” he said. “I didn’t realize he’s as good offensively as he is.”

As for any other big men dotting this year’s roster, Sadler told the crowd, “Maybe we’ll get one here pretty soon.” That was a veiled reference to 6-11 forward Jorge Diaz, who’s remained committed to Nebraska but is waiting to take his Test Of English as a Foreign Language. Diaz, who lives in Puerto Rico, is expected to take the test later this month. With a passing TOEFL score, Diaz could join the team in December and be eligible to play immediately.

Nebraska’s tallest eligible player is 6-9 redshirt sophomore Alex Chapman — and he’s out at least another two weeks after having knee surgery earlier this month. “Alex Chapman is struggling,” Sadler said. “He’s going to have a lot of catching up to do.”

Sadler said his rotation could include as many as 10 players, and that there will be times he plays with five guards.
“I think it’s important for me to put the five best players out there,” he said, “regardless of what size they are.”

And from another newspaper article:

Offense Isn’t the Problem . . . Defending the Post Is

“Offensively, I’m not concerned at all,” Sadler said. “It’s going to be fun coming up with stuff for a predominantly guard lineup. We’re going to be a driving basketball team, and we’re going to score points. The toughest job ­ and the biggest issue ­ is how we’re going to defend the post, and how that will affect our ability to get rebounds.”

Sadler says a well-conditioned and highly unselfish lineup will need to pull together and swarm the opposing offense...
Truth be told, Doc and his staff have been scheming and scrutinizing for months. “A lot of international basketball is played with smaller lineups on an open floor,” he said. “We’ve been studying that, and we’ll see what happens.”

Expect the Huskers, who played as well as any Big 12 team except Kansas and Texas in the last two-thirds of the conference last season, to dare to be different this season.

Here's the complete Cornhusker roster:

Eshaunte Jones G 6-4 180 Freshman
Nick Krenk G 6-0 185 Senior
Brandon Richardson G 6-0 190 RFreshman
Steve Harley G 5-11 180 Seniorr
Sek Henry G 6-3 200 Junior
Ade Dagunduro G 6-5 200 Senior
Matt Karn G 6-3 190 Junior
Rpss Ferrarini G 6-2 175 Freshman
Christopher Niemann C 6-11 265 Freshman
Alonzo Edwards F 6-7 230 RFreshman
Cookie Miller G 5-7 165 Soohomore
Paul Velander G 6-2 200 Senior
Toney McCray G 6-6 205 RFreshman (out of Missouri City, Texas, the hometown of C.J. Webster)
Alex Chapman F 6-9 240 RSophomore
Chris Balham F 6-8 235 Junior
Andrew Wicklund G 6-5 170 Sophomore
Ben Nelson F 6-8 230 Junior
Cole Salomon G 6-5 220 Junior
Ryan Anderson G 6-4 205 Junior

Here's the projected San Jose State starting five:

F - Tim Pierce 6-7 Senior
F - C.J. Webster 6-9 Junior

C - Chris Oakes 6-9 Junior
G - Justin Graham 6-4 Sophomore
G - DaShawn Wright 6-4 Senior

The Spartans are coming off a 70-62 win over South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits utilized a smallish lineup along with a long-distance shooting offensive style to hang in the game.

South Dakota State out-boarded San Jose State 46-39. Two factors may explain this: 1) the loss of C.J. Webster early in the second half and 2) the long bounces off the rim from the Jackrabbit three-point attempts. Still, the Spartans need to board better.

SJSU also wants to win the battle of turnovers, that is, creating more and having less as the Jackrabbits had 12 to San Jose's 14.

Another key will be how effective C.J. Webster can be on Sunday.

There's no doubt that Nebraska will feature better athleticism than South Dakota State did so the Spartans need to prepare for a tough matchup. With Nebraska football mired in mediocre at this point, red-clad Cornhusker fans may turn their attention early to basketball -- the mother of all heresies -- and the noise level could be factor in the game.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Spartans win opening game on the road

It's ominous that basketball games at South Dakota State are played at Frost Arena. In a climate known for quickly turning human skin blue this time of year, entering a building titled with the act or process of freezing is inauspicious. Actually the building is named after former SDSU coach and athletic director R.B. "Jack" Frost...we kid you not on his nickname)

But San Jose State shrugged off any possible foreboding, shot well throughout the game and came away with a 70-62 victory over SDSU Friday evening.

