Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spartan signee Joseph Henson receives an honor

6-8 Spartan signee Joseph Henson, out of Pasadena High, was just selected to the Pasadena Star News All-Area squad. (Henson photo courtesy of Larry Goren, Pasadena Star News)

Here's the list in alphabetical order:

G Aeric Allen (Alhambra) Sr.
F Clarke Anderson (La Canada) Sr.
F Travis Flye (Pasadena) Sr.
C Joe Henson (Pasadena) Sr.
G Matt Nolan (La Salle) Jr

Chris Jones is now a Spartan

So Chris Jones, out of Newark Memorial High, is going to become a Spartan.

The 6-3 defensive whiz originally signed with Fresno State last year but needed a bit more work on his academics and attended Westwind Prep Academy in Phoenix this academic year to get all in order.

But Coach Steve Cleveland decided to move in another direction -- he's in desperate need of a WAC-ready point and has limited schollies available -- so Jones then looked closer to him at what was his original runnerup choice, San Jose State.

What does Jones' commitment mean in the larger context?

For one, he will be a candidate for inclusion on the ALL-WAC Defensive Team from the get-go. Jones will also add a defensive emphasis to the backcourt and wing positions and hopefully be part of a defensive renaissance for SJSU basketball.

Jones has the body -- the quickness and strength -- to play right away and he'll be in the mix for a starting spot. He possesses the ballhandling ability to fill in at the point but 'fits' better at the 2 or three positions. His outside shooting was inconsistent in high school and club team ball and any improvement there remains to be seen and demonstrated. Jones is also proficient with dribble-drives to the rim and has served as a leader on both his squads at Newark Memorial and in club team play during the spring and summer.

One final comment: to date, Coach Nessman has four high school freshman coming to SJSU. How many decades has it been since that happened?

Here's a January 2008 link to a Fresno Bee reporter interviewing Jones at the halftime of a Fresno State - San Jose State game at Walt McPherson Court. You can hear the Spartan Band in the background.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Basketball banquet coming up in April

Here's the last basketball event of the season so please mark it down on your calendar:
The End-of-the-Year Banquet will honor the 2008-2009 San Jose State Men's Basketball team and the three seniors:

Devonte Thomas, DaShawn Wright and Tim Pierce

When: Thursday, April 16th
Time: 6:00-8:00 PM
Where: The Decathalon Club, 3250 Central Expressway, Santa Clara

You want more on Anthony Dixon? You got it.

Every time we think the supply of Anthony Dixon photos is exhausted some more turn up.

A Marquin Chandler update

Marquin Chandler
Here's an update on former Spartan Marquin Chandler who certainly is staying busy on the court. He's just finished up in Korea and the odds are he will be returning to the Philippines soon:
Former PBA best import Chandler to return with Purefoods?

Is Marquin Chandler coming back to help Purefoods’ sagging campaign in the Motolite-Philippine Basketball Assocaition Fiesta Cup?

That question swirled around Purefoods’ training camp after the TJ Giants suffered their third straight setback, a 110-90 loss to Rain or Shine last Saturday.

Chandler is a one-time PBA best import winner and helped steer the Giants all the way to the finals of the Fiesta Conference in the 2005-06 season.

Even the entry of new reinforcement Jhamar Thorpe could not rescue the slumping Giants, who couldn’t find the right solution to rediscover their winning ways.

With Chandler now available after a fruitful stint in the Korean Basketball League (KBL), will Purefoods get him for a third tour of duty?

Purefoods team manager Alvin Patrimonio, in an interview at Sports Radio, that options are open in getting Chandler’s services. “We are keeping our options open for Chandler. Let’s see what Thorpe has to offer since we still have a Thursday game."

Chandler was the second best scorer in the KBL, averaging 25.6 points and sixth in the league in block shots (1.5)...

Monday, March 23, 2009

More on Spartan signee Anthony Dixon

Here's a link that features two slo-motion dunks of 6-4 Spartan signee Anthony Dixon -- he's #35 in the white uniform in the top two side-by-side series of photos. The one on the left has 10 different shots, the one on the right features seven.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Inside Sparta: the adults are in charge now

Inside Sparta
Just like with the new presidential administration in D.C., it's the same thing with InsideSparta -- the adults are in charge now. 'Nuff said about that darkness to light transition.

Look for much more San Jose State recruiting coverage and analysis -- actual local content produced by the site proprietor and contributors. That alone will be reason to finally subscribe.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Another amazing photo sequence from Ray Barbour

Above is the third series of Ray Barbour photos from the SJSU - Nevada tourney game as promised.

A treat from Darren Coelho

Darren Coelho
Darren Coelho honors us with his sonnets prior to and about the WAC basketball tourney. Who knew early March brought out the poet in him?

Musings for 2009 WAC BB Tournament - SJSU version


So the Tournament is here
This WAC-ky time of year
When our hoop teams meet
At Lawlor & V-A Street

We’re back in Reno
Not playing casino
Hoops is the game
Tippin’ it for fame

No win and we’re out
We won’t leave any doubt
Survive and advance
& We’re in the Big Dance

Play our best now
It doesn’t matter how
Zone or Man-to-Man
Just do all that we can

Sammy is here with cheer
The band’s sound is near
We’re all going to pray
To play another day

Against Ags or Dogs
Assist men or hogs
Or the other Dogs and Ags
Showing Tight-D and sags

The Spartans are here
It’s OUR time of year
Blue and Gold in their seat
Over hardwood 94 feet

It’s now a whole new season
To keep playing is the reason
Use the square if we dare
Just board it if not there

Will it be Broncos or Pack?
With their full-court attack
How about Warriors or Vandals?
Minus bad call scandals

It comes down to this
Shots to swish and to kiss
Lay-ups or long threes
Just one more game please!

Let’s Go Gold and Blue!
It’s now up to You
We’re all here to cheer
This WAC-ky time of year.

Darren Coelho
Assistant Athletic Director, Ticket Operations
San Jose State University
March 5, 2009


Musings for 2009 WAC BB Tournament - WAC version


So the Tournament is here
The WAC-ky time of year
When our basketball teams meet
At Lawlor & V-A Street

We’re back in Reno
Not playing casino
Hoops is the game
Tippin’ it for fame

All nine will play
For wins we’ll pray
Survive and Advance
You’re in the Big Dance

Play your best now
It doesn’t matter how
Zone or Man-to-Man
Just do all that you can

We got Ags and Dogs
Assist men and hogs
More Dogs and Ags
Tight-D and lags

Spartans are here
Its’ OUR time of year
Blue and Gold in Their Seat
Watching all 94 feet

Now a one-day season
The twine to be teasin’
Use the square if you dare
Just board if not there

Is it Broncos or Pack
Full-court attack
Or is it Warriors or Vandals
Not bad call scandals

It comes down to this
Shots to swish and to kiss
Score more than them
And we’re doing it again

Gold and Blue
It’s now up to You
We’re all here to cheer
The WAC-ky time of year.

Darren Coelho
Assistant Athletic Director, Ticket Operations
San Jose State University
March 5, 2009

The string runs out for Anthony Dixon and Hyde Park

Anthony Dixon
Hyde Park fell last night, concluding the season for 6-4 Spartan signee Anthony Dixon. The Marcus Jordan mentioned below is one of Michael Jordan's sons.

Depth aids deep run
Mike Helfgot
Special to the Tribune
March 18, 2009

The length of its players gives Young a chance to compete with any opponent on any night. The length on its bench might be unmatched in Illinois and could go a long way toward winning a state title.

Young used its superior size and depth to earn a trip to Peoria on Friday with a 62-47 victory over Hyde Park in the 4A supersectional Tuesday night at Chicago State.

Stanford Brown, a 6-foot-8-inch senior, had 20 points and 15 rebounds and Young got strong contributions from eight players in earning its first trip Downstate since winning the Class AA title in 1998...

...Jerome Moore (13 points) and Anthony Dixon (14 points) fueled a 13-3 run that cut Hyde Park's deficit to 49-40 with just more than five minutes remaining, but Marcus Jordan (10 points, six rebounds), Brown and senior guard Chris Colvin (13 points) wrested control.

Brown does plenty for Young vs. Hyde Park
Clyde Travis
Chicago Sun-Times

A few minor adjustments produced major dividends for Whitney Young, which advanced to the Class 4A semifinals in Peoria with a 62-47 victory over Hyde Park Tuesday in the Class 4A supersectional at Chicago State.

The Dolphins took advantage of 5-of-27 first-half shooting by Hyde Park to take a 29-19 halftime lead...

...Hyde Park coach Donnie Kirksey said he was surprised at the way his team came out.

“We did not execute, we didn’t play with our normal intensity," Kirksey said. “And we lost our composure, which is a kiss of death against a quality team like Whitney Young. I take my hat off to them, they had a lot to do with the way we played.”

Anthony Dixon led Hyde Park with 14 points.

Here's a few Dixon highlights as the game was being blogged:

Jackson misses badly on a jumper. Hyde Park is still not on the board.

Hyde Park takes a time out. 3:56 to go in the first quarter. The Thunderbirds have still not scratched.

Brown misses both, Young is still up 10-0.

Dixon hits a three from the left corner for the T-Birds. Finally, they're on the board. 10-3 Young.

End of the first quarter. Young 16, Hyde Park 7.

scores on a beautiful tip in..

Jordan fouls Dixon on the drive. He goes to the line for two.

Randolph is stripped at the Young end, leading to Dixon getting fouled on the break going to the basket.

Starks takes a tough leaner at one end that leads to Dixon getting fouled at the other. Both teams are in the bonus.

Randolph misses at his end and Dixon is fouled by Johnson at the other end. Two shots for Dixon. He makes both. 29-19 Young.

Halftime: Young 29, Hyde Park 19.

Hyde Park cannot throw the ball in the ocean tonight.

Is there any chance of a comeback? It's looking highly unlikely at this point. Hyde Park just cannot score this game.

scores on a nice pass from Griffin.

47-27 Young at the end of three quarters.

This is the first sign of life from the T-Birds in the second half. It's too early, Hyde Park is making a run. Let's see how this game plays out.

Hyde Park is on an 11-1 run.

What's happening to Young? Seems they are having trouble with Hyde Park's defensive pressure also a factor.

Young survives the Hyde Park run for now. Young up 55-40.

2:31 to go.

62-47 Young.

1:11 to go.

It's over. Young 62-47.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

An amazing set of photos

We'll post a similar set of WAC tourney photos tomorrow. Thanks again to Ray Barbour and to Russ Scheibley for making these treats possible. Start at the very bottom photo and work your way up.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A shout out to Russ Scheibley

We absolutely second Ray Barbour here. Many thanks to Ray for all his work and to RussS for making the following photo opportunities possible. We will show more tomorrow, including a couple of sequential photos segments of dribble drives beginning from outside the key all the way to the basket:

First off, I'd like to thank SJSU alum Russ Scheibley of DRTGrading-Paving for sponsoring my trip to the 2009 WAC Men Basketball Tournament in Reno. I'd also like to thank everyone for the nice comments with regards to the photo pages. My work is only worth doing if it's of value to the team and supporters of SJSU men's basketball.

Thank You!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Anthony Dixon and Hyde Park win another

6-4 San Jose State signee Anthony Dixon and Hyde Park (Chicago) keep on winning in the march towards the state championships in Peoria. Up next for Hyde Park is Young in Tuesday’s Chicago State Supersectional.
Hyde Park 68, Simeon 61
Bob Hurst
Special to the Chicago Tribune
March 14, 2009

Hyde Park doesn't have the postseason success that Simeon has enjoyed in recent years, but on Friday night, the Thunderbirds held off a stubborn Wolverines squad to inch closer to making some Illinois basketball history of their own. Hyde Park let a 14-point fourth-quarter lead evaporate to six with 2 minutes 8 seconds to play but got a couple of key buckets and made its free throws down the stretch to advance to Tuesday's supersectionals.

