Monday, December 31, 2012

Jaguars win tourney title

San Jose City College took the championship of the Hancock Holiday Classic with an 82-76 victory over Allan Hancock College on Sunday in Santa Maria.

Brad Memberto game reports.

JC scores from yesterday

* Lassen College 85, Contra Costa College 77

* Bakersfield College 65, Fresno City College 54

* Chabot College 59, College of Alameda 53

* College of the Redwoods 81, Southwest Oregon 74

Sequoias 60, Cosumnes River 56

From last week, for third place in the Chabot College tourney:

College of the Sequoias

Bill Borekambi 13 2-5 28
Troy Norris 1 8-11 11,

Cosumnes River College

Charles Standifer 11 4-6 31 (five treys)

Sierra 61, Reedley 49

From last week:

Sierra College

Jordan Ngatai 5 5-5 15
Gabe (River Valley High) Finley 5 2-4 12
Pogos (Cordiva High) Trunyan 4 0-0 11 (three treys)

Reedley College

Andre Frazier-Stanley 7 2-5 17

It's Heritage time

Heritage High took the championship of the Don Bambauer Memorial Holiday Classic with a 72-52 victory over St. Joseph. Backcourter George Johnson was named the most valuable player. Earlier in the season, he totaled 30 points (including six treys) in a win over Castro Valley High. Talk about coming on.

Dunbar powers SI

Zack Farmer covers Trevor Dunbar leading St. Ignatius to a tournament championship in the San Dune Classic on Saturday.

More on Bird & Rabb

Edward Lewis writes after recently viewing Jabai Bird: "...Cal-bound 2013 guard Jabari Bird, didn't have his best week of basketball statistically, but he was by far the most Division I-ready player in the tournament. A noticeably more bulked up 6-feet, 175 pounds, Bird scored from every level, showcased some incredible athleticism at both ends of the floor, and was the best player on the court in every game..."

Lewis also wrote about Ivan Rabb so hit the free link.

Fresno handles Sonoma

As expected, Fresno State handled visiting Sonoma State 89-64. Tyler (St. Francis High) Johnson scored a career best 25 points for the Bulldogs and the Seawolves were led by guard Will (El Camino High) Olsem's 13 points.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chico State romps

Chico State had zero trouble last night with host Cal State Stanislaus to the tune of 86-48. Chico SID Luke Reid has the details.

Chabot and Alameda triumph

In one Chabot Classic tournament semi-final:

Chabot 70, DeAnza 56

Chabot College

Greg Brown 5 3-4 15
John (San Leandro High) Darwin 5 4-5 15

De Anza College

Dawson (Castro Valley High) Johnson 6 3-7 16
Stefan Demirovic 5 0-0 11


In the other semi-final:

Alameda 59, Las Positas 58, OT

Las Positas College

Jacob (Amador Valley High) Contreras 6 1-1 15
Booker (Berkeley High) Shabazz 1 8-10 11

College of Alameda

Reggie (Fremont High) Henderson 7 6-6 20
Harold (Pinole High) Perry 4 3-7 11

DVC bests Skyline

In the Crowne Plaza Invitational tourney, Diablo Valley totaled 56 points to 52 for Skyline College.

Diablo Valley College

Mike (Monte Vista High) Harris 6 5-6 17
Jelani (Freedom High) Hardaway 4 0-0 10

Skyline College

Brandon (Mills High) Berkovatz 5 3-6 13
Aaron (Wallenberg High) Brown 2 5-6 10


In the Allan Hancock Tournament down in Santa Maria, San Jose City College topped Fresno City College 78-67. Coach Percy Carr's squad faces Allan Hancock College today at 5 p.m. in the championship game.

San Jose City College

Bobby (Nimitz High) Gray 7 7-8 21
Andre (San Leandro High) Russell 8 3-3 19
Nedim (Willow Glen High) Mechanic 4 0-0 10

Fresno City College

Udun Osakue 6 1-2 15
Olajuwon Garner 6 1-1 14
Colton Hafey 4 0-0 10
Chris Ashanti 2 6-6 10
Junior Morgan 5 0-0 10

To get to that game, the Jaguars took down Cuesta College 79-73.

San Jose City College

Bobby (Nimitz High) Gray 8 2-4 19
Aaron Armstead 6 1-1 15
Frankie (Rodriguez High) Johnson 6 0-0 15 (three treys)
Andre (San Leandro High) Russell 4 2-4 10
Christopher (Oak Grove High) Turner 5 0-0 10

Sac City prevails over Columbia

Ron Agostini reports on Columbia College's 74-58 loss to Sacramento City College.

PA gets by McKinleyville

In the championship game of the Windsor Tournament, Paly came out a deuce better than McKinleyville High, 62-60.

Palo Alto High

Mathias Schmutz 9-0-19
Aldis Petriceks 5-5-17
Aubrey Dawkins 5-0-12

McKinleyville High

Parker Farris 6-7-23 (four treys)
Ashton Pomrehn 6-0-15 (three treys)

Serra tops Dublin

In the championship game of the Tim Cole Memorial Tournament, Serra proved eight better, 71-63, than Dublin.

Serra High

Henry Caruso 10-5-27
Jacqui Biggins 4-12-22
Eddie Stansbury 4-0-11 (three treys)

Dublin High

JoJo McGlaston 7-8-25 (three treys)
Jamir Andrews 7-3-11

The games and scores from Bay Preps

As usual, Bay Preps is all over the high school games and scores from last night.

MC falls in title game

Brian VanderBeek covers host Modesto Christin's 90-65 loss to El Camino Real in the championship game of the Modesto Christian Holiday Hoop Classic.

Nunez stars in Sierra High tourney victory

Per the Stockton Record, backcourter Guillermo Nunez led Sierra High to a 56-47 win over Central Catholic High and was honored as the Columbia Memorial Holiday Tournament most valuable player.

Coverage of Dakarai Allen

Edward Lewis gets up close to Dakarai Allen.

The Bells over the Mustangs

Cameron Scott/Nor Cal Preps offers a full game report on Bellarmine's victory over Monte Vista.

Stanford wins, Lemons starts

It was Stanford 65-59 over visiting Lafayette with the notable event of junior Robbie Lemons starting for Coach Johnny Dawkins. The former Sacramento Country Day High star scored seven points and nabbed four rebounds in 24 minutes.

Tony Johnson, Les Smith, Bryce Scott and Ben Freeland all got to make a return visit home for the Leopards.

Host Irvine overtimes Davis

In overtime (in which the Anteaters scored all 11 points, UC Irvine took down UC Davis 69-58. For the Aggies, Josh Ritchart totaled 15 points and seven rebounds

USF over Dominican

USF topped Dominican University 90-76 behind 20 points and seven assists from De'End Parker plus 19 points and eight boards from Mark Tollefsen.

Fullerton over Santa Barbara

Host Fullertion took down UC Santa Barbara 86-79 last night as Sammy Yeager busted out for 30 points (eight treys) and Kwame Vaughn was close behind with 27 (12-12 from the foul line).

Nate Garth went for nine points plus eight assists for the Gauchos while T.J. Taylor produced nine points and five assists.

San Leandro take tourney

Cameron Schott/Nor Cal Preps game reports the San Leandro High win over El Camino High in the championship game of the St. Francis tourney.

CCSF over Cabrillo

Caught the Cabrillo College - City College of San Francisco matchup last night -- it turned out to be an 82-51 victory for the visiting Rams.

CCSF led 44-26 at the half but the Seahawks held an 11-8 early lead before all went the way of Coach Justin Lebagh's group as Cabrillo got "Dulani-ed" or "Robinson-ed" -- take your pick.

The undefeated Rams (15-0) are likely to remain so for the season (just what Coach Labagh wants to read) and here's the rationale for such a prediction:

* Athleticism - nobody else has the same bevy of athletes as those residing on the Ram roster

* Defense - comes first like it's in the DNA of the CCSF players as they pressure one-on-one on the outside like madmen and overplay/ballhawk on even basic passes

* Unselfishness - if 'D' is first, next to it is unselfishness as on one play in the first half there were four passes all in the paint from different Ram players as each could have gone up but sacrificed that for an even better look for a teammate

CCSF is not necessarily a great shooting team but athleticism, defense and unselfishness don't take nights off like a shooting touch can do.

For Cabrillo, Northern Arizona bounceback Colin Gruber totaled a very well-earned 16 points.

Andrew Matheson/Santa Cruz Sentinel has the game report.

Butterfield is en fuego

In a WAC opener, Uath State prevailed 71-67 over host Texas San Antonio with former Yuba College star Spencer Butterfield producing 14 points (6-7 shooting) and seven rebounds. For the season, he's at 15-30 shooting from long distance.

USU Stats posted this today: "Spencer Butterfield – I’ve loved this kid’s game ever since I saw the youtube vids of him playing in JC ball. He’s a perfect fit for the Aggies and Stew’s style of play. Hard nosed, tough player. Plays tough defense, and plays with some serious confidence out there. He hit a HUGE clutch three tonight to seal the victory for us on the road and has had several clutch plays this year. I figured he would start at some point along the way this year, and with Berger going down he has. I’m very glad we have him because I don’t think there is much of a drop off at all between him and Danny. Oh, and he’s shooting around 50% from the three point line so far this year if you need him, good enough for top 5 all-time in a single season."