Senior Tim Pierce led the way with 23 points and Chris Oakes put together his fifth double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds. Justin Graham scored 11 points.

The Jackrabbits ultimately played the role of the little engine that could(n't), relying on three-point shooting and aggressiveness on the offensive boards but unable contain the Spartans.

San Jose State jumped out to 10-0 lead to open the game but South Dakota State fought back to tie the score at 15 apiece with 9:32 remaining in the first half. The Spartans led 31-26 after 20 minutes -- this despite shooting 14-28 from the floor and holding the Jackrabbits to 24% shooting. For the game, San Jose State shot 48%.

One downbeat note: C.J. Webster suffered an ankle injury early in the second half. He didn't re-enter the game but whether that was because of simple precaution or due to the extent of the damage in unknown. Hopefully it is 'just' a sprain and a mild one at that.
San Jose St. 1-0
01 Pierce, Tim......... f 6-11 2-4 9-15 0 3 3 2 23 1 0 0 1 34
22 Webster, C.J........ f 3-5 0-0 1-1 0 3 3 0 7 1 1 0 1 18
30 Oakes, Chris........ c 6-9 0-0 0-2 5 8 13 4 12 1 4 2 1 33
04 Wright, DaShawn..... g 2-7 0-0 1-2 1 4 5 3 5 1 4 0 1 33
05 Graham, Justin...... g 5-7 0-0 1-2 0 3 3 3 11 2 1 0 1 29
15 Amberry, Clint...... 0-1 0-0 2-2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 4
20 Olivier, Lance...... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
21 Thomas, DeVonte..... 3-10 0-0 0-1 3 3 6 3 6 3 2 0 2 20
23 Owens, Robert....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 9
33 Peterson, Mac....... 1-5 0-3 2-2 0 1 1 0 4 0 1 0 0 19
TEAM................ 1 4 5
Totals.............. 26-55 2-7 16-27 10 29 39 15 70 9 14 2 7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 14-28 50.0% 2nd Half: 12-27 44.4% Game: 47.3% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 0-4 0.0% 2nd Half: 2-3 66.7% Game: 28.6% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 3-6 50.0% 2nd Half: 13-21 61.9% Game: 59.3% 3

HOME TEAM: South Dakota St. 0-1
23 Williams, Kai....... f 6-18 1-9 0-0 3 1 4 4 13 0 3 1 2 38
40 Cordova, Anthony.... f 6-12 0-0 1-2 8 7 15 2 13 0 1 0 0 34
03 Casey, Mackenzie.... g 1-8 0-3 1-2 2 3 5 5 3 3 3 0 3 37
10 Sargent, Clint...... g 4-11 2-6 4-7 2 6 8 4 14 4 1 0 0 25
20 Callahan, Garrett... g 7-15 5-10 0-3 3 3 6 4 19 1 2 0 1 38
05 Moss, Dale.......... 0-3 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 2 0 1 1 0 0 17
22 Tivis, Payton....... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 5
44 Engen, Mark......... 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 5 5 1 0 0 1 0 0 6
TEAM................ 1 1 2
Totals.............. 24-70 8-29 6-14 19 27 46 22 62 10 12 1 6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 9-37 24.3% 2nd Half: 15-33 45.5% Game: 34.3% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-15 20.0% 2nd Half: 5-14 35.7% Game: 27.6% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 5-11 45.5% 2nd Half: 1-3 33.3% Game: 42.9% 5

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More Aalim Moor III photos

Here you go with additional photos of Aalim Moor III, the new San Jose State Spartan.

Meet Aalim Moor

(top photo is of the entire multi-generational Moor family -- photo just above is Moor signing his letter-of-intent)

Here's the third article on San Jose State's newest men's basketball recruits. We have known Aalim Moor and the Moor family for some time and they will be a tremendous addition to Spartan basketball.

11 questions with new Spartan Aalim Moor

It's not news that St. Mary's High point Aalim Moor is bound for San Jose State even though it's now an official signed, sealed and delivered matter. However, there are a number of tangential subjects to the earning of this college basketball scholarship, many of which are not well known. Recently, we had the opportunity to interview Moor about this and here is what we learned:

SH - There is a long tradition of young men in the Oakland area landing athletic scholarships, especially so in basketball. What does being one of the latest to do so mean to you?

