Tuesday, June 30, 2009

WAC payouts to teams lessening

This is as surprising as the sun rising in the east. How each athletic department will react is the key to this news.

WAC's payout shrinks
Ferd Lewis
Honolulu Advertiser
June 29, 2009

Without a Bowl Championship Series representative for the first time in three years, the University of Hawai'i and the rest of the Western Athletic Conference are taking a considerable hit in the wallet.

Today is the final day of the fiscal year for the nine-member WAC and most of its members, including UH, which receives $1.12 million, will be getting smaller disbursement checks than the two previous years.

Two years ago UH received $1.433 million, nearly $400,000 of it resulting from Boise State's victory in the Fiesta Bowl. Last year UH earned $4.92 million, approximately $3.8 million from the Warriors' appearance in the Sugar Bowl against Georgia...
Go here for the remainder.

Nick Jezierny is on a roll

Nick Jezierny covers WAC scheduling, Boise State and Idaho scheduling and the Bronco basketball television package in a series of articles today. Beginning with the latter:

KTVB will show Boise State football games, but not Bronco home hoops games
The economy was a big factor in the decision, according to the station's general manager
Nick Jezierny & Chadd Cripe
Idaho Statesman

Boise State men's basketball coach Greg Graham said he has a team that fans will enjoy watching this season.

And to do that, they will have to leave the house and go to Taco Bell Arena.

"We are not planning to televise any home games," said Brad Larrondo, the senior assistant athletic director for promotions and marketing at Boise State...
Go here for the remainder.

WAC unveils conference basketball schedule; BSU to play at Idaho on a Monday night
Nick Jezierny
Idaho Statesman

The men's basketball teams at Boise State and Idaho will open WAC competition on the road and play their first home games on Saturday and Monday nights.

But the big Monday night game for the two teams comes Jan. 25, when the Broncos travel to Moscow to try and snap a two-game losing streak against the Vandals. Idaho plays at Boise State on Saturday, Feb. 6.

Other highlights of the schedules include:
Go here for the remainder.

Daily Debate: WAC hoops slate good for football fans
Nick Jezierny
Idaho Statesman

The WAC basketball schedules are never going to make every team happy because there are no good scheduling models for nine-team conferences.

At least the WAC didn't schedule any basketball games Jan. 7 - the night of the BCS Championship football game.

This is great news for fans who don't have to make the choice between watching the football game on TV or going to a basketball game.

No one can complain about that...
Go here for the remainder.

Shawn Harrison interviews Tim Duryea, USU assistant coach

Many thanks to Shawn Harrison for his interview today with Utah State assistant coach Tim Duryea. There's a number of informational nuggets contained in it -- we especially liked the parts about scheduling, the Aggie styles of play and coaching vacancies. The accompanying photo is also perfect, containing how the coaching staff signals offensive setups and plays to the players.

Duryea enjoying USU
Shawn Harrison
Herald Journal
June 30, 2009

It’s been nearly a decade since Tim Duryea moved to Cache Valley.

The Kansas native brought his family to Northern Utah when he was hired on as an assistant coach with Utah State head men’s basketball coach Stew Morrill. While he would like to be in charge of his own Division I program some day — he was the head coach at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas — right now he is content with being an Aggie.

Since arriving in 2002, the 44-year-old father of three and husband to Angie has moved up the ladder on Morrill’s staff. A year ago he was promoted to associate coach and took over being in charge of the offense. With the promotion also came the responsibility of doing a lot of the work in setting up USU’s schedule...
Go here for the remainder.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Derrick Williams doesn't move too far

According to Jeff Goodman, Derrick Williams has cast his lot with Sean Miller and Arizona.

From the Memphis newspaper, comes this short blog entry.

From the Arizona Daily Star, Bruce Pascoe has this.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Bill Simmons Experience

The following will be of little or no interest if your eyes blur over and your hearing shuts down when the NBA or the NBA draft are the subjects of discourse. Plus furthering the insignificance, even for WAC hoops addicts, our conference received zero mention this year during the interminably long player grab Thursday night but that should change at least somewhat in the 2010 draft.

We typically avoid the ESPN site because it produces an instantaneous overload disorder in us what with its display of a multitude of gizmos and flashing items so a confession to not being familiar with Bill Simmons work is in order.

Also, Simmons can't resist going juvenile early on and again later in his article so consider yourself forewarned -- Bill, was that really necessary to share?

We're running a contest and the winner will receive the opportunity to interview with Bill Simmons minus a tape recorder while the runnerup gets two interviews sans recording devices. Okay, here we go: does Bill Simmons suffer from ADD or does he have a particularly nasty meth addiction? Who will be the respondent with the first correct answer... Actually, we enjoyed his massive take on the draft, at least most of it.

Welcome to NBA Draft Diary XIII
Bill Simmons
June 26, 2009

The Virgin Megastore on Hollywood Boulevard had a "Going Out Of Business!" sale this month. For the first few days, everything in the store was 30 percent off. The discount jumped to 40 percent and, finally, 80 percent. I voyaged down down there one day too late, well after every desirable DVD and Blu-Ray disc had been snagged. One wall of DVDs featured only "Don't Mess with the Zohan" and "Meet Dave," to give you a sense of what was left.

I spent 20 minutes sifting through the Blu-Ray remains. It wasn't pretty. I talked myself into "Terminator 3," "The Shining" and "Superman Returns," then carried them for a few more minutes before realizing, "Wait a second, what am I doing?" I put the Blu-Rays back and walked out of the store.

Here's the point: The 2009 NBA draft is the equivalent of that 10 minutes when I nearly talked myself into three Blu-Rays I didn't even want. I have seen "The Shining" 10 million katrillion times. I don't need to own it on Blu-Ray. But when it's sitting on the same shelf with "Along Came Polly" and "Ocean's 12"? It starts looking good by default. That's the problem with this year's draft class -- too many "Terminator 3" Blu-Rays, only everyone else is so bad, you start talking yourself into them.

Maybe Tyreke Evans really is a point guard! Maybe DeMar DeRozan can put it together! Maybe Tyler Hansbrough isn't too slow! Maybe Jrue Holiday's college stats aren't a red flag!

