Saturday, October 31, 2009

Why is it still football season?

Sorry to type it but let's just give Boise State the WAC football trophy and move on to basketball where it will be a real fight to finish on top. Yes, we are adept at dodging daggers.

Chris Murray/Reno Gazette Journal offers a New Mexico State Aggie look here.

Jason Groves/Las Cruces Sun-News reports that a newcomer is good to go for NMSU.

Tony Jones/Salt Lake City Tribune provides his take on some new and old Aggies.

ESPN's Dana O'Neill offers more on the recent NCAA basketball proposals surrounding recruiting-type efforts. As if any WAC coach has the spending account available to dole out dollars.

Utah State doesn't look good on this one

Credit Victoria Sun for uncovering this -- it's an article at West Coast Hoops Report (registration required but it's free to access content) on Utah State's recruitment of southern California backcourter Vaughn Autry.

Here's a snippet -- after USU offered and the plan was for Autry to visit the campus the weekend of an Aggie football game, the relationship went south:

"I kind of realized before it happened because they stopped e-mailing me and I called just to check periodically, like once a week and they didn't answer my phone calls or call me back," said Vaughn, who was named to the all-C.I.F. and the Daily Breeze's all-area team as a junior. "From there, my dad handled it."

After numerous attempts, Steve said he finally reached one of the assistant coaches, who infuriated him further by saying he never offered Vaughn a scholarship.

"I said, you're a liar," Steve recalled. "Just tell me you had other plans...
Go the the site, register and then click on Latest News to access the Autry article headline and click on it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Your Fabulous Friday links

Here you go with we rounded up so far today:

Snakebitten Spartans try to get proactive with injury bug
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
October 30, 2009

San Jose State coach George Nessman has to be thrilled that he can finally bury the memory of last season.

It's not because the Spartans tied for sixth place in the league last season and failed to break the .500 mark for the seventh straight season.

It's because he finally has a healthy team...
Go here for the remainder.


Hiram Thompson is finally healthy and will show his real self this season for Hawaii:
'Bows counting on old guard
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
October 30, 2009

Hiram Thompson technically is not one of the new recruits for the University of Hawaii men's basketball team.

In fact, he's the oldest recruit on the team, having become a Rainbow Warrior in 2005 — two years before Bob Nash became the head coach.

But a new and improved version of Thompson will be on display tonight when the 'Bows host Hawaii-Hilo in an exhibition game at the Stan Sheriff Center.

"I have a different mentality this year," said Thompson, a 6-foot-2 junior. "I do feel like this is a fresh start for me, just because I'm finally healthy..."
Go here for the remainder.

WAC preview: #2 Utah State a fearsome threat, as always
Travis Mason-Bushman
Vandal Nation
October 29, 2009

Team: #2 Utah State

Coach: Stew Morrill, 12th season, 267-91

Last year’s record: 30-5 (14-2 WAC, 1st)

Returning starters: Four (G Tyler Newbold, G Jared Quayle, F Tai Wesley, F Pooh Williams)

Key losses: F Gary Wilkinson, G Stavon Williams

Key newcomers: F Nate Bendall
Go here for the remainder.


Here's Jeff Goodman with some new NCAA basketball recruiting reforms -- otherwise known as Don Quixote tilting at his windmills. Gotta believe that those pesky windmills are already morphing into a way/shape/form that will allow sidestepping these added regulations.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The status of Elliott Berry

Former Clovis West star forward Elliott Berry committed to Fresno State out of high school but had to go the junior college route to alleviate some academic issues. He was an all-league selection as a freshman at Pasadena City College last season and still considered a Bulldog commit.

With the new season fast approaching, we contacted PCC head coach Michael Swanegan to learn about Berry's connection to Fresno State.

We're doing an article for another site which will detail that Fresno State is still in the running for the 6-foot-7 Berry but schools such as Arkansas and Clemson have recently been to southern California to check him out. His plan now is to choose the best situation for himself and sign a letter-of-intent in the second basketball signing period which begins in mid-April.

The Berry photo above is from the PCC athletics site.

Your WAC basketball links for today

There's a bunch of them so we are combining the links into one post:

Here's Jason Groves/Las Cruces Sun-News with some items on New Mexico State basketball.

Chris Murray/Reno Gazette-Journal goes in-depth on Hawaii here -- Roderick Flemings weighs 235 now -- but can the Rainbow Warriors 'bigs' be enough of a scoring threat to keep defenses from focusing on Flemings and newcomers Dwain Williams and Jeremy Lay? Conversely, can Flemings, Williams and Lay draw the attention that frees up Bob Nash's centers and power forwards to go one-on-one inside?

3,000 fans show up in Logan for a scrimmage. Shawn Harrison covers it here.

(inj) is appearing next to a large number of names on Hawaii's roster, interfering with scrimmaging and forcing players out of their 'normal' positions. Go here for Dayton Morigiana and his Honolulu Advertiser report and here for Brian McInnis'/Honolulu Star Bulletin take.

Travis Mason-Bushman looks at New Mexico State and places them third in the WAC here.

That's what we have so far.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Idaho lands a JC 'big"

Credit goes to poster GoVandals1893 at the Scout site basketball message board for this find: Djim Bandoumel, a 6-foot-8, 215 pound power forward from Monroe Community College (Bronx, New York) (the same college as Westly Perryman, Boise State's new backcourter) has verbally committed to Coach Don Verlin and Idaho.

The young man is from Quebec and played in 31 games last season, scoring 4.8 points and grabbing three rebounds a contest. He shot 63% from the floor. Bandoumel went 25-44 from the foul line and blocked 1.2 shots each time out.

He's a big time jumper -- here's a snippet from an August 2006 camp: "Day three of the camp included a slam-dunk contest and All-America games in each of the four divisions. In the slam-dunk contest big John Brown from Cincinnati put a serious display of power with his dunks. By most accounts, Brown was the contest winner, followed closely by 6’6 Djmanoum Bandoumel from Canada."

Here is his Facebook page. The photo above is taken from that page.

Chris Murray with a great post chock full of WAC bests and the like

This one is sure to spark some furious posting and verbalizing among WAC fans. Actually, there's not a lot we can debate here.

Is Anthony Thomas more of a defensive game changer than Magnum Rolle?

We had no idea Sylvester Seay is muy loquacious.

What's with the Thomas Assembly Center?

We got nothing beyond those.

Best of WAC basketball
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

Best of Western Athletic Conference basketball, including players, coaches, cities and facilities.

* Best player: Luke Babbitt, Nevada
* Best pro prospect: Paul George, Fresno State
* Best passer: Mac Hopson, Idaho
* Best rebounder: Wendell McKines, New Mexico State
* Best shooter: Kyle Gibson, Louisiana Tech

Go here for the remainder.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The second half of the Travis Mason-Bushman interview with Marvin Jefferson

TM-B is back with the concluding portion of his interview with Marvin Jefferson:

Vandal Spotlight: Marvin Jefferson, on the season to come
Travis Mason-Bushman
Vandal Nation
October 26, 2009

We sat down with Vandal center Marvin Jefferson last week, and the Silver and Gold’s big man had some big thoughts for us. So much, that we had to break up his interview into two parts!

