Monday, December 28, 2009

'D' up!

Here's a different path to earning a college basketball scholarship -- who is willing to make the effort?
Constant Denial
Every contender this season can deploy a lockdown defender—the quick, smart, tough player who makes life miserable for the hotshot scorers
Phil Taylor
Sports Illustrated
November 23, 2009

Let this be a warning to the scorers, the players with the sweet three-point strokes or the quick-as-a-blink crossovers or the low-post package of jump hooks and turnarounds: You are not just shooters, you are also targets. It's going to be harder than ever to get your usual points this season, thanks to a cadre of elite defenders deployed across the land in a sort of full-country press. Though they come in all shapes and sizes, with varied temperaments and techniques, these stoppers have a common goal—to make life miserable for guys like you.

Some will hound you on the dribble, like pesky Washington guard Venoy (rhymes with annoy) Overton, or subtly bump you off your path when you cut to get open, a preferred tactic of Chris Kramer, Purdue's muscular guard. Others will extend their long arms into the passing lanes to deny you the ball, like North Carolina wingman Marcus Ginyard, or contest your jumper with hands so close to your face that you'll think they're trying to steal your corneas, à la freshman guard Avery Bradley, Texas's defensive prodigy.

If you would-be scorers make it through those levels of resistance and arrive at the rim, you might have to contend with shot-blocking centers like Kansas's 6'11" Cole Aldrich; Virginia Commonwealth's Larry Sanders, who has a 7'7" wingspan though he's "only" 6'11"; or Mississippi State's 6'9" Jarvis Varnado. They will present you with a choice—have your shot swatted or loft it mezzanine-high to avoid them. Aldrich's ability to turn the area around the Jayhawks' basket into a no-fly zone is one of the main reasons Kansas is favored to win its second national championship in three years. "There are a lot of players out there who could be considered lockdown defenders in one way or another," says Washington coach Lorenzo Romar. "You tend to find a lot of them on the really good teams. That's no coincidence."

The prolific scorers of recent vintage, like Davidson's Stephen Curry, Texas's Kevin Durant, Gonzaga's Adam Morrison and Duke's J.J. Redick, seem to be in short supply this season, at least partly because there is such a multitude of quick, tough, smart individual defenders who—as J.T. Tiller, Missouri's pesky senior guard puts it—can't wait to "bust the pipes" of an offense and turn it into a frantic, unfocused mess. The emphasis on D undoubtedly warms the hearts of coaches, who have preached its importance since the first basket was scored. It has always been a hard sell because most of the glory has gone to the guys who put up the points. But players seem increasingly willing to buy into the concept lately, maybe because in recent years they've seen the rewards that a commitment to defense can bring...
Go here for the remainder.

Here's another Kevin Laue article

East Bay native plays with one hand, big heart
Jeff Faraudo
Bay Area News Group


For Skip Connors, whose son, Jackson, was born in the spring without a right hand, the biggest fear was the unknown.

Kevin Laue chased away that fear.

Connors read in The New York Times about how Laue, a 6-foot-10 graduate of Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, signed a national letter of intent in April with Manhattan College, making him the first one-handed Division I scholarship player in NCAA men's basketball history.

Connors, who lives in New York City, is friends with Manhattan coach Barry Rohrssen. Last summer, the coach arranged for Connors to meet Laue on campus in the tiny Bronx community of Riverdale.

"I don't know why," Connors said, "but one of the first things I asked him was, 'How do you tie your shoes?' "

Laue bent down and tied a knot with his right hand. "I looked up and he was real teary-eyed," Laue recalled. "He was like, 'My son can do anything.' "

"I still get choked up," Connors said. "It gave some clarity to a few things."

For years, Laue's quest to play college basketball was a personal battle.

Not anymore...
Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Nor Cal earning some respect

The high school teams from this area who ventured south for the MaxPreps Holiday Classic are representing themselves and their home base quite well. Newark Memorial (Coach Craig Ashmore) whomped Fairfax 50-34 while Bishop O'Dowd (Coach Doug Vierra) got by Leuzinger 63-62.

We don't have the stats but Khion Sankey, Casey Norris and Kendall Andrews for the Cougars and Jordan Barton, Nick Capiti, Brandon Ashley and Richard Longrus for the Dragons must have contributed mightily.

Winning versus skill development

The following is something seemingly more for coaches of younger sports participants:
Player Development: Balancing Playing to Win and Skill Development
December 13, 2009

The following article has been in need of a new online “home” for a few months now. It used to be kept at the Minnesota Hockey website, but since its redesign seems to be lost in cyberspace. Originally published in The Journal of Education in 2007 (pp 31-40) it has been used as a resource for coach, parent, and sports association education. It examines many popular topics such as, “What are the costs and benefits of sports specialization?” “When does winning ‘matter’?” and “What is necessary to develop a competitive mindset?” In many regards this is timeless information – sport science will continually evolve creating stronger, faster, and smarter athletes, but the developmental foundations will likely remain quite standard for many years to come. Enjoy.
Go here for the remainder.

A fascinating post on a recent event

How can a player achieve that balance between aggressiveness versus crossing the line. Here's an article on just that subject. You may agree or disagree with a certain part of the author's opinion but the perspective on what to use in training for this is spot on:
Keeping Cool in the Heat of Battle
December 23, 2009

You remember Elizabeth Lambert, don’t you? No?

Junior defender -New Mexico University Women’s Soccer team? Still nothing?

The female soccer play last seen on YouTube pulling that other player down by her pony-tail?

Oh – that – Elizabeth Lambert...
Go here for the remainder...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An interview with Wendell McKines

Wendell McKines is back on the court for New Mexico State and featured in this interview:
Willing and able: McKines happy to be back on court for NMSU
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News

Perhaps more impressive than the 16 double-double games Wendell McKines posted on the basketball court last season, was his effort in the classroom during the 2009 fall semester.

In order to return to the basketball court, the New Mexico State junior power forward had to take 18 credit hours in the fall to even have a chance of suiting up for the Aggies this season. On Monday, the university eligibility committee met and cleared McKines for the rest of the season.

"My compliments go to Wendell for working so hard," said Aggies coach Marvin Menzies after McKines' debut in a 97-72 win over Alcorn State on Monday. "For him to take the load that he took and come out with the grades he did, that was a testament to his effort this semester."

According to NCAA eligibility requirements, athletes entering their third year need to pass six hours in the spring of 2009, they must pass 18 total hours in the 2009 academic year and they need to have completed 40 percent of credits toward their degree, which is roughly 52 credits after his sophomore season. McKines also needed an overall grade point average of 1.9. Each rule is independent of the others. After grades were reviewed last summer, McKines was ruled ineligible for the fall after falling short on one or more of those requirements...
Go here for the remainder.

Remember Tre Demps?

Caught this off the Texas Basketball Inc. site:

"...2011 G Tre Demps of San Antonio Reagan had 31 points and 5 assists tonight in an impressive performance for the Rattlers in their loss to Lee. Demps has improved his strength, balance, ability to get to the rim and has become a much more consistent three point threat..."

Wasn't Tre at Benecia High at one point?

