Monday, November 30, 2009

St. Mary's wins 78-71

Well, we didn't get a re-run but the show in the first 20 minutes was damn entertaining. The last 20 were less so as the St. Mary's came from 12 down at halftime (45-33) to win 78-71 Monday night at Walt McPherson Court.

With 11:34 remaining and San Jose State up by two, Aussie Matthew Dellavedova nailed a trey to put the Gaels finally ahead 54-52. The Spartans shots attempts were almost exclusively short up to that point in the second 20 minutes and St. Mary's was connecting both inside and from long distance.

At the 9:19 mark, Chris Oakes put SJSU back up at 57-56 but Wayne Hunter followed with a Gael three-pointer. Hunter came into the game shooting 31% from long range, the lowest of all the St. Mary's players who are on the court for significant time, yet managed four treys in six attempts Monday evening.

He nailed another with 8:34 left to widen the St. Mary's lead to five, 62-57.

A Mac Peterson three-pointer from the left side pulled the Spartans to within four at 73-69 with 1:26 remaining but it became a free throw shooting contest after that.

Going 11-22 overall at the foul line damaged the San Jose State chance for a victory.

The Gaels shot 30-64 (48%) for the game while SJSU went 28-64 (44%). Breaking that down even further, St. Mary's tallied 41% shooting in the first half but raised that to 55% in the second twenty. The Spartans were an en fuego 59% in the initial period but cooled down to 28% afterwards.

Points in the paint went favorably to SJSU 36-28. The Spartans reserves out-scored their counterparts 22-14.

Omar Sanhan and Ben Allen, the Gael bigs, went 5-12 and 3-8 respectively after coming in shooting .65% and 67% on the season.

C.J. Webster garnered a double-double of 18 points and ten boards. Chris Oakes just missed earning one with 14 points and nine rebounds.

It was more the St. Mary's trio of smalls that did the shooting damage. Mickey McConnell shot 7-12, Hunter 6-11 and Matthew Dellavedova 4-10. McConnell topped his team with both 19 points and eight assists.

Good news: 11 turnovers for SJSU -- St. Mary's committed 13.

A few Spartan Hoops thoughts

We were on the sideline watching Saturday afternoon's game against Pacific and our take is it was both physical and mental ... all over the court.

Let us explain.

What struck us the most was the stick-to-it-ness, the resolve of the SJSU contingent.

We type that because it would have been very easy to fold the proverbial team tent after being down by 10 at one point and having no momentum in the first half. That's often a time when selfishness can appear and a 'get-mine' attitude surfaces with less mature teams.

It didn't show up on Walt McPherson Court.

Then it was down by five with minimal time remaining and the participating bodies physically battered after having both dished out and taken beatings. Additionally, the Spartan players were faced with these challenges after a spirited battle against Washington followed by a blah one versus Riverside that resulted in two consecutive losses.

But SJSU didn't disappear.

No, it was bang, bang and bang some more. It was additional carrying on the fight until the contest time expired.

Granted, Adrian Oliver and Justin Graham individually didn't have the best of shooting nights...but they also certainly didn't pack it in and fall into a woe-is-me mope.

Consider that Oliver went 4-12 from the floor on the afternoon -- which obviously had to be frustrating for him -- yet he didn't react in the silly retributive fashion seen far too often elsewhere after a Pacific backcourter tossed him down to the floor in a late-in-the-game moment of visible immaturity. Oliver quietly got upright as the referees took the ball from the the Tigers and gave possession to San Jose.

Who displayed the appropriate mental toughness on that play?

Graham suffered through 3-15 shooting in the contest yet still displayed the moxie to take the critical shot -- which became the winning basket.

By the way, both Graham and Oliver were credited with four assists Saturday afternoon..

C.J. Webster latched on to 14 rebounds, edging towards half of San Jose State's boarding total -- this while displaying the emotion that seems to signal a solid contribution will be forthcoming.

So now St. Mary's -- the darling of the mid-majority collection of schools and rightly so -- comes to town tonight. The Gaels have been playing extremely well and their rep is a well-earned one.

Let's see who demonstrably comes to play and also who amps up his contribution and performance.

It's going to be another physical contest -- that's a given between these two teams -- but we'll also be focusing in on the mental aspect. It's not a matter of refusing to lose though -- much more accurately one of a willingness to compete for a full 40 minutes.

We liked what we witnessed on Saturday. Although everyone complains about re-runs on television, we're hoping to view just that in person again tonight.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

St. Mary's at Walt McPherson Court Monday night

Some teams rebuild, it seems St. Mary's reloads.