Pacific falls but Gill shines

Pacific fell to Long Beach State down south 67-63 yesterday afternoon but former Cosumnes River College big Tony Gill posted a line of 10 points plus eight rebounds in just 15 minutes of play for the Tigers.

Obeysekere stars even though HC falls

It was Boston College 70-60 over Holy Cross but former Miramonte High big Eric Obeysekere, now a senior, scored a career high 17 points (7-8 shooting) while nabbing six boards for the Crusaders.

Odister powers Cal Poly

Kyle (Rio Americano High) Odister tallied 14 points (4-7 from long distance) in 25 minutes as Cal Poly handled UC Riverside last night 58-48. Freshman Taylor (Sacred Heart Cathedral High) Johns enjoyed six rebounds and five points in 21 minutes of play for the Highlanders.

Oakland falls but Carter hits double figures

Oakland University fell to IUPUI 84-62 on Saturday with Raphael (Diablo Valley College) Carter scoring 12 points (5-5 shooting) and grabbing four boards in 17 minutes of court time for Oakland.

Anderson starts again

Former Castro Valley High wing Juan Anderson started again for Marquette last night in a 75-66 victory, scoring nine points, grabbing three rebounds and passing for a pair of assists in 17 minutes of action.

Updates on Andrew Young & Kyle Toth

Host Texas A&M took down Army 61-55 with former MPC star Andrew Young totaling eight rebounds and five points in 20 minutes of play for the victors.

Backcourter Kyle Toth, a freshman at West Point and formerly of Archbishop Mitty, scored 13 points (3-6 from long distance).

On a trio of Nor Cal preps

This Rivals article (a non-subscription piece) covers the latest on Ivan Rabb, Dakarai Allen and D'Erryl Williams.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

JC scores from last night

* San Jose City College 79, Cuesta College 73

San Jose CC 

Bobby (Nimitz High) Gray 19 points
Aaron Amstead 15 points
Frankie (Rodriguez High) Johnson 15 points


 * Cosumnes River College 73, Las Positas College 57


Brenden (Washington High) Glapion 19 points, eight boards


Other scores: 

* Sacramento City College 82, Siskiyous College 66

* Fresno City College 69, Butte College 51   

* Skyline College 77, Shasta College 64   

* Lassen College 71, College of Alameda 68

CCC tops Chabot

In the initial round of the Chabot Classic:

Contra Costa 64, Chabot 51

Contra Costa College

Justin (St. Mary's) Pollard 5 0-0 13 (three treys)
Dasieon (Jess Bethel High) Cole 3 4-4 10

Chabot College

Greg Brown 6 9-12 24 (three treys)

Santa Monica by seven over DVC

In the Crowne Plaza Invitational:

Santa Monica 72, Diablo Valley 65

Santa Monica College

David Nwaba 9 3-5 22
William Taylor 7 1-2 20 (five treys)

Diablo Valley College

Juwan (Liberty High) Blakeley 5 2-2 16 (four treys)
Jelani (Freedom High) Hardaway 4 2-2 10

Ohlone has no trouble with Gavilan

In Gilroy:

Ohlone 74, Gavilan 48

Ohlone College

Chris (Castro Valley High) Read 7 2-4 17
Warren (Castro Valley High) Wright 4 1-1 9

Gavilan College

Joel Sales 3 3-4 9

Foothill tops MPC

 At Monterey Peninsula College:

Foothill 61, Monterey Peninsula 50

Foothill College

Stephen (Serra High) Grosey 6 3-6 16
Brendan (St. Lawrence High) Carroll 4 4-7 12
Brandon (Woodside Priory) Willhite 3 3-4 11

Monterey Peninsula College

Zen (Santa Cruz High) Maki 4 5-6 14
Adam (El Camino High) Myren 5 2-2 13

Sequoias over DeAnza

At the Chabot Tournament:

College of the Sequoias 69, De Anza 63 (OT)

College of the Sequoias 

Bill Borekambi 7 5-6 19
David Love 5 2-2 13

De Anza College

Dawson (Castro Valley High) Johnson 7 3-6 20 (three treys)
Abu (St. Francis High) Tratter 5 3-7 13
Denzel (Santa Teresa High) Copeland 4 2-2 11

Modesto Christian wins again

As Brian VanderBeek reports, Modesto Christian handled Bishop Alemany with ease. The final score was 84-60.

SI over SC

Matthew Snyder has the details of the St. Ignatius 69-45 triumph over Santa Cruz High. Trevor Dunbar finished with 19 points for the victors.

Brown's effort not enough for Mizzou

UCLA met the challenge of Missouri 97-94 in overtime at Pauley Pavilion last night although the Show-Me-Starters enjoyed 14 points (4-8 from long distance) and seven rebounds from Jabari Brown.

Bellarmine wins again

A tweet from Cameron Schott: "Bellarmine beats Monte Vista 58-52 behind 18 points from Grant Vermeer"

Fellow senior backcourter Isaac Gayles contributed 14 points. That makes the Bells 10-0 and with just three of those contests at home.

Important numbers for the Aggies

UC Davis athletics has compiled some interesting stats on a few of the Aggies. Among those:

* "For the fourth consecutive week, Ryan Sypkens leads all players in the nation with 4.27 three-point field goals made per game. The junior guard is also ranked No. 6 in the country with his .522 three-point field goal percentage..."

* "Sophomore forward J.T. Adenrele is another Aggie that sits atop a statistical category; entering this weekend's game against the UC Irvine Anteaters, Adenrele leads all Big West players with a .618 field goal percentage, and is No. 4 in blocks averaging 1.5 per game..."

Friday, December 28, 2012

A one time viewing of the Foothill College Owls

Foothill College in Los Altos Hills stands 12-2 as of today.

Who have the Owls taken down?

Try victories against Cabrillo, Ohlone (OT), West Valley, Alameda, San Joaquin Delta (OT), West Hills, Solano, Cabrillo, Shasta, Diablo Valley, Monterey Peninsula and Merced.

The two setbacks? 53-50 versus DeAnza and 79-62 on opening night against Merritt.

Coach Shanan Rosenberg's roster is not a physically imposing one with 6-foot-8 Daan Mutsaers the tallest member and he hits the scales at just 200 pounds.

6-foot-6 Stephen Grosey is the Foothill offensive lynchpin, even as a freshman. He has the length to consistently get his shot off against opponents despite himself being on the thin side.

The Owl offense is based on movement, spacing and unselfishly sharing the ball. The backcourters (among them Suhail Mohammadi, Daryl Wong, Jack Biebel, Ryan Cali and Brendan Carroll) especially will dribble drive to the hoop, keep their heads up (a key) and typically kick out the ball to an open teammate for a jumpshot, be it a deuce or a trey attempt.

But there were times against the Ohlone College zone on December 16 where the shot clock went into the red zone and required attempting high degree of difficulty shot attempts as the Owls backcourters couldn't always create separation. But they can often enough work towards getting a decent-to-good look.

Rebounding is a necessary team effort for Foothill and Rosenberg has guards willing to mix it up inside.

Defensively, the Owl backcourters can be beaten on dribble-drives but not consistently and the five on the floor displays solid help defense. Again, it's a team effort.

The Coast Division-North has the big dog in City College of San Francisco plus Ohlone, Cañada, Chabot, Las Positas and Skyline, in addition to Foothill. The first division finish is going to be a real battle even if nobody has the firepower or athletic prowess to catch the Rams.

Catching up with the Bay Valley Conference

The Bay Valley Conference is not going to be a concede-it-to-Yuba College rule of thumb in 2012-13 as a number of the members have a real shot at capturing the title this season.

Contra Costa College currently leads with a 7-3 record, followed by Marin College at 7-3, Los Medanos College with a 9-4 record and Yuba College standing 6-6.

Plus, Mendocino College is above .500 at 6-5, Solano stands a surprising 5-6 and Merritt College is playing better of late despite a 3-7 record as the Thunderbird losses are by five points, three points, six points, seven points, seven points again and two points.

Also, Napa Valley College is at 3-7 with College of Alameda 3-4.

The teams above are presented in order of the strongest RPI for the season so far.

As for perennial power Yuba, frosh Chris (Center High) Smith is second on  the youthful 49er squad with 14.4 points each time out as sophomore Achoki Moikobu is on top with 14.9 points.

Contra Costa is led by Davion (Salesian High) Maize's 12.5 points per contest followed by fellow first year player Larry (Vallejo High) Wickett's 12.5.

Marin is being paced by 16.4 points a contest from Joey (Casa Grande High) Rodriguez, who also leads with 33 assists this season. Rodriguez is shooting a remarkable 49% overall, 46% from long distance.

Los Medanos College has an influx of youth with 13 frosh making up the roster. Drew (Antioch High) Cones, Patrick (Mt. Diablo High) Lefiti and Nick (Freedom High) Blount are leading the way.

