Oliver, Coyotes reload for next run

Well the Cal State San Bernardino men’s basketball program has announced the first wave of newcomers set to join the fold in th fall. Like all signing classes, it looks good on paper.

All four are transfers, as is usually the case at Cal State. Coach Jeff Oliver is particularly high on 6-foot-7 forward Brandon Brown, a native of New Orleans who comes to the Coyotes via Holmes Community College in Mississippi.

Of course whevever you’re talking big men and Cal State, you have to think of Ivan Johnson, the behemoth Division I bounceback from Oregon that led the Coyotes to the Division national semifinal in 2007. Johnson had great agility for a guy 6-7 and 250 pounds but he didn’t always rebound like a guy that size should. And he was a little rough around the edges as they say.

Johnson, who played last season in the NBA’s D-League, was intimidating. But Oliver said Brown is more of a true scorer and has great moves around the basket. That is something the Coyotes lacked last season.

Other newcomers are Larry DeHughes, a 6-4 junior guard out of Fullerton College. I saw that team play a couple of times against the locals but they had lots of stars so I can’t say I remember him.

Then there’s Lawrence Tyson, a 6-2 point guard out of Northeastern Junior College in Colorado. He also played at Cal State Northridge. With Omar Krayem, a highly touted player who redshirted last year, leaving – Tyson could land a starting spot.

And lastly, Michael Frazier, a transfer from Northern Colorado who also isn’t totally unfamiliar with Southern California having played a year at Mt. San Jacinto JC.

Oliver still has a couple of scholarships available and always seems to come up with a gem in September. This looks like a good start but a few pieces are still missing, especially since the Coyotes graduated seven players, four of them full-time starters.

There are also a few question marks, one of them the availability of Renardo Bass, who started some games. He never seemed to have an impressive line, but did all the little things well and came up with some huge plays when needed. Bass, who has overcome multiple hardships in his life, has fallen behind academically and has a long way to go to be eligible.

But Oliver will have a contender come November. That always seems to be the case.