Hyde Park was ahead 52-38 with 5:02 left, but after a dunk by Simeon's Robert Robinson at 2:08 the lead was down to 56-50.

Thunderbirds' forward Anthony Dixon matched Robinson with a slam of his own with 1:42 to go... Go here for the remainder.

Top performers: Hyde Park--Dixon, 18 points (14 in the second half), 3 steals

The bonus: "It (playing better) all started at the end of the second quarter," Dixon said. "We just started playing even harder in the third quarter because we knew that, how bad we were playing in the first half, we could do even better and go up 30 if we needed to. This (win) puts Hyde Park back on the map."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nevada pulls away and wins over SJSU 78-69

NOTE: We never could access the KSJS audio of the game so this report is being produced using the boxscore.

Luke Babbitt enjoyed some good games this season -- being named WAC Freshman of the Year and also receiving a spot on the ALL-WAC First Team wasn't simply bestowed upon him due to his high school rep -- but he didn't necessarily have a breakout single game performance. His rightly deserved honors were based on his cumulative seasonal efforts.

Now he has broken another barrier.

Babbitt scored 30 points -- treading towards being responsible for half Nevada's scoring -- in the Wolf Pack 78-69 quarterfinal victory over San Jose State tonight in Reno. He shot 8-13 from the field, 2-3 from long distance and a deadly 12-13 at the foul line. He also tied for the team rebounding lead with six boards.

The first half ended with a 37-31 advantage for Mark Fox's squad. The Pack out-scored the Spartans 41-38 in the second 20 minutes.

Nevada shot 52% from the floor for the contest, 26-50. San Jose State was at 47%, 27-57. It was four more treys and seven more made free throws than SJSU that provided the points differential for Nevada.

Playing in his final game, DaShawn Wright erupted for 22 points on 8-11 from the floor and a perfect 6-6 at the charity stripe. C.J,. Webster added 14 points and Adrian Oliver 12 for SJSU. Chris Oakes led in rebounding with seven.

San Jose State had 17 turnovers to Nevada's 15.

Brandon Fields, who we thought would be a factor considering his strong games of late, wasn't. He scored seven points on 2-10 shooting, including an 0-6 on his trey attempts.

The starters for San Jose State: Tim Pierce, Adrian Oliver, CJ Webster, Chris Oakes and Justin Graham.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hyde Park and Anthony Dixon roll on

Here are a couple of reports about Hyde Park's and Anthony Dixon's (San Jose State signee) latest game:
Dixon, Hyde Park close out Downers South
Randy Whalen
Chicago Sun-Times
March 10, 2009

Anthony Dixon scored a game-high 19 points and added 10 rebounds as No. 4 Hyde Park pulled away for a 53-41 victory over Downers Grove South in the Class 4A Hinsdale Central Sectional semifinals Tuesday night.

Dixon, a 6-5 senior forward who has committed to San Jose State, helped the Thunderbirds (26-4) overcome a slow start.

4A: Hyde Park 53, Downers Grove South 41
Dave Monahan
Special to the Tribune
March 11, 2009

Hyde Park 53, Downers Grove South 41
Records: Hyde Park 26-4, Downers Grove South 23-6
Halftime: Hyde Park 22-14

Summary: After trailing most of the first quarter, Hyde Park ended the period with an 8-0 run to take a 14-9 lead they would maintain the rest of the way. Downers Grove South did not score in the last six minutes of the first half and shot only 26 percent (6-for-23) in the first two periods.

Top performers: Hyde Park -- F Anthony Dixon, 19 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals; G Martel Jackson, 10 points, 5 steals, 5-for-6 FG; C Jerome Moore, 10 points. Downers Grove South -- C Bledar Dervish, 12 points, 12 rebounds (7 offensive), 2 blocked shots; G Malcolm Herron, 12 points

The bonus: "At the beginning of the game we came out pretty sluggish," Dixon said. "We just tried to keep our composure and our poise and we were able to turn it up."

A San Jose State - Nevada preview

What the heck is there left to write about as San Jose State and Nevada meet up again Thursday evening? All the players have been profiled, the previous games between these teams written about, etc. We could offer some sort of treatise on elevation acclimation since Reno is 4,400 feet or so above sea level and exertion combined with high altitude can produce shortness of breath, coughing, lack of appetite, nausea or vomiting, severe headache, staggering gait, and disturbed sleep but we think there are many other relevant causes for such characteristics among visitors to The Biggest Little City in the World.

On March 5, San Jose State fell 89-66 to the Wolf Pack in Reno although Nevada had but an eight-point-lead at the half. The Pack shot 56% to 36% for the Spartans. San Jose was out-rebounded by five -- 41 to 36 -- but SJSU grabbed 21 offensive boards. A 19-5 scoring run beginning at the 16:05 mark blew open a close 41-39 contest. Adrian Oliver played 25 minutes in this one but was hampered by the flu.

February 13 was the initial contest between these two teams and Nevada won 80-68 after owning a 42-23 halftime lead. Adrian Oliver did not play. Rebounding turned out to be about even -- 30 for the Pack and 28 for the Spartans, including 16 offensive boards for SJSU. Mark Fox's squad shot 33-53 -- 63% -- as a team and made 8 of 17 three-point attempts. San Jose State went 23-57, 40.4%.

Nevada's last game was on the road against Boise State and the Pack notched a 69-60 victory. Brandon Fields scored 19, including 8-10 from the foul line.

Prior to that, the Wolf Pack took down Utah State 84-71 in Reno after possessing a 47-32 lead after the first 20 minutes. Fields scored 16 points in 24 minutes.

