Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mel Grussing with another winner

Mel Grussing, who runs the best community college fan site in America, bar none (Antelope Valley College Men's Basketball), offers this tantalizingly titled feature about JC hoops and coaching: “Program Killers” and Other Infestations

Chase Carlton & USF

Coach Max Ivany's site offers a feature on 2014 Texas prepster Chase Carlton who was recently at the USF camp and atte4nds Cody Doolin's high school. Coach Rex Walters regularly recruits in the Lone State State so this is a site to bookmark.

Leonard Ivy League-in

From Philippe Doherty: "@MarkelLeonard10 unofficially visited Princeton today. 2013 PG Salesian HS Richmond, CA"

Having a choice of Ivy League options is a really remarkable feat.

Wendell McKines has a summer league spot

From Big Wen: "Its official I will be playing on the ‪#Warriors‬ ‪#NBA‬ summer league team #510 lol. The irony is crazy"

Morgan Sabia playing pro ball

Michael Vernetti serves up an informative update on former Drake High talent Morgan Sabia.

Filling the opening at Salinas High to happen soon

George Watkins updates the search for the new Salinas High head basketball coach. The soon-to-be new hire will be following in the footsteps of two Monterey County legends.

More coverage of Jared Cunningham

Jimmy Durkin covers Jared Cunningham, the newest Dallas Maverick.

A Drake U'u update

Cal Poly's Drake U’u checks in with his summer preparation for next season. The former Rio Americano High backcourter is heading into his senior go-around.

Domingo powers U.A. squad

Stephen Domingo leads the U.S. over Australia in the U17 World Championship tournament.

The best Damian Lillard article bar none

Matt Norlander has the ultimate of Damian Lillard's features, detailing Dame's draft day activities and much more. This is a classic. Major hat tip to Norlander.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Foothill JUCO Summer Slam 2012 schedule

Here's the Foothill JUCO Summer Slam 2012 schedule:


Court 1               

11 am - Foothill vs Sac City               

12 pm - Foothill vs Solano           

1 pm - DVC vs Yuba                   

2 pm - Sequoias vs Delta           

3 pm - DVC vs West Valley           
4 pm - Sequoias vs San Jose                   

5 pm - Santa Rosa vs Riverside           

6 pm - Shasta vs De Anza           

7 pm - Santa Rosa vs Contra Costa       

8 pm - Shasta vs Modesto

Court 2

11 am - Las Positas vs Solano

12 pm - Las Positas vs Sac City

1 pm - ARC vs West Valley

2 pm - West Hills vs San Jose

3 pm - ARC vs Yuba

4 pm - West Hills vs Delta

5 pm - Fresno vs Contra Costa (FCC is the defending state champion)

6 pm - Cañada vs Modesto

7 pm - Fresno vs Riverside

8 pm - Cañada vs De Anza



Court 1               

10 am - Riverside vs Shasta
11 am - Riverside vs Yuba           

12 pm - Fresno vs Modesto           

1 pm - Redwoods vs De Anza           

2 pm - Fresno vs Sac City            

3 pm - Redwoods vs Contra Costa       

4 pm - ARC vs Las Positas               

5 pm - Foothill vs DVC                     

6 pm - ARC vs Canada               

7 pm - Foothill vs West Valley           

Court 2

10 am - West Hills vs Yuba

11 am - West Hills vs Shasta

12 pm - San Jose vs Sac City

1 pm - Delta vs Contra Costa

2 pm - San Jose vs Modesto

3 pm - Delta vs De Anza

4 pm - Santa Rosa vs Cañada

5 pm - Solano vs West Valley 

6 pm - Santa Rosa vs Las Positas

7 pm - Solano vs DVC

Updates on Spencer Butterfield and Sean Harris

The folks at the USU Stats site took in a night of Ratball -- competition between the players on the Utah State roster -- and offered this on a pair of former NorCal talents:

* Spencer Butterfield – Absolutely tore it up out there today. Dropped in 29 points. Hit 5 three pointers. I didn’t keep track of misses, but he didn’t miss many. I’d say he shot over 60% from downtown and I don’t remember him missing many two pointers. He got to the hoop with ease several times. Played with toughness and ran the floor. Played some solid defense. I was most impressed by him today. He also had 5 boards and 3 assists.


* Sean Harris – DNP. He was there in basketball shorts and a nice pink Aggie shirt. He’s a pretty big kid. He took shots at times while the teams were on the other side of the court. After the scrimmages he went out and did a little running and put up some shots. He is very adept at hitting the three point shot (at least in practice). He was hitting them with consistency. Appears to be a good FT shooter as well ... He is cleared to play starting in August.

Gordon goes undrafted

Mark Emmons was at the gathering for Drew Gordon on draft night.

It's always nice to hear your name called but being a free agent and having greater control over which teams or teams you try out for is actually more important.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Former Palma High star Orlando Johnson will be able to remain in California as the Sacramento Kings have taken him with the 36th pick in the NBA draft.

Here's a great piece of trivia: the last NBA draftee out of UC Santa Barbara was ... Brian Shaw in 1988.

*** Johnson has been traded to Indiana. John Devine was with the young man on draft night.

From UC Santa Barbara athletics.


With the 30th choice in the NBA draft and needing to get bigger, the Golden State Warriors called Festus Ezeli.

The young man came to Yuba City at age 14, enrolled two years later at Yuba College but never took the floor for Coach Doug Cornelius. He still has a Sidd Finch status up there.

Here's a March 2011 feature on Ezeli.

Here's Bob Paterson/Sacramento Bee with an Ezeli feature.


Mark Cuban and the Mavs reached out and went to Jared Cunningham for the 24th selection.

From Oregon State athletics.

Kevin Hampton checks in.

# 6

So the TBlazers nabbed Dame with the sixth pick in the NBA draft. Alex Kennedy has the background.

Kurt Kragthorpe reports on the celebration in Ogden.

Jimmy Durkin also checks in.

Nabbed this from Eric Bossi/Rivals:  
6. Damian Lillard, Weber State (Portland), not rated (2008): Sometimes you just have to laugh at badly missing out on an evaluation. Of course, the fact that Lillard ended up at Weber State means lots of people missed out on him. However, I did see Lillard play in April 2007 (his junior year) with the Oakland Rebels in Las Vegas. I remember myself and longtime scouting friend Rob Harrington of Prepstars really thinking we'd found a sleeper, for upper level mid-majors. I wrote, "underrated guy who is maybe on the small side, but he can play. Shoots jumpers with range and confidence, attacks via the bounce and is an athletic open court finisher. Needs strength but has good quickness and doesn't back down from anybody."
Congrats to an individual who is going to succeed at anything he undertakes.

Not necessarily NorCal related...

Not that this subject is closely NorCal basketball related but below are two articles all about the one-and-done rule regarding entering the NBA.

PTW's take: it all about freedom of choice and there should be no artificial barriers limiting when a talent can declare for the NBA draft. Granted, there's always Europe and Asia but no United States in an infrigement on personal rights.

Roots of one-and-done rule run deep

The unknown future of one-and-done

The 2012 Foothill JUCO Summer Slam

The  2012 Foothill JUCO Summer Slam is fast approaching, an opportunity to see returning community college players plus newcomers to the various participating teams.

It's taking place on July 13 and 14 at the Foothill College gymnasium and last's year event featured 18 teams from northern California. Games ran from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Quite a number of the talents on display went on to land D-1 scholarships as well as procuring D-2 and NAIA rides.

SF Weekly on the Oakland Soldiers

Here's Albert Samah/SF Weekly with an extremely in-depth piece on Nike and the Oakland Soldiers.

There is a lot of fascinating material included, especially on the early days of the Soldiers (a history not known by many including myself) and plenty of information for Samaha to still do a followup piece. Let's hope he does.

Scott Ostler with a fascinating article on U.S. Olympic team in '68

Scott Ostler writes: "...The real Dream Team was the 1968 U.S. team at Mexico City..."

A great line: "...[Spencer] Haywood's main obstacle was a passport. He was born in rural Mississippi, where black births were not officially recorded. The State Department scrambled frantically, ultimately verifying Haywood's birth through the handwritten records in his mother's family Bible..."

Amazing. Fact is stranger than fiction and, sadly, this wasn't all that many years ago.

Mike Harris is back

6-foot-4 Mike Harris headed off to Cal Lutheran University last year and produced 9.5 points and 5.3 rebounds a game as a freshman for the Kingsmen. The former Monte Vista High talent obviously adjusted quickly to college hoops, finishing third on his team in scoring and second in rebounding.

But the overall fit down south wasn't quite what Harris desired.

So he decided to make a change and will be playing for Diablo Valley College (DVC) Coach Steve Coccimiglio in 2012-13.

"Cal Lutheran was great, my teammates were great and I had a lot of fun," Harris offered. "But it wasn't what I was looking for in a college experience."

On the court, Harris was a post player -- "mainly playing down low." He started 23 of 24 games, averaging just under 30 minutes a contest.

He added, "I took a lot of time thinking about my options and then made my decision."

With DVC, he'll be positioned on the wing which "will be better for my strengths."

It will be a reunion of sorts as longtime Monte Vista Coach Bill Powers has left that position and is working as a assistant for Coccimiglio.

Diablo Valley College loses it's top two scorers in Brian Goins and Ronnie Baker, so Coccimiglio will need point production from his group of returnees and newcomers.

Harris will have the opportunity to publicly display his talents for DVC at the Foothill College JUCO Summer Slam on July 13-14.

A Mckenzie Moore update

The Miner Rush site serves up an update on former College Park High and CCSF player Mckenzie Moore.

Another offer for Fatai Eke

This is extending beyond NorCal but Josh Gershon just tweeted: "Washington State sent out an offer to 2014 East Bakersfield (Calif.) PF Fatai Eke"

As we posted earlier Eke "has offers from San Jose State, Cal State Bakersfield and Cal State Northridge"

He's 6-foot-7, 205 and posted these intriguing stats last season: 9.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.2 blocked shots per game. One recent description of him at Hoopniks: "While Eke isn’t there offensively yet, he’s a tough and strong defensive presence with a nose for blocking shots. Eke is physically mature and has a motor."

Lee out visiting

Alex Schwartz just tweeted: "Was just told that Marcus Lee of Deer Valley (CA) HS visited Texas A&M today"

Lee has connections to the state of Texas but it's hard to see the Pac-12 losing him. His will be a fascinating recruitment and choice.

Nunnally and The Big Show

Jason Anderson profiles former West Ranch star James Nunnally who is laser-like focused on the NBA.

Cook nominated

Thomas Gase lauds Rodney Cook of Bethel High, putting him in the same category as George Washington (yes, that GW) and Dave Grohl. Hey, you gotta read it. Cook is a Times-Herald Athlete of the Year nominee.

Clark & Pratt teaming up once again

Matt Schwab has an interesting feature up on Scott Clark and Steven Pratt, former high school teammates, then opponents in college, but on the same squad once more.

More from Jared Cunningham

Here's another blog entry about the NBA draft from Jared Cunningham.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Dame celebration

There is an NBA draft celebration event planned for Damian Lillard beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday evening at the Everett & Jones restaurant located at 126 Broadway St. (at the entrance of Jack London Square) in Oakland.

The NBA draft begins Thursday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. ESPN is providing television coverage, beginning at 4:00 p.n..

Below is Dame, who will be in Newark tomorrow night, on the NBA Draft Media Day -- pure class and grace

The Damian Lillard background

Lillard is working out with the ASTI guys in his pre-draft efforts and Anthony Eggleton and Aalim Moor II offered, "we are so proud of Dame, of what he has accomplished and how hard he is working. He is continuing the tradition and part of the evolution."

Oakland Rebels Coach Ray Young also deserves a major shout out for his lifelong work with Lillard.

It takes a village and Lillard has his personal family plus an extended network of individuals aiding the successful effort.

It's also wonderful to see him acknowledge those preceding him in the Oakland basketball tapestry.

Additionally, Dame speaks about loyalty, hard work, his affiliation with the Oakland Rebels club team, growing up in Oakland, choices and more.

Damian Lillard page at the NBA Draft site

Head to the NBA draft site for a great feature -- video, print and dazzling playermetric graphics --on Damian Lillard. Wow.

This is the time for the Pensacks

The Pensack Brothers, Ben and Adam, of the Pensack Sports Management Agency are featured in this Scott Silveri article in the Marin Independent Journal. NBA draft time is T-H-E-I-R time.

USF heading south of the border

USF is headed to Mexico in mid-August for a series of basketball games and fans of the Dons can go along for the experience.

This should really help a team with a large number of newcomers needing integrating into the offensive and defensive systems.

Another honor for John Adams

Lehigh University has announced six basketball student-athletes have made the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll, including former Archbishop Mitty High star John Adams. He posted a 3.46 in-season grade point average as well as completing the requirements for a B.A. in Psychology.

The Gaels after a 2014 backcourter

From Frank Woodford on a 6-foot-1 Arizona prep prospect:
Casey Benson - 2014 Point Guard from Corona Del Sol High School
Benson was as good as advertised over the weekend. He showed great court vision and an ability to get his teammates involved. He knew when and where to bring the ball, hit teammates in the right spots, and understood when to look for his own shot. He shot the ball well from deep and was able to draw fouls and make his free throws. Corona Del Sol High School was upset, but the rising junior played as well as anyone in the tournament. The point guard has received offers from Arizona State, Saint Mary's, Boise State, Boston College, USC and, most recently, Colorado. Benson has taken unofficial visits to Arizona State and Boise State so far and says Arizona State and Saint Mary's are the schools recruiting him the hardest at the moment. Benson has a high basketball IQ and is a coach on the court. Whichever program he decides upon will be getting a winner.

Seth Davis 'gets' Dame

SI's Seth Davis on Dame:
Damian Lillard, 6-3 guard, Weber State: "He's the most unselfish scoring point guard I have ever seen. He's a great kid -- a great kid. He played more like a two in college, but he played on a team where if he didn't score 24 points, they wouldn't have won a game. Who was he supposed to pass to? He has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder, like he's out to prove people wrong."

Jared Cunningham featured

Rush The Court looks at rising draft prospects, leading off with Jared Cunningham.

An Orlando Johnson feature

Adena Andrews backgrounds Orlando Johnson's life as the NBA draft approaches.

Damian Lillard for mayor of Ogden

The folks in Ogden are planning a big to-do for their adopted son link

Jim Burton proudly proclaims that Odgen-ites we on to Dame way before it was cool.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Toivonen the latest signee for Ohlone

From Ohlone Coach John Peterson:

Ohlone College freshman Lauri Toivonen has signed with D-1 University of Texas, Pan American. The 6-foot-7, 220 pound four man was a first team all-conference selection at Ohlone as a freshman, after averaging 10 points and six rebounds per contest. He shot 52% from the field, 75% from the foul line line and played over 30 minutes a night. 