Trust me: It's the worst draft class since the infamous Kenyon Martin Draft in 2000. If I had to bet my life on any 2009 prospect becoming a top-three player on a championship team, I'd bet on Blake Griffin, Ricky Rubio and Stephen Curry. That's it. You'd remember this draft as Suckapalooza 2009 someday if it hadn't happened on the same day we lost Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. Only the Clippers could have the No. 1 pick on a day like this, right?

Without further ado, Draft Diary XIII …
Go here for the remainder.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Attach a GPS to Derrick Williams

Former USC signee Derrick Williams seems to be on a quest to hit as many states as possible -- this while Nevada fans are hoping for a jackpot to come their way. Here's an article we located on Williams -- it's on a Gonzaga site -- and dated June 24. There's no mention of Reno but Williams is supposedly still wide open.

Derrick Williams Update: Exclusive Interview with Lionel Benjamin
The Slipper Still Fits
June 24, 2009

La Mirada's Derrick Williams could visit Gonzaga in the very near future. Can Gonzaga land their seventh 2009 commit?

View full size photo uploaded June 24, 2009

When Tim Floyd announced his resignation at the University of Southern Cal, shock waves were felt throughout the college basketball world. One area his departure affected was 2009 recruiting. USC had one of the most promising 2009 recruiting classes in the nation before Floyd's exit and now it has all but vanished. One such decommitment from USC is Derrick Williams. Williams, listed as a 6'7'', 210 pound forward, was a late bloomer in the 2009 class but is now attracting all sorts of attention. He is visiting Memphis as we speak and will also visit Arizona but has one last visit to take. One school vying for that last visit is Gonzaga and we were lucky enough to check in with Derrick's AAU coach who has been a key figure guiding him during this difficult process.

The Slipper Still Fits: What were the reasons behind Derrick originally committing to USC, and was it strictly the coaching change that led to his decommitment, or were there other factors?
Go here for the remainder.

Reggie Theus back in coaching

Go ahead and toss those brickbats towards PTW because, based on the headline, they are sort of well deserved.

It's (apparently) true that Reggie is returning to the coaching ranks but not quite at the level he expected.

At the SoCalHoops site boys basketball message board is an entry that Reggie will be leading the Pump & Run 2013 Incoming Freshman Team:

Posted by Doug Joseph on June 25, 2009

Someone asked who will coach the team in a earlier post, the coach will be Reggie Theus, the former Sacramento King Coach, former New Mexico State Coach and the former Assistant coach at Louisville.
In a followup post, it's noted that Reggie's son is on that team.

Pity poor Gary Wilkinson?

So should Gary Wilkinson be disappointed at not hearing his name called on national television during the NBA draft?

We offer a qualified 'no'.

If it ever was this situation for Wilkinson -- which seems extremely doubtful -- the NBA draft after the first round (thus the guaranteed contracts) is not about ego. It's more attuned to freedom -- at least from the player perspective.

If a player isn't to be a first-rounder then not being chosen after the second run through the league's teams allows the freedom to shop around for both the best roster fit and deal, within the NBA and elsewhere.

Sure, Gary Wilkinson will never be able to tell his future kids and grandkids that he was drafted by such-and-such team but the opportunity to maximize his possible earnings potential is actually the most important aspect of yesterday's events.

Wasn't it leapin' Patrick Henry who first uttered "give me the first round or leave me be" -- or something similar?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nick Jezierny tops the list

So which WAC team will be leaving Las Vegas in March 2011 victorious? (please no Nicholas Cage jokes from you film buffs)

We looked around and in our humble estimation it is Nick Jezierny who provided the most comprehensive look at the moving of the WAC basketball tourneys to Las Vegas. Here you go:

WAC betting that basketball fans will flock to Vegas
The league's basketball tourney is moving to a neutral site, and it will need fan support to be a success
Nick Jezierny
Idaho Statesman

WAC basketball coaches got the neutral site they coveted for their conference tournaments, but the real winner in playing the 2011 and 2012 events in Las Vegas could be the fans.

"I think it's an opportunity for our people to travel because Las Vegas is a destination area," Idaho athletic director Rob Spear said.

And the fans are the ones being asked to make sure the men's and women's tournaments are a financial success. The WAC is counting on selling out the 7,500-seat Orleans Arena.

Past tournaments, which have been played on campus sites, have paid schools handsomely. Nevada guaranteed each WAC school $60,000 for the 2009 and 2010 tournaments.

"We believe if we sell the building out - and it's our goal - we'll be able to generate the same type of revenues," WAC commissioner Karl Benson said...
Go here for the remainder.

Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News comes in next with his report here.

Dumping the WAC play-in game is a great idea because the atmosphere in the building was similar to a chess match.

Plus, the WAC should be able to accomplish the same if the West Coast Conference had a sell-out tournament in Vegas this year. Right?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Arizona prepster hearing from three WAC schools

It's way, way, way too early to consider this significant but here's an Arizona high schooler who lists three WAC programs among those demonstrating interest in him. Utah State, Fresno State and Hawaii are among the multitude of suitors.

Anthony Ray
ArizonaPreps.com Recruiting Analyst
June 23, 2009

One of the top overall prospects in Arizona's 2011 class is Tempe High School's 6-foot-2 rising junior combo guard Jordan Baker.

Baker is coming off a very impressive sophomore season where the sharp-shooting guard torched the competition. With very little help this past season on a Buffaloe team that finished 11-14, Baker was the man. Baker would average an impressive 20.5 points, 5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.1 steals per/game...
Go here for the remainder and a Rivals sub is required.

Boise heading to the Land of Lincoln

Most WAC men's basketball schedules are bereft of 'must see' home games -- at least until league play begins -- but also very few road matchups that instigate interest.

With a hat tip to Nick Jezierny, Boise State is heading to Champaign this coming season (for the semi-literate, please do not interpret this sentence to mean that we are predicting the Broncos are going to be celebrating a WAC hoops championship by breaking out the bubbly) meaning a WAC team will be facing a Big 10 squad. If memory serves us correctly, Hawaii did the same in the 2008-2009 season.