Here is a feature we just located on Tre and more than likely the reason the family relocated to San Antonio.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Here's a kid nobody has heard of but will

Here is a peninsula player who looks like he gaining a rep:
Brazilian Rodrigo Puliceno is Burlingame High's go-to guy on basketball court
Glenn Reeves

San Mateo County Times


Rodrigo Puliceno has come a long way since arriving at Burlingame High nearly two years ago.

A native of Brazil, Puliceno moved to this country with his family and enrolled at Burlingame in January 2008.

Coach Jeff Dowd immediately recognized the athleticism and strength the 6-foot-3, 223-pound Puliceno possessed. But he was a bit raw in terms of basketball skills...
Go here for the remainder.

(photo courtesy of Mike Lucia/Contra Costa Times)

Wendell McKines is back

Former Richmond High star Wendell McKines is back on the court for New Mexico State. Last night, he scored eight points, grabbed eight rebounds and notched six assists in 26 minutes against Alcorn State.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jordan Richardson goes 'en fuego'

Where's Dan Patrick when we need him? West High's Jordan Richardson just notched 46 points:
West third, Tracy fifth in Winter Classic
Bob Brownne

Tracy Press

December 20, 2009

West and Tracy basketball teams finished the Tracy Winter Holiday Classic Varsity Boys Tournament with wins on Saturday at Tracy High.
Tracy beat Franklin 58-53 to take the fifth-place trophy, with a 3-1 record with wins in all but the second round game against Turlock.

West beat Vallejo 77-66 for third place, which makes the Wolf Pack 3-1 for the tournament with wins in all but the semifinal game...

...Named to the all-tournament team was West’s Jordan Richardson, who set a new school record with 46 points, the most scored in a single game by a West player, against Vallejo on Saturday.

Re-visiting Vallejo's Joe Slocum

Joe Slocum at Vallejo High is definitely enjoying his senior season. Now close to 6-foot-4, he is averaging 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists a game to date.

Here's a cut-n-paste from the 12-09-2009 ediion of the Vallejo Times herald:
"...Joseph Slocum 30 points, including the go-ahead bucket in overtime, and added 12 rebounds as the Apaches grabbed the championship of the Wild West Shootout in Reno..."
Here's cut-n-paste from the December 9, 2009 Tracy Press:
Turlock 75, Vallejo 70 In Friday’s other semifinal match, the Turlock Bulldogs and Vallejo Apaches were tied 35-35 at the half. But Vallejo pulled ahead momentarily, 52-48. Turlock came back in a physical fourth quarter, outscoring Vallejo by nine points to take the win...Leading scorers were Joseph Slocum for Vallejo with 32 points..."
Here's a cut-n-paste from the 12/21/2009 edition of the Vallejo Times-Herald:
"...Joseph Slocum hit a key put-back in a 61-55 win over Galt on Tuesday and followed that up with a strong showing in the Husky Shootout at Sheldon as the Apaches took second place..."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

DG liked his Vegas visit (of course)

The Las Vegas Sun reports on Drew Gordon's Vegas visit -- (a rhetorical question): why do reporters waste time asking if someone is enjoying or liked his trip?
Gordon pleasantly surprised during visit to UNLV
Former UCLA forward enjoys campus, atmosphere in search for new hoops home
Ryan Greene
Las Vegas Sun
December 20, 2009

During his quick stop at UNLV in what has been a whirlwind recruiting tour, Drew Gordon expected to see lots of rocks and cacti when he set foot on campus Saturday.

"The campus was a lot better than I expected," Gordon said, citing the greenery and secluded feel just down the road from the noise of the Strip.

As for his trip to the Thomas & Mack Center to watch UNLV down South Carolina Upstate, 88-58?

"It's definitely a legit facility," he said. "Probably one of the best college gyms I've seen in a long time..."
Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Drew Gordon to visit UNLV

It's beginning to look a lot like a Mountain West Conference Christmas but we'll see. Former UCLA-er Drew Gordon has been to Albuquerque (New Mexico), South Bend (Notre Dame) and is now hitting Sin City (UNLV). There hasn't been a visit to San Diego State, yet.

Steve Guiremand of the Las Vegas Review Journal provides the latest on Drew Gordon's college visitation odyssey.

Draft Express on Jeremy Lin

Ex-Palo Alto High star Jeremy Lin, now at Harvard, has been receiving some major love of late, especially from ESPN. Our favorite NBA draft site, Draft Express, just took a look at Lin regarding his projection to the next level.
Jonathan Givony
Draft Express
December 18, 2009

It’s not often that a player from the Ivy League conference is able to break through and establish himself as a legitimate NBA draft prospect, but that’s exactly what Jeremy Lin has done this season. Strong performances against UConn (in a narrow loss) and Boston College (a road win) have propelled him directly into the national spotlight, culminating in a feature story on last week.

Lin’s physical tools are less than ideal when compared with most NBA guard prospects, as he’s a 6-3 combo guard with a narrow, but strong frame that he’s absolutely made the most of, and a wingspan that appears to be below average. He has good, but not great athleticism, showing very nice quickness in the open floor and some solid leaping ability, but clearly isn’t the most explosive player around.

Offensively, Lin is an exceptionally efficient player, shooting 60% from inside the arc and 37% from outside it, while getting to the free throw line at a terrific rate—almost 10 times per-40 minutes pace adjusted. He is not what you would call a stellar ball-handler, but is excellent on the pick and roll and is very aggressive looking to get to the basket...
Go here for the remainder.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Club team versus high school team

Here's a fascinating article about how club team ball can interfere with the atmosphere and psychology of a high school team:

Renaissance Academy on comeback trail

Gerry Gittelson, - December 16, 2009

When Renaissance Academy High of La Canada advanced all the way to the CIF State Div. V basketball final in Sacramento two years ago, coach Sid Cooke thought he was really onto something - and rightfully so.

At the time, Renaissance Academy featured three of the nation's top young big men, 6-foot-10 junior Anthony Stover, 6-8 sophomore DeAndre Daniels and 6-7 junior Hector Harold, along with 6-4 junior Tremaine Tatum.

All of the players left. Stover transferred to Windward of L.A., Daniels transferred to Taft of Woodland Hills, Harold transferred to a prep school in Massachusetts, and Tatum transferred to South Pasadena; Without them, Renaissance went 10-10 last season and did not make the playoffs - a huge letdown for a program that had advanced to three section finals and a state final over the previous five seasons...

Go here for the remainder.

A chance to view Jabari Brown

Jimmy Durkin has the details on former Salesian star (now at Findlay Prep/Las Vegas) Jabari Brown appearing on ESPN at 4 p.m. today (Thursday) when Findlay Prep takes on a top team out of Ohio.

The details are here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Eli Holman dunking

Here's former Richmond High player Eli Holman doing something familiar -- Detroit was playing Michigan December 13 in Ann Arbor when this took place. All credit for this photo goes to the Associated Press. Here is a great gallery of AP college basketball photos.


Becoming a better shooter takes hard work. One other thing you may want to consider in your quest is the J-GLOVE SHOOTING AID, which was released 4-months ago, and is currently be used by high profile college programs such as Louisville, Stanford, Boston College, Florida, Miami, LSU, as well as NBA teams such as the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.

The J-Glove shooting aid has a patented FINGER SPLINT DESIGN that prevents finger flexion at the base of your finger joints. As a result, the design eliminates premature side-to-side wrist action during follow through, which is a major biomechanical flaw for the majority of amateur shooters.

