Sunday, August 31, 2008

Additions to the NMSU basketball roster

As usual, Jason Groves is on top of all matters pertaining to New Mexico State men's basketball and his latest article contains all the information of the comings-and-goings.

Menzies welcomes McKines back, adds two prospects
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES —Herb Pope's departure from the New Mexico State University basketball program on Sunday was 1/4 of the personnel moves that head coach Marvin Menzies announced.

He brought in two Canadian players, as well as reiterated the return of forward Wendell McKines, who received his release immediately following his freshman season...

Go here for the remainder.

We take back our mea culpa -- Pope is not an Aggie

Well, it's either becoming "The Twlight Zone" or an recurring episode of "Days Of Our Lives" down in Las Cruces as Herb Pope has again left the program. Of course, the question is begged, did he ever really return?

Your guess is as good as ours concerning the crux of this latest change in direction -- if indeed it was a change and yes, we are calling into question the various statements issued by NMSU AD McKinley "Smoke & Mirrors" Boston throughout this circus. Read the article and see if you agree with us that Coach Marvin Menzies appears to have finally said 'no mas' and cut whatever cord there was.

Pope leaves New Mexico State
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — The tumultuous relationship between the New Mexico State University men's basketball team and forward Herb Pope finally came to an end.

Pope was a surprising addition to the program when he signed early with former Aggies head coach Reggie Theus. After one season at NMSU where he missed the first 19 games due to NCAA Clearinghouse issues, current Aggies head coach Marvin Menzies announced on Sunday that Pope is leaving the program.

"A decision has been made that Herb Pope will not play for the Aggies this upcoming season," Menzies said in a statement."It is unfortunate things did not work out for Herb at NMSU, however, moving forward is best for all parties involved.

"We are building a program that will have chemistry and success, and in order to do that you must have development and continuity. We wish him well in the future both on and off the court. Moving forward, I am very excited about our young team's potential for this season and in the years to come..."

Go here for the remainder.

This post could mean something but also very little

The subject matter of this post is absolutely going to be open to interpretation. Our biases, conscious or unconscious, will definitely come into play as will our fan-dom leanings. With that in mind...

Transferring is the name of the game, now more so now than any other time in the history of college basketball. But transferring, in and of itself, is neither a positive or a negative in relation to a basketball program. It simply is what it is and each case demands a 'playing out' of the situation before any accurate 'value label' be attached.

However, we fans typically don't operate in such a manner. What is seemingly going to better 'our' team -- a transfer -- is a positive and who gives a damn what the fans of the newly arrived player's former school think and feel. The shoe is on the other foot when the situation is reversed.

Call this a prejudicial-driven activity.

Recently, some New Mexico State fans were bemoaning the shakiness of the Aggie roster amid the seemingly perennial comings and goings of players.

But it's a blade that cuts both ways.

Sure, JayDee Luster (playing time), DeAngelo Jones (playing time), Paris Carter (academics) and earlier Wendell McKines plus Herb Pope headed elsewhere in the 'recent' past. Of course, McKines and Pope later recanted. At least for now.

But we also recall that in the not too distant past that Justin Hawkins, Martin Iti, Fred Peete and Trei Steward all simultaneously arrived as D-1 transfers in Las Cruces and we've been unable to unearth any Aggie fan lamentations about there being too many transfers taking place when this happened.

So as previously stated, 'getting' rather than 'losing' players is viewed as a positive by the fans of the teams adding players to their rosters and typically vice versa for schools having players move on to elsewhere.

Also, NCAA rulings regarding initial college eligibility are also appearing more in the headlines than at any other time. The primary factor for this is that in addition to the traditional high schools, a number of would-be collegians now enroll in non-traditional 'schools'-- and we use that term loosely. So kids attending these makeshift alternative high schools have their NCAA eligibility questioned because these basketball factories have a well-earned reputation for being academically deficient. The NCAA has gone so far as stating it will not accept academic credits for anyone attending these fraudulent businesses.

Try this link for further details on that subject.

So that got us looking at the current NMSU men's basketball roster and the 'high schools' of the student-athletes:

Jahmar Young (Laurinberg Prep)

Johnny Higgins (Notre Dame Prep)

Herb Pope (Aliquippa HS) who almost went to prep school in Florida as a junior

Jonathan Gibson (Calvary Christian Prep)

Terrance Joyner (Genesis One Christian)

Robert Lumpkins (Kilgore College) (H.D. Woodson HS)

Wendell McKines (Richmond HS)

Hamidu Rahman (American Christian HS)

Troy Gillenwater (Stoneridge Prep)

Gordo Castillo (Las Cruces HS)

Chris Gabriel (JSerra Catholic HS)

Five of the Aggies were involved in some sort of prep school, some more than one:

** Laurinberg Prep
** Notre Dame Prep
** Calvary Christian Prep
** Stoneridge Prep
** Genesis One (which closed in 2007 and morphed into Mississippi Elite Christian Academy)

All of these 'schools' have come under NCAA scrutiny -- of which it is important to note doesn't necessarily prove guilt.

Here's a link to some of Stoneridge Prep's history, along with mention of Calvary Christian Prep.

One other note: Talented prepster Faisal Aden, out of God's Academy in Dallas, TX was also signed by NMSU but was unable to make the academic eligibility cut in 2008. Here one link and also another on the reputation of that institution and it isn't good.

Now this isn't 'proof' in the sense that it could be used in any court of law or the such but it certainly appears New Mexico State has populated its roster with a number of student-athletes who haven't exactly arrived from the most stable (a crucial point) or academically-driven of settings.

Is this also a factor in the Aggie roster makeup/shakeup of 2008-2009 and will it possibly be a contributor to any turnover in the future?

McLaughlin sticking with Nevada for 2009-2010

We communicated with someone informed about Mark McLaughlin and his decision to attend prep school rather than wait and see if the NCAA would grant him freshman eligibility at Nevada this season and there is no current thinking of McLaughlin being anywhere but Nevada in 2009-2010.

You can take it to the bank that McLaughlin will be contacted by other schools but his commitment to the Wolf Pack is solid.

We will follow up with a further post if we come across anything different.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Two names missing from NMSU roster

Maybe it's like with the college football rosters where changes are made almost daily during the month of August as academic and eligibility issues are resolved one way or the other but two names are absent from Coach Marvin Menzies' basketball roster at New Mexico State: Chris Cole and Abdoulaye N’doye.

Cole is a point who started seven games last season and played just above 17 minutes a contest. He shot poorly but produced a 72-37 assist to turnover ratio. He would have brought experience to the Aggie backcourt but there are talented, if unproven, new recruits who probably would have quickly passed over him. We don't think he was on scholarship last season and maybe he tired of that situation.

N’doye is a 7-0 native of Dakar, Senegal, who played at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar and also the Babacar Sy Basketball School last season. It would have been a learning or transition year for the freshman in Las Cruces in 2008-2009.

With N’doye, we're guessing it was more than likely an academic documentation issue.

No official reason has been provided for the missing duo.