Boise State men's basketball team to visit Illinois
Nick Jezierny
Idaho Statesman

Boise State will get a crack at one of the top basketball programs in the Midwest this season.

University of Illinois officials confirmed Monday that the Broncos and the Fighting Illini have "agreed upon a game." Boise State has not yet signed a game contract with the Big Ten Conference school...
Go here for the remainder.

Nick Jezierny sums it up

Concisely and succinctly, Nick Jezierny/Idaho Statesman wraps up why the move of the WAC basketball tournaments to Las Vegas was long overdue:

Moving WAC basketball tournaments to Las Vegas is wise
Nick Jezierny
Idaho Statesman

Talk about a no-brainer. When the WAC formally announces Wednesday it is moving its postseason basketball tournaments to Orleans Arena in Las Vegas in 2011 and 2012, you'll hear little or no opposition to the move (unless you count the Reno-Tahoe tourism folks).

In fact, those are cheers you hear coming from as far as Honolulu and Ruston, La. Boise State and Idaho fans should love the move - a sunny destination in the winter...
Go here for the remainder.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

DWilliams to either Memphis State or Arizona

UPDATE: Adam Zagoria has an update on Derrick Williams' finalists:

...Despite my post earlier today that 6-7 forward Derrick Williams of La Mirada, Calif. will decide between Arizona and Memphis, Williams actually said his list includes several other teams.

“Memphis, Arizona, Arizona State, Gonzaga, Miami,” Williams, who is on an official to Memphis, wrote in a text. “I’m going to look over all my options and then decide.”

As for when he might decide, he said: “Anytime, probably during the first week of July...”
So no Nevada mention. At this point, we feel it necessary to add 'whatever that may or may not mean.'

It's never over until the young man shows up for the first day of class but, per Adam Zagoria (who is someone with a record of credibility), Derrick Williams is down to two college possibilities.
...Derrick Williams, a 6-foot-7 forward from La Mirada, Calif., is visiting Memphis and will choose either the Tigers or Arizona sometime after his visit ends Wednesday.

“It’s going good right now,” Williams told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. “It’s a big difference from LA, but I could get used to it. I didn’t think the players were going to be how they are. They’re all pretty cool. They (play) up-tempo and they’re enthusiastic, so I like that too...”
Here's the Memphis Commercial Appeal article Zagoria notes.

A great move by the WAC

This is a tremendous move for a multitude of reasons:

Tourneys headed to Vegas in 2011
Ferd Lewis
Honolulu Advertiser
June 23, 2009

The Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is expected to announce tomorrow a two-year agreement to host the Western Athletic Conference men's and women's basketball tournaments beginning in 2011, giving the conference its first neutral site for the event.

A spokesman for Boyd Gaming, which owns the Orleans, declined comment except to say a major announcement was expected tomorrow. WAC commissioner Karl Benson refused to "confirm or deny" the tie-in...
Go here for the remainder.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Nevada recruiting target?

Here's a Texas prepster with a Nevada mention As an aside and we are making an assumption here but how many young males were named Jordan because of you-know-who?

Bill Lowery
InsideTulsaSports.com Recruiting Analyst
June 18, 20

6-foot-4 and 170-pound point guard Jordan Clarkson of San Antonio (TX) Wagner High School attended an Elite Camp at the University of Tulsa earlier this month and came away impressed. Clarkson currently holds five scholarship offers and has been invited to participate in the prestigious Reebok All-American Camp this summer in Philadelphia...
He has five offers at the moment with the Wolf Pack in the group still assessing.

Go here for the remainder and a Rivals sub is required.

A JayDee Luster update

Here's a JayDee Luster update, obviously with a number of New Mexico State mentions but -- news to us -- Fresno State was also intimately involved in his initial recruitment.

A Closer look at Luster
Bob Hammond, Boomerang Sports Editor
Laramie Boomerang

Wyoming sophomore basketball captain JayDee Luster made his way to Wyoming by way of San Diego through New Mexico State.

Luster appeared in 27 games at New Mexico State as a true freshman during the 2007-08 season. His playing time was limited (7.5 minutes per game) behind senior Fred Peete. Luster ended up averaging 1.1 points, 0.8 rebounds per game while handing out 30 assists.

“I’ve coached all kinds of point guards in my time and I think Wyoming got a major, major steal,” said veteran San Diego Hoover High School coach Ollie Goulston. “I wouldn’t look at those numbers at New Mexico State too much because there were a lot of things going on there. I can tell you he’s pretty damn good.”

Following a junior season at Hoover where Luster was an All-State pick and the Central League Player of the Year, many major colleges were lining up on his doorstep. Among those courting him were Arizona State, Washington State, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Wake Forest, New Mexico, Fresno State, UTEP, Creighton, Xavier, George Washington, San Diego and New Mexico State...
Go here for the remainder.

Whatever happened to Matt Lojeski?

Dayton Morinaga knows. Actually, Morinaga has rolled up his sleeves, reached out and provided updates on quite a number of former Rainbow Warrior basketballers.

Matt Lojeski leads off the article and he is doing quite well -- it must be the mayonnaise they serve with the fries in Belgium. He was someone who played like a velvet hammer -- not necessarily oohing and aahing the crowd but ending up the night with a very impressive line across the board. It's good to hear he is doing well.

This is material that makes our day and again serves to illustrate why the daily newspaper is a necessity and not an afterthought. For who else would and could provide this news? We attempt to offer a load of WAC basketball items but think of how bare PTW would be minus the enormous number of newspaper links found here.

Ex-'Bow Lojeski best in Belgium
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
June 21, 2009

Matt Lojeski was the best basketball player in the country this past season, and so what if that country happened to be Belgium.

"I'm happy where I am," said Lojeski, a former standout for the University of Hawai'i. "It's a good situation. I'm having fun playing basketball and getting paid."

He has a lucrative new contract and a league MVP trophy to prove it.

