Monday, August 31, 2015

Going dark for the rest of the week

This site is going dark until next Monday due to a move (ugh)...

Young commits

From Joe Davidson: "SacBee All-Metro forward Solomon Young gives a verbal to Iowa State. Competes, runs, rebounds, posts up, plays above the rim..."

Good for him. Big 12 Conference and a very successful program.

So Cal double dips

John Murphy game reports the 2017 southern California contingent winning 135-114 against their northern California counterparts on Sunday. Alfred (Sacred Heart Cathedral) Hollins' team high 27 points for the defeated went for naught.

It was 137-134 in the 2016 matchup. For Nor Cal, Jordan (Folsom High) Ford 28 points, Nikhil (De La Salle) Peters 25 and Jordan (De La Salle) Ratinho 20. Ryan Silapan game reports. John Murphy lauds the play of Jordan Ford.

Ronnie Flores tweeted: "Jordan Ratinho with two triples & a dunk for North. Ties the game up. Ratinho might be best shooter either game, either team."

Dave Rogahn did good with "In the house of @CoachGiacomazzi at Las Positas And ready for Prep 2 Prep all-star classic" -- The House of Giacomazzi, 3000 Campus Hill Drive, Livermore.

Ruminating on City College of San Francisco

Current rosters have yet to be posted for almost every community college team but, even with unforeseen changes from July, it's already know-able that City College of San Francisco (CCSF) is going to be one of the most intriguing squads in the 2015-16 season.

Below are a number of elements as to why:

* Even minus Trevor Dunbar, Shon Briggs and Jalen Canty, Coach Justin Labagh's Rams looked extremely tough against the competition in July's Nor Cal JUCO Summer Jamboree. The CCSF guards applied full court pressure causing problems for opponents on the majority of possessions.

* The 6-foot-8 Canty, 6-foot-9 sophomore Josh Kahlon and freshman Kendall McIntosh at 6-foot-8 will provide plenty of inside depth in case of foul trouble and/or injury. Also, add 6-foot-8 Tulsa transfer Keondre Dew to the mix in the paint and the likelihood of any downtime in paint production is nil.

* 6-foot-5 Jerrod Nodar shot 44% from three-point range and 6-foot-4 Troy Thompson 37% and each is back for what should be opportunities for even more open looks.

* 6-foot-6 Shon Briggs has always been a scorer and will end up with a double figures average -- doing so as economical shooter will be his key.

* Dunbar will lead from the point and shouldn't have to score all that much to impress D1 programs as recruiters will be looking more for an efficiently run offense -- the getting of the ball to the right teammates at the most opportune times.

* The backcourt has very good depth as Jason Smith returns, Keanu Peters has transferred in from Casper College and is the best athlete on the team plus the aforementioned Thompson will be part of the rotation. Freshman guards arriving are Armani (Washington High) Hall, Justin St. Joseph Notre Dame) Brown, Zachary (Berkeley High) Copeland and David (Sacred Heart) Parsons

For the record, the Rams put together a six-game win streak before falling to Merritt College in the playoffs and this was minus Gabe Bealer who had departed for Utah.

CCSF is going to enjoy numerous ways of putting points on the board. On the flip side, shotblocking will be an aspect of the Rams' defensive effort as well as ball pressure.

This season indeeds bodes well.

TBrown to SJSU

This is an interesting one. Moreau Catholic High (MCH) Coach Frank Knight: "Congratulations to Moreau Catholic's 2016 Guard Terrell Brown @hooplife_tj on his commitment to play at San Jose State University!"

Brown is a 6-foot-3 guard who averaged 12.6 points last season on a team loaded with talent -- try at least four and maybe five D1 level prospects. It's a squad in Hayward that gets up and down the court quickly because that plays to its strengths since the quintet stands 6-foot-6, 2 @ 6-foot-3, one measuring 6-foot-2 and a 6-footer.

MCH finished 23-7 last season, 14-0 in the Mission Valley Basketball League.

He played with Team Arsenal in the spring and summer.

Brown will need to add more more and strength for college ball but that's a do-able.

Video from his junior season:

Cam Oliver's meaning to Nevada

Chris Murray offers more on the availability of Cameron Oliver to the Nevada squad this coming season. He concludes with: "...Pre-Oliver, Nevada was looking at another losing season. Post-Oliver, a top-half finish in the MW isn’t out of the question. He’ll be starting alongside AJ West before the season ends."

More from Wolf Pack athletics.

Cherry heading to Germany

David Pick reported: "Will Cherry, PG for Becky Hammon and Spurs, signing with ALBA Berlin - club official said."

Bracy now at American Canyon High

"Team Rampage Coach and Founder Brandon Bracy, has used his success in AAU, to make him a good young coaching prospect in Northern California. His efforts in coaching, as well as training young athletes, has been greatly noticed in the area allowing American Canyon Head Coach Brett Wedding, to place Coach Bracy on his varsity staff as an assistant for this upcoming 2015-2016 season. Bracy has goals of one day becoming a Division one coach, as he continues to help the youth improve on and off the court."

Baldwin to Kentucky's Georgetown

From Chabot Men's Basketball: "Another Gladiator moving on: Raymond Baldwin has officially committed to NAIA powerhouse Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky! Baldwin was a ywo-time All-Conference member and earned the prestigious honor of 1st Team All-State for his contributions as a sophomore at Chabot. Georgetown College is a regular among the Top 10 rankings in the country and won the NAIA Division I National Championship as recently as 2013! We are very excited to see Raymond move onto to such a high level program to continue his academic and playing career!A few quick highlights of Baldwin's sophomore year: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/3400651/highlights/243607460/v2

The 6-foot-5 Baldwin averaged 13.0 and 5.1 rebounds per game in 2014-15 while shooting 48%, 35% and 61%.


Milstead to unofficially check out The Biggest Little City in the World

D1 Circuit: "Oakland Soldiers G Damari Milstead (@DamariMilstead) will be taking a visit to Nevada on Sept. 12." The Wolf Pack recently offered him.

After the Prep2Prep Classic, Ronnie Flores posted: "Damari Milstead 2017 has a knack for getting to the correct spots and is a great drop off passer. Defenders jump, ball is underneath."

Another youngster tripping to SJSU

Via Team Superstar: "Scheduled for Sept.19 (Sat.) @SJSU, unofficial visit for Jonathan Ned class of 2018 Heritage High School."

The San Jose State University coaching staff is really focused on underclassmen throughout the Bay Area, hoping to coincide landing locals and regionals with an upswing in the program.

Chun impresses

PoP tweeted: "2018 G James Chun; Archbishop Riordan. Chun has learned the art of creating a clean look. Showing well here at West Coast Elite Los Angeles."

