Monday, June 30, 2014

Bellott ready for sophomore season

Watch out for Denzel Bellot entering his sophomore season at Merritt -- below is video of some of his freshman season highlights:

Aailm Moor & Steph Curry

Aalim Moor III again worked the Steph Curry Camp held June 26-28 at Stevenson School in Pebble Beach. His take on the event: "This was the best camp so far, it was amazing and Steph's energy and professionalism was on point!"

Difference between a program and a team

A St. Mary's Gaels tweet: "Today’s attendance for the #Gaels All-Star Classic & Alumni Game = 3,081!  Thanks to everyone who came out."

3,081 in late July. Look who turned out to play.

(photo courtesy of Jose Carlos Fajardo)

Fajardo offers a multitude of photos beginning here.

Randy Bennett and Company have a program, not just a team.

JArgenal to Southeast Missouri

Justin Argenal is moving on to the coaching staff at Southeast Missouri of the Ohio Valley Conference. He played his prep ball at De La Salle.

From his bio: "A native of Lafayette, California, Argenal was a four-year team captain at California State University-Chico, and is the school's all-time leader in steals and assists..." 

Turner to Hartnell

George Watkins reports that Seaside High's Ronnie Turner is headed to Hartnell College where he will play football and basketball.

FCC gets Richard

Merced High multi-sport star 6-foot-3 Travante Richard is moving on to the basketball court at Fresno City College.

The Kidd move to Milwaukee

From Adrian Wojnarowski: "Lost in this is violation of coach's code: You don't pursue job belonging to someone else. Humiliating end for Larry Drew. Kidd's shameless."

How about an owner's code?


Neal Nieves: "Why are people mad at Jason Kidd or the Bucks? Somebody wants talk to me about Money and a better situation I'm taking that meeting."

You decide.

Suttle at Del Mar

A John Murphy tweet: "Toby Suttle is the new Del Mar boys hoops coach."

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Gotta go DI -- why?

Why is playing DI basketball for so many (players, parents, coaches) on a par with discovering the Holy Grail?

Granted, maybe equating the two items if we're talking North Carolina, Duke, Syracuse and Arizona basketball is defensible but, then again, getting minutes in one of these programs is also a different circumstance than a listing on the roster and rarely, if at all, removing one's warmups.

Take the state of California as an example. Being in Steve Alford's rotation presents bragging rights (which seems to be the major prestige surrounding hoops signings). San Diego State is quickly approaching that status. St. Mary's, well, not quite (that's sure to induce an overload of email begging to differ).

Yes, there are multiple other DI programs in the Golden State, some in so-called prestigious conferences, but why are the basketball experiences there considered on a different par (meaning better) than say at Chico State or Cal Maritime?

Simply put, playing for a preeminent albeit small program based somewhere between the border with Oregon and that of Mexico should be a consideration for the decidedly California-centric unless there is the opportunity to be a factor at a creme de la creme DI entity.


Because being part of winning, of success on the court in small town America, while also gaining a degree, is a double life victory. There are also a number of DII programs with much more rabid and larger fan bases than their counterparts a step higher. For example, a player could traverse the entire Santa Clara County ensconced in a neon-lit uniform and with fireworks going off overhead yet barely be noticed vis-a-vis one who could win the mayoralty in a number of other so-called lesser municipalities due to his basketball exploits.

A moment in time coming out of high school (the stature of a prominent signing) versus one where the likelihood of team and personal success is greater should be debated and weighed much more heavily than what often takes place. Winning the press conference that day as opposed to winning the next four years plus beyond -- it doesn't take the wisdom of Solomon to figure that one out.

The realization of potential

Interesting Jason Groves tweet: "No player from the #WAC has been drafted since 2010 when three players were taken Paul George (10) Luke Babbitt (16) Armon Johnson (34)" 

What's fascinating is that George at Fresno State was definitely #3 in production behind Nevada's Johnson and Babbitt in a college comparison. Now, George is going to get a maximum contract while Johnson and Babbitt are fringe NBA/overseas types.

No basketball related...

Dan Wolken tweeted: "The quality of Alabama's highways are inversely proportionate to the quality of its college football teams."

Funny but also simultaneously sad and maddening.

STLB on San Joaquin Delta

Signal The Light Basketball features San Joaquin Delta College Coach Rich Ressa and his Mustang program.

Nodar with the Rams

Jerrod Nodar's Twitter page has him at City College of San Francisco. Out of St. Mary's High and with the Bay Area Warriors, Nodar stands 6-foot-6.

WCC draft prospects?

Josh Horton selects the best NBA draft prospect on each of the West Coast Conference members. The list is actually underwhelming -- meaning it's hard to see a single NBA draft first-rounder -- for a league with both nationally prominent teams and some other solid squads expected to be upper division finishers.

Taj McDavid

The Taj McDavid saga is detailed by Jeff Pearlman. It appears the still young man has bounced back from all that disappointment and good for him.

The Sultan of Basketball

Rafe Bartholomew looks back at NBA prospect draft coverage of the more speculative kind like when Sultan K√∂sen was going to be the first eight-footer in The League. 

Fairness above all

Agent Arn Tellem checks in with his take on NBA age limits. Despite his obvious vested interest, his arguments make sense.

Holt connects with Atlanta

From Stephen Holt: "Will be playing with the Atlanta Hawks for summer league in Vegas."

Santa Cruz High basketball coaches named

John Murphy breaks the news that Pete Newell Jr. is returning to the high school coaching ranks (Santa Cruz High girls team).

Also in the article is the news that Lawan Milhouse will head the Cardinal boys program.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

GSW's Summer League team

On the Golden State Warriors Summer Team are these northern California talents:

* Kiwi Gardner

* Orlando Johnson

More on TDunbar

Matthew Snyder writes about Trevor Dunbar and his heading to The Palouse.

Aaron 00 Gordon

A PointGuardU tweet: "#00 was Aaron Gordons first AAU # in case you are wondering why he chose it. Also said the "00" represents how wide he wants fans eyes to be"

The Columbia Claimjumpers

Signal The Light Basketball writes about the 2014-15 Columbia Claimjumpers and Coach Rob Hoyt.

Johnson repping the Heat

Former Fresno State backcourter Tyler Johnson, who prepped at St. Francis High, will be playing for the Miami Heat in both the Orlando and Las Vegas Summer Leagues.

Somogyi with the Jazz

Former UC Santa Barbara big Greg Somogyi, who played his high school ball at Woodside Priory, has landed a spot on the Utah Jazz team in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Lutes and Manning noted

Rick's Falcon Review notes that a pair of Sacramento area talents as part of the official Air Force 2014 recruiting class:

* Lake Lutes
Height: 6-7
Weight: 205
Position: Forward
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
High School: Jesuit HS

Before Air Force
Three-year letterwinner in basketball who also lettered one year in football, named first-team all-city and helped team to sectional title as a senior, selected to one all-tournament team as a senior and three as a junior, earned three MVP tournament awards during his senior season, named best offensive player on football team, high school basketball coach was Greg Harcos. 

Ryan Manning
Height:  6-6
Weight: 190
Position: Forward
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
High School: Sheldon HS
Previous School: USAFA Prep School

Before Air Force
Appeared in 29 games for the USAFA Prep School, led the team in scoring at 13.3 points per game and rebounding at 5.3 per contest, made a team-high 48 three-pointers and shot a team-best 38.1 percent from 3-point range (48-126), also paced team with 33 offensive rebounds, shot 72.6 percent (61-84) from the free-throw line, four-year letterwinner in basketball at Sheldon HS, also lettered two years in baseball and one in volleyball, helped team to four sectional and three league championships, team won Nor Cal title in 2012, first-team all-league pick as a senior, high school basketball coach was Joey Rollings. 

