Wednesday, February 27, 2008

GLOVES OFF!!!!!!!!! / Clarification

I have attempted to be honest and fair with this blog. Because I did not want anyone or any group responsible for what I post or write, I created a blog to express MY THOUGHTS!! People have a right to pay NO ATTENTION to what I write. Or they can read and make a comment. Either way is acceptable.

I have not attacked Fred Hill on here despite what I have gotten from many people. Ditto Jim Carr. I only say what I feel in an attempt to be fair. When I felt FHJ was correct, I agreed and said how I felt. I would say great coaching job or great the way he encourages his players all the time because he knows what he has. I never went ballistic and said he was a horrible coach and motivator with a weak staff. Nothing like that. And I am not saying that now though others have on various message boards and in rooms and gyms all over the tri-state area. I have been harder on MY FRIEND JR INMAN than anyone else!! But what happened at Rutgers yesterday pissed me off more than anything I have seen this year. And yes, JR DID NOT PERFORM or COMPETE!!!!!!!!! We as fans can say what we wish in blogs, and message boards. But the Coach????

I would not care if FHJ took JR into a closet and went at him fists flying to make his point. I would not care if FHJ called JR every name but the son of Sam in practice. I would not care if FHJ challenged JR nose to nose in the locker room. I would not care if FHJ beat JR with a broom stick in practice. I would not care if FHJ CURSED JR so bad in practice that he lost his voice. But what FHJ did yesterday in an effort to pass blame on another poor performance by players, including JR, and the RU Coaching Staff is wrong.

I am stunned that FHJ would stoop so low. This bashing stuff is the reason I did not like Gary Waters. I hated his frowns at players and lack of encouragement. Now Fred Hill blames a loss on one person's so called lack of heart and does it to THE PRESS! Who is he kidding? If one guy is killing you, as the Coach YOU MAKE AN ADJUSTMENT. Stevie Wonder was at the game and said to his friend, "Wow, JR is not strong enough to guard that guy because he is a bull and he is tougher." Jose Feleciano sitting closer to the court said "Why does the Rutgers Coach not run a defender at that guy, or at least change the D or assignment?" In other words it looks as if the RU Coaching Staff did not do what they were supposed to do preparation or execution wise. They had to know what was coming their way. But despite this, it was easy for FHJ to go after JR Inman. If FHJ does not like JRs game, sit his butt down on the bench. After all he did it for no reason early in the season. And trust me, it was for no reason!! So why not do it now when he is not playing well as opposed to embarrassing one of your players even more.

For personal reasons I have always disliked coaches who embarrassed players in the press. It is why I have always been an Al Skinner fan. Al had a player who took a lay up in a BE tournament game years ago when they needed a 3 point shot. The press was all over the kid. Al responded in the press conference, that's the way they play and the kid was only doing what he was taught. We knew Al was making this up but at the same time he was protecting the player. Fred did the opposite and used the players lack of strength and even heart as an excuse for the loss. He put him out there in a bad way. Maybe he should have said he messed up by not having a better and alternative defensive plan for the game. Funny how the great coaches in America never blame in the press. But in practice the players often hate them because they are so hard. From John Wooden to Coach K, this applies.

Now is FHJ correct about JR? Yes he is because JR needs to step it up mentally and physically. JR should have been screamed at until this morning. JR has been EXTREMELY SOFT. But knowing JR as I do, I feel this kid is lost in space and FHJ is one of the reasons for this. It is obvious that the kid is going through something and this latest thing will not really help. Can he recover? I hope so. Will it carry over to next season? I hope not! But I am sure top 50 recruits do not want a coach who calls them out in the press.

Now lets look at FHJ and the job he has done. And yes they will spread stuff on me to get back, especially you know who. Rate the staff? Do they execute? Do they seem like a program? Do they compete? has the kids gotten better in the past 3 years since FHJ the teacher and workout guru has been there? And I will be the first to say the word on the street is FHJ is one of the BEST in the business with workouts. What offense are they running? Do they seem prepared to play? And if people feel the incoming recruits will turn it around without a huge improvement by the RU Coaches, you are mistaken. I again say the present talent is good, but soft and un-motivated and often lacking heart and desire. The job for a coach is to bring the best out of players. If that is not the case than they would not earn more than Professors with PhD's. If coaching was not important, the team could be run by a Manager who earns $75,000 per year. You get the big money to develop, motivate, teach, and lead, as well as recruit. And this "not my player" (recruited) stuff is getting old. Maybe it is me, but I also think it is time that the RU staff steps it up as well. Are they all they can be? Are they that talented as a staff they cannot improve? Next season brings a few new faces including a very good Mike Rosario. That gives RU and FHJ around 9 CLAIMED players. Lets see what happens.

So in conclusion I am curious to see how this plays out. But this was a real black eye for FHJ and many are surprised by it. Lastly, I have always appreciated FHJ and liked him. I hope it is just frustration on his part because never in 100 years would I expect him to hang a player in the press as he did. Besides, if JR held his assignment to 15 points, would RU had won the game?


Yesterday I mentioned that St. Anthony's could give RU, SHU, and SJU a good game and possible loss. Of course those teams are stronger with more talent. But because guard play is so important and St. Anthony's has 3 guards going to Big East Teams, 3 other players going to a solid A10 programs, a top 10 junior who can go where ever he wishes, and a Hall of Fame HS Coach in Bob Hurley, I still feel it would be a good game. If You borrow Samuel's from St. Benedicts I think it could be a win. Remember Ohio State years ago. Look at Syracuse with Carmella. They might enter as an underdog but it could be a game. Do the match-ups by position including coaches.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Just A Few Thoughts

Arrived back to the area late yesterday and watched alot of taped games. Let me start by saying it was around 65 degrees in Myrtle Beach despite clouds and rain while I was there. Had an opportunity to visit the site of the famous Beach Ball Classic again. Nice venue with a great setup for basketball.

Thinking about The Beach Ball Classic reminded me to watch the games held at St. Peters College last Thursday. Old news to many of you but I have some thoughts on what I saw.

Is it me or do many feel St. Anthony's could give RU, SHU, and SJU a hard game and potential loss?

I honestly feel St. Anthony's could beat St. Peters, FDU, Monmouth, and definitely NJIT. In fact, NJIT needs to recruit the 8th and 9th men off St. Anthony's.

Two words describes the future.......... Dominik Cheek

After watching him multiple times in the past three years I will honestly say he has gifts that are not given to most HS players. And forget that he disappeared the 2nd half of the game against American Christian. I would wait on him as opposed to taking Tyreke Evens if it came down to taking only one. Especially if he said he would attend. And I think Tyreke Evans is a great player but to me just a tad overrated. But nonetheless a future NBA player with hard work.

Back to Mr. Cheek. I am stunned that North Carolina did not wait for this kid. But he more than any other player in the tri-state area is a true PROGRAM CHANGER!!! He takes a team like RU or SHU to another level. More than Rosario or Chandler.

Speaking of Rosario. He will be a favorite for years at the RAC. He comes to RU with great shooting ability and knows the game offensively and defensively. Now if he gets there and looks bad we know exactly what the problem is. No one can say he was not coached well in HS.

I said earlier this year Samuel's was a bit overrated as well as the other big kid on St. Benedict's. Well Samuels is really doing his thing and looks like his rating is correct. He will be outstanding at Louisville and easy to coach based on Danny Hurley NEVER SPOILING him. Like I always say, one of my favorite HS Coaches is Danny Hurley because he teaches, coaches, cares, and takes no crap from anyone.

Did anyone catch the Kansas State game? Ex HS All American Billy Walker shot 0-14 from the field and had 0 points in a loss. He took more shots than Michael Beasly yet Beasly finished with huge numbers. How things change when HS kids play college basketball. Some excel and others who have been pampered all their lives regress.

Seton Hall won a must win game against DePaul University. Great win heading into future must win games including season finale against Rutgers that could have seeding implications in Big East that would impact getting an NCAA bid.

