Monday, October 31, 2011

Meet the Humboldt State Lumberjacks

Way up in Arcata, at the northernmost California state university, there's a hoops tradition. It's simply titled Humboldt State University men's basketball.

Call it one celebrated throughout the area, as much as any throughout small town Indiana, and Coach Steve Kinder, who has enjoyed it from both the player and mentor perspectives, appreciates the atmosphere.

"We're unique up here," Kinder offered, jokingly (or maybe not) terming 'here' as behind the Redwood Curtain. "Some low D-1s and a lot of D-2s aren't supported like we are. We are a basketball community."

For starters, name another D-2 school which utilizes a license fee system for long-term season tickets. According to Kinder, "Our fans pay $1,000 for the right to buy a season ticket for five years."

The reason such is possible?

Try 10 NCAA postseason appearances in the past 11 years.

Kinder took over helming the Lumberjack program last year and the result was strikingly similar -- a 20-2 California Collegiate Athletic Association championship season (15-0 at home), getting as high as #3 in the national D-2 poll and earning a spot in the 64 team D-2 Big Dance. Humboldt State is ranked #21 in the 2011-12 national pre-season poll.

It was Tom Wood operating the program for the prior 29 years and as Kinder, who assisted for two decades, put it: "I've been smart enough not to change the blueprint."

Plus, there is a three-year-new arena that seats 2,000 and sells out. "We have a great crowd and great student section," Kinder said.

He added, "On campus and in the community, players get asked for autographs -- it's really unique. The local newspaper put our game stories on the front page and we have radio coverage as well as basketball shows during the season."

The Lumberjack program was a non-scholarship one in the 1980s and 1990s. "But in 2000, we developed some funding and became a scholarship program -- it makes a difference," Kinder advised.

As for this season, Humboldt has a solid nucleus of talent and the conference coaches predicting another Lumberjack title run.

"Randy Hunter is a wing/post player and one of our go-to guys for scoring," Kinder explained. "Brandon Sperling is a very athletic point and Scott (Ohlone) Clark a 6-foot-4 lefty shooter. Kyle (El Camino High) Baxter is a prolific player, a guard at 6-foot-9 who had four dunks in 13 minutes in our opener against Simpson." Kinder also said Baxter can is deadly from long distance.

Additionally,  Tyler (out of Sacramento) Brown, Phil (out of Sacramento) Thomas and Meniru (out of Brentwood) Ofudo are all redshirting, Brown medically.

Being up near the border also pays dividends.

"We have a nice little pipeline out of Oregon," said Kinder, as four of his players are out of Oregon and one from Washington.

There are also seven Lumberjacks currently playing overseas.

But recruiting can be well, a process. "Going to a D-2 is a pill kids have to swallow," Kinder offered. "It's not so glamorous but it's also not cuttthroat. A kid can play under coaches and staffs and administrations who are very supportive here."

Kinder, who played at Humboldt, is a member of a coaching family. "I'm from San Diego and my father was a coach. I played football, basketball and baseball in high school plus basketball and throwing the javelin in college."

So how's he doing? After last season, Kinder was named recipient of the Collegeinsider.com's Clarence Gaines award as the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year. His other honors included being named National Association of Basketball Coaches West District Coach of the Year and California Collegiate Athletics Association Coach of the Year..

So the Lumberjacks are definitely Kinder -- just don't expect gentler.

Here's the Humboldt State assistant coaches:

Hardy Asprilla

Aaron Hungerford

Cy Vandermeer

The latest on Josiah Turner

Jeff Goodman writes about Josiah Turner after Arizona's loss to Seattle Pacific:
Fellow freshman guard Josiah Turner - the most highly touted of the frosh - struggled. Miller said that could be the case early because Turner had a rough senior season in high school in which he switched schools.

"He didn't come off a good situation, but did the best he could," Miller said. "Don't be surprised if Josiah struggles early in the season and plays his best basketball later in the year."
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Here's Jeff Eisenberg on Turner:
Why he'll make an impact: Josiah Turner was always going to compete for the starting point guard job as a true freshman, but MoMo Jones' offseason transfer made it more important for Arizona that the Sacramento native proves college-ready right away. The other point guard on Arizona's roster is sophomore Jordin Mayes, whose development has been slowed by an offseason foot injury. Turner started Thursday's exhibition game to mixed reviews. His passing skills and ability to push the ball in transition are already strengths of his game, while his jump shot, decision-making and defensive awareness are attributes that will come in time.

In coach Sean Miller's words: "The hardest position to transition to from high school to college is point guard. With continued work, he's going to be a much better player four weeks from now, two weeks from now than he is right now. I'm very confident in saying that."
Eisenberg also writes about Jabari Brown in the same article.

Artis to Eugene

Former Salesian High point Dom Artis has gone ducky as the 6-foot-3 Artis just pledged to Coach Dan Altman and the University of Oregon.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ben Freeland stays east

Former Montgomery High center Ben Freeland, now doing a prep season at Suffield Academy, has given a commitment -- Alex Kline/The Recruit Scoop has the details:
"Lafayette has picked up a commitment from Ben Freeland, a 2012 center out of Suffield Academy (CT), per his coach"
Lafayette is a member of The Patriot League which includes Holy Cross, Lehigh, Bucknell, Colgate and others.

Nitoto, Taplin, Headspeth notes on UC Riverside's win over CSUMB

UC Riverside took care of Cal State Monterey Bay 77-56 on Saturday night.

In 27 minutes, Kareem (San Leandro High)Nitoto totaled seven points and a pair of assists.

Frosh Dom (Oakland High) Taplin played three minutes, putting up two points.

Jalen (Oakland High) Headspeth started for the CSUMB, putting up this line: 26 minutes played, six points, six boards, seven turnovers.

Humboldt State starts out winning

Humboldt State took down Simpson 96-46 Friday night in the opener for both teams. Randy Hunter (21 points), Kyle (El Camino High) Baxter (15 points) and D.J. (Castro Valley High) Broome led the Lumberjacks.

Here's Darius Nelson with a dunk

National Hoops Report has a short video up of Darius Nelson stealing the ball and going in for a dunk during the UTEP intra-squad scrimmage.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cal Maritime wins opener

The California Maritime Academy men's basketball team traveled to San Francisco to take on NCAA Division II Academy of Art University on Friday and were victorious 66-56. The Keelhaulers were led by junior Keven (San Joaquin Delta) Campbell who scored 20 points in his first game in a Cal Maritime uniform. Senior Isaiah (Ohlone) Moore followed with 13 points and four steals and fellow senior Daniel Eberhardt played a solid floor game scoring nine points and grabbing six rebounds...
Go here for the remainder.

Darius Nelson is top scorer in scrimmage

Former Sheldon High star Darius Nelson, now a freshman at UTEP, led the team with 19 points in an intra-squad scrimmage.

Robert Upshaw on the road once more

Fresno area big Robert Upshaw is in D.C. this weekend visiting Georgetown.

G-Vision sports with three three new players

George Johnson's G-Vision site has three new player additions:

* Nick Lacy, St. Joseph Notre Dame

* A.J. Newell, Berean Christian

* Daniel Gonzales, Pittsburgh

Damian Lillard is back

Roy Burton's article on a Weber State intra-squad scrimmage features Damian Lillard but also makes mention of Frank Otis, Davion Berry and Jordan Richardson.

Ogden, Utah has become a second home for a number of former Bay Area talents.

Friday, October 28, 2011

This is positive news for a local talent

A recent Doug Haller tweet:
"UCLA's Ben Howland: We're going to play big. We'll either have Dave Wear or De'End Parker at the 3, so that's either 6-10 or 6-6"
Congrats to the former CCSF star.

