Sunday, January 31, 2010

An Eli Holman game saver

Former Richmond High star Eli Holman showed no mercy with his last-second shotblock in a win over Illinois-Chicago:
Eli Holman preserves Detroit Mercy's victory over Illinois-Chicago
Tom Markowski
The Detroit News
January 30, 2010

At 6 foot 10 and 255 pounds Eli Holman isn't the fastest player at Detroit Mercy, but he moved fast enough to make the biggest block of his brief career.

Holman, a sophomore playing his first season at UDM, blocked Robo Kreps' 3-point attempt with two seconds left to preserve UDM's 76-73 victory over Illinois-Chicago on Saturday at Calihan Hall.

Xavier Keeling's free throw with 7.3 seconds left gave the Titans a 3-point lead. UIC (5-16, 1-10) quickly brought the ball upcourt and Kreps shot from 12 feet right of the top of the key.

"I had my eyes on Kreps," Holman said. "I knew, with the game on the line, that he would take the shot. I had to shoot across the court to get there. I was on the other end. I knew he was going to get it..."
Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Greg Allen update

Eureka High's Greg Allen headed south after academics eliminated his scholarship offer from Creighton. He's at Navarro College in Texas and also playing much more as a wing than a point. Here is a recent Navarro game article:
Allen hits key 3s in 2nd half to ignite Navarro
Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun
January 23, 2010

Johnny Estelle had a message for sixth-man Greg Allen after four turnovers forced the Navarro coach to pull the freshman shooter out of the game.

“I told him a shot is better than a turnover,” Estelle said.

Allen’s role on the Runnin’ Bulldogs is to score the ball, and he wasn’t doing that hesitating his way into traveling calls in the first half.

Allen settled down after halftime, drilled two 3-pointers on a span of 78 seconds early in the period, the two pivotal shots that carried Navarro to a 68-44 victory over Blinn on Saturday at the Wolens Special Events Center...
Go here for the remainder.

Learn to shoot the right way...meaning better

Are you one of those players who opposing teams love to see hoisting shots up during games? Does your coach visibly cringe when you attempt an outside shot? Is your number absent when defenders call out among themselves which number they will guard?

Okay, you get the drift.

You need to visit the Shot Science site. The proprietors also have a Shot Science YouTube channel.

Sure, you can receive in-person coaching but there is plenty of assistance available that doesn't require you to even leave your computer.

Give it a shot (pun intended).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Zach Nelson continues his season-long tear

Zach Nelson plays way up north and therefore out of sight of the major media but he is enjoying a spectacular season:
Honkers win with ease
Y.C.'s Nelson unstoppable in the paint, too much for R.V.
Andy Arrenquin
January 28, 2010

Sometimes it's best to let a sleeping giant lay.

If anyone was a critic of Yuba City High's Zach Nelson, they were quickly silenced on Wednesday night.

In a battle of the Tri-Country Conference's two top teams, the 6-foot-7 Nelson proved that he may just be the most underrated basketball player in the area by erupting for 30 points and clearing 20 rebounds to lead the Honkers to an easy 79-54 victory over cross-town rival River Valley in front of a raucous crowd at Honker Gym...
Go here for the remainder.

Robby Rowland breaks school scoring record

Congrats to Robby:
Cloverdale’s Rowland breaks school scoring record
Eric Branch
Santa Rosa Press-Democrat
Jamuary 26, 2010

Cloverdale senior guard/forward Robby Rowland broke the school’s scoring record and moved into second place on the Empire’s all-time list with 45 points in the Eagles’ 109-30 win at Upper Lake on Tuesday night...
Go here for the remainder.

San Ramon Valley gets some love

San Ramon Valley seems like one of those stealth teams -- they unobtrusively beat you and sometimes you are left wondering why/how that just happened. Plus, doing it without a home gym is making the Wolves even more battle-tested.
San Ramon Valley making itself at home on the road
Mitch Stephens, Special to The Chronicle
January 28, 2010

The opening of San Ramon Valley-Danville's new gymnasium has been delayed six months because of the unearthing of an American Indian burial ground on site.

Seems like a bad deal for the boys basketball team, which hasn't had a game on campus in two seasons after the old gym was officially condemned.

The players don't seem to mind. They're response: "Keep digging..."
Go here for the remainder.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The story behind the story

We certainly don't know the truth from the fiction here but the following article at least indicates what we have always believed: there's the story and then there's the story behind the story.
Battle blocks hoop dreams
Bill Paterson
Sacramento Bee
January 26, 2010

Remi Barry is an 18-year-old transfer student from Florida who, in his short time as a senior at Del Oro High School, has become a popular figure on the Loomis campus.

But the gregarious 6-foot-7 French national finds himself enmeshed in an ongoing battle with the California Interscholastic Federation. A CIF appeals panel on Monday upheld an earlier ineligibility ruling.

Now Barry may never suit up for the team at his new school, which he has come to adore.

"It's killing me watching my family, my brothers, playing basketball without me," said Barry, who is on a student visa. "I'm not a bad kid. I'm just trying to live in a better place."

Sac-Joaquin Section commissioner Pete Saco ruled Nov. 24 that Barry was ineligible because his move from a powerhouse south Florida private school was athletically motivated and "avoidable," thus violating several CIF bylaws...
Go here for the remainder.

A Johnny McArthur feature

Credit goes to Ben Enos for a solid feature on a solid young man:
De La Salle High's senior center John McArthur re-establishes himself as inside presence
Ben Enos
Contra Costa Times

John McArthur has had the bull's-eye on his back for a while now.

Now in his fourth varsity season with the De La Salle basketball team, the Santa Clara-bound center has been the focus of opposing defenses ever since he emerged as a low-post force in 2006.

When this season began, though, teams clamped down on McArthur even more. With an inexperienced group of guards, the Spartans thrived the most on offense when McArthur had space to work...
Go here for the remainder.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

20 Sac basketballers to watch

The Sacramento Bee has a post up today on 20 hoopsters to watch for in the county. Go here to access it.

