Tuesday, August 31, 2010

LA TECH issues a roster update

Louisiana Tech has released an official count of the additions to the basketball squad and four of the names are new to us:

Rupp Adds Nine for Upcoming Season
Bulldog basketball adds nine for the 2010-11 season
Louisiana Tech Athletics
August 31, 2010

Louisiana Tech head coach Kerry Rupp and his staff have signed eight newcomers to national letters of intent and added one walk-on for the 2010-11 men's basketball season.

Having lost five letterwinners from last season's 24-11 team, including second round NBA draft pick Magnum Rolle and Kyle Gibson who ranks sixth on the all-time scoring list, Rupp and Co. had a lot of work to do this summer.

"We are very excited about our recruiting class," Rupp said. "This will give us high caliber players as well as outstanding young men to work with and who will fit into our program and system extremely well. I want to praise my entire staff on the excellent job of working together to bring in this outstanding group of student-athletes."

Of the nine new Bulldogs, four are college transfers and five are incoming freshmen with two from the state of Louisiana...
Go here for the remainder.

BYU goes with the West Coast Conference

BYU's move wasn't a surprise.

PTW fully expects Karl Benson to don his favorite sweater and begin belting out:

"It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

It's a neighborly day in this beautywood,
A neighborly day for a beauty,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,
I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you..."
 If he receives any affirmative responses, the next tune will be:
"You are my friend
You are special
You are my friend
You're special to me.
You are the only one like you.
Like you, my friend, I like you..."

Jared Eborn gone from The Deseret News

Joining Dayton Morinaga/Honolulu Advertiser, Jared Eborn has been let go from the Deseret News in an evisceration of that newspaper staff (totaling 43% of the work force).

From his now sole Twitter account:

It's been real it's been fun but I'm out.     about 6 hours ago  via txt
But he offers some great advice:
Life strategy for aspiring journalists tip No. 1: Marry well     about 4 hours ago  via web
All that we can add to that is marry up, too. It's working for PTW.

As for consolation, we expect to see Jared clad in "Mellow Johnny" at some point (maybe the end?) of the next Tour De France.

Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship.

Do you or don't you?

There are the proverbial two schools of thought here: do or don't call a timeout, either as the team ahead or the one behind, on the last possession of a game when there is a two or less point differential separating the teams?

Rush The Court found some analysis of this situation -- go here -- and either agree or disagree.

The WAC basketball world on Tuesday

We might have posted this before but just in case: Midnight_Ploughboy at the Scenic West Conference message board on the Juco Junction site has posted that former Boise State (Greg Graham) recruit Mason Sawyer is at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah . He's a point out of the Utah high school ranks who went on his LDS mission right out of high school and returned this year.


Blue Zertuch of the Rivals TexasHoops site is reporting that 2012 backcourter Phil Forte has an offer from Boise State as well as many other colleges. The 5-foot-10 Forte is out of Flower Mound, TX.

Here's a description of the young man at the DFW Basketball News site after the April 2010  Great America Shootout:

"This prospect is just a winner...  He shot lights out from the 3pt area. He kept his team under control during close games.  Either getting a bucket or hitting open teammates for wide open shots."
Here's something from Jerry Meyer of Rivals after a July 2010 event:
"Phil Forte  (Texas Assault 16-U, 2012) - Forte did a nice job handling the basket against DC Assault's defensive pressure. He also did a nice job finding the bottom of the net. Often a beneficiary of [Marcus] Smart's penetration and passing, Forte knocked down six three-pointers in the game for a total of 20 points."
Forte's father is the coach of his high school team.


Matt Norlander at Jeff Goodman's blog has an entry on New Mexico State's sojourn to Canada. Go here and scroll down a bit.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Nick Jezierny catches an Idaho basketball no-show

Nick Jezierny tweeted earlier today that an Idaho basketball recruit didn't make it to campus -- go here.

The young man played at Brevard College in Florida as a frosh, redshirted a second year there and played at North Idaho College last season. Could it really be academics that thwarted his entry into Vandal territory or did he just decide to play somewhere closer to home (Lakeland, FL)?

Jason Groves tackles the Aggie basketball scholarship recipients

Sorry for the mixed sports metaphor in the headline.

Jason Groves has clarified who is a scholarshipped member of the 2010-2011 New Mexico State basketball team -- go here for this update and we thank Jason for taking the time to do so.

A Texas big to visit Boise State

We were sent a note that 6-foot-8, 230-pound Darrious Hamilton, out of the San Antonio prep ranks, is scheduled to visit Boise on September 23.

Here's a January 2009 writeup on Hamilton.

Here's a July, 2010 article containing a description of the young man.

Thomas Bropleh doing well in summer school

Peter Hutchins, the boys varsity basketball coach at New Hampton School tweeted this recently:

"Proud to report that 2009-2010 HUSKY and Boise St freshman, @Tbropleh, earned one A and one B in summer school. Great job, Tom!"
Hutchins is referring to 6-foot-5 forward Thomas Bropleh, who played at New Hampton last year.

Nine questions

In no particular order, a question for each WAC team::

Boise State: who steps up as the go-to creator at the end of the game or nearing the conclusion of the shot clock?

Utah State: name the person who takes over and replaces Jared Quayle's timely daggers (baskets)?

New Mexico State: it won't be needed as much due to Gillenwater and McKines in the frontcourt but who in the 2010 Aggie backcourt will create offense?

San Jose State: we're not sure quite how to achieve it but can Adrian Oliver 'make' his teammates more effective?

Louisiana Tech: doesn't it seem that the LT Bulldogs remain competitive regardless of the roster/talent makeup?

Fresno State: can the CA Bulldogs prosper with a 'bigs' group consisting of a sophomore, two freshman and a senior coming off injury?

Nevada: let's see who shakes out as the leader or leaders on this newcomer-dominated squad

Hawaii: It may not fully take until the 2011 season but opponents are finally going to have to guard out to the three-point line against UH

Idaho: can the collective Vandal backcourt -- the starters and off-the-benchers -- match up with the best in the league?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A solid Sunday edition of WAC items for you

The NetScouts site is reporting these former WAC players as landing work overseas;

*** Roderick Flemings (Hawaii), C.B. Canarias (Leb Oro), Spain

*** Jonathan Gibson (New Mexico State) Oyak Renault, Turkey

*** Petras Balocka (Hawaii) Lietuvos Rytas, Lithuania

*** Chris Oakes (San Jose State) Radnicki, Serbia


UnderdogAggie at the SCOUT New Mexico State site Sports Trough message board is reporting a Canadian backcourter as having committed to the Aggies. Daniel Mullings is a 6-foot-1 combo guard out of Toronto. It seems unclear if he is to be on the roster this season but redshirting or arriving next year.

Here's Steven Luong writing about Mullings after a June all star game in Canada:

"...Daniel Mullings led the way for Team Red scoring 32 points and also playing some outstanding defense which included two spectacular run-down blocks in the fourth quarter on [Myck] Kabongo, and UNLV commit Grandy Glaze that was reminiscent of NBA all-star’s LeBron James’ signature defensive play.

“I love LeBron [James],” Mullings said. “His tenacity on defence, how he gets back on help defense, how he gets his team involved. I look up to him a lot.”

Both Mullings and Kabongo were able to score in very similar fashions. Making good use of their quick first steps, excellent ball handling skills and athleticism to get to the hoop consistently..." 
Here's another Mullings writeup on the same event:
"...The dark horse in this game was undoubtedly 6-2 Combo guard Daniel Mullings (2010). He entertained the crowd with his high flying act and showed his combination of speed and athleticism. Mullings was able to consistently get to the rim at will and finish over the trees as he filled up the basket for 32 points. It was a break out performance by Mullings which was unexpected by most due to the lack of buzz he received leading up to the game. The good news for college coaches is that he is still uncommitted and surprisingly only has one offer from New Mexico State..."
Here is some video on the young man.

Here is 6:26 YouTube video interview of Mullings.

Does anyone know if Coach Menzies has a scholarship open for the coming season, especially with the recent addition of Remi Barry?


