Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Coach Doug Novsek -- Eastern Illinois?

The Dirt King makes mention of Doug Novsek, the Nevada associate head coach and the opening at Eastern Illinois.

A Mark McLaughlin update

Brad Winton/JUCO Recruiting has the latest on Mark McLaughlin, a former Nevada (as well as some others) recruit. Interesting.

Wednesday's WAC basketball compilation

Here's more leadup to the Big One ... Thursday's K.O. in Reno.

Jason Groves reports on an Aggie press conference in which the subject of Nevada was prominent. Jason also previews the New Mexico State - Nevada matchup.


Chris Murray offers up his weekly WAC team rankings. Chris also supplies his choices for Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and the All-WAC First and Second teams. To complete the trifecta, Chris profiles Dario Hunt's meaning to the Wolf Pack program.


Shawn Harrison goes long on Preston Medlin, who seems destined to corral an MVP award before he is done.


Zane Johnson and Davis Rozitis had camera in hand while UH was roadin' it.


Jerit Roser writes about on-a-four-game-winning-streak Louisiana Tech, with quotes from Coach Mike White

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thoughts on the WAC Most Valuable Player award

What are the official guidelines in determining the WAC Player of the Year?

PTW's guess is that they don't exist but it's an honor usually awarded based on a combination of how a certain player performed in conjunction with his team's W-L record.

With such in mind, there are a trio of candidates in the running:

* Wendell McKines featuring 18.4 points and 10.1 rebounds a game with  New Mexico State standing at 9-3

* Deonte Burton featuring 17.8 points and 3.9 assists per game and the Wolf Pack on top at 11-1

* Vander Joaquim featuring 17.5 points and 10.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots a game while shooting 67% for 6-6 Hawaii

Going strictly by the individual numbers ... it's Joaquim.
Going strictly by the placement of the team ... hand it over to Burton.

Going strictly by value to the team (try defining that) Kevin Olekaibe (hey, how'd he get in here) is hands down the most valuable player.

It could be argued that Burton is the individual among the trio who makes his teammates more effective offensively but both McKines and Joaquim certainly draw more-than-their-defender focus from opponents.

Officially, it's going to be Burton.

In the estimation of PTW, it should be ...


Because of a combination of Nevada winning league, his numbers and making Dario Hunt and Olek Czyz more effective offensively primarily due to his ballhandling and penetration and his being the team leader yet just a sophomore.

Interest growing in Spencer Butterfield

Utah State has already offered and there's mention in the following article about Utah, Pacific and San Jose State University lining up as Spencer Butterfield suitors.

Inspired coach guides Yuba College into regionals
Joe Davidson
Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012

Yuba College men's basketball coach Doug Cornelius periodically asks his wife, Vicki, if coaching makes him look haggard. Her rolled eyes say yes.

"Oh yeah, she tells me I look lousy, bags under my eyes," Cornelius said.

Such is the toll of keeping a half-step ahead in a fast-break sport. Cornelius is steering a 29-3 team into a Northern California Community College regional playoff opener tonight against visiting West Hills with a clear view of the finish line. Adrenaline and anticipation keep the coach who goes by "Corn" awake at 3 in the morning. He is inspired by history – of his program and the anemic NorCal success in state tournaments ...
Go here for the remainder.

Thoughts on the WAC Coach of the Year award

Okay, there's another week to go in the regular season plus then the tournament but who is on top as the leading candidate for WAC Coach of the Year?

But first, PTW asks does it have to be awarded to whichever coach wins league?

Such a guideline seems silly as something automatic.

So let's bore down into who achieved the most with the talent he had available in 2011-12.

Here are the current standings:

Nevada 11-1   
New Mexico State 9-3          
Idaho 7-5     
Hawai'i 6-6   
Utah State 6-6
Louisiana Tech 5-7    
Fresno State 3-9      
San Jose State 1-11

David Carter of Nevada has obviously done well, with a load of talent in the starting five, but also give him credit because there really hasn't been all that much help off the bench in Reno this season.

New Mexico State's Marvin Menzies survived the mid-season loss of a backcourt starter (in reality, a less is more situation), at a position in which the Aggies were short on to begin with and NMSU didn't miss a beat. also, the bunch in Las Cruces basically did it this go-around minus an outside marksmen and that is a notable achievement.

Especially if Idaho wins its next two games, Don Verlin absolutely deserves consideration because the Vandal roster isn't exactly filled with outstanding basketball talents demonstrating athletic prowess. It looks like a second consecutive season of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts for Idaho and that's the ultimate compliment. What's also interesting is that both the WAC coaches and the WAC media prognosticated a fifth place landing for UI.

Two other coaches, albeit with losing league records, are also worthy of some degree of consideration.

Mike White and his crew at Louisiana Tech have simply overachieved -- not a knock, just an observation. White looked at his roster and designed a style of play that kept the Bulldogs in most games despite lacking a 30+ minutes-a-game starting caliber big. Incidentally, both the WAC coaches and media pre-season polls had LT coming in last.

Fresno's Rodney Terry is coaching Lilliputian Tech this season with his bigs checking in at around 6-foot-7. Plus, he's in possession of just a single player who can create offensively. The collective Bulldog effort on defense, especially of late, has been remarkable and what is keeping FSU in games.

So at this point, who is your choice?

Tuesday and the world of WAC basketball

Robert Kuwada has posted his weekly WAC column which is always a must-read and a great way to start the basketball day rolling.


Brian McInnis and Jeff Portnoy each look at the present state of UH hoops. Dayton Morinaga goes multi-media in exploring matters of the Rainbow Warrior heart.


Sam Wasson offers seeding scenarios for New Mexico State. Jason Groves explores Thursday's Aggie - Wolf Pack matchup. Teddy Feinberg informs readers that NMSU is peaking at the right time.


Chris Murray writes about Jay Bilas' seeding peculiarities and we're not talking choice of farm crops. Thursday's meetup now has the accelerant poured on to the kindling and wood. Chris also profiles a pair of Nevada's prep signees.

Joe Santoro profiles Wolf Pack backcourter Keith Fuetsch.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Daniel Mullings WAC POW

New Mexico State’s Daniel Mullings has been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 20-26. The honor marks the first career WAC Player of the Week for Mullings.

Mullings, a freshman guard from Toronto, Ontario (Laurier), became only the third Aggie in school history and 13th player in WAC history to record a triple-double. Mullings scored 28 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and dished out 10 assists, all career high marks, in a 115-73 win over Hawai‘i on Feb. 23. Mullings is the first player to accomplish the feat since 1990 at NM State and only one of 12 players and the lone freshman to achieve a triple-double this season in the NCAA. He also tied a career high with five steals in the game. Mullings also set career-best marks for field goals made (11) and free throw attempts (9). In the home finale, Mullings scored 10 points for his 11th double-figure game of the year in a 79-68 win over San Jose State. He went 3-of-5 from the field and 4-of-6 from the free throw and tallied five rebounds, four assists and two steals in the win over the Spartans.

On the week, Mullings averaged 19.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 3.5 steals per game. He shot 70.0 percent (14-of-20) from the field and 66.7 percent (10-of-15) from the free throw line.

Other nominees:

* Fresno State sophomore guard Kevin Olekaibe
* Idaho senior guard Deremy Geiger
* Louisiana Tech senior guard Trevor Gaskins
* Nevada senior forward Dario Hunt
* Utah State sophomore guard Preston Medlin

To shoot or not to shoot ... when that is the question

They don't deserve residence in the category of colossal blunders but adding them up produces a definite adverse negative effect.

"They" are inopportune shots.

Witnessing the Nevada - Fresno State game Saturday night on television, "they" were simply happening too often.

It was as if there was a recurring disconnect between the hands of some of the players (holding the basketball) and the decision-making process in their respective brains.

Maybe some were thinking they were in one of those degree-of-difficulty sports where certain attempts are worth more than the usual score.

Yes, that's sniffing out snark territory but we're willing to bet coaches have both thought and said screamed this. 

PTW witnessed shooting without a single pass in an offensive sequence, bigs putting it up going away from the basket, guys outside their range disregarding the odds, a plethora of unsquared up attempts, you name it.

We ask a simple question.


Monday morning's WAC-itude

No games until Thursday when all eight WAC reams will be in action ...

Dayton Morinaga checks in with Hawaii's finish possibilities.


Sam Wasson ventures into similar territory for New Mexico State.

Jason Groves has a blog entry up all about the Aggie seniors. Not that one is required or even needed but who becomes the face of the NMSU basketball team next season with Big Wen's departure?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday's game reports

It's official. Yes, Hawaii is road weary but still has yet to really put up a fight in the last three games as the Rainbow Warriors were smacked 84-67 by Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs are not a team that should shoot 10 more free throws than UH although Coach Mike White's bunch going 11-24 from three-point range isn't off the chain. A 22-14 turnover deficit also damaged the chances for Gib Arnold's group. Trevor Gaskins' Senior Day output -- 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists -- led LT in EACH category. Vander Joaquim led the visitors with a 20/10 double/double but none of his teammates stepped up.

Brian McInnis tweeted the matchup.

Dayton Morinaga game reports.


New Mexico State was up 40-31 at the half over San Jose State University and the game concluded with pretty much the same point differential, 79-68.  Frontcourters Wendell McKines and Hamidu Rahman led the way with 20/15 and 22/10 double-doubles respectively. Rahman was also credited with five blocked shots and the Aggies owned the 45-30 rebounding advantage. Spartan Wil Carter managed a 16/10 double-double. There surprisingly were four technicals called (that has to be the most in a WAC game this season) -- against McKines, Rahman, Tyrone Watson for the hosts and SJSU's Calvin Douglas.

Jason Groves tweeted the pairing plus here is his writeup.

Sam Wasson and Anthony Esparza also have the details. 


Three overtimes. Host Fresno State and Nevada both kept battling until the Wolf Pack emerged after a trio of extra periods to win 79-76. Olek Czyz produced 25 points and 11 boards with Dario Hunt close behind at 20/15 and five blocks. Bulldog Kevin Foster went for 24/12 plus Jonathan Willis just missed his D/D with 19 and nine.

Robert Kuwada and Dan Hinxman both were present and accounted for.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday's game previews plus more on the Utah State win

It was a reversal of fortune as Utah State came storming back in the second half and decapitalized idaho 67-50.

Shawn Harrison, Tony Jones and Kraig Williams all game report. Craig Peterson captured the action with 57 photos. Tony lauds Brockeith Pane for his defensive effort. PTW is going to do just the same with Matt Sonnenberg for being such a creative writer -- he brings energy and passion to the page. Someone ought to let him cover presidential politics and see what he creates. Josh Wright brings the Idaho perspective.


Dayton Morinaga serves up a great opening line in his preview of the Rainbow Warrior afternoon visit to Louisiana Tech. Jerit Roser also chimes in as does Jeff Portnoy.


Dan Hinxman takes a look at Fresno State, Nevada's host opponent. Dan also steps in and offers his four keys to the contest plus an outcome  prediction. Joe Santoro offers a column chock full of notes.


New Mexico State welcomes San Jose State University. Jason Groves pays tribute and offers concise descriptions of the Aggie soon-to-be-departing seniors plus provides Q-and-A videos.

Jason Groves serves up a blog entry encompassing the NMSU Thursday night victory over Hawaii.

Friday, February 24, 2012

USU 67, Idaho 50

It was a night of mojo lost and mojo found.

Idaho went into The Spectrum and enjoyed a 29-22 lead after the initial 20 minutes.

Matters looked rosy, if not yet complete.

But the spirit of Aggie teams past was apparently mustered at half time as Utah State stormed back to outscore the Vandals 45-21 in the second period and win by 17 points.

Preston Medlin scored damn near half the Aggie points, finishing with 32, plus eight boards and five assists. He shot 11-13 overall, 6-8 from long distance. USU out-shot IU 46% to 36%. Deremy Geiger paced the Vandals with 13 points. Kyle Barone scored six.

Tony Jones tweeted the matchup as did Kraig Williams and Josh Wright.

It will be fascinating what is said in the game reports. Was it Utah State's defense that paced the comeback or a combination of D and better shooting accuracy?

Kevin Olekaibe honored

ESPN's Jeremy Lundblad recognizes Kevin Olekaibe:

Scoring Star: Kevin Olekaibe
Olekaibe scored a career-high 43 points, including 25 in the second half, as Fresno State topped Seattle, 78-72. The 43 points set a school record for a regulation game, and it’s the most by a WAC player since Jaycee Carroll in 2007. Olekaibe also became the first Fresno State player to top 40 since Courtney Alexander in 2000.

Daniel Mullings honored

ESPN's Jeremy Lundblad hands out an honor to New Mexico State's Daniel Mullings:

Player of the Night: Daniel Mullings
The freshman guard recorded New Mexico State’s first triple-double in 20 years, as the Aggies walked all over Hawaii, 115-73. Mullings finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, all career-highs. He’d never even had a double-double before. William Benjamin recorded the Aggies last triple-double in 1992. Mullings is the first freshman with a triple-double since Wisconsin’s Josh Gasser last season.

More Friday links

Tony Jones, Shawn Harrison and Kraig Williams all take a peek at tonight's USU - Idaho contest. Vandal Nation video previews.


Robert Kuwada has more background on Fresno State commit Marvelle Harris.


Dan Hinxman features Nevada's Olek Czyz.

Friday's WAC hoops report on last night's cotillion

Wow. Wow. Wow. Yes, Hawaii has been on the road for some time but that doesn't necessarily account for defensive slackness as New Mexico State pounded UH 115-73 in quite the edgy contest. Freshman guard/wing Daniel Mullings simply exploded on the Rainbow Warriors, posting 28 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. It was 52-31 after 20 minutes and NMSU shot an amazing 60% for the game.

Jason Groves and Brian McInnis tweeted the pairing.

Jason and Dayton Morinaga game report. Tim Barnett-Queen offers a series of photos.


