Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A momentary taunting

An apparent moment of taunting created quite the interesting spectacle last night at The Spectrum. From what we can gather, Aggie Pooh Williams dunked the ball late in the game and then animatedly said something to an opponent.

Stew Morrill didn't take kindly to Williams' soliloquy and went out on the court to tell his player just that.

Okay, we weren't there but anyone who plays for Stew Morrill knows what he will accept and what he won't accept on and off the court. His players also know that any violation of 'Morrill's Rules' will bring an immediate response whenever and wherever.

Ultimately, this incident is really nothing. Morrill has again demonstrated his guidelines and the enforcement thereof and Williams will dare not taunt again. Lesson learned and let's move on.

USU's Modou NIang hurt -- Brady Jardine activated

Here's an Aggie roster change:

Niang out, Jardine might play
Jared Eborn
Deseret News
Dec. 30, 2008

Utah State's bench took a hit Tuesday when it lost sophomore center Modou Niang.

The 6-foot-9 center from Senegal had a solid outing on Monday against Howard with six points and four rebounds in 16 minutes. But during warmups prior to USU game against Houston Baptist, Niang was on the sidelines with his left hand in a cast...

Go here for the remainder.

And here is Jared Eborn with an update as Brady Jardine did play last night and is no longer redshirting.

What's interesting is that Modou Niang was in the midst of redshirting last season when Stew Morrill became so disgusted with the play of his bigs in a game that he inserted Niang into a game -- thereby ending Niang's redshirt status. If our memory serves us right (which is true about half the time but we never can tell which half) Niang was originally in street clothes for that game last season but changed into a uniform at halftime.

Greg Smith is home for the holidays

Now we're going to be very careful with this post so as to not let our patently unfair and uber-bias against Fresno State and particularly Mr. Greg Smith ooze out ;-)

Greg Smith sighting at boys tournament
The Fresno Bee
Dec. 31, 2008

The most conspicuous figure present at the Clovis tournament, but not on a roster, has been Greg Smith, The Bee's 2007-08 Player of the Year, who transferred from Edison to Westwind Prep Academy in Phoenix...

Go here for the complete article.

Tuesday night WAC play

New Mexico State dropped a close one to arch-rival New Mexico. Jason Groves has a very detailed writeup:

Aggie men fall to Lobos
Jason Groves
Las Cruces /Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — Tuesday's Rio Grande Rivalry game mirrored last week's New Mexico victory up until the last 11 minutes.

Rebounding and second-half 3-point shooting were the difference a week ago and the fury of 17,000 fans at The Pit was too much for New Mexico State to come back from, but unlike a week ago, it didn't knock the Aggies out.

Daniel Faris did.

The Lobos' senior center had six points a week ago in the Lobo's 76-62 victory in Albuquerque. On Tuesday in front of 10,285 at the Pan American Center, Faris had 17 points and 11 rebounds in a 68-66 UNM victory...

Go here for the remainder.


Here is Jason Groves blogging after last night's game.


Sam Wasson at has a set of photos, a few of which provide visual evidence that either some fouls were not called or there were moments in the game that mimicked a NMSU -NM mixed martial arts match.


Houston Baptist made Utah State look bad at times last night but the Aggies overcome their sluggishness regardless.

Ags survive horrid start
Shawn Harrison
The Herald Journal
December 31, 2008

Having not trailed in five games — totaling 200 minutes — that streak came to a quick halt Tuesday night for Utah State.

For the second straight night at the Duel in the Desert, sponsored by Gossners Food, Houston Baptist did not play like a winless team. The Huskies gave the Aggies a scare and then some, leading for most of the contest at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

In the end, however, USU righted the ship and pulled away down the stretch for a 94-77 win in front of 8,522 fans.

“That is two nights in a row that they have not looked like a winless team to me,” Aggie head coach Stew Morrill said of Houston Baptist. “They had us out of sorts in the first half. We were back on our heels and not guarding them. They played great and deserve a lot of credit...”
Go here for the remainder.


Hawaii topped Pepperdine last night. Brian McInnis and Dayton Morinaga provide their reports.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The WAC teams were busy last night

Fresno State's Bryce Cartwright can apparently shoot as well as pass as Cal Poly found out. The Bulldogs could be a factor in the WAC if this becomes a trend or a game in-game out happening.

Another 'Dog steps up for men's team
Cartwright leads Fresno State to win over Cal Poly.
The Fresno Bee
December 29, 2008

Paul George has been Fresno State's leading scorer this season. But Monday night against Cal Poly, it was another freshman who stepped up for the Bulldogs.

Bryce Cartwright scored a career-high 20 points to help Fresno State edge the Mustangs 90-87 in overtime. Cartwright shot 8 of 9 from the field and was 3 for 3 from 3-point range. It was the first double-digit scoring game of his career.

"Bryce just made shot after shot, and he had a very special evening tonight," Fresno State coach Steve Cleveland told KMJ (AM 580). "It's something I didn't expect, but I'm glad it happened."

Cartwright, a 6-foot, 175-pound guard, entered the game averaging 2.8 points per game...

Go here for the remainder.


Idaho lost a tough one, a game the Vandals were in position to take.

Idaho Athletic Media Relations

POCATELLO, Idaho – The University of Idaho frittered away a 10-point lead in the final 5:07 and a questionable call with 11-seconds remaining allowed Idaho State University to steal a 61-59 victory.

Idaho (6-7) led 54-44 with 5:07 remaining, but was outscored 17-5 by Idaho State (3-10) down the stretch. The Vandals led 59-57 with the ball and 24 seconds remaining, but an unforced turnover gave the Bengals the ball with 16 seconds remaining. Idaho State tied the game with two free throws with 11.1 second remaining after an Idaho foul, and Mac Hopson was called for a charge as the Vandals attempted to inbound the ball, giving the ball back to Idaho State. Amorrow Morgan, who scored 11 of his game-high 18 points in the second half, sealed the Bengal comeback with a 10-foot jumper with 1.5 seconds remaining...
Go here for the remainder.


Hawaii makes a statement against GW that is aligned with what many feel about the Capitol Hill inhabitants of D.C.

Rainbows flatten Colonials
Brian McInnis
Honolulu Star Bulletin
December 30, 2008

Any questions about Hawaii's ability to respond after a morale-busting loss have been answered.

George Washington couldn't get anything going offensively against the stingy Rainbow Warriors, who rode a 73-47 rout into the consolation championship of the 45th Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic last night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Although the Rainbows (7-4) lost their opening-round game to Colorado State, they can still post a winning record in the final year of the Classic's eight-team format with a victory against Pepperdine (2-11) at 5 p.m. today.

A crowd of 3,219 saw UH post its largest victory margin of the season by hounding the Colonials (6-4) into 30 percent shooting (including 2-for-18 on 3-pointers) and 17 turnovers...
Go here for the remainder.

Plus, here is Dayton Morinaga's take on the same game.


Boise State takes down Eastern Washington.

Balanced Bronco men win third basketball game in a row
Nick Jezierny
Idaho Statesman

The week's worth of rust is gone, but the Boise State men's basketball team still has its winning streak.

The Broncos dispatched Eastern Washington 57-48 in front of 3,069 fans Monday night at Taco Bell Arena in its first game since winning at San Diego on Dec. 22.

It was the third win in a row for Boise State, which at 9-3, has the same record entering conference play as it did a year ago. BSU won the WAC last season...
Go here for the remainder.


Utah State had an easy time with Howard and it will be a Spectrum version of "Groundhog Day" tonight against Houston Baptist.

Quayle leads Aggies over Bison
Jared Eborn
Deseret News
December 30, 2008

LOGAN — When the season began Utah State coach Stew Morrill made a point of saying there was no single player on this Aggie team capable of replacing Jaycee Carroll.

Probably so, but Jared Quayle gave the boisterous fans at the Smith Spectrum a reasonable substitute for a night, at least, with a jam-packed stat sheet in the Aggies' 85-45 win against an overmatched Howard University team.

Quayle has a tremendous game against the Bison finishing with 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists as Utah State (10-1) resumed its traditional role as an ungiving holiday host at the Gossner Foods Duel in the Desert...
Go here for the remainder.

