Monday, March 31, 2008

Big Weekend............lots to come!!

Before I start. RutgersAL, please contact me at I would love to interview you for this blog. It would be great!!!!!You can say what you want and how you feel. Please email me so I can arrange this. Thanks

Well Davidson had its great run ended by a very talented Kansas Jayhawk team. Kansas has always been a great program and a traditional power. Davidson has nothing to be ashamed of and in fact should be walking around with their heads held high.

Davidson played a great pre conference schedule including games at the Bobcat Arena that were electric!! Those games prepared them for the NCAA Tournament. But the great thing this run has done for me, is show that great coaching with solid players wins games. I did not say great players! Solid players.

Yes Stephen Curry is NOW a great player. But prior to attending Davidson he was not. In fact I still am not sure he handles the ball well enough at this point to be a NBA player NEXT SEASON. But he is a GREAT COLLEGE PLAYER on a real college team. We all know the Curry story about how he was not recruited by the large schools. But if folks really watched him play in HS they would know he signed with the right level school. No one was yelling how Davidson got a steal when he signed. But because he went to a place that offered him a great opportunity, he IMPROVED and DEVERLOPED his game from day 1. I have seen this on many occasions.

Side bar. If Lance Thomas and Derrick Character attended NJ BE Schools, would they have had better careers to date? Not that they are having horrible careers. But think what they would have accomplished locally! Ditto kids like Dexter Strickland, and Quintrell Thomas. But more on this later.

The Kansas vs Davidson game was truly a David (Davidson) vs Goliath (Kansas) game based on talent level and school size. Davidson with zero top 200 players against Kansas with about 10 HS All American types. Regardless, Davidson could care less about rankings because the game took place on the court and not on paper. In fact, it was a suburban type team that could have been from Maine against the tough kids from Chicago. But I must point out the Kansas kids were super classy and went out of their way to acknowledge the Davidson Players after the game.

It is because of games and runs such as these that I feel Coaching and Development of players through teaching are the main ingredients for success. Bob Mckillip put his kids in positions to succeed. And if people think the Davidson point guard was not the team MVP all season they are incorrect! Curry was the most outstanding player, but the PG was the MVP. Watch next year when he is gone! Heck, if I was Curry I would go also because without him next season it could be very hard on a him scoring wise. Good Coaching, execution, solid players, and a very good point guard could make a season enjoyable.

If Rutgers had a solid pass and create PG, all the kids on their roster would have had better years. When Harvey played that way (pass first), SHU was a better team. Hard to win with shooting PGs unless you are surrounded by HS All Americans at every position. Even Kansas made Russell Robinson pass the ball more than he shot. And if you know Russell like many of us do, you know he was a selfish shooting guard in HS at Rice. He was told pass or sit. he shot so he sat for a couple os seasons. When he passed he played and on Sunday had zero points on 2-3 attempts. But he passed, defended, and played solid minutes!

Back to Davidson. I hope Davidson gets a huge welcome on that Beautiful Campus. I am positive Applications will be up as will donations. heck I might even apply there to take a few courses since it is so close to my future NC Home LOL.

NJ All State Teams

Are you kidding me? No Quintrell Thomas on first team all state? What happened? From what I saw he was the best player on St. Patrick's and the best big man in NJ HS basketball this past season. Was he punished for transferring out of Science to St. Patrick's a few seasons back? Maybe I missed something! I know the St. Benedicts kids cannot be included, but even if they were, I feel Quintrell was deserving.

Speaking of Thomas. I think he will be solid at Kansas. earlier I felt he would be buried there. But one thing for sure, he could have developed faster at RU or SHU than Kansas. I feel the same way about Dexter Strickland. Great HS player, seems like s super kid, and has great support from family. But North Carolina brings in studs! I am sure he will do well at NC. But I am positive he could have been a star from day one at a local big-time school attempting to become a program.

Development and an opportunity to play alot from day 1 is very important. Don't believe me? ASK Stephen CURRY!!!!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hot Coaching Prospect / Rutgers Helps Everyone

Hot off the press is information that the current Marist Coach Head Basketball Coach is headed to James Madison University. That means there will be a great opening at Marist College, or is it University by now? The best possible candidate for the Marist Job is none other than Tim Maloney, current UMass Associate Head Coach and a genuine GREAT GUY!!!! This guy is loved by all and was one of the main reasons Billy Donovan has had so much success at The University of Florida. Guy is a special type coach who will GET IT DONE big time at Marist if he is hired. This is really a no brainer if Marist wants to be a power in the MAAC as well as in the eastern part of the country.

Speaking of coaching changes, I hear St. Francis of Brooklyn and Brian Nash the Head Coach, has decided to change the staff. Not sure of the reasons but I can guess it is because the coaches let go did not fit into what Brian wants to get done. Brian needs to do himself a favor and hire some real coaches!!! One name that comes to me automatically is Robert Holford, ex Junior College national D3 Coach or the Year after leading Hostos CC to a national title a few years back. This guy is OUTSTANDING and with him on Brian's staff would mean a new mid major player in the area.

I want to again say RU has done what they and others are supposed to do. They kept good HS players from leaving the state of NJ. These type of commitments, as well as commitments from kids like Jordan Theodore, really help everyone. It shows that it's a good thing to stay local for college. Again, I am not as high on the recent commitments as most, but feel they are part of the puzzle and PR wise, great commitments. On the court, time will tell.

From last night, it seems Mr. Rosario is an impact player!! I have seen him play similar against NJ competition and was eager to see him go against national AA type players. HE DID NOT DISAPOINT ONE BIT!! In fact he had that Quincy Douby confidence! I thought he could have almost been the game MVP. He passed and shot it like a seasoned veteran. WOW, WOW, WOW !!!!

I always felt guard play was more important than big man play. I said this in past posts and to others on many occasions. A team with average big guys who can rebound defensively, with super guards is a dangerous team. Check out Mr. Curry and his Davidson Teammates as an example. Rosario and an UNSELFISH Chandler will make the big's on Rutgers shine next season. They will also help the two 09 recruits adjust and play well.

Mike Rosario's performance last night made Rutgers a household word. It makes alot of local and national kids say, "I want to do the same thing." They might be even saying "I want to be like Mike." I am sure Ebanks watched the game and thought to himself how special it could be playing with Mike, Chandler, and the two 09 guys, and a revitalized Inman, Farmer, and Griffin. and a future star in Hamedy N (sp).

Soon the ball will be in FHJs court. He will have to steer that Rutgers bus the correct way that gets the most out of all his players. But in the long run, this week at Rutgers has benefited every D1 team in the area. It's officially sexy to stay home!

Women's Basketball

You look at a place like Tennessee, with GREAT FACILITIES and college amenities and you expect to see them sign a large number of All American Girls basketball players. But Rutgers did the same without great facilities although the RAC is decent. They did it by establishing a winning tradition and a style of play that attracts young ladies eager for the national spotlight. 5 All Americans? Unbelievable!!! Those Women games at the RAC must be electric!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Very Short

Not going to make this a long one because I want everyone to get the message.

