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Spartan Roundup

By Lawrence Fan


Brandon Rutley (25) is the Spartans' big-play threat out of the backfield. Photo: Terrell Lloyd.

As the calendar year brings us closer to the holidays, colleges and universities transition from football to basketball. Coach Mike MacIntyre's San Jose State Spartans close out the football regular season with a pair of November home games: against Western Athletic Conference foe Idaho on Nov. 5 and Navy for the first time in Spartan Stadium on Nov. 19. The squad figured to be ready, considering a challenging October with three road games at Colorado State, Brigham Young and Louisiana Tech.

Basketball is a whole different story, with the season tipping off for the San Jose State men and women. The men's team is coming off a 2011 postseason appearance in the College Basketball Invitational and returns starters Keith Shamburger, Wil Carter and Matt Ballard. Shamburger established himself as the highest-scoring freshman in San Jose State history last season. Carter was the top rebounder on the 2010-11 squad and Ballard was a solid performer in the post. The Spartans also return guard Calvin Douglas, one of the top 3-point shooters in the Western Athletic Conference last season.

Newcomers Lavanne Pennington and James Kinney, a pair of guards transferring from junior college; freshman forward Jaleel Williams; and redshirt returnee D.J. Brown look to take up the scoring void created by the departure of All-WAC guard Adrian Oliver and running mate Justin Graham.

The San Jose State women's team will have a new look. Tim La Kose takes over the coaching reins after piling up 347 coaching victories at Cal State Bakersfield and Cal Lutheran in 18 seasons — La Kose took 10 teams to NCAA tournaments. He seeks to add one more to his coaching ledger with the Spartans as soon as possible. Senior guard Sara Plavljanin, last year's leading scorer, is the top returnee for San Jose State.