NBA Coach’s 15 Top Player Qualities

While still in high school, current Orlando Magic Coach Jacque Vaughn compiled 15 Top Player Qualities.

Morgan & Tam High basketball

New Tam High Coach Tim Morgan is using the Golden Gate Summer Shootout as a jump start/building block for his squad as Ed Yevelev reports.

Fear driven NCAA hypocrisy

Patrick Hruby is spot on with this NCAA column -- it begins: "According to an old political saw, you can always count on America to do the right thing, but only after it has tried everything else..." 

The inner thought 'damn, we gotta do something' emerges to the public as a sanctified 'we must do the right thing.'

Colorado ahead of the game

Didn't know that Colorado Coach Tad Boyle has been giving out four-year scholarships since 2011.

Eleraky with some press

Jagdip Dhillon profiles former CCSF big Sami Eleraky who is in the running for minutes in the middle for Pacific this coming season. It's wonderful that Dhillon cover hoops even in the off-season -- the Tigers should be grateful.

Friday, June 27, 2014

John officially at Cal Poly

Cal Poly athletics makes it official about the signing of Monte Vista High's Trevor John.

Advice from Clint Parks

Via Clint Parks: "Elfrid Payton and Doug McDermott both lottery picks kids pay attention stop chasing the big school go where your loved and rock out."

Lane with the Kings this summer

Josh Horton reports that Brendan Lane will plays for the Sacramento Kings summer league squad.

Reynaud to Houston

Former St. Patrick-St. Vincent and De La Salle head coach Louis Reynaud is now a special assistant at Houston, under Kelvin Sampson. He also was formerly at California and Rice.

DGordon with the Lakers

A Geoff Grammer tweet: "As first reported a few days ago, former Lobo Drew Gordon (@xtraGORDONary32) will play in @NBASummerLeague w/ Los Angeles Lakers."

No days off for Young

Via Jeremy Russotti: "Everyone watching NBA draft and Solomon Young in the gym. Why? Cause no one else is! Kid has shot one day."


Brian, the John Lucas Enterprises Director of Scouting/Recruiting, pulls no punches with: "If a player plays one AAU tournament w a team can you really call them alumni??? Come on cut the crap."

Gordon goes at #4

John Murphy reports on Aaron Gordon going fourth in the NBA draft, a spot higher than any analyst had him pegged.

Bruce Pascoe offers his take.

No go for Jabari Brown

Missouri's Jabari Brown wasn't selected in the NBA draft on Thursday.

Aaron Reiss has more.

Here's a Brown interview from Wednesday.

Laughing all the way to the bank

Fran Fraschilla on prospect Bruno Caboclo during the NBA draft: "He's two years away from being two years away."

Caboclo, a 6-foot-9 Brazilian, went 20th in the NBA draft so he gets the last laugh.

Still, don't you wish you authored/uttered that line?

Thames to Brooklyn

Matthew Bain writes about Xavier Thames being selected at #59 in the NBA draft.

2014 Nor Cal Summer Tip Off

The 5th annual Nor Cal Summer Tip Off will be held Saturday and Sunday July 12-13 at City College of San Francisco. Forty eight teams will be participating, mostly from northern California.

The event will be NCAA sanctioned allowing Division I coaches to attend (making it Northern California’s only NCAA sanctioned event of the summer). It is designed to provide all players an opportunity to demonstrate their talents/skills in highly competitive games for the college coaches, scouts, and media expected to attend.

Every team/individual will play four games (two each day). For media credentials or more information call the tournament director, Gerry Freitas at 408-998-1327 or contact via email:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

It's Gordon's, Thames' and Brown's night tonight

Obviously a big night tonight for Aaron Gordon but let's also not forget Xavier Thames and Jabari Brown.

Veering away from Nor Cal prospects, does Zach LaVine really go ahead of Kyle Anderson? It's a classic case of not knowing what you will get versus knowing exactly what you will get. LaVine has the higher ceiling and off-the-charts athleticism but will it come together for him is the unanswerable question.


The title above says it all -- from the West Valley Basketball Club.

The idea behind its genesis:
The goal of this article is to give you 8 of the biggest differences that you must be ready for as you progress into playing college basketball. This will hopefully help to set you up to have a successful college playing career...

This is interesting

The link to the following

As far as scouting goes, there are things you can measure and things you cant. How high a person can jump, how much weight he or she can lift, how fast he or she can run, those all fall under the former. Tangibles, we call them.

Then there are attributes like like leadership and ability to perform under pressure and confidence. These are traits you want all your players to have. Some might even go as far as saying that being at the top-of-the-chart in these areas is more important than anything an athlete can do physically.

The problem, of course, is that these are intangibles, attributes that can’t be measured. Sure, scouts and bosses can guess and make assumptions, but those can all be affected by various biases and external noise. For example, did a player miss a free-throw at the end of the game because he couldn’t cope with the pressure, or did the ball actually slip out of his fingertips on the way up? And if did slip, was that because he did something differently because as the pressure got to him, or was it just pure randomness?

It’s always been impossible to know the answer to this question and to sort through all of this information. That is, until now.

“We’ve developed a system that can asses an individual’s emotional profile,” says Jordan Denning, CEO of CogSports. “We’re able to to put metrics together to identify what’s going on inside a player’s body and head.”

This is done through the ATHLETT, a tool that will be used at this week’s PIT and one that was developed by Dr. Walter Corey, the the Chairman of the Board for CogSports, also known as the Center for Cognitive Sports Performance.

Corey, who has a doctorate in leadership development, is the developer of a leadership evaluation tool called the LETT—he did this with a team from  the psychology department at Princeton University. Corey has also spent time lecturing at the Naval War college, which, uses the LETT in its training of students and SEALS. Corey thought a similar tool could be applied to the world of sports and so he decided to create a new, sports-oriented model.

The ATHLETT conducts its evaluation through a series of 133 examination questions. “Oblique, disarming statements” is how Denning describes them. One “question” could read something along the lines of “I often carry stress into the next day.” The individual being examined is then given a choice of “answers” to select from such as “agree” or “disagree.”

“From this we can see a trend,” says Denning, “and from that we can make an assessment about an individual’s propensity towards certain behaviors.” The trend could be that an athlete struggles when placed in a stressful environment, or that he or she is able to easily deflect stress. CogSports’ ATHLETT model has been put to use by Division I teams and is “in discussions” with professional ones, according to Denning, the company has seem many examples of their predicted results coming true.

All that being said,  CogSports’ mission, according to Denning “is not just to be the bearer of bad news. We’ll give you the good and the bad, and help you strengthen your weaker areas.”

This is done through the assigning of an “e coach”—emotional coach—who takes a look at a player’s results and assigns various exercises to address those flagged areas.

So, how does this relate to you, either as an athlete training or as a coach training athletes? Because it’s another example of how training does not only apply to the body. Says Mike Brungardt, the former Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Antonio Spurs, ”It’s another piece of the puzzle in developing an athlete to their full potential.”

That means you should be taking time to strengthen your mind and work on the so-called intangibles (a great place to start is with some of these videos.) Physical strength is not all it takes to be great. And now, thanks to CogSports, we have ways to work on our mental strength, too.

For more information on CogSports, visit their website

Rising academics

Rick Lewis covers the changes in academic requirements for upcoming prep prospects. Do not get caught short -- this is a controllable element.

