Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chris Murray fittingly closes out the calendar year

Here's Chris Murray churning out more and more Nevada basketball analysis -- he has certainly more than earned his share of the bubbly tonight for his basket-to-basket coverage.

Wolf Pack player-by-player midseason report
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

I'm working on a few midseason report stories on the Wolf Pack basketball team and asked coach David Carter for a brief comment on how each player on the team performed in the non-conference season. Here is what he had to say about each player, with a quick comment from me below...
Go here for the remainder.

He is back with another article:
Ranking Wolf Pack's most difficult WAC games
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

The Nevada basketball team opens its WAC slate this weekend with arguably its most difficult road trip of the conference season -- games at Louisiana Tech on Saturday and New Mexico State on Monday. I asked coach David Carter whether he thought it was a good thing to get this trip out of the way early or if it would be better to play the trip later in the season. His answer. "Can I answer that on Tuesday?" he joked...
Go here for the remainder.

Thursday's WAC links and notes

Let's begin with Sam Wasson and his weekly interview with Coach Marvin Menzies posted here.


Tony Jones provides an update on USU backcourt signee James Walker here.


Dayton Morinaga has the background on Dwain Williams' recent productivity here.


There is a junior point in Arizona -- Collin Woods, Scottsdale Horizon -- who is playing very well. A ton of teams are mentioned in connection with his recruitment -- among them, Utah State. Anthony Ray has the background here, a Rivals sub is required.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Where should the WAC be ranked?

We always associate the Big West Conference as a notch or two below the WAC. The recruits the Western Athletic Conference teams have access to and who they actually land seem better -- higher ranked -- than those aligned with BW squads.

Plus, we want to think that the WAC is equal to the Mountain West Conference.

But the numbers are betraying our belief system.

Chris Murray has the facts:

WAC's record against other leagues in country
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

Now that the WAC basketball non-conference slate has wrapped up, here is how the conference did against other leagues. This records come thanks to Jason Erickson, the WAC's director of media relations for basketball...
Go here for the remainder.

A brief Jordan Burris note

We thought it worthwhile to note that Nevada signee Jordan Burris scored 52 points in a recent overtime game against Notre Dame - Sherman Oaks.

Here's a link to the game.

Jordan Railey calls it

Jordan Railey, a 6-foot-9 high schooler out of Oregon, has cast his lot with Iowa State.

Evan Daniels has the report here -- Scout sub required.

In the story, Railey had official offers from Drake, Pacific and Portland State. It appears Pacific was his second choice.

Rivals has Utah State offering but our sense is that was from some time ago and one or both parties went in a different direction. Boise State also got a mention at some point way back when.

Wednesday WAC links

Jason Jones has the scoop on Louisiana Tech's win over Houston here. From the Bulldogs athletics site, is this writeup. From the Houston Press is this blog entry.


Travis Mason-Bushman has everything you might want to know -- including a Don Verlin video interview -- about Idaho's win over Lewis and Clark here.


In an impressive feat, Nick Jezierny caught the first half of Idaho's contest and then made it to Boise's game. Catch his comparison reports here.


Jared Eborn highlights a shout out for Tyler Newbold in his USU - Western Oregon game report here.

Shawn Harrison offers that a not-so-gentle reminder from Stew Morrill got the Aggie defense to appear in the second half here.

Tony Jones says it was rust and then diamonds for the Utah State in the victory last night here. Jones has a short Newbold feature here.


NOT TO MISS: Chris Murray, in a very full-length analysis, rolls the dice on each WAC team and provides his odds for each winning the WAC here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Your Tuesday night WAC game scores

Western Oregon, Lewis and Clark and Northwest Nazarene. No, we are not talking about geographical or historical reference points but Tuesday night WAC opponents.

That's why we have to lead with Louisiana Tech's 99-94 victory over Houston and in Texas. This one must have been great television. We wish we could take some credit because the very next game after we wondered about Magnum Rolle's points per game contribution this season, he scores 29 (13-15 shooting) and also grabs 10 rebounds. We're sure Kerry Rupp is fed-exing a consultant contract at this very moment to PTW but we caution he should first contact our agent's law office -- Dewey, Cheatum and Howe.

The Dogs shot 51% on the night and that enormously loud vacuuming sound you heard for about two hours earlier tonight was emanating Olu Ashaholu's hands -- he latched on to 21 boards in addition to 17 points. Oh yeah, Kyle Gibson ho-hummed another one with a measly 28 points.


Host Utah State nearly doubled the score -- 78 to 42 -- on the aforementioned Wolves of Western Oregon.


Boise State had no trouble with the incoming Crusaders of Northwest Nazarene of Nampa, Idaho, winning 76-58.


Idaho, obviously with no appreciation of history, sent Lewis and Clark packing, 71-52.


Now, on to the WAC slate finally so it can be determined -- on the court -- as to who are the contenders and who are the pretenders.

Your Tuesday WAC links and game reports

Sam Wasson has the details on New Mexico State's win over Prairie View here. Game photos can be found here.

Teddy Feinberg offers his game report here.


Bryant Jon-Anteola provides his account of the Fresno State victory over Colorado State here.


Chris Murray has the details here on Nevada's triumph over Portland is what appears to be a contest with some snippiness. He also has a collection of notes as well as an Olek Czyz update here.


A depleted Hawaii squad still got by Northwestern State. Brian McInnis has the details here. Dayton Morinaga here.


Here is a game report on San Jose State's win over UC Irvine.


Tai Wesley has received the latest WAC Player of the Week honor, per Jason Erickson, WAC Media relations:

Utah State’s Tai Wesley has been named the Verizon Wireless Western Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 21-27. The honor marks the first career WAC Player of the Week award for Wesley.

Wesley, a junior forward from Provo, Utah (Provo HS), helped the Aggies to three wins at the Basketball Travelers Invitational in Logan last week. Wesley was named the Most Valuable Player of the Invitational, leading Utah State to wins over Morehead State (79-72), Cal State Fullerton (83-60) and Weber State (85-73).

Against Morehead State, Wesley had 18 points, eight rebounds and three steals, as he was 6-of-8 from the field and 6-of-9 from the free throw line. In the win over Cal State Fullerton, Wesley scored 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, three assists and a season-high three blocks. Against Weber State, Wesley tallied 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and 7-of-9 shooting at the free throw line, to go along with eight rebounds and a season-high six assists.

Over his three games last week, Wesley averaged 16.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.7 blocks per game, while shooting 65.4 percent (17-of-26) from the field and 69.6 percent (16-of-23) from the free throw line.

Other nominees:

* Boise State senior forward Ike Okoye
* Fresno State sophomore guard/forward Paul George
* Hawai‘i junior guard Dwain Williams
* Idaho senior guard Mac Hopson
* Nevada sophomore forward Luke Babbitt
* New Mexico State junior guard Jahmar Young


We were waiting on this: would The Refraction-ers bother with an issue dedicated to Western Oregon, which sounds like a geographical area rather than a college (no denigration intended). But they came through here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Scores from tonight (Monday)

Hey, the WAC went undefeated tonight.