Lojeski was named the most valuable player of Belgium's top professional league for the 2008-09 season. He led the league in scoring with 18.3 points per game, and also averaged 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game with a .656 field-goal percentage...
Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

USC tosses a curveball

Well, USC AD Mike Garrett obviously crossed winning the press conference off his bucket list. While there's no doubt Kevin O'Neill knows his stuff and can coach (it's silly that we even have to type that), he's never been known for for displaying an illuminating personality -- but he is the new USC head basketball coach.

Yes, Ben Howland will never be mistaken as the belle of the ball in any social gathering but he's at U-C-L-A and wins. Kevin O'Neill will eventually win as the Trojan head coach but his hard-nosed coaching style (although not that much different than Howland's), preference for running plays over any freelancing, plus all the upcoming NCAA sanctions are not going to work in his favor in landing PAC-10 level blue-chippers. Plus, we actually see him working better with kids at a bit lower level who will run through a brick wall, no questions asked, when ordered to do so.

But maybe this was the clincher: O'Neill will never face an NCAA inquiry, ever.

Here's an Andy Katz/ESPN February 2008 article on O'Neill and his background.

So why not Reggie Theus? Hopefully, someone with an insider view will provide the details on how that went down. Theus announced he was removing himself from consideration Friday night and then the O'Neill hire is quickly announced. These two events are connected -- we just don't know the how and why and speculation is worthless.

Here's Teddy Feinberg/Las Cruces Sun-News offered this earlier feature on Reggie Theus and USC:

Former Aggie men's basketball coach Reggie Theus a candidate for USC head job
Teddy Feinberg
Las Cruces Sun-News

Former New Mexico State Aggie head basketball coach Reggie Theus is a lead candidate to take over the program at the University of Southern California, according to published reports.

Leading the Aggies from 2005-07, Theus compiled a 41-33 overall record including a trip to the NCAA tournament during his final season with the program, a campaign which saw NMSU finish with a 25-9 mark.

He left the Aggies the following summer to go to the NBA, taking over the reigns of the Sacramento Kings. After going a respectable 38-44 in his first season with the Kings, Theus was fired after the team got off to a 6-18 start to the 2008-09 season.

NMSU Athletics Director McKinley Boston said that he spoke with USC AD Mike Garrett and supported the idea of hiring Theus.

"I'm hopeful that he will be given an opportunity," Boston said. "I believe he would be a very, very good fit and have no doubt that he would do a very good job for them..."
Go here for the remainder.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Utah State target?

6-6 Garrett Jackson, an Oregon high schooler, has Utah State attached to his name as a college of interest/college interested in him. He attends West View High and made the all-state team in 2008-2009.

OregonPreps.com recently did a feature on Jackson -- go here and a Rivals sub is required.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gus Johnson? That brings back the memories

He was a great basketball player, a human highlight film before there was such a term. He was also an Idaho Vandal.

Gus Johnson - First in Flight

Take all the things that make up an NBA superstar­talent, tenacity, intelligence, imagination and style­and put them together. What's the result? Michael Jordan. And what happens if you take away good health? You get Gus Johnson.

To those who saw Gus and Jordan in their primes, bum knees were all that separated these two stars. With apologies to Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson and Julius Erving, the man known as "Honeycomb" for the sweetness of his game was MJ before MJ­the prototype of the modern American basketball superstar. A generation before Jordan, Gus was the man who believed he could fly.

Gus Johnson Jr. was born on December 13, 1938 in Akron, Ohio. (Click here for today's sports birthdays.) He had one brother and four sisters. Central Akron in the postwar years was not a pleasant place to live. The Johnsons resided in an urban slum where crime and hopelessness were constant companions to kids of Gus’s generation.

Fortunately, Gus was unlike most kids. He had a big ego, a belief in his own invincibility, and a sense of good and bad and right and wrong. And everything he tried, he did with a flourish that made him hard to ignore and impossible not to like.

Gus also stood out thanks to a leading-edge sense of style. He was a sharp dresser with a cool, confident swagger. By age 17, he had a gold earring and a Fu Manchu beard.

Gus’s dream was to join the Harlem Globetrotters. At the time, they were the highest-paying outfit a black player could find. The NBA was still struggling­ and still unwelcoming to African-American players. To hone his skills, Gus would practice no-look and behind-the-back passes for hours, hitting spots he’d chalked out on a wall. He was accurate from 25 feet away. On his first basketball card, Gus asked that he be pictured throwing one of his patented passes...
Go here for the remainder.

Here's another Gus Johnson feature.

A CA JC-er with some WAC member mentions

We don't want to belabor the word 'interest' but still thought this was worth mentioning because 'finalists' denotes much more involved.

Blazers complete signings with a combo guard
Steve irvine
Birmingham News
May 21, 2009

UAB added combo guard Heath Gameren on the final day of the spring signing period and UAB head coach Mike Davis said the Blazers might have at least two other players on the way.

Gameren, a 6-foot-6 Australian, who played this past season at Hartnell College in Northern California, became the fifth player in the Blazers 2009 signing class...

...[Hartnell Coach Andrew] Vasher said Gameren was lightly recruited because most schools thought he would eventually sign with [Southern Utah University Coach Roger] Reid. But Southern Utah once again didn't have a spot for Gameren and his recruitment began to heat up. Vasher said schools from the Big East, Big 12, Conference USA, Mountain West and WAC called about Gameren and the finalists included Iowa State, Houston, Louisiana Tech, Fresno State and UAB...
Go here for the complete article.

We also take donations (hint, hint)

UPDATE: A hat tip to Sam Wasson at BleedCrimson.net (the go-to source for New Mexico State sports) for passing on this further column by Matt James.

Anyone with $10,000,000 or so to spare (yes, we have standards and do our utmost to discourage garden variety chump change philanthropists) can certainly feel free to contact PTW 24/7/365.

Why are we having trouble believing this? Have we become jaded? Or more so than usual? Could it be envy or jealousy?

Big donation comes with amazing tale
Matt James
The Fresno Bee
June 16, 2009

Well you show up to one of these Fresno State "major announcement" news conferences thinking they're going to declare grass is green or the home football opener a "big game," and instead you get a whopper.

And what's more, it comes with an amazing story.

