Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The coming season's All-WAC members

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

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

Jahmar Young

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

Mac Hopson

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

Adrian Oliver

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

So who from oh so many quality candidates comes next?

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

We're going with these two:

Luke Babbitt

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

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

Paul George

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

So who will be named the most valuable player?

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

What is today, isn't tomorrow

We recently cruised the Save Mart Center message board at the BarkBoard.com and one poster was lamenting the lack of Bulldog recruiting news vis-a-vis the other WAC teams. Paul George's name came up and we thought it important to post a reminder about his roundabout journey through RecruitingLand. It wasn't necessarily typical but it demonstrates the fluidity of recruiting and how situations change.

George is out of the Palmdale area, a bit out of the way of recruiting mecca (Los Angeles). He initially gave a verbal commitment to Kerry Keating and Santa Clara.

Then Vance Walberg was hired at Pepperdine and the wooing commenced to keep him in southern California.

It worked. George broke up with the Broncos and agreed to become a Walberg Wave, committing in early November 2007 and then signing.

Walberg abruptly resigned in mid-January 2008.

George asked for his release soon after and come April 15, 2008, George wedded himself to Steve Cleveland and Fresno State.

All credit certainly goes to Cleveland for landing George -- it was some unusual circumstances that led to his availability.

Travis Mason-Bushman with the top WAC seniors by position

Travis Mason-Bushman of Vandal Nation jumps into the fray with his listing of the best WAC seniors by position:

Hoops Preview 2009-10: The WAC’s Best Seniors
Travis Mason-Bushman
Vandal Nation
September 29, 2009

The 2009-10 basketball season is just about a month away, and to kick off our 2009-10 preview, we’ll join Western Athletic Conference beatbloggers Chris Murray and Jason Groves in offering our picks for the WAC’s best senior ballers. Juniors, sophomores and freshmen will follow.

We’ll mix things up a little bit by requiring the picks to be by position, with a first and second team. Players are judged on the basis of overall performance and team impact...
Go here for the remainder.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A James Walker update

Again, we have reverted back to going directly to the source in order to clear up any confusion and we talked with Los Alamitos High (CA) star backcourter James Walker yesterday.

(James Walker photo courtesy of Scout)

Named one of the top five juniors in Orange County after last season, the 6-foot-2 Walker is heading to Logan, Utah this weekend on an official visit. At the moment, Boise State is also seriously interested, with Fresno State and Nevada in the mix. Cal State Northridge rounds out Walker's top five at the moment. Currently, he plans to sign after his senior season.

Here is Scout's Greg Hicks describing Walker this past July: "Walker is a guard who might play some point guard down the road, but figures to be able to defend either spot at the next level. A terrific athlete, Walker is one of the faster players in the class. His stroke is solid to the stripe and he’s got a chance to be a very good defender with coaching."

Here is an August 2009 ESPN evaluation of Walker.

Chris Murray's best sophomores in the WAC

Chris Murray is out today with his list of the top sophomores among the various WAC teams:

The top-10 sophomores in WAC basketball this season
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
9/29/2009

The Las Cruces Sun-News' Jason Groves checks in with his top underclassmen (sophomores and freshmen together). Story here. I have offered my top-10 seniors and top-10 juniors, so now it's my turn for the underclassmen. After some review, I think the WAC's sophomore class might actually be more talented than the junior class.

Who would you take in a game between this team of juniors (PG Armon Johnson, SG Adrian Oliver, SF Jahmar Young, PF Wendell McKines and C Tai Wesley) and this team of sophomores (PG Hernst LaRoche, SG Paul George, SF Luke Babbitt, PF Troy Gillenwater and C Dario Hunt)? Close call. Anyway, on to the top-10 sophomores in the league...
Go here for the remainder.

Chris Murray surveys the WAC's top juniors

Hey, between Jason Groves and Chris Murray, the anticipation for basketball season is peaking. This is fun stuff. Many thanks to both these guys.

Murray has his best of the WAC junior class posted and he also includes some enjoyable links to compare and contrast the players he has chosen and ranked with those of Groves. Plus, he offers some video.

Head here to read his article.

Jason Groves on the WAC's frosh and sophomores

Jason Groves is back today with a look at the top talents in the WAC's freshman and sophomore classes:

Underclassmen
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News
September 27, 2009

This group is extremely unknown and very top heavy so I combined freshmen and sophomores for the upcoming season. Special thanks to Kevin McCarthy who helped fill in some gaps. There just wasn't the buzz for the young guys this year so the top flight players are no-brainers with the last three as underrated guys who broke through as last year went on. I expect this year's freshman class will do the same...
Go here for the remainder.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chris Murray on two Nevada visitors

Is it important/somewhat of a factor/negligible for a school's football team to win a game when basketball recruits are on campus and taking in the game? Our sense it might give a recruit a sense about the support shown for basketball if such is translatable but other than that, well, we're going with not much at all.

With such in mind, Chris Murray has the details on two prep frontcourters who will be taking in the sounds and sights of the University of Nevada, its football team and a choice restaurant or two this weekend.

Go here for the details.

If you were Coach Carter, who on the roster do you choose to host these two guys? Brandon Fields with Burris? Who for Atanga?

A Maverick Ahanmisi update

We don't know if he remains in Boise State's recruiting plans or vice versa but Maverick Ahanmisi, the southern California high school backcourter, has enrolled at Mississippi Elite Christian Academy in Jackson.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stew Morrill gettin' more love

Utah State Coach Stew Morrill gets 'pedastal-ed' in the following:

Ex-Aggie Nelson back in camp
Forward has hopes of making first NBA roster.
Steve Luhm
The Salt Lake Tribune
9/27/2009

There are a lot of familiar faces in training camp for the Utah Jazz, including one who has never played a regular-season game for them.

Spencer Nelson played in two Rocky Mountain Revues for the Jazz, and he participated in camp before the 2005-06 season.

A Pocatello, Idaho, native who starred at Utah State...

... During the conversation about Nelson, Sloan took the opportunity to sing the praises of Utah State coach Stew Morrill .

"I'll say this about the guys we get from Utah State," Sloan said. "They all know what's going on. The head coach up there is probably the best coach in the country, in my opinion. He does a great job, and the kids we've gotten in here from up there are just wonderful people..."
Go here for more.

It seems nothing was going to get this young man out from back east

Formerly of Maryland, 6-foot-9 Florida prepster Anthony Lee has cast his lot with the Temple Owls. Nevada apparently made an offer, as did USC and others, but the young man seems too connected to the east coast.

Kyle Gauss
OwlScoop.com Staff Writer
September 26, 2009

Temple coach Fran Dunphy got his first commitment from the class of 2010 Friday when Anthony Lee, a 6-foot-9 forward/center from Orlando's West Oaks Academy, verbally accepted the veteran coach's scholarship offer on the first day of his official visit...

...Lee, a Rivals.com 3-star prospect, is also ranked as the 38th-best center in the country by ESPN.com. He averaged 14.8 points and 13.8 rebounds last year at Eustis High School...

...Owl Scoop: What were your other offers?

Anthony Lee: "I had offers from USC, Washington, Nevada, George Washington, Georgia, Tulane, Seton Hall, VCU, George Mason and a lot of other schools..."
Go here for the full article and a Rivals sub is required.

Jason Groves' top WAC juniors

Continuing with his series, Jason Groves/Las Cruces Sun-News offers up his best of the WAC juniors:

Top flight juniors
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News
September 26, 2009

Jahmar Young, New Mexico State guard — The leading scorer in the WAC a year ago has gotten stronger in the offseason. IF redshirt Troy Gillenwater has a solid sophomore year and senior guard Jonathan Gibson plays well, Young could improve on his 17.9 ppg from a year ago. He was a first-team selection after shooting 42 percent on 3s last year. Young picked up his play when it mattered most, scoring 18.9 in WAC games...
Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Shooting from the peanut gallery

Kurt Cunningham photo courtesy of SD Dirk on Flickr

It's always heavy-lifting when doing a best of this or that list because very few, if anyone, offer any sorts of congratulations for taking the time and making the effort. The focus too often is offering an oh so easy riposte of hey, with a what about this player, you idiot?

We're not quibbling with either the Jason Groves effort or that of Chris Murray. Both were enjoyable and informative reads.

We simply want to throw out another name for consideration: Boise State bruiser Kurt Cunningham

The 6-foot-9 high and wide Cunningham led the WAC in shooting at 62% while going from one start as a sophomore to 17 in his junior season. He averaged 9.9 points per game -- this in 20 minutes of play each conference contest. The Indiana native grabbed 4.8 boards each time out.

The opportunity is available in 2008-2010 for Cunningham to better his numbers -- let's see what happens.