An Andre McPhail update

Former Deer Valley High frontcourter Andre McPhail is at La Jolla Prep (near San Diego) this year and LeftCoastRecruiting recently interviewed him.

Jared Cunningham at the Pac-12 Media Day

Former San Leandro High star Jared Cunningham, entering his junior year at Oregon State, talked at the Pac-12 Media Day:
Do you see yourself as one of the top defensive players in the country having finished fifth in the NCAA last year in steals?

"Yes, I do. Defense I take pride in, and with our defense this year, it should help me get more steals and playing man-to-man will benefit me and the team. You'll be able to see the guards get into the other guards and play full court man. 


Jared, we've heard how confident your coach is talking about your team. How about you? What gives you reason to think that the Beavers will be more competitive this season?

"I'm definitely confident in our team. We show signs every day in practice and everybody's working hard day-in and day-out. Just from being a co-captain, helping out the guys and showing them what to do, they're very willing to learn, and that should help us in the long run.

The NCAA proposed changes in recruiting

Direct from the NCAA, here's the official release on the proposed recruiting changes as adopted by the D-1 Board of Directors.

Thankfully, one is paying for a parent/guardian to accompany a recruit on an official visit.

Feedback on the proposed recruiting changes

Jeff Borzello has college basketball coaches, club team coaches, prospects and parents all reacting to the proposed NCAA recruiting changes.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

West Coast Conference predictions

The coaches in the West Coast Conference are speculating that St. Mary's will finish second this season (behind Gonzaga) with former Riordan High star Rob Jones nabbing an all-conference spot along with Gael backcourter Matthew Dellavedova.

USF was chosen to finish in fourth place with guards Rashad Green and Michael Williams landing all-conference honors.

Santa Clara was selected for fifth place and junior scoring guard Kevin Foster is predicted to be an all-WCC selection.

Damian Lillard feted again

Justin Young at National Hoops Report lists former Oakland High star Damian Lillard -- now a junior at Weber State -- as the 43rd best player in the nation.

Meet the 2011-12 Chabot College Gladiators

Chabot College Assistant Coach Devin Aye sent this along -- much appreciated --about the Gladiators 2011-12 squad. It looks like Chabot will be playing small ball this season after featuring a handful of bigs last go-around.

"We look to be a much different team this year, with more speed, skill, and depth than past seasons. We are nowhere close to as big as the usual Chabot College team.  We only have one returner -- point guard Kurtis Ong. Everyone else has moved on or aren't playing basketball anymore."

Head Coach Denny Aye has 35 years collegiate coaching experience with 742 career wins.

Here is Aye's rundown on the team:

Kurtis Ong, 5-foot-11, point guard: Kurtis is much improved and his leadership will be just as valuable as his skills on the court.  According to other coaches, he is a low D-1 prospect and I would agree.

Terrell Gates, 5-foot-9 combo guard: Terrell was a redshirt for us last year. He is freshman and has improved drastically since last year. His athleticism is off the charts and his decision making is much improved. He has received some D-1 interest thus far. He went to James Logan High in Fremont.

Jameal York, 6-foot-0, combo guard: Jameal transfers in from an NJCAA, and will be a sophomore. He was the Fresno Bee Player of the Year after leading Edison High (Fresno) to a section title. Good athlete who can shoot it. He is receiving lots of mid-major attention.

J'Quon Wroten, 6-foot-1, point guard: J'Quon is an explosive athlete with an extremely high skill set. Has a chance to be a special player if he keeps improving. Was ranked the #95 best PG in the nation out of high school (Cheyenne) in Las Vegas. Getting Mid-Major D-1 looks already.

Markese Fields, 6-foot-5, forward: Markese is a very skilled and an athletic wing who can do it all. He no longer has D-1 eligibility and will go D-2. Markese was ranked the #95 best small forward in the nation out of high school (Mid-Peninsula) in Palo Alto, CA.

Damarius "Shug" Jones, 6-foot-3, guard: Shug is a scorer. He has a good feel for the game, and should have a great freshman season. Originally from Dallas, TX (Pinkston HS), Shug was First Team All District three straight years. He signed D-1 with South Alabama out of high school but left before season started. Is a Mid/High Major talent.

Damien Stewart, 6-foot-1, guard: Damien is a surprise! He is a freshman who is extremely coachable, a very good on-ball defender and a player who makes teammates better and does whatever it takes to win.  Damien played prep basketball at San Lorenzo High.

LaDon Singleton, 6-foot-4, Forward: Transferring in from a NJCAA program, LaDon has good strength and athleticism and can play all positions. He was ranked as a Top 70 player in state of Illinois out of high school.

Ron Taylor, 6-foot-2, Forward: Ron is another surprise and is similar to Damien in that he does whatever it takes to win. He is a very good athlete who can play multiple positions. Ron played prep basketball at Hayward High.

Jamichael Harris, 6-foot-5, Forward: Jamichael is our third surprise! He is a winner and our energizer bunny! A freshman from Atlanta, he has very quick feet and is aggressive on both sides of floor.

Anyoto Frentz, 6-foot-5, Forward: Anyoto has done a great job changing his body as he lost 20 pounds since summer. He has a good skill set, plays physical liking contact and is only a freshman. Anyoto played prep basketball at Mt. Zion, but is from Oakland and has already received some interest from Low D-1's.

Conrad Fox, 6-foot-4, Forward: Conrad transfers in from Sonoma State where he redshirted last year. He is a freshman who has a good feel for the game and can play multiple positions. Conrad is a good athlete with a good basketball IQ. He played prep basketball at Sacred Heart.

Chabot finished 20-9 last year, with 6 losses being by one possession. The Gladiators took second place in Coast Conference North last year and in the last five years has consistently ranked in the Top 10 in state of California.

All seven sophomores on last year's team moved on with six going to universities and one going pro.

A little look into certain arrangements

Michael Beasley didn't prep in Nor Cal but his current situation -- a legal battle with his former agent and his former AAU coach -- is still fascinating.

Matt Norlander writes about a lengthy Washington Post article on the subject.

Here's the Washington Post article.

An excerpt:
"... The legal wranglings provide a window into the tangled world of youth basketball, in which talented teenagers become prized commodities and relationships are cultivated through unregulated third parties. Several prominent college basketball coaches, summer-league coaches and representatives of sports agencies have privately said such arrangements between agents and summer-league coaches have become commonplace over the past decade. All spoke on condition of anonymity to protect professional relationships with the other parties ..."

More offers for Marcus Lee

Coach Philippe Doherty tweets about more suitors for Deer Valley frontcourter Marcus Lee:
"UC Irvine, USF, Eastern Washington has also offered Marcus Lee. Washington State and Oregon State will be doing so very soon"

ESPN with more on Orlando Johnson

Diamond Leung serves up a feature on Orlando Johnson, formerly of Palma High, who had no off-season this summer.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dom Artis to quack?

Neal Nieves has posted that former Salesian point Dom Artis is leaning towards if not making reservations to attend Phil Knight U.

A Sac State basketball preview

Hornet athletics has produced a pre-season look at Coach Brian Katz's squad so read up on the NorCal talents playing for Sacramento State in 2010-12. They include John Dickson, Jordan Estrada, Walter Jackson, Konner Vetoto and we'll even throw Jordan Carbajal in there too.

Stephen Domingo about his trip to Arizona

Matt Moreno (a Rivals sub is required) talked with St. Ignatius High talent Stephen Domingo about the latter's recent visit to Tucson.

