Tag: Long Beach State

Russell Turner, Will Davis II

2013-2014 Big West Conference Preview: Long Beach St., UC Irvine among the contenders

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All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. Check back throughout the day, as we’ll be posting three or four preview items every day.

To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To see the rest of the Conference Previews we’ve published, click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.

With defending WCC tournament champion Pacific now in the WCC, the conference will have a new representative in the NCAA tournament. Which teams have the best shot of earning that bid? Start with UC Irvine, thanks to the return of guard Alex Young and forwards Will Davis II and Chris McNealy. UC Irvine also adds a transfer in guard Dominique Dunning and 7-5 center Mamadou Ndiaye, the tallest player in college basketball. However head coach Russell Turner does have to account for the graduation of key contributors Adam Folker, Daman Starring and Michael Wilder, so by no means is UC Irvine the clear favorite to win the Big West.

Despite losing four of their top six scorers from a season ago Long Beach State will once again be in the mix, with point guard Mike Caffey leading the way. Head coach Dan Monson added five junior college transfers to the mix, and UCLA transfer Tyler Lamb will be eligible to take the floor in December. UC Davis, Hawai’i, Cal Poly and UCSB should also be contenders this season.

UC Davis head coach Jim Les welcomes back the Big West scoring champion, junior guard Corey Hawkins, and three other starters who helped the Aggies improve their win total by nine games. Hawai’i loses center Vander Joaquim but forwards Isaac Fotu (shared Big West Freshman of the Year honors with Alex Young) and Christian Standhardinger return, and there’s optimism regarding the addition of San Jose State transfer Keith Shamburger.

Cal Poly and UCSB can both claim to have one of the league’s best forwards, with Chris Eversley leading the way for Cal Poly while Alan Williams controls the paint for the Gauchos. Joe Callero’s Mustangs have won 14 straight games at home, and they’ve led the conference in scoring defense in each of the last three seasons. As for Bob Williams’ UCSB squad, Alan Williams returns and sophomores Michael Bryson and Taran Brown will look to take the next step after proving to be valuable pieces as freshmen.

Long Beach State could very well manage to win the Big West for a fourth consecutive season, but the list of challengers may be the strongest they’ve faced during this current run of success.


In: None
Out: Pacific (WCC)



Hawkins averaged 20.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest in his first season as an Aggie, including a 41-point explosion in a win at Hawai’i. With a year in Jim Les’ system under his belt, look for Hawkins to emerge as the best player in the Big West.


  • G Mike Caffey (Long Beach State): With leading scorer James Ennis out of eligibility Caffey (12.0 ppg, 3.8 apg in 2012-13) may be asked to score more this season.
  • F Chris Eversley (Cal Poly): Eversley (15.4, 7.0) posted seven double-doubles last season, including a 30-point, 14-rebound performance in a win over Cal-State Northridge in late-January.
  • F Christian Standhardinger (Hawai’i): In his first season at UH the former Nebraska forward posted averages of 15.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.
  • F Alan Williams (UCSB): With averages of 17.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game last season, an argument can be made that Williams is the Big West’s best returnee.

1. UC Irvine
2. Long Beach State
3. UC Davis
4. Hawai’i
5. Cal Poly
6. UC Santa Barbara
7. Cal State Fullerton
8. Cal State Northridge
9. UC Riverside

Report: Tony Freeland, Keala King among three dismissed from Long Beach St. program

Tony Freeland, Chris McMealy
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Despite the graduation of James Ennis and Peter Pappageorge, Long Beach State had the look of a team with enough pieces returning for the 2013-14 season to be considered a threat to win their fourth consecutive Big West regular season title.

However those hopes have taken a significant hit, as it was reported by West Coast Hoops Report that guards Keala King and Deng Deng and power forward Tony Freeland have all been dismissed from the program.

Freeland and King didn’t become eligible until late-December after transferring in from DePaul and Arizona State, respectively, but once eligible the two upperclassmen were key figures for the 49ers.

Freeland averaged 11.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest, and his addition allowed Ennis to move back to his natural position on the wing after having to play much of Long Beach State’s non-conference schedule as an undersized four.

King averaged 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, shooting 43.5% from the field. Deng, a freshman from Long Beach, didn’t start a game this season but finished fourth on the team with 33 made three-pointers. With the departure of Ennis (55 3PM) and Pappageorge (51), who led the team in three-pointers made, he stood to see an increase in opportunities in 2013-14.

However that won’t happen, and the end result is likely even more responsibilities offensively for rising junior point guard Mike Caffey. Caffey averaged 12.0 points and 3.8 assists per game last season, earning first team All-Big West honors.

Head coach Dan Monson also welcomes back forward Dan Jennings (8.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg), and UCLA transfer Tyler Lamb becomes eligible at the end of the fall semester.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Former UCLA guard Tyler Lamb will transfer to Long Beach State

UCLA v Arizona - Quarterfinals
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During the fall semester, Ben Howland and his UCLA program saw two players transfer. In a span of 10 days, each of those players have found new homes.

Last Wednesday, junior center Josh Smith announced he will join Georgetown for his final season of eligibility. Friday evening, junior guard Tyler Lamb made his decision and will transfer to Long Beach State. Lamb posted his decision on his Twitter account just after 5 p.m.

He picked the 49ers over San Diego State. The 6-foot-5 Lamb elected to transfer back in November.

“I would like to thank the University, Coach Howland and his staff for the unparalleled opportunity to have been a part of UCLA’s program,” Lamb said in a release on Nov. 25. “However, I believe that it is in my best interest to find a new destination where I can continue to grow, both as a person and as a basketball player. I am eternally grateful to my coaches and teammates for everything they have given me, and I wish them the best going forward. I plan on enrolling in a new educational institution by next semester, and I have not yet determined my schools of interest.”

As a sophomore Lamb averaged 9.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. Lamb underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in October, which sidelined him for six weeks.

He only appeared the Bruins’ season opener this season, scoring four points with three rebounds and a pair of assists in 14 minutes of action in a 86-59 win over Indiana State.

Lamb played only one game this season, so it will be interesting to see if he and Long Beach State try to get that year back. If Lamb cannot, he will have a year and a half of eligibility remaining and can play for the 49ers as early as the second semester of the 2013-2014 season (late December).

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne