Nevada paper judges Tech recruiting class

I’m waiting on the official announcement to state my thoughts on the Tech signing class but Chris Murray of the Reno paper ranks each WAC recruiting class. Here is the link to his look at Tech.

Here is his overview:

Overview

* Louisiana Tech loses a lot of its firepower from last year with Kyle Gibson, Magnum Rolle and Jamel Guyton departing. This class has some repetition with two point guards and a 5-11 shooting guard as well as two meat-and-potatoes big men. Tech needs Gjuroski or Johnson to pan out or McNeaill to turn into an All-WAC player for this to be a really good recruiting class. Gjuroski is an interesting prospect and Johnson could end up being like future Bulldog teammate Olu Ashaolu, which would be a good thing for Tech. Rank out of WAC teams: 6 out of 9

See his article for thoughts on the seven players he bases his thoughts on.

A point guard signs

All the credit on this one goes to the guys at Bleedtechblue. Here’s a link to their page – http://louisianatech.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1082341

And guess what? – He’s a semi local player. For the first time since Marco Cole Louisiana Tech dips into Arkansas to pull a player.

His name is Kenyon McNeaill and he is a 6’0 point guard from Conway  Arkansas.

Originally a Nebraska commitment (he decommitted) ESPN has this to say about him: June, 2009: A true point guard that is a good not great athlete who plays hard on both ends of the floor. He pushes the ball in transition and also does a good job of running the offense and getting teammates involved. He is a good ball handler and open shooter with three point range. McNeaill is strong, steady and a good decision maker. On defense he is a good on ball defender that sets the tone with his energy and effort. The Huskers like his strength, toughness and upside.

The roster is taking shape with only a couple open spots left to fill. As the spring signing period closes in a week we should know soon.


Tech adds another big man

Accoring to MagicValley.com Romario Souza, a 6-9 240 lb  junior college forward who played at Southern Idaho has signed with the Bulldogs. Souza is originally from from Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Souza also had an offer and took a visit from TCU.

Souza averaged 7.3 points and 4.9 rebounds for CSI, starting 10 games. He missed the final few weeks of the season after suffering a broken right wrist. He is scheduled to get the cast off on Monday. Reading newspaper articles it appears Souza fought injuries all season long.

Souza played in all 31 games for the Golden Eagles as a freshman, scoring a season-high 31 points and pulling down 13 rebounds against Salish Kootenai. He was in the top four on the team in rebounds and blocked shots.
Before CSI: Romario hails from Minas Gerais, Brazil where he earned best player of the state award in 2006 and 2007.
In 2005-06, he helped his team to a state championship and followed that up with a third-place finish at nationals.
In 2006, He played for the Brazilian Junior National team that played in the American Cup in Texas, taking third place.
In 2007, Romario again played for the junior national team, helping his team to a fourth-place finish in Serbia at the World Cup.

Editors Thoughts: Adding Roshell and Souza as two big men who both had “high major” offers (the MWC is a high major conference in basketball) have calmed my worries about the replenishing of the roster.

New Jersey Wing Commits to La Tech

Another commitment for Kerry Rupp as he rebuilds the roster. A nod to Kevin at Parsing the WAC for catching this one.

The following quote comes from blog.northstarbball.com

A few days ago, 6’7 small forward Stojan Gjuroski ’10 of Life Center Academy (NJ) committed to Louisiana Tech, according to reports. Originally from Macedonia, Gjuroski is ranked number 36 in Northstar Basketball’s New Jersey Class of 2010 Fab 50. Gjuroski was one of the key members of an LCA team that finished ranked eighth in the New Jersey Postseason High School Fantastic 65.

“They knew about me before I came [over to the US] and they recruited me the hardest,” said Gjuroski of how he picked the Bulldogs. He added, “One of their scouts heard about me and my games in Europe.”

Quinnipiac, Iona, Rider, Northwestern, and Eastern Kentucky were the other schools that the long shooter considered before picked Louisiana Tech.

Gjuroski has yet to sign his National Letter of Intent, but will likely do so in the near future. “Not yet, I don’t know when, probably in the next 2-3 weeks,” Gjuroski said.

