Saturday, July 31, 2010

Looking at Moscow's Vandals

No, there aren't eight million stories in the WAC basketball cities (you might need to be of Social Security age to understand that reference) but certainly plenty of interesting ones. Determining a favorite or favorites will be colored by fan allegiance but here's a story line that everybody should find worthy of following: the 2010-2011 Idaho Vandals have less overall talent than last season but will a higher finish be secured through more cohesive team play? Or, with more flourish, will a Famous Potatoes-sized version of "Hoosiers" happen?

We're not sure what all went down last season (Coach Don Verlin and his staff may have similar feelings), therefore the why of 15-16 overall, 6-10 in conference play records are unexplainable by PTW.

We do know this: the WAC coaches predicted a fourth place finish for the Vandals last pre-season and Idaho ended up tied for sixth. There were some big wins and some inexplicable losses.

Now, starters Mac Hopson, Marvin Jefferson, Steffan Johnson, Luciano de Souza and Kashif Watson have all moved on, leaving a number of question marks returning and a handful of unproven newbies coming aboard.

But it would be inaccurate to give the impression that Verlin's squad is lacking in potential -- it isn't. The situation is more one of proven producers having departed and returnees and newcomers needing to step in and step up.

However, sometimes in sports and elsewhere, the sum can thankfully turn out to be greater than the parts.

So who will be taking the court in Moscow?


Djim Bandoumel
, 6-foot-8 210,  junior, Monroe JC, NY

He should be the top run-and-jump athlete in the Vandal frontcourt and the expectation is that he'll provide rebounding and a defensive presence -- though not a lot of points

Kyle Barone, 6-foot-10 220, sophomore

Barone is the best point producer of the big bigs. Additional weight and bulk will only increase his productivity which included shooting 60% as a redshirt freshman. The big question: can he defend?

Joe Kammerer,  6-foot-9 240, redshirt freshman

He is more of the paint prototype but little is known about him. Kammerer possesses the necessary physical aspects for inside play in the WAC but his basketball skills are playing catchup -- hence last season on the sideline.

Renado Parker, 6-foot-6 240, junior, North Idaho JC

It's going to be between Barone and Parker for the leading scorer spot on the squad -- the latter will be the bull in the paint. But how well Parker can defend his more-than-likely taller opponent will also be what to watch.

Luiz Toledo, 6-foot-8 225, junior

He lacks a lot in the category of ball skills but he's athletic, strong and can score inside (shooting 64% on the season).

Brandon Wiley, 6-foot--6 218, senior

He was the ultimate glue guy the season before last, contributing in so many categories while accepting his role as the fifth option offensively (which means not being one). His selflessness was too often missing in 2009-2010. He'll either be back in the starting lineup or playing significant minutes in the same role come 2010-2011.


Who emerges in the back court is really anyone's guess at this point but there are plenty of candidates.

Idell Bell, 6-foot-2 180, North Idaho JC

His community coach called him an "intense competitor" and he scored over 20 points per game as a JUCO freshman in Florida (45% overall from the floor, 44% from beyond the arc and 72 3-pointers made. He originally signed with Florida Southern out of high school. Bell is the likeliest candidate for the starting role at shooting guard.

Travis Blackstock, 6-5 206, senior

A walk-on who won't see much playing time

Matt Borton, 6-foot-5 175, West Valley HS, WA

Fundamentally sound, his knowledge and display of what to do and when is exceptional. Our sense is he is more of a system player (relaying on screens and creation by others) than someone who is going to be successful hammering his opponent one-on-one. It may take some time but we envision Borton as a very solid WAC player.

Deremy Geiger, 5-foot-11 (on his 'lengthy' days) 165, Grayson County JC, TX

He's very quick and a solid shooter (44% overall, 44% on treys with 157 attempts in 31 games) -- the key for his success will be his defensive effectiveness and creating/passing proclivities. At Grayson, his squad was last in points per game average but also tops in points allowed per contest so he scored well in a limited offensive scheme and participated in a strong defensive effort. Geiger was North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference most valuable player last season.

Shawn Henderson, 6-foot-3 180, senior

He enjoyed his moments of effectiveness last season but he doesn't shoot all that well for a backcourter -- 40% overall, 0-3 from long range and just 20-34 at the foul line. Those numbers may improve if he can garner more consistent playing time. The opportunity is there but lots of competition.

Jeff Ledbetter, 6-3 195, senior

He catches and shoots from long distance (he shot better from long distance than overall, plus 68 of his 89 shots on the season were trey attempts, only 16 free throw attempts) -- Ledbetter needs to up his accuracy

Stephen Madison, 6-foot-5 200, Jefferson HS, OR

The body looks WAC ready and the inside/outside skills are intriguing -- it looks like he just needs to keep working and honing his talents and a starting spot should be his more than likely as a sophomore.
Landon Tatum, 5-11 196, redshirt junior.        

Short but strong, it's leadership and ballhandling that are his strong points. He's never been a big scorer anytime during his basketball playing -- that won't change and also won't have to change come 2010-2011. PTW sees him as the top point candidate.

Gary Winston, 6-foot-1 170, Walla Walla HS, WA

He won't need to contribute every night -- redshirting is a possibility -- but that will probably be dependent upon how well Bell and Geiger can fill in at the point.

A wild guess at the Vandal starting five:

* Kyle Barone
* Renado Parker
* Brandon Wiley
* Idell Bell
* Landon Tatum

By the way, it may be worthwhile to fly in or drive to Bob Kustra Night on January 22. That's when Boise State hoops comes to Moscow.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Leonard Washington to...

Gib Arnold was interested  -- to some degree -- but former USC frontcourter Leonard Washington is headed to Laramie, per Jeff Goodman.

Academic woes last season and some ugly on-court history (here and here) limited Washington's options.

Three words of warning to Cowboy basketballers: wear a cup.

Friday's WAC offerings

seldomseensmith at comes through again with Anthony DiLoretto's landing spot and more. We think you can go directly here for the scoop.


Jim Hilley at Bulletin in the Zone writes that Marvin Menzies is currently abroad -- gotta be recruiting as it's too early for Oktoberfest.


According to the Fullcourt Press site, Fresno State has multiple feelers out for 2011 prospects: 6-foot-7 Jonathan Davis/Simi Valley (Hawaii has offered), 6-foot-5 Sharif Watson.Rowland Heights, 6-foot-7 Eric Norman/Parker High (Hawaii is also interested). 


Shooting guard Lonnie Jackson is featured in an Adam Gorney-penned Rivals article (sub required) and the 2011 scorer indicates Boise State (assistant Jeff Linder) is in the mix.

Here is an April 2010 ESPN evaluation of Jackson: "April, 2010: Jackson is one of the better shooters in the west. He has a wiry frame with decent length, but he needs to get stronger to separate from defenders. His shot is consistent in a catch-and-shoot situation, but it gets erratic (lack of strength) when he has to shoot off..."

Here is an April 2010 feature on Jackson from his area newspaper.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Previewing San Jose State University

Continuing in our Western Athletic Conference series, we present another very early team preview, in a reverse order of the 2009-2010 finish,.

Here is San Jose State University.

The odd situation is that even though unproven newcomers will dominate the makeup of San Jose State's frontcourt, it is the Spartan backcourt upon which the 2010-2011 season is predicated.


That may read counter-intuitive to most so let us explain.

It's backcourt time in 2010-2011 for SJSU basketball, specifically Adrian Oliver and Justin Graham at the fore.

One self-report has Oliver working on his ballhandling plus quickness, speed and strength in order to become a better defender and more of an all-around player. He will be situated at the point come NBA time so these specific self-improvement tasks are right on target.

Overall, what Oliver needs to display in his final collegiate go-around is greater efficiency -- that is, making positives happen a vast majority of the time with each possession of the ball.

However, he can't do this on his own.

Oliver can lead the WAC in scoring and probably will -- it's very close to a given -- even with less shots attempted than in 2009-2010.