Rutgers did a great job of keeping two highly rated HS Players from leaving the state. That's a huge thing and something that helps all the local College Teams. It shows other area kids, both upper and lower classmen, that the local basketball scene is a good place to be. Now some other kids will look at these signings and do the same at RU, SHU, SJU, and even lower conference teams.

However, the excitement we are seeing is more based on rankings, rep, and sending schools (St. Benedict's, and Blair) than actual talent. I am not saying these kids signed by RU will not be good. I honestly do not know! I have seen them and they are good, but nowhere near program changers which a guy like Ebanks would be. But the name of the game is keeping local talent home, and RU did this. But again, I am not convinced from what I have seen that these kids are definite in the door impact players. Without the right coaching, teaching, and development, they could be very average, even with experience. Watch the AAU season for hints of how they will be. Just my humble opinion from a few observations. And by the way, I felt similar about Lance Thomas when I saw him, and he was a very good to great prospect and had 5 stars out of HS. John Chaney, the ex Temple Coach, told me years ago about how he fooled folks with a player he had named Jose Rivas, a big kid from PR. Said he coached him to a NBA deal! Great coaches do that, especially great HS Coaches from great HS Programs. Again, I am a huge Danny Hurley, and Papa Hurley fan!!!!! Nuff Said!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

You Know I Call It As I See It!!!!!

I need to congratulate all the Rutgers Fans who are rejoicing over the signing of Greg Echenique and Austin Johnson. I guess RU Fans feel they have a great nucleus in Chandler, Rosario, Coburn, Echenique, Austin, N'Diaye, Pettis, and Sofman!!

It was a great recruiting job by FHJ and staff and they deserve alot of credit. I did notice the schools that were recruiting Echenique, and Austin seemed to change. I thought Duke had offered Greg? If they did he must have watched what was happening to Lance Thomas and figured he would do the smart thing and go where he would be INNITIALLY loved and not just wanted. Plus Rutgers College is as good a school as any college in America. Maybe he spoke with Lance Thomas who could have told him Not To Make The Mistake He Did!! I wonder?????

Now with this nucleus of FHJ players, will Rutgers be a BE Contender? As I have said in the past, rankings, and reputations mean nothing once you start your freshmen year in college. I have seen both newly committed players compete in the past. I will not provide any feedback at this time but if people looked back at older posts they would see my opinions on Greg and even his teammate headed to Louisville, who did step it up and is much better that I thought at the time. But the potential starting team of Chandler, Rosario, N'Diaye, Echenique, and Austin in the 2009-2010 season seems interesting. But time will tell if players are a bit overrated, physically ready, mentally ready, and able to compete!

Lastly, the coaching and preparation remains very important even with YOUR PLAYERS as opposed to inherited players.

The Sixth Annual Art Perryman-Al Keglovits All-Star Basketball Games

Great games for a great cause held at East Stroudsburg University. Game benefits Cancer Research and The Jimmy V Foundation. Local Female and Male players chosen from area high schools played in front of close to 2000 people in two exciting games. Again great cause and I am glad I was able to contribute a few bucks to the cause.

Unfortunately as I watched I saw so many good players without any actual scholarship offers. Sad because the local area coaches are decent X and O guys but hardly the all around dedicated coaches we see in NJ and NYC. Kids with game are again headed for Penn State Hazleton, and even Cooking and Technical Schools according to many in the crowd. I know for a fact at least 2 or 3 could be very good in the NEC, MAAC, and with a year of Prep School one, 6 ft 6 guard Neil Baskerville, could play in the Atlantic 10 and lower Big East!! Sad how those coaches who can coach, hate to see anyone assist these kids, even if the assistance is free of charge with no strings attached. There are currently 4 future D1 players returning to the area next season. One is a young lady with the last name of Gallagher who attends East Stroudsburg South HS and is good enough to have Rutgers and others take a serious look at her. Kaheim Hall is a young player at Pocono Mountain East HS, which does have a NYC/NJ type coach and staff. They will make sure he gets what's needed development and publicity wise. Riley Moye is a 6 ft 9 kid from Stroudsburg HS with GREAT COORDINATION who runs well and blocks shots. He will be at the least an A10 player. He also is fortunate to have a Dad who understands what needs to happen for his son to develop. Both Hall and Maye play AAU in NYC with the New Heights Program.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Boy am I eating crow! I had a few posts last week questioning the validity of some mid major conferences in the NCAA D1 tournament. Now I was not really referring to the Sun belt Conference, which is a strong conference. Nor was I referring to conferences such as the Valley or is it the Missouri Valley. I was talking about the very small conferences that often get 2 and 3 star recruits and transfers from bigger conferences when things do not work out. Yes I was talking about the Southern Conference, which if I remember correctly, Davidson is a member. I was also talking about the MEAC, SWAC, NEC, MAAC, and a few others. But these schools from the smaller conferences are making such an impact this post season that everyone is stunned. I never thought Davidson would beat Georgetown. WOW!!!

Back to Davidson. One of my dreams believe it or not, is to be a season ticket holder at Davidson. I am close to getting a home near the Davidson campus and it is a wonderful small town. Davidson game on a Tuesday, NC Charlotte game on a Wednesday, North Carolina Central game on a Thursday, and a North Carolina (2 hours) game on a Saturday. That's basketball heaven lol.

Davidson winning against Georgetown killed almost every non Davidson fan's bracket! Who would have even imagined? I guess that killer pre conference schedule paid off! Davidson played some very tough teams from North Carolina in the early season. And yes Bob McKillip is a very good coach and always has been.

I met Bob McKillip years ago when he was the Head Coach at Long Island Lutheran HS. Now for those who are new to following prep basketball, LI Lutheran was the St. Anthony's and St. Benedicts of that time.They even built a great basketball mini arena onn the grounds. The history went all the way back to Billy Chamberlain attending North Carolina out of Lutheran on the heels of Charlie Scott integrating the Atlantic Coast Tournament. They must have produced over 50 D1 players over a 15-20 year period. Well Bob McKillip is a product of that coaching fraternity. As a side note many of the LI Lutheran players were recruited from the streets of NYC and abroad.

With the great success of Davidson this year everyone is now saying McKillip would have been great for this school or that school. Maybe, maybe not! Bob is right where he can be effective. Bob's X and Os have never been a question mark. His ability to recruit the super players from tough environments have always been the big question mark. No I am not talking about just Black kids! If you look at the Davidson roster, most if not all the kids are a reflection of each other. hard working and good students. No drama on or off the court. And if they are not foreign born, it's a great possibility they are from similar home backgrounds, and you can use Christian Curry as an example of the backgrounds. Bob, according to folks I know, always has been much more comfortable with these hard working kids than the ones with AAU coaches calling the shots, and others in their entourage.

Now just a little about Mr. Curry. Everyone knows who his dad is. But what alot of folks do not know is he was begging teams to look at him. No one bit!! Despite his Dad and Jay Bilas running the best North Carolina HS Holiday Basketball Tournament, The Bojangles Shootout, no one listened. Bob McKillip did and knew he had HIS TYPE OF PLAYER!!! The rest is history. By the way there is another Curry who attends the same high school (Charlotte Christian) that his brother attended. If I remember correctly, he will attend High Point in the fall!