Marcus Lee offered by Steve Fisher

Edward Lewis (a Rivals sub is required) talked with Deer Valley High frontcourter Marcus Lee who has added San Diego State to his list of suitors offering.

Cameron Schott tweets the five in the running:
"2013 Deer Valley F Marcus Lee currently holds offers from Boston College, Colorado, St. Mary's, San Diego St, and VCU"

More press for Josiah Turner

ESPN's Diamond Leung has an article up on former Sacto backcourter Josiah Turner, now a frosh at Arizona.

Chris Reyes to St. Mary's

6-foot-7 SoCal forward Chris Reyes has announced he is Moraga-bound.

From ESPN: "Reyes is a polished finesse 4-man at the Division I level. He has a nice frame with a good amount of length and it should fill out well in the years to come. He is deceptively bouncy around the paint area and he has high basketball IQ ..."

CalHiSports offers an August assessment of Reyes, including video.

Reyes should be in the running for some early PT mainly due to Clint Steindl and to some degree, Rob Jones, graduating after this season.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kiwi Gardner ineligible

The Friar Blog has the news that former Manteca guard Kiwi Gardner has been declared ineligible for this season by the NCAA.

Providence is appealing the ruling.

More on Aaron Gordon and Tyrone Wallace

Rivals' Eric Bossi (a Rivals sub is required) has a bit more on both Aaron Gordon and Bakersfield backcourter Tyrone Wallace
"... Last weekend, [Tyrone] Wallace was in Boulder for an official visit at Colorado and the Buffs look to be emerging with California as the teams to beat for Wallace who has also visited Fresno State ...
About Aaron Gordon:
"... However, according to Gordon the Wildcats, Huskies and Cardinal have created a bit of distance between themselves and the rest of the pack.
"That's fair to say, as of right now that's my top three," said Gordon of Arizona, Washington and Stanford. "I don't know which order they are in, we have to see how that plays out ..."

A Stephen Domingo interview

Mark Knight @ West Coast Recruiting talks with SI's Stephen Domingo after the latter tripped to Arizona.

Participant report from the North Bay's Finest October 15 event

2011 North Bay’s Finest Event
Outstanding Performance Report
October 15, 2011

Raemond Hubbard, Sr., Fairfield High

Rae displayed impressive “pure” point guard skills. He pushed the ball quick in transition and distributed the ball to scorers in scoring positions.  He knocked down a couple of uncontested threes and showed the ability to finish at the rim amongst bigger, faster, stronger players. His efforts on the defensive end to contain ballhandlers were equally impressive as his offensive contributions.

Travis Selle, Sr., Armijo High

Travis was unstoppable at times. He hit several open threes, scored mid-range pull-ups and repeatedly finished at the rim with contact both in transition and off post catches. He competed at both ends of the court and was very active on the glass. 

Gabe Bealer
, Jr., Antelope High

Gabe has an all-around offensive arsenal. He shoots competently from behind the arc, finishes acrobatically around the rim and showed the ability to make mid-range jumpers. Gabe is electric in transition, can impact the defensive end with his length and ability to guard multiple positions and is relentless on the glass.

Kellen Hill, Sr., Rodriguez High

Kellen was amazing in several different spurts. He shot the ball very well from behind the arc and displayed an ability to get a shot from anywhere on the floor. He made a couple of plays using the ball screen and was able to get into the teeth of defense to create shots for himself.

Lucas Vojak, So., Nevada Union High

Lucas is going to develop into a big-time player. He is a long, fundamentally sound big who can finish around the rim with either hand.  He displayed the ability to get up and down the court during game competition and the potential to improve his skill set during the advancing skill training segment of the event.

Jordon Collier, So., Vanden High

Jordon is active in all phases of the game. He makes an impact of the defensive end with his length and athleticism and puts points on the board by running in transition and hitting the offensive glass. Beyond that, he showed the ability to handle in the half court and to create shots for himself.

Jacob Aruta, Fr., St. Marys High

Jacob displayed tons of promise in game competition. He showed an ability to get any shot he wanted for himself (at the rim or on the perimeter) and an ability to break down defenders to get his teammates shots as well.

Corey Doran, Sr., Fairfield High

Corey was productive around the rim off the dribble, out of the post and on the glass. More impressive, however, was the ability he showed handling the ball, both in transition and in the half court, to attack for himself and for his teammates. Corey was active defensively and controlled most of the defensive rebounds for his team.

Tajai Johnson, Sr., Vallejo High

Tajai put on a show with several aggressive rim attacks. He is a pure scorer who can get to the rim, knock down a step-back three or pull-up off the dribble. His unselfish nature and his ability to breakdown defenders for his teammates make him special. 

Benjamin Jazuk, Sr., Benicia High

Ben put his versatility on display, scoring around the rim and from behind the 3-point line. Ben is very patient in the post and has a variety of moves to keep his defender off-balance. He shoots the ball well and moves very fluid for a player his size.

Isaiah Johnson, Fr., Freedom

Isaiah is another young player with tons of talent. He appeared solid in all aspects of his offensive game. He is a strong athlete with a scorer’s mentality. Isaiah was great in transition and continually found a way to get to the rim in the half court.

Aaron Cameron, Jr., Sacramento High

Although quiet in his production, Aaron displayed a polished skill set. He is deliberate and smooth in attack mode and very good in mid-range situations. Aaron is a great ball defender whose combination of speed and strength will bother most of the guards he competes against.

Parker Farris, Jr., McKinleyville High

Parker was very impressive in game action. He’s a big kid with great court vision and an ability to handle. He shot the ball with efficiency; hitting jumpers off the bounce and stroking three pointers off the catch.

Jalen Dupree, Sr., Fairfield High

Jalen is an impact player on the defensive end. He bullies handlers and dictates the pace of the game. He is electric in transition offense, gets to the rim in the half court and showed a knack for being in the right spots at the right times.

Colin Slater (Slam Magazine’s top 13-year-old in the USA)

Colin definitely did not disappoint. After a long drive from Fresno, Colin started competition impressing observers with his abilities to see the court and distribute. He showed complete control of the game and was not at all bothered by playing with older players. As he loosened up, his speed and skill began to show why he deserves that #1 ranking. Even though he is from out of the area, Colin trains with Jeremy Russotti and should be a nationally-ranked player in the coming years.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gone but never forgotten

Andrew Daou is unfortunately gone. His life was taken by his father on July 27.

Yes, he was 22, a four-year basketball starter at Valley Christian, a former walk-on as a freshman with University of San Diego men's basketball team, as well as a straight A student there and twice a cancer survivor, but these markers are not what those in his orbit remember.

It was his effect on them that is recalled.

In talking with a handful of his friends, plus his basketball mentors, Daou left an indelible positive impression.

Victor Bull, a 2010 graduate of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma and a St. Ignatius alumnus, played with Daou on the West Valley Basketball Club and against him when SI and Valley Christian matched up. Bull offered quite the telling description of his former teammate. "Andrew was a rejuvenating person," Bull said. "Hearing his name, I just start smiling."

Bull continued, "He was comfortable with himself, very confident; and everyone is attracted to that type of personality. Andrew was down-to-earth and a really good guy, always happy, always smiling, always trying to make others happy."

On the court, Daou was a valued teammate. Bull offered, "He was just fundamentally solid, a guy you want on your team who put his 100% in and expected that of others." Bull recalled that Daou matched up in a summer game against Derrick Rose (now of the Chicago Bulls and the first pick in the 2008 National Basketball Association draft).

"Andrew put up a good fight and held his own."

But the distance of being two states apart limited their post high school interaction.

