Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014

NBA Mock Draft

As we get into the meaty part of the college basketball season all sorts of NBA mock drafts are popping up on the internet and even in local papers all over America. It seems as if the experts are continuing to forget the importance of toughness and maturity and making popular as opposed to realistic predictions.  What are they thinking when they take a skinny freshmen guard on a great team and make him a top draft pick over a more seasoned player with much more upside, especially when he gets to the next level surrounded by more players capable of finishing around the rim and hitting open shots? 

So here are my thoughts on this years player’s at this point. Remember it could all change but from what I have seen thus far these are my thoughts on talent and playing potential in the NBA!

Doug McDermott,  in my maybe very unqualified eyes,  has to be the top pick in this years 2014 draft!  What are folks thinking with all those ahead of him on the various draft sites?  These days a player who could be a top draft choice who returns to school will be the focus of every defense scheme teams play against his team.  

Doug McDermott is actually a marked man and the focus of double and triple teaming and still gets his shot off almost scoring at will.  His footwork, ball handling, shooting, passing, basketball intelligence, toughness, strength, and more seems to me to be heads and shoulders over every other college player this season. No I will not compare him to Larry Bird as a Pro because Doug is far more handsome. But skill wise as a collegiate he sure seems as skilled as Larry was at the time.  I am sure Red Auerbach, if he was alive and still with Boston, would be behind the scenes finding out how to get this future star on and off the court!  It just seems that he will be punished for returning to school because he would have been a top 10 selection last season. 

It seems if a player does not run from school after their freshmen year,  their stock automatically goes down. It also seems like international players at 18 and 19 who would be slaughtered in the USA in many cases on the court are taken high in the draft based on potential. Are you kidding me?  Nothing like a 7 ft kid from Russia who is a scrub sitting on the end of the bench based on potential. Well, at least they look good in warm-ups and in the Airport!  

To have the players mentioned on many mock draft boards ahead of Doug McDermott is nothing short of ridiculous.  In fact I think the 2nd player chosen should be a sophomore. Yes,  Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State should be 2nd because he is the total package as well. Tough, skilled, confident, unselfish and more!

Leadership wise no way Kyle Anderson should not be a top 10 pick. I love Tyler Ennis on and off the court because he seems like a great player and even better person. But how in heavens name is he ranked higher than a more mature, skilled, leader and player such as Kyle Anderson? It all boils down to people with no idea or even playing or coaching experience putting together these lists. Same way on many HS recruiting lists the rankings have always been suspect at best. 

So here is my 2014 Mock NBA Draft top 11 TALENT Wise and NBA Ready list with a few sleepers!  Granted there are some with more potential but still unproven..  If I was choosing strictly based on talent and readiness this would be my list! 

1        Doug McDermott         Creighton
2    Marcus Smart               Oklahoma State
3       Jabari Parker                 Duke
4       Joel Embiid                   Kansas
5     Andrew Wiggins          Kansas
     TJ Warren                    NC State
     Gary Harris                  Michigan State
     Kyle Anderson             UCLA
     Julius Randall               Kentucky
1    Aaron Gordon              Arizona
1     CJ Fair                         Syracuse

Sleepers (In No Order)

Russ Smith                     Louisville
LaQuinton Ross             Ohio State
James McAdoo              North Carolina
Bryce Cotton                  Providence
Noah Vonleh                  Indiana
Jerami Grant                   Syracuse

Monday, December 23, 2013

December, 23, 2013

Well,  we are officially off to the races in NYC, NJ, and Pa as far as HS Basketball. Interesting that college basketball minus maybe St. Johns in NYC, is at an all-time low in regard to fan support and expectations.  When FDU can go out and beat the two premier basketball programs in NJ despite not winning a meaningful game all season it's a strong message that work needs to be done in both Piscataway, and South Orange.

In all fairness basketball has also  been quite interesting in other parts of the country with some upsets and other contests that should not have been as close as the final score. I mean the team I wish to see right now is none other than the Knights of FDU! I am reviewing the schedule to make sure I can catch that great FDU vs LIU game. It is least I can do based on the hard time I have given them over the past few seasons. I hear from reliable sources that on the FDU campus I an along with the Governor, a wanted man. He for support, and me to jump and tear apart for the things I have said. I guess the AD would be the first to get a punch in lol!