Rutgers is Rutgers but they will play well and hard in their last game before the big season in the Barn League. I really hope FHJ discontinues having kids play there. They are better off having games against each other weekly and playing in a local pro-am league.

What will happen if St. Benedicts has to meet up with St. Anthony's in the states. Even in the Tournament of Champions. Will Danny Hurley allow one of his able Assistants coach his team or will he be up for the challenge. If this happens ESPN should be all over it!!

Looks like Fordham will be a major player in the area for good HS Players. Maybe Whittenburg (sp) is ready to step up to a BE job. watch Providence talk to him if Welch leaves. If he goes and takes the kids he has recruited to that HS Gym in the Bronx, watch out!!! Speaking of facilities, how has he done as well as he has with a 500 year old gym. Just kidding I know it is not that old. Even Bob Hill could not get it done on Fordham Road despite looking to be a deal maker.

I am close to picking my all area teams and awards in categories ranging from most underrated to most overrated. If anyone has potential candidates please send to me at LFBall@AOL.COM. Should be a fun thing to do.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bosco Wins Jambo!!! / Sampson Out???

I will be on the road for a few days so I need to post this before I leave out. Check back for additional posts Monday morning.

Bosco wins the Jambo for the third straight year. Well I have to say they are quite a program in north Jersey and judging from the younger players, they could be good next season as well. I think they have alot to be proud of. And to think Dennis Gregory, the Rutgers Head of Basketball Operations got the program back up and running years ago with Todd Palmer and others. Todd went on to ND on a full basketball scholarship.

But what has made Bosco so good in recent years is the inclusion of kids from Teaneck, Englewood, and other places. This is not aimed at Bosco but if Curtis march and Gerald Ackeridge would just get back to where they were years ago program wise kids would not leave for greener pastures. I for one get sad every time I hear about Teaneck not having about 5 potential D1 players because they are at other schools. If March and Akridge ( who is Lamarr Odoms Cousin)do not want to work it as hard for their programs and kids in those towns, they need to step down so that a person similar to Scooter Whiting can be hired. Remember it was not too long ago that both were just like Scooter. and we see what he has done taking his PROGRAM to the Jambo finals. Teaneck would contend for the tournament of champions if those kids were at Teaneck. The Biddy Basketball thing has really not been supportive to Teaneck HS. Nuff said!!

Sampson Out!!!!

If this is true we will see some interesting things happen and Ebanks will be recruited by some serious $$$ Schools from all over the country. Hopefully his parents will make sure he attends Rutgers where he has people who will look out for him as he STARS and leads RU to the post season in 09. I think RU will be a SERIOUS CONTENDER based on all he has been through this season.

But do not put it past a new coach at St. Johns to attempt to reel him in as well. But I really feel he is Rutgers recruit to lose at this point. I would love to see him at RU and Evans at SHU!!!!! Talk about exciting!!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Just a Few Items and a Brandon Costner Tidbit

Driving through Philly on Wednesday afternoon you might just see anyone. John Chaney, Sonny Hill, Bruiser Flint, Jay Wright, and others are very visible in the greater Philly area.

Today I saw one of the most instrumental people in the music industry talking to a familiar face in Philly. The music person was none other than Kenny Gamble, who made Philly International Records a household name years ago. They had everyone from Teddy Pendergrass to the O'Jays signed to that label. Now the familiar face was a guy who coaches college basketball. A real hard worker who has a big game on Thursday and a bigger game on Saturday. This familiar face was in Philly talking to a music icon? Why? And they were right on the street near Kenny Gamble's (He is now a Muslim but I do not know his new name) office.

Well the familiar face was none other than John Calipari, Head Coach of Memphis. Now I wonder what he was doing in Philly and talking to the legendary Kenny Gamble? If I was a betting man I would bet it has something to do with a certain HS All American from nearby Chester Pa.

If I am correct, this is what makes Cal so good as a recruiter and coach. He figures out who the correct people are when he recruits players. He leaves nothing to chance. I am sure he had time to visit an American Christian practice or game while in town. Or he could be in town talking about releasing a R&B CD in the near future. Lastly I wonder if Kenny Gamble knows the young man from Chester and his family? UMMMMMMMMM!!!!

More on St. Johns

Watched them play tonight. I still think Norm has good players and as those young guys get better so will SJU. I even looked at the roster and some of the kids were very highly thought of as HS seniors. But it is hard to teach youth to lead in that 1st year unless they are 1 and out guys. What might happen is some new coach could come in and mold the young talent assembled by Norm. But I would bet SJU makes Norm change his assistant coaches as opposed to letting him go..


What's next? I bet Rutgers also makes staff changes this summer at the urging of the AD. Just a hunch.

Brandon Costner

What is going on at NC State. How does a kid go from being a potential top 20 draft pick, and the number two rated college forward by many services, to being an after thought on the NC State team? Wow!!!!! Is this what happens when you bring in future studs? As soon as the new guys arrived, especially JJ Hickson (sp) it was role reversal for some players at NC State. The team itself has lost the chemistry it had last season. I would bet if Brandon was not in his 3rd year on the NC State campus he would opt out. Though he is only a soph on paper, he has 2 years of eligibility left at NC State and 11 if he transfers. Boy he could do major damage at RU, SHU, or SJU (kind of a Chris Mullins Type based on a great left handed J and court smarts). Lance Thomas needs to pay attention to what has happened to Brandon this season.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Lets start with a three way deal that might just happen. Tim Floyd of USC to LSU. Jamie Dixon from Pitt to USC. Sean Miller from Xavier to Pitt. Why does this make since?

Tim Floyd is originally from Louisiana from what I have heard. I hear the deep pocket guys are really interested in getting him to the SEC and LSU in particular. Jamie Dixon is a West Coast Guy and would get alot more money than he currently makes at Pitt. Miller is a natural fit at Pitt, where he played and is famous for the pass that led to the dunk that shattered a backboard.

How about St. Johns. I heard today that Norm Roberts remains on the hot seat in Jamaica. Seems they really wish to make a move on him. Norm is an OUTSTANDING Guy and I personally think he has turned the corner. But what do I know. I hear there are a few influential people who will attempt to woo John Calipari with a huge money offer. St. Johns is one of the most visible jobs in America based on past success. That alone would make him listen. But Lou C. would have to make the initial call to him most likely. But again the rumor is the financial package would be HUGE!!!

Personally I think St. Johns needs more than a coach. They need a better on campus facility (Alumni Hall spruced up ) for some games and a deal with MSG to play the big games there. MSG deal is very important because it is a magnet for good HS players. St. Johns was a national program for many years just by getting PSAL and CHSAA players according to a poster on or And that is so true. But now kids are not even interested it seems.

Message Boards

I cannot believe what is happening on message boards. I read one message board where a moderator was actually going back and forth with a poster. They were getting very personal. I actually thought the poster was right because the moderator accused him of saying something he did not based on my interpretation of his post. When he pointed it out, the moderator should have just left it alone or said "My Bad." It was one of the most ugly things I have seen on-line. We all post because we love basketball, especially on the HS and College level.

How about the latest on Mr. Ebanks?

Talked to a few folks and it seems he is definitely thinking over the Indiana situation. Again I feel Rutgers will be in the mix for his services especially if IU decides they do not wish him to attend after all the negativity. He than will realize players need to go WHERE THEY WILL BE LOVED as opposed to JUST WANTED.

Weekend Stuff!!!! SHU and RU

Seton Hall Loses

Many fans of SHU are really upset that SHU is on a 5 game losing streak. They should be upset because that's what fans do when their team loses. But in reality fans should understand when their team is playing a team or program that is better. The last 5 games we have seen SHU play teams that seem destined for the NCAA tournament. Well maybe West Virginia is not a lock, but they are right there.

To lose to these teams is not a horrible thing. What makes these type of loses horrible is a lack of performance and effort. In some games that effort was not there and needless to say neither was the performance. hard to play good in the BE effortlessly. But again, though the past five games have been loses, they came against teams no one can say were definite wins.