Fred Lewis offers a lengthy column about past and present WAC breakups here. It's always fascinating how quick some are to hit the message boards and criticize Karl Benson and others when what is happening in the background is unknown except to a select few. Instant analysis is a modern malady especially when performed by the uninformed.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday's WAC brunch

Here's the official announcement of the WAC Sports Network. Here's Daniel Lyght with more information.


hellaprogressive at the SCOUT Bronco Country site basketball message board reports that former Boise Stater Kurt Cunningham is going to play pro ball in Hungary.


Jared Eborn offers more on the daily question: is BYU behind door #1, door #2, door #3 or not in the building regarding WAC affiliation.


Jay Drew has more on the behind-the-scenes happenings involving the various WAC and BYU college presidents.

Friday, August 27, 2010

WAC Friday

Jay Drew is The Man. The Salt Lake City Tribune has obtained emails that deliciously fill in a large portion of the behind-the-scenes dealings involving the WAC and BYU. Fresno State's John Welty must have tremendous body control as his ability to do a 180 in tight space is impressive. Go here and enjoy.


Travis Mason-Bushman tweets the whereabouts of former Vandal Mac Hopson -- go here.


Jason Groves blogs about newcomer Remi Barry and a bit on New Mexico State's television game schedule here. The PAC-10 doesn't allow non-qualifiers to enroll so those two schools couldn't formally extend offers to Barry but we don't know the Big East (St. John's) bylaws pertaining to NQ's. Barry will certainly be the best Aggie talent next season but his scoring ability would be quite the boon for Coach Marvin Menzies if the NCAA clears the young man from France for this season.


Chris Murray has the names of those trying out for the Reno Bighorns and there are a number of former WAC players among them -- go here. For you weekend warriors, put together $150, get to Oakland and have a story to tell your children and grandchildren although posterization is also always a possibility.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It poll time...the poll we've been waiting for

Our eyes have been glassing over at any in-the-last-month mention or appearance of the word poll (we tolerate football but loooove basketball -- that's just how we roll) but PTW just caught a Chris Murray column about a WAC BASKETBALL POLL, plus all-league selections, courtesy of the Sporting News. Go here and savor the coming season, one in which hoops will be far more interesting than football due to the number of teams that have a legitimate chance of winning the tourney.

One more item

Collin Woods, who we thought was headed to Arizona State but that was prior to the commitment of high level point Jahii Carson, is apparently wide open right now and considering mid-major destinations. The Arizona prepster was also considering Colorado but that relationship looks to be either in a holding pattern or heading south. 

We mention Woods because Fresno State has extended an offer. The young man is 6-foot-2, 165 pounds and plays the point.

All this is according to Adam Munsterteiger at the Buff Stampede.com site. (a Rivals sub is required)

Here is Woods' personal site, which we have featured before. Anybody who lists pre calculus as his favorite class impresses us

Thursday's WAC news and notes

Dave Reardon writes that the best -- no, make that -- the most acceptable of all moves now is for UH to put the WAC in its rear view mirror. But finding a suitor and a heck of a lot of independent football opponents may be Sisyphus-like tasks.


Sam Wasson offers video of one Jonathan Tshibuy, out of Montreal, (the geographical area the Aggies just toured) -- aso will their be a November announcement pairing up Tshibuy and New Mexico State?

Remi Barry's hometown newspaper has a profile of the young man here.


Chris Murray on has more on K.C. Ross-Miller 'See America' tour -- go here.


The Quayles are now  in Belgium -- check out the photos (especially the waffle one) and updates here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday and the WAC

K.C. Ross-Miller did some mutual wooing with Nevada a while back -- although it always seemed a long shot for the Wolf Pack to land the young man -- until the point cast his lot with Louisiana State.

It turns out that Ross-Miller's academics, even with the additional year, didn't fulfill NCAA requirements.The acceptability of homeschooling courses appears to be the issue.

Eric Bossi of Rivals is reporting that Ross-Miller is headed to Florida International (and Isiah Thomas) but is also trying to get the NCAA to reconsider. Go here (a Rivals sub is required).

Here's a July article on the subject.


Per Tony Jones and out of Karl Benson's mouth, "everyone is in play" when it comes to the current WAC team roster.

Matt James offers some interesting takes, including a bit of history, on Fresno State's move.

It makes sense geographically but does Hawaii want to drop down -- at least a bit -- and join up with the Big West Conference in all sports other than football? Can UH really make a go of it as an independent in football? Read Ferd Lewis here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Tuesday double-dip for you

Sam Wasson offers a link to some highlights of the recent Canadian tour by New Mexico State. Go here. Knowledge of some French would help with certain segments but isn't needed for the visuals.


Tony Jones is reporting that Karl Benson says 'no buyout for you' if/when LA TECH departs from the WAC. Go here


Another WAC symbolism photo

We're a sucker for anything dog-related, plus this just seemed so WAC appropriate in so many ways -- hopefully, we aren't overdoing the photos and the humor

Jared Eborn reports

Jared Eborn did some digging and came up with a copy of the WAC - BYU agreement (whose status seems in limbo or, maybe more accurately, last rites). His article is an interesting read -- go here.

Jared also has a column up with a take on Utah State hoops -- go here.

Tuesday's WAC report

AW Prince at Silver and Blue Sports offers a piece on a Chicago prepster apparently of interest to Nevada, Jamall Millison, a 2012 prospect.


Ferd Lewis says the WAC should be inspired by the late Johnny Cash's song "A Boy Named Sue" -- with all emphasis on the last word.


Here's a Jack Carey/USA TODAY-penned summary of the state of the WAC.


Coach Marvin Menzies has added a former southern California prep star -- Tom Lewis -- to his staff as the coordinator of player development. Former Aggie Chris Gabriel played for Lewis at Junipero Serra High.

Here is a 1985 Los Angeles Times column by Chris Dufresne that takes satire to a whole 'nother level.

Another golden oldie can be read here

Mal Florence of the Times has a lengthy piece on Lewis here..


Andre Almeida is a 7-footer out of the Arizona juco ranks who signed with Nebraska. His connection was Walter Roese, a fellow Brazilian and a Cornhusker assistant at the time, who was later hired at Hawaii by Gib Arnold. Some UH fans were hoping Almeida would follow Roese to the islands but that didn't happen. Almeida would have become a starter in the middle for the Rainbow Warriors but we just saw a note that he his on campus in Lincoln -- so that candle flame can be extinguished. Roese also is credited for the earlier Nebraska signing of center Vander Joaquim, another native of Brazil who had to attend an Arizona juco due to academics, but someone who did sign with UH this year.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Bill Sproat update

Thanks to Joe for tipping us off on Bill Sproat's update about how he spent his summer.

Go here for a shocking read -- we hereby request that BillS wear a medical gown to a Spectrum game this season -- you know the kind:

With John Prine's assistance, we hear Bill singing out to the doctors and nurses:

Please don't bury me
Down in that cold cold ground

First check and see
If there's a BYU grad layin' around...

Humor Monday

 The photo below summarizes what the WAC is offering right now to prospective new members .

Just three items today

Robert Lumpkins has been with the New Mexico State program for three years, all as a walk-on. Now he has transferred to Rutgers for his senior season. Lumpkins played in eight game -- starting five of them -- last season for the Aggies, averaging 4.0 points and 3.8 rebounds a game in just under 20 minutes a contest. He's a native of D.C. who played a season at Kilgore College in Texas, redshirted one year and then played two in Las Cruces and now is back in the east.

Here's Adam Zagoria tweeting:

#  New Rutgers big man Robert Lumpkins is listed at 6-7, 215 pounds    

# Lumpkins will have one year of eligibility at Rutgers

# Rutgers coach Mike Rice adds some frontcourt depth for 2010 with New Mex State transfer Robert Lumpkins
*** Adam has posted a full article on Lumpkins -- go here for that.


 Rush The Court offers this item today:
"...New Mexico State picked up a commitment from French-born Remi Barry who most recently went to high school in California. Barry will have to sit out a year as he didn’t qualify based on NCAA requirement, which is reportedly due to difficulty analyzing his academic transcript from two continents."
We're not sure if Barry is out for this season or if he will be able to play come a timely NCAA clearance.