Below is video of him as a Riordan frosh:


It's the little things that add up to success

Coach Bob Walsh's latest is about the unsung player maneuvers and efforts on the court that excite a coaching staff -- elements which will never be described in a game report or be anything fans talk about because any sort of flashiness is absent.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Troy Johnson lands head coach position

Great news for ex-Merritt College head coach and former San Jose State University assistant Troy Johnson -- he is the new head coach at Victor Valley College (VVC).

Here's a June 29 Johnson feature posted on this site.

VVC is located in Victorville on the southern edge of the Mojave Desert. The Rams play in the Foothill Conference along with Barstow College, Chaffey College, College of the Desert, Rio Hondo College and San Bernardino Valley College.

Not sure what he can do with recruiting at this point but his extensive contacts will prove fruitful.

Big Wen to Gaucho Land

Wendell McKines is headed to South America, Argentina in particular:

"Estudiantes Concordia (LigaA) agreed terms with 27-year old American forward Wendell McKines (198-103kg-88, college: New Mexico State, agency: SDJ Sports). 

He played this summer at Rain or Shine in Filipino PBA league. In 16 games he was third best scorer with impressive 30.4 ppg and averaged 14.9 rpg (#3 in the league), 2.4 apg, 1.1 spg and 1.6 bpg. 

The last season McKines played at Ironi Ashkelon (National League) in Israel. In 18 games he was the best scorer with remarkable 25.8 ppg and had 12.4 rpg (#2 in the league), 2.1 apg and 1.6 spg. Quite impressive season as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-Israeli National League 3rd Team. 

The most of previous (13-14) season he spent at Anyang KGC (KBL) in South Korean league. In 25 games he recorded 7.0 ppg and 4.6 rpg in 2013-14 season. McKines also played at ESSM Le Portel Cote d'Opale (ProB) in French league that season. In 18 games he was second best scorer with high stats: 18.8 ppg and had 6.2 rpg in 2013-14 season. 

His team made it to the PBA Governor's Final Four.

The previous (2013) summer he played at Alaska Aces (PBA) in Philippines. In 11 games he was fourth best scorer with high stats: 29.7 ppg and had 15.1 rpg (#2 in the league) and 3.2apg in 2013 season. The last (2013) season McKines played at SPO Rouen (ProA) in French league. In 34 games he recorded high stats: 17.3 ppg, 8.9 rpg (#5 in the league) and 1.3 spg in 2012-13 season. It was another spectacular year as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-French ProB Honorable Mention."

McKines graduated from New Mexico State in 2012 and it will be his fourth season as a professional player."

Smith moving on to Napa

Former Oakland Tech talent Leo Smith is now a Pacific Union Pioneer. The 5-foot-10 backcourter will be a big scoring threat for Coach Greg Rahn.

Pacific Union, a member of the California Pacific Conference, has games at San Jose State University, San Francisco State University, Cal Maritime and Notre Dame de Namur University on tap this coming season so Smith will be on display for family and friends throughout the Bay Area.

Pridgett checking out Big Sky country

Josh Gershon reported: "Montana will host 2016 NorCal CG Sayeed Pridgett and Seattle PF Alphonso Anderson on official visits this weekend."

There's some magic Travis McCuire is working in Missoula.

Terrell schedules three visits

From Josh Gershon: "2016 Sacramento (Calif.) wing Christian Terrell has set up official visits for LBSU this weekend, UCSB next weekend and Grand Canyon Oct. 9."

The levels makes sense but surprising to see Grand Canyon, a member of the Western Athletic Conference, in there.

Falls exploring Missoula

2017 6-foot-2 Dublin High talent Tim Falls will be in Missoula on August 28 and 29 checking out the school and basketball amenities. Don't think this happens if Travis DeCuire and Chris Cobb weren't in place there.

No surprises for the Top Three

Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina, in that order, have the votes as the top three head coaching positions in D1.

Smith will have many options

Jadé Smith receives the feature treatment from Ryan Gorcey. The 6-foot-2 2017 point out of St. Joseph's Notre Dame is already a much-desired recruit.

Williams Jr. fronting Spartan hoops

Nate Ford tweeted: "So proud of this young man @glizzy_williams Gary Williams a kid that had a dream and chased it." 

https://instagram.com/p/62qq4BsdPbm0SsNZd9hIFCBslwz8IJj3ih45E0/

Williams Jr. will be the face and leader of San Jose State University this coming season.

Milstead on display in P2P Classic

Just prior to the Prep2Prep Classic, 2017 point Damari Milstead of Moreau Catholic High receives the feature treatment.

Lillis taking to the court with the big boys

Relatively unknown Jeremy Lillis has the spotlight on him in John Murphy's feature. He's an intriguing prospect at 6-foot-8 with solid shooting range.

Sundance and Luke Wicks working it

Via Dons Central, another state of Arizona big accompanied prepster Tim Fuller in exploring USF on unofficials:

Pictured here:



For what it's worth: it was 103* as a high in Tucson on Thursday and 107* in Phoenix. 68* degrees in SF.

Eyes on Hardy

Ryan Gorcey features Bishop O'Dowd's Elijah Hardy who will play a much larger role for the Dragons at the point this season.

Darryl Dawkins aka Chocolate Thunder has passed

Was there a spaceship scheduled to blast off to Lovetron on Thursday?

Just imagine if Twitter, Instagram, et al were around when Darryl Dawkins was busting NBA backboards and offering his slant on this and that..

Dave Wohl with a feature from 1988. Read it and discover that Dawkins was one of the most intriguing individuals ever in sports. A fascinating personality.

In the game of What If, what if Dawkins had played a few years in college and then turned pro? Would his NBA career had turned out differently?

Hayes won't be with the Rockets

Marc J. Spears tweeted that Chuck Hayes will not be joining the Houston Rockets after all in the upcoming season.

Having a little fun -- maybe

From Rob Dauster: "The Blue Ribbon Yearbook, one of the best college basketball preseason publications on the market, has released an image of the cover of the book.

And on the cover is their preseason all-american team. Three seniors and two freshmen made the cut.

The freshmen are Kentucky’s Skal Labissiere and LSU’s Ben Simmons, the two guys that are favored to be, in some order, the first and second pick in the NBA Draft. They’re joined by Providence guard Kris Dunn, Virginia guard Malcolm Brogdon and Iowa State forward Georges Niang."

There no argument really with any of these choices but still something seems odd. The five best basketball players in the country include two freshman (when is the last time this happened?), a guard who averaged 4.2 turnovers a game last season but, to be fair, will be a draft lottery selection, another guard described as an unknown superstar who shot 42% overall in 2014-15 and 34% from beyond the arc plus a small 6-foot-7 big who used a rude statement as motivation to upgrade his body and game.

Make mine a public administration major

How can Auburn University's athletics wing make a straight face explanation that offering a public administration major, with an enrollment featuring less than 1% of all Tiger undergraduates, is absolutely crucial? Well, maybe to success on the field and the hardwood.

Wouldn't such an academic direction rightfully lead to some mighty fine government in action in eastern Alabama and throughout the state -- which, ahem, doesn't appear to be the case?