What we sense will really demonstrate a 'clicking on all cylinders' is Oliver's fellow teammates putting themselves into better offensive position more often and then finishing upon receiving the ball -- performing in a less-watching, greater-movement mode. Plus, having teammates who can create themselves will force opponents into amid-action choosing between multiple threats and that leads to easier buckets.

Again overall, It is a tremendous asset to have Oliver on your side when seven or so seconds remain on the shot clock but the less situations like that taking place the better. Like Mikey on the old Life cereal commercial, a 'let Adrian try it' is fine, but reducing that number will translate into greater overall productivity. .

With Graham, it boils down to enjoying a full health season, minus any wrist limitations of the past couple of years. Remember the numbers from his freshman year? (52% overall shooting, 50% on treys in league play, 43% overall on three-pointers) We see Graham as being the second-leading Spartan scorer in the upcoming go-around, at 15 points or so per contest and that's what will be needed. We fully expect him to again lead the squad in assists but less unselfishness from Graham will only be beneficial overall. Plus, his trademark fierce drives into the paint will only be more effective if he is stopping and popping a few times a game or nailing a trey or two -- each nourishes the other.

With Oliver and Graham in full contribution mode, the Spartan frontline will also enjoy less guarded shooting and greater putback opportunities.

Plus, both seniors need solid assist-to-turnover ratios -- accomplishable tasks.

Finally, in the Oliver/Graham in-box is leading the way defensively on the perimeter. Our projection is that the SJSU frontcourt will be more active and aggressive in getting and maintaining defensive position -- via improved mobility and intensity. But outside the paint is also a critical defensive action area in need of improvement. Fighting through screens, greater talking among themselves and a better sense of 'seeing/knowing what is coming' and trying to prevent it are areas needing a team upgrade. The fifth-year seniors duo need to both physically demonstrate and verbally generate the Spartan defensive mindset.

Another situation that fascinates us is the question of who will play predominate minutes on the wing? Calvin Douglas, the transfer from City College of San Francisco, is one candidate. He was the best defender on the Ram squad last season and demonstrated the ability to knock down the open jumper when the opportunity was presented. Douglas was a scorer in high school but shifted into a different role upon entering community college ball. He has the capability of facing off against the one, two or three spots on the opposing team and his forcing his opposing number to work harder than usual for shots will be critical to San Jose State's defensive success.

We had high expectations for Chris Jones last season and still see him as the foremost Spartan possessing all-WAC level defensive potential. For another season at least, we see him as more an opportunity scorer.

Anthony Dixon returns and we envision this season as a make-or-break one for him. That may come off as an overly dramatic statement but he needs to show up with added strength and some bulk -- elements that would allow him to both get to and also remain where he wants to be on the court. Minus those additions and opponents simply knock a player off balance and out of position.

Aalim Moor also comes back as a sophomore and we see him being one of the bricks in the hopefully budding defensive wall. His development at the point would be a tremendous asset due to his physicality.

It's obviously early but Keith Shamburger appears to be cut in the mold of a tough-minded points producer. We're overusing the word but that is a critical need-to-step-up component since Oliver and Graham depart after this season.

Derek Brown is a crafty ballhandler, with a solid shot and he and Shamburger are not lacking in court confidence. We do want to see the level of Brown's defensive capabilities though.

So who on the team, if anyone, will work into the role/earn the identity of a defensive stopper? This Spartan squad will score points but we want to see a team identity emerge that also is fixated on pressuring opponents defensively as shooting ebbs and flows, defending is an element that can become a constant.

Can the lead players on the Spartan team bring about positive answers to the various questionmarks?

Let's now delve into the various frontcourt talents.

6-foot-8 Wil Carter and 6-foot-7 Brylle Kamen brings 'reps' with them -- more so Carter -- of face-the-basket shooting prowess. We're talking 15-to-18 foot range. This will allow the entering of a pick-and-pop offensive element into the Spartan playbook. We're not indicating this will necessarily be a consistent feature but certainly a new option for which opponents will have to defend.

Salt Lake Community College Coach Norm Parrish offered this earlier about his former top player: ""Wil has a really high ceiling. He has the ability to hit the 15-to-18-foot shot. He is also a good rebounder who is fairly long and can run and jump."

Here is Russ Beck, Kamen's community college coach: "He [Kamen] is a good rebounder with a big, strong body and can shoot off the dribble and with the pullup jumper. He can also pick-and-pop, shooting on the perimeter."

Additionally, both Carter and Kamen are proficient playing with their backs to the baskets

Plus, 6-foot-8 Matt Ballard self-described one of his basketball skills as scoring ability via his mid-range jumper.

Joe Henson, also 6-foot-8, returns and indications are that his progress is noticeable. He has been working out with a physical and basketball skills trainer this summer.

The joker that remains in the frontcourt deck of five card stud (sorry, we couldn't resist) is 6-foot-8 Moses Omolade. His eligibility determination remains tangled up in the court system and is rapidly approaching proportions of Jarndyce and Jarndyce -- the interminable legal case in Charles Dickens' "Bleak House."

Omolade would provide a missing element not offered by the other SJSU quartet -- shotblocking and defensive intimidation.

Here's Tyson Aye, a former SJSU assistant basketball coach now heading the Imperial Valley College  men's basketball program, on  Omolade: "Moses was in our league and we've played him four times in the last few years. He is a defensive force in the paint. At 6-8, Moses is quick and extremely long. He has one of the longest wingspans I've ever seen, and I've actually seen Moses block 10 shots in a single game. I've heard nothing but great things about his character. The Spartans got a good one with Moses."

We believe Omolade is going to be eligible in 2010-2011 and therefore are including him in the forecast.

The collective shooting percentage of this frontcourt bunch won't rival that of the departed C.J. Webster -- very few in college basketball could -- but will offer a variety of scoring options heretofore unavailable. A plus is that this addition will require more court movement from defenders.

It will also be difficult to match the shotblocking and rebounding proclivities of Chris Oakes.

However, we see an actual plus forthcoming on the defensive end from the new group. The number of blocked shots will tumble but this 2010-2011 collective will provide very good quickness in leaving the paint whenever necessary to defend and also a greater desire to fight in establishing and maintaining defensive positioning within the paint.

A final attribute worthy of listing is proficiency of getting up and down the court, especially on offensive. Carter, Kamen and Omolade have demonstrated this talent -- an addition not on display from any recent SJSU frontcourters.

The ultimate question is: will San Jose State have a better, the same or a worse frontcourt than that of last season?

The answer: nobody truly knows -- that's why there are so many tall, expansive and swanky casino buildings in Las Vegas. The answer to this question will ultimately play out before our eyes.

But we see this group of guys having a different mindset -- a do-what-needs-to-be-done-for-the-team attitude.

Our senses about the frontcourters indicate these qualities:

The best scorer: Wil Carter

Best defender: Moses Omolade

Most explosive: Omolade and Kamen

Most physical: Kamen and Ballard

A weak WAC Thursday

Gib Arnold receives from pixels from Fox's Jeff Goodman here -- scroll down a bit.


"...It's a culture that is nasty, inebriated and civilly doesn't give our fans the respect that any fan should expect when visiting an away team..." -- Boise State president Bob Kustra speaking about the followers of the Idaho Vandals.

Not only are the Idaho faithful upset but The Spectrum-ites in Logan feel left out. ;-)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A feature on Ramon Sessions

It's perplexing why certain NBA teams go after certain players when there is a visible conflict between the team playing style and the strengths of the player. Terry Pluto offers a feature here on Ramon Sessions and explains why Cleveland is a much better fit for Sessions than Minnesota.

Wednesday and the WAC

Note: seldomseensmith IS a WAC bigshot in our eyes -- he comes up with as much if not more recruiting news than anyone else. We doubt if he has an entourage (yet) but we will keep checking to see if he changes his moniker to 3s.


Ex-Nevada point London Giles has surfaced -- at home. Giles has signed with SMU. Go here for the article (a Rivals sub is required).