Chris Murray's Top 10 WAC Seniors

Chris Murray/Reno Gazette-Journal offers his ten best WAC 2009-2010 senior basketballers in an article today. One of the most intriguing questions is which Brandon Fields appears this go around -- last season's version or his performance as a sophomore?

The top-10 seniors in WAC basketball this season
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
9/26/2009

Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News offers his top seniors in the WAC this season. Go here for his in-depth profile of the class (h/t to Parsing the WAC). Since Jason offered his top seniors, I thought I would piggyback off that idea and list my top 10 in the conference this season. Rankings judging by college impact this season rather than NBA potential. Jason is planning on unveiling each class. I will link to his posts as the come and then offer my top 10s. Seniors first...
Go here for the remainder.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Jason Groves with a great article

Jason Groves whets the appetite with his posting today:

Top Seniors
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News
September 25, 2009

I wanted to go through the WAC based on class so this is the first of four in the next four days. I'm starting with the seniors because even though I think the WAC's best players are the sophomores and juniors, there are some quality seniors this year that will help lead the teams that I expect will be good as well as headline the bottom teams that I feel like will be better as well...

Go here for the meat and potatoes.

Chris Dortch and Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook

We received an email from Chris Dortch who is now the editor of Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook and yowza -- the coverage it contains has been expanded to 400 pages!

"Just wanted to update you on Blue Ribbon. I took over as editor for Chris Wallace back in the 1990s. I'd partnered with Joe Lunardi of Bracketology fame for a while, but have run the show myself since 1996.

We've since grown to 400 pages.

This quickie video produced by one of our partners, EA Sports, can catch you up on Blue Ribbon in less than two minutes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he4S-rEcJxI

People can order or book through our website,
www.blueribbonyearbookonline.com, or by calling 1-877-807-4857.

Thanks,
Chris
--
Chris Dortch
Editor
Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook
Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook
www.blueribbonyearbookonline.com"

Off we go into the wild blue yonder?

Hat tip to Chris Murray: northern California prep frontcourter Josh Ritchart is on a visit to Air Force. He's 6-foot-7 and probably still growing -- so how big are those cockpits?

Check in on Josh's Twitter account here.

We think Ritchart ought to consider SMU -- imagine the JR and Dallas headline for that one.

Jeff Goodman gives Idaho some love

FoxSport's Jeff Goodman devotes some space today to Coach Don Verlin and the Idaho Vandals:

IDAHO’S VERLIN HAS VANDALS ROLLING

I’m not sure there’s a better backcourt in the WAC than the duo of Mac Hopson and Steffan Johnson.

Hopson was a first-team all-league guy last season and Johnson sat out a year ago after transferring in from Pacific – where he was favored to win the Player of the Year in the Big West.

``I think we’ll have two point guards on the floor,” Verlin said. ``I’ll allow them both to bring the ball up. We’ll see how it works.”
Go here for the remainder (scroll down a bit)

K.C. Ross-Miller with a Nevada mention

Texas prep backcourter K.C. Ross-Miller is featured in a Rivals article and part of it is about Nevada pursuing him:

Jerry Meyer
Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst
September 24, 2009

...Nevada has made a significant push for the 6-foot, 170-pound point guard.

"Nevada snuck in out of no where," said Coach Miller. "They are on K.C. hard and really want him."
Go here for the full feature and a Rivals sub is required.

Here is an April 2009 ESPN evaluation of Ross-Miller.

Here is a 2008 feature on the young man.

Here is a You Tube video from when Ross-Miller was a Kentucky commit to Billy Gillispie.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

WAC basketball on television

Nick Jezierny/Idaho Statesman has a good summary of WAC basketball team appearances on television for the 2009-2010 season:

Nov. 16 Northern Colorado at Hawai'i 11:00 p.m. HT ESPN2

Jan. 2 Utah State at New Mexico State TBA ESPNU

Jan. 4 Nevada at New Mexico State 9:00 p.m. MT ESPNU

Jan. 11 New Mexico State at Idaho 8:00 p.m. PT ESPNU

Jan. 13 Utah State at Nevada 8:00 p.m. PT ESPN2

Jan. 14 Fresno State at Louisiana Tech 7:00 p.m. CT ERT

Jan. 21 Utah State at Fresno State 7:00 p.m. PT ERT

Feb. 3 Idaho at Utah State 9:00 p.m. MT ESPN2

Feb. 4 San Jose State at Louisiana Tech 7:00 p.m. CT ERT

Feb. 6 Nevada at Utah State 8:00 p.m. MT ESPNU

Feb. 6 Idaho at Boise State 10:00 p.m. MT ESPNU

Feb. 8 Louisiana Tech at New Mexico State 7:00 p.m. MT ERT

Feb. 10 Nevada at Idaho 8:00 p.m. PT ESPN2

Feb. 17 Louisiana Tech at Utah State 9:00 p.m. MT ESPN2

Feb. 24 Idaho at New Mexico State 9:00 p.m. MT ESPN2

Feb. 27 Fresno State at San Jose State 7:00 p.m. PT ESPNU

Mar. 4 San Jose State at Idaho 7:00 p.m. PT ERT

Mar. 11 WAC Tournament Quarterfinal(s) TBA ESPNU

Mar. 12 WAC Tournament Semifinal(s) TBA ESPN2

Mar. 13 WAC Tournament Championship 7:00 p.m. PT ESPN2

Go here for the full article.

Hide the women and children

Don't say we didn't warn you. Travis Mason-Bushman will be road-trippin' this season under the auspiciously titled Vandal Hoops Road Trip 2009-10 moniker. See if he will be in your neighborhood this winter by checking out the announcement story here.

Seriously, all credit goes out to him for the willingness to enter the Heart of Darkness (the Logan, Utah area that the dastardly Re-Fraction-ers call home) and just the willingness to be in Fargo, North Dakota on November 21.

We can only think that Mason-Bushman must be the progeny of a Navy Seal and an Army Ranger.

Ron Tyler on LA TECH hoops

Ron Tyler is back at his LA TECH basketball site with a rundown of the Bulldog roster. We completely overlooked the absence of 6-foot-9 recruit Kadeem Coleby which will hurt the depth among the 'bigs' for Kerry Rupp.

Go here for the article.

A Jordin Mayes update

Jordin Mays is a southern California backcourter with a large number of teams looking at him. Nevada and Fresno State have offered but we just don't see either happening. Mayes has tripped to Boston College and will do so to Utah this weekend.

Mayes Visits BC
Bill Plaidman
Eagle Insider
September 23, 2009

The hoops recruiting process is in the final stages and many of the top prospects are visiting schools this month. Boston College has had several prospects in this month. One of those is West Coast sharp shooter Jordin Mayes, from Los Angeles California.

Boston College has already secured the services of one shooting guard in this class. Brady Heslip committed to Coach Skinner in August. The Eagles may also be looking for a point guard in this class and entertained Jordin Mayes last week at The Heights.

“Yes I took my official visit the past weekend. Not the one that just passed, but the one before that. It was my first time and I really enjoyed it. The players were cool and the coaches were cool. It was a good experience. At BC I liked all of the players and the coaches. Everyone was cool. I think I'd fit in with their coaching scheme. I also liked that they don't put any pressure on guys. They just let guys play.”
Go here for the remainder and a Scout sub is required.

A Jordan Railey update

Jordan Railey is an Oregon 'big' who is attracting interest from a number of teams, including Boise State. That may change with the Ben King Bronco commitment but who knows? Maybe Railey is also seen as a power forward.

Railey Still Wide Open
Greg Hicks
West Coast Recruiting Analyst
September 23, 2009

Jordan Railey, a promising senior center from Oregon, is drawing interest from schools in the Big 12, WAC, Pac-10, WCC and Big West conferences.

Jordan Railey, 6-9 SR C Beaverton (Ore.) High, is ranked #3 in the 2010 class of West Coast centers. Railey has a solid frame and nice skill level, to go with good hands and feet...
Go here for the remainder and a Scout sub is required.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook does the WAC

We first became acquainted with the Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook is our late teens -- you know, prehistoric times when we were dodging dinosaurs that wandered on to the basketball court.

Back then, Chris Wallace ran the enterprise out of Buckhannon, West Virginia. He is now the general manager of the Memphis NBA franchise after being affiliated with Celtics for some time.

We're not sure who is behind it now but it was the greatest of days when the 200+ page basketball publication arrived in the mail.