Robbie Lemons getting some major local love

Hallelujah! Under-appreciated Robbie Lemons is finally getting 'discovered' and none too soon:
Country Day basketball star stays grounded
Ailene Voisin
Sacramento Bee
January 24, 2010

Robbie Lemons is not the perfect kid, OK? Like most 17-year-olds, the nation's leading prep basketball scorer and Sacramento Country Day School standout has issues.

Sometimes he forgets to make his bed. He remembers getting a B in elementary school once, tarnishing a straight-A academic history. He agrees to a trim, he says, only when his father threatens to "tie ribbons" in his spiked hair...
Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Taylor Fox leads Santa Catalina

She's sort of tucked away hidden from view but enough college coaches are aware of her:
BUILDING BLOCK: Fox leads young Catalina squad to key 51-39 win over Carmel
Fox leads young Catalina squad to key 51-39 win over Carmel
John Devine
Monterey Herald

It's not a secret. The Santa Catalina offense revolves around Taylor Fox.

And when the Cougars' four-year starter lights it up like she did in the third quarter Thursday, there's little defense in stopping the reigning Mission Trail Athletic League co-champions.

Yet, while Fox can put the Cougars on her shoulders, seeing her young teammates step up in their biggest game of the year was huge in a 51-39 win over previously unbeaten Carmel...
Go here for the remainder.

Alisal's Jorge Sosa is featured

He doesn't receive much in the way of 'pub' but consistent production defines Alisal's Jorge Sosa:
Sosa delivers for Alisal, again
George Watkins
Salinas Californian
January 21, 2010

As long as Jonathan Sosa plays his typical game, there's no telling what surprises will be in store for the Alisal High boys basketball team.

The 6-foot-4 Sosa, averaging more than twice as many points per game as any teammate since the start of Tri-County Athletic League play entering Wednesday's game, pumped home another 26 points to carry the Trojans past the Alvarez Eagles 68-56 in the Alisal gym...
Go here for the remainder.

Robert Sandoval does it again

Try a triple-double this time:
Timberwolves are wonders in win over Central
Clovis East acts the part of area's No. 1 team.
Andy Boogaard
The Fresno Bee
January 22, 2010

They turned away fans at the door, but not top-ranked Clovis East High inside Friday night in a Tri-River Athletic Conference showdown at Central that's sure to mean something in a month.

Robert Sandoval, the Timberwolves' CEO and the Central Section's premier player, delivered 19 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds and, in general, controlled the floor in a don't-blink game that valued it as they beat the No. 3 Grizzlies 85-78...
Go here for the remainder.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Kiwi Gardner update

Jagada Chambers has a great report on Kiwi Gardner's first game back:
Gardner fires in 31 points to lead Buffs past Sierra
Jagada Chambers
Manteca Bulletin
January 21, 2010

People filled the stands in droves anxiously expecting another epic battle between the Manteca and Sierra High basketball squads, and neither squad disappointed during the Buffaloes’ 64-48 Valley Oak League win over the host Timberwolves.

Manteca was able to depend on the awesome talents of leading scorer Kiwi Gardner for the first time in VOL play, as the junior guard closed out the final scene in a drawn out five-game suspension that concluded with the Buffaloes’ 49-39 win over Central Valley Jan. 13...
Go here for the remainder.

Manteca Sports Editor Jonamar Jacinto wrote a more personal piece.

Our completely unsolicited advice: Kiwi, listen to those who tell you the truth and not the sycophants who just want to be along for the ride and will turn their back on you at the moment of their most convenience.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More Martin Luther King Classic coverage

Here's the MLK Classic via Ben Enos, Kyle Bonagura and Chace Bryson and the Contra Costa Times:
No. 1 Salesian beats No. 2 Newark Memorial at MLK Holiday Classic
Ben Enos
Contra Costa Times

Desmond Simmons is used to being the go-to guy when top-ranked Salesian High needs a big play late in a game. To get an opportunity against No. 2 Newark Memorial on Monday, though, Simmons needed some help from someone much younger.

Simmons, a senior who's headed to Washington next season, sealed Salesian's 47-37 victory in the nightcap of the Martin Luther King Holiday Classic at Berkeley's Haas Pavilion by going 6-for-6 from the foul line in the fourth quarter en route to a 17-point effort. But the play of freshman guard Mario Dunn also helped the Pride in the battle between the pacesetters in the Bay Area News Group-East Bay boys basketball poll...
Go here for the remainder.

De La Salle High School upends Fairfax-Los Angeles at MLK Holiday Classic at Haas Pavilion
Chace Bryson
Contra Costa Times

After a rare league loss on its home floor on Jan. 5, the De La Salle High basketball team took a hard look at itself. And then it went back to work.

The Spartans have now reeled off five straight wins, including Monday's 45-38 victory over Fairfax-Los Angeles in the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Classic at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley.

"Playing hard has been a main focus point for us (since that loss)," De La Salle senior John McArthur said. "The staple of De La Salle basketball has always been about playing hard, and we realized that we hadn't really done that. We did some soul searching and made it a point to get back to playing hard..."
Go here for the remainder.

Castro Valley prevails with late charge
Kyle Bonagura
Oakland Tribune

With each game, Castro Valley High is developing more of reputation for being a second-half team, and coach Nick Jones can't figure out why.

Jones was just as perplexed after the Trojans' latest second-half charge pulled out a 69-61 boys basketball victory against Oakland in the feature game Monday of the inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. "I Have a Dream" Classic at Cal State East Bay.

"People think I must be giving great halftime speeches, but that's not it." Jones said. "I don't say much at the half..."
Go here for the remainder.

The MLK Classic

Mitch Stephens has the news on yesterday's Martin Luther King Classic:
Freshman boosts Salesian in Classic at Haas Pavilion
Mitch Stephens, Special to The Chronicle
January 19, 2010

The big stage showed another huge upside of Salesian-Richmond freshman Mario Dunn on Monday night at Cal's Haas Pavilion.

The 5-foot-10 guard scored only 10 points, but it was his energy and attitude that spurred his team's 47-37 win over Newark Memorial in a matchup between the Metro Area's top two teams in the Martin Luther King Classic.

Dunn had been a starter all season for the 15-1 Pride, but with the return of the injured Quincy Smith, Salesian coach Bill Mellis decided to use Dunn as a spark off the bench. He played a key role during runs in the first and fourth quarters...
Go here for the remainder.