Randy Bennett loses Patty Mills (now of the Portland Trailblazers) and the very underrated Diamon Simpson yet keeps on chugging along with a blend of returnees and newcomers.

Of course, it helps to have a pipeline to the Australian Institute of Sport and its top talents, something now firmly in place after the success of Mills in Moraga. Five Aussies are currently on the Gael roster -- like Pacific, here is another private school facing no concerns about out-of-state, let alone, out-of-country tuition costs.

After five straight home games, the Gaels come a bit south to match up with SJSU. We call St. Mary's a pick-a-poison opponent because try and shut down the players in the paint (a la Omar Sanham) and the outside shooters will have free reign, and vice versa.

St, Mary's Schedule to Date

Nov 13 New Mexico State 100 - 68 (W)

Nov 16 San Diego State 80 - 58 (W)

Nov 20 Vanderbilt 70 - 72 (L) - we don't know how they did it but Vandy held the Gaels to 41% shooting

Nov 23 Cal Poly 92 - 67 (W)

Nov 28 Cal Maritime 100 - 59 (W)

The Gael Starting Five

Ben Allen
6- foot-11 SR 9.6 ppg. and 7.2 rpg.
An Indiana transfer and an Aussie who can shoot from close in, from three-point range and at the foul line - shooting 67% overall, 4-7 from three-point land and 12-12 at the foul line

Omar Samhan 6-foot-11 SR 20.6 ppg. and 11.4 rpg.
Averaged 21 and 17 in games versus tough opponents Vanderbilt and San Diego State, shooting 64%, 11 blocked shots so far

Wayne Hunter 6-foot-4 SR 11.4 ppg. and 3.4 rpg.
Get him to the foul line since he's shooting 6-15 from there

Matthew Dellavedova FR 6-foot-4 15.4 ppg. and 5 apg.
Another Aussie mate who shoots well and plays intelligently, assist-to-turnover ratio is 24/8 - shooting 52% overall, 45% on three-pointers and a perfect 14-14 at the foul line

Mickey McConnell 6-foot-0 JR 10.8 ppg. and 6 apg.
His father still is and his grandfather was a prep basketball coach, he's passing well and deadly from distance -- 47% overall and 61% from long range

Off The Bench

Matthew Young
6-foot-9 FR - not much of a shooter yet but a horse on the boards, especially offensively

Clint Steindel 6-foot-7 FR - 17of his 18 shots this season havebeen treys but he's hitting only

The St. Mary's Roster

Trey Anderson G 6-4 175 FR
Matthew Dellavedova G 6-4 185 FR Victoria, Australia
Wayne Hunter G 6-4 210 SR
Mickey McConnell G 6-0 175 JR
Jorden Page G 6-1 175 FR Queensland, Australia

Phil Benson F 6-8 230 JR
Tim Harris F 6-4 190 FR (Valley Christian High) - out with ligament damage in a wrist
Beau Levesque F 6-5 215 FR
Clint Steindl F 6-7 180 SO. Queensland, Australia
Tim Williams F 6-9 235 FR
Mitchell Young F 6-9 225 FR Queensland, Australia

Ben Allen C 6-11 250 SR Melbourne, Australia
Omar Samhan C 6-11 265 SR

*** Kenton Walker II, F 6-9 235 JR (transfer from Creighton, redshirting this season)


* Who sets the pace of the game? Pacesetters usually win.

* Even in the loss to SEC member Vanderbilt, St. Mary's still won the battle of the boards 45-34.

* St. Mary's is outscoring its D-1 opponents 85-66 points per game, shooting 51% to .40% overall with 42% accuracy on treys.

* Regarding turnovers and steals, St. Mary's is about even with opposing teams in both categories

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pacific 'choo-ed' up 59-55

Pacific might have expected to get 'AO-ed' or 'JG-ed' (well, they did at the end by the latter) but Coach Bob Thomason wasn't expecting to get 'choo-ed' Saturday afternoon as the Tigers fell 59-55 to San Jose State. But it was a steady stream of points by Robert "Choo" Owens that led the Spartans in knocking their opponent from the unbeaten ranks.

Owens totaled 22 points, including three treys apiece in each half plus back-to-back treys late in the initial 20 minutes.

C.J. Webster put up a double-double of 12 points and 14 boards while Adrian Oliver contributed 10.