Going one game further back, Fresno State defeated Nevada 68-66 in the San Joaquin Valley. Fields contributions: seven points in 30 minutes of action. The Bulldogs shot 11-19 from three-point range while the Pack went just 2-9.

The reason for the various mentions of Brandon Fields is because he was chosen as a pre-season ALL-WAC selection but endured a wildly inconsistent season offensively and defensively. But it appears he has emerged -- at least to a degree -- from his funk and now provides yet another positive factor for Mark Fox to utilize.

So we've read the tea leaves, consulted the Tarot cards and tossed coins into any fountains we encountered this week and here are the factors that the outcome of this game hinges upon:

*** Reducing, if not eliminating, any large Nevada scoring runs -- the SJSU offense needs to stay away from fallow stretches

*** A team defensive effort -- if the Pack shoots 56% or 63% again then it's light out this season for SJSU

*** Converting offensive rebounds into second chance points -- getting another opportunity to produce points is great but it must result in scoreboard additions more often that not

*** Keeping Armon Johnson, Luke Babbitt and now Brandon Fields to each less than 20 points and Nevada as a team to below the 80 and 89 points scored in the previous two games this season, say the high 60s or low 70s. Nevada is scoring 70.9 points a game in league play with SJSU at 69.5. The big difference is with scoring defense as the Wolf Pack checks in at 65.9 points a contest and SJSU trailing with 73.7. The most telling numbers are these: Nevada tops the WAC in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot a paltry .411% each time out while the Spartans are at a too-high .483%.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's photo day with shots of last Saturday's SJSU-Nevada game

Many thanks to Ray Barbour for his San Jose State men's basketball photographs all season long. Here are some of Ray's shots from Saturday's SJSU-Nevada contest.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The official ALL-WAC selections

Here you go -- as Adrian Oliver was penalized by the games he missed and with the contests he play in though injured. But our suspicion is that AO will only take this as even more motivation for 2009-2010:


First Team

Mac Hopson, Idaho, G, 6-2, 195, Jr., Portland, Ore. (Washington State)

Luke Babbitt, Nevada, F, 6-9, 225, Fr., Reno, Nev. (Galena HS)

Armon Johnson, Nevada, G, 6-3, 195, So., Reno, Nev (Hug HS)

Jahmar Young, New Mexico State, G, 6-5, 180, So., Baltimore, Md. (Laurinberg Prep)

Gary Wilkinson, Utah State, F, 6-9, 240, Sr., South Jordan, Utah (Salt Lake CC)

Second Team

Mark Sanchez, Boise State, F, 6-7, 235, Sr., Tucson, Ariz. (Pima CC)

Sylvester Seay, Fresno State, Fr, 6-9, 220, Jr., San Bernardino, Calif. (Arizona State)

Roderick Flemings, Hawai‘i, F, 6-7, 210, Jr., Dallas, Texas (Weatherford College)

Kyle Gibson, Louisiana Tech, G, 6-5, 205, Jr., Los Angeles, Calif. (Dorsey HS)

Jared Quayle, Utah State, G, 6-1, 180, Jr., Perry, Utah (Western Wyoming CC)

All-Defensive Team

Ike Okoye, Boise State, F, 6-9, 230, Jr., Sacramento, Calif. (Wyoming)

Anthony Thomas, Boise State, G, 6-0, 199, Jr., Masnfield, Texas (Mansfield Summitt HS)

Kareem Nitoto, Hawai‘i, G, 6-2, 185, So., Berkley, Calif. (San Leandro HS)

Magnum Rolle, Louisiana Tech, C/F, 6-11, 220, Jr., Freeport, Bahamas (LSU)

Lyndale Burleson, Nevada, G, 6-3, 190, Sr., Seattle, Wash. (Franklin HS)

All-Newcomer Team

Roderick Flemings, Hawai‘i, F, 6-7, 210, Jr., Dallas, Texas (Weatherford College)

Mac Hopson, Idaho, G, 6-2, 195, Jr., Portland, Ore. (Washington State)

Magnum Rolle, Louisiana Tech, C/F, 6-11, 220, Jr., Freeport, Bahamas (LSU)

Luke Babbitt, Nevada, F, 6-9, 225, Fr., Reno, Nev. (Galena HS)

Jared Quayle, Utah State, G, 6-1, 180, Jr., Perry, Utah (Western Wyoming CC)

Player of the Year:
Gary Wilkinson, Utah State

Freshman of the Year:
Luke Babbitt, Nevada

Don Haskins Coach of the Year:
Stew Morrill, Utah State

More on Anthony Dixon and Hyde Park

6-4 Spartan signee Anthony Dixon led his team in scoring as Hyde Park continues on in the Illinois state championship tournament.
Marist no match for Hyde Park's athleticism
Joe Trost
Chicago Sun-Times
March 7, 2009

Marist did everything it could to hang around with Hyde Park Friday night, but in the end the Thunderbirds’ athleticism prevailed in their 66-54 victory in the Class 4A Brother Rice regional final.

Hyde Park (26-4) closed the game on a 12-4 run, but it struggled for the first 30 minutes to knock off the RedHawks (14-13) out.

“We should have come out with my energy in the first half,” said Hyde Park’s Anthony Dixon, who finished with a game-high 21 points. “We struggled and were sluggish tonight.”

Behind the strong play of junior Nick Valla, Marist trailed 54-50 with two minutes to play. The guard recorded nine of his 21 points in the fourth quarter.

“We didn’t overlook them,” Dixon said. “We just needed to turn it up more, and we did in the fourth quarter.”