Travis Souza receives an award

Here is some news from over in the valley:
Large Schools Boys Athlete of the Week: Travis Souza
Modesto Bee
January 19, 2010

After earning a reputation as a reliable scorer the last two years, Travis Souza added to his repertoire this season in a bid to help Turlock win the CCC.

"We are looking for him to control the tempo of the game, get his teammates involved in the offense and be a vocal leader," said coach Doug Cornfoot, who expects to see Souza playing college ball next season. "I see Travis playing off-guard in college. He shoots well, sees the court and can find the open man. (He's) being recruited by Cornell, Wyoming, Stanislaus, UC San Diego, Asuza-Pacific, Army and Navy."
Go here for the remainder.

Woodcreek High gets a feature

Bill Paterson offers some words about Woodcreek High's solid season to date:
Woodcreek boys shows their depth
Bill Paterson
Sacramento Bee
January 19, 2010

Woodcreek High School boys basketball coach Burnel Pinkerton has a nice problem.

"I've got 14 guys, and every stinking kid can play," he said of his Timberwolves. "The hard part is trying to find minutes for these kids. Our bench production has been great."

It's been good enough to get Woodcreek (15-3, 3-0) through the first two weeks of Sierra Foothill League competition unscathed...
Go here for the remainder.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Matt Simpkins update

The latest plan was for Matt Simpkins to get his academics in order at Diablo Valley College and then head up to Reno on a Nevada basketball scholarship.

Call this detour #45732.

That's because he was recently jailed Memphis (in December), Nevada has moved on and another opportunity has been squandered.

Go here.

It's never to late to grow up and turn matters around but the first step is quit deepening the hole you're digging/have dug. At this point, he needs to focus on and resurrect his life. Forget about basketball maybe altogether but certainly at least until some personal progress and stability has been enjoyed.

Enough moralizing. Let's move on.

A great feature on former Cardinal Newman star Mike Santos

Mike Santos is now at Santa Clara and on scholarship. Here's a great article on his journey:
No quit in Santos
Bob Padecky
Santa Rosa Press Democrat
January 17, 2010

It is, and Michael Santos admits it, a meditation, when he lets himself into the University of Santa Clara gym late at night. No one else is on the court, just the basketball and himself, his shoes squeaking and the round ball thumping, pounding out a cadence soothing, comforting and oh so familiar.

“Feels like home,” said the former Cardinal Newman star.

Where everything makes sense. Where he belongs. Where he had to find out exactly how good he was. Why he had to push himself three years ago and take the risk because, to not to, would be cheating whatever gift he had. And he never wanted to wonder if he coulda, shoulda, woulda.

“There were no guarantees,” said Santos who starred for Newman's state finalist team in 2006-07...
Go here for the remainder.

Robby Rowland impresses

How come the football coach hasn't gotten Robby Rowland out on the gridiron?
Cloverdale’s Robby Rowland: The Empire’s best
Eric Branch
Santa Rosa Press-Democrat
January 16, 2010

I left Cloverdale on Friday night convinced that I’d seen the best basketball player in the Empire.

Cloverdale’s Robby Rowland, a 6-foot-6 senior guard/forward, had 39 points, 14 rebounds and made 16 of 26 shots in three quarters of action in the Eagles’ 93-50 rout of Clear Lake.

Rowland was an all-state Division V pick as a junior and he’s even better this season...
Go here for the remainder.

Spencer Butterfield explodes

Figuratively, not literally.
Top-ranked Sheldon beats Del Oro, but Golden Eagles' Butterfield has game to remember
Bill Paterson
Sacramento Bee
January 17, 2009

It isn't often that top-ranked Sheldon's mega-talented Darius Nelson and Ramon Eaton are overshadowed on the basketball court.

Even though they played big roles in beating No. 14 Del Oro 74-65 Saturday night in the marquee event of the day-long, seven-game Common Good Classic in Loomis, they had to take a back seat to the Golden Eagles' Spencer Butterfield.

The 6-foot-3 senior guard scored 34 points and, if not for some second-half foul trouble, he might have had a lot more...
Go here for the remainder.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

We like the term "The Brewery" better

"The Brewery" combines two of our passions -- basketball and fine amber liquid. But "Brew Crew" does the job too.
Gauchos are fast becoming a Brew Crew
Mark Patton
Santa Barbara News Press
January 16, 2009

Will Brew Jr. is Brew blood, basketball royalty, named after the point guard who ran some of Ralph Miller's greatest teams at Oregon State.

And now the son also rises. In a hurry.

The first-born son of Will Brew Sr. has become the point man of the Gauchos in just his second season at UCSB.

"Way more leadership. Way more responsibility," coach Bob Williams said. "He's really grown up before our eyes."

Brew is the only Gaucho to have started all 15 games this season, and he's expected to be running the show again tonight when UCSB (8-7, 3-2 Big West Conference) faces UC Riverside (7-9, 1-3) in a 7 o'clock game at the Thunderdome.

He had been groomed for these moments as a child, watching Oregon State highlight reels from the 1980-84 era, and seeing his dad driving and dishing to such stars as A.C. Green.

"I noticed that my dad had the same kind of game that I do," Brew said. "I see a lot of him in me, of playing tight defense, and getting everybody involved on offense.

"He's been an important part of my life, supporting everything I do and encouraging me all the way."

Williams figured that Brew would be doing a lot more watching during his freshman season, learning from two-year starter Justin Joyner. But a persistent wrist injury forced Joyner to red-shirt, thrusting the Berkeley St. Mary's High recruit into a prime role.

Brew started all but eight of UCSB's games as a freshman, although it was hardly his team alone.

"He got a lot of confidence last year, and he played the point, but he was never the only guy out there," Williams said. "It was he, D.J. (Posley) and (Paul) Roemer - there were three guys playing the point.

"D.J. was very vocal and Roem had already been there a long time."

It was expected to be much the same this season, with Joyner and Roemer both returning. But Joyner sprained his ankle badly in preseason workouts and has been sidelined almost all season. And Roemer, one of only two seniors on the team, is out for a month with a stress fracture in his foot.