Lastly, I am reminded as I watch the NCAA tournament how important preparation and coaching are for winning programs. It is NOT JUST ABOUT RECRUITING!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Basketball Issues

Am I missing something or is Seton Hall and it's AD taking this Gonzo thing a bit too far? I would appreciate finding out just what he is doing so bad that would make a fine University such as Seton Hall allow a witch hunt to start on a passionate and dedicated coach? Is he really bad? Do they want to bring in someone else after the huge strides made this past season? Does SHU want to be known as a "Coach Killer?"

What's going on at SHU can happen in corporate America, education, and anywhere else. Shows what happens when folks want to come after you. If this AD wants to get Bobby Gonzalez, he has the tools to be successful because he gets more meetings with the higher ups than anyone else. One thing for certain, and I know this from experience on both sides, they are putting together a case for now or the future.

Now what should Bobby do? Maybe he should go to the Final 4 with an open mind concerning future jobs. Who wants to stay with an AD who seems out to hurt you, get rid of you, or at the least hurt your recruiting possibilities. Anyone ever work for a supervisor who did not like them and used every opportunity to make their life miserable? If so you know what I mean!!!

SHU does not seem like the type of school that could or would waste money by paying Bobby if he was fired. But if he is fired for cause, based on something in his contract on behavior, it could be messy. My suggestion even though I am the last person anyone would listen to, is to conduct a thorough investigation of the entire SHU athletic department including relationships with other schools and with coaches and staff. The evaluators should be people who understand the nature of big time sports. But from what I see, SHU might just make the Rutgers AD the chair of the investigative committee!

Which brings me to this point. Sometimes a person is set-up for failure before he or she even starts a new job. At Seton Hall this is the case with both the Head Basketball Coach and the Athletic Director. At a school such as SHU, without football, those two MUST GET ALONG and share the same or similar visions. It's not happening because the hiring was done in a way that was bound for ups and downs. Bobby was not the AD's first choice if he was the choice at all. This was almost like an arranged marriage between a person from Brooklyn and a person from Iowa. I also think Seton Hall surprised people by hiring an AD from a rival school. And even more surprising is the rival school, where the hired AD was coming from was not exactly a blueprint for success with men's basketball which is the top sport at Seton Hall University. It was similar to hiring the Assistant AD from North Carolina to become the AD at Duke, even though both have very good basketball programs. The Seton Hall AD was going to hear whispers from day 1 because he was the Rutgers AD's guy. Not only that, he was the person the Rutgers basketball staff loved and socialized with. He might even have a few with them at a local pub on occasion. Why even put him into this type of situation where people would watch almost too closely? He would have been better off going to UMass or somewhere out of the Big east before returning to a school such as Seton Hall. I wonder if the Rutgers AD job opened in the next year or two, would the SHU AD take the job?

Big Upset in the NCAA Tournament

West Virginia with tons of High School All Americans including top a few 5 players from NJ beat Duke! Ooops, my bad! West Virginia does not have any High School All Americans......YET!!! They also do not have two top 5 players from NJ.....YET!!! But they will soon based on that staff including two outstanding recruiters in Harris and Hahn to go along with Mr. Close by any means necessary, Bobby Huggins.

West Virginia proves what happens when you develop your talent, and when you play a style that allows your team to be successful. Bobby came in and ran the same offense the previous WVU coach ran. His new book will be called, "a formula for success!"

NJIT Information

Hot off my sources lips. NJIT is considering slot of people. But one name they are not interested in is Steve Demeo (sp), ex Providence Assistant. ARE THEY CRAZY? They should be begging for a guy like that after going O for what ever and playing in HS looking gym. Of course I still love Juse R, and Bruce Hamburger but other I like are Ron Brown from FDU, and even a guy like Ray Haskins, ex LIU super coach who took LIU to back to back NCAA and NIT births for the first time in years before being let go because of a undermining AD (sound familiar?). I also hear they are strongly considering Tony Campbell, ex NBA player and Paramus Catholic Head Coach.

Well, time to head to Church before returning for more basketball. HAPPY EASTER to EVERYONE!!!!!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Basketball Tidbits

Well the tournament is on the way and the first round was not as exciting as I wished. This was a great time of the year for me many years ago. It was a time when most Guys, and some Gals, called in sick to watch the opening round games. I know I did, and it was something I really enjoyed.

Unfortunately CBS has ruined the opening round by not being creative enough to move the coverage around. It's not just about covering the close games, we want to see other games involving teams we rarely see. Want to hear the "Lets Go Peay" cheers. We want to see the Belmont's of the world (and we did) and their famous alumni attending to support their teams. I for one honestly dread the day ESPN lost the contract to broadcast this event. We needed Dickie V involved with the Belmont game! I know you can use your computer to go from game to game, but it does not take away the pain from the way they are broadcasting. And talk about boring!!! I would bet work attendance for men is up the past 3 years during this event. At one time supervisors knew attendance and productivity would be down during the NCAA's.

Lets Talk Games

As good as the Duke vs Belmont game was, the UCLA vs Mississippi Valley State was the opposite. Will someone please explain why these match-ups exist? oops, I know why now. The same reason the Belmont vs Duke game took place. Anything can happen! But unfortunately it happens far and few in between. Most of these games are always one sided with the lower seeded team being embarrassed. Think Mississippi Valley State is still happy about being included? Lets see that cheer when the seeding's were announced again lol. Just one time I would love to see a 16 or 15 seed say "&^%^&&^%$^%% we have to play North Carolina? We should have went to the NIT!" Money wise it's a great thing. Public relations wise it could backfire. I still think we need a D1AA with same money breakdowns with the top 1AA teams moving on to be seeded in the regular D1 NCAA Tournament.

I still remember a school called Prarie View (sp) from Texas attempting to recruit kids out of Newark and NYC years ago. Unfortunately everywhere the PV Coaches went in the area they were laughed at and mocked. Though they were an NCAA D1 team, they had finished a season similar to what NJIT had this year. So getting blown out takes away the excitement of making the tournament.

How about Temple playing Michigan State tough yesterday. It seems to me Temple is back in a good way. With a few more pieces added the puzzle they could be a major eastern player.

West Virginia beating Arizona does not surprise me because WVA has great bench Coaches who also are world class recruiters. They will be even better in the future than they were under Baeline (sp).

More On Local Teams, And I will Keep This Real

Seton Hall University is being suicidal in their treatment of Bobby Gonzalez. But I also think the Big East Commissioner is out to lunch. How dare he get on Fred Hill Jr. and Bobby Gonzalez. Is he crazy!! Doing what he did in front of the entire Big East basketball family was so wrong the Presidents of the Big East should suspend him without pay for two weeks. Talk about un-professional!

