San Jose State Spartan Hoops Season Wrap Up.

The question that all SJS fans ponder is: Is Coach Nessman improving the hoops program at SJSU, or is it stuck in second gear? Coach Nessman and the administration are on the same page regarding the way to re-build the program, which is through high school recruits and JC players. The Spartans are a couple of years away from really making a move, but their more competitive nature is encouraging.

The Spartans were more competitive than in recent seasons, yet they came away with only five victories in coach George Nessman's second season.

In three previous seasons, San Jose State won six games each time.

So, is the program improving, staying at a low level, or actually getting worse?

Patience is still required.

Nessman and the administration seem to be on the same page regarding the way to build the program, which is through high school recruits and a smattering of junior college players. San Jose State had eight freshmen on its roster last season.

The Spartans still might be a couple of years away from really making a move, but their more competitive nature was encouraging. In the short team, however, losing leading scorer, guard Carlton Spencer (14.3), and post presence Menelik Barbary (12.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg) will be difficult to overcome.

Nessman has the support of the administration, and was extended a two-year contract extension through the 2010-11 season.

"I'm fully committed to what George is doing," athletic director Tom Bowen told the paper. "This program is getting better. I'd like to have seen us win more games, but if you focus strictly on winning, then you'll never succeed. Winning is a byproduct."

--San Jose State was 4-9 in conference games decided by single digits. The Spartans lost three games by a single point -- at home to Utah State and Boise State, and to Idaho in the WAC play-in game.

--The Spartans didn't help themselves in close games by shooting 60.6 percent from the free-throw line.

THE RECORDS: 5-25 overall, 4-12 WAC, eighth place

HOW THE SEASON ENDED: Two of San Jose State's five wins came against Idaho, but it was the Vandals who ended up closing the curtain on the Spartans' season. Idaho guard Keoni Watson, who scored 18 points in the second half of the WAC tournament play-in game, hit a floater in the final seconds to give the Vandals a 50-49 victory.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We haven't grown to where we need to be, but we keep making strides that are indications of good growth not only in terms of this season, but also especially in terms of our program. We feel good about that." -- San Jose State coach George Nessman.

THE GOOD NEWS: Coach George Nessman has a plan and his team didn't look lost while putting up a 5-25 record. It's just that the talent isn't quite there to finish games. Tim Pierce, a sophomore wing from Arizona State, had some positive moments in his first season at San Jose State while battling injuries and could develop into a go-to player.

THE BAD NEWS: The team's top two players -- guard Carlton Spencer and center Menelik Barbary are gone -- as is starting guard Julian Richardson. While there is talent among the underclassmen, there is no one to point to as a sure-fire replacement for the lost production. The Spartans were terrible from behind the arc (30.7 percent on three-pointers), and now they lose Spencer, who was their best shooter. Just 23 wins in the past four seasons leaves a lot to be desired.

KEY RETURNEES: Junior G Jamon Hill was the only SJSU player to start every game this season, averaging 9.7 points. F Tim Pierce averaged 8.3 points, but flashed bigger potential, such as his 20-point, seven-rebound game at Nevada. Freshman Kevin Buggs was the starting point guard for much of the season. Lance Holloway, a rangy 6-8 forward, started 23 games, averaging 3.1 points and 4.3 rebounds.

ROSTER REPORT:

--Senior F Menelik Barbary nearly had a triple-double in his final game. He had 10 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocks in the WAC tournament loss to Idaho. The nine blocked shots were a WAC tournament record. Barbary had five double-doubles this season, reaching that milestone in each of his final three games.

--G Justin Graham redshirted as a freshman, but was impressive during practices. Look for him to be a factor next season.

--Two other freshmen were redshirted because of delays in their academic clearance. They were 6-9, 255-pound center Oliver Caballero and 6-7 forward Kevin McDowell. Caballero, in particular, has a chance to make an immediate next season because of his size.


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