A couple of years ago, a former Fresno State football player named Alphonso Bigelow started a company -- Nykel Bam International LLC -- and on Tuesday it was announced that his company is giving the Fresno State athletics department $10 million...
Go here for the remainder.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How did we miss this pickup? Zane Johnson to Hawaii

Several of you have informed PTW that Bob Nash has landed a second transfer -- this one a backcourter. This makes a lot of sense if Nash feels good about his group for 2009-2010 because he loses six seniors after the upcoming season and having two redshirt transfers, rusty but familiar withe system -- should be a boon in 2010-2011.

Dayton Morinaga has a writeup. So does Brian McInnis.

Here's a pro/con take on Johnson's move from the Arizona student newspaper.

Here's Bruce Pascoe with some background on Johnson's departure from Arizona.

Our take: Johnson will benefit playing alongside a teammate or two who requires doubleteams and draws defenders away from their individual assignments. Translation: he isn't a creator but give him space outside and you will pay the price.

Mountain View's TJ a darkhorse recruit

Here's a kid from the San Jose, CA area who just may surprise some people. As a friendly reminder, keep in mind that interest has a wide and varied definition a la we have interest in Scarlett Johansson. We would be happy to sit on a beach somewhere and simply listen to her reciting the WAC charter word-by-word.

Tyler Johnson literally came out of nowhere this past season, averaging 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists a game.

Johnson also started gathering a list of potential collegiate suitors who have become intrigued by his ability. Schools that have shown interest include...Fresno State...Boise State..., but Johnson says he is "wide open...
Go here for the remainder anda Rivals sub is required.

The 411 of Danny Berger

Shawn Harrison with a solid feature on Utah State commit Danny Berger:

Ags get commitment from Berger
Shawn Harrison
Herald Journal
June 17, 2009

It will be a few years, but Danny Berger is excited about becoming an Aggie basketball player for Utah State head coach Stew Morrill.

First, the 6-foot-7, 175-pounder from Medford, Ore., will serve an LDS Church mission. He will find out soon where he is being sent.

“I plan on leaving this summer on a mission,” Berger said. “The call should show be here any day.”

Berger committed to the Aggies this past weekend after visiting the campus.

“I liked the players and the coaches,” Berger said. “After I saw the campus, it was a good fit.

“... Obviously the basketball history there is great and coach Morrill is a great coach. I just heard a lot of good things about it.”

When Berger comes back from his mission for the 2011-12 college basketball season, he will have three years of eligibility left...
Go here for the remainder.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bjornstad officially freed

Now this is bizarre...or maybe not. It is difficult to believe that the Nevada athletics office was unaware of a new rule so we're going with the school of thought that the Wolf Pack was bigtime nyet at the time of the request but realized there was nothing to gain by drawing out the process.

Bjornstad released from his letter-of-intent to Nevada
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Jounral

Steven Bjornstad has been released from his letter-of-intent to play basketball at Nevada after a technicality freed him of his obligation to the Wolf Pack. Bjornstad, a 6-foot-10 center from Vancouver, Wash., asked for a release April 29, citing the Wolf Pack’s coaching change from Mark Fox to David Carter...
Go here for the remainder.

Jason Groves fills us in on Jonathan Gibson

Jason Groves provides us with an update on Jonathan Gibson, who is entering his senior year in Las Cruces. Here's hoping he does adopt a leadership role both vocally and with his actions in 2009-2010.

New Mexico State guard Jonathan Gibson to return for senior season
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

Jonathan Gibson was fortunate to play with some talented seniors as a young basketball player at New Mexico State.

Now it's Gibson who will be providing senior leadership at NMSU. After putting his name in the NBA early entry pool last month, Gibson said Monday he will return for his senior year at New Mexico State, keeping what promises to be the most talented backcourt in the Western Athletic Conference intact.

"This summer is my last summer as a college athlete, which sounds weird because it went by really fast," said Gibson, who was 10th in the WAC with 14.1 points per game as junior last season. "I'm working twice as hard this summer because I want to make the most of it..."
Go here for the remainder.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Utah State lands a 2012 kid

No, Stew Morrill isn't dipping into the high school freshman ranks -- he has landed a JC baller who will first complete his two-year LDS mission. A tip o' the hat to USUALUM at the Utah State SCOUT site for posting this on the message board.

Shooting guard commits to Utah State
The Salt Lake Tribune

Danny Berger, a 6-foot-6, 180-pound freshman shooting guard from Chemeketa Community College, has committed to Utah State...
Go here for the remainder.

Utah State looking at an Arizona prep 'big'

He's in the 2010 class but 6-9 Arizona high schooler Kyle Tresnak is receiving attention from Utah State as well as many others.

Jon Perryman @ the ArizonaVarsity site had this to say about Tresnak:

...During the current high school summer league Tresnak continues to improve with his superior strength in the post, his high basketball IQ, and his continuing development of great footwork and knowing where to be at both ends of the court.

Currently Tresnak holds one offer from Weber State, and is receiving high interest from Utah State...
Go here for the full article and a Rivals sub is required.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A (stale) crumb for Nevada basketball fans

UPDATE: The devil is in the details and we missed bigtime on this one as several readers have pointed out that the following article was dated in mid-May. So, nevermind and we'll get busy cleaning the egg off our faces.

LVN Sports Editor Larry Barker recently talked with new Nevada Coach David Carter. This snippet jumped out at us:

LB: “Overall is recruiting looking good right now?”

Coach Carter: “It’s looking very good. You’ll read about in the paper in the next week or so about more kids committing to Nevada.”
Go here for the full Carter interview and those of other Nevada coaches.

New Mexico State recruit lights it up

(Justin Standley, photo by Dave Keefer)

New Mexico State backcourt recruit Justin Standley was "en fuego" last night in an all star game featuring many of the best players in California.
Bay sweeps through Sac, South
Jimmy Durkin
Oakland Tribune

OAKLAND — Will Cherry and Justin Standley exacted a measure of revenge toward Southern California on Saturday at the Battle of the Best Showdown at Laney College.

The two McClymonds High graduates, who lost to Westchester-Los Angeles in the California Interscholastic Federation Division I state championship game, combined for 47 points to lead Northern California to a 115-99 win over Southern California in the highlight game of the day.