Brew has become the last man standing at point guard.

"I'm not going to lie, we really miss those guys," Brew said. "Paul and J.J. are great players, great defenders, and they also know how to run the system. Losing them has been a huge loss for us.

"But we have to move forward and concentrate on what's in front of us."

He also admits that the situation has forced him to become more vocal this season.

"I'm running the team now, and coach has put more on my back," Brew said.

Fellow sophomore Orlando Johnson, UCSB's leading scorer with a 16.7-point average, has noticed the difference in his classmate.

"Will would usually just go out there and play hard and do his job," he said. "But now without J.J., who would've been a senior this year, and Paul, who's one of our senior leaders, they're not here to talk to us.

"Will is now definitely taking this team upon his shoulders. He's become more of a leader - way more vocal. You can see that every day."

The injury situation has forced his younger brother, freshman guard Chris Brew, to fill in as his back-up.

"It's a blessing that he's here, but I wish we could play together at the same time more," Will said. "I love playing with him. When we were in high school, we could just read each other's minds.

"When he'd call for the ball, he'd cut and I'd know where to find him. And when he'd be playing defense, I'd know where he was going to turn his man and be able to gamble to get the steal."

Will Brew's steady hand has become crucial for a young team that often struggles with mistakes, having committed 29 turnovers in Thursday's loss at Long Beach State. Even though Brew handles the ball more than any other Gaucho, three other starters have more turnovers, and his assist-to-turnover ratio (42-to-25) ranks among the best in the Big West Conference.

Growing up in a hurry is nothing new for Brew. He played up in age division in AAU ball while playing for the Oakland Soldiers, facing the likes of future NBA stars Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings and Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks.

"I was only a freshman in high school when I was playing in the 17-and-unders, and I played the point guard position," Brew said. "I played against Tyreke Evans in the Big Time Tournament when I was about15 - he was just an unbelievable player and made me want to work on my game that much more.

"Brandon Jennings once even played for our team. I'm not going to lie, I got caught just standing and watching him play and doing his thing a couple of times."

Brew is one of four sophomores now starting now for UCSB, but he tries to resist looking too far ahead in the Gauchos' bright future.

"It's my goal to get to the NCAA Tournament this year," he said. "But coach has been talking about this class since we got here, and when Orlando got onto campus (as a transfer), everybody was seeing it.

"When we finally get it really going, it's going to be crazy."

And maybe become worth a few highlight reels of their own.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A feature on John Dickson

John Schumacher offers a feature on former Fairfield High star John Dickson:
Freshman Dickson makes impact for Sac State basketball team
John Schumacher
Sacramento Bee
January 15, 2010

John Dickson could have gone to USF, a private school with a memorable, storied basketball tradition.

The Dons won the National Invitation Tournament title in 1949 under legendary coach Pete Newell and claimed national championships in 1955 and 1956 with Bill Russell, K.C. Jones and coach Phil Woolpert. They also savored three consecutive NCAA Tournament bids and a No. 1 ranking in the 1970s behind Bill Cartwright, Winford Boynes and James Hardy.

But Dickson wanted to create his own history. So last spring, he chose his other finalist, Sacramento State, a struggling basketball program still seeking its first NCAA Tournament bid since joining Divi- sion I in 1991...
Go here for the remainder.

Newark Memorial continues to roll

Newark Memorial High has an amazing league win streak going on and it continued last night although Washington made it close:
Newark Memorial boys basketball team extends MVAL win streak
Jimmy Durkin
Fremont Argus

The Mission Valley Athletic League still belongs to the Newark Memorial High boys basketball team "... for now.

The visiting Cougars fended off a feisty Washington squad before extending their MVAL win streak to 88 games with a 54-50 victory Thursday...
Go here for the remainder.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Robbie Lemons interview

Robbie Lemons -- who is going to be successful on the court and off -- is interviewed today by the Sacramento Bee's Jeff Caraska:
Robbie Lemons, Sacramento Country Day, basketball
Jeff Caraska
Sacramenot Bee
January 14, 2010

Robbie Lemons is a senior at Sacramento Country Day School in his fourth season of varsity basketball.

A precociously talented Lemons also played four years for Country Day's middle school team. How? He played from fifth through eighth grade. As Lemons recalls, he has played basketball since he was very young.

Through his Division V team's first 13 games this season, Lemons is not just leading the 11-2 Cavaliers with 36.8 points per game. Lemons leads the nation – among scorers who have played at least 10 games – according to
Go here for the remainder.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Meet Will Cherry

Cherry a sweet addition for Grizzlies
Bob Meseroll
The Missoulian
January 9, 2010

Ordinarily, true freshmen don't get a chance to make much of an impact in Big Sky Conference men's basketball.

Montana's Will Cherry is no ordinary freshman.

The point guard from Oakland's McClymonds High is having the best season for a Griz true freshman since Andrew Strait in 2005. Entering this weekend's play, Cherry was averaging 7.3 points a game and was leading the Griz in steals with 21...
Go here for the remainder.

BOD versus Mack

O'Dowd wins rare battle of Oakland powers
Kyle Bonagura
Oakland Tribune

For Bishop O'Dowd boys basketball coach Doug Vierra, coaching against McClymonds is nothing new. He opposed the Warriors at least two times a year for six years as the coach at Oakland High.

But until Saturday, it had been 15 years since O'Dowd and McClymonds met on the hardwood...
Go here for the remainder.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Nelson scores 44, Bailey 42

There aren't too many games where you pour in 44 points and are the leading scorer in the contest by just two points:
Nelson puts on show in leading Sheldon to overtime victory
Bill Paterson
Sacramento Bee
January 10, 2010

Darius Nelson plays pretty well on one leg.

The 6-foot-6 junior, the younger brother of state scoring prep legend DeMarcus Nelson, put on a marvelous show in Sheldon's up-tempo matchup with Clovis East Saturday night in the Father Kelly Tribute at Jesuit High School.

Nelson poured in a career-high 44 points in leading Sheldon to a 92-86 overtime win over the Fresno-area power...
Go here for the remainder.