Today, we’ve got the second half — talking to Marvin about the Vandals’ hopes for the coming season, his plans after he completes his senior season for Idaho and his thoughts about the competition in the WAC...
Go here for the remainder.

A good read on Olu Ashaolu

It seems like a stern look from Olu Ashaolu could cause an aluminum can to crush itself so imagine what opponents think when he matches up with them. Here's the New Orleans newspaper with LT-written a feature on the Canadian:

Olu Ashaolu had decisions growing up as a kid in Toronto, Canada. One decision, led him to a life on the basketball court and it was tougher than one might think.

In the seventh grade, Ashaolu tried out for the football team and made it. All that was needed to put his name on the roster was a signature on a permission slip by his mother, Christianah. As much as he hoped that she wouldn’t look over the form carefully, as soon as she saw the words “football,” she said there is no way her son was going to get hurt playing that game.

Ashaolu, whose full first name is Oluseyi, claims that as a child he was better at baseball than basketball. He played pitcher, first base and center field and then at 12 years old, he began to grow. In fact, one year, he grew about four inches and that got the attention of AAU coaches. But they turned away, thinking that he was such a fine baseball player, he wouldn’t want to spend time with the game of basketball...
Go here for the remainder.

Is it Arnold time in Boise?

He hasn't yet enjoyed having "The Terminator" attached to his surname but big things are expected of junior college transfer Robert 'Reggie' Arnold up in Boise this season. Maybe his success will produce a candy bar with his nickname adorning it -- oh right, that's been done already.

There's a new Reggie in town for the Boise State men's basketball team
Broncos expect junior wing to shine on the perimeter
Nick Jezierny
Idaho Statesman

If you hear Boise State men's basketball coach Greg Graham talking about Reggie this season, don't assume he is flashing back to former Bronco and All-WAC performer Reggie Larry.

There is a new Reggie in town, although Reggie is just the nickname of junior Robert Arnold.

The 6-foot-6 wing has been called Reggie since he was a child because his looksand game reminded many people of former Indiana Pacers star Reggie Miller...

Go here for the remainder.

LA TECH nabs a verbal

Coach Kerry Rupp has returned to the southern California area and landed a prep small forward as Jonathan Ford of the Bleed Tech Blue site offers up the news here.

Here's Jim Rayburn of the Deseret News mentioning Johnson in conjunction with BYU in a July 6, 2009 blog entry:

"...Johnson, another two-star recruit on, plays big at 6-foot-6 and reportedly impressed BYU's staff when he was in town last week for the Elite Camp. He scored 18 ppg and grabbed 11 rpg for Campbell Hall last season. BYU plans to follow his progress through the summer at AAU camps in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Johnson has shown interest in attending BYU because of the university's movie animation program..."
Here's Joe Cascio, the lead assistant at Santa Monica Junior College, in July 2009 with his take on Johnson:
"...low-to-mid major, another undersized post player. Has the athleticism to be converted to the 3 at the next level. Lefty who needs to improve his arsenal in the paint (tends to only go over his right shoulder)..."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Who will start for Hawaii?

Can you pick who will be the starters?

Starting positions still up for grab
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
October 25, 2009

For starters, there are no starters yet for the University of Hawaii men's basketball team.

After one week of practices, the Rainbow Warriors remain a work in progress, with head coach Bob Nash still in search of "competitors" to fill the starting lineup.

"It changes every day, but what I like is that there is a lot of competition at every position," Nash said. "I think, based on our experience, our offense is further along than we were a year ago. We just have to get better defensively and get a lot more intense..."
Go here for the remainder.

Jason Groves on the latest Aggie: Abdoulaye N'doye

Jason Groves offers a feature today on the newest and tallest New Mexico State basketballer:

Menzies happy to finally add N'doye
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

Abdoulaye N'doye found comfort on the tennis court before the basketball court.

At 7-feet, N'doye outgrew tennis before a neighbor in his native Senegal shifted his focus from working on his forehand to his jump shot.

"A neighbor saw me and asked me why I wasn't playing basketball," N'doye said. "I started playing because I wasn't able to do things in tennis like before because I was too tall."

What was the tennis world's loss, Marvin Menzies hopes to turn into New Mexico State's gain...

Go here for the remainder.

Jared Eborn on Pooh and Stew

We understand that reporters and columnists don't necessarily supply the headlines to their articles but we will still give credit to Jared Eborn for one of our favorites:

What will Stew do without Pooh?
Jared Eborn
Deseret News
October 25, 2009

Pooh Williams, statistically speaking, was not one of the star players in the Western Athletic Conference.

Stew Morrill, on the other hand, has a deep appreciation for the player his Utah State basketball team will be forced to play without for a few weeks.

"To not have Pooh out there, just the experience and the knowledge of the system he has," Morrill said, "that makes it tough. We're playing guys in the positions we aren't used to playing."

Williams, who had a screw placed in a 'pre-stress fracture' a couple of weeks ago, is still on the mend and not practicing with the team. The 6-foot-3 junior from Federal Way, Washington started 31 games for the Aggies a year ago and was considered the top perimeter defender on the team.

And though he will be back before the season gets too terribly deep into the schedule, his absence has created dilemmas for Morrill as he tries to plug the hole...
Go here for the remainder.

Rush The Court on the WAC

Sam Wasson and Travis Mason-Bushman are set to be your Rush The Court WAC basketball hosts for 2009-2010 and each has contributed to a conference preview. Sam goes with New Mexico State as the kingpin this coming season while Travis offers Idaho. Magnum Rolle gets some love despite his absence from the WAC head coaches first and second all-league squads.

Go here for their pre-season preview.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Don't ask Anthony DiLoreto what he'll be doing for summer vacation

Anthony DiLoreto is one lucky young man and surely he knows such. Thanks to AgHoc at the Scout Utah State site message board and BornAnAggie at the Scout New Mexico State site message board for finding this:

Hopkins hoops star Anthony DiLoreto will spend 3 summers in jail in Danbury, Wis., bank robbery
Basketball star gets plea deal in botched robbery
Andy Rathbun
Pioneer Press

Former Hopkins basketball star Anthony DiLoreto will spend a portion of the next few summers in jail after he was sentenced Thursday for his role in a bungled Wisconsin bank robbery.

The 7-foot-tall DiLoreto received three years' probation and 90 days in jail following his guilty plea for felony possession of burglary tools at his sentencing in Burnett County Circuit Court, according to his lawyer, Eric J. Nelson.

DiLoreto, now a 19-year-old freshman player for Utah State University, will spend 30 days in jail each summer for three years. He also will serve 100 hours of community service for each year of probation and attend a restorative justice program, Nelson said...
Go here for the remainder.

Meet Marko Cukic

Chris Murray previews one of the Wolf Pack newcomers, a 'big' who could really aid Nevada's inside game if he is ready.

Wolf Pack Basketball: Freshman Cukic will learn on the fly
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
October 25, 2009

Marko Cukic is in the same position his new Wolf Pack basketball teammates Dario Hunt and Luke Babbitt found themselves in last year.

He's a true freshman, and he will be asked to play a significant role on the team right away.

Hunt and Babbitt were up to the task last year. Will Cukic be this season?

"From what I've seen, he's been really solid with his back to the basket," Hunt said. "He's really strong down there. He knows how to take contact and finish the play."

Babbitt's assessment?

"He's skilled," Babbitt said of the 6-foot-9, 235-pounder from Serbia. "He's European and what European isn't skilled? He's good. He's strong, he can bang, he's not soft. He can shoot a little bit. He's really going to help this year..."
Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Not WAC-related but a fine read

Jack Fertig offers us a mirror:

It’s a Repeat Blog, But You’d Never Know It
Jack Fertig
October 24, 2009

What is the American spectator’s favorite sport?

Not too much intrigue here, as I imagine by now, everybody would have figured out what our country’s favorite spectator sport is - second guessing. Oh yeah, of course. After all, that’s what makes watching sports so much fun. You, the fan/expert, telling your friends at the sports bar what the manager/coach/player should do. Then, if what you say should be done, actually is done - and it works, you look like the genius you’re passing yourself off as. Kinda like there was a microphone planted & whoever made the brilliant move did so because of your wisdom...
Go here for the remainder.

The most productive newcomers to the WAC

In a way, this is a silly exercise since we haven't seen most of the names we will feature here in action on the court. So call this article one based on vibes, tips from others, glimpses of videotape and good old fashioned fan-dom.

So having completely destroyed any credibility we may have enjoyed, here are our choices for the most productive 2009-2010 newcomers for each WAC team:

Boise State: It's a choice between Westly Perryman, Robert Arnold and Daequon Montreal and we are going with Perryman. Why? There's a need for a scorer in the Bronco backcourt and that appears to play to Perryman's strength. Arnold is also a good scorer and will have benefited from a greater period of time to adjust to the D-1 level but he'll be splitting time with Paul Noonan. Montreal will be behind Okoye and also sharing time.

Fresno State: This one is an easy call -- 6-10 Greg Smith. There's a hole in the middle of the Bulldog lineup and it's Smith's to fill. He should be on the court for 25-30 minutes a game so there will be plenty of opportunity. Point Steven Shepp will also enjoy a solid initial season but he'll play a secondary role in getting the ball to the shooters on Steve Cleveland's squad.

Hawaii: Guard Dwain Williams is our choice here. Incoming backcourter Jeremy Lay will also help in the backcourt but Williams' ability to produce points, shoot from long distance and force less defensive attention on Roderick Flemings wins our vote.

Idaho: Even with eyes wide shut, Steffan Johnson is the easy selection. Steals, assists, scoring, long-range shooting -- what's not to like? We envision Mac Hopson putting up lesser numbers this season but fans will need to dig below the surface before simplistically critiquing that one of the prime contenders for the most valuable player in the WAC is having less of a season than in 2008-2009. Less for Hopson will be more for the Vandals because the 'H' man won't HAVE to do so much in order for Idaho to win.

Louisiana Tech: It doesn't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows for this pick - DeAndre Brown. The community college transfer will certainly face a lot of pressure to step in and perform from the get-go but running with Kyle Gibson, Magnum Rolle and Jamel Guyton will make the transition a great deal easier.

Nevada: There's not many choices here but 'big' Marko Cukic is who we feel will play the most among the newcomers and therefore should produce the best numbers.

New Mexico State: It's hard to know who will even be eligible although it seems like all the newcomers will eventually be cleared. However, we see freshman forward B.J. West as playing a lot during the absence of Wendell McKines and Troy Gillenwater and, if he rebounds, he'll keep setting foot on the court once WAC play begins.

San Jose State: The Spartans need defense, both inside and out on the floor and we see Chris Jones as their best 'D' man even as a freshman.

Utah State: Call this the most difficult pick in the litter because our heart wants to go with Brian Green, the spunky over-achiever in the backcourt but 6-foot-9 Nate Bendall -- Gary Wilkinson's replacement -- is the one getting the obvious nod.

Your selections?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mark Fox talks about Malik Cooke / interview with Zane Johnson

There's not much to it but go here if you are interested in Mark Fox talking about Malik Cooke.

Plus, here's an interview with Arizona transfer Zane Johnson who is sitting out the season at Hawaii,

Not WAC related but sure to be a good read

Bill Simmons has written a history book. Yes, the subject may sound like a snoozer to many but it's replete with basketball stories, anecdotes and background unknown to most. Get it and learn about IT, Kareem, the Mountain Man, the ABA and more.

Go here to read the initial excerpt, with links to more.

We're pushing it because it's a great read -- at least the parts we have seen so far. No, we have not received a gratis copy -- which surely is just an oversight on the part of Simmons' publicist. ;-)

Tony Jones' Utah State blog

Tony Jones/Salt Lake City Tribune has a relatively new blog covering USU athletics.

Here is a post about Aggie hoops.

Here is one about an Aggie newcomer.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We have been remiss

Doesn't it seems like we (have to) post that title every so often?

To the best of our knowledge, Travis Mason-Bushman hasn't been forced to assume a new identity (there's no truth to the rumor he has infiltrated BSU and finagled his way into the 2009-2010 persona of Buster Bronco) nor has he entered a journalist protection program (of course, some will say he is already in one because he's, after all, he's a blogger -- which can be found in the dictionary under obscure).

This is all in reference to the reaction after his preview of 2009-2010 Boise State basketball which can be found here.

Of course, we are kidding, But we have a suggestion for the Boise State fans. Show your class. Display your best. Travis is coming to your town on a very lengthy basketball road trip subtitled coverage first, comfort last (we don't know if he'll be selling t-shirts with that emblazoned on the front and back but that's an idea to cover some of the costs). Now nothing is going to alter him from writing what he sees on the court but a very nice steak dinner and maybe a room at the inn would surely garner some good will towards BSU fan-dom (and maybe some kind printed words). And remember, Travis will be coming to Boise just after hitting Logan so the on-the-court and off-the-court comparisons will be fresh in his mind. Consider this a call out to The Refraction-ers too as well as all the WAC basketball fans he will encounter on his itinerary. We need to do whatever we can to facilitate his journey because he will be our Kyle Whelliston this season.

But we digress. TM-B remains at it and here is some of his latest:

His preview of Louisiana Tech.

He predicts Nevada coming in fourth.

Some very good photos from a Vandal practice are here -- thanks to Nick Groff of The Argonaut. Do click on each one to get the full size.

There is also the first part of his interview with Vandal 'big' Marvin Jefferson.

From the Doesn't-Raise-An-Eyebrow Department

Per Chris Murray's item about former Nevada recruit Mark McLaughlin now leaving Baylor, well, there's probably not a lot of people in the college coaching community who are surprised. Texas is a couple of universes away from the Pacific Northwest although we have no special insight on the matter and hope no health/family issues were involved. We do have to believe the bridge to Reno was burned down long ago.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The mystery man arrives

Jason Groves/Las Cruces Sun-News has a blog entry today that features Mr. Waiting For Godot: African version --except that Aboulaye N'Doye has finally appeared in Las Cruces. Groves also has updates on a number of other Aggies. Go here.

Have you come down with poll-itis too?

Yes, poll-itis is the diagnosis and the only known cure is some WAC basketball. Can we fast-forward the calendar to like mid-November?


Per an exchange of emails with Melvin Grussing this morning, Antelope Valley College backcourter Nick Bennett visited Idaho State this past weekend. So it was Pocatello, not Moscow. Do bookmark his site as Coach Horton's squad has more D-1 prospects and player potential than some college and university teams. May each and every community college athletics department or fan of such see the light and follow the lead set by Grussing. It's a must visit every day site for us.


Per Justin Young at his National Hoops Report site, former New Mexico Stater JayDee Luster has been named a team captain at Wyoming and is on Young's Top Mid Major Transfers list.


With a hat tip to Chris Murray on Twitter, Nevada target Amric Fields decided to move one state down and has given a verbal commit to Texas Christian. His other offers: Boston College, Colorado, Nevada and Oral Roberts.


San Diego prep backcourter LaBradford Franklin, who was linked to Nevada recruiting at one time, has offers from Arizona, San Diego State, Marquette and Washington State.


Is the media person who gave San Jose State his or her vote for finishing first in the upcoming WAC season willing to come 'out'? Please do so -- we would love to hear/read your thinking behind the selection.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A salute to Sam Wasson

More than a top o' the hat to Sam Wasson for sharing his WAC ballot today. Go here to see his picks and make sure to offer thanks for his willingness to share. We certainly can't make the statement that we metaphorically bleed crimson but that won't stop us from saluting a good guy, his very impressive site and his support for the Western Athletic Conference athletics.

An interesting Chris Murray article

Who in the WAC fits Chris Murray's headline per you?

Who's the toughest player in the WAC to guard?
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

Editor’s note: During the Nevada basketball team’s media day last week, I threw some non-basketball questions at the players and will roll out their answers to those questions over the next few days. Today’s question: Who is the most difficult player in the WAC to guard?
Go here for the responses.

Who the WAC coaches selected last pre-season

It's always interesting to look back especially when it comes to predictions so let's peruse who the WAC coaches prognosticated as the top 10 players in WAC in 2008-2009:

Preseason All-WAC Teams

First Team

Jonathan Gibson, Jr., G, New Mexico St.
Kyle Gibson, Jr., G, Louisiana Tech
Armon Johnson, So., G, Nevada
C.J. Webster, Jr., C, San Jose State
Gary Wilkinson, Sr., F, Utah State

Second Team

Luke Babbitt, Fr., F, Nevada
Brandon Fields, Jr., G, Nevada
Anthony Thomas, Jr., F, Boise State
Tai Wesley, So., F, Utah State
Jahmar Young, So., G, New Mexico St.

Now compare the above to who actually earned spots on the 2008-2009 All-WAC teams below:

First Team

Mac Hopson, Idaho, G, 6-2, 195, Jr., Portland, Ore. (Washington State)
Luke Babbitt, Nevada, F, 6-9, 225, Fr., Reno, Nev. (Galena HS)
Armon Johnson, Nevada, G, 6-3, 195, So., Reno, Nev (Hug HS)
Jahmar Young, New Mexico State, G, 6-5, 180, So., Baltimore, Md. (Laurinberg Prep)
Gary Wilkinson, Utah State, F, 6-9, 240, Sr., South Jordan, Utah (Salt Lake CC)

Second Team

Mark Sanchez, Boise State, F, 6-7, 235, Sr., Tucson, Ariz. (Pima CC)
Sylvester Seay, Fresno State, Fr, 6-9, 220, Jr., San Bernardino, Calif. (Arizona State)
Roderick Flemings, Hawai‘i, F, 6-7, 210, Jr., Dallas, Texas (Weatherford College)
Kyle Gibson, Louisiana Tech, G, 6-5, 205, Jr., Los Angeles, Calif. (Dorsey HS)
Jared Quayle, Utah State, G, 6-1, 180, Jr., Perry, Utah (Western Wyoming CC)

These players came out of so-called 'nowhere' -- Mac Hopson (especially), Roderick Flemings, Mark Sanchez, Sylvester Seay and Jared Quayle. Who will this coming season?

Jason Groves on the Aggie points

Jason Groves is back with a feature today on the players handling the point for New Mexico State:

Aggies appear stable at point guard
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

There has been a revolving door at the point guard position in Marvin Menzies' first two seasons at New Mexico State.

Fred Peete, Chris Cole, Jaydee Luster, Johnny Higgins, Terrence Joyner either graduated, transferred or were jettisoned at times throughout Menzies' first two years.

Hernst Laroche provided stability last year as a freshman, finishing 18th in the country with a 2.48 assist-to-turnover ratio, which was second among NCAA freshmen...
Go here for the remainder.

Okay, the official WAC polls are out

Two quick thoughts on this one: no Magnum Rolle and no Adrian Oliver per the coaches as you will soon read.

WAC Announces Men's Basketball Coaches Preseason Picks

October 20, 2009

The Western Athletic Conference announced its men’s basketball preseason poll and all-WAC teams, as voted on by the nine head coaches in the league. Utah State was selected to win the WAC, while Nevada sophomore Luke Babbitt was tabbed the league’s preseason Player of the Year...

Go here for the remainder.

Whereas the pixel-stained wretches offered this -- the same top five as the coaches:

WAC Men's Basketball Preseason Media Picks Announced
October 20, 2009

The 2009-10 Western Athletic Conference men’s basketball media poll has tabbed Utah State as this year’s favorite. Nevada sophomore forward Luke Babbitt has been named the preseason Player of the Year. Idaho senior transfer Steffan Johnson was tabbed this year’s preseason Newcomer of the Year...

Go here for the remainder.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Jason Groves shares his ballot

Jason Groves offer his votes for the various WAC finishes and plater honors:

WAC polls
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News
October 19, 2009

The WAC coaches and media polls will be released on Tuesday so I thought I would put my picks out on here. I think it's going to be a competitive year on the top half with an improved skill level across the board...
Go here for the remainder.

The play of Tai Wesley examined

Another intriguing player to watch in the soon-to-be here WAC season is Utah State's Tai Wesley. Again, let's preface the following with we've seen him play twice, have no tape to watch of him, so on and so on.

Let's begin by producing Wesley's conference numbers from last season:

* Played in all league 16 games, averaged 29.1 minutes
* Scored 12 points a contest
* Shot .550% from the floor (71-129), .636% from the foul line (49-77)
* Grabbed 5.6 rebounds a game (behind Gary Wilkinson and Jared Quayle)
* Averaged 2.3 assists
* Credited with 11 blocked shots (33 as a freshman)
* Led the team with 52 fouls -- most on the team by 13 -- but down from 112 the season before

Again, it's unknown to us if Wesley endured any nagging injuries that hindered his play.

The elephant departed from the Logan living room is Gary Wilkinson. This large void theoretically leaves 166 shot attempts to be assumed, along with a .590% from the floor and .839% from the foul line accuracy rates. Wilkie averaged 17.4 points per game and 6.2 boards a contest.

That is a major loss anyway it is measured. But with it, comes opportunity.

It's easy to say that Wesley has to be the highest scorer among the Aggie 'bigs' in 2009-2010. Matt Formisano, Modou Niang, Nate Bendall, Morgan Grim and Anthony DiLoretto are the other Aggie frontcourters, with Bendall having the most promise to work in tandem with Wesley.

It's apples-to-oranges but Bendall posted some impressive numbers last year at Salt Lake City College. In 37 games, at 23.9 minutes each time out, he shot .561% in 353 attempts and went to the foul line 196 times, shooting .689%. Bendall scored 14.4 points and nabbed 6.4 rebounds a contest.

But Formisano in intriguing because he produced a .480% overall shooting percentage on the season for the Aggies, .632% from the stripe. But in WAC competition, his numbers drooped to .333% and .500% respectively and his playing time dipped two minutes a contest in league.

What is known is that more shots will be available and taken by Wesley, with him ending up somewhere around 17 points per game in point production. He has to create the threat in the paint that forces open shots on the perimeter. It's assumed Jared Quayle will have more shooting attempts in 2009-2010 as will Tyler Newbold but an inside scorer obviously aids in other Aggies getting better looks facing the basket.

Will Wesley also reach the teens in rebounding? We're not so sure of happening. That's because Quayle is such an inexplicable force on the boards -- second on the team last season behind Wilkinson. Wesley is actually best as an offensive rebounder and his overall totals will rise but it's hard to see him reaching double-double production game in and game out.

But that may be predicated on others factors.

One, his reduction in fouls committed. He cut his whistles in half while still playing physically last season. It's smarter play at work but that's not to say Wesley can't display even better intelligence about what to attempt and what not to on the court. Yes, his number of blocked shots tumbled by two thirds but the zebras also called his number half as many times and it's imperative that Wesley be on the court for USU.

Another Wesley conundrum is that he (and Utah State) need Nate Bendall and Matt Formisano to perform effectively in the middle even though their production will thereby cut into some of Wesley's.

Not that Stew Morrill cares because that's not the ultimate goal.

Chris Murray's pick to win the WAC

It wasn't a surprise due to the process of elimination but here is Chris Murray choice to be on top after WAC play is completed:

WAC preview: Utah State the team to beat in WAC
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

No. 1 Utah State

Coach: Stew Morrill (12th season; 267-91 at Utah State)

Last season: 30-5 overall, 14-2 in WAC (first place)

Returning starters: Four (Jared Quayle, Tyler Newbold, Pooh Williams, Tai Wesley)

Key losses: Gary Wilkinson, Stavon Williams...
Go here for the remainder.

Kyle Cain to Rhode Island

Former Illinois prepster Kyle Cain has given a verbal to Rhode Island. The 6-foot-7 Cain has been connected to Nevada -- the Pack being in his top five schools. Cain was supposed to visit Reno October 23 and Wisconsin-Green Bay a week later but he committed right after his trip to Providence instead.

Cavan Walsh has more here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The play of Magnum Rolle examined

NOTE: From Ron Tyler's A Closer Look at LA TECH HOOPS site, comes this: "...Rolle’s deep hip bruise clearly hurt his production down the stretch. He had four games in a row where he did not score in double figures immediately after the injury. This stretch was the only time in a 31 game season where he had consecutive games where he did not score in double figures." Factor that in where we mentioned below about injury possibilities.

The following comes with this proviso: we have seen Magnum Rolle play but once, have no tape of him and have solicited no information about his strengths and weaknesses from a professional -- so don't try this at home.

One of the most intriguing players in the WAC this season is Louisiana Tech 'big' Magnum Rolle. Possessing mindboggling athleticism, some have Rolle earning a first team, all-WAC nod at the conclusion of the coming season. Others placed on the second team.

For the record, Rolle was an WAC All-Defensive team selection as well as an WAC All-Newcomer squad member in first season after transferring over from Louisiana State.

Time will tell what future honors he earns but what's already accurate is that he has the paint to himself in 2009-2010 -- with Kenneth Cooper gone to Alabama Birmingham.

Will we indeed see Rolle make a big step forward as a fifth-year senior?

Let's take a look at his WAC totals and his post-Cooper 2008-2009 league numbers:

In 16 WAC games, Rolle averaged 30 minutes a contest, 11.7 points per game, shooting .517% overall and .583% (60 free throw attempts) from the foul line. He grabbed 7.8 rebounds each time out and totaled 33 shotblocks, 45 personal fouls, one foul out and 36 turnovers. Cooper played in the first four of these games before his dismissal from the team.

What we don't know is if Rolle played with any nagging injuries that may have effected his production so do also keep that in mind.

Looking at it from a game-by-game perspective, sans Cooper, here is what Rolle put on the board:

1-17-09 Idaho: 28 minutes, 17 points (7-10), nine rebounds, two blocked shots, four fouls

1-22-09 @ Fresno State: 26 minutes, six points (3-10), nine rebounds, three blocked shots, four fouls

1-24-09 @ Boise State: 40 minutes, 23 points (11-11), 10 rebounds, three blocked shots, three fouls

1-29-09 Hawaii: 38 minutes, 10 points (3-7), seven rebounds, one blocked shot, zero fouls

1-31-09 San Jose State: 36 minutes, 19 points (9-14), 12 rebounds, six blocked shots, two fouls

2-5-09 @ Nevada: 33 minutes, 15 points (6-11), four rebounds, two blcoked shots, two fouls

2-7-09 @ Utah State: 34 minutes, eight points (4-8), five rebounds, four blocked shots, two fouls

2-12-09 Fresno State: 18 minutes, eight points (4-8), five rebounds, one blocked shot, four fouls

2-16-09 @ New Mexico State: 22 minutes, two points (1-5), 11 rebounds, zero blocked shots, four fouls

2-26-09 New Mexico State: 26 minutes, 25 points (8-13), 12 rebounds, zero blocked shots, three fouls

2-28-09 Boise State: 31 minutes, five points (2-7), eight rebounds, two blocked shots, three fouls

3-5-09 @ Idaho: 23 minutes, 10 points (3-7), eight rebounds, one blocked shot, four fouls

3-12-09 Idaho: 20 minutes, nine poits (2-6), five rebounds, one blocked shot, four fouls

3-13-09 Nevada: 27 minutes, 24 points (8-12), five rebounds, two blocked shots, two fouls

That's six games -- out of 14 -- in less than double-figure scoring for Rolle, plus two games at 10 points. It's five games with five or less rebounds. But consider it's also seven games with less than 10 field goal attempts.

Now the Aggies lacked a proficient point last season -- as much as James Loe tried and deserves a salute -- and that certainly had an effect on Rolle's shooting and scoring totals. Newcomer DeAndre Brown will be a step up, maybe more. That's a plus in Rolle's favor.

Foul trouble also was a factor in Rolle's numbers. Shawn Oliverson returns for his junior year and greater production from him will allow Rolle to avoid the foul trouble in contests where he played just 20+ minutes in 2008-2009.