AM - It means everything. I’ve grown up playing basketball all over Oakland since I was 5 years old. I played on five-foot courts at the Eastlake YMCA, CYO games at St. Elizabeth, ONBL games at Frick Junior High School and some wild and crazy AAU games at Rainbow Recreation Center and Bushrod Park. My Dad use to take me to see all the top guys play all around the city. He used to either coach or work out most of them so I was always around the scene. I really looked up to them all! I still have an Oakland Tribune article pinned up on my bedroom wall from June 30th 2005 with a picture of Quentin Thomas (North Carolina), Armondo Surat (USF) and Ayinde Ubaka (Cal) on the cover. That was all the motivation I needed. I take a lot of pride in being from Oakland. To be a part of the continuing tradition of great guards playing D-1 college ball coming out of the “Town” means everything to me.

SH - As you have gone from a high school freshman to a senior as a basketball player, who was Aalim Moor III then and who is he now?

AM - As a freshman on varsity, I was a skinny and non-athletic but confident player who had an okay feel for the varsity game. Being a freshman on varsity felt like a small fish in a big pond. I knew I could play but being real I knew that it would take time for me to actually show my talents because there were proven seniors ahead of me. As a senior now I feel like a shark in a fish tank. I feel the tables have turned. I still have things to prove to myself but my confidence as a player has really gone up. So I would say the difference between 14-year-old Aalim and 17-year-old Aalim is that his game has evolved and matured.

SH - As you have gone from a high school freshman to a senior, how have you evolved as a person? Has your perspective changed?

AM - When I was a freshman at Saint Mary’s, I was a wide-eyed, nervous, shy and reserved person who didn’t know what high school had to bring. As I grew up and began to realize what high school was about I kind of came out of my shell and was more social. Now as a senior I’m a really open, outgoing person that tries to mentor the freshman coming in because I know how I felt coming in not knowing what to expect.

SH - You played club team basketball with the Oakland Soldiers and then finished up last season with the Bay Area Hoosiers. Phil Doherty of the Hoosiers has a reputation for assisting players in further developing their skills sets. Can you provide some specifics regarding how working with him benefited you?

AM - Working with Coach Phil helped me take my game to the next level -- he is a teacher of the game. He taught me how to play the right way by working. with me on cleaning up all the aspects of my game. We worked on my ball handling, my jump shot, footwork, post moves, defense, court awareness, rebounding and my perimeter game. He teaches you all the little tricks you need to be “one step ahead” of your opponent mentally and physically. I’ve been to a lot of skills camps and worked with some really good trainers, Coach Phil is one of the best I’ve seen. He works harder than anybody in the gym. He really cares about you as a person. My confidence and knowledge of the game really increased. If you consider yourself to be a serious player and you really want to work hard and get better then you better go work out with Coach Phil and the Hoosiers.

SH - You do physical training with Anthony Eggleton at Advanced Sports Training in the East Bay. How has that benefitted you?

AM - Coach Ant is the reason I am the player I am today. He has worked with all the top players in the Bay Area with strength and conditioning. He not only works on getting you stronger physically, he works on getting you stronger and more focused mentally and spiritually as well. When I first started working with him about seven months ago, I was 170 pounds with a vertical jump of about 31 inches. Today I weigh 184 with a vertical jump of about 37 inches and climbing with every work out. I feel stronger, more athletic, faster, more aggressive and have a better diet. Coach Ant is the Truth.

SH - The latest NCP rankings recently came out and ranked you #21 and had a critique of your game. What was your reaction?

AM - Honestly, I was a little surprised they ranked me so low. I felt I had a very good spring and summer on the circuit and got a lot bigger, stronger and more athletic. But hey, I can’t cry about it or complain. The 2009 class is loaded with talented players and I'm honored NCP put me on the list with such quality players. Most of these guys are friends anyway, I'm happy for them. As far as the "critique" about my game, I just take it all in stride at this point. I know who I am, what I have accomplished and what I plan to get done. I've had to deal with certain people always downplaying my game and telling me what I can't do. But the teammates I’ve played with and the opponents I play against know exactly what’s real about my game. I’m extremely motivated and I plan on going hard this year. I'm not backing down from anybody; I'm on a mission.

