Bluejay Banter for 7/19/09

July 18, 2009

This Sunday on the Bluejay Banter Radio show, Tim and Heath no wait– former Bluejay Nick Bahe will be discussing  the following:

  • They will be continuing the Valley basketball season preview with a focus on Indiana St.  (Indiana St. is ranked #137 on College Hoops Net look at the top 144 teams for the 2009-10 season.)
  • Indiana St. coach and former Bluejay assistant Kevin McKenna will be on the show talking about the Sycamores.
  • Former Jay Anthony Tolliver will be on the show to talk about the continuing quest to land on an NBA team and his current status on the New Orleans Hornets summer league team out in Las Vegas.
  • As always, other news going on in Creighton Athletics.

Tune  in on Sunday at 10AM on 1620 AM in Omaha or online at 1620thezone.com


Tolliver Gets Another Opportunity

June 12, 2009

Former Bluejay Anthony Tolliver is getting another opportunity to live out the NBA dream.  Tolliver took part in a 2-day mini-camp with the Dallas Mavericks.  20 players were invited to take part on Thursday and Friday this past week.  On day one Thursday there were only 10 of the 20 players on display due to inclement weather with all 20 expected to take part on Friday.

A 6-9 center forward (I don’t know why they still consider him a center), Tolliver has played in parts of the last two seasons with the Iowa Energy in the NBA Developmental league. He joined Iowa this season after starting the 2008-09 campaign with the Spurs, and then went on to receive a Call-Up from the New Orleans Hornets with a 10-day contract. Tolliver then finished the season in Turkey with Galatasaray, one of Europe’s top teams.  In the 2007-08 season, Tolliver just missed making the Cleveland Cavaliers opening day roster.

The mini-camp with the Mavericks is just the first step for Anthony to make it back on the roster of an NBA team.  If he makes the cut here he will then participate in a summer camp with the Mavs and go on from there.

The other invitees to mini-camp were:

Player Pos. Ht. Wt. From

  • Hassan Adams G 6-4 220 Arizona
  • Blake Ahearn G 6-2 190 Missouri State
  • Andre Brown F 6-9 245 DePaul
  • Shan Foster G 6-6 200 Vanderbilt
  • Sundiata Gaines G 6-1 195 Georgia
  • Mickael Gelabale F 6-7 215 France
  • Mike Green G 6-1 180 Butler
  • Brandon Heath G 6-4 198 San Diego State
  • Herbert Hill F 6-8 240 Providence
  • Quinton Hosley F 6-6 215 Fresno State
  • Trey Johnson G 6-5 215 Jackson State
  • Mike Jones G 6-5 210 Maryland
  • Jeff McInnis G 6-4 190 North Carolina
  • Austin Nichols F 6-6 220 Humboldt State
  • Richard Roby G 6-6 200 Colorado
  • JaJuan Smith G 6-2 195 Tennessee
  • Trent Strickland G 6-5 210 Wake Forest
  • Yuta Tabuse G 5-9 165 BYU-Hawaii
  • Chris Taft C 6-10 260 Pittsburgh
  • Anthony Tolliver F 6-9 240 Creighton

Some other interesting things about the camp:

  • 10 of the 20 players have some sort of NBA experience.
  • This guy does a comparison of the D-League guys in camp against the non-NBA guys that were invited.
  • friends.mavs.com has a video on Day 1 of the camp
  • The Dallas Morning News alluded that they were going to keep people in the loop on the mini-camp, but nothing yet.
  • No word so far on how Anthony did at camp as it is already over, but we wish him luck.

UPDATE: According to a blogger on the Mavs Social Network site, it sounds like there may not be a decision for a while on whether any of the attendees at this past week’s mini-camp will be selected or invited to summer camp:

While a lot of prospect came out of the camp, it was not set in stone that a selection would be made, instead noting that while there was a lot of energy flowing through the invited roster of players, but a second camp would more than likely be extended in the near future, perhaps as quickly as next week.

“it is hard to make a decision in a two day period but the guys came in and did a good job,” commented Coach Dwane Casey

So it is the wait and see game.  The other bad part is that weather kept a lot of the 20 invited players from participating in both days of the mini-camp.  No word on whether AT was one of those.


Around the Rim–5/1/09

May 1, 2009

So I was hoping for some interviews this week to post, but it appears it is not working out like I expected.  As I try again and also keep afloat with other things going on in life, here are some things of interest from this past week.

