Sunday, May 31, 2009

David Carter explained

Chris Murray has a fine feature on the newish Wolf Pack coach David Carter. This one will take some time to read so settle in and enjoy Carter's world from his early years in Los Angeles to the present. Nice guys can and do finish first.

Carter's path leads to top
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
May 31, 2009

When David Carter was a child growing up in Los Angeles, he would sit on the front step of his home and get lost in his own imagination, creating stories and friends that only existed in his head.

His mother, Mary, would watch her youngest son creating make-believe adventures. She always knew he was a dreamer.

"He would always just sit there and talk to himself," she said. "I would always say, 'Hey, (your brothers) Tom and Reggie are right here. Why don't you play with them?' But he would just be there telling his stories to himself. He would always have a smile on his face. I never knew the stories he was creating."

Chances are he wasn't charting his future, a journey that has taken him from Missouri to Los Angeles to the Bay Area and ultimately to Reno, with many stops in between...
Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Gary Williams interview with Herb Pope mentions

You HAVE to read this entire interview Washington Post reporter Eric Prisbell (who used to write for the Fresno Bee many moons ago) did with Maryland's Gary Williams. It's fascinating even though we think Prisbell overdoes the 'Gary Williams can't judge talent or get recruits' mantra questioning here.

Note: You will find some Herb Pope mentions, along with a number of other college players.

As with everything in life, there are the stories and then the stories behind the stories. The latter are what never makes it into print. The average fan laments missing out on this or that recruit, laying blame at the foot of the head coach, without really knowing the so-called score.

Just think of why Renardo Sidney isn't headed to UCLA next year, let alone USC. When you are one of the top high school players in the country, stand 6-foot-10 and end up at Mississippi State, well, there's one helluva story lurking behind that story.

The GaryWilliams Interview
Eric Prisbell
Washington Post
February 17,

Hello, everyone. This is Eric Prisbell. I am about to post a large portion of my Feb. 5 interview with Gary Williams.

I carefully edited the actual interview transcript for a few reasons. A decent amount was off the record when both of us talked about three specific cases of alleged cheating, so I have not included some questions and answers. Some of the talk about three specific cases of alleged cheating was on the record, but I am unable to print it for legal concerns regarding unsubstantiated allegations. I refer to those players as Player A, Player B and Player C. I have also slightly edited a few of my questions only to give you guys more context into what we are talking about (like providing full names when I may have only said the first name). I think you’ll find this very interesting.

[We make some small talk while sitting down]

GW: This year we have one senior, we have signed two inside players. For 15 years, only Carolina and us have not finished last. So whatever they say about me as a recruiter, I’ll put my record up against anyone this decade. I must either be a good recruiter or a good coach. The idea of coaching at this level is to win, so whatever way you win, is okay. So if people say you are not a good recruiter, or if people say you are a good recruiter and not a good game coach, you know who they said that about. People are going to have opinions, which is fine. What I get measured on is winning. If 19 wins isn’t enough, I understand, people are dissatisfied. The two years we won 19, losing a pretty good player each of those years.

EP: But this is a complicated issue, and one aspect many people don’t realize is the changing face of AAU.

GW: Yeah, when would you say that really changed?

EP: Oh, I’ve seen a big change in the last five years.

GW: I’d say the last five or six. I’d say that was the dramatic change. With the change in the AAU has come incredible influence over the player, even players with parents there, the AAU in the last five years has gained a phenomenal foothold with a lot of families in terms of directing their kid where he winds up going to

Go here for the full interview.

ESPN does Coach Carter

With a hat tip to Chris Murray for leading us to the article, here's ESPN with it's initial feature on David Carter:

Carter not deterred by rough start
Dana O'Neil
May 27, 2009

It reads like the perfect vacation itinerary: Ten beautiful days in Europe, with stops in Barcelona, France, the French Riviera, Florence and Rome.

And for David Carter, who is currently cashing in euros across the pond, the idea of a vacation probably is pretty welcoming right about now. Since assuming the head coaching reins at Nevada, Carter has rollercoastered through the most tumultuous ride of any of the new coaches in Division I.

In the span of two weeks, he's had to dismiss one player after he was charged with brandishing a gun, has been told by another player that he wanted to transfer, has given a recruit his release and has remained in a locked-horns battle with another recruit who also wants out of Reno...
Go here for the remainder.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Here's another article we missed

Somehow this one got overlooked too.

COMMENTARY: Latest Aggie basketball recruiting class adds glue guys
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

It's not as intriguing as other recruiting classes at New Mexico State, but the 2009-10 men's offseason additions will be just as important down the line.

In his first two seasons at NMSU, head coach Marvin Menzies has proven he can bring top talent to an average Western Athletic Conference...
Go here for the remainder.

To mention or not to mention...

This one was a real close call. It's about an Arizona junior college player with a mention fo Utah State interest. Now players can still sign agreements, just not letter-of-intents for the coming season but it's not clear in the article if the young man is coming out this season or will return for his second year of community college ball.

Chris Foss Baseball Staff Writer

When Mike James finished his high school career at Grant, he was widely viewed as the third option alongside a pair of future Division I players in Paul McCoy and Mike Moser. A year spent at the junior college level has given the quick, scoring guard realistic aspirations to play at the same level as his former Generals teammates.

James saw his role increase throughout his first year at Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher, Arizona, playing the majority of the year as the team’s starting point guard. As a freshman he was given a chance to put up big numbers, leading the conference in scoring with 19.5 points per game, while also leading the team in assists (5.1) and steals (2.4)...
James has offers from four schools, with six D-1 institutions -- Utah State among them -- as interested. Our sense is the Aggies are not involved at this point for the coming season.

Go here to access the article and a Rivals subcription is required.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dennis Gates to Nevada

Northern Illinois' Dennis Gates will be coming to Nevada. We're not sure what took so long for the decision to be announced but, regardless, this is an excellent addition for the Pack.

The Red and Bkack Attack site has the news. Go here for the article.

We have been remiss on this great article

Chris Murray gathered up some experts (well, with one exception) and provided a look at the recruiting classes for each WAC team. We somehow overlooked this offering so making amends is a necessity:

A closer look at each of the WAC recruiting classes
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

Last week, we took a look at all of the recruiting classes in the WAC as the spring signing period came to a close. Shortly after that, I e-mailed scribes who follow each of the teams in the WAC to try and get a little perspective on each of the classes. I was able to hook up with writers for six of the teams and here are their reports on their respective program's recruiting classes...
Go here for the remainder.

Monday, May 25, 2009

For you Nevada fans

There were many doubters (for the sake of honesty and self disclosure, we were among them) when Ramon Sessions declared for the NBA draft and stuck to it. Now those of us have mud on our faces.

Caught this note at the Draft Express site, the best site for for college player and NBA draft analysis:

"...Jonny Flynn appears to be drawing strong interest from the Milwaukee Bucks, as it becomes increasingly clear that they will not be able to retain the services of current point guard Ramon Sessions, due to his excessive contract demands..."
Hell, excessive is defined in the mind of the eventual payer and we fully expect someone to ante up for a young point. Congrats to Sessions.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Is Fresno State going to field a team of wings?