Sac High versus Oakland High game report

Bill Paterson has a game report on the matchup between 'host' Sac High and Oakland:
Sac High's defense goes missing against Oakland
Bill Paterson
Sacramento Bee
Jan. 10, 2010

With two of the nation's best junior prospects exchanging baskets and remarkable feats of athleticism in Saturday's Father Kelly Tribute at Jesuit High School, the Oakland vs. Sacramento High boys basketball game proved a crowd pleaser.

Sac High guard Josiah Turner scored 34 points, but Oakland wing Jabari Brown had 33 as the Wildcats won 88-81. Brown transferred to Oakland from national power Findlay Prep of Henderson, Nev., earlier in the week...
Go here for the remainder.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A junior college game we saw earlier this week

It wasn't a league game so to speak as City College of San Francisco (CCSF) is a member of the of the Coast Conference North Division while Cabrillo College (near Santa Cruz) also resides in the Coast Conference albeit in the South Division. Neither team plays each other once conference action begins, sticking to opponents within their respective divisions. The visiting Rams, laden with former Bay Area prep talents, arrived 14-1 and #1 in the coach's poll as the state of California's top-ranked team.

Host Cabrillo began the game 6-6. So how did the Seahawks manage to earn a 29-24 halftime lead?

If called upon, CCSF Coach Justin Labaugh would likely offer a few reasons. However, it was apparent to observers that the Rams were not playing to their respective strengths in this speed and quickness (CCSF) versus brawn and beef (Cabrillo) matchup. The Seahawks physically took it to Labaugh's group in the initial 20 minutes, making it a linebacker meets ballet dancer half.

Labaugh's message during the intermission must have been along the lines of "go to work."

That's because it was a different story in the second half. At the 15:45 mark, CCSF had edged ahead 39-34. With 10:35 on the clock, Cabrillo was hanging in there, down by just seven at 50-43. After that, there was no looking back for the Rams as 6-foot-5-ers Da'Ron Sims and Bennie Rhodes asserted themselves -- Sims finally introducing his athletic physicality and Rhodes dribble-driving past defenders. The defensive intensity of Labaugh's bunch was also notably higher.

The game ended 73-60 in favor of CCSF but with the outcome known for some time.

Previous reports had indicated CCSF was quite the offensive machine, slicing and dicing for dribble-drive shots, racing down the court after nabbing rebounds and displaying a must-go-out-and-defend degree of shooting range.

Well, the first half contained its share of bricklaying on the part of the Rams, especially with most outside the paint shooting efforts as the ball made thud, thunk and swish (of air, not net) sounds more often than not. Such was not all that much improved in the second 20 minutes but the CCSF collective quit taking them and played to its strengths.

So in a one game observation, what did the players with Bay Area prep connections display?

Da'Ron Sims (McClymonds) - excellent hops and maneuverability inside, limited shooting range, with a Big Sky Conference or so level destination awaiting him at the next level

Jonathan Williams (Kennedy) - the Cabrillo defenders seemed to forget he was a lefty, has a solid D-1 body but no standout skills

Deend Parker (Lincoln) - he possesses the size to play both the wing and in the backcourt at 6-foot-5 and another year of seasoning should be able to get him to a Big West-type team -- higher if he can play the point at the next level

Calvin Douglas (Antioch) - a solid defender and also the only Ram to put down an open 20-footer -- his next level will be decided on what coaches see as his top skill and how solid does he performs it

Bennie Rhodes (Castlemont) - didn't show much on shooting range tonight but was able to dribble-drive around the Cabrillo defenders and either score or get fouled, a very good athlete but a seemingly slight body

Steven Brown (Palo Alto) - he gave a strong defensive effort but didn't display an offensive repertoire, at least in this matchup

Daryl Cooper (Sacred Heart Cathedral) - solid ballhandler and defender but not a creator

Summary: the CCSF roster is chock full of physical ability but the question after tonight is what top skill does each possess and how well and consistently does he perform it looking at the next level? No go-to players for the next level were on display, much more a bunch of complementary, unselfish types.

T.J. Taylor looking at all options

It did seems mighty early to pin oneself down and now Oakland High's T.J. Taylor, currently a junior, has decided to re-open his recruiting:

Per Scout's Greg Hicks:
"Junior point guard T.J. Taylor made an early commitment to Santa Clara last year, but now says he's going to open up his recruitment and listen to other schools..."
Go here for the remainder and a Scout sub is required.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jordan Richardson still scoring big

West High's Jordan Richardson -- heading to Weber State next season -- is continuing to torch the nets.
West 88, Tracy 81

Jordan Richardson led all scorers with 26 the Wolf Pack (11-6) held on against the Bulldogs (6-8). He had two 3-pointers and made 13 of 17 free throws...

Kiwi Gardner to return

This is good news:
Buffaloes' Gardner set to return on Wednesday
Brian Vanderbeek
Modesto Bee
January 9, 2010

Kiwi Gardner, the Manteca High basketball player suspended for brushing against a referee in a Dec. 28 game, has been cleared by the Sac-Joaquin Section to return to action at the end of a four-game suspension, The Bee has learned...
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Will Cherry leads Montana

Former McClymonds star Will Cherry is enjoying a solid freshman season for Montana:
Johnson, Cherry lead Griz to win over EWU
Dave Guffey, UM Sports Information

Guards Anthony Johnson and Will Cherry combined for 42 points to lead The University of Montana Grizzlies to a 79-66 victory over the Eastern Washington Eagles in a Big Sky Conference game Friday evening in UM’s Dahlberg Arena...

...Johnson, a senior, scored a game-high 25 points, while Cherry, a "true" freshman tied his career-high with 17...

...Cherry scored 16 of his points in the second half, when he made 7-of-10 shots from the field...

Friday, January 8, 2010

A pair of Bay Area players featured in the NY TIMES

The New York Times offers a tale about the friendship -- on and off the court -- of two Bay Area players:
Princeton Players Are Divided by Heritage, United by Basketball
Bill Finley
New York Times
January 8, 2009

PRINCETON, N.J. — When asked about their political views, cultures and backgrounds and whether they create problems for them on or off the basketball court, Niveen Rasheed and Lauren Polansky laugh simultaneously.

