June 3, 2011
The Bee joins SureWest Sports Radio to break down academic year in sports, the good, the great, the controversial

By Joe Davidson

Players, coaches, moments and milestones.

That's the menu Mike Finnerty and I will explore in big-picture form as we talk and debate about the academic year on Saturday's SureWest Sports Radio Show on ESPN1320 from 9-10 a.m.

It's our last program until late August as we take a summer break.

Items of interest include:

* Folsom's fabulous football ride, going 13-1 and winning the CIF Division II bowl game behind Bee Player of the Year Dano Graves, who set state quarterbacking records.
* Del Oro winning a football section title despite some fans in Loomis pleading for the removal of coach Casey Taylor after a 2-4 start. He rallied the team by removing some players, then taking it all in D-III and emerging as The Bee's Coach of the Year.
* Rocklin winning a section title in girls and boys volleyball.
* Jesuit bearing down on an astounding 100 section titles this season, with recent celebrations in soccer and National Coach of the Year Paul Rose.
* The Del Oro basketball team of class and style, headed by Belle Obert and Bee Player of the Year Madeline Campbell.
* Michele Massari willing her Sacramento Dragons to a section D-III title and earning Bee Coach of the Year honors - and SureWest Sports Coach of the Year accolades - despite graduating four starters from last season.
* The Sac High boys basketball team overcoming the sudden and controversial transfer of high profile recruit Josiah Turner at midseason and the role of meddling parents in prep sports in general.
* The rise of Antelope athletics.
* The amazing run of success for small-school Bradshaw Christian.
* The Elk Grove Unified School District power in softball.
* Transfers
* Mixed messages with recruiting
* Bill Baxter winning his 600th career game as the El Camino girls coach.
* The impact of amazing leaders such as Kris Richardson, Mike Alberghini, Max Miller, Joe Potulny, Guy Anderson and Mary Jo Truesdale.
* Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: sb_joedavidson

May 23, 2011
Graves of Folsom, Nightingale of St. Francis named River Cats Athletes of the Year

By Joe Davidson

Some familiar names were honored again for all the right reasons.

Folsom High School quarterback Dano Graves was presented with the "Art Savage" award as the region's Sacramento River Cats High School Athletes of the Year. Savage was the beloved owner of the River Cats, who this season again play in his honor.

The "V" award winner is St. Francis volleyball star Zoe Nightingale, in honor of the late Vicki McDermott, wife of longtime Bee reporter and prep historian Mark McDermott, who presented Nightingale before Sunday's River Cats game at Raley Field.

Graves shattered regional and state records records for a Bulldogs team that stormed to a 14-1 record and won the State CIF Division II championship. Graves accounted for a stunning 85 total touchdowns, a state record that vaulted him to Bee Player of the Year honors and MaxPreps National Player of the Year honors.

Known for his leadership, drive and instincts, Graves is off to Air Force to play the position.

Nightingale was The Bee's volleyball Player of the Year after powering the Troubadours into the NorCal playoffs. A leader in performance and in academic standing, Nightingale was a four-year starter who now heads to UCLA on scholarship.

Per sport, the finalists for boys Athlete of the Year were:

* Chris Kigar, El Camino, cross country and track
* J.D. Davis, Elk Grove, baseball (Cal State Fullerton)
* Jake Elliott, Oakmont, wrestling
* Nick Blaser, Roseville, football, basketball and baseball

Per sport, the girls finalists:

* Ally Carda, Pleasant Grove, softball (UCLA)
* Keelie Houston, Davis, water polo (UC Davis)
* Belle Obert, Del Oro, basketball and volleyball (Butler)
* Danielle Henderson, Sheldon, softball (Cal)

May 14, 2011
Bee joins SureWest Sports Radio Show each Saturday morning

Today and every Saturday morning on ESPN1320 with the SureWest Sports Radio Show, Mike Finnerty and I will break down the high school baseball and softball playoff brackets, interview coaches to learn who and what they are all about, offer up rankings, predictions and a general big-picture view on the regional prep world.

The show airs live from 9-10 a.m. each Saturday and will be linked to the station's website later in the day.

May 10, 2011
Bee joins SureWest Sports Show to talk big-picture preps

The latest SureWest Sports Show on surewestsports.com is now up, or click below.

This week's show includes baseball highlights from Granite Bay, Rocklin, Davis, Elk Grove, McClatchy and Sacramento; softball highlights from Oak Ridge, St. Francis, Casa Roble and Rosemont and soccer footage of Antelope and Whitney.