Also worth noting is that three Merritt freshman are scoring in double figures with Delvon (McClymonds High) Nisby at 10.7 points per contest along with Marcus (Bishop O'Dowd) Green and Christopher (Muhammed University High School) Patterson right behind at 10.7 and 10.3 respectively. Patterson is also nabbing 9.9 rebounds each outing alongside 21 blocked shots in 10 games. Soph Josh (Berkeley High) Amey has passed for 97 assists while fellow second-year player Eric El Cerrito High) Nelson paces the Thunderbirds with 12.4 points per outing.

So do watch how the Bay Valley plays out as conference action soon begins.

How the heck is Moreau Catholic doing it?

What's with those old axioms like George Bernard Shaw's "youth is wasted on the young"?

Count Moreau High Coach Frank Knight as much more optimistic but with an underlying dose of realism. Like Aristotle and "good habits formed at youth make all the difference" or Joseph Addison with "the unassuming youth seeking instruction with humility gains good fortune."

Knight's 2012-13 roster (just below) is dotted with seven freshmen and they are the ones on the court most often for the Mariners who stand 8-4 overall, 1-0 in Mission Valley Athletic League play.

* Jordan Matthews  Fr.
* Malcolm Solomon Sr.   
* Colin Suarez Sr.   
* Nick Kinas Sr.   
* Edgar Surya Sr.   
* Zeo Gua  Jr.   
* Armond Simmons Fr.   
* Trevor Brown Jr.   
* Ryan Regner Fr.   
* Tyler Klingenbeck So.   
* Brandon Lawrence Fr.   
* Oscar Frayer Fr.   
* Calvin Lau Fr.   
* Richard Hampton Fr.   
* Wyatt Carscadden Jr.   
* Conan True Jr.

In fact, 6-foot-5 frosh Oscar Frayer leads in just about every category with 14.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and three blocked shots a contest. Knight said, "He is a really, really special player."

5-foot-11 freshman Armond Simmons is posting 11.6 points and 4.6 assists a game and Knight offered, "He is very good too, a strong and smart player."

Plus, 6-foot-1 Brandon Lawrence is also in his initial year of high school and he provides instant energy coming on the bench as a sixth man averaging 10 points each time out.

Then there is 6-foot-5 Jordan Matthews, another ninth grader who came over from playing football earlier this year.

Another prep novice is 6-foot-4 Calvin Lau, the backup at center.

6-foot-2 Richard Hampton adds depth to the Mariner sets of wings and, yes, he is yet another freshman.

Frosh Ryan Regner, a 6-foot backcourter, backs up at the point.

In his third year at Moreau, Knight explained the influx of newbies "provides great competition, the best we've had. We can go one through 13 with very little dropoff. Our practices are brutal with guys getting after it and our subs can do just as good or better sometimes."

But Knight cautions, "we make our share of mistakes. Our next games are Newark and Logan so we will really get to find out what we are made of in the next few weeks."

It's a tricky balance, the offering of encouragement to the young talent but also not wanting to create any sense of over-satisfaction and a resting on any laurels.

Come mid-February, we'll know how all these challenges were met.

Bay Preps with scores from last night

Bay Preps is all over last night's prep contests held throughout the state and beyond.

SI by five over Burlingame

John Baker reports on the St. Ignatius 59-54 takedown of Burlingame High.

Wallace still hurt but back on the court

Brian VanderBeek reports T.J. Wallace is still injured but playing and the latter means good things for Modesto Christian High.

Thames scores on the SAT

A West Coast Hoops tweet: "Shout out to Pleasant Grove 2013 Malik Thames for getting a qualifying score on his SAT"

Hurley salutes Dellavedova

There's more love for Matthew Dellavedova here.

DRinCA with more on the Bear Cub win over Yuba

DRinCA has posted his game report of the Santa Rosa Junior College championship game victory this past weekend over Yuba College in the Kris Kringle Classic. Santa Rosa sophomore Connor Gillette was name the MVP.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

ARC 75, Mendocino 67

DRinCA was present and accounted for in American River College's 75-67 victory over Mendocino for third place in the Kris Kringle Classic this past weekend in Santa Rosa.

LMC 66, Shasta 53

DRinCA is all over the Los Medanos College 66-53 win over Shasta College in play at the Kris Kringle Classic in Santa Rosa this past weekend.

Bowles crusading

Brian VanderBeek details the latest effort by Raymond Bowles in lieu of absences from T.J. Wallace and Zerrion Payton.

Bay Preps on Bay Area scores

Bay Preps is again loaded with scores from squads all around the Bay Area, including a bounceback by Mitty.

Sacto prep scores

The Sacramento Bee has tournament scores for some of the top teams in the Sac area -- Burbank, Antelope, Capital Christian and Sheldon posted wins.

Romar on Simmons

From a Percy Allen column today, it's Coach Romar talking about Desmond Simmons: “It’s been really good to see that whole thing unfold. … So many outside influences sometimes are telling you got to get yours, you got to do this (but) Desmond is one that he just looks at what he does best and on our team no one does it better.”

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

More Santa Rosa JC basketball video

Here is video of Santa Rosa Junior College beating Yuba College in the championship game of the Kris Kringle Classic tourney.

Agree or disagree?

From Seth Davis: "Next time you're listening to a color analyst call a game, ask yourself: Is he just reacting to what he sees, or did he prepare? The ones who prepare are the ones worth listening to."

Prepared or not, just tell viewers the 'why' of what just happened rather than re-describing what was just seen.


From Seth Davis: "When a player is described as not being vocal but rather a "leader by example," I'm not buying it. I don't think you can be a good leader without using your voice. To me, "leading by example" means not leading."

This article on Matthew Dellavedova is all about leadership.

Arizona by one over San Diego State

An ugly as sin first half turned into must-see TV as Arizona held off San Diego State last night 68-67.

Mark Ziegler reports from the Aztec perspective.

Arizona athletics checks in Wildcat style.

Below is that last second play by Nick Johnson.

More on Sacto area hoops

Bill Paterson is all over recent games and those to come for a number of teams in and around Sacramento.

Francisco and Bossi on Rabb

Here's ESPN's Joel Francisco after recently viewing Ivan Rabb:
Best California Prospect
Ivan Raab (Oakland/Bishop O'Dowd)
2015, PF, 6-8, 195
Status: Claims offers from Arizona and California, with interest from North Carolina, Ohio State, Oregon and Oregon State among others
Raab is an outstanding prospect for the elite high-major level. Blessed with very long arms, soft hands and quick leaping ability, his upside is immense. He converted buckets over his left shoulder and threw down a number of rim-rattling dunks as well. He struggled scoring through contact at times and needs to continue to polish his footwork (he traveled many times while finishing), but overall he is much further along than Arizona frosh Brandon Ashley at the same stage.
Plus, Eric Bossi checks in:
Rabb was outstanding at the Tarkanian Classic. The power forward from Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd dominated in the two games we watched. He's long, lean, quick off the floor, has great hands and can run. Given that he's 15 years old, it's no surprise that Rabb's offense is still developing, but it isn't exactly raw. He can face and hit 15-footers, spin to either shoulder for buckets, and he looks comfortable setting up to operate on either side of the lane. Time should allow him to add strength and continue to be more assertive as a rebounder and shot blocker. Arizona, California, UCLA, UNLV, North Carolina and many more are tracking his early progress closely.

Josh Gershon on Dakarai Allen

From Josh Gershon after viewing Sheldon High's play recently down south:
"Dakarai Allen, SF, Sheldon: Allen did it all in a tight win against Redondo Union. He was aggressively attacking the rim from buzzer to buzzer, and usually either scored the points or got to the charity stripe. He tallied up some steals and blocks on defense – including some big ones down the stretch – and had some nice drive and dishes to teammates for assists. Allen hit a step-back jumper from about 15-feet out that helped seal the game for his team. Few players on the West Coast impact the game in as many areas that Allen does and he scored 34 points in his final game of the tournament."

Jordan Richardson honored

Former West (Tracy) High backcourter Jordan Richardson has been named the the Big Sky Conference Co-Player of the Week.

The Top 20 in Sacto

Here's the area's Top 20 squads according to the Sacramento Bee.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa Rosa JC versus Hartnell video

Here's video of Santa Rosa Junior College taking on Hartnell College in an opening round game as part of the Kris Kringle tournament.

More on the Modesto JC win

DRinCa has much more on Modesto Junior College's 90-75 victory Friday over Moorpark.

Santa Rosa JC wins tourney

Santa Rosa Junior College took down a trio of opponents to win its own Kris Kringle Classic tournament. Joe Pasquini has the details here and here.

Over a three day period (Thursday, Friday, Saturday), it was the Bear Cubs first defeating Hartnell College 88-77, then winning 92-63 over Mendocino College and finally downing Yuba College 71-59 in the championship game.

Dominican making strides

Alex Tam serves up a feature on Dominican University basketball, a sqaud featuring a number of Nor Cal talents.

USF falls to Mississippi

Over in Hawaii, Ole Miss bested USF 85-78 despite 17 points and five boards from De'End Parker.

Moore and UTEP do it again

In UTEP's latest game, the Miners took down Nebraska 68-52 with McKenzie Moore contributing four points and five rebounds in 15 minutes of court time.

A John Adams update

John Adams is featured in this article about his interaction with school children in Allentown, PA. where Lehigh University is located. The former Archbishop Mitty talent has now graduated and is working in New York City (more on that later).