The Palestinian-American shooting guard and the Jewish point guard, freshman teammates on the Princeton women’s basketball team, understand why people bring up the subject, but to them it is not an issue. What they really care about, they say, are winning games and fostering a friendship that trumps whatever religious or ethnic differences may exist.

Rasheed’s parents are Palestinians, born and raised in the West Bank, and one of her sisters is part of the Palestinian diplomatic corps at the United Nations.

“It’s a big part of our family’s culture,” Rasheed said after a practice last week, adding: “You would think with all those factors I’d have in the back of my mind that L. P. is Jewish. But the way I was raised was that you should not have personal grudges against someone for their background.”

Polansky and Rasheed became friends playing together on an American Athletic Union team, the East Bay Xplosion, in Northern California, where they grew up a few miles apart. Polansky was the first to commit to Princeton, and her decision was among the reasons Rasheed decided to attend. On Polansky’s Facebook page, the featured picture is one of her and Rasheed in a friendly embrace.

“We are always hanging out together,” Rasheed said. “That’s the way this entire team is. On and off the court, we can’t get enough of each other. All the freshmen are close, and L. P. is one of my best friends here.”
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An interesting recruiting story on Robert Sandoval

Fresno doesn't qualify as northern California but here's an article on one of my favorite players to watch:
Sandoval could be real deal for 'Dogs
Andy Boogaard
The Fresno Bee
January 7, 2009

Robert Sandoval is an extraordinary point guard who plays basketball at a high school 6 miles away from Fresno State, which is ordinary at the position.

But the Bulldogs don't want him -- not yet.


A week ago, the Clovis East senior dropped 31 points on Centennial-Compton, a top-50 team nationally.

Last summer, he toasted similar powers, Mater Dei-Santa Ana and Bishop Gorman-Nevada, for 36 and 30.

A year ago, he stepped out of a four-hour morning bus ride after playing the night before and delivered 31 points, 10 assists, eight steals and three rebounds against Cleveland-Reseda, whose coach, Osiris Nalls, said: "We see more athletic guards down here, but his skill level and IQ level are better. He's pretty much in a category by himself."

Against major-college guard prospects from these programs, the 6-foot Sandoval beats them off the dribble, defends them off the dribble, breaks their press, scores rim-high, passes and manages the game.

"Robert stands out in those games -- for both teams," Clovis East coach Tim Amundsen says...
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

A little more on Kiwi Gardner

There are some wonderful people selflessly stepping in to help out -- that's the best news. Plus, Brian VanderBeek provides more on Kiwi Gardner's current situation:
Gardner's suspension is talk of high school hoops
Brian VanderBeek
Modesto Bee
January 6, 2009

MANTECA — Kiwi Gardner was not in uniform for Manteca High's 55-42 victory over Oakdale on Tuesday, just as the high-scoring guard will be nowhere in sight tonight when the Buffaloes play at Lathrop, or Friday when they play host to Weston Ranch.

After after that, no one yet knows when Gardner — averaging 27.4 points and arguably the most talented player in the Stanislaus District — will return to action...
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He's back (this is another one)

Rob Collins has returned to Richmond High, and that's a good thing, especially for the young basketballers there:
Richmond High's Collins rebuilding basketball program, and his life, at the same time
Ben Enos
Bay Area News Group

When he resigned from his job as boys basketball coach at Pleasanton's Amador Valley High School in 2008, Rob Collins needed a break.

Coaching didn't hold the same appeal it always had, and the veteran educator of 22 years thought he might not be making as big an impact with kids as he could.

So Collins took a step back. He returned to a place where he was comfortable, resuming his former job as a physical education teacher at Richmond High, where he tried to refocus his life before returning to the court.

That focus is finally returning, but not without some significant bumps along the way...
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

He's back

He is back. No, The Arnold hasn't announced he is going to run for Guv again (thankfully), it's Jabari Brown being back in O-town after a semester attending Findlay Prep. Jimmy Durkin provides the details:
Former Salesian basketball star Jabari Brown transfers back to the East Bay to play for Oakland High
Jimmy Durkin
Oakland Tribune

Jabari Brown is back home.

The former Salesian High basketball star, who transferred to high-profile Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev., over the summer, decided Sunday to return to his hometown of Oakland and has enrolled at Oakland High.

"It wasn't really working out," Brown said of Findlay Prep, which is ranked in the top 10 in several national polls after finishing last year as the USA Today's top-ranked team. "I just decided it would be a good decision for me and the team and I decided to come home."
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Kiwi Gardner sidelined

Hopefully, this will be a learning experience:
Gardner’s future uncertain
MHS guard must sit until section rules on Dec. 28 incident
Jonamar Jacinto
Manteca Bulletin
January 5, 2009

Manteca High junior Kiwi Gardner could miss a handful of games or forfeit the rest of his athletic eligibility depending on Sac-Joaquin Section sanctions. He will likely not play in tonight’s Valley Oak League opener with visiting Oakdale.

His uncertain status stems from an incident during Manteca’s second-round contest against Inglewood in the 10th Annual Modesto Christian Holiday Hoops Classic on Dec. 28.

Gardner, who averaged 27.4 points, 4.5 assists and five steals in eight non-league contests, was ejected from the game with 43.7 seconds remaining. Inglewood won, 68-57.

Gardner quickly assessed two technicals for disputing a foul. The main issue centers around physical contact Gardner made with the official and the intent behind it...
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Monday, January 4, 2010

A TIME magazine feature on Jeremy Lin

Remember his w-i-l-l-i-n-g Palo Alto High to the state championship?
Harvard's Hoops Star Is Asian. Why's That a Problem?
Sean Gregory
December 31, 2009

Certain truths are tied to March Madness, that time of year when the NCAA men's basketball tournament turns every cubicle-dweller into a college hoops junkie. That batty lady who picks the winners based on the cuteness of the mascots will crush you in your office pool. Duke will have a guy that gets under your skin. And the Harvard basketball players will be locked in the library instead pulling off the Cinderella upset.