The J-Glove design also prevents the ball from every resting on the palm during shot set up, assuring the ball is perfectly balanced on each repetition.

We don't sell this product, don't benefit from its sale and are not related to its creator (Jeremy Russotti deserves that credit) but certainly will say give this product a try. It comes with a money back guarantee.

Go here to explore further.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Greg Allen update

Eureka High's Greg Allen was unable to meet all the NCAA requirements in order to be at Creighton this season so he headed to Texas -- Navarro College specifically -- and is doing just fine

Allen is averaging a team-leading 14.5 points per game .

In 12 games to date, he is shooting 53% overall, 45% from three-point range and 85% from the foul line.

On November 24, Allen drilled five three-pointers on his way to 24 points. On December 5, he buried a corner trey as time expired to give Navarro a 55-52 win over Tyler Junior College.

There must be a Creighton - Navarro connection as another Runnin' Dawg, 6-foot-8 Keithrick Denson, has signed a letter-of-intent in November with the Blue Jays.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

New Mexico is Drew Gordon's first visit

Scout has a report up today that UCLA transfer Drew Gordon is hitting Albuquerque as his first visit in determining his next college home. Here is the link and a Scout sub is required.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Robbie Lemons is making Stanford happy

Robbie Lemons, Sacramento Country Day High, is in 'you-can't-stop-him, let-alone-contain-him mode' so far this season. The Stanford-commit just produced a double-double of 43 points and 15 boards versus Dunsmuir -- on 20-23 shooting.

Against Redding Christian earlier, Lemons' line was 43 points (again), 15 boards and nine assists -- just missing a triple-double.

He also totaled 26 points in another contest.

Lemons has his own site -- go here to read the various features on him plus videos and his academic achievements. This is something other players should emulate, especially the 'contact' section of Lemons' site.

Cloverdale's Robby Rowland is unstoppable

Cloverdale High's Robby Rowland -- also a Bay Area Hoosier basketballer -- is off to a terrific start this basketball season.

The baseball commit to Oregon almost earned a double-double of 28 points/eight rebounds in a win over Justin-Sienna of Napa.

Unbelievably, he followed that with a monster line of 30 points and 26 rebounds versus Mesa Verde.

The next game he 'slacked off' -- a 'feeble' 39 points and 17 boards.

'En fuego' is adequate in describing him thus far.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Will Drew Gordon land at San Diego State

It's certainly nothing definitive but former Archbishop Mitty star could land at San Diego State (although we still think UVLV will be his next stop) per this article:
UCLA transfer has SDSU pedigree
Gordon’s father was Aztec in ’80s
Mark Zeigler
San Diego Union-Tribune
December 10, 2009

Ed Gordon — he went by Eddy then — was a 6-foot-6, 238-pound forward on San Diego State basketball teams of the early 1980s with Tony Gwynn and Michael Cage. Now a middle-school math teacher in San Jose, Gordon says he “would be thrilled” if his 19-year-old son followed in his footsteps at Montezuma Mesa.

Who’s his son?

Drew Gordon, a 6-9 post player who was rated among the top prep prospects in the nation out of San Jose’s Archbishop Mitty High and who recently announced his intention to transfer from UCLA.

“We’re still trying to formulate a short list of schools, and San Diego State is definitely on the short list,” Ed Gordon said by phone yesterday. “They definitely have the type of program we’re looking for.”

Gordon, a sophomore, would have up to 2 1/2 years of eligibility remaining because he is transferring at the semester break, meaning he could start playing as soon as mid-December 2010 and stay for the following two seasons. He would have only 1 1/2 years of eligibility if he went to another Pac-10 school, but that doesn’t appear to be an option.

Ed Gordon said Georgetown, Florida, Notre Dame, Nevada, New Mexico and Gonzaga are among the schools showing interest in his son...
Go here for the remainder.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The aura surrounding basketball IQ

This is an area that both mystifies and captivates us -- Darnell Mayberry takes a multiple-part look at this subject. Some time in the near future, we will explore this further.
What is Basketball IQ? It's hard to explain, and most say it's something that players just have
Darnell Mayberry
November 29, 2009

It's one of the most mysterious terms in basketball, a pithy phrase regularly seen in scouting reports, supposedly to sum up a player's knowledge of the game.

Basketball IQ.

Defining it isn't so easy.

"It's a feel for the game," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "Some guys have it. Some guys don't. You don't necessarily need to have it to be successful. But when you have it you understand the game. You can pick up things quickly. You have a great sense of the team concepts and what the team is trying to do..."
Go here for the remainder.

Mayberry offers further looks at basketball IQ here, here and here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Drew Gordon speaks

For those of you just exiting a cave, Archbishop Mitty's Drew Gordon is leaving UCLA at the end of the quarter. Here is a YouTube video of Gordon talking about the events of late.

Jack Fertig nails it

Like in most aspects of life, "winning" in sports builds personal power and allows for episodes of despicable behavior to be generously discounted or overlooked. For these "successful" coaches, the hoi polloi are something to be used in any manner as personal playthings and then discarded when dis-interest sets in or their 'usefulness' has expired.

Jack Fertig nails it today (as he does most times) focusing on his past experiences with Nick Saban. Unfortunately, there are more users and abusers in the coaching ranks just like Saban, just as there are such bankrupt individuals throughout society. There are also those coaches who demonstrably live a commendable moral code -- some who win more contests than they lose plus others who aren't as W-L successful. These are the people who don't climb over the cast aside bodies on their way to the so-called top -- the ones who should be recognized for their positive roles in developing character within our young people.

Anyway, enough of our rambling and on to Jack Fertig:

The Two Sides of Nick Saban

Most people are lauding Alabama’s Nick Saban as a turnaround expert and a brilliant football coach. Both of those complimentary phrases are beyond argument. Saban is both and I defy anyone to challenge them.

As a person, there have been several other descriptions. Most of these are true as well. Here’s my first hand account of dealing with Nick Saban, man of many adjectives, each of them carefully designed by Nick himself (both the complimentary and not-so)...

Go here for the remainder.

Jack Fertig's blog can be found here. His web site here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Kiwi Gardner en fuego

Manteca High's Kiwi Gardner hasn't missed a beat, translating his hugely successful summer performances with the Bay Area Hoosiers into some primo performances early this season, including one contest where he totaled 52 points.

Here is one article about a recent tourney with Manteca coming out on top:
Second To None Buffaloes blast Davis for Classic crown
Jagada Chambers
Manteca Bulletin

December 6, 2009

MODESTO – Davis High outscored Manteca in the second quarter closing the halftime deficit to a point, but a 21-6 run to open the second half provided the distance in the Buffaloes’ 77-60 Modesto City Classic championship win over the Spartans Saturday at Enochs High...
Go here for the remainder.

Of that 52 point performance, Jagada Chambers in another Manteca Bulletin article wrote:
"...Kiwi Gardner made sure that his most valiant effort of his career did not go to waste, leading the Buffaloes with eight points in the overtime period to push past the Pride and into the tournament championship. Gardner led all scorers with a 52-point effort, complete with nine 3-pointers and 36 points after the intermission..."