Nor Cal Junior College Summer Jamboree

The Nor Cal Junior College Summer Jamboree is fast approaching as the NCAA certified event will take place July 10-11 at Skyline College and feature 20 community college squads.

Among the participants will be defending state champion Santa Rosa Junior College, City College of San Francisco, Diablo Valley College, Foothill College and San Joaquin Delta College.

That means such talents as Markel Leonard, Parker Farris, Gabe Bealer, Janvier Alaby and returning state assists leader Jordan Belasco will be on display.

It will be a pleasure to see a higher level of ball being played.

More specifics later.

Rae Jackson at Chabot

Noticed that former El Cerrito High guard Rae Jackson, who is on the Dream Team roster in the San Francisco Pro-Am, has Chabot College listed as his school.

Counting down

Jeremy Lin's basketball playing brother

Jeremy Lin is a name known to any basketball fan, even outside of the NBA. Not so for Joseph Lin, who plays for DIII Hamilton College in upstate New York.

Here's a February 2012 article on Joseph.

Presenting UC Davis' recruiting class

UC Davis athletics serves up a solid summary of Coach Jim Les' recruiting class:

Their Season Has Already Started
Off-season workouts continue for the four newest members of UC Davis men's basketball
June 25, 2014

Instead of visiting the beach, river, lake, or taking road trips with their friends, Isaiah Walton, Josh Fox, Neal Monson and Nolan Berry–four student-athletes who can now call themselves Aggies after signing their respective National Letter of Intent–have chosen to spend their break at a variety of less tropical locales throughout the months of June, July and August. 

The track, weight room and gym are the destinations of choice for a group of individuals who have, and will continue to conduct individual workouts on their own in preparation for upcoming team preseason practices.

Recent seasons have been successful ones for each player; by working hard, eating properly and taking care of their academic commitments, Walton, Fox, Monson and Berry are all ready to make the sacrifices needed to continue succeeding both in the classroom, and on the court once they arrive to UC Davis.

Crossing the 1,000 career-point mark as Elyria High School’s top player throughout his four-year career, Walton, the first student-athlete to commit to the Aggies when he inked a NLI during last fall’s signing period, was named All-Lorain County Division I Player of the Year after averaging 21.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. In addition to receiving the county's most prestigious award at the D-I level, Walton also earned a spot on the All-Lorain first team. 

Walton was also the only player from Lorain County to earn D-I all-Ohio honors.

Hailing from Oberlin, Ohio, the 6-foot-3 guard, lauded as one of the top players of that position in Ohio's Class of 2014 by numerous prep pundits, committed to the UC Davis shortly after his official visit. 

"I liked everything about the campus," said Walton. "The people were really friendly, the gym and athletic facilities are great and the campus is so nice it actually looks like a vacation resort.

"Coach Les played in the NBA at the same position that I play, so who better for me to learn from?"

The first of three student-athletes to commit last spring, Fox, a 6-foot-8 forward now has an opportunity to compete in front of his family and hometown friends for the final two years of his collegiate career.

A four-year letterwinner at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep, Fox led the Irish to four Central Coast Section championships and two Northern California Division III titles. In addition to those championship runs, the Irish advanced to the second round of the playoffs in Fox’s sophomore and junior seasons.

Fox competed for junior college powerhouse City College of San Francisco this past season, helping the Rams advance to the regional championship. A key component for a CCSF team that was ranked No. 1 in the California Community College Athletic Association poll throughout the season and recorded 28 straight victories, Fox averaged 9.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, shot .466 from the floor and .372 from three.

The Daly City native competed for UC Riverside throughout the 2012-13 season, averaged 9.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game before returning to Northern California at the end of the year. Shortly thereafter, Fox enrolled at CCSF.

Once 6-foot-11 forward Neal Monson and 6-foot-10 power forward Nolan Berry joined the Aggies after competing for Salt Lake Community College and Butler respectively last year, UC Davis’ presence in the paint and depth increased immediately.

In his lone year at SLCC, Monson quickly earned a spot in the Bruins’ starting lineup and competed as head coach Todd Phillips’ primary center. The only player to earn a start in every game played, Monson averaged 14.4 points and led his team in rebounding at 8.4 per game.

Even though they fell short of their ultimate goal–Bruins dropped a heartbreaking decision at the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championships on a buzzer-beater–it’s fair to say that Monson was one of the main reasons why SLCC was able to make a legitimate run at the title for the first time in years.

The Bruins’ leading scorer in 16 of their games, and top rebounder in 15, Monson logged a double-double on a team-high 10 occasions, fell one rebound shy in another three games and led all players with 36 blocks–nearly 30 percent of his team’s total. 

For his on-court success, the NJCAA named Monson an All-American and recognized his accomplishments with a spot on its honorable mention list.

Before embarking on a two-year LDS mission in Oaxaca, Mexico, Monson was slated to compete for the men’s basketball team at Utah. Instead, he chose community service over athletics and traveled south to begin his brief respite from academics and basketball.

Once completed, Monson enrolled at Salt Lake Community College last summer to help ease the transition from life as a missionary, to one as a student-athlete.

After considering potential opportunities with various East Coast and Midwest programs, Berry felt that UC Davis provided the perfect opportunity to pursue a degree at a prestigious academic institution, and the best fit for his athletic skill set.

“The school, and the city of Davis are two reasons why I chose the Aggies,” said Berry. “The team’s playing style and the comfort level I had with the coaching staff strongly influenced my decision.”

A three-star recruit in high school, Berry competed in 18 games for the Bulldogs as a freshman. Known for his rare combination of size, skill and feel for the game, Butler’s skilled forward often influenced the game on the defensive end of the court. 

A four-year letterwinner and three-year starter at De Smet High School, Berry ended his high school career as the program’s No. 2 all-time scorer. Upon graduation, he was ranked No. 26 among all power forwards and No. 120 in the nation overall by; listed Berry as its No. 22 overall power forward. 

In addition to receiving All-State first team recognition on three occasions, the Metro Catholic Conference also honored Berry with first team honors in his final three years. A second team All-Metro selection as a sophomore, he earned a spot on the first team in his junior and senior seasons.

In his final year at De Smet, Berry averaged 20.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.38 blocks per game and shot an outstanding .579 percent from the field. Those head-turning numbers were posted after Berry averaged a near double-double with 19.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks as a junior and 18.4/6.6/2.5 as a sophomore.

Due to NCAA transfer rules and regulations, Berry will not compete for UC Davis until the start of the 2015-16 season and will have three years of eligibility remaining.

MChriss video highlights

Below is video of Marquese Chriss' highlights from the recent NBA Top 100 Camp:

Foothill's Stanley interviewed

John Bynum @ Signal The Light Basketball serves up an interview with Foothill College Coach Matt Stanley. Do watch for Owl sophomore guard Janvier Alaby this coming season.

Body beat down

Mel Grussing writes about body damage accumulation for relative newcomers to basketball versus those who started dribbling in the crib. The article's focus is on bigs.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A different best college coach poll

Gary Parrish begins with: "So our friends at ESPN launched a series a few weeks back in which they're ranking college basketball coaches in an attempt to determine who's best, and it's been fun to watch unfold but difficult at times to understand because -- and I write this with all due respect -- the rankings, in certain places, just don't make much sense..."


So Parrish then posed this question to a few of his colleagues -- If you could pick any man to run your college basketball program for the next five years, and you don't have to worry about that man retiring or changing jobs, which man would you pick? Forget credentials. Forget records and recent results. Only look forward. You can pick any man to run your program for the next five years. Which man would you pick? -- and here are their names and choices.