It's true that soph-to-be Paul George may have a pay-for-play option prior to his senior season but that's a ways off. Another wing-type, soph-to-be Mychal Ladd, also enjoyed a solid initial season. Plus, Steve Cleveland signed high schoolers Jerry Brown and Garrett Johnson, both of whom seem to slot into the wing spot.

So why have the Bulldogs offered another wing player out of Arizona for the 2009-2010 signing period? This per Anthony Ray at

...After another strong season of play where George Matthews helped lead his St. Mary's program to a 5A Division-I State Championship, he is now beginning to come into his own as a college prospect...

...This spring, as he prepares to enter his senior season next fall, Matthews has began to come into his own as a player and as a college prospect, now showing the signs as a player that had many believing in him as a top-rated prospect in the 2010 class at an early age...
A number of school are now tracking the youngster, with Drake, St. Mary's, San Diego and Fresno State already having offered.

Go to the Rivals Arizona Preps site for the full article and a subscription is required. There is now also a second article on Matthews there.

At The Rumble In The Bay basketball tourney

Sorry for the light to non-existent posting of late but we're at the Rumble In The Bay basketball tournament this weekend, further expanding the callouses on our behinds (doesn't that paint a rather gruesome picture?). Send all dry cleaning and/or other bills to PTW if the previous line caused coffee spewing or any physical/psychological ailments. We forgot the oath we took before creating this blog: first do no harm.

Here's Jason Groves with his take on New Mexico State's signings (and we're sure he just loves the opening paragraph preceding his Sunday commentary):

Commentary: Latest Aggie basketball recruiting class adds glue guys
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

It's not as intriguing as other recruiting classes at New Mexico State, but the 2009-10 men's offseason additions will be just as important down the line.

In his first two seasons at NMSU, head coach Marvin Menzies has proven he can bring top talent to an average Western Athletic Conference.

Menzies started by landing Wendell McKines in the summer prior to his first season, adding a player who would eventually lead the WAC in rebounding as a sophomore. Menzies also landed Troy Gillenwater, a talented 6-foot-8 forward who came to Las Cruces after he got out of a verbal committment to Oklahoma State. Gillenwater and freshman point guard Hernst Laroche were both top players at their positions for the Aggies last year...
Go here for the remainder.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Nevada gets a really big 'big'

David Carter has landed a walk-on who physically fills a role that just might be needed by the 2009-2010 Nevada-ites:

Wolf Pack adds a big man in walk-on Olson
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
May 21, 2009

The Nevada basketball team has added a big man and it didn’t even cost the team a scholarship.

Former Douglas High standout Keith Olson will walk on to the Wolf Pack next season, bringing some bulk to the team’s thin frontcourt.

Olson, a 6-foot-9, 270-pound center, signed with Northern Arizona out of high school but after an injury-plagued season and a half decided to leave the program...
Go here for the remainder.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Some background on Phillip Thomas

The story (and much, much more) about Phillip Thomas' departure from Idaho is contained in an article we recently wrote for the Rivals NorCalPreps site. It doesn't requires a subscription to access it so head on over there. The portion we have excerpted below will probably be of most interest to Vandal fans:

"...According to Thomas, even with all the comings-and-goings "everything seemed all good."

He went home for the summer, intent on preparing for his second season. Thomas worked hard, believing he could contribute in the coming season. Then a few days before he was to return to Moscow, Thomas received a long distance call.

It was Coach Verlin telling him that the basketball program was going in another direction and the decision had been made to sign a junior college transfer with Thomas’ athletic scholarship.

Thomas was dumbfounded. "I was kind of stunned and at a loss for words..."

Chris Murray has more on Nevada's lastest recruits

Here's some more information and background on Jerry Evans and Malik Story.

Getting familiar with new Pack players Evans and Story
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

Let's get familiar with the two players the Wolf Pack signed Wednesday afternoon...
Go here for the remainder.

Hawaii may not be done with signings

Bob Nash is still looking at additional players for 09-01 and/or possibly a transfer or two as he has two more scholarships available.

'Bows still on lookout for hoop recruits
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
May 21, 2009

The signing period for recruits ended yesterday, but the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team is still in search of players.

"We will continue to recruit through the summer," Hawai'i head coach Bob Nash said. "We're now looking at players who can help us in the future."

In particular, Nash said he will target potential transfers from other NCAA Division I programs...
Go here for the remainder.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The greatest gift of all

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Chris Murray. What he has done is save us an enormous amount of time and probably a degree of embarrassment over missing players.

What we are talking about is his article today detailing the signing classes for every WAC team.

Now who is going to compile the list of the transfers from each team?

Full list of recruits for each basketball team in the WAC
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

Today marks the last day of the spring signing period and while that doesn't preclude coaches from signing players (think Ramon Sessions a few years back), it does signal an end to the Class of 2009 recruiting period for most coaches. With that being said, below are the recruiting classes for each of the teams in the WAC, including name, position, height/weight, hometown, previous school and or star rating. You also can click on the players' names to see a profile page. I will update the list if any more signings trickle in today...
Go here for the details.

An early Nevada depth chart

Chris Murray offers up the current Nevada basketball roster plus a comparison to the one at the conclusion of the 2008-2009 season. It's a long ways away but it will be fascinating to find out who becomes the better player: Marko Cukic or Steven Bjornstad? We will also be following Mark McLaughlin's 'career' at Baylor.

An early look at the Nevada hoops team's depth chart
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

With the spring signing period wrapping up Wednesday, the Nevada basketball team appears to have put the finishing touches on its recruiting class of 2009. So, let's go ahead and guess at the team's depth chart next season. We will move Luke Babbitt to the small forward position as coach David Carter has said he would like to do next season...
Go here for the remainder.

Nevada adds Evans and Story

Chris Murray checks in with Nevada's latest two basketball signings:

Wolf Pack locks up two more recruits in Evans, Story
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

The Nevada basketball team announced Wednesday that Jerry Evans Jr. and Malik Story will join the team next season...
Go here for the article.

Greg Allen signs with Creighton

Eureka High's Greg Allen has signed a letter-of-intent with Creighton University. We talked with Greg last night and we'll will have an article upcoming at soon.

He did visit Hawaii recently and USC was about to jump into the mix until a point from back east came aboard there. Idaho was no longer in the mix after Allen decided to re-open his recruiting last November.

Here's a link to the Eureka Times Standard article about Allen's press conference.

Marvin Menzies talks about his recruiting class

Jason Groves/Las Cruces Sun-News talked with Marvin Menzies recently about his recruiting catches.

Marvin Menzies likes latest additions in Aggie 2009 recruiting class
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

Marvin Menzies wanted to add size on the front line and depth to his backcourt in his 2009-10 recruiting class.

The New Mexico State men's basketball coach feels like he accomplished both goals this past offseason.

