The D-2 California Collegiate Athletic Association(CCAA) is taking the lead this year in replacing their head coaches.  I received a note that Coach Powell and the Athletic Director at Dominguez Valley University were put on “some kind of leave” in February.  According to the Dominguez Valley website, Steve Becker is now the interim head coach after serving as the top assistant to the men’s basketball program during the 2012-13 year.  Reading between the lines here, he took over while this past season was still underway.  Currently no other information on why changes occurred.

I hate the term Interim in any job.  Interim can mean anything.  For example it can mean, 1.  “You are a placeholder till we find someone we like better,”  2.  “You have a year to prove your our guy and we will save lots of bucks while we watch.”  Coach Becker has spent time at AVC recruiting the past few years.  He is a very hard working knowledgeable coach who impressed me.   He is an up-george-mcgrew_thumb.jpgand-comer. 

The only player recruited from AVC to Dominguez Valley was “Big” George McGrew who was leading Dominguez in scoring and rebounding when he left the team mid season in his junior year.  The last I heard was that McGrew played professional basketball in Belarus this past year.  

Coaching college basketball is a tough career but, that’s why they pay them the “big bucks.”


There is tremendous interest in Dieter Horton’s appointment as Head Coach at Cal State LA.  Have heard some questions;  Will he be the head coach that re-innervates the CCAA conference with CSLA like John Taylor did this year with AVC in the Western State South?  Will Dieter be the Andy Enfield or the Steve Alford of the CCAA?  One thing I will guarantee;  his teams will play defense hard, very hard.

Received a phone call from a very knowledgeable Long Beach State fan.  According to him, three or four of this year’s players have “moved on” and they were replaced by a group of hot shot high-schoolers.  Wonder if this will affect Saddleback’s  McKay LaSalle’s chances of getting any playing time at CSULB? 

Its really important to be placed with the right team on scholarship from your JUCO.  Ten of eleven AVC players on university scholarship who played this year started for their teams.  Just as important to place your players well as recruiting your players.  It may be the toughest thing a JUCO coach can do as,  the player’s have been known to disregard the coaching staff’s recommendations. 

I am especially interested on how well two JUCO players are placed this year;  Gerry Blakes at Arizona State(fire verses fire?) and Jarion Henry at USC(controlled and strong enough at that level?)

Things just keep cooking.

Dieter Horton, former head coach at Fullerton College, Antelope Valley College and assistant coach at USC is back in the saddle at D-2 Cal State Los Angeles.  Horton is the last Cal JUCO coach to run the board…37-0…in the 2006 season at Fullerton College. 

Horton will be taking over a team that battled its way into the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championship Tournament for a fifth consecutive season to highlight its 2013-14 campaign.

The Golden Eagles finished with a 15-12 overall record and a 12-10 mark in CCAA play. Cal State L.A. wound up in a tie for fifth in a tightly-bunched CCAA.

Good luck to Coach Horton on his new position. 

I think that John(Calipari) and Mark(Emmert) once they hear my idea will agree that we have a solution for the  “One and Done” problem.  Here goes;

Lets start with California but it could be done in every state.  The top 92 California high school players would be chosen by a group of experts…lets call them the “D1 Men’s Draft Board.”  For example I would recommend that three people would be appointed for a five year term;  DRinCA, Pioneer Jim and Richie Ventura should run the lottery ball machine and choose the top 92 players.  P.S. there are 92 JUCO’s in Cali.

Every one of the top 92 player chosen by the D1-MDB, MUST play his first year at a JUCO.  Why you say?   The long bus rides in the playoffs for Imperial Valley to Allan Hancock for example and the 7 games in 9 days that AVC does yearly at their AVC/Riverside tournaments back to back would be  a “maturing” experience.

I know there might be few glitches to workout but where there is a bureaucratic requirement there is way!  For example, the top 92 high school players chosen by the D1-MDB in California would go into the  “lottery pool.”  To give the top 92 players a say in this system,  let give the players a one time chance to turn down the first team they were assigned to.  For example if 6’9”, Ivan Rabb, Oakland, CA, Bishop O’Dowd High School was assigned to #89 Barstow College(1-22) he could turn it down.  Of course, his next assignment could come up #71 Shasta(4-22).

With the one year JUCO assignment for the potential “one and done” players, they would happy to play two or even three years at at D-1 university before heading to the NBA.  

The following article on the “one and done” issues by ESPN show that something needs to be done.  Might as well be the “JUCO Solution.”  I’m expecting a call from John and Mark any time expressing their support for this idea.  I am sure that DRinCA, Pioneer Jim and Richie Ventura would jump at the chance as well. 