Pacific's Mike Nunnally tied the score at 48 with a nifty left-handed hook. Then backcourter Demetrece Young nailed a jumper to give the Tigers the lead but a Mac Peterson layup at the 5:15 mark tied the game again.

Lamar Neufville was successful on a pair of free throws and Terrell Smith popped a three-pointer to boost the Tigers to a 55-50 lead.

An Oliver layup cut the difference to three.

Later, Webster missed a jump hook followed by a chipshot after grabbing the offensive rebound but Smith followed those misses with a right-handed toss down of Oliver while dribble-driving and was whistled for an offensive foul.

Owens twined a three-pointer from the left corner after a nice assist pass from Justin Graham to tie the contest at 55.

Neufville followed with a missed straight-on 15-foot jumper and SJSU rebounded. Graham came down and banked his straight-on 13-footer with 10 seconds remaining, putting the Spartans ahead 57-55. There was no indication from the referees if he called the bank.

Pacific inbounded and called time at the seven second mark. Thomason followed that with a 30-second time out. The Tigers then missed a driving layup attempt and forward Sam Williard's rebound and shot in the same motion also somehow missed going down.

Webster rebounded, was fouled and nailed both free throws to close out the scoring.

For the game, San Jose State shot 53% -- 7 of 13 -- from long range. They out-rebounded Pacific 29-25 -- 10 big offensive boards in the second half -- and committed just nine turnovers to 11 for the Tigers.

At the half, Pacific led 30-26.

Do remember that this was a Spartan opponent who obliterated Santa Clara 84-57 and also topped San Diego State by eight -- this after SDSU beat Fresno State.

The game was akin to a barroom brawl in the paint with one of Newton's laws amply illustrated: "Unless acted upon by an outside force, a body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion" -- the emphasis today being the last nine words.

San Jose State hosts St. Mary's Monday night at Walt McPherson Court while Pacific now moves on to face Fresno State and then Nevada.

Looking at today's game

The basketball world this season is no longer as it was -- so vividly demonstrated when Andy Katz asked this question today in his ESPN column: "Is beating UCLA actually a quality win for Portland?"


Okay, was the hard-fought loss to Washington not an anomaly -- more a sign of the capability of this season's Spartan team? We think so. But maybe so much 'juice' was expended there that a depletion of sorts versus UC Riverside should not have come as a surprise. The energy present in Seattle simply wasn't there in southern California. A beatable team -- the Highlanders -- won with a greater overall effort.

Riverside came in with a typical pick-your-poison plan -- a decision to force the Spartans to win via long-range shots. San Jose State didn't accomplish that as the Highlanders packed defenders into the paint and issued multiple dares. The 'smalls' have to do a better job of shooting accurately.

Another element that was missing was what we will call re-direction. The San Jose State 'bigs' needed to determine early what they were going to be able to accomplish against such a defensive style. Entry passes were going to be few and far between going against multiple defenders and the ability to maneuver with the ball very minimal. But the SJSU frontcourters ultimately committed just as many turnovers as the backcourters during the game.

Plus, off-the-ball movement and a willingness to bang -- or bang back -- going for offensive rebounds would be critical. The Spartans were out-boarded 39-33 although the offensive rebounds for each team were similar.

However, it's next to impossible to determine any single factor on which to hang the defeat -- it's usually a combination -- as San Jose State's defensive play was also subpar. The Spartans allowed the Highlanders to shoot 49% from the floor -- this after holding Washington to 41%. A slimmed-down-on-talent USC team earlier held Riverside to 43% shooting at the Galen Center while host New Mexico limited Highlander accuracy to 33%.

The bottomline: you do win and lose as a team. All cyclinders must be functioning at least close to capacity in order for potential to be realized and then hopefully maximized. That comes down to each individual consistently and positively performing his role game in and game out, figuring out what can be done and then doing so.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pacific comes to Walt McPherson Court Saturday 1 p.m.

San Jose State hopes to have a Tiger by the tail -- actually five of them simultaneously -- Saturday afternoon when Pacific arrives to take on the Spartans in a 1 p.m. contest.

Doesn't it seem like Bob Thomason has been at Pacific like forever? No, he wasn't present at the school's founding -- at least not that we know of -- but he played basketball and golf there as a student-athlete for three years, graduated and and then earned a Master's plus he has been the head coach for 22 years. However, we have no solid evidence -- just a cryptic Matt Drudge reference from a double secret super source -- that the Thomason home is decorated throughout in orange and black.