"As of the last day to sign players, we feel like the two kids in the country that we wanted, we got them," Menzies said. "We are still involved with a couple of recruits to round out the class, and I'm still optimistic that we can fill those spots."

As the month-long regular signing period for basketball ends today, Menzies filled two of three available scholarships in the last two weeks...
Go here for the remainder.

Jason Groves reports on New Mexico State basketball

Jason Groves/Las Cruces Sun-News has some interesting updates on Aggie basketball -- this about possible personnel departures and sidelinings.

Go here (we don't want to give any of the names)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Matt Bauscher update

Thanks to Nick Jezierny for doing this update on former Bronco basketballer Matt Bauscher.

Former Boise State standout Bauscher gets new deal to play overseas
His performance in his first season in the Dutch League impressed his coaches.
Nick Jezierny
Idaho Statesman

Matt Bauscher's first season of playing professional basketball went so well that it earned him a new two-year contract to return to The Netherlands in August.

Bauscher, the former Vallivue High and Boise State standout, led the Dutch League in scoring and assists last season while playing for Aris Friesland Leeuwarden.

In 38 games last season, Bauscher averaged 22.2 points, 5.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 35.7 minutes per game...
Go here for the remainder.

Jason Groves with the background on Da'Shawn Gomez

Jason Groves/Las Cruces Sun-News provides us with the information on newly signed Aggie Da'Shawn Gomez and his recruiting.

California point guard looks forward to becoming an Aggie
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — Da'Shawn Gomez had official visits scheduled at Virginia Tech and Texas Christian University.

"I canceled them because I knew I was going to sign with New Mexico State," said Gomez, a 6-foot-1 guard out of Inglewood High School who signed a National Letter of Intent with the NMSU men's basketball team last week.

Gomez said he also had an offer from Southern Methodist University.

"I dealt with New Mexico State, TCU and SMU pretty closely, but when Da'Shawn took his first visit to New Mexico State, he was blown away," Inglewood coach Patrick Roy said. "I've known (Aggie head coach Marvin Menzies) for 20 years so I knew he was a good guy and it would be a great fit..."
Go here for the remainder.

A nice honor for JayDee Luster

Congrats to JayDee Luster (formerly of New Mexico State) for being selected team captain at Wyoming.

JayDee Luster Selected as Cowboy Basketball Team Captain for the 2009-10 Season
May 18, 2009

University of Wyoming redshirt sophomore point guard JayDee Luster recently received one of the most prestigious honors an individual athlete can earn in a team sport as he was announced as a team captain for the 2009-10 Cowboy basketball team.

"I believe that great leaders are born and not made. JayDee Luster is a born leader," UW head coach Heath Schroyer said. "JayDee has an infectious personality and has an innate ability to make everyone around him a better player and a better person. He leads both vocally and by example. He has a great relationship with everyone in our program, regardless of their background. We couldn't be happier to have JayDee as a member of this program, but also as the new captain of this team..."
Go here for the remainder.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The latest on Greg Allen

The primary reason we haven't been able to provide an update on Eureka High's Greg Allen is that he has yet to make up his mind. Once he does, we will do an interview with him. Our sense (and we will seek confirmation) is that Idaho wasn't in the picture -- based on a mutual decision -- after Allen's decision not to sign early with the Vandals. He did take an official to Hawaii not too long ago.

His hometown newspaper recently provided this update:

Eureka's Greg Allen Creighton bound?
Ray Aspuria
The Times-Standard

Eureka High school basketball star Greg Allen is mulling over signing with Division I Creighton University and possibily other teams.

Allen has a letter of intent in hand from Creighton but also has interest from Hawaii and others.

At this point, Allen said he isn't sure when he's going to make a decision to put a pen to the papers...
Go here for the remainder.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

For what it's worth...

Mark Fox has signed a transfer -- no, no, no you conspiracy theorists among us need not start hyperventilating -- it isn't Malik Cooke.

Ex-TSU basketball star decides Georgia is better fit
Maurice Patton
May 16, 2009

Gerald Robinson Jr., who led Tennessee State in scoring as a sophomore in 2008-09, is set to transfer to Georgia for his final two seasons of eligibility.

"I sat down and evaluated everything, put together a checklist, and Georgia offered all the things I was looking for," Robinson said...
Go here for the remainder.

We will catch hell from some for this coda but here's our final two cents on the Cooke and Bjornstad situations regardless of what has been said, not said, rumored, hinted, et al: 1) allow Cooke to transfer to a new college and be able to redshirt under scholarship & 2) ditto for Bjornstad.

Nevada 'wins' nothing by playing hardball -- not the court of public opinion (which with some validity shouldn't matter), not in down-the-line recruiting (don't fool yourself for a minute that some of the other WAC coaches and those outside the WAC won't be 'using' these instances in negative recruiting), nor any attempt at maintaining integrity.

AD Carey Groth does issue such releases and did so with Mark McLaughlin. Yes, with Cooke and Bjornstad some of the details are quite different than McLaughlin's situation but the "I don't issue such releases' or some such line isn't really accurate.

Nevada basketball is best served by moving on.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Here's a Fresno State recruiting mention

Fresno State gets a mention in the following about an Arizona junior college point. Will Steve Cleveland still be interested after signing a junior college point earlier this month? The article also gives the impression that the young man may end up playing at a high level D-1 program.

Central's Travis Payton leading the way
Anthony Ray Recruiting Analyst
May 15, 2009

Very few junior college point guard prospects in America have the leadership and floormanship qualities of Central Arizona Junior College's 6-foot freshman point guard Travis Payton...
Go here for the remainder and a Rivals subscription in required.

The schools of note who have offered: San Francisco, Fresno State, Rutgers, Colorado State...

Was this the worst kept 'secret' in college basketball?

It only makes sense. "Former" Nevada recruit Steven Bjornstad is drawing a great deal of re-recruiting interest, including a school in his home state. As Gomer Pyle (yes, we are scraping barrel's bottom here) used to say "Surprise, surprise, surprise.

Prep coach: WSU pursuing Vancouver big man
Prep Coach says Cougs after Bjornstad
Howie Stalwick Senior Correspondent
May 15, 2009

WHEN KEN BONE was at Portland State, he probably didn’t have much of a chance at landing Steven Bjornstad, the 6-10, 215-pounder with the eye popping shooting percentage out of Columbia River High. Bjornstad originally signed with Nevada but Bone's chances would appear to be much better now that he’s at Washington State.

David Long, Bjornstad’s coach at Columbia River High School in Vancouver, Wash., said Friday that WSU is one of six NCAA Division I schools that have contacted him to express interest in recruiting Bjornstad if he is released from his letter of intent with Nevada...
Go here for the remainder and a Scout subscription is required.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ron Tyler reviews LT's recruiting class

Ron Tyler at his A Closer Look at LA TECH Hoops site has a Bulldog basketball recruiting review posted today.

Go here to access it.

Orren Tims to the Southland Conference

Orren Tims played at McLennan Community Colege in Texas this past season after being a Louisiana Tech Bulldog the previous one. Now he is headed to Stephen F. Austin, a Big Dance participant last March.