  • Incoming recruit Andrew Bock will be playing in the Academic All-American Classic on May 9th at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.   Playing with Bock is 6-foot-10 UCLA-bound Brendan Lane, who was on Rocklin, the Bock let Eisenhower team defeated to win the state championship in Sacramento.  Bock just missed being named California D-II player of the year from CalHiSports.com.   Lane beat him out for that.  Must be because Lane is going to UCLA.
  • If you want to see Anthony Tolliver and “Friends,” then sign up your K-8 child to participate in the 2nd annual Omaha Sports Academy’s Anthony Tolliver camp that runs July 27th-30th. Campers will experience a high interaction level with not only Anthony Tolliver, but also current and former D1 and D2 standouts.
  • Now that the Utah Jazz NBA season is over, it will be interesting to see if Kyle Korver stays in Utah or opts out of his contract.  I remember initially when he got traded to the Jazz from the 76ers, I was really dumbfounded why Utah?  But after seeing him play there the last year and a half, he looks like a natural fit there.  I see him staying.
  • When was the last time Jays fans received a personal letter from head coach Dana Altman?   I find it interesting that John Pelphrey sent out a letter to all Arkansas ticket holders to provide some very frank information about the team.  Now, the Razorbacks just hope they don’t lose a scholarship as the APR reports come out.   I am only mentioning this stuff because it could be Coach Altman that is in the situation that Pelphrey is in with the Arkansas basketball team.
  • Ryan Anderson from Nebraska declared for the NBA draft.  Wow.  Maybe he is being pushed out with all of the players Doc wants to play on scholarship next year.  Maybe the scholarship is being pulled out from Anderson, so he wants the NBA pre-draft experience to hopefully come back as a better player for them.  Keep an eye on this one.  He torched the Jays as a freshman.  Osiris Eldridge from Illinois St. is joining him.   Two thorns in the sides of the Jays.
  • Matt Perrault, who did a sports talk show in Omaha that had a lot of Jays coverage, has landed back on his feet at KXNO in Des Moines.  Now he can talk Drake basketball :)

In other Valley related things

  • Indiana St. coach and former Bluejay assistant Kevin McKenna will be coaching an Athletes in Action team this summer.  Dane Watts and Anthony Tolliver  participated on these teams in the past that go to other countries to play basketball but also teach the game of basketball to others in those countries.
  • Apparently the powers that be in Wichita like the job Gregg Marshall is doing down there as they extended his contract which will keep him around until 2015.   Marshall currently makes $750,000
  • This will be an interesting year for Bradley.  Jim Les signed all just out of high school players this season and no JUCO players.  Before this, 17 of his 33 recruits before this class were junior college or Division I transfers. I mentioned before that I think Les is on the hot seat this season, but he may have just gotten himself another year because he can use the excuse that he brought in 4 young players that he expected to contribute right away.
  • The brand new Diamond Head Classic that pretty much replaces the Rainbow Classic that the Jays played in a few years back has announced their field.   No MVC teams in that one.

Finally, check out a new radio show starting this Sunday covering Bluejay sports.  The Bluejay Banter show will be on Omaha’s 1620 the Zone radio station from 10-11AM on Sundays.  For those outside of Omaha, the stream will be available at 1620thezone.com and podcasted for listening later. The first show will feature Steve Pivovar from the OWH and Kevin Sarver from Creighton athletics.


Around the Rim–1/21/09

January 22, 2009

As we prepare for a 3-game homestand, just a lot of interesting things going on with in and out of conference teams of interest:

  • Most of us are probably aware of the MWC/MVC Challenge starting next season for at least 4 seasons.  Anyway, Steve Alford, the great guy that he is, was one of the MWC coaches who voted against the challenge thinking it will hurt their league more than help it.   “Winning a game on the road at one of those schools is difficult.”  Isn’t that the idea of  playing tough competition?  He must not want to get outcoached against teams like Creighton like he did this season.
  • Northern Iowa is on top of the MVC right now, but between them and Drake (considering their performance last season) attendance is down for both schools.  Officials at Northern Iowa say it is because of the weather while averaging only about 3500 fans a game.   Well don’t tell that to the people in Omaha as 15,000 show up on cold nights for games.   Even last night’s UNI game at home against Bradley only drew 5,173 people.  The facility has a capacity of a little over 7000.  Drake’s  reasoning is because of games on “Church Nights” and other various reasons, but there isn’t really a spike in attendance.    Though it is only down 1.1% from last year, it appears that it is really farther down than that.  Just a little interesting
  • I’ve had this for a couple of weeks, but just forget to mention it.  Anyway, The Denver Post did an interview with Sean Ogirri (who was Mr. Basketball in Colorado his senior year) on how he is doing since transferring from Wichita St. to Wyoming.   I always thought it was interesting that Ogirri transferred out of Wichita with only one year of eligibility remaining.  But I think it sheds a little light on how Coach Marshall is a likeable unlikeable guy.  I hate to guess or read into it, but I think there was a little conflict between the two guys that caused him to transfer.  I only mention it because Ogirri caused the Jays quite a few headaches when he was at Wichita.
  • Speaking of hometown newspapers, a newspaper in Maryland did a nice little article on Justin Carter and about his transformation from a guy that really wanted to play football to now playing Division I basketball.   Seeing Justin’s play lately just sort of seems fitting with this recognition.
  • In another local newspaper story, here is an article on Kenny Lawson’s brother, Quincy Lawson and his play as of late.
  • Speaking of recruits, one of Bradley’s new recruits , John Wilkins, doesn’t appear he will make the grade to go to Bradley at this time, so he has enrolled in JUCO.   Why it takes so long for the NCAA to decide some things is baffling to me, but they can kill the early Midnight Madness within a few days.
  • Oral Roberts who the Jays played earlier this season has lowered ticket prices for the rest of the season for the endzones and upper level to $5 due to the economy.   ORU started horribly this season, but in the conference they have turned things around and are 6-1 and just a half game out of 1st in the Summit.
  • There was a little article about Dayton’s non-conference schedule and how it might hurt them down the line but are attempting to be more aggressive in scheduling in the future.   We know that the Jays are headed there next season to continue a series, but consider New Mexico and George Mason opponents to mention in the article.  Another interesting note is that they pay $70,000 per “buy” game.
  • What a nice transition….Our favorite “Buy” game–Arkansas-Pine Bluff, from the great SWAC conference created a little history last week.  They won against Alcorn St. 101-77.  The significance.  This was the first time Pine-Bluff scored 100 pts. or more in a game in about 30 years.   Before that game Pine-Bluff had only 1 Division-I win and that was against another Jays opponent from this season, Mississippi Valley St.
  • It is nice to see former Jay Anthony Tolliver getting another shot at the NBA.  After getting released by San Antonio a week before he was guaranteed his contract, he went back to the D-League to play for Iowa which still had his rights.  He got “called up” by New Orleans who is depleted by injuries and signed him to a 10-day contract.  He has had quite a year with all of this NBA emotional roller coaster  plus the loss of his mom.  I hope it all works out for him.
  • And your funny of the day comes from the great satire “The Onion” and the Rural Nebraskan who isn’t sure he could handle the frantic pace in Omaha.  Though the story is fake, I could actually believe it is real from some people I know outside the Lincoln/Omaha area.

Now that the Jays appear to be getting their identity defined a little more, it is time for the Fans to do the same starting Saturday against Drake in one of the few Saturday games this season.  Pack the Qwest.


An Exhibition? More Like a Reality Check

November 10, 2008

Usually when you think about somebody calling something an “exhibition” you sort of think of the term as “to show publicly especially for purposes of competition or demonstration.”  Some people see it more as the demonstration part instead of the competition.  Today’s “exhibition” game against Central Missouri turned out to not be a demonstration but instead a competition.

I wasn’t going to post something until I actually saw the game.  However, with the complaints people had of even watching the live video stream today, I’ll just go with what I heard. I’m driving down the highway today in western Nebraska and yes you can hear Big Sports 590 in Atchinson, NE.  I was hoping to watch the game this evening, but it isn’t avaialble yet and the On Demand archives are only as recent as early October, so I bet it won’t be on there for quite a while.

Anyway, the story of the game for me is that you play like you practice and if today’s indication is any sign, then the Jays have a little work to do before next Sunday’s opening game against New Mexico.  Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.  The Jays had way too many which resulted in 24 points for the Central Missouri Mules.  Offensive rebounds were another as there were 14 second chance points.  And finally, too many open 3’s for the mules that if they were not 2-22, then the Jays could have suffered a loss.  They did just enough in the first 5-8 minutes of the game to hold on to win 78-65.