New Mexico State's run through the SWAC has concluded with another victory -- this one 95-76 over Prairie View. Wendell McKines again came close to a triple-double with 22 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. The score was just 43-40 in favor of the Aggies after the initial 20 minutes and then NMSU took off.


Fresno State took care of visiting Colorado State 73-50 behind Greg Smith's 18 points. The Rams were down by 23 at the half.


Host Nevada took care of Portland 78-69 on Luke Babbitt's team-leading 22 points.


San Jose State welcomed UC Irvine for a Monday night rematch and won 78-68. Adrian Oliver led the way with 29 points.

One more Nevada recruiting item

Evan Daniels/Scout is reporting today that (Scout sub required):

"...College coaches have been evaluating [Jordin] Mayes, and he’s claiming scholarship offers from a trio of schools – Arizona, Boston College and San Diego State. He also has interest from Oregon and Nevada..."
As always, recruiting is the most fluid of processes but our ample gut tells us Mayes won't be a Wolf Packer.

Lazeric Jones: "Nevada was in the mix..."

'What ifs' can inundate us in our daily lives(if we let them) as well as with the sports teams we follow. Ultimately, they make no difference but we still think one item in particular is worth noting. Recent UCLA commit Lazeric Jones, a junior college point, apparently came close to going with Nevada. What hurts is when is the last time the Bruins signed a community college basketball player, let alone desperately needed one to fill a glaring hole? Oh well.

"...Ultimately, Jones picked the Bruins over Nevada and Wisconsin, but his visit to Westwood - and his chance to meet the players - sealed the deal.

"Nevada was in the mix, Wisconsin, too, but this trip really pushed me over the top," Jones said. "I see how they've been with other players. They have a winning tradition, and that's great. I consider myself a winner, and I want to be a winner with them..."
Go here for the entire post by Jon Gold.

Monday WAC links and notes

Chris (The Man Who Never Sleeps) Murray is back with his weekly WAC rankings. Go here.


Travis Mason-Bushman is heading to Boise for the HBowl and a Vandal basketball game versus Lewis & Clark. Yes, Idaho is playing a team in the lair of the enemy. May the force be with him and that he has better security than Pope Benedict -- just kiddin' as we're sure a steak dinner (gratis) awaits him from Bronco major domo Kevan Lee.

By the way, does BSU have hostesses like the Tennessee dollies -- if so, tell 'em a sports journalist on the rise is coming to town and that they'll be able to say to their grandchildren they knew him way back when. We better conclude this now before we're in even more trouble than usual.


Jared Eborn offers an overview of Aggie basketball. Go here.


Hawaii wants to reduce its association with TOs -- not to be confused with a certain someone shuffled off to Buffalo -- plus get healthy. Dayton Morinaga has the details.

Brian McInnis paddles the same route.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chris Murray with some Nevada recruiting notes

Chris Murray has a couple of posts up worth noting.

Nevada is getting a visitor from North Carolina -- go here.


As expected, a junior college point from the Midwest loved UCLA and now can be officially crossed off the Wolf Pack wish list -- go here.

There but for...

Why Snyder? Why not me?

Jealousy runs amok and surely someone was thinking the thoughts above when Kirk Snyder landed a basketball scholarship with Nevada and then made in to the Big Show with a number of NBA teams.

But the same questions can also be asked involving Snyder's latest hurdle. It's not something someone chooses -- it just happens for no rhyme or reason, striking the large and the small, the rich and the poor.

May Kirk Snyder get and remain healthy.

Kirk Snyder: A life unraveled
After earning nearly $6.7 million as an NBA player, Snyder could face 18 years behind bars.
Ross Siler
The Salt Lake Tribune

Mason, Ohio - The alleged attack happened March 30 among the red brick and white columns of the Beacon Hill Townhomes, a development so new it's not easily found on maps of this town that bills itself as "Cincinnati's Top Suburb."

At 3:36 a.m., former Jazz first-round draft pick Kirk Snyder allegedly broke into the home of his neighbors, Bradley and Eugenia Roberts, and beat a sleeping Bradley with both his fists and an alarm clock, according to police reports.

The assault was as violent as it was brief. Snyder allegedly fled the home minutes later as Eugenia Roberts came to her husband's aid. Police quickly identified him and arrested him at gunpoint, then booked him into the Warren County Jail in bloodstained clothes.

"There's parts of the county that this is common," Warren County assistant prosecutor Matt Nolan said, "but in that subdivision, I can't remember another case coming out of it of this nature."

The same could almost be said about Synder's strange, sad tale. An impossibly gifted athlete, he was the No. 16 pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, taken ahead of players such as Josh Smith, J.R. Smith, Jameer Nelson, Kevin Martin, Anderson Varejao and Trevor Ariza . Snyder earned nearly $6.7 million in his career.

Go here for the remainder.

Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times also has a piece on Snyder.

A great story for these times

Here's a perfect story for this time of the, make that every day of the year. It's not WAC-related but that doesn't matter:

Special holiday story at DePaul and assistant coach Billy Garrett
Robert Sakamoto
December 25, 2009

Gather the kids around the fireplace, space heater or whatever brings you warmth and comfort during this holiday season, and listen to this tale of a good Samaritan named Billy Garrett.

Garrett, a DePaul assistant basketball coach, was battling the elements of last weekend's super storm trying to fly home from Baltimore-Washington International Airport after a recruiting trip when he spotted a blind woman and her 8-year-old daughter trying to navigate their way through a sea of human chaos. Flights were being canceled as quickly as the snow was falling on this whiteout of a Saturday morning, resulting in a collective angst among holiday travelers.

Garrett needed to be at the Allstate Arena for the Blue Demons' 1 p.m. game against Texas State.

Blocking out the surrounding bedlam, Garrett watched this woman struggle to reach the ticket counter.

Go here for the remainder.

Who is on the ALL WAC First Team to date?

This is probably our strangest post of the year -- yeah, yeah, the competition for such a title is fierce.

So, based on the non-conference games to date, who should be the five players constituting the All WAC First Team?

Granted, such a sentence makes zero sense but let's have some fun and proceed.

Here's our candidates:

* Kyle Gibson

* Jahmar Young

* Luke Babbitt

* Adrian Oliver

* Armon Johnson

* Jonathan Gibson

* Ike Okoye

* Mac Hopson

LA Tech's Kyle Gibson, at 21 points per game and 3.2 assists is a cinch. Any objection is a non-starter.

Jahmar Young - NMSU, 20.6 points per game, also has to be there. We can't find any justification for his non-inclusion.

Luke Babbitt of Nevada is our third choice. His current inarguable résumé: 19.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 52% shooting.

Nevada doubles up with Armon Johnson, currently posting 17.1 points per game, 4.9 assists a contest and 54% overall shooting. Gotta include him.

Probably our biggest surprise is Ike Okoye. His numbers: 14.1 points each time out, 56% shooting, 9 boards a game plus 2 blocks. He's been carrying BSU on the frontline.

Other candidates:

FSU's Paul George would be next with a bevy of impressive numbers: 17.4 points and 8.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.8 steals a match. All that is missing is a degree of assertiveness.