The final photo captions

Okay, we had a number of entries for the best title of this photo and here are the ones we deemed the best:

*** "Queen Tut and her maids" -- from JoeG

*** Sspartan blondes have more fun" -- from JonH

*** "We're not getting older, we're getting blonder" -- Gayle herself

*** RayB himself called it "Girls night out" but with this addition -- "check out the ear rings, yes they are bottle openers"

*** we'll give it more more try -- "Sparta's angels"

The best laid plans of mice and men...and photographers

Justin Graham has a marvelous crossunder dunk in the game against Nevada -- Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal called it the best he saw all season -- and Ray Barbour was in position to photograph it. Just when Ray thought he captured the dunk, something happened. Portions of Justin's arm and of the ball can still be seen.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spartans fall to Utah State 89-77

Has anyone ever been 'threed' to death? Well, not exactly death -- that's over the top with dramatic license -- but Utah State as a team was definitely 'en fuego' dialing in from long distance in the initial 20 minutes

The score was 43-27 at the half, with the Aggies shooting 9-18 on three-point attempts -- four makes in the initial five and a half minutes. The game started out with a quick 13-2 run by Utah State and USU kept the pedal to the metal. At one point, Stew Morrill's group has a 16-6 rebounding edge but it was reduced to nine after 20 minutes.

But San Jose State dug in defensively -- switching from a zone defense to man-to-man in the second half -- and closed to 55-43. The Spartans reduced the difference to 11 and then nine and finally eight. Utah State fought back but a Robert Owens three-point play cut it to 59-52 with 12 minutes to go. SJSU was shooting 68% at one point.

Another Owens trey made it 65-57. Two Owens free throws then brought it it 65-59. Making another visit to the foul line, Owens nailed one of two, making it 65-60.

But the Aggies responded with a tip in by Brady Jardine and a dunk by Gary Wilkinson.

Later, DeVonte Thomas tipped in a missed shot, was fouled and he put in the free throw. That and-1 put San Jose State down by just four, 69-65.

It was a matter in the second half of multiple Spartan scoring runs, with Utah State counterpunching.

Adrian Oliver was fouled at the 4:40 mark and awarded three free throws. He made them all to again reduce the Aggie lead to four.

But Jared Quayle then poured in seven straight points -- a three-pointer plus two other jumpers -- and that finally proved too much to overcome. He topped Utah State with 21 points.

Adrian Oliver led the way with 20 points and Robert Owens contributed 18. Chris Oakes provided a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards.

San Jose State bested USU in shooting 53% to 52%. SJSU went 5-12 from three-point range and the Aggies 11-23. The boardwork was close with 31 for the Logan-ites and 29 for the Spartans. Utah State committed five turnovers to eight for the SJSU.

NOTES: Gary Wilkinson missed time in the first half with a thumb injury, the seriousness to be determined as he did return to the game ... Yes, the student section is loud at The Spectrum -- which is like saying The Louvre has some good paintings -- as we could hear through the radio what was being shouted ...

San Jose State versus Utah State tonight

To Stew or not to Stew (Morrill) has thankfully been a long settled question in Logan. Yes, there are those who dream about what another coach could and would do to raise the Utah State men's basketball program beyond its very successful Mid-Majority status but it's the fringe who bother with this fantasy. So let's cut the coaching segment short here as it's a long settled question.

In the previous game between these two team on January 22, we wrote:
A summary of tonight's game is somewhat difficult to compose because there were just a couple of elements that stood out. After a misfiring beginning, Aggie Gary Wilkinson came on and resonated with consistent scoring all night, finishing with 25 points. It did take him 19 shots to reach that total but it appeared he primarily got the shots he and Coach Stew Morrill wanted.

And we counted but one run in the game, it taking place soon after the second half. Utah State took advantage of a quick bevy of San Jose State turnovers and extended a small lead into a double digit one and remained ahead the rest of the game. During this time, Utah State's Tyler Newbold seemingly set up shop in the right corner and nailed two wide open three-pointers combined with another Aggie deuce. But Newbold wasn't quite done as he also then totaled another trey along with a followup two-pointer -- this after being relatively quiet earlier in the contest.

A Wilkinson dunk at the 15:12 mark gave Utah State a 42-30 lead. With 4:40 showing, USU was ahead 55-46.

With less than a minute to go, Aggie point Jared Quayle (who had a tough time at the foul line going 4-7) missed a free throw and Justin Graham scored on a layup to cut the deficit to six, 58-52, with 48.7 seconds on the clock.

Tai Wesley was fouled but he also missed a shot at the charity stripe and Graham nailed another layup plus an and/one free throw at the other end to make it 58-55 with 35.5 seconds left.

But Quayle came through at the 31.1 mark when fouled again as he nailed both foul shot attempts to provide breathing room for the Aggies.

SJSU's Robert Owens then put down a trey to cut the lead back to two, 60-58.

After a Utah State time out, Tyler Newbold was fouled with 22.1 seconds remaining and missed both attempts (he's a 73% shooter for the season).

Trailing by two, Graham brought the ball down for San Jose State, penetrated on a dribble-drive but his shot rolled around the rim and out. Utah State rebounded and eventually Stavon Williams was fouled and nailed both his foul shots to put the game away.

Chris Oakes worked hard all evening and collected yet another double-double, this one consisting of 11 points and 13 rebounds. He also blocked a pair of shots and passed for two assists.

The Spartans shot 47% for the night to 38% for the Aggies. USU entered the game shooting 51% for the season, 48% in WAC play. San Jose State's seasonal shooting numbers: 44% and 42% respectively to date.

SJSU also won the rebounding battle 36-28 but the breakdown was a bit wacky as the Spartans grabbed nine offensive and 27 defensive boards. Utah State's rebounding numbers were 14 apiece.

San Jose State also scored better in the paint, 34 to 22.

However, the Aggies had but four turnovers to 12 for SJSU and Utah State generated 18 points from these miscues.

Do note Quayle's bountiful line: 13 points, six boards, four steals, four assists and zero turnovers. We were joking somewhat with the line about him being the most valuable Aggie but...

San Jose State began the game with crisp offensive ballhandling and passing, leading to solid shooting. The Spartans led 6-2, 7-4 and 12-8, the latter at the 11:03 mark of the opening 20 minutes.