Public administration must mean something very different down Auburn way.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Can players be trained to increase their basketball IQ?

It won't appear by gulping down vitamins. Wearing a certain brand of shoes will be no help. Neither will wishing or praying be fruitful.

So just how does a basketball player increase his hoops IQ?

We know dribbling skills can certainly be upgraded. Shooting too. The various techniques employed are generally known and trainers available. But how does someone go about bettering his 'when to do what' on the court knowledge?

Think of how many times you've witnessed teams playing and one (or more) of the players takes a bad (early in the clock/after zero passes/when surrounded by defenders) shot. Or dribbles into a double-team. Is beaten defensively more than once by the same move? Game after game.

Some get it and some don't. What makes the difference?

Obviously many factors. Basic intelligence being a cornerstone. Plus, a willingness to recognize flaws twined with the same readiness to take specific actions to correct deficiencies.

Here's more:

From Brian McCormick's "How to Develop Smart Basketball Players"  comes: "...Developing an intelligent player requires a multi-faceted approach. Drills alone cannot teach the skills, game awareness, attentional styles and game experience required to develop a high basketball I.Q. Instead, players need a variety of activities, from individual practice to master the basic technical skills to team practices and games to practice the execution of the basic tactical skills to unstructured play to gain the experience and flexible thinking to make the appropriate decisions at the right time and with the required speed." 

Think technical ability leading to confidence, feeding off the appropriate cues, anticipation plus various forms of practice, practice, practice to attain the required experience and therefore the thinking to react so much more instinctually, a consciousness so you don't have to think anymore approach.

Do take a look at McCormick's entire article.

Keith Michalke quotes McCormick and also writes much more about this topic.

So besides the ball skills so fervently and rightfully so stressed, who out there is teaching basketball IQ development?

It's re-load, not re-build at Butte

From Butte College Athletics Men's Basketball:

"2015-2016 PRE-SEASON OUTLOOK

The Roadrunner Cagers are gearing up for a run at a third consecutive Golden Valley Conference title and their 5th in the past 8 years! Finishing the 2014-15 season with an overall 18-9 mark and a 9-1 conference record the Runners made it into the state tournament again losing a hard fought contest on the road at Consumnes River College. Despite losing an outstanding group of sophomores optimism runs high for another stellar season in 2015-2016 as the Roadrunners have a strong returning core from their championship team and another outstanding incoming recruiting class.

Returning for the Roadrunners this year is a very capable group of players poised to defend their conference crown and get back to the always prestigious “California State Championships”. Heading this list of talented returners is Michael Shoemaker 6’7”, a sophomore and an all-conference player with versatile talent who will be heavily counted upon to lead the Roadrunners this season. Joining him are two skilled but inexperienced sophs who will each have a chance to contribute to the Roadrunners’ success this season. They are Cameron Moore, 6’7” talented forward with an offensive presence; and Bradey Brummel, a 6’0” defensive-minded off-guard who plays with grit and hustle. Joining these two returners are “red-shirts” Travis Stevens, a 6’5” talented sophomore offensive wing and Brandon Sheppard, a 6’7” freshman ”blue collar” player with a “do or die” attitude.

The Roadrunners recruited five outstanding talented and versatile players to bolster their chances for a “conference three –peat” this season and beyond. They are led by Jace Fry, a 6’2” dead-eye shooter out of Foothill High School in Redding. He is joined by very fundamentally sound 6’10” sophomore post transfer Vladimir Lazarevic out of Serbia and 6’0” “jet-like” superb point guard Danny Lewis, out of Marysville High School. Rounding out this 2015-2016-recruiting class quintet are Andrew Whitsett, a 6’11” potentially very talented post player out of Hamilton High School, and Josiah Wood, a 6’5” multi-talented guard out of Galena High School in Reno, NV.

This season promises to be exciting and challenging and we invite all our fans to follow our quest towards another banner year and return to the California Community College State Championships and the opportunity to win a state title! You never know what could happen!"

The Prep2Prep California All Star Classic



Up north here, there aren't many opportunities to see the creme of the crop talent playing in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. However, the Prep2Prep California All Star Classic fixes this problem.

Are you familiar with 6-foot-6 Lonzo Ball, a 2016 UCLA commit owning the #2 position in the national 2016 class? If not, he'll also be holding court on August 30. Which Nor Cal player or players will get the unenviable task of matching up with him?



Yes, the first annual Prep2Prep California All Star Classic will take place Sunday August 30 at Las Positas College in Livermore. This two-game event will feature a North versus South format with elite players in the class of 2016 playing at 3:30 p.m. and top players in the class of 2017 taking to the court at 1:30 p.m.

This is a truly special day for all basketball fans, unique because there is no other set of matchups pitting the best prospects in northern California against their southern counterparts.

Go here to purchase tickets for the games.

A pre-event banquet scheduled for Saturday night (the 29th) is also open to the public. It is being held at the Impact Hub located at 2323 Broadway in downtown Oakland and tickets for attending that can also be purchased here.

2016 Nor Cal

Coach Lou Richie Bishop O’Dowd

* Jordan Ford 6’0” Folsom
* Oscar Frayer 6’6” Moreau Catholic (California commit)
* Robinson Idehen 6’8” Modesto Christian
* Ben Kone 6’8” Archbishop Mitty (Oregon State commit)
* Donovan Mitchell 6’7” Buchanan
* Nikhil Peters 6’5” De La Salle
* Sayeed Pridgett 6’4” El Cerrito
* Jordan Ratinho 6’4” De La Salle
* Colin Slater 6’0” Immanuel
* Christian Terrell 6’4” Sacramento
* Kenneth Wooten 6'9" Manteca
* Solomon Young 6’7” Sacramento

versus

2016 So Cal

Coach Ty Nichols Sierra Canyon

*Milan Acquaah 6’0” Cathedral (Washington State commit)
* Mubashar Ali 6'11" St. Bernard's
* Ike Anigbogu 6’9” Corona Centennial (UCLA commit)
* Lonzo Ball 6’6” Chino Hills (UCLA commit)
* Keith Fisher 6’6” Westchester
* Leland Green 6’2” Redondo Union
* Vance Jackson 6’8” Prolific Prep
* TJ Leaf 6’9” Foothills Christian 
* De Anthony Melton 6’2” Crespi
* Devearl Ramsey 5’11” Sierra Canyon
* Vittorio Reynoso-Avila 6’4” La Mirada
* Henry Welsh 6'9" Loyola

and

2017 Nor Cal

Coach Brian Botteen San Ramon Valley

* Angelo Athens 6’1” Bellarmine
* Austin Alexander 6’5” Capital Christian
* Ramzi Carter 6’6” Sacred Heart Cathedral
* Joey Calcaterra 6'2" Marin Catholic
* Alfred Hollins 6’6” Sacred Heart Cathedral
* Jeremy Lillis 6’8” Placer
* Damari Milstead 6’2” Moreau Catholic
* Sebastian Much 6’6” Archbishop Mitty
* Darrin Person 6’6” Immanuel
* Jordan Roberts 6’7” Ridgeview
* Ja’de Smith 6’2” St. Joseph Notre Dame
* Tydus Verhoeven 6’7” Manteca