Really straight talk on AG

Ryen Russillo talked with NBA types -- "a general manager and two directors of college scouting for NBA teams" -- about Aaron Gordon (with an apology for excerpting so much but this is so damn good):

Scout 1: I think he’s Shawn Marion.

Here’s why I like Gordon, and it’s rare for me (my teams have always been about shooting; you need it to win). It’s simple: Gordon impacts the game without being a shooter. It’s hard to do that. He knows 100 percent what he is. Jabari Parker will take a million bad shots; Gordon already knows he can’t take them.

In the NBA he will guard 1 through 4. He rebounds, disrupts the glass. Not as great with defensive rebounds as he is on the offensive glass. He can dribble and pass. On defense, he gives you deflections. He dives on the floor, makes winning plays. He only cares about winning. He can switch everywhere on defense; there is a lot of value in that.

If you get him fifth or sixth, that’s really good. For me to be this complimentary to a kid that isn’t a shooter is rare. He just needs to develop as a representative shooter over time, to at least be a guy you have to put a defender on. I hear he can’t make 3s — who the fuck cares? Sixteen-footer, 33 percent from 3, five years from now? That’s all you’ll need.

Scout 2: “He’s Blake Griffin … blah blah … ”

Not even close. Thankfully, that comparison is over. Blake was almost 250 pounds when he came in. Blake scored a ton of points in college, like a real scorer. This kid doesn’t. Not sure if he ever is an offensive threat.

Most skewed perspective coming in. He’s an undersized 4 but plays like a 3. He’s like Shawn Marion or Andrei Kirilenko — a power forward that’s a small forward, depending on the lineup.

Great motor. Great kid. Great teammate. He’s the only guy, along with Embiid and Wiggins, where the attraction is defense first.

Owners drafting high want offense. Think about draft night — “Hey, we drafted a really versatile defensive specialist.” How’s that going to go over?

He can’t guard the guys like Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Blake. But he can guard the stretch 4s and definitely small forwards.

Scout 3: He’s one of the two best athletes in the draft. His biggest attribute is his defense. An underrated skill is his passing. He can handle out on the break and he’s a north-south guy. Now, I’m not saying he’s going to break you down off the dribble. And you aren’t going to run isolation for him, at least not now, not that anyone would ask him to anyway. He’s a two-dribble player that will get to the rim.

Offensively, his game is he’s going to get fouled, he’s an attacker. But he has to start making his free throws. Today it’s a joke. He shot 3s in college. He thought it was part of his game. It isn’t.

There are two things you usually get better at in our league: shooting and getting stronger. I think he will do both. He’s a worker, so I think he gets better. But his ceiling is probably [as] an adequate shooter.

What position does he play in the NBA? The body of a 3, the game of a 4. Does he know who he is? He was billed as an SF, and he just isn’t right now.

The position thing really concerns me. He’ll guard 3s — that means chasing guys through screens. But you can’t play him defensively against the bigger guys. They are going to torture him in the paint.

Russillo: The best way I can describe Gordon is that if you decide that you don’t like him before you evaluate him, you won’t. If you want to be positive and talk yourself into him, you will.

Everybody is supposed to be a scorer when they are drafted this high. He wasn’t in college, so why is he going to be one in the NBA? Not everyone on the floor has to be able to shoot. In theory, it’d be great if all five guys could score, like we see with some lineups, like when Portland goes small. But you also need those complementary guys who do other things. That is who Gordon is. He’ll do all that stuff — defend, grab a board, lead a break, and just annoy the hell out of you, all combined with elite athleticism.

He is constantly moving in the half court, sets a lot of screens, and doesn’t need the ball. When I think back on other athletes who didn’t work out, a guy like Tyrus Thomas, it is usually about fighting who you are as a player. Thomas was supposed to score; he couldn’t do it well enough to last. Gordon won’t have any plays run for him, and that’s a good thing.

Walsh being honest

Here's a feature on Coach Bob Walsh who has taken over at Maine -- not too many would say this for print so kudos to him for doing so:

...The largest concern facing Walsh, who compiled a 204-63 record at Rhode Island College over nie seasons, is developing that relationship with his players. He said that in his first season at the Division III school in 2005, he struggled to build that foundation with his players.

“I didn’t do a great job of it in my first year and I’ll never forget that,” Walsh said. “I think they all liked me before they really respected me and really bought in. Regardless of whether you take over a great team with a ton of talent or a bad team with no talent things are going to change.”

“The culture, the approach is going to change with a new head coach and I think that’s something that I learned through my first year that I really didn’t do a great job. I was more concerned with relating to them than I was earning their trust and respect that I needed to get the most out of them...”

QSmith's basketball summer

Dayton Morinaga details what Hawaii's Quincy Smith is up to this summer. The former Deer Valley High backcourter is in the running to start at the point. His competition: Roderick Bobbitt.

Randle moving on to Lassen

Andy Boogaard notes that:
Ten [Fresno] Bee All-Stars will be showcased, including Player of the Year Murshid Randle of Central [High] ... Two-time Tri-River Athletic Conference Player of the Year Randle will haul his school-record 1,831 points in four seasons to Lassen Junior College.
Here's an April report on Randle.

Bright and the Gaels

Simon Tryzna looks at the projected impact Aaron Bright will have on St. Mary's and its backcourt this coming season.

Davis offers Oguine

Josh Gershon tweeted: "2015 West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade PG Michael Oguine picked up an offer from UC Davis." Montana offered him earlier.

In March, Oguine led his high school team to the state championship, totaling 26 points in the final game. He is listed as a point, probably because he stand 6-feet, but scoring is certainly one of his talents.

St. John's out for Artis

Adam Zagoria reports that St. John's has pulled out of pursuing Dominic Artis.

Bryant moving up with the Jazz

Johnnie Bryant, formerly of Bishop O'Dowd, City College of San Francisco and Utah, is now an assistant coach on Quinn Snyder's new Utah Jazz staff. He was previously in player development:

...Bryant begins his third season with the Jazz since being hired in the summer of 2012.  Prior to joining the Jazz, Bryant operated Bryant Sports Academy, an intense and unique skill development program through which he has worked extensively with more than 125 athletes of various age groups to advance each player’s skill set through personalized workout sessions.  Among the athletes he has worked with are numerous professional European players and several NBA players.

Bryant is a former standout guard at the University of Utah where he played three seasons (2005-08) and finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in three-point percentage (.455) and ranked 20th on the Utes’ all-time scoring list.  He was named to the All-Mountain West Conference Second Team in 2008 and received the Jack Gardner team MVP award for the 2007-08 season. He also set the single-game three-point record (8), and finished his career fifth all-time in the Mountain West Conference in three-point field goal percentage (.490) in conference games.  Bryant then played one professional season in Germany with Telemotive Muenchen...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cummings to Branham

John Murphy tweeted: "Sean Cummings has been picked as new @BranhamSports boys hoops coach, said Bruins AD Landon Jacobs. He was formerly coach at Los Gatos."

Grobecker to Lewis & Clark

From Napa Valley College Coach Steve Ball:

I am pleased to announce that Kristian Grobecker (6’ PG from Pacific Grove) has committed to play for coach Dinari Foreman. Coach Foreman played on Napa Valley College Men’s basketball team on the 1992-1993 BVC Championship team.