I have this formula about wins and loses. I always feel there are certain teams you should always beat based on talent, coaching, and effort, which leads to performance. Not knocking other tri-state area programs but SHU should never lose a game to NJIT, FDU, Monmouth, St. Peters, LIU, Manhattan, etc. Games against St. Johns, Rutgers, and even Fordham if they were on the schedule, could go either way because of talent at the time and in the case of Rutgers, natural rivalries. I see two games that were loses that should have been wins. Penn State and maybe NC State. One game was on the road and the other was at home. What looks bad and inexcusable are recent home blow out loses to Marquette and ND.

Despite all of this I still feel SHU has had a decent season to date. Opening of new arena, new star in Hazell, 15 wins so far (better than many expected) and a bright future. But the next 5 games will say alot and make or break SHU this season. Depaul game is a home game and a focused and competitive SHU team should prevail. The South Florida Game is away and SF can be tough at home. Nowhere as bad as the record!! This game is very important. 75% chance of a win if focused!! Away game against St. Johns. With very little real fan support there is not really any home court advantage for the Red Storm. This game should be a win but St. Johns has played better lately and will be a hard out. Syracuse at the Pru Center will be a good game. This is a young Syracuse team and most of the players on both teams have played against each other in AAU and HS tournaments. No blowouts here and SHU has the ability to win this one. Last but not least is Rutgers. This is a home game for SHU and it might be the determining game for a NCAA and even BE birth depending on the prior 4 games played. This game will be the Rutgers Season finale so expect a war and good showing. This is the game also played for recruiting advantage locally.

I can easily see SHU winning 5 out of 5, but I can also see SHU going 0 for 5 and putting the balls away until next season. I have never seen 5 games that could go either way. On paper it should be a record of 4 and 1 at the worst. This is a time when Mr. Laing and Mr. Harvey need to step forward with encouragement from Mr. Gause and get the job done. One game at a time and a goal of 5 straight wins! If Harvey does not show up, the season could be over.

RU Performance

From reading the newspapers and message boards it seems RU had a good performance yesterday. Unfortunately it's to the point that RU fans are searching so hard for a sign of hope, they are accepting moral victories. That's nice but totally unacceptable.

Nothing to be ashamed of about losing a game to ND this season. Mike Brey has the Irish playing really well. But at The World Famous RAC, Rutgers should EXPECT to win! OK I know it's not like that again YET. But if things go as I think it will, we will see the RAC not able to accommodate the fans wishing to purchase tickets. And it will become that loud intimidating arena it was years ago.

Back to basketball this season. I am so happy JR played a DECENT game. He has the talent to excel, but still lacks the killer instinct of similar players with his ability. If he just plays consistent he would be so much better. No one would complain if he ALWAYS had 14 points, 8 rebounds, 1 block shot, and 1 assist. But I for one am not impressed with a good game here and there. I say the same for Farmer who needs to play well for a season as opposed to every other game.

Rutgers has four games remaining and I really feel when FHJ has time to prepare his team, they play well. Marquette game away will be a hard out. Over 16,000 fans screaming and a very talented team makes this a difficult game. But that game is 5 days away so FHJ has time to prepare. RU could play very well this game. Win? Not sure but they will be prepared and have a good showing. After the Marquette game RU takes on a UConn team on a roll. This is a RU home game but is only a few days after the Marquette game. Hard game and to win RU will need to play perfect ball. South Florida is next and a very winnable game. Plus the loss in Tampa should be motivating for the entire RU Team. Than it's a week to prepare for SHU. That means RU will be going into the Pru Center ready to rumble. But this could be a needed game for SHU to make the NCAA's and even the BE Tournament depending how they did the prior 4 games they played. WAR!!!!!!! It will be a great one in Newark. I am off to buy tickets right now!!


Lots of talk about this kid and what he will do. No predictions from me but I will say I would be stunned if he DID NOT strongly consider Rutgers if he does not attend Indiana. Why do I feel this way?

--Family and trusted friend Craig Carter is Assistant at RU
--So much going on he might wish to now stay close to a family support network
--Indiana might not take him based on Sampson's recruitment practices even if
Sampson stays
--He was told by Stevie Wonder that from what he has seen, He would be best player
at Rutgers in his first year. maybe a one and out guy!!
--Chance to be part of something special with Rosario, Jackson, and Morris, all
guys he knows.
--Maybe he is a great friend of Soffman
--Exposure he would receive locally

If Rutgers gets this kid it would turn the RU program completely around. Something I did not think would happen with Lance Thomas or Derrick Character. This guy, if he plays hard, is a true program changer. Which is what RU needs now (Ebanks) or in the future to be a true BE contender. Even Pitino, Calipari, and John Wooden together on the same staff could not make certain teams contenders without program changing players.

The real difference in the elite coaches, every one of them, is the ability to attract program changing players BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!! They have the tools, and the facilities. Like Row Williams flying into a local airport on a private jet to recruit Dexter Strickland. Like the great practice facilities many schools have. I could go on and on because coaching has gone so far from being just about X and O's. If FHJ pulls this one off, and its a good possibility, he truly is recruitment guru because he does not have the private jets, and great facilities kids like Ebanks is use to seeing.

Friday, February 15, 2008

St. Johns and More!!!!!

Interesting how fans on different message boards take on the personalities of strong posters. On, most want change in the program but are not looking at anyone other than the current coaches, President, and AD. At BE Boards they seem to have a serious problem with Ron Rutledge, an ex Assistant. Coach who now works in Alumni Relations. has ben around for a long time and I have always found it interesting although frustrating because they keep it closed for some reason. But they seem to be very level headed about the Norm Roberts situation and bone headed about allowing others to join the site. Go figure lol!!!

BE Boards on the other hand is really giving way too much credit to a person who could not possibly have done the damage they say. Ron Rutledge has assisted in ruining the SJU Program? He has the ear of the President? He called Paul Hewitt? He stopped Calipari from getting the SJU job? He is a cancer to the program? Send him to Staten Island? WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! I never knew Ron was so powerful. Those are some of the comments about him on BE boards.

I happen to know both Ron and Paul Hewitt. Both have always been safe Black guys if you know what I mean. They will never cause waves and in Paul's case he is very opportunistic to say the least. In fact Paul would have changed his staff at SJU after the first year just as he demoted an Assistant. at Tech from on the road to almost behind the bench. He also seems very much about himself more than anyone else. Just my opinion and an opinion that is recent because I ALWAYS ADMIRED Paul until recently. I know one local BE Assistant. will cut and paste this and send to Paul after the season because he is a weasel like that. I am sure Paul really cares about what I write or say lololol.

But I still have to say Paul is a gentleman and a fine coach. Great coach as I thought he was at Siena? Not sure! But at SJU he would do a great job because he understands how large programs work. He understands how to get the blue chippers and keep players home. Rutledge is also a good person and a gentleman. I think he remains a favorite from NYC to New jersey because of how he conducted himself as a longtime assistant. to Louie C. I for one am so shocked that he is being attacked like he is. But I am nowhere as knowledgeable about these things as some of the SJU posters. Many, like Maven, have all the information and more. I always search for Maven's comments because he is one person that has more real information than anyone else reading message boards. This guy is extremely connected to the local basketball scene, but lately very angry over his beloved Red Storm. But to attack Rutledge like that is odd, especially for such sophisticated fans who could be as good as any in the area. To know Ron Rutledge is to love him. He will always be special to most people involved in basketball.


Again I say this Ebanks thing is exciting for a few teams. RU will be right there if he re-opens his recruitment. Both his Mom and Dad liked Rutgers alot and with Craig Carter there, and Patrick Jackson, Morris, and Rosario on the way, it means alot!! This kid can see that if he attends RU he will be the best player from day 1 and look like a true hero leading RU to the NCAA tournament in his 1st year. he could be the 2009 version of Michael Beasly while making Mom happy by staying close to home. And if this happens it also helps SHU and SJU because it will say it's fine for the super players to stay home for college and succeed.

