Monday, June 26, 2006


The time has come for the Dust to collect some rust, travel here and there, and let you enjoy some of the other Gazette talent in this the fun and games section of the newspaper. I will come back the first Thursday of each month beginning in August, tracking down all the news that fits to print.

Until then we leave you with some deep philosophy that sums up the past year at Long Beach State. “Sometimes you are the bug sometimes you are the windshield.” “Successful recruiting is the double coincidence of wants.”

The “bugs” analogy sort of explains the almost-but-not-quite year in basketball, volleyball, baseball, and most every other LBSU sporting entry. Next year ought to be better in all of those areas if that “double coincidence” stuff comes true.

In the case of baskets, note I did not say the basket case, if they are not holding own hoop camps this summer then the 49er basketball coaches are going to other folks’ camps. “We have three scholarships to give next year (looking for two combo guards and a big post player) but everybody will be on the road this summer and see abut 3,000 players,” Mary Hegarty told her boosters recently, making the double coincidence point real important.

The ‘big post” already in her program is Amanda Foster and the coach has a warning for other teams. “You might be able to get her to give you a charge, but if you do you will feel it for a long time.” Larry Reynolds lost two coaches, got one new one, but largely figures that the talent coming back is good enough, since they have about a gazillion upper classmen to fill the court.

Baseball of course is a revolving door of lots of JUCOs (can you say one and done) plus a mixture of freshmen and sometimes someone who actually comes back. In no particular order the 2007 entry will have something old, like returning closer Brian Shaw who has been effective with the Palm Springs Power this summer, and somebody new, as in the bionic arm of Kyle Harper, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-hander out of Orange Coast College. His has past prep stats and a pro future (Cleveland drafted him in the 17th round two weeks ago). He will feature a lot of gas (fastball that tops out at 94) if shoulder rehab goes well.

Back from the old offense is Robert Perry, an anchor in CF and finally finding his hitting stroke, Danny Espinosa doing well in the Cape Cod league but puzzling Coach Weathers by playing third not short, and Brandon Godfrey. The new guys include T.J. Mittelstaedt who hit .397 for Mission Viejo High, good power (17 home runs in ’05 and ’06 and 10 stolen bases in 2006) plus two, until now, lightly used transfers from Cal. There may be another transfer or two but right now this fall will see players from junior colleges and other four-year schools and six freshmen. Nine of the 13 are hitters but Blair Field has a way of humbling even the most optimistic batsman.

Switching to football you will recall that in January Onye Ibekwe was booted from the 49er basketball team. In April he crashed an NFL workout for skier Jeremy Bloom, inspired by basketballer turned tight end Antonio Gates. Update, full-contact drills open July 28 but SF Coach Dick Nolan notes ``some people don't like playing after getting hit,''. Onye notes, ``I'm bracing myself for it,' it's probably going to take me a couple hits to get used to it but I'm very physical. I think I can go up with these guys.”

Our closing quote and final note comes from former Niner footballer Darryl Wright who remembered the old days of road trips around the then PCAA. “The coaches would look for one of those “all you can eat” buffets but anybody in line after about the 30th guy had to look for another buffet!” Happy recruiting coaches, may you get what you want and want what you get.—DR. DAN


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