Robert Sandoval wins MVP

(photo courtesy of Dave Keefrer, California Preps)

Clovis East (CE) senior backcourter Robert Sandoval continued his winning ways as CE swept through the competition in the Simi Valley Tip-Off Classic over the weekend, winning four straight contests. Sandoval and his mates beat Valencia in the championship game. He garnered Most Valuable Player honors.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Sammy Yeager update

Sammy Yeager experienced a meltdown at Modesto Junior College (MJC) last season after quite the career as a scorer at Modesto High (and we think Modesto Christian High as a senior).

Here's a snippet from a November 14, 2008 Modesto Bee article on Yeager after his prep days and when he joined MJC:
"...The 6-foot-4-inch, 190-pound guard bounced around four community colleges since high school graduation, not playing at any of them and lacking direction..."
Yeager didn't finish the season with the Pirates.

He originally committed to San Diego out of high school.

This season, he has popped up at Weatherford College.

It's difficult to find stats but Yeager scored 30 points in one game, this against a junior college's junior varsity squad.

We'll follow his sophomore season and post more as we locate it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Damian Lillard shines against Utah

How did some of the local colleges ever let this guy get away?

This guy being Damian Lillard.

The sophomore from Oakland scored a career-high 28 points (9-17 from the floor, 9-9 at the foul line), passed for seven assists and garnered five rebounds to lead Weber State to an 83-76 victory over in-state rival Utah.

Lillard is averaging 20.8 points per game this season. He is shooting .446% overall and .906% at the foul line. Lillard is grabbing four rebounds a game and possesses a 19-12 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Checking in on The Brew-ery

Hey, The Brew-ery -- Will and Chris Brew -- is enjoying this season down at UC Santa Barbara.

Will has started all five games for the Gauchos and owns an 18-6 assist-to-turnover ratio along with eight steals. In the latest game, versus Santa Clara, Will played 19 minutes and garnered five points, four assists (no turnovers), three rebounds and a pair of steals.

Chris has seen action in two games, is shooting 5-5 on the season and averaging 6.0 points per game. Against the Broncos, he made those five shots, managing 12 points in 10 minutes of action.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gerry Freitas' Nor Cal Tip Off Classic

We couldn't make it due to other basketball obligations but Gerry Freitas' 2009 Nor Cal Tip Off Classic yesterday at Newark Memorial High produced these results:

Game 1: Analy (Sebastopol) 64, Tennyson (Hayward) 37
Player of the Game: Kevin Aronis - Analy

Game 2: Castlemont (Oakland) 60, Modesto Christian 50
Player of the Game: Deshawn Washington – Castlemont

Game 3: Buchanan (Fresno) 54, St. Patrick-St. Vincent (Vallejo) 48
Player of the Game: Alex Fertig – Buchanan

Game 4: Oakland 70, Miramonte (Orinda) 65
Player of the Game: T.J. Taylor – Oakland

Game 5: University (San Francisco) 65, St. Joseph’s-Notre Dame (Alameda) 57
Player of the Game: Zach Karrasch – University

Game 6: Newark Memorial (Newark) 52, Castro Valley 51
Player of the Game: Isiah Clark – Newark Memorial

Game 7: Sacramento 63, St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 57
Player of the Game: Josiah Turner - Sacramento

By the way, do your utmost to attend Gerry Freitas' events because they are always well run -- the games begin on time, programs to identify the players are available, D-1 prospects abound, the team matchups are set up with care and also because he is one of the good guys involved with prep basketball.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jordan Richardson signs with Weber State

(Jordan Richardson signing photo courtesy Bob Brownne/Tracy Press, Kevin Richardson, Jordan's father is to his right)

West (Tracy) High's Jordan Richardson, a backcourter with both point and shooting guard talents, has signed a letter-of-intent with Weber State of the Big Sky Conference.

"I got along well with Coach [Randy] Rahe and his staff, the academics are good and Weber has what I want to major in - kinesiology," Richardson said.

A year from now, he'll be teaming up with Damian Lilliard, the former Oakland High star guard who won Freshman-of-the-Year honors last season at Weber State while also landing a spot on the All-Conference squad.

Richardson wanted to thank all who aided him in his quest for a college basketball scholarship, including Coach Walsh Jordan, Coach Henry Thomas, Coach Pat, the Hoosier coaching staff and his father and mother.

As for the coming season at West High in Tracy, the Wolfpack went 17-11 overall, 9-2 in league play during 2008-2009 but the team’s top scorer and rebounder, plus the leader in assists and steals have all departed. Look for Coach Derek Sprecksel’s squad to be guard-oriented in 2009-2010, for very good reason.

An Alex Harris update

We came across two mentions of Alex Harris, the former backcourter at El Cerrito High, now at Bridgton Academy in Maine:

This came from Rivals' Jerry Meyer today: "Alexander Harris (Bridgeton Academy)- Harris is an attractive mid-level point guard. He has some bounce to his game and a competitive streak. He also looked solid handling and scoring the basketball."

This one is from Jeff Borzollo/NBE Basketball on Sunday: "The California native could end up being the leader on the Bridgton team, given his smooth game and quickness on the offensive end. He was able to get to the basket off the dribble and showed an ability to shoot the three effectively. Harris has very good handle and quick hands on defense. Moreover, he has good vision and makes smart passes to teammates. In the second half against Hargrave, though, Harris had a tendency to play out of control, especially on fast breaks."

A Collin Chiverton update

Ex-Mitty star Collin Chiverton, formerly at St. Mary's, is leading Salt Lake Community College in scoring so far this season.

In five games to date (20 minutes PT a contest), he is scoring 17 points per game, shooting .467% overall, .438% (14-32) and .789% at the foul line. In addition, he has seven assists and three TOs.

An Eli Holman update

Former Richmond Higher Eli Holman is back on the court and doing well:
Holman MVP, Titans Complete NY Sweep With 79-59 Win Over Alcorn State

Three games, three days, three wins. That was the end result Sunday as the Titans closed out the Albany sub-regional of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer by rolling up their fourth straight victory overall, 79-59 over Alcorn State, behind center Eli Holman’s second consecutive double-double.

UDM comes home from the event with a 4-1 record for the season and its first four-game winning streak since late in the 2005 season. Holman led the way with 16 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks against the Braves (0-6), while Xavier Keeling paced the Titans in scoring with 17 points and Chase Simon added 15 more as three Titans posted double figures in the victory.

Holman was named tournament MVP and Keeling joined him on the all-tournament team...
Go here for the remainder.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chico State signs a pair of regional basketballers

Burgeoning Chico State men's basketball continued it's recruit locally/play globally prescription with the signing of a pair of frontcourters, Bishop O'Dowd's Jordan Barton and De La Salle's Nate Appel.

This is yet the addition of two more 'regionals' to the Wildcat roster. By our count, it's 15 basketballers with central or northern California ties.

Go here for the full article at the Chico basketball site.

The Parent's Recruiting Resource Center

New Service Helps with the Recruiting Process

Kevin McCarthy - California Preps

Quick, as a parent of a high schooler possessing athletic college scholarship potential, do you know what the NCAA deems as approved core classes? Or how many must be taken and passed and at what minimum grade in order to be eligible for an NCAA athletics scholarship? What is a qualifying SAT or ACT score? Can college courses count as core courses?