In a coincidental but worthy-of-mention note, Ron Verlin is the Pacific Associate Head Coach -- he's the 'relative newbie' having been in Stockton for just 15 years. His brother Don is the head coach at Idaho. It doesn't take a weatherman to know how current Vandal backcourter Steffan Johnson landed in Moscow after having to depart from Stockton.

Remarkably, Pacific has been Big Dancin' in three out of the last six seasons. Leading the Big West Conference in attendance is one of the factors behind this feat as is being a private school, one that recruits both across the country and internationally. The Tiger roster currently has a player from Brazil and another from the Caribbean, plus players from South Dakota, Washington and Oklahoma.

Schedule To Date

11/13/09 at Pepperdine W, 67-64 (2OT)
11/16/09 vs. San Diego W, 56-55
11/19/09 at Northern Arizona (suspended in second half due to power outage - yes, you read that correctly)
11/22/09 vs. Santa Clara W, 84-57 (Pacific shot 56% overall, 63% from three-point range)
11/25/09 vs. San Diego State W, 71-63

In the last game, Terrell Smith had 16 points and five rebounds to lead Pacific. The Tigers got career-best scoring contributions off the bench from Nyika Williams (12 points) and freshman Allen Huddleston (10), outscoring San Diego States reserves 27-8. Pacific shot 53 percent from the field and outscored the taller Aztecs 26-8 in the paint to take a 42-29 lead at halftime.

Starting Five

* Sam Willard 6-foot-9 junior - the top returning scorer and rebounder also repeating that so far in 2009-2010

* Michael Nunnally 6-foot-8 (fifth year senior, sat out last year)

* Joe Ford 6-foot-6 - fifth year senior named Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year by the league's coaches

* Terrell Smith 6-foot-4 - second leading scorer so far this season

* Lavar Neufville 6-foot-1 - physically strong but a streaky shooter

Top Reserves

Kyika Williams
6-foot-9 - a junior college transfer from St. Vincent and the Grenadines (in the Caribbean)

Pat Eveland 6-foot-6 - a California Community College First Team All-State Selection last season

Demetrece Young 5-foot-11 - not that much of a shooter but owns a topnotch assist-to-turnover ratio

Allen Huddleston 6-foot-1 - scored 31.5 ppg. as a prep senior, his father coaches the womens team at Merced Junior College

The Pacific Roster

Sterling Carter 5-11/190 Guard FR
Allen Huddleston 6-1/175 Guard FR
Reed Kamler 6-1/175 Guard FR
Stephon Lamar 6-0/170 Guard FR
Lavar Neufville 6-1/190 Guard SR
Andrew Ritchart 6-3/185 Guard SO
Nick Peterson 6-1/165 Guard FR
Terrell Smith 6-4/205 Guard JR
Demetrece Young 5-11/185 Guard JR

Royal Edwards 6-6/200 Forward JR
Pat Eveland 6-6/225 Forward JR
Joe Ford 6-6/210 Forward SR
Michael Nunnally 6-8/225 Forward SR
Jordan Turner 6-5/200 Forward FR
Sam Willard 6-9/210 Forward JR

Everson Lacerda 6-11/230 Center SO
Nyika Williams 6-9/225 Center JR

What To Expect

The Big West beat reporters voted in pre-season for Pacific to finish in the fifth spot, just behind UC Riverside. Right now, the Tigers are playing better than that prediction -- note that 24-point obliteration of Santa Clara.

* From the It-Is-A-New-Season Department but... - Pacific finished 19-12 after the Big West Tournament concluded earlier in 2009, then posted wins over Portland and Idaho before falling to Bradley in the post-season tourney. This minus the aforementioned Steffan Johnson and Michael Nunnally.

* KSJS will carry Mike Chisholm and his radio version of the game

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Riverside win 70-66

UC Riverside rode a strong first half and then held on to beat visiting San Jose State 70-66 Sunday afternoon.

Mac Peterson offered a bust-out performance with 17 points (4-7 on treys, 5-6 from the foul line), Adrian Oliver also scored 17 and Justin Graham contributed 15. Oliver had a target on both the front and back of his jersey for Highlander defenders all game long and rarely got an open look.

Riverside's plan of attack was to pack defenders inside -- versus Oliver being the exception -- and take chances with Spartan outside-shooting. It worked.

For the game, UCR shot 49% overall (26-53) to SJSU's 39%. The Spartans connected on 8-24 three-point attempts and also went 14-21 at the foul line. The Highlanders won the battle of the boards 37-29. They also made just 33% from long range but attempted just nine shots.