AAU Programs and Money

Those who feel AAU programs are making money off signings are way off base. Especially NYC, Pa.,and NJ based AAU teams. Be aware of the local areas I have mentioned. I said NYC, PA., NJ,!!!There are some that I hear do make deals, but they are not in the areas I mentioned. Powerful AAU guys do receive sneakers, gear, and money for programs from sneaker companies, and program alumni. In Ebanks case his AAU program, The Metro hawks really does not need to make that type of money. It is mostly ego for guys like Ernie Loich. He would never sell a player to a college or university. Heck he does not even steer kids to schools although he was a SJU season ticket holder years ago. As a University of Virginia graduate he does not even push kids there. So Ebanks would be very interested in RU if he decides ( or Indiana decides)he wants out of his LOI.

Rutgers Loses

Was it just the game, or was it more? Some on RU will need real off season help to recover from this season. Nuff said!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

HS Super Stars

Been doing alot of thinking lately since I thought about my Balance the Ball All Star game years ago at FDU. Where have the real supers in NJ gone. Now there are some good players and even a few past stars now playing in the NBA. Players such as Charlie Villainuava (sp), and Lou Deng, both from Blair Academy. Also we can look at past players such as Derrick Character, Lance Thomas, and even Corey Chandler, Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes. How about Earl Clark, Brian Zoubek, and others. All great players.

Do those players above measure up to Tim Thomas and Shaheen Holloway as HS Seniors? Even Tim Thomas ex teammate who attended UConn was special. Though Tim has had an average NBA career, he and Shaheen were special in HS. Go further back and look at Bobby Hurley and Jerry Walker!! Super HS players. But again, Tim Thomas could have been the greatest HS Player in the last 40 years coming out of NJ.

Now this brings up an interesting story. Years ago Teaneck NJ HS was a power. In fact at one time they were loaded with D1 talent from the varsity to the freshmen team. On the varsity was a skinny 6 ft 6 kid who we all thought would be special. But he was buried on the bench because he was not a fully developed player.

After that players sophomore year, his family decided to relocate to North Carolina where he attended RJ Reynolds HS (I Think). At that school he started to improve and became a much better player. After his senior year he did one year at Hargrave Military Academy where his game blossomed. But still the ACC or BE was not knocking his door down. But Xavier of the A10 was.

After accepting a scholarship to Xavier, he was projected as a project who would play in his Junior year. But in pre season the big man on Xavier goes down for the season and the young man has to play. Its the freshmen center at 6 ft 8, and 4 tough kids against the world. The Freshmen would get easy buckets from great guards and his game developed.

After a very good senior season the young man was a very late 1st round draft choice and has enjoyed a solid NBA career that has made him very wealthy. Now that young man has been chosen to play in his first NBA ALLSTAR Game!!!! What an accomplishment!!

Rewind to his Sophomore year in HS at Teaneck HS. This kid was in total awe when powerful Patterson Catholic with Tim Thomas played Teaneck in a scrimmage. During the game he actually guarded Tim Thomas who was just manhandling him and his teammates. The young man was so star struck he could not perform.

Fast forward to now and this young man has done what others never (People in Teaneck like Herman Snyder always believed in him) thought would happen. He is an NBA vet, and a member of the All Star Team for the first time in his career. The player: DAVID WEST!!!!!!

I tell this story because there are many David West's out there in need of encouragement and opportunities. David took advantage of his and has done well. It is not always about the HS All Americans as much as it is about those hidden gems. Anyone can pick out the top 10 HS guys. But who is good enough to pick out the ones who will be impact players in future years. So that kid in 10th grade on the bench could just be the one who shines in the future. It is why I always say KEEP THE FAITH!!!

Indiana Situation

I would not be shocked if Bobby Knight resurfaces at University of Indiana. heck, they might have talked to him weeks ago in anticipation of the recent findings. maybe that is the reason he stepped down. Stay tuned!!!


If folks honestly think RU will not be in the running for Ebanks they are crazy. In fact, if things at Indiana continue to get worst, I would bet he strongly considers making RU his destination next season. If this happens with him and Rosario, along with Jackson and Morris (I honestly think Morris is better than a project but not good enough to start next season), RU could have a top 10 recruiting class with 2 Micky D type players.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Seton Hall University

I am surprised to say the least at the performance given by SHU last night in Newark New Jersey. Though I knew the game would be a difficult one, I never expected SHU to be blown all the way to Brooklyn. Marquette, though a good team, is no where close to being a 20 plus point better team than SHU.

These are the type of games, especially at home, that SHU needs to win on a consistent basis to be a regular member of the post season club. I mentioned a while back that certain games are must wins and others should also be closely contested. This game was one of the games I felt SHU would win.

Why the Loss?

Not blaming the coaches on this one. I honestly felt the players did not prepare for this game. It looked like they had spent the previous evening on campus at a party if you know what I mean. The players had zero energy and seemed to have given up early in the 2nd half. The effort was non existent and SHU was beaten to most of the lose balls. At one point I forgot that Harvey was on the court. Nutter was not his usual self. The bigs did not provide needed presence. Just a bad performance.

Nutter Foul

Looked fragrant to me


I know the weather was bad but WOW!!!!!!!!! That was a horrible TV look. Looked like it was a blizzard outside with 30 inches of snow. I mean where were the Fans?

Tom Crean (I hope the spelling is right lol)

Is it me or is he one of the most annoying coaches in the Big east. He walks the sidelines like he is working out. Where did he get that? The guy never sits still. I understand the involvement but please!

Mike Davis

I think he will be a special player once he re-learns the game. At this time he has very little knowledge of how to use his skills and abilities. I was amazed at how he received fouls. I mean he looked like he could foul standing still. Kind of reminded me of the famous Comic who in his routine says how hard it would be for his ex friends to play hockey professionally. Said his friends would be skating just gliding as they looked for people to hit and hurt. Well to get 5 fouls in limited minutes is close to impossible unless you really have no understanding how to stay on the court. Kind of funny to me. But again he will make you folks forget this in due time.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Finally Back on-line!!!!!!!

Wow it seems like its been a month since my last blog post. Unfortunately i have experienced hardware problems in NE Pennsylvania that had me down for a few days including the weekend. Also I have been out of town in both Charlotte NC, and Upper Marlboro Maryland.

Now to Hoops

Lots to talk about from the weekend. Most people reading this blog already know the scores and results of many college and high school games of interest. So allow me to start with a feel good story.

On my journey back from Maryland I stopped right off the Pa. Turnpike on the Lehigh Valley Extension to stretch at a WaWa market. It must have been the busiest WaWa I have ever seen. In the store was the Delaware Valley College Men's Basketball Team. Being the basketball junkie I am I started asking the various players about the program and the opponent they had just faced in a game. 7 out of 7 kids I spoke with were open, articulate, and a joy to speak with. They had lost to a team called Wilkes it seemed. And that must be the Georgetown of their league because they said WILKES like I should have known who they were lol. Unfortunately I did not! But the experience that these young men were getting in regards to team work, citizenship, leadership and more reminded me what the sport of basketball can be in the right circumstances. These kids were having a ball playing D3 college basketball and though it was serious to them, it was not the D1 basketball is a business mentality we often see. They wore their Delaware Valley Warm-ups proudly as they left on the nice charter taking them back to campus. And by the way, they were paying for their own food as opposed to the catered pre-game meals many receive. These are the type of kids who will be great employers and employees one day.

A Little on SHU

Close game that ended in a lost. Of course SHU Fans do not want moral victories at this point. They want a winner. I still feel SHU is moving in the right direction and will be an NIT team this season and do more in the next few years. In the BE Tournament anything can take place so an NCAA bid might not be out of the question.

People need to relax about Mike Davis. he will be just fine as he re-learns the game of basketball and gets into even better shape. I tell you what, I love his aggressiveness. I will also tell you that as he gets better and learns to channel and control his aggressiveness, he will contribute in making SHU a hard game for opponents. Eugene Harvey has so much he has not [provided yet. He could breakout the next few games and make the Hall a serious challenge. Laing will reflect and step it up tremendously. Watch! I think Gonzo is doing a very good job getting guys in and out. Paul Gause being lost is reason for concern but the entire team will step up to take the slack, especially Hazell.


