Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chris Murray on San Jose State

Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal checks in with his look at SJSU basketball last season and for 2009-2010. Keep in mind that nobody -- neither players, coaches nor media -- has seen any of the newcomers on each WAC team, nor the improvement of returnees, how well (or not) teams are playing together, et al. But it's still fun to read if nothing else than to get the basketball juices bubbling:

Snakebitten Spartans try to get proactive with injury bug
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
October 30, 2009

San Jose State coach George Nessman has to be thrilled that he can finally bury the memory of last season.

It's not because the Spartans tied for sixth place in the league last season and failed to break the .500 mark for the seventh straight season.

It's because he finally has a healthy team.

Nessman watched last season as his best player, Adrian Oliver (knee, ankle), starting point guard, Justin Graham (wrist), and top post force, C.J. Webster (ankle), struggled with injuries all year.

"There's no question that was a major contributor to us (struggling last year)," Nessman said. "We couldn't get our team at practice, let alone games, and we had a hard time being cohesive."

So, Nessman and his staff took a proactive approach to fending off injuries this year...

Go here for the remainder.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Rebounder barbeque and SJSU team scrimmage report

First off, the Rebounders have their priorities right -- the players enjoyed steaks at Sunday's barbeque while the fans munched on hamburgers. This is doin' it right.

So what did we witness during the action on Walt McPherson Court? Make that, the new Walt McPherson Court -- it was purchased after being used for an NCAA regional and it looks very sharp! It's also moveable so that will certainly come in handy.

What we liked: C.J. Webster showed a nice touch with a jumper from around the elbow -- we saw this a couple of times last season and hopefully it will appear more this season ... Moses Omolade offered a pair of quick-jumping dunks, plus Chris Oakes seemed determined to also stuff his defender through the basket on his dunks ... Adrian Oliver was netting it on most of his outside jumpers as was Robert Owens ... Mac Peterson was dribble-driving and penetrating more than we've witnessed before ... Aalim Moor displayed his ballhandling prowess and athletic ability with some strong finishes at the hoop ... It was Chris Jones for the defense, as usual ... Oh yeah, there was this one apparent newcomer -- the handout said he was from Ripon and in his junior year -- oh, that was Justin Graham, proving he is back and healthy with no Samson-like leffect to his talent. JG also hit the game winning shot in the second scrimmage on a seven-foot floater after a left-handed power dribble drive.

What was also nice was having players who had family in attendance introducing their family members.

Coach Nessman also filled in the assembled about other 'environmental' changes that will be forthcoming. The usual home bench for SJSU will now be where opponents will sit in a reverse of team seating areas and the Spartan band and students will be situated close to the opponents. A curtain will be hung over the north section of seats, the ones that are 30 or so feet away from the court, with fans 'encouraged' to sit in one of the two long sides of the court. The south end will be converted into a meeting area for the Rebounders and others to get together.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A description of the new Spartans

We recently 'talked' with Coach Nessman about the Spartan newcomers. Here is what he had to say:

: The Spartans boast a handful of new players. Can you provide a brief synopsis of each?

Coach Nessman: Our newcomers:

Moses Omolade: Mo is long and athletic. He is an active, agile player who can rebound and block shots. He runs very well. Mo has a great positive spirit and brings a New York mind set to the floor. (Hint: New York basketballers like to tell you how they are doing while they play!)

Chris Jones: Chris is a versatile player that can contribute in a variety of ways. He has really impressed our staff with his intensity and competitive fire. Chris has a great chance to really help our team this year. He can really defend, handle the ball, slash and score. He has a strong grasp of being on a team.

Aalim Moor: Aalim is an athletic lead guard. He has the tools to be a good one. He can handle the ball and push the break. He also is personable, positive and an excellent student. Aalim is truly representative of exactly the type of young person we want in our program.

Joe Henson: Joe has size - he is big and will get bigger with strength training and the normal growth of people his age. Joe can rebound, run and block shots. Joe has the potential to be an impact player down the road. He is a pleasant, easy going young person.

Anthony Dixon: Ant has energy! He competes very hard and just gets after it. He has a great set of tools - he is athletic, long and can score/shoot. Before its over, Anthony will make a big mark here. Anthony is a joy to work with given his great passion for the game and upbeat personality.

Jerry Casey: Jerry is a walk-on player who made our squad. Jerry can play and he has reasonable size at about 6'7. Once Jerry gains strength he will be fine. Jerry is also another unique young person with a real team focus.

All of our new players are quite proud to be Spartans. Each and every one had numerous other school options. We are glad they are with us and expect them to contribute now and in the future to the success of Spartan Basketball.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The coaches and media weigh in on the WAC

We don't get shocked very easily. Surprised -- yes -- probably more often than our years on this planet should allow. But shocked is a rare condition for us.

But this morning we are shocked.