NBA Draft wise the Tri-State Area could be shut out with local players only getting tryouts through free agent camps etc.  But as far as players I sure would take Oklahoma State Guard Marcus Smart or Duke Freshmen Jabari Parker as the first pick in the 2014 draft. Aaron Gordon would be next followed by Julius Randall!  As they often say, And A Young Man will lead us!

Seton Hall and Rutgers are in such a bind. So close for the stud players who want to get away. Poor fan support based on a poor product on the floor currently. Recruiting budgets good but far from where they need to be to compete against the big boys.  Neither has a practice facility. So how do you get players? By winning! But how do you win? By getting players!  What do players want and not in this order:  Great fan support, great facilities, outstanding tradition, great coaches who can teach, beautiful campuses, and solid education opportunities leading to great graduate school and employment opportunities  especially for those not skilled or big enough for the NBA.  St. Johns? On their way to reestablishing themselves as a legit program soon to be recognized again nationally.

This brings me back to FDU. Congrats on a job well done winning against the big boys. I am so looking forward returning to to see the new end bleachers if nothing else. Hope I am able to buy a ticket!

HS basketball was in full affect at West Orange HS on Sunday. Some pretty good games though I still feel to charge $12 is way too much,  especially when the participating schools get zero and the MVP awards are not more substantial!

Sat with a great group including a very animated gentleman who has a son playing for The Hun School. As I listened to him talk about his son over and over it made me realize how  I must have sounded  talking about my son as I did. So nice to see a great dad supporting his son!  Such memories although if I had to do it again I would change some things about my approach. Boy would I be different and much better! lol

Seems Hun lost to a good Gil St. Bernard team who will be even better in time with more maturity. West Orange upset a solid CBA team who will be better as season goes on.  Linden defeated a solid but often out of control Newark Tech. I do have to shout-out  Otis Livingston Jr.  Still remember seeing him on the St. Pats team as they warmed up a few years ago. I really thought he was the mascot based on his than height.   Well fast forward to now and I see he is taller and in my opinion the best guard on the court during his game and might be the most improved player I have seen in 20 years on the HS level.  Such a nice kid who sincerely thanked everyone who complimented him on the game he had. If he came this far in a year or so,  the sky is the limit for him.  Plus again he seems like a wonderful young man!

The later games started with Teaneck, who has missed going to the state finals the past few years storming on the court to take an early lead on last years State Champs Roselle Catholic HS. Well, it was good at first but became quite ugly to say the least,  except the better team with the better recruited players including two very tall African players won the game. Ummmmmm, I wonder how long the commute is daily for them?  Lastly on this:  Does Teaneck Ever Run a play or set? Just curious!!!

Next up was Bob Hurley HS....oops I mean St. Antony's HS. But if there is a NJ Treasure it is Bob Hurley!  Just watching his team warm up is worth a regular price of admission.  But not $12.00 (smile).

I left before the last game but heard it was a great game won by St. Joe's  with many D1 players vs Shore HS from South Jersey who looked like a freshmen team during warmups. Well,  good solid coaching and a kid having a career day often keeps you in  the game. They were in it against the best team in NJ if not the entire area for an entire game.

Until next time!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Basketball is here in full swing and fans all over the country are experiencing ups and downs with some of their favorite teams. North Carolina lost to Belmont and than came back to beat a great Louisville Team.  Ketucky the pre season number 1 with a bag full of...... no not money, but big time one and done recruits loses its first game out of the blocks. Just proves anything can happen no matter how a team looks on paper!

Even FDU went out and took a powerful Michigan Team to overtime and beat up on both Kansas, and North Carolina. Yes, this is a season of ups and downs!  Wait, you say I was dreaming and FDU did not do as I said? You mean to say they are so bad they lost to a team called Metro State University and people do not even know where the team is from or if this is really a university or correspondence school where you get you degree on line and the actual games are played with game systems since the players are all over the world. They just came together for the FDU win!  I cannot believe I was dreaming!