Ryan Gorcey at says that Sheldon High's (Sacramento, CA) Darius Nelson has many offers, including Fresno State. Go here (and a Rivals sub is required). In our humble opinion, Nelson will not be coming to the WAC.


According to Steve Hu at NorCalPreps (Rivals), JT Adenrele is hearing from Utah State. Here's an August 2009 article on the young man. Here is a more current one.

Likewise, Boise State and San Jose State (among many others) are eyeballing 6-foot-8 Chad Haysbert. Here's a very nice video feature on Haysbert.

Hu's article can be found here (a Rivals sub is required).


It's football-related but do read Jared Eborn's blog entry on the fading (on the field) Boise State - Idaho rivalry. Let's just say the passions run high. Call us old-fashioned (that's the mildest description tossed our way in some time) but Idaho battling Boise State in football and basketball is good for the state. There is something larger to keep in mind but it's getting lost in the kerfluffle presently going on. Yes, BSU doesn't have anything to gain BCS-wise by continuing the series but, please, let's not solely utilize that as the ultimate measuring stick. Please keep this tradition.


That's it for now.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The efficiency expert ( the wife) said I should get one

 Anyone know if Costco stocks this?

Jeff Goodman sums up Las Vegas, actually it's Gary Parrish

Having done the late-July Las Vegas club basketball tournament scene twice, well, maybe it's the years adding up but PTW thought the following Jeff Goodman photo of CBS's Gary Parrish*** sums up the cumulative effect.

*** Actually, it JeffG having some fun at GaryP's expense (but who is the slacker in the photo?) 

It's up early, going to gym after gym, outside temps ranging from 100 degrees to 110, a big dinner about 7 o'clock or so and then choosing your poison for that night. Repeat this for three days.

Once home, head to rehab. Vow to never do it again.

A fascinating piece on JaVale McGee

The following is a great read on JaVale McGee and his attempt to make Team USA. This is the type of article we love -- opinionated but fair and very analytical = informative.

JaVale McGee and United Lessons with Team USA
Kyle Weidie
July 26, 2010

[Team USA Men's Basketball played an intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday night. Below is a recap/assessment of the instances where JaVale McGee had an impact on the game.]

JaVale McGee’s presence at USA Basketball camp hasn’t come without skeptics, mainly Rob Mahoney of ProBasketballTalk and the ESPN TrueHoop Network Dallas Mavericks blog, The Two Man Game.

Mahoney also contributes to Hardwood Paroxysm, a general NBA blog on the TrueHoop Network. On Friday, Mahoney wrote on HP:
Go here for the lengthy remainder.

Tuesday's WAC news and notes

 photo courtesy of Texas Basketball Inc/Max Ivany

Eric Bossi of Rivals has an article up today that includes this: "...2012 combo guard Sydie London of New Orleans Elite/D1 Ambassadors listed Ole Miss, New Mexico State, Tulane, Louisiana Lafayette and Louisiana Tech as schools he's heard from..." Go here and a Rivals sub is required.


Richard Obert at AZCentral is reporting that star 2011 point Collin Woods of Horizon High is down to Arizona State and Colorado. Fresno State is listed as having offered. Utah State was associated with Woods at one point.

By the way, here is Woods' own site -- it sure makes it easier to reach him and those around him if a reporter/blogger wishes to do an article.


Nick Jezierny has an article up today on changes in the WAC basketball tournaments -- go here. Wasn't this announced some time ago or was that unofficial?


Switching sports momentarily, there is certainly no herd mentality with Jack Nixon, the New Mexico State broadcaster. He's going with Nevada instead of Boise to finish atop the WAC in football. Go here. Plus, we have a two-fer for you: a video of Jack with Sam Wasson ( discussing the Aggies basketball matchup with Michigan State.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bennie Rhodes at Fresno State

 *** Based on a note from Bennie, we've corrected his age in the following article -- we had him a year older than he actually is.

It's too bad Fresno State's nickname/mascot isn't the Jets because the headline over the article of City College of San Francisco's (CCSF) Bennie Rhodes' joining Coach Steve Cleveland's program could then be 'Bennie and the Jets' (link to rimshot)

Rhodes is a highly traveled basketballer, playing high school ball at Castlemont (Oakland) and then enrolling at Mt. Zion Academy in North Carolina for a post-grad year. He then played as a freshman -- six of the first ten games -- at Southern Methodist University in 2007-2008 before being sidelined by a left tibia stress fracture. Then, he returned to the Bay Area for two seasons at CCSF.

Here's a description of Rhodes we wrote last season based on our observations of him in one game -- a contest against a physically vastly inferior team:
Bennie Rhodes  (Castlemont) - didn't show much on shooting range tonight but was able to dribble-drive around the Cabrillo defenders and either score or get fouled, a very good athlete but a seemingly slight body
A NorCalPreps post from an earlier time (last summer) said this:
Bennie Rhodes, 6-foot-5 sophomore wing, San Francisco City- In the second day of the tourney, Rhodes was the most dominant player for the Rams offensively. He scored on alley-op dunks, dunks in transition, three pointers, floaters in the lane and pull-up jumpers. A natural shooting guard, when he gets it going offensively, he is hard to stop.
Rhodes is 21 -- 22 come next April.

We would say that Rhodes is a steal as a walk-on -- in fact, something seems amiss that he is a walk-on but we've been unable to determine the 'why' of his current collegiate status.

He is a good athlete with decent shooting and ballhandling talent -- we see him foremost as a slasher -- and has the physical prerequisites to be a solid defender.

If there is a knock against him, it's that he doesn't necessarily bring 'it' every night -- that he seemingly could produce more. Coaches don't bring in community college players such as Rhodes unless the player has the chance for earning satisfying minutes so watch this situation.

Monday and the WAC

Someone likes Corey Stern: "...After spending his freshman year at Idaho, 6-foot-7 power forward Corey Stern  will play his sophomore season at Howard (Texas) College. A sturdy kid who has good athleticism, he can also step out and bury some jumpers. He runs the floor, hits the glass and should be able to earn a scholarship at another school on at least the level of Idaho if not a bit higher..." -- Eric Bossi, Rivals from this article.It doesn't appear that a sub is required to access it.


seldomseensmith has a couple of tidbits related to both a future and a past Aggie basketballer. Go here and click on basketball forum.

Jim Hilley sets us straight

 CORRECTION:  from our post yesterday came this response --

"Thanks for your link to the Las Cruces Review, oops, except that it is the Las Cruces Bulletin, not Review. Also, the column will be authored by a variety of New Mexico State insiders, not only Boston. For instance, next week's article will be by Herb "Touchdown" Taylor, associate athletics direct for NMSU.

Thank you for your excellent blogging.

Jim Hilley
Copy Editor
Las Cruces Bulletin"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday and the WAC

Anthony Ray of Rivals' Arizona Preps site has a new article up connecting 2011 Arizona prepsters Cameron Forte and Jordan Baker to Fresno State and Boise State respectively. The former is a 6-foot-6 small forward and the latter a 6-foot-3 backcourter. Go here and a Rivals sub is required.


KrimsonKrazy is reporting at the New Mexico State Scout site message board that the Las Cruces Review will now carry a column from Aggie AD McKinley Boston. To read the inital post, go here, look in the upper left corner where it says 'click here to read the entire Bulletin and its archives' and do so, then click on 'Aggie Insider' in the middle of your screen and then on the headline "Journey to excellence."


So how's the NCAA feel about having Tim Floyd back on the sidelines? Does it even register in Indianapolis? Go here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Just because, second edition...

Who you got on this one?

Saturday and the WAC

Jason Groves has a post with notes about New Mexico State basketball -- go here.


The NABC and the NCAA are trying to go Pump-less -- go here. Don't count the brothers out just yet though as they will figure something out.


Per Jerry Meyers of Rivals here, 6-foot-5 Wesley Saunders has offers from Boise State and San Jose State (and others) but it looks like some of the PAC-10 members are moving into the picture. The 2011 prospect averaged a double-double -- 23 and 11 -- last season.