The WAC head coaches have collectively determined who will man the 10 spots on the All-WAC first and second teams...and Adrian Oliver is absent.

We checked and double-checked.

No Oliver.


How is that possible?

Official 09-10 WAC Preseason Men

Rank Teams (1st Place Votes) Points

1. Utah State (8) 64
2. Nevada (1) 53
3. New Mexico State 50
4. Idaho 42
5. Louisiana Tech 31
6. Fresno State 30
7. Boise State 23
8. San Jose State 19
9. Hawai‘i 12

Preseason Coaches All-WAC Teams First Team

Luke Babbitt, So., F, Nevada
Mac Hopson, Sr., G, Idaho
Armon Johnson, Jr., G, Nevada
Jared Quayle, Sr., G, Utah State
Jahmar Young, Jr., G, New Mexico State

Second Team

Roderick Flemings, Sr., F, Hawai‘i
Paul George, So., G/F, Fresno State
Kyle Gibson, Sr., G, Louisiana Tech
Sylvester Seay, Sr., F, Fresno State
Tai Wesley, Jr., F, Utah State

Player of the Year: Luke Babbitt, Nevada

Here is the media poll, the pixel-stained wretches of the Fourth Estate:

The following is the complete 2008-09 WAC men’s basketball media poll with first-place votes in parentheses (points awarded on a 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis).

Official 09-10 WAC Preseason Men’s Basketball Media Poll

Rank Teams (1st Place Votes) Points
1. Utah State (15) 273
2. Nevada (12) 269
3. New Mexico State (6) 226
4. Idaho 193
5. Boise State 145
6. Louisiana Tech 140
7. Fresno State 130
8. San Jose State (1) 88
9. Hawai‘i 66

Preseason Media All-WAC Team First Team

Luke Babbitt, So., F, Nevada
Mac Hopson, Sr., G, Idaho
Armon Johnson, Jr., G, Nevada
Jared Quayle, Sr., G, Utah State
Jahmar Young, Jr., G, New Mexico State

Player of the Year: Luke Babbitt, Nevada

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Just got back from practice

We just got back from viewing Sunday's men's basketball practice. If it's any indication, once a rebound was secured during the five-on-five segment, the offensive players as a unit sprinted down the floor like it was a track meet. There were too many 'moments' to recount but we especially liked what we saw of 6-foot-6 Anthony Dixon. He defended well out front and popped a nice trey.

You can get your hoops fix by attending the intra-squad scrimmage followed by a Spartan Rebounder barbeque on Sunday, October 25, beginning at 11 a.m. at Walt McPherson Court.

This will be an opportunity for Rebounder members to renew their memberships and new fans to join up.

The barbeque is free to paid up Rebounders, $10 per person for non-Rebounders and $5 for the non-Rebounders age 12 and under.

Email us @ for further information.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Remember when the San Jose State men's hoops roster was almost a wholly owned subsidiary of junior college basketball transfers, most of those from states other than California?

Check out this transformation:

Anthony Dixon G 6-5 195 Fr. Chicago, IL
Justin Graham G 6-4 195 Jr. Ripon, CA
Chris Jones G 6-4 205 Fr. Newark, CA
Aalim Moor G 6-3 183 Fr. Oakland, CA
Adrian Oliver G 6-4 210 Jr. Modesto, CA
Robert Owens G 6-3 195 Sr. Oakland, CA
Mac Peterson G 6-3 195 Sr. Martinez, CA
Jerelle Wilson G 6-1 200 Sr. San Francisco, CA

Joe Henson C 6-8 245 Fr. Pasadena, CA
Chris Oakes C 6-10 235 Sr. Oakland, CA
Moses Omolade F 6-8 200 Jr. Brooklyn, N.Y.
Kyle Thomas 6-8 225 So. Folsom, CA
Garrett Ton F 6-8 222 So. Torrance, CA
C.J. Webster F 6-9 255 Jr. Missouri City, TX

Just Owens, Peterson and Omolade are community college transfers -- that's the definition of metamorphosis.

Also, with Robert Owens, Mac Peterson and Chris Oakes departing after this season and verbal commitments from 6-foot-1 point Derek Brown and 6-foot-5 Kurt Davis, who can play the one, two and three positions, what position should the final San Jose State commitment play?

Should he be a big (center/power forward)? How about another wing? Maybe the best player available regardless of position?

Here's what could be an important factor -- the class-by-class division or spacing. In the frontcourt, Oakes will be finishing out his Spartan tenure, with Webster and Omolade enjoying one more season after 2009-2010. Thomas checks in as a sophomore and newcomer Henson as a freshman. Our intuition tells us the last open scholarship will go to a 'big' -- that is, unless a can't-pass-over-talent desires to come to San Jose State.