Seattle was ahead 33-32 at the half in Fresno. But the Bulldogs pulled ahead and owned a short lead for much of the latter 20 minutes and won 78-72 behind 43 points from sophomore backcourter Kevin Olekaibe. It was actually a strange shooting night for Fresno State's top scorer, going 12-25 overall, just 5-15 from long distance but 14-14 at the charity stripe. The Bulldogs attempted 39 free throws on the night, sinking 31 (to 8-16 for the Redhawks). Remarkably, Seattle shot 47% for the game to FSU's 37%.

Robert Kuwada was on press row and he also added this blog entry.


Defend the house. Louisiana Tech did just that and more in taking down San Jose State University 75-49. 6-foot-9 senior Romario Souza went for a career-high 19 points plus a tied-for-the-team-lead eight rebounds. Raheem Appleby went for 17 markers with Trevor Gaskins adding 16. The shooting percentages: 53% for the Bulldogs to 35% for the Spartans. Wil Carter was the only SJSU player to show up offensively as he scored 17 points.

LT athletics recaps.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

More on Boyd Grant, Fresno State coaching icon

Enjoy this feature from Stephen Trembley, Fresno State Athletics Assistant Director, Communications:

Boyd Grant Meets Terry, 'Dogs 
The legend of Grant's Tomb returned to campus to share his eternal love for Fresno State.

Boyd Grant helped galvanize the start of the Red Wave when he coached the Bulldogs from 1977-86, which included guiding Fresno State to the 1983 NIT Championship and three NCAA Tournament appearances.

When first-year Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry heard that Grant was making a visit to Fresno last week, he jumped at the chance to meet the Bulldog legend over lunch with his staff and have him be a part of the team's practice on Thursday.

"I love Fresno State," Grant said. "This place will always have a special place in my heart. It's my job to support the program no matter who is coaching or playing, but I have to say, I am very proud at how hard this team is playing and that's a credit to what Coach Terry and his staff have done."

Grant's teams were known for their defensive tenacity and innovative sets. They also proved that defense is critical to winning championships.

"I firmly believe that defense wins championships," Terry said. "Coach Grant instilled that every day and we are trying to reflect that same mentality that you have to take pride in playing at a high level on both ends of the floor."

Fresno State associate head coach Jerry Wainwright also expressed his admiration and respect for Grant before the legend spoke to the team following the 'Dogs afternoon film session. Wainwright was a Division I head coach for 16 seasons and took his teams to seven postseason tournaments, including three NCAA berths and four NIT appearances at his previous coaching stops.

"Coach Grant is one of the under-the-radar defensive geniuses in our game," Wainwright said. "When I was just getting into coaching, I used to write to Coach Grant about his defensive sets and he would always write back. I have such an appreciation for what he has done for our game and the impact he left here at Fresno State. For our guys to be able to hear from someone like him is invaluable."

Grant currently resides in Pocatello, Idaho, but his affinity for his former schools is as strong as it has ever been.

"Whenever Fresno State or Colorado State (Grant's alma mater) are on television, I watch," Grant said. "That number 3 [Kevin Olekaibe] can really shoot the ball. I saw one of his games where he just went off and couldn't miss."

Grant also shared a few words of advice and perspective for Terry and the team.

"You can always control your effort," Grant noted. "We didn't always have the most talented team, but we worked hard and everything we did was team-oriented. And don't be afraid to dream big."

Those last two words really stuck with Terry.

"You have to dream big," Terry said. "That's what I took away most from Coach Grant. He was able to do some really special things here and we want to achieve the same things that he did. Our focus will always be on our next game, but our goals and expectations are to win championships and play in the postseason. That will never change for us. There's a lot of basketball still to be played this season."

Fresno State gets a verbal

Coach Rodney Terry has received a verbal from Marvelle Harris, a 2012 southern California two guard who stands 6-foot-3 and is averaging over 24 points per game this season. The Bulldogs offered in January. Harris also played wide receiver in the fall, nabbing 36 passes for nine touchdowns.

Thursday's WAC basketball roundup

It's host  NMSU versus UH tonight in a big one.

Dayton Morinaga digs deep in looking at the matchup.

Teddy Feinberg has posted a column looking at this year's Aggies.

Will the outcome of the game have any effect on the voting for WAC MVP considering Wendell McKines and Vander Joaquim (plus Deonte Burton) are the top three candidates?

Marvin Menzies has penned a guest column and do give him credit for writing that the Aggies will be a force for seasons to come and for singling out a pair of redshirts who will be on the court in 2012-13. He could have gone the woe-is-us future route and downplayed next season's Aggies considering who he will be losing and thankfully chose to be honest. Please, more of this from all coaches.


Louisiana Tech is welcoming San Jose State University. Few people are aware that Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow breathed their last not that far from Ruston but PTW cannot figure out how to connect that to college basketball, although we went ahead with it anyway in the unlikely scenario you are headed to southern California in the future, a contestant gets sick, you are selected out of the audience to fill in and Alex Trebek reads a question about infamous bankrobbers meeting their end in Louisiana. Yep, we got your back.


Fresno State will take on the challenge of visiting Seattle University, a future WAC member.

Robert Kuwada previews. 


Tony Jones reports that Brady Jardine will be among the Aggie departees honored on Friday's Senior Night, as rightfully should happen. Hey, PTW wants him to grab a medical redshirt and come back as he only participated in three games but it sounds like that unfortunately cannot physically happen. Well, we'll always have this as a souvenir.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So, when it's Thursday night in Las Cruces

... Hawaii comes into town to match up with New Mexico State. Make that the 7-3 Aggies versus the 6-4 Rainbow Warriors so there are definite end-of-the-season finish implications for the contest.

UH owns a January 21 91-87 victory over Marvin Menzies' team, this despite committing 21 turnovers. In that win, Zane Johnson went for 29 points (7-13 on treys) plus Davis Rozitis totaled nine points and five boards in 14 minutes. But Johnson's shooting accuracy has been way off of late -- just 21% from long distance in the last quartet of games.

In that loss, Bandja Sy busted out for 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead NMSU in both categories. Hamidu Rahman followed with 16 points (contrast that with Vander Joaquin's 11).

Hawaii is coming off a 94-79 road loss to Montana while host New Mexico State handled Drake 71-55.

In weighing the remainder of the regular season, the Aggies host San Jose State next and then road it at Nevada followed by Fresno State.

Gib Arnold's group moves on to Ruston after this one and then returns home to face surging Idaho and then Utah State.

Calling it a critical game for both teams is a bit of an overstatement but the victor will certainly gain an advantage in the standings.

Wednesday's sweet, crunchy and hoopsy WAC-aroon

Dan Hinxman serves up a 'notes column' including a look at the WAC tournament seeding.


Jason Groves has a 'versatility-is-elementary for New Mexico State's Watson' feature.


Shawn Harrison has a 'rub-your-eyes, is-this-really-happening?' post up.


Dayton Morinaga writes about the UH players fans aren't seeing this season, but will next.

Jeff Portnoy's latest is about what's coming next for the Rainbow Warriors.


Josh Wright was at Idaho Coach Don Verlin's press conference.

Vandal Nation video previews the Idaho - Utah State Thursday night matchup.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Not WAC-related but this is to-the-core honesty

Illinois Coach Bruce Weber had a very interesting week, with various commentators saying he's on thin ice based, of course as always, on this season's W-L record.