I join host Mike Finnerty in the weekly Sports Chat segment to talk about the profound impact of Cordova baseball coaching legend Guy Anderson and some area league races.

Finnerty also has spotlight interviews with Jesuit baseball coach Joe Potulny and Elk Grove baseball star J.D. Davis.

Click here for the show.

May 5, 2011
Bee joins SureWest Sports Show online and on radio

The SureWest Sports Show has a Bee big-picture flavor to help aid to the superb regional prep coverage online and on the radio.

Host Mike Finnerty has on this week's SureWest program on surewestsports.com game highlights of the following:

* Jesuit @ Pleasant Grove (baseball)
* Ponderosa @ Oak Ridge (baseball)
* Vista Del Lago @ Cosumnes Oaks (softball)
* Lincoln v. Clovis (softball)
* Bear River v. Merced (softball)
* Davis @ Elk Grove (girls soccer)
* Sports Chat with Joe Davidson (Sacramento Bee)
* Spotlight Interviews:* Joe Potulny - Jesuit baseball coach
* Lynda Bettencourt - Cosumnes Oaks softball coach

On the SureWest Sports Radio Show that airs each Saturday from 9-10 a.m. on ESPN1320, Finnerty and I will talk all things preps with live interviews with legendary Cordova baseball coach Guy Anderson, Pleasant Grove basbeall coach Rob Rinaldi and St. Francis softball coach Al LoGiudice.

Click here for a complete run down of the SureWest Sports menu...


May 4, 2011
Sheldon football player Nate Iese soaring on recruiting radar

The Sheldon Huskies have three seniors who will be on Division I college football rosters this fall, and now there's the matter of Nate Iese.

A junior prospect soaring fast on the national recruiting radar as a defensive end/tight end, Iese tonight received his first Division I scholarship offer, from San Jose State.

Iese is a 6-foot-5, 245-pound specimen who doesn't turn 17 until the end of September, so imagine the glee in the voice of Huskies coach Josh Crabtree and those recruiting him. Iese will lead the Huskies this fall as he emerges as one of the state's intrigue prospects, a two-way player with leadership skills. He is a good student with an impeccable reputation on campus and among his peers.

March 15, 2011
The Bee's Joe Davidson joins Mike Finnerty on a NorCal basketball review/preview show on the SureWest Sports Show

Here's the latest SureWest Sports Show program with Mike Finnerty that includes a NorCal basketball week breakdown with yours truly.

Great highlights, insight, flavor and fun.

November 10, 2010
Five Bradshaw Christian athletes sign NCAA letters of intent

By Bill Paterson

One of the area's smallest schools had one of the area's largest college signing hauls today.

Five Bradshaw Christian athletes signed letters of intent to play at the next level.

Leading the way is three-sport standout Brady Dragmire, who will attend Nevada on a baseball scholarship. Dragmire also plays football and basketball for the Pride.

Others to sign full-ride letters, according to Bradshaw Christian Athletic Director Mike Ruble:

• Lauren Beyer, women's basketball, UC Davis.

• Lynn Tay, swimming, Wagner College in New York.

• Macy Chase, softball, Felician College, a Division II school in Lodi, N.J.

• Jordie Smith, women's basketball, Vanguard University, an NAIA school in Costa Mesa.

The school of 225 students plans a celebration rally for them on Friday.

"I think this is tremendous for any school let alone a small school who has been able to compete at a high level and has been very successful over the past several years and with such a young history," Ruble wrote in an e-mail announcing the signings. "We also have at least five more kids that will sign in the late period, one being our quarterback (senior Daniel Lewis) who is on the short list for Notre Dame, Arizona, UCLA, Air Force Academy, among a few others..."

October 2, 2010
Sac High's Garrett plans recruiting trip to Washington State

By Bill Paterson

Sacramento High's 6-foot-11 senior center Robert Garrett says he has
narrowed his interest to three colleges - Washington State, Santa Clara and USF.

Garrett, attending today's Sac High vs. Burbank football game, says he plans to take a recruiting trip to Washington State on Oct. 15.

He said he also may take an unofficial trip to USF sometime between now and then.

Santa Clara coaches watched Garrett work out at the school earlier this week.

Dragons' senior point guard Josiah Turner already has verbally committed to Arizona.

September 30, 2010
College recruiting interest picks up for Play Hard, Play Smart players

By Bill Paterson

It was a good spring and summer for coach Brian Hamilton's Play Hard, Play Smart Amateur Athletic Union program boys basketball team that competed in several major national showcase events.