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bellarmine win in OT

It was the undefeated Bells fittingly winning the  D. J. Frandsen Memorial tournament Blue Division championship Saturday 81-73 on overtime versus El Camino High.

Bellarmine College Prep

Grant Vermeer 11-8-35 (five treys)
Jackson Gion 3-6-14
Isaac Gayles 4-2-11

El Camino High

Michael Smith 6-10-27
Tajah Childs 10-4-25

Vermeer, who is headed to Navy next year, was named the Most Valuable Player.

Montana over Sac State

Missed this from Friday: Bryan Metcalf reports on tha matchup between Sacramento State and Montana.

Will Cherry enjoyed 10 points, five assists and a trio of steals for the Big Sky Staters.

John Dickson posted a 15.7 line for the Hornets while Konner Veteto had a 10/10 double-double. Sophomore backcourter Mikh McKinney provided 14 points.

Post-game links for the Catholic School Winter Classic

Here's all the linkage you could ask for regarding the Catholic School Winter Classic.

Cameron Schott/Nor Cal Preps with late game coverage.

Steve Hu/Nor Cal Preps with early game coverage and player analysis.

Gerry Freitas put on his reporter's hat for California Preps.

Darren Sabedra of the Bay Area News Group provides his account. Darren also post-game interviewed Mitty Coach Tim Kennedy.  

Jeremy Balan/San Fran Preps took in the Riordan victory over Moreau Catholic. 

Bay Preps offers up a plethora of scores from, well, around the bay.

Brown is back

Missouri took down Illinois 82-73 last night with Jabari Brown showing no rust based on 18 points plus seven boards.

Allen on top

From Monterey Bay Preps: "Palma's Noah Allen named Luis A. Scattini Memorial Tournament Most Valuable Player"

Weber State by four

Weber State topped Portland State 73-69 last night in the City of Roses with Jordan Richardson leading the Wildcats with 14 points (4-5 from long distance) and five assists while Davion Berry was big too with 12 points plus seven assists. Frank Otis added eight rebounds, four points, four assists and a trio of blocked shots in an all-around effort.

UCLA over the Bulldogs

Host Fresno State fell to UCLA last night 91-78 although Tyler (St. Francis High) Johnson led with 16 points and five assists. He shot 4-5 from three-point range.

It's Davis by 11

It was UC Davis 82-71 over Nicholls State in a tourney game last night in Logan, Utah as Ryan Sypkens busted out for 28 points. He also contributed five boards and four assists.

The Aztecs handle the Dons

In Honolulu, San Diego State took down USF 80-58 as Chase Tapley was 'en fuego' with 33 points. Xavier Thames went for 10 points plus three assists.

UTEP, aided by Moore, over UALR

Shaking off some of the rust, McKenzie Moore contributed nine points, five rebounds, a trio of assists and a pair of steals in host UTEP's 83-61 victory over Arkansas Little Rock.

Ashley leads the Cats

Brandon Ashley posted a 16 point, 10 rebound double-double in 20 minutes of play as part of Arizona's 73-53 victory over East Tennessee State over in Honolulu.

Fullerton rolls

In an exhibition last night, Cal State Fullerton took down Hope International 87-65 with DJ Seeley totaling 19 points (plus eight rebounds and four assists) while Kwame Vaughn tallied 18 (plus eight boards and six assists).

Taking in the Catholic School Winter Classic

Wowee -- didn't see this coming: Salesian 72, Archbishop Mitty 51.

Mitty broke out to a 9-2 lead at the 4:20 mark of the first quarter, with Aaron Gordon keeping Jabari (California) Bird in check man-to-man defensively.

But that period ended with Salesian on top 14-9.

It became 31-23 at the half and then 56-34 after three quarters as the Pride led 37-23 with 7:06 remaining and 43-25 at the 4:50 mark.

The Monarchs just had no answers. Gordon tried but was always surrounded by multiple opponents. He enjoyed passing success especially in the second half when he surrounded on his dribble-drives, he kicked the ball off to a cutting or open under the basket teammate. In the first half, the Monarch offense primarily consisted of lob passes inside to Gordon but the effort to reach those passes kept him off balance upon landing. That and being smothered with Pride jerseys.

The stars of the game finished with 19 and nine (Bird) and 18 and 10 (Gordon) but the former had so much more help.

Mario (Montana) Dunn totaled 15 points on six deuces and a trey in a sharp shooting night for Salesian. At the point, Markel (Cal Poly) Leonard operated smoothly throughout and Jermaine Edmonds Jr. contributed at opportune moments in scoring and on the boards.

One Bird highlight: on a dunk, he utilized something similar to that little extra gear sprinter's employ but this time it meant going a few inches higher in elevation than first decided. Maybe acting like he enjoyed a booster rocket on his jump is the most apt description.

Also impressive about Bird was his decisions not to force shots, especially when paired against Gordon. He would go up ready to shoot, realize the attempt would not result in a high percentage attempt and kick the ball back out to a teammate.

One Gordon highlight: he scored without coming down on an out of bounds lob pass to him.


Serra High took down St. Joseph Notre Dame 63-46 in the preceding matchup.

Serra 15 36 45 63
SJND   7 20 35 46

The Padres would feed a player right around the 10-foot mark in the paint and typically either kick it out to the corner for an open jumper or hit a cutter on the baseline for a layup attempt. It seemed like they were programmed to do so without hesitation as multiple guys performed this role very well, like a quarterback checking his pass receiving options.

Serra senior backcourter Jacqui Biggins led with 21 points while Henry (Princeton) Caruso was close behind with 18. The senior Caruso defended Pilot big Temidayo Yussef, a junior, well in preventing entry passes.

Senior Justin Brown, with his scoring and passing, was the top overall producer for St. Joseph Notre Dame.


* St. Patrick-St. Vincent High 73, Sacred Heart Prep 54

Junior Jalen Canty with 16 points was just too big and strong inside and senior backcourter Jason Webster often had his way with dribble-drives and outside jumpshots in totaling 17 points.

6-foot-4 senior Ricky Galliano finished with 22 points for SHP.


In other scores from the First Annual Catholic Schools Winter Classic:

* Archbishop Riordan High 79, Moreau Catholic High 63

* St. Mary's High 65, St. Francis High 52

* Central Catholic High 57, St. Elizabeth High 19 (this was the opener)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Foothill over Cabrillo

Foothill 55, Cabrillo 42

Foothill College

Daryl (Mills High) Wong 6 5-6 17
Suhail (Carlmont High) Mohammadi 3 2-2 10

Cabrillo College

Phoenix Bills 4 0-1 11 (three treys)

From the Cabrillo College basketball site:
The Cabrillo College Seahawks came up short tonight to the Foothill College Owls 55-42 in Aptos. Cabrillo (8-5) came out and jumped all over the Owls (12-2) 10-2. Shortly thereafter it was all Foothill as Cabrillo turned the ball over 11 times in  the first half. Foothill lead at the half 33-20.

In the second half, Foothill returned the favor and jumped all over Cabrillo to start and extended their lead to as many as 18 points 40-22. However, the Seahawks fought their way back and closed the gap to 5pts 40-35 with 8:00 minutes to play. Both teams struggled to score for the next 3 plus minutes. The Seahawks during that period of play turned the ball over on five consecutive possessions as Foothill capitalized and took back control of the game for good as they cruised the rest of the way for the 55-42 victory.

Phoenix Bills lead the Seahawks in scoring with 11 points. CJ Grigg added 9 points.

Los Medanos by a trey over Feather River

Kris Kringle Classic Consolation bracket:

 Los Medanos 79, Feather River 76

Los Medanos College

Patrick (Mt. Diablo High) Lefiti 7 2-2 20
Javon (Mt. Diablo High) Primus 5 1-2 16 (five treys)
Nicj (Freedom High) Blount 4 2-3 14 (four treys)
Kelse Jones 4 2-3 12

Feather River College

Andre Lotts 8 2-2 22 (four trteys)
Carlos (Williams High) Velazquez 6 0-0 18 (six treys)
Devin (Foothill High) Crisosto 6 0-0 13

Six treys for George Johnson

Heritage 69, Castro Valley 68, OT

Heritage High
George Johnson 10 4-4 30 (six treys)
Shon Briggs 4 6-7 14.
Pierre Carter 4 4-5 14

Castro Valley High
Derrick Clayton 11 1-2 24
Develon McClain-Hall 6 1-2 13
Jalen McFerren 5 0-0 11

More on the Catholic School Winter Classic

Mitch Stephens writes about today's Catholic School Winter Classic.

The daily from Bay Preps

Bay Preps offers its usual links and news items all about high school games from yesterday.

Yuba over ARC

Yuba College returned the favor as the Appeal-Democrat reports: "The Yuba College men's basketball team exacted some revenge on Friday night. After losing to American River College 73-65 at home on Dec. 1, the 49ers returned the favor with a 102-55 shellacking of the Beavers at the Kris Kringle Tournament in Santa Rosa..."

MJC wins another

From the Modesto Bee: "A second-half surge made a big difference for the Modesto Junior College men's basketball team Friday. The Pirates defeated Moorpark 90-75 after Mike Hill came off the bench to score 21 points in the second half. Brenden Evans led with 25 points. The Pirates (8-5) trailed by three points at halftime, but exhibited new life in the second half..."