The Montana-bound Cherry had a team-high 26 points, and Standley made six 3-pointers and scored 21 to help the North rally after trailing by as much as 15 in the first half...
Go here for the remainder.

Dayton Morinaga has the answer

Dayton Morinaga/Honolulu Advertiser is one of the 'reliables' -- meaning he's on top of everything Hawaii basketball -- he supplies the answer to the question we posed the other day about a newcomer to the Rainbow Warriors.

Transfer expected to sign with UH this week

Aleksandar Milovic, a 6-foot-7 forward, is expected to transfer from Duquesne to Hawai'i. His paperwork should be completed this week...
Go here and scroll down for the remainder.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A pet peeve

Has anyone ever had a dog/cat/bird/turtle/snake/ferret/hamster/species unknown named Peeve? But rather than head off on to that tangent, here's a little something that bothers us:

Ex-NBA player arrested over fake sneakers
Chicago Breaking News
June 12, 2009

A 2-month investigation into the alleged sale of counterfeit gym shoes from a Far South Side shop owned by an ex-NBA player culminated with the arrests today of that former basketball pro and his employee, according to Markham police, who led the investigation.

Police from the south suburb, with assistance from Chicago police tactical unit officers, seized 500 pairs of counterfeit Nike Air Jordans from the shop, located in the Halsted Indoor Mall, 11444 S. Halsted St. in Chicago, said Markham Police Deputy Chief Tony DeBois.

One of the men arrested was the store's owner, 36-year-old Nate Driggers, who played 15 games as a forward for the Boston Celtics during the 1996-1997 season, said DeBois.

Also seized was 10 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $30,000, he said...
Go here for the remainder.

Okay, Driggers is a former NBA-er (we won't attempt to insert the word 'technically' because he was a member of an NBA team).

But does that brief affiliation of over 10 years ago merit such a headline?

One could understand if the NBA office in New York bothered to complain about such a choice (although it's actually too inconsequential to merit such action).

We see this as sloppiness, a lazy attempt to to use an easily recognizable entity in order to attract readers to an item. (it worked, at least on us).

What about mentioning the college Driggers attended and/or graduated from? Wouldn't that be just as so-called important as an NBA fling?

For what it's worth, Drillers also played in the American Basketball Association, the CBA, the IBA and in Holland but none of this is included.

But we will not enter into a rant against the media (which we guess includes us, at least on the fringe). Rather, this is a specific example at a specific publication, that we are calling out.

Watch out for the next time a former Boy Scout commits a crime -- we can see the headline already.

Friday, June 12, 2009

This could be something or nothing

Now this may be a typo or something inadvertently posted or possibly accurate.

Jeff Goodman's list of transfers has a former Duquesne player with Hawaii listed after his name but the name and the schools aren't bolded or capitalized which is the lingua franca for a player's actual new home.

Here it is:

Aleksandar Milovic, 6-7, F, Fr.. Duquesne - Hawaii

In a way, it makes sense as Bob Nash has collected a number of foreign-born ballers.

Does anyone know the reality here?

As for background, this was the Duquesne announcement of Milovic's signing:

Dukes take international route to bolster frontcourt
May 22, 2008

Duquesne University head men's basketball coach Ron Everhart has announced the signing of ... Aleksandar Milovic (MEEL-oh-vich) (Centje, Montenegro/Gymnasium) ... Milovic, 6-7, 235, averaged 21.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in his final high school season.

"Aleks is a very strong, athletic rebounder who is also a tremendous shooter," said Everhart. "His versatility will have a great impact on our program. Aleks is one of the best young players in Europe and we're very excited to have him as part of our program."

Just about a year later, this was offered about his departure:
Duquesne Media Relations
May 12, 2009

Duquesne University head basketball coach Ron Everhart announced Tuesday that forward ... Aleksandar Milovic (Cetinje, Montenegro/Gymnasium) have been released ... Milovic saw action in eight games in 2008-09. (for a total of 40 minutes of playing time)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

LA TECH fans gets some good news

LT basketball fans can breathe a bit easier because Magnum Rolle and Kyle Gibson have withdrawn from the NBA draft pool and will be returning for their senior seasons. This actually is no surprise but still there was some degree of concern as it's impossible to know what some of these young men are thinking during the time they're fishing in NBA waters.

Such was probably was going to happen anyway but it doesn't take much to figure that Kerry Rupp sleeps very soundly tonight.

Tech's Gibson and Rolle withdraw from NBA draft
Shreveport Times
June 10, 2009

Louisiana Tech head coach Kerry Rupp announced Wednesday morning that juniors Kyle Gibson and Magnum Rolle will not hire respective agents and thus withdraw from contention for the 2009 NBA Draft and come back and play their senior seasons for the Bulldogs.

Rupp spoke with both players Tuesday afternoon and faxed the appropriate paperwork to the NBA the following morning...
Go here for the remainder.

Nevada fans dreaming of Derrick Williams

Now that Tim Floyd has departed from Los Angeles and USC men's basketball continues to devolve (can AD Mike Garrett be far behind in packing up or do the Trojan boosters who count still only focus on football?), Nevada fans are pining for one Derrick Williams to come north.

With absolutely no insider information or possibly even insight (as many of our relatives and some feedback providers here will attest), we see this as a pipe dream. PAC-10 commits just don't come 'down' to the WAC, especially so when a number of high majors will be among his new suitors. We can hear it now but Hot Hand Luke's 'return' from the Big 10 was an anomaly -- a special case, special kid, special circumstances.

Chris Murray has been performing due diligence on this subject and has this report:

A little bit more on one-time Pack recruiting target Williams
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

As I noted in this blog earlier today, the departure of Tim Floyd from Southern Cal will likely lead to the loss of recruit Derrick Williams. I also threw out the possibility that Nevada might be a landing spot for Williams given that he took a recruiting visit to Nevada during the fall. After e-mailing with somebody who has recently spoken with Williams, I wouldn't bank on him wearing the silver and blue next season...
Go here for the remainder.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Some additional New Mexico State basketball news

Here's a bit on New Mexico State hoops, courtesy of KrimsonKrazy at the Sports Trough SCOUT message board:

Aggies May Undergo Major Change
Randy Harrison
Albuquerque Journal
June 8, 2009

Last year’s New Mexico State men’s basketball team graduated no one, and it surely won’t lose anybody to the NBA.