This year's edition is now available and there's a very interesting forecast regarding how the various teams will finish come March 2010. Here it is:

BLUE RIBBON FORECAST: WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

1. New Mexico State
2. Utah State
3. Nevada
4. Fresno State
5. San Jose State
6. Louisiana Tech
7. Idaho
8. Boise State
9. Hawai'i

We see the WAC as a very tight race with close to every team being in the running for a first division finish. Looking at the above, Hawaii will definitely be a better team than last season's version but it still looks like the Rainbow Warriors will be on the outside looking in.

Boise State has some talent to replace but it's never wise to give a thumbs down to a Greg Graham-coached squad.

The Idaho prediction is a stunner because the Vandals will have much more talent and experience to call upon. Mac Hopson will not stumble and Steffan Johnson will be a very effective backcourt teammate. Coach Don Verlin also now has many more talents to plug in upfront. We just don't see a 7th place finish.

As for LT, it's much more likely that the Bulldogs will end with the roster that starts the season and Magnum Rolle will have the paint to himself. If junior college transfer DeAndre Brown is as effective as advertised at the point then don't count the Techsters out.

San Jose State needs Adrian Oliver and Justin Graham to be healthy and retain that status to make a move to among the top teams in the conference.

We're a little surprised at the Fresno State slotting. We fully expect Paul George to have a monster season and Steven Shepp will handle the point fine but there will be a lot of pressure on Greg Smith to produce consistently from the get-go.

Nevada's lack of depth leaves the Pack an injury short of trouble. There's certainly enough talent there but can Coach David Carter run as much as he would like to with a shortstaffed roster?

Gary Wilkinson will certainly be missed in Logan (but we think probably not in any other WAC cities) but there is enough firepower on the Utah State roster to make the contribution level of the Aggie center needing only to be serviceable.

The first semester absences of Wendell McKines and Troy Gillenwater will give New Mexico State two distinct seasons: a before WM/TG and an after WM/TG. There is enough firepower on the roster for the Aggies to make do early but McKines and Gillenwater will be needed for rebounding purposes if Coach Marvin Menzies' squad is to top the WAC.

The WAC team rosters for you

We've cut-n-pasted the current official rosters of the various WAC squads below:

BOISE STATE

24 La’Shard Anderson G 6-1 161 Jr. 1L San Diego, CA (Irvine Valley CC)
21 Robert Arnold F 6-7 170 Jr. TR Lancaster, CA (Antelope Valley College)
50 Kurt Cunningham C 6-9.5 260 Sr. 3L Sharpsville, IN (Tri-Central HS)
42 Sam Hicks F 6-9 230 Fr. HS Redding, CA (Liberty Christian HS)
20 Sean Imadiyi F 6-7 205 Sr. 1L Phoenix, AZ (New Mexico)
14 Nate Larsen G 6-2 185 Sr. 2L Park City, UT (Treasure Valley CC)
2 Daequon Montreal F 6-8 220 Jr. TR Syracuse, NY (Coll. of Southern Idaho)
32 Zack Moritz C 6-10.5 250 Jr. 2L Vancouver, WA (Columbia River HS)
25 Paul Noonan F 6-7 210 Jr. 2L Beaverton, OR (Beaverton HS)
3 Ike Okoye F 6-9 230 Sr. 1L Sacramento, CA (Wyoming)
1 Westly Perryman G 6-2 180 Jr. TR Bronx, NY (Monroe College)
4 Justin Salzwedel G 6-1 190 Jr. RS Phoenix, AZ (Phoenix College)
11 Anthony Thomas G 6-0 205 Sr. 3L Mansfield, TX (Mansfield Summitt HS)
30 Tyler Young F 6-7.5 215 Fr. RS Leesburg, VA (Bishop O’Connell HS)


FRESNO STATE

11 Jerry Brown, Jr. G/F 6-7 195 Fr. HS Richmond, Calif. (Sacred Heart)
24 Paul George G/F 6-8 210 So. 1L Palmdale, Calif. (Pete Knight HS)
15 Nedeljko Golubovic F 6-8 245 Jr. 2L Pljevlja, Serbia (Finlady College Prep)
20 Garrett Johnson G/F 6-5 190 Fr. HS Pomona, Calif. (Diamond Ranch)
25 Justin Johnson F 6-6 205 R-Fr. HS Phoenix, Ariz. (Brewster Academy)
3 Taylor Kelly G 6-2 200 R-Fr. HS Bakersfield, Calif. (Centennial HS)
1 Mike Ladd G 6-5 190 So. 1L Seattle, Wash. (Rainier Beach HS)
30 Sylvester Seay F 6-10 235 Sr. 3L San Bernardino, Calif. (Arizona State)
12 Steven Shepp G 6-2 170 R-So. 1L Woodbridge, Va. (Allegany Coll. of Mary.)
22 Greg Smith C 6-10 250 Fr. HS Fresno, Calif. (Westwind Academy)
32 Brandon Sperling G 6-4 180 So. 1L Fresno, Calif. (Buchanan HS)
42 Brandon Webster C 6-10 275 Jr. 2L Bryan, Texas (Bryan HS)
2 Jonathan Wills G 6-6 180 Jr. 1L Carson, Calif. (New Mexico)


HAWAII

32 Brandon Adams F 6-7 220 Sr. 1L Seattle, Wash. (Diablo Valley College)
15 Beau Albrechtson G 6-4 205 So. 1L Honolulu, O‘ahu (Kaimuki HS)
41 Bill Amis F 6-9 220 Sr. 2L Oklahoma City, Okla. (Pratt CC)
1 Petras Balocka F 6-8 250 Sr. 1L Vilnius, Lithuania (Pensacola JC)
21 Paul Campbell F 6-10 215 Sr. 2L Ontario, Canada (Arkansas-Fort Smith)
23 Roderick Flemings F 6-7 210 Sr. 1L Dallas, Texas (Weatherford College)
3 Zane Johnson G 6-5 205 Jr. TR Phoenix, Ariz. (Arizona)
34 Douglas Kurtz C 7-0 265 Jr. TR Pelotas, Brazil (Marshalltown CC)
20 Jeremy Lay G 6-0 185 Jr. TR Oklahoma City, Okla. (N. OK Coll.-Enid)
22 Leroy Lutu G 6-3 200 So. 1L Mercer Island, Wash. (Mercer Island HS)
24 Adhar Mayen F 6-8 195 Sr. 2L Pflugerville, Texas (Hill College)
33 Aleksandar Milovic F 6-7 220 So. TR Cetinje, Montenegro (Duquesne)
2 Hiram Thompson G 6-2 175 Jr. 2L El Dorado Hills, Calif. (Oak Ridge HS)
5 Dwain Williams G 6-0 175 Jr. TR San Diego, Calif. (Providence)
12 Ji Xiang F 6-10 240 So. 1L Henan, China (Zhengzhou No. 11)


IDAHO

33 Kyle Barone C 6-10 215 So. HS Garden Grove, Calif. (Pacifica HS)
34 Travis Blackstock F 6-5 200 Sr. 1L Kuna, Idaho (Kuna HS)
3 Shawn Henderson G 6-4 175 Jr. JC Renton, Wash. (North Idaho Coll.)
1 Mac Hopson G 6-2 185 Sr. 1L Portland, Ore. (Washington State)
53 Marvin Jefferson C 6-10 245 Sr. 1L Merced, Calif. (Modesto JC)
5 Steffan Johnson G 6-1 175 Sr. RS Kent, Wash. (Pacific)
42 Joe Kammerer C 6-9 250 Fr. HS Eugene, Ore. (North Eugene HS)
20 Marcus Lawrence G 5-10 180 Jr. RS Las Vegas, Nev. (UNLV)
2 Jeff Ledbetter G 6-3 190 Jr. JC Brea, Calif. (Irvine Valley CC)
13 Luciano de Souza F 6-7 205 Sr. 1L Matão, Brazil (South Plains College)
0 Corey Stern F 6-7 200 Fr. HS Seattle, Wash. (Rainier Beach HS)
10 Landon Tatum G 6-1 195 Jr. JC San Antonio, Texas (South Plains)
21 Luiz Toledo F 6-7 220 So. RS Araraquara, Brazil (St. Francis Xavier)
32 Kashif Watson G 6-4 190 Sr. 1L Las Vegas, Nev. (Irvine Valley CC)
11 Brandon Wiley F 6-6 225 Sr. 1L Pinole, Calif. (City Coll. of San Francisco)