Read more here:

Ivan Rabb offered

Clint Jackson tweets: "UNC has offered of Oakland, California."

It will be a long line of suitors as the Pac-12 will be doing so en masse.

Utah State 73, UC Davis 61

UC Davis visited Utah State last night and the Beehive State Aggies triumphed 73-61 over their California brethren.

For USU, Spencer (Yuba College) Butterfield started again and scored 14 points (4-6 from long distance) while grabbing seven boards in 28 minutes.

Ryan Sypkens totaled 12 points plus five boards for Davis. Foul trouble limited JT Adenrele to just 18 minutes.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A pair of Bay Preps links

BayPreps covers a number of last night's high school contests.

In a second post, Bay Preps audio interviews a handful of coaches regarding upcoming games.

Marcu-powered SI triumphs

Jeremy Balan reports that Julian Marcu carried St. Ignatius over El Camino High.

Modesto falls

The Modesto Bee reports on Modesto JC's 87-72 loss at Ventura College.

Ventura 87, Modesto JC 72


Brenden (Sonora High) Evans 29
Tashawn Mabry 13

Yuba wins at the buzzer

It was Achoki Moikobu Time at the end of the Yuba College - Feather River College matchup last night as the Appeal-Democrat reports.

COM wins another

As Tim Menicutch reports, College of Marin is rolling this season. Add a 78-61 win over Sacramento City College.

Desmond Simmons doing the 'little' things

Caught these notes last night from Percy Allen on Desmond Simmons:
Barring a minor miracle for Cal Poly, the Huskies will win their third straight game. Simmons may have given the play of the game. On a N’Diaye miss, he crawled on the floor for the loose ball and got control of the rock. Then he passed to Andrews sank a running jumper. The bench erupted in cheers. UW 65-48, 2:50.
NICE OVATION — Simmons went the bench and received a round of applause from the fans. On the previous play, he deflected a pass and jumped out of bounds trying to save the ball. UW 41-29, 12:10.
Examples of how to effect the game without the ball being in your hands.

Butterfield playing well

Utah State downed Nicholls State last night 79-72 with former Yuba College standout Spencer Butterfield starting, playing 24 minutes and contributing 14 points plus four rebounds.

Dom Lee being sought by Montana

Mslacat tweeted: " are recruiting 6-6 F Dominique Lee from Casper (WY) JC"

Will Cherry is a senior there and Mario Dunn is heading to the Big Sky State after this season.

Congrats to Davion Berry

Weber State's Davion Berry has been selected as the Big Sky Conference men’s basketball Player of the Week for games played Dec. 12-15.

Berry, a 6-foot-4 junior guard/forward from Oakland, Calif., scored a career-high 25 points with two rebounds, two assists and two steals in Weber State’s 78-68 loss to Brigham Young on Saturday night in Ogden, Utah.

Berry made 10-of-14 shots from the field, and was 4-of-5 from the free-throw line. The transfer from Cal State Monterey Bay scored 16 points in the second half. Berry scored 12 in the first five minutes of the second half to help cut BYU’s lead to two points.

KSmith down to three

Coast To Coast Hoops offers the latest on Deer Valley High's Kendall Smith.

The UCLA program and coaching staff is looking a little wobbly right now so...

Adenrele, Sypkens aid in Aggie victory

UC Davis got by Southern Illinois 78-70 last night in a tournament hosted by Utah State. Nor Cal affiliated talents JT Adenrele posted his second straight double-double consisting of 18 points and 11 boards with Ryan Sypkens totaling 15 points on 5-10 shooting from long distance.

Weber State 74, Eastern Washington 53

The Wildcats went into the Evergreen State and took down Eastern Washington 74-53 last night (EW's Collin Chiverton was again out for the game).

It was point Julian Richardson leading the Weber attack with 15 points. He went 3-5 from long distance and also totaled three assists versus zero turnovers. Davion Berry didn't shoot particularly well but finished with nine points plus seven assists. Frank Otis tallied seven points (3-3 shooting) and a trio of boards.

Haysbert re-invents himself

Dave Albee profiles the transformation of Connor Haysbert. It's wonderful when a young man seizes the moment.

Humboldt handles Pacifica 112-57

It was literally no contest as Humboldt University took a win -- here's the writeup. Foothill College transfer Brett McConnell went for 13 points and seven boards.

Sonoma State 78, Notre Dame de Namur 71

Host Sonoma State proved to be seven points better as Patrick Scott and Justin Herold each scored 16 points in the 78-71 Seawolves victory over Notre Dame de Namur.

A football post but...

A Tom Mulhern tweet: "Utah State coach Gary Andersen called every one of his players after news broke, going to #Badgers. Took till 2:30 am. 106 calls or so"

That's a class move especially when a million and one ideas and tasks are rummaging through Anderson's mind at the moment.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Catholic School Winter Classic is this weekend

It's just about here so which teams are going to find wins in their Christmas stockings and which ones will receive a lump of coal as
Moreau Catholic High is hosting the First Annual Catholic School's Winter Classic (CSWC) on December 22.

It is a one-day event featuring Catholic schools from throughout northern California. The CSWC will take place at the California State East Bay gymnasium (25800 Carlos Bee Boulevard, Hayward) and the initial game starts at noon -- doors open at 11:00 a.m. -- with the last one tipping off at 7:30 p.m.

Speaking of the latter, the Salesian - Mitty pairing will feature Jabari Bird matching offensive firepower with spring and summer teammate Aaron Gordon. Spray some fire retardant on the nets!

Here's the schedule:

Noon: Central Catholic (Modesto) versus St. Elizabeth

Frontcourters John Fenton, who has signed with Colgate, and Jonathan Boddie (2014) lead the Raiders at 6-foot-9 and 6-foot-5 respectively.

St. Elizabeth is struggling so far this season.


1:30 - Moreau Catholic versus Archbishop Riordan

Moreau is young but winning which is not an often combination, led by 6-foot-5 frosh Oscar Frayer at 14.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and three blocked shots a contest plus 5-foot-11 frosh Armond Simmons and his 11.6 points and 4.6 assists a game alongside 6-foot-1 frosh Brandon Lawrence.

Riordan will arrive undefeated, with a host of transfers itching to play once January arrives. The current Crusaders are led by 5-foot-9 senior Geru Mabrey and 6-foot-1 junior Bobby Arenas.


3:00 - St. Mary's (Stockton) versus St. Francis

6-foot-3 junior Gabe Vincent leads the Rams with 20 points per game with 6-foot-4 senior Zach Zeyen contributing nine points and seven boards each outing.

Senior backcourter Khalil Johnson is pacing the Lancers this season aided by 6-foot-4 junior Alex Frazier.


4:30 - St. Patrick - St. Vincent versus Sacred Heart Prep

Any mention of SP-SV has to begin with 6-foot-7 junior Jalen Canty, a power inside, but 6-footer Jason Webster and 6-foot-3 junior Jose Flores are also important cogs for the Bruins.

6-foot-2 sophomore Corbin Koch is already averaging 13 points and five rebounds a game for the Gators and senior Ricky Galliani is averaging just short of 12 points a contest.


6:00 - St. Joseph Notre Dame versus Junipero Serra

6-foot-6 junior Temidayo Yussef already is a load to handle plus sophomore Lamont Banks and senior Justin Brown make it a prominent trio of talents for the Pilots.

Bound for Princeton, senior Henry Caruso is a 6-foot-4 Serra mainstay inside as is 6-foot senior Jacqui Biggins in the backcourt for the Padres.


7:30 - Salesian High versus Archbishop Mitty

Besides Bird, opponents must also account for 6-foot Pride seniors Mario Dunn (headed to Montana) and Markel Leonard (bound for Cal Poly).

6-foot-2 Monarch junior sharpshooter Connor Peterson makes teams pay for focusing on Gordon.

That's a gigantic feast before the one on the 25th.

SJCC tops Las Positas

San Jose 83, Las Positas 75

San Jose City College

Aaron Armstead 9 2-2 24 (four treys)

Andre (San Leandro High) Russell 8 3-4 19
Frankie (Rodriguez High) Johnson 5 3-5 14
Bobby (Nimitz High) Gray 5 1-5 13

Las Positas College

Booker (Berkeley High) Shabazz 5 5-5 17
Jacob (Amador Valley High) Conteras 3 2-2 11 (three treys)
Joseph (Monte Vista High) Viscuglia 3 2-2 11 (three treys)
Kapunohu (Hayward High) Sweetwyne 5 1-2 11
Julian (Bishop O'Dowd High) Redman 4 1-1 10

Cañada three better than DeAnza

Canada 81, De Anza 78

Cañada College

Rashad (Franklin High) Brackeen 8 5-6 26 (five treys)
James (St. Francis High) Osorio 5 3-4 15
Qaadir (Tennyson High) Ali 5 2-2 13

De Anza College

Deryck (Moreau Catholic High) Ylanan 6 1-2 18 (five treys)
Dawson (Castro Valley High) Johnson 5 3-6 14
Devontae (Overfelt High) Bryant 5 3-7 13

West Valley wins again

West Valley 65, West Hills 62

West Valley College

D'vaughn (JFK-Fremont) Mann 9 2-4 23 (three treys)
Malek Kanaan 9 0-0 23 (five treys)

West Hills College

Michael Balogun 5 1-2 14 (three treys)
Isaiah Bryson 4 0-0 11 (three treys)
Darren Buckles 4 3-7 11

An Isaiah Taylor update

Dustin McComas (a Rivals sub is required) has the latest on former Bay Area prep backcourter Isaiah Taylor, who is now in the Lone Star State and just received an offer from Texas.

