Spartan Basketball Recruiting Overview

San Jose State signed 6-foot-1 Derek Brown back in the November signing period. He's a very confident baller out of Southern California with good shooting range, creativity as a ballhandler and the acumen from being the son of a basketball coach. Brown may redshirt his initial season at SJSU but that all depends on a myriad of situations.

So one is set. Three or four more to go.

6-foot-6 Kurt Davis was also planning to come aboard but that was before the football coach at Centennial (Compton) High convinced him to try football as a senior. Davis did and ultimately signed a gridiron letter-of-intent with UNLV. Our sense is -- with development -- Davis has the possibility of a professional future in football due to his size and speed at the wide receiver position. That likely isn't the case in basketball, or at least the odds aren't as favorable.

Addressing a certain rumor, there is no way Davis will play both sports in college. The season's overlap is the actual reason but it's also due to the lacking of permission from the Vegas football coach to try such a feat. Even if Bobby Hauck was agreeable, he would not let Davis depart football earlier than the conclusion of the season which is usually early December. By that time, the UNLV basketball squad will have been fully practicing since mid-October which would be way too much of a deficit for a freshman to overcome -- even if an okay was given.

Davis' aboutface is but a blip but did cause the Spartans to have to begin looking elsewhere after closing the door on other similarly-sized recruiting targets.

What's also interesting is that this season in the Bay Area and northern California is an unusually down period for solid basketball recruits, especially those of any size.

The impact? San Jose State is having to look elsewhere in order to fill the recruiting class.

Validating this, Cal has a four player early signing class and none are from around here or up north. Plus, St. Mary's has landed one prospect to date, a player out of Oregon.

Count Pratt Community College's Illiya Baldwin as just such a beyond-California recruiting target. At 6-foot-11 and 260, he's an Aussie who would refill the position that senior Chris Oakes is manning this season, but with much more beef. The competition for Baldwin is fierce but we were told by his community college coach that Baldwin wants to come west -- something that plays in favor of the Spartans. Best as we can tell, the young man isn't leaning anywhere -- he's focused on the season and visits will take place afterwards.

Unfortunately, that's all we currently know about actual specific prospects/targets.

Here's what we know about other names that have been mentioned but aren't actually in the mix:

* Chris McNealy, 6-foot-4 senior , San Ramon Valley High

McNealy is a great young man but needs to add weight and strength in order to succeed in D-1 and being a defender will probably be his initial role -- shooting range is iffy and shooting is inconsistent -- probably a Big West player at the moment

* Tyree McCrary, 6-foot-8 sophomore, San Jose City College

McCrary is from Oak Grove High here in San Jose and also must add strength and bulk in order to garner D-1 playing time -- great leaper, understands the game, good touch and shooting range

* John Green, 6-foot-4 senior, Castlemont High (Oakland)

Green is a solid if unspectacular player with fine basketball skills but not necessarily plus athleticism -- he is having a very good senior season -- his father is 6-foot-7 and Green's options will expand if he gets close to that number

* Demetrius Lee, 6-foot-3 senior, St. Mary's (Berkeley)

Like McNealy, Lee will be best as a defender at the next level -- his ballhandling needs work and his shooting lacks outside consistency -- he is a tremendous athlete

* Desmond Simmons, 6-6 senior, Salesian High (Richmond)

Simmons was headed to the PAC-10 since his sophomore season, and specifically Washington -- he has signed a letter-of-intent -- so the best SJSU can hope for is, a la Adrian Oliver, some reason that makes Simmons wish to return to the Bay Area

Back with more as we discover such.

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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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