Friday, May 30, 2008

More input on Kerry Rupp's sacking of four players

Someone familiar with the Louisiana Tech men's basketball program has reached out to us and offered some insight on the dismissal of the four Bulldog players last week by Coach Kerry Rupp.

For a brief recap, Drew Washington, Dwayne Lathan, Orrim Tims and Brandon Mims were dismissed after meetings with Rupp last week. One article on Lathan quoted him as being 'blindsided' and with the decision coming out of nowhere. Lathan's father was also quoted similarly and decried the timing of the decisions.

Here's the link to that article:

Now here's our interaction with our source -- we have inserted the actual names of the players for clarification purposes:

"The media reports are not entirely correct. Of the four players not returning next season, the junior [Drew Washington] was advised of this decision at the beginning of April due to violation of team rules. His story should not be included in with the freshman.

There is more than meets the eye to every story. Especially stories written by local writers with no love for the local university.

Two of the freshman [Orren Tims and Brandon Mims] had academic issues. One of the two was not eligible to play in spring quarter for Tech -- the last two weeks of conference play and tournament.The other barely squeezed by. The odds of either one of the players staying eligible in such a travel heavy conference as the WAC is not good.

Rupp and staff contacted all of the state colleges before the spring signing period and advised them that the three players would be recruitable athletes once the academic year was finished.

Only one of the freshman is quoted [Dwayne Lathan] in the newspaper article. Not surprisingly, this player is the only one of the three that does not have multiple scholarship offers from in state schools. This player is a much stronger player than the other two. He averaged 11 points and 5 rebounds in conference games (once again as a true freshman). Why would you release a player of that caliber? Why then does he not have a scholarship offer? Shouldn't schools be lining up to receive this transfer? There are the FERPA laws so Rupp and company cannot comment any more than the official statement made to the press. All I know is if there is smoke......."

Okay, there you have have it. We believed the situation 'smelled' when we first came across it (and printed such) but also observed that there was much more unknown than known and that privacy issues were in play about what went down.

The key issue of what was known, by who and when would seem a simple issue to resolve -- if such hasn't already been determined by the above. There should be a number of state college coaches in the state of Louisiana who could obviously verify as to whether or not they received calls from Rupp and his staff.

Extrapolating from that, if the word was out to these Louisiana coaches that the three Bulldog frosh would soon be available to transfer, it makes sense that the freshman had to have some sort of idea or inkling something was up. Otherwise, an 'interest' call from one of the state coaches to any of these kids would certainly raise a ruckus and ruffle some feathers. Now these state coaches may have been told not to pursue any of these guys until the semester was complete but coaches being coaches and recruiting being recruiting...

What have we missed here?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Don Verlin is thinking longterm

Idaho is going to suffer a short-term negative on-court effect with the following decisions but a new coach can and needs to look beyond tomorrow. Don Verlin will be given the time to develop an actual men's basketball program in Moscow and obviously felt the players on his team needed to be going in a certain direction. Jordan Brooks and Mike Hall apparently felt differently. Guess who won?

This may or may not mean anything but when Idaho played at San Jose State on January 24, Jordan Brooks refused to heed repeated calls by an assistant coach to join the team huddle. We obviously don't know what that incident was about but it's not difficult to connect the dots vis-a-vis the display of such an attitude and Brooks' dismissal from the team.

(we posted the entire article because the Moscow-Pullman Daily News requires a subscription to read -- uh oh, who's that knocking at our door flashing that badge...)

Brooks, Hall won't return to UI hoops program
Standouts were Vandals' first- and third- leading scorers last season
Aaron Wasser
Moscow Pullman Daily News
May 29, 2008

Idaho men's basketball standouts Jordan Brooks and Mike Hall will not return for their senior seasons, first-year Vandals coach Don Verlin told the Daily News this morning.

Verlin wasn't specific as to why his first and third-leading scorers from a season ago won't be back for the 2008-09 campaign, only saying that no player was above the rules.

"There're rules in this program that our staff and our players will uphold and Mr. Brooks and Mr. Hall didn't do that," the former Utah State assistant coach said. "There's rules no matter who you are."

Brooks and Hall will be greatly missed on a team that went just 8-21 during the 2007-08 season and 5-11 in Western Athletic Conference play.

Brooks, a 6-foot-3 forward from Houston, Texas, led the Vandals in many offensive categories, including points (12.4 ppg), rebounds (6.2 rpg), steals (48) and assists (132) in a season that saw him become UI's first player to earn all-conference honors since 2004-05.

Hall, a 6-foot guard from Troy, Ohio, averaged 9.6 points per game as the team's third-leading scorer. Hall's forte, however, came at the 3-point line. His 64 made 3s led the team and his nine in a Jan. 24 game against San Jose State set a new Idaho school record.

Verlin said earlier this month that oft-injured post Mike Kale also will not return for his final season of eligibility.

The good news for the Vandals is that all three players will leave the university eligible and if Brooks and Hall land at a four-year university after sitting out a season it won't affect UI's APR score. Kale is not expected to transfer, but will seek out a professional career overseas.

Idaho's scholarship total is now at 12, leaving Verlin one scholarship left under the NCAA limit of 13. He has already added four players since arriving in Moscow in March, and he said he isn't sure what he'll do with the remaining scholarship.

Ramon Sessions has the last laugh

Ramon Sessions was the young man most people thought was the longest shot to make it coming out of the WAC after last season, yet...

It is helpful to be in the right situation at the right time, as in Sessions' case, but putting in the necessary work to take advantage of the opportunity -- as he obviously did -- is all credit to him.

Sessions' hard work pays off
Paul Flies
Reno Gazette-Journal
May 29, 2008

Fresh off his first season in the NBA, Ramon Sessions had no problem identifying the biggest difference between college and the big leagues at an NBA Development League appearance at the Eldorado Hotel-Casino on Wednesday.

"In the NBA, speed is the main difference," Sessions said. "The big men run like guards and the guards run like track stars."

The former Nevada standout declared for the 2007 NBA draft following his junior season. The Milwaukee Bucks selected Sessions with the 56th overall pick. Sessions started the season with the Bucks' D-league affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers, to work on his game.

He was later called up and played so well he said Wednesday he has already been told he will start this next season on the Bucks' roster and not in the D-League...

Go here for the remainder.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Parsing The WAC --- by Chris Murray

Hey, we've actually been giving it some thought that we should be including Chris Murray's name in the title of this blog since he is supplying so much of the 'updates' we post here.

We are still planning on doing an early WAC preview of each team as soon as things slow down with our other writing.

But in the meantime...Chris offers his take on the latest LA TECH happenings in his most recent column:

Changes aplenty at one WAC basketball school
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
May 27, 2008

The Louisiana Tech basketball team was horrible last season. Some of that was design. The Techsters were 6-24 overall and a WAC-worst 3-13 in league under first-year coach Kerry Rupp. You never want to go through a season like that, but all that pain might start paying off next season. However, it won't come without a little controversy.

Rupp decided to build Louisiana Tech with the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons in mind. He lured three transfers from BCS schools in Jamel White of Nebraska, Magnum Rolle of LSU and Kenny Cooper of Oklahoma State. All three become eligible this season and will have at least two years of eligibility left. The coach also nabbed a pair of prep stars from Canada before last season in four-star recruit Olu Ashaolu and three-star recruit D.J. Wright. Both were redshirted (and Wright failed to academically qualify, which forced a transfer to Salt Lake Community College. He said he will spend two years at SLCC and return to Louisiana Tech).

