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WAC Notebook

January 15, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



WAC Notebook

by Phil Dailey

Following a legend

There’s no doubt that Jerry Tarkanian is an absolute legend when it comes to
college basketball. Lets not be stupid here, but his final years at Fresno
St.
were anything but legendary, leaving the Bulldogs under investigation for
NCAA
violations and not getting the most out of his talented recruits.

With all that said, and for the most part, on the back-burner for now, the
Bulldogs (11-3 overall 4-1 WAC) have found themselves at the top of the
Western Athletic Conference. They’re tied for first place for the time
being with
Hawaii (11-2, 4-1). And if it weren’t for the loss in Honolulu, 88-77
against
Warriors on Monday night, the Bulldogs would be standing alone on the
coveted
WAC mountaintop.

For whatever it’s worth, the loss isn’t such a big deal, because the job
that Ray Lopes has done this year is already a giant leap in the right
direction. Everyone knows how hard it is to replace a legend and Lopes
should
be around for a long time with the job he’s done thus far.

The job that Greg Graham has done at Boise State this year is good so far.
But
if the coach of the year award was given out this week , there’d be no other
choice than Ray Lopes.

Oh how lonely it is to be a Spartan

As If things weren’t bad enough for the San Jose State Spartans (3-10, 0-4),
it
just might be getting worse. Just think, last week the Spartans had the
opportunity to do what seven other teams have already done before them this
season – beat Southern Methodist (6-7, 1-2) at home.

Perhaps this could have been the start of something new in San Jose.
Despite the thought that the Spartans might win their first league
game, unfortunately Bryan Hopkins and Quintin Ross had other thoughts.
The Spartans lit up SJSU for a combined 45 points en route to a Mustang
victory – their
first WAC win of the year.

Head coach Phil Johnson, however, is used to tough times, having spent the
last
two seasons as an assistant with the Chicago Bulls. Johnson promised an
entertaining up-tempo style of hoops at the beginning of the year, but
unfortunately hasn’t been unable to get that message through to the rest of
the
players.

And if you’re trying to find a victory in the near future for the Spartans,
don’t
bother. Next up for San Jose St.: Hawaii, at Nevada, Fresno St., Tulsa,
Rice
and finally, a rematch with SMU early next month.

Coaching Jalen Rose, Jay Williams and Eddie Curry sounds like a great job
now
At least the Bulls are winning a few games.

WAC Player of the Week

The WAC went ahead and offered up Carl English as their player of the week.
However, everyone already knows how good he is, and realistically could earn
this
honor every week. So I’m going to pick a lesser-known, but equally deserving
player.

And the winner is? Louisiana Tech’s Antonio Meeking. Meeking and the
Bulldogs
(5-5, 2-1) traveled almost half way around the world last weekend and
battled Hawaii.
The Bulldogs were sent home with a four point loss, 57-54, to the Warriors.
In the loss, Meeking scored 23
points and grabbed 12 boards. The 6-foot-8 powerhouse from Farmerville, LA
is
averaging over 16 points and 8 rebounds per game.

Mistakes are meant to happen

I guess this is my opportunity to apologize to the entire Nevada Wolf Pack
community for previously calling them out and letting the basketball world
know that they weren’t exactly off to the most promising start in WAC
history.

Apparently the Wolf Pack (7-7, 2-2) got motivated, beating up on Texas-El
Paso
(3-10, 1-3) and Boise State (8-6, 2-2) last week, winning two home games by
a
combined 22 points. Although we know the win against UTEP isn’t anything to
put on a résumé and beating the Broncos is not the toughest win, the wins
were respectable nonetheless.

The win against Boise State is solid because of the way the Pack won.
Nevada came
out of the blocks and got all over the Broncos, building a lead by as much
as
17. The Broncos responded with a great run of their own, taking the lead by
two in the second half. But the run by Boise State seemed to offer a rest
period
for Nevada as they wound up defeating the Broncos by ten.

Watch out for 6-foot-6 Kirk Snyder the rest of the way. Snyder, a sophomore
from Upland, CA leads the Wolf Pack in points (15.9 ppg) as well as rebounds
(7.6) and is already being looked at as a future NBA prospect.

     

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