Among the highlights included wins in Long Beach and Las Vegas over a talent-loaded Team Odom squad that featured Sheldon stars Darius Nelson and Ramon Eaton.

Here's Hamilton's brief rundown of the college recruitment of several of his players:

• Robert Garrett, 6-foot-11, center, Class of 2011 (Sacramento HS) - After a breakout spring and summer, he has scholarship offers from USC, Cal, USF, UConn, Texas Christian, Iowa State, St. Mary's, San Diego State, Santa Clara, Tulsa, and Washington State.

• Chris Carvin, 5-10, point guard, 2011 (Laguna Creek HS) - Now hearing from Santa Clara, SMU, Tulsa, Leigh, Bucknell, Sacramento State, UC Davis, CSU-Bakersfield and Chico State.

• Shawn Smith, 6-6 SF, 2012 (McClatchy HS) - Had a good All-West Camp and he played extremely well in the Cream of the Crop Challenge in Long Beach. Washington, Fresno State, Cal, St. Mary's, USF, UC Irvine, CSU-Bakersfield and Cal Poly, SLO, among those showing interest.

• D'Erryl Williams II, 6-3 combo guard, 2013 (Sheldon HS) - Lefty guard, although bothered by Osgood-Schlatter's knee issues this summer that limited minutes, still has earned offers from USF and Long Beach State. Washington, Cal, Stanford, Oregon, Notre Dame, TCU, Tulsa, UC Irvine, UOP and UC Riverside among those showing strong interest.

• Dakarai Allen, 6-4, shooting guard, 2013 (Sheldon HS) - Is hearing from UC Irvine, Bakersfield, Tulsa, Oregon, USF and Santa Clara, among others.

September 19, 2010
Local high school basketball stars make verbal college commitments

By Bill Paterson

Highly recruited seniors Josiah Turner of Sacramento High and Darius Nelson and Ramon Eaton of Sheldon made verbal college basketball commitments today.

The 6-foot-3 Turner, considered the No. 2 point guard and No. 10 overall prospect in the Class of 2011 by Rivals.com, committed to Arizona after concluding an official visit to the Tucson school this morning.

Nelson, a 6-7, 250-pound wing, says he is headed to the University of Texas, El Paso, and Eaton, a 6-9, 195-pound forward, will play for Pepperdine.

Turner's commitment comes as a surprise because he kept insisting that he wouldn't make his final decision until taking an official visit to Kansas on Oct. 15. The Jayhawks were viewed as front-runners in landing the area's hottest basketball recruit since the Bill Cartwright days.

Sac High coach Derek Swafford said Turner, who spent a hectic spring and summer playing Amateur Athletic Union ball in front of recruiters across the country and had already taken an official visit to Louisville, is ready to focus on his final high school season.

"He's been traveling more than the pros," Swafford said. "Going here and there every weekend, that's a lot for a young mind. We talked earlier this week. He said he was a little fatigued and tired, that he wanted to get it over with."

The decision by Nelson and Eaton to play at different colleges also was a surprising twist.

The cousins have seemingly been joined at the hip since their AAU youth playing days and as impact varsity players at Sheldon since their freshmen seasons.

Nelson thinks he'll get a chance to be an immediate impact player for UTEP and former NBA coach Tim Floyd, in his first season at UTEP.

"I'm going to have the opportunity to play right away because they are senior dominated this season," Nelson said. "I love their style of play, and Coach Floyd is a very good coach."

Nelson said he visited the El Paso campus on Aug. 27 and had a home visit from Floyd last Sunday. But Nelson, who also seriously considered Oklahoma, Cincinnati and Washington State, said he spent a restless week pondering his decision.

He twice consulted older brother DeMarcus Nelson, a former Sheldon and Vallejo star who played at Duke and with the Golden State Warriors.

"DeMarcus had some teammates who have played for coach Floyd," he said. "But it wasn't an easy decision, not with programs like Oklahoma interested in me. I did a lot of tossing and turning this week."

Although he said he also received an offer from UTEP, Eaton thinks playing at Pepperdine will be a better fit for his game.

"I kept going back and forth," said Eaton, who had an in-home visit from Waves' associate head coach Marty Wilson on Tuesday and visited the Malibu campus Friday and Saturday. "Pepperdine's style of play suits me better. And the campus is real beautiful."

Verbal commitments are non-binding. The early NCAA letter-of-intent signing period for basketball starts Nov. 10.

About the Prep blog

Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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