Kraig Williams, one half of The Refraction duo posted an interesting tweet today:
7 years ago today I started my freshman orientation class at Utah State. Where did that time go?
It's always difficult to sort out intent from typed words but the numerology reminded us of a line of dialogue from "Animal House" spoken by Bluto (John Belushi) after his fraternity, the Deltas, was expelled:
"...Seven years of college down the drain..."
By the way, Utah State must remain in the WAC because The Refraction and Bill Sproat are one of a kind -- simply irreplaceable.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

He who has the gold, rules

As much as we may not like it or admit it, college football and basketball are now business enterprises/corporations. As fans and in the throes of fan-dom, we don't want to acknowledge such but the truth, as someone said speaking on another subject, is self-evident.

Yes, even though they are affiliated with an entity of higher learning, the heads of collegiate teams keep their jobs by winning, usually many more games than they lose. Doing so brings in television appearances and bowl game invites/Big Dance appearances and positive overall publicity, the trifecta that keeps the financial coffers full.

Achieve this troika and most personal peccadilloes or worse and/or those of the student-athletes are tsked at but generally overlooked. It's basic: win and you are a success in the world regardless of anything else.

The athletic directors -- call them the CEOs -- of these coaches keep their positions by maintaining and/or lengthening the plus side of the balance sheet.

The bigtime boosters (measured in financial contributions, not by mere loyalty) are the shareholders.

We're in the peanut gallery, offering opinions on this or that but having no real influence on personnel policy.

With that hopefully clarified, maybe such will help explain the past/present/future conduct of the various WAC members.

The WAC (nor do other leagues) doesn't function based upon any sort of sacred vows. The 'until death do you part' of certain marriage ceremonies has never and will never seep into any sort of conference bonds.

All is a business operation.

Similarly, corporations have agreements with others until such no longer provide the benefit wanted or desired. If a better (more profitable or beneficial) deal can be made elsewhere, it's value will be measured and an agreement possibly pursued.

That's the nature of the business beast and the very same financial model on which college athletics (football and basketball) function.

Human-like feelings -- empathy, family, loyalty and the sort -- do not apply. All is profit/success driven. The shareholders must be kept happy and satisfied. The product must be sale-able to enough of the masses.

Or heads roll.

Any CEO is 'required' to look further into such if a new proposal/deal provides greater visibility and the possibility of larger income generation. This allows for the possibility of strengthening his or her products.

The same is also true for any athletics director.

In this atmosphere, any given word on any matter is truly only good for the very moment it is issued.

Constant re-evaluation carries the day.

It's hard (and probably unfair) to label any of the individual actors in the current WAC situation as good or bad, heroes or villains. They are simply doing what they are designated and situated to do.

We may want matters to be different, desiring collegiate athletics to be something with a positive purity quotient but that train has left the station -- if it ever was a reality to begin with.

Decision making based upon any sort of common good is incongruent thinking in the corporate world mindset as well as college athletics because neither apparatus is currently designed for such.

He who has the gold, rules and the maximization of profit carries the day.

Jason Groves with an analysis of NMSU's trip to Canada

Jason Groves checks with what New Mexico State gained from tripping north:

Young frontcourt players take advantage of Canada trip
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News
Injuries and passport issues aside, New Mexico State's trip to Canada last week was beneficial for the men's basketball team.

"I thought it was very productive," Aggies coach Marvin Menzies said. "We had a lot of growth come out of the trip and learned a lot about the returners . I didn't want blowouts against lower competition. I wanted to duplicate the regular season as much as we could..."
Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Robb Akey lands a blow

A football item: this may have been offered tongue-in-cheek, or not, but Idaho Coach Robb Akey didn't miss an opportunity:

After some football practice equipment was stolen from outside the Kibbie Dome, Akey was quoted thusly: "I'm assuming they must have come out of Boise somewhere, that must have been what the deal was."


The state of the WAC on Saturday

 When can we get back to focusing on current players, recruiting prospects and the like?

Yikes. Ferd Lewis has a long memory and brings together two disparate moments -- one current and the other from 2002 -- in UH and Fresno State athletics. Go here.


 Thank you to PackBlue at the Silver and Blue Sports Sports Forum for discovering this -- a Twitter account featuring a faux Karl Benson. Go here and have some laughs, which we need now more than ever.


Getting serious, it appears (who knows what passes for reality at this point) Utah State is seriously exploring joining the Mountain West Conference.

Here are some 14, 15 hour old tweets from Jared Eborn/Deseret News:

A source close to the USU administration tells the Deseret News Utah State is actively negotiating a berth in MWC with WAC falling apart


That source at USU says the MWC will expand, again, to 12 teams if BYU can be persuaded to stay in MWC for non-football sports


Any conference move for USU depends on BYU's decision on FB indy status. Nothing will happen before Monday at earliest 


To be clear, that source says nothing impending, but that is the goal of current negotiations for USU.

Plus, Tony Jones has an Aggieville article here on this subject and more.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hunting for answers

Nevada and Fresno State had to know for some time about the proposed shift of BYU to the WAC.

Taking that a step further, each must at least have entertained the thought that the Mountain West Conference might then come calling.

Karl Benson certainly did, hence the large buyouts.

So why did the respective schools agree to such?

Did they consent prior to serious feelers from the MWC?

Prior to the actual offers?

Or would declining to do so have tipped their respective hands?

Paging Miss Marple.

Better yet, how about getting Anton Chigurh to handle sorting out the truth from the fiction.

Short of that drastic move, let's host a sodium pentathal party.

Andy Katz hearts Utah State hoops

ESPN's Andy Katz offers some justified love to USU basketball today:

Resilient Utah State can still sell program
Andy Katz
August 20, 1010

Utah State's Scott Barnes was the first remaining WAC athletic director to talk about loyalty and honoring a commitment.

What he could have added as well in his letter to USU fans is that his basketball program has stood quite well on its own for some time.

Lost amid the moves of Fresno State and Nevada to leave the WAC for the Mountain West in 2012 is how they will affect the Utah State men's basketball program...
Go here for the remainder.

BSU and Fresno State will need to pick up recruiting

Nevada has been quite successful but will still need to pick up recruiting some in preparing for the Mountain West Conference MWC) basketball play. It's Boise State and also Fresno State who need to make major strides in bringing in talent.

Success is the MWC generally requires a player or two who are either NBA caliber or on the edge of being such -- so the Broncos and Coach Leon Rice must make inroads with higher caliber recruits. Let's see what happens come November and also the later signing period.

Similarly, PTW believes it's likely that Fresno State will be minus Greg Smith (dependent on him enjoying a breakout season) come the move to the MWC, so a major infusion of frontcourt talent is a must.

As for the MWC, New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV are the Big Brothers in hoops, with Texas Christian and Wyoming as possibilities of being contenders down the road. The Big Three can be caught, now it's up to the respective coaching staffs to do so.

A summer league look at JaVale McGee -- it sounds familiar

NBA Summer League Review 2010: Las Vegas Profiles Part One
Matt Kamalsky - Director of Operations
Draft Express
August 19, 2010

In our second recap of the 2010 NBA Summer League, we take stock of the top non-rookie forwards and centers that left the strongest impressions in Las Vegas.

JaVale McGee, 1988, 7'0, 250, Center, Washington Wizards
19.5 Points, 9.3 Rebounds, 0 Assists, 3 Turnovers, 68.8% FG, 54.5% FT

After seeing sporadic playing time for the majority of last season, McGee posted solid numbers in extensive minutes after the Wizards opened up a spot in the starting lineup by sending Brendan Haywood to Dallas. A standout performer in last year's Summer League, McGee was even better this year, showing excellent chemistry with Jon Wall and dominating his matchup offensively with his tremendous length and mobility for a player his height. Still far from a finished product in many areas, McGee continues to be a player to watch as he begins to see extensive minutes playing next to a true point guard.

As was the case last year, more often than not, JaVale McGee's frame is simply too much for many defenders to handle at this level. He's able to release shots around the rim with ease, use his huge strides to beat his defender to the rim, and offers a giant target for his teammates to pass to when they are looking to create. Over the course of the four games he played in Las Vegas, McGee shot nearly 70% from the field. When he was able to catch the ball with his defender recovering or within a few feet of the rim, his length and leaping ability did the rest, resulting in a handful of highlight plays and his exceptional shooting percentage...
Go here (scroll down a bit) for the remainder.

Friday and the WAC

They like Ike in Poland. Rafter 17 at the SCOUT Boise State site informs us on the basketball MB that former BSU player Ike Okoye is headed to AZS Koszalin Basketball to play for pay. Here's the Wikipedia entry for the Polish club.


Andy Katz offers some insight and analysis on Karl Benson's presser here.

Jon Wilner of the Mercury News does the same here

It is fascinating that Utah State (initially contacted by the Mountain West Conference) chose to remain in the WAC while subsequent feelers to Fresno State and Nevada were gobbled up. So what does that make USU AD Scott Barnes? A person of honor? Someone soon to be filled with regret? Lacking vision? Add whatever description you wish.


We will hopefully be back with some recruiting news as we further scour the 'net.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday and the WAC (or what's left of it)

Everyone has a take and yet nobody knows. Kind of like life itself.

We're already weary about the coming and the goings with more movement sure to happen so we'll leave it to Sam Wasson at his Bleed Crimson site to offer the commentary and a bevy of links.

PTW finds it quite interesting how Karl Benson went from hero to goat in less than 24 hours. This whole matter continues to demonstrate why so-called instant analysis becomes as shape-shifting as dawn to dusk and beyond.


Getting back to player personnel, RealBigAggieFan at the Scout Utah State basketball forum has posted a link on Gary Wilkinson's latest address. You can also go here.


If all proceeds, the BYU - USU basketball rivalry just kicked up about 15 notches. That's a positive.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Nevada craps on the WAC, Fresno State say no raisins for you Wac-ateers

Uh, make that the WAC seems in need of some super glue as Nevada and Fresno State have accepted the siren call of the Mountain West Conference. Can we at least get a draft pick plus a player to be named later?

For the uber-literal, the headline is a gaming reference, followed by a Seinfeld one.

The Reno Gazette-Journal is reporting that the Wolf Pack has bid adieu -- go here. The RGJ also says that Nevada didn't sign any financial death penalty departure clause, one created after Boise State departed -- go here.

The Fresno Bee is reporting that FSU is also putting the WAC in its rearview mirror -- go here and here. Nothing in print yet about the $5 million buyout clause.

All of Hawaii's recruits qualify

Gib Arnold and the UH hoops fans received some good news -- Brian McInnis has the scoop plus additional news:

Arnold's entire recruiting class enrolled at UH
Brian McInnis
Honolulu Star Advertiser
August 18, 2010

Arnold's Army has landed on Hawaii's shores free of academic casualties.

Hawaii men's basketball coach Gib Arnold confirmed that all nine newcomers were admitted and enrolled at Manoa for the start of the fall semester on Monday...
Go here for the remainder.

Remi Barry to Las Cruces

He's from France, played some in Florida, sat out last season at a high school in Sacramento and now is headed to Las Cruces.

Remi Barry has decided New Mexico State is his top choice as Adam Zagoria breaks the news:

Barry to New Mexico State
Adam Zagoria
August 18, 2010

Remi Barry has landed at New Mexico State.

A 6-foot-7 French native who was enrolled at Loomis (Calif.) Del Oro High, Barry chose that school because the WAC accepts non-qualifiers...
Go here for the remainder.

Barry is a major talent -- the sole question is when will he be eligible to play?

Here's a YouTube video on Barry.

Here's a background story on the young man.

Our sense is he goes elsewhere (UCLA, St. John's, Arizona State) if he was NCAA eligible but WAC teams can take non-qualifiers. This is a very good get for Marvin Menzies.

Tuesday's WAC roll out

 Tony Jones comes through with a Steve Thornton update plus information about the USU schedule and also Jared Quayle's replacement -- the latter just may make such a framing passé.


Chris Murray is back with a bunch of Nevada posts. Go here, here and here. The latter is penned by Dan Hinxman.


New Mexico State has an impressive non-conference slate, maybe the best of the WAC teams -- go here to read the opponents per Jason Groves.


So maybe (or maybe not) for BYU's basketball programs coming to the WAC. It's way too early but is it the Mountain West Conference being more in need of some super glue than the WAC?

Two UH recruiting tidbits

Jerry Meyers of Rivals is reporting today that Damien Cain, 6-foot-6 and 215 out of Harvard Westlake School (southern California), has an offer from Hawaii as well as numerous other colleges.

Meyers also re-reports the Hawaii offer to Jonathan Davis.

Go here (a Rivals sub is required).

Here's Joel Francisco/ESPN on July 9 about Cain:

"Although Cain is an undersized 5-man, he has definitely progressed since the regular season. He uses his strong frame, long arms, and savvy to score over taller bigs hit a couple of nice turn around jump shots on 6-9 John Ryan. His feel is tremendous and he is a very astute passer out of the post. In addition, he nailed a spot-up 3-point jump shot and his stroke looked pretty smooth. Overall, he competes each and every time out and is an advanced player for his age."

Straight from Steve Thornton's father

Sometimes, a matter just doesn't seen right. The item about California prepster Steve Thornton trying to walk-on at Hawaii was just such an item. But heck, it appeared in a longtime local southern California newspaper.

So PTW dialed up Thornton yesterday, reached his father (a very nice man) and here's the deal: The younger Thornton is heading to Logan next week, period. He wants to and will be part of the USU basketball program. Hawaii is not a possibility and the elder Thornton wishes the newspaper had contacted him him before posting that UH was a new destination as he could have set them straight.

Our plan is to do a feature in the near future on Steve Thornton for the Rivals southern California basketball site and we'll make sure PTW readers have access to that.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another recruiting note -- New Mexico State related

Here's another item we just came across -- a southern Californian kid:
Boys' Basketball: ECR's Singleton has offers and interest
Jack Pollon
The Daily News
August 17, 2010

One of the most underrated and least appreciated players in the West Valley League last year was El Camino Real's Temjae Singleton...

...New Mexico St. and Utah have offered scholarships...
Go here for the remainder.

He's 6-foot-6 and 180 and nailed 11 treys in one game as a freshman.

Three recruiting notes

The New England Recruiting Report and others are reporting that 6-foot-6 2011 Minnesota prepster Jonah Travis has pledged to Harvard. He "selected the Crimson over the likes of Boise State, Wisconsin Green Bay, and Miami of Ohio."


According to Anthony Ray at Arizona Preps, 6-foot-3 backcourter Chase Adams of Bakersfield College has selected Montana. He did so "after receiving serious recruiting interest from Stephen F. Austin, Idaho, University of Detroit, Illinois-Chicago, Austin Peay and Cal-State Bakersfield." He shot 48% overall, 38% from long range last season.


6-foot-9 Jordan Didier is still be pursued by Fresno State (and many others) He's a high schooler out of Arizona who is spending a year at Westwind Prep in Phoenix. Anthony Ray/Arizona Preps has an update here (a Rivals sub is required).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Nevada plays in the NIT Tip-Off

Nevada faces always tough Pacific and then possibly UCLA (both in Los Angeles) as part of the NIT Tip-Off Classic. This after hosting Seattle Pacific in an exhibition and then Montana to open the season. Chris Murray offers the details here.

Montana graduated its best players and a lot of firepower. Pacific returns its top two scorers, one of which is also the top assist guy on the team. As for UCLA, newcomer Josh Smith (6-foot-10, 300) is expected to start in the middle and forward Tyler Honeycutt is receiving major praise for his improvement. Can the Bruins find a quarterback and consistent perimeter shooting from a batch of other newcomers?

Here's looking at Utah State


Yes, the Aggies will be Jared Quayle-less but four starters return so no pity party is on tap in Logan. Next year, "The Four" -- Tai Wesley, Nate Bendall, Tyler Newbold and Pooh Williams -- depart en masse but that's getting ahead of ourselves.

