College basketball season is just around the corner and already a new group of recruits at Cal State Bakersfield is putting the spotlight on the Rod Barnes-led Roadrunners.

SB Nation recently called the 'Runners incoming class "the most intriguing" in the Western Athletic Conference, led by freshman guard Jarkel Joiner. Interestingly, although Joiner averaged nearly 40 points per game, the Oxford, Miss., native never got a scholarship offer from Ole Miss. Enter coach Barnes, who not only played at Ole Miss but coached the Rebels and won 2001 Southeastern Conference coach of the year honors.

“That’s really tough, sometimes frustrating, because I’m right here in their backyard,” Joiner said about being overlooked by Ole Miss. “I feel like I’ve proven myself time after time. It just makes me work harder and adds fuel to my fire."

Said SB Nation: "That lack of interest from a program Barnes played and coached for paid off for CSUB. The Oxford connection may have been a factor, as Jarkel mentioned that his father used to cut Barnes’ hair. Whatever the ultimate selling point, Barnes signed Joiner away from schools like Middle Tennessee and TCU. The WAC has some explosive point guards lately, and — if all goes right — Joiner seems built in that mold."


Keep an eye on Cal State Bakersfield and the wrestling match between the CSUB College Republicans and the administration over the appearance of conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos on campus. Fearful that Yiannopoulos could trigger a disruptive backlash if he appears, the administration seems to be dragging its heels on approving his appearance. My advice to President Horace Mitchell and others: Allow him to appear on campus and move on. Squashing free speech, even if you don't agree with it, sets a terrible example for a university.


I dropped by Stockdale Country Club for the unveiling of its new 7,500-square-foot tennis center, a marvel of a facility that includes a full fitness center, yoga and cycle spinning room and kids' room outfitted with the best of flooring, fixtures and lighting. Hats off to tennis pro Hank Pfister and the Stockdale membership for introducing a world class facility to town, which was built at the princely price of around $1.7 million.


For all of you who count yourselves as part of the Garces family, make sure you calendar next Thursday, Sept. 28, for the annual Garces Holy Smoke barbecue. This long tradition started more than 50 years ago and this year it marks the 70th anniversary of Garces Memorial High School. To spice things up this year, organizers have included live music and the traditional New York steak has been replaced by a Harris Ranch "choice" filet in addition to a twice baked potato, salad, Pyrenees French bread and Jake's Tex Mex famous cake. Music will be provided by Lonely Avenue and proceeds from the event will fund student subsidies. Tickets are just $30 per person. The feed starts at 6 p.m.


"If you keep following your dreams someone is going to file a restraining order against you."


Kudos to the management of The Bakersfield Californian, who opened their pages to contributing columnist Justin Salters. Justin brings a fresh, sober and thoughtful perspective to local and state politics. In the wake of Danny Morrison's departure, it's refreshing to read a columnist who relies on facts and accuracy to make a point.

Email contributing columnist Richard Beene at His work appears here on Wednesdays and Fridays; the views expressed are his own. Read more on his blog at

(1) comment


I disagree with your assessment of Milo's visit. From everything I've seen, heard and read, it is the college Republicans that are trying to change campus policy in order to have the speaker appear at their event. The school shouldn't set precedence and change policy simply for this speaker or that club. If they want to change their campus' rules, then they should do that with little to no thought given to Milo and his antics.

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