The next step was adding this season's recruiting class, which included JC transfer David Jackson, who averaged 7.2 points per game as a freshman at Idaho in 2006-07 before transferring to Mesa Community College and then La. Tech. The five-player class includes another JC transfer in Jamel Guyton and prep products Brandon Gibson, Josh Brown and Holton Hunsaker, who won't join the team until the 2010-11 season after going on a Mormon mission to Fiji...

Go here for the remainder.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Did LA Tech do the right or wrong thing?

To fill you in, Lee Fletcher is an LA TECH uber-fan. His latest post is printed below in its entirety because of continuity sake. We apologize for doing so ahead of time. Our take on his piece will follow:

Rupp Did the Right Thing: Tech Basketball Stronger With Changes In Place
Lee Fletcher
Louisiana Tech report
May 24, 2008

Louisiana Tech basketball was noted in recent media stories about players who are no longer on the team.

Sometimes additions by subtraction can be the best moves one can make when faced with a set of circumstances.

In fact, in this case it is obvious the Louisiana Tech Basketball program is stronger today than it was before the recent changes. The entire story is one that probably will never be told or fully understood.

Here is our perspective. Coach Rupp did the right thing. Period.

How did we get here? Well from some careful research this is not the first time there was a revolving door from recent years past.

The higher standard had to be set and met. The higher standard is needed in every sport and is being put in place and enforced thank goodness.

Many of us have been really concerned for some time about what actually happened to our entire athletic program.

It is obvious that the same devolution happened in other sports at Tech in the past five years namely football, baseball and women's basketball.

Now we can clearly see that things were held together with masking tape and smoke and mirrors at times. So it is not surprising that things were unravelling before our very eyes over the last few years and changes had to be made to save the ship.

Enter Coach Rupp and a much-needed new direction.

Coach Kerry Rupp made it clear that he wanted a team made up of players that would be outstanding in the class room, on the court and in the community. This set of higher standards was clear (and necessary) from the very first press conference. This set of higher standards was communicated constantly and reinforced with the players before the first practice or scrimmage.

Coach Rupp did the right thing in this case by sticking to the higher standard. The higher standard needed to be set and in place a long time ago. The standard that serves everyone equally with an open and stated set of requirements on both ends from day one. These rules and benchmarks have not changed and were communicated up front to everyone involved.

In fact, the background info on this story line is full of speculation which can be both true and untrue depending on the specific case in question. The truth is that the program is stronger today than it was before. The background on what players were doing what is one that needed to improve and has moved in that direction.

One thing is clear in that we wish the players well but we cannot allow the standard to be compromised. The rules were set and in place for all the world to see and understand.

Those rules are being enforced which is exactly what many have called for over the years past and have now gotten. This will only help the program over the long haul and move us one step closer to where we want to be.

An interesting note is that coaches all over America move players off their roster when faced with the same circumstances and no one really says much.

In this case, this set of actions is exactly what had to be done. This set of actions was appropriate based on adhering to a standard that everyone knew and agreed to going in so there really were no surprises no matter what you hear, in our view.

Keep this in mind...there are always more sides to the story.

One final thought in the form of a question..Do you really think a coach will [there seems to be a word missing here and it probably is 'let'] a player go or move them off their team when the player was performing up to the standard in the classroom, on the court and in the community?

For far too long there were too many looks the other way on some of the discipline issues and sketchy decisions on signing players that maybe should never have been here in the first place...

Thank goodness those days are behind us...Tech Basketball and Tech Athletics is stronger today with changes in place.

OUR TAKE: Fletcher deserves credit for his taking a stance on this week's dropping of four player from the Bulldog roster. It's curious that he refers to the institution of higher standards in the classroom, on the court and in the community by Coach Kerry Rupp and, zeroing in on one of those specific categories, what if the student commitments in the classroom and in the community were just fine and acceptable but it became a matter of their talent not measuring up?

It appears Fletcher's ultimate measuring stick is that he feels the men's basketball program is stronger and better, period.

But what about the commitment the university made to these student-athletes? Especially if that the 'sins' of these four players were simply not being skilled enough?

Plus, Fletcher makes no mention of the timing of all this. Was when it was done to the benefit of Louisiana Tech men's basketball, for the players, for both, for neither side?

And as for higher standards, what is Rupp being held to? Is it a win at all costs philosophy that cannot be compromised?

Is this truly what had to be done?

And that these actions came as no surprise?

Did Rupp wait until now to determine the academic progress of this group of kids and, seeing it was good, dumped them because their academic standing wouldn't negatively effect the school APR OR did he dump these guys because their academics were substandard and they failed to keep up their commitment?

Granted, there are more unknowns than knowns here and areas that Rupp and LA TECH cannot address publicly without an invasion of privacy. But there's a 'smell' about all this and the odor appears to be emanating more from the Bulldog men's basketball program.


Here's a few members of The News Star staff weighing in on what took place at LA TECH:

Our Sunday morning take on the world of sports
Staff report
The News Star
May 25, 2008

...Tech coach Kerry Rupp cut three players last week, including two from local schools. Shouldn’t he have done this earlier to give the kids more options?

It’s expected that new coaches will remake a program to their own goals and standards. But since when did we start tossing kids in the trash when we’re done with them? College athletics, unfortunately, is no longer about college athletes. — Nick Deriso

There will be long-term repercussions for this cold-hearted act. Good luck recruiting in West Monroe or Ruston from now on. — Paul Letlow

Absolutely. To wait until they can’t sign anywhere else is quite a slap in the face and then some, if you ask me. — Tabby Soignier

This isn’t the first time nor will it be the last that college athletes have lost their scholarship. Regardless of the situation, as a parent this is always disappointing and disturbing. Hopefully, things will work out for these young men and all will someday earn a degree. — Keith Prince

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Voila!!! A Marcelus Kemp update

Geeesh, we make mention of the absence of Marcelus Kemp/NBA draft coverage across the 'net and shazam, this appears:

Nevada basketball: Kemp hoping to get noticed at camp
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
May 24, 2008

When the annual Orlando pre-draft camp begins Tuesday, 64 players will be trying to gain a foothold into the mind of pro scouts.

For the second straight season, one of those players will be Nevada shooting guard Marcelus Kemp, who was recently invited to the exclusive camp.

The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Kemp will be one of 64 players -- give or take a few -- to showcase his skills in front of talent evaluators from all 30 teams. Each player will run through a sequence of drills before six teams are formed and a series of games are played...

Go here for the remainder.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Idaho's roster moves

For those of you keeping track at home:

Being in Moscow, Idaho athletics don't receive as much coverage as other WAC programs (and no, it has nothing to do with the heavy hand of the Kremlin). Here's our best at keeping up with roster changes there:

Vandal basketball programs continue overhauls
Three leave women's squad, Kale departs from men's team
Aaron Wasser
Daily News
May 16, 2008

...First-year men's coach Don Verlin said Thursday that soon-to-be senior post Mike Kale will not return. Kale leaves with one season of eligibility remaining, but he will graduate this summer and has decided to try his hand with a professional career overseas despite Verlin's invitation to return for the 2008-09 campaign...

...Verlin was in Salt Lake City on Thursday and will make his way to Boise today before returning to Moscow on Monday. Upon his arrival, he'll get his first look at final grades that he said will help him determine who will stay and who will go.

With Kale's departure, the men's roster stands at 15 players, including the four Verlin signed to National Letters of Intent since being hired in April.

Programs are allowed a maximum of 13 scholarships and Verlin said the men's program will meet the NCAA compliance date of July 1, he's just not sure exactly how yet.

"We have a lot of things hanging out there," he said. "We will be in compliance by July 1, how exactly that will work remains to be seen, but we will be in compliance by then."