Quayle moved right in when Jaycee Carroll graduated and quickly proceeded to become a top WAC player in his own right -- can junior college transfer Brockeith Pane do the same? That's really the only positional question in the USU starting five.


Norvell Arnold
6-foot-5 G/F junior Southeastern Iowa JC

He'll redshirt this season.

Antonio Bumpus 6-foot-3 G junior Harcum JC PA

He'll redshirt this season.

Brian Green 6-foot-1 G senior

A catch-and-shoot backcourter extraordinare and a glue-type player who plays to his strengths and minimizes his shortcomings. There's talk of him playing the point at times but our sense is that's a backup, we-have-no-alternative plan.

E.J. Farris 6-foot-2 G sophomore (walk-on)

We just don't see any opportunity for this walk-on.

Preston Medlin 6-foot-4 G sophomore

He's a shooter who posted decent to good percentages, especially for a frosh (41%, 38%, 93%) -- his keys are can he develop creating skills and/or also become more of a factor as a defender?

Tyler Newbold 6-foot-4 G senior

He is what he is as for some time we thought he would develop into an elite WAC backcourter -- our projection was in error but that's no denigration. Newbold remains a generally solid distance shooter who takes what comes to him and doesn't require a certain amount of touches or shots per game. He is dependable and careful as a ballhandler and also a defender who will always give the effort at that end of the floor.

Brockeith Pane 6-foot-2 G junior Midland JC TX

He is a good shooter with a nice all-around game and the expectation is he will earn the starting point job since he has the most experience at that position.

James Walker 6-foot-2 G freshman CA HS

It will be interesting what role he moves into -- more as a point or a two guard? He's a good athlete who is very competitive.

Pooh Williams 6-foot-3 G/F senior

A superb defender who seems to always force his opponent into an off-shooting game, Williams also pops enough from outside and scores on dribble-drives to the hoop to make his offensive output a nuisance.


Nate Bendall
6-foot-9 F senior

Bendall doesn't do anything spectacular but he produces game after game -- something indicative of his taking advantage of the opportunities Stew Morrill's offensive sets present. More an opportunity scorer, putbacks and face-the-basket open shots seem to be his point-scoring proclivities.

Brad Brown 6-foot-6 F freshman

He redshirted in 2007-2008 and then went off on a two-year LDS mission so some major rust must have accumulated.

Ben Clifford 6-foot-8 F freshman UT HS

We'll see how much opportunity awaits him as a frosh but he appears to be one of those plug-'em-in types the Aggies seem to specialize in producing. Not a wow player but a steady producer, let's see how quickly he adapts to the college game.

Matt Formisano 6-foot-8 F senior

Formisano plays within himself -- seemingly never doing anything that 'hurts' his team.

Morgan Grim 6-foot-8 F junior

It didn't work out at Utah for him so he headed over to Logan. He has more potential than Formisano but what is his ceiling needs determining.

Brady Jardine 6-foot-7 F junior

No doubt about it, take Jardine in any athletic skills competition. However, he is still harnessing his basketball skills and needs to move beyond the occasional spectacular play to a steady stream of solid ones. Better dribble-drive ability and the addition of a mid-range jumper would open up his offensive game.

Leland Miller 7-foot-2 C sophomore

He's a project but one who should help his teammates in preparing for going up against taller opponents.

Tai Wesley 6-foot-7 F senior

This guy is the one who will be very difficult to replace but that a year away concern. He plays big, is extremely physical, makes it impossible to swipe the ball from him once in the paint, passes well and won't back down from any challenge. What will be fascinating is where he finishes in the WAC MVP race because he won't average 20 points per game yet his overall contributions positions him right up there.

Stew Morrill's starting five

* Nate Bendall
* Tai Wesley
* Pooh Williams
* Tyler Newbold
* Brockeith Pane

We can't wait to see what BillS will concoct for the game when Boise State comes to town for the last time. Speaking of Sir William of Sproat, here's hoping he is hale and hearty and back soon in his grass skirt and coconut cups.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Two more WAC-related basketball items

The Hattiesburg American newspaper has a feature up on the newcomers joining the Southern Mississippi squad, including former Nevada player Ahyaro Phillips.

Here's an excerpt: "...According to an official with the Washoe County District Court in Nevada, Phillips pleaded guilty to a felony concealed weapon charge and had two misdemeanor charges connected with the case dropped.

On July 15, he entered a drug court program. If he follows the conditions of the deal, he won't have to serve a sentence and his record will be sealed.

"We did a lot of research on him," said USM coach Larry Eustachy. "The guy who recruited him to Nevada (Mark Fox) is now at Georgia and he said it was a no-brainer (to sign Phillips.) He's a real good kid who made a mistake..."

Go here for the full article.

We're not sure what the drug court angle is about.

Phillips signed a letter-of-intent in May with James Madison but was released from it. He played his junior and seniors years at high schools in Virginia after his family moved there from New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina damaging their house.


During the season, there was talk and some print about Nevada's interest in Titus Rubles, a small forward out of God's Academy in Dallas. Rubles eventually signed a letter-of-intent with Oral Roberts.

D/FW Metroplex Hoops recently tweeted that Rubles is now headed elsewhere: "Per a source, Titus Rubles will enroll at independence cc this fall."

That's Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas. 

A couple of recruiting tidbits

Saw an article in The Signal on the Golden Valley High (southern California) boys basketball coach -- Chris Printz -- stepping down and this portion jumped out at us:

"...Former players Maverick Ahanmisi (University of Minnesota) and Trevor Wiseman (University of Hawaii) have received basketball scholarships. A third, Steven Thornton, Printz said, is trying to walk on at Hawaii..."
Thornton had been previously connected to Utah State but Gib Arnold would certainly know about him from his tenure at USC.

Here is a March, 2010 Jared Eborn column on Thornton.

Here is an April, 2010 Jared Eborn mention of Thornton (scroll down to the bottom).


Van Coleman is reporting that 6-foot-7 southern Californian frontcourter Clint Bozner has signed with Northern Arizona. In the article, Fresno State is listed among a number of teams as showing "recent interest" in the young man.

Here is confirmation from the Orange County Register.


Saturday's WAC-aroo

New Mexico State closed out its Canadian trip on a successful note -- go here for the details.

Bleed Crimson's Sam Wasson offers two different links to game writeups here.


Boise State had some degree of interest and at some point in 6-foot-3 Arizona transfer Garland Judkins but he decided to return to his home state and play for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi. Go here for the details.


The Idaho Statesman's Brian Murphy has a post up on Coach Don Verlin's new contract, which contains a very interesting item about the financial requirement to Idaho for a non-conference contest.


Jared Quayle's better half has an entertaining  post up on the couple's arrival and first day or so in Belgium. Go here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

New Mexico State triumphs again

The Aggies got on the right side and took down the Kia All-Stars tonight. Go here for the game report. Plus, Jason Groves reports that Friday's game will be the last in the tour. Go here.

PTW did notice that one Djim Bandoumel played against New Mexico State and totaled 18 points. The 6-foot-eight frontcourter signed with Idaho back in November and was cleared to play last month.

Here's a July 15, 2010 report on the young man (scroll down): "...I asked Coach Francis about him and he said that he didn’t know much about him either other than what I did. Jim, as they called him, was the most energetic guy in the place. He seemed to be taking in everything with a wide-eyed wonder, which is truly refreshing. I had no clue who he was but he said hi to me with a smile Tuesday morning. I gotta say I like this kid already. He has hops, he’s competent with both hands and he has good quickness. His only drawback, and Coach Francis mirrored my thoughts, Bandoumel is very, very raw. You can’t teach height or long limps and he was soaking everything in like a sponge so he has those going for him..."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sam Wasson's summer WAC preview

Sam Wasson of the Bleed Crimson site takes an overall look of the WAC basketball landscape. It's posted at Rush The Court -- go here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

AW Prince has a Deontè Burton update

AW Prince at the Silver and Blue Sports site offers an update on Nevada frosh Deontè Burton. Go here (a sub is required).