Kristian was a hard-working and high character student athlete during his two years at Napa Valley College. He is the type of young man any program would be proud to call an alum. He came to us after a red shirt year at Sonoma State University and worked diligently to improve as a player, as student and a person. At SSU Kristian was a member of the Dean’s List and while at NVC he maintained a perfect 4.0 gpa. In his two years on the court averaged 5 points while shooting over 80% from the free throw line and 40% from the 3 point line.

The Storm Basketball Family is extremely proud to announce the connection of two high character and hard-working alums.

"Finch" on four Nor Cal draft prospects

Seth Davis' "Finch"  give "his" take on various NBA draft prospects -- here are the northern California-connected talents:

* Jabari Brown, 6-4 guard, Missouri. "I liked him in the season, but I didn't like him in the workouts as much. He's going to be really challenged athletically. He's a good shooter, but when you're one-dimensional like him, you have to be an elite shooter, and I don't see him as that."

* Aaron Gordon, 6-9 forward, Arizona. "He's just an athletic freak. Playing hard is a skill in our league, and he's better than Kenneth Faried with that. The offensive piece will come. I see a Shawn Marion-type player. He'll never shoot like Ray Allen, but he has great work ethic. His shot will get better. What gets lost is he doesn't have any back-to-the-basket moves, either. You're just hoping he gets good enough offensively that people have to guard him."

* Dwight Powell, 6-11 forward, Stanford. "In the workout I saw, he was better than I thought. A little tougher than I thought. He's skilled and a pretty good athlete, which is a good combo to start with. People say he's soft, but he's the furthest thing from soft. Good rebounders are not soft. He's a finesse player."

* Xavier Thames, 6-3 guard, San Diego State. "I think people are sleeping on him. That kid can run a team. He destroyed Kansas this year. Tough, hard-nosed kid, but he doesn't have NBA speed or athleticism."

"Giving over getting"

Jonathan Abrams is back with a long look at how connected Tony Parker and Boris Diaw are and its not just a being from France commonality.

Found this very interesting

Brian McCormick writes:

To expand upon the way that we teach the game (link) with regards to the triple threat and ball movement, as trainers and individual workouts have replaced open gyms and pickup games, ballhandling moves have been emphasized more and more. Players spend hours working on isolated moves and complicated drills to develop their handles. How often do players use these moves in games?

There are two situations when a player should use more than two dribbles (if our goal is for players and teams to be more Spurs-like): (1) advancing the ball into the front court, and (2) on a pick and roll. The other possibility, call it 2b, is against a mismatch, such as when Manu Ginobili gets a switch and retreats two or three dribbles to attack the post defender at full speed. These mismatches often are created by the pick-and-roll.

This is the fundamental change in mentality that we need to emphasize to develop players who emulate the Spurs. We train players as individuals and hope that they fit their individual games into a team. We move from the individual to the team – we train players to make individual moves to create a shot for oneself or one’s teammates. The Spurs play from the team to the individual – they use a team skill (hand-off, screens, on-ball screen) to break down the defense, and individual skill to exploit the advantage and finish the play. We spend ample time practicing individual offensive moves, but ignore the basic ways to disorganize the defense with tactical skills. Tactics are taught as plays, not as general skills to be developed in the same way and with the same emphasis as individual ballhandling skills.

Ballhandling skills are important, and arguably more important at youth levels because of the prevalence of backcourt pressure. However, the emphasis on individual moves is incongruent for our Spurs-inspired goals, similar to emphasizing the triple threat and the jab-step series. Players need to develop these skills because the learning enhances confidence and gives the players more tools to use when presented with different situations. However, the emphasis within skill development should be on the team skills and collective decision making, not just isolated moves, if we want better 5v5 players.

O'Reilly lands an offer

Via Verbal Commits: "2015 Campolindo (CA) G Matt O'Reilly has received an offer from Hartford."

Hartford is a member of the America East Conference.

The Nike Point Guard Camp

Attending the upcoming Nike Point Guard Camp are a couple of northern California-connected names:

* Isaiah Taylor, sophomore, Texas

* Delon Wright, sophomore senior, Utah

The Nike Big Man Camp is missing Ivan Rabb but it looks like only college players and 2015 prospects received invites.

A Darin Johnson update

From Percy Allen on sophomore-to-be Darin Johnson playing in the Washington summer league:
Playing alongside [Mike] Anderson and Seattle U’s D’Vonne Pickett Jr., Johnson gets lots of scoring opportunities which is ideal for the 6-4 shooting guard. He did a little bit of everything Monday. He scored in transition. He shot three-pointers. He finished in traffic at the rim. Johnson even did a nice job at times defensively, including collecting a steal that resulted in a layup. He scored a team-high 16 points in a comeback 74-72 win.

Meet Elise Gordon

Bruce Pascoe features Elise Gordon, who will be chaperoning brother Aaron at least for the next year. Think about it: three siblings and each plays DI basketball. Two professionally. Remarkable. The Family Gordon could actually field a five-person hoops team.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Boddie to Lewis & Clark

After averaging 13.0 and 8.9 rebounds a game for Central Catholic High as a senior while earning First Team Western Athletic Conference honors, 6-foot-6 Jonathan Boddie is headed to Portland, Lewis & Clark College (LCC) in particular. He also played spring and summer basketball with the Oakland Rebels.

A Division III institution with 2,000 undergraduates, LCC competes in the Northwest Conference against other schools from Oregon and Washington and, while athletic scholarships per se are not offered, financial aid is based on a combination of prowess in academics and athletics.

"It's a school with good academics and basketball," Boddie noted. He added that he wants to become a doctor although a specific area of medicine has yet to be decided.

Below is Boddie being interviewed after a 56-47 Central Catholic victory over Brookside Christian last March 5:

He is modest in his on-court goals for next season.

"It will be my first year and I'll be getting used to the program."

In what is a coincidence but still remarkable in its own way is that Boddie injured himself a couple of years back on the Lewis & Clark court while playing in a tournament. "I rolled my ankle and was out for two months." Apparently not the superstitious type, he didn't let that memory interfere in his commitment.

His advice to those pondering their college destination is "stay positive and be willing to wait. Choosing a school doesn't have to come fast."

Also, northern Californians Kurt Parker (Jesuit High), Harold Getz (University High) and Mat Collins (St. Ignatius College Prep) are already residents of the Pioneer roster so Boddie will join some fellow Golden Staters once he arrives.

What should make for some interesting banter is that after Getz's University High topped Central Catholic 79-69 in the 2012-13 CIF playoffs, Boddie's bunch won 73-58 this past March 15 as he dominated with 23 points, 15 boards and a pair of blocked shots. 

One other LCC hoops note: the basketball program was headed from 1989 to 2011 by Bob Gaillard, the former USF coach from back in the 1970s.

Jim Cavan on the good, bad and ugly as a result of the 'net

Jim Cavan digs into what has happened with print standards since the 'net allows any "expert" to offer his or her opinion. He's down with it.

He also offer the following as one example of his describing Raymond Felton's play: "Raymond Felton trails helplessly behind his man like a piece of toilet paper on a stripper’s heel” which is one of his milder remarks towards Felton.

I laughed so what does that say about me?

Aaron & Drew Gordon

Marc J. Spears writes about the basketball bond of the Brothers Gordon.

Duncan underappreciated?

Nicholas Tuths stakes out this territory: "The Best Player Since Jordan -- For 17 years, we have been worshiping false idols — but it’s okay, Tim Duncan forgives us.

Rabb checks out Cal

Ryan Gorcey details Ivan Rabb's recent visit to Cal-Berkeley -- can Cuonzo Martin break the Arizona stranglehold?