McLennan's Tims returning to D-1 stage
Damon Sayles Senior Writer
May 12, 2009

...Tims, who played at Louisiana Tech his freshman year, on Tuesday said he has verbally committed to play for Stephen F. Austin next season. The Lumberjacks earned their first trip to the NCAA tournament in March after winning the Southland Conference postseason tournament.

Tims, a 6-5, 215-pound small forward from Ruston, La., chose SFA over Grambling and fellow Southland school Central Arkansas. Two other Southland schools – Northwestern State and Texas State – also offered scholarships...
Go here for the remainder and a Rivals subscription is required.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Some good Rekalin Sims news

It's been a while since Rekalin Sims was in the news and this time it good to hear:

Steve Cleveland and the cleanup project
Matt James
Fresno Bee
May 13, 2009

A few extra thoughts about my column today, which I'm told dragged on longer than a fight scene from "Kill Bill." (Thanks mom, for the feedback.)...

...One last note: Rekalin Sims, the player who was released from the team two seasons ago, is still working toward his degree, taking classes online, and I think it would be a pretty remarkable story if he finished. This is a column I should pursue further, but it really could turn out that Sims was a decent guy who made a bad choice and got caught in the wrong era of Fresno State men's basketball. A decade ago, what he did wouldn't have gotten him benched for a minute, but this was a program trying to turn a corner and he was made an example of. Heck, I called for his release in one of my columns. And you could argue it was the right call. But charges were never filed. He lost what was left of a college career. Not sure, ultimately, if the punishment fit the situation...
Go here for Matt James' entire column.

Marvin Menzies adds to his backcourt

Coach Marvin Menzies has added a young speedster to his group of guards.

Menzies Signs Gomez
New Mexico State University

New Mexico State men’s basketball head coach Marvin Menzies has signed Da’shawn Gomez to a National Letter of Intent, Thursday, May 14. Gomez is a 6-1 guard from Inglewood, Calif.

“Getting a kid like Da’shawn Gomez, out of Southern California, is a big feather in our cap,” Menzies said. “That is an area we have concentrated recruiting efforts, and he is highly respected in that area. We look for Da’shawn to come in and compete for minutes at the point guard and two guard positions...”
Go here for the remainder.

Here's a link to an ESPN evaluation of Gomez.

Here's a link to some Gomez photos.

It's thankfully not WAC-related...

Can anyone recall a time when two of the most talented (incredible potential) seniors in high school basketball are being figuratively treated like lepers of yore?

We're talking about Renardo Sidney and Lance Stephenson. Sidney is the big out of southern California (his adopted home) who is now headed to Mississippi State (he formerly lived there). Stephenson is a premier backcourter out of New York City.

These youngsters have a similar common denominator: a father who seemingly has 'maximized' his son's or stepson's 'earnings' to the point that the traditional high majors are scurrying away, leaving programs that are smelling of flop sweat rushing in to take a major chance.

A prime example: why did Mississippi feel the need to hire extra legal assistance after signing Sidney? Let's just say that such a move is not a traditional practice.

For a concise summary on Sidney, go to Pat Forde's article here.

For the same on Stephenson, go to Gary Parrish's feature here.

Let's hope through all this garbage that Sidney and Stephenson eventually achieve their hopes and dreams. But our money wouldn't flow in that direction if we were bettors.

JaVale McGee receives an interestng mention

It's a brief but curious mention that snagged our attention earlier today. In a Washington Post Q-and-A about who the Wizards should nab via draft pick or trade, Michael Lee drops this at the feet of JaVale McGee:

"...Because I cannot fathom [Blake] Griffin or [Ricky] Rubio slipping out of the top two, I'd have to say that Thabeet is the third-best prospect in this draft. He's a 7-foot-3 shot-blocking machine who led Connecticut to the Final Four as a junior. Problem is, he plays center and the Wizards are set at that position with Brendan Haywood and JaVale McGee, who could be a monster if he committed himself to being a shot-blocker and rebounder and stopped focusing on trying to score. But I digress..."
Go here if you wish to read the entire post.

Chris Murray interviews David Carter

Chris Murray has an interview today with Coach David Carter. One thing that just clicked for us -- because of Murray's initial paragraph -- is that the Wolf Pack's latest signees are both foreign born. Unless Nevada basketball has some sort of waiver, this means the men's basketball program is getting charged much more in tuition for Cukic and Nyeko. Nevada, like Hawaii, Idaho, Boise State and New Mexico State (did we miss any?) has to recruit primarily out of state because the Luke Babbitts and the Armon Johnsons are anomaly recruits.

Does any know if foreign-born players cost even more than out-of-state kids? Or is it the same in tuition?

Coach Carter goes in-depth on signing Marko Cukic
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

Nevada basketball coach David Carter officially locked up his second recruit since ascending to the head-coaching position when he signed 6-foot-9 power forward Marko Cukic to a letter-of-intent Wednesday. Coincidentally enough, both Patrick Nyeko (his first recruit) and Cukic were born in foreign countries before coming to the United States during their high school careers. I got a chance to speak with Carter about Cukic, and here are a few questions and answers about the newest member of the Pack...
Go here for the remainder.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nevada adds a 'big'

Coach David Carter's latest signee adds depth to the shrunken collection of Nevada's paint players, plus it also looks like he can step out and shoot too. Serbian big man commits to Wolf Pack
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

I had about an hour-long meeting with Nevada coach David Carter yesterday and he was smiling for the majority of the time I was interviewing him. While that is nothing unusual for Carter (an affable and optimistic guy), there might have been another reason behind that smile. is reporting that Marko Cukic, a 6-foot-9, power forward from Serbia, committed yesterday to play for the Wolf Pack next season...
Go here for the remainder.

Here's another post from Chris Murray with further information on Cukic.

*** Just added this -- Chris Murray has a Q-and-A with Cukic here.

Fresno Bee on Steve Cleveland as resurrector

We really think the headline writer here should have gone with a dog metaphor rather than a boating one. After all, the article is about the Bulldogs and the opening line begs for it.

Cleveland raised a shipwreck
Matt James
Fresno Bee
May 12, 2009

You won't want to hear this, but the men's basketball team is fixed.

Today is the last day of class at Fresno State for this school year, and history is happening. In 10 days, three more Bulldogs will graduate, Tyson Parker, Alex Blair and Dwight O'Neil.

That will make 10 men's basketball players who've graduated in the past 12 months. A year ago, Eddie Miller, A.J. Riding, Hector Hernandez, Renato Cesar and Shawn Taylor all graduated, as did Mustafa Al-Sayyad, who hadn't been in the program since 2005, but finished his last couple of classes. Kevin Bell finished his final class this winter.

Steve Cleveland has overcome many obstacles in his attempt to fix the Fresno State men's basketball team.

The current coaching staff is pretty sure the program has never had 10 players graduate in a 12-month period in the past quarter-century. Maybe longer. They're understandably satisfied with the accomplishment, proud of their tasseled tall guys, especially Miller and Hernandez and Bell, who could have forgotten school while playing overseas...
Go here for the remainder.

Kevin Menner finds a home

Out of New York City, 6-foot5, 205, Kevin Menner played a season at Ventura CC before the coach there was canned for various fraudulent activities. Menner was at Saddleback CC this past season. He tripped to Hawaii (which is listed on Rivals as having offered) but now has signed with Cal State Northridge of the Big West Conference.

Northridge won the Big West in 2009 and did go Big Dancin' (losing by just 11 to Memphis State) but the early thinking was that Menner would land in a higher level conference.

His numbers at Saddleback:

33 games
19.3 points per game
7.9 rebounds a contest
50% shooting overall (just 10 three-point attempts)
219 foul shots, made 61%
40 assists, 83 turnovers

What's curious is that Northridge Coach Bob Braswell also recently signed another 6-foot-5, 200 pound junior college transfer who is also a good scorer.

Yes, we are late

Sorry for the tardiness as we thought we would have some news on Phillip Thomas and Greg Allen over the weekend. We do have a Thomas article in the queue at the NorCalPreps site and we'll post a summary as soon as it runs there. Portland State has officially made the announcement that Thomas is coming there.

As for Allen, it looks like he is heading to a Missouri Valley Conference team. But we haven't reached him as yet.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Silver & Blue Sports

We're going to be very careful how we write this so let's just say Nevada Wolf Pack sports fans should be subscribers to the Silver and Blue sports site. That is, if you want to know the very latest personnel news when it happens. That 'noise' you just heard was us dropping a hint.

What does it cost? Just a bit more per month than attending one film at the theater. Heck, go in together with a friend and grab a subscription. Yeah, it might require a few more Top Ramens for dinner but the sports 'nourishment' you will receive is well worth it.

Heck, anyone still willing to use a moniker with the letters 'dubya' in it -- this after the last eight years -- has steel cojones. Maybe solid gold. That and information well worth the cost.

Is Dennis Gates coming to Nevada?

Here's someone getting some play for the vacant assistant coach position at Nevada. Landing at Nevada would be a step up (even though he is currently an associate head coach) from where Dennis Gates currently assists so that, plus landing an interview makes us suspect he will be changing addresses. Chris Murray has the details:

Gates interviews for open Wolf Pack assistant coaching job
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

Dennis Gates, the associate head coach at Northern Illinois, interviewed for the vacant assistant coaching job at Nevada on Tuesday afternoon.

The 28-year-old Gates is considered one of the top young assistant coaches in the country. Gates, a Cal alum, also was an assistant with the Golden Bears from 2005-07 under Ben Braun. In addition to his full-time coaching positions, Gates was a graduate assistant at Marquette (2003-04) and Florida State (2004-05) and was an intern assistant for the Los Angeles Clippers (2002-03)...
Go here for the remainder.

Talk about cryptic

We haven't a clue who runs this site (Rocky Mountain Basketball News) and no links ever appear on any of the posts so we are unsure where the following information originally appeared. With that preface, here's what just appeared on two Aggie transfers, both with the initials DS:

Utah State releases two players

Deundrae Spraggins Leaves Utah State and will sign with Texas A&M-Commerce...Desmond Stephens leaves Utah State for Kentucky Wesleyan...

We missed this earlier

Jason Groves has a blog entry about another New Mexico State recruiting target, this one a guard, and more.

Monday, May 11, 2009
De'Shawn Gomez

With the regular signing period ending next Wednesday, there is a good possibility that the Inglewood guard could be an Aggie next season. Gomez came to Las Cruces for a visit over the weekend...
Go here for the remainder.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Cumberland Times-News article on Fresno signee Steven Shepp

Received the following through a Google alert:

Shepp going to Fresno State
ACM point guard will play for Steve Cleveland’s Bulldogs
Steve Luse
Cumberland Times-News
May 10, 2009

Considered one of the best passers in a long line of outstanding Allegany College of Maryland point guards, Steven Shepp will be traveling across the country to continue his career with a scholarship to Fresno State University in California.

After missing all but three games of his freshman season with a pelvic area injury, the 6-foot-2 guard from Woodbridge, Va., returned to help lead Allegany to its first trip to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan., in five years. The Trojans won the Maryland JUCO Conference, Region XX and District III tournaments en route to a 29-7 overall record.

Shepp capped his sophomore season by being named to the All-Region XX and All-Maryland JUCO team and was also the Most Valuable Player in the Maryland JUCO Tournament. He shared Allegany team MVP honors with freshman Jeff Early...
Go here for the remainder.

Someone 'sign' this young man

Juan López is a student attending Nevada and on the staff of the Nevada Sagebrush, the student newspaper. We've seen but two articles authored by him both were very good pieces. Some media entity should be eyeing this young man.

Here is the other López article we referenced -- one about former Wolf Packer Tyrone Hanson.

Move over Pack basketball, it’s the football team’s turn
Juan López
The Nevada Sagebrush
May 5, 2009

Here we go again.

In the 1990s, Nevada was looked at as a football school.

Yes, the Wolf Pack was a part of the lowly Big Sky Conference and Big West Conference, but the success it had was unprecedented.

From 1990-97, our beloved football team was 71-26 (a .732 winning percentage) and won seven — count ‘em — seven conference championships. Nevada won the Big Sky in ’90 and ’91 and took the Big West crown in ’92 and from ’94 to ’97.

There was no stopping these guys.

Well, actually they did prove to be beatable. The Wolf Pack went just 14-31 from ’98-2001.

So at that time, another one of our sports teams stepped up and took the spotlight — the baseball squad...
Go here for the remainder.

More on LA TECH's DeAndre Brown

Ron Tyler enthusiastically has more at his A Closer Look at LA TECH Hoops site on newest Bulldog DeAndre Brown. Go here for that. Here's a link to some Brown video that Tyler located.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

We missed this signing

(DeAndre Brown photo by Navarro Junior College athletics)

This initially escaped our attention. Kyle Gibson will be very happy to know that help is on the way at the point for Louisiana Tech. In the paint, Magnum Rolle should be smiling too.

Jason Jones at the site is reporting that Navarro Junior College backcourter DeAndre Brown is now a Bulldog, having signed a letter-of-intent with Coach Kerry Rupp.

Here's the article -- a Scout subscription is required.

Here's an article about one of Brown's honors.

Here is another (scroll down to the NJCAA list).

On the Rivals network, he is listed as 5-foot-11, 165 pounds.

His numbers this season: around 17 points per game and 3.4 (111) or so assists a contest. He committed 75 turnovers or 2.3 each time out.

In shooting, he made 205-487 (42%) overall, 65-185 (33%) on treys and 88-118 (75%) with free throws.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Here's Mike DeCourcey on the rule changes in basketball

Mike DeCourcey of the Sporting News, offers his take on rule changes in basketball:

Mike DeCourcey
Sporting News
May 7, 2009

To demonstrate how long we've been waiting for the NCAA to officially recognize that attempting to draw a charge underneath the basket is as bogus as a Manny Ramirez homer, I searched deep into the repository of DeCourcy's Greatest Hits to unearth this line:

Only Manute Bol can defend the basket while standing beneath it.