New Mexico State falls in fourth exhibition game

The Aggies, playing in their fourth game, lost to Dawson College by six. NMSU athletics has all the details here, including the fact that Hernst Laroche has an older brother who scored 10 points last night.

Evens Laroche (both above and below and to the right) is 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds and has played for Dawson and Concordia.

CaliHighSports features T.J. Taylor (a BSU recruiting target)

CaliHighSports is doing a Top 25 in California -- basketball and football prep prospects -- and Oakland High's T.J. Taylor comes in at #12. Taylor plays club team basketball with the Oakland Rebels. He is looking at Boise State among others.
Cali High's Top 25: #12 T.J Taylor
August 10, 2010

Cali High Sports is coming out with the best and most accurate list of the top Cali players for each sport. We add basketball to our rankings where an extremely talented 2011 class features maybe the best crop of athletes California has seen in years.

We continue our countdown to number 1 with Oakland high school guard T.J Taylor.

#12 T.J Taylor
School: Sacremento (Our note: actually it's Oakland High)
Position: Point Guard
Height: 5'10
Weight: 165 pounds
Schools Considering: Santa Clara (committed then decommitted), Boise State, Colorado...
Go here for a lengthy evaluation.

Taking a glance at the 2010-2011 New Mexico State team

( a tip o' the hat to Charlie Rogers for letting PTW know of the correct NMSU logo)

The offensive emphasis will change for the Aggies this season, moving from the perimeter to much closer to the basket. No, Marvin Menzies's squad isn't eschewing the three-pointer -- plenty will still be taken -- it's because Jahmar Young and Jonathan Gibson have departed with their replacements in the 'to be tested' category but, more so, due to the return of frontliners Hamidu Rahman, Wendell McKines and Troy Gillenwater -- NMSU fans are hoping they replicate the trio of Athos, Porthos and Aramis.

There is also quite the mystery element surrounding this roster because a number of the players just haven't seen much action. Any eyeballing has been skimpy. Predictions abound regarding how the mystery guys will respectively turn out but it's generally guesses primed on speculation.

So here's our turn in the barrel:


Bandja Sy
6-foot-8 210 sophomore

We'll go with this 11-26-2009 report by the Draft Express folks on the young man until we know different: "Sy is a perimeter player with very nice size and length at 6-8 ... he is a streaky shooter with a very high arching jumper, capable of heating up quickly and burying a barrage of 3-pointers, but quite inconsistent at times as well. He moves off the ball well and is very good on the catch and shoot, but will also make nice cuts to the basket to present himself for an easy catch and finish ... Unlike your typical African prospect, Sy has an above average feel for the game ... Athletically, Sy is just average at best, lacking a significant amount of fluidity and possessing very little lateral quickness. His ball-handling skills are poor, and he seems to lose significant accuracy when forced to shoot off the dribble..."

Gordo Castillo 6-foot-5 197 senior

He's the best returning shooter but is a catch-and-shot type who is most proficient when paired with a drive-and-dish point. But defenses will be shading towards the paint against the Aggies this season which should leave opportunities for Castillo if efficient kickout passes from the frontcourters take place.

Makhtar Diop 6-foot-6 183 junior

A career reserve.

Christian 'CK' Kabongo 6-foot-4 freshman HS Canada

He has played some two guard and some point and look for him to do both for NMSU. His outside-shooting needs more consistency. Here is a 2009 ESPN mini-report on the young man: "Kabongo is an athletic, multi-talented wing with a high basketball IQ. Christian is fast and explosive with the basketball in the open court. His ability to change speeds and direction to elude defenders with various dribble moves allows him to be an effective scorer in the half court offense..."

Hernst Laroche 6-foot-1 170 junior

His 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio (125-60) probably won't be equaled minus the scoring ability of Young and Gibson  and because he'll need to look for his shot more but Laroche will be fine. Watch for him definitely being in double figure scoring this coming season.

Robert Lumpkins 6-foot-7 191

Ironically, he played less as a junior than he did while a sophomore despite starting five games this past season. That trend will continue.


Troy Gillenwater
6-foot-8 234 junior

Is he a small or a big frontcourter -- that's for the NBA types to decide and a decision to be made after this season. PTW forsees a 2010-2011 go-around in which Gillenwater leads the Aggies in scoring while battling McKines and Rahman for the team rebounding title. He's the most versatile scorer on the roster, proficient with his back to the basket and facing the hoop, even at some distance. Our gut tells us Gillenwater is headed to the pros after this season so maximizing this showcase opportunity is critical.

Wendell McKines 6-foot-6 224 senior

He's a terror on the boards inside but can also pop from treyland and sees the floor well enough to make the nifty pass (a 74-47 assist-to-turnover ratio). His 56% from the charity stripe should be better as he has the capability to do so.

Tshilidzi Nephawe 6-foot-10 freshman HS CA

He's not (yet) a scorer but is willing to bang inside the paint -- a skill not necessarily seen that often from the African players.  He has played organized basketball for just a few years so the potential to become something is there.

Abdoulaye N'doye 7-foot 215 sophomore

61 minutes of PT last year makes him a your guess is as good as ours for the coming season.

Hamidu Rahman 6-foot-11 245 junior

From a redshirt walk-on, he has developed into a solid WAC center who shot 55% last season while nabbing eight boards a game. He does need to upgrade at the foul line because 51% doesn't cut it.

Tyrone Watson 6-foot-5 225 sophomore

At 10 minutes a game last season, Watson was generally proficient during his playing time. We see him playing a bit more in 2010-2011.

B.J. West 6-foot-11 220 sophomore

Repeating, on the court for 54 minutes last season, not enough of him was witnessed to venture any realistic  assessment.

*** Also, there is 6-foot-8 Renaldo Dion -- whose eligibility was hung up with the NCAA but now has been cleared. He may or may not redshirt. The best description we came across of him is: "He is a capable mid-major player, not quite having the footwork or the explosiveness for a high major program."

As PTW sees the Aggie starting five:

* Hamidu Rahman
* Troy Gillenwater
* Wendell McKines
* Gordo Castillo
* Hernst Laroche

A major key to Aggie success in the coming season is the development of a bench -- the other three/four players in the rotation. Too many minutes logged by the starters will result in heavy legs and the typical foul trouble that pops up in games will require at least a solid pair of frontcourt and also backcourt reserves to step up.

The early Wednesday WAC edition (hopefully there will be a later one)

Here's the latest on New Mexico State's hoops sojourn through eastern Canada:

Montreal, Quebec -The New Mexico State men’s basketball team concluded the first day of action on its preseason tour in Canada with an 88-57 victory over Vanier College at Dawson College in Montreal, Quebec...
Go here for the remainder from the NMSU athletic site.

Wendell McKines' passport issue must have prevented him from coming on the trip as his name hasn't appeared as yet.


From Sam Wasson at his BleedCrimson site:

We just wrapped up writing our WAC Summer Check-In article (should be posted in the next few days) for our friends at Rush The Court and one of the things that really stood out is the huge turnover in talent league-wide.

Read more here (scroll down a bit).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Aggie win the first game

New Mexico State took the initial game of the Canada series and Jason Groves has the details here.

Tuesday's serving of WAC news and notes

Nick Jezierny is back with more on Boise State's new signing -- it was prep school(s) that occupied some of Ryan Watkins' time this past school year. Go here.


Credit Seansf49 at the Scout AggieAlert.com basketball message board (the Sports trough) for locating the whereabouts of former New Mexico State Aggie Jonathan Gibson. Think what is the mainstay of Thanksgiving Day dinner.


Simi Valley's (southern California) Jonathan Davis is racking up the suitors. Hawaii offered earlier and now Pacific and UTEP have joined the club, per Jack Pollon. Davis is 6-foot-7 and 190 and ESPN abreviatively describes him: "Davis has filled out some and now projects to the 4-position at the next level. He doesn't have great athleticism (bounce or quickness), but he can catch lobs over the top of a zone if he has enough momentum going to the rim. In addition, he has good hands..." ESPN also has him at 215 pounds.

It was previously reported on August 3 by Pollon that Southern Methodist and George Washington have offered.

We didn't watch it all but here's a 2009 YouTube highlight video of Davis.