That said, there will be a few significant changes to the team in the pivotal third year under coach Marvin Menzies.

The impact loss, at least for the first semester, will be 6-foot-6 forward Wendell McKines to academics. He was the leading rebounder not only on an Aggies team that struggled in that area, but in the Western Athletic Conference with 10 per game.

Menzies said it’s possible McKines could miss the first semester or the entire season as a redshirt...
Go to the Sports Trough message board for the remainder.

Another Fresno State player departs

We've seen mention of this (Bryce Cartwright's departure) at the Save On Center Message Board but didn't know if it was fact or fiction. Now we know.

Cartwright, Seals leave Bulldogs men's basketball
Daniel Lyght
The Fresno Bee
June 8, 2009

Brian Seals and Bryce Cartwright are one and done at Fresno State.

The men's basketball players decided to transfer after one season with the Bulldogs, coach Steve Cleveland said Monday.

According to Cleveland, Seals opted to look for a program that might offer more playing time and Cartwright said he wanted to be closer to home. Seals has already committed to Chico State...
Go here for the remainder.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Chris Murray with three rule changes in NCAA hoops

Chris Murray has a concise summary of the tinkering the NCAA has done with college basketball for next season:

NCAA approves three rule changes in basketball
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

From the wire, a story on some new rules in college basketball.

NCAA approves 3 rules changes for men’s basketball

INDIANAPOLIS — An NCAA committee has approved three rules changes intended to clarify block-charge calls, who can shoot free throws after an injury and the expanded use of replay...
Go here for the remainder.

John Keith on Marvin Menzies

A hat tip to JT at the New Mexico State SCOUT site message board for locating this and certainly another tip o' the hat to John Keith for writing it:

Good PR goes a long way
John Keith
The Las Cruces Bulletin

Let’s hear it for Marvin Menzies, my new hero.

There is apparently more to his life than basketball. Marvelous Marv has taken a huge step forward in public relations. How many basketball coaches at the Division 1A level are creative enough to invite the public inside their homes for a wine tasting, chile con queso party? Bobby Knight? Yeah, sure. Mark Fox? Good luck...
Go here for the remainder.

Friday, June 5, 2009

WAC basketball tourney to reduce entries

It's hard to argue against this idea:

Tourney fields will be reduced
Ferd Lewis
Honolulu Advertiser
June 5, 2009

The Western Athletic Conference said it will trim the number of teams qualifying for both its men's and women's basketball tournaments from nine to eight as a cost-cutting measure.

Commissioner Karl Benson made the announcement yesterday following the end of the WAC's annual Board of Directors meeting in Las Vegas.

Benson said the move could come as soon as the March 2010 tournament but there was a chance it could begin in 2011. The WAC has held a so-called "play-in" or "pig-tail" game between the eighth and ninth seeds. This past season UH was the eighth seed in both the men's and women's tournaments...
Go here for the remainder.

Paul George honored

Kudos to Fresno State's Paul George for this recognition:

George Invited to U19 USA Basketball Training Camp
George received one of 18 invitations to compete for a spot on USA Basketball's U19 12-man roster.
June 4, 2009

Freshman Paul George showed Bulldog fans all season that he can shoot, drive, play stifling defense and take over a game. USA Basketball also noticed and sent George one of 18 prestigious invitations to attend the 2009 U19 World Championship Team Training Camp and compete for a spot on their 12-man roster.

The Training Camp begins on June 16 in Colorado Springs. Team finalists will be selected on June 18 then depart the United States on June 25 for Auckland, New Zealand. The U19 World Championship will be held July 2-12...
Go here for the remainder.

Hope springs eternal

It looked extremely rocky for the Mudville nine that day.
The score was two to four with but one inning left to play.
So, when Cooney died at second, and Burrows did the same,
A pallor wreathed the features of the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go, leaving there the rest
With that hope that springs eternal from within the human breast...

Casey at the Bat -- Ernest Lawrence Thayer
It's the same with recruiting. We look at who our favorite team -- Hawaii, LA TECH, Boise State, et al -- has corralled and envision success and Big Dancin' in our future due to the combination of heralded newcomers and proven returnees.

But it often doesn't turn out that way. Now there's no particular reason -- other than it's a shining example of our false hopes about recruiting -- that we chose Utah State and this particular batch of signees.

Here's the opening of an official release from the Utah State Aggies athletics site:
Men's Basketball Announces Fall Signing Class
Deremy Geiger, Rich Sirju, Jordan Stone and Bryce Webster have all signed NLI's to play at Utah State.
December 12, 2007

Utah State head men's basketball coach Stew Morrill announced Wednesday four players who have signed National Letters of Intent to compete for the Aggies. Among the group are two junior college transfers in Rich Sirju and Bryce Webster, and two high school standouts in Deremy Geiger and Jordan Stone...
Now Logan-ites must have been ecstatic after this announcement soon after the early 2007 signing period concluded. The harvest filled needs: two bigs, one a junior college transfer and the other a high school senior, plus a junior college shooting guard and a high school point. Any WAC fan would have felt the same had their team signed this bunch.

Stew Morrill was quoted thusly at the time:
"This group meets the needs that our program has coming up next season with the graduation of three seniors," said Morrill. "Deremy and Rich give us two quality guards that can shoot the ball to go along with our returning nucleus. Bryce gives us another quality post player with Division I experience, and we are excited about the progress Jordan has made in high school and we have no doubt he will be a tremendous asset to Utah State after returning from his mission."

"All of these student-athletes are very strong academically and all possess the high character that we demand from our players. We as a coaching staff are very excited about the potential of this group and are confident they will be positive influences both on and off the court during their Aggie careers."
But like the best laid plans of mice and men, it didn't work out as envisioned.


Geiger is departing after one season. He saw 7.4 minutes of action per game in 18 contests.

Sirju then played in three games, totaling 23 minutes, before determining he needed to move on elsewhere in order to play.