Friday, August 29, 2008

More questions than answers on Pope situation

Boy are we confused. Just what happened?

Regardless of when Herb Pope decided attending school and playing college basketball closer to home was his preference, he had to know that the NCAA wasn't going to push his particular case to the front of the line -- that being his asking for a waiver to play right away at his new school.

According to news reports, Pope received the legal okay from New Mexico State to formally visit east coast schools (or maybe it was clearly defined which particular ones) last week, that period of time being August 18-22.

So Pope -- either informed by those around him or by Seton Hall and possibly Duquesne officials if he indeed made a visit to the latter -- that any transfer to the Pirates or Dukes was not going to be a fully done deal. Heck, it's doubtful that the NCAA would issue a ruling by the opening day of this year's college basketball season let alone in the next week or so.

If it was Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA or some other mega-basketball program, then the NCAA might take marching orders. Sorry but Seton Hall and Duquesne do not have that kind of cachet.

So it has to be a given that Pope entered into his search or very soon thereafter was aware that an approval waiver was no sure thing and that the odds were he would be sitting out the 2008-2009 season as a transfer redshirt.

Why did he proceed?

That's the element we can't determine.

Anyone got the answers?

Teddy Feinberg, the sports editor for the Las Cruces Sun-News on 8/27/2008 wrote an article about the situation, including:

"...Boston clarified [about Pope's release], saying that NMSU is allowing Pope to explore his options on the East Coast, presuming that the NCAA will grant the player a hardship waiver. The waiver would allow Pope to resume play next year instead of sitting out an extra season due to NCAA regulations on transfer students. If Pope is not granted the waiver, he will return to the Aggies for the 2008-09 season..."

Again, Boston had to know no swift NCAA decision would be forthcoming so why bother with the qualified release, knowing nothing would come of it? Why not tell Pope not to bother with his wish to move closer to home? Did Pope insist on it anyway?

The mystery continues.

Here's Gary Parrish of CBSSports with an opinion piece today. He comes off a little too harsh on Pope for our taste and doesn't explore the matters of our questions above:

Hoping Pope changes ways might be a lost cause
Gary Parrish Senior Writer
August 29, 2008

Herb Pope is returning to New Mexico State.

But make no mistake, it's not what he wanted to do.

He wanted to transfer closer to home -- perhaps to Seton Hall, where he visited recently after asking New Mexico State for a release. But faced with the reality of having to sit out a year once the NCAA likely denied a waiver for immediate eligibility requested because of an undisclosed "personal" issue, Pope informed the Aggies' staff Friday morning that he plans to enroll in classes at NMSU and proceed as planned.

Consequently, this month-long roller coaster is over.

But only temporarily...
. Go here for the remainder.

Jahmar Young getting some good news?

It's just prior to the Labor Day weekend and Jahmar Young may look back at this date as one of the best of his life:

Attorney asks for charges against NMSU basketball player be dismissed (12:09 p.m.)
Jose L. Medina
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — Prosecutors have dismissed one charge against a New Mexico State University basketball player and two more may be tossed if a judge decides prosecutors took too long in bringing their case to trial.

State District Judge Doug Driggers gave Jahmar Young's attorney 10 days to come up with case law that supports the defense argument that prosecutors did not bring the case to trial within six months, as required by state law, without obtaining an extension.

Young, 21, faces misdemeanor charges of assault and battery. A third charge of resisting arrest was dismissed by prosecutors earlier this month. He was in the courtroom, but did not speak Friday as his attorney argued for the dismissal of the case.

At issue is when the six-month rule started in the case....

Go here for the remainder.

Pope to remain an Aggie

Gary Parrish has it direct from Marvin Menzies that Herb Pope is returning to Las Cruces. We need to issue a mea culpa here as we didn't see this turn of events.

With our albeit limited understanding of how the NCAA works, it's hard to believe Pope was informed he wasn't going to be granted the opportunity to play right away at any new home -- although it has been suggested that is why Pope is heading back to NMSU.

More thoughts later.

New Mexico State gets good news: Pope to stick with Aggies
Gary Parrish
Aug. 29, 2008 Senior Writer

After asking for a release and visiting Seton Hall, Herb Pope has decided to return to New Mexico State, Aggies coach Marvin Menzies told on Friday morning.

"He was just investigating an option that would bring him closer to home because of some personal issues," Menzies said. "But that wasn't something that materialized. ... So he's more than happy to return to New Mexico State for the season..."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Idaho Statesman on the Vandal roster

The Idaho Statesman today has some further information and insight on Don Verlin's Idaho roster this season. One player mentioned in the article-- Luiz de Toledo -- is not currently listed on the Vandal roster. He has an intriguing history, having signed with BYU out of high school.

But he never played for the Cougars, having then gone back home to Brazil supposedly to play professional basketball. How he then arrived in Canada is a mystery, as is his collegiate eligibility unless he wasn't paid for playing in Brazil or that opportunity never actually materialized. The kid is a major athlete who lacked much in the way of actual basketball skills while at Modesto Christian High (CA) as a senior in high school.

Idaho finalizes men's basketball roster, schedule
The Idaho Statesman
August 27, 2008

It has been a busy week for Idaho men's basketball coach Don Verlin, who finalized the Vandals' schedule and roster.

Idaho has a 15-player roster for the 2008-09 campaign, but three of the players are transferring from other colleges and won't be eligible to play until 2009-10.

The Vandals have added guard Steffan Johnson from Pacific, guard Marcus Lawrence from UNLV and forward Luiz de Toledo from St. Francis Xavier in Canada.

"All three kids bring different things to the program," Verlin said. "They are all good kids, and I recruited each one of them when I was at Utah State. When I got this job and they decided to transfer, I had that prior relationship..." Go here for the remainder.

Here one link and then another link about Toledo and BYU.

Another point target for Fresno State

Fresno sure seems to be hitting the state of Texas hard for a point. Here's another Lone Star State kid of interest to the Bulldogs (the third one), someone who will be tripping to the Central Valley in mid-September. But caution is the password as there seems to be a number of school much closer to home that are also in the running:

Jed Tai
August 27, 2008

The hunt for backcourt talent continues on for the Fresno State basketball program and in the Class of 2009, one point guard the coaches fell in love with was Javarez Willis. The explosive 5-foot-11 guard from Pinkston High School in Dallas, Texas turned heads on the AAU circuit with his play and the scholarship offers have flowed in as a result. Willis is currently in the process of narrowing things down and setting up visits and it appears that the Bulldogs will get first dibs on a trip...

..."I've narrowed it down and I'm really doing research on everybody, looking at what I'll be majoring in because education comes first," Willis said. "Right now I've cut it down to Fresno State, Houston, South Alabama, SMU, Louisiana-Monroe, and a couple of others. I'm seeing who they've been recruiting and how I might fit in with them..."

Go here to the Thursday Morning Briefing for the complete article -- a Rivals membership is required.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Days of Our Lives...NMSU style

Okay, okay. Somebody isn't telling the whole truth and nothing but...