ESPN on One and Done

ARLINGTON, Texas — NCAA officials and Kentucky coach John Calipari at least agree on something: The one-and-done rule in college basketball needs to be revised.

NCAA president Mark Emmert said during his annual news conference Sunday that he is in "vocal opposition" to the rule established by the NBA and its union that requires players be at least one year removed from high school before declaring for the NBA draft.

Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY SportsNCAA president Mark Emmert said he is in "vocal opposition" to the one-and-done rule established by the NBA and its union.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby went further, saying "the NFL and NBA have been irresponsible in not providing other legitimate opportunities for kids that really don’t want to go to college."

Calipari has said he favors a two-year period before players can declare for the NBA draft, even though his 2012 title team had three one-and-done players, and the team that he’ll put on the floor in Monday night’s national title game against UConn could have even more.

"As everyone knows here, this is enshrined in the labor agreement between the NBA and the NBA players, and not a rule that we have control over," said Emmert, who has spoken out against it in the past. "I think everybody here knows my position on it."

The age restrictions were put in place in 2005, two years after LeBron James joined players such as Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant on the none-and-done path to the NBA. While those players succeeded, many other high schoolers declared for the draft and struggled.

The rules have been tweaked and scrutinized since then, and there is still no consensus on what system is best. Some prefer the baseball model, which gives high school players the right to enter the draft immediately, but those that stay must wait three years. Others agree with Calipari that two years is appropriate, and still others believe that all age limits are ridiculous.

"I like the baseball rule," Bowlsby said. "I like, ‘Draft ‘em out of high school or leave ‘em go until after their junior year.’ And I also think the NBA and NFL need to have some legitimate developmental program to allow people who don’t want to go to college to go develop their skills."

The one thing that everyone seems to agree upon, including Calipari and NCAA officials, is that the current model serves neither the players nor the college game.

"Every president I know, and every conference I know, is pretty adamantly opposed to that, and hopes that the NBA and the NBA Players’ Association will make some changes," said Michael Drake, the chancellor at California-Irvine and the incoming president of Ohio State.

Calipari has grown weary of the attention his program gets for churning out one-and-done player. He has had 13 of them dating to his days at Memphis in 2006. He argues that he is simply playing with the hand that he’s dealt, and that the players who do leave for the NBA after only one season are simply pursuing their dreams.

In fact, Calipari was so disgusted by the negative connotation associated with the term "one and done" that he offered an alternative this week: "succeed and proceed."

"Every player that I’ve recruited, and they will tell you, I say the same thing: ‘Don’t plan on coming to school for one year. You make a huge mistake,’" Calipari said. "But if after one year, you have options, that will be up to you and your family.

"Enjoy the college experience, enjoy the college environment, because the rest of it is work. It’s not about family, it’s about business. So enjoy it."

The only thing that doesn’t change is change itself.

The powers that be in JUCO basketball recently decided that two summer “shootouts” needed to be changed.  They decided that instead, there would be a summer and a fall shootout.  I do not have the dates yet but best guess out there is that the summer “shootout” will be held in July and the fall “shootout” will be held in September.  The new format still will give the participants a total of 8 games.

The changes will lead to intended and unintended consequences

  1. The players will have something to look forward to in the formally empty basketball months of August, September, October.
  2. The summer shootouts, though interesting, do not give a a clear picture how good/bad a team is going to be in the season to come.  Most teams have only a portion of their players by summer shootout time.  By September, the JUCO’s squads will be set as the players will be attending classes and a much clearer picture of the team will be available. 
  3. I’ve been told that the main reason we have the shootouts is to provide a forum for university scouts to observe the players.  The July time frame is tremendously busy with high school tournaments so hopefully the fall (September) will work better for the scouts. 
  4. JUCO’s will only be allowed to attend only one summer tournament so it will be doubtful that any one will even attempt to compete against the for-profit tournament put on by Gerry Freitas of Hoopreview in July at Cerritos College.   Additionally, Freitas also puts on a NorCal Summer Shootout so the chances of northern teams coming down south for the summer shootout is unlikely. 

As I wrote this piece, I started thinking about the the “Good ol’ Days” of JUCO basketball, where there was no limitations on the number of games teams could play.  Spring, Summer and Fall were full of “scrimmages” , tournaments and I remember JUCO’s playing prep schools and NAIA schools.  Great fun and the experience the JUCO players received was tremendous.  That was all shut down a few years ago and if my memory serves me right it was shut down due to any number of reported reasons;

  1. The NCAA did not allow it.
  2. It was too expensive.
  3. The CCCAA did not allow it. 
  4. Some of the coaches thought it wasn’t fair as certain teams were getting more games than they were.  Some JUCO coaches like a few months off during the summer. 
  5. Legal issues etc.
  6. AAU teams were unhappy about it.
  7. It affected student academics(snicker).
  8. University coaches wanted all of the JUCO teams playing in one place so they could more easily scout the players.

