Thursday, February 7, 2008

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.

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