Toivonen came to Ohlone from Riihimaki, Finland.  He played for KOUVOT KOUVOLA prior to attending Ohlone, as well as competing on both the Under 20 National team at the 2011 European Championships and World University Games in China last August. 

He will have three years of eligibility remaining and will be majoring in civil engineering. In addition to his excellent play on the floor, Lauri had a 3.89 GPA.

“Lauri is by far one of the three toughest players I have coached in my 20 years on the college level, and easily has the highest basketball IQ. I am really pleased that he was able to turn his one year investment at Ohlone into a great three year deal at UTPA. Their style of play (triangle offense) suits him perfectly as it is the national team offense in Finland. I’m certain he will have great success on and off the court.”

Lauri is the sixth Renegade to move on this year, and the 82nd in the last 12 years. Others from this season include Mihk McKinney (Sacramento State), Oivind Lundestad (Point Loma Nazarene), Geoff Hartman (Notre Dame de Namur), Terrance Swayne (Holy Names) and Nick Clarke (U. of New Brunswick).

Ohlone's John Peterson heading to China

A note from Ohlone College Coach John Peterson:
"I will be the head coach of a team of USA All Stars in in the "Men's National B Team" Invitational Tournament in China June 28 through July 10, 2012. 

The teams in the event are host team China, Lithuania, and Germany along with our USA team. My assistant, Justin Carter, will be assisting with the team as well.

It will be a very competitive event consisting of 9 games in 12 days, 3 games held in each of 3 different cities around China (Liuzhou, Taiyuan and Guangzhou). We'll play Germany, Lithuania, and China in each city and have one day of travel between cities for 9 total games. It is a great event that is much like an Olympic style of format with "opening ceremonies," a parade of teams, and national anthems for all the countries. Typical attendance is somewhere between 8,000-10,000 per night.

The National B Team format is not one the USA typically uses because we have NBA players on our Olympic Team. However, a lot of other countries do use this system. The B Team is made up of players who were recently cut from the London Olympics squad or who are future National Team members for the 2014 World Championships or 2016 Brazil Olympics.  The players representing the USA include three recent college graduates who just finished playing NCAA Division One, and rest are either playing professionally in European leagues or in the NBA Development League.  Their motivation is obviously to represent the United States as well as to try and secure a professional contract either in the USA or abroad.

Chris Denker of Net Scouts is putting on the event and all game results will be posted after each contest at:
Here is the USA roster:

* Marquis Jones
6-foot-1 175
PG Rhode Island/Germany

* Lance Jeter
6-foot-3 224
PG Nebraska/Holland

* Anthony Gurley
6-foot-3 195

* LaMarcus Reed
6-foot-5 200
G Texas Arlington

* Taj McCollough
6-foot-7 215
F Winthrop/NBADL

* Lamonte Ulmer
6-foot-6 220
F Rhode IslandNBADL/Luxembourg

* Tyler Cain
6-foot-8 235
F South Dakota/EuroLeague/Latvia

* Orion Outerbridge
6-foot-9 215
F Rhode Island

* Adam Waddell
6-foot-10 240
F/C Wyoming

* Brian Addison
6-foot-10 230
C Buffalo/Portugal

Senque Carey to the HS ranks

We keep thinking Senque Carey is headed back to the college game but not anytime in the near future as Jimmy Durkin reports.

Don't go near the brow

Yet another sign of the apocalypse: Anthony Davis Trademarks His Brow

Making your bones on eighth-grade recruiting

In D.C., there's behind-the-scenes (and not-so-behind-the-scenes) private school angling to land the best of the middle school crop of players, as Adam Himmelsbach and Pete Thamel report.

Ah, the recruiting life -- full of glamor, perspiration, late nights and rental cars

Michael Berger takes a look at UC Santa Barbara's recruiting along with who is departing and returning. Mention is made of TJ Taylor, John Green and Mike Bryson in uniform with Orlando Johnson, James Nunnally and Greg Somogyi departing. It's a great and informative read.

Providence counting on Kiwi

A pair of highly regarded frosh points at Providence are injured thus making the availability of Kiwi Gardner even more crucial for Coach Ed Cooley. Here's predicting that DickieV immediately falls in love at first sighting of Kiwi and offers a Diaper Dandy designation.

Lillard with more press

Jimmy Durkin covers The Damian Lillard Experience. Dame will be repping all of California in the Green Room on Thursday evening but especially O-Town.

There's no stopping Sheldon High

Bill Paterson reports on Sheldon High ripping through its summer tournaments. Again, we thank any newspaper coverage of summer hoops.

Monday, June 25, 2012

New talent at Merritt

After successfully sending off his sophomore talents, Merritt College Coach Keenan McMiller is welcoming some new student-athletes to the Oakland Hills campus.

Here you go:

* 6-foot-3 Jalil Eppenger, Berkeley High, Stoneridge Prep

He's a former Alameda-Contra Costa All League performer

* 6-foot-0  Anthony Knight, El Camino High

Knight was a First Team All Peninsula Athletic League selection who can play both the point and two guard spots and McMiller calls him "a bigtime defender"

* 6-foot-6 Chris Patterson, Muhammad University of Islam

Patterson didn't play high school ball but participated with the Oakland Rebels during spring and summer -- "he comes ready to play every single day after school, he gets out in July and is really going to help us" according to McMiller

* 6-foot-4 Maceo Bell, McClymonds High

There is no better athlete -- Bell fits nicely as a wing.

* 6-foot-4 Delvon Nisby, Oakland High

Nisby offers more athleticism and potential

* 6-foot-2 Marcus Green, Bishop O'Dowd

A tough scrapper who was as Honorable Mention All-HAAL honoree.

* 6-foot-3 Willie Williams, McClymonds High

An Honorable Mention All-OAL -- if you want defense, he brings it

* 6-foot-1 Harrison Haynes, Palmdale High

A pass-first point from a solid team and program in southern California

* 6-foot-1 Wayne Tucker, Oakland Tech will be redshirting

McMiller added, "We won't be a great outside-shooting team but we'll have a lot of disciplined, high IQ players and we're really going to improve. We're definitely going to be tougher."

Vermeer back posting

Bellarmine backcourter Grant "Boo" Vermeer is back posting at his blog and has an entertaining article on how his squad fared in the Dougherty Valley tournament over the weekend.

Columbia basketball fans will also find Grant's latest very interesting.

The latest NBA draft tweaks from Draft Express

In the very latest NBA mock draft from the folks at the Draft Express site, four Bay Area talents are listed:

* #6 Damian Lillard (Portland)

* #39 Jared Cunningham (Detroit)

* #40 Orlando Johnson (Portland)

* #41 Drew Gordon (Portland)

It's highly unlikely to happen but wouldn't a trio of the guys landing in the Rose City be something.

Terry Cannon training a new NBA owner

From the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the soon-to-be new owner of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies is being on-the-court tutored by a former San Jose State University player from the early 1990s:
"...Former San Jose State player Terry Cannon said Pera came to him about three years ago looking for coaching. They work out one-on-one often in a local club, mostly in the afternoons.

"His strength is probably his shot," said Cannon, who estimated Pera at 6-foot-3. "He has great touch. He has pretty good footwork..."
Might Mr. Pera want to kick some cash towards SJSU?