Here's an April 2010 ESPN evaluation: "Saunders continues to be an undersized 4/3 for the next level. He has a very good frame with nice length (long arms) and it's quite chiseled. Saunders is a great competitor who is a prolific scorer in the mid-range area. He loves to attack off the dribble and use..."

Friday, July 23, 2010

Chris Murray goes long on Luke and Armon

Settle in because it will take some time to read it all -- it being Chris Murray's latest on Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson. Go here.

It's weak but this is best we can do so far

Former Fresno State basketballer Noel Felix has been drafted in the first round by the Korean League. Aaron Haynes, ex-of Boise State, also was selected -- in round two. Go here for more.


With a tip o' the hat to Sam Wasson at Bleed Crimson, ESPN's Andy Katz has an interesting piece on San Diego State's attempt to put together a basketball schedule. Fresno State and New Mexico State are mentioned. Go here.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Just because...

Leon Rice speaks

The great thing about having a new coach is a number of media representatives who want to do interviews. Here is one with Dave Southern of the Idaho Press Review talking with Leon Rice.


The pickings are pretty bare today

We couldn't locate much of anything WAC-related so here's our best shot:

Ben Golliver talks with Joe Cronin about some of the Trailblazer summer leaguers, including Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson. Go here and scroll down to the interview portion.


As a bonus:

From Dave Telep's Twitter account: "HS player on a plane last night was arrested for stealing someone's camera while they were sleeping en route to Vegas. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb."

Jeesh! How did that getaway plan work for you buddy? 

The point is to steal on the court. 

Beyond the obvious (that any college coach worth his salt is now crossing a certain name off his list of possible recruits - landing a thief isn't conducive to team-building), who would want the lamebrain who hatched this stroke of genius anywhere near the court, especially in any decision-making capacity?


Here's a terrific piece by Joe Posnanski on Dean Smith -- a terrific human being.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The late Wednesday WAC offerings

If you are the trailblazer general manager, do you go with Armon Johnson or Patty Mills? Chris Murray has the details.


aggiedawg777 has posted an all-about New Mexico State 2010-2011 basketball  piece on the Sports Trough message board at Scout's Aggie Alert site. Go here -- if that doesn't work, go to the site and click on Forums.


Eurobaskest's Peter Buyse offers this: "Stella Artois Leuven Bears has added its final 2 players to the 2010-2011 roster. The 2 new additions are Jared Quayle (185-G-85)...Quayle is a rookie straight out of Utah State..."

Better yet, head to the blog of the Quayles and answer some of the questions Jared has asked.

Here's our offering -- a great line from Wikipedia on Belgium cuisine: "Belgium serves food of French quality in German quantities."

A Boise State preview

Simply put, Boise State is rebuilding with an eye on the approaching Mountain West Conference play. The absolute duty of Coach Leon Rice and his staff is to bring in better athletes plus players with greater potential. Otherwise, the Broncos will suffer bruises and breaks from the slings and arrows let loose by the BYUs, New Mexicos, San Diego States, TCUs, UNLVs and Utahs.

But first comes the 2010-2011 season.

For this season. PTW expects the Broncos to be competitive in conference action. This prognosis is based on the solid-and-getting better play of La'Shard Anderson (provided he quits arm wrestling with police officers) and Robert Arnold. The former topped the Western Athletic Conference in steals and, with an uptick in shooting accuracy and less turnovers, could easily vie for a second-team all-WAC spot. Adding five or six more percentage points to his three-point range will allow Arnold to do the same. He's a terrific offensive rebounder and theoretically that should produce a number of short, makeable putbacks.

Another key for Boise's success is enjoying the emergence of one or two players (Anderson and Arnold?) as go-to guys, talents who can create for themselves and teammates, especially when the offense stagnates.

Here's the BSU roster:

*** as has been pointed out in the comments section, remove Paul Noonan from the newcomers and place him in the returnee area -- sorry to cause any distress to the Noonan family



* La'Shard Anderson 6-foot-1 188  Sr - the candidate to be the go-to guy, his goal is offensive consistency and the taking of less three-point attempts unless he can better his 30% proficiency from long range

* Robert Arnold  6-foot-6 170 Sr - it''s perplexing why he is at 30% on his treys and that must improve if he is to lead the Broncos in scoring -- as should be

* G. A. Hill 5-foot-8 140 Fr (walk-on):  he won't have muc of an opportunity with Anderson and Nichols on the roster


* Thomas Bropleh 6-foot-5 220 Fr - a great student and solid player who expanded his game from back-to-the-basket to facing it and now displays three-point range, his body is ready for the WAC so how quickly he learns the system is the key to his initial playing time

* Tre Nichols 6-foot-0 180 Jr - he's a more svelte version of fellow Texas Anthony Thomas and it's he and Anderson leading the charge at the point

* Paul Noonan 6-foot-7 214 Sr - Noonan has more than likely maxed out his potential which stands as a catch-and-shoot marksman, so Anderson and Nichols need to drive and dish in order to facilitate Noonan

* Westley Perryman 6-foot-3 183 Jr - he's our candidate to surprise at the two guard, being athletic and with shotmaking/point producing skills

* Justin Salzwedel 6-foot-2 184 Sr - another player who won't get on the court much

* Drew Wiley 6-foot-7 redshjirt junior, sitting out this season


The BSU centers and power forwards are untested in the case of the backups.


* Daequon Montreal PF 6-foot-7 228 Sr - he has the best chance to break out as the top frontline scorer and his offensive boardplay is already outstanding

* Zack Moritz C 6-foot-11 245 Sr - Moritz has his physical and skill limitations but can be effective when used in short minutes


* Sean Imadyi 6-foot-7 207 Sr - an older redshirt who is best as an in-the-paint shooter, he is athletic but lacks strength

* Sam Hicks 6-foot-9 256 Fr - a CA HS redshirt who wouldn't surprise us if he becomes a starter at some point this season due to thecurrent  roster makeup

* Isaac Oeltjen 7-foot-1 230 Fr MN HS - a project with a degree of promise, he may or may not redshirt in the coming go-around

PTW's best guess at a BSU initial starting five:

* La'Shard Anderson
* Westley Perryman
* Robert Arnold
* Monttreal Daequon
* Zack Moritz

Nevada looking at a CA 2012-er

Steve Hu @ Nor Cal Preps has an article up today on Berkeley High's Langston Morris-Walker. He's a 6-foot-4 junior-to-be. Nevada (unfortunately it's listed as Nevada-Reno) has "expressed immense interest in him..." as have many other schools.

Go here and a Rivals sub is required.

Here is a YouTube video of Morris-Walker highlights. The young man looks like he already has a D-1 body.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Your early Tuesaday WAC bundle

AW Prince at Silver and Blue Sports spoke with Devonte Elliott and offers this report - a sub is required.


UI athletics has issued a formal article on the eligibility determination of Djim Bandoumel -- go here.


Anthony Ray at Arizona Preps is reporting that Boise State has offered 6-foot-3 Arizona prep guard Tim Derksen, class of 2012 and owner of a 4.0 grade point average. Go here and a Rivals sub is required.

From a March, 2010 Greg Hansen article in the Arizona Star, come this about Derksen: "...Amphi sophomore Tim Derksen, a coach's son with terrific basketball instincts, has a chance to be a Pac-10 player. But Derksen is maybe 6-2 and probably needs to add a few inches and considerable strength before he can attract recruiters from Top 25 programs..."

Here's an July, 2010 ESPN mini-description: "Derksen is a basketball player in every sense of the word. The slick lefty plays at a great pace at both ends of the floor and rarely makes bad decisions. He is a high-level passer in transition and rarely over handles the ball. He moves well without the ball..."


Per Damon Sayles @ Texas Hoops, Boise State is also showing interest in 2011 point Williams Knowles, out of the Lone Star State. Go here and a Rivals sub is required.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday evening WAC items

Travis Mason-Bushman reports that Vandal recruit Djim Bandoumel has received the nod from the NCAA Clearinghouse. Go here to read about this. A tip o' the hat to Travis for letting us know.