I wrote those words closer to the beginning of Bol's NBA career (1985) than the end (a decade later), so obviously the NCAA's most significant basketball rules change for the 2009-10 season has been a long time coming.

Henceforth, a help defender -- the NCAA rulebook will call such player a "secondary defender" -- who sets up underneath the goal and draws contact from an attacking player will be guilty of a blocking foul. It's simple logic, really, because a defender should be actively involved in attempting to defend if he is to be rewarded for being overrun. And only Manute -- no, Yao Ming -- can defend the basket from directly below...
Go here for the remainder.

Ex-Hawaii player headed to Montana State Billings

When George Pfeiffer departed as the Idaho coach a year and then landed the head coaching spot at Montana State Billings, he took one of his Vandal players -- Mike Hall -- with him.

Hall, a senior this recently concluded season and a long-range shooter, led the Yellowjackets with 16.7 points per game. 200 of his 348 shooting attempts were from the three-point distance.

Now Pfeiffer has landed another former WAC player with the signing of Lasha Parghalava, formerly of Hawaii. Parghalava made six starts in 2008-2009, played in 25 games and averaged just under 22 minutes a contest for Bob Nash. He averaged 7.6 points a game and 113 of 166 of his shots on the season were three-point attempts.

Montana State Billings is a member of the Division 2 Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Greg Allen & Phillip Thomas updates coming this weekend

If all goes according to plan, we hope to have some additional information on former Idaho recruit Greg Allen and former Idaho player Phillip Thomas. It was noted at the Idaho Scout site by VandalFan89 that Thomas is headed to Portland State.

Why we don't have the nickname 'money'

Oh lordy, this is embarrassing. But it's important to take your lumps if you're also to crow about nailing something spot-on.

Sam Wasson/ and this site combined to do a weekly WAC report for Rush The Court and one our PTW's posts at RTC (Sam had nothing to do with it) predicted the finish of the WAC in 2008-2009.

Unfortunately, it went:

1. Nevada
2. Utah State
3. Louisiana Tech
4. San Jose State
5. New Mexico State
6. Boise State
7. Hawaii
8. Fresno State
9. Idaho
For those who need a refresher, here's the actual finish:

1. Utah State 14-2
2. Nevada 11-5
3. Boise State 9-7
4. New Mexico State 9-7
5. Idaho 9-7
6. Louisiana Tech 6-10
7. San Jose State 6-10
8. Hawai‘i 5-11
9. Fresno State 3-13
We guess you wouldn't buy it if we posted that PTW nailed the Kentucky Derby're right...we wouldn't either. It probably won't matter if we announce that PTW is going to team up with Miss Cleo next season.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Magnum Rolle v. JaVale McGee

The genesis for this post was spurred by a comment made by someone else, a person who wishes to remain anonymous -- the point being that we can't take credit for this original thought.

Okay, JaVale McGee comes out of Nevada as a 20-year-old sophomore and is selected by the Washington Wizards as the 18th pick in the 2008 NBA draft. His draft specs:

  • 238 pounds, after leaving Nevada at a supposed 228

  • possessing a 7-foot-6-inch wingspan

  • very raw offensively

  • better defensively at 'help' shotblocking than defending his own man

  • a to-be-developed upper frame -- he gets knocked off balance too easily -- but the addition of more pounds won't negate his marvelous physical skills

McGee shot .529% from the floor and .525% at the foul line in his final season at Nevada. He averaged 14.1 and 7.3 points and rebounds respectively and was credited with 92 blocked shots and played 27.3 minutes per game.

So what did McGee accomplish in his initial NBA season?
  • played in 75 games, 15.2 minutes a contest, averaging 6.5 points a night

  • shot .494% from the floor, .660% from the foul line

  • averaged 3.9 rebounds a contest along with 1.0 blocks

So why then isn't Louisana Tech's Magnum Rolle receiving 'play' from NBA types? Yes, to some degree this may be an apples-and-oranges comparison but let's go to 'the Google' (as one of my favorite persons says) for comparison sakes.

Rolle is 23 and will turn 24 next season. At 6-foot-10 and 200 plus some change in pounds, the numero uno question is will he gain further weight (and therefore strength) if he hasn't done so already? Is there some physical upside remaining? Also, he would also be a power forward in the NBA -- not a center like McGee. But curiously Rolle posted much better numbers when he moved into the middle after center Kenneth Cooper was dismissed from the LT squad.

In just above 28 minutes a game this past season, Rolle averaged 12.2 points per game, 7.2 rebounds a contest and blocked 1.7 (52) blocks versus opponents. He shot .530% from the floor and .654% at the foul line.

The knock against Rolle, as it was with McGee, is consistency. Can he/will he produce every time out? What is holding him back from doing so?

Yet one NBA draft observer we communicated with offered this: "Rolle is a better athlete [than McGee]. He isn't as physical or quite as long, but is a 7-footer who can really move. He is also a much better shooter as well."

As we wrote in an earlier post, Rolle seems at least somewhat similar to ex-North Carolina big Brendan Wright, now with the Golden State Warriors. Wright, 6-foot-10 and 210 played but his freshman season in Chapel Hill, was the eighth selection in the first round and has played two seasons in the NBA. He's averaged 14 minutes a game, playing in about half of Golden State's contests. Suffice to say, the jury remains out on his NBA career despite amazing athletic prowess.

Another similar body type, Anthony Randolph of LSU (curiously Rolle's ex-alma mater), played in 63 games during his initial NBA season also with Golden State, averaging just below 18 minutes a contest. At 6-foot-11 and 215, he also came out after his freshman year.

So why so much love for McGee yet Rolle is being dismissed as a player who should return to college for his senior season? We don't think Rolle is going to get any bulkier in his remaining season although a final season would allow him the opportunity to demonstrate that he can be counted on for 17-18 points a game, 10 or so boards and a few blocked shots.

So what are we missing here?

Also, New Mexico State fans will enjoy this tidbit. From a February 2004 Jerry Meyer-penned Rivals article comes this: "Coach Sears [Rolle's coach in the Bahamas] was also very complimentary of a couple mid major programs that trusted in Sears’ belief in his budding star, who only learned to play the game two years ago. “Western Illinois was the second school down here,” said Coach Sears. “[Assistant coach] David James really listened to me early on when he really had no reason to. New Mexico State is another school that has been here from the beginning.”

More on B.J. West

Sam Wasson at his site has more, via the NMSU sports information staff, on new Aggie B.J. West:

Menzies Adds B.J. West to Aggie Men's Basketball Roster
May 6, 2009

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State men's basketball head coach Marvin Menzies has signed B.J. West to a National Letter of Intent, Wednesday, May 6. West is a power forward/center from Cheneyville, La.

"When B.J. visited campus, he was obviously a perfect fit for us at NM State," Menzies said. "He is an extremely talented big man with a huge upside. We are optimistic he can come in and compete for minutes right away...
Go here for the full post.