An excerpt: "Taylor is a 6-2, three-star prospect right now, but schools are starting to take notice of a player that finished his summer with a bang. Originally from Oakland, California, Taylor made the switch to Texas Pro for his AAU team during the second half of this summer..."


"...Right now, Taylor has offers from Alabama, SMU, George Mason, Houston and Santa Clara in addition to Houston..."

Basketball news from Gelnn Reeves & Darren Sabedra

Darren Sabedra & Glenn Reeves offers a host of prep basketball notes and items.

Sac State over Montana State

Sacramento State hosted and took down fellow Big Sky Conference member Montana State 62-57 last night, Sophomore backcourter Mikh McKinney led with 21 points (three treys, 10-11 at the foul line) while big Konner Vetoto was right behind with 19 plus nine rebounds.

Hornet athletics game reports as does Bryan Metcalf.

Aronis score 12

Kevin (Santa Rosa Junior College) Aronis hit four treys (in five attempts) in nine minutes of play last night as New Mexico State fell 68-63 at home to New Mexico.

USF after a NJ point

From Alex Kline: "San Francisco has offered 2013 Roselle Catholic (NJ) PG Hakim Saintil, he tells me"

Saintil is 5-foot-10, 170 pounds with Rivals listing Cincinnati, Rhode Island, South Carolina and SMU as also having offered.

ESPN posted this back on July 30, 2011: "He's a scoring point guard who can make open 3-point shots off the catch as well as in a pick-and-roll situation. He reads his defender going under the screen and can step back and knock down a 3. Plus, once he gets into the painted area he can score the ball or find his open teammates and deliver an assist. Defensively, he has quick feet and active hands and at times he can pick the ball handler for a clean steal."

USF and toughness /// time to recall Jay Bilas

Steve Kroner reports on the USF loss to Holy Cross as Coach Rex Walters issued a verbal challenge to his squad.

Noted this in the article: "...Eric Obeysekere, a 6-foot-8 senior from Miramonte-Orinda, came off the bench to score four points and pull down a team-high eight rebounds for the Crusaders..."

It's time to bring back that 2011 Jay Bilas' article on toughness (Bilas has a book coming out on the subject):

I have heard the word “toughness” thrown around a lot lately. Reporters on television, radio and in print have opined about a team or player’s “toughness” or quoted a coach talking about his team having to be “tougher” to win.

Then, in almost coordinated fashion, I would watch games and see player upon player thumping his chest after a routine play, angrily taunting an opponent after a blocked shot, getting into a shouting match with an opposing player, or squaring up nose-to-nose as if a fight might ensue. I see players jawing at each other, trying to “intimidate” other players. What a waste of time. That is nothing more than fake toughness, and it has no real value.

I often wonder: Do people really understand what coaches and experienced players mean when they emphasize “toughness” in basketball? Or is it just some buzzword that is thrown around haphazardly without clear definition or understanding? I thought it was the latter, and I wrote a short blog item about it a couple of weeks ago.

The response I received was overwhelming. Dozens of college basketball coaches called to tell me that they had put the article up in the locker room, put it in each player’s locker, or had gone over it in detail with their teams.

Memphis coach John Calipari called to say that he had his players post the definition of toughness over their beds because he believed that true “toughness” was the one thing that his team needed to develop to reach its potential. I received messages from high school coaches who wanted to relay the definition of toughness to their players and wanted to talk about it further.

Well, I got the message that I should expound upon what I consider toughness to be. It  may not be what you think.

Toughness is something I had to learn the hard way, and something I had no real idea of until I played college basketball. When I played my first game in college, I thought that toughness was physical and based on how much punishment I could dish out and how much I could take. I thought I was tough.

I found out pretty quickly that I wasn’t, but I toughened up over time, and I got a pretty good understanding of toughness through playing in the ACC, for USA Basketball, in NBA training camps, and as a professional basketball player in Europe. I left my playing career a heck of a lot tougher than I started it, and my only regret is that I didn’t truly “get it” much earlier in my playing career.

When I faced a tough opponent, I wasn’t worried that I would get hit — I was concerned that I would get sealed on ball reversal by a tough post man, or that I would get boxed out on every play, or that my assignment would sprint the floor on every possession and get something easy on me. The toughest guys I had to guard were the ones who made it tough on me.

Toughness has nothing to do with size, physical strength or athleticism. Some players may be born tough, but I believe that toughness is a skill, and it is a skill that can be developed and improved. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo always says, “Players play, but tough players win.” He is right. Here are some of the ways true toughness is exhibited in basketball:

Set a good screen:  The toughest players to guard are the players who set good screens. When you set a good screen, you are improving the chances for a teammate to get open, and you are greatly improving your chances of getting open. A good screen can force the defense to make a mistake. A lazy or bad screen is a waste of everyone’s time and energy. To be a tough player, you need to be a “screener/scorer,” a player who screens hard and immediately looks for an opportunity on offense. On the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team, Bob Knight made Michael Jordan set a screen before he could get a shot. If it is good enough for Jordan, arguably the toughest player ever, it is good enough for you.

Set up your cut: The toughest players make hard cuts, and set up their cuts. Basketball is about deception. Take your defender one way, and then plant the foot opposite of the direction you want to go and cut hard. A hard cut may get you a basket, but it may also get a teammate a basket. If you do not make a hard cut, you will not get anyone open. Setting up your cut, making the proper read of the defense, and making a hard cut require alertness, good conditioning and good concentration. Stephen Curry is hardly a physical muscle-man, but he is a tough player because he is in constant motion, he changes speeds, he sets up his cuts, and he cuts hard. Curry is hard to guard, and he is a tough player.

Talk on defense: The toughest players talk on defense, and communicate with their teammates. It is almost impossible to talk on defense and not be in a stance, down and ready, with a vision of man and ball. If you talk, you let your teammates know you are there, and make them and yourself better defenders. It also lets your opponent know that you are fully engaged.

Jump to the ball: When on defense, the tough defenders move as the ball moves. The toughest players move on the flight of the ball, not when it gets to its destination. And the toughest players jump to the ball and take away the ball side of the cut. Tough players don’t let cutters cut across their face — they make the cutter change his path.

Don’t get screened: No coach can give a player the proper footwork to get through every screen. Tough players have a sense of urgency not to get screened and to get through screens so that the cutter cannot catch the ball where he wants to. A tough player makes the catch difficult.

Get your hands up: A pass discouraged is just as good as a pass denied. Tough players play with their hands up to take away vision, get deflections and to discourage a pass in order to allow a teammate to cover up. Cutters and post players will get open, if only for a count. If your hands are up, you can keep the passer from seeing a momentary opening.Play the ball, see your man: Most defenders see the ball and hug their man, because they are afraid to get beat. A tough defender plays the ball and sees his man. There is a difference.

Get on the floor: In my first road game as a freshman, there was a loose ball that I thought I could pick up and take the other way for an easy one. While I was bending over at the waist, one of my opponents dived on the floor and got possession of the ball. My coach was livid. We lost possession of the ball because I wasn’t tough enough to get on the floor for it. I tried like hell never to get out-toughed like that again.

The first player to get to the floor is usually the one to come up with any loose ball.Close out under control: It is too easy to fly at a shooter and think you are a tough defender. A tough defender closes out under control, takes away a straight line drive and takes away the shot. A tough player has a sense of urgency but has the discipline to do it the right way.

Post your man, not a spot: Most post players just blindly run to the low block and get into a shoving match for a spot on the floor. The toughest post players are posting their defensive man. A tough post player is always open, and working to get the ball to the proper angle to get a post feed. Tough post players seal on ball reversal and call for the ball, and they continue to post strong even if their teammates miss them.

Run the floor: Tough players sprint the floor, which drags the defense and opens up things for others. Tough players run hard and get “easy” baskets, even though there is nothing easy about them. Easy baskets are hard to get. Tough players don’t take tough shots — they work hard to make them easy.

Play so hard, your coach has to take you out: I was a really hard worker in high school and college. But I worked and trained exceptionally hard to make playing easier. I was wrong. I once read that Bob Knight had criticized a player of his by saying, “You just want to be comfortable out there!” Well, that was me, and when I read that, it clicked with me. I needed to work to increase my capacity for work, not to make it easier to play.

I needed to work in order to be more productive in my time on the floor. Tough players play so hard that their coaches have to take them out to get rest so they can put them back in. The toughest players don’t pace themselves.

Get to your teammate first: When your teammate lays his body on the line to dive on the floor or take a charge, the tough players get to him first to help him back up. If your teammate misses a free throw, tough players get to him right away. Tough players are also great teammates.