A quick piece of advice for Mr. Bandoumel: forget college, forget college basketball -- set up a business as an obvious expert guide through the Clearinghouse maze. You'll make millions. 

It literally is amazing that he was cleared at this point in time considering (1) the trend has been that the season begins with many recruits awaiting an outcome and the Clearinghouse folks then enter their winter hibernation AND (2) Idaho and the WAC are not on the level of say a BCS school which can 'command' more attention.


Chris Murray has much more on Devonte Elliott's eligibility to play for Nevada this coming season -- glad it happened before he ran out of eligibility. (are we in a bad mood? maybe, but how about the NCAA tossing a few million greenbacks towards resolving the sloth-like pace of eligibility determinations?)


Here is a 3 hours old tweet from Jeff Goodman: "No clue if its out there, but source told me former KY commit and Gonzaga guard G.J. Vilarino is headed to Appalachian State. Ideal level." Does this cause heartbreak in Fresno or a shoulder shrug?

Three hours ago Dave Telep tweeted this: "Appalachian State added Michael Neal and transfer GJ Vilarino (Gonzaga) today. Appy State's backcourt for 2010 is locked up. Nice work."

Hmmm, anyone ever seen Misters Goodman and Telep together in the same gym?

A few Monday recruiting notes

Someone emailed us a note that Fresno State has offered 6-foot-8 Grant Jarrett, a 2012-er out of southern California. Here is a link to additional information on Garrett. Here is a March 2010 feature on the young man.


Ryan James of Rivals' Minnesota Preps wrote this recently: "...Sam Orchard of Utah Pump N Run is receiving interest from Bucknell, Utah State, and UC-Davis..."   and      "...Matt Sumsion of Utah Pump N Run is hearing from Utah State, Bucknell, and Weber State..."

Go here and a Rivals sub is required.


Anthony Ray at Arizona Preps is reporting this Bronco basketball note: "...Another player that had a very good camp was Tempe HS 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior guard Jordan Baker. Although Baker was not selected among the all-star participants in this year's camp, his play caught the attention of many college coaches, as he reeled in several more offers this week from such schools as Boise State and Pepperdine..."

Baker is a 2011 recruit who also has an offer from Weber State.

Go here and a Rivals sub is required.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday's WAC report *** with an addition

Chris Murray trekked to Las Vegas -- some would relish the assignment but check out the temps in Sin City -- and covered Armon Johnson's and Luke Babbitt's latest game -- go here.


That's it for now. We'll return and add any other links we find.


AW Prince at Silver and Blue Sports is offering more material on signee Deontè Burton Go here and check it out.


Chris Murray did a Q-and-A with Armon Johnson -- it can be found here.

Here's more from Chris on both Luke Babbitt and Johnson.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Boise State offer a 2011 Texas wing

Max Ivany at his Texas Preps Report informs readers that Boise State has offered a 2011 Lone Star State wing -- go here for the entire article. Here is what Ivany wrote pertaining to this young man:

"...Karim York continued the great play he exhibited in the GASO tournament while playing for ATX.  He averaged a double double over the duration of the Minnesota tournament.Under the watchful eye of my old friend from his days at Wyoming, Coach Sean Van Diver was on hand for every Texas D-1 Ambassadors game and the new Boise State Assistant pulled the trigger this morning and offered the lanky York a scholarship. Congratulations to Karim and his family. York can shoot the three, can put the rock on the deck, and is active around the rim with a nice touch..."
Here's a brief July 12 Q-and-A with York.

Here is a July 10 description of York by Eric Bossi of Rivals:
Karim York, PF/SF, ATX-Farley- A thin lefty from Del Valle (Texas) High, the 6-foot-7 York was a nice find. A fluid athlete who can run the floor, York has a good looking jumper and outstanding body control. He gets to the free throw line, takes care of business on the glass and should only get better when he adds some much need strength. High major programs will definitely take a long look while upper end mid majors try to fight them off.
 York is listed as weight 185 pounds.

Saturday's state of the WAC

Too bad for Kyle Gibson as he has dislocated a shoulder  -- read about it here.


Daniel Lyght offers a must-read article all about the vagaries of the APR. Granted, a measurement tool is needed but this is a sledgeghammer-to-firefly method of operation, with no allowance for explaining situations that are not simply black and white.


Jason Groves has an interesting blog entry up today about who on the New Mexico State squad should be the 'designated' last shot taker in a close or tied game. Every WAC fan should be pondering this situation for his or her team, especially with the changeovers in personnel on so many squads.


Chris Murray has the latest on Armon Johnson and Luke Babbitt here.  


The students at UH are going to have to dig a bit deeper into their wallets to help out athletics -- Dave Reardon and Ferd Lewis offer their respective takes.


The legend of Bol Kong continues to grow as he has departed Gonzaga and some are speculating about the chances of Kong joining up with Boise State due to the Leon Rice connection. Right now, that seems very unlikely if not a put-to-bed option.


Yahoo Sports has a piece on the NCAA issuing a directive to coaches prohibiting financial contributions to a Pump Brothers foundation.


Maybe we are in the minority or even alone on this one but we don't even bother with ESPN's SportsCenter anymore. An Rx is offered here that might get us back to watching but our sense is matters will get worse before any sort of intervention takes place.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A couple more items

Jeff Goodman offered a pair of WAC-related items in his column today.

In an item about Marshall University Coach Tom Herrion's recruiting class, Goodman wrote this:

"...Herrion also signed ... former New Mexico State guard Johnny Higgins – who spent last season at a junior college in Texas..."
plus this:
"...Want a player to watch this season that you’ve probably never heard of?  Nevada’s Devonte Elliott, who didn’t qualify out of high school a year ago, is expected to be cleared by the NCAA to play for the Wolf Pack this season. Elliott has grown to 6-foot-10 and has a chance to be special..."

The state of the WAC on Friday

AW Prince and Silver and Blue Sports leads us off with a report, including video, of a pair of California prepsters of interest to Coach David Carter. He also offers more on signee Jordan Burris. A sub is required.


Jay Drew and Lya Wodraska report on a Western Nebraska CC wing who is apparently interesting Utah State as well as Utah and BYU. Go here.


Jared Eborn offers the news that Brockeith Pane is ensconced in Logan and ready to go at the point for Stew Morrill.


Here's a handful of Chris Murray reports on various players connected to Nevada hoops.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A very early look at Hawaii in 2010-2011

Apparently, nothing happened yesterday basketball-related in the WAC so luckily we had this in reserve:


UH is right up there with Nevada in welcoming, save a few players, what amounts to a brand new 2010-2011 roster. Hawaii needs scorers and accurate long distance shooters -- elements grievously missing from the last squad.

So, barring academic woes or inexplicable behavior, here are your 2010-2011 Rainbow Warriors:



* Beau Albrechtson G 6-4 205 Jr - a walk-on who won't see much court time       
* Rykin Enos G 5-11 190 Jr. - ditto             
* Leroy Lutu G 6-3 200 Jr - ditto
* Zane Johnson G 6-6 210 Jr. - first and foremost, his role is as a catch-and-shoot from distance marksmen -- let's see if he has developed greater creative ability
* Hiram Thompson G 6-2 175 Sr. - this guy, of anyone in college basketball, deserves a healthy season and based on the current roster, he looks like the starting point -- Thompson contributes all over the stat sheet although he isn't necessarily a cut-above type creator


* Jordan Coleman 6-foot-4 180 CA HS - a marvelous athlete possessing excellent down-the-line potential -- how quick his learning curve is will be the key to his amount of playing time
* Bo Barnes 6-foot-4 180 Westwind Prep (AZ) - another catch-and-shoot-from-distance scorer, he doesn't appear to have starting potential but definitely will find his way sooner or later into the backcourt rotation
* Bobby Miles 6-foot-1 190 CA HS - Thompson and Salter should eat up most of the available playing time at the point, so Miles is likely to redshirt
* Anthony Salter 5-foot-11 175 Iowa Western College - he brings speed and quickness, a nice change of pace from Thompson and he will hopefully quickly adapt to the D-1 level
* Trevor Wiseman 6-foot-7 200, CA HS - controlling his temper is job one here as that will allow the focus and concentration necessary to develop his skills set, it's still unknown (to PTW) if he has the necessary academics to be eligible this coming season