Here are a pair of jump-off-the-page Weber quotes from Bryan Burwell's column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

"The sad thing about the whole thing," Weber told reporters after a 67-62 home loss to Purdue, "and I guess it's my fault — instead of creating toughness and developing a team, I coached not to lose all year."
"Instead of developing people, I was worried about winning," he said. "The last three years, all I did was worry about winning instead of developing a culture and a toughness. That's my fault. You're trying to please everyone instead of pleasing yourself. That's my fault, in hindsight."
Trying not to give in to hyperbole but has any coach ever so directly bared himself? There are no lame cliches or trite coaching chestnuts on display here.

This candor more than likely won't save his job because of the circumstance of a new AD but do read the entire article and ask yourself if you would want your son to play for Weber? 
Here's a guy who proverbially stripped himself naked in public but -- and this is the key -- has learned from his travails.

Hopefully this isn't just a wanting-to-happen future turn but PTW knows Weber will be wiser and expects this to translate into greater success in his next coaching position. The humility he shared is appreciated as his frankness and genuineness were quite the breath of fresh air.

Tuesday's WAC basketball link-around

Jason Groves goes trendspotter. No, that is not a cousin to a storm chaser. Plus, it isn't to shoot or not to shoot but where to shoot, as Jason details.


Robert Kuwada is back with his weekly mining-for-gold column and, as usual, he hits paydirt.


Tony Jones assesses Utah State -- guess Stew Morrill wasn't sandbagging in the pre and early season.


Josh Gershon tweeted this yesterday: "2012 Gardena (Calif.) Serra SG Kajon Mack now has offers from San Fran & Sac State + interest from UCSB, San Jose St, UC Davis & Utah Valley"

MaxPreps has him at 6-foot-2 and 145. Serra was the high school of current Spartan Keith Shamburger. 

Mack certainly can jump -- go to the 1:45 mark. 

Here's more tape. 


Answering the query: hey, it's a bro-mance with Idaho, let's get the term straight ;-)

Monday, February 20, 2012

James Walker honored

Former Utah State guard James Walker, now at Citrus College, has been named the Western State Conference South Division Most Valuable Player.

Kyle Barone WAC POW

From Jason Erickson, WAC Director of Media relations:

"Idaho’s Kyle Barone has been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of February 13-19. The honor marks the second career WAC Player of the Week for Barone.

Barone, a junior center from Garden Grove, Calif. (Pacifica HS), had a career game on Saturday in Idaho’s 77-68 Sears BracketBuster win over Portland State. Barone scored 25 points, connecting on 10-of-11 (.909) shots from the floor. He added eight rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in the win. He also went 5-of-5 from the free throw line. He connected on 9-of-10 shots in the first half to give Idaho its biggest halftime lead of the season at 42-25. His 10-of-11 shooting performance is the best single-game effort by a Vandal since 2008 and is tied as the third-best in Idaho single-game history. The game was Barone’s ninth in a row with at least seven rebounds and his sixth-straight double-figure scoring game. His 25 points and 10 made field goals are both career highs. During the team’s season-best active five-game win streak, Barone is averaging 17.6 points and 8.4 rebounds on 33-of-54 (.611) overall shooting and 22-of-28 (.786) from the free throw line.

Other nominees:

* Fresno State junior forward Kevin Foster
* Louisiana Tech freshman guard Kenneth Smith
* Nevada senior forward Olek Czyz
* New Mexico State senior guard Hernst Laroche
* San Jose State sophomore guard Keith Shamburger
* Utah State sophomore guard Preston Medlin

Nick Collison has it figured out

Former Kansas star Nick Collison is no NBA superstar -- he realizes and accepts that and has devised ways -- understanding what value is and then creating it on the floor -- which will afford him a long professional career. This is a must-read article and the takeaway is that what he writes is applicable at all levels.

David Andoh/Fresno State

Credit sindog for posting an update on Fresno State recruit of interest David Andoh at the BarkBoard Save Mart Center MB.

Another Canadian being watched by New Mexico State

Alex Kline/The Recruit Scoop writes about a Canadian 2014 prospect getting attention from New Mexico State as well as many others.

Jaycee Carroll gettin' some love

Jonathan Givony/Draft Express is having a tweet love fest while watching Jaycee Carroll play for Real Madrid. Some examples:

"If there's anything prettier than watching Jaycee Carroll come off staggered screens, I haven't seen it. 14 points in 2nd half"
"Someone give Jaycee Carroll a NBA contract right now. He's a mormon Lou Williams!"
"Jaycee Carroll putting on a clinic for moving off the ball. 22 pts in 15 min in 2nd half. Most impressive Euro-scoring performance I've seen"

Monday's WAC hoops links and notes

No games until Thursday ...

Scott Daniel/Silver and Blue Sports assesses the Wolf Pack with a chock full of cultural references column.


The free is always free but then that throw kicks in, a little too often for UH -- check out Dayton Morinaga's latest post. 


A brief look at Idaho: After the sins (venial or mortal? PTW is going with the former) of dropping home games to Hawaii and then Fresno State, Idaho has pulled off victories against:

* Nevada (by four points)
* Seattle (by one point)
* New Mexico State (by one point)
* Louisiana Tech (by nine points)
* Portland State (by nine points).

If this trend continues, who wants to face the Vandals come tourney time? Yes, the Kyle Barone Emergence Project seems in full force.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Idaho hoops

Gaylen Wood offers the writeup on Idaho's takedown of Portland State. At 16-11 and 7-4, the Vandals are one loss behind New Mexico State for second place with a trio of road games remaining: Utah State, Hawaii and San Jose State. Don Verlin's squad lost 80-68 to the NMSU in Las Cruces and won 59-58 in Moscow. Marvin Menzies' bunch hosts Hawaii and San Jose State and then finishes up visiting Nevada and Fresno State.

A few Utah State items

Matt Sonnenberg writes about Aggies fans returning to an earlier incarnation.

Tony Jones posts a quote from Jordan Stone and also features Stone's spirited play against UC Santa Barbara.

Note to USU fans: think Jordan Stone, Jarred Shaw and Matt Lopez (the latter for the second semester) -- that's 6-foot-10, 6-foot-10 and 6-foot-11 in the middle for 2012-13 and at a time where a number of teams, especially so in the WAC, lack one productive big. The troika will also provide different looks to opponents.

The outcomes of Saturday's game

"I went 3,000 miles and all I got was this loss" is what Nevada might be saying as Iona proved to be ungracious hosts in beating the Wolf Pack 90-84. Actually, it's a not surprising outcome considering the travel and the opponent. Olek Czyz continued his streak, leading with 28 points while Deonte Burton contributed 21. Dario Hunt posted a 15/10 double/double and Malik Story passed for seven assists. But the keys numbers were Iona's 62% overall shooting, 57% on trey attempts.

Chris Murray made the trip (kudos to the Gazette-Journal management) and has game reports here and here


Louisiana Tech jumped out to a 17 point lead over Central Arkansas after the initial 20 minutes and finished up with an 84-62 triumph. Raheem Appleby paced the Bulldogs with 18 points, Cordarius Johnson went for 16 and Kenneth Smith racked up an AMAZING 15 assists.