Just how in the world can Herb Pope select a new school and be granted a waiver by the NCAA in time for Pope to begin classes? It cannot be done, even if Usain Bolt carried the paperwork to and from Pope's new home and the NCAA offices. Pope will have to start classes (and soon) without knowing whether he can play right away at his new home. In time, the NCAA will make a ruling but it won't happen in the next couple of weeks.

New Mexico State's classes have already begun and there's no sign Pope has any interest in returning and picking up the pieces there. He's intent on determining a new destination and our sense is that will be that, even if he has to sit out a year away from basketball -- which is the typical NCAA transfer scenario.

Down Las Cruces way, is someone readying the sodium pentathol or rigging up the lie detector apparatus 'cause good ol' Diogenes is getting mighty discouraged in that neck of the woods?

Anyway, here's the latest:

Pope exploring options on East Coast
Teddy Feinberg
Las Cruces Sun-News Sports Editor

LAS CRUCES — New Mexico State University Athletics Director McKinley Boston said he is confident that Herb Pope will play basketball for the Aggies this season, amid reports that the sophomore forward could be on his way out of town.

The Star Ledger in Newark, N.J., reported on Wednesday that the former high school All-American and prized NMSU recruit from a season ago is considering transferring to Seton Hall. The paper also reported that New Mexico State has granted Pope his release from the program.

Boston clarified, saying that NMSU is allowing Pope to explore his options on the East Coast, presuming that the NCAA will grant the player a hardship waiver. The waiver would allow Pope to resume play next year instead of sitting out an extra season due to NCAA regulations on transfer students. If Pope is not granted the waiver, he will return to the Aggies for the 2008-09 season....

Go here for the remainder.

This sounds like confirmation -- Pope is a goner

From Teddy Feinberg's blog entry around noon today. We do not wish to come off as mean or even excited by the departure as it truly also is a loss for the WAC but stick a fork in Herb Pope being at NMSU despite the verbal offering by McKinley Boston. This also accounts for the return of Wendell McKines:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I received this article today from the Bergen Record about Herb Pope...The article reports that NMSU granted him his release and he visited Seton Hall...

I called McKinley Boston and he said that Herb has family issues back home. NMSU is trying to assist him in these issues and the athletics director was 100 percent confident that Pope would be in an Aggie uniform next year...

Here the article Feinberg references:

Seton Hall in running for New Mexico State transfer Herb Pope
Colin Stephenson
The Star-Ledger
August 27, 2008

Seton Hall is in the running to land a former high school All-American post player who is considering transferring from a Western Athletic Conference school, The Star-Ledger has learned.

Herb Pope, a 6-8 forward who averaged 11.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game last season for New Mexico State, received his release from the school last week and took an official visit to Seton Hall last weekend....
Go here for the remainder.

More later as we ruminate.

Another point decides it's not Fresno State

The Bulldogs weren't seemingly a top tier candidate -- so that lessens any sting -- as a point decides to verbal to the PAC-10. Actually, give Coach Steve Cleveland some props for at least being 'in the running' for and having earned the interest of a top level target. This kid appears to be the type who could have been a difference maker in the WAC but beating out Big East conference teams and a PAC-10 member is a Sisyphus-like endeavor.

Justin Young Basketball Recruiting
August 25, 2008

Texas point guard Reger Dowell decided to jump on a big time offer on Monday and wasted little time ending his recruitment. The 6-foot-1 senior is headed to the Pac-10.

Dowell told that he accepted an offer to play at the University of Arizona...

...Dowell also strongly considered LSU, Cincinnati, Providence (offer) and Fresno State (offer)....

Go here for the full article if you have a Rivals subscription.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Who is on the Idaho roster this week?

Idaho just posted the men's 2008-2009 basketball roster and some names are missing. Now keep in mind that rosters at this point can be as fluid as recruiting commitments but here are the official names of the Vandals to date.

Steffan Johnson has indeed transferred from Pacific. Phillip Thomas, a soph-to-be 'big' out of San Leandro High CA, isn't listed. A Georgian, Erekele Jgernaia, is also missing.

Guards Mike Hall and Jordan Brooks were dismissed right after the school year concluded.

Mac Hopson G 6-2 195 RJr.
Terrence Simmons G 6-3 170 Sr.
Brandon Wiley F 6-6 225 Jr.
Luciano de Souza F 6-7 205 Jr.
Trevor Morris G 6-4 182 Sr.
Brandon Brown G 6-1 205 Sr.
Kyle Barone C 6-10 215 Fr.
Kashif Watson G 6-4 190 Jr.
Luis Augusto F 6-8 245 Sr.
Marvin Jefferson C 6-10 235 Jr.


Drew Eisinger G 6-3 165 So.
Ryan Ryan G 6-1 190 So.


Steffan Johnson G 6-1 172 Sr. (Pacific)
Marcus Lawrence G 5-10 180 Jr. (UNLV)

It was a coin flip

Hey, we couldn't decide whether to title this entry "Where's Herb?" (Waldo) or "Where in the world is Herb Pope?" (Carmen Sandiego) although having to explain tends to defeat the purpose of using either one.

Maybe we're overdoing it but a couple of posts at a New Mexico State fan message board intrigued us. Granted, message boards tend to have the authenticity of White House press secretaries so...

First, here's someone saying Pope is gone but it is also an individual with but 12 posts to his/her credit:

* BestintheWAC
* Rookie Aggie
* 12 posts this site

Re: pope leaving????????? Yes
As I had stated earlier in the spring, those close to the WAC were aware of his intention to not suit up again in this conference. With the growth of the NBA D-league and unproven talent going overseas, I'd expect to see him earning $$ before earning a degree. It's too bad as he was a quality talent.

Then, there was this marvelously creative and hilarious effort:

* UnderdogAggie
* Varsity Aggie
* 1899 posts this site

RE: pope leaving????????? Yes

Pope can look at it this way...

He can be a big fish in a small pond (WAC) or a small fish in a big pond (Big East).

Allow me JT....(my apologies to Rod Stwart)

Wake up Herbie, I think I've got something to say to you
It's late August and you really should be back at NMSU
I know your friends keep you amused, but I think you're being used
Oh Herbie, NMSU couldn't have tried any more

You were lured away from home just to save you from being alone
You stole Aggie fan hearts and that's what really hurt

The uncertainty in your face really shows your age
But the critics don't worry us none, in our eyes you're everything
I laughed at all of your missed free-throws, your dunks you didn't need to coax
Oh, Herbie we couldn't have admired you any more
You were lured away from home, just to save you from being alone
You stole our souls and that's a pain we can do without

All you needed was a friend to lend a guiding hand
But he turned into a NBA coach and
Lobo fans cheered, because he freaked them out
All you did was wreck the WAC
And in the end your team got whacked
Oh Herbie you couldn't have tried anymore
You were lured away from home cause you didn't want to be alone
You stole our hearts I couldn't blame you if you left

I suppose you could collect your books and get on back to NMSU
Or steal Reggie's cue and make a living playing basketball too
Or find yourself a European team that needs a helpin hand
Oh Herbie I wish we'd never seen your game
You made a first-class fool out of Aggie fans
But we're as blind as Aggie fans can be
You stole our hearts but we want you to stay anyway

Herbie I wish Id never seen your game
We'll get back to the NCAA's one of these days

Monday, August 25, 2008

Had a thought...