Take responsibility for your teammates: Tough players expect a lot from their teammates, but they also put them first. When the bus leaves at 9 a.m., tough players not only get themselves there, but they also make sure their teammates are up and get there, too. Tough players take responsibility for others in addition to themselves. They makesure their teammates eat first, and they give credit to their teammates before taking it themselves.

Take a charge: Tough players are in a stance, playing the ball, and alert in coming over from the weak side and taking a charge. Tough players understand the difference between being in the right spot and being in the right spot with the intention of stopping somebody. Some players will look puzzled and say, “But I was in the right spot.” Tough players know that they have to get to the right spot with the sense of urgency to stop someone.

The toughest players never shy away from taking a charge.Get in a stance: Tough players don’t play straight up and down and put themselves in the position of having to get ready to get ready. Tough players are down in a stance on both ends of the floor, with feet staggered and ready to move. Tough players are the aggressor, and the aggressor is in a stance.

Finish plays: Tough players don’t just get fouled, they get fouled and complete the play. They don’t give up on a play or assume that a teammate will do it. A tough player plays through to the end of the play and works to finish every play.

Work on your pass: A tough player doesn’t have his passes deflected. A tough player gets down, pivots, pass-fakes, and works to get the proper angle to pass away from the defense and deliver the ball.

Throw yourself into your team’s defense: A tough player fills his tank on the defensive end, not on offense. A tough player is not deterred by a missed shot. A tough player values his performance first by how well he defended.

Take and give criticism the right way: Tough players can take criticism without feeling the need to answer back or give excuses. They are open to getting better and expect to be challenged and hear tough things. You will never again in your life have the opportunity you have now at the college level: a coaching staff that is totally and completely dedicated to making you and your team better. Tough players listen and are not afraid to say what other teammates may not want to hear, but need to hear.

Show strength in your body language: Tough players project confidence and security with their body language. They do not hang their heads, do not react negatively to a mistake of a teammate, and do not whine and complain to officials. Tough players project strength, and do not cause their teammates to worry about them. Tough players do their jobs, and their body language communicates that to their teammates — and to their opponents.

Catch and face: Teams that press and trap are banking on the receiver’s falling apart and making a mistake. When pressed, tough players set up their cuts, cut hard to an open area and present themselves as a receiver to the passer. Tough players catch, face the defense,and make the right read and play, and they do it with poise. Tough players do not just catch and dribble; they catch and face.

Don’t get split: If you trap, a tough player gets shoulder-to-shoulder with his teammate and does not allow the handler to split the trap and gain an advantage on the back side of the trap.

Be alert: Tough players are not “cool.” Tough players are alert and active, and tough players communicate with teammates so that they are alert, too. Tough players echo commands until everyone is on the same page. They understand the best teams play five as one. Tough players are alert in transition and get back to protect the basket and the 3-point line. Tough players don’t just run back to find their man, they run back to stop the ball and protect the basket.

Concentrate, and encourage your teammates to concentrate: Concentration is a skill, and tough players work hard to concentrate on every play. Tough players go as hard as they can for as long as they can.

It’s not your shot; it’s our shot: Tough players don’t take bad shots, and they certainly don’t worry about getting “my” shots. Tough players work for good shots and understand that it is not “my” shot, it is “our” shot. Tough players celebrate when “we” score.

Box out and go to the glass every time: Tough players are disciplined enough to lay a body on someone. They make first contact and go after the ball. And tough players do it on every possession, not just when they feel like it. They understand defense is not complete until they secure the ball.

Take responsibility for your actions: Tough players make no excuses. They take responsibility for their actions. Take James Johnson for example. With 17 seconds to go in Wake’s game against Duke on Wednesday, Jon Scheyer missed a 3-pointer that bounced right to Johnson. But instead of aggressively pursuing the ball with a sense of urgency, Johnson stood there and waited for the ball to come to him. It never did.

Scheyer grabbed it, called a timeout and the Blue Devils hit a game-tying shot on a possession they never should’ve had. Going after the loose ball is toughness — and Johnson didn’t show it on that play. But what happened next? He re-focused, slipped a screen for the winning basket, and after the game — when he could’ve been basking only in the glow of victory — manned up to the mistake that could’ve cost his team the win.

“That was my responsibility — I should have had that,” Johnson said of the goof. No excuses. Shouldering the responsibility. That’s toughness.

Look your coaches and teammates in the eye: Tough players never drop their heads. They always look coaches and teammates in the eye, because if they are talking, it is important to them and to you.Move on to the next play: Tough players don’t waste time celebrating a good play or lamenting a bad one. They understand that basketball is too fast a game to waste time and opportunities with celebratory gestures or angry reactions. Tough players move on to the next play. They know that the most important play in any game is the next one.

Be hard to play against, and easy to play with: Tough players make their teammates’ jobs easier, and their opponents’ jobs tougher.

Make every game important: Tough players don’t categorize opponents and games. They know that if they are playing, it is important. Tough players understand that if they want to play in championship games, they must treat every game as a championship game.

Make getting better every day your goal: Tough players come to work every day to get better, and keep their horizons short. They meet victory and defeat the same way: They get up the next day and go to work to be better than they were the day before. Tough players hate losing but are not shaken or deterred by a loss. Tough players enjoy winning but are never satisfied. For tough players, a championship or a trophy is not a goal; it is a destination. The goal is to get better every day.

When I was playing, the players I respected most were not the best or most talented players. The players I respected most were the toughest players. I don’t remember anything about the players who talked a good game or blocked a shot and acted like a fool. I remember the players who were tough to play against.

Anybody can talk. Not anybody can be tough.

Artis leads but Oregon falls

Oregon fell to UTEP in the Lone Star State last night 91-84 in a game that went into overtime.

Dom Artis led the Ducks with 15 points (but shot 6-23 overall) and passed for six assists in 45!!! minutes of play.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Meet the Crusaders

Mitch Stephens writes about this season's Riordan High squad -- who is currently on the court and who is waiting to don a uniform.

FCC wins again

From the Fresno Bee: "In a showdown of top-five state-ranked men's basketball teams, Alex Perez had 12 points and 13 assists as No. 4 Fresno City College beat No. 3 Saddleback 79-65 on Tuesday in Mission Viejo. Rams freshman Olajuwon Garner finished with a game-high 14 points, including four 3-pointers for the Rams, who shot 57% from the field. The win was Fresno's seventh on the road this season."

Read more here:

Meet the St. Patrick - St. Vincent squad

Thomas Gase takes a look at the 2012-13 version of boys basketball of St. Patrick - St. Vincent High.

Press for Sama Taku

Bob Highfill profiles the life and this season's happenings of former Santa Rosa JC backcourter Sama Taku, now a junior at Pacific.

The individals honored after the West Valley College Holiday Classic

Here are the honorees from the West Valley College Holiday Classic held this past weekend:

MVP: Stephen Grosey, Foothill College

All Tournament:

* Brendan Carroll, Foothill College

* Chris Read, Ohlone College

* Henry McCarthy, Ohlone College

* Mike Harris, Diablo Valley College

* Zen Maki, Monterey Peninsula College

Tulsa eyeing Baral

From the Westwind Prep Twitter account: "Tulsa university strongly recruiting WPA 2013's combo guards Kevin Davis, Glenn Baral and 7'0" center Namdi Okonkwo"

Lumpkins D/D not enough

In the third of a run of consecutive double-doubles, Stephen Lumpkins went for 12 points and 15 rebounds in American University's 72-65 loss to Hampton last night.

Ashley helps down OR

Host Arizona had nor problem downing Oral Roberts 80-64 last night with Wildcat freshman Brandon Ashley contributing 14 points (5-6 shooting), six boards and a trio of blocked shots.

Bruce Pascoe has some post-game quotes.

Meet Treaven Duffy

St. Mary's athletics serves up an interview with freshman guard Treaven Duffy, who is redshirting this season.

Goins' 15 leads San Berdoo to victory

On Monday night, Cal State San Bernardino topped Cal Baptist 71-69 as Brian (Diablo Valley College) Goins went for 15 points, five steals and three assists for the victors. Former Yuba College frontcourter Kevin Crabb put up nine points and eight rebounds for CB.

A Ramon Eaton update

Ramon Eaton departed from Pepperdine after last year and is playing at New Mexico Junior College this season.

In eight games so far and 13 minutes an outing (if the numerical entries are accurate), he's averaging 5.8 points plus 3.5 rebounds per contest, shooting 47% overall and 65% from the foul line.

Lipscomb and Sankey win again

Lipscomb University took the last train to Clarksville and then beat host Austin Peay 87-84. As usual, Khion Sankey stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds in 34 minutes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Meet Jason Maples

 photo by George Morin

Jason Maples is a third-year assistant working with Contra Costa College Coach Miguel Johnson. But as a youngster, entering the coaching field wasn't a consideration for him -- although the appropriate personal elements were always there -- because his vision of the future, like that of so many others, was all about playing.

So how did his hoops journey bring him to CCC?

He entered organized hoops at age nine. Later on at Berkeley High, Maples played for the late Michael Gragnani.