Back to SHU. Everyone knows they were moving in the right direction. Should folks be super pleased with the season? NO!! Please somewhat? YES!! Add a few peices and this team will sell out every game in the Prudential Center at the 10,000 capacity. Even the game against NJIT!

Rutgers has alot of areas to clean up. This is not a thorough assessment of the RU program because I am not qualified to do that. But Fred Hill Jr. is! He needs to sit down and really reflect on the season. How well did his players hold up physically during the season? How was the development process? Mental development? How well did he coach? Were his Assistants helpful and if so how? Can he compete in the BE with what he has playing the same style as this year? Will Rosario make that much of a difference? Remember as good as he is, he is not Mike Beasly or Kevin Love, or even OJ Mayo physically, which is one of the reasons those three had great freshmen seasons.

Recruiting wise let me break it down. Rutgers signed some very good players who would be extremely impressive if they were a winning program already. Unfortunately they are not. Rosario could be as good as Chandler was this year. Morris is morris. Good but not a program changer. Jackson is a wing who could be good in time. He needs to work hard this off season to get more prepared. But the biggest recruit FHJ should be going after, and it is not Ebanks, is a GREAT STRENGHTH and CONDITIONING GUY!!! The RU kids need to get stronger.

Just A Bit On NJIT

Will these guys open the purse strings and get a decent guy ASAP! Recruiting is taking place now! Get the William Patterson Guy and bring the Hamburger guy with him if he does not go to a local higher profile program because HE UNDERSTANDS X's and O's very well. The time is NOW!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I always say what's On My Mind

I have not spoken to Bobby Gonzalez in over a year. But one thing for certain, I think Seton Hall has a heck of a Coach and a person who will find a way to return them to the glory days they seek. Now I still think he needs a strong older guy on his staff to assist him in some areas, but overall Seton Hall's gain was St. Johns loss.

Folks are concerned about his antics without realizing the passion he has for the game. With him what you see is what you get! Can he bring it down a notch? Yes! Should he? I am not sure! I think kids love playing for animated guys who are coaching as hard as they should be playing. I would rather have a lunatic type coach winning than a laid back coach wearing tweed jackets and button down shirts losing and bringing zero excitement. Bobby's real problem is he followed a GREAT GUY who was laid back that won and went to the NCAA's. As soon as he gets The Hall to the NCAA's he will be fine. And he has a good chance of doing this.

Looking at the Seton Hall program, with the new arena, Bobby is the perfect coach to make the place exciting. In the future there will be people coming to see him coach or should I say perform. What he is going through with the new AD at SHU is wrong, wrong, and wrong.

I know for a FACT that the RU folks including one particular coach was really hoping your curret AD would get the AD job at SHU. He had the political backing and influential backing to get the job over some other good candidates including Gene Marshall who would have worked well with all of your coaches.

An AD is not supposed to be a police officer to the athletic department. He/She should not be a enforcer! The Ad at a university should be supportive of the coaches, and various teams. Now if this guy continues to mess with Bobby, and some other school opens up that is attractive, who could blame him for running. And those who feel he only has one more year to prove himself are wrong. Compare the direction SHU is headed to other tri-state universities? I guess you see what I am referring to.

Now back to this AD at SHU. I am sure he is a decent guy who might have gotten too far in to back-up and make the relationship with Bobby Gonzalez work. But he can if he does a real good self evaluation. He needs to be aware that he works for SHU and no one else. He should not have been in that picture with the Rutgers staff. It looked bad and gave people a reason to wonder. He seems out to get Bobby Gonzalez as opposed to defending him in the press. He should have been on the phone with the BE commissioner arguing for and supporting Bobby. And a suspension? Who is he impressing? What is he proving? The commissioner and the SHU AD are both wrong for even discussing Bobby and Fred Hill Jr. It's a rivalry, that's all!!!

Lastly, if anyone needs to leave SHU it should be..............................!

Finally. If anyone thinks the negitive press and lack of cooperation between the AD and Head Coach will not hurt SHU recruitment they are wrong!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tournament of Champions in NJ

Short But Not Sweet

Enough is enough. The way the State Tournament of Champions is done in NJ eliminates the better teams early in most cases. Not much can be done about the group tournaments and Private A and B. But to get the best school the T of C must be changed to include at least 2 at large teams who will be seeded based on regular season record. The game won by St. Anthony's last night is proof that the system is wrong.

Everyone knows a St. Anthony's vs St. Patrick's game would be a great game and a true indicator of who is best in NJ. With 2 additional at large teams the field would be 8 with no team getting a first round bye.

AAU season is fast approaching which means it is time for the "Real Recruiting Season" to start. Unfortunately this happens because the emphasis has moved from HS to AAU participation. In fact, all over the country some kids do not even play HS basketball. They just play AAU or travel team basketball and believe it or not still receive scholarships.

Looking forward to the many tournaments in NJ, Pa., and especially North Carolina. Should be a very interesting season!!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Selection Sunday

Well another selection Sunday has come and gone and we hear the same things we heard a year ago. "The Tournament should be expanded" "Good Ole State U was screwed" "The Mid Majors Were not treated Fairly" "Enough of Vitale" "NC should not be playing in NC" and much more. Well I have a few points to make on this years post season tournaments.

First of all I cringe every time I hear someone mention "The Committee" like it is some national board of elders making life saving decisions. Please say "the NCAA Basketball Committee."

I honestly think it was a good ole boy network that would put in Kentucky despite them having a horrible season. Forget about name recognition, they were not worthy this season.

I think Virginia Tech should have made the field of 64 based on the 2nd half of the season, and the plain fact they were one of the top teams eligible for an at large birth.

On the NIT front I feel Seton Hall was treated unfairly. No matter what anyone says they deserved to make the NIT!!

Lets talk match-ups. North Carolina, UCLA, and Kansas should have smooth roads to the NCAA final four. Memphis will run into some serious obstacles. But the seeding was done in a way that allows for the best opportunity in many years for the four top seeds to make it to the final four. I really see very little upsets. In fact, like this season of American Idol, it looks rather cut and dry. I am somewhat interested in some of the games early on. Especially the 8-9 games.

But how about that play in game involving Coppin State? Are you serious? What is the real purpose of this game? In fact what is the real purpose of alot of the games? It still amazes me when I see a 15 seed from a small conference with a 6 ft 6 Center jump up to cheer when their game against a strong 2 seed is announced. It's almost like the arena during the days of Caesar, and the Gladiator stands and cheers when he finds out he will be sent out to fight the lions and tigers, Most likely it will be a quick exit. I always wondered why certain teams accepted bids knowing they did not have much of a chance to win. Maybe they should just go to the NIT or another tournament for D1 schools from smaller conferences.

I also think some schools are wrong to turn their nose up at the new post season tournament. If you can get an opportunity to continue playing and get your younger players some needed experience, why not do it?

Here is my formula for the post season

There should be a NCAA D1 tournament and a D1AA tournament that starts a week earlier. D1AA teams would get same compensation as they would receive if they went into the regular tournament so money would not be a problem. This would involve all the smaller conference teams playing games the week before the selection show with 4 regional winners going into the regular NCAA tournament which would give them a week to rest legs for the big tournament. This way you would have room for the Virginia Tech's of the world who would beat most of the teams coming out of smaller conferences, as well as room to even award any smaller conference team an at large bid based on them having just an exceptional record that season.

