2016-2017 Basketball Blog!
Good Morning amateur basketball lovers on the East Coast. Its that time again when I provide some coverage on high school and college basketball including whispers, things others refuse to discuss, underrated players, over rated programs and other news worthy of printing.
My sports background is simple. I played the game, coached the game, raised a HS Student Athlete who earned a D1 scholarship, and helped develop at least 100 D 1 players and a few Professionals in the NBA as well as international leagues,
I am far from an expert but certainly have strong opinions on the game we all love and adore. I cannot promise you will love all that I write, but I sure hope you will spread the word if you find it interesting.
Today, Monday December 19th, is my starting time for this years blog. So in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 we are starting!
Well the college basketball season is off and running with quite a few pleasant surprises. Of course I am referring to colleges in NY, NJ, and sometimes Pa., and New England. Lets start with Rutgers University.
I really hated reading where the Linden NJ Boys HS Coach mentioned Eddie Jordan, the fired Rutgers Coach as "Eddie Who" in comparison to the new RU Coach Steve Pikiell who is doing a great job thus far. How uncharacteristic that was for a usually classy and great coach to say. Bob Hurley or Kevin Boyle would never say such things even if they were true.
Well, Rutgers is off to a great start and someone mentioned to me that they have not beat anyone. My response was programs with excellent coaches win all the games they are supposed to win and never lose to little sisters of the poor or schools like FDU! Sorry, but I had to get at least one dig in because FDU just might be the best in the NEC this year and I will not be able to clown them as much as I did in recent years.
My take on RU is they are right where they want to be at this stage of the season. In past years they might have lost 3 of the games they actually won thus far. The remaining schedule is difficult but I can see them winning 7 more games at least and being invited to a post season tournament. I think when Steve Pikiell was named Head Coach a few people were disappointed hoping for a higher profile coach. After 11 games I think everyone will agree the correct choice was made and he has a great staff including Karl Hobbs (ex GW HC), Brandin Knight (ex Pitt Asst), Jay Young (from Stony brook) and even keeping super recruiter Greg Vetrone who understands the ends and out of tri state basketball recruiting and has numerous contacts. Looking good in Piscataway!
Seton Hall has established itself as a top level if not top tier program nationally after winning the BE Title last season. With what might be the most loyal, smart, and insightful fan base in the Big East Conference if not the entire East Coast, this team is right where the school wants them to be at this point.
Kevin Willard, and his outstanding staff has done a magnificent job of making Seton Hall a top notch program worthy of interest from many of the top HS players on the East Coast. With very talented guards and inside players who all seem destined to make money in the NBA or Internationally, this team is headed for the NCAA tournament and anything else could be a true let down.
I am so excited about this weeks game against Rutgers. Now this will be a game with meaning based on each teams record thus far. I sure hope the Governor even attends and they have to take the curtain down in the Prudential center based on fan interest in the game. This is Rhode Island vs Providence! This is NC vs Duke! This is Army vs Navy in football! At last the rivalry, though often great games over the years, mean something special!
St. Johns is a program that needs healing fast. I am and will always be a Chris Mullin Fan. In fact I could be President of his fan club. But whats going on with loses to Delaware State and LIU? What happened to the days when SJU chose who they wanted and did not have to recruit. SJU fired Norm Roberts who often had his hands tied getting kids into school unlike other coaches there.
They fired Steve Lavin who was doing a credible job after rough start. Enter my guy Chris Mullin who get super recruiter and childhood friend Barry Rohrssen to leave where he was to join him at SJU only to listen exclusively to the ex SJU Manager who was an Asst. at Iowa State before coming home to SJU. Exit Coach Rohrssen and now you have the ex manager doing most of the Xs and Os in the time out huddles. My question is will Chris Mullin walk away after this season? Again, I am a fan and I am also a fan of SJU, SHU, and RU. I want them all to be strong programs!
FDU..........poor FDU who just might become a future power in NCAA D2 based on what we are currently seeing. I again say its not the Coaching Staff! Its the schools commitment to the program. Put money into facilities, equipment, marketing and advertising and they will come based on close proximity to NYC.
I do wonder whu they do not start out playing an easy D1 schedule. Oops I forgot. They are doing what the MEAC and SEAC conferences (southern Black colleges) do to earn guaranteed money for the program to exist. I look so forward to attending a game at FDU and someone pointing out the President in attendance being supportive!
However with all this said I did read somewhere that FDU is picked to win the NEC title and be in the NCAA. Well, Dayton get ready. They will need at least 30 hotel rooms total for the team and supporting 30 fans.
Manhattan College was such a tough team years ago and a true stepping stone job. The Coach, Steve Masiello, attempted to leave for South Florida but had to return based on him not having his college defree as he stated he had. Thus he returns and recruits with every single kid he talks to feeling at the first chance he gets he is out of there. This makes his job so hard and one most schools would not enjoy being a part of.
However Steve is a great motivator and good enough coach to keep the team competitive. Time will tell if they are moving in the right direction.
Fordham is Fordham. Tough admission requirements and an old gym they continuously try to upgrade. Problem is you cannot put lipstick on a pig and think it will make the pig attractive. Fordham remains a great academic institution which really is important. I happen to know the coach well and he is a very good coach and good person. Just a hard job recruiting kids to a campus on Fordham Road in the Bronx, which is not listed as a desirable NYC neighborhoods!
I start this section by saying to anyone who is reading this blog that NJ is now the top area for HS basketball in the NYC Tri State area. Reason why is so many kids now travel to NJ for HS. I am not only talking private schools, I am also talking public schools because there are quite a few attending public schools as well.
NYC is also hurting based on the large number of good NYC players enrolled at prep schools in New England, Va., etc. Very few NJ players take the prep route,
In NJ The Patrick School is the team to beat loaded with players from NY, NJ. and who knows where else. In fact I doubt anyone can beat them even on a bad shooting night. Nick Richards is so big and so good! Plus they have so many others.
St. Anthony's might feel different because they always find a way
Of course Roselle Catholic is loaded with talent but to me a bit undisciplined. In fact I honestly feel Nazreon Reid is not as athletic or in basketball shape as he was a freshmen when he ran the floor and was bouncy and active. Now he is just big with skills. Maybe its all the hair on his head. Maybe its just me expecting his coaches to have him in better basketball shape. Honestly? Can someone say Oak Hill or Montverde next season to prepare for college and the NBA?
Of course the NYC Schools all have good talent. The usual suspects will be in the PSAL race as will the CHSAA schools with Bishop Scanlan moving up and being part of the talented Bronx schools with St. Rays, and Hayes. In Queens, Malloy has good players and even has Greg Antony's Son who is a heck of a player and only a sophomore. Malloy and Christ The King are traditionally very good year in and year out!
As we get deep into the HS season I will provide much more information on schools and players especially those who might be under the radar.
Sleeper Team is my favorite HS team: Teaneck! Teaneck lost in the Hoop Group Showcase ($13 to get in! what!) to Newark Eastside who really is a nice public school program coached by two guys with equal responsibility. I love the concept and have seen the two coaches go from screamers to excellent coaches along with the assistants who are also very good.
Teaneck was coming off a live scrimmage vs St. Anthony they won but against Newark Eastside they had to play without two of their best 3 players who had to sit out the game. Watch out for this team at full strength including a developing 6 ft 10 senior who will get better as the season goes on.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!