In the backcourt, Owens and Peterson will complete their athletic eligibility after this go-around, with Oliver and Graham enjoying one more season after that. Dixon, Jones and Moor are just starting out and will be among those who form the backbone of the 'next generation' of Spartan basketballers, along with Thomas, Henson, recruits Brown and Davis and ?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chris Murray positions SJSU in seventh place

Chris Murray positions SJSU as finishing seventh this coming season. The WAC is going to be especially tough and we actually see every team, save Hawaii, as having the possibility of winning the prize and even the Rainbow Warriors could surprise if the new players come through. One of the things we are consistently reading is how a number of the teams want to speed up their offensive styles so do watch for that.

In search of first winning season since '01
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

No. 7 San Jose State

Coach: George Nessman (fifth season; 37-86 at SJSU)
Last year’s record: 13-17 overall, 6-10 in WAC (tied for sixth place)
Returning starters: Four (Justin Graham, C.J. Webster, Adrian Oliver, Chris Oakes)
Key losses: Tim Pierce, DaShawn Wright, DeVonte Thomas, John Williams

Go here for the remainder.

We jump into the act

With a number of the columnists and beat reporters in the various WAC cities turning out "Best of" lists, we jumped into the act:

The Coming Season's All-WAC members

So who will be the five players on the All-WAC First Team in 2009-2010? Solid cases can be presented for close to 10 separate possibilities. Although we do have a call in to Miss Cleo -- who somehow couldn't forsee her own demise -- let's proceed and have some fun.

The initial three are easy pickings because they are the most un-guardable in the WAC:

Jahmar Young

As Young goes, so goes the New Mexico State. He's ready to move into the mid-20s scoring average per game and the non-conference absence of Wendell McKines and Troy Gillenwater will set this in motion. He'll get less shots when the missing duo return and that has the possibility of an Aggie hiccup. Young's height, quickness and athletic ability make him the hardest player in the league to guard. What we want to see is a better assist total and ratio than 43/32 in league play.

Mac Hopson

His scoring and assist averages make him the most logical candidate to challenge Young for POY honors. Hopson's 194/86 assist-to-turnover numbers -- 91/48 in league play -- were remarkable for someone who literally carried the Vandal offense on his back. His scoring may drop some this season due to better overall Vandal talent but not his value.

Adrian Oliver

Various injuries kept him out of some games and limited his effectiveness in others but, when healthy, he is closest to Hopson and Young. Oliver is capable of shooting better overall, from the three-point line and the foul line and he should feel the need to do less in 2008-2009. Oliver also has to demonstrate the knack for making his teammates more effective and rightsizing his WAC 30/42 assists-to-turnovers ratio.

So who from oh so many quality candidates comes next?

Is it Luke Babbitt or Armon Johnson or Roderick Flemings or Kyle Gibson or Jared Quayle or Magnum Rolle or Paul George?

We're going with these two:

Luke Babbitt

With a year of experience, Babbitt should be poised for a breakout season. Plus, Nevada has a limited roster so there should be plenty of shooting and rebounding opportunities for Babbitt. As for the latter contention, a similar case could be made for Johnson but we sense it's Babbitt who is going to take a big step up.

Roderick Flemings will be just fine and enjoy more open shots and lanes to the basket with a brand new backcourt ensconced in Hawaii and Kyle Gibson will put together another fine season of great shooting. Jared Quayle will score and rebound even more while Magnum Rolle could end up as a 20/10 guy. But our final selection is:

Paul George

Just a sophomore, George is already the best Bulldog shooter/scorer and his body should be just about to the point that contact doesn't disturb him. He'll be able to swing between the wing and the two guard, between facing the hoops and slicing to it.

So who will be named the most valuable player?

That's really going out on the proverbial limb but how about whichever team of these five wins league. Granted, Utah State isn't represented here so maybe we have to add 'finishes second' if the Aggies prevail.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chris Murray's All-WAC team and POY

My All-WAC first team and player of the year
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

The WAC sent out its preseason polls to the media, asking each member to rank the teams 1-9 in addition to picking a player of the year, newcomer of the year and All-WAC first team. We will count down the WAC teams from worst to first starting tomorrow, but I wanted to post my All-WAC selections here.
Go here for the remainder. Adrian Oliver receives a second team placement.

More from Chris Murray -- AO gets some love

Oliver? Flemings? Fields? Who's WAC's top shooting guard?
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

The starting shooting guards in the WAC come in all forms. There are the water-bug types (Jonathan Gibson, Brandon Fields, Steffan Johnson). There are the savvy scorers (Adrian Oliver, Roderick Flemings). There are the defensive aces (Tyler Newbold, Jamel Guyton). But who is the best shooting guard in the league?

Ranking the WAC shooting guards

1. Adrian Oliver, San Jose State, 17.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.2 apg: Oliver was never fully healthy last season and he still ran roughshod through most of the WAC. With all his ailments healed, he is one of the favorites to lead the WAC in scoring. He can score in a variety of ways and does a good job of getting to the free-throw line...
Go here for the remainder.