Here is Shawn Harrison with his game report.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Here's Nick Jezierny with a quick look at Boise State

The Idaho Statesman's Nick Jezierny offers a brief take on Boise State so far this season:

What's been right, wrong with the Bronco hoops teams this season
Nick Jezierny
Idaho Statesman

Record: 8-3

What's gone right so far:
The Broncos have been good in close games, posting a 5-1 record in games decided by four or fewer points or in overtime. Also, several players who had small roles a year ago have risen to the challenge of extended minutes, namely Mark Sanchez (15,8 points, 7.1 rebounds) and Kurt Cunningham (9.8, 3.4). Point guard Anthony Thomas, the lone returning starter from last season, has done his job leading an inexperienced team. He averages 9.1 points and has 60 assists compared to 31 turnovers.

What's gone wrong: BSU has been awful on defense, allowing 74.7 points per game. Opposing teams are shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from 3-point range. If those numbers don't come down, coach Greg Graham's team will struggle to win games in WAC play.

What's the key the rest of the year: In addition to playing better defense, the Broncos - both as a team and as individuals - need to become more consistent. On a team this deep (Graham uses a nine- or 10-player rotation), different players may have bigger games than others. The key is for any player who scores 20 points one night not to totally disappear the next. If the Broncos are to finish better than the fifth place they were picked in the preseason, they will need more consistency out of sophomore forward Paul Noonan (11.7 points) and junior forward Ike Okoye (8.4 points, 6.3 rebounds).

Jason Groves assesses NMSU

Here's Jason Groves' take on New Mexico State at the moment:

Looking forward: Young Aggies basketball team growing up
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — The future is bright for the New Mexico State University men's basketball team.

Last year, the Aggies entered Western Athletic Conference play 6-9.

After their 104-62 victory over Loyola Marymount University on Sunday, the Aggies are 6-6 with one more non-conference game to play before opening their WAC schedule.

"We are just trying to stay together and keep playing hard," Aggies sophomore forward Wendell McKines said. "Last year, we had a lot tougher schedule. We just want to get great momentum going into conference..."

Go here for the remainder.

LA TECH falls to UCLA & New Mexico State runs over LMU

Can't say there were any surprises yesterday. UCLA is just too talented and athletic for the Bulldogs to run with them and Loyola Marymount is winless, minus its head coach and a few of it's better players are injured.

Techsters win on road while Tech men fall to UCLA
News-Star news services
December 29, 2008

LOS ANGELES -- A large deficit in the first half cost the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (6-7) a 78-55 loss to the No. 13 UCLA Bruins Sunday afternoon in Pauley Pavilion.

“UCLA is a very good team, and they are very well coached,” Tech head coach Kerry Rupp said. “We knew we had to be our best going in. We got some good shots, but we made 21 turnovers, and that killed us. Again, our hats go off to them; their staff does a great job...”

Go here for the remainder.

Here's a snippet from the Los Angeles Times:

"...We are not going to face any teams with the physicality and strength like UCLA," said Louisiana Tech Coach Kerry Rupp, whose school plays in the Western Athletic Conference.

At the other end of the court, Louisiana Tech never seemed to get comfortable against UCLA's defense.

The Bulldogs went for long stretches without a basket as leading scorer Kyle Gibson, a Dorsey High alumnus, kept missing from long range and center Kenneth Cooper shot three for 12.

Forward Magnum Rolle fared better, leading all scorers with 17 points. But, as a team, the Bulldogs made 36.8% of their shots and, just as costly, committed 21 turnovers..."

Aggies men's basketball blows past Loyola Marymount
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — This one was over by halftime.

Loyola Marymount remained winless while New Mexico State appears to have recovered from last Tuesday's rivalry loss in Albuquerque.

Aggies sophomore guard Jahmar Young led the Aggies with 30 points in a 104-62 victory over the Lions on Sunday at the Pan American Center...
Go here for the remainder.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Jared Quayle is coming on

Well, this is just what the rest of the WAC needs ... a backcourter coming on for Stew Morrill to go with Wilkinson, Wesley and Newbold.

Elevating his game
Utah State's Utah's during their game Monday in Logan.(Eli Lucero/Herald Journal)
Shawn Harrison
The Herald Journal
December 28, 2008

It has taken a few games, but No. 21 is starting to fit right in at Utah State.

Not that he hasn’t always been a big fan of the blue and white, but the former Aggie basketball spectator is now being cheered by the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum crowd.

Jared Quayle is living a dream, while also turning some heads as he earns more and more playing time for the USU men’s team.

“You are just starting to see what Jared is really all about,” Aggie associate coach Tim Duryea said. “... For about two weeks now, you are starting to see the front edge of what he can get done.”

That is especially true for the last three games. The 23-year-old from Perry has averaged 16.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists, while shooting 58.1 percent from the field in the last three outings...

Go here for the remainder.

In the WAC last (Saturday) night

Hawaii was the team seemingly afflicted with island-itis as the Rainbow Warriors got stomped by Colorado State 74-58. Here's the first report:

'Bows Rammed
Colorado State pulls away from Hawaii in the second half for an easy tourney win
Brian McInnis
Honolulu Star Bulletin
December 28, 2008

Maybe the lights should have stayed off.

For the second time in four years, the same former Western Athletic Conference rival foiled Hawaii in its signature tournament. One night after an island-wide blackout, Colorado State stunned the listless Rainbow Warriors, 74-58, before a crowd of 3,958 in the opening round of the 45th Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Rainbows are banished to the consolation bracket and can do no better than fifth place in the swan song of the longest-running eight-team tournament in the country. A first-time Classic winner is now guaranteed on Tuesday...

Go here for the remainder.


Colorado State stops UH, 74-58
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser

Afternoon or not, the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team was once again banished to the consolation bracket of its own Rainbow Classic.

Colorado State used a strong second-half surge to defeat Hawai'i, 74-58, on the opening night of the 45th Annual Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic last night.

A crowd of 3,958 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the Rainbow Warriors end a six-game home winning streak to drop to 6-4. The Rams ended a six-game losing streak to improve to 4-8...
Go here for the remainder.


Nevada came away a winner although it was closer than we expected.

Pack basketball: Nevada escapes Idaho State
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
December 28, 2008

After the Nevada basketball team’s ragged win over Idaho State on Saturday night, coach Mark Fox said he was disappointed with a lot of the ways his team played.

What aspects of the Wolf Pack’s play disappointed Fox the most?

“I’m not sure you’ve got enough ink in your pen for that, to be honest with you,” the coach said.

Still, after watching a nine-point halftime lead evaporate in the second half, Nevada was able to walk away with a 68-63 victory in front of 5,938 fans at Lawlor Events Center. A lot of the credit for that goes to Luke Babbitt, Malik Cooke and the team’s aggressive attacking of the basket in the second half...
Go here for the remainder.

Or try this report from Darrell Moody:

Wolf Pack edges scrappy Idaho State
Darrell Moody
Nevada Appeal

RENO — It certainly wasn’t the way you want to see your basketball team play with a game against undefeated and top-ranked North Carolina just four days away.

Nevada shot a below-average 37.5 percent from the field and needed some late heroics by Luke Babbitt and Brandon Fields to hold off Idaho State 68-63 before a crowd of 5,938 at Lawlor Events Center on Saturday.

The win upped Nevada’s record to 7-5 entering Wednesday’s nonconference finale against the Tar Heels. Idaho State, which has played the toughest schedule in the country this season, dropped to 2-10.

“We were lucky that we won when we didn’t play well,” said Nevada coach Mark Fox, whose team was outscored 40-36 in the second half. “That is no disrespect to Idaho State. Hopefully we can learn those lessons in a win, not a loss...
Go here for the remainder.


San Jose State had its chances but the big three of St. Mary's proved too much:

MORAGA, Calif. (AP) - Patrick Mills scored 11 of his 17 points during a key run early in the second half and Saint Mary's won its eighth straight game with a hard-fought 87-78 victory over San Jose State on Saturday night in the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic.

Diamon Simpson added 20 points and 13 rebounds and now needs only 19 boards to break the school record of 916 set by Tom Meschery from 1958-62. Simpson already holds the Gaels' mark for blocked shots.

