SJSU Basketball Banquet brings good news

On Thursday night the 2009 San Jose State men's basketball team gathered for one last time at the Decathlon Club in Santa Clara to honor the departing seniors. Besides the senior accolades, highlights from the evening include positive academic news, and a grooming update on a certain junior-to-be.

The San Jose State men's basketball program held its annual post-season banquet at the Decathlon Club in Santa Clara last night and honored departing seniors DeVonte Thomas, DaShawn Wright and Tim Pierce.

Senior DeVonte Thomas has taken his game to the gridiron. He is participating as a tight-end in the 2009 Spring Football Practice now in session

DeVonte was the winner of the Coach's Leadership Award and it was noted he is also now in the midst of spring football practice where he'll be able to bang people around with impunity.

The Leadership Award signified the player from the 2008-09 team that best demonstrated dedication to the program, leadership skills, care and attention to the detail.

As for player introductions, Assistant Coach Brent Davis presented Garrett Ton and Kyle Thomas. Donald Williams came next and called out Lance Olivier, Justin Graham, C.J. Webster and Adrian Oliver. Gary Stepan had the pleasure of introducing Robert Owens, Mac Peterson, Chris Oakes and Jerelle Wilson. Head Coach George Nessman did the honors with the seniors.

Tim Marrion's work on the season highlight film was top notch. One thing we learned from it is that the men's basketball team achieved a 1,000 score on the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) this season -- a perfect score.

Plus, the expectation is that Justin Graham -- a junior-to-be in athletic eligibility -- will earn his B.A. degree next fall while C.J. Webster and Adrian Oliver are on target for a spring graduation. Both C.J. and Adrian are also juniors-to-be athletically.

In attendance (and apologies ahead of time for the many omissions) were Tom Colla, Joel Busch, George Clark, Cliff Jarrard, Jon Hopkirk, Danny Unruh, the Hemmerlings, Nancy Billings, Gayle Kludt, Steve Graham, Shari Hernandez as well as the many other solid Spartans fans.

Coach Nessman spoke of the theme of unfinished business, of hurdling the .500 mark and going beyond by finishing out the games that are there to be won.

There was also late-breaking word that Justin Graham has 'enjoyed' a haircut. Actually more than one cylindrical filament on his head has met the blade but Justin still puts us follicly-challenged fans to shame. He is sporting a cast on his right arm — the scaphoid bone has been repaired — but is still working out and shooting left-handed. He set the school mark for most steals in a season (51) in 2008-2009 and basically did it one-handed. But don't get smart and expect him to have 102 next season when he'll have both hands healthy.

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Kevin McCarthy is the Basketball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Kevin with any questions, comments, or tips at

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