"Every once in a while we would Facebook," Bull explained, "and when I found out he was sick (Daou endured two bouts of Hodgkins lymphoma), I sent him a message. I regret not getting with him as much."

Bull concluded with "with what Andrew was given, he did the most. I'm happy to have been one of all the people he touched."

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David Riley, who just finished at Whitworth College in Washington and is now a men's basketball graduate assistant at Eastern Washington, also has positive memories of his former West Valley teammate.

"Andrew was one of the most fun-loving and competitive guys, a great teammate who brought a great attitude."

Riley, who lost a family member to cancer, added "We talked a lot our freshman year. He was a really good guy and loved by everyone."

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Al Grigsby, a longtime coach with the West Valley Basketball Club, certainly recalls Daou -- "I don't think our coaching staff will ever get over it [Daou's loss of life]."

After entering college, Daou came by practice one spring weekend.

"He talked to the kids, offering a great message about how basketball can be important but it's a small part of the life you have to live," Grigsby recalled.

Grigsby added, "Andrew was the kind of person who leaves a lasting impression on you. He was just a genuine person."

Their initial meeting and subsequent relationship is quite the interesting tale.

"I was at a gym and Andrew was down at the other basket shooting. He kept looking at us and finally came up and introduced himself.  He said 'I go to Valley Christian and I'm looking for someone to play for' so I told him to come to our next workout."

Daou did so.

But Grigsby recalls Daou's initial practice. "He couldn't make a shot so I said 'dude, you're killing me. You have to make some shots to play for us.’”

The youngster persevered.

"Andrew never got down on himself," Grigsby continued. "He kept playing and always practicing hard, being very physical. I didn't see it initially but he really believed in himself."

Sooner rather than later, it happened.

"One day in practice, he couldn't miss," Grigsby said.

Daou was the epitome of a teammate.

"He never pouted when he was on the bench -- he was always looking at you, ready to jump off the bench into the game."

Grigsby paid his former protégé the ultimate of athletic compliments: "Good things happened when Andrew was in."

+++++

Bob Bramlett, the co-founder of the West Valley Basketball Club, offered a most poignant take:

"I will never forget the call from him telling me about the diagnosis. I shared my daughter's recent battle with cancer. From that point, our relationship was re-defined. Basketball was a game. Life was the Journey. We shared each other's load. Cheered each other's victories. One day while I was lamenting about a new challenge my daughter was facing, Andrew could sense I was in that parental fear zone and he said "Coach she will be okay. One day, her and I will be hugging each other over your grave."

In song, Billy Joel offered that only the good die young. That's awfully accurate in the case of Andrew Daou.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Meet City College of San Francisco basketball, 2011-12

 
Yes, City College of San Francisco (CCSF) is the reigning California state champion but the opposing coaches, players and fans who thought the Rams would be less of a challenge in 2011-12 may have misunderestimated, to quote a former U. S. President.

Because Coach Justin Labagh has reloaded.

Coming off a 32-1 season, winning is simply associated with the Rams program as CCSF has won the Coast Conference championship six of the last seven years.

But what Labagh is equally proud of is having graduated all but one student-athlete during his tenure. A total of 23 of his players have garnered D-1 scholarships with seven landing D-2 rides, meaning his program can boast of both on-court and academic success.

As for 2011-12:

The Returnees

6-foot-0 Ivan Dorsey is back for a second season. Labagh describes him as "a stone cold shooter who had a great off season" but he wants his sophomore to increase his defensive effort.

Myron Respress, 6-foot-8, sophomore NY HS

The Newcomers

Delon Wright, 6-foot-5, freshman, Los Angeles HS

The brother of Golden State Warrior Dorell Wright, Delon spent last year at the RISE Academy in Philadelphia. Labagh is quite impressed: "he is really good, a very polished high major basketball player who can play for anybody in the country"

Gabriel Aguirre, 6-foot-10, freshman, Brazil

He played on Brazil's team in July at the FIBA U19 World Championships in Latvia, scoring 18 points in the championship game. Aguirre shot 50% overall, 41% from long distance during the series.

Mckenzie Moore, 6-foot-4, freshman, College Park High

Moore didn't play high school ball last season -- Labagh calls him "another high major talent but without a lot of experience" and says that Moore is  adjusting to the everyday demands of community college.

Stuart Wesonga, 6-foot-7, freshman, San Marin High

Wesonga is also making the jump from the prep ranks and in the process of acclimatizing to battling top talents on a daily basis.

Shawn Smith, 6-foot-5, freshman, McClatchy High

Out of the Sacramento area, Smith is an enormously athletic competitor, "a beast" according to Labagh -- Smith is also a relative newcomer to hoops having played more football earlier.

Thomas Cooper, 6-foot-4, sophomore, North Carolina A&T transfer

Joe Slocum, 6-foot-3, freshman (Yuba College redshirt)

Raysean Hairston, 6-foot-6, sophomore, (Lees-McRae College)

Labagh says he will go D-2 after this season.

Garrett Moon, 6-foot-5, sophomore, (Wallenberg High)

Labagh see him as a high D-2 talent.

But talent loaded with potential can turn out to be either a blessing or a curse, as Labagh noted. 

"We should do well if we can get these guys to play together," Labagh explained. "They all were the best players on their teams -- 'the man' -- so it's a matter of role acceptance."

The CCSF assistant coaching staff:

Adam D. D'Aquisto

Tom McNichol

Derrick Lott

This may bode well for Jordan Giusti

Ben Enos reports that St. Mary's backcourter Paul McCoy is out for the season with a knee injury, sadly, his second while in college.

Former San Ramon Valley guard Jordan Giusti, a Gael freshman, just may receive some PT. So does Randy Bennett early on try to get one of his youngsters ready for the WCC season or go with his three vets?

Amadi Udenyi in the capitol

Cameron Schott recently tweeted:
"2012 De La Salle G Amadi Udenyi will be on Sacramento State's campus today"

Arizona high schooler heading to The Hilltop

Arizona prep guard Tim Derksen has cast his lot with Coach Rex Walters and USF. Anthony Ray offers the details on the lefty who is the son of a coach.

Here's a July 30, 2011 feature on Derksen.

Here's another.

Some press for Julian Welch

Former Yuba College and Franklin High star backcourter Julian Welch is in the running for playing time at the point up in Minnesota:
"On Media Day, [Coach Tubby] Smith touted junior college transfer Julian Welch’s toughness and basketball understanding. “He’s got a lot of games under his belt, having played at UC-Davis and then having played at junior college. …He’s a scoring guard that can be a point guard for us,” he said. But while Welch was Big West freshman of the year at UC-Davis and averaged 19 points and five assists last year at Yuba Community College (Calif.), whether and how that will translate to Big Ten production is yet to be determined"

Three former locals impress in Cal State Fullerton scrimmage

Former Bay Area and NorCal prep talents, Kwame Vaughn, D.J. Seeley and Sammy Yeager each highlighted Cal State Fullerton's intra-squad scrimmage.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

USF and Santa Clara recruiting receiving some national notes

It helps to be a private school -- we're talking finances here -- but regardless USF and Santa Clara sure do receive national attention for their recruiting targets. St. Mary's too at times.

We've seen a bevy of recruiting updates (articles and tweets) where one school or the other is listed as a suitor and it usually an out-of-state prospect.