How does Gjuroski feel to have the decision behind him? “I feel safer now, and from the other side, I’m happy because I will be in a surrounding with good people who will make me a better person and player.”

Asked if he has any goals for his college career, Gjuroski replied, “To make my team b etter and become a better player.”

Also reported by Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com  with stats included: He averaged 8 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds

The New Jersey Scout.com website has this review: the long wing has a smooth stroke from the outside, but he also rebounds the ball well.

The following Youtube video is reportedly him



A commitment from a Big Man

The guys over at Bleedtechblue are reporting that Antwond Roshell a 6’10 285 junior college center from John A. Logan College has signed with Louisiana Tech.

According to Midstatehoops.com Roshell held offers from Cincinnati, and Milwaukee.

Midstatehoops said this about Roshell: Roshell is not the most skilled inside player but his combination of size, strength, agility, and work ethic are something that not many coaches will turn down. Roshell runs the floor very well for his 6’10” 260 lbs frame. He’s got a big body and is good at holding position when playing with his back to the basket. Very strong, Antwond is a good rebounder that plays aggressively but knows his limits.

Another description found of him on the web was the following : Big 12 body and a consistent rebounder.

Roshell averaged nearly 4.5 points, 2 blocks, 6 rebounds, and less than 1 turnover per game. The stat line isn’t spectacular but he is a big body brought in to rebound and play defense. You can’t teach size and with a Big East offer on his resume this is a nice start to replenishing the roster.

Finally Back With A Few Thoughts

It’s been quite a few months since I’ve blogged about my favorite basketball program. In fact my last post was after the first game of the season!  Unexpected family and work situations monopolized my time. I am grateful for the four dozen or so emails I received from those who have read my blog and missed my commentary but were more just worried about me as a person.  It meant a lot to me. Thanks guys.  I’ll ruminate on the season that was past later so I’ll just jump straight into the now.

All that being said I’ve never seen a program coming off a 24 win season where not only did it make an appearance in the postseason but won a game (opinions of that particular postseason tournament withstanding) have so many questions.

First the expected issues. The Bulldogs are losing two All-Conference guys who will have a chance to make an NBA team, another who should have a nice career in Europe, and a utility guy who was an important two year contributor. That’s a lot for any program to have to recover from.

Then the unexpected. Nikita Johnson the associate head coach leaves for USL to take a job with one of his good friends. I can’t blame him. If I could make more/similar money working with one of my best friends I’d be gone in a second. The problem with Johnson leaving is that he was the recruiting coordinator and almost the entire fall signing class was his recruits. {The following is opinion}His leaving probably means DJ Wright and Scottie Farrington for sure won’t be in Ruston.  It appears Ruston native Josh Brown will follow Coach Johnson to ULL as well. No clue on Deuce Johnson.

Holton Hunsaker should be in Ruston next year  since he is from the Utah connection (Rupp/Condie) on the coaching staff.

Five scholarship players should return next season.  DeAndre Brown and Olu Ashalou (both double digits scorers) will be the foundation for the team. Also returning is Shawn Oliverson, Brandon Gibson (off a medical redshirt), and Darius Redding.  Anson Bartlett returns as a walk-on who played scholarship minutes. Other walk-ons who were on the roster that return include Tevin Hall, Justin Rake, and Andres Marmolejo (redshirted).

You can do the math. That could mean as many as seven more scholarship players to add! It will probably take Coach Rupp until near the mid May deadline to sign all those players. Plus it’ll be interesting to see who Coach Rupp brings in to fill the open assistant position and what recruits he may bring with him.