Adrian Oliver/SJSU with 19.9 pointsand 6.5 boards a contest. His shooting percentage needs to pick up.

New Mexico State Aggie Jonathan Gibson is scoring 18.8 points a game and shooting well across the board. Keep this up and add consistency -- he'll force some tough decisions.

Idaho's Mac Hopson at 13.0 points a game along with 4.5 assists. But his TOs have risen from last season and we also expected a higher shooting percentage with the addition of Steffan Johnson.

What's up with Utah State? Jared Quayle is doing fine with his assists and rebounding but his shooting has dropped so far thus season (37% overall). Tai Wesley still hasn't taken that next step up -- at least not yet.

Who did we miss? On who have we miscalculated? Have at it.

Sunday morning WAC links

Remove the 'h' and add an 'n' in 'whiner' and you have 'winner' but the definitions will never be that close. John Keith of the Las Cruces Bulletin connects this to the New Mexico State basketball teams, Coach Marvin Menzies and the Aggie fan-dom:

Whiners rampant
John Keith
Las Cruces Bulletin

More than a few Aggie men’s basketball fans are yelling for the undertaker.


It’s time, they believe, to hold the funeral.

New Mexico State is only 11 games into the schedule, but the doubters are convinced it’s over...
Go here for the remainder.


Jason Groves offers something in a similar vein:
Aggies hope history repeats itself under Menzies
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

Marvin Menzies' basketball team has improved throughout the course of his first two seasons at New Mexico State University.

During the 2008-09 season, the Aggies entered Western Athletic Conference play 6-7 last year and entered the conference tournament 9-7 in league play.

NMSU won four of six conference games to close the regular season, including a 62-60 road win at Nevada and an overtime win at home against Fresno State.

Unfortunately for the Aggies, they kept running into regular season and tournament champion Utah State...
Go here for the remainder.


Tai Wesley answers five questions here.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A look at the WAC teams and coaches

Collect the majority of message board postings on the various WAC teams and the negative consensus leans towards canceling league play because no squad deserves to go Big Dancin' in 2010.

But first, it's ride a number of the coaches out of town on splinter-filled rails.

The fan-coach continuum has been this: love, love, love -- little seeds of doubt -- followed by 'that was another solid win' -- then no, no, this can't be happening -- soon, a hellacious cry of WTF, accompanied with a furiously detailed, spittle-flecked litany of professional coaching inadequacies, soon followed by a plaintive 'why was this stiff hired in the first place?'

Let's queue up Linda Ronstandt with: "Everyone loves a winner, but when you lose, you lose alone..."

Sometimes it's the demeanor of a coach that detractors goes after, believing that fire and brimstone is the sole path to coaching righteousness. Other times, it's the so-called manner in which his team performs. Once in a while, it's not exactly discernible.

But what is often forgotten is that ADs pay zero attention to message board postings -- personnel changes are dictated by the whims of big money donors, period.

So lets take a look at which coach -- if any -- is fulfilling such a fan prophecy of failure?

Boise State

The WAC coaches picked the Broncos to finish seventh in the soon-to-be-here season. Coach Greg Graham's team is currently 8-4 (road losses to Montana, Wyoming, Illinois and a fall at home to San Diego -- the wins not against any particular powerhouses). Such a record is a firing offense? Is Graham truly responsible for Anthony Thomas' less-than-stellar senior season to date? For Westly Perryman's bum ankles? Wow. Let the conference season at least play out first.

Fresno State

It's not like Steve Cleveland has forgotten what it takes to be successful. Up to this season, it's been a battle with one hand tied behind his back due to miscues by previous coaches and players.

He had Reggie Moore, who would have been a WAC all star at the point had he followed through on his commitment, but the 'voices' were telling Moore he could land higher and he ultimately reneged on his written word.

What also hurt in this situation was Fresno State (naturally) cutting loose all other point recruiting targets after Moore's signature was obtained and then having to scramble. One player usually doesn't make a world of difference but Moore's case would have been the exception and the point is a critical linchpin.

Cleveland has landed solid talent in his last two classes but they need seasoning at this point. How can anyone rightly say dump Cleveland, bring in so-and-so and we'll certainly be better? The Dogs are 5-7 right now.


The former powers-that-be wished to go in the proverbial other direction -- Riley Wallace was sent packing -- but the geniuses also crushed any hopes of the new coach having an initial productive recruiting haul.

After what was a longer than truly necessary search for a new head coach, the spotlight turned on Bob Nash, a UH assistant and he became the hire.

As for the current go-around, injuries to Bill Amis (season-ending) and Roderick Flemings, have definitely hindered the success of the Rainbow Warriors.

Nash can be criticized for not bringing in the necessary high schoolers required to establish both a foundation and the continuity that feeds a program's success but the 2009-2010 nature of the beast -- he has to win a certain number of games this season, 17 we believe -- required that he grab some experienced junior college and other transfers -- thus, his most recent class.

Hawaii is seen as a paradise -- rightfully so -- by many visitors. It's different for high school recruits who can't pop home for Thanksgiving or Christmas and rarely get to play in front of family and friends. As for transfers, it's a second and probably last chance which makes it more conducive to convincing such talents -- who often have different priorities than the high schoolers -- to come in and play.

UH is currently 6-6, minus any signature wins and some not-so-gentle losses. The home schedule should allow a win over Northwestern State and the BracketBuster game is at home but 9 wins in the WAC are looking tough.

We're not convinced Hawaii's basketball program can be filled via traditional means -- generally mostly preps -- and doubt any new coach can achieve such a status. Can someone new do a better job via D-1 and junior college transfers? That's a much harder argument to best.


It's been a lovefest in Moscow between Coach Don Verlin and the Idaho faithful -- even if the road has gotten bumpier of late. The Vandals are 6-4 with a great win in Salt Lake City over Utah and another solid victory versus visiting Portland. But the 30-point loss in a rematch with Portland shivered some Vandal timbers. It was an out-of-sync Vandal squad -- in fact, it has been the last few games. Idaho does play Lewis & Clark (don't forget Sacajawea coming off the bench) in Boise before entering WAC play but that won't tell us much.

Mac Hopson and Steffan Johnson were supposed to dominate this season but Hopson's turnover rate is up and both can seemingly shoot a better percentage than they currently are doing. The talent is better than last season but the cohesion not as solid. Still, this is a team to fear as its upside potential remains strong.

This is also one team where, as best as we could locate, nobody has foolishly suggested a coaching change.

Louisiana Tech

Call LT the Belle of the WAC riding atop the league with an 11-2 record (road losses to New Mexico and Arizona). Granted, the opposition hasn't been the collective 11 Horseman of the Apocalypse but find a team that wouldn't want to trade for the current Bulldog record.

We're not seeing much quality depth, we don't understand Magnum Rolle at 11.8 points per game, plus DeAndre Brown's 57% at the foul line as the point causes concern. Also, Ola Ashaolu is at 48% on free throws so the ball must be kept out of their respective hands at the end of games.

On the plus side, Kyle Gibson is Kyle Gibson and on his way to being a WAC First Teamer and Ashaolu is second on the team in scoring and first in rebounding.