Omar Samhan had 21 points, five rebounds and four assists for Saint Mary's (11-1), which will play Sunday against Morgan State (5-6), a 70-68 winner over William Jessup on a buzzer beater in Saturday's first game.

Adrian Oliver, the Spartans' prized transfer from Washington, scored 22 points to lead San Jose State (5-4), which had its three-game winning streak snapped. C.J. Webster added 15 points and Chris Oakes 12 points and six rebounds...
Go here for the remainder.


Here's the take via the San Francisco Chronicle.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

BronkoBob gives his Boise basketball thoughts

We apologize for the tardiness but here's the famous or infamous BronkoBob with a basketball report on the game between Boise State and San Diego:

I happened to be at the hoop game pre-bowl (Ouch, Horned Frogs are tough skinned). The San Diego gym seemed more like a home game for Boise than most home games at Boise! I'd love to see the football faithful take up the hoop game in the off season. They really know how to bring it.

On the under reported side a.k.a. "There is more to the game than offense."

The score was 19-23 SDU up, and they were on a run. The seldom played Moritz entered the game and made a rare basket. If you read the play by play of the game his efforts seem not worthy of mention. But if you were at the game you suddenly realized that SDU stopped scoring inside and BSU went on a run that ended at the half 39-32 BSU up. Had Moritz made his shots it could have been 43-32. But who really cares Pomare was stopped cold. That's a 20-9 to swing against a strong SDU team.

For the 9:53 he played in the 1st half Moritz stopped the penetration game that gave Pomare 22 for the night.

The 14 minutes (his most this year) Moritz played were a solid showing and could be a precursor of more to come from the sophomore big man. I only wonder two things as I review the current rotations - how do you get five big guys in the game and when can we see what Rouse has to offer?

The rest of the Broncos performed as they are capable. What the heck does that mean - the strengths; passing and shooting the 3's very well - the weakness; turnovers and getting the ball up court; continue to need work. Thomas is just a joy to watch when he is on. Anderson will be more than just fun for the next four years. Cunningham and Sanchez gave us their typical games; both capable of knocking down exciting shots - but generally soft on defense. Garner a solid game not reflected in the box. The same can usually be said for Greene - he does an excellent job defending and that rarely gets noted. Ike and Sean limited with Moritz grabbing their time.

Two good road wins for the Broncos - I have no idea how they did at Cal Bakersfield but a W is W. Let's hope that they continue to grow and then they will challenge in what looks to be a wide open WAC.

Not WAC-related but...

First the snark, then the feel good story.

Scott Wolf of the Daily News is reporting that USC forward Leonard Washington will be sidelined anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks due to a high ankle sprain.

Isn't it about now that Tim Floyd announces Washington is being suspended for a few games for his reprehensible attack on Blake Griffin?


Here's a story for the season and all the rest of the days of the year. We have seen Kevin Laue play and D-1 is a possibility if a mid-major or lower coach needs a 'big' who can help out a few minutes a game.

Prospect Provides Inspiration With What He Doesn’t Have
Adam Himmelsbach
New York Times
December 27, 2008

FORK UNION, Va. — Kelli Whitescarver did not see traffic bottle up on Interstate 95 until it was too late. She lost control of her black Ford Explorer, which smashed a guardrail, flipped onto the driver’s side and dragged her left arm on the pavement.

Whitescarver, 21, had been on her way home to Richmond on Nov. 2 after visiting her sister in North Carolina. Instead, she was on her way to the hospital to have her left hand amputated.

During Whitescarver’s three-week stay at the Medical College of Virginia, she was told the amputation would not stop her from maintaining a normal life. But the people who told her that had two hands. Then, through some unusual serendipity, Whitescarver heard about someone who did not.

Kevin Laue, 18, was a 6-foot-10-inch college basketball prospect from California who was born with a left arm that ended at the elbow. He had recently enrolled at Fork Union Military Academy, about 50 miles from Richmond, in hopes of being noticed by an Ivy League team, but not for the reason he was most often noticed...

Go here for the remainder.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Another take on responsibility

So who is ultimately responsible when a fumble/interception/error occurs? Or can 'blame' be solely placed on any individual? Conventional wisdom says it's with the coach or coaching staff. We're not so sure about that but here's another article about this subject.

If mistakes are made, the teaching process is the only answer
Eric Musselman
December 24, 2008

Chuck Knox was an NFL head coach for more than 20 years with the Rams, Bills, and Seahawks, leading his teams to seven division titles.

In the book "The Game-Makers," he outlined his "principles of coaching," which I've listed here:

Inspire learning: "Create within the player a desire to do what is demanded, regardless of what technique is being taught. Enthusiasm is a must."

Concentration: "Learning [a sport] is not a matter of intelligence. It's a question of concentration. Any... player can learn if a coach gets him to concentrate and when a coach finds the secret of how that's done, he'll be a great coach..."

Go here for the remainder.

Giving thanks

At the real risk of getting crossed off a WAC basketball holiday 'gift' list because we inadvertently left someone out, we offer hearty thanks to Sam Wasson, Chris Murray, AW Prince, Jason Groves, Darrell Moody, Jared Eborn, Shawn Harrison, Hurricane John, the Refractioners, Nick Jezierny, Chadd Cripe, Brian Murphy, Bryant-Jon Anteola, Jon Wilner, Dayton Morinaga, Brian McInnis, Ethan Conley, Ron Tyler, Jimmy Watson and everyone else for their 'contributions' that make Parsing The WAC possible.

Keep it coming.

Call it laziness (we prefer to hide behind the mantle of being terrifically busy) but here's a little WAC holiday ditty we composed last year. Time just ran out on us this go-around:

A WAC version of 'The Night Before Christmas'
(special thanks to Clement Clarke Moore for the inspiration)

Twas the night before Christmas when all through the WAC
not a team was a-playin' not even the furriest of gym rats
the coaches' stockings were hung by their chimneys with care
in the hopes that a WAC championship would soon be theirs

"On Jaycee Carroll" shouted Utah State's Stew Morrill
While Fresno's Steve Cleveland yodeled "Go Kevin Bell"
"Now Marcelus Kemp" uttered Nevada's mentor Mark Fox
While Bob Nash grabbed and guessed what was in his gift box
George Pfeiffer collected as many gifts as he could carry
Greg Graham offered blessings for having forward Reggie Larry
Kerry Rupp's simple warning was "just wait til next year"
"I'm not Reggie" Marvin Menzies stated without fear
George Nessman had alread" received his very own Adrian Oliver
"Please ESPN, please ESPN' begged Karl Benson the Commissioner

The jolly red fat man stopped at the house of each WAC coach
Drank the milk and ate the cookies offered by each host
Ol' St. Nick shouted as he drove his sleigh out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night"

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Jason Groves gives us a Christmas gift

We looked everywhere. Checked twice as a matter of fact. Only Jason Groves came down our chimney and left us with something to post today so he is the recipient of the first annual PTW Santa award with all the rights and privileges that go with such an honor. Granted, that list of riches ain't too long.

Jahmar Young taking losses tough, becoming leader on NMSU men's basketball team
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — Losing is never easy, but it's intolerable for New Mexico State sophomore guard Jahmar Young.

So much so that following the Aggies' 76-62 loss to the University of New Mexico on Tuesday at The Pit in Albuquerque, Young said his Christmas wouldn't be as merry.

"I'm going to be in the gym," said Young, who led the Aggies with 18 points...

Go here for the remainder.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It appears Idaho has lost a player

Marcus Lawrence had some troubles at UNLV and ended up departing from Lon Kruger's program. It now appears that Lawrence will be needing a new destination after wearing out his welcome up in Moscow. Do note though that he is still appearing on the official Idaho men's basketball roster.

Ex-Rebel Lawrence in trouble in Idaho
Rob Miech
Las Vegas Sun
December 20, 2008

Former UNLV guard Marcus Lawrence, who transferred to Idaho, is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing for felony malicious injury in Latah County on Tuesday...

Go here for the remainder.

Or if you prefer...

UI basketball player charged with felony injury
December 20, 2008

MOSCOW, Idaho — A 21-year-old University of Idaho basketball player charged with felony malicious injury is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing in Latah County on Tuesday.

