Jon Wilner recently provided this in the San Jose Mercury News:
"With three scholarships available, look for the Spartans to sign two players in November and hold one spot in reserve.
Coach George Nessman said he has offered scholarships to 15 seniors, with another 30 to 35 on his list. He plans to sign two perimeter players and one big man.
"But you have to be flexible," he added. "If you find a player who's going to make you better, regardless of his position, you find a way to sign him."
So let's elaborate. We don't know in which order the signees will domino but landing a 'big' is critical. Clint Amberry transferred to a lower level of basketball, Oliver Caballero could no longer physically compete and Chris Oakes departs after this season. C.J. Webster and 6-foot-8 junior college Moses Omolade decamp after two more. Landing at least one in-the-paint replacement (as indicated) and readying him to become an early contributor is necessary in order to have a WAC-competitive frontline.
Here are the players San Jose State has offered (per published reports):
Alex Tiffin, 6-foot-8, Thousand Oaks High: He's sleight of build at 190 or so but likes to mix it up inside anyway. A smart player who can score in the paint or facing the hoop, Tiffin is also a solid rebounder. He is on Gonzaga's second-tier list. Meaning: if some kid the Zags are pursuing chooses to go elsewhere then Tiffin might become part of Coach Mark Few's Plan B. He is the best 'big' we've know of that SJSU has extended a scholarship offer.
Dominique Lee, 6-foot-4, St. Mary's High (offered): The Spartans are in the running but this tough-minded and high-flying young man is going to have some of the second-division teams in the PAC-10 enticing him. He's a former teammate of current San Jose State freshman Aalim Moor.
Kevin Mulloy, 6-foot-6, Oxnard High (offered): As one coach told me, he doesn't pass the eye test until you play against him. Mulloy can play inside and away from the basket.
James Walker, 6-foot-2, Los Alamitos High (offered): He's more of a combo guard -- a scorer and a passer -- who was named the most valuable player in his league last season.
We haven't a clue if this is in the cards but a Tiffin/Malloy/Walker recruiting class fits the descibed need of a big, a wing and a backcourter.
Now come the players we haven't been able to determine if offers have been extended but have been described as on San Jose State's radar (per published reports):
Kurt Davis, 6-foot-5, Centennial High: Here's what a southern California coach said to us: "long, rangy athlete - does a lot of things well, but not great at anything yet. Tremendous motor and energy level, which hides some of his limitations. Still learning the game, and when he figures it out, he's going to be very good. Major sleeper in this class. To me, he looks like he might already be 6-6 or 6-7 and is very athletic. Once his basketball IQ catches up with his body (and it will) he will be pretty darn good."
Willie Hankins, 6-foot-2, homeschool in Southern California: He's attended a number of schools throughout his high school years and he's another backcourter who can contribute at the point and shooting guard positions.
John Green, 6-foot-5, Castlemont High: A great kid who is increasing his college opportunities as each summer camp and tournament passes. He keeps working to imp[rove his game and his father, who played college ball at Seattle, is 6-foot-6 so there may be some inches that the younger Green will add down the road..
LaBradford Franklin, 6-foot-2, Great Oak High, Temecula: Here's another young man who has attended at least three high schools. Nevada is also really interested in him and his suitors have grown exponentially of late due to his strong play so far this summer.
Kory Thieleke, 6-foot-4, West High, Bakersfield: A great athlete with a nice shot, he played very well in the Rumble In The Bay tournament at the end of May and has continued to impress recruiters.
Jordan Richardson, 6-foot-0, West High, Tracy: He is originally from Texas but his father was transferred out here on a job promotion. He works defensively and commands the offense well but we're not sure about what level he will max out in college as a points producer.
Chris McNealy, 6-foot-3, San Ramon Valley High: A superb athlete (like father, like son), recruiters are watching this summer if he takes the reins of his club team more often than not and leads them to victories.
Josh Ritchart, 6-foot-8, Forest Lakes Christian: Cal likes him as supposedly does Stanford but he weighs about 175 and definitely has to add strength. He's a tremendous three-point shooter and a quick jumper when he goes inside. Can he play in the paint or is he more suited as a college wing?
Richard Solomon, 6-foot-9, Price High (Los Angeles): He's another youngster who checks in at less than 200 pounds but he is a fine athlete and best as a shotblocker and rebounder right now. Both his body and skills set need developing. It looked earlier like he was headed to the PAC-10, plus Michigan also brought him in for a visit but will he, as a project, receive that level of an offer? 'Bigs' with the potential he displays have the best chance.
July is the biggest month for evaluating college prospects, what with a tournament or camp taking place near every day throughout the country. The next basketball signing period begins November 11. But also keep in mind that 200 or so players will be transferring from their present school to another one by this time next season and that's also a signing direction San Jose State men's basketball can go.
Kevin McCarthy is the Basketball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Kevin with any questions, comments, or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org
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