A Graham scoop shot put the Spartans back ahead 52-51 in the second half. The lead see-sawed after that until Riverside began pulling away. The Highlanders' Kyle Austin -- hard to guard all afternoon -- scored inside, He finished with 20 points and 14 boards. Konner Veteto nailed two free throws and a Larry Gurganious dunk put UCR up 64-57.

Austin grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to make it 67-60 with 1:20 remaining. Oliver followed with a trey to bring San Jose State to within four but it became a march to the foul line after that.

Riverside led 36-27 after 20 minutes. The Highlanders shot 53% and out-rebounded the Spartans 18-14. Curiously, despite some banging inside, UCR earned just one free throw attempt and San Jose State three by that point.

It was 13-11 in favor of San Jose at the 12:41 mark. UCR re-took the lead and led 18-15 with 8:20 remaining, keeping the lead through halftime.

The Riverside game plan may prove to be a template for other Spartan opponents. Better shooting and pounding the offensive boards are the obvious prescription.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's SJSU v UC Riverside early Sunday afternoon

San Jose travels to Riverside Sunday for an afternoon contest with the Highlanders.

UC Riverside is 0-2 having lost two road games versus New Mexico and USC (we've chosen to ignore the Highlanders most recent game -- a home win against LaVerne -- because Shirley was injured and unavailable to play).

In the loss to NM, 'big' Konnor Veteto grabbed 13 rebounds while backcourter Sean Cunningham totaled 11 points and eight boards. The Highlander's best player, 6-foot-8 Kyle Austin, shot 3-12. He finished with but eight points and six rebounds. However, Riverside did out-board New Mexico 43-33.

Then against USC, Veteto scored 14 points matched with eight boards while Gonzaga transfer Larry Gurganious scored 13. Austin again had another less than impressive game with eight points (2-8 shooting) and six boards.

The Highlanders finished 17-13 last season and din't really lose any talent of consequence. They took the measure of SJSU last February 53-52 in the Bracket Buster contest at Walt McPherson Court. Kyle Austin scored 15 points and guard Javon Borum added 13. Borum has yet to play this season -- we don't know why.

Here is Riverside's opening quintet:

Starting Five

6-foot-8 Kyle Austin (a USC transfer and Riverside's best player, Big West pre-season MVP)
6-foot-9 Konnor Veteto (watch his matchups inside with Chris Oakes and C.J. Webster)
6-foot-5 Larry Gurganious (a Gonzaga transfer) - he's a slasher but with limited shooting range
6-foot-2 Sean Cunningham
6-foot-2 Dwight Gordon

It's also worth noting that Riverside Coach Jim Wooldridge is a well-respected one, having previously coached at Kansas State and a few other colleges as well as a couple of years with the Chicago Bulls. Former Spartan assistant coach, Dennis Cutts, is also on the Riverside staff as an assistant.

The Sporting News has Riverside finishing third in the Big West this season. The league beat reporters placed the Highlanders fourth.

The Highlander roster

Javon Borum G 5-11 190 Sr.
Niko Brooks G 5-10 160 Fr.
Idris Ibn Idris G 6-3 175 Fr.
Dwight Gordon G 6-2 180 Jr.
Jalonni Diggs G 6-2 190 Jr.
Lateef McMullan G 5-11 160 Fr.
Sean Cunningham G 6-2 195 Sr.
Brandon Dowdy G 6-2 200 Sr.
Rudy Meo G 6-4 190 Sr.
Larry Gurganious G 6-5 195 Sr.
Harrison Gaines G 6-1 175 Jr.
Kareem Nitoto G 6-1 185 Jr. (transfer from Hawaii, redshirting)

Bryson Hampton F 6-8 225 Sr.
Kyle Austin F 6-8 215 Jr.
Colin Chadwick F 6-8 220 Fr.
Jesse LoBue F 6-6 190 Sr.
David Chavarria F 6-6 205
Jessee Hazely F 6-6 215 Fr.
Konner Veteto F 6-9 240 So.

*** Having both a healthy Adrian Oliver and Justin Graham will benefit the Spartans this time around.

*** San Jose State should have a nice advantage in the paint during this game and needs to take advantage of it. We don't forsee the foul trouble that cropped up against Washington being repeated

*** Not letting Austin (especially) and Cunningham get to the shooting spots they desire and negating Gurganious' dribble-drives towards the hoop will ensure a much better odds of winning for SJSU.