Moscow Assistant Police Chief David Duke says Marcus Lawrence kicked a car during an argument at a Nov. 16 party and there was more than $1,600 in damage to the 1987 BMW...
Go here for the remainder.

In the WAC last night

New Mexico State fell last night to in-state rival New Mexico but get them at home in a few days.

Aggies fall on the road to New Mexico Lobos
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

ALBUQUERQUE — Experience may decide the Rio Grande Rivalry series this year in men's basketball.

The University of New Mexico has three seniors - three more than New Mexico State.

That experience proved to be the difference Tuesday at The Pit in front of 17,197, as the Lobos led for all but 35 seconds of the contest. Lobos' seniors Tony Danridge, Chad Toppert and Daniel Farris and junior Roman Martinez combined for 28 of the Lobos' 45 second-half points in a 76-62 victory over the Aggies...

Go here for the remainder.

Here is Jason Groves on his blog about the game.


Hawaii win a game it should have and now has a six-game winning streak.

Rainbows win ugly via good-looking 'D'
Brian McInnis
Honolulu Star-Bulletin
December 24, 2008

It was ugly, but this time the Hawaii men's basketball team was ready.

UC Riverside wanted to wear down the Rainbow Warriors with a drag-it-out, physical style of play, but the 'Bows turned the tables for a 56-46 win before a crowd of 3,690 last night at the Stan Sheriff Center...
Go here for the remainder.

Or if you prefer:

'Bows continue roll at home
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
December 24, 2008

Two days before Christmas, the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team came up with a defense that was too difficult for UC Riverside to unwrap.

As a result, the Rainbow Warriors got revenge as an early gift in the form of a 56-46 victory over the Highlanders last night.

A crowd of 3,690 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the 'Bows improve to 6-3 with their sixth consecutive home victory. The Highlanders, who upset Hawai'i last season at Riverside, Calif., dropped to 7-3...
Go here for the remainder.


Fresno State fell to St. Louis last night.

Men's basketball suffers another loss
Fatigue hurts in late stages vs. Saint Louis
The Fresno Bee
Dec. 23, 2008

Paul George has emerged as the leading scorer for the Fresno State men's basketball team during his freshman season.

But his performance Tuesday pretty much summed things up for a Bulldogs' squad playing their fourth game in six days: George rarely left the court, but didn't have the legs to make the impact he normally does in Fresno State's 56-52 loss to Saint Louis at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas...
Go here for the remainder.


Here's Jared Eborn with more on the Utah State win over Utah.

Thoughts and observations from the USU-Utah game
Jared Eborn
Deseret News
Dec. 23, 2008

Wow. What a game.

Monday night's tussle between the Utes and Aggies was pretty much what most expected -- a physical contest that went down to the last minute and with a little extra something to keep the conversation flowing the next day.

While Ute fans, understandably, might not enjoy the final outcome, it was the proper one. From my vantage point four or five feet away from the officials as they watched the replay of the critical offensive rebound and basket made by USU's Tai Wesley the eventual call was correct...
Go here for the remainder.


Here's another look at the LA TECH win over TCU from A Closer Look at LA TECH Hoops.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

JC guard departs from Logan

Rich Sirju, a transfer from Florida's junior college ranks, has left Utah State. Playing time is the reason -- he saw action is just three games this season.

It's no real loss for the Aggies and actually not unexpected. Three junior college backcourters were recruited by Stew Morrill in his last haul and it was a given that someone would end up unhappy. With his eligibility clock ticking, Sirju chose to go elsewhere in order to get on the court.

A great account of the Utah State-Utah controversy

Things got hot and heated in last night's Utah State-Utah matchup. Here's Jared Eborn with more:

Utah Utes, Utah State basketball: Timely tip-in helps USU edge Utah in controversial finish
Jared Eborn
Deseret News
Dec. 23, 2008

LOGAN — Utah State's Spectrum has long had a reputation of making it nearly impossible for a visiting team to win.

The rabid Aggie fans and students are seen as a sixth man. If the Utah Runnin' Utes were asked, however, they might say it was the seventh man — as in the official operating the game clock — who willed USU to a 66-64 win.

Tai Wesley scored the winning basket on an offensive rebound putback off a Tyler Newbold missed shot with one-tenth of a second left, giving Utah State a 9-1 record and a gut-wrenching win over the Utes, who had good reason to cry foul after the game clock never started during the critical play...

Go here for the remainder.

Another Eric Musselman post -- his take on the Boise/San Diego game

Eric Musselman caught the Boise State win over San Diego last night and offers his thought on his blog:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Notes from the Boise State-USD game
In San Diego to watch the Boise State-USD game last night. [BSU won, 75-72.]

Couple of my notes from the game:

USD 4-man Rob Jones did an excellent job defending Boise's leading scorer Mark Sanchez in the first half, limiting him to just five points. Sanchez finished with 20 points, but Jones didn't guard him much in the second half.

Jones did the same thing last month when he limited Nevada's Luke Babbitt to just three points in a USD win...

Go here for the remainder.

Last night's action

It was a very good night for the WAC with some RPI-elevating wins -- let's say Commissioner Benson slept well last night.

Boise State men's basketball team wins on the road
Brian Murphy
Idaho Statesman

SAN DIEGO - The Jenny Craig Pavilion felt a little like Taco Bell Arena on Monday night as Boise State fans, band and cheerleaders in town for the Poinsettia Bowl provided a distinct blue-and-orange feel.

The Broncos men's basketball team certainly shot like they were back home.

Entering the game a dismal 13-for-63 from 3-point range in three road games, Boise State used stellar long-distance shooting to hold off San Diego 75-72 in front of 2,864 people...

Go here for the remainder.


LA TECH nabbed a very nice win against Texas Christian.
Tech men remain perfect at home with win over TCU
News-Star news services
December 23, 2008

RUSTON -- Louisiana Tech (6-6) controlled the opening tip and the rest of the game Monday night en route to a 72-67 victory over the TCU Horned Frogs (7-5) in the Thomas Assembly Center.

"That was a great win for us,” Tech head coach Kerry Rupp said after the game. “I thought our guys did a great job and battled while giving a great, competitive effort. We had our success tonight when we took the ball inside and battled, but overall I was just pleased to get the win...”
Go here for the remainder.


Utah State notches a big victory over absolute rival Utah.

A little Holiday magic
Shawn Harrison
The Herald Journal
December 23, 2008

Nothing like a little Spectrum magic before the holidays.

At least that’s the way the Aggies felt Monday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The visiting Utes certainly have a different feeling.

Utah State forward Tai Wesley made a putback bucket off a missed shot by Tyler Newbold — who told Wesley after the game it was a pass — with 0.1 seconds on the clock. A long inbound pass by the Utes’ Shaun Green was intercepted by the Aggies’ Jared Quayle, as USU held on to beat in-state rival Utah, 66-64, in front of 8,358 fans...
Go here for the remainder.

Here's the same game per the Salt Lake City Tribune. And/or this from The Deseret News.


San Jose State wins one against West Coast Conference member USF

SJSU's Oliver proves too much for USF
Laurence Miedema
Mercury News

When late-game breakdowns derailed San Jose State's once-promising season a year ago, Adrian Oliver could only watch. Monday night, he did something about it.

The heralded transfer from the University of Washington scored 31 points Monday night and the Spartans defeated USF 82-76 for their third victory in a row. Two days after scoring 27 points in his Spartans debut, Oliver scored 14 of San Jose State's final 23 points at Walt McPherson Court...
Go here for the remainder.

Or, if you prefer, the San Francisco viewpoint.


Fresno State falls to Creighton.

Depth does in men's team vs. 'Jays
Creighton opens with a 12-3 run to break halftime deadlock.
The Fresno Bee
Dec. 22, 2008

Fresno State met the real Missouri Valley Conference favorite immediately in the second half Monday night at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

Creighton didn't represent itself as such in a first half that left both teams tied at 38. But the Bluejays' depth proved overpowering, as they outscored the Bulldogs 12-3 in the first 5 minutes of the second half and coasted to an 84-65 win in the third of four rounds of the Las Vegas Classic...
Go here for the remainder.