Jason Pugh was on press row.


New Mexico State had no trouble with Drake to the tune of 71-55 as Wendell McKines posted a 25/12 double-double. Hernst Laroche added 18 points as the Aggies shot 48% for the game, 7-13 from long distance.

Jason Groves provides a game report.


Host Utah State was down by seven at the half and ended up losing to UC Santa Barbara 72-64. Preston Medlin led the Aggies with 14 points but shot 1-7 on treys and 3-11 overall. Brockeith Pane contributed 13 points. The Gauchos shot 53% to 41% for USU.

Shawn Harrison, Kraig Williams and Tony Jones caught the action. There's no airbrushing from Matt Sonnenberg in his look at the game.

Craig Peterson posted 34 photos. 


Hawaii went into the belly of winter (low of 25, chance of snow showers) to face Montana and was down 47-34 at halftime. Unfortunately the lead lengthened and the matchup concluded with a 94-79 Rainbow Warrior loss. The Griz shot 58% for the game, plus 11-23 from long distance. Vander Joaquim produced another double-double with 17/10 but Zane Johnson went 3-10 in his shooting.

Dayton Morinaga checks in.


San Jose State University was down by six to Sacramento State at the half but outscored the Hornets 48-30 after intermission to win 79-67. Wil Carter came close to a d/d with 19 points plus eight boards while James Kinney produced 19 points and Keith Shamburger totaled 15 points and eight assists.

Dave Carpenter was present and accounted for.


Idaho opened up a 42-25 lead over visiting Portland State after the first 20 minutes.It was 77-68 after 40 as Kyle Barone produced 25 points and eight rebounds with Stephen Madison posting a 15/11 double/double and Landon Tatum was credited with 10 assists. The Vandals put up 10 less shot attempts but connected on three more than the Vikings.

Josh Weight game reports.

Renado Parker and Gary Winston scored 14 and five points respectively -- both were briefly Vandals.


Fresno State traveled to southern California to battle Cal State Northridge and was down 32-23 come the first horn. The second period proved most fruitful for the Bulldogs as they came from behind and won 62-49. Kevin Foster posted 17 points and seven boards. 

Robert Kuwada made the sojourn to the San Fernando Valley.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Utah State offers another Yuba player

Tony Jones is reporting that Utah State has extended a scholarship offer to wing Spencer Butterfield of Yuba College, the same California school Aggie November signee Sean Harris attends.

We did a story a short awhile back on Butterfield for our other hoops site -- here's the link.

A brief note to Utah State fans: you want this guy. He's 100% 100% of the time, game or practice.

Saturday's WAC roundball digest

Okay, it's BracketBuster Saturday ...

* New Mexico State hosts Drake.

Jason Groves informs readers all about what else but The Drake.

* Nevada is on the East Coast facing Iona.

Chris Murray has the four weddings and a funeral ... er ... four keys and game prediction. Chris also supplies another pre-game look.

* Hawaii is picking up the frequent flyer mileage with a pairing against Montana.

Dayton Morinaga looks at the Grizzlies.

* Utah State is preparing to Spectrum-ize UC Santa Barbara.

Kraig Williams, Tony Jones and Shawn Harrison all pre-game report.

* Idaho welcomes Portland State in a matchup that makes geographical sense.

Josh Wright checks in.

* The Welcome Wagon is out in Ruston as Louisiana Tech has Central Arkansas on its agenda, another geographical no-brainer.

* Ditto San Jose State University's pairing with Sacramento State.

* As well as Fresno State being at Cal State Northridge, a campus where some scenes in "Superbad" were shot, a film featuring one of our cinematic heroes, the character known simply as "McLovin."

Robert Kuwada writes about 'finishing' -- a concept the Bulldogs want to embrace.


Chris Murray has written a compelling read all about The Brothers Burton.

Joe Santoro goes long in a Dario Hunt feature.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Talking with Boyd Grant

Boyd Grant. Fresno State's last ultra-successful coach and someone who did it with 'smalls' playing inside. No matter what opponents did or tried, Fresno State played its game, it's style, it's pace, and won as the Bulldogs imposed their will. Robert Kuwada interviews the Fresno State basketball icon.

Friday's WAC-a-doodle

North Dakota led 25-20 at the end of the first 20 minutes, point totals hard to imagine in Coach Mike White's frenetic style. But Louisiana Tech came back in the second half to pull it out 58-53 as Raheem Appleby led the Bulldogs with 19 points.

The athletic departments of LT and ND offer game reports.


Chris Murray checks in with the accomplishments of Nevada's November recruiting class. Joe Santoro goes long in documenting how Nevada is feeding off southern California.


Theo Lawson and Pat Hauge check in on Saturday's Idaho - Portland State matchup. Vandal Nation offers video of Don Verlin's trio of departing seniors -- Deremy Geiger, Djim Bandoumel and Landon Tatum -- looking at their final home game.


Robert Kuwada explores Cal St. Northridge, the BB Bulldog opponent and host.


Hawaii is in an unenvious position travel-wise as Jeff Portnoy details. Dayton Morinaga multi-medias the same subject -- wins will answer all the questions about the cross country sojourn.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A couple of Utah State recruiting notes

Blue Zertuche @ Texas Hoops posted an article yesterday (a Rivals sub is required) in which a pair of Lone Star State backcourters were listed as receiving attention from Utah State (as well as many others).

6-foot point John Azzinaro, out of San Antonio is in the 2013 class.

His description: is a speedy point guard that can stop on a dime and be in total control on his pull up jumper. He can score all over the court and needs very little space. He has a quick trigger and can hit the long ball. He has good court vision and ball handling skills.

Here's a report from October 2011.

Here's another post.


6-foot-3 Jacoby Green, an all-around backcourter, is out of the Houston area and in the 2012 class.

His description: is a deceptive player in that he doesn't do everything smooth and easy but he is a very effective player who can do a lot of things to help a team. He handles the ball well, can create with a quick and strong first step, gets into the lane and finishes well in traffic and can dish to the open man. He has a nice midrange jumper off the dribble, can create space to get his shot off and will hit open 3's. He is a nice rebounding guard and has a nose for the ball.

Here's something on Green.

Here's a load of video.

A recruiting mention

Blue Zertuche/Texas Hoops has an article up (a Rivals sub is required) on Texas frontcourt prepster T.J. Cline in which San Jose State is listed as paying interest in the young man. He's 6-foot-7 with genes as his mother is Nancy Lieberman.

Thursday's WAC hoops digest

The next game is scheduled for tonight and it's a unique matchup especially for this time of the season as North Dakota is coming to Ruston to play LA Tech.


Matt Sonnenberg brings up a name from Utah State's recent past, illustrating what a crap shoot personnel decisions in college basketball can be.

Chris Murray talked with Mr. Bracketologist who sez that no WAC teams are at-large Big Dance candidates.

Robert Kuwada takes another look at Kevin Foster who has found himself at many stations of the basketball cross this season.

Mark Rauh serves up a bevy of photos from the Nevada win over Cal State Bakersfield.