Seton Hall University is currently 4-2 with a nice meaningful win over Virginia Tech of the ACC. I believe SHU just might win the next 10 games in a row and be 14-2 going into a rough part of the schedule. Included in the 10 wins could be Rutgers who still is seeking answers to a team who does have good talent.

Rutgers is 3-3 but should be 5 and 1 based on who they represent and who they played against. But the good news is FDU is on the schedule and they also play Stillman, a school I remember from the Bill Cosby Show. Is this a real game or is someone playing with us? Than again the better game would be FDU vs Stillman with Bill Cosby giving a trophy to the winner.  In fact if Stillman played FDU,  Dick Vitale would be screaming how Stillman is playing a weak patsy schedule lol.  Stillman? Oh boy!!!  In Eddie Jordan I trust and soon he will have this team soaring!  But right now they are bleeding Scarlet!

St. Johns still seems like the best team in the area but is also not playing many local schools this season. Dartmouth,  Longwood, Penn State, Youngstown State? Why not Iona? Why not Rutgers? Why not FDU? lol  I like this SJU team and looking forward to attending a game soon. Think they would leave me a ticket? (smile) 3 and 1 and soaring! The Garden just might be rocking this season!

Binghamton must be questioning all the things THEY did wrong. Kevin Broadus (sp) please come back and bring your Assistants?  They are 1-4 and still getting a good turnout! Unlike another school in NJ near Teaneck I will not mention lol

Monmouth is 1-3 but really playing some quality teams. All I will say is a lot of Assistants are drooling as they watch what plays out in Long Branch NJ!

Does Rider have a team this season? Just kidding I am sure they do. Just again wish they would improve the facilities or did they? Wonderful place and a wonderful school that supports!

Siena, the best mid major program attendance wise in the NE continues to struggle. If I did not know better I would think the old coach was still there.  They are 2-4 and dropping!  But since there is still nothing to do up in the Albany area folks will go to games. They drew 11,000 ti the home opener vs Albany, a game they lost!

Fordham 2-2! ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ   Great school, great coaches, great location, but something boring about the place.  We do understand that a Fordham degree is a powerful piece of paper. But it just seems like something is missing! Ok just realized what it is, a new arena on campus or on Fordham Road!

HS season in NJ is weeks away and in NYC the games have begun. I hope to follow both areas well this season as well as some of the games in NEPA, a place with magnificent gyms and improving basketball programs.

By the way the results of the losers event between St. Peters and FDU are in. The winner is FDU who remains without a win. Poor St. Peters moves into the winning at least a game circle!

Have a great Monday everyone!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What is going on in college basketball?  First the powerful and tradition rich University of North Carolina,  yes that North Carolina and not UNC Asheville,  NC Central, UNC Greensboro, or even Winston Salem State U of North Carolina, lost to a super coached Belmont University team with a roster full of rivals  2 star and 1 star players at best.  Well,  so much for the sophisticated system of ranking HS basketball players!  Or maybe the rankings should include dedication, hard work, and basketball intelligence and educability!  

Now we fast forward and watch Drexel of the Colonial Athletic Conference, a school that has a great academic reputation and the best Cooperative  Education Program this side of Northeastern University in Boston come into a magnificent arena not even 1/4 filled with fans and beat a team from the powerful and battle tested Big East Conference in Seton Hall University. Interesting that this must have been a huge game for little Drexel since they are accustomed to playing games in that band box second floor gym that most HS's would use as a practice court.  OK OK OK, I am exaggerating. But trust me when I tell you FDU with the end stands missing would be a palace for them!  

Please know I am a fan of the new Big East Conference. I think in time it will be one of the 3 premier conferences in college basketball, and that time is coming soon. The question is will Seton Hall and Rutgers, and St. Johns be power players in the conference or just names bringing up the rear?  Here are my thoughts:

St. Johns is moving back towards prime time and to selling 15,000 seats at the Garden. Yes, the true mecca and what a facility nit is will soon be filled with college basketball fans for great SJU games.  These guys are quietly, maybe that is the wrong word (smile), getting the job done with talent and execution. Does not hurt to have a recent player in the NBA either!  SJU just might be ahead of schedule and back as a national program! 