I understand the NCAA tournament is a highlight for players and schools. Especially smaller ones who love the financial gains. This way the field would be expanded and there would be room for additional teams without watering down the field.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ex Northern NJ Star Gone

Great Person Gone

Today as we all are caught up in March Madness and thinking about the great players past and present from NYC, NJ, Pa. and Conn. I want to take just a little bit of time to salute one of the nicest families and best players I saw in Bergen County. I am talking about Mark Fizulich, who left us for a better place and just had a funeral.

Mark and his family will always be super special to me because of what they represented. They lived in Bergenfield NJ, the town next to where my family resided which was Teaneck, NJ. Oddly the first time I watched him play as a sophomore at Bergen Catholic, I knew he was special in more ways than one. He just was a natural leader and a GREAT PERSON! Believe it or not, O looked at my JHS Son at the time and said, I hope you turn out like that kid.

At that time mark attended Bergen Catholic HS, a place most non Bergen catholic people hated. They never had Black players and did not seem interested in getting any. But this kid and his teammates were not color conscious and even aware who was on the team. They just played basketball.

During that summer I ran into Mark and his family and we hit it off wonderfully. They even tried to get me to send my son to Bergen catholic. Of course I did not because he did not even like basketball that much despite being pretty tall, and plus he was going to play at Teaneck if he played anywhere. But I did continue to follow Mark and became one of his biggest cheerleaders. He was smoooooooth on the court. In fact he was one of the people who did inspire my son to finally play basketball and take it serious. He showed my son by example. We even worked out together and he was a VERY HARD WORKER!

When it came time for him to pick a college, I felt he was over looked by many local D1 schools where he could have played. He did not wait and chose St. Michael's in Vermont, a GREAT SCHOOL with basketball tradition. From what I recently found out, he did the right thing and had a great career going for himself.

I write this piece on Mark because he made such an impact on me and my son. He was what we never expected from a Bergen Catholic kid. His parents were warm and friendly all the time. Just special people. I actually cried when I read about him in the Bergen Record. I was even tempted to get my son off the set he was working on and venture to LI for the funeral. He meant that much to us. Sadly I lost contact with him and his family over the years, especially when I was a stupid over the top parent with no sense who just happened to have a recruited son playing HS basketball. I really wish I could have told Matt what he meant to us and how much My son admired him.

Rest in peace Mark knowing you left your mark on many of us.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Did anyone predict the BE quarter finals would have Georgetown, West Virginia, Marquette, and Pitt? I doubt it. West Virginia is a huge surprise because most of the experts predicted they would be at the bottom of the conference. Honestly I think Huggins got more from his players than John Baeline, and I am a huge Baseline fan!! Shows what happens when you put kids in position to succeed.

I still say Bobby G is getting a raw deal in the media. Yes he is out of control often, but what is being said is plain wrong. I also think FHJ did nothing wrong. Nothing at all in regards to Bobby G.

Jamar Nutter's actions with James of Marquette surprised me. Jamar is one of the classiest kids you will ever meet. For him to do what he did is so out of Character. Could it be possible we caught the retaliation for something done by Mr. James earlier?

The Tournament of Champions final in NJ would have been so much better and interesting if they did the 2 at large teams suggested by many. As it stands who will attend? Boring and not a good indicator of best NJ HS teams.

I see a number of transfers taking place this off season. I can just feel it!!! One that I can see happen, and no I did not get this from anyone, is Costner getting out of NC State. He had a zero yesterday in limited minutes. Sidney Lowe might have coaches a little in the NBA, but he has failed the kids on his team in regards to development and putting them in position to succeed. NO WAY COSTNER and Gavin Grant who scored maybe 2 points, should not be scoring double figures each game. Gavin is a senior so it's over for him. But Costner is a red-shirt Sophomore. If he leaves he would still only have 1 year left to play unless he requested and received a hardship that would allow him to play right away at a school near his home. UMMMMMMMM! Again this is all me because no one has said a thing to me nor do I have inside information.

Transferring with one years left is not a bad thing despite what many people might say. If a player has money making potential and is being held back, he needs to get to a comfortable place where he can work hard for an entire season, and play that last year in the best shape of his life. Not for all but the exceptional kid could make this work. I wonder if Tyrell Biggs will enjoy coming off the bench at Pitt his senior season? Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Again just my thoughts and no inside information.

Bobby G said yesterday he has some surprise recruits. Looking forward to seeing who. But trust me when I tell you some kids LOVE his coaching style even if SHU folks want him to calm down.

I speak alot about coaching changes. But trust me I do not like seeing people lose jobs!! Hopefully some people will find other opportunities in a particular school or at another program that will make room for local programs adding staff. I have a feeling about what might happen locally but I will watch and see if it plays out.

Getting close to the AAU/REC season. Very exciting tournaments coming our way. The CYP in Portchester NY, The Playez Ball, Hoop Group Stuff, and much more. I will re post my AAU stuff in the near future. After I do the LFBallonHoops Awards including Coach of the Year, Player of the year, Selfish player of the year, most overrated

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Todays Thoughts

Freddy Hill and Bobby G

This FHJ vs Bobby G thing has gone way too far. The Commissioner wants to do an investigation over what happened the last regular game of the season? STOP!!! If anything he should be taking both Coaches to dinner as a way of thanking them for getting this local rivalry going again. I for one loved it and appreciate the competitive spirit of both Coaches. Heck the only thing they could have done better is had an actual fist fight at halftime. This was not a situation that called for an investigation. I have seen Dean Smith and Roy Williams have words about and with Coach K and there was not an investigation. Folks ate it up on Tobacco Road.

Now going after a Ref is a no no, but to have a serious rivalry will only sell more tickets next season. I can see the ESPN intro now. It will show FHJ walking past Gonzo at the end of the last game. It will show Gonzo running on the court. It will show FHJ clapping as he walked towards Gonzo. It will show the Gonzo press conference. It will show JR's shot. and lastly it will show the BE Commissioner. Are you kidding me? This is great basketball and the stage for next season could not have been better set! A must ESPN Game!

Lets look at FHJ. What did he do wrong? NOTHING!!!! He was only acting as he felt. He shook hands because he had to, but he does not like Gonzo. He did NOTHING WRONG!! Well he could have been better with JR after he made the shot. But Freddy is Freddy. Love hime in your living room but he is hard in practice. Being a first time head coach is difficult for many. Going from wearing the white hat to the black hat can be overwhelming. In this case it has been just that. But he should not get any type of suspension. In fact RU should give him a vacation bonus for fighting to the end and bringing his team back from the dead.