Dayton Morinaga serves up a 'Gib is glib" feature as the UH coach entertained fans at a luncheon.

expandingman has posted at the Save Mart Center MB that Greg Smith is now a Houston Rocket.

A tip o' the hat to CrimsonPhantom for posting this at the Sports Trough MB. It's interesting that Christian Kabongo is paying his own way -- at least for now -- at Southern Mississippi.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

UH offers a prep point

Josh Gershon tweeted this: "Hawaii offered 2012 Alemany PG Max Guercy, per coach Trey Meeks" 

Here's a fairly recent video. 

Here's an ESPN evaluation on the 5-foot-8 point.

Guercy also has a scholarship offer from Hartford.

On the UH roster, Miah Ostrowski is departing, Bobby Miles will be a junior next season, Jace tavita a senior and Shaq Stokes a sophomore.

Some national pub for Hernst Laroche

Credit CrimsonPhantom for finding and posting this at the Aggie Alert Sports Trough MB.

Making the case

It was a given in the pre-season that the WAC MVP race was between Nevada's Deonte Burton and Wendell McKines of New Mexico State but Hawaii center Vander Joaquim is upending the conventional wisdom and offering himself as a candidate.

Joaquim leads the conference in scoring (18.2), rebounding (10.9). shooting (71%) and blocked shots (2.9).

Burton sits at 17.6 points, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals a game and McKines is currently positioned at 18.1 points and 9.8 rebounds a contest.

If these numbers are maintained, further conventional wisdom may be shattered. That being the league most valuable player honor having to go to someone from the top team.

Wednesday's WAC roundup

"... we were not ready to play ..."

Has such a sentence e-v-e-r been associated with Utah State basketball? Stew Morrill said it about his squad after last night's success over Montana Tech.

Shawn Harrison and Tony Jones game report. Craig J. Peterson offers 39 photos. Matt Sonnenberg puts his unique stamp on the effort. Matt also offer some advice.


Jason Groves writes that New Mexico State has no trouble with Northern New Mexico, this despite Wendell McKines resting out the game. Jason also provides a 'notes' column on the contest.


Chris Murray was on press row for Nevada's win over Cal State Bakersfield. Joe Santoro serves up his take on the matchup.

Chris also offers his weekly WAC team rankings plus a 'notes' column.


Wes Nakama was present and goes multi-media in his recap of the UH victory over New Orleans.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Seeking new captain of the Titanic

Sorry but the headline says what it says.

When the Commish say 'Hello, I must be going' then it's time to cash in your ships, settle accounts, share one last round and re-invent.

Good-by Western Athletic Conference. Thank you for much, especially the 2008 triple overtime 107-102 tournament championship game won by Boise State over New Mexico State, the most enjoyable game these eyes have ever witnessed.

Dennis Dodd reports.

Tuesday's WAC hoops report

Again, tonight's game are:

* Utah State hosting Montana Tech

Shawn Harrison checks in.

* Hawaii welcoming New Orleans

Dayton Morinaga provides some background.

* Nevada having Cal State Bakersfield in town

Chris Murray serves up his keys to the pairing and his prediction plus a more general feature.

* New Mexico State bringing in Northern New Mexico.

Jason Groves tells readers why.


Jeff Portnoy checks in with some interesting thoughts and takes.

Jason Groves throws out the name of a shooter, a word which should perk up the ears of any New Mexico State fan.

Tony Jones features Ben Clifford and then offers a look at shrinking Danny Berger.

Robert Kuwada offers his always interesting and eclectic take on the week and much, much more. PTW appreciates Robert's efforts at digging below the surface facts and numbers.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Spencer Farrin to the rescue

Calling him a savant doesn't give him enough credit for the hours he puts in so PTW will simply say it's Assistant Media Relations Director Spencer Farrin to the rescue regarding anything Vandal basketball related. He came through once again fulfilling the request to know about Idaho's 'Points in the Paint' and more:
Last season, Idaho outscored its opponents 912-862 overall and 28.5 - 26.9 per game in the paint. So far this season, Idaho has a 781-695 margin (30.0 - 26.7 per game).

Last year, Idaho scored 30+ paint points 16 times. Through 26 games this year, Idaho already has 16 total games of 30+ paint points.

This season, Idaho has scored 43.2 percent of its points in the paint (781/1807). Last season, that figure was 42.0 percent (912/2172).

Also interesting (I would have thought this to be the other way around), is that Idaho had 6.31 made 3-pointers per game last year and they’re averaging 6.54 per game this year.
So call the Idaho season to date a 'doing it better' one.

No Hernest Laroche sighting -- Kyle Barone named WAC POW

Idaho's Kyle Barone has been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 6-12. The honor marks the first career WAC Player of the Week for Barone.

Barone, a junior center from Garden Grove, Calif. (Pacifica HS), led Idaho to a 3-0 record last week, helping extend the Vandal's win streak to a season-high four games with wins over Seattle U (70-69), New Mexico State (59-58) and Louisiana Tech (73-64). Barone led Idaho with 17 points and 12 rebounds in the win over SU on Tuesday night, while adding two blocked shots and hitting seven of his eight free throw attempts. He then added a 16-point, eight rebound, four-assist, two-block outing in the victory over NM State on Thursday. With Idaho trailing 58-51 with less than five minutes remaining to play, Barone scored six straight points for the Vandals and then assisted on the game-winning layup with 5.4 seconds remaining to secure the win over NMSU. In Saturday's win over LA Tech, Barone had 14 points and tied his career high with 15 rebounds to earn his 10th career double-double.

Over the three games, Barone averaged 15.3 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 2.0 assists per game. He shot 51.4 percent (18-of-35) from the floor and 73.3 percent (11-of-15) from the free throw line.

Other nominees:

* Fresno State sophomore forward Jery Brown 
* Hawai'i junior center Vander Joaquim 
* Nevada senior forward Olek Czyz 
* New Mexico State senior forward Wendell McKines 
* Utah State sophomore guard Preston Medlin

Various thoughts on Idaho basketball

Here's a piece we've been scribbling for about a week. It still seems a bit too meandering but we're going with it.


He wasn't the most athletic, nor was he all that creative with the ball but, damn, Idaho's Jeff Ledbetter could consistently shoot from distance -- 45% on 218 trey attempts as a senior last season -- and really knew how to cleverly employ screens to his advantage. He was also a go-to guy in the clutch.

Now in comparison which is usually inherently invalid due to differences in the equations such as teammates, foes (individuals) and opponents (teams), Idaho's Deremy Geiger is nailing a very impressive 44% of 165 three-point shots so far this season, a much, much better than his 31% of a year ago. But it FEELS like Geiger hasn't enjoyed the same overall effect as Ledbetter because the former has a tendency to blow hot-and-cold. However, as Seinfeld-ians profess, there is nothing wrong with that.

But before this becomes mistaken for a pile-on-Geiger fest (which certainly is not the intent and would be rather silly), the premise of the senior not measuring up to Ledbetter's effect could also be flat out wrong.

Additionally, there are so many factors which invalidate such contrasts.