Sr. Mary's is pursuing a junior-to-be backcourter

From Jack Pollon:

There is no doubt reigning 6-foot-1 Marmonte League Player of the Year Jeremy Lieberman is on track to win the award three times.

Lieberman, who was also named the Div. 3AA Player of the Year after leading Calabasas to its first ever championship, scored 32 points and made seven 3-pointers in a 60-47 semifinal setback against Pasadena.

In an earlier game, Lieberman scored 14 points and had four assists against Renaissance Academy.

Lieberman is being recruited by St. Mary's, Portland, Boise St., San Diego St. and others.

Expect the Pac-12 schools to start following Lieberman's progress in July during the open evaluation period.

Domingo performs well for Team USA

Stephen Domingo scored 15 points and grabbed six boards in the USA Men’s U17 World Championship Team's 108-72 victory over Latvia Sunday night.

All Lillard, all the time

Here's a handful of Damian Lillard links -- he's the biggest pre-draft storyline and rightly so.

* Kevin Massoth, USA TODAY

* Raphielle Johnson, College Basketball Talk

* Joe Freeman, The Oregonian

* Jonathan Givony, Draft Express (has Dame going #7 to Golden State)

Two more from Merritt move on

Merritt College Coach Keenan McMiller has an additional pair of players moving on and up:

* 6-foot-9 Glendale Poole (Fremont High, Oakland) is headed to Clark Atlanta University in Georgia.

* 6-foot-0 Jordan Fuselier (11.5 points per game, 50% from the floor overall, 52% on treys, plus second on the team with 39 steals) has landed at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The Highlanders are D-I members of the Great West Conference.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Damany Hendrix headed to Eugene

In April 2010, Damany Hendrix stated in a NorCalPreps article that his ultimate goal was to land a college coaching position, "preferably in D-1 but anything that will get my foot in the door."

Now he will be donning the gold and green, a member of the Knights of Nike.

Hendrix is headed to the University of Oregon as a graduate assistant on the staff of Coach Dana Altman.

"I can't wait, I'm definitely excited," Hendrix said. "Dana Altman (the Oregon head coach) is a good guy, real humble and down to earth."

So how did this come about?

"I met one of the Oregon assistants [during one of the summer tournaments] in Las Vegas and we got to talking." Hendrix explained.

The relationship connection took off from there.

But it wasn't a case of Hendrix going from ground zero to D-1 -- he paid the requisite dues and laid the foundation necessary to earn such a move.

After playing at Lamar University and earning his degree (plus all-conference honors during his 2001-2003 tenure (based on a 16.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game averages), he coached at Vallejo High and taught middle and high schoolers along with coaching a Slam and Jam organization basketball team. He also founded the Bridge Builders Basketball School and went to work as assistant coach at California Maritime Academy, working under Brian Rooney -- "a friend and mentor and a great young coach." Next came a position as Academic Program Coordinator for two schools in San Francisco.

All with a focus on building his skills set vis-a-vis college coaching.

"As a graduate assistant, I'll be a link between the players and the coaches."

Plus, he's still young enough to lace 'em up and take to the court when needed.

Hendrix offered a method of operation on landing a college position: "Be everywhere," he said with a laugh. "Start networking. Build relationships with lots of coaches because you have to know somebody in order to get a job. Go to the coaches conventions, the Final Fours, the Villa 6 (which is an event to aid assistant coaches in moving up), the big events in Las Vegas and Los Angeles and the conference tournaments. Ask about available jobs. It's a grind but something you have to do."

He certainly gained plenty of experience and education through observation and participation playing under four different college coaches. Some may lament the latter situation -- Hendrix gained from it.

"I've witnessed a lot of styles and techniques and I'm still a student of the game," he offered.

Now with a new mentor.

Checking in with Alan Stein

Here's an interesting older column from Alan Stein covering player ratings, individual improvement, exposure and more.

Is the passion there for basketball or for the glitz that accompanies it?

Jerry West, Magic Johnson and Sidney Moncrief

In Roland Lazenby's book on Jerry West (not to be confused with West's own recent autobiography) the following appears.
In [West] taking on a personnel role with the Lakers in 1979, the Lakers had the first pick in the NBA draft and it came down sophomore Magic Johnson out of Michigan State and Arkansas' Sidney Moncrief...

    "West could easily see that Moncrief was destined to be an outstanding NBA guard. Johnson, on the other hand, was something of an odd duck..

    ...Johnson handled the ball in extraordinary but unorthodox fashion, but he was far from polished. Moncrief was a much safer pick...

    ...I thought he would be a very good player, West said of Johnson. I had no idea he would get to the level that he did. No idea...

    ...The experience reminded West of how much heart can factor into greatness...

    ...The things you could see, you loved. But you wondered where he [Johnson] would play in the NBA, how he would be able to do it. Through hard work, he just willed himself to take his game to another level. I [West] don't think anyone knew he had that kind of greatness in him. The athletic ability is the easiest thing to see, but it does not constitute what a great basketball player
No Magic, no Showtime.

Sometimes a bit of luck prevails although that seems too simplified because it discounts the time and effort put into investigating and grading out talent.

Talent evaluation is a partial measurement, a necessary but a limited exercise. Curiously, there are so many instances of teams struggling in measuring drive.

Switching sports, would love to see a show of hands of those GMs who would have chosen Ryan Leaf over Payton Manning in the 1988 NFL draft. The intangibles of Manning, heck even the tangibles, should have made that selection a no-brainer, hindsight or no hindsight. A simple personality test would have done the trick, likewise a three-hour stay talking to folks in Pullman.

The Glove back in Corvallis

Gary Payton returned to Oregon State for the groundbreaking of a facility -- do check out the amount he supposedly donated by clicking the link and reading towards the end of the article. Wow.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sammy Allen and Antelope Valley College

Mel Grussing writes about former Alameda High talent Sammy Allen working to gain a spot on the 2012-13 Antelope Valley College team.

Pope, Rabb are offered

Josh Gershon is reporting: "Cal offered two local prospects today - 2014 forward Malik Pope and 2015 post Ivan Rabb"

Three from Nor Cal/Bay Area on the Nike squad

Jabari Bird, Aaron Gordon and Marcus Lee are members of the Nike Global Challenge squad which will play July 13-15 in D.C.

Wonder if Gordon will be healthy?

Keith Langford is an example of non NBA success

Wendell Maxey explores the career of former Kansas wing Keith Langford who is one of many doing well financially despite no 'Big League' affiliation and not being drafted.

One of the key lines: "... someone will ask me if I want to work a camp to make a little extra money. I want to yell, 'Hey, I'm a millionaire, too,' but it's not worth explaining. Guys ask me all the time, 'Don't you want to go pro? I'm like, 'Man, I am a pro.' But it's just NBA or nothing."

Drew Gordon interviewed in the Big Apple

Below is a just short of five minutes interview with Drew Gordon, after he participated in a workout for the New York Knicks.

High praise for going with Jared

Mike Miller offers up Jared Cunningham as a second-round steal in the NBA draft: "Jared Cunningham. Was tempted to choose Doron Lamb — someone’s gonna be delighted to acquire his shooting skills — but I’ll go with Cunningham for the upside. Few players in the entire draft are more physically gifted than the 6-5 guard. He’ll play defense, provide scoring off the bench and once his jumper becomes more consistent, be an All-Star caliber player for years."

MD in the Olympics

Matthew Dellavedova deserves congrats for making the Aussie Olympic squad. Gotta love his game and how he carries himself.