It was posted on the Rivals network and then a message board (yes, those paragons of truthiness) that 5-11 guard Kelvin Potts out of Chabot JC (up in Hayward) had signed with Idaho. He averaged 9.5 ppg, 5.2 apg, 3.1 turnovers a contest, 39% overall from the field, 38% from three-poi nt range and 77% from the foul line.

But then Potts disappeared from the list of Idaho's signees at Rivals so your guess is as good as ours.

Plus, Anthony Simpson (6-6, 210) signed on with Idaho when George Pfeiffer was still the head coach and now has been released from his letter-of-intent.

Finally this bizarre tale:

Ghazoul facing deportation
Amy Dalrymple
The Forum

A North Dakota State College of Science basketball player who racked up thousands of dollars in international phone bills now faces deportation without the right to a hearing.

Touhami Ghazoul, 21, is being held in the Elk River, Minn., jail until he can be deported to his home country of Algeria, authorities said.

Ghazoul's deportation could occur in a few days to a few weeks before travel documents are in order and flight arrangements can be made, Counts said on Friday...

...Former NDSCS coach Steve Irwin gave Ghazoul a school calling card number so he could stay in touch with Ghazoul while the player was at a basketball camp in Oklahoma.

But Ghazoul continued using the number to make national and international calls after he returned home. Court records say he made 395 calls and NDSCS was charged an average of $9.80 per minute.

Ghazoul was suspended from playing basketball and the team was sanctioned by the National Junior College Athletic Association.

"He admits what he did was wrong," said Henderson, who advises NDSCS international students. "But he had no idea of the dollar amount, I'm sure."

Henderson said when he met Ghazoul on his first day at NDSCS, the player "had no grasp of the English language." Today, his reading and writing of English is probably at a fifth- or sixth-grade level, Henderson said.

But Ghazoul worked hard and had nearly completed most of his coursework at the time of his arrest, Henderson said.

Attorney Dan Krassin, who represented Ghazoul on the theft charge, said Ghazoul pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor because the University of Idaho was willing to recruit him as long as he wasn't convicted of a felony.

A letter of intent signed by Ghazoul and a University of Idaho athletic official from Nov. 14 confirms that he was a recruit for the basketball team...

D.J. Wright re-surfaces

A one-time LA TECH recruit (still connected to Ruston) who also was a former Louisiana State recruiting target but unable to gain eligibility at either school has landed at a powerhouse community college in Utah:

SLCC: Bruins excited about stud basketball recruit
Former LSU signee also brings prep teammate to SLCC
Jody Genessy
Deseret News
May 22, 2008

A big-time basketball player with pro potential has signed a national letter of intent to play hoops in the Beehive State beginning next fall.

As a bonus, he's bringing his 6-foot-11 buddy along with him, too.

BYU, Utah, Utah State and the state's other four-year programs will have to watch them from the stands, though.

D.J. Wright, a three-star and Top 150 player in 2007, has agreed to take his highly rated game to Salt Lake Community College. Making the Bruins' coaches all the more giddy, they also landed the former Louisiana State signee's prep school teammate, Mike Luby.

They both faxed their letters to the SLCC coaches from Toronto, where they live, after spending last weekend in Salt Lake City on a recruiting trip...

Go here for the remainder.

One columnist down Ruston way has some qualms

Someone is the media down the Ruston-area way smells hypocrisy in the air:

Tech tosses players out with the trash
Jimmy Watson
Shreveport Times

While there may have been good reasons for it, Louisiana Tech men's basketball coach Kerry Rupp created a lot of negative vibes for his program on Wednesday when he mysteriously released four players from his program.

The timing of the move is what a lot of people are questioning. Normally, players are reviewed soon after the end of their season, but it appears that Rupp waited until near the end of school to review this group and to tell them their services were no longer needed.

With the spring signing date concluded, this foursome has little chance to move on to another school and continue their free education. Unless a school has an extra scholly lying around and wants them, these guys are screwed. Why you would want to do this to student-athletes who suffered with you through perhaps the most miserable men's basketball season in Tech history doesn't seem to make sense...

Go here for the remainder.

The fickleness of fandom

Chris Murray is back yet again with another college/pro basketball blog entry. Here's a very well-rounded column fully illustrating the fickleness of fandom.

It's curious how nothing is being written about Marcelus Kemp anywhere, making it appear the former Wolf Pack shooter/scorer won't be hearing his name called in the upcoming NBA draft.

If true, such will demonstrate just how big a leap it is from college to the pros.

Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
May 22, 2008

McGee's interesting relationship with Pack fans

Pamela McGee resigned as Sacramento High's girls basketball coach to spend more time with her son, JaVale, as he prepares to make the transition from a collegiate player to a professional. Ms. McGee has been in the news off and on since JaVale came to Reno to play for the Wolf Pack in 2006. She has earned a reputation as being outspoken and no-nonsense. She also has been quite confident in her son's ability. She gave JaVale the nickname "The Big Secret," said he had a skill set superior to 70 percent of current NBA players and added that he was the most skilled 7-footer in the world. She also compared JaVale to Tyson Chandler, Michael Jordan and Dirk Nowitzki.

In addition, she has been blamed by many Wolf Pack fans for forcing JaVale to bypass his last two seasons in college to cash in in the pros right now. For what it's worth, when I interviewed JaVale a day before his official press conference to announce his NBA future, he said that Pamela did not force him to enter the NBA, adding that the decision was ultimately his. Conversely, I have heard from sources close to the Wolf Pack program that Pamela had quite a bit more say in the decision. I bring all this up because throughout the season an interesting trend seemed to develop in regard to JaVale. The Wolf Pack fans developed a love-hate relationship with the talented sophomore last season...

Go here for the remainder.

A little bit on USU's backcourt in 2008-2009

Utah State is looking to fill both guard spots in the coming season. Here's a brief rundown by Jay Hinton on that task and the players involved:

USU Aggies Blog
Aggies have questions at the guard line
Jay Hinton blogger
May 22, 2008

Utah State basketball coach Stew Morrill learned early in his coaching career that it's good to have options.

"I would rather have too many guys that can play than not enough," he said. "It sometimes can clutter it up a bit, but it also gives you a chance to look at a whole lot of possibilities"

Such is the case with the point guard position.

Kris Clark, the Aggies' all-time single-season assists leader, is gone, and with Desmond Stephens returning as well as redshirt Jaxon Myaer, and newcomer Dermey Geiger, Morrill will have possibilities when it comes to who will run the team...

Go here for the remainder.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Another reason why Greg Graham deserves a raise and an extension

Thanks to an article on BSU athlete graduations by Nick Jezierny of the Idaho Statesman, we offer this snippet:


The average grade-point average for student-athletes at Boise State was 3.0 last semester. Spring semester numbers aren't available.

BSU basketball player Matt Nelson, who earned his degree and graduated in December, was the school's only Academic All-American this year...

...The Broncos had the highest Academic Progress Rate (APR) in the WAC in men's basketball, women's basketball, football, men's tennis and women's soccer..."

Chalk up another reason to extend Greg Graham's contract, with a raise -- a clean program, one whose student-athletes graduate and the WAC tourney champs in 2008.

Chris Murray is back with a JaVale McGee update

Here's Chris Murray with a blog entry sizing up JaVale McGee's present NBA draft status. We're not sure if the use of the word 'project' at the end of his third sentence is a play on words or unintentional:

Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
May 21, 2008
Projecting McGee in the draft

The NBA draft lottery was Tuesday, and the Chicago Bulls got the lucky ping-pong ball bounce and will draft first overall. With the draft order officially set, a slew of new mock drafts were released. So where does Nevada sophomore JaVale McGee project? Pretty well, actually. Here's a sampling...

Go here for the remainder.