LOUISIANA TECH

5 Olu Ashaolu 6-7 230 G So. 1L Toronto, Ontario (Humble Christian)
33 Anson Bartlett 6-3 175 G So. 1L Little Rock, Ark. (Pulaski Academy)
10 Yonas Berhe 5-10 160 G So. 1L Toronto, Ontario (Father Henry Carr)
11 DeAndre Brown 5-11 160 G Jr. TR Fort Worth, Texas (Navarro JC)
2 Brandon Gibson 6-5 230 G So. 1L Marianna, Fla. (Marianna HS)
22 Kyle Gibson 6-5 205 G Sr. 3L Los Angeles, Calif. (Dorsey HS)
3 Jamel Guyton 6-3 180 G Sr. 1L Odessa, Texas (Odessa College)
30 David Jackson 6-8 195 F Sr. 1L Tucson, Ariz. (Mesa CC)
45 Shawn Oliverson 6-10 250 F/C Jr. 1L Preston, Idaho (Cornell)
24 Darius Redding 6-4 205 F Fr. HS Tallahassee, Fla. (Godby HS)
15 Magnum Rolle 6-11 225 F/C Sr. 1L Freeport, Bahamas (LSU)


NEVADA

5 Luke Babbitt F 6-9 225 So. 1L Reno, Nev. (Galena HS)
33 Adam Carp F 6-7 200 Jr. 2L Clayton, Calif. (Clayton Valley HS)
14 Marko Cukic F 6-9 235 Fr. HS Belgrade, Serbia (IMG Academy)
0 Brandon Fields G 6-4 185 Sr. 3L Arlington, Texas (Bowie HS)
12 Keith Fuetsch G 5-11 170 Fr. HS Reno, Nev. (Bishop Manogue HS)
11 London Giles G 6-3 180 So. 1L Dallas, Texas (Kimball HS)
44 Dario Hunt F 6-8 230 So. 1L Colorado Springs, Colo. (Charis Prep)
23 Armon Johnson G 6-3 195 Jr. 2L Reno, Nev. (Hug HS)
20 Ray Kraemer G 6-4 200 Sr. 2L Kemah, Texas (Weatherford College)
1 Patrick Nyeko G 6-6 190 Fr. HS London, England (Seattle Prep)
43 Keith Olson F 6-9 240 Jr. TR Gardnerville, Nev. (Northern Arizona)
3 Joey Shaw F 6-6 205 Sr. 1L Glendale, Ariz. (Coll. of Southern Idaho)
21 Malik Story G 6-5 222 So. TR Pasadena,


NEW MEXICO STATE

0 Tray Britt G 6-3 195 Sr. 3L Richmond, Calif. (Hogan HS)
34 Gordo Castillo G 6-5 197 Jr. 2L Las Cruces, N.M. (Las Cruces HS)
5 Lamine Diame F 6-6 195 Fr. HS Dakar, Senegal (De La Fosse)
21 Makhtar Diop G 6-6 183 So. HS Dakar, Senegal (St. Jeanne D’Arc)
1 Jahmar Young G 6-5 180 Jr. 2L Baltimore, Md. (Laurinberg Prep)
22 Jonathan Gibson G 6-1 171 Sr. 3L West Covina, Calif. (Calvary Christian Prep)
33 Troy Gillenwater F 6-8 234 So. 1L Boston, Mass. (Stoneridge Prep)
3 Da’Shawn Gomez G 6-1 160 Fr. HS Inglewood, Calif. (Inglewood HS)
13 Hernst Laroche G 6-1 170 So. 1L Montreal, Quebec (Vanier College)
24 Robert Lumpkins F 6-7 191 Jr. 1L Washington, D.C. (Kilgore College)
31 Wendell McKines F 6-6 224 Jr. 2L Oakland, Calif. (Richmond HS)
15 Kelly Merker F 6-4 190 Sr. 1L Santa Fe, N.M. (Monte del Sol HS)
55 Abdoulaye N’doye C 7-0 210 Fr. HS Dakar, Senegal (Cheikh Anta Diop)
RS Jacoby Patton G 6-4 177 Fr. HS New Orleans, La. (McMain HS)
32 Hamidu Rahman C 6-11 245 So. 1L Somerset, N.J. (American Christian)
11 Justin Standley G 6-3 197 Fr. HS Oakland, Calif. (McClymonds HS)
10 Bandja Sy F 6-8 203 Fr. HS Cergy, France (Stoneridge Prep)
12 Tyrone Watson F 6-5 220 Fr. HS Hamilton, Ontario (Hamilton Cathedral HS)
35 B.J. West F/C 6-8 215 Fr. HS Cheneyville, La. (God’s Academy)


SAN JOSE STATE

2 Adrian Oliver G 6-4 210 Jr. 1V Modesto, Calif. (Washington)
4 Kyle Thomas F 6-8 225 So. TR Folsom, Calif. (Loyola, Ill.)
5 Justin Graham G 6-4 195 Jr. 2V Ripon, Calif. (Ripon HS)
10 Aalim Moor G 6-3 183 Fr. HS Albany, Calif. (St. Mary’s HS)
21 Moses Omolade F 6-8 200 Jr. JC Brooklyn, N.Y. (Southwestern College)
22 C.J. Webster F 6-9 255 Jr. 2V Missouri City, Texas (Texas State)
23 Robert Owens G 6-3 185 Sr. 1V Oakland, Calif. (CC of San Francisco)
24 Chris Jones G/F 6-4 205 Fr. HS Newark, Calif. (Newark Memorial HS)
30 Chris Oakes C 6-10 235 Sr. 2V Oakland, Calif. (Pepperdine)
32 Joe Henson C 6-8 245 Fr. HS Pasadena, Calif. (Pasadena HS)
33 Mac Peterson G 6-3 195 Sr. 2V Martinez, Calif. (Diablo Valley)
35 Anthony Dixon G/F 6-5 195 Fr. HS Chicago, Ill. (Hyde Park Academy)
50 Garrett Ton F 6-8 222 So. SQ Torrance, Calif. (West Torrance HS)
52 Jerelle Wilson G 6-1 200 Sr. SQ San Francisco, Calif. (Sacred Heart)


UTAH STATE

2 Preston Eaton G 5-10 170 Fr. HS Springville, Utah (Springville HS)
4 Chandler Smith G 6-2 185 Fr. HS Providence, Utah (Mountain Crest HS)
5 Pooh Williams G/F 6-3 200 Jr. 2L Federal Way, Wash. (Federal Way HS)
12 Brian Green G 6-1 195 Jr. JC Kaysville, Utah (Salt Lake CC)
13 Preston Medlin G 6-4 165 Fr. HS Carrollton, Texas (Hebron HS)
15 Modou Niang C 6-10 220 R-So. 1L Richard-Toll, Senegal (Hachioji HS)
21 Jared Quayle G 6-1 180 Sr. 1L Perry, Utah (Western Wyoming CC)
22 Brady Jardine F 6-7 220 So. 1L Twin Falls, Idaho (Twin Falls HS)
23 Tyrone White F 6-6 175 Fr. HS Portland Ore. (Air Force Prep)
24 Tyler Newbold G 6-4 200 Jr. 2L Payson, Utah (Payson HS)
25 Jaxon Myaer G 5-9 165 So. 1L Salt Lake City, Utah (Judge Memorial
30 Morgan Grim F 6-8 220 Jr. TR Riverton, Utah (Utah)
35 Nate Bendall F 6-9 245 Jr. JC Salt Lake City, Utah (Salt Lake CC)
42 Tai Wesley F 6-7 240 Jr. 2L Provo, Utah (Provo HS)
44 Matt Formisano F 6-8 235 Jr. 2L Centennial, Colo. (Heritage HS)
54 Anthony DiLoreto C 7-1 230 Fr. HS Minnetonka, Minn. (Hopkins HS)

Chris Murray's WAC items

14 of the top 15 scorers in the WAC are back? Wow. Experience and firepower -- that bodes very well.

Check out more of what caught Chris Murray's attention while perusing the official WAC Preview.

Jason Groves has some NMSU personnel updates

New Mexico State is edging close to being able to have separate five-on-five practices and Jason Groves/Las Cruces Sun News has the latest on some of the newest Aggies.

Go here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Gary Winston Factual File

After belatedly coming to the conclusion that the Gary Winston/Idaho situation was still too hazy, we decided to seek clarification. Taking a two-pronged approach, we emailed a number of reporters in the Walla Walla coverage area and struck gold with Rene Ferran. We also sought to talk with Gary Winston Sr. and succeeded.

Ferran, a sports reporter for the Tri Cities Herald, beat everyone to the punch. He has an article up with the plain truth:

Rene Ferran
Out of Bounds
Tri Cities Herald
September 21, 2009

..."I've heard the same stuff, too, and it's not true," he {Gary Winston Jr.] said. "I don't know how it got started, but I am still going to Idaho..."
Go here for the full story. Thank you Rene for taking the time and making the effort here.