SH - Some have said that to a degree you have 'submerged' aspects of your game for the good of your teams(s) -- meaning there are aspects of your game you don't need to display because getting the ball upcourt and to your teammates in scoring position are your focus. If this is true, has this role been difficult for you?

AM - I would agree with that -- to a point, your statement is true. I have submerged aspects of my game for the good of teams I’ve played on. I consider myself to be a leader. And as a leader, you have to take care of the people around you and keep them happy. That’s my strength, that’s what I do. But at times, I know it has hurt the way some people view my overall game. This is my senior year and I still plan on doing whatever I have to do to help our team win but I have been working out hard this summer on all aspects of my game and I plan on bringing it all to the table.

SH - Why was San Jose State your choice?

AM - It’s the best place for me academically, socially and athletically. The campus is beautiful, the weather is always nice and it’s a cool city. They have my major (Sports Management/Business Administration) and I wanted to stay in the Bay Area. As far as basketball goes, I feel San Jose State is a perfect fit. When I was going through my recruitment over a year ago you asked me what I was looking for in a college and a coach and I said “I was looking for a playing style that gets up and down the floor, sort of a controlled chaos but with a play-running structure when the break isn’t there." As for a college coach, I wanted "a coach I can relate to but not a buddy type -- rather one I can be friends with but who is running the show." That’s what the WAC is, that’s what San Jose State University is and that’s who Coach Nessman is. Plus, we are going to have a really good team with some really good players.

SH - What do you 'bring to the table' with your game/what can SJSU fans expect?

AM - I will bring a winning attitude and be a team player. All my life I have been expected to be a leader on and off the court -- it’s just how I was raised. Coming into this situation will be a little different at first. I will be coming in as a freshman with a lot of established veteran players that have been there already putting in their work. I know I’ll have a lot to learn and have a lot to prove and I promise I’ll work hard to earn my place on the team and the trust of my teammates and coaches.

SH - What is your relationship with [St. Mary's Coach] Manny Nodar? How has playing for him effected your basketball development?

AM - We have a special relationship -- he trusts me and I trust him. Coach Nodar taught me how to be a winner and to go hard at all times. When I was a freshman he told me “half an effort is no effort at all” and I never forgot that. I respect him a lot. I want to win that last game of the year for him.

SH - The new high school season is almost upon us -- how will St. Mary's do this season?

AM - I think we will do well this year. I know people have certain ideas and expectations for us but our job as a team is to take the expectations, appreciate them, and let them go. This year will be interesting because we have a huge target on our back and every team will be playing us like its their world championship. I expect us to go as far into the playoffs as we did last year but having a different result at the end.

Meet Anthony Dixon

(first Anthony Dixon photo courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times)

One of the best practices in the world of business is bringing quality people together to produce a desired outcome. This process also has applicability in other areas of group achievement, such as team sports where sums can become greater than their parts.

This custom is certainly taking place with the San Jose State men's basketball team where new additions have been welcomed into the Spartan Family.

One such augmentation is 6-4 wing Anthony Dixon of Hyde Park High in Chicago.

Let's break his fan club -- that is, besides the Spartan coaching staff -- into two parts and then we'll hear from Dixon himself.

Larry Butler has coached the Illinois Warriors, a powerhouse club basketball team from the Chicago area, for seemingly forever and is well known for both the number of his players who have gone on to the National Basketball Association (NBA) and also those who have moved in college coaching. Currently, Butler's crew consists of 19 NBA-ers including Dwyane Wade, Quentin Richardson, Corey Maggette, Eddy Curry, Julian Wright and Andre Iguodala. 11 of his charges are now on college coaching staffs throughout the country.

So when he talks, people listen. Here's what he had to say of Anthony Dixon when we talked with him the other day: "Anthony is going to be an all-league guy eventually...he's very athletic, a bigtime athlete who explodes in transition...he's a great kid and is shooting very well right him the most underrated in the senior class around here."

Harv and Roy Schmidt are also fixtures on the Illinois basketball scene. They've been scouting for 25 years or so and began as the Midwest correspondents for Clark Francis' HoopScoop basketball recruiting publication. In 1998, the pair branched out and started own scouting service Illinois Prep Bulls-Eye and they also cover high school and junior college basketball recruiting throughout the Land of Lincoln for the Chicago Sun Times.