Jahmar Young trial date set

This will certainly endear us even further to the NMSU fan-atics who choose to see and hear what they wish (which is their prerogative) but, heck, we don't make the news nor does the Las Cruces Sun-News publication.

In this particular case, Jahmar Young and the New Mexico state judicial system does.

Now if we wish to be particularly snarky, we would advise Young to touch base with former Aggie Tyrone Nelson for tips on how to work his case -- oops. Here comes the barrage of emails from Las Cruces.

Actually, here's hoping the kid is found innocent but, regardless, that the outcome be a result of a fair proceeding.

Area Briefs: Trial date set for Young
Las Cruces Sun-News report

LAS CRUCES — A trial date has been set for New Mexico State basketball player Jahmar Young's indecent exposure case.

Young, 21, is scheduled for a bench trial before state District Judge Doug Driggers on June 27.

Young faces misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure and battery for an on-campus incident last summer. He also was charged with resisting arrest in January after turning himself in on a warrant that was issued for failing to show up for his arraignment on the misdemeanor charges.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Young has played one year for the Aggies. He has played in 21 games, averaging 10.3 points per contest.

Kerry Rupp drops three players -- no, make it four

Okay, anyone know the reason or reasons behind this?

The timing certainly isn't good for the players but they will certainly land elsewhere. Was it a grades issue, a behavioral issue, a desire to eliminate any roster connections to the departed Keith Richard, a combination or something else? Regardless, Coach Kerry Rupp received nothing but good press for his bloodied but unbowed march with a depleted roster through the recently concluded season. He continually spoke of team, character and effort and striving to do better. But now this? Ruston may be considered in the media backwaters to some degree but the press that covers LA TECH still won't allow this to disappear without a further explanation beyond a brief press release. Someone has some 'splainin' to do.

Tech releases three men's basketball players, including ex-West Monroe standout Lathan
Ethan Conley
The News Star
May 21, 2008

Louisiana Tech men's basketball coach Kerry Rupp has informed freshmen Dwayne Lathan, Orren Tims, and Brandon Mims that their scholarships would not be renewed for the 2008-09 season.

The three players committed to Tech when the program was under the direction of coach Keith Richard, who was dismissed after the 2006-07 season.

Lathan said there was no indication from Rupp before Friday that his scholarship was in jeopardy. He said Rupp gave no specific reasoning for the decision, other than a desire to move the program in a different direction.

"We all feel the same way," Lathan said. "We were kind of blindsided. We went through the whole season, with the tough year we had, and we sacrificed everything. It’s kinda hard to take."

Rupp, in a statement released several hours after this story was posted at, said: “There are many factors that affect a decision not to renew a scholarship. High expectations are placed on our student-athletes both on and off the court. This is always a tough decision for a coach, and we wish them the very best in the future.”

Hold on, there's more as another player was also dumped -- Drew Washington:

Louisiana Tech men's basketball releases four
Ethan Conley
The News Star
May 22, 2008

Dwayne Lathan walked into Louisiana Tech coach Kerry Rupp's office on Friday expecting to set up a summer workout schedule. He walked away without a scholarship.

After bringing each player in for an individual meeting, Rupp informed Lathan and fellow freshmen Orren Tims and Brandon Mims along with junior Drew Washington that their scholarships would not be renewed for the 2008-09 season.

Lathan, a West Monroe product, said there was no indication from Rupp before Friday that his scholarship was in jeopardy. He said Rupp gave no specific reasoning for the decision, other than a desire to move the program in a different direction...

..."When you're in a position where you're supposed to build character and instill values into these players, these guys were treated very unfairly," said Lathan's father, Dwayne Lathan Sr. "All (my son) has done is eat, drink and sleep basketball. Dwayne loves that school. He loved Tech so well. He was loyal to that program — as loyal as any player in the nation.

"He followed every rule, had no discipline problems. I'm just hoping no one else's son will have to go through what we're going through right now...
Go here for the remainder.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A little more on Greg Graham's contract status

As part of a column chock full of updates on Boise State athletics, this portion provided a little more information of Greg Graham's contract status.

We've been wondering about the pokiness of the announcement...hoping it won't become a replay of what recently took place up at Stanford:

Chad Cripe & Brian Murphy
Idaho Statesman

The status of men's basketball coach Greg Graham's contract continues to linger. Graham and athletic director Gene Bleymaier said the sides are working on it and hope to have a resolution soon.

Graham, the WAC coach of the year in 2008 after guiding the Broncos to a share of the regular-season title and the tournament crown, is entering the final year of his five-year deal.

"I've been traveling and he's been traveling. We're making progress," Bleymaier said. "We haven't finalized anything yet. ... Everything's fine and when we have something to report we will."

A new contract would have to be approved by the State Board of Education.

Marvin Menzies on his recruiting class

Looking at the headline of the article below, has there ever been a coach who blasted his recruiting class during an interview? Whether Marvin Menzies (or any other coach for that matter) is satisfied or unhappy with his most recent batch of recruits, well c'mon, he isn't going to throw them under the proverbial bus...and rightfully so.

On paper, it certainly appears NMSU has corralled some intriguing prospects. What would have made this article much more informative is some analysis from someone qualfied to speak about Menzies' newest kids, their strengths and weaknesses, their potential and especially their eligibility beyond the mention about Terrance Joyner. But maybe that's coming down the road.

Menzies pleased with 2008 recruiting class
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — As the college basketball regular signing period ends today, New Mexico State men's basketball coach Marvin Menzies believes the Aggies have taken steps forward to not only compete next season, but continue to build the program.

"I feel like we addressed the needs that I felt like we needed to shore up, getting some young, big kids in was necessary to grow the program," Menzies said. "If there was a junior college player, someone more seasoned that was available for another big or the point guard spot, I didn't find anybody that I thought would have fit here."

Menzies brought in Baltimore, Md., product Johnny Higgins (Notre Dame Prep) and 7-foot center Abdoulaye N'doye (AB-do-lie DOY) from Dakar, Senegal, during the regular period. In November, center Chris Gabriel signed early with the Aggies, joining guards Terrance Joyner and Faisal Aden, who verbally committed to the Aggies during the school year. With redshirts Troy Gillenwater, guard Robert Lumpkins and center Hamidu Rahman already on campus, the Aggies will be athletic but extremely young next season...

Go here for the remainder.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Nevada's wow schedule

It sure seems that a lot of coaches are always whining about the difficulty of filling out a schedule because the 'bigs' and even some of the mid-majors won't go on the road unless either special circumstances exist or a coach has an anybody, anywhere, anytime mentality.

Well, Mark Fox is still working his Wolf Pack schedule for next year but the pieces he already has in place are astounding. Give this coach a tip of the cap as Nevada fans are in for quite a treat.

Plus, thanks to Chris Murray for yet another blog entry.

Pack basketball schedule taking shape
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
May 20, 2008

Finalizing the Wolf Pack's basketball schedule has taken somewhat of a Herculean effort the last two seasons. In both years, the schedule wasn't finished until early October, with the season beginning about a month later. Well, that doesn't figure to be the case this year. The majority of the team's schedule is already etched in stone, with only a few open slots remaining. Below are the team's scheduled games thus far.

Home games
Southern Illinois
North Carolina
Oregon State

Road games
Cal (on Dec. 20)
Colorado State
Montana State
San Diego

Site TBD

Go here for the remainder.

Draft Express looks at JaVale McGee

Our simplified (or simple) take on this kid: Lift, lift and lift followed by footwork, footwork and footwork. There's no way he helps an NBA team next season or possibly even the following one but he will enjoy a long NBA career if he continues to put in the due diligence.