A Wilkinson three-pointer put Utah State up 21-18, giving the Aggies their first lead.

At the half, USU led 27-24, with Wilkinson totaling 14 points. The biggest lead for Morrill's team was five while SJSU's largest advantage was four points.

WAC Play To Date

1/05/09 Idaho W 70-61
1/08/09 @ Louisiana Tech W 50-37
1/10/09 @ New Mexico State W 77-67
1/15/09 Fresno State W 65-61
1/17/09 Boise State W 79-65
01/22/09 @ San Jose State W, 62-58
01/24/09 @ at Hawaii W, 67-51
01/29/09 Nevada W, 72-61
01/31/09 @ Fresno State W, 83-77 (ot)
02/05/09 New Mexico State W, 78-59
02/07/09 Louisiana Tech W, 60-52
02/12/09 @ Idaho W, 62-53
02/14/09 @ Boise State L, 66-56

02/18/09 CS Bakersfield W, 78-57
02/21/09 @ Saint Mary's L, 75-64

02/26 Hawaii W, 82-62
02/28/09 @ Nevada L, 84-71

The Aggie Starting Five

6-9 Gary Wilkinson -- He's not always physical in the paint but generally plays smart with his positioning and can also shoot some facing the basket. Wilkinson will be the WAC most valuable player this season. His back is supposedly bothering him but it's hard to tell.

6-7 Tai Wesley -- He's sort of the team enforcer who can and will play physical but sometimes gets overly enthusiastic with this aspect and commits silly fouls.

6-4 Tyler Newbold -- Newbold hasn't enjoyed the breakout season we expected of him (with Jaycee Carroll's departure) but he's still just a sophomore. He's the best defender on the team and rarely makes mistakes as his marvelous assist-to-turnover ratio details.

6-3 Pooh Williams -- He's another strong defender -- his best quality -- but he's an opportunistic shooter who is improving in that aspect as the season concludes.

6-1 Jared Quayle -- The junior college transfer does just about everything for the Aggies -- good shooting, strong rebounding, a fine assist-to-turnbover ratio and he leads the team in steals.

The Bench

6-8 Matt Formisano -- He is the top fill-in for Wilkinson and Wesley, someone who plays intelligently with limited scoring and rebounding prowess.

6-3 Stavon Williams -- Guard him at the three-point line and beyond as he's shooting it if given the opportunity. His percentages have dropped a bit of late though.

5-9 Jaxon Myaer -- He played more early in the season -- before Quayle came on so well -- but hasn't shot effectively and his assist-to-turnover numbers are about even.

6-7 Brady Jardine -- He was activated after redshirting most of the season because 6-10 soph Modou Niang busted a hand. Jardine is a super athlete who will really help down the road and should provide some Aggie YouTube highlights before he is done in Logan.

The Utah State Roster (alphabetical and by position)

Skyler Halford 6-1/170 freshman guard
Deremy Geiger 5-10/165 freshman guard
Stavon Williams 6-3/180 junior guard
Jared Quayle 6-1/180 junior guard
Dominique Cooks 6-3/200 freshman guard
Tyler Newbold 6-4/200 sophomore guard
Jaxon Myaer 5-9/165 freshman guard

Brady Jardine 6-7/220 freshman guard/forward
Pooh Williams 6-3/200 sophomore guard/forward

Clint Lee 6-5/195 junior forward
Tai Wesley 6-7/240 sophomore forward
Matt Formisano 6-8/235 sophomore forward

Modou Niang 6-10/220 sophomore center (out with a busted hand)
Gary Wilkinson 6-9/240 senior center

What Else

*** Coming off a 13-point spanking at Nevada, the Aggies have Senior Night in their favor, in addition to the usual Spectrum mania from the students. That's a trifecta non-mid majority teams wouldn't look forward to facing

*** USU is shooting .475% in league play to 42% for opponents, 39% to 32% on three point attempts

*** No team in the WAC controls tempo better than Utah State -- it's an impossibility to get the Aggies out of running their sets

*** The USU players understand, accept and fulfill their assigned roles better than any other group in the WAC -- just another reason for the steadiness and success of the squad

Friday, March 6, 2009

Update on Hyde Park and Spartan signee Anthony Dixon

Hyde Park 64, Brother Rice 44 -- HP now plays Marist High in the midst of the Illinois state championships.

Hyde Park closes out Rice
Joe Trost
Chicago Sun-Times
March 4, 2009

With a sour taste still in its mouth from its loss to North Lawndale in the Public League Championship, Hyde Park wasted little time taking out its frustration on host Brother Rice rolling to a 64-44 victory Wednesday in a Class 4A Regional semifinal.

The Thunderbirds (25-4) raced out to a 21-10 lead and scored 43 points in the opening 16 minutes. Malcolm Griffin and Aqui Shareef led the way for Hyde Park with 14 points each.

“This was a good game for us to have coming off our loss in the title game,” Hyde Park coach Donnie Kirksey said. “But we need to play better and execute. Every team is good from this point forward.”

Jerome Moore added 13 while Anthony Dixon had 10 for Hyde Park.

Here's a description of Hyde Park:
"...The Indians have a bevy of talented guards in Martell Jackson, Fabyon Harris and Malcolm Griffin. Plus they also have two aggressive big men in Jerome Moore and Anthony Dixon..."

Keep in mind that Anthony Dixon is 6-4 but maybe that qualifies as a 'big' in the prep ranks.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Spartans fall to Nevada 89-66

C.J. Webster was the headliner for San Jose State, playing the 'Big Room' at the Lawlor Events Center but balanced Nevada scoring combined with torrid Wolf Pack shooting the entire game paved the way for Mark Fox's squad to break away in the second half to an easy victory.

SJSU made a run and closed the game to one possession early in the second half but then Nevada exploded to an eight, then ten, then 16-point lead, effectively concluding the contest.

