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.