He's not the fleetest afoot but here's hoping some NBA GM understands and appreciates what Dellavedova brings to a team.

Some local press for Dame

Chris Fedor has a post up about a KNBR interview with Damian Lillard.

The prodigy of Dave Lattin

Remember Dave "Big Daddy" Lattin from some years back (like 1967) with the now Golden State Warriors? He has a grandson who has taken a fascinating route through prep basketball, as Luke Winn reports.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A basketball ritual

One of the basketball rituals getting harder and harder to buy is the shaking of hands at game's end. Yes, it is a display of sportsmanship after competition but really what purpose does it serve?

Most players and coaches perform it perfunctorily, with the body language of 'let's get this over and done with' as the takeaway description.

Granted, sometimes, a coach will single out an opposing player or two and offer a meaningful congratulation or participants who know one another will use the moment to check in with an opponent.

Yes, it produces no harm.

But overall, it's a protocol with no depth of meaning.

It seems a practice best suited (if at all) for high school or club teams as a nice display or a learning to forgive (if not forget) certain words and deeds that may have just been offered but not really for post-game college encounters. Collegiate hoops is a business and, for example, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and the like will never be found hand-in-hand with any competitors.

So should the practice continue or be abolished?

Hey, should the fans on either side take up the practice?

Just kidding. That would lead to an overdose of "I went to a basketball game and an MMA match broke out" jokes.

West Valley College has three moving on

Per DRinCA (the SoCal-based JC basketball guru), West Valley College Coach Scott Eitelgeorge has a trio of his talents moving on:

* Chris Aitchison, 6-foot-4, Del Mar High to UC Santa Cruz

* Cameron Faison, 6-foot-3 to Evergreen State (WA), he's out of Seattle

* Anthony Dixon, 6-foot-6, Chicago (redshirt) to Fresno Pacific but he will sit out the 2012-13 season

Dame in DIME

DIME offers up an interview with Damian Lillard.

Love the shout out to Raymond Young.

This is just such a remarkable story and it couldn't be happening to a more deserving person.

Another offer from Kendall Smith

Joey Natale has tweeted: "'13 Oakland Soldiers (CA) point guard Kendall Smith has landed his second offer from Long Beach State. They join San Jose State"

Three more Nor Cal talents to Consumnes River

The word from Consumnes River College Coach James Giacomazzi is that he has three more players lined up for next season:

* 6-foot-5 Charles Standifer Jr., the former Capital Christian High standout and transfer from the University of San Francisco

* 5-foot-11 Rodney Cook, the former Bethel High standout and MVP of the Solano County Athletic League

* 6-foot-3 Brenden Glapion, the former MVP of the AAA conference in San Francisco at Washington High and most recently Seattle University.

Earlier, Giacomazzi announced that Skyline High's Paris Davis, the MVP of the 2011-12 Oakland Athletic League, was CRC-bound.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Orlando Johnson wrapping up his pre-draft travels

John Devine/Monterey Herald talks with local Orlando Johnson who is awaiting his future vis-a-vis the NBA draft.

More on Stephen Domingo

Jeremy Balan goes in-depth on Stephen Domingo's latest achievement in a really comprehensive piece.

Deryck Ylanan stays local

Bay Area Blue Devils Coach Ed Hawkins III reports that 2012 prospect Deryck Ylanan from Moreau Catholic High has decided to play for Coach Jason Damjanovic at De Anza College in Cupertino.

Ylanan was a four-year varsity player at Moreau Catholic as well as a 2012 All HAAL Honorable Mention selection.

Ylanan is the third Bay Area Blue Devil talent to land as Jehiah Gennaro (Freedom High) and Alameda High's Elvedin Tudzinovic are both headed to Miramar College in San Diego.

Fertig to CSUMB

Andy Boogaard reports that Cal State University Monterey Bay will be the college destination of Fresno area backcourter Alex Fertig.

Wendell McKines working out

Here's Big Wen working out with the Advanced Sports Training Institute folks.

We're calling on Wendell's agent to get him a spot on "Survivor" in between roundball stints. He'd be money.

Ray Young talks about Dame

Oakland Rebels Coach Raymond Young is audio interviewed on former  protégé Damian Lillard.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gotta love this one

Here's another from Jeremy Russotti: "If your parents ask "do u give scholarships for training" but the kid is wearing 180 dollar shoes and 400 dollar iphone- GET OUT OF MY GYM"

The OCR gets around to the Bob Burton situation

Janis Carr/Orange County Register finally has a story on Coach Bob Burton's departure at Cal State Fullerton. Burton coached for many successful years at West Valley College in Los Gatos.

The strangest line: "Andy Newman, the associate head coach for the past five seasons, is believed to be the interim coach."

Bizarre. There has to be some legal implications weighing down this entire situation because it's all kids gloves in the release of information.

Trevor Dunbar and the SF Pro Am

Zack Farmer/San Fran Preps goes big on 5-foot-9 Trevor Dunbar.

The Sheldon - Trail Summer Jam preview

It's great that Bill Paterson is covering prep basketball during the summer. Credit him and the Bee for the decision to do so because almost every 'big city' newspaper doesn't.

Think this is new on Drew Gordon

Here's Drew Gordon being interviewed at the NBA draft combine:

David Patrick back in college ball

From the Hoop Dirt folks: "Multiple sources have reported that David Patrick will become an assistant at LSU. Patrick is a Louisiana-Lafayette grad who has spent time as an assistant at St. Mary’s (CA) and also served as a scout for the Houston Rockets. He will replace Shawn Forrest who resigned a few weeks ago for personal reasons" 

Will Patrick start bringing guys from Australia to Baton Rouge?

Another offer for Marcus Lee

Alex Schwartz tweets: "Another offer to report ... Syracuse has extended a scholarship offer to Marcus Lee"

More interest for Kendall Smith

Joe Natale tweeting: "LSU is now expressing interest in 2013 Oakland Soldiers (CA) point guard Kendall Smith"

Domingo to represent the USA

Stephen Domingo has been named a member of the USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Championship Team.

Here's a second feature on the young man.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Shabazz Muhammad - Jeremy Russotti workout

(from Herb Welling's basketball site)

Now this is how you are suppose to work out people!! Check out Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA Commit) training with top Skill Development Trainer Jeremy Russotti in his Green Room Training (GRT) Program
As you know I have been talking about Jeremy for years and its great to see him working out some of the best. His product line is amazing and very functional to training.

There is part 1 and Part 2

Jeremy Russotti's Trainer Certification Program - Las Vegas

(borrowed from Herb Welling's basketball site)

Highly recommend the below press release for Jeremy Russotti's Trainer Certification Program in Las Vegas, July 16-18, 2012. You will learn more in three days about skill development than you learned in your whole career.


As coaches I know a lot of you have gone to coaching clinics before and had a great time but didn't get much "meat" out of it. Now we are launching Jeremy Russotti's First Annual Trainer Certification Program to bring the best of both coaching and training into one gym. The conference is strategically dated to take place around all of the top Las Vegas AAU tournaments, as well as NBA Summer league for maximize networking opportunities. You can visit our website link to get the official media kit.

Jeremy Russotti's 1st Annual Trainer Certification Program will be held July 16-18, in Las Vegas at The Orleans Hotel. Russotti will be providing his amazing curriculum syllabus and DVDs, while providing 14 hours of in depth skill court demonstrations. To add to the event, Jeremy lined up Ben Howland (UCLA), Jim Cleamons (former LA Lakers/Chicago Bulls Assistant Coach), Russell Turner (Head Coach UC Irvine/Former Warriors Assistant Coach) and Keith Smart (current Sacramento Kings Head Coach) as guest instructors about the important of skill development.

This is not your typical coaching clinic where you hear coaching stories or pure X's and O's. The event is also all-inclusive, including hotel stay, meals, and nightcaps. You will get to see live how Jeremy Russotti works out top players such as Shabazz Muhammad and other professionals in town for NBA summer league. This event has also partnered with TEAM UNITY bringing in 15+ international professional coaches, as well as multiple NCAA D1 staffs will be attending.

As Russotti describes it "This is for a coach, or assistant coach, of a junior high, high school, AAU, college or professional basketball team. It is equally beneficial for aspiring trainers looking to expand their business. The networking capabilities of the event will be an added benefit as well."

Please visit the website media kit for all info/schedule/or how to sign up. This event will be available for the first 50 participants because of room availability. If you have more questions, call Leila Abufarie at (714) 933-0120, or via email

Thomas to middle America

Bill Patterson reports that El Dorado High's Ben Thomas is headed to the Land of Lincoln for college ball.

Brooks repping Nor Cal

The New York Times profiles Scott Brooks.

Brian Barbour working it on another continent

Columbia Coach Kyle Smith and senior Brian Barbour are interviewed about the Lions recent hoops trip to Europe. Barbour comes in about the seven minute mark -- the kid from Monte Vista looks grown up.

One more Darin Johnson offer

Garrett Tucker has tweeted: "Drake has offered 2013 combo guard Darin Johnson of PHPS"

Duffy and St. Mary's

Former Las Lomas High backcourter Treaven Duffy, who spent this past year at Cushing Academy in Massachusetts, will be walking on with St. Mary's and Coach Randy Bennett.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Carter and Nevada parting

6-foot-9 Diablo Valley College (CA) frontcourter Raphael Carter's NLI with Nevada will be negated as Carter is finishing out his academic requirements. He may be done this summer, possibly in the fall. Watch the line for his services instantly form.

The SF Pro-Am League is starting up again

Here are the rosters for the San Francisco Pro-Am League. There are a number of blasts-from-the-past names so do check it out.

Plus, meet Rick Lewis who coaches a Marin County squad in this Scott Silveri article.

Durkin on Lillard

Jimmy Durkin profiles Damian Lillard after the latter's workout with the Warriors.

Looking forward to Kiwi-time

Finally, come the 2012-13 season, Kiwi Gardner will enjoy the opportunity to display his basketball talents.

The Providence roster has been changing of late due to transfers coming and going but here's what the Friar backcourt currently looks like:

* 6-foot-2 senior-to-be Vincent Council is the leading returning scorer (15.9 points per game) and assist man (231 assists) for the Friars but has shooting limitations (39%, 29%, 67%).

* 6-foot-3 junior-to-be Bryce Cotton came in second at 14.3 points per contest last season (203 of his 351 shooting attempts were behind the line)

Coming in are 6-foot-3 freshman point Kris Dunn, 6-foot-5 freshman shooting guard Ricardo Ledo, 6-foot-1 freshman point Ian Baker and 6-foot-5 freshman shooting guard Joshua Fortune. The first three are highly acclaimed recruits with Dunn the highest rated.

It's worth noting however, that Dave @ FriarBlog on March 30 wrote: "With Vincent Council recently announcing he would return for next year and Kris Dunn on his way, the Friars are either going to be incredibly deep at the PG position (is it me, or have we had 1 PG every year for the last 10 years), or Kiwi Gardner isn’t in the plans..." 

I haven't checked specifically in Kiwi's case but all seemed set not that long ago for him to get on the court for PC. The competition will be fierce but he's not one to shy away from challenge.

A Mike McChristian update

Idaho's Mike McChristian played just over 10 minutes a game last season after transferring over from Coach Doug Cornelius' program at Yuba College. He averaged 2.5 points and 2.1 rebounds a game.

But what stood out is that he shot 60% (30-50) overall, had a 25/15 assist-to-turnover ratio (not bad for off the bench, in a new program and system) and 21 steals (the team leader had 29).

With such numbers and with Idaho's starting guards having graduated, it's not difficult to see McChristian in line for major playing time and a starting position.

Plus, here's a note from the Vandals basketball site:
"... after starting the season slowly, he played in each of Idaho’s final nine games and averaged 4.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists with just three total turnovers during that span … he also shot 16-of-23 (.696) from the floor and 2-of-3 (.667) from 3-point range during that time ..."
Coach Don Verlin did bring in three community college backcourters in his latest recruiting haul but watch for McChristian, who prepped at Will C. Wood High, to surprise.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hartnell lands a recruit from Salt Lake City

6-5 Utah prepster wing Dallin Kay has committed to play at Hartnell College next season.

Darin Johnson and Gonzaga

The Slipper Still fits folks talk with Darin Johnson.

More press for Dakarai Allen

SoCalRecruit Spot looks at Dakarai Allen, whose name is now embedded deeply in the brain of so many more college coaches

Bob Thomason lauded

Ron Agostini looks at the coaching career of Pacific's Bob Thomason.

Shayne Perryman to the Gem State

Former St. Francis High (Santa Cruz County) and Monterey Peninsula College star Shayne Perryman has signed with Northwest Nazarene in Idaho.

Humboldt State signs another

Humboldt State Coach Steve Kinder has landed a D-1 transfer.

An Eli Holman update

Eli Holman has worked out for the Detroit Pistons. Can he get into the second round? Free agency is actually better.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Ex-Nebraska Coach Doc Sadler has been hired at Kansas.

The alignment seems perfect: some named Doc working as director of basketball operations.

Darin Johnson and Gonzaga

Zach Bell @ The Slipper Still Fits site (still on top as the best blog name ever) checks in on Gonzaga and Darin Johnson:
"2013 prospect Darin Johnson is taking an unofficial visit to Spokane this weekend. Johnson is a very intriguing prospect in the '13 class but one that is still relatively unknown to most. Out of Elk Grove, CA, Johnson is a 6'4, 195 lb wing that can play a number of positions but hasn't really settled on one yet. His mid-range game highlight his strength but he is still working on his perimeter jumper and hasn't become a skilled distributor yet. From all reports, he would fit in very well at Gonzaga as he plays at an extremely fast pace. Developing a shooting conscious, however, could determine as to what level of program he lands at. USC has recently offered him and we have heard that he has a top four of USC, Gonzaga, WSU, and Colorado. WSU has offered him but we do not believe the Zags or Colorado have yet. The rest of his offers are from other non-BCS schools."
Here's Garrett Tucker on the Zags and Johnson:
"Johnson was offered a scholarship, but it wasn’t a traditional offer. Mark Few, who is assisting Billy Donovan with Team USA, is currently in Brazil. However, while on the visit, Coach Few called Johnson and offered him. Interesting way to offer, right?

I still would say USC leads, but the Zags are just trailing in second, alongside Washington State.

He will visit Wazzu this weekend, too.

As you could expect, Johnson has had a busy day. He has fielded calls from all the schools listed above in the original post, including a 5 AM call from Utah. Wyoming was the only new school to call.

USF checking out an LA guard

Coach Rex Walters is checking in on SoCal backcourter Ron Lee.

More on Dakarai Allen

Bill Paterson checks in with Dakarai Allen for whom legacy continuance is important.

Ogden to be Lillardville for a day

Think Damian Lillard has a scintilla of qualms about playing in Ogden, Utah? The answer is here.

How about Oakland doing the same? O-Town could really use such a positive event.

Just asking

So who will be the first college coach to have a text restraining order filed against him?

Press for Drew Gordon

Michael Scotto interviews Drew Gordon.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Find out what's up with Greg Somogyi

Greg Somogyi is graduating from UC Santa Barbara and is featured here. Maybe it's the NBA next, maybe Europe for the former Woodside Priory star.

This will make you chuckle

From Jeff Borzello (now that the contact period is open for coaches and recruits): "One D-1 assistant said he's only texting 2013 kids right now. "2014s won't remember this s**t in six months"

Orlando Johnson may be a first-rounder

Alex Sonty goes into depth in covering the attributes of Orlando Johnson and wants him going to the Chicago Bulls with the 29th selection in the NBA draft.

Three great features on Dame

Sam Amick (who used to report for the Sac Bee and is now at SI) offers a tremendous feature on Damian Lillard.

Here's another article (discount the mixup in using the word Rebels instead of Soldiers in the seventh paragraph) that delves into Lillard's background.

This third Lillard feature comes from Cowbell Kingdom.

Another Drew Gordon draft item

Raphielle Johnson has Drew Gordon among his Top 10 Power Forwards in the NBA draft.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Getting a kick out of Jeremy Russotti's GET OUT OF MY GYM TWEETS -- here's a sample:

* If you say in my workouts, "why are we working on Defense"? GET OUT OF MY GYM. Defense is 50% of the game! It has to be trained as well

* If you are not willing to take a charge for your teammates and always wimp out - GET OUT OF MY GYM. Be tough for your teammates

* If your goal in life is to be on as many mix tape highlights as you can, then make a signal to the camera after - "GET OUT OF MY GYM"

Disagreement as loyalty

Loyalty is supreme in college basketball coaching but ponder this: is disagreeing or offering alternative ideas/suggestions being disloyal or uber loyal?

Not carrying out a final decision though is a no-brainer.

Some coaches (just likes bosses) want yes-persons on their staff while others want no-holds-barred full input.

DC Bruins @ Bruins Nation offers something for Coach Ben Howland to consider (along with some fascinating UCLA basketball history).

Brian Shaw for head coach

Tom Sorenson endorses Oakland native Brian Shaw as the best choice to head the Charlotte Bobcats.

A regional Drew Gordon workout

Drew Gordon recently worked out with the Sacramento Kings:

Renardo Sidney is who he is

No NorCal related but here's predicting Renardo Sidney doesn't even make it overseas (and making this statement brings no joy). 

We too often forget that basketball prodigies are human just like the rest of us and therefore subject to the same set of demons. But it's still sad to see opportunity discarded and talent unrealized.

Remember Justin Davis?

Justin Davis is Bay Area through and through and now he is back and giving back.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

To coach or not to coach, that is the question

Why would anyone choose to hand the stability of his or her employment over to the performances of 18 to 22 year-olds? And that's after getting 16, 17 and 18 year-olds to believe in the first place.

Think about it.

Whether or not you remain employed and all the possibilities emanating from such are in the hands of young men.

Freud would have probably left his profession after being unable to get to the core of this conundrum.

Maybe it's a virus and once exposed to, there's no known antidote.

Or just an in-the-trenches, take-your-chances bravery?

Or is it simply because coaches gotta coach?

Make up your own mind but first read the following, an education on the coaching profession from newly appointed Sacramento State Associate Head Coach Brandon Laird.

But first some quick background.

Laird attended and played basketball for El Camino High School in Sacramento. He then played and graduated from UC Davis. His coaching résumé includes stints at El Camino, Davis and Menlo College, the latter as both an assistant and a head coach.

So why do individuals willingly enter the coaching ranks?

"I don't know if any coach can ever answer that," Laird responded.

Or each may have a separate reason for entering the world's ficklest profession, one where winning makes you a genius while losing engenders the likes of visceral hatred normally reserved for puppy kickers.

Growing up, Laird had the situation many enjoy, that being himself and his three brothers living and breathing sports.

But once the playing days are concluded, something can be missing.

For Laird, "it was a profession I was drawn to because I felt comfortable in a locker room environment. I believe I have a good understanding of how athletes think and are motivated."

Some label it a calling but whether it's of the higher or lower order is in the brain and lungs of the ticket holder, the often capricious fan base member.

It could have been business, finance, even law school for Laird but "the being part of a team and working with young men proved irresistible."

Thinking he might want to coach, he got into substitute teaching at El Camino High. "I felt I wanted to stay in basketball" so he assisted Coach Justin Clymo and "I realized it was what I wanted to do."

But Laird offers this admonition: "You can't chart a career path because the coaching profession is so unpredictable. Every story is unique. I had no idea where I was going with it but I knew it was something I wanted to do. Call it blind faith."

But the stars have certainly been aligned for Laird.

"I've been blessed to stay in northern California my entire life, and now to stay and work in my hometown with Coach Katz at Sacramento State. Each job opened at the right time and that's something so hard to get at this level. It's very rare that time and place come together. I always take the approach to work as hard as I can at my current job and not worry about what's next."

As for evaluating the employment possibilities, Laird offered, "choose who you are going to surround yourself with so that it's a positive environment and that you're aligned with a head coach with whom you share a similar philosophy and values. It's your family and you'll spend more time with them than your real family. You want to be in a good environment, with good people and good student/athletes."

He added, "everyday I'm trying to absorb new information and learn. Our job, as assistant coaches, is to understand what the head coach wants and help him in any capacity."

Laird also amusingly noted that "when you're an assistant coach, you're always right. You make the best calls and suggestions. But as a head coach, it's so much tougher because you have to own those decisions, even when they are wrong.”

Asked about the standard belief that every coach pines to become the head one, Laird said, "You would be surprised at the ratio. A lot of coaches are happy as an assistant. Some like scouting and game preparation, others love skill development and working out guys. Other assistants enjoy the recruiting or the day-to-day administrative tasks. As a head coach, it’s entirely different, you have 13-17 players and 5-7 staff all under your umbrella. Running a program is a lot like running a business organization with the head coach serving as CEO.”

Laird also explained the opportunities that can be available at the various levels.

"So many people think coaching is putting on a suit and tie and being on television Thursday and Saturday nights, but remember there are many great jobs at the NAIA, D-3 and D-2 levels. Don't pigeonhole yourself to a specific level or job and be open to everything. Be bold, take risks. Some of best coaches I've seen are at lower levels."

He also counseled, "my best advice is to love it. Be committed, be fully invested, with no hesitation or backup plan. Otherwise the job has the potential to eat you up."

Continuing on, Laird offered, "you have to be thick skinned as a coach, especially nowadays with the non-stop social media and non-stop highlights. Plus, there's not a lot of balance in your life because it's a 24/7/365 job."

He added one very important aspect: "it’s very likely that you will have very little income or stability for the first 8-10 years."


For those still envisioning coaching as their profession, Laird offered this advice for breaking in: "the biggest challenge is getting your foot in the door. Get connected with a school and a program in any capacity you can, even as a team manager. Get aligned and work your tail off. Even if an opportunity doesn't appear where you are, an opposing coach might be impressed with your work or you might make a connection with an assistant who will become a head coach one day and want to hire you on his staff."