Webster was a Spartan beacon with a double-double of 22 points (7-13 shooting) and 12 boards. Justin Graham added 12. Adrian Oliver was hampered by the flu in addition to his ankle woes.

A total of 52 fouls were called, 28 on San Jose State. Nevada earned 36 free throws, making 29. SJSU was 17-27. For the game, The Pack shot 56% to 36% for the Spartans. San Jose was out-rebounded by five -- 41 to 36 -- but grabbed 21 offensive boards.

Nevada led at the end of the first half 39-31. It was a physical initial 20 minutes with SJSU not shooting well but gaining an advantage with solid offensive rebounding and the resulting second chance points. The Spartans shot 35% from the floor to 58% for the Wolf Pack. Rebounding totals were equal at 19 but 11 of those came on the offensive boards for SJSU. Webster grabbed nine of the 19.

At about the 15 minute mark or so of the first half, we lost the audio from KSJS due to technical difficulties. Of course, during that time, San Jose State pulled within three so we now have concrete evidence that the basketball gods and goddesses have an anti-Spartan fan bias. By the time the audio returned, San Jose State was down by eight.

In other WAC games:

Boise State downed Fresno State 79-65 at Taco Bell Arena Thursday night. Four Broncos scored in double figures: Kurt Cunningham with 15 points, Mark Sanchez scored 13 and Ike Okoye 11. BSU shot 55% on the game. Dwight O'Neill scored 19 points and Paul George added 15 for the Bulldogs.

Idaho hosted Louisiana Tech Thursday night and took a game that was close most of the way by the score of 66-58.

Moor and St. Mary's slam Cardinal Newman

San Jose State signee Aalim Moor and his St. Mary's High (Berkeley) Panther teammates enjoyed big nights in a 66-45 romp over Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa).

The 6-4 Moor totaled 13 points, nine assists, five rebounds, three turnovers, a pair of steals and a blocked shot -- this in addition to defending Tony Baldocchi -- Cardinal Newman's top backcourter, best player and high (18 points per game) scorer.

Baldocchi had just one point at the half and finished with eight.

The biggest St. Mary's lead was 28 points.

St. Mary's now faces Salesian yet again -- the third time this season -- at Berkeley High on Friday night in the North Coast Section championship game. Both teams are 26-4 on the season.

Go here to read the Santa Rosa Press Democrat article on the St. Mary's - Cardinal Newman game.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

San Jose State at Nevada on Thursday

Here's a great photo from Ray Barbour (which will bring back memories of the last seconds against Hawaii the other night). We're undecided: should the WAC decree all games from here on out be played as shirts and skins, with San Jose State insisting on being the latter or should the Spartans employ tearaway jerseys.

On to the preview:

Success is a spoiler. Just ask Mark Fox. His Nevada men's basketball 'franchise' has enjoyed a run like no other in the Western Athletic Conference and such has elevated the expectations of many Wolf Pack fans into the portion of the stratosphere scientists call 'the unreal' -- the strange place that warps the views of all who inhabit it.

Some of the Nevada fans have apparently developed a presumption that the WAC is theirs and that the other squads are allowed residency based on the blessing of the Pack.

It hasn't mattered that Nick Fazekas graduated. Or that JaVale McGee departed after his sophomore season and Ramon Sessions at the conclusion of his junior year. As for the NCAA granting of six years (due to injuries) to complete four seasons of eligiblity for Marcelus Kemp (he's 25 now) well, that's ancient history to the Reno rabid.

Their mantra is simple: win now.

Time and patience for player development, well, that's only applicable to the conference also-rans.

Two steps ahead, one step, that's not a Nevada thing.

Moving relentlessly forward...yes, that's the only known and acceptable direction for the Silver and Black.

Lounging around the Mount Olympus neighborhood, away from the conference riff-raff, is the sole and rightful place to be.

Granted, there are also many Nevada fans who understand the challenges in rebuilding and accept that the progress line isn't always a straight or a continuous one. Call them the reasonables. But they generally don't bother with writing letters-to-the-editor or living life on-line via message boards...generally because they have lives...which Nevada athletics is a part of but not a seemingly life-and-death, oh-so-serious matter. We could say it's the nattering nabobs of negativism versus the Silent Majority but boy does that bring back some awful memories from the 1970s.

It was a-l-m-o-s-t a tale of two halves but Dickens would have haltingly penned it something like this if he was covering the contest: "It was the worst of times, it was sort of the best of moments..." as Nevada had it's way the initial 20 minutes and actually put the game away then owning a 42-23 halftime lead.

At the 11:57 mark, Nevada led 23-10. With 7:35 on the clock, San Jose State cut the deficit to 10 at 30-20. But with 3:20 remaining, it was back to 17 at 38-21.

In that opening period, the Wolf Pack's Joey Shaw -- entering the game 4-24 from three-point range in league play -- enjoyed a Shaw-shooting-redemption by nailing 4-5 from long distance. He had 16 points at the half and finished the game with 23 -- a career high. Nevada made two thirds of its shot attempts in the first 20 minutes.

A pair of treys from Robert Owens cut the deficit to 11 -- 46-35 -- at the 17 minute mark but Nevada refused to budge any further.

The Spartans weren't necessarily missing the huge offensive role Adrian Oliver usually plays -- he sat out the game with an ankle injury -- however it certainly was a factor. But it was more the defense again that did SJSU in the most as the Wolf Pack shot 33-53 -- 63% -- as a team.

For the game, Owens led the Spartans with 17 points, buoyed by 5-9 three-point shooting. C.J. Webster added 15 points.

Nevada managed a startling nine blocked shots and rebounding turned out to be about even -- 30 for the Pack and 28 for the Spartans, including 16 offensive boards.