Like with Idaho, any Tech fan callings for a new coach are non-existent.


Amazingly, there haven't been any calls for Mark Fox's return. We use the description 'amazingly' because there always seems to be some who bask in the good ol' days and Coach David Carter 2009-2010 squad hasn't steamrolled the opposition (not that such should be the expectation this season).

Remember the baseball phrase of "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain"? For 7-5 Nevada, it's been pray that the starting five remain healthy because the bench is 'developing' shall we say. An early win versus Houston was promising and coming close in the score against BYU (110-104) was solid but it's evident that the starting quintet is going to have to average close to 30 minutes a game and Babbitt and Johnson even more. Ray Kraemer has surprised as a reserve with his long distance shooting but that's been pretty much it for consistency off the bench.

One concern: will the cumulative up-and-down the court mileage play a factor, especially come tourney time, with back-to-back games, but also late in the season?

New Mexico State

The Aggies are 6-6, having gained the efforts of Wendell McKines in the last two games.

Fans have been upset, expecting more in the season thus far, despite the absence of McKines and with Troy Gillenwater still on the sidelines.

Is the concern righteous?

Was the 87-80 NMSU win over UTEP in El Paso what should have been the level of play this season? Were the large point differential losses versus St. Mary's UCLA, plus falling twice to New Mexico, indicative of a coaching problem? Of all the games on the Aggie schedule, we expected a better showing -- actually a win -- against host Fullerton, plus losses with lesser point differentials against the Gaels and Bruins.

Ultimately, minus two players expected to be on the court for close to thirty minutes a night has simply been too much to overcome. Hamidu Rahman needs help up front and that has been absent, thereby allowing greater than usual defensive focus on Jahmar Young and Jonathan Gibson.

Yes, the charge can be made that Marvin Menzies recruited/re-recruited the guys who have been missing and therefore the responsibility rests on him. Ultimately it will. But what WAC team could lose the production of both McKines and Gillenwater types and remain competitive? The absence of the pair required shifts in responsibilities, a lessening of focus on playing to strengths because some personnel were asked to do what was often a stretch, and so on.

Let's see how the Aggies do from here on out in WAC competition. Plus, who knows, maybe Gillenwater will become eligible in January and then truly accurate judgments can be made.

San Jose State

The season began with making Washington sweat for a homecourt win, followed by a four-point loss that hurt to UC Riverside (but the Highlanders have yet to lose at home this season). Back in San Jose, Pacific was overtaken at the end and St. Mary's was down by 12 at the half until the Gaels exploded in the second 20 minutes. A road loss at San Francisco was a game that could have been won, one at UC Irvine was nabbed with a strong second half, a blowout at Northern Colorado close to inexplicable but followed by topping rival Santa Clara across town.

So it's 5-5 thus far with moments, stretches, even halves of absolute synchronicity but not yet full games.

Having two 'bigs' sidelined of late hasn't helped matters, leaving any set rotation impossible at this point.

The message boards have been full of the usual -- applause for wins, derision for losses. Idaho coming to town on January 4 will be a great test but it sure would be nice to have a full squad available for such an exam.

Utah State

There has certainly been no call for any coach replacement in the Land of Logan -- why would anyone pay attention anyway? Concern about the why of certain recruits -- yes but that is normal. Stew Morrill is staying as long as he wishes, period. The Aggies are 9-4.

The home win against BYU was a Rose feather in the Aggie cap, the one-point loss to Utah in Salt Lake City a heartbreaker, the five point home loss to St. Mary's a surprise to some that shouldn't have bewildered anyone -- but the 13-point loss to and in Long Beach was unexpected. However, Pooh Williams was hurt for a while, Nate Bendall was new to D-1 and probably most importantly, a set of newcomers needed to be broken in so as to hopefully be productive come the WAC schedule.


Yes, any coach who doesn't win 'enough' games will be let go -- such in inherent in the position, it goes unsaid. This is regardless of the yada, yada, yada spouted about positive graduation rates, players not filling up the local jail cells, etc.

Another 'truth' is that all of us WAC fans sincerely believe better recruits can be lured to the teams we support. This belief is simply false, however well-intentioned. A new coach does not automatically translate into more bountiful recruiting. The right coach makes it a possibility but nobody knows ahead of time despite assertions of certitude.

Okay, have at it.

The Sportz Bubble

Upon further thought, this is deserving of an individual post:

Kyle Whelliston is you and I. He is the WAC and so many more conferences. He is the underdog, the one representing the hoi polloi -- the vast majority -- who generally cannot (and usually won't if such is possible) buy, influence, leverage or especially bully favor.

He fronts the authentic -- not out of any sense of self-righteousness -- but because it is the right thing to do.

He has never been more supportable than he is now -- a true free agent giving to us and the sport he loves.

Call the above a bro-mance letter if necessary but his head and heart are in the right place, the thickness or thinness of his wallet will not dictate his actions and he is one of America's finest sports writers.

Kyle Whelliston
The Mid-Majority
December 22, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS -- What is the Sports Bubble? Can you see it? Would you recognize it if you could? Does it have a smell, touch, taste? Can its movements be tracked with GPS or radar? We know it exists, we know that. But is what dimension, on what plane of consciousness?

There is no sole point of focus, no single mastermind behind the Sports Bubble. There's no Doctor Drakken that built it in order to rule the world. There is no evil company that created it in an evil laboratory. The Sports Bubble did not exist 30 years ago, but it isn't ESPN.

The Bubble has no birthday. It was born out of a disparate series of moments and factors, all having to do with finance and greed. Free agency, scarcity of appropriate human resources, television, apparel sponsorships and luxury suites are the reasons why, but they're all neither ends nor means. Sports like basketball were humble performance-based entertainments once, like movies or the circus. Then, all of a sudden, there was a lot of money...

Go here for the remainder.

Saturday WAC news and notes

Belly distended -- well, more than usual to be honest and probably an overshare -- we return with a post-Christmas version of PTW.

Hawaii fell to St. Mary's 84-5 -- a UH team minus Roderick Flemings who is ailing:

Williams' 36 not enough
The guard's effort is wasted as the Rainbow Warriors fall to Saint Mary's in the Diamond Head Classic third-place game
Brian McInnis
Honolulu Star Bulletin
December 26, 2009

Dwain Williams was the gift who kept on giving.

Unfortunately for the Rainbow Warriors, the unwrapping of Williams on Christmas wasn't enough to get past Saint Mary's, as the Gaels took third place in the inaugural Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic with an 84-75 win at the Stan Sheriff Center.

An ESPN2 audience and crowd of 2,538 watched as the transfer guard from Providence went for a career-high 36 points in vain. Thanks mostly to Omar Samhan's 24 points and a team effort of 29-for-31 at the free-throw line, the Gaels (11-2) had an answer every time the Rainbows (6-6) crept within single digits in the final 10 minutes...
Go here for the remainder.

Dayton Morinaga provides his game report:
UH falls to Saint Mary's
With Flemings out, Williams scores 36 points in 84-75 loss
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
December 26, 2009

A Christmas tree might still look good without a star on it, but it's just not complete.