How about Gonzo. Folks, what you see is what you get! A great competitor who sometimes acts like he is still coaching on 145th and Lennox avenue in the Rucker or City-Wide Tournament. The way he is up on every play is just how all the coaches tend to act in NYC rec basketball. From Riverside to the Gauchos to Abyssinia Baptist Church, to Dyckman. I for one LOVE THAT COACHING style. he is in on every play. He is playing the game with his players. All he needs is to wear a warm-up suit as he coaches. But tell you what, no one can say he does not have a good understanding of the game. Folks at the Hall use to be upset when Louis Orr did not get more involved. Now they have Gonzo and he does not act like they want him to act. Well folks as I have mentioned here in the past, PJ was no saint! Neither was John Wooden who would yell horrible stuff at his and OPPOSSING players through that rolled up program he always had in his hand. Different coaching styles for different people. Little Louie at SJU was a huge cry baby and complainer. But he was loved because he was little, cute to some, and legendary. What Bobby did after the Rutgers game was be Bobby. Nothing phony, just the truth and nothing but the truth. Just as he said on radio, he loves his YOUNG COACHING STAFF lol. Should he had knocked the Refs in public? NO!!! But other than that what did he do wrong except play to the end.

The season is over for Rutgers. But SHU has a chance to make a post season tournament after losing to a very good Marquette team last night. SHU competed better but MU had all the answers including a brilliant underrated kid named McNeil who was a heck of a leader and has NBA written all over him.

What does next season bring?

Rutgers needs much better chemistry and a TRUE POINT GUARD who passes, leads, and defends. Everyone talks about the front court but the difference between the Marquette 3 guard line-up and both SHU and RU's versions is cause for alarm. I do think SHU is further along. But maybe Risario will really help RU more that I now think he will. But if RU went down and got a tough as nails JC PG who was just a bit older they could be dangerous. But alot also depends on what JR does in the off season in more ways than one.

SHU will be much netter next season because Harvey will go back into a Brooklyn lab and improve himself tremendously. he will go back to being a tough and talented leader with Paul Gause healthy and next to him. Hazell will be a star and Davis, Garcia, and the other big's will be experienced enough to get it done much better next season.

The RU vs SHU Tickets for Next Season

Hard to get based on THE NEW TYPE RIVALRY. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's Tuesday/Unfair/Local Colleges

It's Tuesday and the dust has settled from the weekend.

First on my list is the bad practice by college coaches of not hiring people they feel are strong as assistants. And if a person is over 45 they really have little chance of gaining positions despite the experience they have. If you look at all the assistants at local BE, A10, MAAC, NEC, and Colonial Schools, the most qualified Assistant working today is Ron Brown at FDU!!! Ex Florida A&M Head Coach, ex West Virginia Assistant, Loved by everyone, yet cannot get a break with higher level D1 schools. No baggage, just a great guy. Think he could not help RU, SHU, or SJU?

But the worst example is Robert Holford. John Calipari once offered Bobby a job at UMass and he turned it down being loyal to his buddy Dennis Jackson who wanted the job. Dennis was never hired and went on to start a NIKE program that focused on Academics. Needless to say Dennis never returned the favor to Bobby by offering him a position with his new program. Bobby has coached at Providence, Hofstra, FDU, been head coach at NY Tech, and Hostos Community College in NYC where he won the National JC Championship. The first National Championship by a NY based college team since CCNY many years ago. Despite this, he cannot even get an interview.

I do not even want to get into the Ray Haskins situation. He was royally screwed by LIU years ago and has not recovered, GREAT COACH, GREAT PERSON, GREAT ASSET to any program.

All of the local programs could be better with any of the people mentioned. I would put the 3 people I mentioned up against any 3 assistants on the east coast. Heck, I would bet they would out perform most of the Head Coaches. All they need is an opportunity. But I guess it's more fashionable to hire that 25 or 26 year old you can scream at and totally control.

Local Colleges

Rutgers season is over despite winning at Seton Hall. Just goes to show that the games between Rutgers and Seton Hall have the potential to become a Great Rivalry. If the games continue to be exciting, it can only help both programs. It was odd hearing the announcers say this is also about recruiting. Ummmmmmmmmmm, where did I hear that?

The game itself was good from what I saw. Unfortunately here in NE Pa. we tend to experience power failures quite often. That was the case on Sunday. I was able to see the final 3 minutes and it was very good.

Just a few tidbits.

Its great that FHJ and Gonzo go at it. This makes the games even more interesting.
I did watch for and see the end of the game hand shakes, and from what I saw it seemed like FHJ barely wanted to shake BG's hand as he brushed by him. After walking by so quick he looked as if he realized TV cameras were rolling so he reached back to PAT, not hit, Pat BG on the back. It did not seem like a slap to me. It seemed like an afterthought to make up for the cold way he walked past Bobby.

I also saw Jim Carr say something to Bobby as he walked by. Not sure what or if it was good or bad. But something was said.

I found out what Bobby said to JR and I happen to agree with him 100%. He told JR that he has been through alot of stuff (used another word this season. Told him everyone knows he has skills and could play. Told him he wished he had a player like him on his team he could run stuff for. No he was not looking for JR to transfer. He was only saying what alot of people who coach for a living have said all year about JR's development and role on RU's team. I hope when JR and his family meet with FHJ in the very near future they can get a better understanding of why the communications between the 2 are so bad IF IT REALLY IS.

Loved the way JR ended with a game winner. He kept his form as he was falling down. I also loved the fact Griffin ended with some positives.

Eugene Harvey has not had a great season but I would take him if I was a high level D1 coach. Trust me, folks need to cool on putting him down. I know some of his Brooklyn folks and though they understand the game, they want Harvey appreciated if you know what I mean. I do think Bobby G appreciates him. I also think he will return to form next season. Heck, he might return to form for the BE tournament.

I honestly feel SHU has a great chance of getting high rated recruits in the future based on the New Arena. It is special and with 9000 fans in attendance, with more on the way in the next few years, it is a great place to play. Facilities are very important in recruiting as is fan base. Rutgers must re-do the RAC and build a practice facility. I am not saying make the RAC larger. I am saying make it more up to date with video, plushy seats, etc. Even if the attendance is brought down to 8000 seats only. It should be a showcase. I honestly do not feel there is a need for a 12,000 seat arena. But facilities and fan support matter. If RU had better facilities, Ebanks might have already committed there. But he still might based on Craig Carter and FHJ doing the recruitment the right and legal way. Unfortunately everyone does not do that. Which is why SHU and RU has such a hard (in addition to facilities) time attracting 5 star players.

Coaching Staff's

This is an interesting time of the year not only because of March madness, but because of Coaches Madness. This is the time when we see coaches change locations and assistants move around. What will happen locally?

Will SJU get a X and O guy in to assist Norm? Will RU get a seasoned guy to assist FHJ with running his program? Will SHU add someone to the staff who will make Bobby G more productive while mentoring him on court behavior?