What Can You Say? Same thing as past posts. It is now about confidence for Farmer, Griffin, and ESPECIALLY INMAN! The big question is if Inman is man enough to step it up effort wise and get through the funk. It is evident he will not get many looks through the offense so he needs to hit the offensive boards and move away from the ball and be in position to make plays when he receives the ball. But right now it is all in his head unfortunately. If he runs the court, rebounds, and hits 75 or more percent of his foul shots he will be fine.

I also need to say that I think Corey Chandler is very good. I think he has the ability to be a star in the BE! But he continues to think ME as opposed to team. He tries so hard to do it on his own. He really needs to continue taking his OPEN shots via drives or perimeter shooting. But he also needs to learn to make plays.

Coaching at Rutgers

I resent people putting words in my mouth. I never said FHJ was not a good coach! I can see a certain RU Coach who loves reading the Internet running with that. I have said when I thought he did a good job, and I will say when I think he does a bad job. Just as I can say when a Chef who is world renowned prepares a less than spectacular meal. I think FHJ is doing a good job at RU. I have pointed out how he encourages his kids from the sidelines, nurtures his players, and is ATTEMPTING to build a PROGRAM as opposed to a team. But to me the offense looks non existent and helter skeltor. I am sure he will fix this in time. Baby steps when building a program. What am I supposed to say? The offense was so great no one in the country knew what they were running? Trust me I like FHJ. Damn if you do, damn if you don't. Still remember a RU Poster saying I am a kiss up to FHJ. Still remember a SHU poster saying they wanted my spin on something because I am a FHJ guy. I am really just a fan who has been around the game a bit longer than most others.

What Qualifies Me To Comment and Write A Blog?

NOTHING!!!!!!! Anyone can have one regardless of experience. And anyone can have an opinion. I have mine, others have theirs. But what have I done basketball wise? Just a few things for the few who continue questioning me and attacking me. This hardly qualifies me to be anything more than a fan with an opinions. If I coached against FHJ or Gonzo, they would beat me by 50 points. But I do have an opinion.

- Coached Junior College Basketball for many years and was part of a staff that took
3 teams to the national tournament in Hutchinson Kansas

- Coached Summer COMPETIVE basketball for 25 years

- Ran a weekend basketball workout program for 25 years

- Involved with various AAU programs over the years as a work-out and game coach

- Worked with no fewer than 100 division 1 basketball players including 9 seen on
on TV this season

- Coached at one point at least 12 NBA players including Rik Smits, ex Pacer.

- Coached for 9 years in NYC Summer Professional League

- Even coached in Biddy basketball and summer workouts NBA 1st time all star David

- Wrote a few stories for Black Athlete, and The Insiders Report when Russ Blake was

- Ran off season camp that attracted 40 D1 Coaches

- Worked at ABCD 2 years

- Ran, with Gary Charles, the initial Balance the Ball All Star game in Northern
NJ that had every great HS rising Senior, and Rising Junior from NY and NJ
with the exception of Shahee Holloway who was sick at the time.

- In prior years in close contact with coaches from BE, ACC, A10, Colonial, MAAC.
and more

- Have contacts on staff's of every Big East program with the exception of South
Florida and Georgetown.

- Lastly. I LOVE COLLEGE and HS BASKETBALL as much as I love eating. And if you
know me or saw me, you would realize that is alot lol. I watch and attend all the

Proof Reading

I really need to do a better job. Thanks for the heads up. Pitino, Got It!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I just have to comment on a SHU post on MY BLOG!!!!

Just read the SHU Rivals Board where a poster had his post deleted for saying something thought to be racist and discriminatory. I read the post before it was deleted and was shocked to say the least! It's one thing for a guy like me to use the word thug, which many have said was wrong and I stopped using it. It's another thing to say a team needs a particular color player to be good insinuating that type of player brings more intelligence and knowledge.

I applaud the SHU Board Administrator who removed the post, regardless of what the intent was. Though it might not have been meant the way it was written, it was wrong just as me using the word Thugged was wrong despite coaches all over America using that terminology to describe a player outplaying another player on the opposing team.

lastly I am stunned that some guys including one I REALLY RESPECT, who had a real problem with me using the word Thug, thought the post should stay. Good for you Tom, keep up the great work!!! Please read next blog on games involving SHU and RU last night

Thursday Feb. 7, 2008

It was a bad evening in New Jersey on Wednesday. Both Seton Hall and Rutgers lost basketball games. The Seton Hall loss was not a huge surprise but Rutgers losing to a bad team without their best player available was surprising. Especially since the game was in Piscataway.

Seton Hall players are still in need of improvement. We all know this but I would still bet they will at least make the NIT this season and build off that experience. I see a good future for them even though Laing and Nutter will be graduating. Next season Gause will be the team captain and he will be a great one as he will challenge every player to give 100 percent each game and each day in practice. Mike Davis will be better next season as well. Remember he has not really played serious in season competition for a few years. I think next season, after a good summer, we will see a different player. Hazell will be a star. It is clear that he can flat out play basketball. Harvey will be a very experienced junior and much improved as well. I still think the future is very bright for SHU.

Back to the game. They lost to a very good basketball team with players who have very defined roles. The bigs on ND know how to play and the guards know how to make everyone better around them. They run their stuff as a team and execute very well. Brey has it going well at ND. Not too long ago there was talk about him being on the hot seat believe it or not. But to know Mike Brey is to love him. trust me I know!! He also always has great assistants including Sean Kearney who will most likely get a mid major head job after this season. SHU got spanked bad, but it is not the end of the world.

A few folks were commenting about how Gonzo and his ex Assistant at Manhattan did not shake hands at the end of the Louisville game. I made some calls and here is the story I got. Steve M, the Louisville Assistant was a NY Knick ballboy during the Patino years and his Dad is one of Patino's good friends. They love Rick Patino!! Problem started when young Steve. who was a good HS player in Westchester County and a walk-on at Kentucky, left his job at Manhattan for Kentucky with Gonzo's blessings. Remember Gonzo was a Patino guy even though he never was on his staff. I would bet that Patino got Gonzo to hire Steve. But what happened on a particular day is Gonzo, the salesman he is, said to a recruit who was being recruited by Kentucky, "send your son to A REAL COACH WHO CAN GET IT DONE" and he was not talking about Patino, he was talking about another well known coach, maybe Coach K. Gonzo was just talking stuff and really meant no harm. Young Steve was right there and called Gonzo out and they have never been the same. In fact it almost turned into a fight.

Now about Rutgers. First of all I agree with FHJ sitting Inman, Griffin, and Farmer. They all have under achieved based on what they are capable of doing. Those
3, and it's really Inman and Griffin more than Farmer, have lost all desire to compete it seems. They are in a serious rut!

Rutgers was beaten by a team they should have outscored and defended by 12 points at least. In fact, St, Johns looked like Princton compared to the helter skeltor one on one stuff done by Rutgers. I mean St. Johns looked decent and like a program. Rutgers showed zero signs of running an offense. Everything was based on guards breaking the D down one on one. Where are the screens? Where are the plays for short post ups? Where is the patience on offense? And please none of that 3 man outside weave that should never be done because all it leads to is a guard going one on one to create. If the guard is on they look great. If the gaurd is off the team looks bad.

I am not disappointed that JR Inman missed Shots. Ditto Griffin. They miss shots because they rarely, especially JR, get the ball in position to make a move. JR is on the perimeter way to much because RU does not run plays. Or shall I say an offense that would be good for the players in the RU Program. I did not see one real play called and ran where kids busted to spots and continued to move away from the ball leading to open shots and layups. All I see is kids jogging up the court and players passing to an open man and than it is one on one. Right now the confidence level on those kids are so low they might be lost for the season. I do need to point out that if JR passes one more time out of the paint 2 feet from the basket I will throw up!