From the official WAC site, here's a link with reports on all the games.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A lesson to be learned about Paul Millsap-ers

Another blog site we visit daily is Brian McCormick's. We call him the contrarian because of his many takes opposite that of conventional wisdom but we also find ourselves agreeing with him more often than not.

In the following, he offer his take on Utah Jazz frontcourter Paul Millsap and one of the 'holes' in scouting prospects -- whether it be for the NBA or the college ranks. That is, focusing on what someone can't do or is perceived at not being able to do at the next level rather than looking at what a player can achieve -- just what is transferrable.

Brian McCormick
December 18, 2008

One NBA General Manager gets it:

"If we were geniuses, we would have traded up to get [Millsap] early in the second round or late in the first round. A lot of people look at what a player can't do instead of what he can do,'' O'Connor said. "There was a trend there for about three or four years that maybe size was so important at that [power forward] position, but then you get a Leon Powe, you get a Paul Millsap and a Craig Smith and a Carl Landry ...'' All were "undersized'' second-round picks who have thrived as NBA power forwards.

And a coach who makes sense:

The mistake by other teams was ignoring Millsap's rebounding numbers, which tend to translate from college to the NBA.

"Guys who go after the basketball, if that's what they do well, they always do it at just about every level they play unless they're just totally out-sized," Sloan said. "It usually won't come to you unless you go after it, for some reason."

Then McCormick responds to a posted comment:

Brian McCormick said...

Again, the problem is that we do not know how to identify talent so people identify the most obvious things and the most measurable. I mean, people thought that Kevin Durant should not be a high pick because he couldn't bench 185 pounds because it is one measurable skill used to identify basketball talent. But, what in the world does a 185lbs bench press have to do with success on the court? You really want to pass on an 18-year-old kid who is 6'10 with long arms and a jump shot because he can't bench 185lbs?

People want length and height because coaches believe they can teach a player how to get offensive rebounds or how to be in the right spot. And, they figure that a tall, long guy with their tutelage will do this more effectively. The problem is that by the time a player reaches the NBA, they are, for the most part, what they are.

An aggressive rebounder will remain an aggressive rebounder.

We do not differentiate between talents and skills. Aggressiveness is a talent. Bench press is a skill which can be learned and developed through practice. Work ethic is a talent. You take someone with a great work ethic and you can make them stronger. You take a long, tall non-aggressive player without a work ethic and you still won't get an aggressive rebounder.

I don't see why so many people disagree with this basic concept.
Do bookmark Brian's blog.

Is it always the coach?

Eric Musselman's blog is a must-visit for us every morning. More often than not we agree with what he posts and opines but today we are in the opposite camp.

A team plays how they're coached to play

After losing by 10 to Arizona on Saturday in the Las Vegas Bowl, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said his team had made a number of mental errors, something for which he took full responsibility.

"Championship teams don't do that," he said. "Championship coaches don't coach a team to do that. I've never shifted responsibility to anywhere other than myself. A team plays how they're coached to play."

Coaches, that is the better coaches, take the hit themselves rather than throw a player or players under the proverbial bus, regardless of who is to blame.

The best coaches do what they can, say what they can, prepare their teams as best they can but ultimately it is up to the players -- prep, college and professional -- to take what is given/offered, add such to their own preparation and perform.

Is a running backs coach, who has taught and drilled his charges how to carry the ball, responsible for a fumble?

Is a quarterback coach, who installs a system and a certain set of plays to take advantage of an opponent's defense and drilled his signal caller on what to do and when, responsible for an interception?

Sure, there is a boatload full of shades of gray in all these equations but the primary variable to us is the human one. Get the 'right' players, with the 'right' level of experience and commitment and teams win.

Coaches certainly have a profound impact on winning and losing -- that's undeniable -- but what they have to work with is of the utmost importance.

Of course, we are open to different takes and interpretations of this matter so have at it if you wish.

A couple of takes on Utah State

Here a pair of takes on USU hoops:

Since when is an 8-1 team not impressive?
Jared Eborn
Deseret News
Dec. 21, 2008

Utah State has played nine basketball games, won eight of them and lost only to a strong BYU team by just five points on a neutral floor.

So why are there grumblings about if the Aggies are legit?

Beats me, actually, an I've been one of the guys sitting around after the games wondering what's wrong with Stew Morrill's team even after a road win...

Go here for the remainder.

Plus, here is what we deemed the most important excerpt from Shawn Harrison's most recent Aggie writings:

Aggies glad to face Utes at home
Shawn Harrison
The Herald Journal
December 22, 2008

For the first time this season, point guard Jaxon Myaer did not see any action at Idaho State. The freshman had started six games and was averaging 25.6 minutes a game.

Morrill has gone to a taller, more defensive-minded group to start the past three games. Pooh Williams has joined Gary Wilkinson, Tai Wesley, Newbold and Jared Quayle, who has moved back to the point lately.

“We’re starting our best defensive lineup, and there is a reason for that,” Morrill said. “I just think we have to hang our hat on defense and rebounding, if we are going to be a good basketball team.”

USU is at a plus 10.1 in rebounding so far this season, outrebounding every opponent. The Aggies also have not allowed a team to shoot better than 45 percent from the field, while leading the nation in field goal percentage at 52.9 percent...
Go here for his entire article.

Darrell Moody on Reggie Theus

Here Darrel Moody provides his experiences with Reggie Theus and wishes him back in the college game. It's indisputable that Reggie exudes joie de vivre. Let's cue up Lloyd Price from 1959:

"...’cause you got personality,
Walk, personality
Talk, Personality
Smile, Personality
Charm, personality
Love, personality..."

Darrell Moody
Nevada Appeal

...I was sad to see Reggie Theus get canned by the Sacramento Kings this past week...

Go here for the remainder and his entire column.

Jason Groves with some NMSU insights

Here's Jason Groves with some thoughts on Aggie basketball of late:

UTEP exposes NMSU in some regards
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

It was bound to happen. Sooner or later, the shots were going to stop falling and the opposing team would lock up and play defense.

It happened on Saturday night at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso. For the first time since a loss at Southern California, New Mexico State was stymied on offense on one end while being exposed as a sub-par defensive team at the other.

Prior to their 84-69 loss at Texas-El Paso on Saturday, the Aggies were shooting 49 percent from the field. NMSU was 32.8 percent (21 of 64) from the field on Saturday which is their worst effort both percentage and point total wise since a 31.7 percent performance in a 73-60 loss at USC on Nov. 18.

The Aggies were 9 of 34 (26.5 percent) in the first half and 12 of 30 (40 percent) in the second half, while going 4 of 15 from 3-point land...

Go here for the remainder.

Idaho wears down against Washington State

You have to like Mac Hopson's line against his former team, except wanting a few more points which is something hard to produce with WSU's style: 10 points (4-9 shooting), six assists, six rebounds and best of all, zero turnovers.

Second half drought costly in Idaho loss
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho men’s basketball team returned some excitement to the oldest continuous rivalry in the West, however a late scoring drought doomed the Vandals in a 55-41 loss to Washington State Sunday.

Idaho (6-6) trailed 39-38 with 10:59 remaining before Washington State’s (8-3) defense clamped down and held the Vandals to just one basket for the remainder of the contest.

The loss was Idaho’s first at home this season...

Go here for the remainder.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another edition: it's not WAC-related but...

This is a brief tale of ethics, actually the lack thereof. Curiously, Oklahoma star Blake Griffin was involved in both situations, neither of his choosing.

First, here's is Utah Coach Jim Boylan responding to an inexcusable act by one of his players:

M. Hoops: Utes suspend PG for tripping opponent
Marco Villano
Daily Utah Chronicle
December 17, 2008

All it takes is a split second and one dumb decision to cost a player some playing time. Luka Drca, the Runnin’ Utes starting point guard, has been suspended for two games for intentionally tripping Oklahoma center Blake Griffin in the second half of Saturday’s loss.

The incident happened after the two were momentarily tangled when going up for a rebound of a Utah miss. Drca clipped one of Griffin’s legs from behind, causing a brief scuffle between the teams for a few moments.