He took time off after high school before being 'discovered' working out in the weight room at Contra Costa College by Johnson. After a successful stint as a Comet basketballer, including being an All-Conference selection, Maples headed down to Bethany University in Scotts Valley (outside of Santa Cruz) to earn his degree and play shooting guard and wing for Coach Andrew Snelgrove.

"When you're young, you never think about coaching," Maples explained. This despite, at least for him, positions of leadership captaining his high school, community college and four-year college teams.

As Maples put it, "I'm loud and I'm talkative. I always tried hard and gave it my all. I may not have been the most skilled guy but no one ever questioned my heart and effort. With leadership comes responsibility and I accepted that."

Also, playing defense was "my calling card as a player" and that focus certainly registers high on the core principles appropriate for entering the coaching ranks.

Currently attending University of Phoenix in working for his Master's Degree, Maples teaches pre-school and kindergarten in El Cerrito in addition to his position at CCC (hey, just wait for the other coaches in the Bay Valley Conference to claim that's an unfair early recruiting advantage).

Speaking of his work at CCC, Maples said, "I'm learning a lot and Coach Johnson -- he's the captain of the ship -- is allowing me to put my imprint on the team."

Continuing on, Maples offered "the first couple of years were tough because I'm young (he turned 27 last month) but my authority is established. Coach Johnson always stresses 'these are my assistant coaches so when they talk, it's me talking.'"

But his youthfulness also has advantages.

"In reaching out to local guys, they relate to me because I'm not too far removed. I can say I played for Coach Johnson and got a scholarship."

Maples explained the recruiting processes in pursuing players for the community college level.

"Certain guys you know but we also wait for test scores and grade point averages and also do background research about family situations."

Regarding the future, one position in particular is dear to Maples' heart.

"My dream is to go back to my alma mater (Berkeley High) and coach. But I'm also willing to reach for the highest level possible."

This week's state JC poll

State Poll (Record/Record Last 5 Games/RPI)

1.   San Francisco (14-0/5-0/.7193)
2.   Mt. San Antonio (11-1/5-0/.6144)
3.   Saddleback (10-3/4-1/.6141)
4.   Fresno (10-3/4-1/.6646)
5.   Santa Rosa (9-4/4-1/.6097)
6.   (tie) Ventura (14-2/4-1/.6415)
      Foothill (11-2/5-0/.5917)
8.   Chaffey (8-3/4-1/.6016)
9.   Ohlone (10-4/3-2/.6104)
10. Mt. San Jacinto (10-3/3-2/.5875)
11. Sierra (8-4/4-1/.6263)
12. Palomar (8-5/3-2/.5559)
13. Contra Costa (7-2/4-1/.5918)
14. East Los Angeles (8-3/4-1/.5490)
15. Los Angeles Pierce (10-4/2-3/.6161)
16. Diablo Valley (9-3/3-2/.6141)
17. Cuesta (11-5/4-1/.5697)
18. Sequoias (9-4/5-0/.5978)
19. Canyons (7-4/3-2/.5930)
20. Modesto (7-4/3-2/.5357)

Northern California Regional Poll

1.   San Francisco
2.   Fresno
3.   Santa Rosa
4.   Foothill
5.   Ohlone
6.   Sierra
7.   Contra Costa
8.   Diablo Valley
9.   Sequoias
10. Modesto
11. Cabrillo
12. West Valley
13. Lassen
14. San Jose City
15. Mendocino/Cosumnes River

Robert Schmidt offers more.

Davis handles Eastern Washington

UC Davis triumphed over visiting Eastern Washington 87-65 last night aided by a 13/10 double-double from JT Adenrele. Josh Ritchart contributed 14 points. The Aggies shot 10-20 from long distance, EW 17-41.

San Fran Prep's Top 10

San Fran Preps has the latest Top 10 teams in The City -- Riordan is the leader.

Catching up with Oliver McNally

Mark O'Meara profiles Oliver McNally and what the Branson and Harvard graduate is up to now.

Dominican blasts SF

Dave Albee reports on Dominican University's 96-60 handling of Simon Fraser last night. Up next for the Penguins is that 'dreaded' three-game road trip to Hawaii.

Jose Flores honored

Thomas Gase profiles Jose Flores of the St. Patrick - St. Vincent basketball team.

Another possible St. Mary's recruit

Eric Bossi of Rivals recently posted: "Elijah Brown: The 6-foot-3 southpaw from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei is a nicely built and fundamentally sound two guard. He tends to operate by the "feels like leather" mode on the offense, where he shoots anything that feels like leather. However, he is pretty effective with that approach and plays without fear. While his biggest asset is a jumper that he can hit off the catch or dribble, Brown is a fine athlete who can finish above the rim. Butler and St. Mary's are current standouts in his recruitment...."

He's the son of Mike Brown, the now former Laker coach.

Kendall Smith and the Zags

Gonzaga and Kendall Smith? The Slipper Still Fits is on it. Gotta just love the title of that blog -- the best ever.

Jabari Brown back on the court

Jabari Brown got back on the court last night for Missouri, scoring 12 points in 20 minutes against South Carlina State. Brown shot 3-9 overall, 1-7 from long distance and 5-6 at the foul line. He also passed for three assists.

Kyle Ringo checks in.

A Collin Chiverton update

Jonathan Reed shines some light on Collin Chiverton's absence from the court with Eastern Washington.

Damian Lillard - made member of the Crunch Time Mafia

Henry Abbott/True Hoop has joined many others as an acolyte of The Hoops Church of Damain Lillard although Abbott also takes on some hoary basketball myths.

Gotta love the term 'crunch time mafia'

DRinCA all over the Foothill - Ohlone contest

DrinCa (Mr. JC basketball in California, especially down south) covered the Foothill College - Ohlone College matchup in which the former won 75-72 in overtime and took the West Valley tourney championship.

DRinCA on the DVC - WVC game

DrinCa (Mr. JC basketball in California, especially down south) was at the West Valley College - Diablo Valley College pairing in which the latter won 72-61. You wants stats, he offers them.

DRinCA covers the MPC - COR game

DrinCa (Mr. JC basketball in California, especially down south) was at the Monterey Peninsula College - College of the Redwoods matchup on Sunday at West Valley College and offers just about every detail of the MPC 68-55 victory.

Not the best of judgment and by seniors

Caught the last moments of the Florida - Arizona game last Saturday night and what appeared on the screen at times was literally stunning.

Gator senior point Kenny Boynton, shooting 30% from long distance, hoisted up a trey attempt after missing another three-point try 30 seconds earlier -- all in the last two minutes.

He also missed on the front end of a one-and-one with 21 seconds remaining despite being a 90% shooter at the foul line. But hey that happens. The badly-timed and not-utilizing-a-strength three-point attempts didn't have to.

Arizona's Mark Lyons, another senior, hit a game-winning driving layup with seven seconds remaining but he too also cast off a trey attempt at the 1:25 mark when that shot wasn't necessary and with Florida's best and largest defender was on him.

Even the color commentator and Arizona alum Miles Simon gently noted that Lyons attempt wasn't what was drawn up in the huddle.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Foothill wins championship

In a version of small or smallish ball if you will, Ohlone College and Foothill College met Sunday in the championship game of the West Valley tournament and it was the latter triumphing in overtime 75-72 in a pairing where neither team deserved a loss.

Foothill's freshman Stephen Grosey (more on him later) tied the game in regulation 65 apiece with a trey from the left corner (this after missing a three-pointer from the top of the key seconds earlier).

Ohlone jumped a head by two to open the scoring in overtime. Foothill came back with two straight baskets and then Ohlone tied the game back up. The Los Altos Hills Owls scored another bucket which was followed by the Renegades making one of two free throws. Foothill then got another deuce on a goal-tending call to stretch the lead to three, 73-70.

Backcourter Jarrad Jackson scored on a layup with 8.8 seconds remaining for the Renegades, making the score 73-72 in favor of Foothill.

6-foot-8 Daan Mutsaers was fouled by Ohlone, went to the foul line, and netted a pair of free throws, putting Foothill ahead 75-72 with 7.5 seconds on the clock.

Fredrik Boehn, a 6-foot-6 frosh, then missed a tough shot at the end for Ohlone.

6-foot-9 freshman Henry McCarthy was a bright light for Ohlone Coach John Peterson. His faceup jumper around and beyond the three-point line is a must-guard or else.

Foothill's Stephen Grosey is but a freshman but already the go-to guy for Coach Shanan Rosenberg. He's not long for Foothill College as a long and lanky, put-the-ball-on-the-floor, getting the ball to cutters to the basket, long distance shooting talent.

CCC wins two of three

Contra Costa College enjoyed a successful weekend down south. The Comets took down Cosumnes River College 74-67 on Sunday, fell to Ventura on Saturday 72-59 and topped Allan Hancock College 71-60 on Friday.

Catching up with Jameel Pugh

Sacramento State athletics offers an interview with former Hornet Jameel Pugh who was quite the dunker in his day and is now very successfully involved with film.

How has Stephen Domingo started?

Stephen Domingo made his stealth move to Georgetown over the summer so what is the young man doing for the Hoyas?

In eight games and at eight minutes a per contest, he's at 2.1 points per contest on 35% overall shooting, 2-14 from long distance. But keep in mind this should be his senior season in high school. Domingo has also been credited with seven assists versus a single turnover.