Sunday, September 28, 2008


Jim Couch Games

Jim Couch, a legendary NYC Coach and Mentor has his 2nd annual all star games scheduled for Saturday, October 18th, 2008 at Kennedy HS in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. From the George Washington Bridge it is only 8-10 minutes and from the Tri-boro or Whitestone Bridges around 20 minutes. 3 games will take place including a Freshmen game, Girls game, and a HS All-Star featuring many of the top players from the NYC tri-state area including Lance Stephenson and Tobias Harris. The festivities kick off at 1:30 noon and admission is only $10. Come and see the star players your favorite schools are recruiting. This will be a very exciting day with great games and great basketball conversations.

Lance Stephenson visits St. Johns for a day

This was a huge get for the SJU coaching staff. Seems like they are right in there with many talented players. All they have to do now is close a few deals the way Louie C. did it years ago. I think SJU has a chance for this true program changer based on him looking at the NBA and only the NBA. Lance must see that he could be a star faster at SJU than anywhere else he is considering, despite his great talent!

Lance at SJU helps Lance and SJU equally, even if it is only for one year. Lance opens the flood gates for other area and national kids recruitment. SJU will be on the lips of everyone. On the court, the Red Storm will be a better team as long as they get others in addition to Lance. But with Lance, we are looking at a person who will somewhat dominate from day one on the biggest stage in America, New York City! If he averages 16 points, 4 assists, and 5 rebounds, he will be a top 10 pick in the NBA draft based on rep alone. He will have his own sneaker, and the sky is the limit. Heck, his dad might even get his own sneaker!

Now if Lance decides to go to one of the other places, he is taking a chance on his future because despite how good he is, many coaches have tremendous ego. Think Derrick Character or Sean (See what happens, I cannot even remember his last name now! Is it Bell?) ? would have gone through what they did if they attended SJU, RU, or SHU? I doubt it!! Still remember John Caliperi dogging Sean in such a way it has been difficult for him to make an NBA roster. Maybe this year, but the window is slowly closing because each year after your coming out year it becomes more difficult to make a team (see Omar and Lenny Cook). How about Derrick Character? He would be at his NBA teams camp by now after being a first round draft choice (with hard work, etc. of course).

When a kid like Lance comes along, he has to make sure he steps into a situation where he will be the main attracting from day 1. He really has that opportunity right now at SJU. It is a situation and opportunity he cannot afford to miss!

Tobias Harris

Now this is another story. Tobias needs to be at a program that loves him and not just wants him, as many do when they just stockpile players. This kid would be ideal at Rutgers with the great guards there! Now some folks get on me based on how they think I feel about certain situations. There are some issues I have with certain individuals working at Rutgers. But that does not include Fred Hill, and Craig Carter! I also love what happens to RU Grads!!! My man Shayle Keating is doing quite well and even considering law School. I can provide names of many more successful basketball alumni from Rutgers. Plus, the academic support folks there are OUTSTANDING, especially my man Mark Peterson!

But where ever Tobias attends he will be a great addition because he understands the game and plays it well at his pace. Inside, outside, team player, outstanding person off the court, tough on the court, and a true competitor. All this despite being quite the middle class kid he is lol. He has alot of meat in the refridgerater but it has not made him lazy or soft,

New Player in DC Area

All you college coaches get ready for a future national top 10 recruit who just arrived in Maryland last week from Africa. 6 ft 11 and classified as either a Freshmen or Sophomore at Arch Bishop Spalding HS, the same school that Rudy Gay attended. He is now working out a former college coach in the Bowie Md. area and from what I hear from my sources, he is "FOR REAL!" First name is Ivan from what I hear. But this kid will be on everyone's recruiting list within a few weeks. I Think the person working him out is Ed Myers.

Folks have really slept on Riley Moye, a 6 ft 8 player still growing from Stroudsburg, Pa, HS. Kid will be even better in college where the comp is better AND COACHING MORE INTENSE. RUNS, JUMPS, PASSES, AND SHOOTS. Binghamton University better offer soon because I hear alot of folks are headed down route 80 to see this kid work out!