Even for those in the so-called know, it’s difficult to hang with the trail of ‘yes buts’ and ‘ifs’ that populate eligibility-ese

Pastor Horacio Jones experienced just such a perplexing predicament when his son Chris finished at Newark Memorial High (near Oakland) a year ago. There was an agreement with Fresno State, then a year layover at Westwind Prep in Phoenix followed by a final landing at San Jose State. Chris’ circular route to college and D-1 basketball spurred his father to want to educate other parents regarding what is necessary to know and do in order to navigate the puzzling intricacies they will encounter.

Hence his establishing "The Parent’s Recruiting Resource Center (PRRC)," scheduled to officially launch in March, 2010. The primary purpose of the PRRC is to connect parents to vital information necessary to understand and maximize their son’s or daughter’s athletic and academic development vis-à-vis college eligibility. Jones explained, "Our focus is on educating parents. It’s also important to understand that our service is not a recruiting service. Instead, we focus on connecting parents and keeping them educated and informed. Parents connecting with parents is a key component."

He continued, "Parents are often out of the loop about this process and time and time again it’s been demonstrated how needed a service like this is," Jones said. "Parents have learned that some guidance counselors and/or coaches are unaware of NCAA Clearinghouse requirements."

Jones will be operating seminars to interested parents and is also developing a website that will detail the information that is needed.

But he cautions that the academic chapter and verse that is critical to establishing college athletic eligibility is but part of the body of need-to-know information.

"We will also be disseminating knowledge that is critical to the recruiting process such as how to evaluate schools, basketball programs, the actual level of interest, what letters, notes and phone calls mean, what to find out on unofficial and official visits and the like," Jones explained.

Carl Foster, currently the Athletic Director of the Richmond Police Activities League but previously a longtime member of the Slam N Jam Youth Basketball Program and mentor to dozens of Bay Area basketballers and their families, is supportive of Jones’ endeavor. In fact, he invited Jones to speak at the Hot Prospects Camp and the Super 100 Camp that Foster operates.

"A number of parents came up to me afterwards and said complimentary things about the usefulness of the information they received," Foster related, adding "It’s needed because I wouldn’t expect one person to know everything. Pastor Jones will become a staple at the Hot Prospects Camp."

Foster offered, "High school athletes have a unique set of criteria to meet; certain classes and SAT scores are needed. It’s a huge weight to put on or expect the high school coach to oversee the process. Plus, guidance counselors, while professional at their craft, work with 400 kids on average but very few of that number will be attending college on an athletic scholarship. It’s a misnomer that all the information parents need will come through the school system."

For Foster, it’s a committee effort when done well. "I see the parents, the high school coach, the AAU coach and the guidance counselor working collaboratively and even involvement with college compliance officials coming into play," he said.

As a parent, Jason Webster Sr. will soon be facing all this -- actually, he already is. With his son, Jason Jr. a freshman in high school "all this is totally new even though I played college basketball and professionally abroad," he explained. In his day, "I think my school sent out my transcripts to the college I attended and that was that. There are so many more details involved now like if my son gets a C instead of a B in a certain course then how does that affect his core grade point average?"

Webster was present at one of Jones’ seminars. Here is his description: "It was very, very, very enlightening and revolutionary -- a great service. It’s all about what we need to do to prepare and how to prepare. Before, I felt we had plenty of time but now I know the process starts when my son first steps foot on the high school campus."

His best advice to a parent: "Take it upon yourself as a parent to own the process."

For information you can reach the Parent’s Recruiting Resource Center at

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Davion Berry update

Here's another former high schooler starting out strong in college play (hat tip to Brian Nelson for sending this along):
"Not sure if you are familiar with this kid. He was the HAAL leading scorer and Co-MVP following his junior year at Hayward High. The kid can has game he was selected to participate in the Reebok all american game in Philly but had to attend summer school to work on his eligibility. He had interest from a handful of D-1 schools but there was some concerns about his eligibility. He ended up going to D-2 Cal State Monterey Bay and the school is happy to have him. Monterey's coach is saying he is the most exciting freshman to ever come through their program and that he has a chance at winning freshman of the year. Berry started his career off by scoring 18 points off the bench against D-1 Pacific, leading all scorers. He followed that performance by dropping 11 against D-1 USF. There is buzz about what this kid will do in his conference play. As a former Hayward High Alum I thought this kid deserved a shout out."
Here's Berry's information via the school athletics site:
#5 - Davion Berry Position: Guard Height: 6-3 Class: Freshman Hometown: Oakland, CA High School: Hayward High Previous College: Major: Business High School: Named team MVP…All-League first team selection…led Hayward High to a 21-9 record senior year…played AAU for the Oakland Rebels. Personal: Son of Nicole Nelson…has an older brother, Kevin and a younger sister, Kamara…majoring in Business. Coach Bishop on Berry: "Might be one of the most exciting freshman to come through this program. His athleticism and understanding of the game make him an extremely fun player to watch. He could possibly challenge for freshman of the year if he can pick up the system quickly."
About the opener against Pacific:
Otters Drop Exhibition Opener To Pacific CSUMB falls 89-52 to the Tigers 11/1/2009 November 1, 2009 STOCKTON, Calif. – Freshman Davion Berry led the Cal State Monterey Bay Otters with 18 points in their first exhibition game of the season, as the men's basketball team fell to the NCAA Division I Pacific Tigers, 89-52, on Sunday at the Alex G. Spanos Center in front of a crowd of 2,712. “We learned tonight that we have a long way to go to get where we need to be,” said head coach Rob Bishop. “Hats off to UOP whose bigs dominated us on the glass which was the biggest difference in the game.” Senior Jamelle Tolliver contributed nine points, with junior Warren Freeman adding eight points. Junior Ian Hosford and freshman James Albert joins Tolliver and Freeman with four rebounds on the night. Freshman Brandon Ward recorded seven points while dishing out five assists. Berry shot fifty percent (8-for-16) from the field with two baskets from behind the three-point line...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nor Cal and Bay Area JC players update

Most if not all of these will be minimal statistics for each but we wanted to acknowledge how some of the former preps in northern California and the Bay Area are doing so far in their junior college homes. All but Tyree Murray are frosh:

Tyree Murray (Deer Valley) Los Medanos: In six games, he is averaging 15.7 ppg., down from last season but that's because of his much better supporting cast. Murray also has 15 treys so far.

Damon Powell (McClymonds) Los Medanos: In those same six games, Damon is at 13.3 ppg.

Roman Robinson, (Rodriguez) Merritt: In three games, he's putting up 13.7 ppg.

Saajid Polite (Grant) Merritt: Again in three games, Polite is scoring 13 ppg.

Casey Arent (Del Oro) Sierra: After redshirting last season, he checking in at 19.5 ppg. in two games.

Peter Pappageorge (Burlingame) Canada: The scorer from the Peninsula is averaging 20 ppg.

Shaheed Young (San Leandro) San Jose City College: Shaheed is second in his league at 19.5 ppg.

Quincy Hill (McClymonds) San Jose City College: 'Q' is scoring 13.5 ppg.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This may be about track participants but...

This was forwarded by Dave Frank who now coaches up in Portland. Jeff Johnson came out to speak to the HS runners in the Washington/Oregon Border Clash. (An XC duel between the two states sponsored by Nike.) Jeff is a low-key humble man who resides in New Hampshire. He was Nike's first paid employee, developed the concept of the swoosh, retired in 1985. He came out here to coach the Farm Team (for free) to Nat'l prominence for 6 yrs.