Rutgers has the potential based on location, potential facilities, player availability as members of the Big 10 or as they say BIG conference, and a new Coach who hopefully will be the right one to get it done. Right now they are fighting to be decent. Fighting to be able to compete. And truth be told they could easily end with a winning record this year or be humiliated in some games as FDU is known to do all too often. Come on fast Eddie, be fast, but make sure it is done right and your team is prepared.

Now we get to todays team, SHU of South Orange, not East Orange, because East  Orange players are tough as heck!!!!  SHU has not shown that toughness losing to a team with players who were not worthy of a BE scholarship and based on this played hard to prove they should have been.  Seton Hall did not execute on the court and the fans did not execute in the seats.  One of the great things about a home court advantage is when fans never give up on a team and help motivate them to play harder and with purpose.  Yes, it really is the responsibility of the coach, but at the true big-time programs fans make visiting teams winning a game almost impossible. 

Lets now talk coaching. No not just X and Os, lets talk about motivation and preparation. Not preparation H, like some teams play as if they had taken!  Stevie Wonder could see the visiting team was out to secure a win. It is not like years ago when mid major teams showed to put on a good show, lose, get a nice paycheck, eat, and go home.  These teams are showing up motivated feeling they can win. And the coaches, like the Belmont Coach, and even Bruiser Flint, feel they are just as good a coach if not better than the coaches they are competing against. Do you honestly think Bruiser Flint does not feel he is a better coach than Willard and out to prove a point? Bad loss for Seton Hall!!!

So who is the best Freshmen basketball player in America?  Is it the big strong kid at Kentucky? is it the Harrison twins at Kentucky, is it the stud player Wiggins at Kansas? None of them to me! Without a doubt the best Freshmen in the land and the number 2 pick in the 2014 NBA draft if it was held right now would be Jabari Parker, son of Sonny Parker the ex Golden State Player and Chicago Sports organizer. Pure ability and skills like only we could amigine. The total package and a guy out on a mission, and not the Mormon mission he just might make prior to an NBA career! 

The best basketball player in the land and the number 1 pick will be the super talented Oklahoma State player Marcus Smart who killed Memphis with 39 points yesterday without breaking a sweat!  This guy is the next true super star and the actual number 1 pick in the NBA draft if it was held this week.  Interesting that a guy who would have been top 5 in the 2013 NBA draft, becoming  a millionaire, would return to school  because as he says, he wanted to work on some things. Well, it seems the work has paid off and he is a dominant player to the point he is a must see for anyone who enjoys college basketball! Who is number 1? Marcus Smart!!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Nov 19, 2013

After watching some decent at best basketball on TV last night I have to say I came away less than impressed with what I saw.  Not sure where the excitement of execution has disappeared to, but from what I saw the local tri-state teams are in serious need for a shot of excitement.

Last night was huge for me. I made popcorn, had chips and dip, and a nice steak meal as I prepared for a game I have been looking forward to for a while. I wanted to see this game because I needed to see for myself what I was doing with my blog this season when it came to a particular team. Oh I want to praise them so much and hoped to start today. I have received emails and even a call or two asking me to be positive.

Well, last night FDU came out and lost to Arizona by 50!  Thats right 50!!!!!!  I could never understand how any team, even FDU, could lose by 50 to anyone with the huge number of talented players available to schools these days. I could see a 22 point loss, etc. But where is the pride? Why did everyone not foul out trying to defend and win?  If anyone had only 1or 2  fouls and played big minutes they should be addressed! Better yet they should be undressed and sat the next game!

So interesting watching a team come on national TV and look like a member of the CUNY conference in size and even corny uniforms with no names on the back. I mean, are they going to use the same stuff the next few years? FDU step into the year 2013!  Bad enough only 100 come out to watch the games.  FDU Administration wake up and give your coaches the support they need to be successful. Put a few dollars into the program and make it what it has the potential to be. Nuff said!!!

Had an opportunity to watch SHU against Monmouth and what a let down it was for me. Sure SHU will be better when they jell and play better competition.  But what was alarming to me is the numerous empty seats that were so visible on TV.  I am sure glad Whitehead signed before seeing this lack of support. I cannot understand how any person in Northern or Central Jersey who enjoys basketball does not have season tickets to SHU or Rutgers. If I lived there I would have two midway up for both teams.  I always had this dream to live near a large university and have season tickets for basketball and football.

