Spartan Notes: San Jose State’s Larceval wins courage award from FWAA for comeback from illness

San Jose State defensive end Anthony Larceval was picked by the Football Writers Association of America for its courage award this year, after he battled back from a viral infection that could have ended his career to play in nine games this season.

The redshirt senior was hospitalized at the end of last year with viral meningoencephalitis, and doctors told him his football career was over. He was able to battle back to play this season. He is the second San Jose State player to win the award, following Neil Parry in 2003.

He will be honored at a banquet at the Orange Bowl in January.

For more: Spartan Athletics release on Larceval’s award.

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Spartan Notes: Oscar Crespo steps down as volleyball coach at San Jose State

After seven seasons as head coach of the Spartans and another 16 as an assistant at several universities, volleyball coach Oscar Crespo is stepping down. He finishes he career with an overall record of 70-138; the San Jose State was 7-23 in his lone season coaching the team in the Mountain West.

Crespo, a San Jose State graduate, was an assistant at St. Mary’s, California and Nevada before returning to San Jose. A replacement has not been named.

He is the third head coach to leave this year. Men’s soccer coach Gary St. Clair, also a San Jose State alumnus, also called it a career earlier this year after 24 seasons with his team falling just short of a WAC tournament title. Tim LaKose, the women’s basketball coach, resigned abruptly at the end of August and was replaced by Sacramento State coach Jamie Craighead.

Add in the recent change of head coach in baseball also from Sam Piraro to Dave Nakama, and we are seeing a major changing of the guard in the San Jose State away from coaches that have both been at the school a long time and have ties to it, to coaches looking to newer coaches looking to take a step up, it would seem.

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Spartan Notes: SJSU men’s hoops stun Houston, and MWC bowl projections

935_-mountain_west_conference-primary-2011Saturday morning, I said that what ails San Jose State basketball is an inability to move the ball and pick good shots.

Well, then.

Throw that out at least for one game. San Jose State walked away Saturday with its most impressive win of the season, rallying to beat the University of Houston 72-68 on the road.

The team’s top two recruits were the show: Rashad Muhammad, in continuing with what is becoming tradition for the Spartans, led in scoring with 21 points, including a 3-pointer in the final minutes that gave them the lead for good.

More impressive, though, is Jalen James’ triple-double, just the second in school history and third in Mountain West history. The freshman guard had 12 points, 10 assists and 13 rebounds against the Cougars on Saturday. It is the first in the conference since 2006, and first since 2001 for San Jose State.

This was a big win for the Spartans. They came back from an 11-point deficit with about eight minutes left, playing strong defense and taking advantage of Houston going cold from the field. They had 17 assists, by far the most in a game this season, and shot a season-high 48.9 percent from the field, including a 14 for 26 mark from 3-point range.

D.J. Brown added five assists and four steals in the game, and Devante Wilson had 16 points. The Spartans are off 10 days before facing UC Davis on Dec. 18.

In other San Jose State news …

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Spartan Notes: Fales wins lots of awards, sees draft stock go up

san_jose_stateDavid Fales is starting to get a lot of attention.

The senior quarterback is winning all the awards this week. The list seems to go to 11 so far. Such are the accolades for knocking off everyone’s favorite — and most overrated — BCS buster in Fresno State.

On top of that, Charles Davis of NFL.com sees the senior quarterback zipping up draft boards also.

In other San Jose State football news …

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Spartan notes and schedule: Fales named Walter Camp player of the week

It seems rather fitting that the honors would roll in after David Fales near-flawless performance in Friday’s upset win over Fresno State. He along with Iowa’s Christian Kirksey were named the Walter Camp National Players of the Week on Sunday.

This followed by an appearance with and Chandler Jones to talk about their exploits on KPIX’s Gameday program on Sunday night.

Here are this week’s San Jose State sporting events:

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Spartan Notes: James Jones talks about how much Thanksgiving means to him

Many of us spend Thanksgiving doing two things: gorging ourselves stupid and pining over cheap crap to the point where we fight people over it at the nearby Walmart. It’s easy to forget that this is a day of thanks, and how much we have to be thankful for given how many in this country go without.

Not James Jones.

The San Jose State wide receiver from 2004 to 2006, now a star with the Packers, spoke about growing up poor in the Bay Area with the NFL Network, and how thankful he is to have plenty now.

“Someone would donate some food to the homeless shelter, and what ever they served, you eat,” he said. “Now, it’s a blessing to be able to cook everything you  you want and eat all the deserts you want. … I’m truly blessed to play this game; I came from humble beginnings. I’m excited and happy be here every day I walk into this stadium.”

He hasn’t forgotten his roots. He and his wife doing a lot of charity work in San Jose, where he grew up, and Green Bay.

“I never want my family to go through anything that I ever went through,” he said.

Other San Jose State sports notes …

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Spartan Notes: San Jose State men’s hoops wins second straight

Chris Cunningham recorded his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and the San Jose State men’s basketball team won its home opener and second straight game going away, 81-59, over Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.

The Spartans led 28-6 to open the game after Devante Wilson hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and really the team never looked back. Wilson finished with 16 points, and Rashad Muhammad and D.J. Brown each added 17 off the bench.

It’s the first 20-or-more-point win for the Spartans since they beat UC Davis in 2011 79-59.

The team is starting to figure this out earlier than expected, although they are still shooting poorly (just 37.7 percent in Saturday’s win.) It helped that the Titans shot a season low 37 percent. The Spartans also hit 11 of 28 3-pointers on Saturday, making 25 from beyond the arc in their two wins this season.

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