We see the most critical element being that Rolle should be no worse than second in shot attempts in 2009-2010 -- it's accepted that Kyle Gibson will be the Tech shot leader but Jamel Guyton should be third, not second, as happened last year.

We also see the need for Rolle to add bulk and strength to his body -- especially for the next level -- but that's not a tremendous factor for him collegiately even though it would certainly help him.

Better footwork offensively would also allow a greater offensive role for Rolle. His marvelous athleticism compensates for a lot in college but not necessarily at the next level up. A go-to move or two would get Rolle's scoring totals to a serious level this season and pave the way for being selected earlier in the NBA draft.

Aggressiveness, or maybe more appropriately, consistent assertiveness is another element that would aid Rolle's production.

So will he or won't he become a nightly double-double producer, with his points per game average edging towards 20? Coach Kerry Rupp and his staff have the best sense of this at this point and everyone else is waiting to see.

Idaho had a visitor

Idaho is seriously interested in a backcourter at Antelope Valley College (southern CA). 6-foot-2 guard Nick Bennett tripped to Moscow this past weekend. From Melvin Grussing's wonderful AVC fan site:

"...Freshman qualifier, combo guard, Nick Bennett visited the University of Idaho this weekend..."

From an earlier post by Grussing: "...Nick Bennett, 6’2”, 175 is so smooth with a shot that drives a stake into heart of the opponent. Add to that his great great floor vision and he is a winner."

Bennett redshirted at Arizona State last season -- we're not sure if he was a walk-on or on scholarship..

The Antelope Valley roster is loaded this season, including one Matt Stern, the 6-foot-7 brother of Idaho's Corey Stern.

A Herb Pope update

Former New Mexico Stater Herb Pope is eligible to play again and back on the court for Seton Hall. Adam Zagoria provides an update:

Pirates' Pope focusing on family, school
Adam Zagoria
October 17, 2009

When Hamari Pope had her second birthday party on Friday in Aliquippa, Pa., her father wasn't able to attend.

Instead, Herb Pope was busy taking classes and preparing for the official start of the 2009-10 basketball season at Seton Hall.

"It's been 11 weeks since the last time I went home. I don't go home too much," said Pope, a 6-foot-8, 236-pound junior power forward who sat out last season after transferring from New Mexico State.

Pope was shot four times in his hometown on March 31, 2007, and as part of an effort to limit contact with the nefarious influences in his life, he doesn't return home as much as he would like.

When he does, he spends time primarily with family...
Go here for the remainder.

Jason Groves on the Aggies minus McKines & Gillenwater

Jason Groves checks in today with a look at how Coach Marvin Menzies will try to compensate for the first semester (maybe longer?) absence of Wendell McKines and Troy Gillenwater.

Aggies hope reinforcements step up with McKines, Gillenwater out
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — With the absence of Wendell McKines and Troy Gillenwater for at least the first seven games of the 2009 season, there appears to be a gaping hole in the paint for the New Mexico State men's basketball team.

"My role is going to be more important this year than last year," said redshirt sophomore center Hamidu Rahman. "Troy is not going to be here and (former center) Chris (Gabriel) transferred. I'm going to be the most experienced guy so I'm going to have to step it up more."

Rahman is one of six players who will fill in at the power forward and center positions this year.

In a best case scenario for Aggies fans, Gillenwater and McKines will be eligible after the final day of classes on Dec. 11. McKines — the leading rebounder in the Western Athletic Conference a year ago — and Gillenwater could return to the lineup at UTEP on Dec. 13...
Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

We missed this

W-ea culpa as we somehow overlooked this very interesting piece by Brian McInnnis:

Experienced 'Bows ready for work
Brian McInnis
Honolulu Star Bulletin
October 16, 2009

It takes a little longer these days to walk into a gym and take stock of the seniors on the Hawaii men's basketball team.

The Rainbow Warriors go from having none last year to six in 2009-10 when they tip off their first official practice today at 5 p.m. The returning experience is a large reason head coach Bob Nash made an 18-win guarantee for the season ahead at the team's media day yesterday...
Go here for the remainder.

In perusing the Rainbow Warrior schedule, we're not sure if Coach Nash is counting games against UH-Hilo and BYU-Hawaii. They shouldn't be included.

Then Southern Utah, McNeese State and Northern Colorado come to town, followed by toughies BYU and New Mexico.

Next it's at Irvine and home to Lamar, Chaminade and Chicago State at the Stan Sheriff Center. Does Chaminade count?

In the Diamond Head Classic, Hawaii begins with College of Charleston and then what appears to be two other games, opponents to be determined.

Before WAC plays begins, Northwestern State flies to the islands, plus the BracketBusters home game on February 20.

We see 8-9 wins at that point, leaving Hawaii with 10 wins to rack up in 16 conference games, plus at least one contest in the WAC tourney.

Will the Bows or won't the Bows?

Travis Mason-Bushman checks in with his #6 in the WAC prediction

TM-B offers his sixth place finisher in the coming WAC season:

WAC preview: #6 Fresno State depending on a youthful lineup
Travis Mason-Bushman
Vandal Nation
October 16, 2009

We continue our WAC men’s basketball preview with a look at #6 Fresno State.

Team: #6 Fresno State

Coach: Steve Cleveland, fifth season (63-63)

Last year’s record: 13-21 (3-13 WAC, 9th)

Returning starters: Three (G/F Paul George, F Sylvester Seay, F Nedeljko Golubovic)

Key losses: G Dwight O’Neil, G Bryce Cartwright

Key newcomers: C Greg Smith, G Steven Shepp...
Go here for the remainder.

LA TECH has a prominent visitor

There are visitors and then there are VISITORS in recruiting parlance. Count the one in Ruston this weekend as fitting into the latter category.

From the BleedTechBlue Twiiter site, comes this: "DJ Wright on a Visit to LA Tech...

Go here for the remainder.

Here is the home for the BleedTechBlue Twitter site.

Here is the BleedTechBlue web site.

Here's another link
providing a more expansion take on Wright.

Let's try something new

There is so much material today that we're going to combine it into what is hopefully a single post.

Anthony Ray at Arizona Preps is reporting that small forward Andre Hatchett is leaning towards Idaho State or prep school but that Boise State is interested. A Rivals sub is required.

Sam Wasson at the Bleed Crimson site has a fascinating catch about coaching family trees, one that puts Stew Morrill into some very select company. Go here, scroll down to the third story and hit the 'list put together by Arizona State SID Doug Tammaro' link.

The Fresno Bee's Marek Warszawski has an informative piece on Steve Cleveland and Fresno State basketball here.

Jason Groves talked to Marvin Menzies and posts a few nuggets here.

New Hawaii 'big' Douglas Kurtz is out for a couple of weeks per Brian McInnis' feature.

Jared Eborn offers a surprise or two with an article today.

Nick Jezierny poses questions about Idaho and Boise State hoops with his latest.

Who is the real Brandon Fields? The sophomore budding star or his junior fallback? Chris Murray has a full-length feature on the senior.