Webster never made it to campus, remaining at Irvine Valley College in California and then eventually signing with Cal State Fullerton of the Big West Conference. He played his freshman year at Minnesota.

Jordan is the only player who remains an Aggie. He has completed the initial year of his two-year LDS mission and is expected to be in Logan for the 2010-2011 season.

It's like we need to see better -- or in some cases, as good -- futures looming, whether it be as a sports fan or simply as a human being. A mindset that this or that hole will be filled by so-and-so and that success is just around the corner. It can't be quantified but it 'seems' most newcomers don't measure up to the visions -- fairly or unfairly -- we create in our minds for them but enough do to keep us engaging in the behavior.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Idaho has gotten a 2010 verbal

A Washington state prepster has just aligned himself with Coach Don Verlin and the Idaho Vandals after next season. A hat tip to jlwaters1 at the Idaho Scout site message board for bringing this to our attention.

Winston offers verbal commitment to play basketball at University of Idaho

WALLA WALLA, Wash. - Walla Walla High School junior guard Gary Winston verbally committed to accept a scholarship to the University of Idaho to play basketball beginning in 2010. Winston, 6'1 and 185 lbs, is a two-time all league selection and the Cascade Division Defensive Player of the Year. He also earned Honorable Mention All-State status last season after leading the Blue Devils to the Big 9 District title and a berth in the State 4A Basketball Tournament...
Go here for the complete article.

This is mystifying

We profess to having no insight on this matter, just a curiosity in how it is playing out.

That is, the will-he-stay or will-he-go question surrounding New Mexico State center Chris Gabriel. Generally, coaches at this point have settled their rosters and are focusing on the 2010 crop of recruits. But in Gabriel's instance, from the moment the 2008-2009 season ended to the present, it's been an open-ended question of will he remain an Aggie or not.

In matters like these, a coach will usually set a deadline so as to know if a need will require filling. That seems especially so with 'bigs' as they are much harder to replace than say backcourters.

What sparked this post is one of Jason Groves' recent blog entries:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

...Gabriel is 50-50 as far as leaving...

Go here for the complete post.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

This is sad, sad, sad

We put athletes on pedestals, off in a special category by themselves and too often forget that they are indeed human and therefore frail as anyone, on and off the court.

Being simply flesh and blood with the spectrum spanning reaching the mountaintops of success and happiness and also sinking to emotional depths of darkness unexplored, we all share these common denominators despite some possessing special skills.

Particular talents provide no shield against illness and, sadly, former Nevada and NBA player Kirk Snyder is such an example. His current situation goes far beyond the usual reaction in the us-versus-them division denoting fan-dom as only the worst among us will feel anything but 'there but for the grace..."

May he get well and soon.

Ex-NBA player not competent to stand trial for area assault
Denise G. Callahan
Dayton Daily News
May 28, 2009

Kirk Snyder, an ex-NBA player facing felonious assault and aggravated burglary charges, has been found not competent to stand trial and a Warren County judge has ordered he be force fed.

Snyder, 25, is accused of breaking in a home and assaulting a man on March 30 near his residence in the Beacon Hill Townhouses in Deerfield.

A Warren County grand jury indicted him on aggravated burglary and felonious assault charges, both felonies, He was also charged with a misdemeanor assault charge for allegedly attacking another inmate at the Warren County Jail after his arrest...
Go here for the remainder.

A hat tip to Henry Abbott at True Hoop for bringing this to our attention.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fresno State's Brian Seals to Chico State

We talked to a source today who said Fresno State frontcourter Brian Seals is transferring from the Bulldog program to California State University Chico, a member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association.

The 6-8, 215 Seals played little in 2008-2009 after coming to Fresno from Consumnes River College near Sacramento. He averaged 9.1 minutes per game of playing time in 29 games but did manage 20 blocked shots.

Chico is a Division II school athletically so Seals should be able to play right away. The expectation is that he will be an immediate starter for the Wildcats.

A must-read Chris Herren article

The WAC connection here goes back to Tark's tenure at Fresno State as the Boston Globe recently caught up with Chris Herren, a fine basketball talent waylaid by personal demons.

Hat tip to mitch42 at the Save Mart Center message board for posting this.

Changing of a guard
Finally clean and sober, Herren ready to embrace his post-basketball life
Marc J. Spears
Boston Globe
May 31, 2009

The 33-year-old's hopes of returning to the NBA or playing pro basketball anywhere in world are now basically dead. With his Massachusetts driver's license expected to be suspended soon, the Fall River hoop legend had to give up his job repossessing cars recently and is seeking employment in tough economic times. And the ex-Celtics point guard also has a wife and three kids to support.

But considering the long fight that a now-sober Chris Herren is winning over alcohol and drugs, his current issues are far from the end of the world.

"I've been to hell and back," said Herren. "I lived the life that most people, a lot of people, don't get a chance to come out of, straight up. By the grace of God and the help from a plethora of people, I was able to come out of this.

"My financial situation is today. For today, it's fine. Am I comfortable and happy with it? Do I aspire for more? Absolutely. But like I said, from where I've been, it's a lot better."

Herren's hard fall from hoop legend to addict started when he was at Durfee High School in Fall River...
Go here for the remainder.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Alex Kirk and James Johnson updates

The Land of Enchantment features prepster Alex Kirk -- go here to learn more about him -- who is a promising center so New Mexico State has a bid in but it will be an unrequited love affair. However, nothing is lost by trying. For the record, Utah State is also in on the Kirk action but he's just not bound for the WAC.

Another high school frontcourter -- 6-9, 220 James Johnson out of San Diego -- is also not going to be getting his mail at a WAC destination even though NMSU and Marvin Menzies are most interested. He's originally from Canada.

How do we know? We don't really but the lure of one of the powers-that-be will be too much for these kids. That's the way it's been and always will be. But there's always bouncebacks which is one of the reasons lower level college coaches make the original runs at higher level kids.

It's not WAC-related but...

New Kentucky Coach John Calipari won't necessarily like the lyrics of the song here but has to appreciate that a couple of guys took the time and made the effort to compose an ode to John.

Go here.