* Douglas Kurtz C 7-0 265 Sr. - he played 125 minutes last year as a community college transfer and the likelihood is that Vander Joaquim will garner the non-Bill Amis minutes at the five this coming season, so court time will again remain scarce -- he probably should have gone to a lower level of play but dropping him now would negatively impact the inroads Arnold wishes to make in Brazil        
* Bill Amis F 6-9 220 Sr. - not a star but a solid glue guy who will add some points, rebounds and blocked shots each game -- let's see if he has added weight/strength during his redshirt year because such will increase his effectiveness


* Dominick Brumfield 6-foot-8 210 Big Bend College (WA) - very good potential, -- the question is can he put it together as soon as this coming season?
* Vander Joaquim 6-foot-10 240 College of Eastern Utah - he won't score a lot but it's enough if he will defend and rebound
* Josten Thomas 6-foot-7 235 College of Southern Idaho - call him the key for the Rainbow Warriors' season as consistent frontcourt scoring (especially) and boardwork are the needed contributions from Thomas

By the way, Coach Gib Arnold has gathered quite the recruiting coaching staff, an element critical to making UH a factor again in the WAC. Walter Roese will roam Brazil and South America, Scott Fisher's responsibility is Australia and Benjy Taylor is familiar with Illinois and parts of the South. Arnold knows southern California as well as Utah. This assemblage was a prerequisite for any uptick in UH recruiting.

PTW's best guess at a UH starting five:

* Anthony Salter
* Hiram Thompson
* Zane Johnson
* Josten Thomas
* Bill Amis

Whatifs: If Josten can also play the three, then Joaquim can play in the middle and Amis move to the four but Johnson's shooting range is going to be needed on the court for 30+ minutes a game. He can also probably handle the two, with Salter and Thompson splitting time at the point.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A dose of Wednesday evening WAC-itude

 Ray Bala at the raptorshq site has a report up on the Canadian men's development team and made this mention:

"...I had found out that two players that were invited to the camp had declined their invitations: Myck Kabongo [the brother of New Mexico State signee Christian Kabongo] and DJ Wright...As for Wright, I’m not sure why he did. If you remember, Wright was a First Team JuCo All American at Salt Lake Community College where he led his team to the National Championship before transferring to Mount San Jacinto in Cali. He had abruptly left about midway through the season and no one has heard from him since. It’s good to see he’s still on the radar though..."

Fracturing your face in four places -- can you imagine that kind of pain? Tony Jones at Aggieville has the news on Utah State verbal Marcel Davis' injury.


The Shreveport News covers Shawn Oliverson's academic honors in an article here.

Boise and Idaho recruiting in Oregon

At the Ducks Territory site, Matt Prehm ranks the top prep players in Oregon and a pair of WAC teams gets a mention with two of them:

4.  2011 PF Austin Kuemper (Westview HS) -- Boise State


6.  2011 SF Kidus Ephram (Central Catholic HS) -- Idaho and Boise State

A Utah State recruiting note

Jay Drew is back from some time off and writes that 6-foot-3 Jordan Chatman will soon be receiving a BYU offer -- it will go with the one Stew Morrill has already extended to the Utah prepster.

Here is a truncated ESPN evaluation of Chatman: "July, 2009: Chatman is a tremendous scorer and projects to being a solid Division I two-guard at the mid-major level. He has a solid looking frame with long arms and he possesses a real knack for putting points on the board. He can knock down the 3-point shot with regularity and..."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

An all Fresno State basketball post

Well, those who crash and burn academically are often dogged on the various message boards, so it's important to note when a WAC student-athlete is positively achieving in the classroom:

Golubovic Named to NABC Honors Court
Two-time Academic All-District honoree Nedeljko Golubovic was named to the 2009-10 Honors Court by the National Association of Basketball Coaches
Stephen Trembley, Fresno State Athletics Communications (Men's Basketball)
July 13, 2010

Nedeljko Golubovic, a forward on the Fresno State men's basketball team, received his latest academic accolade by earning his way into the 2009-10 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court.

"Ned personifies what we want in a student-athlete," Cleveland said of his team captain. "He has made a commitment to academics and athletics. This is another outstanding honor for Ned. He provides a great influence for our younger players and represents our program, institution and community well. He had a tough year due to injuries, but he is healthy and we expect a good senior year from him."

The collection of elite collegiate basketball student-athletes includes individuals who demonstrated excellence in academics during the 2009-10 season. In order to be named to the Honors Court, a student-athlete needed to achieve each of the following distinguished academic criteria:

1. Academically a junior or senior and a varsity player.
2. Cumulative 3.2 GPA or higher at the end of the 2009-10 academic year.
3. Students must have matriculated at least one year at their current institution.
4. Member of an NCAA Division I, II, III, or NAIA Institution.

Golubovic, a native of Pjevlja, Serbia, was one of two Western Athletic Conference honorees on the 2009-10 NABC Honors Court, along with Louisiana Tech's Shawn Oliverson.

During his first three seasons in a Bulldog uniform, Golubovic earned 44 starts in 98 games with 5.1 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. He served as a team captain, who consistently provided a source of leadership for a developing roster.

Earlier this year, Golubovic earned his second straight exclusive spot on the First-Team Academic All-District VIII as the only student-athlete from a California college in the University Division. He also recorded his third consecutive Academic All-WAC honor.
During Cleveland's tenure, the Fresno State men's basketball program has demonstrated consistent academic success with an unwavering focus on the graduation of student-athletes and excellence in the classroom. The Bulldogs recently completed the nation's most significant Academic Progress Rate improvement.

"I'm very proud of the young men in our program who have bought into what we stand for as a program and have showed that getting their education a top priority," said Cleveland. "We want a program that is going to graduate players, win games on the court and represent our community with class. We take pride in these accomplishments."
New Fan Store Marks Major Upgrade
Fresno State Athletics has partnered with TeamFanShop to provide new Bulldog merchandise available online and a `Super Summer Sale' of an additional 20 percent off all sale items.
Stephen Trembley
Fresno State Athletics Communications (Men's Basketball)
July 9, 2010

As the `Dogs continue their hard work this summer preparing for the upcoming sport seasons, the Red Wave has a new location to get their necessary Bulldog gear with the launch of a major upgrade to the official online store of Fresno State Athletics.

Fresno State worked with TeamFanShop to create an easy-to-use, fan-friendly environment filled with hundreds of official Bulldog merchandise, which will continue to expand in the near future.

To celebrate the new offers, Bulldog fans will receive an extra 20 percent off all sale items during the `Super Summer Sale."

"We are thrilled to partner with TeamFanShop and provide a great way to support our Bulldogs," Associate Athletics Director Paul Ladwig said. "The day after the 2008 College World Series, I knew we needed to find a tremendous partner to take our sales to a new level. We have found that partner. There are performance-themed polos, jerseys, hats and t-shirts and more unique items for all our loyal fans. We also have great items for your home or office to display your Bulldog spirit every day of the year. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our program."

All proceeds of this store directly benefit the 450 Bulldog student-athletes.

With the significant upgrade and partnership with TeamFanShop, the Red Wave can also take advantage of tracking the status of orders. All orders will start the process immediately at TeamFanShop's warehouse. In the past, orders were collected through the Bulldog Shop. The change will allow instant access to championship gear and other Bulldog items with quicker delivery.

"We are always working to ensure we have industry leading policies to continue our goal of exceeding customer expectations," said VP of Sales and Marketing for TeamFanShop, Brian Swallow. "Through the new site, Bulldogs fans will now have access to over 250 unique products, $4.99 flat rate, 3-business day shipping, and a 365-Day Hassle Free Return Policy."