I also would like to point out that Bobby G is totally different off the court than he is on the court. But I happen to like the fire he has and the way he gets after it all game long. He earns his money the hard way. Funny how no one hated on Lou Carnesecca for his court behavior. And PJ? He was something and he was very hard on his players to the point many wanted to actually go at him. Bobby only suffers from two things. One he says how he feels all the time. And some cannot deal with that because they are use to phony smile in your face and talk behind your back coaches. And the other thing is really something only I get upset with. He refuses to hire strong personalities.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Saturday!!!!!!! and Comment

Comment on Redmen.Com

I usually do not respond to angry posters, especially those on "sites" (hope I am using the word correctly) that do not allow outside people to post. But here is a response to a person on who questioned my grammar, etc.

First I want to apologize for any grammar that is incorrect. Trust me, when I re-read my stuff a day later, I see all types of mistakes lol. I honestly feel bad when folks get upset and question my blog comments based on the way something is written. Please forgive me for this now and in the future.

I say the future because this blog is done early in the morning before I start my normal everyday work assignments and activities. I unfortunately do not have an editor, or a 2nd pair of eyes to read what I have written. I type as I am thinking and attempt to do a quick spell check that would not pick up "site" as opposed to "sight." This might never change because this blog is a fun activity and not a work assignment. I do not expect to hear from the NY Daily News or the Newark Star Ledger concerning becoming a sports columnist or writer lol. It's just something I enjoy doing, and do more for me than anyone else. So if you see some mistakes, I am sorry and would be more than happy to correct them time permitting. But again this blog is really just Me posting information I feel safe to share with the many people who visit my BLOG site daily. I even hope to post more interesting insider stuff in the future but have to wait for the right timing. Any problems you can reach me at or call me at........ Just kidding. But the email address is real.
And if anyone wishes to see a sample of my real writing I will be happy and honored to share my works on Training, Diversity, Education, Marketing, Event Planning, and even my works presented to to government agencies and local politicians on issues ranging from working with the elderly and educationally disadvantaged. Please do not take me to serious concerning my blog. It's just a FUN THING!!!


Interesting scores from local college teams from yesterday. Columbia wins and now is 14 and 14. Great job this season by Jay Jones, the former Villanova Assistant. Today's game against Penn is a huge one for the Lions.

Towson over Hofstra. WOW!! Will we see Pat Kennedy back in the big time after resurrecting the Towson Program. Talking about a any means necessary coach!

Delaware over arch rival Drexel. Huge win for the Hens anytime they beat Drexel. This will impact recruiting as well. I think Monte Ross is really turning the corner at Delaware, a school at one time viewed as the best mid major job on the east coast.

Stony Brook over Maine. The State University of NY is really doing well with Stony Brook, Binghamton, and Albany. They could have easily become NJIT type teams. All do well attendance wise especially Binghamton and have become hard games for mid major opponents.

Saturday Interesting Games

Louisville vs Georgetown

DC will be rocking as Slick Rick comes to the nations capital to take on the Hoyas. I am sure there will be 15,000 plus fans in the building for this game. Is it me or does it seem JT the 3rd has it going on better than his Dad who did a great job? Georgetown wins this game

St. Joseph's vs Dayton

Spoke with Anthony Solmon, Dayton Assistant Coach at a rest stop on the Delaware turnpike (if it is called that) on my way to South Carolina a couple of weeks ago. Anthony was the HC at St. Bonaventure until this season. he said he was amazed at the fan support at Dayton and the love the fans have for their team. Rumor has it that Dayton Basketball tickets are usually part of divorce settlements.
Dayton wins this game

Marquette vs Syracuse

Great games featuring very good guards. The short bench at Syracuse could hurt them
but the fans will be out to support with loud voices. Syracuse will give all it has but Marquette has a strong team.
Marquette wins this game

North Carolina vs Duke

Great game and even greater atmosphere. Tickets must be going for $500 on tobacco road. Duke won the first game in Chapel Hill so the Tarheels really want this one. But can they withstand the tremendous 9000 fans and the Duke talent?
Duke wins this game

Tournament of Champions in NJ

Great time of the year for HS hoops in NJ. Looking forward to seeing the finals. However, I do wish they would change the TofC format. I would love to see 2 teams brought into the Tournament of Champions as at large teams after the group championships are decided. This way teams are not penalized for being in a stronger part of the state. This way a team such as St. Patrick's could still be seeded and participate. Ditto St. Anthony's on years they are eliminated despite really being a top 2 school in the state of NJ.

Friday, March 7, 2008

High School and College Seasons Coming to an End

It's been a very long season for local teams. I loved the article done by a local area paper that highlighted the seasons of our college teams. Unfortunately I did disagree when it came to Seton Hall. I think they are having a solid season and will be in the post season. I also think Villanova is a post season team and will be in a tournament depending on what they do in the BE tournament.

St. Johns and Rutgers? Both have not been as good as fans want them to be. But both head coaches have a great opportunity to get their programs on order for next season. I am sure FHJ has at least 2 years to show improvement while Norm has to get it done next year by any means necessary. I will not be surprised to see both programs make staff changes in order to add a solid X and O person. Next year Fordham, Iona, and Manhattan will hopefully be better. However, Derrick Whittenberg will not be able to smile through many more bad seasons on Rose Hill even though he seems headed in the right direction. Willard at Iona seems to have 100 people looking out for him based on calls I recieve from people asking about certain players I know at out of area schools who they anticipate transferring back to the area.

NJIT needs to identify a hard working assistant or a D3 or D2 head coach to turn that program around. Let me give them a hint. Jose....., William Patterson..... Former SHU player...... And how about bringing in with a good coach, a good assistant like a person whose last name makes you think of a hamburger. Than they could give a great offer to guy coaching at St. Peters who has a great rising 9th grade son. He might not ever get his son, but he would be that other FT assistant who could get players. I am sure there are many more good candidates. But would they take the job? Maybe they could give Kevin Boyle a great offer?

Other area teams have also taken a slide. Manhattan has a very well dressed coach who will eventually get it done because he is LOVED, not liked, Loved by everyone he comes in contact with. Just a matter of time.

Back to SJU. Does anyone get a feeling SJU is stalling a year because they have their sight (yes I had site here lol) on someone very special? Though it is a great chance for Norm to right the ship, it also gives SJU an opportunity to put together a serious package to get a new person for the 2009-2010 season. Talk about pressure!!!

Ebanks Thoughts

This will be a battle over attending a program where he starts and stars out of the gate or attending a program where he might start but not be the main focus his first year. UConn will be a major players for him despite not being listed. He sees the solid crowds at UConn games and understands the benefits if you know what I mean. I also think some other schools out there will try to tempt him by any means necessary, something RU and SHU would not do. Mom from what I read just wants him to be with good solid people. But we all know peer pressure is a very important factor with basketball recruits. It takes a solid kid not to be influenced when his friends whisper in his ear how bad RU was this year, or talk about the lack of facilities. This will be a hard one but anything can happen.

This brings me to another point. SHAME ON ME!!!!!!!!!!! Shame on me for being so hard on JR this season. Shame on me for being so hard on Griffin. Both those young men along with Farmer committed to Rutgers at a time very few kids on their HS level were considering the Scarlet Knights. Yes RU had Webb,and he was treated well by the fans despite never living up to his HS press clippings. But he was a leader. QD? Did better than his HS clippings. But after those two local players no one really wanted to stay home to play at RU. Those 3 kids took a leap of faith. Now the applause has turned into jeers and put downs. Yes we all understand the potential they have, especially me. But I and maybe others need to step back and appreciate what ever they give and provide.