We recently talked with Roy Schmidt about Dixon and here's is what he offered: "Anthony has very good hands, attacks the basket and scores well on the block... he's 6-4 but play like he is 6-7 or 6-8...he's a strong rebounder and just plays really hard...this past spring and summer he played for both the 16 & Under and the 17 Illinois Warrior teams and more coaches were on to him by the time July was over -- that's a tribute to how hard he worked."

Finally, we conversed with Dixon himself.

Asked why he selected San Jose State, Dixon said, "I came in [on his visit] with a list of questions and didn't need to ask any of them -- all the information I wanted was provided. I loved the coaching staff."

In this era where some commitments aren't worth the oxygen used to offer them, deciding on SJSU was an easy choice for Dixon. "I took only one visit, the one to San Jose State," he offered. "I really enjoyed it and how they [the coaching staff] acted. It doesn't matter to me [about taking other visits] because when I feel like this is where I want to be you don't change my mind on it."

His mother accompanied him on the trip.

Dixon grew up in Chicago but moved to Atlanta when he was eight. His family returned to The Windy City a year ago.

We asked why he ended up playing basketball, instead of football or another sport -- he responded, "When I was young, I was surrounded by a lot things related to basketball I decided that's what I wanted to do and I dedicated myself to it." Dixon also added this amusing anecdote: "I was tall even when I was born, I was told my feet were hanging out of the incubator."

Dixon described his best basketball assets as his athleticism, his versatility in being able to guard outside and also play in the paint, having a nice jumper and great hops and also leadership. Dixon realizes he's coming in as a freshman but noted, " when my time comes I'll be able to lead."

He's looking to major in business management/administration -- getting that interest from his mother and her work. As for academics, he said, "My mom always told me I'm a student-athlete and student comes first." Dixon actually removed himself from the AAU basketball circuit at one point because he felt his grades were suffering from playing too often.

He recognizes that he's grown both as a player and a person since his initial high school year. "I was wild as a freshman, sort of big-headed. It was my first year in high school and there are parties and all this freedom but I've matured. Now I surround myself with people who are goal-oriented."

Dixon had a very intriguing and insightful answer when we inquired about his best basketball moment. He said, "This year because all the seniors [on the team] have the capability of going to college. I didn't want to be the only one but now everyone is getting recruited, even those graduating next year, so we will all be going to college."

Classy people and outcomes wished for -- they go hand in hand.

Welcome aboard Anthony Dixon.

Meet Joe Henson

(Joe Henson is in the red uniform)

He's no ordinary Joe.

Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States, counseled that "all things come to him who wait." On the other hand, humorist Will Rogers offered a different take with "even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there."

These sayings, however contradictory, provide advice applicable to college basketball recruiting as ultimately a high schooler or junior college player must make his or her decision. Some linger until the late signing period, deciding after all possible offers have been extended. Others in this most personal of determinations commit during the early timeframe. Count Pasadena High's Joe Henson in the latter category.

The 6-foot-8 Henson has cast his college lot with San Jose State of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Here's the why of his decision: "I want to major in business and they have a great business program. The basketball program is getting stronger. Both will serve me well," he said.

He visited the San Jose campus on homecoming weekend -- October 10th and 11th. Henson witnessed the Spartan football team romp 30-7 over Utah State besides exploring the school's academics and meeting his now-to-be teammates.

On the upswing, San Jose State is picked to finish fourth in the WAC this season. Regarding the current SJSU roster, the 'bigs' are 6-foot-9 C.J. Webster and 6-foot-10 Chris Oakes -- both are starters and will be seniors once Henson arrives next year. 6-foot-9 Oliver Caballero will be a junior with 6-foot-10 Clint Amberry (Los Alamitos High) a sophomore. The opportunity for major playing time may not be immediate but certainly available for the taking by Henson's second season.

Tim Tucker, Henson's coach at Pasadena High, is an alumni of the school having graduated in the late 70's. He sings the praises of his senior: "Joe is a high major player and a great steal for San Jose State. He has soft hands, good moves in the post but also has a 10-15-foot jumper away from the hoop. Plus, he's a great shotblocker."