Just had a thought, did a quick spot of research and voila!

Jason Groves' blog entry about Herb Pope still being back in Pennsylvania caused some upset for Aggie fans but this fact escaped my attention:

Groves posted his entry on August 23 with the news that Pope was in Pennsylvania on personal business. It didn't click for me when I first read this but, after looking it up, instruction began at NMSU on August 21.

Now my college days were many moons ago but it seems accurate to translate the above into the fact that Pope is missing classes.

For what it's worth, an anonymous comment left at Groves' entry states that guard Jonathan Gibson also isn't on campus but take that item for what it's worth. Groves also makes a comment that Pope was a very solid student in his first year at New Mexico State.

So maybe all is just chatter, some is chatter or none is just chatter. If true, it's not like Pope and Gibson couldn't make up the classroom time missed.

One thing is for sure -- it's getting curious in Las Cruces.

NMSU recruiting target verbals to Villanova

There was mention earlier that Mouphtaou Yarou was being pursued by New Mexico State and had an offer from the Aggies as well as Florida, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Memphis State as well as Villanova. He decided to sat in the East -- Philadelphia in particular.

Mouphtaou Yarou to Villanova
Zag's Blog
August 25, 2008

Mouphtaou Yarou, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound power forward from Maryland Montrose Christian, will commit to Villanova at 4 o’clock today.

“That’s where his commitment is going to,” Chris Timba, Yarou’s guardian, said by phone. “Villanova was really the first school that really believed in Mouph. Not too many schools believed he could play at that level. Villanova was the first school.......

Go here for the remainder.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Is all copacetic in Las Cruces?

It's coming up on the college football season but college basketball continues to make news. Down Las Cruces way, some are wondering about the status of two of their hardwood stalwarts. This despite the return of prodigal son Wendell McKines.

As expected, Jason Groves has the details in his blog:

Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News
August 23, 2008

Here we go again

This topic seems to pop up once or twice a month. I talked to Dr. Boston on Saturday regarding Herb Pope. The fact of the matter, as I understand it is that Pope is enrolled at NMSU and has not been granted a release, as some rumors have suggested....

Go here for the remainder.

Also, here's a Groves response to a comment on his post that also made mention of the absence of Jonathan Gibson on campus:

"Jason Groves said...

Great post anon 503. I believe both of those players are in their respective home turf currently.

Pope is by far the highest profile athlete to come to NMSU. I'm also confused why any university remains so loyal to an athlete when they obviously don't feel the same way, but you look at Pope's NBA potential and I guess it makes sense that they give him a little more freedom to take care of whatever he needs to take care of. The bottom line about Pope though, is he is a solid student and he's their best player, so from a student athlete performance wise, he's been ideal. It's only during the offseason where his focus might start to focus back east."

A few thoughts on Mark McLaughlin

This is pure speculation. Although some expert has said people need to hear something seven times before it will stick in their minds, well, we're not going to type out opening line six more times.

Will Mark McLaughlin be at Nevada come 2009-2010? Early indications make it seem so but there certainly will be coaches from other schools hovering around -- PAC-10 anyone? -- if McLaughlin has all his paperwork in order during a season at a prep school.

We seem to recall that Reggie Moore signed a letter-of-intent (LOI) early with Fresno State until a certain school based in Seattle began whispering sweet nothings in his ear about how nice it would be to stay home and play. Moore eventually reneged on his FSU commitment although Fresno Coach Steve Cleveland has yet to release him from his letter-of-intent. It appears Moore is going to have to sit out this season unless Cleveland changes his mind.

Expect the same situation surrounding McLaughlin even if not the same suitor. It will be tough to say no but the family is currently indicating McLaughlin is a Wolf Packer, period.

We do have one critical question about LOIs. Our understanding is the Reggie Moore will be a 'free agent' after the 2008-2009 season and can then sign with any school. It would appear McLaughlin could do the same regardless of his current LOI with Nevada. Are we correct here?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Two Chris Murray blog links about Mark McLaughlin

Here's Chris Murray with two blog entries on Mark McLaughlin's situation:

The details on McLaughlin's future


Silver lining in McLaughlin's departure

McLaughlin not a go at Nevada

Okay, we get no satisfaction out of pointing this out but Chris Murray reports this morning that Nevada recruit Mark McLaughlin will not be in Reno this year to begin his college basketball career.

Why did we lead the way we did?

Because we earlier pointed out that the reason McLaughlin dropped off his prep team in his senior year was to focus on academics and one reader of this blog chastised us as being critical of the young man.

Anyway, here is Murray, on top of all things Wolf Pack as usual:

Pack Basketball: McLaughlin will not enroll at Nevada this fall
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
August 23, 2008

The Nevada basketball team lost one of its top recruits for the upcoming season when the school announced Friday that shooting guard Mark McLaughlin would not enroll in classes this fall.

McLaughlin has not been certified or denied by the NCAA Eligibility Center and with full-time students beginning classes Monday, his family decided to enroll him in prep school so he would not be in limbo until the clearinghouse's decision.

"It's been frustrating," McLaughlin's mother, Maureen, said Friday evening. "We've all been pressing it and pressing it, and it's just taken so long."

In January, McLaughlin left his high school team in the middle of the season so he could focus on becoming eligible at Nevada.

Nevada coach Mark Fox said the university provided all of the requested information to the clearinghouse two months ago, but it requested more information just a few days ago. That was a likely indication that a ruling on McLaughlin's eligibility might have come later rather than sooner....

Go here for the remainder.

For those who care -- each of you ;-) -- here is what we wrote earlier:

April 19, 2008

We caught a bit of heat earlier when we posted a previous article on Wolf Pack prospect Mark McLaughlin, along with the introduction that the kid looks to be in a struggle to meet NCAA academic eligibility requirements for D-1 basketball recruits.

We recall the comment in mind took us to task for writing the above, saying we should have congratulated the kid for re-ordering his priorities (leaving his high school team to focus solely on academics).

Our response was that we were in no way criticizing Mark McLaughlin, simply that a prepster doesn't leave his team in mid - season in order to hit the books harder unless there is a problem to rectify. We didn't then and don't now have a bone to pick with McLaughlin -- what we wrote was the reality as we perceived it with no element of criticism.

Currently, McLaughlin has apparently yet to take the SAT, which is a requirement, as is a passing score. He is also taking additional classes to meet graduation and eligibility prerequisites.

Hey, if the kid earns his freshman eligibility, then great for him. Nevada will be a better team for it and the WAC a better conference for it.