Jeff Johnson

Thank you. Good evening.

It's a real pleasure for me to be with you tonight.

It seems to me that I've spent my entire life surrounded by winners. First, on my own high school and college teams, then later working here at NIKE, and finally in coaching. It is a privilege to be back in the company of winners once again.

I come to you tonight with a question. It's a rhetorical question, so don't raise your hands.

Here's the question: Why do you run?

You've probably been asked that question before. It's not an easy question to answer, is it? If someone has to ask, they'll probably never understand.

A man once came to Mozart and said: Teach me to write a symphony.

Mozart answered: I can't teach you.

The man said: Why not? You were writing symphonies when you were 4 years old.

To which Mozart replied: Yes, but I didn't have to ask how.

To write timeless symphonies requires a genius that running does not demand, lucky for us, but the problem of explanation is much the same:

If you have to ask, you just don't get it. And you probably won't get it.

But you get it, don't you? You would never ask someone: Why do you run? (Except maybe rhetorically.)

Nevertheless, even you who "get it" have a hard time articulating your passion. I think that is because running is a passion of the spirit. And explaining the spirit is never easy. Running is the expressway to self-confidence, self-awareness, self-discipline and self-reliance. From running, you learn the harsh realities of your physical and mental limitations. From running, you gain strategies for extending those limitations, that you might run farther, run faster, and run tougher. You learn that personal responsibility, commitment, sacrifice, determination, and persistence are the only means of improvement. Running, you come to understand, is a profound, far-reaching and never ending contest of the runner with himself, or herself. And you learn that runners only get promoted through self-conquest.

Running asks a question of you, and everyday it's the same question:

Are you going to be a wimp, or are you going to be strong today?

And when you answer that question in the way that you people in this room have answered it, you become a better, stronger, more confident animal, with a capacity for achievement greater than before, and a formula for success that is forever engraved on your brain. (It is no accident! I think, that this place was founded by runners.) The single, most outstanding characteristic of the runner is independence. Through your own will, you present yourselves to the fire; and the fire changes you, permanently and forever.

Body and spirit
I surrendered whole
To harsh instructors - -
And received a soul.

Rudyard Kipling wrote those lines nearly a century ago. It's unrecorded what Kipling's PR was for 5K, but I suspect that he had one.

Why do you run? Each of you may articulate it differently, but perhaps we can agree that running touches us spiritually, it forms us, and it strengthens us. It makes us who we are, and at some level, it is who we are. But you can be a runner without being a racer.

So here's another question for you: Why do you compete? Why do you race 3.1 miles? That's gotta hurt. Why do you do it?

For most of you, I imagine that you race for the challenge, the danger, the 'rush' of putting yourself in a place where you must do your absolute best. Because the race requires it. To give your best is to honor your fellow competitors, your teammates, your coach, your school, your family, your community, and all the good people who have worked so hard to put on the race. To give your best in a race is a matter of honor, and duty, and you know that going in. You know, also, that the course will challenge you, that your competitors will challenge you, and that you will challenge yourself. You know, too, that there will come a critical moment in the race where you must make the decision to lay it on the line, to take your shot, or to fall back and regroup. And you hope you'll be up to the challenge, but you're never entirely sure, and it's that uncertainty that calls to you, because it is there, at that moment, that moment of decision, that you offer yourself up to be measured: by the clock, by your legs and lungs, by your guts, and by your heart. And if you want to win the race, in that moment of decision, you're going to have to go a little crazy.

You race, then, because races are a big deal. (In fact, speaking from the vantage point of both experience and hindsight, I dare say that at this time in your lives, the race may be the most important thing that you do. A girl on one of my high school teams came up to me on the day of her graduation and said, " I learned more in cross country, than I learned in high school." "I'm glad," I said, "so did I".

Races are a big deal. Races are the culmination of all the forces that have brought you here:

desire, commitment, focus, sacrifice, suffering, self-discipline, hard work, responsibility. You race because you are invested in effort, and you are invested in success. Moreover, you are invested together.

Look around you. Go ahead. Do it. Look around.

Who are those people you see? Do you think they are your opponents? People who oppose your quest for excellence? Well, they aren't. They are not your opponents. They are your fellow competitors. In fact, they are your co-conspirators, for to compete is to enter into a conspiracy. The conspiracy is revealed in the word itself: compete, which comes from two Latin roots, com (CUM) and petere (PET-ER-AH), which mean "to strive together".

Al Oerter, the 4-time Olympic gold medallist in the discus, once said: "I've never competed against anyone in my life. I've always competed with people. To compete against people is a negative thing. To compete with people is a celebration, a celebration of human capability."

And so it is. The worthy competitor is essential to the race, not as an enemy, but as a co-conspirator. The race, you see, is a secret form of cooperation. The race is simply each of you seeking your absolute best with the help of each other.

Steve Prefontaine said: "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." What gift do you think he was talking about? The gift of your talent, surely. But perhaps also the gift of opportunity, and the gift of youth, perhaps even the gift of life itself.

In any case, you give your best to the race as a matter of honor? You can do no less, because your competitors are giving their best to you. Now, not all races justify all out, total effort. For some races, your have lesser goals - - to score points for your team, to qualify for a more important race later on - - or just to have fun.

I offer that qualifier to my remarks tonight because I know that all of you are coming off a long, hard season. For some of you, tomorrow's Border Clash is not another test but, rather, a fun, end-of-season reward. For others, it may be a tune-up for the Footlocker Regionals still to come. For all of you, your goals for tomorrow's race are a matter between you and your coaches. We understand that. It isn't my intention tonight to try to get you "fired up" for a race where an all out effort may be inconsistent with your goals. The Border Clash is held solely to honor you, the best cross country runners of two states, and in the hope that you will all gain something joyful and positive from the experience of meeting and competing with each other. But the next time you step to the starting line of an important race, the conspiracy of striving together for excellence will be about to unfold! That white line on the ground before you, and that other white line five kilometers away, will define a sacred place, rife with potential, an arena in which excellence and ultimates are the only acceptable, indeed, the only honorable standards - - and an arena into which only a few, special people ever venture. There - - between those white lines, in a race that matters - - you will give your best to each other. And there - - between those white lines, on that sacred plain, you will learn who you are, of what stuff you are made, and what you can endure, which is essential knowledge, for it will inform your whole, entire life.

Billy Joel wrote: "I won't hold back anything; and I'll walk away a fool, or a king."

For my money, if you've done your best, fool or king, there's equal honor in both. Doing your best is much more important than being the best.

A friend came to visit me last weekend, and he looked over my intended remarks for tonight.

"What are your goals for this speech?" He asked me.

I told him: "I want to tell these kids that they have chosen a sport that ennobles them."

"So many runners are thought of as loners or geeks. I want these kinds to recognize themselves as people who are learning to take responsibility for their lives, people who are learning to control their own destinies."

"I want them to know that the lessons they learn as cross country runners will stay with them their whole lives, that as a result of being cross country runners they will gain the habits of winners: setting goals, working hard, doing their best, being patient, persistent and focused."

"I want them to see that making a commitment, laying it on the line, and taking a chance, pays off more often than not."