Jan 03 Idaho 73 - 78 (L)
Jan 08 @ New Mexico State 79 - 71 (W) OT
Jan 10 @ Louisiana Tech 67 - 64 (W)
Jan 15 Boise State 77 - 63 (W)
Jan 17 Fresno State 65 - 60 (W)
Jan 22 Hawaii 74 - 63 (W)
Jan 29 @ Utah State 61 - 72 (L)
Jan 31 @ Idaho 69 - 65 (W)
Feb 05 Louisiana Tech 75 - 78 (L)
Feb 07 New Mexico State 60 - 62 (L)
Feb 12 @ San Jose State 80 - 68 (W)
Feb 14 @ Hawaii 47 - 46 (W)

Feb 20 Virginia Commonwealth 71 - 70 (W) BracketBuster

Feb 26 @ Fresno State 66 - 68 (L)
Feb 28 Utah State 84 - 71 (W)


Nevada is coming off a home win against Utah State where the Pack shot 51% for the game, earned 33 free throws and committed just four turnovers.

*** Note that Ahyaro Phillips, 6-8 210, started in place of Dario Hunt in the Utah State game. He played 22 minutes while Hunt was in for 19. It was the first start of the season for Phillips, who had been averaging 8.1 minutes a contest in league play

Dario Hunt 6-8 230 -- he's a shotblocker deluxe, very raw defensively

Luke Babbitt 6-9 225 -- he hasn't set the league on fire but certainly has produced excellent numbers for a freshman, can play inside and shoot from three-point range

Malik Cooke 6-6 200 -- call him Mr. Glue because he will have points, rebounds, steals, etc; across the board at game's end

Armon Johnson 6-3 195 -- selected by the coaches in the pre-season as the expected Player of the Year, Johnson has come around in the last set of games

Lyndale Burleson 6-3 190 -- he can't shoot but he understands the system and works defensively


Brandon Fields 6-4 185 -- This has been a relatively lost season for Fields, beginning with a suspension and followed by inconsistent play. His shooting has really suffered.

Joey Shaw
6-6 205 -- The Spartan killer in the game at Walt McPherson Court

Ahyaro Phillips 6-8 210 -- A superb athlete who needs added strength and bulk.

THE NEVADA ROSTER (alphabetical and by position)

Lyndale Burleson G 6-3 190 senior
Brandon Fields G 6-4 185 junior
London Giles G 6-3 180 freshman
Armon Johnson G 6-3 195 sophomore
Ray Kraemer G 6-4 200 junior

Luke Babbitt F 6-9 225 freshman
Adam Carp F 6-7 200 sophomore
Malik Cooke F 6-6 200 sophomore
Dario Hunt F 6-8 230 freshman
Ahyaro Phillips F 6-8 210 freshman
Richie Phillips F 6-7 220 junior
Joey Shaw F 6-6 205 junior


*** Joey Shaw, who entered the game against San Jose State shooting 4-24 from three-point range and inexplicably made five of eight long range attempts, has gone 3-7 since then but is still mired at 32% in league action. (0-0 -- Hawaii, 0-2 -- Virginia Commonwealth in the BB game, 2-2 -- Fresno State, 1-3 -- Utah State)

*** Nevada is shooting 43% in the WAC, holding opponents to 42%. But there's a big difference in three point accuracy: 32% for the Wolf Pack to 40% for its collective opponents

*** Mark Fox's team is out-boarding its conference foes by four a game

Monday, March 2, 2009

Spartan signee Anthony Dixon receives all-city honors

Clyde Travis of the Chicago Sun-Times posted his all-public league player selections on February 26, Anthony Dixon just missed a first-team nod, being the sixth player chosen:


Name - Position - Ht. - Yr.

Chris Colvin, Young, G, 6-3, Sr. (signed with Iowa State)

Malcolm Griffin, Hyde Park, F, 6-4, Sr.(signed with Northern Illinois)

Jeremy Jones, Simeon, G, 6-2, Sr. (unsigned)

Jonathan Mills, North Lawndale, F, 6-5, Sr. (unsigned)

Darius Smith, Marshall, G, 6-0, Sr.(PAC-10 & Big 10 have offered)


Anthony Dixon, Hyde Park, F, 6-4, Sr. (San Jose State)

And from Roy and Harv Schmidt of the Bulls-eye Report:
We look for De LaSalle's supersectional opponent at Chicago State University to be Hyde Park, a team that we had ranked higher than anybody in our preseason rankings of the top 45 teams in the state. As we indicated then and we will say again now, Hyde Park is clearly one of the top four programs in the Chicago Public League this season and features three D1 caliber players in 6'4 Anthony Dixon (San Jose State), 6'2 Malcolm Griffin and 6'5 Jerome Moore.


October, 2008: Anthony is a 6'4" combo wing. He is probably more of a wing forward but he is working to expand his game and his versatility to become more comfortable on the perimeter. He is one of the biggest sleepers in Chicago. He is a good scorer inside and has a decent mid range jump shot. He will need to work to extend his range as well as improve his ballhandling on the perimeter.

DeVonte Thomas honored

Just saw this announced by the WAC so congrats to DeVonte for his nomination:
WAC Men's Basketball Player of the Week Announced

Sylvester Seay, a junior from San Bernardino, Calif. (Arizona State), led the Bulldogs to their first victory over Nevada since 2006. Seay recorded his third career double-double with 28 points and 11 rebounds in the win over the Wolf Pack. He also registered four blocks and three assists in the game, and knocked down four three-point field goals while shooting 50 percent from the field. Against Idaho, Seay scored 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting (57.1 percent), including a 4-of-7 performance from long range. He also pulled down eight rebounds against the Vandals.

On the week, Seay averaged 25.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 2.0 assists per game. He shot 53.3 percent (16-of-30) from the field and was 8-of-14 from long range. He also hit 11-of-16 free throws.

Other nominees:

San Jose State senior DeVonte Thomas
Idaho senior Trevor Morris
Louisiana Tech junior Kyle Gibson
Utah State senior Gary Wilkinson