Thursday, July 22, 2010

A July look at November

Let's call last season's San Jose State University basketball frontcourt the Oakes and Webster Administration. A hefty part of the offensive design was to try and pound the ball inside for as many touches as possible. Both have departed, therefore each starting position is wide open.

The 2010-2011 frontcourt portion of the Spartan roster indicate change in multiple aspects. However, keep in mind we have witnessed but one of the centers and forwards in action to date so, like in a sideview mirror, figures and also production of these players may be larger or smaller than what what we speculate or comes to actual fruition.


Let's delve into the various talents.

6-foot-8 Wil Carter and 6-foot-7 Brylle Kamen brings 'reps' with them -- more so Carter -- of face-the-basket shooting prowess. We're talking 15-to-18 foot range. This will allow the entering of a pick-and-pop offensive element into the Spartan playbook. We're not indicating this will necessarily be a consistent feature but certainly a new option for which opponents will have to defend.

Salt Lake Community College Coach Norm Parrish offered this earlier about his former top player: ""Wil has a really high ceiling. He has the ability to hit the 15-to-18-foot shot. He is also a good rebounder who is fairly long and can run and jump."

Here is Russ Beck, Kamen's community college coach: "He [Kamen] is a good rebounder with a big, strong body and can shoot off the dribble and with the pullup jumper. He can also pick-and-pop, shooting on the perimeter."

Additionally, both Carter and Kamen are proficient playing with their backs to the baskets

Plus, 6-foot-8 Matt Ballard self-described one of his basketball skills as scoring ability via his mid-range jumper.

Joe Henson, also 6-foot-8, returns and indications are that his progress is noticeable. He has been working out with a physical and basketball skills trainer this summer.

The joker that remains in the frontcourt deck of five card stud (sorry, we couldn't resist) is 6-foot-8 Moses Omolade. His eligibility determination remains tangled up in the court system and is rapidly approaching proportions of Jarndyce and Jarndyce -- the interminable legal case in Charles Dickens' "Bleak House."

Omolade would provide a missing element not offered by the other SJSU quartet -- shotblocking and defensive intimidation.

Here's Tyson Aye, a former SJSU assistant basketball coach now heading the Imperial Valley College men's basketball program, on Omolade: "Moses was in our league and we've played him four times in the last few years. He is a defensive force in the paint. At 6-8, Moses is quick and extremely long. He has one of the longest wingspans I've ever seen, and I've actually seen Moses block 10 shots in a single game. I've heard nothing but great things about his character. The Spartans got a good one with Moses."

We believe he is going to be eligible in 2010-2011 and therefore are including him in the forecast.


Haley Joe Osment saw dead people in "The Sixth Sense" -- what will sportswriters envision for the Spartan bigs in the 2010-2011 season?.

This is an aspect that is going to be fascinating. That being, how the various prognosticators handle their San Jose State pre-season previews. More than likely, none of the non-San Jose area based reporters and bloggers will have even witnessed any of the Spartan frontcourters in action, let alone even have a modicum of familiarity with who we're going to call The Spartan Five.

So just what will appear in print on the quintet? Probably not much, with the emphasis being on Adrian Oliver and Justin Graham taking SJSU are far they collectively can. .

What do we forsee?

The collective shooting percentage of this bunch won't rival that of the departed C.J. Webster -- very few could -- but will offer a variety of scoring options heretofore unavailable. A plus is that this addition will require more movement from defenders. It will also be difficult to match the shotblocking and rebounding proclivities of Chris Oakes.

However, we see an actual plus forthcoming on the defensive end from the new group. The number of blocked shots will tumble but this 2010-2011 collective will provide very good quickness in leaving the paint whenever necessary to defend and also a greater desire to fight in establishing and maintaining defensive positioning within the paint.

A final attribute worthy of listing is proficiency of getting up and down the court, especially on offensive. Carter, Kamen and Omolade have demonstrated this talent -- an addition not on display from any recent SJSU frontcourters.


The ultimate question is: will San Jose State have a better, the same or a worse frontcourt than that of last season?

The answer: nobody truly knows -- that's why there are so many tall, expansive and swanky casino buildings in Las Vegas. The answer to this question will ultimately play out before our eyes.

But we see this group of guys having a different mindset -- a do-what-needs-to-be-done-for-the-team attitude.

Our senses about the frontcourters indicate this:

The best scorer: Wil Carter

Best defender: Moses Omolade

Most explosive: Omolade and Kamen

Most physical: Kamen and Ballard

An addendum: We believe Garrett Ton and Jerry Casey will again walk-on as members of the frontcourt. We're unsure of the status of Kyle Thomas but here's hoping he is participating as a Spartan as well in 2010-2011.

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