Cuonzo Martin interviewed

Nicole Auerbach offers a Q-and-A with Cal's Cuonzo Martin.

A great step forward

From USC athletics:

USC will offer four-year athletic scholarships to all scholarship student-athletes in the revenue sports of football and men's and women's basketball in lieu of the current practice of offering one-year renewable scholarships, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden announced today. 

Haden said this policy will be effective July 1, 2014, for all current and future scholarship student-athletes in those sports. 
"In taking this action, USC hopes to help lead the effort to refocus on student-athlete welfare on and off the field," Haden said.

Haden also reaffirmed the university's commitment to assist those scholarship student-athletes in good academic standing that have exhausted their intercollegiate eligibility to obtain their undergraduate degrees. USC has assisted more than 250 former student-athletes with undergraduate degree academic support over the last decade.

Of course, with the USC alumni base, this is easily affordable but that doesn't take anything away from this welcome change.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

DeMuynck playing in the SF Pro-Am

Chabot Men's Basketball updates alumnus Jourdan DeMuynck.

Gaffaney went out strong

Tyler Gaffaney, who played prep basketball at Branson, certainly picked up the accolades after his final go-around with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps: along with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) announced their respective All-Region and All-District men's basketball teams on March 17 and March 18 and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps senior guard Tyler Gaffaney has been named to both teams. selected Gaffaney to the All-West Region second team while the NABC tabbed him for the All-District West Region first team.

In 2013-14, Gaffaney helped lead the Stags to 20-6 record and the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) regular season championship, the 17th in school history. The Mill Valley, Calif. native led the team in points at 18.3 per game, rebounds per game, steals per game and several other key statistical categories.

In 26 games played, he scored in double-figures in all but one game and had 11 games of 20 or more points, including a season-high of 28 points against Caltech and Whittier. At the beginning of March, the SCIAC selected Gaffaney as the conference's Player of the Year.

Love with a solid freshman season

6-foot-1 Kenny Love, out of  Cardinal Newman High, played in 29 games (five starts) for 23-6/14-2 Whitworth College (Washington) this season, averaging 7.1 points and 2.4 rebounds and 20 minutes a contest. He shot 46% overall, 40% from long distance and 76% at the foul line. His 51 assists tied for second on the team.

Sham City

Charles Pierce, on of our best writers today, attended a portion of the on-going NCAA trial on student-athlete amateurism and here's his take. Paraphrasing Al McGuire, it's sham city.

Freeberg finishes at Lewis & Clark

Connor Freeberg went out strong during his senior season at Lewis & Clark in Portland. The 6-foot-2 guard out of Albany High averaged 10.6 points (shooting 46%) plus 4.9 rebounds a contest while starting 25 of 26 outings. Freeberg was on the court for just under 20 minutes a game.

Eads to learn the HP way

6-foot-8 Central Catholic frontcourter Ethan Eads is hulu-ing to the islands, Hawaii Pacific in particular. That means he'll be returning to the Bay Area when his new team faces Notre Dame de Namur, Dominican University, Holy Names University and Academy of Art University in conference play. HP is located in Hololulu.

Clarke moving down south

Anderson Clarke of Campolindo High and Lakeshow, is moving on to play for Coach Ken Amman at Concordia University in southern California. From Eagle athletics:

Anderson Clarke is a 6'5" guard and keeps the Australian pipeline alive at Concordia. He finished his high school career at Campolindo High School in Moraga, CA, but is originally from Penguin, Tasmania, Australia. His dad, Marty Clarke, is an assistant coach at Saint Mary's College. He played club basketball with the Lakeshow, one of the top teams in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"Anderson Clarke is a talented, skilled player, with a high basketball IQ,"Ammann said. "We are excited about his potential and expect him to be very successful at Concordia. His shooting ability and work ethic make him a great fit for our program."

Here's a November 2013 article on Clarke.

Sterling Smith honored

Former Chico High star Sterling Smith just finished his sophomore season at Coppin State in Maryland and earned the honor of most improved on his squad:

Smith was one of three Coppin State players to average double figures, finishing the season with a 10.9 point per game average. Smith, who also averaged 4.2 rebounds per game, led Coppin State in steals (39) and 3-pointers (60). Smith was fifth in the MEAC in 3-point shooting percentage (38.5). He scored in double figures 18 times. Smith dropped a career-high 24 points in an overtime setback to Hampton. For the season, Smith scored 20 or more points four times.

Sende to play for Shanan Rosenberg

Oak Ridge High's Connor Sende has cast his educational and basketball lot with Linfield College in Oregon, in a hoops program headed by former Foothill College Coach Shanan Rosenberg.

Here's the writeup from Linfield:

Sende is a three-year letterman from Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills, Calif. As a senior team captain, he was a first-team all-Delta River League selection. He helped the Trojans to three consecutive Division I Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berths.

Sende is an excellent student who intends to major in environmental science at Linfield.

"Connor's versatility, speed, skill and athleticism at 6-7 make him quite a threat on the court,” said Rosenberg. “I have no doubt Connor's best years are ahead of him and I really look forward to guiding him toward that potential. He has a knack for rebounding and attacks the rim with terrific aggression, and also shoots the three very well.”

A DeMarcus Nelson sighting

Partizan NIS Belgrade continued to dominate the Serbian KLS by winning the league title for the 13th consecutive season. The victory is even sweeter as it comes against arch rival Crvena Zvezda Belgrade courtesy of an 87-95 overtime win on the road in Game 4 of the Finals series...

...while DeMarcus Nelson matched that with 14 of his own.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chico will not be outworked

Travis Souders checks in with an article on the Chico State Basketball Way.

It's going to be fascinating who takes Chris Cobb's place on Greg Clink's Wildcat staff because it's been proven to be a great jumping off point.

A new community college hoops site

John Bynum at Signal The Light Basketball has jumped into California Community College basketball coverage. Do bookmark his site.

Lynch to Chico State

Here's a link to a profile video of Liberty Christian High's Joseph Lynch will is moving on to Chico State. He's a 5-foot-11 backcourter who averaged 15 points per game this past season and was voted the Most Valuable Player of the Five Star League. Lynch made his decision in late April.

Below are some junior season highlights:

Giddings goes with the Wildcats

Travis Souders' article provides the answer to a question posed earlier -- former Fresno State and Windsor High big Tanner Giddings will be at Chico State for the 2014-15 season.

Inside the mind of Buzz Williams

Gary Parrish provides a truly fascinating look into the mind of Virginia Tech Coach Buzz Williams. A snippet:

...Why he left Marquette is rooted in similar stuff.

Simply put, once Williams decided to go into what he called an "information-gathering mode," his mind wouldn't rest until he had more data than you can imagine. He projected the likelihood of basketball programs not connected to football programs flourishing over the next 10 years in this ever-changing climate of college athletics. He studied how many programs succeed at a high level without some sort of ESPN contract. He estimated whether it was reasonable to expect the next six years at Marquette would duplicate or exceed the previous six. He researched every coach who has been at a high-major program for at least eight seasons to the point where he learned that staying in the same place too long in this era -- especially when you'll be inheriting a new athletic director soon, like he would've been at Marquette -- proves to be a mistake more often than not for most men...

Snoddy heading to Monterey

6-foot-7 Seth Snoddy, out of Lincoln High and with the San Francisco Rebels during the spring and summer, is headed to Monterey Peninsula College. He's a two-time All Academic Athletic Association First Team honoree.

Dickson en fuego in Australia

Sacramento State basketball reports that former Hornet John Dickson is living large playing basketball in Oz.