It's been 64 years since the Crimson appeared in the NCAA tournament. But thanks to senior guard Jeremy Lin, that streak could end this year. Lin, who tops Harvard in points (18.1 per game), rebounds (5.3), assists (4.5) and steals (2.7), has led the team to a 9-3 record, its best start in a quarter century. Lin, a 6 '3" slasher whose speed, leaping ability, and passing skills would allow him to suit up for any team in the country, has saved his best performances for the toughest opponents: over his last four games against teams from the Big East and Atlantic Coast Conference, two of the country's most powerful basketball leagues, Lin is averaging 24.3 points and shooting nearly 65% from the field. "He's as good an all-around guard as I've seen," says Tony Shaver, the head coach of William & Mary, which in November lost a triple overtime game to Harvard, 87-85, after Lin hit a running three-pointer at the buzzer. "He's a special player who seems to have a special passion for the game. I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the NBA one day."

A Harvard hoopster with pro-level talent? Yes, that's one reason Lin is a novelty. But let's face it: Lin's ethnicity might be a bigger surprise. Less than 0.5% of men's Division 1 basketball players are Asian-American. Sure, the occasional giant from China, like Yao Ming, has played in the NBA. But in the U.S., basketball stars are African-Americans first, Caucasians second, and Asians. . . somewhere far down the line.
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jordan Richardson at it again

West High's Jordan Richardson is torchin' the nets this season -- 46 points ealier this season versus Vallejo -- and just went for 40 against Chavez:
West guard steals spotlight at showcase
Kevin Niendorf

Stockton Record Correspondent
January 3, 2010

STOCKTON - West High's Jordan Richardson scored 40 points, including a go-ahead layup with 19 seconds remaining in overtime, to lead the Wolf Pack to a thrilling 82-81 victory over the Chavez Titans during Saturday's second annual Stockton Showcase at Delta College...
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Last second Larry Gurganious shot wins it

Larry Gurganious has been on a circuitious route since Berkeley High but he's finishing up his college basketball career helping UC Riverside compete in the Big West Conference.
Gurganious' Lay-In With 1.3 Seconds Remaining Gives UCR 69-67 OT Win

Larry Gurganious' lay-in with 1.3 seconds remaining in overtime gave the Highlanders men's basketball team a 69-67 come-from-behind win over Long Beach State Saturday evening at the Student Recreation Center.

UCR (7-6, 1-0) trailed by as many as 11 points on the night and went more than 7 minutes in the first half without scoring, but Kyle Austin (17 points after the break) and Gurganious (11 points) found their offensive stroke after halftime to complete the comeback...
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Damian Lillard leads Weber State over Montana

Damian Lillard is keeping it up, scoring 30 points to topple visiting Montana:
Second Half Rally Sends Weber State Past Montana, 64-56, Saturday Night in Ogden
Courtesy: Weber State

Damian Lillard scored a career high 30 points, 11 of them coming in the final four minutes, leading Weber State to a 64-54 win over the University of Montana, Saturday night in Ogden

The Wildcats led 33-23 at half time behind 16 points from Lillard and appeared to have control of the game. The Grizzlies came out in the second half and out scored the Wildcats 8-1 in the first three minutes. WSU stopped the run on a basket from Steve Panos, a three-pointer and free throw by Nick Hansen, making it 40-34 for the ‘Cats...
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It was a bit of a homecoming as former McClymonds star backcourter Will Cherry scored 16 points for Montana. Surely, Cherry and Lillard have matched up many times back in Oakland. Here's the game report from the Ogden Examiner:
Lillard's career night leads Weber State to win over Montana
Jasen Asay
January 2, 2010

Since he had been putting in some extra time in the gym, Damian Lillard figured that he'd be out to reap some rewards from his extra work. The Weber State point guard did just that on Saturday, as he scored a career-high 30 points and led the Wildcats to a come-from-behind win.

Lillard scored 30 points, including 11 of WSU's final 14, as the Wildcats topped Montana 64-56 at the Dee Events Center.

"In the past couple of games I haven't made a lot of shots, and it was coming from me not being in the gym enough and not getting up enough shots," said Lillard, whose previous career-high 28 points came in a win over Utah earlier this season. "I just came in (Friday) night and made sure my stroke was right, shot some free throws, shot a lot of 3's, some mid-range jumpers. If I'm putting in the work, why not show it?"

Lillard also led WSU with five assists and grabbed seven rebounds, while Steve Panos also reached double digits with 10 points...
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The First Annual California Classic

Gerry Freitas' First Annual California Classic proved to be quite success ful and here are the outcomes involving northern California teams:

1st Annual California Classic Schedule
January 2, 2010 at Cerritos College

Newark Memorial 58, Campbell Hall (North Hollywood) 52

Leading Scorers: NM - Khion Sankey 19, Kendall Andrews 15/CH - James Johnson 18
Leading Rebounder: NM - Kendall Andrews 9/CH - James Johnson 8
Player of the Game: Khion Sankey of Newark Memorial

Per Ronnie Flores at CalHiSports:

The team that was a surprise finalist at the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic used a 16-0 run at the end of the second quarter and the beginning of the third quarter to spark a victory over a scrappy Campbell Hall team.

Unlike Sacramento High, which stayed in the SoCal area on New Years Eve and Day after playing in a local post-Christmas Holiday tourney, Newark Memorial was home to ring in the New Year. The Cougars drove down to Cerritos College on Saturday morning and the long drive may have led to some early rust versus Campbell Hall (10-4).

Trailing 22-17, they used two inside baskets from junior forward Kendall Andrews to turn the game around. With the Vikings leading 22-21 after Andrews' inside buckets, a 3-pointer by stocky point guard Isaiah Clark that would have gave Newark Memorial (10-2) the lead rimmed in and out with under ten seconds remaining. On the other end, the Vikings' Austin McBroom had his 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer rim out, but the message had already been communicated.

Newark Memorial had come to play hard, and to win.

"At the beginning of the game, we couldn't get anything going," said Newark Memorial head coach Craig Ashmore. "Sometimes success creates energy. But there are no excuses, I thought Campbell Hall played well."