Also, forget the outside jumpers, at least for now. That may become part of his tool set down the road but he must first display he has the strength and the will to defend against his opponent in the paint and also offensively out-maneuver defenders inside with moves/footwork and not just utilizing his amazing athleticism.

As each day goes by, we wonder why the Draft Express site isn't subscription-based?

JaVale McGee Workout: The Big Secret
Rodger Bohn - Director of Prep Scouting
Draft Express
May 20, 2008

DraftExpress was given exclusive access to observe a private workout of Nevada early entrant JaVale McGee at an undisclosed location. McGee has been training away from his collegiate settings for the past six weeks in preparation for the draft, shunning the services of big-name trainers to hone his talents with his agent Roosevelt Barnes.

Some eyebrows were raised after McGee made his decision to choose Barnes to represent him, given that his primary area of expertise is representing NFL players. However, many do not know that Barnes himself was a point guard on Purdue’s final four team of the 1980’s and was a former CBA player (in addition to playing linebacker for the Detroit Lions) before his work as a sports agent. With the assistance of a former CBA coach, Barnes put McGee through a grueling on-court workout that he feels is unparalleled to that any other potential draftees will encounter.

While JaVale McGee’s name has been on the NBA radar all season long, many teams are not quite as familiar with this him as they are other top center prospects from high-major conferences. While Nevada had a large number of games on national television in the 06-07 season due to the presence of All-American Nick Fazekas, they were on national television only a handful of times this past season and die-hards were forced to scour through regional channels to catch a glimpse of McGee. As an unknown compared to his draft counterparts, Barnes said that McGee has earned himself the nickname: “The Big Secret”

... Go here for the remainder.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Hey we're feeling a little snarky this morning so this first piece is an attempt to rid ourself of such feistiness. Here's an item from the NY Post:

Kenny Anderson campaigns for Knicks
Marc Berman
New York Post
May 15, 2008

The affable agent, Billy Diamond, emailed a few of us New York writers he knows to suggest his guy, Kenny Anderson, would be a good candidate to join the Knicks New York Knicks in some capacity. Diamond, whose also Charles Oakley's agent, writes, in part, "Kenny is trying to get into the NBA as either an Assistant Coach or Director of Player Development. He has been a Mentor to Stephon Marbury since high school..."

Now we have nothing against Kenny Anderson but his mentor-protege relationship with Marbury is like boasting about being Charles Barkley's poker tutor.


We say Bob Huggins noses out Tim Floyd and John Calipari in landing this prepster:


St. Raymond (N.Y.) junior Kevin Parrom was arrested earlier this week after slugging veteran coach Oliver Antigua in the face following an argument in the locker room. The 6-foot-6 Parrom, considered one of the top players in the Class of 2009, averaged 14.5 points and nine rebounds this past season. No charges have been filed.


To provide some balance, how many of us had convicted these two kids the moment we first heard about the incident? More importantly, how prominent was the display of the determination of innocence vis-a-vis the initial charges? Is there a way to regain a reputation once it has been tainted?

Jeff Goodman
May 16, 2008

Portland State coach Ken Bone took his family down to the Final Four in San Antonio a few days early.

He got a call from his sports information director exactly one week prior to the championship game telling him that a reporter from the Portland Oregonian called regarding a story that two of his top players, Jeremiah Dominguez and Scott Morrison ­ had been arrested down in Mexico while on spring break for allegedly breaking a 23-year-old Michigan man’s nose in altercation.

``The two kids were sitting in a jail not able to speak with anyone,” Bone said. ``They were accused of being the tar out of some kid and I just couldn’t see it.”

Bone was right. The two kids were released from the jail and cleared of any wrongdoings.

``It sounded crazy, especially with those two,” Bone said. “I’ve never had a problem with either of them. But the problem is the damage had been done and the story spoiled what had been a great year for us.”

Bone is right. Few people heard that Dominguez and Morrison were found to be innocent.

Jason Groves with more on Johnny Higgins

We learn a little bit more about one of Coach Marvin Menzies' latest recruits:

Higgins happy to be an Aggie
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — After visiting Las Cruces last weekend, Johnny Higgins made up his mind to become an Aggie.

On Friday, New Mexico State announced that Higgins, a three-star guard according to, and 7-foot center Abdoulaye N'doye committed to play at NMSU next year on scholarship.

"When I came on my visit, I just realized it's something different," said Higgins, who played the last two seasons at Notre Dame Prepatory School in Fitchburg, Mass. "I'm from the East Coast, so stepping into that environment out West was like where I want to be. As the week went on, I was asking myself, "why wouldn't I want to be there?'"

Before the Aggies could bring him in, Higgins was released from his letter of intent at Duquesne University, where he said he committed in November to follow former Notre Dame Prep coach Bill Barton, who landed an assistant coaching job. According to Higgins' father, Melvin Bartee, Higgins was never excited about playing in Pittsburgh.

"We just decided to go our separate ways," said Higgins, who was released from Duquesne in April...

Go here for the remainder.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Another basketball film

Thankfully this doesn't appear to be along the lines of "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh" so watch for it at your local theater or Netflix it:

This Is Basketball, Boys; It’s Not Rocket Science
Nathan Leemay
New York Times
May 16, 2008

Well now, if this isn’t just the cutest thing I don’t know what is. “Quantum Hoops,” a documentary by Rick Greenwald, tells the story of the California Institute of Technology’s men’s basketball team — a topic that in the context of college sports is approximately as farcical as the history of aspiring semioticians among the contestants on “America’s Next Top Model.”

Established in 1919, the Caltech Beavers (so named after “nature’s engineer”) cull players from one of the most rigorously selective, academically demanding universities in the world. These boys are quite literally rocket scientists — or, more accurately, double majors in rocket science and applied math.

David Duchovny, who narrates this wry, good-natured picture with affable bemusement, informs us that Caltech lays claim to both the highest ratio of Nobel Prize winners to faculty and a men’s basketball team that at the time of filming was distinguished by a record 243 consecutive conference losses dating to 1985. Mr. Greenwald follows the Beavers’ try at breaking that losing streak during the final week of the 2006 season, while chronicling the handful of ups and many, many downs in the history of a team remembered less for its athletic prowess (or even competence) than for once including the father of modern computational fluid dynamics.


Quantum Hoops (documentary)
Reviewed by Elliot V. Kotek
(February 2008)

The documentary follows the Beavers of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) - a school that, despite a rich history, a once-winning team (mostly in the 1950s), 31 Nobel Prize-winners and alumni of the ilk of Linus Pauling, Richard Feynman, the Richter scale's original Richter and It's a Wonderful Life director Frank Capra, hasn't won a conference basketball game in twenty-one years. However, after years of flailing, the Beavers are looking better - not good, just better - and Greenwald catches them at a time when they're being only mildly beaten as opposed to their previous sound humiliations, when hope has replaced hopelessness, and, as Coach Roy Dow so eloquently puts it, it's not impossible that they'd win, only improbable.

Greenwald's mastery of this format is evidenced by not only his mixing of Ken Burns-type techniques, but also his story-telling confidence. Not only does Greenwald tell his tale in the present, featuring the current crop of players both on and off the court, but he presents a comprehensive and compelling backstory. The helmer takes into account the surroundings - the school, its traditions, its policies and its colorful academic and sporting history - and also puts the key seasons into the context of what was happening contemporaneously on the world stage. Greenwald really relates the discipline of these players to both their academic and sporting lives, and draws poignant parallels between the search for a scientific breakthrough and the repetition and resolve that is both inherent and important to a win.

You do not have to be a basketball fan to fall in love with this movie, and fans of Einstein, Stephen Hawking and the San Antonio Spurs are assured equal enjoyment. The movie allows you to root for an underdog who's simultaneously somehow both a nerd and a jock. And it's no leap to suggest that, thanks to Quantum Hoops, the Caltech Beavers may well have a full legion of fans next season.