“Luca is remorseful for his actions, but I feel that suspending him is the only thing to do,” said head coach Jim Boylen in a press release. “His behavior was unacceptable and does not represent what our program is about.”

“I apologized to Blake after the game and he said that everything was all right,” Drca said...

Go here for the remainder.

Then there is USC Coach Tim Floyd.

No. 6 Oklahoma defeats USC, 73-72
Dwight Lewis led the Trojans with 25 points.
Associated Press
December 5, 2008

Reporting from Norman, Okla -- Not even a cheap shot could keep Blake Griffin from leading No. 6 Oklahoma to another victory...

...Griffin, a preseason All-America forward, had to come out of the game after getting elbowed below the waist by USC's [freshman forward] Leonard Washington with 13:54 left. His brief absence helped the Trojans (5-3) as they rallied from an 11-point deficit to get within one point three times, but Oklahoma (7-0) stayed poised and had an answer every time.

Washington was ejected after officials huddled to see replays of his elbow striking Griffin below the waistline as the Trojans prepared to set up their offense.

"What do you think he said? 'I didn't do it,' " said Trojans Coach Tim Floyd, who didn't see the play happen live. "He's a freshman. He doesn't know that we film everything. But he's a good guy..."
Then there was silence from Floyd.

Eleven days later, USC played and beat Pepperdine. Leonard Washington started, played 27 minutes and scored 14 points.

More silence from Floyd.

USC just played it's next game against North Dakota State and Leonard Washington scored 17 points.

Continued silence from Floyd.

Oh actually, Floyd had something to say after the NDS game: "We couldn't have won without the two freshmen," he said. "That's encouraging going into Pac-10 play."
By the way, here's a link to another cheap shot of Washington's from the prep summer circuit. It takes place around the 1:16 mark of the video.

Floyd is already 'known' for his roster 'fluidity' where players get run off because there's a new 'prize' to be landed. Apparently Washington remains because he still has some use and Floyd doesn't desire to interfere with that.

We have a nickname for the USC head coach. It's Tim (See and Hear No Evil) Floyd. It's all about him and all about winning, always has and always will. Nothing else matters.

Paul Campbell receives some ink

Most of us aren't very familiar with Hawaii's Paul Campbell. This will rectify that:

UH can count on Campbell
Junior center playing with confidence after nearly leaving school
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
December 21, 2008

Paul Campbell is not home for the holidays, and that's a good thing for the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team.

Three weeks ago, Campbell contemplated leaving the Rainbow Warriors so he could return home to Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

This week, Campbell is battling for a starting position.

"I'm just playing with a lot more confidence," said Campbell, a 6-foot-10 junior center. "The first couple of games, my head wasn't into it. I wasn't getting playing time and I wasn't sure what my role with the team was. I thought about (leaving) for a little bit."

Before the team's road trip to Illinois, Campbell said he had long talks with Hawai'i head coach Bob Nash and assistant coach Larry Farmer.

They convinced him to stay...

Go here for the remainder.

The background on Mac Hopson

Here's a great article on now Idaho point Mac Hopson -- sure wish most writing and level of insight could equal this (and yes, we are also aiming that broadside at ourselves). A 10-gallon hat tip to Jo-Jo for this marvel.

Plus, here is yet another 'article' with even more on Hopson's departure from WSU.

In the WAC last night

Nevada came to Berkeley and fell to Cal but with some bright moments and efforts.

Cal's treys sink Nevada
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
December 21, 2008

BERKELEY, Calif. -- In a 75-second span Saturday afternoon, the Nevada basketball team let 35 minutes of aggressive, hard-nosed play unravel into a 75-66 loss to the California Golden Bears.

It came in a couple blinks of an eye as Cal capped back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers with an alley-oop dunk that brought the crowd of 9,670 fans at Haas Pavilion to its feet and buried Nevada's shot at a win.

"We just fell apart," the Pack's Armon Johnson said after scoring a career-high 33 points in the loss. "We had some mental lapses and a good team made us pay..."

Go here for the remainder.

Here's Chris Murray's notes on the game.

Boise goes on the road and nabs a win.

Bronco men's basketball team captures first road victory
Idaho Statesman

The Boise State men's basketball team scored its first road win of the season by edging Cal State Bakersfield 66-62 on Saturday night in Bakersfield, Calif.

Sophomore Paul Noonan, who sat out most of the first half in foul trouble, scored 16 of his team-high 19 points in the second half to help the Broncos (7-3) snap a two-game losing skid...

Go here for the remainder.

San Jose State got Adrian Oliver in uniform for the first time and he didn't disappoint.

San Jose, CA -- Adrian Oliver showed one player can make a big difference. In his San Jose State men’s basketball debut, the 6-foot-4 sophomore poured in a career-high 27 points leading the Spartans to an 89-78 non-conference victory over Northern Colorado at the San Jose Civic Auditorium.

Oliver was 11-of-18 from the field including 2-of-3 from 3-point range and found time to hand out two assists and block a game-high three shots on the defensive end for the Spartans (4-3) who now have their first two-game winning streak of the season...

Go here for the remainder.

New Mexico State split it home-and-home series with UTEP.

Aggies fall to UTEP
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

EL PASO — The teams faced off before the tip.

They faced off in the Don Haskins Center tunnel at halftime.

When the dust settled, Texas-El Paso emerged with a season split in the I-10 rivalry after Saturday's 84-69 victory over New Mexico State in El Paso...

Go here for the remainder.

Utah State came away with an expected win.

Another road win
Shawn Harrison
The Herald Journal
December 21, 2008

POCATELLO, Idaho — When you get balanced scoring, outrebound your opponent and shoot a better percentage, good things usually happen.

Utah State did all of that Saturday night at Holt Arena inside the Minidome on the campus of Idaho State. It paid off to the tune of a 67-57 win in front of 2,976 fans, many of which were vocal Aggies.

The visitors led from start to finish to record their third straight victory.

“We haven’t been on our homecourt since Dec. 2,” USU head coach Stew Morrill said. “I was proud of our guys for just grinding it out and finding a way to win. It wasn’t really pretty, but we did what we needed to do...”

Go here for the remainder.

Here's Jared Eborn of The Deseret News with a USU blog entry.

Idaho also earned a victory last night.

Vandals protect home court with 67-46 victory
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho men’s basketball used 55-percent shooting to protect its perfect record at home in a 67-46 victory over Texas Southern Saturday.

The Vandals (6-5) hit 24-of-44 field goals and 8-of-16 3-point attempts on the way to their fifth-consecutive win at home. Texas Southern (0-11) was held to just 39-percent shooting in the contest and committed 24 turnovers...

Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

An article making mention of BSU recruit Sam Hicks

Here's an article about a recent game in which Boise State recruit Sam Hicks was a participant.

Bunch of good games today but first this

We'll be back tomorrow with a wrapup of a slew of good games today involving WAC teams but here's an item that caught our attention:

From Shawn Harrison's Herald Journal article of today, this jumped out at us:

“...I’m no miracle worker,” said Morrill when asked about how he could energize his team. “They got to decide if they want to play with some energy. Everybody thinks the coach controls all that, but the coach doesn’t control all that. The players control that. I can’t control whether they get themselves energized and ready to play basketball.

“... I have never believed it’s my job. I’ll try like hell, but it’s their job. It’s not my job to get them emotionally ready to play...”

What is your take on this? Whose role is it? Is is something shared by both parties in the equation?

Television commentators talk about how well a coach has 'prepared' his team but that usually is in reference to X's and O's -- how best to attack and defend.

Fans, (here comes our bias) as that part of fan-dom that is often untethered to reality, lament that Coach So-and-so didn't have his team ready to play -- but that seems most often in relation to an emotional pitch.

Here's our bottomline and it's seems congruent to what Morrill is saying: coaches are responsible for getting their teams 'prepared' for what they will experience on the court and coaches also try to get their team 'ready' to compete, 'up' if you will. But ultimately, it is the duty of the individual player to get himself 'prepared' and 'ready' either via the input of a coach, by himself or through a combination of the two.

Friday, December 19, 2008

LA Tech falls to Samford

This is one that a victory might not have helped the WAC RPI all that much but a loss does some damage. But keep in mind that Magnum Rolle was sidelined with an anke injury.