Here's just a few we've collected of late:

* 2013 Prestonwood Christian (TX) PG Marquan Botley lists TCU, Memphis, Santa Clara & Albany. He visited Memphis last weekend

* Santa Clara was at Heritage HS, featuring 2013 PG George Johnson and 2014 F Shon Briggs as well as Freedom HS, featuring 2014 W Elliot Smith

* Manroop Clair lists Washington, San Diego St, Washington St, St. Mary's, Richmond, Santa Clara, Wyoming, Utah St, USF, Portland & more

* 2012 PG Joey Gripper of Mount Clare (PA) lists Miami, Memphis, San Francisco, Nebraska, Penn St, Manhattan, VMI, LIU & Manhattan

* San Francisco hosted 2013 Tesoro (CA) PF Tanner Lancona for an unofficial visit today. He also visited USC & UC Irvine this weekend

Kellon Hasselstab on Aaron Gordon

Kellon Hassenstab/Hoopniks publisher generously offers this article on Aaron Gordon and, unlike many updates, actually talked with AG.

We thank him for sending it along.

Here's more on the proposed changes in recruiting

Justin Young writes about the proposed changes in college recruiting, also offering his insightful take.

Noah Allen visiting

Coach Philippe Doherty tweets:
"6'5 2G will be visiting St. Mary's College of the WCC unofficially today. Sweet Stroking 2G out of Palma HS in Salinas, CA"

Friday, October 21, 2011

Modesto Christian's Raymond Bowles up in Stockton

Camerson Schott has tweeted this:
"2013 Modesto Christian W Raymond Bowles will be on the University of Pacific campus today"

Stephen Domingo visiting Arizona

SI junior Stephen Domingo is at Arizona this weekend. How he is going to whittle down his suitors to one will be a mighty difficult process.

Coach Williams on three of his NorCal players

Here's UC Santa Barbara Coach Bob Williams, himself a NorCal product (Santa Cruz), talks about some of his players with connections:
This year, having a player who's up for the Wooden Award, makes this luncheon even that much more special of an event for us," Williams said. "I told all the coaches I know, 'Boy, that day Orlando [Johnson] called me on a Sunday afternoon and said, 'Coach, I'm taking my name out of the NBA Draft,' I realized how much smarter I became that day... how I was going to be a much better coach."

Johnson, a 6-foot-5 guard, has led the Gauchos to two straight NCAA Tournaments, winning Big West Conference Tournament MVP honors both years. He averaged 21.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game last season.
and
including returning starter James Nunnally (16.3 points, 5.7 rebounds) ... And fellow senior Greg Somogyi, a 7-3 center, has reportedly grown as a basketball player.

"James is a gifted athlete and has really grown up and has a much greater maturity level now," Williams said. "We're excited about James. 

"And we have Greg Somogyi... He's back, a little bigger, a little stronger, and let's see if he has a bigger presence."

7 NorCal talents makes the CBSSports Top 100

CBSSports has an article up on the Top 100 players in college basketball. So who from NorCal made it?

* 24. Reeves Nelson (junior forward, UCLA). It's not pretty, but Nelson is one of the toughest players in the country and a great rebounder.

* 36. Orlando Johnson (senior guard, UC-Santa Barbara). Stud of a player who I'm really glad got this high of a ranking. Johnson's the real deal. Can be a future pro, and he deserves a moment in the 2012 NCAA tournament.

* 46. Josiah Turner (freshman guard, Arizona). Sean Miller likely to hand Turner the ball from Day 1. Talented floor leader with the size, strength, athleticism and talent to be a star in Tucson.

* 49. Jabari Brown (freshman guard, Oregon). Could wind up being Dana Altman's leading scorer. Strong, athletic and can fill it up.

* 58. Drew Gordon (senior forward, New Mexico). Former UCLA transfer quietly averaged a double-double last year; has more offensive duties now.

* 84. Damian Lillard (junior guard, Weber State). Quintessential small-league guy who can run roughshod over said league. Lillard's going to make it rain -- nay, I say storm -- in the Big Sky this season.

* 85. Jared Cunningham (junior guard, Oregon State). Stupidly crazy athleticism. Jared, you craft a worthwhile jump shot into your game, and you're in the first-team Pac-12 conversation.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Roderick Bobbitt on the top ranked team

Former Castro Valley backcourter Roderick Bobbitt is a member of the Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College basketball team, ranked #1 in the nation in the Sporting News preseason poll.

More DLS respect

Jimmy Durkin checks in with some basketball team rankings information.

Some Oliver McNally love

Coach Doherty displays both his loyalty and basketball commonsense:

" How do you leave off San Francisco native, 3 Year Starter, 2 Year Captain in your 1 min. preview of Harvard on ESPN"

Longrus to the Palouse

BOD frontcourter Richard Longrus has given a verbal to Coach Ken Bone and Washington State. Congrats to the young man.

Rivals' Eric Bossi has the news (a Rivals sub is required).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Frank Rogers headed to The Hilltop

Direct from the Cabrillo College basketball site:

Frank Rogers Verbals to USF. . . . .

Cabrillo College center Frank Rogers has made a verbal commitment to the University of San Francisco. Rogers, a 6'9" 215 pound freshman from Salinas High School, made his decision after taking an official visit to USF in late October. 

Rogers will sign a National Letter of Intent in the November early signing period and become a member of the Don's roster for the 2012-2013 season. 

Rogers will play for the Seahawks in 2011-2012 and transfer for the Fall semester of 2012.

USF is a member of the West Coast Conference (WCC) and is lead by Head Coach Rex Walters.

The Cabrillo College 2011-12 coaches and roster

Here's the 2011-12 Cabrillo College basketball team:

Coach Tony Marcopulos
Assistant Coach Rob Hoyt

Jimmy Bajog, 5-foot-8, freshman (Watsonville High)
       
Sean Filley, 6-foot-3, freshman (TX HS)

C.J. Grigg, 6-foot-7, freshman (NV HS)
   
Gus Indarose, 6-foot-0, freshman (Anzar High)

Cody Love, 6-foot-1, freshman, (Santa Cruz High)
   
Robert Myles, 5-foot-11, freshman (NV HS)

Dalton Noble, 6-foot-1, freshman (UT HS)
   
Thomas Pierce, 6-foot-5, freshman (IN HS)

Adrian Powell, 6-foot-4, freshman (LA HS)
       
Sterling Reed, 6-foot-0, freshman, (CA HS)

Frank Rogers, 6-foot-9, freshman (Salinas High)

Joe Saarem, 6-foot-3, freshman, (NV HS)
       
Justyn Searle, 6-foot-9, sophomore, (UT HS)

Aaron Short, 6-foot-3, sophomore (NV HS)

Tyler Velasquez, 5-foot-11, sophomore (CO HS)   
       
Erik Witzig, 6-foot-4, freshman (Scotts Valley High)

The Foothill College 2011-12 coaches and roster

Here's the Foothill College basketball team:

Coach Shanan Rosenberg
Assistant Head Coach Jimmy Herrera
Assistant Coach Larry Lumpkins
Assistant Coach - Chris Petiti

 Spencer Britschki, 5-foot-9, freshman (St. Francis)

Ryan Cali, 5-foot-10, freshman (Harker)

Brendan Carroll, 6-foot-3, freshman (St. Lawrence Academy)

Keaton Curano, 5-foot-1, freshman (Woodside Priory)

Filmon Kubrom  6-foot-4, freshman (Sweden)

David Fullenwiley, 6-foot-4, sophomore (Park Center)

Momir Gataric, 6-foot-5, freshman (Homestead)

Kirby Johnston, 6-foot-6, freshman (Vancouver)

Brett McConnell, 6-foot-6, freshman (Mountain View)

Suhail Mohammadi, 6-foot-, freshman (Carlmont)

Ben Neves, 5-foot-11, sophomore (Westmont)

Sohn Nijor, 6-foot-4, freshman (Leigh)

Jimmy Renneke, 6-foot-5, sophomore (Willow Glen)

Jordan Ruedy, 6-foot, sophomore (Serra)

Thanos Thados, 7-foot-0, freshman (Greece)

James Weimer, 6-foot-1, sophomore (Westmont)

Darryl Wong, 6-foot-2, freshman (Mills)

Grant Vermeet tweeting away

Bellarmine guard Grant Vermeer has been tweeting away and we congratulate him for using the medium to pass along information rather than the too-often cryptic messages that require some code cracking in order to comprehend. Follow this young man.