Ashmore's club scored the first 12 points, mostly underneath, of the third period to complete the run and take a 33-22 lead. The carnage ended when Campbell Hall's Zack Klein made a free throw with 3:07 remaining in the third quarter. Campbell Hall recovered at the end of the third period and trialed 35-30 entering the final period, but the Vikings could never get over the hump.

They cut Newark Memorial's lead on one occasion to two points (37-35), but the Cougars' Casey Norris answered right back with a 3-pointer. Campbell Hall shot a higher percentage from the field, 54 to 40 percent, but Newark Memorial got up 17 more shot attempts, and many of them were from point blank range by the Cougars' muscular scorers.

Andrews finished with 15 points and nine rebounds while running mate Khion Sankey scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds. James "Deuce" Johnson led Campbell Hall with 18 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots. He made eight of nine field goal attempts, but had to work hard to just get in position for a field goal attempt against the undersized bruisers of Newark Memorial.

"There is a nice chemistry between the two," Ashmore said of Sankey and Andrews. "Against a zone, we got the ball in position to score with our inside-outside game. We expect more games like that the rest of the way. People are going to be coming at us, but I like the effort we bring."


Compton 65, Sacramento 58

Leading Scorers: C - Anthony January 22, Allen Guei 15/S - Josiah Turner 20, Will Davis 13
Leading Rebounder: C - Anthony January 10/S - Will Davis 12
Player of the Game: Anthony January of Compton

Per Ronnie Flores at CalHiSports:

The Dragons were in Southern California all week and after a solid performance at the Oaks Christian Tournament, they simply didn't have enough in the tank to defeat Compton. Both teams did not shoot well from the field, but Compton (4-8) was quicker to the loose balls and converted easier shots from the field. Sacramento (7-4) played at a much slower pace than head coach Derek Swafford would have liked, as they had only 24 total points (35-24) with 3:45 remaining in the third quarter.

Even though Compton had a comfortable lead (43-31) entering the fourth quarter, the Tarbabes could not put away the Dragons. They cut the lead to six points on a jumper by junior Josiah Turner with 41 seconds remaining, but could not catch any other breaks the rest of the way.

Turner's performance mirrored that of his team. After a memorable 48-point performance against Pasadena at the Oaks Christian in which he hit a three-pointer to give the Dragons a 71-70 victory, Turner visibly struggled in this game. He led Sacramento with 20 points, but he made only eight of 25 shots from the field for a team that shot 35 percent (20/57) as a unit.

"We played five games in six days, so we knew we were going to come out flat," Swafford said. "We just didn't think it would be like that. Josiah has been sick with the flu. As far as how he compares to Chase Tapley as this stage, Josiah is unselfish, but he's still figuring out how to work with his teammates."

Compton's Anthony January Jr. continued to show why he's one of California's better tenth-graders. He used his length, athleticism and improving jumper to score a game-high 22 points and grab 10 rebounds. Senior Cliff Sims Jr. (12 points) and junior point Allan Guei (15 points, 7 assists) also played well for coach Tony Thomas' club, which is more formidable than its won-loss record indicates.


Orange Lutheran 73, Oakland 63

Leading Scorers: OL - Tyler Funk 21, Gabe York 19/O - T.J. Taylor 21, Dominique Taplin 14
Leading Rebounder: OL- Scott Barton 6/O - Dominique Taplin 9
Player of the Game: Tyler Funk of Orange Lutheran

Per Ronnie Flores at CalHiSports:

The Lancers from Orange Lutheran used a decisive second quarter to defeat the Wildcats in the event's first game. Orange Lutheran (10-4) outscored Oakland 22-6 to take a 36-25 halftime lead. Leading the way for the Lancers was the duo of senior Tyler Funk and sophomore Gabe York.

Funk scored a team-high 21 points and made four of six 3-point shots. He also made seven of eight free throws and dished out six assists. York, last year's state freshman of the year, added 19 points. T. J. Taylor led three players in double-figures for Oakland (6-8) with 21 points, but made only three of 10 3-point attempts.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Lucas Devenny update

Freshman Lucas Devenny is getting on the court and making a contribution at UC Santa Barbara:
Devenny Getting Time On Gauchos
Michael Coit
Santa Rosa Press Democrat
December 31, 2009

Banging bodies with big college centers is a tough initiation for former All-Empire Player of the Year Lucas Devenny.

But the UC Santa Barbara freshman is getting more court time as he adapts to playing closer to the basket than the forward position Devenny was recruited to play.

“I’m getting more and more minutes, just working in as best I can,” Devenny said as the Gauchos prepare for their Big West Conference opener Saturday at UC Irvine.

Usually the only freshman in the regular rotation, Devenny has played in every game of the Gauchos 5-5 campaign. Eighth on the team in playing time with over 12 minutes a game, Devenny averages 2.5 points and 2.3 rebounds a contest...
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Mikhael McKinney on display

Do make an effort to catch Washington High in action because that will provide you an opportunity to watch Mikhael McKinney. Yes, he needs to add strength for the next level (as does almost all high schoolers) but he displays a great handle, a high basketball IQ and a nice touch from outside.

Here's Kyle Bonagura with the latest:
Surging Washington High captures Tim Cole Memorial boys basketball tournament championship
Kyle Bonagura
Oakland Tribune

There is no doubt that Washington High boys basketball coach Mike Tripp has high expectations for his team this season. He put together an ambitious nonleague schedule designed to challenge his team and prepare it for Mission Valley Athletic League play and a potential run in the North Coast Section Division I playoffs.

Coming into American's Tim Cole Memorial tournament, the Huskies had already advanced to the championship game at two tournaments, but fell in overtime on both occasions to Castro Valley and Rocklin.

The third time was a charm.

Washington led by as many as 23 points in the second half before hanging on to beat Antioch 61-55 on Wednesday to claim the Tim Cole title.

"It'll be nice to take a (first-place) trophy home after coming close at the other tournaments," said Washington guard Mikhael McKinney, who earned tournament MVP honors. "This is what we work so hard for..."
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Friday, January 1, 2010

Drew Gordon is a Lobo

Well, we were wrong in our prediction as Drew Gordon has cast his future lot with Coach Steve Alford and New Mexico.

Here's the original story from Mark Smith/Albuquerque News.