Junkie's Journal: SJS Vs Michigan State Hoops

Quite a turnaround for your SJSU Spartans Men's basketball team—from playing at a JC gym in Cupertino California; to next, playing in front of 15,000 fans at the Breslin Center in Lansing Michigan. In addition, I'm sorry, but unless you are Charles Barkley and Wes Unseld, you are not going to win many games with a 6-4 forward and a 6-7 backup center.

Quite a turnaround for your SJSU Spartans Men's basketball team—from playing at a JC gym in Cupertino California; to next, playing in front of 15,000 fans at the Breslin Center in East Lansing Michigan.

You can guess which story they will be telling their grandkids.

The SJSU Spartans are coming off a funky loss against a good NAU team. It just had "bad" written all over it: they were playing on a neutral site, without their full compliment of players, and their head coach had an emergency that forced him to miss the game.

In addition, I'm sorry, but unless you are Charles Barkley and Wes Unseld, you are not going to win many games with a 6-4 power forward and a 6-7 backup center.

Now, finally, the SJSU Spartans are at 100% (depending on the health of Oliver Caballero and Mac Peterson). This is important, because going into the game against the "other" Spartans—the 9th best team in the land—they will need all hands on deck. Nevertheless, I think the SJSU Spartans will put on a great show—with the crowd pumping up the energy and the debut of their best player (Chris Oakes), they will give their counterpart Spartans a run for their money.

One more thought on your SJSU Spartans: they are a team built for the future. They will be better this year, but they will challenge the WAC next year. Coach Nessman did not have a lot to work with when he took over. In fact, three years later, the only holdovers from the previous regime are two walk-ons. Conversely, if he were to leave tomorrow, three years down the line, the next coach would have 10 scholarship players!

Starting lineup of the "other" Spartans: C Goran Suton (6-10, 250, 8.8 pts, 8.7 rbs): I made a mistake by writing Santa Clara's John Bryant will be the best center SJSU will face this year. After watching Bryant and then watching Suton, there simply is no comparison. Suton is more mobile, better hands, and better shooter. I would only say one negative thing about Suton—he seems to play his best against better competition, which might be a good thing for SJSU. Still, he is going to be a load for CJ Webster.

SF Raymar Morgan (6-7, 220, 17.3 pts, 7.7 rbs): one of the least known, but best players in the country. He will not make the highlight reel, he just simply gets the job done. Silky smooth player, Morgan is the complete package—exceptional shooter, rebounder, and ball handler. He is a lottery pick waiting to cash in. He will be the best player that SJSU will face this season—hands down. Tim Pierce really has to raise his game to meet this challenge.

PF Marquise Gray (6-8, 235, 7.8 pts, 5.3): ranked higher coming out of HS than some players currently playing in the NBA (Al Horford and Corey Brewer, to name a few). A solid post players who doesn't venture past 15 feet. Was a small forward, but bulked up and moved to the power position to accommodate the Morgan. Still, very athletic and has great hands, can create and shows a variety of moves down low. 6-4 DaVonte Thomas will draw this assignment first, but 6-8 Chris Oakes will likely see the bulk of the action against Gray, which will be quite a baptismal for Mr. Oakes.

PG Drew Neitzel (6-0, 180, 14 pts, 5.5 asst): maybe the most important player on the team, Neitzel is the engine that makes it all run and the glow that keeps it together. Underrated athletically, Neitzel has a nonstop motor and a great handle for the game. Can drive and dish with the best of them and really knows how to use his weapons. School will be in for freshman Justin Graham: he gets a chance to see how a team should be run from one of the best, and then he will need to try to stop him.

SG Chris Allen (6-3, 190, 7.3, 1.3 rbs): one of the most sought-after recruits coming out of HS. A great complement to all the pieces. Does not try to do too much, but will take and make the open shot. He is the future for the "other" Spartans—him and Kalin Lucas should be quite a show for years to come. Jamon Hill and DaShawn Wright get a chance at slowing him down.

Off the bench:

PG Kalin Lucas (6-0, 165): One of the top PG coming out of HS has shown almost no effect of a broken ankle he suffered his senior year in March. Probably would start on most other college teams. Started alongside Neitzel earlier this year—not the shooter (yet), he just can flat-out fly and score. A jet…

C Drew Naymick (6-10, 245): Senior power player saw more action last year, but the emergence of Suton has limited his minutes. Still, a solid player who sets a mean pick. Exceptional shooter within 10 feet.

SG/SF Durrell Summers (6-5, 195): Another diaper dandy—this true freshman getting a lot of minutes at the wing position. Extremely versatile player who is an exceptional shooter and decent ballhandler—can break the press and run the team.

G Travis Walton (6-2, 195): This junior has seen his minutes go down since the kids came on campus, but he is a dependable player who can play both guard spots. Automatic from the free throw line.

SF Isaiah Dahlman (6-6, 185) In and out of the lineup all year. Nice player who is not afraid of launching a 3.

PF Tom Herzog (7-0, 230): Four-star recruit from last year is working his way up the depth chart.

C Idong Ibok (6-11, 255): third-year player from Nigeria is finding it tough to crack the Spartan lineup.

SG Mike Kebler (6-3, 195): another true freshman who has seen some action this year

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