New Mexico State finishes recruiting

It appears that Coach Marvin Menzies is finished with his 2008 recruiting with the addition of two new signees:

Menzies Adds Higgins and N'doye to Class of 2008
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — New Mexico State men's basketball head coach Marvin Menzies has signed Johnny Higgins and Abdoulaye N'doye to play for the Aggies in 2008-09. Higgins is a 6-1 guard from Baltimore, Md., and N'doye is a 7-foot center from Dakar, Senegal......

Go here for the remainder.


Two commits
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun News
May 15, 2008

The Aggies received verbal commitments from 7-foot-1, 235-pound center Mouhamadou Abdoulaye Ndoye from Senegal and 6-foot-3 point guard Johnny Higgins, who played the last two years at Notre Dame Prep. According to Higgins' father, after Johnny Higgins visited the NMSU campus last weekend, he cut off the rest of his recruiting and will move to Las Cruces for summer school this summer.

Both players will receive scholarships and be on the Aggies roster next season.

Higgins is a player who will come in right away and compete for minutes. He's a prep school player, which means he's already competed at a high level. Ndoye is obviously a project type player that adds size. He originally signed with Duquesne to join a prep school coach, but after committing in early November, he was released from his letter of intent in early April.....
Go here for the remainder.


Now take this for what it's worth. Here's a post -- anonymous of course -- in response to Groves' blog entry:

Anonymous said...

I don't know how excited you should get about Johnny Higgins. He should add depth to your guard position but I don't think he's better than what you have. I live in Pittsburgh and I am close to the Duquesne University basketball program. I asked the coaches why Johnny was let out of his LOI, especially when he was recruited there by his prep coach. The answer was that he wasn't good enough and that they needed to open up the scholarship to get a guard that is better. They said they felt that he wasn't a true point guard that they needed, but that he was a good kid. I had to agree with the coaches because I saw him play with the team when he came on his visit and I was not impressed, especially when I had heard so much about him the previous year. Even when he played at a tournament at Duquesne with his team, Notre Dame, he had 9 pts, 3asts and 6 turnovers. If he's not good enough for Duquesne University, I don't know how good he will be for NMSU. Seems like a good kid.

(Parsing The WAC) -- After doing a little research, it does appear that Duquesne had second thoughts, for whatever reasons, and did release Higgins from his LOI. The Dukes then immediately announced the signing of a prep guard out of Alabama. The scenario laid out by Anonymous above appears spot on.

Does Chris Murray ever sleep?

Not that we are planning to check up on the nocturnal habits of Reno Gazette-Journal sportswriter/blogger Chris Murray but he's back again today with yet another feature on his blog about next season's Wolf Pack team.

We plan on doing something similar on all the WAC teams once the recruiting period closes and when time allows, heavy emphasis on the latter.

Here you go with Murray's opener:

Chris Murray
Reno Gazette JOurnal
May 15, 2008

Pack basketball team's starting five

Now that the Wolf Pack's 13 scholarships have been filled, it's time to wager a guess on who will be in the starting five. Here's my best guess:

Go here for the remainder.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Here comes Louisiana Tech

Granted, there's more than a degree of homer-ism in the following (that's just a fan being a fan) but Lee Fletcher's compilation is still a valuable read. It's true the Bulldogs should be a contender in the WAC next season and hands down would win the "Flip That Team" award if such existed. Coach Kerry Rupp will have so much more size and talent at his disposal and should truly be able to enjoy not having to coach with the proverbial one hand tied behind his back.

New Look Bulldog Basketball is Most Anticipated in Years
Lee Fletcher
May 11, 2008

The changes have been needed and are very impressive.

The talent has increased and team improved at every position. This is a team that will be fun to watch. Our coaches deserve a tremendous amount of credit for getting us to this point. Hopefully, we will even sign one more to add to this exciting group. This is a great time to be a part of and support Tech Basketball.

Let's take a look at the future Bulldog Basketball team from what we know to this point.

Our center position has been one of the biggest areas of talent infusion.

Center Position: Improvement grade A+

Our anticipation is that Kenneth Cooper, 6'10" will be the starting center for the Bulldogs next season. He is a great player with big time written all over him. Cooper transferred from Oklahoma State and sat this year. His is one of the most highly anticipated arrivals on the court in Tech history. Behind Cooper could be Shawn Oliverson who is also listed at 6'10 and is another great addition to the Bulldog roster. Oliverson transferred from Cornell and is one that could really help us too. His game is said to be better than expected and improving even more within our weight and training system. He adds some depth and ability to back up Cooper.

(Our Parsing the WAC take: do keep in mind that LA TECH lacked any semblance of a center in 2007-2008. Cooper was raw offensively when he transferred to Ruston after his sophomore season at Oklahmoa State so maybe he has progressed in the year he sat out. His best talent is at the defensive end of the floor)

We have two other comments for two of the other positions Fletcher details:

(Our Parsing The WAC take: Rolle averaged 4.1 ppg. and 4.0 rpg in 16 mpg. as a soph at LSU. He has inside and outside offensive potential but consistency is the key for him)

(Our Parsing The WAC take: White averaged just under 10 ppg. while a soph at Nebraska and is more passer/scorer mix, not a pass-first point)

Go here for the remainder.

A clarification

This is becoming a sort of basketball Rubik's Cube but here the real deal:

In a previous post here, wWe misinterpreted what Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal told us about Nicola Kecman. Based upon information from another source, we thought there was some conflict regarding whether or not Kecman had come to the Nevada campus on a recruiting visit.

That was incorrect.

Chris has informed us that his intent was to pass along that Kecman had simply crossed the Wolf Pack off his list of schools being considered.

We regret the error and the confusion.

Two columns offering wrapups/analysis on Nevada's recruiting

Chris Murray of the Nevada Gazette-Journal has been busy as he has two new offerings today. Both are actually wrapups and analysis of Mark Fox's recruiting class and his preferences.

Go here for the first: Pack basketball: Nevada puts finishing touches on recruiting class

Go here for the second: Pack picks prep stars over JC transfers

Speaking of Mark Fox ... is there anyone besides us who is surprised he is still calling Reno home? Fox turned down overtures last year and, while we're not sure who reached out to him the last couple of months, he was mentioned in conjunction with a number of coaching vacancies.

Vegas should establish a Mark Fox and Randy Bennett (St. Mary's) coachign watch. Each is almost always among the names of coaches yet neither has made the leap. Of course, both are quite settled into very attractive situations so there's no need to bite on an offer unless the package being offered contains nothing even remotely resembling a deal-breaker.

The scoop on JaVale McGee's draft prospects

There is no better NBA draft site than

We realize the above is quite the statement but facts are facts. The proprietors of the sites travel the globe to see prospects in action -- what they offer isn't recycled material or opinion generated from out-of-focus YOU TUBE clips.

Here's a compilation of material on Nevada's JaVale McGee:

"The problem is he’s extremely far from reaching his full potential—so far that you have to wonder if he’ll ever make it considering the way he looks at times on the court. Struggles to establish position and finish in the paint, settles for some incredibly awkward off-balance shots, and is virtually a black hole with his passing skills—averaging 4 turnovers for every 1 assist. Looks very disinterested at times, doesn’t hustle, gives up on plays, late getting back down the floor, and might be the worst man to man defender we’ve ever evaluated in the post. Gets pushed around, gambles excessively for steals, has no stance or fundamentals, doesn’t move his feet, and is a complete non-factor even against the mediocre competition he faces. According to Synergy’s “PlayType QuickTable stats,” McGee was scored on 66% of the time when being posted up in the paint (against the likes of Fresno State, Utah State, Houston, etc). Is light years away from being able to compete on an NBA level defensively, if ever..."

