Friday, January 25, 2008

Nice To be Back!!!!!

Sorry I have not been able to write my blog for a couple of days. Had to go on two trips to Myrtle Beach SC, and back to Bowie Maryland. My GATEWAY LAPTOP which I purchased a year ago has broken at least 7 times and it now has a mind of its own. I just could not log on. So I am back to my desktop in my home office.

Well back to a few basketball items.

Seton Hall beats Providence!!! Wow another great win for the Pirates. No need to talk specifics because everyone reading this blog knows the box score and who did what. However I would like to point out that this win over a solid PC team helps SHU post season wise and ON THE RECRUITMENT FRONT.

Kids want to go to winning programs. That's a fact. They want programs that win, draw fans, and have nice facilities. No doubt in my mind that most kids in the NYC Tri-State area will give SHU a good look as a school option. The one thing we always seem to forget is SHU has been very consistent even under Louis Orr and Tommy Amaker. They are looked at as a winning type program. That does not mean they are a national title contender. But it does mean kids are not teased for considering SHU and attending school there. Player says I am thinking about school "A" , which draws fans poorly, decent facilities, and no track record and he will be questioned by most of his AAU Teamates and others. Player says I am thinking about SHU and no one questions it because SHU is looked at in a good light especially the way they are playing this season. But trust me the Rutgers game will be huge recruiting wise and Rutgers is playing MUCH BETTER.

Rutgers beats Villanova. Again we all know what happened. The guards on RU were tremendous. But that type of Guard play will not happen often. Glad to see RU playing well but some of those shots by Coburn were the type that would win a Horse Contest lol. Horse is the game you play where a person does a trick shot that the next person must duplicate . Will he ever play that good again this season? But even if he plays half as good it makes RU a better program

Back to Mike Coburn. I have to give him props for playing so well. But better than the scoring, he had a great floor game. Not only in the win but also in the loss prior to that. I LOVE the way he plays when he distributes the basketball. Those Horse Shots will be far and few in between. But if he can play solid PG and PASS, it makes all of his teammates better. I still remember some great former college and NBA players telling me that they would wine and dine the PG on their teams. Remember a great HS star telling me he never leaves home without his PG. Mike as a passer is much more needed than Mike the scorer.

Great efforts by Farmer and Chandler. But I still feel CC needs to work hard on his overall game this summer. He has to make folks around him better.

Watching the Villanova Game highlights made me smile because it brought me back to the Rodda Center in Teaneck where I used to work out kids who were under the radar. Alot of skill and shooting stuff but MORE MENTAL than anything else. It was there that I met a young JR Inman and a young Antonio Pana. Both were 9th graders at the time. Antonio did a year of prep and a redshirt year thus his classification as a freshmen.

Both were just young Bucks running into the headlights. But I knew both would turn out very good. Tone was the better of the two at the time from experience playing in Brooklyn for Lincoln HS as a freshmen. Plus he has a Great Mentor in his uncle Jon Pena who took him everywhere to get him better. JR has a GREAT FAMILY as well who did the same. JR however was the hardest worker in the gym that sometimes had Wayne Ellington, Gerald Henderson, Randy Ayers, Louis Guzman, and many other high level kids still playing D1 basketball. It was a boot camp. All those kids worked hard and the few times Ellington and Henderson came with Jim Solmon, THEY WERE GREAT KIDS and EASY TO WORK WITH. But the best young player was a kid named Shahee Martin from Queens who we just could not get to work hard. Head and shoulders better than all the others. BUT pulled in so many directions he just regressed. NO ONE EVEN KNOWS where he is at this time. But he was a Freshmen All American at Paramus Catholic HS at the time.

I gave that story to show how hard you have to work to get to a certain level. Mental toughness is as important as skills in many cases. And a player with potential is like a young person wishing to become an actor. The parents become stage parents. In sports parents become basketball parents, Same commitment, different stage.

St. Johns

I am shocked no one realizes who would most likely succeed Norm Roberts at St. Johns if he left. Of course John Calipari will not leave his gold mine. Everyone thinks Tom Picora. But Tom is having a rough time in the CAA. Could he really get it done at SJU? OK how about Miller from Xavier? Or Forde at UMass? Great choices with little NYC experience or contacts. OK the Siena Coach? If you answered yes to any of those guys you are betting on long shots. Here are the main candidates IF NORM EVER LEAVES.

Jim Baron of Rhode Island!!!! Great choice because he gets it done and is kind of conservative in his approach. He has done great things at Rhode Island and SJU would provide all the tools he needs to make the Red Storm serious post season contenders on a yearly basis.

Now the one no one mentions. PAUL....................................................................................................................................................Hewitt.
Not heard anything about this but this guy is loved by people at SJU. In fact he called SJU for Norm years back. But it seems GT had its run and beating North Carolina and Duke is very hard and stressful. Many are saying they think he would be interested in talking. And do not let that mild looking approach he exhibits fool you. He is tenacious and would make staff changes in a second if someone does not get the job done. Just look at how he has changed his staff around at GT.

Recruiting Tidbits.

First my next sleeper player for folks to watch. Good chance he will never show on any radar because no one watches NE Pa. kids. Please allow me to introduce Neil Baskerville, a 6 ft 6 Guard playing in a weak conference for Stroudsburg Pa. HS. This kid can shoot, pass, defend, dunk and more. He is a senior with great skills and bloodlines since his dad was an NBA player and college star. Though the comp is weak, his skills are evidents each time I watch him. I told people about Terrence Roderick years ago and last season he made a name for himself in Prep School and for Sam Rhines All Stars. And remember Riley Moye, a 6 t 9 junior with Brooklyn ties also playing for Stroudsburg.

I wonder if Dominick Cheek will really consider staying home for college? Should the local schools go hard only to lose him to a national power and have fans saying too much time was spent on him? Should he get "Just In Case" recruitment? Sometimes it is damn if you do, damn if you do not!!! In this case, I WOULD GO HARD and be straight with him. Ask if you are a LEGIT Contender!!!

Had an opportunity to speak with top 30 national junior Noel Johnson's Dad from Atlanta Georgia a few days ago. According to Noel's dad, Lymbert "Cheese" Johnson, ex NYC and Wichita State Star, his son is wide open. says the ACC is all over him. He even says his son is a better player than he was at similar stage and that says alot because "Cheese" was the real deal and was a second round draft choice of the Golden State Warriors. Because his dad is from NYC, I wonder why the locals are not all over this kid. After all, he has great family and connections in this area.

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