The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team was sort of like that yesterday in an 84-75 loss to Saint Mary's in the third-place game of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

A Christmas afternoon crowd of 2,538 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the Rainbow Warriors drop to 6-6, including a 1-2 record and fourth-place finish in the eight-team Diamond Head Classic.

The 'Bows played without star forward Roderick Flemings, who was not in uniform due to a knee injury he suffered in Hawai'i's previous game on Wednesday...
Go here for the remainder.


Tony Jones offers two blog posts: one about USU's team identity and the second about Brian Green


Teddy Feinberg features Jahmar Young in an extensive article.


Just for fun and enjoyment: Kyle Whelliston tells us in the manner only he can about his Christmas Eve. You won't find a heckuva lot about basketball in it but the compelling writing and observations make it worthwhile. He also writes about the Sports Bubble -- don't mistake him for the Bubble Boy -- here, another must-read.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dick Vitale, Herb Pope, Drew Gordon and more

This probably comes off as "Grinchy" around this time of the year but it's a professional and not a personal criticism and we agree completely:

At the Rush The Court site, Zach Hayes, RTC Bracketologist-in-Residence, has this holiday wish:

"This one might cause some controversy, but I’d ask Santa for some duct tape for Dick Vitale. Watching the Texas-UNC game on Saturday sent me over the edge. His shameless self-promotion and constant hyperbole is incredibly irritating and the man fails to make one cogent basketball point from an analytical perspective the entire telecast. His quirks and habits get extremely tiresome by December. While others like Bill Raftery have their fun, they bring to the broadcast a true sense of the intricacies of basketball to further my understanding of the sport. Jay Bilas is constantly providing enlightening analysis and former coaches like Bob Knight and Steve Lavin are tremendous. Yet ESPN keeps giving us Dick Vitale in the biggest games so he can yell things like “I’ll tell you, Ed Davis has talent!” and “go onto for my freshman of the year, coach of the year, fans of the year…” It’s enough. Santa, send me some duct tape so I never have to hear that old man screaming again."

Here's some tough words from Herb Pope on he and his team:
Seton Hall F Herb Pope's tough words after Temple loss could be just what Pirates need
Brendan Prunty
The Star-Ledger
December 20, 2009

Star-Ledger college basketball writer Brendan Prunty has all of the answers about Seton Hall's 71-65 loss Saturday night, including why what Herb Pope said afterwards is the best thing that could happen to this team:

1. We heard Herb Pope had some strong words after the game -- a sign of dissent on this team?

Absolutely not — and if anything, it's the best thing that could happen to this team after a tough loss like this. Coming into Saturday night, everyone — from players, to coaches, to pundits, to fans — wanted to know if Seton Hall was for real. They had compiled an 8-0 record, but the only win to hang their hats on was at Cornell. This game against Temple was for legitimacy and it didn't go their way. So when Herb Pope told me that the loss "definitely shows that we're a fraud right now," I thought it was the best thing for this team at a moment like this. This Seton Hall team as a load of talent, skill and ability but Saturday night was a wake-up call for them that those three things won't always win you games. I think Pope's sentiment puts a chip on this team's shoulder going forward because now they know what people are thinking of them. Teams that have something to prove are usually the most dangerous...


Herb Pope (13 pts., 11 reb., 4 ast., 4 stl.): Still notched his seventh double-double of the night, but that wasn't the best thing. Pope's ability to keep 50-50 balls alive long enough helped keep his team in this game until the late minutes...

It's a home away from home holiday for two Wolf Packers as Chris Murray details.


This is intriguing -- in a December 22 game report about the San Diego State win over Drake, this is included:

"...SDSU is off until Dec. 29 when the Aztecs play host to UC Riverside on a night that UCLA transfer Drew Gordon will be attending the game as part of his tour of possible schools he will pick to continue his career..."

We reiterate that we have been told that the Chancellor of the California state and university system has said there will be no mid-years transfers in 2009-2010.

Now someone did respond to this saying his wife works in the system and this decree will not apply for athletes.

We've also been told that a coach at one of the California institutions will more than likely challenge such a ruling by signing someone.

So where does this stand? Your guess is as good as ours.

We still believe Gordon will be a UNLV Rebel when all is typed, pontificated and finally decided but expect him to be leaving Las Vegas prior to his senior season.

Today's game reports from last night's contests

Teddy Feinberg leads us off with the story on New Mexico State's victory over a persistent Texas Southern squad.

Sam Wasson also has a game report plus photos.


The Fresno Bee has the details on the Bulldogs loss at Oregon State. Brooks Hatch/Corvallis Gazette-Times checks in with his view on the game. Lindsay Schnell/The Oregonian does the same.


In Sin City or at Nevada Southern as some prefer and via Chris Murray, the Wolf Pack sent the tarnished Golden Hurricane back on to the Long Black Road into Tulsa Town (25 extra points if anyone gets this obscure musical reference). Murray also has a ton of notes here.


It was Portland by 30 over Idaho -- Travis Mason-Bushman has the scoop. Jim Beseda/The Oregonian has the other game perspective.


Boise State almost got caught by Montana State at the end but prevailed, as Nick Jezierny reports.


Randy Rahe's return to Logan was spoiled by Tai Wesley according to Jared Eborn.

For Nate was the theme of the night per Shawn Harrison.

Tony Jones says it was a big night for Modou. More Modou love from Tony Jones is here. Back to Nate, Tony Jones provides a feature on the player who is filling the shoes of Gary Wilkinson.

We're tardy with the latest issue of The Refraction which is indefensible, especially considering Festivus receives major play in the edition.


UNLV put the hurt on Hawaii, per Brian McInnis. Per, Dayton Morinaga, it was a pounding.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Game results tonight

In Las Vegas, Nevada obliterated Tulsa 99-68 after leading 48-30 at the half. The Wolf Pack shot 56% for the game and 50% on 18 trey attempts. Luke Babbitt earned a 24/11 double-double plus Armon Johnson and Brandon Fields each contributed 17 points. The latter scored 13 in the first 20 minutes. Tulsa shot 36% -- the Hurricane came in with a 9-2 record but primarily against creampuffs.


Fresno State went looking for some PAC-10 respect in Corvallis but eventually fell 73-65 to Oregon State. Paul George topped the Bulldogs with 15 points. Calvin Haynes, entering the game with a 10 points per game average, totaled 25, including 5-6 on three-point attempts. The assorted numbers for both teams were relatively even.


Boise State led Montana State 41-27 at the half (based on a 24-2 run), the Bobcats went on a scoring skein of their own and actually took a small lead but the Broncos held on to win 58-56. Kurt Cunningham paced Greg Graham's squad with 14 points.


New Mexico State hosted Texas Southern in its march through the SWAC but this contest was much closer than expected as the Aggies won 79-75. Jahmar Young totaled 26 points (6-6 on three-pointers), closely followed by Jonathan Gibson's 24. Wendell McKines posted this line: 18 points, 11 boards and six assists.


San Jose State traveled the two miles to rival Santa Clara and it was a close one most of the way. Adrian Oliver led the Spartans with 24 points, including four free throws in the last minute and SJSU won 74-67.