As I read the BB&B to catch up I see the familiar gripe about Louisiana Tech not signing the local player. This time the fuss is over T.J. Williams who is listed as 6’7ish and is reportedly an on the block post player from Jonesboro Hodge. Williams signed with Texas San Antonio (a Southland school). Posters have compared him as having similar size to Paul Millsap, Tiger Meeking, and Olu Ashalou and therefore Tech should have signed him. I have two problems with this thought process.  One Millsap, Meeking, and Ashalou all had proven themselves on the national AAU circuit and were top 100 players rated nationally. Millsap and Meeking had SEC offers while Ashalou was a Big East commit before switching to the Bulldogs. According to the website for Louisiana Select AAU Williams played for the same AAU program and national schedule as Millsap and Meeking in the summer yet his best offer was UTA? Also if Williams dominated at the Top 28 Louisiana state championship why did no Louisiana school offer him a scholarship? There are 3 Louisiana Southland schools. My opinion is that if Mr. Williams had been from Lake Charles instead of Jonesboro no one would care that Tech didn’t offer him.

All in all it should be exciting to follow the program over the next few weeks and I’m glad to be back writing about it and hope to continue at my previous pace.

Dawgs beat Texas Pan Am

Bulldogs start the season off on the road and come home with a win 80-62. Texas Pan American has traditionally been a tough place to play with Tech losing five of their last seven trips down in south Texas.  Always nice to start a season off 1-0.

Starters
DeAndre Brown
Jamel Guyton
Kyle Gibson
Olu Ashou
Magnum Rolle

  • Balance – Four players in double figures and a fifth with 9. This team will be hard to defend if they continue to produce both in the paint and from the perimeter.
  • Point in the paint 44-16. Enough said.
  • Second half points 42-27. What was a three point lead at the half quickly ballooned to ten by the first media timeout and didn’t get any closer. In fact the Bulldogs built it up to 21 with a couple of minutes left. Most impressive part of the 42 point second half – only one three point basketball for the Bulldogs in that half. That’s efficient offense.
  • Depth. Rupp played ten players in the first half.
  • Negatives. Poor outside shooting (4 for 14) and a negative A/TO margin – 13/17

 

*Olu Ashalou – a player’s largest jump is from their first year of Division one basketball to their second and Ashalou appears to have made quite a leap. Career highs in points, rebounds, assists, and steals for the sophomore. A tidy 6 for 8 from the field and 6 for 8 from the charity stripe equals 18 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 assists in 33 minutes of action. Several nice finishes above the rim as well.

*Magnum Rolle – tell me if you’ve hear this one before: Rolle gets in quick foul trouble and has to sit most of the first half. Rolle played a grand total of four minutes before the break. Played well in the second half when the Bulldogs ran away. Every time Magnum shot the ball tonight it went through the hoop – playing 17 minutes 5 for 5 from the field, 2 for 2 from the line – grand totals of 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

*Kyle Gibson – a poor shooting night for Gibson from the arc (1 for 5). But as he has shown throughout his career when his jumper is not falling he finds ways to score. 16 points on 5 for 11 shooting.

*Jamel Guyton – the only starter not in double figures Guyton ended the night with nine points. All of his offensive production came from long range as he was 3 for 5 from deep. If he is this efficient with his shot selection the rest of the season only good will happen.

*DeAndre Brown – 13 points, 2 assists in his official debut with the program Brown is a smooth player who always seems under control. Got out on the break and finished the layup a couple times. Had four first half turnovers but none in the second half.

Bench
Not much offensive production from the bench tonight but not a large number of mistakes either.

  • Yonas Berhe may be the most improved player on the team. 21 minutes, 2 assist/zero turnovers. Tech has gone from 0 quality point guards last season to two.
  • Darius Redding made his first official minute before the halfway mark of the first half. Only took one shot in 12 minutes (made it) but also contributed an assist and a steal.
  • David Jackson logged the most bench minutes tonight (as expected as the only non starter senior – 23). As usual put up numbers all over the stat sheet. 5 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block.
  • Shawn Oliverson – big man got into foul trouble that limited his minutes (3 fouls in 9) but did end the night with two points and one rebound.
  • Justin Rake – apparently he’s shooting the ball as well in practice as he did in the scrimmage. Freshman hit the floor in the first half but did not take a shot in five minutes.

 

Any road win in college basketball is a great win.

Off to New Mexico for a tournament next and an early season measuring stick game with the hosts.

Texas Pan American comes to Ruston Christmas week for round two.