Rutgers is no different. I guess it is now a football school but sooner than later the basketball program will catch up and that basketball ticket will be a hot one.  Just interested to see the turnout when Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan come into the area next season. People need to get those season  tickets now!!!

Watched Monmouth play. What a great job, what great facilities, what a great location, what a great potential  fan base, what a great stepping stone job!  I am telling folks a lot of people are eying that job............just in case King Rice is let go. The right person could make that place the Gonzaga of the East Coast!

Still waiting got the full HS schedule to come out in NY, NJ, and PA.  I want to circle certain games to attend. The Hoop Group Showcase will be my first event and I sure hope to see some good games. I still feel the two most talented teams will St. Joe's and Roselle Catholic in NJ. But the best team will once again be St. Anthony's. Ever notice how St. Anthony players for the most part are not dominant college players? says a lot about the great coaching done by Bob Hurley. System and team first!!!

OK next up to watch is St. Johns.  I have a feeling this team will be very good this season despite the coaches not wearing neck ties and looking soooooo un-groomed on the bench lol.

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013

What a roll I have been on for the past few months.  I actually took time off from  watching basketball on any level to complete some pressing projects. No IS8, No Fall Ball, and definitely very little if any NBA basketball. However,  now it is time to return to the game I love and adore with a lot to say and post about.  Remember, I might have been away but I have sources in place including many college assistant coaches, HS coaches, AAU guys, official and unofficial scouts and even a player or two, or three to keep me informed. So welcome to LFBallonHoops 2013-2014 basketball blog. Yes, the same blog many coaches hate and others fear based on me telling the real deal about the world of basketball including underhanded stuff including cheating and treating players wrongly.  Yes, I am back and again will be honest and fair. But beware, you will not even know I am watching or in the building in most cases because I am just sitting back watching.

So with the intro out of the way, my main man Jesus Shuttlesworth  from NJ,  and The Coach from NYC will be watching along with me this season as we cover hoops from NY to Pennsylvania. Lets go!!!!

Before starting up again I decided to check out the schedules of all the local teams to see how they are doing thus far. Some you can see are on the road to improvement, some are the same, and others have young assistants from all over the East Coast watching to see if there will be an opening in the spring. Yes the circle is starting to form outside the arenas of some great mid major programs. Lets see, who are some of the programs that could be considered great jobs? Delaware and Monmouth come to mind based on facilities, campus, and potential fan support. So lets see what happens after the season.............................or during the season, though I doi feel Monte Ross will get it together at UD and end with a great record and re-build  what was at one time one of the premier mid major programs in America.  Now King Rice at Monmouth, with the new building, near the beach, with potential great fans? Ummmmmmmmmmm! 

Lets look at the local big boys and whats happening:

Seton Hall, the University with some of the greatest fans on the planet is currently 2-1 with the potential to get much better. Willard is a far better coach than people give him credit for. The recruiting has come around and getting Whitehead, though at what cost, helps but I am not convinced he is a program changer as much as a important piece in a well oiled machine,  ala John Morton years ago.  By the way, I am a huge John Morton fan!!!  Playing games in a true showplace, and one of the best in America, SHU has too much tradition, great fans, good players, and great coaching to fail! Ups and downs might occur but at the end of the day we should see a great product on the floor at the Prudential Center

St. Johns is BACK!!!!!! Most likely the best in the area with a national type team with kids from all over the country. Interesting to me that kids are flocking to Queens, NY  from other places and kids from NYC are flocking to other places from NYC.  Do the kids from NYC know something others do not?  Well, regardless SJU is looking good only losing to Wisconsin in what seemed like a close game on paper. And if you think winning at the Kohl Center in Madison is easy you are sooooo wrong!  The coaches are on point for SJU, the players are tough and focused, and the fans are back in the building. With MSG still a home court for many games, it will not be long till local players again allow SJU to choose them as opposed to them choosing SJU. Have you seen the new MSG? I hear it is spectacular!