Another new feature is the addition of online store gift certificates. The certificates are sent to recipients via email and can be purchased in the following denominations: $5, $10, $25, $50, $75, $100, $200.

Tuesday and the WAC

The pickings are thin today...

Remember Terrance Joyner, the young man who decided to test out homeland security at the El Paso airport and ended up departing from New Mexico State? He was at Eastern Utah this past season, playing in six games, before departing from that roster. JucoJunction is now reporting that Joyner has landed back in D-1 at ... well, it's somewhere but we don't have a sub to JJ so the information is unavailable to PTW. The info will pop up elsewhere at some point and we'll report back.

*** CHECK THE COMMENTS FOR THE ANSWER -- thanks for the information ***


Not WAC-related but here a series of links to good reads:
At age 79, Dean Smith is having good days and bad days.He epitomized class during his coaching days.

Jason Belzer offers an interesting piece on the July recruiting.

Add this article to the litany about basketball factories, er academies.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday evening's WAC-aroni

Patrick Orr has the details on Le'Shard Anderson's legal run-in -- go here. Yes, logic is often a missing element in these types of situation -- often due to an overconsumption of something (that's unknown here) -- but what are the individuals thinking? Like it or not, appropriate or not, if a police officer orders you to do something, let's just say grabbing him or her is not conducive to winning the argument.


Stew Morrill has added 7-foot-2 junior college transfer Leland Miller to his roster -- Jared Eborn has the details about the walk-on here.


Monday's WAC-aroo

Chad Groth at is reporting that 6-foot-7 2011 recruit Blake Wilkinson of Viewmont (UT) High is on Utah State's radar. Go here and a sub is required. Here are Wilkinson's stats over the past two seasons. No, we can't find any family connection to Gary Wilkinson.


Marvin Menzies has finalized his coaching staff for next season -- NMSU athletics offers the details here.


Chris Murray provides the latest game action on Luke Babbitt, Armon Johnson and even JaVale McGee here


Last but certainly not least, AW Prince completes his look at the recruiting catches and the current WAC team rosters with his third and final installment here. A sub is required.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The latest on Babbitt and Johnson

The Luke Babbitt/Armon Johnson reality show will premier in Portland but is tuning up this summer in Vegas. Ben Golliver of the site offers an update on how LB and AJ are doing so far:

Where's He At?

Putting up obscene numbers at a smaller school that didn't have a ton of success, Luke Babbitt was a polarizing prospect for a lot of NBA scouts.  Can he play small forward?  Is he more of a stretch four?  Can he defend anyone?  Those are open questions.  But no one doubts his ability to shoot the ball.  He can stroke it and he has been able to find his own shot up to this point.  He's also known as a worker, a smart kid and he comes across extremely eager.  There are always certain NBA players that have a "living their dream" vibe.  He's one of those guys...
Where's He At?

The Blazers see Armon Johnson as a big, physical point guard who can get to the basket but needs to work on his shot.  They see him being able to defend either guard position at the NBA level but they hope he transforms into a big, pure point guard.  Aside from his shaky shot and lack of range, there are also questions about his ability to run and intuitively understand an NBA offense and read NBA defenses.  These questions face virtually every young point guard coming into the NBA.  Johnson doesn't lack for confidence, which could turn into a really good thing or a really bad thing.  That's what Summer League is all about...
Go here and scroll down a bit.

Your ecclesiastical WAC offering

Been spending major time the past couple of days watching the play at a junior college tourney...


Eric Bossi of Rivals mentioned a Texas prepster that Utah State and many others are closely watching: 2012 6-foot-2 shooting guard Niem Stevenson out of Ranchview High in Irving, TX. Go here and this one doesn't appear to require a sub. Here's the young man's MySpace page.

From a September 2009 site recap of a major tournament in Texas comes this: "...One name to keep your eye on over the next few years is sophomore Carrollton (Texas) Ranchview combo guard Niem Stephenson. He recently transferred in from Seattle, where he played on the same AAU team as OU recruit Josh Smith. We unfortunately did not get to see much of him due to a hand injury, but there have been several recruiting gurus that have had good things to say about his game. He currently has the size (6-foot-3), but time will tell if he has the game to be a high major recruit..."


Forgot to post this from a couple days back, off the Draft Express Twitter page -- it looks like PG turned it around during a game:

"Magnum Rolle was very solid for Indiana. Hit a bunch of mid-range jumpers, was very active around the glass. Has looked pretty good all week."

"Great finish to the Indiana-Boston game. Some big drives and finishes by Paul George helped them seal the win after being down by around 25."
"Paul George is really struggling right now. Settling for terrible fade-aways, making awful decisions with the ball. Looks very frustrated."

Finally, anyone have a surefire remedy for bleacher butt?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday's early WAC report

AW Prince is on a roll (actually he's always on a roll) and back with video of Nevada recruit Jordan Burris. Go here and a sub is required.


Eric Bossi of Rivals is reporting that Louisiana Tech (and many others) has offered 6-foot-8 Forrest Robinson, who plays for the Houston Select club team and attends Eastland High in Texas. Go here and a Rivals sub is required. Here is the young man's MySpace site. Here is a January 2010 feature from the local newspaper.


Former New Mexico Stater Justin Hawkins is exploring sponsoring a Las Cruces-based club basketball team. Jason Groves offers the details.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday's WAC roundup

The interwebs, you know that series of tubes, are loaded today:

1insider at the BarkBoard SaveMart Center basketball message board is a supplier of information today -- GJ Vilarino is down to Fresno State and Illinois (an earlier Spokane Spokesman Review blog entry quoted Vilarino's father as saying his son had one more visit to take if need be and would probably decide in early August) plus former LMU frontcourter Kevin Young -- 10.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game -- is attending a local community college before joining Steve Cleveland's squad.He's 6-foot-7 and quite the leaper.

Here's an article on Young's departure from Loyola Marymount. Here's a series of LMU basketball message board posts on Young's leaving.


Shawen62 and LJVandal at the Scout Idaho basketball message board report on the latest accomplishments of Mac Hopson, Kashif Watson and Marvin Jefferson. Go here.


Big Wen self-reports that his academics and that of Troy Gillenwater are in order, plus more -- so Aggie fans can quit holding their collective breath. A tip o' the hat to Coach Allison at the Scout New Mexico State Aggie Alert basketball message board.


Jason Groves reports on New Mexico State's trip north here and a significant home-and-home series with a PAC-10 power.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Matt Simpkins update

Former heralded prepster, 6-foot-9 Matt Simpkins was connected to Nevada at one point last season. This was when he was sitting out the season but attending classes at Diablo Valley College (Pleasant Hill, CA).

Eventually, both parties moved on and now Simpkins is listed as a member of the Garden City Community College (KA) team.

Here is his resume as listed by Memphis State, the last team Simpkins was on before being booted for a myriad of problems:

Named No. 36 player in the country in's Fab 50 Basketball Recruits ... Ranked No. 74 by ... No. 24 power forward by ... No. 80 in ... No. 25 power forward in position rankings ... Rated the No. 70 player in the nation by in its final 2008 rankings ... In 2007-08, played for head coach Chris Chaney at The Patterson School in Lenoir, N.C. ... Helped the Bulldogs to a 32-2 overall record ... Averaged 17.2 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.1 blocks for Patterson ... Named to Northern Cal's Best starting five in summer of 2007 by ... In summer of 2007, had 22 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks in second annual Sac vs. Bay Showdown ... Also participated in 2007 Pangos All-American Camp and was the camp's third-leading scorer at 20.3 ppg ... Highest scoring game at camp was a 33-point performance (second to Brandon Jennings' 36 points at the camp) ... Was named MVP of the showdown's underclass game ... As a junior at Berkeley in 2006-07, helped lead the Yellowjackets to a 21-7 overall record and a 12-2 Alameda Contra Costa League mark ... Berkeley won the league regular season title ... Selected to the California All-State Junior second team by ... In summer of 2006, ranked among the top 10 players at the Adidas Camp (one of two 2008 recruits in the top 10) ... As a sophomore in 2005-06, averaged 16.7 points, 12.8 rebounds and 6.2 blocks for Capital Christian

Here's a link about Simpkins' departure from Memphis State. Yes, he will get another shot or two as someone is always willing to take (another) chance. Could it be a WAC team?