Weber State came to The Spectrum and got a dose of true Aggie basketball. The Wildcats were down 46-29 at the half but Randy Rahe's team closed it to 52-41 with 14:55 left. USU edged forward to a 69-48 margin by the 8:55 mark. The final: Utah State 85, Weber State 73.

Two more items

Chris Murray is back with a look at Armon Johnson and the NBA:

Is Armon Johnson the Pack's top NBA prospect?
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

With his good start to the season, Nevada's Armon Johnson is getting more and more NBA draft buzz. In the Pack's latest game, Johnson scored 30 points on 13-of-21 shooting and dished out five assists against BYU, playing in front of at least 15 NBA scouts. The game also highlighted some of his weaknesses, notably five turnovers (he's averaging 3.9 per game). Johnson is no doubt raw as a point guard prospect, but he has the size and athleticism NBA teams want...
Go here for the remainder.


Anthony Ray at the Rivals Arizona Preps site, has a feature on 6-foot-6 Carrick Felix, a former Grand Canyon state prepster, now at the College of Southern Idaho:
"...Now as a red-shirt freshman for CSI, college coaches are currently knocking down the door for Felix, as he is currently being recruited hard by such programs as Duke, Washington, USC, Nebraska, Utah State, Eastern Kentucky, Long Beach State, Northern Arizona, Pepperdine, Saint Mary's, San Francisco, Tulsa, Wyoming and many others.

Felix advised us that he is in no hurry to rush to a college decision, but that he would like to play at the highest level next season in the division-I ranks..."
Go here for the complete article if you have a Rivals sub.

What this also brings up is the sometimes fine line between being on a high major team and playing some or going with a mid major program and being a starter. It's hard to see this young man at either Duke or Washington -- the same goes for Eastern Kentucky or Northern Arizona.

Game reports from last night's contests

Chris Murray leads us off with his game report on the Wolf Pack falling short against BYU.


Travis Mason-Bushman offers his take on Idaho's surprising fall to Portland. This TM-B tweet says it all: "If there was something positive to report, I'd gladly report it. I've looked at the box score — there isn't."


Utah State dispatched Cal State Fullerton with ease. For game reporst, here is Jared Eborn's, Shawn Harrison's and Tony Jones'. Jones also reports that Nate Bendall will not be available for the game against Weber State.

Anyone know why Bryce Webster never played for USU? Jared Eborn has some background here.


Hawaii got the better of College of Charleston per Dayton Morinaga and will now face Hip Hop U, er, Salsa Tango State, no make that UNLV, next. Brian McInnis provides his report plus those on the other games in the Diamond Head Classic Tournament.


Louisiana Tech bopped Texas Pan-American, adding to the Bulldogs' fine record. Here's the game report from the LA TECH athletics site.


Jason Groves goes inside with Wendell McKines in this article.


Here is Sam Wasson with his weekly Marvin Menzies interview.


This goes way beyond the residual partisanship of fan-dom -- anyone who doesn't feel empathy for Kirk Snyder is a "Wizard of Oz" Tin Man --is lacking any sort of a heart. Chris Murray provides an overview of Kirk Snyder's decline and fall.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday night links and notes

Nevada almost went point-for-point with BYU earlier today in what must have been a great game to watch, but fell 110-104.

Chris Murray has the details. He has a bushel full of notes here.

Dario Hunt is quoted in the game article and made our night, producing a good laugh in the PTW household: “We just didn’t nut up and play ‘D’ tonight.”


Travis Mason-Bushman is tweeting/twittering (whatever the correct verb is) that Idaho is falling to Portland. It's 60-42 at the under 8 minute TO. He also is informing Vandal fans that Marcus Lawrence in on the sidelines for one of those team rules getting in the way. Access his Twitter account here.


Utah State is rolling over Cal State Fullerton -- 61-42 at this point.


Louisiana Tech had no trouble with Texas Pan-American, 81-60.


Some issues require a note from your mother, er, make that your therapist, before reading them (especially if you are among the 'stars' featured) but it's always worthy to announce a new issue -- on Cal State Fullerton -- of The Refraction is available here. Will USU forsaker Bryce Webster have an intact psyche after tonight?


Scott Ficklin ranks the WAC teams here.

Get your last night game links here

New Mexico State celebrated the return of Wendell McKines by rolling Alcorn State.

Sam Wasson leads off the coverage. He also provides some nice photos of the contest.

Jason Groves offers his game report. He also wrote a blog entry on the return of Big Wen.


The Big O led Boise's charge over Portland State.


Jared Eborn reports that Tai Wesley emreged last night to lead USU over Morehead State.

Shawn Harrison calls the Aggie win a grinder.

Tony Jones says Utah State returned to form.


Here's a Fresno Bee report on the Bulldogs fall to Montana as the Bulldgo offense ran out of gas.


A school record 18 treys did the job for Northern Colorado over San Jose State.


Chris Murray previews Nevada's upcoming games.


Dayton Morinaga reports that Hawaii will do the Charleston tonight.

Bobby Cremins brings his three-point shooting squad to Honolulu -- so says Brian McInnis.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tonight's WAC scores

New Mexico State topped Alcorn State 97-72 with a 'new' player -- check out the line for Wendall McKines: eight points, eight boards, six assists in the route. Jahmar Young scored 26 points and Jonathan Gibson 22 as the Aggies continue their march through the SWAC.


Utah State got by visiting Morehead State 79-72. Tai Wesley and Nate Bendall each scored 18 points and Tyler Newbold contributed 15. MH got within three at game's end but couldn't cut the lead further.


Boise State hosted Portland State and notched a 69-62 win with Ike Okoye's 20/11 double/double paving the way. The Broncos held PS to 33% shooting.


It was the host Grizzlies over the Bulldogs 59-56 -- this despite Paul George's double-double of 28 points and 10 boards. Nobody on Montana scored more than 11.

It was tied at 28 at the half, Fresno State went up by 10 at the 11:46 mark of the second half but Montana reversed the momentum and closed out Steve Cleveland's squad.

The Bulldogs shot 38% overall to Montana's 48%.


It's rare but sometimes the opening play in a game is a telltale sign. Host Northern Colorado began the match against San Jose State with a quick trey and such was a omen of things to come.

The contest remained close through the half but then the Bears exploded in the second half, finishing with a 93-69 victory

At the half, it was 38-33 in favor of Northern Colorado. C.J. Webster has 11 points and Adrian Oliver 10 after the first 20 minutes. Both teams shot 44% but the Bears shot 7-19 from three-point range.

UNC did jump out to that very early 3-0 lead but the Spartans then went on a 9-0 run. Northern Colorado went on an 8-0 run of its own to take back the lead at 17-15. SJSU tied it at 24 but the Bears grabbed the lead back and held on to it through the first half.

Things fell apart in the second half.

Northern Colorado jumped ahead 48-37 at the 15:48 mark. A Webster basket made it 55-45 and Oliver reduced the deficit to eight at 55-47 but the Bears went 7-9 on the second half shots, 3-4 on treys and it was 61-47 at the 11:30 mark. The Spartan deficit went to 20 with 5:40 remaining.