As best we can, we approach such matters with a quest for what is real rather than having our vision impaired by any semblance of fandom or partisanship. But fans being fans have no such obligation.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wendell McKines does a 360

Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News has the scoop -- Wendell McKines has returned to New Mexico State and will be playing basketball for the Aggies this season:

McKines returns to Aggies
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — After asking for his release from the New Mexico State University basketball team at the end of his freshman season, power forward Wendell McKines has decided to return to the program....

Go here for the remainder.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Fresno State recruiting target

Riffing off an old BobD song, it doesn't take a weatherman to know that Fresno State is still looking for a top point and here's a kid Steve Cleveland has offered (as have many others):

Blue Zertuche

5-foot-11 point guard, Javarez Willis will have a crowd of recruiters attending pre-season workouts at Pinkston high school this fall. Willis inched his way up the rankings after having a red hot April, and he quickly became a target for many college programs. Willis showed how he could frustrate his opponents with his outside stroke and how deadly he is when he gets the hot hand...

..."My offense was always there for me, but I realized that defense is where I was going to stick out in front of the recruiters. I will play the point in college and playing defense and making good decisions is how I will get to play. And proving I can do it against some of the best was a huge plus..."

..."He has offers from North Texas, Southern Miss, Wichita State, TCU, Colorado State, SMU, South Alabama, Houston, Oral Roberts, Fresno State, UTA, and Louisiana Monroe..."

Go here for the remainder -- a Rivals subscription is required.

Now there is a coaching opening at NMSU

We wondered who Clyde Vaughan (before that was vetoed) was going to replace and now Jason Groves has supplied the answer:

Sources: Grady leaving Aggies bench
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — Sources confirmed on Monday that New Mexico State University men's assistant basketball coach Matt Grady is leaving the Aggies bench after one season.

Grady is leaving to accept a position at Louisville, where he worked previously under Rick Pitino as a graduate assistant for two years, coordinating team video operations and organizing camps....

Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ian Harwood to BYU (no smelling salts needed for USU fans)

To no one's surprise, a local kid -- someone who also generated Utah State interest and an offer -- has committed to BYU. But he's heading out on his mission after graduating from high school come June:

Basketball: Orem's Harward commits to BYU
Ian Harward has made his decision.
The recruiting trail
Jay Dre
Salt Lake Tribune
August 15, 2008

"I just called coach [Dave] Rose and committed to BYU," he said Friday night. "I am just happy. I think it is going to be a great fit."

Harward also had an offer from Utah State, which was his only offer for several months. But after watching him play for the club team Utah Pump N Run over the summer, BYU coaches apparently liked enough of what they saw to offer him a scholarship.

"I've always dreamed of being a Cougar, and now it is going to happen," Harward said....

Go here for the remainder.

Reggie Larry to Cyprus

Larry just doesn't possess the NBA-required size/skills set matchup but he's going to be quite successful overseas as the following indicates:

Ex-BSU star Reggie Larry signs pro basketball contract
Nick Jezierny
Idaho Statesman

Former Boise State men's basketball player Reggie Larry has signed a contract to play professional basketball in Cyprus, he told The Idaho Statesman on Thursday.

Larry will play for Ael Limassol, a team that has won the Cyprus League championship and Cyprus Cup three of the past four seasons. Cyprus also is a part of the Euro League....

Go here for the remainder.

Chris Murray on a couple of former Wolf Packers

Here's your updates on Nick Fazekas and Kirk Snyder, courtesy of Chris Murray. Plus, he has tidbits on Kevinn Pinkney (and others). Pinkney isn't an NBA talent but is still doing quite well for himself -- he played a very important role in Nevada's success during his time there.

Former Wolf Pack players in same situation
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
August 16, 2008

Kirk Snyder and Nick Fazekas find themselves in relatively similar positions these days.

The former Nevada Wolf Pack basketball teammates both have NBA experience and both have been working out for NBA teams. But both have yet to sign a contract for next season....

Go here for the remainder.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Athletic Intelligence

Here's another non-WAC-related article but one we found intriguing. We'll probably post one of these a week but it all depends on what catches our attention.

Athletic Intelligence
An interview with MIT Associate Head Coach Dr. Oliver Eslinger
David Friedman
August 14, 2008

Dr. Oliver Eslinger is MIT’s associate head basketball coach, a position that keeps him involved in every aspect of the program from coaching to working with alumni to managing the other assistant coaches.

Dr. Eslinger’s playing experience at Clark University and his PhD in counseling-sports psychology provide him a unique perspective on the mental and physical preparation involved in playing and coaching college basketball. I recently spoke with Dr. Eslinger about the challenges—and advantages—of trying to recruit players to come to MIT, the style of play that MIT employs and the importance of “flow” in athletic success...

...SLAM: Which traits are most important for a player to excel on defense?

OE: I’ve always felt that defense starts with the mentality of how badly do you want it and telling yourself that you can get stops and believing in your teammates that if the ball gets by you then you are going to get help. It really takes a lot of drive and a lot of heart and a lot of focus but if you are a student of the game then of course you can pick up tendencies of your opponent and of the offensive players, such as if a kid can’t go to his left then we are really going to make an effort to force him to his left.

...It hurts to stay in your stance, so you have to be conditioned mentally and physically to be able to do that. It really is a mind game to believe that you want to do it and you can do it...

...SLAM: I believe in general that it takes a lot of intelligence to play sports well and to play sports at a high level but sometimes you will hear coaches in various sports say that a player is ‘overthinking’ when he should just be reacting and I think that Bill Russell once said that if a player is thinking about a particular situation it is too late because by the time he thinks the thought the situation will have already passed. When you are coaching players who are very intelligent academically and who also have the memory and ability to internalize whatever scouting information you give them, do you see a fine line between intelligence being an asset and situations in which players are overthinking instead of reacting instinctively?

OE: Oh yeah. I’ve noticed at MIT that our players like information and they want to be able to process it and understand the purpose for doing certain things. We often do get into discussions of why we are doing things certain ways and that helps but at the same time, like you said, you don’t want to have that sense of ‘paralysis by analysis’ when you begin to overthink and that really hurts your reaction time and your ability to sense what is going to happen.

I certainly believe in flow, in letting your athletic intelligence take over. There is actually a theory in psychology called ‘flow’ which relates to being in the ‘zone,’ when an athlete is not thinking about anything and just putting everything he or she has into the skills of the sport. The mind and body are so closely connected that it just happens....

Go here for the complete interview.

A couple more changes on the Fresno State roster

One's in and one is out at Fresno State and the 'out' isn't as big a deal as some might think. Bryan Harvey was not effective in his lone season at FSU -- much to our surprise and with egg on our faces as we predicted big things for him -- and he is dropping down to a lower level of competition although having already departed from Louisville and having sat out a season due to transferring obviously was a factor in his new destination.

From the Fresno State athletics site:

Aug. 14, 2008

FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State's men's basketball coach Steve Cleveland announced the addition of Brandon Sperling to the Bulldog roster with an Athletic Aid Agreement for the 2008-09 season.

"Brandon Sperling is a 6'3" combo guard who can play the point or the wing position," Cleveland said. "Brandon will compete at both positions. He is a local young man who has been under the radar in terms of national recruiting..."