What ever the truth was, the “rules” were changed and the JUCO teams could only play in two summer(July only) “shootouts”, that couldn’t be called tournaments.  It will be interesting to see how this tweak of the rules will affect JUCO basketball.


Warning!  If you are a pothead basketball player or coach and have no intention of looking at the facts on what pot is doing to you and your brain;  STOP READING! 

For the rest of you, the data that is coming out is getting more and more scary.  To the politicians who are pushing legalized pot and the physicians, especially the neurologists and pulmonologists who are not strongly fighting legalization, shame on you.

Casual marijuana use linked with brain abnormalities, study finds

REUTERS/Michael Kooren

Casual marijuana use may come with some not-so-casual side effects.

For the first time, researchers at Northwestern University have analyzed the relationship between casual use of marijuana and brain changes – and found that young adults who used cannabis just once or twice a week showed significant abnormalities in two important brain structures.


Dr. Hans Breiter, co-senior study author, said he was inspired to look at the effects of casual marijuana use after previous work in his lab found that heavy cannabis use caused similar brain abnormalities to those seen in patients with schizophrenia.

"The interaction of marijuana with brain development could be a significant problem."

- Dr. Hans Breiter, co-senior study author

“There were abnormalities in their working memory, which is fundamental to everything you do,” Breiter, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told  “When you make judgments or decisions, plan things, do mathematics – anything you do always involves working memory.  It’s one of the core fundamental aspects of our brains that we use every day.  So given those findings, we decided we need to look at casual, recreational use.”

For their most recent study, Breiter and his team analyzed a very small sample of patients between the ages of 18 and 25: 20 marijuana users and 20 well-matched control subjects.  The marijuana users had a wide range of usage routines, with some using the drug just once or twice a week and others using it every single day.

Utilizing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers analyzed the participants’ brains, focusing on the nucleus accumbens (NAC) and the amygdala – two key brain regions responsible for processing emotions, making decisions and motivation.  They looked at these brain structures in three different ways, measuring their density, volume and shape.

According to Breiter, all three were abnormal in the casual marijuana users.

“For the NAC, all three measures were abnormal, and they were abnormal in a dose-dependent way, meaning the changes were greater with the amount of marijuana used,” Breiter said.  “The amygdala had abnormalities for shape and density, and only volume correlated with use.  But if you looked at all three types of measures, it showed the relationships between them were quite abnormal in the marijuana users, compared to the normal controls.”

Because these brain regions are central for motivation, the findings from Northwestern help support the well-known theory that marijuana use leads to a condition called amotivation. Also called amotivational syndrome, this psychological condition causes people to become less oriented towards their goals and purposes in life, as well as seem less focused in general.

Given these eye-opening results,  Breiter said that more research is needed to look into marijuana’s effects on the brain – even in those who use the drug only once or twice a month.

“We need to see what happens longitudinally,” Breiter said. “What happens as you follow people over time?  What happens if they stop using – do these bad effects continue? What happens if you can intervene early?…My worry is we haven’t studied this compound and here we are looking to change legislation on it.”

Although Breiter’s team members did not examine the patients’ cognitive symptoms, they do believe that the brain abnormalities seen in their study could lead to substantial effects on brain development and behavior, especially given the young ages of the participants.  Breiter also acknowledged the problems of analyzing a very small study sample – but said that their findings should still serve as a wake-up call to others.

“This study is just a beginning pilot study, but at the same time, the results that came out are the same as a canary in a coal mine,” Breiter said.  “…The interaction of marijuana with brain development could be a significant problem.”


#12 Mike Scott

Position: Point Guard
Height: 6’0"
Weight: 180
Year: Junior
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Other College: Antelope Valley CC
Experience: Transfer

AVC’s Mike Scott who received a scholarship to D-1 University of Idaho last year, received the  George Greene Award for the most unselfish player. Scott began the season as Idaho’s back-up point guard but started 15 of Idaho’s final 16 games andmike averaged 11.1 points, 3.6 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game in that time, with a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

After Mike took over the point for Idaho, he led them to the finals in the WAC tournament, one game away from the NCAA tournament.  Under his leadership, for the first time since 1993, the Idaho men’s basketball team played for a conference tournament championship.

Looking back on my blog quotes about Mike last year after he signed with the U of Idaho, I said, “I believe that the U of Idaho may have picked up the best overall guard in Cal JUCO this year.”  Of the top JUCO guards that received D-1 scholarships, Mike took his team further this year and made the biggest impact of any D-1 guard from California.  Congratulations Mike.