The dilemma

From Rick Isaacs flow: "The overriding ? Is always "can I win with this kid"?

Goes for top but troubled talents who might put a team over the top (or sink it) and lesser talented guys who bring a certain skill or element to the court that helps a squad be successful.

Some academic highlights at Skyline

From Skyline College Men's Basketball:
Congratulations to the members of the men's basketball team who were named to the Spring 2014 Dean's List: Etienne Boutan, Kevin Brandenberg, Jordan Dougherty, and Matt Ennis.
A sophomore wing out of Lincoln High, Brandenberg was also second on the team with 11.9 points per game.

Stephen Domingo interviewed

Grant Marek/Golden Bear Report profiles Cal basketball player Stephen Domingo.

It will be fascinating to see a year from now if he has added some dribble-drive to his offensive game.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Update on Dom Artis

Adam Zagoria has the latest on Dominic Artis and St. John's basketball.

Hickman to the Bear Cubs

Jordan Hickman of St. Patrick - St. Vincent High and Lakeshow will be attending Santa Rosa Junior College and playing for Coach Craig McMillan in 2014-15. The 6-foot-5 wing averaged 11.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and three assists this past season.

Showing up when it really counts, Hickman totaled 18 points, nine rebounds, six steals and two blocked shots against Cardinal Newman and 22 points versus Harker during the March playoffs.

Strickland redshirted at Cincy

Most have forgotten but here's a reminder that 6-foot-9 Jamaree Strickland redshirted this past season at Cincinnati and will be back on the court in 2014-15.

Here's a January 2014 feature on Strickland.

Fit is critical (and the willingness to re-work your game)

Liked this article on NBA reclamation projects.

SRJC is sending guys on

Michael Coit looks at the success Santa Rosa Junior College Coach Craig McMillan has enjoyed in getting his guys to the next level, especially with backcourters moving on to DI.

Holt and the NBA draft

Simon Tyzna look at the draft value of former St. Mary's guard Stephen Holt.

Two more photos from the Warriors kids camp

Gavin Weeman, an 11 year old from Scotts Valley, passes the ball between the legs of Camp Coach Chris Head on Wednesday during the Santa Cruz Warriors Youth Basketball Camp at Kaiser Permanente Arena. (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Santa Cruz Warriors Youth Basketball Camp Coach Aalim Moor watches two of his charges compete in a one-on-one drill Wednesday at Kaiser Permanente Arena. (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Artis with a trio of Bay Area suitors

Matt Prehm reports that Dom Artis has three Bay Area schools of interest and now also St. Johns.

Murphy on Sam Goldman

John Murphy recalls his interactions with the late Sam Goldman.

DeCuire makes it official

Montana Coach Travis DeCuire has assembled quite the coaching staff for a Big Sky Conference member -- three Bay Area-connected guys..

From Montana athletics:

First-year University of Montana men's basketball mentor Travis DeCuire has selected his assistant coaches, he announced today.

DeCuire named former Pac-12 and Big Sky Conference head coach Ken Bone as an Associate Head Coach, while current Griz assistant Jono Metzger-Jones will remain at UM, and Chris Cobb rounds out DeCuire's assistant coaching staff. Marlon Stewart was chosen to serve as the Director of Basketball Operations.

Bone recently concluded his fifth season as the head coach at Washington State. During his tenure with the Cougars his teams advanced to two postseason tournaments, including the NIT semifinals in 2010-11. He had a record of 80-86 in his tenure at WSU.

"I thought for me and the first time as a head coach, it's important to have someone on the bench and in the office that had experience with making decisions, and also having a calm mind to weather the storm in big, pressure games," DeCuire said. "For me it's important to have someone like Ken who is very experienced on the bench.

"All of his teams have probably over-achieved," DeCuire said. "Offensively, when you look at the University of Washington when they had their success and Sweet 16 runs he was a big part of that," DeCuire said. "They were probably in the top five or six in scoring, and we're looking at getting to that point in scoring, and 85 or 90 points a game, if possible. So that's important for us. He had some success at Washington State and his teams were good offensively."

Prior to his stint at WSU, Bone spent the previous four years as the head coach at Portland State, leading the Vikings to back-to-back NCAA appearances in 2007-08 and 2008-09. He had a record of 77-49 at PSU, and one of the best winning percentages (.611) in school history.

Bone has a record of 361-202 in his 19 years as a head coach, including 12 seasons at his alma mater, Seattle Pacific University. Between his stints at SPU and PSU, he spent the 2002-05 seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Washington. 

A native of Seattle, Bone graduated from Seattle Pacific in 1983 and received his master's in athletic administration in 1993. He played two seasons at SPU.

Metzger-Jones recently concluded his fourth season as an assistant coach at Montana. During his stint at UM the Grizzlies have advanced to two NCAA Tournaments (2012 & 2013), and to the CBI Tournament (2011) as well. On the court Metzger-Jones works primarily with the Griz perimeter players. Over the past four seasons he helped guards Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar earn first team All-Big Sky Conference honors.

"Player development is very important to me, and I think Jono has played a strong role with that here are Montana," DeCuire said. "I think you will see some results this year on the floor with a couple of guys who didn't play last year, or who played limited minutes this past year, in terms of their improvement.

"He's also important because he's been here for awhile on the staff, and has a good feel for where the community stands in regards to Montana basketball," DeCuire said. "Once again you're talking about someone who has experience with winning championships. He understands the game and is a very good recruiter."

His other duties at Montana include all aspects of recruiting, scheduling, player skill development with an emphasis on perimeter players, preparation and implementation of opponent scouting reports, game strategy, film breakdown, player academics, facility coordination, summer camps, and equipment.

Prior to arriving in Missoula, Metzger-Jones spent four seasons at UC Santa Barbara. In his time there he helped lead the Gauchos to two Big West regular-season championships and back-to-back Big West Conference Tournament titles and NCAA berths -- a first in UCSB basketball history.

Metzger-Jones played collegiately at the University of the Pacific where he finished his career ranked in the program's top 10 all time in 3-point shooting. After his college days were over Jono spent time playing professionally in Europe. Over the course of three seasons he played in professional leagues in Italy, Switzerland, Finland, and Denmark. A native of Oakland, California, Metzger-Jones earned his B.S. in Business Administration from UOP in 2002.

Cobb just completed his fourth year as the head assistant coach at Chico State, where he was a key component of the team's scouting, recruiting and player development. The Wildcats played in three straight NCAA Tournaments (2012-13 and 2013-14) during his tenure, and advanced to the Elite Eight last season for the first time in school history.

"Chris is a very hard worker, who has gained a ton of experience at a very young age," DeCuire said. "Division I and Division II are the same to me, in terms in what you put in recruiting and player development wise. His team at Chico won an NCAA game last year, and for me it's important to have guys on the staff whose teams have won championships, and know what it takes to develop a program and take a program to the next level."

Prior to his stint at Chico, Cobb was an assistant coach at San Francisco State during the 2009-10 season. He joined the coaching ranks immediately following a four-year career at Menlo College in Atherton, Calif., where he was a two-time All-California Pacific Conference first team pick. He is Menlo's all-time record holder for career assists and 3-pointers.

Cobb received his bachelor's degree in business management from Menlo College in 2009. He earned his master's degree in kinesiology, with an emphasis on sports administration, from Fresno Pacific University in 2012.

Stewart joins the Griz program after a two-year stint at the University of Virginia, where he was involved in scouting and video work. Last season Virginia was the ACC champion, a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament, and advanced to the Sweet 16.