Wow. We do recall SJSU's C.J. Webster taking it to McGee in the game at The Event Center but we certainly never realized how a spectacular block or acrobatic dunk 'colors' the image of a player for us typical fans. Getting scored on 2/3 of the time your matchup has the ball -- in college --- is astounding whether you are seven feet tall or 5-11.

Here's more the the Draft Express site:

AT A GLANCE - JaVale McGee


• Incredible physical specimen
• Great size
• Outstanding wingspan
• Huge hands
• Terrific athlete
• Solid frame
• Extremely fluid
• Ability to run the floor
• Intriguing skill-level
• Ability to face the basket
• Range out to 3-point line
• Ability to put ball on the floor
• Shot-blocking potential
• Late-bloomer
• Unlimited upside


• Extremely weak physically
• Struggles holding spot on the block
• Ability to finish through contact
• Poor fundamentals
• Footwork/Post-moves
• Left hand
• Shot-selection
• Free throw shooting
• Decision making
• Basketball IQ
• Lacks experience
• Atrocious defender
• Poor activity level/Doesn’t hustle
• Mental/Physical toughness?
• Soft?
• Long ways away from contributing
• High bust potential

Here is the latest the DE staff have posted on McGee:

Where is JaVale McGee in this Draft?

Possibly the hardest player to peg as far as draft stock is concerned is Nevada sophomore JaVale McGee. Three different teams we spoke to this week couldn’t possibly be any farther apart on where they have him slated. “We have him going anywhere from 7-12” said one representative of an Eastern conference team. “We compare him to Jonathan Bender in terms of his all-around talent level, and also in how far off he is from contributing at this point. He’s nowhere near ready.” Another team in the East we spoke to doesn’t like him at all. “He’s a guy someone probably takes a flyer on in the 20’s, just because he’s big, he’s got tools, and he might end up panning out in 3-4 years. I don’t see who has the patience for that, but maybe you take him for your D-League team, who knows?” A third team basically has him all over the board. “10 to 22 is his range. He’s a pure potential guy, who not many NBA GMs know since he wasn’t expected to be in this draft.”

Again, bookmark this site. It's an invaluable one, astoundingly so because there is no charge to access the expansive information they provide.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A little WAC roundup

Louisiana Tech lost out on a recruit Coach Kerry Rupp wanted when Vernon Teel signed with Loyola Marymount University. New Lion Coach Bill Bayno is working his east coast contacts -- Teel is from the New York area -- having already signed Larry Davis out of Seton Hall.

Teel averaged 8. 7 ppg. at Chipola (FL) Junior College -- a team with a seven or eight D-1 recruits and has the rep as a shooter-scorer. He's 6-4 190 and someone LAT could have used but he's not irreplaceable. Hawaii also was supposedly interested but to what degree is unknown.


Coach Mark Fox is looking to complete his 2007-2008 recruiting and is awaiting word from this kid:

Pack basketball: Phillips could be Nevada's sixth and final recruit
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
May 6, 2008

The Nevada basketball team’s latest recruit played his prep ball in Virginia, but a cross-country journey to Reno would by no means deter him from playing for the Wolf Pack.

Ahyaro Phillips, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound power forward, is somewhat used to moving. He grew up in New Orleans, where he played his freshman and sophomore seasons before Hurricane Katrina forced him and his mother to move to Richmond, Va...

Go here for the remainder.


On another note, it's not truly important but we thought we would pass on a correction of a correction. A while back, Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal wrote about a 6-8 player from Serbia being a Nevada recruiting target but he was unable to determine a name. We thought we had identified the kid as Nicola Kecman but Murray informed us that this was not the case and that the Wolf Pack had not secured a visit. This per Kecman's junior college coach. Well, we've just been told by someone close to Nevada athletics that Kecman had indeed taken a recruiting trip to Reno. But regardless, he's signed, sealed and delivered to Ohio State, hence Mark Fox's continued pursuit of another frontcourter a la Phillips.


According to A.W. Prince -- and believe us, he is the go-to guy for inside information on whichever programs he is covering -- Mike Montgomery has signed Jorge Gutierrez out of Findlay Prep in Nevada. Gutierrez had been in on a recruiting trip to Las Cruces but chose to go the PAC-10 route.


Ah, here's some more of the boondoggle the NCAA calls its pride and joy, the APR. Are you surprised (as you will read) that staff at NCAA headquarters don't fully understand the instricacies. We're beginning to think the NCAA modeled it after a Monty Python sketch and that Jon Stewart on The Daily Show should be preparing an entire episode with nothing but Everything You Wanted To Know About The APR But We're Afraid To Ask And Unable To Explain.

Now on to the Dominic McGuire and Quinton Hosley situations. McGuire had the chance to be drafted but as a player who could have gone anywhere from the late first round (which means a guaranteed contract) to somewhere in round two, it was incumbent on him to do what was necessary to secure a best immediate future. We would do the same. McGuire began workouts to prepare himself for the various visits NBA prospects take to numerous NBA cities. He eventually became the 47th selection in the NBA draft, made a strong impression in the NBA Summer league in Las Vegas and played this season with Washington Wizards. He seems to be set for a 10 year-or-so NBA career. Our sense is that he was not the strongest of students but he should be able to finish up his degree requirements in the off-seasson, should he desire to do so. Can someone explain why this should be a negative for Fresno State? After all, Dominic McGuire's goal -- when he entered college -- was to play in the NBA. He succeeded. Does McGuire in any way feel Fresno State let him down academically? Surely not. So what's the beef? Or where's the NCAA beef on this one?

As for Hosley, he was hoping to be an NBA draftee but the mismatch between his size and skills set indicates he will be a career player in Europe. He;s 6-5, 6-6 with a tremendous wingspan and great athleticism but he's not a backcourter nor that prolific of an outside shooter, hence his small chance of making it in the NBA. He is never going to be a big money maker and had the chance to play overseas, therefore his quick departure from campus. Like McGuire, he has the opportunity to finish his degree requirements in the off season. Of course, we have no idea if he will do so. But if you ask Hosley, we are of the belief he would say he enjoyed his time at Fresno State, that he got all the academic support he needed while he was there but that it was best for him to immediately head to Europe to capitalize on a financial offer too enticing to turn down. His money-making window of opportunity is ticking.

And kudos to Rekalin Sims for knuckling down and utilizing the educational opportunity before him.

APR adds up to bad news for Bulldogs
Matt James
The Fresno Bee

We now know what is happening to the Fresno State men's basketball team: They're losing a scholarship.

We now know why they're losing it: Dominic McGuire left school early for the NBA. (And by "early," we mean really early. Mid-semester early.)

Also, Quinton Hosley did not bother to graduate before he went to play pro ball in Turkey for a team called Pinar Karsiyaka. On an up note, though, he did score 43 points this season against Fenerbahce Ulker.

This, from the team Web site: "Quinton Hosley'in son dakika içerisinde buldugu basketlerle ilk çeyregi 13-14 önde tamamladi."

So I think you can see he's doing quite well.

His foreign endeavors, however, do not help Fresno State's Academic Progress Rate, which we learned this week was an 885 for the 2006-2007 season. That accomplishes zero of the three important things, which are to 1) have a number above 925; 2) get the four-year average above 925, and 3) improve from the year before.