A recruiting change forecast from Eric Bossi

Eric Bossi is a Rivals basketball reporter -- here is his Twitter account -- and he recently posted this on a message board:
Changes looming to summer open period
 

While there's been a lot of speculation over the last year about changes to open evaluation periods in the summer for college coaches, it seems to be real close to happening.
 

Over the past few days, I've heard from a lot of people who have either been involved with the talks about the summer changes or talked to people and I think we will see changes soon.
 

Here's what I THINK could be happening if it all goes through as I've been told.
 

Final two weekends of April will be open for college coaches to go out and watch tournaments. In the past on those weekend tourneys, they could only watch on Saturday and Sunday,but it sounds like they'll now be able to start at 6pm on Friday nights.
 

Then during July, it looks like the two 10 day periods will totally change. It sounds like we'll now get broken up into three, shorter, open periods in the month. I've heard the time length of those periods will be anywhere from 4-5 days for each one. Although, it seems to be the change that is still getting debated the most. But, It would be a big surprise if there are still two 10 day periods.
 

So in theory, it would look something like this.

    April 20 (6pm)-22

    April 27 (6pm)-29

    July 11-15

    July 18-22

    July 25-29
 

Of course, none of this is for certain and I'm just doing my best to piece together what I've heard.
 

I HOPE that it goes down something like this.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More on Damian Lillard

Jon at his Big Sky Basketball blog has some footage up on Damian Lillard and his foot injury rehab.

Eric Bossi's Aaron Gordon evaluation

Here's Eric Bossi (a Rivals sub is required) with more on Aaron Gordon:
"... Jabari Parker and Aaron Gordon separated themselves

It's not exactly a surprise that 2013's second ranked player Jabari Parker and sixth ranked player Aaron Gordon were able to separate themselves during USA Basketball workouts. However, the 6-foot-7 juniors didn't just create a little distance between themselves and their potential teammates, they opened up a chasm.

What's so impressive about these two young players isn't just that they were the most talented players in the camp, they were also the hardest workers and played the hardest ...

... As for Gordon, there seems to be a never-ending supply of energy coming from him. Even when he was sick on Sunday morning there was no dropoff in his play. At the moment, he's still in the mold of a combo-forward but Gordon has put in serious work on his perimeter game and is a much-improved ball-handler -- especially in transition where he loves to use a behind the back crossover -- and his shooting is coming around quite nicely ..."

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wendell McKines receives a pre-season honor

Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News selects Wendell McKines as the top player in the Western Athletic Conference this coming season.

Good press for Desmond Simmons

Percy Allen offers a lengthy feature on former Salesian High star Desmond Simmons.

Also, Jim Basnight writes:
"... Red-shirt frosh post Desmond Simmons is my sleeper on this team and his influence will be felt.

Simmons inherits the "glue guy" role vacated by Justin Holiday, who took that mantle from Bobby Jones. That role is defined as doing what you have to do to help the team win and I believe that Simmons will be where he needs to be to get it done. I see "Dez" playing behind Gant at the PF spot, but also versatile enough to spell Ross at the three. On offense Simmons lets the game come to him, successfully I might add, but on defense he is relentless and truly outstanding for a 1st year player. It would also not surprise me to see UW play Ross at the PF spot, to take advantage of his impressive offensive abilities ..."

Three visits for Dom Artis

BruinsBall has the tweet scoop on Dom Artis:
"Dominic Artis will visit Oregon this weekend. Will also set up visits to Memphis and Kansas"

The 2011-12 Yuba College 49ers

Not to be condescending but getting to Marysville, California is not on the bucket lists of most. But with Yuba College (YC), specifically men's basketball, you're talking something completely different.

Coach Doug Cornelius and his 49er squads are both a source of local pride and an entertainment of choice for many.

That might have something to do with this item on the YC basketball site:

"Back-To-Back-To-Back-To-Back-To-Back Bay Valley Conference Champions 2006-2011"

But what's even more remarkable is that Yuba's success is usually generated utilizing area talents. In fact, every player but one on this season's roster is from a northern California school. Cornelius certainly works at it but in the minds of quite a number of 18-plus-year-olds, Marysville and Yuba College hoops ARE a magnet, a mighty lure to experience what it feels like to be crowned a champion and be assisted in moving on to a four-year college.

And for 2011-12, Yuba is loaded once again. Here's a roster rundown with commentary supplied by Cornelius:

* Trev Abraham, 5-foot-9, sophomore (Sacramento High)

"Trev has unbelievable quickness similar to Cervante Burrell, he's a good scorer and shooter and a lockdown defender, we haven't had a point guard like Trev"

* Nick Alongi, 6-foot-3, sophomore (Woodcreek High)

* Spencer Butterfield, 6-foot-3, sophomore (Del Oro High)

"He plays so hard, he rubs off on other players. Spencer wants to win every sprint, he stays after to lift or heads out to the track"

* Kevin Crabb, 6-foot-8, sophomore (Roseville High)

"He's ambidextrous and longer than you think, really athletic and tough to guard in the post -- Kevin had shoulder surgery last year and grayshirted but he's back 100%"

* Sean Harris, 6-foot-7, sophomore (Rocklin High)

" has a 4.0 grade point average, he's tough and physical -- I call him a 6-foot-7 version of Spencer Butterfield -- the kids see how hard Sean works, know that he has a scholarship to Utah State and think 'hey, if I work that hard it will happen for me."

* Tyler Fry, 6-foot-2, sophomore (Yuba City High)

"Tyler is a two time most valuable player in his high school league who could have gone elsewhere and scored 15 points per game but is willing to play a role for us"

* Caleb Johnson, 6-foot-9, sophomore (El Camino High)

"Caleb is finally healthy and in shape, he's dunking and finishing with either hand, not settling for jumpers -- he was hurt as a junior in high school, missed his senior season, grayshirted for us and then missed the first half of last season but he is ready and different now"

* Cody Kale, 6-foot-3, sophomore (Rocklin High)

"Cody transferred to us from Cal State Bakersfield, he's in the mold of Spencer in that he is really strong, a good rebounder and good defender who can also get to the rim"

* Anto Olah, 6-foot-5, sophomore (Australia)

"He averaged 10 and 8 for us last season"

* Deaundry Robinson, 6-foot-6, sophomore (College Prep High)

"Deaundry is another Cal State Bakersfield transfer"

* Anthony Romero, 6-foot-1, sophomore (Rocklin High)

"Anthony is everyone's biggest surprise. He's off the charts athletic and easily our best shooter -- offensively he is playing as good as anyone and we want his defense to catch up"

* David Wilson, 6-foot-4, sophomore (Wheatland High)

* Jacob Courage, 6-foot-7, freshman (Lincoln High)

* Yev Dyachenko, 6-foot-4, freshman (River City High)

* Rob Long, 6-foot-4, freshman, (Burbank High) "is grayshirting this year"

* Vic West, 6-foot-5, freshman (Burbank High) "is grayshirting this year"

Cornelius also made it a point to salute Associate Head Coach Ken Griffin, a very successful coach at Marysville High: "the kids love him, he's our X's-and-O's guy."