Now on the other side of the court I think these 3 kids do not compete. maybe it is because of the no show offense. But JR and Griffin seem to be moving at half speed on the court. They also do not defend hard, nor do they rebound consistently. I blame them for this!! Not FHJ!

But offensively? It has a lot to do with the coaching and no one wants to say it. I want FHJ to coach at RU for 25 years. But I also want people to say it as it is and stop sugar coating stuff. Players receive only tuition, room, board, and books at RU. If they got more than that there would be better players, trust me! But coaches at RU all earn decent if not great money especially the head coach. But it seems they continue to get a pass on coaching and game preparation.

At this time RU looks like a total mess. Uninspired players, no real offense with a purpose, one on one stuff, guards looking to score as opposed to making plays, bad defense, slacking fan support, and players have no go to moves as my buddy JShuttlesworth says all the time. What are they doing in practice? What was the game plan? And if people think top 50 kids are going to choose RU, they are mistaken. Heck I would not be surprised if Rosario is wondering if he made the right decision.

The future for RU is OK with Hamedy, and Chandler. Chandler needs to make plays because at this time he is a bit on the "Me" side. That might be because
he has no respect for his teammates. Coburn is a nice little player who will help. I am not sure about the 3 juniors. They seem so lost it is sad. But the other freshmen are not really the answer. Hopefully they can develop into good role players. Jackson will be a nice player but I am not convinced Morris is not the second coming of Joynes but smaller. Remember I saw Joynes in his senior year and was pretty good. What has happened to him at RU is also a mystery.

Rutgers could be a NIT team next year with a solid offense and dedication to defense. It all depends on what happens in the off season. Right now, they are really in turmoil and there does not seem to be a solution in sight.

Prime Time Shootout

Yesterday I wrote breifly about the Prime Time Shootout. I an excited about the games on saturday but the other days seem to end with games of no interest. Is this because they just want the evening to end quietly?

Some great talent will be on display for a great cause. And the people putting this great event on each year should be saluted. I often wonder how they get the great teams to come to NJ and compete. I recently realized that the sneaker companies have alot to do with them coming to this and other national type tournaments.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

It's Wednesday!!!!!

Lots of stuff to discuss today. But I will do all I can to keep this short because game times are a few hours away. Lets start with a little college basketball before getting into the Prime Time Shootout which is scheduled for this weekend.

I have to give props to my guy Al Skinner. He is like the ever ready battery. He just keeps going and going and going. Al has done a remarkable job at Boston College of the ACC. Many thought Boston College would be an ACC doormat for a few years. Never happened that way because Al knows talent and is stubborn about it. No one can tell him a kid cannot play if he feels otherwise. He takes kids that are not even recruited in their home areas and makes them players and contributors. He does this while never ever kissing up to anyone or any organization. Al is the guy that went into ACC country and recruited a few kids who were not getting ACC looks and those kids became stars and good enough to be drafted into the NBA. Al is a winner!!

A bit more about Al. I have known Al for 20 plus years. He is a straight up guy who tells you like it is while remaining a friend. He took the long road to coaching stardom. I still remember Al, Bernard Tomilin, former Hofstra Great and current Old Westbury College Coach, and I driving up to the Boston Shootout 20 plus years ago. Al really wanted a college coaching job bad. On the way he called the Marist Coach numerous times seeking a spot on that staff. While we were there the call came and Al was hired as an Assistant at Marist. He went on to be a coach at Rhode Island and even turned the program around after being killed in the press for many years. He got it done so well that Boston College came calling. At BC he continued what was started and has made BC a great program with guys some have given up on.

Still remember a kid with the last name Roberts (Tony?) who was a top 50 player from RI or Conn. coming up to me and Al at the ABCD camp as we talked at the concession stand. He gave Al a huge hello and all Al did was say "hi Tony how you doing." As the kid walked off I said to Al "that was Tony Roberts and he seemed like he wants to talk to you." Al said it was illegal and besides he was not going to kiss up to alot of folks to get that kid. Also remember him taking John Oats from a HS in NJ (Don Bosco). Folks all said big John was horrible, etc. Glad I was one of the guys who said he would be fine. Because he has been a very good contributor at BC and will make good money in Europe.

So to AL Skinner, this diet coke I am drinking right now is to you. Lastly, wonder of he would come home and coach St, Johns if Norm leaves? ummmmmmmmmmmm!

Everyone says Paul Hewitt would be on a short list for St. Johns. I wonder? One thing for sure it looks like his teams are not doing as well in recent years. But when you recruit one and out kids with advisors in place this will happen. Paul just might be very interested in returning to the tri-state area right about now.

How about Tom Picora? A wonderful guy who I like very much. But with a 7 and 14 current record do you think he wishes he would have interviewed and accepted a job from SHU if it was offered two years ago? He was the one that EHU wanted according to many in the know. Now he is fighting to have a 500 record at Hofstra. Word was he was waiting for St. Johns to eventually open. If it does open is he the choice at this point coming off this season? Great guy who really is better than his record though. Next year will be a better one for him and Hofstra. But the next time he has some interest he will run to the meeting.

My buddy Bobby Holford had missed opportunities as well. I will talk about his story tomorrow. But he remains one of the best unemployed coaches on the scene. More later.

Great games tonight. St. Johns vs RU should be called the battle of the cellar. Both teams are really better than folks think, but they both have lots of room for improvement. What happens tonight is everyone's question. Will RU win it at home or will the SJU kids, who are tougher to me, come into Piscataway and take the game? I hate to predict because I can be a jinx. So lets just say it is so close it could end in a tie. SHU plays ND at the PRU Center. My first question is will ND Fans be louder than SHU Fans? This is a huge game for SHU and very winnable. Remember, SHU has a winning record and are playing at home. But we all know ND has played well this season. Great game in Newark, interesting game in Piscataway.

Duke vs NC from Chapel Hill. Yes the game is in ritzy and somewhat exclusive Chapel Hill. And if you have ever been to Durham, home of Duke, you would understand. But we all know that this is more than the number 2 and 3 teams in the nation playing. It's the game against the school down the road. It's the Hatfields and the McCoy's. I will definitely be watching this. And as a bonus, Dick Vitale will be doing the color unless John Celestine is a late sub for him lol. Just kidding. I think John has stepped his game up and doing a much better job. He does have a future in TV in my opinion.

Prime-Time Shootout is this week. games at Rutgers on Friday should be ok if you want to see great players in non competitive games. Saturday is a different story. Those games in Trenton NJ will be great. I look forward to watching while eating those great fries they serve. More on the event later.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tuesday Thoughts

Slow day basketball wise so here are a few things I have been thinking about.

What is the reason college teams decide to become division 1? Is it the prestige? Money to be made? Publicity to increase enrollment? Opportunity to impress alumni and other donors? I ask because I just do not get it? Especially as I look through box scores.

Just saw NJIT, a recent D1 entry lost again last night in front of 130 fans. Yes 130 fans in downtown Newark. I just hope this was not one of the games they were scheduled to play at the new 18,000 seat plus Prudential Center. Why would this school, a school with a great academic reputation, decide to take on D1 basketball when they were just decent as a D2 school? Of course they receive guarantees for away loses and must receive calls daily from schools wishing to schedule them next season. After all, they seem like a sure fire W. With scholarships, insurance, sneakers and equipment (No one could possibly be sponsoring them), coaching salaries, and travel, they must be seriously in the red.

How about Coppin State from Maryland? They won last night at home in front of 289 people. Where are you Fang Mitchell? Anyone remember when he had them doing so well?

Than there is Todd Boozeman at Morgan State. Todd was black listed from college basketball for doing what many high D1 programs do all the time when he was at Cal. Took years to get another job as he watched guys who were notorious cheaters get job after job. Don't make me list names please. But we all know the real deal. Well Todd is the Head Coach at Morgan and he has them in 1st place in the MEAC. A spot hey never experienced, even under Butch Beard, the ex Knick. They drew over 3,000 last night at home in their gym that in recent years always drew around 400 people.