Hawaii officially has a center

Bob Nash now has a tower in the middle but one who apparently is agile and runs the court well despite his size.

Rainbow Warriors Sign Junior College Post Player

University of Hawai`i men's basketball coach Bob Nash announced the signing of junior college transfer Douglas Kurtz to a national letter of intent. Kurtz is the third player to join the Rainbow Warriors’ 2009-010 recruiting class.

Kurtz, a native of Brazil, comes to Hawai`i via Marshalltown Community College in Iowa. The 7-foot-0, 265-pound center averaged 9.6 ppg and 5.8 rpg as a sophomore for the Tigers and led the conference in both field goal percentage (.671) and free throw percentage (.847). Kurtz was named All-Region XI honorable mention. As a freshman, Kurtz averaged 6.0 ppg and 5.4 rpg, while shooting 59.1 percent from the floor...
Go here for the remainder.

Dayton Morinaga has more:

7-footer signs with UH
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
May 7, 2008

The University of Hawaii men's basketball team filled a big need with the signing of a big recruit.

Douglas Kurtz, a 7-foot, 270-pound center, signed a national letter of intent yesterday to play with the Rainbow Warriors starting in the 2009-10 season.

"We needed a big, physical player and he definitely provides us with that," Hawai'i head coach Bob Nash said. "Douglas is a strong 7-footer who has his best basketball in front of him. He's strong, can run the floor and plays hard. Offensively, he has good hands, is active around the basket and has a nice, short jump shot..."
Go here for the remainder.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Not a big matter but a curious one

This is really a trivial concern but something we thought still worth posting. Why did Utah State sign Dominique Cooks? (we're assuming he was on scholarship this past season). Cooks was a freshman guard out of Australia whose playing time was curtailed due to injury and solid play by those in front of him in the rotation.

Now it's been announced he isn't returning to Logan. We don't know if the departure was by mutual agreement or something different.

Our curiosity was piqued because most of the time foreign players are brought in because of high level talent or good potential or even sometimes as a package deal in order to land a blue-chipper type. We're not certain but it appears Cooks didn't necessarily fit into any of these categories.

For most schools, the tuition cost for a foreign student is prohibitive unless the player is really worth it -- say very good and ready to start or battle for a starting spot.

Utah State men's basketball is obviously the athletic money-maker in Logan so Coach Stew Morrill should and probably does have some leeway in who he signs. He must have seen something in Cooks which led to the initial signing.

But for whatever reasons, it wasn't meant to be.

Jason Groves on Justin Standley

At his blog, Jason Groves has a transcript of his conversation with new NMSU Aggie recruit Justin Standley. What Groves did is a great idea and we wish more reporters offered direct Q-and-As.

Here's the link.

Standley is a great young man who will a fine addition to the Aggie basketball program. He won't be causing problems connected to wanting more playing time, he is a good student and he understands that hard work is the only way to achieve what he desires. This is great for Justin and a good move by Marvin Menzies at landing someone who understands and accepts his role and puts his team first.

Utah State adds two prepsters, one player departs

These two were about the world's worst 'secret' if you will but at least the official announcement is out. But weren't Aggie fans looking for another big to be signed this go-around or are we misinterpreting the chatter and thinking about the following year's signing class?

Aggies sign two prep stars
Shawn Harrison
Herald Journal
May 6, 2009

Character is an important attribute in order to play basketball for Utah State head men’s basketball coach Stew Morrill.

The veteran coach has stressed that more and more of late. So, it should be no surprise when the two most recent additions to the team were announced Tuesday that Morrill used the word character.

Preston Medlin and Tyrone White signed National Letters of Intent to become Aggies, beginning with the 2009-10 season. The two players are both guards and each have four years of eligibility...
Go here for the remainder.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New Mexico State lands a big

Coach Marvin Menzies has signed a big (on May 5) but a kid with a strong whiff of academic eligibility problems for 2009-2010 season. But he also sounds like someone worth waiting for if he has sit out.

Brandon West's ESPN Evaluation:

February, 2009: This long and very athletic forward is an aggressive live body on both ends of the court... Go here for the remainder.

Go and scroll down to "Basketball Recruiting Scoop" to read more about the young man.

Message board chatter is often unreliable (that's right up there with the sun rises in the east in the tell-us-something-we-didn't-know category) but it isn't that difficult to get into an SEC school and attending Louisiana State supposedly was West's desire. The kid appears to be a solid talent but if Trent Johnson didn't think he was eligible... But then again, LSU has so many different options when it comes to signing players and maybe there was no need to take a chance.

By the way, what is this kid's present height and weight? Both numbers seem all over the map in various articles we located.

Fresno has a transfer

From the BarkBoard's Save Mart Center MB, poster Kamcgee2001 has a note about a new transfer to Steve Cleveland's program. Ultimately, there is a link to this article:

Former Lobo Wills Going to Fresno State
Mark Smith
Albuquerque Journal
Monday, 4 May 2009

Former University of New Mexico men’s basketball player Jonathan Wills is heading back to his home state.

The 6-foot-6 guard, who announced last month he was leaving the Lobos, told the Journal he will transfer to Fresno State at semester’s end. Wills said he trimmed his final choices down to the Western Athletic Conference school, Santa Clara, San Diego and UC Riverside...
Go here for the remainder.

Tyrone Hanson has (yet) another new team

Give credit to Sagebrush reporter Juan López for digging up the latest on former Wolf Packer Tyrone Hanson. It's always difficult to read the proverbial tea leaves but Hansen doesn't come off like he is any wiser for his continuing travails. It will certainly come as a surprise to the existing Jackson State players that it's Hanson's team next season.

Ex-Pack player finds new team
Juan López
Nevada Sagebrush
May 5, 2009

Former Nevada basketball forward Tyrone Hanson will play for his third team in four seasons after he was dismissed from the University of Arkansas, Fort Smith.

Hanson said he will play at Jackson State University for the 2009-10 season.

Hanson played at Nevada during the 2006-07 season. As a freshman, he showed glimpses of being a solid player as he averaged 1.6 points and one rebound per game in 8.1 minutes played per game. He played in all 30 games and seemed to be headed for an even more successful sophomore campaign before he was dismissed from the team because he violated team rules...
Go here for the remainder.

This ends that

Hawaii basketball fans can rest easier:

UH star not draft-eligible
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
May 5, 2009

Roderick Flemings will not get selected in next month's NBA Draft, and it has nothing to do with the talent level of the University of Hawai'i standout.

Flemings is not eligible for the NBA Draft because the NBA league office has not received his paperwork for early entry...
Go here for the remainder.

Monday, May 4, 2009

New Mexico State will have a new backcourter

We have it on good authority -- the recruit himself -- that Justin Standley out of Oakland, CA's McClymonds High, is coming to New Mexico State.

We'll have an article coming out on the Rivals network at some point but here's a link to a 2008 article we did on Standley.

Also, Jason Groves has previously written about Standley in his blog and the Las Cruces Sun-News. Here's one link we located.