"I want them to understand that competition is not an anti-social act, but a social one, and that to give their best is part of the social contract."

"I want them to know that whatever else they do in life will always be secondary to having been an athlete. That from being an athlete first - - and especially a long distance runner - - they are already fundamental victors."

"They don't know it yet - - and they certainly don't understand it - - but the sport they have chosen will never leave them. It will lead them down avenues of achievement and success that they cannot yet imagine."

Those are my goals for this speech.

"Then say that," my friend said.

Good idea, I thought. So I just did.

Thank you for listening to me tonight. I have the greatest admiration and respect for cross-country runners, and it's been a genuine honor for me to be with you.

May you all have a safe race tomorrow, and may you all reach your goals.

Thank you.

Here's the link.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Desmond Simmons signing photo

Congrats to Desmond Simmons for signing with Washington -- photo courtesy of Salesian High.

Jeremy Russotti's latest player development event

Here is a prospect report from trainer Jeremy Russotti's latest player development event:

3rd Annual Central Cali's Finest Instructional Showcase Event From Scouting Reports November 13, 2009

October 24 and -25 marked the 3rd Annual Central Cali's Finest Instructional Showcase Event. Once again it was a huge success with approximately 125 players in attendance from the Central Valley.

The drills sessions were impressive and each guy worked very hard, was attentive, and reaped the knowledge the training staff had to offer. Evaluation games followed the drills sessions and below is a write-up of the top players from the event.

Central Cali's Finest Instructional Showcase Top Prospects

# Robert Sandoval (Clovis East) 2010
Robert was the cream of the crop at this weekend's event. Robert can do it all. He will try and take your heart from you when he plays, which is hard to find in athletes of his generation. He is a phenomenal ball-handler, can control the game as a leader, and was knocking down the mid range shot. He also showed some bounce with his athleticism that was not shown at last year's event. If he continues to improve his 3-point shot, mixed with his court game, he is going to have a great college career.

# Rashad Jackson (Thompson Jr. High) 2015
That is right, this is the first 8th grader to attend one of our "Finest Events" and Rashad had no trouble holding his own. He has a great feel for the game, long, and can get to the basket. He was very confident with his shot, even though it wasn't consistently hitting. It shows he has confidence and going to be a very high level player in the year's to come.

# Rakim Brown (Central) 2010
"Rocky" on one possession can raise eyebrows with his smooth skill level, and the next can have you saying he is out of control. With that said, once he knows how to change speeds depending on certain situations, he is going to be a very hard person to guard. A definite college prospect since he can shoot the ball and can finish around the rim

# Antwon Whitfield (Clovis East) 2010
Antwon had a great weekend shooting the ball. He is a pure perimeter shooter and when you play with Robert Sandoval, you will be getting a lot of open looks. He shot the ball with confidence, worked very hard during the skill sessions and should be a key component for Coach Amundson at Clovis East this upcoming year.

# Tim Billingsley (Bakersfield) 2012
Tim was the sleeper at this year's event. Though undersized, he can flat out get it done. He has picture perfect form and was hitting from deep all weekend. However, he is no one-trick pony, as he would use his pump fake to get to the basket or hit the mid range shot. Although undersized, Tim is a high D2 level player and should have a huge year for his team.

# Rodney Webster (Hanford West) 2010
Rodney was one of the most competitive players in the gym. He has a very strong body and is quick with the ball. Just about everyone in camp had trouble with his handles and his foot speed. Should be one of the top PGs in the valley area but he needs to improve his decision making and shot to play at the next level.

# Randall Jackson (Garces) 2012
Randall is a fierce competitor that worked extremely hard during the drills session. His hand speed is off the charts, which allows his moves and ball-handling to be at a high level. He also showed that he can be a lockdown defender during the games sessions. He got to the basket but needs to become a better finisher and needs to continually work on his outside shot.

# Josue Salaam (Hanford West) 2014
All of the coaches had to double take when they noticed that he is only a freshman. Josue's game is very silent, however, even though he was dropping 3-4 three-pointers each game. He was very consistent all weekend and was one of the top shooters. As he gets older, more mature, his game should expand to all facets and should be a college prospect.

# Jordan Belton (San Benito HS) 2012
A combo guard that showed much improvement in his 3 point shot. Absolutely one of the hardest players at camp that caused havoc on defense. Was very aggressive taking it to the basket and finished against bigger defenders. Very aggressive on both ends and competes relentlessly.

# Lonnie Watson Jr. (Paso Robles) 2010
A long guard that had a great weekend. Played very hard and was aggressive on the offensive end. If he could improve his shot selection he will be that much better. Competed and made plays and looks fully healthy for the first time in a long while.

# Cody Brice (Hanford West) 2010
Had a great weekend, showcasing soft hands, nimble feet, and polished post moves. Cody is 6'8", can really pass the ball out of the post and is a great shooter. Once Cody develops conditioning, he will be a great get at the D2 level.

# Carl Goodman (Bullard) 2011
The word that sums up Carl is Bouncy! Carl had a smile on his face all weekend, playing every opportunity he could to work on his game. He is a great competitor, capable defender, and was hanging around the rim all weekend.

# Darnell Johnson (Bullard) 2010
Big time competitor who simply was a joy to have around. A football-basketball guy that came out after his Friday night's football game and simply got after it. A relentless motor for a wide body Wing/Forward that showed a great deal of skill. Handled it, rebounded it, and got every loose ball. A great athlete who has a bright future both on the hardwood and gridiron.

# Saig Horn (Clovis East) 2010
A combo guard that has really improved his game. A lights out shooter in the Clovis East system, Saig showed this past weekend that he has a lot of feel for the game and can play PG. He will be a deadly second PG/combo with Robert Sandoval this upcoming year. Saig competed the entire weekend and simply made plays.

# Tyler Gosling (Ripon Christian) 2010
A forward who flat out competed both days. Tyler worked quite hard and was very active as he bounced around and rebounded with intensity. Scored around the basket and really showed his mobility and quickness throughout the weekend.

# Shaquille Wilson (Foothill) 2011
A long slender 6'8 athlete that oozes with potential. If Shaquille can tap into that potential and really work on his skills he will have a bright future. Has the ability down the road to play multiple positions if he continues to work and get stronger. Will have a very good year with the athleticism and length he possesses.

# Jason Carmichael (Mt. Whitney) 2010
Very strong point guard that is very crafty and skilled. Was sick on Day 1 but came on Day 2 and let his presence known. Very quick handles and a decent shooting stroke.

# Rayshon Snowden (San Joaquin Memorial) 2012
Rayshon is a young player that has a lot of upside. Though he didn't perform extraordinarily over the weekend, he did show that he is an up and coming talent in the Central California area.

Tyler Johnson and his LOI

St. Francis backcourter Tyler Johnson is still bound for Fresno State next season -- the delay in his letter-of-intent signing is explained by Dennis Knight/Mercury News:
"...St. Francis senior Tyler Johnson has orally committed to play at Fresno State, but he didn't sign Wednesday. Johnson's mother is in the military and currently away from home. Johnson said Wednesday he wants his mother to be part of his signing day, and he is still committed to the Bulldogs..."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Here's an even better Eli Holman article

Came across a much more thorough Eli Holman article -- credit Jeff Faraudo for digging into Eli Holman -- past, present and future:
Eli Holman finds happiness at Detroit Mercy
Jeff Faraudo
Oakland Tribune

Fans who haven't seen Eli Holman play basketball since his senior season at Richmond High in 2006-07 may be struck by his physical maturation when Detroit Mercy faces 13th-ranked Cal on Wednesday night at Haas Pavilion in the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament.