...Harvey set to transfer to NAIA school

Coach Cleveland also announced that junior Bryan Harvey will not be back for another season with the Bulldogs. He released the following statement:

"Bryan Harvey will not be returning to Fresno State this coming year. Bryan has had a good spring semester where he is academically in good standing and on track to graduate next year.... Go here for the full story.

Jason Groves says Clyde Vaughan not coming to NMSU

On his blog, Jason Groves writes today that former Pitt star and Connecticut assistant Clyde Vaughan is not coming to Las Cruces as an assistant coach. It appears Vaughan's legal entanglements put the kibosh on his hiring.

This leaves the question of who was going to depart from the Aggie coaching staff in order to have a spot for Vaughan? Is that assistant going to now stay or is another person being eyed in lieu of Vaughan?

Coaching staff
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News
August 14, 2008

The rumors that former UConn assistant Clyde Vaughn was to be brought in, while true, didn't come to fruition. Coach Menzies wanted to bring him, but the powers that be apparently decided against it on Thursday. It was going to be part of a shuffling of his staff, but the current coaches weren't going anywhere, although they might have had different roles....

Go here for the remainder.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Clyde Vaughan to Las Cruces?

Clyde Vaughan was riding high as an assistant to Jim Calhoun at Connecticut until a legal issue -- solicitation -- arose, forcing his resignation in 2004. Vaughan, who also assisted at South Florida and Long Beach State prior to coming to The Constitution State, enjoyed a fine career at Pitt and was the leading scorer in the Big East in 1982-1983.

Word is that Vaughan is going to be hired at New Mexico State by Marvin Menzies. ESPN's Andy Katz in a subscription-required section of the site, had this:

"...New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies is expected to hire former Connecticut and South Florida assistant Clyde Vaughan. NMSU administrators were meeting to approve the hire this week. Vaughan's coaching career at UConn crashed and burned when he was arrested on a solicitation charge in Hartford in August of 2004. Vaughan spent the past few years working out high school and college players..."

A fleshed out Kemp/Nevada article

Here's a much more informative piece from Chris Murray on the Shawn Kemp interest in Reno:

Wolf Pack Basketball: Another Kemp catches Pack's eye
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
August 14, 2008

Nevada Wolf Pack basketball fans have grown accustomed to cheering on a guy named Kemp for the past half-decade. They might not have to wait too long before another Kemp hits the Lawlor Events Center floor.

Shawn Kemp Jr., the son of the former NBA All-Star of the same name, said Wednesday he has received a scholarship offer to play for the Wolf Pack in 2009-10.

The 6-foot-9, 215-pound center said he also received offers from West Virginia, Auburn, and Alabama in addition to garnering interest from several BCS schools. ranks Kemp -- who is not related to former Pack guard Marcelus Kemp -- as the 83rd-best prospect in the class of 2009 and the ninth-best center....

Go here for the remainder.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Matt Gibson update

Just so it doesn't stay buried, an anonymous commentor passed on this about Matt Gibson:

Hi! update 'bout Matt Gibson: Just signed with vice-champions of Romania, U Mobitelco Cluj.More details (in Romanian) here: www.u-mobitelco.roJust to mention that Anthony "Tab" Baldwin (look in Wiki if you're not aware about the former Tall Black bench genius) is our coach - and for now on Matt's also. Best Regards from Cluj, Romania!

A little more on one of Fresno State's late recruits

You just never know when your proverbial ship will come sailing in and one of Fresno State's late signees is the poster player illustrating this:

Second-chance points score big
Open gym saves careers of local basketball players
Quwan Spears
Sacramento Bee
August 13, 2008

Before he had hope, before he had confidence and before that glorious day in Fresno, Brian Seals thought he would never play basketball again.

"Seriously, I planned to quit," he said. "Even though I loved the game, I didn't see a way how I could continue playing in college. I was ready to find a job, take a few classes here and there, get a degree and then get a real job."

Seals now has a scholarship to play at Fresno State. The 6-foot-7, 210-pound small forward accomplished the goal working out with former and current college players at Hiram Johnson High School this summer....

Go here for the remainder.

A recruit chooses Nebraska over USU and others

You can't land everyone on your interest list so cross this kid off Stew Morrill's list:

Basketball: Nebraska lands a forward USU wanted
The recruiting trail
Jay Drew
Salt Lake Tribune
August 12, 2008

Nebraska has landed a basketball recruit that Utah State had made a scholarship offer to, the Lincoln Journal Star reported on Tuesday.

Brandon Ubel a 6-foot-9, 220-pound power forward from Overland Park, Kan., visited Nebraska on Monday and committed upon receiving a scholarship offer. Ubel will be a senior this fall at Blue Valley West High School in Kansas. Ubel also had scholarship offers from Drake, Illinois State and Utah State, according to the newspaper.

Here's the link to the Nebraska newspaper article.

Travel costs to force the WAC into changes?

In personal terms, high prices tend to modify our various behaviors when sometimes nothing else can and the WAC appears to be edging into similar circumstances:

WAC being squeezed by high travel costs
Commissioner Karl Benson says the league will discuss possible solutions at its fall meetings. He says that ‘anything is on the table.’
Chadd Cripe
Idaho Statesman

Saturday matines for basketball?

A 10th member of the WAC?

More regional matchups in college football?

Another round of conference realignments?

All are possible results of escalating travel costs, which will eat an extra $268,000 out of Boise State’s athletics budget this school year.

“At our fall meetings in September, this whole issue will be on the agenda,” WAC commissioner Karl Benson said last month at the football media preview. “My message as they come to that meeting is, ‘Anything’s on the table.’ … It may cause us to do some drastic measure that might have been unheard of or even unthought of two or three years ago....”

Go here for the remainder.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kerry Rupp lands a 'big'

LA TECH and Coach Kerry Rupp have garnered a verbal commitment from a frontcourter as 6-8 Kadeem Coleby has said yes to coming to Ruston. He's described as athletic but raw. The Bulldogs are pretty well set in the frontcourt for a season or two so there won't be a need for the young man to have to produce right away -- a good situation for him.

Here's a decription of Coleby per ESPN:

Hometown: Humble, TX
Christian Life Center Academy (TX)
Position rank: Power Forward # 46
Ht: 6'8" Wt: 215


2007: Coleby, originally from the Bahamas, is extremely raw on the offensive end but his upside cannot be denied. He possesses a great frame with broad shoulders, long arms and overall solid length for the four spot at the next level. His forte is rebounding and with his aforementioned physical attributes not to mention some significant bounce, he should only get better at it. In addition to his rebounding prowess, he is also a very stout shot blocker with exceptional timing. His offensive game is quite raw at this stage (gets most of his points off of offensive rebounds and follow-dunks), but he has excellent hands and should develop those skills and fundamentals with some coaching.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jaycee Carroll to the land of gelato

This sounds like a good setup for Jaycee Carroll to prove to NBA-types that he can play multiple roles on the court:

KNVU Full Court Press
Hurricane John

Jaycee Carroll signed yesterday with Teramo Basket. They are a team in the first division of Italy. Here is what his agent, Brad Ames, emailed me yesterday...