versus

 2017 So Cal

Coach Reggie Morris Jr. Redondo Union

LiAngelo Ball 6’5” Chino Hills (UCLA commit)
Jaylen Hands 6’2” Foothills Christian
Jalen Hill 6’9” Corona Centennial (UCLA commit)
Myles Johnson 6'9" Long Beach Poly
Ira Lee 6’7” Sierra Canyon
Remy Martin 5’11” Sierra Canyon
Brandon McCoy 6’11” Morse
Cody Riley 6’8” Sierra Canyon
Earnie Sears 6’4” Bishop Alemany
Jordan Schakel 6’6” Bishop Montgomery
Ethan Thompson 6’3” Bishop Montgomery
Ryse Williams 6’2” Redondo Union

Oliver joins the Pack

Chris Murray reports that 6-foot-8 Cameron (Grant High) Oliver has achieved eligibility at Nevada and is on the 2015-16 Wolf Pack roster. Good for him.

Lawrence back on the market

Ballers Bridge tweeted: "Former Fresno State commit, Brandon Lawrence (@StayWigglin) has opened up his recruitment. Potent 3-point shooter."

The Commit

Delgreco Wilson is back with an informative and intriguing "Why Did He Commit to Them? Toward A Better Understanding of the College “Decision” Process"

Milstead with another suitor

Via Verbal Commits: "2017 Moreau Catholic (CA) G Damari Milstead has received an offer from Nevada."

Coach Eric Musselman sure has gone after a number of talents beyond the reach of previous Wolf Pack coaches. If he lands just one or two then Nevada basketball is going to be elevated quickly.

Enciso and the PBA rookie draft

Rain or Shine sends draftee Simon Enciso to NLEX for future draft pick

Terry Bernal offers another feature. Another former Skyline College player, Alli Austria, was also drafted.

An Omar sighting

David Pick tweeted: "D-League center Omar Samhan closing deal with German club Goettingen, source said."

Still want him to take Charles Barkley's seat as a hoops commentator when both are done with their current duties.

Two Bay Area talents important to Irvine's 2015-16 fortunes

Will Davis and Travis Souza are gone but Jonathan (Salesian High) Galloway and Mike (Terra Linda High) Best are listed in the College Sports Madness 2015-16 preview of the UC Irvine Anteaters. An excerpt:

"...The best opportunity for major minutes, and a starting job, is at power forward. Redshirt freshman Jonathan Galloway is a physical forward who at least has a year sitting on the sidelines to learn the system. He may not be a major scoring threat from day one, but Galloway will help keep the Anteaters competitive on the glass..."

and

"...Mike Best and Ioannis Dimakopoulos will need more production. With Ndiaye’s injury issues and the fact that he is rarely going to play more than 20 to 25 minutes per game, both Best and Dimakopoulos will play key roles. Best averaged fewer than a dozen minutes per game last season, but the 6-10 senior is a decent interior scorer who has the experience to step into a starting role..."

Wanna be an assistant basketball coach?

Gary Colson writes about the do's and don't's that are musts for becoming and remaining an assistant basketball coach.

In this corner of the ring, weighing in as a heavyweight, is Nike...

"Under Armour Seeks to Do for Maryland What Nike Did for Oregon"

Fields moving on

Chabot Men's Basketball posted: "Another Gladiator moving on: Markese Fields has accepted a scholarship to Grace University (NAIA) in Omaha, NE. A highly touted 6'6 wing, Markese prepped in Palo Alto, CA before playing for Chabot during the 2011-12 season as a sophomore. Markese took the last couple years getting his academics in order and is proof that we never give up on helping a Gladiator. We are very proud to see Markese move on to continue his education and basketball career!"

Goldman passes

From Joe Davidson"Former Herd coach dies – Dan Goldman, who coached all levels of basketball at Elk Grove in the 1990s and 2000s and was a longtime on-site contributor to the section playoffs at Sleep Train Arena, has died after a lengthy illness. He was 47. Said Todd Reiswig, a longtime coaching colleague and co-worker of Goldman’s at the arena: “Very, very sad. Such a good person.”

John R. Hull has more.

Here's his obit.

A bit of a Jordan Roberson update

Lester Diaz back on August 1: "Jordan Roberson is going to prep school."

Haven't been able to locate which one yet for the Rancho Cordova graduate.

Polling coaches on different subjects

Candid Coaches: Who is the best defensive coach in college basketball?

One name surprised me.

and

Candid Coaches: Who is the best offensive coach in college basketball?

In a way, one curious name appeared here. Hint: he's also listed as one of the top defensive guys.

Wish they would do this for the DII and NAIA levels so as to give some of those coaches long overdue recognition.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Taking readers along -- Las Vegas. July 26-29

Mark Ziegler takes fans on the road trip college coaches endure from July 26-29 in Las Vegas. It's well-written and delves into a myriad of recruiting subjects. A very good read.

Davis to Greece

Will Davis II tweeted: "I am blessed with the opportunity to continue my basketball career at the professional level." It's with the Kolossos Rodou squad which, you guessed it, is located in Rhodes.

UC Irvine athletics has more.

Dent staying in California

Brandon Sparks on August 10: "Sacramento's Kevin Dent will not be playing hoops for SPSCC. 6-4 guard averaged 17 PPG in his senior season."  

At West Campus High, the 6-foot-4 Dent indeed averaged 17.0 points as well as 5.6 boards and 2.4 assists this past season.

Instead of Southern Puget Sound CC, he will be attending Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont.

Aruta to the Poets

6-foot-3 St. Mary's High (Stockton) guard Jacob Aruta is heading to Whittier College in southern California. The Poets finished 15-11 overall last season in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

In a Thomas Lawrence column about the winner of the latest Charles Washington Award winner came this about one of the nominees:

"Jacob Aruta, St. Mary's

It was easy to see, as a boys basketball reporter, that Aruta was pivotal for the section and NorCal semifinalist Rams. He was a selfless player, who could bang in the post, hit 3-pointers and frustrate opposing forwards defensively. It's why he earned the chance to play college hoops for NCAA Division III Whittier College.
Aruta, though, was a classroom standout with a 3.87 GPA, helped coach youth basketball, contributed time at the St. Mary's Dining Hall and worked on Christina Fugazi's Stockton City Council campaign.

St. Mary's coach Ken Green raved about Aruta in his recommendation, saying that he knew Charles Washington, and that Washington would've loved a student-athlete like Aruta."

McCollum to the border

Matt O'Donnell reports on Bethel High's Marcus McCollum signing with San Diego Christian. He's a 6-foot backcourter.