Samford's best half leads to victory
Ray Melick
Birmingham News
December 19, 2008

The way Samford plays basketball often looks slow, methodical and, at times, sloppy.

But when it works, it can be lethal.

And it was working in the second half Thursday night, as Samford (4-4) played perhaps its best 20 minutes of the year in a 71-58 victory over Louisiana Tech (5-6) in the Pete Hanna Center at Samford University...

Go here for the remainder.

From the official LA TECH site.

From A Closer Look at LaTech Hoops.

There's Ali G and then there's Troy G

This Troy is a heckuva lot better than that turgid 2004 movie. It's will be interesting to see who ends up as WAC Freshman of the Year -- Gillenwater or Babbitt?

NMSU freshman Troy Gillenwater getting it done on defensive end
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — With the basketball talent level on campus at New Mexico State, it's not surprising to see Aggies leading certain statistical categories in the Western Athletic Conference.

With the possible exception of Troy Gillenwater. At 6-foot-8 and blessed with athletic ability and versatility on the offensive end, Gillenwater is second in the league with two blocks per game.

He led the league until last week..."

Go here for the remainder.

Here's a Jason Groves notes column with Terrance Joyner as the lead.

Is Stew Morrill the face of WAC basketball?

No, we are not being facetious. Neither is John Parenti in the following article.

Parenti is not the head of the Logan Chamber of Commerce -- we checked (smile). But he just might become an official Logan-ite sometime in the future if it's somehow do-able.

Here is his tribute to both Logan and the Utah State men's basketball program. Pardon our apparent geographical ignorance but is Logan really situated in a desert?

Desert Nirvana
John Parenti
Basketball State
December 17, 2008

I grew up in a college town. It was about 45,000 population in those days. The college didn't have much a basketball program then, but it did have a very good football team. For a small college program, it turned out more than its share of pros and even a Heisman Trophy runner-up. I'll never forget the atmosphere the college sports programs brought to the town and how much the town enjoyed the college. During football season, that's all anyone talked about...

Go here for the remainder.

Fresno State tops Northern Colorado

Boy, the Fresno Bee comes off a bit harsh, what with Fresno State starting two freshman this season and a third playing 26 minutes last night, the most of anyone off the bench. Ups-and-downs are to be expected.

Fresno State men avert upset II
Bulldogs get another run for their money after rough loss
Marek Warszawski
The Fresno Bee
December 18, 2008

Losing to Montana was bad enough. Dwight O'Neil and Paul George made sure it didn't happen against Northern Colorado.

O?Neil's pull-up jumper with 40 seconds remaining and George's clutch foul shooting down the stretch carried Fresno State to a 70-65 nonconference victory Thursday night at the Save Mart Center.

O'Neil scored a game-high 18 points and George added 13, including three 3-pointers and the clinching free throws with 9.3 seconds left.

"We know how difficult wins are for this group," Fresno State coach Steve Cleveland said. "We just have to grind it out..."

Go here for the remainder.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Not WAC-related but...

The late, great sportswriter Damon Runyon is credited with saying many things, among them: "The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet."

Well, neither Tim Duncan nor Brandon Roy would be anyone's choices to win many Olympic track and field events. But they are basketball players -- very successful ones -- who combine the cerebral with their athletic abilities and beat many more 'talented' players in doing so.

Here are a couple of articles featuring Duncan and Roy and how they go about succeeding on the court. By the way, did anyone see the rise of Roy? Not us.

"...The hard part from where we sit is trying to come up with something new to write about Duncan, who shows far softer edges to the public than elbows to opponents. It's like figuring out something new to say about the Grand Canyon, the Mississippi River or the Sphinx (at least when the great stone critter isn't whining over a referee's whistle). As in: It's, uh, still there. And, y'know, still great.

"He, as a 'big' right now, is by far the best," Timberwolves coach Kevin McHale said. "He's smart. He doesn't run around. No wasted energy. Things I'm trying to get our guys to do -- basketball's a game of read-and-react. Especially with young guys, they want to 'run' the offense. But the offense doesn't score -- the read inside the offense does. Things happen, Tim just stands there and goes [McHale very slowly looks left, very slowly looks right]. Then he moves into the open spot.

"Believe it or not, that's how everybody played. You didn't run on top of each other. You gave everybody space. He's different because, right now, for whatever reason -- either how the game is taught or how the young guys play in AAU or whatever -- it's, 'We're going to go as fast as we can, run around as fast as we possibly can.' He just takes his time. Let the defense make mistakes."

Said Duncan: "I'm not a quick guy. If I can slow it down, take my time and go to my own strengths, I can neutralize a lot of what people are able to do against me. You try to make people react to you more than you react to people. When you can do that, you're the one in control. You know what's going on and everyone else has to figure it out on the fly. I try to base my game around that. That's how I've always played..."

Go here for more and

Blazers' Roy a thinking man's star
Ian Thomsen
Sports Illustrated
December 4, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Brandon Roy arrives not in a hurry but on his own time. At 24, he is already one of the bosses in the NBA.

He had 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists to help Portland beat the Wizards 98-92 on Wednesday without ever appearing to run hard. Yet he played hard, which is a trick the great players learn in their 30s when athleticism fades. Roy is fulfilling this balance in his third NBA season. This is why the league's second-youngest team is 14-6 and carries six consecutive victories into Friday's game against the champions in Boston. The Trail Blazers are rising fast because Roy is slowing them down.

"He has a pace about him that is a calming pace for me and the players,'' Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "It's like he doesn't show emotions or being rattled.''

Of the league's young wing players, the 6-6 Roy is among the least impressive athletically. But it's a loser's daydream to imagine how good Roy might have been if blessed with the hops of Kobe Bryant or Dwyane Wade. Superior athleticism might have turned into his crutch. Roy is the most valuable piece of the league's most promising young team not because of his athletic instincts, but because he has spent his short career taking the time to think things through.

Roy watches his peers not with envy but rather in search of ideas he can steal.

"I'm always trying to analyze things," said Roy, who is averaging 21.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists. "I try to see what may work for another player, and see what may work for me. I've always played that way, even in high school. I always thought the game..."
Go here for the remainder.

Nevada has no problem

The Wolf Pack easily triumphed over APB.

Wolf Pack Basketball: Pack stuffs Lions
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
December 18, 2008

Nevada's Brandon Fields has slowly been working on getting his timing back since a slow start to the season. If the Wolf Pack's game Wednesday night is any indication, he is pretty dialed in.

Fields posted season highs in points (21) and rebounds (eight) as Nevada trounced Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 87-58, in front of 5,466 fans at Lawlor Events Center...

Go here for the remainder.

Plus, Nevada played some fullcourt 'D' last night -- a new wrinkle -- as Chris Murray tells us.

Utah State gets by

It was closer than expected but that sometimes unexpectedly happens with rival contests. Coach Stew Morrill offered one of his we-never-tire-of quotes after the game when asked about his team's play.

Too close for comfort
Shawn Harrison
The Herald Journal
December 18, 2008

CEDAR CITY — Chalk this one up as one of those “a win is a win.”

Playing a short-handed Southern Utah squad, Utah State had to hold on for dear life Wednesday night at the Centrum Arena. The Thunderbirds — due to some player suspensions — were underdogs and fell behind by double digits in the first half. However, the hosts fought back and nearly pulled off the upset.

In the end, the Aggies made enough free throws to hold on for a 72-65 victory in front of 3,157 fans, who became quite vocal down the stretch...

Go here for the remainder.

New Mexico State wins at home

Has Coach Marvin Menzies found himself a point guard? Hernst Laroche was a late signee (August) out of Canada but he has quickly picked things up and is doing the basic job of getting the ball to his teammates in scoring position. Another frosh backcourter, Terrance Joyner, made his season debut last night.

New Mexico State wins third straight
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — Don't look now.

It's a win streak.

New Mexico State won a season-best third game in a row with an 88-74 victory over Prairie View A&M on Wednesday at the Pan American Center.

With the win, the Aggies went over the .500 for the first time since a 90-66 victory over Pepperdine on Nov. 21 heading into Saturday's rivalry game against UTEP in El Paso at 5-4.