After speaking with Gary Winston Sr. Monday afternoon, we at PTW composed this:

Go straight to the source is the Golden Rule of journalism and that's the path we should have followed in originally determining the status of Walla Walla prepster Gary Winston and his verbal commitment to Idaho basketball coach Don Verlin.

Despite some contrary and (of course) anonymous postings on various message boards, Gary Winston Sr. said yesterday on the phone that his son is going to officially become a Vandal come the November signing period. That absolutely removes any so-called question marks or doubts, period.

We asked Mr. Winston why his son chose Idaho and he said, "Gary was impressed with the coaching staff and the school layout and liked that it wasn't a huge university where you can get lost." As to the latter, he was speaking more of disappearing in the proverbial shuffle as a student. The Vandal coaches and support people also answered all the questions the younger Winston put to them.

Having not witnessed him play, we also inquired as to the younger Winston's best basketball skills and the elder Winston qualified his answer with "keep in mind it's coming from his father" and offered "quickness, leaping ability, mid-range jumper and defensive play."

John Golden, Winston's high school coach, added this about his player. "Gary is one of the hardest working players I've ever been around. He's right up there with '99 grad Kyle Bankhead who went on to play at Gonzaga. He is constantly working on his game and pushing himself to get better. He's been a great role model for our younger players in the community. I look forward to seeing him as a Vandal, but am even more excited to have him here for another year!"

Okay, NOW you have it, no if, ands or buts...or anonymous postings.

Congrats to Gary Winston and the Winston family and another thank you to Rene Ferran for his timely work..

Monday, September 21, 2009

SeldomSeenSnith comes through again

Ben Mills photo courtesy of livinglakecountry.com

On a day when we had nothing, SeldomSeenSmith comes to our rescue:
"Ben Mills, a 7 footer from Wisconsin verballed to Boise State over the weekend. Mills had an offer from Utah State, but considering the fact that the Aggies signed 7 footer Diloreto late, and are now looking for a PG only for next year, the offer was probably rescinded."
Doing a bit of digging, we found this from 2008:

Arrowhead High coach Craig Haase on Mills: “The great thing about Ben is that he works hard every time he takes the floor, whether college scouts are watching him or if he is in the gym by himself. People who notice that are then willing to offer him because they see that he is going to continue to get better. Ben knows where he is at as a player and knows where he wants to be and that drives him every day to work on his skills and strength.”

Here's the article on Mill's verbal which says he chose the Broncos over Hawaii and Oregon State:
Mark Miller
Wishoops.net Editor
9/20-08


After taking more than a handful of unofficial visits to colleges across the Midwest and the United States during the past six months, Ben Mills knew exactly what he was looking for in a college.

And the every-growing and ever-improving 7-foot-1 senior from Hartland Arrowhead found what he was in search of during an official visit to Boise State in Idaho last weekend.

After thinking about it for a few days, Mills decided to make the big decision by verbally committing to play college basketball for the Western Athletic Conference school on Saturday...
Go here for the remainder.

Reggie Theus Jr.

Reggie Theus Jr. photo courtesy Dave Keefer/CaliforniaPreps

We scoured the 'net today and came up with nothing yet there had to be at least some visits going on at WAC schools this weekend. We did find a note and photo about a certain Reggie Theus Jr. who is a freshman at Fairfax High in Los Angeles. It's obviously a ways down the line but it will be interesting to see who joins the recruiting suitors for the youngster.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Yannick Atanga update

The Gonzaga site -- The Slipper Still Fits -- has a very informative update on southern California frontcourter Yannick Atanga. He's a Nevada recruiting target.

Here's a brief cut-and-paste featuring his high school coach: "He has visits setup to Santa Clara and Nevada-Reno. I hope and I think he will take all five visits at this point. He is planning on waiting until the late period to commit and sign, so I think he will have time to take all of his visits."

Go here for the full post.

Nevada scouting a junior college big

Melvin Grussing is back today with a brief entry about an Antelope Valley College big who is being eyed by Nevada. The young man played junior college ball in Illinois last year.

Go here for the post.

Here's Grussing with an earlier post on McGrew: "Antelope Valley College just picked up Chicago native, George McGrew, 6’8”, 225, forward. He played for Oakton Community College in Des Panes, Illinois last season where he led the team with 9.9 rebounds, 2.6 blocks per game and second in scoring with 12.2 ppg. McGrew averaged 61.9% on 2 point shots."

Jason Groves with a NMSU recruiting tidbit

Jason Groves/Las Cruces Sun-News has an interesting item about another foreign player Coach Marvin Menzies is wooing -- this one a South African. Go here for the post.

Here is a 2008 article indicating the young man has been attending and playing for Stoneridge Prep in southern California. He took up basketball in 2006 so expect rawness and potential to be the bywords on him.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Damon Powell update

Damon Powell photo courtesy of Dave Keefer, California Preps

Just confirmed with Los Medanos College Coach Derek Domenichelli that McClymonds High star and Fresno State recruit Damon Powell is attending Los Medanos which is in Pittsburgh, CA.

We don't know the specifics here but typically if a player is a non-qualifier then he or she must earn their A.A. degree before transferring to a D-1 college.

Since 2001, Los Medanos men's basketball has a 100% graduation rate of second year student-athletes so that certainly bodes well for Powell. Domenichelli's squad went 24-10 last season, 12-4 in the Bay Valley Conference.

Josh Ritchart gets a home visit from Nevada

On August 20, Auburn (CA) senior forward Josh Ritchart visited UC Davis.

He officially tripped to Pacific on September 3. His older brother, Andrew, is now there after being at Cal State East Bay (Hayward, CA) last year. Andrew is a 6-foot-3 guard.

Nevada Coach David Carter did a home visit with the 6-foot-7 Ritchart Thursday night.

All of the above courtesy of his Twitter account here.

Troy Leaf to UC Santa Barbara

After San Diego area backcourter Troy Leaf de-committed from San Diego State (the backcourt was getting over-populated) Nevada was mentioned, along with Portland and a pair of PAC-10 schools as possibilities

We thought somewhere in the West Coast Conference would be his next destination and the proper level for his talents.

We were wrong (again).

But not too far off.

Leaf has now committed to Coach Bob Williams and the Gauchos in the Big West Conference.

ESPN's Joel Francisco twittered this: "Troy Leaf has casted his lost with UCSB."

Expanding further elsewhere, Francisco wrote: "Troy Leaf, a 6-foot-1 shooting guard, cast his lot with the Gauchos of Santa Barbara after parting ways with San Diego State during his junior campaign, ESPN.com Recruiting Coordinator Joel Francisco.

"Troy's a deceptive two-guard who plays the game with a ton of moxy and scoring prowess," Francisco said. "His frame doesn't project well for the next level, but he is blessed with some bounce and a prolific shooting stroke that extends out to the 3-point line.

"He's fairly explosive in transition and he's quite good at getting his own shot while on the break. In the half court set, he could be very effective coming off of a screen to set up for the jump shot. He also moves well without the ball and possesses a high basketball IQ."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

San Jose State gets a verbal

Chino Hills backcourter Derek Brown has given a verbal 'yes' to San Jose State.

Here is an April, 2009 ESPN evaluation of Brown.

Here is Joel Francisco/ESPN reporting on Brown's commitment.

Here is a July, 2008 article on Brown from the Los Angeles Times.

Merlin Verlin? We love it

Travis Mason-Bushman is back with a look at Idaho Coach Don Verlin and whether or not he'll remain in Moscow after additional seasons of success. The wordplay in the headline is topnotch!

Vandal fans key to keeping Merlin Verlin on the Palouse
Travis Mason-Bushman
Vandal Nation
September 16, 2009


In Don Verlin’s first press conference as coach of the Idaho Vandals, back in March 2008, he had but one request.

“We need you to care,” he said.

At the time, it seemed to be a plaintive cry for attention by one of the nation’s most inept basketball programs.

Now, after Verlin engineered the biggest single-season turnaround in Idaho history (we looked it up), giving the Vandals their best season of the century with just seven scholarship players, that same plea looms large when it comes to answering the key question for the future of Vandal hoops:

Can we keep Merlin Verlin?
Go here for the remainder.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Godwin Okonji to visit Hawaii in October

According to Rivals recruiting guru Jerry Meyer, Findlay Prep big man Godwin Okonji will be touring Hawaii the weekend of October 10.

Here is an ESPN evaluation of the 6-foot-8 Nigerian.

A visitor to Utah State

SeldomSeenSmith is back with an item about another backcourter who has tripped to Logan:

"The Ags received a visit from Brockeith Pane, a 6'2" guard from Midland JC who's a D1 kickback from the University of Houston."
In researching the young man, Rivals had him listed at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds as a high school senior. He is out of the Dallas area. It seems he played scoring guard in high school but began transitioning to the point with his AAU club in the spring and summer of his junior year. Paine also played football as a prepster.