OK what is the hold up Mr. Famous? If SHU offers you a scholarship it would be great for you and them. Close to home and going to a place where you are loved not just wanted. Plus, The Prudential Center will be a special place in the very near future. Great talent and a group of exceptional, knowledgeable, and passionate fans.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mr. Famous and More

Recruiting is really heating up. I spoke to two well respected D1 coaches who watched Mr. Jarrid Famous work out at Westchester Community College a week or so ago. Seems Missouri, Maryland, and Seton Hall see more in him than St. Johns and Rutgers. My buddies say who ever saw him play bad, saw him on a very bad night. One friend who is an ex D1 assistant says Mr. Famous would be best big man at St. Johns since Zendon Hamilton.

Mr. Famous will be at Seton Hall for an official visit this week. I have heard that he is a priority recruit for Bobby Gonzalez. In fact, one well known D1 Assistant Coach who is an exceptional teacher, has even helped SHU recruit this young man based on his relationship with Dermon Player and Bobby Gonzalez. At one time years ago, Dermon Player was his coach at Riverside Church.

Now the many who at one time said Mr. famous is not a BE talent seem to be singing his praise as they post encouraging messages to him on the SHU board. Great to see those GREAT and normally very knowledgeable (could be best HS talent evaluators, reporters,and fans in entire BE)come to their senses.

Well I think SHU has a great chance to get this players. And I think he would excel. But I also know the others are doing all they can to get him. Please do not be surprised if he sits out the Westchester season if his Coach, Winston Nicholas, does not return in time for the season after being out sick. That would mean he would have 3 years eligibility.

Now just imagine if SHU has Famous, Pope, Mitchell, Davis, Garcia, Glover (MANCHILD), Hazell, Lawrence, and Harvey. I could take that team to the post season lol. And if Glover suits up? WATCH OUT because he is a MAN and takes no crap!!

Binghamton and Niagara both are very interested in 6 ft 9 Riley Moye from Stroudsburg Pa. HS. This kid will be a star in his second year of college.

So Noel Johnson decides to attend Southern California. That is a real surprise but the kid really has game. And yes his Dad's name is Cheese, but it is a nick name. His real name is Lymbert Johnson, thus the Cheese nickname.

Looks like Greg Vatrone (sp), the ex UNLV Assistant has returned home to FDU where he started his D1 coaching career. This makes FDU a real threat on the recruiting trail with Tom Green, Ron Brown (One of the GREAT people in college basketball and a heck of a coach and recruiter), and Vatrone who knows how to get it done. Still remember coaching Vatrone in summer ball at King Towers in NYC. Tony hargraves (ex Iona star) and I had to threaten him to play a game against a team sponsored by a local drug lord who paid all his players, many of whom were D1 Stars at BE Colleges and universities. Greg played well and we played a 1-3-1 and almost pulled the huge upset against an all star team.

Again I say Rutgers vs University of Delaware at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark Delaware could be a very hard game for Rutgers. UD has some talent and will have a capacity crowd for this game.

Seton Hall also faces a tough task against Binghamton University. They have a very good team and based on the early date they will play, it could be a tough game for Seton Hall. Binghamton has some very good talent and very good coaching. Remember the name Tiki Mayburry (sp). Great talent who somehow found his way to Binghamton.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Some Thoughts

Just a few short posts for Friday

Seton Hall is so talented and it seems some folks are not really looking at the entire picture. At IS8 in Queens, they say bring your game and not your name! Well many on the SHU roster have great names and rankings, but THEY ALSO HAVE GAME!

Pope, Stix Mitchell, NUNU Harvey, Keon Lawrence, Jeremy Hazell, A new and improved Mike Davis, Garcia who I raved about when he was in HS, and more, this team will be a tough game for anyone they play when all these guys take the court. Tell me one of these guys is not a legit BE name, or talent. people need to think what it will look like with Pope at PF, Stix at SF, Davis/Garcia at Center, NuNu at PG, and Hazell at SG with Keon averaging around 12 a game off the bench. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This is a very good team and if they gel, watch out.

Rutgers also has good talent but I am sorry to say not quite what SHU has. I also like SHU's experience. They have 3 transfers who played very well in D1 basketball already.

For RU I think they do have talent. Some will be tested. I love how folks are putting Greg E. right into the starting line-up. I can not wait to see his first game because I have a certain feeling about what we all will see for at least 2 years. But I doubt we will see what we will see in Mr. Pope and Mr. Mitchell. JMHO.

Now in Rosario we will see a star in the making. Ditto Mr. Chandler, especially if he distributes the ball a little more this season. Pat Jackson will compete for minutes hard. TRUST ME! Farmer will be Steady. Coburn will be a spark off the bench, JR will average 14 or more a game this season when he returns, and The Big Fella will dominate the paint, at least defensively. I still find it refreshing how the international players accept roles easier than those raised here. He just wants to play, block shots, run the court, and compete. It is why he will play in the NBA one day. And I said this b4 anyone else and folks laughed.