One more for Much

Via AMHS Mens Basketball: "Congrats to junior Sebastian Much @seabassmuch on picking up an offer from the University of San Francisco today."

Much will finish with a bevy of solid college offers from which to choose.

Iowa State and a pair of Nor Cal talents

Alex Halsted/All Cyclones writes about the top prospects Iowa State is recruiting and two northern California talents are included:

"Emmanuel Malou | PF | Yuba College (Calif.)

Iowa State showed interest in Emmanuel Malou before he went the JUCO route out of prep school, and the Cyclones are back in the mix now as he enters his final season at Yuba (Calif.) College.

Malou has offers from Arizona, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Arizona State, Oklahoma State and Oregon among others and recently stopped at Iowa State before heading back to school.

“I don't have a top-5 of schools I like yet, but if I was to have one, Iowa State would be at the top right now,” Malou said following his recent visit. "My visit was wonderful, the staff was quite nice people. I feel like Iowa has just nice people generally and they were so welcoming.”

Malou planned to begin setting his five official visits when he returned to school, but isn't yet sure when he might commit. Iowa State, though, is in good shape."

and

"Solomon Young | PF | Sacramento, Calif.

Sacramento (Calif.) forward Solomon Young started hearing from Iowa State after assistant T.J. Otzelberger arrived. Otzelberger had recruited him to Washington, which has offered but has since cooled its interest.

Young will take an official visit to Iowa State on Aug. 28, he told AllCyclones.com, and hopes to wrap up visits in the fall before committing shortly after. He has received strong interest from St. Mary’s, USF, Nevada and UC-Irvine, and Texas recently entered the fold.

"They told me they’re losing seniors so I’ll have a good chance to play a lot of minutes when I come in as a freshman," Young said of Iowa State."

Peal to be honored

Devin Peal will be entering the Humboldt State Athletics Hall of Fame on October 9. He was a two-time BSAL MVP as well as a two-time all-state selection while playing at John F. Kennedy High School in Richmond.

His on-court legacy:

Devin Peal 2006-2008

Peal was a pivotal cog in the Lumberjack squads that captured back-to-back California Collegiate Athletic Association championships and reach the NCAA West Region Tournament in 2006-07 and 2007-08.

He was the CCAA Player of the Year in 2007-08 and was a first-team all-CCAA pick in 2006-07 and 2007-08. Peal was a third-team All-American in 2007-08, the Division II West Region Player of the Year in 2007-08, a first-team all-West Region selection in 2007-08, a first-team all-District choice in 2007-08 ad was selected to NABC/NCAA Division II All-Star Game (2007-08).

He ranks fifth all-time in career total points (1,362), eighth in career rebounds (545), and fourth in career field goals (527); 10th all-time in single-season total points (529 in 2007-08) and eighth in field goals (209 in 2007-08). Peal led the CCAA in scoring (18.6) in 2007-08.

The power of the shoe

Matt Norlander, Gary Parrish and Sam Vecenie asked this question to a number of college basketball coaches: "Has a shoe company ever cost you a player's commitment?"

The responses totaled a surprising: Yes - 42%, No - 58%

Thes best answer, albeit at first glance the most confounding: "There's one player I know I didn't get because of Nike ... and I work for a Nike school!"

Apparently it wasn't the right Nike school.

This is a very interesting read.

Payton helping out

Gary Payton is still taking to the court to provide instruction.

This raises an important question

Just how should the amount of the stipend, the so-called cost of attendance being phased in for college athletes, be determined?

Should it be by the level of revenue each sport generates at each school? The same for all of a college's athletic participants?

In this article, it's noted that Memphis will be allotting $5,373 for men's and women's basketball players, $3,000 to its football players.


Carlos Johnson with two more offers

Arizona's Finest tweeted:

"2016 Carlos Johnson (@WITNESS_THIS23) has received an offer from San Diego State http://youtu.be/TpjrdNciuyU"

and

"2016 Carlos Johnson (@WITNESS_THIS23) has received an offer from Nevada"

Domingo now a junior at Cal

With Ivan Rabb, Jaylen Brown, Tyrone Wallace, Jabari Bird and Jordan Matthews, the Bears will have plenty of targets for defenders to be concerned about all over the floor and this will be a factor working in Stephen Domingo's favor. The 6-foot-7 junior guard should be getting really good looks this season.

Domingo didn't shoot all that well during the recent Australian tour but was praised for his defensive effort by Coach Cuonzo Martin.

By the way, California dropped it's final game in Australia 110-99 to finish 3-1. Boxscore

Tollefsen and Arizona

With a tip o' the hat to Dons Central, what will be Mark Tollefsen's position and role with the Arizona Wildcats this coming season?

Hoop talents from Sacto who are playing professionally overseas

Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee serves up a photo gallery of Sacto-connected basketball talents playing professionally overseas.

Rosaroso honored for his classroom effort

Chico State guard Mike (Franklin High) Rosaroso has earned a California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) All-Academic award.

The award is presented to letterwinners in CCAA-sponsored sports who earn a grade point average of 3.40 or higher in a minimum of 24 semester units of undergraduate coursework.

Rosaroso averaged 7.4 points with a second-on-the-team 66 assists this past season. He is majoring in child development.

Nunnally to Italy

E. Carchia tweeted: "Sidigas Avellino announced the signing of James Nunnally.
The small forward born in 1990 spent last season with Maccabi Ashdod averaging 17.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game."

The former Weston Ranch High and UC Santa Barbara star will enjoy the southern Italy cuisine.

Vallejo basketball talent Mixon passes

Vallejo High alum and Vallejo Hall of Fame honoree Frank Mixon, a Solano basketball great, has passed as Thomas Gase reports.

Here's a Ken Hart feature on Mixon from 2006.

Hawkins with the Heat

Ed Isaacson: "Love the signing of Corey Hawkins by the Miami Heat. His kind of scoring ability will get him good shots at the main roster."

The 6-foot-2 UC Davis sharpshooter shot 50% overall this past season, an extremely remarkable 49% on 166 trey attempts and 82% on 157 tries at the foul line.

Find out more about Devon Daniels

Here's an interview plus background information on Prolific Prep newcomer Devon Daniels.

Becoming a professional basketball trainer encompasses working in a wide selection of roles

Alex Kennedy writes about the life of Dan Barto who has lived the ups-and-downs involved with becoming a professional basketball trainer. Along the way, he has gained not necessarily wanted experience in the janitorial field, performed as an amateur psychologist, mediator, fight referee and more, all the while training both prospects and NBA talents.

Playing abroad is sometimes...interesting

6-foot-3 Kyle Shiloh played at Nevada after Garces High in Bakersfield. He offers some tales of his overseas basketball highs-and-lows here.

The end game for basketball prospects

Delgreco Wilson on "The MYTH of the “Bad” AAU guys."