Go here for the remainder.

Brandon Davies 'seems' to like BYU

Recruiting sometimes reminds us of seventh grade love affairs -- actually 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and so on through adulthood too. The object of our affection (notice we were careful not to type infection), the one who is the key to our very survival sometimes becomes 'yesterday's newspaper' and is discarded with no afterthought because a new object of desire has appeared on the scene.

Utahan Brandon Davies makes mention more than once of BYU here if you are into reading tea leaves. The sense is that Logan is in more of a fall back position:

Davis starting to emerge
A.W. Prince Senior Writer
August 11, 2008

6-foot-9, 215-pound big man Brandon Davies might be the most underrated frontcourt prospect in the country right now. He's extremely skilled, possessing terrific hands a solid touch, plus a great feel for the game. After a very impressive summer on the court, the Provo (Utah) native now holds 4 solid offers, including one from a Pac-10 school.

There is a lot to like about Davies, which is why Cal, BYU, Gonzaga, Utah, and Utah State have been heavily recruiting the Philadelphia born standout. He holds offers from all. On the court, the recently turned 17-year old continues to improve his game..

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

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Boise assistant to Northern Arizona

This surely is no 'stop the presses' (step away from the keyboard?) item but Boise State Assistant Coach Julious Coleman has moved on to Northern Arizona where he will be the top assistant to Mike Adras.

As usual Nick Jezierny has all the details:

BSU assistant basketball coach resigns
Julious Coleman will become the top assistant at Northern Arizona
Nick Jezierny
Idaho Statesman
August 9, 2008

Boise State assistant basketball coach Julious Coleman has resigned to become the top assistant coach at Northern Arizona, he said Friday night.

Coleman, 38, has been at Boise State for the past six seasons. He was one of the first hires made by coach Greg Graham when he took over in 2002.

Coleman said the chance to become a top assistant will help him in his goal to someday be a head coach at the collegiate level....

Go here for the remainder.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Utah State has a new player

Having never seen him play and with little background information, it's virtually impossible and definitely foolhardy to venture any guess on the potential of Stew Morrill's latest player:

Dominique Crooks, a kid out of Australia, has been added to the Aggie roster. His father apparently is well known in Aussie basketball circles.

The younger Crooks is a lefty and seemingly possesses more point skills than shooting/scoring talent -- at least based on some stats rounded up on him as his three-point shooting stats are poor.

There is not yet a bio of Crooks, nice-sized at 6-3 200, on the official Utah State site.

Crooks' arrival would make a fully scholarshipped roster for Utah State if Jaxon Myaer, as was expected, has been shifted from his walk-on status of last year.

Nevada wants Shawn Kemp Jr.

He doesn't appear to have the same basketball prowess his father possessed but Shawn Kemp Jr. is still a solid prospect and Coach Mark Fox has already extended an invitation. Kemp would certainly go a long way in helping out the Wolf Pack in the paint but there's some big-time competitors for his services:

Kemp Jr. keeping an eye on Huskies
The feeling's mutual, but Washington has yet to offer a scholarship
Dan Raley
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
August 8, 2008

Shawn Kemp Jr. visits Seattle every so often. Whether he makes it his college basketball home will be determined soon.

The son of the former Sonics forward returned to class this week as a senior at Cherokee High School in the Atlanta suburbs, hoping to settle on a college choice within a couple of weeks.

As of Thursday night, Kemp said he had received solid scholarship offers from West Virginia and Nevada, with Washington, Georgia and Kentucky showing significant recruiting interest....

Go here for the remainder.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A couple more names for Utah State recruiting

Always remember that a letter or even a call or two doesn't usually transition into full-fledged recruiting interest so with that in mind here are a couple more kids with a mention of USU in their recruiting circles:

The ever-reliable Jed Tai, who probably has more hoops contacts than Paris Hilton has had suitors offered this:

Jed Tai Editor
August 6, 2008

Max Jacobsen will be the first to admit it - he's not used to being on the phone a ton. But ever since the skilled 6-foot-6, 230-pound forward from Lake Oswego High School essentially scored at will the latter half of the July evaluation period, he's had to deal with a recruitment that's just about gone through the roof as college programs from the West Coast on Eastward have been making their allowable contacts...

..."I've been talking to Utah State, Seattle University, and Montana - they all want me to come out and visit and Portland State does too...

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

+ staff
August 6, 2008

When Matt Read took a look at his profile the other day, he was taken aback. The list of schools for the skilled 6-foot-9, 225-pound power forward currently at Collin College in Plano looked like the longest he'd ever seen on a prospect. So the Weatherford native did what you would expect him to do - he narrowed his list. Read is now down to a more manageable number of college programs and he's starting to think about official visits.

"I'm down from 49 schools to 11 schools right now," Read said. "In no particular order, they are Utah state, Auburn, TCU, South Alabama, Pacific, Bradley, Michigan, Arizona State, St. Louis, Utah, and Stephen F. Austin...
Go here for the remainder and a Rivals subscription is required.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The pecking order of a state's universities

We are out here in California where USC in football and UCLA in basketball obviously rules their respective roosts. The Golden State boasts umpteen number of colleges and universities but it is the PAC-10 that is conclusively the top conference, having four members with California addresses.

But we are unfamiliar with how such a ranking works in Utah.

Our sense is that Weber State comes in at #4 with its membership in the Big Sky Conference. It seems that most would agree with this ranking.

We'll venture that Utah State overall resides in the third slot. However, this is disputable with the sport we are most familiar with -- men's basketball. Stew Morrill's Aggies are very, very close in national stature if not the equal of Brigham Young and Utah in this regard. But again our sense is that Utah's prep basketballers don't see it this way -- that BYU and Utah are almost always 'preferred' destinations over the Aggies.

Granted, we have no studies to quantify our determinations but our memory of recruiting histories causes us believe this.

We're unsure if Utah or BYU owns the top college spot in the Beehive State -- however, we 'feel' it is probably Brigham Young as the most favored college choice of in-state prep athletes and also out-of-state LDS member baseballers, footballers and basketballers.

If we are correct in this analysis, why is this? Does Mountain West membership hold greater sway than being a WAC school? Is it due to BYU being considered a 'mothership' for LDS-ers? Is it respective coaching staffs having a greater allure?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A 'possible' LA TECH recruitng target

Receiving a letter is the 'lightest' form of the recruiting process but we still thought it worthwhile to post this article anyway on a Utah prep backcourter:

CHS Basketball Player Gets National Exposure
Renee Ballinger
Cedar City Review
July 24, 2008

Incoming Cedar High School senior Joel Einfeldt is getting a lot of national exposure this summer playing for a Salt Lake Metro Basketball team.

Last week, he played in the Los Angeles Nike Cream of the Crop tournament and this week he will play in the Reebok Main Event tournament in Las Vegas...