Delaware and Binghamton will give RU and SHU tougher games than folks expect. Good thing Theo Davis will not suit up for the SHU game. He is a very good defensive player who can score.

Not sure what the deal is with SJU this season. But I do know they will get players for the future. So the future is bright at SJU

Win wise, I would love to go to Vegas and bet the odds that RU, SHU, and SJU will have better records than the experts predict. I also think SHU will be a first tier team next season when Harvey is a senior.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mt. Vernon and JR/Jeron Situation

Mount Vernon Tradition

At one time The Bronx NY was a true hot bed of HS basketball in the United States. They had a great public school program at Dewitt Clinton which turned out future pros in Dolph Schayes and Tiny Archibald, both who have been elected to the NBA Hall of Fame. Many other's have come through those doors including former NBA great Tom Henderson and NBA star Rick Sobers who never even played for the HS team and made the NBA via junior college and UNLV. His story is the story of many inner city players who have gone on to stardom.

Dewitt Clinton is no longer a power but for many years they and Boys High from Brooklyn were the top HS teams in NYC and known nationally. Because Clinton was very close to the Westchester Boarder, and many families seeked better lives in the suburbs, Mount Vernon became a basketball hotbed from the NYC influence. Very similar to Camden HS in NJ based on Philadelphia being so close. I am sure the closeness to the Bronx had much to do with this as did the kids there having relatives still living in the boro and venturing there to play summer ball..

Side bar. As a kid my youth team coached by Leroy Otis was called Young Life. Still remember those great Christmas Tournaments held at The Mount Vernon Boys Club. One year as 12 year olds we played Post 104, which was sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I remember it like it was yesterday. The Barn shaped facility was very crowded as we won the game 109 to 9. Yes you heard it right. 109 to 9. And we were only 12 year old kids. Fast forward. I am playing in the Montifiore (sp) tournament after my jr. year in HS and we are playing a great team that had many MT. Vernon Players including Gus Williams, Ray Williams, Earl Tatum, and Mike Young. All went on to NCAA D 1 schools and a few to the NBA. Well they beat us by 30 points. After the game as we were leaving Mike Young came over and said to us, including many who were on that 12 year old team, "You guys thought we forgot that 100 point loss you gave us when we were kids?" We were stunned that they never forgot that. But that is how MT. Vernon kids treat the game. They work hard to improve each year.

Back to the story. Because of the Bronx influence I think MT. Vernon always took the game more serious than the other towns in Westchester County. Kids in Scarsdale were not hungry (even though the Graves Family with Brooklyn ties, and John Revelli took them far into the counties years later), Yonkers had so many high schools that it was hard to compete against MT. Vernon although Gorton with a true HS All American Bernard Tombs did a great job for many years. Other great Yonkers players were Jim Bostic and Charlie Criss, both who had stints in the NBA But MT. Vernon was just a factory for great players while continuing to play games at 3 PM. Not sure if games are now at night but they were afternoon games for many years. But when Mount Vernon played at the County Center in White Plains, the place often sold Mount.

I remember Bill Pleas who went on to star at The University of Detroit. He had a partner in Dave Gray, who was the first real great guard at MT. Vernon. Bill was famous for his jumping ability. He was known to dunk up to 3 basketballs in warm ups before the game. I still remember watching him play in the Wagner Center Easter Tournament in Spanish Harlem when he was in HS. Came out with huge glasses on and looking like anything but a player. When the game started it was a different story. He dominated! Dave Gray was a MT. Vernon version of Oscar Robertson. Gray, who they called Doc, could do it all and was a great guy as well.

Their play inspired the future teams and even future coaches. The Williams Brothers including about 3 or 4 not mentioned (Scat, Dave, etc.) become great MT. Vernon Players. We also saw Earl Tatum who was called The Black Jerry West, Lowes Moore, Mike Young, The McCray Brothers, and Rudy Hackett (I Think) who is now an Asst.. at USC after staring at Syracuse, That leads to the newer players including Ben Gordon and all the others who have gone to Pitt, SJU, Rutgers, Iona, etc.