A 2008 graduate of Washington State, Stewart was the video coordinator at WSU in 2006-07 and 2007-08, and also served in that capacity at the University of California-Berkeley (with DeCuire) from 2009-12.

"Marlon is a multi-task guy who is very bright, understands the game, is very level-headed, and for me I thought it was important to have someone on the staff who knows me and has worked with me before," DeCuire said. "He was part of our (Cal's) conference championship teams in 2010 and Virginia's 2014 ACC championship. So once again you're talking about someone who knows how to win. He'll do a lot of things for us."

"I am very comfortable with this staff," DeCuire said. "I think that when you look at your staff and you look at your team and your leadership, I've always believed in recruiting winners when you put your team together. In order to do that you have to have a staff who understands what a winner is and what it takes to get there. When you look at our staff, every one of them has played a role in some sort of championship or another."

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The rich are getting richer

Yet another talent is also headed to Merritt College -- this being 6-foot-4 Deion Ellis of McClymonds High. Make that Deion Ellis of Mack and the Oakland Athletic League (OAL) Player of the Year based on 21 points, 11 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in the 2013-14 season. He also garnered multiple other honors. for his production.

Insert insightful leader in there too as Ellis, when asked about his best skills, said, "a very good team player, a defense first player and with an inside-outside game."

A self-described late bloomer, Ellis enjoyed an invitational introduction to hoops in the eighth grade -- "the coach wanted me to try out for basketball so I did."

However, there were no immediate mixtapes posted on the 'net nor any 'hallelujahs' from any of the various recruiting service analysts.

"My first two years [in high school] were as a hustle man playing the five because I was the tallest."

But Ellis was another who was aided by participating in club basketball because he rotated between positions and developed versatility. "I played small forward, power forward, wing, the 1-5. It was highly beneficial."

He added, "Now my skills are better and I'm much more versatile -- not just a post player. I'm also a lot more focused."

He also got the chance to play for his stepfather this season when Brandon Brooks was dismissed. Edgar Jackson, the junior McClymonds varsity coach, stepped up to lead the top team and the Warriors finished 23-9 overall, 10-0 in league.

Looking to major in kinesiology with the idea of becoming a trainer "if basketball doesn't work out for me," entering the coaching profession and putting on camps also interests Ellis.

So why his choice of Merritt? "Coach Keenan [McMiller] was there watching me from day one while other coaches didn't look at me and it felt like a family [at Merritt].

Plus, "I played with and against both Denzel Bellott and Leo Smith. We won the 2014 OAL championship when Denzel was at McClymonds. We definitely have some chemistry." Bellott and Smith are currently Thunderbird sophomores. 

Here's McMiller on his latest addition: "Deion is a solid student athlete who is a qualifier. He's a hard worker, tough and coachable. Each year Deion has played in high school, he has improved his athleticism and skill level as a player. Deion earned the Oakland Athletic league MVP award with the consistent hard work he puts in and we are excited to have him here at Merritt College.

Nolan Berry & UC Davis

UC Davis athletics makes it official with big Nolan Berry.

Phillips to the Seawolves

6-foot-2 backcourter Mason Phillips is moving from Shasta High to Sonoma State University for the 2014-15 season. He was a First Team All Sacramento League selection.

Thomas Lawrence has the details.

Rivera with the GS Warriors

Jose Rivera is mentioned in this article as an assistant director at a Golden State Warriors basketball camp being held in Santa Cruz. This Jose Rivera:
Starting his first year as a full-time member of the Warriors youth basketball department, Rivera joined the Warriors Basketball Camp staff after completing his high school career at De La Salle HS, Concord in 2008. An All-State player in high school, Rivera went on to play junior college basketball at Citrus College in Southern California where he again received All-State honors. He played one year of Division I basketball at the University of Pacific before transferring to Cal State San Marcos where he was an NAIA All-American and one of the top three point shooters in the country. 

"Spurs Way"

Ronnie Flores writes about the "Spurs Way" in relation to what high school basketball players should be emulating.

Sam Goldman remembered

In Memoriam - The West Coast Conference Remembers Sam Goldman

Never had the pleasure of meeting him -- sounds like he was one those wonderfully talented and giving people who never thought the world revolved around him.

Santa Clara's freshmen arrive on campus

Santa Clara basketball video introduces its young guys -- Kerry Keating and Co. understand how to utilize social media when most are clueless. It's the off-season yet they don't miss an opportunity.

Painkillers in sports

Former Sacramento area football and basketball talent Armond Armstead is featured in this article about the dispensing of painkillers in order to get athletes back playing.

Here's more.

JBrown a second rounder

Ed Isaacson digs into Jabari Brown's prospects as an NBA draftee and forecasts a mid-second round selection.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

PART II: comings and goings to date at the community college level

Below are the incoming and outgoing northern California community college talents thus far, with certainly many more to come. Who officially have we missed?

*** indicates newly added names


Yasin Omar - (Iowa Central)
Rohit Raj - Fremont Christian High
Shaun Rodgers - Deer Valley High


Kanu Aja - East Carolina
Sami Eleraky - Pacific
Joshua Fox - UC Davis
Chuks Iroegbu - Northern Illinois
Dulani Robinson - Pacific
Travante Williams - Adams State
Gemeny Givens - St. Mary's (TX)


*** Justin Claus - Fortuna High

James Slade - Sonoma State
Mitchell Hash - Sonoma State
*** Shaquille Jones - Simpson University
*** Dylan Ingersoll - Humboldt State


Lavar Moore - Oregon Tech


Jaycob Velasco - University of Mary

Tyquan Neal - Edison High
Kenneth Daye - West High
Phil Morgan - Natomas High
Daylon Potts - Edison High
Elijah Calloway - Valley High


Tajai Johnson - UC Riverside
Dawson Johnson - DeAnza College


Jermaine Edmonds - Montana
John Ocon - Ottawa Universit
*** Justin Yeargin - Mars Hill University
*** Conner Jean - Loyola Marymount

Rico Nuno- Half Moon Bay High
Siaan Rojas - Concrod High
Damien Banford - Newark Memorial High
Spencer Clark - Concord High


Kyle Toth - Cal Poly


Benson Arogbo - Maine Fort Kent

Richard Bivens - Ridgeview High
Eric Duncan - Weston Ranch High/Future College Prep


Drew Cones - Humboldt State


David Andoh - Liberty
Anthony Knight -  Idaho State

DJ Kennedy - Pittsburg High
Matthew Thomas - Newark Memorial High
Rodney Pope - Freedom High
Leo Smith - Chabot College
Gerry Cooper - Delta College
Jamelle Corbino - Trinidad State
Randy Bell - Pittsburg High
Tra'von King - CCSF
Karim Helali


*** Deondre Otis - Sacred Heart Cathedral High


Matt Hayes - Loyola Marymount
Alec Kobre - Pacific
*** Brian Johnson - Cal Maritime
*** Luke Cocheran - Sonoma State

Parker Farris - Humboldt State
*** Jordan Hickman - St. Patrick-St. Vincent High
*** Markel Leonard - Cal Poly


Trey Belton - Sheldon High
Adilio Da Silveira - Del Oro High


Momir Gataric - Montana State-Billings
Chris Murry - William Jessup University


Darrell Polee - Adams State
Chris Smith - Utah State
Floyd Wormley - San Francisco State
KJ Logue - Cal Poly
Jaysen Williams - Adams State

JoJo Zamora - Impact Academy
Vasilije Saraba - Del Campo High
James Hadnot - Ranger College
Jalen Coates - Burbank High
Brady Anderson - Jesuit High