KSJS (90.5 FM, San Jose) originates San Jose State University basketball broadcasts with Mike Chisholm calling the play-by-play. Air time is 1:30 p.m. for the UC Riverside contest.

Washington wins 80-70

The term 'Husky - Spartan' makes more descriptive sense than 'Spartan - Husky' (not to be confused with Ferlin Husky) and it was the Washington Huskies who finished first tonight in Seattle 80-70. It's probably easier to just simply say that San Jose State got Pondexter-ed. The UW senior -- first name Quincy -- paced his squad with a double-double (30 and 14) and proved un-containable in the second half.

UW advanced a 37-31 halftime lead to 45-37 via eight quick points by Pondexter, forcing a SJSU timeout. He ended up scoring Washington's first 14 points opening the second half. That lead was generally maintained, if not expanded, throughout the second half via Husky offensive boardwork and missed Spartan free throws.

Adrian Oliver topped SJSU with a well-earned 32 points, courtesy 17 free throw attempts.

Early on, the game went back and forth with neither team able to establish superiority. However, C.J. Webster garnered two fouls in the initial three minutes of the game and Kyle Thomas took his place.

Soon, the Emerald City became Foul City. Four Spartans were eventually saddled with trios of fouls by halftime: Webster, Thomas, Justin Graham and Chris Jones. Webster fouled out with 9:07 left in the game, Graham in the last minute.

At the first timeout, San Jose State led 11-8 after making all five field goal attempts. It was then 13-all with the Spartans having three turnovers.

The Huskies led 17-15 with 10:21 remaining.

As noted, the score at the half was 37-31 pro Washington. There were eight ties and four lead changes -- SJSU led by three points twice. After the inital 20 minutes, it was Adrian Oliver leading the way among both teams with 13 points. The Spartans shot 44% (11-25) to 35% for UW. The Huskies worked the boards better at 24-17, with 11 of those coming offensively. San Jose State committed 12 turnovers.

More tomorrow.

On Sunday, San Jose State plays on the road again, matching up with UC Riverside. KSJS (90.5 FM, San Jose) originates San Jose State University basketball broadcasts with Mike Chisholm calling the play-by-play. Air time is 1:30 p.m. for the UC Riverside contest.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's Washington in Seattle Friday night

University of Washington basketball is a little different than most. Sure the idea is to produce more points than their opponents by game's end but Lorenzo Romar seemingly would like to play on a race track rather than a basketball court. Whether it's been by design, luck, fate, hard work or a combination of each, UW is built for speed. With a national ranking of #14, it's definitely working for the Huskies.

Curiously, whether by design or omission, the letter 'C' does not appear when the positions of each player is listed on the U Dub roster. Here you go:

Abdul Gaddy G 6-3 190 FR
Venoy Overton G 5-11 185 JR
Scott Suggs G 6-6 185 SO
Isaiah Thomas G 5-8 185 SO
Elston Turner G 6-4 205 SO
C.J. Wilcox G 6-5 180 FR

Tyreese Breshers F 6-7 255 RS FR
Matthew Bryan-Amaning F 6-9 240 JR
Darnell Gant F 6-8 225 SO
Justin Holiday F 6-6 180 JR
Quincy Pondexter F 6-6 215 SR
Brendan Sherrer F 6-9 240 SO
Clarence Trent F 6-5 225 FR

By the way, freshman C.J. Wilcox has already placed into redshirt status this season -- this for the leading scorer in Utah last year --which indicates the depth Romar has available.

Also, check the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated and you'll find Isaiah Thomas, adorning the cover. Probably generously listed as 5-foot-8, predictions for him this season include either first or second team national All-America status. As a side note, he received that first name when his father lost a friendly wager on a Lakers vs. Pistons playoff game in 1989.

Plus, Quincy Pondexter (whose father and uncle played in the NBA) has come on this season and it seems that the Huskies are victorious rather easily when he has a strong game.

And do pay attention to big bodied Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who passes for the Washington 'big' man.

We haven't even mentioned freshman Abdul Gaddy, the #2 ranked point in high school last season.

Elston Turner is the son of Elston Turner Sr., currently an assistant with the Houston Rockets, Holiday is the brother of Jrue (former UCLA guard now a rookie with the 76ers).


November 13 saw Washington host Wright State and get a bit of a scare before pulling out a 74-69 win. Thomas scored 30 points, 7-14 from the floor and 14-18 from the foul line.