At 6-foot-10, 255 pounds, Holman has grown an inch and gained nearly 40 pounds since his high school graduation.

Those aren't the changes for which his mother is most grateful.

"I'm very thankful to God for where he's brought Elijah as far as decision-making and working on the temper. He is learning that is something that's controllable,'' Kaylynn Trotter said. "The maturity level is blowing me away..."
Go here for the remainder.

Josiah Turner returns

That was quick:
Stay at Sheldon is over for Sac High's Turner
Bill Paterson
Sacramento Bee
November 10, 2009

The biggest mystery on the high school rumor mill appears to have been solved.

Doris Ward, the mother of Josiah Turner, one of the nation's top junior boys basketball recruits, says her son will return to Sacramento High School today after spending eight days at Sheldon...
Go here for the remainder.

Monday, November 9, 2009

An Eli Holman feature

Former Richmond High basketballer Eli Holman is finally getting back on the court this season and a Detroit newspaper recently offered this feature:
Eli Holman's career back on track -- at UDM
Tom Markowski
The Detroit News
November 9, 2009

Eli Holman is hoping to turn the lost years into the best years of his life.

That's because Holman, a highly rated high schooler out of Richmond, Calif., has been off the college basketball map for two years.

You're not familiar with him?

Holman played six games for Indiana in the fall of 2007 before a season-ending wrist injury. He was granted a medical redshirt by the NCAA, then transferred to Detroit Mercy when Ray McCallum was hired as coach in April 2008.

So you'll get to see plenty of Holman this year ... and the some...
Go here for the remainder.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Say yes, yes, yes to this column

We wish the following was directed more to basketball but there's some mention of hoops, plus what is offered is 100% applicable to basketball announcing.

Pet phrases are cute...for about the first or second usage --- we don't tune in because of who is announcing but we might tune out because of who is announcing --- we want to know the 'why' of what we just saw, not some hoopin' and hollerin' by the supposed knowledge provider (the color announcer).

Anyway, enough of this and on to the article by longtime basketball coach Jack Fertig:

No One Watches a Game for the Commentators, But They Certainly Can Make It More Enjoyable
Jack Fertig
November 8, 2009

During part of my tenure at Fresno State, I did the color commentary for the Bulldogs locally televised basketball games. While it was nice to get noticed around town, especially when it was on an occasion either or both of my sons were with me, I fully realized that not one of the people complimenting me (the ones who think you’re awful may write a letter-to-the-editor, but at least they have the decency not to confront you publicly about it) were tuning into the broadcast because of my analysis.

It’s the same with any game on TV. I have heard of viewers mute a game because they can’t stand a certain announcer, but no one is watching or listening to a contest just because a certain person is doing play-by-play or color. Yet, having a competent color commentator certainly enlightens the experience and makes watching the game much more entertaining and enjoyable.

Here’s what makes a good color analyst. First of all, the person needs to be prepared. Knowing how to pronounce the names of the players from both teams, researching the strengths and weaknesses of the participating teams, having the up-to-date statistics and being aware of injured players and whether they’ll play or not.

Then, a thorough understanding of the game and its strategies is essential, as is a knowledge of the rules. Being able to explain what happened - in a language even casual fans can comprehend (without feeling you’re “talking down” to them) - and even to predict what will happen - but through the use of reasoning and not just what the guy at the end of the bar is saying because he heard somebody in a studio show say it...

Go here for the remainder.

Friday, November 6, 2009

John Dickson shines for Sac State

It was just an exhibition and the first contest of the season but freshman John Dickson (formerly of Fairfield High) produced quite the statistical line against Menlo:

* 16 points
* five rebounds
* two assists
* two steals
* two blocked shots

(photo courtesy of Sacramento State athletics)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fall Basketball Skills Clinics for players of all ages

For those basketballers in need of further refinement and development (isn't that like 100%), here is some help. Obviously, former Cal Hall of Famer Al Grigsby will be one of the instructors as will Tom Curtiss, aka the Shot Doctor, both instructors with the West Valley Basketball Club:

Dates: Sundays
Times: 9am to 11am
Place: De Anza College Main Gym, Cupertino, California
Contact or

Summer is over and Winter Hoops is here. If you are a BASKETBALL PLAYER who takes your skill development seriously, then this is the place for you. Focus on offensive scoring skill sets, both perimeter and interior taught by a nationally recognized staff. Players will learn to create shots off the dribble, preparing for the shot prior to the catch and finishing strong. You will also be provided a set of drills and instruction to continue a workout during the week. If you are committed and focused, you will see results. Players are required to bring basketball attire and drink. The cost is $40.00 per session.

Robbie Lemons to Stanford

Sacramento Country Day backcourter Robbie Lemons has agreed to become a recruited walk-on at Stanford.

The 6-foot-3 Lemons led the Sacramento area in scoring last season and his basketball skills combined with his academics caught more than the attention of the Cardinal.

He is one of the underrated players in northern California, with marvelous shooting skills and the type of basketball IQ that goes over the head of the average fan watching him play.

Congrats to Robbie for quite the achievement and we look forward to watching him play for the Cardinal.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Shawn Grant's college opener

Shawn Grant, the team leader for St. Francis High and the Mercury News Player of the Year last season, is on basketball scholarship at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (America East Conference).

In his first college action, Grant produced eight points (4-6 from the floor) two rebounds, two assists and two steals in a scrimmage against Mount St. Mary's.

Damian Lillard en fuego

Sure, it was just an exhibition game but how many teams make 13 three-pointers in a row anytime or anywhere? Who can do that even in practice? Plus, Oaklander Damian Lillard looks like he is ready to pick up right where he left off last season at Weber State.

Wildcats knock down 19 three-pointers In 110-58 exhibition win
November 2nd, 2009

Weber State hit 19 three-pointers, 13 of them without a miss in the first half, defeating the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, 110-58 Monday night in the first exhibition game of the season for the Wildcats.

The trey barrage began at the 17:08 mark of the first half with the 'Cats leading 6-5. Nick Hansen's trey made it 12-5, followed by three-pointers from Damian Lillard, Hansen and Lillard again making it a 21-7 game. WSU newcomer Franklin Session then had a break away slam at 14:25 and added a three-pointer 21 seconds later to give WSU a 26-7 lead. Lillard followed with the third of his game high six treys at 12:48 giving WSU a 29-9 advantage.

The Wildcats were 13-13 from the three-point line until freshman forward Byron Fulton missed with 1:52 remaining in the first half and the 'Cats led 58-31 at the break behind 20 points from Lillard. WSU ended the first half 13-16 from the arc (.813) and made 6-10 in the second half to end the game 19-26 (.731). Those 19 would have been a WSU school record by four had it been a regular season game counter..

...Lillard, a sophomore from Oakland, California and last year's Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year, had a near perfect night hitting 8-8 from the field including 6-6 from the arc, and was 5-6 from the free throw line scoring 27 points and dishing out seven assists as well..