Creighton was out of the gates in a hurry and got that 12-15 point lead right away and sort of just tried to keep Central Missouri from getting too close.  Maybe it was nerves maybe it was excitement.  I know I would have a little of both.  I understand how that closed door scrimmage probably really helped the team, but having an extra game in front of a crowd would probably help tame the nerves.

Here’s the good–We found out today that Kenny Lawson has some backup in Kenton Walker.  It sounds like from the time Kenton got into the game until the final whistle, he was making plays getting rebounds, blocking shots, taking charges.  To me he was the story of the game finishing with 14 points and 8 rebounds.  Yes Kenny started the game and led the team with 16 points, but Kenton sounded like he was out there with a purpose.  He was probably motivated by the fact that the first guy to come in and play behind Kenny at the 5 position was Chad Millard.  However Chad seemed to get lost in the shuffle after the explosion by Kenton and Chad only ended up playing 8 minutes.   We’ll have to see.

Another interesting story in the game was that Josh Dotzler and Cavel Witter were on the floor at the same time a few times during the game.  Cavel moved over to the 2-guard and that gives the Jays an opportunity for a few things.  #1–Two great ball handlers to get the team moving and down the court and #2–The opportunity to get Antoine Young on the floor.  Listing to T. Scott and Nick Bahe, it sounded like Antoine has quite the speed and intensity that will bring another dimension to the team.  But the other side of the coin is that with Witter playing some SG, I almost think barring injury, that Josh Jones might be looking at a redshirt.  It just creates a log jam I think for the 2-guard spot–Witter, Booker Woodfox, and P’Allen Stinnett are already competing for time there.  The other downside is that I hope it doesn’t keep Cavel from making “simple plays” and keeping from making turnovers as he led the team with 4 today.  Josh D. had a solid day at the point just leading the team and doing the little things.

Speaking of P’Allen, he seemed quiet on the radio broadcast, but he had a solid day.  Only one turnover with all the times he had the ball and looking for teammates with four assists is a nice deal.  Booker Woodfox was also the solid instant offense and at the same time a quiet contribution for him as well and showed the moved back 3-point line didn’t bother him any as he hit 2 of the 3 three pointers for the Jays today.

Casey Harriman got the start today and took a few great charges.  Kaleb Korver got a few great offensive rebounds.  Between him and Kaleb Korver, those two guys both played the gritty minutes and showed that they can do more than just shoot.  If anyone remembers the Jeffony Tolliday (combo minutes of Jeff Day and Anthony Tolliver) a couple seasons back, maybe we have a Caseb Koriman player this season :)

I haven’t even mentioned Justin Carter today, but I think I will give him a pass as it sounded like he struggled a little bit with his shooting from the field, free throws and holding onto the basketball.  However, he did have the good in getting 7 rebounds.  He has been given a lot of buildup to the season (myself included) and yet we have to remember that he is still adjusting to a new program and a new environment.  I think we will see a different player next Sunday.

All in all, I think today’s game is a good reality check for the Jays to make sure they don’t fall into the trap of the hype that the Jays team two seasons ago fell into.  There was talk of a tougher press.  However, they can’t in turn give those turnovers back.  They are definitely not unbeatable, but the talent is there to take them far.

Other Notes–The Omaha World Herald had their College Basketball Preview in today’s paper (only the print edition).  A nice preview of both the Valley and the Big 12 (However, I thought having Nebraska picked to finish 7th in the Big 12 this season in my Rush the Court preview was optimistic, but the OWH have the Huskers picked to finish 6th. ) In the preview there are also some words from Tom Shatel.

Iowa St. beat UNO by 20 points in their Exhibition game today.

It is nice to see Anthony Tolliver make his debut with the Spurs this past week and he made a nice contribution.  Looking forward to seeing more.


Around the Rim–11/1/08

November 1, 2008

A lot of things going on lately.  Here are a few little snippets of things:

