Cal State San Bernardino men’s basketball coach Jeff Oliver is probably the most quotable coach any member of the media will come across, especially when his team loses. But he is also pretty savy when it comes to getting a point across to his sometimes stubborn players.
Oliver likes to use the media to his advantage. And it almost always works. It goes like this. You criticize a player in a post-game or pre-game interview. Those quotes find their way into the newspaper which typically irritates or gets under the skin of that player. The player comes out and wants to prove the coach wrong so a good performance follows.
He did with big guys in recent years like Ivan Johnson and Brandon Brown. Even before that he blasted point guard Trennell Eddings when he got a late technical foul that ended up costing his team a game. In all those cases the players responded.
So earlier this week Oliver talked up Saturday’s foe San Francisco State and said that school would probably beat his because its returning starters were “playing 10 times better than mine.”
He asked me to make sure I used that comment. It was a valid point so I did. He was particularly critical of guards Aaron Hill and Corey Caston who had been turning the ball over regularly, as well as David Jefferson.
Well the message seemed to get through again. The Coyotes beat the Gators 84-60. And it wasn’t even that close. Jefferson had 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Caston had 14 points and five assists and Hill contributed 10 points and five assists.
That performance came 24 hours after a similar 85-50 lambasting of Cal State Monterey Bay. So the ship appears to be righted for now!
The Coyotes are 5-3 overall and 3-1 in CCAA play. Next up is the always difficult Humboldt State-Sonoma State road trip.
The Cal State San Bernardino and Cal Poly Pomona basketball teams get back into CCAA play. Both will be at home with the women’s games tipping off at 3 p.m. and the men’s games to follow. The Broncos will be hosting San Francisco State with the Coyotes entertaining Cal State Monterey Bay.
The NCAA put a new rule in place that prohibits team from practicing from Dec 20-26 so they will have had just two days practice to shake off the rust. Both men’s teams have had their issues although both the women’s teams have looked solid in the early going.
Cal Poly coach Greg Kamansky is especially concerned. His leading scorer Kevin Menner went to New York for the break and can’t get back because of the snowstorm on the East coast. Kamansky doesn’t know if Menner will make it home in time or not.
Senior forward Tobias Jahn has had a groin injury the past couple of weeks that seems to have gotten worse and he might not be available either.
The Broncos only carry 10 players, so that would put them down to eight and three of those really play limited minutes.
The Cal State men have not played liked a cohesive unit either. It’s not good when you average more turnovers than assists which happens to be the case. Much of the problem seems to be the returning starters which is surprising.
The Coyotes are in need of a better showing from senior point guard Corey Caston. He is the floor leader and he is a much better player than what he has shown early.
Both teams have the tough Sonoma State-Humboldt State road trip next, so wins at home are crucial this week.
Also, since campuses are closed for the holidays, spectators will NOT have to pay for parking as it typically the case.
Chaffey College linebacker Dallas Kelley has signed with USC.
The 6-foot, 230-pounder spent his high school career at Norco. He originally signed with Portland State but didn’t play there, coming home and spending two years with the Panthers instead.
Chaffey coach Carl Beach said Kelley will enroll in January and be eligible to participate in spring drills, which made him an attractive prospect for the Trojans, who face a loss of scholarships and are looking for athletes who can come in and play right away.
Kelley is a two-time first- team all-conference pick. Last season he recorded a team- best 82 tackles, including 13.5 for losses (four sacks), with two forced fumbles, one interception and one blocked kick.
As a freshman in 2009 he had a team-best 74 tackles, including 9.5 for losses (3.5 sacks), and four deflections.
Beach added that USC also likes defensive back Daimian Stafford and might sign him too if he can get academics in order.