A couple more tidbits

The Draft Express folks keep on giving:

"Paul George looks way more like Fresno State Paul George so far than workout wonderboy Paul George. Very raw. You can see the talent though."


"Undrafted free agents who look good: Jeremy Pargo, Mustafa Shakur, Patrick Ewing Jr, Jaycee Carroll, Matt Janning, Thomas Heurtel, lots more."

"He's an undersized shooting guard who is extremely limited defensively."

 in reply to:

"@CoachCarbenia Jaycee Carroll is GREAT, how'd he go undrafted????"

Thursday and the WAC

Rivals' Brian Snow is reporting that New Mexico State has offered 6-foot-5 Canadian wing Jonathan Thsimbuy. Snow writes that the Aggies are the only school to do so at this point but expect big changes soon.


Gotta believe that exhibition summer series in Canada was planned with recruiting north of the border in mind. Jason Groves has two pieces -- here and here -- on the Aggies heading north to play.


Per Chris Murray, Luke Babbitt has signed with Portland.


Part Two of AW Prince's Silver and Blue Sports look at the 2010-2011 WAC teams and rosters -- go here and a sub is required.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The WAC on Wednesday

Brian McInnis checks in with an update on UH hoops, offering the recruiting travel plans of the Hawaii coaching staff and more. Go here.


Travis Mason-Bushman offers an update on where Idaho center Marvin Jefferson is taking the court. Go here


We're waiting for the part two posting of AW Prince's look at the 2010-2011 WAC rosters at Silver and Blue Sports. A sub is required but well worth the cost.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Listing this for fun

Jason Belzer at offers his list of the top high major basketball assistants across the country and prefaces the article with his terms of placement. We can't agree or quibble with his choices since we don't have enough knowledge and background in order to do so. Still, we wonder how such a list can actually be compiled. For fun, yes, we see that. In reality, no.There is just too much unknown, especially when it comes to recruiting.

Here is Jason's June 2009 list of the top mid-major assistant coaches -- it's topped by none other than Leon Rice, now at BSU. But keep this in mind (it's at the bottom of the article: consideration was given only to assistants whose schools are eligible for the Mid-Major Top 25 Poll.

Nevada basketball featured here

Chris Murray has returned from parts unknown (loved that term when the announcer would introduce some masked and/or scary looking wrestler) and is burning up the keyboard.

Here is his story on what's up with Armon and Luke.

Chris goes all in on basketball budgets here.

We can't argue with his ratings the NBA accomplishments to be had by the Wolf Pack's pros of late.

Magnum Rolle starts out impressive

NBA Orlando Pro Summer League 2010: Day 1 In Review
Scott Schroeder
Rediculous Upside
July 6, 2010

Magnum Rolle, PF/C, Indiana Pacers - I really was impressed with Rolle in his game after not having high hopes for the 6-foot-10 power forward out of Louisiana Tech. The long and athletic big man didn't look as soft as I remember on his way to a solid 13 points, five boards and a block in under 19 minutes of action as the starting power forward.  If he can rebound as well as he did this game (five rebounds don't tell the whole story, folks), he'd probably be high on the list of D-League call-ups going into next season.
Here's the link to Schroeder's complete Summer League update.

It's all AW Prince/Silver and Blue Sports today

AW Prince from the Silver and Blue Sports site offers the feature of the day (and probably the week). It is his second annual ‘10 Impact in the WAC – Hoops Part 1 in which he looks at who has arrived and who has departed from the BSU, Fresno State, Hawaii and Idaho basketball teams and provides his analysis on next season.

Accessing it requires an S-and-B sub but here is yet another good reason to make that commitment.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Monday WAC report

Hey, if you're a Boise basketball fan in Milwaukee, Seattle, Tulsa, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Dallas, Minneapolis, Orlando or Chicago, keep a watch for Leon Rice and/or his assistants to be tooling around your town during July. The key locations: airports and gymnasiums.

Nick Jezierny has the details -- go here.


Tony Jones certainly deserves credit for feeding the WAC basketball appetite over this long weekend.

 Here is Tony's report -- quite the intriguing one in many ways -- on 6-foot-9 Gatete Djuma.

Here is an Aggieville blog entry on 6-foot-4 Jared Stutzman.

Here is Tony with an overall look at USU recruiting the next couple of seasons.

Stew Morrill is well on his way to having his next two recruiting classes pretty much set. Getting all these early commitments burnishes the Aggie basketball program as not only the big dog in the WAC -- these USU inroads are creating quite the positive buzz within the Beehive State.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A bit more on Boise State's new 'big'

Red Wing big man Oeltjen seeks a fresh start at Boise State
Brett Boese
The Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
RED WING —  played his last high-school basketball game 18 months ago. He had reconstructive knee surgery last December and has been unable to compete while essentially taking a year off to recuperate.

But the beanpole grew 2 inches and packed on 50 pounds of muscle during his time away from the court — now tipping the scale at 230 and standing 7-foot-1 — which helped create a strong recruiting buzz.

It proved to be a tantalizing tease for Oeltjen, who's long dreamed of playing Division I basketball...
Go here for the remainder.

A Jaycee Carroll update

Jaycee Carroll is on the Boston Celtics summer league roster, per the Rediculous Upside site. Scott Schroeder writes this about Carroll:

    Jaycee Carroll, SG/PG, Utah State - Carroll is primarily a sweet-shooting guard, but with the way the Celtics Summer League roster is set up I'm sure he'll get a chance to show he can run the point as well.

    The last time I saw Carroll play live was, coincidentally, the last game of the Vegas Summer League last season (he played for the New Orleans Hornets) - and I remember the triple-overtime affair quite vividly. In that game, Carroll got the start and scored 22 points while shooting 9-of-20 from the field and adding eight boards and two steals.

    I was surprised he chose to play overseas this past season, but the stats (and the paychecks, I assume) indicate that it worked out just fine. In 50 games for Gran Canaria, Carroll averaged 17.7 points between the Eurocup and the Spanish League - with his 18.8 scoring average leading a rather competitive Spanish League.
Here's a recent article on Carroll when he was working out in Toronto. 

Here's an update from John Newbold.

Sunday and WAC basketball

 AW Prince has compiled video, audio, photos and print-- all in one post -- about the members of Nevada's basketball recruiting class this go-around. Talk about a collective resource! Go here to Silver and Blue Sports and a sub is required


Tony Jones has tweeted that another underclassmen -- Quincy Bair -- has cast his lot with Stew Morrill and USU. Here is what Jones wrote about Bair the other day:

Strengths: Hops, hops and more hops. Bair can rise with the best of him and is explosive going to the basket. He's capable of taking his man off the dribble with either hand and finishing above the rim. His upside is considerable. He's a very good mid-range shooter, a long armed defender and great in transition. He's capable of highlight reel plays and drew ooohs and ahhhs from the crowd on a number of occasions. He's someone who can score in a number of ways. He's a good rebounder on both sides of the ball. His quick hands and anticipation generated a number of turnovers. He's another guy who needs national competition because there are few athletes in this state comperable to him. He can hit the occasional three-pointer, but isn't consistent in that regard. His first step is quick and explosive. He projects as a perfect small forward at the college level. He's 6-4 at this point, but says that he could grow to 6-6 by the time he's ready for school. According to Rodney Davis, Marcel's father, the two are best friends, along with Loveridge.

From Marek Warszawski's Fresno Bee column -- PTW will title this Reason #34705 for why we need a sports apocalypse:
*Takeru Kobayashi might not renew his annual grudge match with Joey Chestnut at today's hot dog-eating contest on Coney Island because of a contract dispute.