Here's a January 29, 2010 feature on Davis in his local newspaper.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Boise State get a 2010 frontcourter

Leon Rice extended and Ryan Watkins accepted so Boise State basketball has another player on the roster for the upcoming season. Nick Jezierny has the details here.

He played as a junior at Taft High in Woodland Hills before moving over to Reseda High. Watkins was named the most valuable player of the Valley Mission League in May 2009, ahead of  now UCLA Bruin Tyler Honeycutt.

Here's Alex Schwartz of NorthStarBasketball on Watkins -- posted 6/1/2010 (scroll way down): "Playing in the U17 division with Pump 'N' Run was unsigned senior Ryan Watkins '10 of Reseda  (CA). A big body at 6'8, 225-pounds, the center does need to get himself into a bit better shape, but once he does, he could be a nice player at the low-major level. He works hard in the paint, rebounds, and can score the ball."

Here's Gerry Freitas of HoopReview.net on Watkins, dated April 10-11, 2010 (again, scroll way down): "Good hands, strong post moves. At times dominant in the half court set. Struggles a little in transition."

PTW was unable to determine where Watkins was or what he did the past year.

A compelling human interest story for you

We're crossing sports boundaries here but it seems both appropriate and worthwhile to do so. Here's a superbly written article by Geoff Grammer on an addition to the New Mexico State football squad, someone who took a non-planned route to the Aggie gridiron.

Run at redemption: After five years in prison, former prep star hopes NMSU is stepping stone to the NFL
Geoff Grammer
The New Mexican
August 08, 2010

It just didn't look right.

It wasn't what inmates of the Dade Correctional Institute in Florida City, Fla., normally did.

But 19-year-old Kenny Turner, wearing his customary life-is-good grin, approached an older man in the prison's rec yard and asked for help...
Go here for the remainder.

Monday's lean WAC report

 Not a lot so far, we'll keep looking:

Laroche growing into leader for Aggies
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

Hernst Laroche may be going home to Montreal this week, but he has found a permanent home on the court for the New Mexico State men's basketball team.

Laroche has started all 66 games since putting on an Aggies uniform.

His position could be the only certainty in the NMSU starting lineup this season as well, as the junior from Montreal has returned to the practice court with his teammates last week in preparation for this week's Canadian tour...
Go here for the remainder.


Texas' Karim York has Boise State among his favorites, along with Texas Tech, UTEP and Southern Methodist. At this point, BSU is the only one who has offered.

He's a 6-foot-8 2011 three (with possibilities at the four)

Here's an earlier July 12 Rivals interview with York.  

Max Ivany @ Texas Basketball Inc. wrote this about the Del Valle High star: "2011 W 6'8" Karim York of Del Valle oozes potential and reminds me of another past Del Valle star in current New Mexico Lobo, A.J. Hardeman."

Here's something we offered earlier on York.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

An early look at the Wolf Pack

Jordan Burns meet Deonte Burton meet Derrell Conner meet Jerry Evans meet Jordan Finn meet Illiwa Baldwin meet Devonte Burton meet Kevin Panzer . All of you meet Keith Fuetsch and Patrick Nyeko and Malik Story and Adam Carp and Marko Cukic and Olek Czyz and Dario Hunt and Keith Olson.

That takes care of the introduction of new to old. This Wolf Pack situation continues the theme in our WAC preview series with "greet the bevy of newcomers" an appropriate slogan for most every squad this coming season.

What is also noteworthy about Nevada hoops in 2010-2011 is that this is Coach David Carter's team, what with any personnel traces connected to Mark Fox next to non existent. Armon Johnson and Luke Babbitt are in The Shining City as well as Brandon Fields, Joey Shaw and Ray Kraemer off pursuing their personal endeavors. That's a powerful quintet of departed talent and experience and it equals 84% of Nevada's scoring last season..

But Carter isn't bereft of skill and potential on his roster -- it's simply that there are a myriad of unanswered questions at the moment.


Jordan Burris
6-foot-6 205 CA HS freshman

The young man can shoot and produce points -- college-level ball skills and more attention to the defensive side will be his primary objectives this coming season.

Deonte Burton 6-foot-1 185 CA HS freshman

It's difficult to call any one person the best athlete on his team -- when that squad is loaded with runners and jumpers -- but we'll go with Burton because he also has the strength and body that makes him ready to roll. He's a PAC-10-er physically who needs to upgrade his shooting mechanics in order to consistently shoot accurately.

Derrell Connor 6-foot-0 165 Kankakee JC, IL junior

He'll battle with Jordan Finn for the most minutes at the point and his experience should put him in the lead. He's not that proficient as a shooter/points producer but did hit 80% of his foul shots as a sophomore which is a good number for someone playing the position that handles the ball the most at the end of games.

Jerry Evans 6-foot-8 188 CA HS redshirt freshman

Athletic, a good shooter and with the height that will make covering him a challenge. Let's see how much rust he has and how quickly he can shake that off.

Jordan Finn 6-foot-4 190 Air Force Prep freshman

He was brought in as the Wolf Pack point of the future and his size should make him a power point. We're curious to see how well he shoots this season. He'll certainly be a rotation player as a Wolf Packer -- watch to see if a starting spot at some point is within his grasp.

Keith Fuetsch 6-foot-0 170 sophomore

There just won't be much of an opportunity this coming season for this walk-on.

Patrick Nyeko  6-foot-6 180 sophomore

Sort of designated as the most promising defender of the smalls, his question is one of offensive generation. It's way, way too early and not based on anything heard or read (it's just a feeling) but the possibility of his being crowded out by the so many others makes Nyeko the likeliest of Wolf Packers to move on at some point.

Malik Story 6-foot-5 225 redshirt sophomore

He should be either a starter at the wing or two guard spot but we want to see if he is a shooter or a scorer or a combo of the two? .


Illiwa Baldwin
6-foot-11 260 Pratt JC, KS junior

Still on the raw side, it will be very interesting to follow his development. PTW sees him having better offensive potential than junior Dario Hunt but the latter is better defensively and on the boards.

Adam Carp 6-foot-7 215 senior.

He saw 41 minutes of action in 2009-2010 and that will be reduced by the personnel additions.

Marko Cukic 6-foot-9 250 sophomore

He can score inside (61% on his shooting) but can he stay ahead, especially in the coming seasons, of this Pack plethora of frontline newcomers?

Olek Czyz 6-foot-8 240 Duke transfer sophomore

Available some time in December, he's more athletic than basketball skilled and that makes the WAC a much better level of competition for him than the Atlantic Coast Conference. We can see him earning a starting spot once he's available.

Devonte Elliott 6-foot-10 220 CA HS freshman

Another guy who is a big time athlete nededing work on his offensive skills plus additional strength.

Dario Hunt 6-foot-8 230 junior

The returnee at center, it doesn't appear he will ever generate much offense since he has yet to display development in this area. Hunt's best as a shotblocker and offensive rebounder who will score on putbacks and such.

Keith Olson 6-foot-10 270 junior. (walkon)

There will be less use of him in the coming season due to the signing of Baldwin but he is a solid walk-on.

Kevin Panzer 6-foot-9 205 CA HS freshman

Known mostly as a shooter and points producer, his playing time will be dictated on his rebounding and defensive advancement. That and additional weight and strength. PTW sees him as a redshirt possibility.

Like with a number of the other WAC teams, who emerges as the team leader or leaders here? Is it the newcomer Connor at the point? How about Burton, the most heralded recruit? Could it be Story? A combo?

Nevada will be much easier -- which is not to say easy -- to defend minus the creative talents of Babbitt and Johnson. However, this is the top team in the WAC in having players with high potential on its roster.

If the game of basketball solely depending on the blocking of shots, the Wolf Pack would have a tremendous edge as Baldwin, Cukic, Czyz, Elliott, Hunt and Panzer all possess the ability to send basketballs into the opposite direction.

Crystalballin' the Nevada starting five:

* Dario Hunt
* your guess is as good as ours
* Malik Story
* Deonte Burton
* Derrell Connor

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Jason Groves with some good tidbits

Jason Groves offers information today on Wendell McKines and Troy Gillenwater today -- go here.