UNC went 18-37 on three-point shots for the night, making more baskets from long distance than they did inside the line (15). Backcourters Will Figures and Devon Beitzel each scored 24, going 6-11 and 6-8 respectively from long distance.

San Jose State shot 43% overall, 23-25 at the foul line and 4-10 on treys. Adrian Oliver led with 26 points.

Northern Colorado shot 53% overall, 9-12 from the charity stripe and the aforementioned 18-37 from long range.

A trio more links -- some important news

Here is Chris Murray's weekly WAC and national basketball report.

Tony Jones/Aggieville has the scoop on Nate Bendall's surgery.

With a tip o' the hat to Travis Mason Bushman/Vandal Nation, here is KW (we're doing something that was well deserved a long time ago -- assigning initials to you-know-who) doing some honest work for a night.

Big Wen is back

Coach Marvin Menzies just received an early Christmas present -- he must have been very, very good this year.

Jason Groves/Las Cruces Sun News has the scoop.

Here is Jason Groves' blog which has multiple entries on the subject.

Adrian Oliver WAC POW

Per an announcement by Jason Erickson, the WAC Director of Media Relations, SJSU's Adrian Oliver is the WAC Player of the Week:

San Jose State's Adrian Oliver has been named the Verizon Wireless Western Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 14-20. The honor marks the first career WAC Player of the Week award for Oliver.

Oliver, a junior guard from Modesto, CA helped the Spartans to a 69-58 win at UC Irvine. Oliver became just the second player in SJSU history to score 30 or more points in back-to-back games as he scored 31 points in the win at UC Irvine.

Oliver had one of his best shooting nights of the season, making 10-of-19 shots from the field, including a season-high 3-of-6 from beyond the arc as SJSU became the first team this season to beat the Anteaters at home. Oliver also connected on 8-of-10 attempts at the free throw line. He tallied eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in the win.

Other nominees:

* Boise State junior forward Daequon Montreal
* Fresno State sophomore guard Mike Ladd
* Louisiana Tech senior forward/center Magnum Rolle
* Nevada sophomore forward Luke Babbitt
* New Mexico State junior guard Jahmar Young
* Utah State junior forward Tai Wesley

It's WAC Monday and the links are plenty

Thanks to Rimrocker26 for posting this link at the Nevada Silver and Blue message board. It's NBA takes on Armon Johnson and Luke Babbitt:



One question we have about Johnson (and don't know the answer): is he big enough to play shooting guard at the next level as playing the point doesn't appear to be his most proficient strength?


Hide the wimmen and corral the horses -- the latest issue of The Refraction has been pixelated and Morehead State gets the business.


Jason Groves offers a feature on the backcourt trio for New Mexico State

NMSU guards turning things around
Aggies play host to Alcorn State
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

In recent games, New Mexico State's guards have shown a glimmer of the promise that was hoped for entering the season.

Jahmar Young averaged 25.5 points in wins over UTEP and Pepperdine last week. Jonathan Gibson scored 24 against Pepperdine on 10-of-14 shooting. Hernst Laroche and Gordo Castillo combined for 25 points against UTEP.

"A lot of credit has to go to JY, Gib, Gordo and Hernst," Aggies coach Marvin Menzies said. "They have started to click and give us high percentage shots. It's a situation when the other team is making a run, they are hitting high percentage shots that we need to stop a run. Our better players have to be the one to make a play and that core of guards has been playing well together..."
Go here for the remainder.


Junior college transfer Wes Perryman may or may not be available to Coach Greg Graham for the remainder of the season. Bone spurs are bothering him and he'll decide soon whether or not to have surgery in the near future which, if it happens, would sideline him for WAC play.
Boise State hoops: Perryman’s season close to being over
He is set to have surgery on his ankles in January, but he will likely play Monday.
Nick Jezierny
Idaho Statesman

Wes Perryman has been making strides in his first season with the Boise State men’s basketball team.

That season, though, is just about over for the junior college transfer unless he has a change of heart about having surgery to remove bone spurs from both of his ankles.

Perryman has scheduled surgery for Jan. 7, and he will be eligible for a medical redshirt if he plays in less than 30 percent of Boise State’s games...
Go here for the remainder.


Yowza! Jared Eborn starts out his latest piece on Aggie basketball with a sentence not usually connected with USU hoops:
Aggies try to put pre-WAC struggles behind them
Jared Eborn
Deseret News
December 20, 2009

Something is wrong with Utah State hoops.

The Aggies, with four starters back and a team expected by most to win the Western Athletic Conference, are teetering on the edge of mediocrity — and not just according to its 6-4 record.

Utah State, a team that has led the nation in field goal shooting in both of the last two seasons and has won 23-games per year for more than a decade, is struggling.

And after an 'embarrassing' loss at Long Beach State on Friday, USU coach Stew Morrill colorfully described his mood when he gathered with the team Sunday to go over film..."
Go here for the remainder.


When Stew isn't happy, you will know it:
Morrill upset on eve of tourney
Shawn Harrison
Herald Journal
December 21, 2009

Two days after suffering a disappointing loss at Long Beach State, the Aggie head coach was still fuming.

When Utah State takes the court tonight in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in the second game of the Basketball Travelers Invitational, sponsored by Gossner Foods, it will be looking for some redemption. In a conference call Sunday afternoon to discuss the upcoming three days of basketball hosted by the Aggies, USU head coach Stew Morrill spent a good portion of the time being upset with his team. He felt the 75-62 setback to the 49ers last Friday night was “embarrassing.”

“There were no words spared today in terms of that performance,” Morrill said. “I don’t know how we will respond, but at least they understand how I feel...”
Go here for the remainder.

There's little question -- no, make that no question, that the Aggies will beat Moorhead State but how they will do it is more important.


Mark Campbell definitely has a remaining allegiance to Hawaii, this despite now being on the staff at St. Mary's and there being no doubt who he will be rooting for if these two teams match up in the Diamond Head Classic.

Campbell was instrumental in getting Riley Luettgerodt to head to the islands after the LMan's community college days in Oregon. We believe he was also involved in Brian Freeman considering UH before the big man chose Long Beach State -- a slower-than-molasses head coaching decision helped foil that possibility.

Brian McInnis has the story on Campbell's return to Hawaii:
Campbell lending Gaels a hand
Brian McInnis
Honolulu Star Bulletin
Dec 21, 2009

Hawaii assistant coach Eran Ganot put it best.

"So what's the story here? 'The prodigal son returns?' "

Pretty much.

Former Rainbow Warriors point guard Mark Campbell arrived back in Hawaii last night for the first time since his playing days ended nearly seven years ago, when he guided the Rainbows to 46 wins over UH's last NCAA Tournament year of 2001-02 and the NIT season of 2002-03...
Go here for the remainder.


Dayton Morinaga has the details on host Hawaii's tourney:
Eight teams welcome national exposure
Inaugural tourney to showcase talent from East to West
Dayton Morinaga
Honolulu Advertiser
December 21, 2009

There can only be one first time.