As a freshman at Houston, he and earned Conference USA Player of the Week honors in late November 2007 by posting a two-game average of 23.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals.

Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle offered these July 2007 observations of Pane in summer workouts:
"Brockeith Pane: Where Zamal Nixon has the slender, willowy body that you would expect of a kid right out of high school, this guy is sculpted like a linebacker. Pane is another who can shoot it from the outside or take his man off the dribble, but his offensive game doesn't appear to be as polished as Nixon's. No, Pane's strength appears to be defense. And by that, I mean Brian Latham-style defense. Pane doesn't quite have the handles that Nixon possesses (only Lanny can match Z on the bounce), but he's not a liability with the ball, either. And with that rocked-up body, Pane can also take contact in the paint and still finish the play."
Here's an old analysis of Pane by Blue Zertouch (TexasHoops.com) from 2007 when Pane committed to Houston:
"Texas Hoops Analysis: BROCKEITH is a strong guard who can be streaky from the 3 point line but can still score if his perimeter shot isn't falling. He has the strength to finish at the rim against bigger players, can take contact on the dribble and still keep his path to the goal, has a nice mid-range jumper and is tough to keep out of the lane. He is a good ball handler but can get a little sloppy with his passes, has the body to play physical defense on the perimeter and likes an open court game that gives him freedom to play his game and go 1 on 1."

We're not sure why but here's a LeBron article

No, LeBron (we think it's okay to use just the first name at this point) didn't have Nevada or Utah State under consideration before he went directly into the NBA but it's not often that a respected non-sports magazine such as Vanity Fair offers a solid article about an athlete, one sure to contain information previously unknown to most fans.

Does that work as an excuse to run it here?

LeBron’s Band of Brothers
In an excerpt from his new book, the N.B.A.’s biggest star recalls the team that made him: five kids who challenged themselves, one another, and their community, going all the way to the bittersweet final game that would make them National Champions.
By LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger
Vanity Fair
September 2009


Excerpted from Shooting Stars, by LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger, to be published this month by the Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.; © 2009 by the authors.

Ibelieve that things happen for a reason. I believe it was Karma that connected me to Coach Dru.
LeBron James

Buzz Bissinger shares video of the Fab Five’s extraordinary run.

Dru Joyce graduated from Ohio University in 1978. He got a sales job at Hunt-Wesson Foods, in Pittsburgh, and after a few years was promoted to senior sales rep for Cleveland and the eastern suburbs. By all rights Coach Dru and his family should have settled in the Cleveland area. Had he done so, I never would have met him, and without meeting him, who knows what would have happened to me. A district manager at Hunt-Wesson suggested he settle in Akron, which was a little cheaper than Cleveland, and Coach Dru took his advice. He moved there with his family in March of 1984, thinking it was temporary. But there was something about Akron he liked—the size of it, the feel of it, even the smell of it: although Goodyear and Firestone had closed their tire plants in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a few companies were still making rubber products back then, and every afternoon you could catch the sharp aroma. So he stayed, eventually moving to a house on Greenwood Avenue in West Akron. And because he stayed my life changed...
Go here for the remainder.

Travis Mason-Bushman on Idaho's out of conference schedule

Travis Mason Bushman's Idaho athletics coverage can also be found here.

Vandals' schedule a reflection of Verlin's Utah State experience
Travis Mason-Bushman
The Argonaut
September 14, 2009


When Idaho Vandals men's basketball coach Don Verlin was asked about the similarity of his team's 2009-10 schedule to schedules of the Utah State Aggies, he laughed.

"I did the schedules at Utah State, so they would look pretty similar," said Verlin, a former Aggies assistant coach.

The resemblance is seen most clearly in what's generally missing from both slates - so-called "marquee" nonconference games against power-conference foes...
Go here for the remainder.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CORRECTION: Walker visiting USU

My bad: Los Alamitos backcourter James Walker is tripping to Utah State. Sorry for the gun jumping.

Gut level sense: he will end up in Logan.

Let's see.

Chris Murray on Nevada's out of conference schedule

Chris Murray provides his take on each of Nevada's out of conference contests this season. This is something we wish every WAC beat reporter would undertake.

Go here.

A Jordan Mayes update

Jordan Mayes is a southern California backcourter who checks in at 6-foot-1 but is more a shooting guard than a point. Alex Schwartz of Northstar Basketball has an update on Mayes and it appears Boise State and Fresno State are not part of his favorite three.

Go here for the information.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Utah State gets a commit

We're not sure if anything has been posted as yet on the 'net but we understand that Los Alamitos backcourter James Walker has given a verbal to Utah State.

Here is an ESPN August, 2009 evaluation of the 6-foot-1 Walker.

SCOUT describes him as "bouncy athlete with good length and upside. Decent shooter, overall ball skills are solid. Likely mid major prospect with a chance to go higher."

Here is a very short YouTube spoof video featuring Walker.

He was named the most valuable player in the Sunset league last season. It appears he is more of a scorer than a point -- or at least that's what he has accomplished in high school to date.

Here are a series of 26 photos of Walker at the Maxpreps site.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gary Winston, ex-Vandal

Recently, an email arrived asking if we knew anything about Gary Winston, a 2010 Walla Walla, Washington prepster, deciding to nullify his verbal commit to play basketball at Idaho and open up his recruitment.

We had nothing on this one.

But a lightbulb went off and we remembered Jim Basnight and his Husky Digest site. It is U-Dub focused but Basnight also has connections all over the state and beyond. Anyone interested in hoops information throughout the Evergreen State should be a subscriber.

So we sent an email to Jim.

He got back to us with: "There have been reports on various internet sites that 2010 guard Gary Winston of Walla Walla has decommitted from Idaho and is thought to be headed to either WSU or OSU. Winston is an under the radar kid..."

So there you go.

Winston also is a footballer and initially was going to refrain from playing as a senior. That also changed. Here is a September 11 column containing that news (scroll down to the fourth item).

Here is a July, 2009 ESPN evaluation of Winston the basketballer.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Who can help us out here?

Anthony Ray has an article up at his Arizona Preps site about former Arizona prepster Nick Markovich and his curious choices of colleges and it appears there is something missing from it.

Markovich was getting interest from a number of mid-majors -- two in the WAC -- yet chose a small Christian school. Now he has changed his mind and is headed for the community college ranks in California. Does anyone know more about this situation? Was Markovich looking for high major interest, didn't receive it and then went with a school connected to his faith? And now, has he decided to try a season at a junior college in order to try and get that high level school interested in him? We thought Utah State would be a good choice. Help us out here if you can parse the puzzle.

Anthony Ray
ArizonaPreps.com Recruiting Analyst
September 12, 2009


Basha High School's 6-foot-4, 200-pound senior guard Nick Markovich saw his college recruitment soar throughout his senior season of high school.

After being selected as the Tournament Most Valuable Player from last year's 10th Annual Arizona Preps Fall Showcase, Markovich received numerous visits to his school by college coaches, including visits from assistant coaches from such schools as Iowa, Colorado State, Utah State, Hawaii, Toledo and SMU.

After considering his options for college, Markovich chose to sign a national letter of intent with a division-II school, Point Loma Nazarene University, a member of the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC)...
Go here for the remainder and a Rivals sub is required.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Idaho gets two commits


Idell Bell photos courtesy of FloridaToday.com

Travis Mason-Bushman has the details at his Vandal Nation site:

Vandals get verbal commits from two NIC hoopsters
Travis Mason-Bushman
Vandal Nation
September 11, 2009


The Idaho Vandals are building a pipeline to North Idaho College, one of the nation’s top JC programs. The Lewiston Tribune’s Dale Grummert reported today that freshman forward Renado Parker and sophomore guard Idell Bell have verbally committed to join the Vandals in 2010...
Go here for the remainder.

From a Wright State message board comes this 2007 posting about Bell signing with D-2 Florida Southern:
Coach Linc Darner didn't have to leave the Lakeland city limits to sign a prize recruit for next season. Kathleen High School's standout guard, Idell Bell, has signed with the Moccasins.

"Idell has been on our radar since the day we arrived at Florida Southern," Darner said. "We hit a home run with this signing. This is a young man who will do whatever it takes once he steps on the hardwood. He's an intense competitor, a great defender, with un-measurable toughness and passion. To get a great player like Idell from right here in Polk County is huge for our program. Our fans are going to love watching him play."

Bell, 6-1, led Kathleen to a 26-4 record and the Class 4A runner-up spot in the state tournament this past season. He was a second-team all-state selection, averaging 9.8 points and 3.4 assists. His coach at Kathleen was former Moccasin Drew Taylor.