On the other end of the spectrum there are teams like Villanova. They are in a slump at this time but still are money makers based on years of developing a fan base. They sell tickets and make money. Even if they lost every game the rest of the season, they are a successful business.

Not many coaches lose jobs when you are making money and attracting fans. Yes College sports, especially football and basketball, are Big Business! Coaches make more than some CEO's so you know it is big business.

Now why do I bring all this up? I do so because I really feel we will see some changes in Division 1 basketball in the very near future. We will see the NCAA downsize division 1 basketball! There will be a D1 and a D1AA, similar to football. Teams such as NJIT, many MEAC Teams, lower conferences, etc. will be in D1AA. This was talked about in the past but it did not happen because the Historic Black Colleges would have sued, and it did not seem right. But when you see teams losing every game, losing huge amounts of money, and being non-competitive, it sends a message. Besides, as much as I love basketball, if I was President of NJIT (wishful thinking lol), I would seriously start meetings on going back to D2, or even D3. They are an excellent academic institution and I would love to see how this basketball has impacted their application numbers and credentials? Maybe no one cares or is even watching.

Fire Jay Wright? Yes and 100 universities will be on line to hire him. College fans are fickle to say the least. This guy is a winner and will have Villanova in the thick of it sooner than later. As I have said, the talent is good but far from great. Watch them closely.

St. Johns is really losing some market share in the NYC Metro area. No one is thinking SJU any longer. They are going against Iona, and Fordham for players. In the past, with the exception of the Valvano years, those NY area schools took what SJU did not want. Pretty soon we might see kids choosing LIU and FDU over SJU. I still say if Norm decides to leave, Jim O' Brian would be a great choice. Forget the BS that happened at Ohio State. Trust me thats kid stuff compared to many programs we watch on TV weekly.

If I see Michigan on TV again this season I will throw up. What's the deal with that? Does someone at Michigan have pictures of the ESPN and CBS honchos in bed together?

Is it me or is the Big 10 one of the best, but most boring conferences in the entire country? Who is doing the marketing? Show of hands of who gets excited to see Purdue against Minnesota? I am waiting! I thought so!

Prime Time Shoot Out this weekend. Lots to say about this event tomorrow. Not what you expect!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Northern NJ HS Basketball and The Jambo

I still remember those great HS basketball games in Northern NJ. games featuring Teaneck, Englewood, Don Bosco, Bergen Catholic, Tough Ridgewood (believe it or not), Hackensack, Bogota (with Pat Sullivan and outstanding coach Jay Mahoney), Riverdale (with Coach Brian Long), Patterson Eastside, Patterson Kennedy, and Patterson Catholic. Those were the days, yes those were really the days. The coaching was outstanding with Curtis March, Gerald Ackeridge, Darryl Harris, Jay Mahoney,Donefield (sp), Jim Ring, and the Ridgewood coach whose name always slips me but did a GREAT JOB!

I still remember me and my than 7th grade son going from site to site all over Bergen County to catch Bergen Jamboree games. Most of the time we could not get in because they were sold out. But we went anyway for the great bball conversations outside. It was almost a yearly tradition for us believe it or not. Still feel the cold as many of us waited outside hoping to get into Ramapo HS for a game featuring Glenn Stokes and Ramapo (Franklyn Lakes Kids) against Ridgewood. Even Tony Campbell was outside with us. There must have been 75 people, mostly men with sons, who got to the game too late to gain entrance. So we just stood outside talking hoops. Yes those were the days. Something I miss so much!

Those were the days when young boys dreamed of playing for the local public high schools. The days when the Catholic Schools did not have black or Latino players but very talented kids who played tough all the time. The public schools never lost a player to the private schools because frankly they were not interested in diversity it seemed at the time. It was also a time when the only real school recruiting players was Bergen Catholic, and they were not interested in Teaneck, Englewood, or Hackensack kids despite the Coach at the time living in Teaneck. The others played with who showed up the first day of school.

Well it is Bergen Jamboree Time and Passaic County Tournament time again. The Passaic County finals usually is at Wayne Hills HS and sold out. So are the semi Finals. Bur the Jambo, as the kids call it, might be the best county tournament this side of Indiana. To many it is more important than the state tournament because it is winnable for a county team. The states was a dream because Bergen County Teams rarely did as well as others in the states. In fact, the Newark Star Ledger did not even have a Bergen County mention on the many all county teams they selected.

Well the Jambo is still going strong and everyone who loves hoops will be in attendance. I even saw Eddie Murphy at a Jambo game once. Phil Simms was a fixture at Ramapo games when he was not broadcasting. Still remember his son trying to play after watching as an 8th grader with those big bell bottom jeans on. Yes the Jambo brought everyone out. It was and is the Bergen County version of what's really important basketball wise.

It was a pleasure to read Art Stappletons (sp) article on Teaneck and Englewood basketball. Those two teams have been to state championships and done extremely well over the years. Those two teams also have given Northern NJ the most recognizable faces and names in Tony Campbell, and Bill Willougby (sp). Nice to see both teams are now in the Jambo quarter finals. trust me, people from those two towns will come out to be supportive of those teams. For those who do not realize it, both teams would be serious state contenders if the home grown talent went to school at those two places. Teaneck at one time had 7 division 1 players over a 5 year period. And all minus one received degree thus far. Teaneck was on the lips of recruiters from all over the country as they beat teams such as Linden, Camden, and others on the way to state championship games. Newark public or private schools could not compete with them at the time.

What has happened to make kids travel far for school? Are the programs and coaching better? I doubt it. I remember Teaneck beating St. Joes of Montvalle by 30 on a regular basis. Queen of Peace would hate playing Englewood because it was a definite loss. What has happened is the Catholic schools begin to recruit players in Bergen County after the success Teaneck, Hackensack, and Englewood was having. Even people in local youth leagues started steering kids to private schools. This has not happened as much in other areas as it has in Bergen County fortunately. But it has started. Imagine if Dexter Strickland was at his home school. Or Paris Bennett his. And the best player to me in the state, Quintrell Thomas, headed to the University of Kansas, would have made Science HS the state champ this year. But in Bergen County it is really out of control. When a 6 ft 10 kid from Cliffside Park travels to Patterson to play limited minutes for Patterson Catholic, something is wrong somewhere.

Maybe I am wrong and the kids are just seeking a better education. Maybe it is not the free tuition or gear they receive at certain programs. Maybe it is the better exposure, and that I do understand. But for what ever the reason is, I wonder if we will ever see strong public school teams again in northern NJ. Same thing happened in NYC years ago when the Catholic schools raided the public schools for players. Funny thing is many of the NYC Catholic Schools cannot compare to the Public Schools academically. Cardoza, JFK, Frederick Douglas Academy, Bronx Science, and others are head and shoulders better than many. But again it must be exposure because the mentioned public schools have fine programs and a record of success.

Well this weekend will be a special time again. Many Dads, and Moms, will be taking the young ones to what is a great tradition and tournament for two great sessions. Maybe not the greatest talent, but definitely the greatest atmosphere. And the finals, usually held at FDU in Hackensack, will be a sell out with people showing up 2 hours early to get a ticket to see these kids who will feel like true stars.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

My Thoughts

I pulled back from writing this post to watch both the SHU and RU games again on my computer. I think I can now provide my thoughts clearly on both.

First of all I like the way all the coaches are wearing sneakers to bring awareness to charity. Great thing to do for awareness. Some wore suits with sneakers while others wore basketball coaching shirts or warm-ups. I always wondered why coaches did not dress to coach and work the sidelines like football and baseball coaches.

SHU lost a game. They just lost! They did not stink it up, they did not play soft, they did not get thugged, they just lost to what is most likely the best team in the Big East Conference. Every player played hard and none seemed intimidated by Georgetown and its fans. Again they just lost and they will be better from the experience.

Nice to see GT drawing so well. For years, despite bball success, the average attendance seemed to always be around 6-7000.