"It feels great, now we can go on the road," said Aggies point guard Hernst Laroche, who had nine points, seven assists and one turnover. "It's good to be going in the right direction going into UTEP."

Laroche and the Aggies had 21 assists, tying a season high for a game while turning the ball over a season-low seven times...

Go here for the remainder.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Here's some updates on Nevada signee Steve Bjornstad

Here's a couple of short tidbits on Nevada recruit Steven Bjornstad, followed by a full length feature article.

(Bjornstad blocking a shot photo courtesy of Dean Rutz - Seattle Times)

River sends home crowd home happy
Paul Valencia
The Columbian
December 9, 2008

The upper bleachers at Columbia River High School were open Tuesday night, possibly for the only time this season.

After all, the Skyview Storm took the short trip to River for a non-league-but-still-intense boys basketball rivalry game.

“A win over Skyview is a little sweeter than most wins,” Columbia River senior Steven Bjornstad said.

So even if he were feeling a little under the weather, his 15-point, 13-rebound, 5-block performance made him feel better. Oh, and so did River’s 43-28 victory...


The Columbian
December 16, 2008

...Another tight contest was at Columbia River, where the Chieftains led most of the way against visiting Mountain View, and escaped wth the win when Joseph Vance's shot over Steven Bjornstad missed as time ran out.

Vance took the ball end to end for a shot at the tie after River's Connar Oberst made one of two foul shots with six seconds left. The Chieftains (4-0) won 58-56.
Bjornstad did not get a piece of Vance's shot at the end of the game, but did force Vance to shoot over him. The 6-10 senior blocked five shots in the win...

Filling a Big Frame
Paul Danzer
The Columbian
December 16, 2008

Steven Bjornstad arrived at Columbia River with a sweet stroke.

As a freshman, he tied for 10th place in the state golf tournament.

On the ride back from that tournament, the golf coach suggested Bjornstad give up the sport.

Strange as that sounds, it was the right choice for both player and coach.

Three years later, Bjornstad has locked down a college basketball scholarship and grown into a 6-foot-10 tower of strength who helped the Chieftains to the 3A state basketball tournament last season and intends to do his part to secure a return trip.

Actually, Bjornstad is not the same player who shot 82 percent from the floor, made 48 dunks, blocked 135 shots and grabbed 263 rebounds in 27 games as a junior...
Go here for the remainder.

Jason Groves on the two 'new' New Mexico State players

Jason Groves has some information on the latest additions to the NMSU roster. Go here to read his blog entry.

Reggie Nation dressed in black this week

Coaches, almost each and everyone of them, will be fired at some point in their professional lives. Like with the rest of us, sometimes it's deserved. Other times, it's simply circumstances.

Plus, anyone entering into a contractual relationship with the family Maloof understands that impetuousness rules the day.

Reggie Theus understood that and still chose to leap to the NBA -- yet who can question why considering the stratospheric salaries that are paid and the prestige that comes with such a spot.

Now Reggie is a free agent.

It seems very unlikely he will get back into the pros, even as an assistant. It would be hard for any NBA owner to win the press conference by hiring Theus as a head coach anytime in the near future and it also would be difficult for him to burnish his rep sitting a seat or two down from a head coach.

Our take is his best situation would be as a college head coach. At least in college coaching, you get to pick your players -- something not always so in the pros. If your ship sinks in the college ranks, it's usually because of inefficient recruiting -- your own doing.

There will be a goodly number of worthwhile college jobs available comes the end of the season and Theus has the charisma to convince more than a few ADs that he can lead a team towards or to the promised land.

Our sense is that only a very few of those college spots could keep Theus in place. Some have already mentioned Arizona and that would be one such destination. He would immediately be a major player in the SoCal prep ranks (which Arizona has to be to succeed) and also be able to nab some national recruits.

Let's see what other spots open up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More on Spartan signee Anthony Dixon

We sent out a note earlier about how Spartan signee Joe Henson is doing at Pasadena High this season and here's another brief update on him followed by some information we've collected on Anthony Dixon, another SJSU signee.

"It shouldn't surprise anyone that undefeated Westchester won the Ocean View Tournament of Champions for the second consecutive year on Saturday...

Check out all-tournament team: Vaughn Autry (Gardena Serra), Shelton Boykin (Long Beach Poly), Denzel Douglas (Westchester), Kareem Jamar (Westchester), Jerry Evans (Leuzinger), Julian Wheeler (Leuzinger), Thomas Hammock (Compton Centennial), Joseph Henson (Pasadena)....

Austin Knoblauch, LA TIMES"


6-4 Anthony Dixon is a McDonald's All-American nominee who plays for Hyde Park in Chicago.

November 25, 2008

Hyde Park 95, Dyett 50

Hyde Park: Malcolm Griffin 20 pts, 10 assists; Martell Jackson 15 pts, 10 steals; Anthony Dixon 8 pts, 20 rebs


December 3, 2008

"Five players scored in double figures as No. 12 Hyde Park defeated Harlan 72-56 Wednesday night. Anthony Dixon led the way with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Malcolm Griffin (13 points, six rebounds, six steals), Martell Jackson (14 points, six steals), Fabyon Harris (10 points, five steals) and Aqui Sharees (12 points, five rebounds) contributed to the victory, which moved Hyde Park to 2-0."

December 11, 2008

"Hyde Park 75, Robeson 65: All five starters scored in double figures for Hyde Park (3-1, 1-0): Anthony Dixon (16 points), Malcolm Griffin (15 points, 10 assists), Fabyon Harris (15 points), Martel Jackson (12 points) and Jerome Moore (10 points, 10 rebounds)."

Meet Petras Balocka

Here's a feature on one of Hawaii's newcomers, someone who leads the WAC in elpg's, a category Brian McInnis has created:

Basketball in Balocka's blood
Brian McInnis
Honolulu Star-Bulletin
December 15, 2008

Petras Balocka thanks his father for two things.

First, the Hawaii junior forward gives a nod of appreciation to his old man, Vytautas Balocka, for making him constantly strive to become a better basketball player.

Honors for the second item, his boisterous personality, are shared with his mother, Jurate.

"Yeah, I've always been (a) very emotional person," said Balocka, a junior college transfer who hails from Vilnius, Lithuania. "I think I take that from my father, who was an emotional guy. My mom is kind of emotional too, so I couldn't be a calm kid. I guess I gotta thank them for that."

The 6-foot-8, 250-pound Balocka has carried both traits - his passion for the game and his passion for everything else - with him to Hawaii this season from Pensacola Junior College (Fla.).

Through seven games for the 4-3 Rainbow Warriors, he's averaged 12.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in 21.5 minutes per game as a key big man. He's started all but one game and scores in bunches during his limited time on the floor...

Go here for the remainder.

Shawn Harrison does a good feature on Cass Matheus

Hey, if that big guy at the end of the Utah State bench looks familiar, it's because he is.

Glad to be back
Shawn Harrison
Logan Herald Journal
December 16, 2008

It’s been a few years since he was running up and down the court at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, but fans have not forgotten him.

After playing professionally for two years overseas, Cass Matheus has returned to the Utah State men’s basketball bench. However, he has traded in his No. 3 jersey for a suit and tie. Matheus is a the graduate manager on head coach Stew Morrill’s staff...

Go here for the remainder.

Chris Murray stats the WAC

We haven't put a heavy focus on statistics -- other than some specific wins and losses -- to this point because of the number of lower division teams that have been on the schedules of the WAC teams.

But now is the time to begin paying attention, especially with league games not too far off.

It's hard to characterize what will happen in conference action vis-a-vis statistics as some teams will gel and some players will continue with their improvement (and their stats will show this) while some squads and players won't. Each member plays twice against the other, thus coaching staffs better know their opponents and this familiarity allows the attempts to implement what works best offensively and defensively against each other.

The bottomline: the players at the higher levels and those on the rise should either continue or better their respective stats to date and vice versa.

Chris Murray beats us all to the punch with his post today and offers his most surprising, least surprising and noteworthy selections:

A look at the WAC leaders and early surprises
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

Western Athletic Conference play is about three weeks away, but here’s a quick look at some of the conference leaders...

Go here for the full article.