  • Today begins the College Basketball Exhibition season for most teams…..no wait that is scrimmages for some.  The Jays head to Ames today to scrimmage with Iowa St.  Wichita St. heads to Manhattan to scrimmage with Kansas St.  and Iowa is scrimmaging with Jays potential opponent Depaul.  Oh and what about North Carolina’s “secret” scrimmage.  Jeff Goodman from Fox Sports has a great listing of all the scrimmages happening this weekend.  What is sad about all of this is that all of these scrimmages are a “home-and-home” thing where most of them will be going to the opposite team’s site next year for a scrimmage.  And if you look at the matchups, these would make great regular season home-and-home games, so why won’t these teams schedule a real game where fans and media can come and have it count for something?    That is just crazy and you know you could pack the stands either way.
  • Jays opponent New Mexico is playing in the pricey Cancun tournament that also includes conference foe Drake.  $300 per person for all games of the tournament plus if you don’t stay at the resort where the tournament is being held, it is another $81 to enter the resort to get to the games.   Maybe the Las Vegas Classic is a good fit for the Jays fans and the economy where the full session tickets are not as pricey and fans have the opportunity to stay in Vegas for free.
  • An update on Anthony Tolliver and how things are going for him since the passing of his mother.  I haven’t always been a fan of the Spurs, but it is appreciated how they are handling the situation for him.  It sounds like he will be back with the Spurs this Tuesday.  Please keep Anthony and his family in your prayers.
  • CollegeHoopsNet has announced their preseason HIgh-Major Player of the Year and All-American Teams.  These are players from teams that are not from “BCS” type of schools, but are not considered “Mid-Major” either.  It is “High Major.”  Creighton’s P’Allen Stinnett is on the 3rd team along with Drake’s Josh Young and Creighton opponent Dayton’s Chris Wright. Interesting take.
  • Speaking of P’Allen, there is a great article on him in the Topeka Capital-Journal and probably other news papers since it is an AP article.  P’Allen talks about how he made a name for himself last year, but this year it’s time to take on a team role.  Very good read.
  • Kirk Wessler from the PJStar had some interesting notes from MVC Media Days.  The interesting parts were about possible expansion and non-conference scheduling.   The subject came up again and MVC Commish Doug Elgin pretty much said that expansion is not an option and if they did it would have to be an even number.  St. Louis always comes up as a school that would join the Valley because of the proximity to the rest of the league members makes more sense than being in the A-10 that is just all over the map.  In my mind Butler is another good team to consider since they play a lot of Valley teams each year and are in sort of the same geographic area.
  • The other part of the article had to do with non-conference scheduling.  In my review of the average RPI’s of the Valley’s non-conference schedule, it was noted how horrible Illinois St. scheduled their non-conference schedule.   A few years ago the Valley instituted an initiative to get member schools to work hard at scheduling good teams and to keep from playing an average RPI above 150 or suffer some type of penalty.  Though it hasn’t been enforced for a few years since things became a little better, it should almost be instituted just because of Illinois St.  Their non-conference RPI of the teams they ar facing are 215.  That hurts not only them, but the league as a whole.   Although they are ranked pretty high in the conference this coming season, I think their non-conference season is going to hurt them from being prepared and will make Osiris Eldridge become a one-man show.  We’ll have to see.
  • Just a reminder, tickets went on sale for the annual Nebraska-Creighton game on Thursday.  Get your tickets now if you want to go since the game is in Lincoln this year.
  • Finally, I mentioned earlier this summer that I was going to take on a role of a Big 12 correspondant for a great college basketball site called Rush the Court.  Originally I wanted to correspond for the Valley but another person was already signed up for the role.  However, due to some unknown circumstances, the opportunity to be a correspondant for the Valley became available again and I have agreed to do that as well.  So I will be doing updates on the league for the Rush the Court site for both the Big 12 and MVC as of right now.  So I’ll see if I can handle this great opportunity, but it also means watching a lot of basketball which should be fun.  Look for a Valley preview on their site upcoming this next week.

Tragic Turn of Events

October 26, 2008

Friday night, we understood it was the last chance to see if Anthony Tolliver would make the San Antonio Spurs basketball team.  Then he didn’t play at all and wasn’t even on the bench.   The concern was that he didn’t make the team or had a personal issue.  It was a personal issue, however, what was unexpected was to what extent the personal issue was.

Anthony found out that he made the Spurs team, but on the same day found out that his mother died of an apparent heart attack.  According to the well written article in the Omaha World Herald this morning.  it sounds like the Spurs are being very respectful of the situation and have made sure to let Anthony know that they are there for him.

Just myself, I know that I would like to tell Anthony that I am sorry for his loss.  Though I don’t know him personally, I can relate to the situation and try to feel what he is going through.  We had an unexpected loss like this in our family a few years ago that has taken a lot of time to recover from.  I would totally understand if basketball is secondary at this point for him.  I’m sure the whole Bluejay community and the city of Omaha are there for him.