Now coaches generally offer sweet talk about their players but Tucker has the bonafides to back up his evaluation. He's been at Pasadena going on 15 years and sent eight players on to the D-1 level, the latest being Keion Bell who signed with Pepperdine last year. Tucker played college ball at Wyoming before transferring to Westmont (Santa Barbara) his final two years. He has also coached in the junior college ranks and at Cal State San Bernardino.

Henson suffered a hip injury between his sophomore and junior seasons and underwent surgery. Being away from the 'circuit' for any period of time can often cause a player to disappear from the consciousness of recruiters. To some degree, that was the case with Henson.

Here's Tucker again: "Joe's hip surgery caused a lot of people to drop on him. But lately PAC-10 schools have been calling, wanting to get all over him."

However, these schools wanted to wait on offers until the April 2009 signing period and that wasn't part of the Henson plan.

Henson offered this on his temporary setback: "I felt some irritation [in the hip] but kept playing on it. Then I got hit there in a summer league game and that stopped me. It [the injury] shook me up a bit" as any injury of that magnitude would.

He went through a five month rehabilitation and recovery period but many months have passed and he's now as good as new. Henson said, "The coaching staff at San Jose State stuck with me the whole time" which is another reason he returned the loyalty.

Writer and commentator Ben Stein is credited with saying "The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want."

Joe Henson has decided to be a Spartan.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Spartans face South Dakota State on Friday

When Bob Dylan sang "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows..." he didn't have atmospherics in South Dakota specifically in mind but he could have. Of course, there are times in the Mount Rushmore state that wind direction simply doesn't matter because there are more pressing concerns

Like last week:

SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota (AP) -- A wintry storm dropped close to four feet of snow in places on the Northern Plains Thursday, stranding unknown numbers of motorists for a day or more and knocking out power to thousands. State officials said some people could be without power for days, but they had a simple message for anyone thinking of trying to drive in western South Dakota's blizzard: Don't. "This is a dangerous storm," Gov. Mike Rounds told reporters in a telephone conference call Thursday evening. "Western South Dakota is basically under a no-travel advisory."

Well, it's currently 25 degrees this morning in Brookings, South Dakota, home of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.

A big 'so what?' may just now be forming in your mind so here's why we're delivering a weather report on the Upper Midwest. San Jose State plays South Dakota State this coming Friday and we are hoping he recent weather there doesn't repeat itself anytime soon.

Luckily, the forecast for Friday, November 14 in Brookings is mostly cloudy with just a 20 percent chance of light snow.

As strange as this sounds, San Jose State men's basketball will take it. Let's just hope such temperatures don't lead to cold shooting for the Spartans.


South Dakota State is coached by Scott Nagy, now entering his 13th season as head coach there. In his 12 years, Nagy has compiled a 235-121 record at the Division I and Division II levels and led his squad to North Central Conference championships in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2002. He has been honored as the North Central Conference Coach of the Year five times -- 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2003.


These two teams met on December 30 last season at Walt McPherson Court with the Spartans finally coming away with a 77-71 victory. A Tim Pierce three truly at the buzzer knotted the score and San Jose State then pulled away in overtime. South Dakota State had led 57-40 with 9:03 remaining in the second half before San Jose State mounted its comeback.

The Jackrabbits committed 22 turnovers but maintained parity on the glass as each squad grabbed 38 rebounds.

Each member of SJSU's starting five scored in double figures led by DaShawn Wright's 17 points. Justin Graham followed with 16. Forward Kai Williams led South Dakota State in both scoring and rebounding with 18 points and seven boards.


Here are the Jackrabbit players:

Michael Palarca G 5-10 179 So. Santa Clarita, Calif.
Mackenzie Casey G 6-0 176 Sr. Wounded Knee, S.D.
Troy Wipf G 6-0 180 Sr. Yale, S.D.
Dale Moss G 6-4 197 So. Brandon, S.D.
Clint Sargent G 6-4 212 So. S. Sioux City, Neb.
Garrett Callahan G 6-1 180 Jr. Seneca, Ill.
Payton Tivis G 6-2 185 So. Bowman, N.D.
Kai Williams F 6-6 207 Jr. Regina, Sask.
Josh Cassaday F 6-6 225 RFr. Aurora, Colo.
Griffan CallahanG 6-4 200 Fr. Seneca, Ill.
Brandon DeBoer F 6-6 215 Jr. Huron, S.D.
Anthony Cordova F 6-7 245 So. Sioux Falls, S.D.
Dwight Pederson F 6-8 205 So. Volga, S.D.
Mark Engen C 6-10 217 Jr. Lamberton, Minn.
James Rader G/F 6-7 220 Fr. Littleton, Colo.
Anthony Davis F 6-10 240 Jr. Clarinda, Iowa