He wasn't finished there. About the upcoming season, Cornelius said, "We're putting a lot more emphasis on defense than we have in the past. I saw Citrus, Saddleback, Fresno City and CCSF play amazing defense in the Final Four last year."

Things were also different this summer and fall for the 49ers but not necessarily by design.

"We didn't have our gym for a long time -- all this summer and six weeks into fall," Cornelius explained. "We did nothing with a basketball. It was conditioning on the track, running sprints with medicine balls and relay races involving tractor tires."

He added, "The good thing is we have a remodeled gym with a new floor, lights, air conditioning, sound system, bleachers and weight rooms."

About his proclivity for landing talent, Cornelius offered, "There is an advantage being in Marysville. Kids in the Sacramento area can experience living away from home but still be close enough to see family and friends on the weekends."

He is also both proud and thankful for the support his program receives from the community.

"A lot of fans travel with us. Sometimes, we have twice as many fans as opposing teams in road games. We sell out home games, it's standing room only and the Appeal Democrat (the local newspaper) does a great job in covering us."

In talking about the attraction of talent to Yuba College, Cornelius said, "I have great relationships with the players and they enjoy playing for us. They get coached and we help them move on.

Continuing, he said "It's about accepting roles. We try and recruit the guys we identify as the best players in the area, going after the top six or seven and then we take and mold them into accepting roles."

25+ D-1 transfers later with five to seven likely added to that total after this season is completed is a more than healthy indicator that the process is working.

Regarding the 2011-12 go-around, Cornelius understands that an element of luck is always involved in success. He relayed his experiences of a pair of his previous teams losing the services of a top talent to a tweaked ankle for a tournament game that Yuba lost and also falling on a halfcourt desperation shot even though his players were clearly a more talented bunch.

It was entertainer Neil Diamond who said "Hard work is the key, but luck plays a part." 

Doug Cornelius agrees.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Notes and a new product from Jeremy Russotti

Direct from Jeremy Russotti:

Velocity Bands

I have launched my new product, V-Bands, just this past week. Below is info about this new product, as well as a youtube clip of a lot of kids I train with the product (mostly Josh Akognon). Velocity Bands are the "NEW EDGE" for functional sports training. While they were first invented for basketball training, the inventor questioned whether the gains he was getting with his basketball clients (hand speed), would transfer to other sports. He was elated to find out that every sport he piloted in conjunction (volleyball, baseball, softball, football, soccer, hockey, MMA, golf,) had coaches excited about this "NEW EDGE". It seems like a simple concept, however, very few people realize how important hand speed improvement is vital to just about every sport.



and


Alan Stein was just out here in California. We launched an online company called that brings all of our workouts online. It is 300+workouts for both body and skill training.

and

1% CLUB athlete Colin Slater is a kid who contacted me three years ago asking me to train him. At first, I didn't take him seriously but his Dad said he has followed me online for years on youtube, has all of my training aids and DVDs and was motivated to be the best. Since I had an event in Fresno (Central Cali's Finest), I invited him up. I was instantly floored at how skilled this 10-year-old was at the side baskets. We invited him into the drill sessions and, at 10-years-old, he was no doubt one of the most skilled players in the gym. Here's the link.

Colin began to work out with us and is a major part of the HoopGainsTraining program for his age group.  On film, he is amazing and is only 10-years old in the HGT program footage.

Three years later, Colin was selected by Slam Magazine as the #1 13-year- old in the USA. He is extremely humble, believes in skill training, does not play AAU travel ball and is a top student. A great story. Colin was with me as my assistant for the Dakota Wizards tryout today. Even though he doesn't play in events or showcases, he will be getting a workout in and playing in my North Bay's Finest Event.

A Jamelle Barrett update

Remember Jamelle Barrett, the former Consumnes River backcourter?

He's playing at the University of Saskatchewan and doing well. Add eight assists and six rebounds to his points total.

Dom Artis tripping

Former UCLA commit and current Findlay Prep prep Dom Artis is up in Eugene this weekend. No rain this weekend up in Oregon unless Jabari Brown is opening up the heavens from long distance.

A Reeves Nelson interview

Here's a four minute interview with former Modesto Christian star Reeves Nelson.

Aaron Gordon at a USA Basketball camp

Eric Bossi reports on a USA Basketball mini-camp that included a certain Archbishop Mitty's standout:
Aaron Gordon, PF/SF - The 6-foot-7 junior more than lived up to his No. 6 ranking in the class of 2013. A relentless transition athlete, his motor never stops running and his ridiculous leaping ability allows him to play much bigger than his size. He's significantly improved his jumper and handle and mentioned Pac-12 programs Arizona, Stanford and Washington as three that are standing out.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A couple of Kiwi Gardner notes

From John Rooke's GoLocalProv column:
"...Friar freshman Kiwi Gardner didn't win the slam dunk contest Friday Night at Alumni Hall (sophomore Bryce Cotton did, again)...but I swear he was jumping on a trampoline ..."
and

From Peter Gobis' Sun Chronicle article:
"... Coach wants everybody in the front of the class, sitting up in front is a requirement," related Friar freshman guard Kiwi Gardner of the new academic rules in place for members of the PC basketball team, taking to the floor for the first time under Cooley's eye as a team. "He's on us all the time about that (academics), but it's in our best interests. If you're not here to learn, then you won't learn wherever you go, it's on the kid - you've got no choice, but to do the work, so we might as well get something done ..."

"... "It's a lot of work, but not too bad," said Gardner. "Western Civ, that's my toughest class." Gardner has 8:30 a.m. classes every day so he better be awake ("I didn't get no break that way") and not miss a class because Coach Cooley keeps attendance figures. "We've got no choice," said Gardner. "It gets me up every day, so I'm ready for the day every day ..."
There are additional quotes.

Stephen Domingo injures wrist

SI forward Stephen Domingo has injured his wrist and is out for an extended period of time -- various report have him sidelined for 6-8 weeks. Here's hoping he is back soon and with no ill effects.

Another Olivier Betu - UC Davis article

Gilbert Muako provides another article -- counting three so far -- on Olivier Betu's commitment to UC Davis.

Two new Bay Area basketball names on the UC Davis roster

From the UC Davis team preview comes a pair of new names:
"... Dominic Lippi (G, 6-0, 176) and Justin Dueck (F, 6-8, 230) are from St. Joseph Notre Dame/Alameda and Leland High/San Jose, respectively, and round out a talented freshman class ..."

More on Wendell McKines

Here's a video interview with former Richmond High star Wendell McKines as New Mexico State opens practice.

UC Davis inviting coaches to an open practice

This is a unique opportunity offered by the Aggie coaching staff for basketball coaches in general:
We want to invite you to view an open practice at UC Davis on Saturday October 22 from 10 a.m. - noon. Following practice, Coach Les and the rest of the staff will be available to sit down to talk offense, defense and philosophy.          
 

Coach Les is starting his first season at UC Davis and has brought with him the uptempo style of the Phoenix Suns/New York Knicks that Coach Mike D' Antoni has been using in the NBA. Coach Les' offense is very unique to the college game and he is willing to share it with you at our practice on the 22nd.                
 

Practice will be held in Hickey Gym and refreshments will be provided.  Please contact Coach Kevin Nosek at knosek@ucdavis.edu if you would like to attend.        

Friday, October 14, 2011

Another article on Olivier Betu committing to UC Davis

The New England Recruiting Report folks also have a post up on UC Davis gaining a verbal from Olivier Betu.