The next night it was Belmont's turn in the barrel and UW was operating on all cylinders in a 96-78 victory. From the game report on the Huskies site: "Inconsistent for much of his freshman and sophomore seasons, the Huskies can only hope that this performance is a sign of growth from Matthew Bryan-Amaning. He did it all against the Bruins: dunks, drop-step jumpers, up-and-under moves, and even five blocked shots." He scored 23 points. Thomas added 23 and Pondexter led with 25 points.

Proving the two earlier contests to be simple warmups, the Huskies trampled Portland 111-55 the next night. Pondexter was again the top scorer with 29 points while Thomas chipped in with 21. Quotes from that game story include "...the Huskies put on a clinic of transition basketball..." and "...Portland State missed seven straight shots and Washington began a track meet..."


The Spartans don't want to get into an all all-out 40-minute sprint with Huskies. Utilizing fastbreak opportunities sure, but getting into a warp speed contest would negate the inside strength offered by C.J. Webster and Chris Oakes. Doing some pounding inside and drawing fouls will only benefit SJSU.

Turnovers. We love apply and cherry is our absolute fave but the Huskies thrive on the basketball kind. It's irresponsible to offer a number not to exceed but they must be kept to a minimum or a long night will ensue for San Jose State.

Do watch for who Chris Jones guards, although it may be different opponents at different times. He and Isaiah Thomas have met before during club team basketball in the summer.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Derek Brown signing day photos

6-foot-1 Chino Hills High guard Derek Brown followed through with his earlier verbal commitment and signed a national letter-of-intent last week with San Jose State University men's basketball. He is a skilled ballhandler and leader on the court who also possesses scoring and shooting ability. In the above, he amply displays his choice of college.

Monday, November 16, 2009

San Jose State opens with a win

Let's get the final score out there so something more substantive can be offered: San Jose State defeated William Jessup 89-63 Monday night at Walt McPherson Court.

Now on to the meat and potatoes, or the veggie burger and marinated tofu salad if that's how you roll.

The essence of last night -- beyond no injuries -- can be distilled down to this: the unveiling of freshman Chris Jones. His line: 13 points, 5-7 overall shooting, 1-2 from three-point range and 2-2 from the foul line, five rebounds, two assists and zero fouls. The latter is listed because Jones played the most serious of defense in his 25 minutes of play.

On top of his various numbers, Jones also displayed a solid handle with his dribble-drives and actually led a couple of one-man fastbreaks after receiving outlet passes that resulted in his canning a pair of layups. He is strong, quick and -- yes, we're going to type this -- he is going to receive a spot on the All-WAC Defensive Team in 2009-2010.

Okay, we'll take a breath.

So what else?

In 27 minutes, a finally healthy Justin Graham ended up leading the squad in scoring with 18 points -- 6-8 shooting overall, 1-2 on his trey attempts and 5-5 from the foul line. His right wrist looks back to normal.

The Spartan 'bigs' played big, as expected, dominating inside.

SJSU led 46-31 at the half. A five or so minute funk period -- no scoring combined with ballhandling errors -- allowed William Jessup to close the scoring gap.

Too many unforced, sloppy passes were apparent as San Jose State finished the night with 21 turnovers -- 17 by the backcourters -- and 12 of those in the initial 20 minutes.

On Friday, it's the Spartans taking on Lorenzo Romar's Huskies in Seattle. Washington has beaten Wright St. 74-69, Belmont 96-78 and splattered Portland State 111-55. UW isn't overpowering but does have a bigtime collection of athletes, including 5-foot-8 Isaiah Thomas who many are predicting will be the PAC-10 Player of the Year.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

William Jessup here Monday night

We couldn't help it -- there just was no waiting any longer. William Jessup, or rather the basketball team representing WJ University, arrives in San Jose on Monday for a 7 p.m. Walt McPherson Court tussle with San Jose State. Their school sports nickname is the Warriors so let's hope they follow the direction of their professional brethren up in Oakland..

Now this may not mean a heck of a lot to SJSU partisans but these Warrior basketballers just might be carrying a longterm grudge. Here's why: straight from William Jessup Wikipedia entry comes this -- "The University was founded as San Jose Bible College in 1939, in San Jose by William Jessup, the school's first President. By 1951, with the school expanding and the San José State University across the street encroaching, San Jose Bible College moved to a parcel bordered by Coyote Creek, 12th Street and Highway 280. Spanish style classroom buildings and several dormitory buildings made up the small campus."
Encroachment? Well, there's worse things to be accused of committing. Heck, knowing how tales get wilder and wilder with time, the Spartans will probably be charged with running 'em out of town on a rail.