Team leader Kai Williams is back along with much more size inside than last season:

Williams played for the Canadian National team this summer after averaging 14 points per game and 7.8 rebounds on the season for the Jackrabbits. He's quite the athlete with his jumping ability and quickness. Newcomer Anthony Davis, a 6-10 240 transfer from the tough Iowa junior college ranks a la DeShawn Wright, scored 14.1 points a game and hauled in 6.1 rebounds so look for him to be in the middle. Junior Garrett Callaghan runs the offense and scored 15 points last season against San Jose State. Guard Clint Sargent provided 10 points and forward Anthony Cordova contributed 7 rebounds against the Spartans. Luckily, center Ben Beran has graduated and is now playing basketball in Germany. He was able to play but 13 minutes against San Jose State last season due to injuries but he compiled seven points, three boards and three assists in that short time.

As even more incentive for the Jackrabbits this year, South Dakota State is now a full-fledged member of the Summit Conference and thus eligible for D-1 post-season play. The Summit Conference consists of Centenary, IPFW, IMPUI, North Dakota State, Oakland, Oral Roberts, Southern Utah, UMKC and Western Illinois.


The Jackrabbits fell to Southwest Minnesota State 70-65 in an exhibition game on November 3. Garrett Callahan led all players with 20 points in the loss and Kai Williams added 11 points and pitched in with a team-high eight rebounds. In what could prove to be an interesting stat for Friday's contest, South Dakota State was out-boarded 45-38. However, just eight players suited up for the Jackrabbits due to injuries so that needs to be factored into anyone's thinking. Big man Anthony Davis was among those sitting out as South Dakota State went with a two forward/three guard lineup.

An interview with Lily Pham

We have a special treat for you today -- an interview with Lily Pham, a team manager on the Spartan men's basketball team.

Here's some background: I was born and raised here in San Jose. I graduated from Silver Creek High School in 2003, ran track all four years and was the team manager for the football, wrestling, track and cross country teams. I was also Head of the Athletics Commission during my junior and senior year of high school.
I'll be graduating from SJSU with Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology, with an emphasis in Sports Management this December 2008. This is my second year as a team manager for the SJSU Men's Basketball team.

Q - Why did you choose SJSU for college?

LP - I was accepted into Chico State, Fresno State, SJSU, and a few other schools in California. SJSU was one of the few schools that had a sports management program.

Q -
What's behind your choice of majors?

LP - I have a Sports Medicine background (about 8 years of student internship work). However, I knew that it wasn't going to be a career for me. I always took on a dual role as athlete and team manager since I've participated in sports, so it was natural to pursue my degree in Sports Management.

Q -
What do you see yourself doing/where do you think you'll be in 8-10 years?

LP - Happily married and having a successful career in either athletic administration or working for a professional sports team.

Q -
Why did you decide to become a team manager for the men's basketball squad?

LP - I needed an internship to fulfill my emphasis requirements and found the job through a flier posted by Coach Marrion.

Q -
What are the primary duties of a team manager?

LP - There's actually a total of five team managers this year, with a possibility of a sixth. The task of a team manager is essentially being an assistant to the coaches. Our job duties range from filming practices, working the scoreboard, and whatever else the coaches need us to do. My role consists of all this plus office work and writing the managers schedule.

Q ­ - What's it like working for the Men's Basketball team?

LP - I have to look up at everyone because they're so tall! It's a lot of fun and I love working for the team. Sitting behind the coaches and players and being able to travel on road games is quite an experience that I will never forget. The camaraderie between the guys is something I've never quite seen before and I feel so lucky to be working with them.

Q - What is something very few people know about you?

LP - I actually used to hate basketball, but have grown to love and appreciate the sport.

Q ­ - Any closing words?

LP - I look forward to a very successful season!!!

(Lily) Hue Pham
Kinesiology Major w/emphasis in Sports Management
Business Minor
San Jose State University