Jason Groves throws a bone to Aggie fans

The New Mexico State coaching brass have done a superb/aggravating (it depends on your vantage point) job at keeping its 'recruiting cards' close to the vest. Actually, inside the vest which is hermetically sealed in a mayonnaise jar and locked away in a secret vault, guarded by a battalion of Brinks guards and trucks, Green Berets and F-15 fighter jets.

But Jason Groves has somehow entered the sanctuary and offers a couple of recruiting possibilities today: B.J. West and Deshawn Gomez. Here's where you need to go to read about the pair.

After attempting to google B.J. West and coming up empty we are tempted to think Marvin Menzies is going after the basketball version of Sidd Finch. ;-)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Why the Pack will still be formidable

No, the apocalypse hasn't struck Reno despite a series of setbacks and disagreements. Chris Murray has his take on why Nevada fans should be hanging in there:

Five reasons for Wolf Pack basketball optimism
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

Wolf Pack basketball fans have had a lot to digest over the past few weeks, with the loss of coach Mark Fox (to Georgia), Richie Phillips (to injury), Ahyaro Phillips (to dismissal), Malik Cooke (to a probable transfer), Mark McLaughlin (to a release) and then the news of Steven Bjornstad asking out of his letter-of-intent. There's not too much to cheer about in there, but here are five reasons for optimism...

Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sultan Toles-Bey goes to the Big Sky Conference

One-time Fresno State recruiting target Sultan Toles-Bey is heading north to Sacramento State. We haven't a clue if this was a factor in Fresno State's decision to sign a different point but the Bulldogs didn't need a scoring point, not with the scorers already on Steve Cleveland's roster plus the new kids coming in this summer.


Toles-Bey, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound native of Compton, Calif., spent the last three years (redshirt in 2007-08) at Fresno City College. Last year, he was named the state co-player of the year and first team all-conference after leading Fresno City to a Central Valley Conference championship, a 34-1 overall record and a perfect 12-0 league mark. Toles-Bey averaged 17.4 points, 5.1 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game while shooting 44.9 percent (198-441) from the field, 43.6 percent (113-259) from the three-point line and 78.7 percent (100-127) from the free throw line. Fresno City won its first 34 games of the season and was ranked No. 1 in the state heading into the state tournament, but lost in the quarterfinals to Riverside Community College, 71-67..."
Go here for the full release.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Oy vey! Now Steven Bjornstad isn't coming to Nevada

What's that line from "The Godfather" where Michael (Al Pacino) is lamenting...oh here it is: "Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in."

We're starting to feel the same way about Nevada men's basketball. Any thoughts or forecasts that the tempests have blown over are incorrect.

Pack recruit Bjornstad asks out of letter-of-intent
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

Nevada basketball recruit Steven Bjornstad asked for a release from his national letter-of-intent and Nevada turned down the request, one of his high school coaches said Friday.

Jim Sevall, an assistant coach on Bjornstad’s Columbia River (Wash.) High team, said Bjornstad asked for the release earlier this week. Wolf Pack athletic director Cary Groth has denied the release request, Sevall said, but Bjornstad will appeal the decision to the NCAA, where the National Letter-of-Intent Committee will review the case.

“The athletic director told him she doesn’t issue releases,” Sevall said...
Go here for the remainder.

New Mexico State and defense -- unrequited lovers?

One of the repeated refrains heard in Las Cruces throughout this recently completed season is that New Mexico State needed to be introduced to the concept of defense, both individually and collectively. A 'defense, here's Coach Marvin Menzies' squad -- Coach Marvin Menzies' team, here's defense' pas de deux.

Sure, we're having a bit of exaggerated fun with this but let's seriously explore the charge. We'll present a series of statistics as jumping off points but also need to offer that we saw Marvin Menzies's 9-7 in-the-WAC squad in person but once this season. So heads up given, we are pretty much riding shotgun alongside numbers on this journey.

The Aggies finished last in scoring defense in 2008-2009, allowing 74.2 points per league game, prompting an immediate and probably growing chorus of "shame, shame." In balance, NMSU simultaneously averaged 73.5 points a contest, first in the WAC.

Now it's a given that a fast-paced, high-scoring offensive team (such as NMSU) also allows more points due to the increased number of possessions available in a game. So keep this factor in mind even as it's close to an offensive/defensive scoring numbers push.

As for proficiencies, New Mexico State shot a very commendable .451 from the floor -- third in the conference. The Aggies held opposing teams to a lesser .440, sixth in the WAC.

Now what's also curious in looking at actual numbers is that New Mexico State's conference opponents collectively took 63 more three-point attempts than the Aggies attempted (319 to 256) even though the numbers made are close -- 102 for opposing teams to New Mexico States' 97 -- and the Aggies shot 38% from treyland to 32% for collective opponents.

So what are the foremost factors at play here? Stout Aggie three-point defense in terms of made attempts? In-the-paint 'D' forcing opponents into a greater number of outside shots? More of a NMSU design to protect the inside, thus allowing long distance opportunities that WAC opponents were simply unable to make? A simple imbalance due to other WAC team offenses designed for long distance shooting regardless of proficiency? What else?

Now we're not sure exactly how to quantify this but we believe rebounding is a key factor if the Aggies wish to notch improved defensive numbers in opponent overall shooting. In conference play, NMSU averaged 2.6 less rebounds than the collection of the other WAC teams but most importantly, allowed opponents to grab 108 more offensive boards. Consider that the latter often then result in putbacks and short shots -- obvious high percentage ones -- that inflate the shooting percentages and scoring averages of opponents.

Also, consider (we can hear the respective groans all the way from Las Cruces) the youthfulness and inexperience of the 2008-2009 Aggies. Please bear with us, here's the class breakdown among the New Mexico State players who saw the vast majority of the minutes available:

Jonathan Gibson -- junior

Jahmar Young -- sophomore
Wendell McKines -- sophomore
Gordo Castillo -- sophomore
Robert Lumpkins -- sophomore

Hernst Laroche -- freshman
Chris Gabriel -- freshman
Terrance Joyner -- freshman
Hamidu Rahman -- redshirt frosh
Troy Gillenwater -- redshirt frosh
Minus viewing any actual statistics, any neutral observer of such a team makeup would say this is a composition more than likely in need of defensive improvement but with the age/experience latitude necessary to make such an advancement. In fact, we're ultimately surprised this season's New Mexico State team actually achieved a .440 defensive shooting number especially considering that its three 'bigs' were all freshman.

One factor that would truly benefit the Aggies gaining greater defensive prowess would be the stepping up of one or two of the squad into the role of topflight defender. So who has the mindset to work into such a role? Remember, it doesn't necessarily have to be the extremely athletic -- more the most determined.

Of course, the experience of viewing New Mexico State in 'real time' just once leaves a gaping hole in our framework so what did you witness this season?

Was the above:

On target?
About parallel with the best of Dostoyevsky?
Close but no cigar?
Missed the mark entirely?
Equal to Charles Bukowski's worst?
A waste of your time?