Whew, we made it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Okay, the Pack has been thinned

With the posting of his latest, Chris Murray culls the herd so to speak -- it's Utah State finishing on top in the WAC. But first, read on about the second-place predicted program:

WAC preview: Top-heavy Wolf Pack among WAC's favorites
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

No. 2 Nevada

Coach: David Carter (first season)

Last year’s record: 21-13 overall, 11-5 WAC (second place)

Returning starters: Three (Armon Johnson, Luke Babbitt, Dario Hunt)

Key losses: Malik Cooke, Lyndale Burleson...
Go here for the remainder.

Dayton Morinaga has a fun read

It's hard to write an interesting piece about the opening day of practice but Dayton Morinaga (sorry for the mixed sports metaphor) knocks it out of the park today. He also has video so do catch that:

Season of promise starts now
Rainbows say expect a 'more exciting' team as practice opens today
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
October 16, 2009

The University of Hawaii men's basketball team will begin full practices today, but it won't be the Rainbow Warriors' first workout together.

For the past two months, the 'Bows have been training together, both in the weight room and on the basketball court.

In other words, they already have an idea of what to expect out of each other.

"This team is going to be different from last year," said Roderick Flemings, the top returning player. "We got a lot more options now. We'll be a lot more exciting."

In the absence of a "Midnight Ohana" festival, The Advertiser conducted an informal poll of the players to find out what the fans can expect this season...
Go here for the remainder.

Jason Groves on the "P" word

Jason Groves has a commentary out today on the Aggie men's basketball squad, attaching the "P" word throughout:

COMMENTARY: NMSU men's hoops team has the pieces in place for league championship run
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

Potential is a dangerous word.

Especially when trying to handicap the New Mexico State men's basketball team.

As the first day of practice opens Friday across the nation, the Aggies return the Western Athletic Conference's top scorer (Jahmar Young), rebounder (Wendell McKines) and 3-point shooter (Gordo Castillo). The Aggies return all five starters from a team that finished 12-4 in WAC play, led the league in scoring (76.3 points per game) and peaked in time for a run to the WAC tournament semifinals as a No. 5 seed.

Now, third-year coach Marvin Menzies has to find a way to put all the pieces together.

While the talent is certainly there, the question marks can't be ignored...
Go here for the remainder.

Fresno State wants to 'D' up more

The Bulldogs will have plenty of fellow WAC teams attempting to accompany them in this endeavor:

Improving defense key for 'Dogs hoops
Marek Warszawski
The Fresno Bee
Oct. 15, 2009

When Steve Cleveland reviews game tapes from last season, he always watches until the bitter end.

Turning the machine off early would defeat the purpose. In losing 11 games by six points or less, eight of them during Western Athletic Conference play, the 2008-09 Fresno State men's basketball team could always be counted on to fold in the final minutes.

Most often, the Bulldogs let down on the defensive end. For 2009-10 to be any different, Cleveland believes it has to start there.

"At the end of the day, close games come down to getting stops," said Cleveland, entering his fifth season at Fresno State with a 63-63 record.

"If this team is going to go from last place to trying to compete for a championship, it's going to have to come at the defensive end..."
Go here for the remainder.

A funny Brandon Webster note

Came across this item and had to pass it along:

Coach Max Ivany runs the Texas Basketball Inc. site and has a post today updating how some of his former players are doing. One is Fresno State's big Brandon Webster:

"...I received a text a couple of nights ago from 2007 C 6'10" Brandon Webster who now tips the scales at a generous 275 lbs. for the Fresno State Bulldogs. "What's up Big Webb", I asked. In his own inimitable way, he retorted "This conditioning's killing me Coach" If Big Webb can keep the pounds off and really take to being fit, a pro career is in the cards for the former Bryan High shotblocker."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chris Murray has New Mexico State in third

Chris Murray unveils his predicted third-place finisher and it's the Aggies of New Mexico State -- with a bit of an asterisk.

NMSU brings back league's most talented team
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

No. 3 New Mexico State

Coach: Marvin Menzies (third season; 38-29 at NMSU)

Last year’s record: 17-15 overall, 9-7 WAC (tied for third place)

Returning starters: Five (Jahmar Young, Jonathan Gibson, Hernst Laroche, Hamidu Rahman, Wendell McKines)

Key losses: Terrance Joyner...
Go here for the remainder and to learn about the asterisk.

Travis Mason-Bushman slots Boise State as #7

TM-B continues with his WAC team rollout and says BSU is finishing in seventh place. We have an innocent suggestion for ESPN: plan to televise both the Bronco - Vandal matchups this season because we predict there will be (metaphorical) blood, minus Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson.

WAC preview: #7 Boise State lacks star power, scoring threats
Travis Mason-Bushman
Vandal Nation
October 15, 2009

Team: #7 Boise State

Coach: Greg Graham, eighth season (127-95)

Last year’s record: 19-13 (9-7 WAC, T-3rd)

Returning starters: Four (C Kurt Cunningham, F Paul Noonan, F Ike Okoye, G Anthony Thomas)

Key losses: F Mark Sanchez, G Jamar Greene, G Aaron Garner

Key newcomers: F Sam Hicks, F Daequon Montreal...
Go here for the remainder.

Jared Eborn on the medical state of the Aggies

Jaredn Eborn has a post with a bit of information on the health (or lack thereof) status of a pair of Aggies:

"...[Pooh] Williams had surgery on what Morrill called a "pre-stress fracture" in his foot and had a screw placed and is out 4 to 6 weeks. [Jasckson] Myaer broke his cheekbone about two weeks ago and will be out of practice for a few weeks as well..."
Go here for Ebron's complete article.

Dayton Morinaga with a Hawaii update

Dayton Morinaga checks in with an update on the Rainbow Warriors:

Summer camps helped 'Bows shape up
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
October 14, 2009

ractices for the University of Hawaii men's basketball team start on Friday, but much of the preseason preparation was completed months ago.

Several Rainbow Warriors had productive basketball summers in anticipation of an improved 2009-10 season.

"I think we had a lot of guys who were committed to maintaining their conditioning," Hawaii head coach Bob Nash said. "We gave each guy a conditioning booklet to help them with a program for weights and running, but it was up to each guy to follow it. Fortunately, we had a lot of guys who did, and that's only going to make things easier for all of us once we get full practices going. Obviously, the better shape you're in, the more you can get done..."
Go here for the remainder.

Chris Murray analyzes the non-conference schedules for the various WAC teams

Now this took some mighty work so our hats are off to Chris Murray on this one.

Behind the numbers: Nevada one of few WAC teams with tough schedule
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

At about this time last season, I asked then-Nevada coach Mark Fox what the WAC had to do to regain its status as a two-bid NCAA Tournament league. He said the solution was easy: the teams in the league needed to schedule better games and give itself a shot at quality, attention-grabbing wins. The conference as a whole lacked those win last year, and as a result got only one team into the Big Dance for the second straight year.

With that in mind, I wanted to look at which WAC teams have the most difficult schedule this year -- to see which teams stepped up their scheduling. The results, which are below, aren't all that pretty. While there are some potential big wins out there, the majority of the teams scheduled conservatively again, whether it be because of an inability to get big games, the desire to beat up on cupcakes, or whatever other reason.

