Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday January 26, 2008

The weekend is here and there are lots of good games to watch. But as I explored the various message boards on the Internet as I do on a frequent basis, I came across one of the most interesting comments I have seen this year. A poster on the Rutgers board feels the Scarlet Knights will be a final 4 team next season with the new recruits. He is receiving heat from various boards over his posts.

To go from the bottom of the Big East to the Final Four would be one of the greatest turnarounds in sports history. His comments are close to hysterical. I even laughed. But now allow me to present another angle.

Though we laugh at those kind of comments, they are not really insane or 100% impossible. What we see is a TRUE FAN as opposed to a fair weather Fan who changes daily or each game. Fans such as the person who made the comment are the backbone of sports teams going back 100 years. The Brooklyn Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, and many others had loyal fans who believes in a team when others did not. How about the NY Mets and the "You Have To Believe" stuff in 69 (?). You get 300 fans like the one who made the statement and it would be a start of something positive and consistent. And I am not talking about a Crazy Club lol.

This comment was a refreshing one during a time when we are so impatient for greatness. It's also refreshing because a Fan should believe in his or her team through thick and thin. Even in Kentucky, where they wanted Tubby gone, Fans are so loyal they travel cross country to watch the Wildcats play despite many living on fixed incomes or low salaries. That is also loyalty.

I feel Rutgers will have a very hard time making the final 4 in 09. In fact they will have a hard time making the NCAA or NIT tournament. The recruits coming in are good but not program changers ala Greg Odom and company at Ohio State last season. But they should be improved! Small steps to program building the right way. But I also remember Slick Ricks Providence team with Billy the Kid and a bunch of other role players. YOU GOTTA BELIEVE!!

And for his loyalty and positive outlook, I award RUTGERS AL, Fan of the Month on the LFBall on Hoops Blog. A true fan to say the least. Finding the good and celebrating! Looking at the glass as being half full as opposed to half empty!

HS Basketball

I have been thinking about this for some time. If a kid attends a school that has a HS team as opposed to a HS program, his chances are slim to be seen by colleges. many years ago people often said if you can play, they will find you. That is so untrue nowadays. YOU WILL NOT BE SEEN OR FOUND if you are not at the right school or AAU program!!! In fact it is what attracts kids to schools in the NYC Catholic League, St. Anthony's, St. Patricks, St. Benedict's, Mt. Vernon, Cardoza, JFK in the Bronx, Lincoln in Brooklyn, CBA in NJ, Trinity Catholic in Connecticut, and others. That's where you go to get better and improve. And speaking of Mount Vernon, THEY NEVER LOSE KIDS to the NYC Catholic schools like many other public schools do. Maybe it is because they have a true basketball program and committed Coach. In fact the last kid who became famous, and did not attend Mt. Vernon HS, was Denzel Washington, who attended private school. He would have made the Mt Vernon Team because he had some game. But it would have been hard for him to play over Gus and Ray Williams, Earl Tatum, Mike Young, and Rudy Hackett. But he is FAMOUS NOW lol.

I say all this because for some kids the HS season remains the pre season for the real season, which is the AAU and Travel Team season or circuit. That's when recruitment takes place for many kids. Especially those with 3pm to 5pm coaches who just do not care much nor know much. Still remember hearing a well known AAU guy saying to one of his players after a HS loss: "don't worry, the real season starts in a few weeks." Sad but often true as you will see from the story below.

Went to a HS game last night in the beautiful Pocono Mountains. Wanted another look at the 2 sleepers I mentioned in past posts. 6 ft 8 Riley Moye (jr.) and 6 ft 6 Guard Neil Baskerville (Sr.). Both are definitely division 1 players but lack that NJ/NY/Philly intensity. In fact, skill wise Baskerville is as good as most of the kids going mid and high D1. Just does not have that "I Want To Eat" fire that's needed. Moye is talented but plays standing straight up and looks uninterested on the court. Face looks like he is just playing because he is tall. But he can shoot, block shots, and run. when They Make Him. Baskerville does not play AAU so he is an unknown. But Moye plays with NYC based New Heights. By the way, Kamani Young, the New heights AD and a great coach was in attendance watching Riley and an opposing player Kaheim Hall, formerly from the Bronx, a 6 ft 4 point guard who is a Sophomore with skills. He was the best player on the court last night as his Pocono Mountain East Team stomped Moye and Baskerville's Stroudsburg team. Remember his name: Kaheim Hall!!!! A definite D 1 player in the future via exposure he will get from the New Heights Program.

College Basketball

Curious to see the responses of fans after this weekends games. Will Rutgers still feel good if Pitt demolishes them? Will they still sing Farmer and Couburn praises? How about Seton Hall against Cincinnati? SHU should win but UC has had a surprise season thus far and anything can happen. Both games will be tough but winnable. SHU is close to moving out of the bubble category and into a solid NCAA team category. They need to beat UC to keep the momentum going. RU just needs to continue getting better. But if the game is in Pittsburg it will be extremely tough.

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