In San Diego to watch the Boise State-USD game last night. [BSU won, 75-72.]
Couple of my notes from the game:
USD 4-man Rob Jones did an excellent job defending Boise's leading scorer Mark Sanchez in the first half, limiting him to just five points. Sanchez finished with 20 points, but Jones didn't guard him much in the second half.
Jones did the same thing last month when he limited Nevada's Luke Babbitt to just three points in a USD win.
Jones is built like a 3-man, but can play the 4 spot in the WCC. He plays with a lot of confidence and has great strength and quickness, which help him draw fouls. He reminds me of a poor man's Fennis Dembo, who played for me in the CBA and won an NBA title with the Pistons in 1989.
Only a sophomore, Jones' feel for game will improve with experience. At 6-6, 230, he'd be a good tight end prospect, similar to Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates.
Off the bench, USD guard Trumaine Johnson had a big impact. Just back from a suspension that's kept him out for the first 12 games of the season, the 6-foot-2 sophomore can really get in lane off the dribble penetration. He's one of a couple of USD players who can create his own shot. Johnson's an inconsistent outside shooter, but in "flat" situation, he can get to the rim and draw fouls.
Gyno Pomare did a good job defending post. A 6-foot-8 forward/center, he found gaps in the BSU zone. Against Boise's man-to-man defense, he established great post position. He's a senior who plays hard. BSU doubled Pomare on the catch in the last four minutes of the game. I'd rate him as a mid-level European League prospect.
For Boise State, PG Anthony Thomas had a big first half, connecting on all six of his shots from the field, including four 3-pointers. He also had six rebounds in the first half.
At 6-foot, 205, he's a strong point guard who played the best game of his three-year career. He has good defensive anticpation and a strong upper body. He's not an NBA prospect, but is one of the better guards in the WAC and worth a look in Summer League play.
He did a good job getting over picks on the pick-and-roll. As the game went along, it looked like his conditioning may have affected his play. He didn't look to score as much in the second half, but came up with a critical steal with 1:09 left in the game.
BSU senior Mark Sanchez, the WAC player of the week earlier this month, is a nice college player, though not at the NBDL level. At this point, he's likely a low-level European League prospect.
At 6-foot-7, he showed good 3-point range and, when USD had a big on him, he found ways to score. [When USD's Rob Jones defended him, Sanchez struggled to get good looks.]
Boise State connected on 9 of 11 from 3-point range and had good interior passing. The Broncos got several key baskets off baseline out of bounds "pick the picker" action.
After timeouts, USD did a good job executing, but the Toreros' lack of transition defense hurt.
Also, this game showed the importance of not only getting to the FT line, but converting. USD shot 65 percent from the line (13-20) and missed four FT from 1:33 until the end of the game.
USD's Jenny Craig Pavilion is really a beautiful arena. With BSU fans in town for the Poinsettia Bowl, the Bronco fans -- including the BSU band -- were out in force.