Injury provides more opportunity for Colin Gruber

Guard Gabe Rogers is the top returning scorer for Northern Arizona and now he is out least eight weeks with a shoulder injury. This scenario will allow even greater opportunity for 6-foot-3 freshman Colin Gruber (Harbor High/Santa Cruz area).

Here is what Gruber is bringing to the Lumberjack squad:
"A 2011 graduate of Harbor High School in Santa Cruz, Calif…Played for his father, Mike…Named to Parade Magazine’s 55th Annual All-America fourth-team…Led the county in scoring during senior campaign for the third straight year and was named Santa Cruz Coast Ath­letic League Most Valuable Player…Also named the Santa Cruz Sentinel’s All-County Player of the Year and to all-state team..Averaged 26.6 points, 11.3 points and 2.1 assists with 2.8 steals as a senior"

Thursday, October 13, 2011

UC Davis lands another commitment

UC Davis has done it again. First, Jim Les and Company secured the services of Utah wing Tyler Ott and now it's backcourter Olivier Betu of Worcester Academy in Massachusetts, by way of Montreal.

With a need for added athleticism and the ability to create, the Aggies have set a very solid foundation in what is really an initial recruiting class.

Jamie Sullivan, the head coach at Worcester Academy, lauded both Betu and also the Davis staff.

"Olivier loved the school and the coaches and was impressed by the system Coach Les will be using," Sullivan offered. "They [mentioning Les and Assistant Coach Chris Davis] did a great job recruiting him."

About his protege, Sullivan said, "Olivier is a quiet kid, a great kid with a tremendous family. He's 6-foot-1, 6-foot-2 and more of a scoring guard, very quick, athletic and can really stroke it. Olivier will thrive in the uptempo Phoenix Suns style offense Davis will be running."

He added, "Olivier is best when put in position to drive to the basket."

Others have described Betu as a natural scorer.

Here's Joey McKitterick, Betu's AAU coach, in a 2009 interview: "Olivier is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. He translates this well onto the court.”

Betu weighs in the 160-165 pound range so added muscle will be necessary.

Sullivan also said Worcester Academy has a college style atmosphere akin to attending a university so his players usually find the transition elsewhere to be a smooth one.

It's important to note that Worcester plays in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC), a very tough gathering of schools. A number of 19-year-olds (doing a prep year) dot the various rosters so competing against older players is the norm.

Orlando Johnson featured

UCSB Athletics is featuring Orlando Johnson at work.

Richard Longrus checking out Pullman

BOD's Richard Longrus will be in the Palouse for Washington's State's version of Midnight Madness.

T.J. Wallace checking out Berkeley.

Bakersfield area point T.J. Wallace will be in attendance at Cal's version of Midnight Madness.

Adam Zagoria on the shift of power

NOTE: I would say that most of the West Coast players heading to prep schools have not and are not doing so because of academic deficiencies. It's usually because of desiring greater exposure and/or the need for another year of body and skill development.

Adam Zagoria writes that the 'balance of power' has shifted from prep schools to junior colleges. It's a lengthy but informative read.

More from Coach Adam Desautels

Westwind Coach Adam Desautels is back with a pair of new blog entries, very good reads about athletes versus basketball players and then online courses and the NCAA.

Gotta like this Dana O'Neill column

Ultimately, it's about the players, the coaches, the trainers -- not the writer or other writers as ESPN's Dana O'Neill states.The Whitlocks, the Vecseys, the Smiths can be awfully alluring but none of us (and I use that last term loosely) should ever seek or be the center of attention.

A feature on Damian Lillard

ESPN's Diamond Leung reports on Damian Lillard's 21st birthday activities.

Here's the link noted in the article.

Not Nor Cal related but ...

The folks at Rush The Court offer a great suggestion involving Connecticut players Andre Drummond and Michael Bradley, although Drummond won't be in Storrs for very long (definitely not five years):
"Sticking with Connecticut, remember that Michael Bradley kid — you know, the one who UConn took a scholarship from to give it to a basketball phenom who likely will be there for one year?  Yeah, that kid. He came out on the record Wednesday stating that he has since been given a financial aid package and that he was only one of several players who stepped forward for the good of the team when it became apparent that prep phenom Andre Drummond was prepared to enroll. Even UConn president Susan Herbst got into the act, saying that Bradley has been “taken care of.” The company line was apparently in full effect in Storrs on this day, but there’s one thing we absolutely want to see happen here — five years down the road when Drummond is off to the NBA and Bradley has moved on to whatever great things also await him, we truly hope that he receives a registered letter from his former teammate containing a certified check for the full amount of any student loan (plus interest) he might have taken out to make this happen. Drummond says that he and Bradley have a “great relationship” and are “really cool” with each other — well, if so, he’ll do the right thing and eventually pay the walk-on back in spades."
Talk about taking one for the team. 

More on Grant Verhoeven's call for Stanford

Andy Boogaard offers more on Grant Verhoeven's decision to go with Coach Johnny Dawkins and Stanford.

A Stephen Domingo feature

Mark Knight serves up a solid feature on SI's Stephen Domingo.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Grant Verhoeven to The Farm

Per Josh Gershon, Fresno area frontcourter Grant Verhoeven has made his choice.

The 2011-12 Diablo Valley College Vikings

If you went 13-1 in basketball league play and 26-5 overall, what do you do as an encore?

It's not exactly a dilemma though as Diablo Valley College (DVC) Coach Steve Coccimiglio returns the Big 8 Conference Most Valuable Player and also a First Team honoree who stands 6-foot-8.

That pair being 5-10 sharpshooter Brian Goins and Rafael Carter, respectively.

Goins totaled a Big 8 best 19.4 points per game, including 52 treys and Coccimiglio sees Goins at the two guard a lot: "that's his natural position as a scoring guard. Brian can score from outside and he's hard to contain as he'll drive and break down defenses and give up the ball. He creates a lot of problems for defenses."

Carter averaged 8.6 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots per contest, while shooting 56% from the field. According to Coccimiglio, "he'll get a key block and rebound above the rim for us."

But DVC's riches don't end there. Not with what Coccimiglio calls his "Group of Four" comprised of:

* 6-foot-3 Ronnie Baker, sophomore -- "he'll knock down shots for us"

* 6-foot-5 Daniel Zitani, sophomore, is the second tallest DVC player

* 6-foot-3 Greg Holmes, sophomore, also brings experience

* 6-foot-3 Tyrelle Phillips, who redshirted last year, is an excellent athlete

As for the fast approaching season, Coccimiglio commented "It's really unusual to have six guys coming back who played meaningful minutes and a lot of experience is a real advantage because it translates into leadership. It's six guys who know how to build a team."

But ready to prove that youth isn't wasted on the young, Coccimiglio has a freshman quartet expected to contribute:

* 5-foot-9 Bobby Syvanthong out of El Cerrito High has joined the Viking backcourt. A blur on the court, Coccimiglio said "Bobby isn't intimidated by the jump from high school to junior college. He's a pure point who did well in the [summer] Foothill and Las Positas tournaments."

* 6-foot-3 Damon Jones, has come over from St. Elizabeth's: "knocks down shots"

* 6-foot-3 Andrew Gardner out of Freedom High: "is a good perimeter shooter"

* 6-foot-4 Devon Pouncey from Rodriguez High: "I like how he has adjusted and he'll help on the frontline"

"We're really not a deep team," as Coccimiglio explained. He'll have 10 players active this season. "As long as Goins and Carter stay healthy, it will free up others to get more done because they make other players better players."

That's not what Diablo Valley College opponents wanted to read.