Is it just me or does Young John Thompson seem like a nicer version of his dad? Many past GT players have said the older version really did not care about or do much for ex-players who did not make the NBA. The younger Thompson seems like a great guy and sincere with NO EGO.

SHU will be better when the big's fully develop. The kid sitting out from the A-10 is a very good player, and the recruits coming and considering attending or very good. I honestly think SHU hustles on every play on both ends. It is one thing to lose and another to be embarrassed. SHU just lost! I think that curtain will have to go up in the very near future.

Rutgers loses today as well and though they lost to a better team who could beat Georgetown next week, they attempted to compete. Even guards are entitled to off games. Inman, Griffin, and farmer competed much better but they need to still step it up.

A little about rankings for those who need to know. JR Inman, Jeron Griffin, and Antony Farmer deserved every accolade they received in HS. Its funny how folks say things like "THEY CANNOT PLAY"!!! So untrue. They have not played as well as they are capable. But as HS Players they were just what they have been described. I get upset because they do not play TOUGH physically or mentally. Especially JR Inman. Skill wise those 3 kids have it. But JR and Griffin need a sports Psychiatrist and motivation coach more than a basketball coach at this point. JR continues to pass out from the offensive paint as opposed to powering up for a put-back. People should not confuse skills with confidence and heart. Two different things.

Rutgers, if you watch closely, does not compete on every play. They do not contest every shot. It is like they are saving themselves from foul trouble. Watched Louisville players 2-3 feet ahead of RU defenders and the RU defender did not even attempt to hustle to defend. Watched RU players, especially JR, Griffin, Joynes, just jog up the court on offense. RU seems to be playing to stay in the game as opposed to playing to win the game. They never bust their rumps to the open spot for an easier shot. They also play stand straight up defense, especially off the ball. Yes the person guarding the ball seems to have his knees bent, but the other four players are all straight up and not ready to help, which is why when the on the ball defender gets beat, their is little or no help. It is the laziest defense I have ever seen.

Now I am not going to knock FHJ. but I call it as I see it. He has to take some responsibility for some of this stuff. Fundamentals such as players bending knees in preparation to reacting defensively is taught. Jogging up the court on offense and defense is a problem. And lastly I will say this.

The FIG kids are playing with zero confidence. missing free throws, scared to shoot the wide open shot, playing to stay in game. All are from a lack of confidence. I am the first to get on how JR has performed. But as I think back his play has not been the same since his benching for no real reason. Yes he has had a few games that were OK. But prior to the benching he was averaging around 16 points a game. Now he is at around 13. Plus I have never seen him miss so many free throws. Something is wrong and it is mostly mental I think.

Again I say NO BARN LEAGUE!!!!!! AND NO PHONY BOOT CAMP, even if it does sound great on TV. Those RU players need to play every possession at a quicker pace with more energy and contest every play defensively even if it means playing 15 kids because of foul trouble.

Now for those interested, here is a thought from me that could be contraversial. Is the Villanova talent that much better than Rutgers? Scotty Reynolds is very good but somewhat selfish and playing to make the NBA. Other than that? Drummond vs Hamedy? The front court? Fisher vs Couburn? Malcolm Grant vs Corey Chandler? I mean what is the huge difference to make Villanova a potential NCAA team? Maybe it is they are confident and EXPECT to do well. because the talent is not that different than RU on paper. It is why RU won beat them.

I lastly remind everyone about the Slick Rick team at Providence. They played to win and they did. No stars, but as a team THEY COMPETED!!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Where Do They Go From Here?

Where do they go from here? That's the question on the mind of many area hoop fans. The Knicks? St. Anthony's HS? Wonder if the game would be close if St. Anthony's added one 5 star 6ft 11 guy against the NY Knicks? Maybe Bob Hurley should be the next Knicks coach? Ok back to the blog post lol. What about SHU? Rutgers?

This is the meat and potato portion of the season for many basketball teams. We now wonder what the end results will be. Well I for one think The Knicks are right where they will be, St. Anthony's the same although their position is a positive one compared to the Knicks. But as a huge (in more ways than one lol) fan of college basketball my focus today is on college teams.

Seton Hall is playing very good basketball with the kids on the team playing in a comfortable mode. Having Eugene Harvey, a tough and speedy skilled point guard really makes all the players job easier. Laing could be a pro in time. Hazell is a star in the making. Gause is Gause. Nutter has stepped up on and off the court with leadership. Lets see if he can keep it up. But his leadership was outstanding against Rutgers in the last game.

I remain concerned about the bigs in the next 6 games where they will be going against top comp before playing 4 more games that should be W's including Syracuse. The big folks are talented but raw. Garcia seems too happy on the bench which is a concern. He seems to be just enjoying the ride. Mike davis wants in on the action and that is a good thing. I think Garcia would not mind if he played 8 minutes a game. And this is the kid I RAVED ABOUT WHEN HE SIGNED WITH SHU! If he gets hungry as MD, and gets into better sshape watch out in the future!

Bobby G will keep this team motivated as long as he can keep his tantrums under control. Some know what I mean. For those who do not maybe later. But coaching and motivating? He is doing it well! I see some tough games but SHU can wind up with 20 wins by splitting the next 10 games which has at least 4 definite wins in my opinion. POST SEASON IS A DEFINATE FOR THE PIRATES!!!

Rutgers next game is a real hard one. Louisville will be up for the Scarlet Knights because they do not wish to lose to two NJ teams in the same year. Slick Rick knows what it could do to him recruiting wise and the area players at Louisville want summer bragging rights. C&C Basketball (not Music) Factory continue to lead. Too those two kids credit they did not expect to have to do this with FIG in place. But toughness does not have age requirements. Those two kids along with Hamedy give RU 3/5 of what will be needed to be a future post season team.

Though I am down on the FIG development and performance this season, I have not given up on them. Here is what those 3 kids need to do. Inman needs to be in NYC this summer as opposed to boot camp or the Barn suburban league. He needs to play in the Nike Pro Am at Hunter College, work out with professional players at Manhattan College (Jim Couch), and on his own look in the mirror and decide what he wants? A career working for my guy Shayle Keating (Shayle says he will consider hiring him lol), or make money one day playing basketball. I would say playing the game he loves but it sometimes does not seem that way watching. Farmer needs to be in Philly playing ball at Temple and in the Sonny Hill League. He needs to really work hard for his senior year. Griffin needs to shoot 600 Js a day as well as find a team in the East Orange Summer League run by Harry James. In addition all three need a NCAA leadership course that Webb took early in his career.

But again the 3 young players along with Rosario, Jackson, and Morris provide RU with a totally different personality. Its a tougher and more skilled team. With RU it is about toughness now. Coburn is not the fastest, or best shooter, but his toughness allows him to excel.

FHJ seems to have RU on the right track and with new kids will be better next season. The remainder of this season could provide 4 more definite wins, and at least 2 maybe games. The worst RU will be is a 14 win team, which is better than people thought two weeks ago. I think that record reverses next season and RU makes a post season tournament. The young 3 are that good and getting great experience.

Lets talk St. John's. Norm Roberts is a wonderful person and I really hope it works out for him at SJU. But to be successful he needs to change up his staff by helping them obtain positions at other D1 schools which would allow him to bring in a very good X and O guy and a few aggressive recruiters. The big problem for him right now is re-gaining control of his team. The other problem is the NCAA! Yes the NCAA! They have lifted the ban on a guy who St. Johns would love to get. Yes I am talking Jim O' Brian, the former Ohio State Coach who really received a raw deal in the past. I am surprised this has not come up. But O' Brian gets it done at SJU if Norm is ever out of the picture. And if Norm leaves he will be recruited by 100 schools to be the lead assistant because he does that exceptionally well.

I am off to Villanova this evening to see some great basketball on the HS level. The last game should be great, but what makes the trip even better is I will have an opportunity early to get a sandwich from Gooey Louie, a place with the best Italian Hoagies in America in my book.