Here is a team-by-team look at this year's non-conference WAC schedules. It includes: the number of non-conference games against Division I foes (sans BracketBuster games), the average RPI of those teams based on last year's rankings, the team's three best and worst games, and a summary of the schedule. Teams listed in alphabetical order...
Go here for the remainder.

Chris Murray on the Burris commit

Chris Murray checks in with his coverage of Jordan Burris' commitment to Nevada:

Burris commits to play for Wolf Pack next year
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

Jordan Burris has made Nevada basketball coach David Carter a very happy man.

Burris, a 6-foot-6 wing from Stockdale High School in Bakersfield, Calif., told Carter on Wednesday night that he has was verbally committing to play for his Nevada Wolf Pack next season.

"When I told him, he said I made his day," Burris said.

Burris, who visited the Nevada campus two weeks ago, said the trip to Reno helped cement his decision to join the Wolf Pack...
Go here for the remainder.

Let's begin a Dave Telep run

Here's the first of two recent Dave Telep features -- this one on recruiting and a Scout sub is required to access the complete article:

What Happens When He's Not On Campus?
Dave Telep
National Recruiting Director
October 10, 2009

Taking visits is part of the recruiting process. However, for the coaches involved, when their recruit steps onto another campus visits take on new meaning.

Comfortable in that recliner? Enjoying a stress free Saturday of college football watching on the flat screen? Well, just remember, if you're a college basketball coach the weekends take on a different meaning.

All NCAA programs will host visitors at some point this fall. The ones that aren't hosting and don't have prospects on campus aren't sleeping in, enjoying stress free weekends at the spa. As you'll find out, even when prospects aren't on campus a level of anxiety exits. It's how coaches deal with the non-visit weekends that we're looking at with this exercise.

We've asked two different college coaches to provide insights into their visitation process. Questions range from the anxiety of a weekend visit to the scheduling for the trip...
Go here for the remainder.

A little Shakespeare for you: "to Twitter or not to Twitter..."

Yes, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler to... -- okay, that's about the extent of our WillieS knowledge. Dave Telep has an article about college coaching and Twitter usage:

Twitter: Fad or Recruiting Revolution?
Dave Telep
National Recruiting Director
October 15, 2009

Is Twitter a college basketball fad or useful recruiting tool? went right to the source and spoke with two college coaches to gain their perspective on tweeting.

Oliver Purnell does it. John Calipari and Tom Crean too. Chances are, just about every major college coach is utilizing Twitter these days.

Personally, I like the Twitter. However, I’m not sure it’s going to change the way coaches recruit. Regardless, we asked a pair of college coaches how they perceive the newest social media that has become the rage in college hoops...
Go here for the remainder and a Scout sub is required.

Hawaii's new backcourt

Coach Bob Nash needs point production, outside-shooting and the creation of scoring opportunities for his bigs out of his Rainbow Warrior backcourt this season and has a pair of newcomers who seemingly fit the bill. Brian McInnis has a feature today on Dwain Williams and Jeremy Lay:

UH guards provide hope
Brian McInnis
Hopnolulu Star Bulletin
October 15, 2009

One is coming to the realization that he is, in fact, a Division I basketball player. The other feels blessed just to have another chance at D-I ball.

Hawaii guards Jeremy Lay and Dwain Williams may not fit the prototype of hoops saviors, but the expectations around Manoa are just that for the two new Rainbow Warriors in the backcourt.

The Rainbows officially begin practice tomorrow at 5 p.m. in a fresh season full of promise, and the 6-foot junior guards are considered crucial pieces to help the team become a legitimate threat to make a national tournament for the first time since 2004. The practice is closed to the public.

Lay and Williams, two of the 'Bows five offseason acquisitions, will be scrutinized as they will be counted on not just to drain 3-pointers with regularity, but also to absorb and run the team's flex-motion offense over the next two weeks...
Go here for the remainder.

Nevada lands a recruit

Per A.W. Prince at his Silver and Blue Nevada site, Coach Carter has received a verbal commitment from 6-foot-6 Bakersfield High wing Jordan Burris. Go here for the news -- scroll down to the seventh category on the message board..

As an aside, to be a Nevada fan requires ownership of a sub to the Silver and Blue site, no ifs ands or buts. What's the cost, something like a sixpack a month? We'd use the example of say a couple of lattes but the world knows the Wolf Pack supporters are no latte-sipping crew. That's not how they roll.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chris Murray has Idaho fourth

New Mexico State, Nevada and Utah State remain in the barrel as Chris Murray predicts Idaho will finish fourth in the WAC:

Idaho goes from laughingstock to legit contender
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

No. 4 Idaho

Coach: Don Verlin (second season; 17-16 at Idaho)

Last year’s record: 17-16 overall, 9-7 WAC (tied for third place)

Returning starters: Four (Mac Hopson, Kashif Watson, Brandon Wiley, Marvin Jefferson)

Key losses: Trevor Morris, Terrence Simmons, Luis Augusto...
Go here for the remainder.

Travis Mason-Bushman pegs SJSU for eighth

TM-B @ Vandal Nation continues his WAC team rollout with San Jose State slotted #8:

WAC Hoops Preview Countdown: #8 San Jose State
Travis Mason-Bushman
Vandal Nation
October 14, 2009

We continue our WAC men’s basketball preview with a look at #8 San Jose State.

Team: #8 San Jose State

Coach: George Nessman, fifth season (37-86)

Last year’s record: 13-17 (6-10 WAC, T-6th)

Returning starters: Four (G Adrian Oliver, F C.J. Webster, PG Justin Graham, C Chris Oakes)

Key losses: F Tim Pierce, G DaShawn Wright

Key newcomers: G Aalim Moor, G Chris Jones, G/F Anthony Dixon...
Go here for the remainder.

It's often what we don't know that matters more

We've been following Arizona Western prospect Andre Almeida for some time. His 'presence' -- 6-foot-11, 300 pounds -- demanded attention and our intrigue grew when he was named the most valuable player last season in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference.

Who is this kid? He's out of Brazil and averaged 13.7 points, 8 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots a game as a freshman for Coach Kelly Green, shooting 70% from the floor.

Almeida certainly sounded like a player to snag if you wanted some beef in the middle.

What we didn't know until today is that Nebraska 'placed' Almeida at Arizona Western and voila! the young man recently announced a commitment to the Cornhuskers. From an article at Arizona Preps (a Rivals sub required):

"Nebraska was instrumental in him coming to the United States and recommending him to us, so he's had it in his mind that's where he would go, pending the visit," AWC Head coach Kelly Green said. "They wanted to know if he was willing to work, and I think him coming back and losing all that weight (38 pounds) has shown he's willing to do what it takes to succeed on this level and the next level."
It's not explicit that Almeida would head to Nebraska but implicit at the very least. So anyone minus this knowledge, hoping that Almeida might end up on his or her favorite college team, was obviously in the dark (including us).

In recruiting (as in so many other matters), it's often what we don't know that matters more.