Then WJ moved up to it's present location up in Rocklin. There's no word if SJSU has plans for a satellite campus there nor if it possibly will be located anywhere near WJ's facilities.

Plus there is another factor to consider about Monday's matchup. That is, the William Jessup hoopsters aren't likely to be intimidated. Why, you ask? Well, the Warriors traveled recently and beat a team comprised of San Quentin prisoners -- yes, a ROAD game, let that sink in for a minute -- with the final score being 101-87.

So don't expect William Jessup to fold at the sight of the bigger and better Spartans.

In fact, the league's head coaches recently picked WJ to finish second in the California Pacific Conference this season

Additionally, the Warriors shouldn't have any first-game jitters bcause they have already played a couple of games.

The first was a 72-54 road loss to Northwest Christian University. 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Tevin Hurd led the Warriors with 14 points and 6 rebounds, both team highs. 6-foot-2 junior Kadeem Kirsten added 10 points.

The other was an 86-80 road loss to Concordia where Kirsten led WJ with 20 points while 6-foot senior Jason Washington added 16 points.

This weekend will provide two more opportunities for the Warriors to work out any kinks. There is a rematch with Northwest Christian followed by a contest against Oregon Tech. Both are home games for William Jessup.

As for a brief preview summary, the Warriors return one starter and 6 lettermen from last year's 16-14 club. Jason Washington is the Warrior's leading returning scorer at 12.1 points per game. Washington also led the Warriors with 3.6 assists and 2.5 steals a game. Guard Kadeem Kirsten, who was a part time starter last season. also returns after averaging 9.1 points per game.

Here the complete WJ roster:

Austin Nelson Guard 5-10 SO
Jeremy Devers Guard 5-10 SO
Jason Washington Guard 6-0 SR
Michael Sabosky Guard 6-3 FR
Matt Walker Guard 6-1 SO
Eleazar Jones Guard 6-1 JR
Sterling Shells Guard 6-1 FR
Anthony Parra Forward 6-2 FR
Bobby Cofrances Guard 6-4 FR
Kadeem Kirsten Guard 6-2 JR
Tevin Hurd Forward 6-6 SO
Jordan Wilson Forward 6-4 FR
Zach Bryant Forward 6-4 FR
Damal Neil Forward 6-5 JR
Lucas Domingue Forward 6-3 JR
Marques Rodriguez Forward 6-3 SO
Greg Giron Forward 6-5 FR
Paul Johnson Center 6-7 JR
Dalyn Stram Forward 6-3 FR
Tucker Horwath Forward 6-5 FR
Laurence Donelson Center 6-9 JR

What do we want to witness: The outcome isn't in doubt so we wish to view a search-and-destroy, take-no-prisoners intensity and attitude from the new-look Spartans -- no let-up despite the lead or the score. The SJSU bench is so much better, both in the frontcourt and backcourt, than last season and any dropoff once substitutions begin should be minimal.

Jessica Graham is back

Yep, this is a San Jose State site but we still wish to note that Jessica Graham is back on the floor this season for the Idaho Vandals after a pre-season injury in 2008-2009. Here's her writeup at the Idaho athletics site:

2008-09: Graham redshirted the 2008-09 season after sustaining a knee injury in fall practices.

High School:
Graham led Ripon High School to a 25-7 overall and 12-3 league record in helping the Indians advance to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Championship game as a junior in 2007. She averaged 15.5 points and 8.0 rebounds as a junior to earn Trans Valley League MVP honors. She was a first-team All-TVL player as a sophomore in 2006 and was the TVL Player of the Year as a freshman in 2005. She was also named to the Modesto Bee All-District First Team as a junior, as well as the Second Team as a freshman and sophomore. She transferred to Modesto Christian High School as senior and led the Crusaders to a 25-8 overall record, a 15-0 TVL record, the 2008 TVL league title and a semifinal appearance at the CIF Nor-Cal Tournament. She averaged 15.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 3.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game and earned all-TVL honors for the fourth time in her career.

She is the daughter of Steven Graham and Sharon Hernandez. She has three brothers, Justin, Roberto and Danny. She comes from a family with a strong basketball background. Both of her parents played at Cal State – Stanislaus and her brother Justin plays for San Jose State. She also competed for the Modesto Magic club team for seven years. Her major at Idaho is Education.