So forget those "be all that you can be" and "be an army of one" clarion calls -- try 'be publicly second guessed for 40 minutes a night and love it.'

Because it's in the blood.

The best article yet on DL

Hardwood -- James Herbert -- Paroxysm serves up a Damian Lillard feature unlike so many others as Dame directly addresses the silly 'can he pass' queries posted by some. The article also has a great opening line. Enjoy.

More on Jabari Bird

So does Jabari Bird go with his father's alma mater or head to the Evergreen State? The gut says the latter but also predicted that San Antonio would be in the NBA finals so forewarned is fairwarned.

More national pub for Dakarai Allen

Van Coleman interviews Dakarai Allen.

There're playing summer ball in Sacramento

Bill Paterson thankfully keeps the coverage of Sacto area prep basketball going even during summer. Offer him a big thank you.

An interview with Gael-to-be Cullen Neal

Chad Groth interviews 2013 St. Mary's commit Cullen Neal, who will be a great get for Randy Bennett and the Gaels.

NorCal shooting guard NBA draft prospects

Mike Miller offers his 10 best shooting guards available in the NBA draft and two are Nor Cal products:
7. Orlando Johnson, Sr. Santa Barbara: Johnson was a prolific scorer the last three years and delivered when it mattered for the Gauchos, leading them to two NCAA tournament appearances. But he’s a volume scorer who has average size and athleticism.


9. Jared Cunningham, Jr. Oregon State: No guard prospect boasts more athleticism than Cunningham. He’s not overly skilled, but would be an immediate boosts as a defensive player and spark off the bench. His shot and ball-handling need work, but this might be the player with the most upside in this group.

Harrison prepping for big senior season

Santa Clara Bronco Sports highlights former Bellarmine Prep star Niyi Harrison, who is heading into his senior year.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Marquin Chandler, the next chapter

Marquin Chandler is not your man in the gray flannel suit. Yes, he is part professional basketball player and multiple-tatted but also registers as a businessman/entrepreneur who is smart, focused, driven and a family man. Maybe Renaissance Man applies, multi-faceted certainly does.

He has come a long way from his beginnings in Oakland yet he still resides there and possesses a strong allegiance to the area. Similar to a number of other athletes with such roots, it's a matter of 'you can take him out of O-Town but you can't take O-Town out of him.'

Now flush from very successful stints abroad in the Philippines and South Korea as well as elsewhere, he took this year off to both regenerate and to facilitate various business enterprises.

But all was not champagne and roses in his life.

Way back when, Chandler was attending his second high school but on his third high school basketball team, that being Newark Memorial High, where he formed a kinship with Craig Ashmore, the long time basketball coach there.

"I had an aunt living there and she wanted me to come," Chandler recalled.

That proved to be a turning point.

Because "I was on the wrong track," Chandler readily admits.  

But that turned around -- no, make that he turned it around.

 According to Chandler, his transformation had a lot to do with Coach Ashmore.

"He was stern but very understanding and me and him had an understanding. He is one of my favorite coaches and I believe he could easily be a college coach."

In his time at Newark Memorial, Chandler developed into a college basketball prospect.

So much so that after graduation, it was off to George Washington University in our nation's capital -- "I chose George Washington because I connected well with the coach and because it's one of the top universities in the country academically."

But there's an interesting back story before his heading off to D.C.

Chandler recalled "Baylor was my #1 choice because they were the first team putting in the time and effort in recruiting me."

But as time went on, teams grew impatient and pulled out of his recruiting process.

Indicating how access to information has become commonplace of late but not necessarily so just a short number of years ago, Chandler was unaware he needed to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) in order receive a scholarship to play in college.

"Coach Ashmore told me that 'you can't get a scholarship without taking the SAT' so I had to do it. I didn't pass until June and by then a lot of offers had disappeared."

He liked his time at GW but, two years later, the pull of home and a young daughter proved irresistible.

So Chandler transferred to San Jose State University in 2002, redshirting his first year, then playing his last two. As a senior in 2004-2005, he averaged 19.6 points and 8.6 rebounds, with high of 33 points against Rice and 32 versus Hawaii -- all this despite a shoulder injury as a result of having to lay down his motorcycle on the pavement when a driver pulled out in front of him. Still, his name is scattered throughout the Spartan basketball record book. 

Academically, he chose an interesting major and for a particular reason.

It was administration of justice.

"I grew up in Oakland with a lot of crime and I thought I could be a mentor because of my street credibility," Chandler explained. He is especially proud of his earning his B.A. because "me making it to college was a big step and I'm the only member of my family on either side with a college degree."

On the court, especially in his senior season, watching him perform were Adam and Ben Pensack of the Pensack Sports Management Group.

They introduced themselves and the relationship bloomed from there.

"They scouted me, liked what they saw and were very genuine," Chandler recalled. "I respected that because finding the right agent is big."

There was a Sacramento Kings tryout followed by time in Belgium before Chandler eventually landed in the Philippine Basketball Association. Again, it was another good pairing.

"I was kind of looked at as a funny, real skinny kid" but then his ability to score and rebound made a strong impression.

It was a situation where the team took care of his housing but his initiation off the court was a very different experience.

"I didn't speak the language but soon I learned enough of it and also learned my way around," he remembered. "I'm very adaptable." So much so that he has a business in the Philippines to this day.

His year there was followed by a season in Latvia and then Singapore with a team possessing a for-the-record-books name: the Singapore Slingers.

Next was a successful stint in South Korea.

Chandler then returned to the Philippines, followed by spent two seasons back in South Korea before finishing out in Bahrain and then Portugal.

It was while in Bahrain that he noticed the court had a fence around it with a gate, a setup designed to handle unruly fans although Chandler never experienced any of the situations abroad that sometimes make headlines.

As for his travels, Chandler recalled "I had trouble in Belgium and Korea with the language but pretty much everybody in the Philippines spoke English."

Looking back, the various teammates he played with "welcomed you. There wasn't much resentment but you do get a sour apple once in a while."

It really wasn't until his time in Portugal where some jealousy finally appeared.

There was also the aspect of having money for the first time.

"I realized early on I didn't know how to handle money because I never had any," Chandler said. "But one time when I got hurt, it gave me a glimpse of what could happen if I couldn't play anymore."

The Pensacks helped with this aspect and Chandler is doing well.

He is currently pursuing business opportunities in the East Bay, one in particular that especially hits home for him -- ABG Sports Training ( which is still under construction).

"There is pretty good talent in the Bay Area, a nice crop of players, who don't get the attention they deserve. I want to have a major facility like the ones in Las Vegas, Chicago and other places where the young guys can train alongside the pros. When I was 12, 13, I was in the same gym with Brian Shaw and I want to help out the next generation."

About one such talent, Chandler said, "I saw Damian Lillard in high school and I saw his growth throughout the years and about two years ago I told Ben Pensack that he's going to the NBA. Now he is the top point guard in the draft."

Chandler may return overseas to ply his trade once again but being with his family and acting on his dream are just as important.

Here's Adam Pensack on Chandler: "I have given Marquin some pointers for sure with his training business as he gets it up and running but the business he has in the Philippines is all his own doing though. Marquin has an acute innate business sense. He is just really entrepreneurial by nature and he is not afraid to put his ideas into action. Fortunately, he has good judgement so things have tended to work out well for him. He has a gift for business much like his gift for basketball so I really believe he will do well with his training business down the line." 

Call Chandler a local who made good and is now intent on giving back.