It turns out 885 is not an improvement on 905. But let's not forget this is a slow climb from Ray Lopes' infamous 611 score of 2003-04, so maybe Fresno State should have just improved a little more gradually and everything would be fine. (Ah, there's no humor like academic progress humor.)...
Go here for the remainder.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Nevada lands a frontcourter

Nevada Coach Mark Fox has landed a big guy -- not exactly a JaVale McGee replacement but a contributor defensively and on the boards:

Pack basketball: Hunt is nearly over, Pack recruit commits
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette Journal
May 2, 2008

Once again, the Nevada Wolf Pack basketball team traveled a distant recruiting trail and came back with a prospect from far away.

This time, the recruit hails from Colorado by way of North Carolina.

Dario Hunt, a Colorado Springs native who played his senior season in Goldsboro, N.C., verbally committed to play for the Wolf Pack.

Hunt is the fifth recruit in the Wolf Pack's nationally rated recruiting class. Each player is from a different state, stretching from the Seattle area to the Carolinas.

The 6-foot-8, 223-pound Hunt averaged 16.1 points, 15.3 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game last season and should help bolster the Wolf Pack's front line...

Go here for the remainder.

Utah State adds a backcourter for down the road

We love this kid, despite the limitations his size and athletic ability presents. Still it's surprising that Stew Morrill would get involved with a kid who won't be available until a couple of (non-basketball playing) years from now but maybe that's a testament to Brian Green's character. Green also played prep football, as a quarterback, naturally.

From the USU athletic site::

Brian Green Signs National Letter Of Intent With Utah State
Green averaged 14.1 points, 2.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Salt Lake Community College.
May 2, 2008

LOGAN, UTh - Utah State head men's basketball coach Stew Morrill announced Friday that Brian Green (Fruit Heights, Utah) has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete for the Aggies beginning in the 2010-2011 season. The 5-11, 170-pound guard just completed his sophomore season at Salt Lake Community College in Utah and will serve a two-year LDS Church Mission before enrolling at USU.

"Brian Green is a tough, hard-nosed competitor who is used to winning and expects to win, and we are delighted that he has decided to join our program," said Morrill. "He had two very good years at Salt Lake Community College and I am certain he will have two very successful years at the Division I level when he returns from his mission.

"He is all about team, his attitude is contagious and coaches love to coach players like Brian. His abilities, along with all the intangibles he brings to the table, are a great combination and we are happy that he is now an Aggie!"

As a sophomore at Salt Lake Community College, Green averaged 14.1 points, 2.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game as he helped lead the Bruins to a 32-4 record and an appearance in the championship game of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) tournament. He finished the season shooting 48.1 percent from the field (186-387), 47.2 percent from three-point range (93-197) and 89.8 percent from the free throw line (44-49), while scoring in double-figures 25 times. He also had seven 20-point games during the year including a career-high 31 points against Northeastern JC as he was 10-of-15 from the field, 6-of-8 from three-point range and 5-of-5 from the free throw line.

"Utah State has been really good for a long time and I am excited to be a part of that winning tradition," said Green. "I wanted to play at Utah State because the system they run will fit my game well. I also really trust the coaches and I am excited to get the opportunity to play in the Spectrum."

Green, who was named a preseason NJCAA All-American prior to his sophomore season, earned first-team all-region honors this past year and was named the Most Valuable Player of the Region 18 Tournament. He was also named to the NJCAA all-tournament team as well as receiving the Bud Obee Award which is given to the best player under 6-0 in the national tournament.

As a freshman at Salt Lake Community College, Green earned second-team all-region honors as he averaged 13.9 points and 2.8 assists per game and shot 51.5 percent from the field (169-328), 41.2 percent from three-point range (75-182) and 80.4 percent from the free throw line (45-56). He scored in double-figures 29 times during the 2006-07 season and had five 20-point games.

"Brian was as tough of a player as there was in our league this year and he is also a very good shooter," said Salt Lake Community College head coach Norm Parrish. "He is a system guy and should flourish at Utah State with how they get kids open and the way he can hit shots."

Green prepped at Davis High School in Utah and averaged approximately 17 points per game during his senior season as he led his team to a region championship and the semifinals of the state tournament. As a prep senior, he was named a first-team all-state selection by both the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret Morning News and was also named the most valuable player of his conference.

Here are all four of Idaho's signees

Not unexpectedly, three out of four of Coach Don Verlin's new recruits are from the junior college ranks.

Thursday, 05/01/08
Four sign with Idaho

# Idaho has signed 6-10 center Marvin Jefferson of Modesto CC, Cal; 6-10 forward Kyle Barone of Garden Grove-Pacifica, Cal/Summit Prep; forward Brandon Wiley from CC of San Francisco, Cal; and guard Kashif Watson of Las Vegas-Bishop Gorman, Nev/Winchendon Prep, Mass/Indian Hills CC, Iowa/Irvine Valley CC, CA.

Here's the release from the Idaho athletic site:

Men's basketball adds two
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations

MOSCOW, Idaho – Idaho men’s basketball coach Don Verlin continued to bolster his new roster with the signings of Kashif Watson and Brandon Wiley to National Letters of Intent.

Watson, a 6-4, 190-pound guard, averaged 13.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and shot 52.3-percent from the floor for Irvine Valley Community College last season. He played in all 32 games and helped the team to a program-record 27 wins and the Southern California Regional finals. He played his freshman season at Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College where he averaged 10.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game for a team which was one of the top-ranked junior colleges in the nation that season. He earned honorable mention all-conference honors.

Watson originally is from Las Vegas where he starred at Bishop Gorman High School. He was named all-league as a senior and averaged 23 points, six rebounds and four assists per game. He was a Street & Smith's magazine honorable mention All-American and was rated the No. 2 shooting guard on the West Coast by one recruiting service.

“Kashif is a multi-dimensional player who will impact our program immediately,” Verlin said. “He is a very good basketball player who has been very well coached and has played for great programs. He will help us the most with his ability to be a lockdown defender who can also score in the open court. He is a quality young man and we spent a lot of time recruiting him. I am glad we hung in there because it paid off.”

Wiley is a 6-6, 225-pound forward who averaged 12.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game last season at City College of San Francisco. He shot 60-percent from the floor and tallied 2.3 blocked shots per game to help the Rams to a 29-4 overall record and a share of the state coaches' poll top ranking. He led the state of California in blocked shots and was among the leaders in rebounding. He originally is from Pinole Valley High School at Pinole, Calif.

“Brandon is a very versatile player who has the ability to play multiple positions,” Verlins said. “He is a winner and has proven that by doing whatever it takes to win over the last two seasons in one of the best Junior College basketball programs in California. He is a great young man and will make an immediate impact on our program.”

Hawaii may lose a basketball schollie or more

Having been with the program for 20 years, Bob Nash obviously knew what he was getting into when he took the head coaching position at Hawaii but he needs all the players he can secure in order to continue the rebuilding job. By mid-week next week, Nash will know the status of the scholarship level he has available:

Academics will cost UH scholarships
Dave Reardon
Honolulu Star Bulletin
May 2, 2008

Hawaii will lose athletic scholarships, including one or two in men's basketball, when the NCAA releases its annual Academic Progress Rate numbers Tuesday.

Baseball is also expected to lose a half scholarship, and football might also be affected for a third year in a row, sources told the Star-Bulletin yesterday.

More severe penalties, including postseason bans, can be levied on teams that fall below a score of 900, which represents around a 50 percent graduation rate.

Baseball (904) and men's basketball (913) received APR scores last year that drew warnings. Squad-size adjustments to the rankings kept them from losing scholarships.

If UH loses more than one basketball scholarship, the Rainbow Warriors would have to take one away from someone already on the team. Men's basketball is allowed a total of 12 scholarships.

Coach Bob Nash declined comment.

The Rainbows, who recently signed two recruits, have filled six of seven scholarships available (prior to the APR forfeiture) for next season...

Go here for the remainder.