The WAC on Saturday

seldomseensmith, the primary poster at the Blue Aggies.com site, has the scoop on New Mexico State recruiting target Raphael Giaimo -- "He'll be playing at Midland JC in Texas this year."

sss is the WAC version of Dog the Bounty Hunter -- tracking down WAC players and recruits who have disappeared into the cosmos is his specialty.


Brian McInnis has more on Gib Arnold's latest signee plus some background on the new UH assistant basketball coach. Go here.


Bay Area player Davante Adams (6-foot-2, 190, Palo Alto High) is both a footballer and basketballer. Fresno State has interest in him on the court and on the gridiron while Nevada is looking at him as a pigskin-er. Steve Hu at Nor Cal Preps recently did an article on the young man -- go here (a Rivals sub is required).

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ronnie Stevens receiving some WAC attention

Serra High big Ronnie Stevens apparently enjoyed a productive summer and has a litany of school interested in him. New Mexico State, Nevada and Idaho are in the mix. Dinos Trigonis posted an article on the 6-foot-8 Stevens at the California Preps site -- a Rivals sub is required.

Here's an April 2010 ESPN evaluation: "Stevens has a nice frame with long arms and he's a solid athlete. He is fairly quick off the floor and is a good defender. He keeps his hands high and is one of the better shot blockers in the state. Offensively, he is quite mechanical around the basket..."

Actually, we stumbled across the article elsewhere -- go here for it and a Stevens photo.

UH gets a USC transfer

Gib Arnold's connections paid off again as USC transfer Davis Rozitis -- all 7-foot-0 of him -- is coming to Hawaii. He's a native of Latvia who play in nine games for 29 minutes as a Trojan last season.

From a March 29, 2010 Pedro Moura-written ESPN article:

"...Rozitis is undoubtedly the rawest of raw prospects, a sophomore to-be who played a total of just 29 minutes this season. He worked extensively with assistant coaches during the season and showed some improvement in practice near the end of the year, but the 7-footer has a lot more work to do. Rozitis did average 15 points and 9.5 rebounds in leading his Latvian high school to a state title as a high school senior..."
From the USC site:
BREAKDOWN: Davis Rozitis (Rose-E-tiss), a 7-foot, 215-pound freshman forward is a very active and long center/forward who can score inside and outside from the perimeter. He will add to the Trojans depth at the forward position. Played for the Latvian team at the U20 European Championships and averaged 2.5 points in eight games, while making 12 of 14 free throws.
HIGH SCHOOL: Rozitis played high school basketball for Cesis State Grammar School in Cesis, Latvia. Helped lead his high school basketball team to the title in the national tournament. Also played for SK Cesis in the Latvian Basketball League Second Division during the 2008-09 season and averaged 15.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in 22 games. Rozitis made 79 of 102 free throws for a .775 percent from the line. He was twice named the Player of the Month and was named the top player at the end of the season.

Friday's WAC news and notes

Jimmy Currier of the Las Cruces Bulletin offers a feature on Aggie point Hernst Laroche and his plans upon New Mexico State's trip to Canada. Go here.


TruAggie at the Scout Utah State site basketball forum just experienced his best 13 minutes in some time. Go here and dial up the envy.


The legendary Merv Lopes is continuing the Pete Newell Big Man Camp and UH had two participants in it. Brian McInnis has the details.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

We have nothing else so here's an LT preview

The movers (too bad the shakers are disappearing) have aided the graduating players in departing and assisted the newbies coming to Ruston and, yes, they've been quite busy. Of course, this means Coach Kerry Rupp no longer has the services of Magnum Rolle, Kyle Gibson, Jamel Guyton and David Jackson available. That grouping is a big-time loss -- the top three scorers and top three rebounders who paved the way to a 24-11 overall and 9-7 conference records.

Now, just five talents with D-1 and WAC experience dot the roster and seven new players have signed letters-of-intent.

Chalk up LA TECH as yet another WAC squad next to impossible to decipher for the 2010-2011 season. The Bulldogs will have a brand new team personality.


Anson Bartlett
6-foot-3 175 guard junior        

A walk-on with athletic and skill limitations but one who has produced -- try 30 steals, an even assist-to-turnover ratio and right next to a 40% shooting percentage in 2009-2010. Any WAC coach will salivate over such a contribution from a non-scholarship player. Bartlett played just under 10 minutes a game and that will probably be reduced in the coming season due to the numerous backcourt signees.

DeAndre Brown 5-foot-11 160 guard junior

Rupp needs Brown to up his shooting percentages (42, 29 and 69) plus reduce his turnover total (94 versus 119 assists). He was tops on the squad in minutes played so the experience is there and now he must expand his role to being a team leader or co-leader.

Brandon Gibson 6-foot-5 225 guard redshirt sophomore

He's big, can play physical and could really help the Bulldogs but he has to remain healthy. A broken foot early on ended his play last season. We seem to recall him also getting injured during the WAC tourney his freshman season. The development of outside-shooting ability would make him very tough to defend.

Stojan Gjuroski 6-foot-7 190 forward NJ HS

Possibly a redshirt candidate? His numbers were not all that impressive as a prepster so we're estimating he will need more time in order to make the transition to D-1 ball. His solid shooting stroke has been mentioned more than once.

Holton Hunsaker 6-foot-0 180 guard freshman UT HS

He wasn't a castaway (try an LDS mission) but found himself in Fiji for the past couple of years. Now, he's back, having turned 21 and ready to resume playing basketball. There has to be some rust and certainly inexperience, so let's place him as Brown's backup for the 2010-2011 season.

Kenyon McNeaill 6-foot-0 180 guard freshman AR HS

Here is another freshman point (a couple of years ago, the Bulldogs didn't have a single scholarshipped point on the roster) so watch for who edges ahead between Hunsaker and McNeaill. The latter also has the skills to play the two spot but that would make for a mighty small Bulldog backcourt.

Darius Redding 6-4 205 forward sophomore

He's a superb athlete who needs to show more of an extended shooting range than demonstrated so far, along with better ball skills.

Jamison Sterns 6-foot-0 210 guard freshman TX HS

Reports on his weight have ranged across the spectrum but he is a two guard with major hops and excellent shooting range. It would really help Tech's chances in the coming season if Sterns can contribute right away because point production is a team need.


Olu Ashaolu
6-7 220 guard/forward junior

Early on in the season, he flashed supernova abilities in some games with the posting of quality double-doubles but that petered out as the season wore on. Still, we'll make a not so difficult prediction and type that Ashaolu averages a double-double in 2010-2011 (for those keeping track, Fresno States' Greg Smith is our other candidate for earning such an honor). But Ashaolu has to improve upon his shooting range and accuracy as his numbers dip each step away from the basket (53% overall, 25% on trey attempts and 57% from the foul line). He's a better offensive boarder than defensively. Upgrading his ball skills would dramatically increase his effectiveness and how defenses play him.
James Johnson 6-foot-7 215 forward freshman CA HS

An athletic lefty who will need to extend his game in college. The questions needing answering: can he play at the four spot in the WAC or is he actually a wing-type or can he do both? Getting away from the basket will require a ball skills upgrade.

Antwond Roshell 6-foot-10 260 center junior John A. Logan JC, ILL

He brings big-time size and determination and some rebounding ability. -- just don't expect point production. He and New Mexico State's Hamidu Rahman will make for a sumo-type in-the-paint matchup.

Romario Souza 6-foot-9 240 forward junior Southern Idaho JC

His best attribute is his nice shooting range -- 82% at the foul line -- with excellent range to 18-feet facing the basket. Being used in such a manner was apparently the major LT selling point for Souza as he doesn't want to be stationed in the paint.

As mentioned,Kerry Rupp needs point producers to replace the departed seniors. Ashaolu's and Brown's points-per-game averages will be higher in 2010-2011 but a solid outside shooter to add to the pair is a prerequisite.

Our projected Bulldog starting five:

* Antwon Roshell
* Romario Souza
* Olu Ashaolu
* Jamison Sterns
* DeAndre Brown