I can also say the same thing about Nutter and Harvey at Seton Hall. Fans have been very hard on them, especially Nutter. Both stayed home to attend College despite having many other offers. Yes they need to play better but they still have given alot to the SHU program.

Speaking again of Seton Hall. I really feel SHU has used the new Pru center to their advantage. That place looks like an exciting place when there is a game. On TV, and in person. Kids looking at SHU will be very impressed. If Tyreke Evans committed to SHU I would not be stunned or surprised because they honestly have alot to offer him. Next season they could easily bring that curtain up a bit to accommodate 2000 more fans. I think Sunday's game against RU will be electric.

Bob Hurley Sr. vs Kevin Boyle

What is up with this? Both are great coaches who have great programs. Honestly I feel Hurley is a true hero and Kevin is a not far behind. Well maybe somewhat further than that because Hurley is legendary!! But the bottom line is both have done so much for kids most people have never heard of. Both have suggested kids to colleges from schools other than their own. Both care about every kid in their respective programs. Both on a yearly basis have national programs. These two guys along with my guy Danny Hurley, Maurice Hicks at Rice in NYC, Gary DeCaeser when he was at St. Raymond's, Bob C at Mt. Vernon, and a few others have done things others dream of. In fact I know a certain young man who never met Bob Hurley yet it was Hurley who convinced a certain school in the CAA to take him a s a transfer. And please do not let me start on the charity stuff these guys do. So with that, all I say is CAN WE JUST GET ALONG!!!!

Monday, March 3, 2008


CIAA Tournament

Had a wonderful opportunity to attend the annual CIAA basketball tournament which was held in Charlotte North Carolina last week with the championship being held on Saturday evening. This might not be of interest to some folks but to others it might be something to see in the future.

The CIAA is a conference of historical Black colleges and universities stretching from the Carolinas to Maryland. Though it is a division 2 league, fans from all over the country and world attend yearly. Over 250,000 people visited Charlotte for this event even though the majority could not attend or did not have an interest in the actual games being held. This was a college reunion weekend for people who had attended schools in the CIAA in the past, families of former students, ex players, ex coaches, and people such as me who was just interested in seeing this gala first hand after hearing about it for years. And for those folks who will say it is only a Black thing, they are so wrong. The 2007 player of the year was a White player. The teams have White players and the best team has a White legendary coach. After attending I walked away with tremendous respect.

Years ago this conference was one of the best in America regardless of D1, D2, or D3, affiliation. Unfortunately a large number of former teams opted out over the years to compete in the MEAC and other leagues in order to win the right to get blown out in the first round of the NCAA division 1 championship. Schools such as Hampton, Norfolk State, Delaware State, Morgan State, Winston Salem, Howard, and other I can not think of have left to seek greener pastures. Oddly, alumni from those schools who left STILL RETURN for the CIAA tournament. I asked a few why and they responded that it is more about networking and having fun than anything else.

The actual week had workshops for HS students, sports clinics, vendors, Party's, Party's and did I say Parties? There were also live concerts and workshops with very famous people. College tuition scholarships were awarded, cars were won from Ford, and the Bands Did There Thing! Did I mention there was also a few basketball games?

The games included a HS tilt between Oak Hill Academy and Montrose Christian. Did not catch that because I was at a huge All Men Fish Fry given by former LIU head coach Ray Haskins who is a CIAA alumnus. A chance to discuss college basketball while eating great food!! A lot was said about RU, SHU, and SJU. And remember most of the 60 people at the event were NYC and NJ connected basketball people. And speaking about Ray Haskins, how in the world is he un-employed after leading LIU to an NCAA and NIT birth in back to back years. I can think of at least three local teams who could use him as a bench X and O coach. Remember he is the guy who taught John Thompson Sr. the full court press that made Georgetown the team they were. John spent days with Ray after watching his than legendary Alexander Hamilton HS team play while recruiting one of the many D1 players Ray produced as they competed in uniforms made by hand from a few parents because the school, now known as Paul Roberson, had no money for uniforms. He also is the same guy who sent his star player Andre Erving home when he arrived for a tournament game without shoes and a neck tie which was required for all players when they traveled.

The college games were sold out all week in the fabulous Bobcat Arena, home of the Charlotte Bobcats. Very similar to the Pru Center but the Pru to me is nicer and not as tight. I loved the all glass practice facility where you can watch the Bobcats practice from the street on occasion. It was not too long ago that this tournament had Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, Bobby Dandridge, Rik Mahorn, Mike Davis, Ben Wallace, Charles Oakley, Pee Wee Kirkland, Sam Jones, and many others playing to sold out arenas. This was the conference that took all the good southern players when schools in the ACC were not interested in Black players. Thanks to Charlie Scott when he attended North Carolina out of NYC via Laurenburg Institute, this changed. But the conference remained strong for many, many years.

As I stood in the lobby between games just enjoying the atmosphere I ran into former Fordham University Assistant Coach and current Sports Editor of The NY Amsterdam News Howie Evans. He was shocked to see me to say the least. He gave me some history but left me saying this event is the greatest basketball event in America. I know he and I have been to NCAA final 4's, McDonald All American Classics, NBA championships, The NBA All Star Game (this really might be number 1), and other basketball events so we both can do intelligent comparisons.

After watching an entire city embrace over 250,000 fans and visitors, I have to say it is definitely in the top 2 basketball events in this country! I know I will be a regular at future CIAA tournaments.


I still think SHU can do a good job in the BE Tournament and surprise people. The guard play is key but we all know the guards are tough kids who will compete hard. Up front they might not more seasoning but the bigs on SHU will compete. Anything can happen but regardless of the outcome SHU is moving in the correct direction. The RU season finale will be a hard fought game with RU leaving everything on the court.


I told folks Norm Roberts was turning the corner. I always felt SJU would bring him back because they have always been a loyal school to loyal people who are gentlemen . I felt this could happen but remain somewhat surprised because I felt SJU Fans would be all over this at the seasons conclusion. But Norm has to put up or shut up next season.


The game against SHU could be a war because it is the Big game for RU. There is no BE Tournament for Rutgers so this is the actual season finale. It also is an audition for all the RU players. it give FHJ a last chance to see his players in a game situation. It has been a hard year for RU and now it is coming to an end. But I truly believe the off season will be interesting. One thing for sure, I hope that barn League is discontinued. I also hope Inman, Farmer, and Griffin, are allowed to compete where they wish. For Inman it would be the NYC Pro AM. For farmer the Sonny Hill league or EO Summer Pro League which is where Griffin should play. These three kids have to go back to having fun and just playing without thinking RU basketball. Right now 2 of the 3 are in dire need of therapy from what I see. These kids are necessary for RU success next season regardless of what people might think and say.