Late in the article: "Bottom Line… If your AAU coach or program director hasn’t asked you for report cards or transcripts… You need to find another program. The end game is to prepare student-athletes for life after high school. You can’t do that if you don’t even know how he’s performing in school."

Friday, August 21, 2015

Meet Chris Murray

Chris Murray is the Nevada athletics beat reporter/columnist for the Reno Gazette-Journal and one of the most prolific writers covering college sports today. Those involved in Wolf Pack sports as well as Nevada fans are lucky to have him providing such abundant and in-depth coverage. With Eric Musselman now in charge of the men's basketball program, Murray makes it easy to both follow the fortunes of Nevada hoops as well as who in northern California is receiving interest and offers from the braintrust in Reno.

Q: Why did you enter the journalism field and was your direction always sports-related?

CM: Interesting story. My brother was three years older than me and was a journalism major at the University of Nevada, so when I went to college, I took the same major. Turns out, my brother eventually changed his major to education and is now a third-grade teacher, but I followed through and ended up getting my bachelor's and Master's degrees in journalism from the school. I was a so-so high school athlete (all-state academic baseball player, mostly because of the academic part!) and always wanted to have a sports-oriented career. I picked between a sports writer and an athletic training. I took the writer's path and while the money isn't the same as the medical field, I feel like I haven't worked a day since joining the Reno Gazette-Journal in 2002 as a college intern.

Q: Your output with just the coverage of Nevada athletics is prodigious -- more articles and lines than anyone else I can think of in a similarly-sized city newspaper. I don't really know how you can answer this question but how do you get the amount of work you produce done?

CM: I think it's three-fold: (1) I can write stories pretty quickly. It usually only takes me 20 minutes to write a feature story. I'm not sure why, but stories just fit together in my head when I sit down to write them. (2) I'm always thinking of story ideas. I read a lot of other newspapers (or, more accurately, newspapers' websites) and are thinking of different ways to cover the Wolf Pack. I might write one "traditional" story a day and add three or four alternative stories. (3) You have to put in the work. I cover coaches who work 80-100 hours a week, so me putting in 60 hours a week isn't too bad. I feel like the amount of work I put in is respected by those who I cover, which helps me get more stories as well. My wife and I welcomed a baby boy in September, so I work from home a lot now while watching him (and changing diapers!), but I still try to get three or four stories on our website per day.

Q: In your tenure as Wolf Pack beat reporter, who is the best Nevada player you've covered and why?

CM: I have to go with Colin Kaepernick. He was just a ridiculous athlete to start and then you drop him in the WAC and it was video-game stuff at points. He's probably the most athletic quarterback in the NFL, so imagine him going up against Idaho, New Mexico State and San Jose State. Nevada didn't have a defense until Kaepernick's senior year (when the team went 13-1), so his W-L record might not have been all that impressive over the years, but he's one of the best quarterbacks in college history by the numbers. He was so driven and competitive and worked so hard with natural athleticism that he's a special player that Nevada is unlikely to ever get again. Honorable mentions: Luke Babbitt and Nick Fazekas in basketball.

Q: Who is your top interviewee of all the Wolf Pack players you've talked with and why?

CM: Actually, I just did a story on Wolf Pack running back Don Jackson and he was great to talk with. I'll put him at No. 1. He grew up in South Sacramento. Most of his family had been arrested at some point. His brother is in jail for vehicular manslaughter and attempted escape from prison. His mom graduated from high school at age 40, but his brother, two sisters and dad never graduated high school. Don was on a bad path, too, with gangs and drugs and guns and fighting and ditching class all dragging him down. When he was in ninth grade, Don's teacher told the class he'd be dead or in jail by 17. Obviously he was wrong as Jackson is now a college graduate working on a Master's after turning his life around in the 11th grade. Jackson is very talkative and very open. He had a great story and wanted to share it to help others. He's a nominee for the Wuerffel Trophy, given to the top college football player based on play, academics and community service. Since he was so open with his past, I'll go with him.

Q: Nevada enjoyed the greatest success when a couple of homegrown high school talents -- Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson -- decided to stay and play in Reno. It was a harmonic convergence of sorts because the Reno area doesn't annually produce that level of talent. This usual dearth makes successful Wolf Pack recruitment in southern California, Sacramento and the Bay Area all the more critical. Eric Musselman has solid connections in each of these areas as well as throughout the country. How did Nevada get him to come aboard?

CM: He wanted to run his own program and Nevada was the first to give him that opportunity. It helped that he spent a year in Reno coaching the D-League Bighorns, which made him familiar with the area. His family is in San Diego and Danville, Calif., both close to Reno. It was a great opportunity for both sides. Musselman gets to run his own team and potentially move up if he succeeds and Nevada gets an NBA-level head coach who is getting paid among the lowest coaches in the Mountain West. Musselman isn't too concerned with money right now. It's more about opportunity. Good timing for Nevada. 

Q: In the Murray crystal ball you have on your desk at work, which men's basketball team shows up as winning the MWC in 2015-16?

CM: San Diego State. It's always smart to bet on Steve Fisher. UNLV has the most talent, but that usually doesn’t translate. Boise State loses MW player of the year, Derrick Marks, but is still strong. Those are my three favorites. SDSU will likely have scoring issues again, but I'll go with the Aztecs.

The Prep2Prep California All Star Classic


Up north here, there aren't many opportunities to see the creme of the crop talent playing in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. However, the Prep2Prep California All Star Classic fixes this problem.

For example, if you want to catch 6-foot-10 De Andre Ayton, ranked by many as the #1 player nationally in the 2017 class, then keep August 30 open. Is there anyone on the Nor Cal squad who can slow him down?



Are you familiar with 6-foot-6 Lonzo Ball, a 2016 UCLA commit owning the #2 position in the national 2016 class? If not, he'll also be holding court on August 30. Which Nor Cal player or players will get the unenviable task of matching up with him?



Yes, the first annual Prep2Prep California All Star Classic will take place Sunday August 30 at Las Positas College in Livermore. This two-game event will feature a North versus South format with elite players in the class of 2016 playing at 3:30 p.m. and top players in the class of 2017 taking to the court at 1:30 p.m.

This is a truly special day for all basketball fans, unique because there is no other set of matchups pitting the best prospects in northern California against their southern counterparts.

Go here to purchase tickets for the games.

A pre-event banquet scheduled for Saturday night (the 29th) is also open to the public. It is being held at the Impact Hub located at 2323 Broadway in downtown Oakland and tickets for attending that can also be purchased here.