...Joel has recently begun receiving interest from colleges around the country, his older brother Blair said. He has received letters of correspondence from University of Southern California, San Diego State University, Denver University, Louisiana Tech, and Southern Utah University....

Go here for the complete article.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Chris Murray is back bigtime

The Reno Gazette-Journal's Chris Murray has been on vacation but he's back today in a major way. Maybe the RGJ powers-that-be should consider more vacations for Murray considering his bountiful return offering (and no, we are neither related to Murray nor his agent ;-)

Recapping a Pack basketball July
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
August 4, 2008

The month of July brought a couple of big pieces of Wolf Pack basketball news, first and foremost being the release of the team's 2008-09 schedule. Since I was unable to do a blog entry on that, I thought I would take the chance to make up for it by doing one today even though we have crept into August. You know what they say: Better late than never. Here is a look at the Wolf Pack's 14 non-conference games with a brief comment and a ranking (on a 1-10 scale) on how good the game should be.

Game 1: Saturday, Nov. 15 at Montana State
The skinny: This is a return game from last season's 82-76 Wolf Pack home win. The Bobcats went 15-15 last season and lose three of their top four scorers from last season. No season-opening road game is easy (especially considering the Wolf Pack's youth), but this one should enable the team to ease into the season a little.
Ranking: 4 out of 10

Game 2: Tuesday, Nov. 18 at San Diego
The skinny: This is one of Nevada's three non-conference games against NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago. The Wolf Pack chopped down the Toreros, 76-62, last season at home, but don't expect another romp like that. San Diego returns two all-conference players in PG Brandon Johnson and PF Gyno Pomare and should be swelling with pride after its big NCAA Tournament win over UConn.
Ranking: 8 out of 10...

Plus, Murray provides updates on a number of former Wold Pack basketballers -- go here for the remainder.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dan Siegel is Fresno State's $16,000,000 Daddy

Issuing a mea culpa, yeah, we are being snarky with our headline but the off-the-field legal matters involving Fresno State athletics has just been jaw-dropping -- and costly.

University settles with secretary
Fresno State, CSU will pay $125,000 to end lawsuit.
George Hostetter
The Fresno Bee

Fresno State and the California State University system have reached a $125,000 settlement with a former men's basketball secretary who alleged she lost her job after complaining about then-coach Ray Lopes.

Iris Levesque was laid off in January 2005, two months before Lopes resigned in the wake of NCAA violations committed during his tenure. The university said it was for financial reasons, but Levesque alleged she was fired for complaining of a hostile and discriminatory atmosphere in the basketball office.

She filed a discrimination lawsuit late last year....

Go here for the remainder including the long lists of payouts to various former FSU coaches.

Nick Fazekas is a free man

Nick Fazekas is again a free agent:

Clippers withdraw qualifying offer to Fazekas
Associated Press
August 2, 2008

The Los Angeles Clippers and forward Nick Fazekas have agreed to the withdrawal of the team’s qualifying offer from June 25, making Fazekas an unrestricted free agent.

Signed by the Clippers as a free agent on March 18, Fazekas appeared in 26 games last season, averaging 4.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 0.4 assists in 10.3 minutes.

The Clippers have revamped their roster by adding eight new players during the offseason.

Tyler Tiedeman to Spain

Former Boise State player Tyler Tiedeman is headed to Spain:

Ex-BSU basketball player Tiedeman signs to play in Spain
Idaho Statesman

Tyler Tiedeman, who helped the Boise State men's basketball team win a school-record 25 games and the WAC Tournament last season, has signed a contract to play professionally in Spain.

Tiedeman, who averaged 13.9 points and 3.4 rebounds per game and shot 48.8 percent from 3-point range, will play for Basquet Inca.

"It was the best overall option that I had," said Tiedeman, whose agent is Florida-based Anthony Hilliard. "They had the best package and the best league."

Tiedeman leaves Aug. 10. He's excited that he'll get to play against former teammate Matt Nelson, who signed to play for a team in the same league.

"That's going to be neat," Tiedeman said.

Nevada's Luke Babbitt receives some national pub

We've caught some previous heat from a couple of folks down Las Cruces way for our 'love affair' with Nevada incoming freshman Luke Babbitt. The NMSU fans were promoting freshman-to-be Troy Gillenwater as Babbitt's Aggie equal, if not better.

We haven't seen Gillenwater play although anything posted on-line about him has been devoured and deposited in our cerebellum. Yes, he does appear to be a good one, a youngster with excellent potential but we don't expect him to be a consistent contributor from the get-go. He won't need to be considering the NMSU returnees.

However, we have witnessed Babbitt on the court and already see him as a solid inside-outside performer for the Wolf Pack basketball team come game one. Coach Mark Fox needs Babbitt providing 15/7 or so each night -- and it will happen.

As we have written before, Babbitt's shooting range is long, longer and longest and he's also a load inside due to his polished moves. However, Babbitt is a fairly average athlete and it will be interesting how he handles defending quicker, taller opponents.

Ultimately and as it should be, this comparison will be decided on the court.

Here's Gary Parrish with some national 'love' for Babbitt:

Nevada super recruit Babbitt told to kick habit and rest
Gary Parrish Senior Writer
Aug. 1, 2008

I know you're reading this, Luke Babbitt. And if you're reading this from some computer inside some gym, so help me God, you're gonna pay. Don't forget you made a deal with your coach that you would not touch a basketball for the first 10 days of August, which means jumpers are now off-limits and I better not smell leather on your hands. Just suntan lotion and salt water, buddy.

So go ahead, enjoy your Florida vacation.

But please don't even think about shooting hoops.

"I guess that's what I have to do," Babbitt said by phone. "That's what Coach wants."

Coach is Nevada coach Mark Fox, a man who has found himself in a strange predicament. He's got a high-profile freshman on campus named Luke Babbitt, a local kid and future star whose work ethic is unmatched. On the surface, that's stellar. But Fox was so worried his 6-foot-9 McDonald's All-American is gonna wear down before the season begins that he decided to ban Babbitt from basketball for the next 10 days....

Go here for the remainder.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Stew wants Brandon Davies

Stew Morrill and many others are apparently very interested in a home state recruit who may or may not have his academics in order:

The Recruiting Trail
Jay Drew
Salt Lake City Tribune
July 31, 2008

Basketball: Provo coach talks about Davies' recruitment

Had a nice chat this morning with an old friend of mine -- Provo basketball coach Craig Drury -- about Brandon Davies, the 6-foot-9 senior who will play for the legendary coach this winter before moving on to what should be an outstanding college basketball career.

I've been getting a lot of reports about the recruitment of Davies, some conflicting with each other, and I figured the coach with the most state titles in Utah prep basketball history would give it to me straight. Over the years, Drury has been one of the most frank, honest coaches I have covered.

"He's good," Drury said. "He barely turned 17, so he's still going to grow a few more inches. He's got a 7-foot-4 wing span, he runs well and he's an adequate shooter for a 6-9 kid....."

Go here for the remainder, including the mention of Stew Morrill.