Team preview: San Jose State

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

It doesn't seem to matter who coaches the San Jose State Spartans. They just can't win for losing.

Last season's rookie tour for coach George Nessman was the worst of his 18 campaigns at various coaching levels of high school and college basketball. Worse still, it was just more of the same for Spartan fans. They have seen 49 wins this century, including only 18 victories the last three seasons.

Nessman knew it was going to be difficult when he assumed this Division I role, and is old enough to remember the famous Super Chicken line of, "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred."

The problem is, as bad as it was last season, with only two returning starters back this fall, San Jose State figures to struggle even longer before cracking the combination of the right blend of high school and junior college players.

For more years than most can count, the Spartans have been stuck on the junior college treadmill, which leads to more turnover than a public relations department mailroom.
Under this game plan, it takes one year to teach them just to have them one more year.

It doesn't work, and San Jose State's woeful record in the 21st century is a testament to this way of life. Nessman is trying to break this cycle as he welcomes back five seniors and one little-used junior from last year's team that won only two league games.

In addition to the two starters and six letter-winners, Nessman has brought in 11 newcomers to see if he can mix and match a better fivesome than the one he had a year ago.
With all the new guys running around, it's going to take time to find that fab five.

"We're still trying to find our way," Nessman said. "It takes time to get a plan in place and then find the right players to execute that plan. We're going to get there. We're going to be better."

Perhaps, but wins and losses may still be within the same ratio of the last three seasons. Last year's top two scorers -- Demetrius Brown and Alex Elam -- have left the building, taking 26.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game with them. Considering the Spartans averaged only 65 points, while yielding 70.4, you can see why Nessman is reticent to make any predictions about his second team in San Jose.