2016 Nor Cal

Coach Lou Richie Bishop O’Dowd

* Jordan Ford 6’0” Folsom
* Oscar Frayer 6’6” Moreau Catholic (California commit)
* Robinson Idehen 6’8” Modesto Christian
* Ben Kone 6’8” Archbishop Mitty (Oregon State commit)
* Donovan Mitchell 6’7” Buchanan
* Nikhil Peters 6’5” De La Salle
* Sayeed Pridgett 6’4” El Cerrito
* Jordan Ratinho 6’4” De La Salle
* Colin Slater 6’0” Immanuel
* Christian Terrell 6’4” Sacramento
* Kenneth Wooten 6'9" Manteca
* Solomon Young 6’7” Sacramento

versus

2016 So Cal

Coach Ty Nichols Sierra Canyon

*Milan Acquaah 6’0” Cathedral (Washington State commit)
* Mubashar Ali 6'11" St. Bernard's
* Ike Anigbogu 6’9” Corona Centennial (UCLA commit)
* Lonzo Ball 6’6” Chino Hills (UCLA commit)
* Keith Fisher 6’6” Westchester
* Leland Green 6’2” Redondo Union
* Vance Jackson 6’8” Prolific Prep
* TJ Leaf 6’9” Foothills Christian (just de-committed from Arizona)
* De Anthony Melton 6’2” Crespi
* Devearl Ramsey 5’11” Sierra Canyon
* Vittorio Reynoso-Avila 6’4” La Mirada
* Henry Welsh 6'9" Loyola

and

2017 Nor Cal

Coach Brian Botteen San Ramon Valley

* Angelo Athens 6’1” Bellarmine
* Austin Alexander 6’5” Capital Christian
* Ramzi Carter 6’6” Sacred Heart Cathedral
* Joey Calcaterra 6'2" Marin Catholic
* Alfred Hollins 6’6” Sacred Heart Cathedral
* Jeremy Lillis 6’8” Placer
* Damari Milstead 6’2” Moreau Catholic
* Sebastian Much 6’6” Archbishop Mitty
* Darrin Person 6’6” Immanuel
* Jordan Roberts 6’7” Ridgeview
* Ja’de Smith 6’2” St. Joseph Notre Dame
* Tydus Verhoeven 6’7” Manteca

versus

 2017 So Cal

Coach Reggie Morris Jr. Redondo Union

De Andre Ayton 6’10” Balboa City School (#1 in the nation in his class)
LiAngelo Ball 6’5” Chino Hills (UCLA commit)
Jaylen Hands 6’2” Foothills Christian
Jalen Hill 6’9” Corona Centennial (UCLA commit)
Ira Lee 6’7” Sierra Canyon
Remy Martin 5’11” Sierra Canyon
Brandon McCoy 6’11” Morse
Cody Riley 6’8” Sierra Canyon
Earnie Sears 6’4” Bishop Alemany
Jordan Schakel 6’6” Bishop Montgomery
Ethan Thompson 6’3” Bishop Montgomery
Ryse Williams 6’2” Redondo Union

Championships, points scored, et al pales in comparison to what's really important

From Timothy Sailsbery, father of Jud:

"I wanted to make you aware that there were 3 additional signings from Butte College in addition to Arthur Caldwell (Cal St-Dominguez Hills).

Matt McGregor (University of Great Falls-Montana), Connor Morningstar (Clarke University-Iowa) and Jud Sailsbery (Clarke University-Iowa) all signed during the spring or early summer. 

As a parent of one of the young men, I do want to express how grateful my wife and I are to Coach Russ Critchfield and the entire Athletic Department at Butte College. Coach Critchfield truly not only coaches basketball players, he also coaches them to be responsible young men as well. AD Craig Rigsbee runs a first-class operation in terms of academic support, dedicated academic advising, athletic training/sports medicine, etc. If a young man or women wants to be successful not only in competition, but also in the classroom, the staff at Butte College ensures that the resources are available to achieve that success. 

The Athletic Programs at Butte College have our highest recommendation and endorsement."

Can Cal compete for the PAC-12 championship?

From BANG: "Jaylen Brown scored 19 points and Tyrone Wallace had 18 as the Cal basketball team rallied from 11 points down to beat the Frankston Blues 84-76 on Tuesday at Melbourne to improve to 2-0 on its Australian summer tour.

Brown, the Bears' touted freshman forward, contributed five rebounds and four steals. Wallace, a senior point guard, had five rebounds and four assists. Freshman Ivan Rabb of Oakland contributed 14 points and seven rebounds. Jabari Bird added 13 points and six rebounds."

The Bears will be young, with the best two talents being freshman, but don't put challenging for the conference title past them.

Ryan Gorcey reports on game three, another Bear win.

Don't even try to out-run these guys

From Skyline College Men's Basketball -- Rodney and Ronney Freeman, former Skyline basketball talents, have joined the San Francisco Police Department."

The movement of top prospects to academies

Richard Obert writes that Arizona is now experiencing transfers amidst the creation of basketball academies in-state and elsewhere. Why one prospect has chosen to move to Prime Prep Academy in Dallas seems questionable considering its academic under-performance: Link Link

Prolific Prep up in Napa was very smart to leave academics to the professionals and focus on basketball skills advancement.

Sailsbery headed to Clarke

Out of Orland High and Butte College, 6-foot Jud Sailsbery has signed with Clarke University in Iowa. The second-leading scorer for the Roadrunners last season, he averaged 13.9 points on 44%, 42% and 83% shooting respectively while also topping his team with 5.2 assists an outing.

He was honored as a First Team All Golden Valley Conference selection this year.

McGregor going to the Big Sky state

5-foot-9 Matt McGregor has signed with the University of Great Falls-Montana. Out of Paradise High and Butte College, the sophomore totaled 6.7 points plus 2.3 assists in the 2014-15 season. He tied for second on the team with 2.3 assists per contest.

McGregor was named to the Golden Valley Conference All-Defensive team for his efforts this past year.

Morningstar to the Hawkeye State

6-foot-8 sophomore Connor Morningstar, out of Butte College and Summerville High (Tuolumne), is headed to Clarke University in Iowa. He scored 3.6 points on 49% shooting and corralled 2.7 rebounds a contest this past season.

Guy Dossi offers an outstanding feature on Morningstar, who played with an injury all season. One little known fact is that Morningstar has been a member of three championship teams in three years, including back-to-back Golden Valley Conference titles.

From Team Rampage

"As the Team Rampage Organization continues to grow and expand, more upcoming prospects are looking to play for the team. 8th Grader Jhaylon Martinez of Vallejo, CA, is one of many upcoming prospects in the Solano County area looking to play for the club. Jhaylon is 6"4" and has lot of upside. Head Coach Brandon Bracy says, "Jhaylon could be really good because of his wingspan, and his willingness to improve his guard skills." 

Along with Jhaylon, there are two more 8th graders that Coach Bracy is high on. Point Guard Daniel Fagan, and wing Jerimiah King. "Daniel has a high IQ and handles the ball exceptionally well, and Jerimiah has potential to be one of the best scorers around." With these three 8th Graders, it is clear to see that Team Rampage is looking to make a splash this 2015-2016 AAU season. Coach Bracy is also banking on getting a lot of talented athletes from the two Vallejo Football Programs, the Vallejo Raiders and The Junior Jags."

Two more tripping to SJSU

Team Superstar tweeted: "San Jose St. has Derrick Langford (@5Dlang) unofficial visit this Saturday & Darrin Person Jr (@UserDpj32) Aug. 29th."

Langford (Salesian High) is a 5-foot-11 guard in the 2018 class while the 6-foot-6 Person is a 2017-er out of Fresno.

Mitchell in the Prep2Prep Classic

"Buchanan's Mitchell looks forward to "big honor" at All-Star Classic"

Learning the ins-and-outs of college visits

Corey Evans provides a guide to recruiting visits, official and unofficial. Do have a read.

More on Tyler Johnson

D.J. Siddiqi/Heat Nation catches up with Tyler Johnson who is recovering from injury.

Was there anyone predicting The Big Show for Johnson when he was at St. Francis? Even his first three years at Fresno State?

Lutes and Manning

Looking forward to following two Sacramento area prepsters on the court for Air Force this coming season:


* Lake (Jesuit High) Lutes, 6-foot-7 205 


* Ryan (Sheldon High) Manning, 6-foot-6 190

Both will be sophomores. Do note that the Falcons play at UC Davis on December 19.

CJ with another offer

Verbal Commits offered: "2016 Findlay Prep (NV) F Carlos Johnson has received an offer from UTEP." 

It was UNLV last week.

Woodard played well for Westminster

Remember Kenny Woodard? Originally out of Terra Linda High, he played very well for Sacramento City College in 2013-14 and earned a scholarship to Westminster College in Utah.

His best numbers as a junior this season: 23.4 minutes a game, a third-on-the-team 11.0 points plus a second-on-the-team 59 assists. He shot 90% on his free throws, 103-115, the best percentage on the Griffins and the most attempted.

Here's a Woodard feature from July 2014.

Parrish heading back to the Beehive State

Ferd Lewis tweeted: "Asst. UH hoops coach Norm Parrish could be named head coach at D-II Westminster College in Utah as early as this week."

So who replaces Parrish if indeed he move back? Someone with Bay Area connections?

Westminster is a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

Parrish was hired in May to assist in the islands but has a very solid state of Utah basketball background with both his coaching and most of his school days, including a very successful head coaching stint at Salt Lake Community College.

UPDATE: He got the Westminster job.

Looking back

Love columns like this because they present sports figures in much more of a totality than fans ever experience.

Bernie Miklasz is leaving the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and recently wrote about his interactions and relationships during his time as a columnist. Do read the entire article but here are three excerpts:

TONY LA RUSSA:  Most tenacious competitor I've ever covered, or will cover. And probably the best at cultivating a team culture. TLR was relentless, his teams were relentless, and don't even think about throwing at one of his players. He couldn't go half speed, couldn't drop his guard, wouldn't give an inch. If there was a competitive advantage — psychological or otherwise — TLR would find it and use it. I have no idea how TLR sustained his intensity and single-minded purpose — the pursuit of victory — over his 33 years of big-league managing. Including the postseason he managed 5,221 games in his Hall of Fame career, and never let down. Never showed up at the ballpark with anything less than 100 percent hunger to win that night's game. He was fearless, across the board. And that includes some of his choices — hitting the pitcher 8th for example — that made so many people goofy with anger.  What I learned: The value of preparation, and the benefits of thinking outside of the box. I also learned — and this was important — that baseball postseasons tend to be random in nature and being the best regular-season team means nothing when you enter the playoffs. La Russa, after all, won his first World Series in St. Louis (2006) with the least imposing team he'd taken into the October tournament. I also came to appreciate La Russa's self-deprecating humor; he was much looser than what you saw on TV — that perpetual image of the grim, dark and menacing figure standing in the dugout. TLR was the Last of the Lions among baseball managers. The job has changed dramatically in recent years, with GMs choosing managers that are willing to implement strategy and personnel calls based on advanced metrics supplied by front-office analysts. The days of the all-powerful manager are gone.

and

RICK MAJERUS: I just wish I would have spent more time with the late St. Louis U. basketball coach. We had a lot in common: mood swings, prone to too many emotional highs and lows, the curse of a lifelong battle with obesity, and an ironic personality trait of being harder on ourselves than any strangers could be. We shared a love of politics, film, books, newspapers, world events, music. During our enjoyable dinners the one thing we never talked about much was basketball. But make no mistake, Majerus was a basketball genius. I thought I knew the game until hearing Rick deliver a lecture on the "Triangle and Two" defense. Maybe that's why we had so many deep discussions about the meaning of life, and the daily struggle to find inner peace. If we talked hoops I couldn't hang with him. Rick was an enigma, and I didn't understand why he did certain things — like going out of his way to alienate someone in the media for no good reason, or banning the team's loyal broadcasters from flying on the SLU chartered flights. But I'm also an enigma, and perhaps that's why I connected with Majerus so well. If he was your friend, he would do anything for you, 24 hours a day. Just amazingly kind and generous in ways that weren't always visible to the public. There was also a poignant sadness about Rick that could break your heart. When he moved to St. Louis, I was driving him around early one evening, before we feasted at Lo Russo's. I was showing Majerus the various city neighborhoods. As the driving tour was winding down, he asked to see where I lived, so we drove to my home and parked in front. Rick said he didn't want to go inside; he just wanted to take a look. He began talking about the choices he made in his life. He had one brief marriage, and no children, and lived in a hotel. A basketball lifer. But a part of Rick longed for that family life, and wanted to live in the old house on a tree-lined street. So he sat in my SUV, turned and told me that I was very blessed, and that I should always be devoted to my wife, and I should never put my job before family. As we drove away from my home, Majerus said, "I think I'll buy a house like that, this is really a nice neighborhood." And we both knew it would never happen. Rick was a tormented man, but this internal conflict also generated a sensitive soul that wanted to ease another person's pain — even as he tried to find a cure for his own unrest. The term "one of a kind" is overused, but Rick Majerus was definitely one of a kind, and I'll never know anyone like him again. What I learned: Everything, really. More than I can adequately explain. 

and

DICK VERMEIL: The most optimistic and upbeat team leader I've encountered. A source of brightness and positive energy. DV was a refreshing alternative to the standard NFL-coach profile at the time. Unlike just about every other coach in the league, Vermeil wasn't a brooder, wasn't cold, wasn't paranoid and didn't think anyone outside his inner circle was an enemy, never to be trusted. DV is a happy warrior who truly loves people, and he showed that every day at work at Rams Park. When he won the Super Bowl as coach of the unforgettable 1999 Rams, DV was genuinely more happy for others than he was for himself.  What I learned: Good guys can finish first, and thank God for that. And when you make it a priority to see the best in people — instead of obsessing on their worst traits — you give them confidence, inspire them, and draw out their finest qualities. And that will help them succeed. And your team will be better for it. 

Had to post this

Via Classic Pics: "All this technology is making us antisocial."