"I'm ready to try my best to put Florida Southern back op top," Bell said. "I'm excited to get to play at the same school where coach Taylor played and to have the opportunity to play for coach Darner. To be able to stay here in Lakeland is special to me."

Taylor, who played two seasons for the Moccasins (1993-95), is delighted to see his prize player coming to his alma mater. "What a great opportunity for Idell," Taylor said. "I have never coached a kid who played with such consistent intensity. He is always motivated to defend the best and always motivated to score. Idell can be the cornerstone to bring Florida Southern back to prominence. I'm excited to be able to watch him develop and grow."
In a 2006 article, Scout's Dave Telep describes Floridian Bell as a topnotch defender and lists Appalachian State, UNC-Greensboro, Tennessee Tech, Wright State and Jacksonville as Bell's foremost pursuers.

Here is his MySpace page. Hey, we just found another MySpace page for him.

Here is an informative February 2008 Seattle Times article on Parker, including a nice photo.

We were wrong

We went out on a limb Wednesday and offered that Lone Star State backcourter Jordan Clarkson wouldn't leave Texas when he made his choice of college.

He did.

Clarkson moved one state up, deciding to cast his lot with Tulsa. Nevada had been associated with Clarkson but to what degree of actual seriousness is unknown.

Here is Dave Telep's article on Clarkson and his choice. A Scout sub is required.

Additionally, another prospect mentioned in connection to the Wolf Pack, Rayvonte Rice out of Illinois, has just pledged to Drake.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chris Murray talks with Jordan Gathers

Jordan Gathers wants to be a Wolf Packer. Will the offer be extended:

Recruit Gathers says he is leaning toward Wolf Pack
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
9/10/2009


Southern California point guard Jordan Gathers said Thursday he is "definitely leaning" toward Nevada as his college destination. The 6-foot-3, 175-pounder will play at Taft High School this season after averaging 10.9 points, 2.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game last season at Loyola High School. He hit 51 percent of his shots from the field and 50 percent from behind the 3-point line. Gathers, the nephew of the late Hank Gathers, said he likes everything about the Nevada program...
Go here for the remainder.

Melvin Grussing has more on WAC interest in AVC players

Melvin Grussing at his marvelous site on Antelope Valley College (CA) basketball has a further update on which AVC players are being recruited by what schools, including a number of WAC mentions. He notes Louisiana Tech was at practice yesterday.

Here are the WAC items:

Donald Williams, 6-foot-5, freshman guard - LT and Fresno State interest (he is a qualifier and can transfer after this season)

Matt Stern (brother of Idaho's Corey Stern), 6-foot-7, sophomore, forward - offer from Idaho

Rod Singleton, 5-foot-10, sophomore point - offers from Utah State and Boise State

DeWayne Dedman, 6-foot-11, freshman, center - offer from Fresno State (Dedman has to first earn his AA so his move to D-1 is a ways away)

Nick Jezierny writes that BSU has a verbal

Nick Jezierny/Idaho Statesman has the scoop that Greg Graham has landed a backcourter for the early signing period in November. Two other WAC schools also had interest in the kid. A tip of the hat to Rafter 17 for posting this at the Scout Boise State message board.

BSU men's basketball lands recruit
Nick Jezierny
The Idaho Statesman
9/09/09

The Boise State men's basketball program has landed its first verbal commitment for the 2009-10 recruiting season.

Chris Kupets, a point guard who plays at Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas, has accepted a scholarship offer to play for the Broncos, Hill coach Swede Trenkle told the Idaho Statesman on Wednesday night...
Go here for the remainder.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Texas backcourter with a Nevada mention

In a Rivals article posted today, Lone Star State guard Jordan Clarkson just finished a trip to SMU and he is heading to Texas A&M. Tulsa has already received a Clarkson visit. Nevada gets a mention as one of three schools in the running for his final two officials.

Armen Williams
PonyPride.com Publisher
September 9, 2009


The recruiting process is right in the thick of things for Converse shooting guard Jordan Clarkson. After taking a trip to Tulsa for the first weekend of official visits, the 2010 guard hit up an official to SMU late last week...
Go here for the remainder and a Rivals sub is required.

He certainly sounds like a good get for whoever lands him. Our gut level feeling is he doesn't leave Texas.

Stephen Holt to St. Mary's

Although we have never seen him, our thought was that Oregon prepster Stephen Holt would go to a PAC-10 program. However, Randy Bennett and St. Mary's have landed Holt -- a very good get for the Moragans.

Here's Tim Brown at OregonLive.com with the story.

Boise State extended an offer. Stanford and Cal were also interested. But it's curious why Oregon and Oregon State were never mentioned in connection with Holt and didn't offer.

Here is an ESPN June, 2009 evaluation of Holt.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Pack crosses the border

Chris Murray, who apparently never sleeps, has three posts up today. We've detailed the other two and the third is on Auburn CA frontcourter Josh Ritchart.

Pack hoops staff to take a look at Ritchart on Wednesday
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
9/8/2009


The Nevada coaching staff is one of three teams scheduled to be in Auburn on Wednesday to check out Forest Lake Christian small forward Josh Ritchart. Richart's coach, Dave Thomas, said coaches from Nevada, Air Force and UC Davis will be in town to watch him work out. Pacific, St. Mary's, Washington State and a few other Pac-10 teams also have shown interest in the 6-foot-7, 210-pounder who averaged 26.6 points, 12.3 rebounds and 6 blocks per game last season. He hit 61 percent of his shots and 41 percent from beyond the 3-point arc...
Go here for the remainder.

We saw Ritchart play two Sundays ago in the Nor Cal Clash at Contra Costa Community College in San Pablo. He certainly is the type of kid you pull for and want to succeed. What's intriguing is his best asset is outside shooting but some coaches are viewing him as a four. But he doesn't yet have the body for a power forward and positioning him at the four would also negate -- at least to some degree -- his top skill. It would more than likely also move him to redshirt status as a freshman while he hits the weights. The article indicates Ritchart wants to and should play the three in college and that seems the most likely route. If we had to guess, not even attempting calling it an educated one, is Pacific is Ritchart's destination.

Nevada seeking gold in Texas

Chris Murray has a post up (in fact, two) about a new-to-us Texas basketballer who is being evaluated by David Carter and staff.

Here is the first post.

You can click on the second from the first entry but, just in case, here is later one.

In the latter, Cal is mentioned as pursuing the kid from Texas. Does that mean LaBradford Franklin is cool on Berkeley, vice versa or it was ill-fated or ill-reported from the beginning? Or, as some coaches do, is this a case of whoever commits first is the one.

Maybe Gary Franklin, another SoCal point, has pushed LaBradford Franklin out of Mike Montgomery's focus. Then, does this make LaBradford Franklin more attractive to Nevada (who has offered)? Oh the possibilities.

Chris Murray is spot on

Yeah, our Western Athletic Conference cap is pulled on pretty snug right now but there's plenty of justification to back this one up -- that being Chris Murray's prediction that the WAC moves back into the top 10 of college basketball conferences in 2009-2010.

We wish New Mexico State would be intact from the get-go but the other member teams appear to have no injury or academic absences.

The WAC Freshman of the Year is back as are all five Newcomers of the Year, plus eight of the ten All-Conference selections. Simply look at each team and there are no apparent holes that will sink a squad from the outset:

Is the WAC a top 10 college basketball conference?
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
9/8/2009


ESPN.com's Jay Bilas recently ranked the top 10 college basketball conferences in the nation. Here is his list:
Go here for the remainder of Murray's feature.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Some recruiting updates

This may take a diagram but we'll attempt to type out an explanation.

The inimitable SeldomSceneSmith posted at the Scout Utah State site basketball message board that a California junior college backcourter -- one enrolled at Antelope Valley College -- is being recruited by Utah State.

SeldomSeenSmith noted this information was discovered at the JucoJunction site, a Rivals entity devoted to tracking recruiting of junior college basketballers.

Then we remembered that Melvin Grussing maintains the very best junior college team basketball site we have ever read -- one titled Antelope Valley College Men's Basketball. So off we went there to see if further information was available.

It was.

Go here. The entry is loaded with mention of a number of WAC teams pursuing various AVC players.

Antelope Valley College (southern California) is one loaded-with-talent basketball squad. Look for almost every one of the WAC teams to be consistent visitors to Palmdale throughout the fall and winter.

We don't know if this has any significance but Dieter Horton, AVC's head coach, was in the same position at Fullerton College when his frontcourter Michael Earl signed on with the Aggies.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Floundering against the pigskin tide...

We understand it's game day and all that and hereby extend our best wishes to all the WAC football teams but here's an item that's been festering with us for a few days.

That being prominent columnists who get it wrong. Those who enjoy a national platform and pontificate on a subject they need to learn more about before before issuing a 'my take.'

Granted, we've certainly had our share of brain blips for all the readers of this blog to see and read so we candidly issue our very own mea culpa.

However, we can't let go of this one.

Eamonn Brennan (now there's a great Irish name) recently offered a column on the Rivals/Yahoo network about the Utah State signing of Anthony DiLoreto. Plenty of people have weighed in on the subject of DeLoreto and Stew Morrill's judgment so we won't bother adding to that.

But here is what concerned us:

"...As Rob at Ballin Is A Habit notes, this isn't the first time Utah State coach Stew Morrill has taken a chance on a player. Last season's lone senior for the Aggies was Gary Wilkerson, who dropped out of high school ball and turned to drugs and alcohol, but who redeemed himself with a tournament appearance last season. If DiLoreto is as talented as the interest in his skills -- despite his transgressions -- would indicate, he might be making a similar redemption soon."
We love redemption stories but that's not the point here.

Putting on our WAC hat, Gary Wilkinson redeemed himself far, far before Utah State made last season's Big Dance. He in fact straightened out his life path way before he began playing basketball at Salt Lake City College, way before he earned a scholarship at Utah State and way before the Aggies went to the NCAAs.

Brennan obviously meant no harm -- his article is a positive one. But because of his professional affiliation, his large readership is now mis-informed about Gary Wilkinson.

Of course, maybe it's Gary Wilkerson they will misled about but the actual surname of the ex-Aggie is Wilkinson, not Wilkerson -- not a small oversight.

By the way, Rob Dauster, at Ballin' Is A Habit (who Brennan mentioned), is much more accurate in his post here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Part two of Travis Mason-Bushman's Don Verlin interview

Travis Mason-Bushman offered a second part of his "scheduling" interview with Don Verlin today:

“Nobody wants to play us”
Travis Mason-Bushman
Vandal Nation
September 4, 2009


Yesterday, we talked to coach Don Verlin about the teams the Vandals will be facing. In the second half of our interview, we asked Verlin why the Vandals’ slate isn’t chock-full of major-conference opponents — and in the process, found out much about his scheduling philosophy.

Vandal Nation: There’s been a fair bit of criticism of the schedule, much of it targeted at the lack of a perceived “marquee” opponent. Why isn’t there one?

Don Verlin: One of the things I’m working hard on is to schedule home-and-homes. You know, last year we played Gonzaga and Michigan State — those guys won’t come play here. Our fans will never see them. If you study college basketball, the home team wins about 80 percent of the games. I believe we need to have good, quality wins, and we’d love to play anybody in a neutral-court setting. But we’re not going to put our team at a disadvantage by doing two-for-ones or guarantee games...
Go here for the remainder.

Travis Mason-Bushman with another Don Verlin interview

Travis Mason-Bushman interviews Don Verlin, with the subject being Idaho's 2009-2010 schedule.

On the Record with Don Verlin: “I wish we had more home games”
Travis Mason-Bushman
Vandal Nation
September 3, 2009


The 2009-10 Idaho Vandals men’s basketball schedule has been released, and we sat down yesterday with coach Don Verlin to find out his thoughts on the Vandals’ foes and the chase for the Western Athletic Conference championship.

Tomorrow, in the second half of the interview, we’ll quiz Don on his scheduling philosophy and the challenge of putting together a winnable mid-major schedule.

Vandal Nation: I have to say, this looks a lot like a Stew Morrill schedule down at Utah State.

Don Verlin: Well, I did them at Utah State, so it would look pretty similar! We don’t have as many home games as those guys have. They have 19 home games and are hosting a tournament — it’s a great deal for them. I wish we had more home games. That’s the thing I don’t like about our schedule...
Go here for the remainder.

Maybe (or not) an update on Jordan Gathers

This is territory already covered but Eric Boal/LA Daily News has a blog entry today about Bryce Jones hooking up with USC. At the end, he mentions Jones' teammate, backcourter Jordan Gathers, is still connected to Nevada and Fresno State recruiting efforts.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chris Murray has a new Nevada recruiting name

Chris Murray has a post up about a name new to us -- backcourter Meiko Lyles -- who is getting interest from the Wolf Pack. Go here for the article.

Why the WAC will be better this season

Chris Murray has a post up about the WAC having a solid number of players being listed right now as 2010 NBA draftees. Go here for Chris' post.

This is indicative of how much better the league will be overall in 2009-2010 and we'll expand on that in a minute. What also deserves mentioning is there are quite the number of undergrad players listed (or not) who have yet to declare their intentions, plus any number of European players who may or may not come to the states to play professional ball. So do look at such a list as 'penciled' in at the moment.

We will take a more serious and lengthier look a little while down the road but we see the WAC as wide open this coming season. In fact, it really isn't a stretch to say that ANY team in the conference actually has a chance of finishing on top in the league tournament -- cases can be made for such.

It remains unlikely that more than one team will be Big Dancing but it's going to be fun.

An early look at Fresno State

We don't know who he is but it's worth taking a look at 1insider's sense of Fresno State basketball.

So go to the Bark Board (the Scout Fresno State site) and click on Forums and then the Save Mart Center message board.

There's a thread right near the top where 1insider is the second poster -- have at it.

Utah State had a visitor

Prospects are out and about and one has visited Logan, Utah -- that being Texas backcourter Paul Garnica. He's 6-0, 160 and a top scorer in the state. Damon Sayles at TexasHoops has an article today about Garnica's visit. A Rivals sub is required.

At Texas Basketball Inc, Coach Max Ivany posted this on Garnica in October, 2008:

"The key guy for Lee is 2010 PG 6'0" Paul Garnica. In late May, Garnica got promoted to the top Texas D-1 Ambassador group. He was simply too good to keep out of the lineup. Keep in mind that to this point we've had guards off that group commit to Arizona, Lamar, and two others who have been offered by San Francisco and Colorado. Garnica belonged in this group! He hit 10 three pointers in a game as a freshman at Lee. It goes without saying he can heat it up from the perimeter. As I got to know Paul, what became obvious is that he is a real student of the game while also possessing an "annoying street edge" to his repertoire. Annoying that is to the opposition. He's a great team mate and very unselfish. He prides himself on deflections and steals defensively, many times drawing the assignment on the other team's most talented offensive player. One drawback Garnica has is he can occasionally be nonchalant when handling the ball. As he continues to mature though, I see this occurring less and less. He has above average grades, even drawing the interest of the Ivy league's Cornell who were in the Lee gym watching him in last week's athletic period."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

DJ still with LT and KR

According to a source familiar with LA TECH basketball, D.J. Wright is still headed to Ruston. The move from Salt Lake [to Mt. San Jacinto College in southern California] was purely about academics. He’ll sign with Kerry Rupp in November.

For those with long term memory ability

Here's a 2012 kid that Utah State has offered although it seems like the young man will end up in the PAC-10 or maybe Gonzaga. From the Gonzaga fan sute The Slipper Still Fits:

ON THE RISE

Another big-time player is in the making in Oregon. Landon Lucas, a 2012 post prospect out of Portland Sunset High School, has the attention of a number of schools out west. Oregon State, Portland State and Utah State have already offered, and Arizona, California, Stanford and Washington are recruiting the 6-8 Lucas. According to his travel team coach, Garry Ward of the Northwest Panthers, Lucas is an excellent student with a strong competitive streak.

Rivals had this mention about 2012 recruit Landen Lucas. Don't worry that Gonzaga isn't mentioned, because the Zags are on the radar, and Lucas was a participant at the elite camp this summer. (side note...the correct spelling is Landen, so we will have to let Rivals know about the wrong spelling)

Godwin Okonji to visit Hawaii

A big at Finley Prep in Las Vegas is scheduled to take a visit to Hawaii among other locales.

Here is a May 2009 ESPN evaluation of Okonji.

Here is a November 2007 Las Vegas Review Journal article featuring Okonji.

Here is a very nice YouTube video on Okonji.

Jeff Goodman talks to David Carter

Fox Sport's Jeff Goodman has posted a solid interview with Nevada's David Carter:

CARTER TAKES REIGNS IN RENO

The last time that Nevada decided to hand the baton to the next guy down the line, it worked pretty well.

Trent Johnson left for LSU and former assistant Mark Fox moved down a seat. He won an average of more than 20 games per season before leaving for Georgia in the offseason.

Now it’s David Carter’s turn – the former Johnson and Fox aide who has spent the last decade in Reno...
Go here for the remainder.