The eight teams in the inaugural Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic realize the significance of the three-day tournament, which starts tomorrow at the Stan Sheriff Center.

"This is the first one," University of Hawai'i senior forward Adhar Mayen said. "You win this one, your name is at the top of that list of champions forever."

The Rainbow Warriors will serve as the host team, but ESPN Regional Television will operate the tournament. As such, 10 of the 12 games will be televised on either ESPNU or ESPN2...
Go here for the remainder.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Your Sunday game reports on last night's contests

Fresno State's new-ish point led the way for the Bulldogs in what also was a Block- athon. Count 13 rejections of North Dakota State shooting efforts.

Shepp orchestrates Bulldogs' 68-54 win
Bryant-Jon Anteola
The Fresno Bee
December 19, 2009

At its best, the Fresno State men's basketball team causes turnovers and scores on the fast break.

But for the Bulldogs to be in such a position, they need both good defense and ball handling -- two elements that have been hit and miss so far this season.

Behind an effective and recently implemented 2-3 zone defense and the uptempo push of point guard Steven Shepp, Fresno State got enough of both elements Saturday night for a 68-54 nonconference victory against North Dakota State at the Save Mart Center...
Go here for the remainder.

But what seems of concern is the 41% shooting for Fresno State although a major portion of that figure is attributable to a pair of players.


Chris Murray has the game report on Nevada's win versus Wagner:
Nevada gets win over Wagner
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal
December 20, 2009

Maybe it was a sign of things to come when Nevada's Dario Hunt failed to jump for the opening tip-off of the Wolf Pack's game against Wagner.

While Nevada didn't play its sharpest game of the season, the Wolf Pack still notched a 74-61 victory over Wagner on Saturday night in front of 4,692 fans at Lawlor Events Center...
Go here for the remainder.

Chris Murray also provides information here of the Wolf Pack interest in a Marquette transfer.


Nick Jezierny pulls no punches with his opening about Boise State's stroll past Houston Baptist:
Boise State men's basketball team routs Houston Baptist
Boise State spreads the wealth in a rout of a Division I foe that didn't offer much resistance.
Nick Jezierny
Idaho Statesman

It's trivia time - the letters HBU that were on the uniforms of Boise State's men's basketball opponent Saturday were an acronym for:

a) Horrible Basketball Unlimited

b) Hurry Beat Us

c) Hey Bet (the) Under

d) Houston Baptist University

And, no, there is no all-of-the-above option, even if it seems like an obvious choice.

The answer: D, as in dominated in a 96-59 win by the Broncos.

Boise State led from start to finish against an overmatched Division I squad that more than 10 minutes into the game had more airballs (six) than points (four)...
Go here for the remainder.


From the LA Tech athletics site, comes this game report of the Bulldogs win over McNeese State.


Brian McInnis/Honolulu Star Bulletin offers an in-depth feature on UH backcourter Hiram Thompson. We offer a big thank you for him taking us 'inside' and hope Thompson stays healthy and productive this season. He is the Rainbow Warrior guard who has received the least amount of ink but deserves the most so far in 2009-2010.


Shawn Harrison/Herald Journal has the reaction to Utah State's loss in Long Beach here.


Travis Mason-Bushman provides his 1-9 WAC Power Rankings here. There ain't a whole lotta luv here but this is ardor that must be earned and each of the WAC teams have come up short far too often so far this season.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday night scores

It was a veritable "Murderer's Row" of opponents facing WAC teams tonight:

Host Louisiana Tech encountered no trouble in defeating McNeese State 79-58. The Bulldgos led 44-23 at the half. Kyle Gibson paved the way with 19points while Magnum Rolle posted a double-double of 14 points and 17 boards.


Boise State wailed on the visiting Baptists of Houston 96-59 -- this after leading 47-21 when the initial 20 minutes concluded. Daequon Montreal posted his very first double-double consisting of 16 points and 12 rebounds.


Fresno State welcomed North Dakota State and triumphed 68-54. Mike Ladd with 15 points, Sylvester Seay added 14 and Paul George contributed 13.


Nevada also won, besting Wagner 74-61 in the Biggest Little City In The World. Luke Babbitt paced the Wolf Pack with 17 points as Coach David Carter's squad shot 54% on the night.

A New York Times feature on Herb Pope

Here is a New York Times feature on Herb Pope that fills in a few more of the blanks:

Seton Hall’s Pope Keeps His Distance From His Past
Dave Caldwell
New York Times
December 19, 2009

Two or three times a week, Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis gets a phone call from Herb Pope, another exceptional athlete from Aliquippa, Pa. Revis and Pope talk about life, about sports, about being far away from home. Being far away, they agree, is a good thing.

Aliquippa is a hardscrabble town in western Pennsylvania that provided Pope with few breaks. He was shot four times at a party in his senior year. His parents abandoned him as a youngster, so he grew up with his aunt and uncle. His father, a crack addict, is back in prison.

Two years ago, Pope decided to play basketball at New Mexico State — in part because it was so far from Aliquippa — but he left after one year because the coach, the former N.B.A. star Reggie Theus, had been hired before the season as the coach of the Sacramento Kings. During winter break that year, Pope was arrested in Pennsylvania for driving under the influence of alcohol.

But now, finally, Pope seems to have found a comfortable home 380 miles east of Aliquippa. He is a student at Seton Hall and has quickly, though not surprisingly, emerged as a star forward for the Pirates, who are 8-0 entering Saturday’s nonconference game in Newark against Temple.

He is averaging 14.6 points and 12.8 rebounds a game and has six double-doubles. He is proud of compiling statistics that measure toughness: blocked shots, rebounds, steals. But two statistics that have nothing to do with basketball seem to mean the most to him: He says he has not been to Aliquippa for almost five months, and when he did visit, he was there for 16 hours...
Go here for the remainder.

Scottie Wilbekin of interest to Nevada

He's a 2011 player but point Scottie Wilbekin has already drawn Nevada's interest.

Scout's Evan Daniels is reporting that the Wilbekin has offers from Nevada and Liberty with interest from others at a higher level.

Here's an earlier article on the young man:

Scottie Wilbekin’s Hard Work Is Paying Off
Ryan Pannone Basketball Analyst
November 12, 2009

In Florida’s Class of 2011 there is an abundance of quality point guards. One of the best is 6’1 ½ Scott Wilbekin, from Gainesville,The Rock School. His profile among college coaches has increased due to his summer play with Nike Team Florida. Wilbekin was one of two members of the rising junior class to play up in age, and he more than proved he could play at that level.

“He played point guard all summer and was challenged by some very good competition”, says his dad and former high school coach, Svend Wilbekin. “From the Peach Jam on to Vegas, he was at the helm as Nike Team Florida made their run that finished with two titles at the end of July. Regardless of the type of point guard he was matched up against, Scott stayed focused and made sure to get every one involved, as well be an extension of the coach while on the floor.”

Wilbekin was named the MVP of the Desert Dual in Phoenix at the end of July. In the title game, he scored 18 points, controlled the game, and made big plays down the stretch...
Go here for the remainder.

Here is more on Wilbekin.