Such as:

The additions of frontcourters Wendell Faines and the now departed Dazmond Starke had many, including moi, predicting an even better inside game for Coach Don Verlin's squad in 2011-12 and that has not come to the fore.

*** Paint production is a chicken and egg situation as inside scoring threats produce better looks from outside and also vice versa (although in fairness neither Faines nor Starke were expected to be double figure scorers).

A positive in the paint however this season is 6-foot-8 Djim Bandoumel, now averaging 9.5 points per game overall but 13.0 in WAC action. For comparison sake, he scored 3.1 points a contest early last season before being sidelined by academics.

Maybe the absence of Luiz Toledo is felt but then would Bandjoumel be achieving at his current propensity if splitting time with Toledo?

Then there is the whole Kyle Barone situation, of which it's worth noting that he is averaging two more shots a contest this season.

But then there's the emergence of Stephen Madison as a double-figure scorer (12.0) versus last season's 3.7 points per game.

All of these miscellaneous items makes this entire post a veritable to-may-to/to-mah-to analysis conundrum with just too many uncontrollable factors, thus eliminating any "I can tell with certainty that ..."

But before closing, if anyone has the total for Idaho's points-in-the-paint last season and the figure to date, please pass them on for comparison's sake. It currently 'feels' -- there's that word again -- like a lesser percentage but, of course, that actually means nothing. What is is what's important.


Speaking of numbers, Idaho Assistant Media Relations Director Spencer Farrin recently posted some interesting Vandals statistics:

* Idaho is shooting 46.4 percent overall and 38.3 percent from 3-point range in the final five minutes of regulation this season. Vandal opponents are shooting 39.7 percent overall and 27.0 percent from 3-point range during that same span. Idaho has also hit 70.1 percent of its free throws in the final five minutes. In the team’s 13 wins this season, the Vandals shot 47.2 percent from the field, 40.9 percent from 3-point range and 70.4 percent from the free throw line, while limiting opponents to 36.6 percent shooting overall and 25.5 percent 3-point shooting. Idaho’s top crunch-time shooter is Landon Tatum, who has a 61.5 percent overall clip and a 71.4 percent 3-point percentage in the last five minutes of regulation this season. Deremy Geiger has made 89.7 percent (26-29) of his free throws in the last five minutes of games.

* Last season, the Vandals earned 48 three-point plays and converted 33. With six regular-season games and at least one WAC Tournament contest remaining, Idaho has already earned 50 three-point plays and converted 34 of them. Junior center Kyle Barone led the team last season with an 8-of-9 success rate in those situations, and he leads the team again this year with 11 conversions on 17 chances. Seven different Idaho players have converted an and-one opportunity this season.

* Idaho started the season 1-5 in its first six games decided by five points or fewer, but the Vandals have won their last six such games since the 63-59 home win over Fresno State. The last time Idaho had a similar streak in close games was Don Verlin’s first season, 2008-09, when the team also tallied fivr straight wins in close games

Monday's WAC basketball roundup

There are no Monday games scheduled but Tuesday offers a handful (minus the thumb) of quirky pairings:

* Utah State plays host to Montana Tech (which is arriving at exactly the wrong time in MT's interest).

* Hawaii welcomes New Orleans.

* Nevada has Cal State Bakersfield in town as the Roadrunners continue playing what seems like every WAC member

* New Mexico State brings in Northern New Mexico.


This prepster has been 'connected' to Utah State as well: "2013 Tesoro (CA) PF Tanner Lancona has received his first offer from U.C. Davis" -- Alex Kline/The Recruit Scoop 


Utah State Assistant Chris Clark is in the running but PTW thought more WAC assistants might be giving it a go -- the candidates for the opening at idaho State.

There is still the head coach spot at Northern Arizona. 


Mark Rauh offers game photos from the Nevada - San Jose State University matchup.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Will it be unanimous?

PTW says make it unanimous here and now -- Hernst Laroche gets WAC Player of the Week.

Missed this one

Gaylen Wood offers a game report -- one loaded with coach and player quotes -- on Idaho's win over Louisiana Tech.

Sunday's report on last night's contests

Nevada trekked down to San Jose State and opened an eight-point lead at the half, 35-27. The point differential got closer but the horn eventually sounded with the Wolf Pack leading 76-70. Olek Czyz posted a 27/10 double-double and Malik Story added 23 points, shooting 6-11 from long distance. Deonte Burton had an uncharacteristically quiet night, attempting but seven shots although he finished with eight assists versus zero TOs. James Kinney was on tonight for the Spartans, concluding with 26 points, five boards and four assists while Keith Shamburger produced 17 markers plus six assists.

Chris Murray was on press row, also posted a 'notes' column and  tweeted the pairing.


Idaho welcomed Louisiana Tech and led 33-26 after the initial 20 minutes.The Vandals finished ahead 73-64 powered by 15 points apiece from Kyle Barone, Deremy Geiger and Landon Tatum. Barone also snatched 15 rebounds to earn a double-double. Don Verlin's bunch won the rebounding battle 33-23 and shot 54% overall. Cordarius Johnson led LT in both categories with 21 points and seven boards. Raheem Appleby shot 0-8 on the night.

Josh Wright game reports. Vandal Nation tweeted the matchup.


Hawaii bid aloha to Fresno State and the two then battled fairly evenly all night with the Rainbow Warriors finally coming out on top 62-58. Vander Joaquim totaled 23 points and 12 rebounds against the smaller Bulldogs while Zane Johnson went for four points in 39 minutes of action. UH shot 51% on the night. Jerry Brown led FSU with 17 points. Kevin Olekaibe took just six shots in scoring eight points. Coach Rodney Terry's team shot 39% overall.  

Wes Nakama filed a game report. Brian McInnis was twitterin'. Robert Kueada also checks in.


Sam Wasson has a report on the New Mexico State victory in Logan.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The matchup in Logan

New Mexico State stayed tough throughout and took down Utah State 80-69 in Logan. The southern Aggies won both 20 minutes after leading 38-33 at the half.

Jason Groves, Matt Sonnenberg, Shawn Harrison, Tony Jones and Kraig Williams serve up reports.

Craig J. Roberts has posted 42 photos.


PTW caught the second half so here's our three dot lounge observations:

Zero northern Aggie free throws in the first half? That's not USU basketball ... Brockeith Pane wasn't present and accounted for near the end but we loved two of his second-half dribble-drive passes that led to layups ... Daniel Mullings is an offensive wing -- not a two, at least at this point ... Imagine Kyisean Reed in an uptempo system -- but also remember that playing in the Utah State offense is broadening his overall game, enhancing the so-called intangible part of a skills set ... PTW hasn't a clue as to how to teach balance but Hamidu Rahman could really benefit from honing his ... everyone in the building knows New Mexico State is going inside via passes or dribble-drives like 60% of the time but knowing it and defending it are quite different matters ... the southern Aggies played simply smarter and harder down the stretch ... last but certainly not least, Hernst Laroche could have stayed on the floor during the sequence where he fell while defending Preston Medlin near the conclusion but he rolled, bounded up, blocked the shot and then went the other way with the ball -- a most remarkable sequence

Fresno State looking at a CT point

Alex Kline/The Recruit Scoop tweeted:

"2012 Marianapolis Prep (CT) PG Nigel Sydnor had 23 pts & 6 assts. He lists Vermont, Hartford, Texas St. Stony Brook, Fresno St & NJIT"
Here's some 'old' video. 