Rutgers has brought home Eddie Jordan!  Just that alone makes them a very attractive team to me. I am telling everyone that Eddie Jordan will get it done at RU! I am telling everyone that soon the RAC will rock like it did years ago! I am telling everyone that sooner than later RU will be a force to recon with!  Joining the Big 10 does wonders for RU financially and image wise, although the Big East is nothing to sneeze at.  RU now can get the Chicago, Indiana, St. Louis, Pennsylvania, kids along with the NY and NJ kids they often recruit. Lets not forget the DC connections through DC Assault and other programs. Now if only they could fix up that building. The new scoreboard is nice. But that's the equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig. MORE IMPROVEMENTS IN OFF SEASON because the other BIG schools have incredible facilities minus Northwestern and you see where they typically finish in the standings.  RU is 2-1 with 3 close games only losing at UAB. 

The Others

Monmouth is 1-1 beating Penn (zzzzzz) and losing to Hofstra. They better get it together soon.  They would be a great team if they could suit up the coaching staff . 

St. Peters 0-3. Why even be D1? Ok OK I get it, tradition from years past. They were great playing at the Jersey City Armory. Eldnardo Webster where are you? Heck do you have a grandson to send there?

Binghampton is back!!! back to where they were when they were members of the State U of NY Conference as a D3 member. Great Great fans and horrible team. Academic people with no clue ruined this program and they might not ever recover. Great academic school! Great facitity! Horrible team! Currently 1-3

Manhattan College is 2-1 and young Steve who has lived and breathed basketball from birth will get it done and move on to a higher profile program. Interesting hopw they make that aluminum barn look good on game days. Anyway a solid program that seems to always do well.

FDU.........Next!  Just kidding!!!  Well they still are D1. They still are called the Knights. They still give scholarships. And they still lose and play in front of 125 people. Will this program ever get it together? new coach Greg Herencia (sp) who at one time was an Assistant at SHU takes over and has a lot of work to do.  This guys does know how to recruit and shake hands with the right people. Use to be a bit on the cocky arrogant side but hopefully now a bit more down to earth. I will not be as hard on them for a while. Just bring back the stands on the end and look like a D1 college program and not Bergen Community College playing a game on Sunday Afternoon in Paramus! 

Hofstra is doing quite OK thus far. Than again why would they not be able to improve on a disaster season. Nowhere to go but up. Great opportunity for any coach based on where they were. I just still am amazed that Al Skinner was not hired at Hofstra.  Guy grew up 3 miles from the school and would have given them instant credibility.

LIU actually had around 2500 people at their first home game this season in a great looking gym. This program just might turn out to be the best mid major program in the area. Convenient location, great facility, recent winning tradition, gorgeous female students on campus, and much more. I do feel the gym should be named after Ray Haskins who took LIU to the NCAA and NIT two consecutive seasons, something that not was done for many years. He sold the place they were playing in out so much they had to build a new facility.  Anyway, LIU is building somthing very very special and becoming a great stepping stone job.  By the way they only lost to Indiana by 1 single point!

Temple is 1-2. I hear someone went to the Mt. Airy section of Philly recently looking for John Chaney. Seems they are just not the same without him, though they still are pretty good. they currently are 1-2

Fordham is 2-1 but looking good thus far.  Great coaches and a great tradition. They have even made that old gym sort of a Palestra Type facility. I mean it looks good, but still a hard place for recruiting against the great teams they play against. Than again St. Joe's has 3200, LaSalle has about 3000, Rhode Island has a big place but gets around 2 or 3 thousand a game, so maybe what they have is adequate for the league they are playing in.

Yes, the College basketball season is off and running. I have discussed some of the local teams and still wondering about how players like Kyle Anderson will do this season, will Chris Jone survive at Pitt, will anyone attend a game at FDU,  will St. Anthony win it all again, will Roselle catholic be the team to beat, will St. Joe's Metuchen win it all, Will Christ The King in NY be great, will Boys and Girls be the best in NYC, will Teaneck again choke in the states, Will RU vs SHU sell out at last, will SJU be a NCAA team, will Monmouth turn it around, and last but not least does anyone really care about the Knicks and The Nets when College basketball Season get going good?

This blog will be done as consistent as possible. I hope to post something at least 3 times weekly and often even more. If you have a comment or even complaint feel free to contact me at