Here's a much more recent, albeit brief one.

A description from 2010:
"Nigel is an athletic guard who has one of the toughest work ethics our staff has ever seen. Since starting his conversion from power forward (8th/9th grade) to point guard in his sophomore year, Nigel?s game has progressed significantly each season. The key is the time and effort he commits to his mental and skill development in the off-season. Nigel is a quintessential fast break point guard. He is incredibly fast with the ball in his hands and willing to release the ball early to teammates sprinting ahead of him. He is adept at getting to the basket in transition and half court and finishing at the rim. Nigel possesses a quality mid-range pull-up jump shot and is becoming a better 3-point shooter each season. Regardless of his individual stats, every team Nigel plays on seems to find a way to win. Despite his many physical gifts, his intangibles are what set him apart. Nigel is a gifted leader with maturity and insight of a person 5 years older than himself. Because of his ability to connect with his peers and earn their respect, he has completely set the tone for our program in the off-season. This is a player whose best is yet to be uncovered and the way he works, there is no telling how good he can be in the next few years."

Previews of Saturday's games

It's lace 'em up time again today and tonight ...

In the afternoon and on ESPN2, it an Aggie showdown in Logan between Utah State and New Mexico State. It's a game both teams really need to grab.

Jason Groves takes a pair of looks here and here plus Kraig Williams and Shawn Harrison pre-game report. Tony Jones offers a solid look at the Family Medlin.


San Jose State hosts league-leading Nevada.

Chris Murray is here and here with pre-game looks. 


On-a-roll Idaho (three in a row including Nevada and New Mexico State) sez come-on-up to Louisiana Tech. The Vandals trio of wins have come by a total of six points so someone(s) is playing clutch at the end which is what a coach loves to see in close ones.

Josh Wright digs into the matchuip.


Host Hawaii is going to hula with Fresno State.

Trevor Wiseman is back. Jeff Portnoy checks in. Robert Kuwada and Dayton Morinaga looks at the keys.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Utah State hoops backwards and forwards

Matt Sonnenberg serves up a gumbo of numbers, facts and opinions all involving past, present and future USU basketball. Do check it out.

Joe Santoro with a different take

Was there a silver lining in Nevada's loss to Idaho? Joe Santoro explores this theme.

Friday's WAC roundup

The Good Ship Aggie righted itself with a Thursday night 77-63 victory over Louisiana Tech. Preston Medlin totaled 22 points, followed by Kyisean Reed's 20, plus Brockeith Pane contributed six assists versus nary a turnover. Raheem Appleby and Brandon Gibson each scored 15 points for the Bulldogs but LT shot 40% overall to 56% for USU as almost half the shots attempted by the Ruston-ites were three-pointers.

Tony Jones and Kraig Williams tweeted.

Craig J. Peterson has 43 game photos posted for you.

Kraig Williams, Tony Jones and Shawn Harrison offer game reports. Plus, Matt Sonnenberg reflects.


It took two overtimes with Fresno State ready to ask for volunteers as two semi-bigs fouled out (Jerry Brown and Kevin Foster) but host San Jose State got off the WAC schneid and triumphed 79-71. Wil Carter was unstoppable all night, scoring 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Kevin Olekaibe led the Bulldogs with 21 points but needed 20 shots to do so and didn't get many good looks. FSU shot just 35% while SJSU ended the game at 48%.

Robert Kuwada was in San Jose and serves up his take.


The Nevada - Hawaii pairing was expected to be a good, close one and the Rainbow Warriors led by three, 39-36, at the half. But the Wolf Pack came on, owning the boards, for an 88-79 win.

Chris Murray was a-twitterin' as was Brian McInnis.

Dayton Morinaga has a multi-media game report and Chris Murray checks in.


Idaho welcomed New Mexico State and it was 31-up after 20 minutes. The Vandals topped the Aggies by one in the second half, winning 59-58 on Djim Bandoumel's basket with five seconds showing on the clock.

Josh Wright was operating his Tweet-mobile and must have been tag-teaming with Sam Wasson.

Kyle Barone posted an impressive, well-rounded line of 16 points, right rebounds, four assists and a pair of blocks. Wendell McKines and Hamidu Rahman each scored 12 for the Aggies, who allowed Idaho to shoot 50%.

Josh Wright was present and accounted for and Vandal Nation provides a post-game video interview.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fresno State on Marvell Wynne

Credit Scott Sommer for this item:

"Marvell Harris, 6’3, Eisenhower (2012) – the unsigned senior had 25 points by hitting from outside and getting to the line. Harris is hearing from Fresno St., Wyoming, UC Davis and UC Riverside. Fresno St., who has offered, is his leader. He would like to make a decision as soon as possible"

Tyler Newbold surfaces

USUNLV has the latest on where former Aggie Tyler Newbold is hoopin'.

The most interesting man in college basketball

Myron Medcalf has located the most interesting man in college basketball (we're not going to be fenced in by conference) and, lo and behold, he play in Las Cruces.

Didn't know he has a Flo-crush.

h/t to ABQAggie49 for posting this and do hit the link

Thursday's slate of games and more

Hawaii and Nevada tangle tonight in Honolulu.

Chris Murray has posted his four keys and also has a prediction for the matchup. Dayton Morinaga goes long and multi-media with his look. Dayton also writes about a blackout and he's not referring to any television showing. Joe Santoro has posted an interesting column touching a number of Wolf Pack basketball subjects. Chris has another post about Nevada getting into the zone.


Idaho welcomes New Mexico State.

Wendell Faines and Djim Bandoumel talk about the game in a Vandal Nation video. Jason Groves write about stylin'.


Louisiana Tech will be exposed to The Spectrum Experience but will the students keep up the attendance and therefore the effect for Utah State?

Tony Jones, Shawn Harrison and Kraig Williams each preview.


Fresno State is short-tripping it to San Jose State.

Angel Moreno/The Collegian looks at the Bulldogs and Robert Kuwada drills down to what is different of late about FSU.


Jason Groves writes about a mini-McK on the Aggie roster.

Jeff Portnoy is back with a new UH hoops column.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Remember Boise State?

Hey, they're coming back in another year if what is in place stays, which is never a given nowadays. Them being Boise State basketball, currently standing 0-7 in Mountain West Conference play.

No, this isn't to bash the breakaway Broncos (who else in the WC would NOT have taken the action they did?) but to indicate what a step (or two or three) up Mountain West Conference basketball is over the WAC. -- or at least as both are currently constituted.

But such a record happens, especially when your last four opponents are UNLV, Wyoming, San Diego State and New Mexico. Plus, be sure to add in that Leon Rice's troops are generally a mix of newcomers and freshmen.

So those still desiring to switch conferences have to be careful with what they are seeking. The dollars might be greener but not necessarily the grass. Other than Nevada (which along with Fresno State is headed MWC way next season), seemingly every other WAC team would be experiencing a below .500 league record this go-around if each had MWC membership.