What makes Mount Vernon so good? Tradition is one reason. Kids want to go and be part of a real program that will provide them an opportunity to get exposure while traveling and winning. Another is great coaching. I still remember current Miami Heat Assistant Tony Fioretino (sp) when he was the Head Coach at Mount Vernon. He was OUTSTANDING! That has continued with Bob Camino. This guy works his butt off for those kids, He is a 24/7 Coach and does it because he loves the game. He takes his kids everywhere during the summer depending on skill level. Some go to Riverside. Some play for the Westchester Hawks. Some play for Dyckmam. But rest assured they will play somewhere if they want to play for Mount Vernon! Bob has been able to keep all the players in Mount Vernon and this has been the case for many years. It would not be hard for a kid to walk from his home in Mount Vernon to the Number 2 train on White Plains Road in the Bronx because for some of them, it is that close. Those kids could attend Rice, St. Raymond's, or any of the other power schools in NYC. But they elect to stay right in Mount Vernon to play because Mount Vernon is a REAL HS PROGRAM as good as any program in the entire country.

And now it seems with the assistance of many, the tradition will continue. But I never doubted it would. Because one thing about Mount Vernon, They Never Stop Working!

More on RU Suspensions

Did some research and have to give credit to FHJ on his way of handling the Jeron and JR situations. I hope many families examine how College Coaches treat student Athletes in the press and away from the court when choosing schools. It is so important. I honestly have to look twice when I see certain kids considering certain schools. All they have to do is look at how others are treated and have been treated. So without naming names of the bad guys. Let me say kids who stay close and attend schools like Rutgers, SHU, St. Johns. and Villanova, ARE IN GREAT HANDS!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Thoughts and Insight

Lets get right into it.

Inman and Griffin Suspended?

What is this all about? I think it is confusing when schools and coaching staffs suspend players without an explanation. This causes people to ASSUME! Fans, especially those with hate agendas, start thinking the worst. Did they get caught with Drugs? Was it a fight? Did they act disrespectful to a Professor? Were they out drinking at night? Were they caught with girls in a bad situation? Did they miss team meetings or skip classes? No one knows, and that leads people to create stories and guess what the suspensions are about. This hurts because these kids will have to enter the world of work soon, because playing basketball is not forever. This makes their character questioned, and what these two kids have done might not be anywhere near as bad as people are assuming.

As far as suspensions? You commit the ACTUAL CRIME (You are guilty), YOU DO THE TIME! Both JR and Griffin need to step up and be leaders on this RU team. With so much recent positive information in the papers, this recent story is a let-down. However, I agree with FHJ on not letting anyone get away with anything. Big difference in how FHJ handles stuff in comparison to guys like Slick Rick and Cal. Notice FHJ did not kill these guys in the press like Rick does. Hopefully it will work out for the best. But it really seems like JR and FHJ are like oil and water. FHJ has to do what is right for the RU Program.

Speaking about killing folks in the press. More on the Derrick Character saga. Seems he was scheduled to attend Southern Mississippi. Not sure what happened. Is it on? Is it off? I even heard a few local mid majors were contacted by a certain close advisor to DC. What really is sad? DC is a great kid! Lazy? Maybe! But still a great kid. It is so sad when we look at kids who are discovered at an early age and really exploited by folks who see dollar signs. This kid has been hurt by many, including those very close to him. Sneaker companies have been on him since he was an 8th grader. Coaches have been pulling on him. High schools have kissed his butt with the exception of St. Patrick's, who really tried believe it or not to prepare him. I honestly think he has little or no chance of an NBA career. He might make some money in Italy, but with lazy habits it could easily be a career in The Soviet Union or China and than back each summer for The Entertainers Classic at Rucker Park. Too bad because again, this kid is a good person. I am pulling for him to get it together and make all of us say WOW LOOK AT DC!

Lets look at the game College Coaches are playing with kids. Some are masters at the image thing. I hope folks take a good look at what I am saying here. The new thing is GPA and Graduation rates. Another way of exploiting kids. Some kids, like DC for example, are taken off scholarship and replaced by a below average playing kid whose family could be friends to the program or head coach. It also is convenient that the kid, who was previously was a walk-on, has 3.9 GPA. The ex scholarship player who is taken off scholarship for un-named infractions, is let back on the team right in September only if he pays his own tuition. Of course it is worked out that the tuition is paid by someone else and that someone else might just be the former walk-on's family who happen's to be very wealthy. Or it could just be some unknown guy making up the difference in Pell grants. What does this do? It increases the teams GPA and helps the graduation rate which will look good in the press. Someone should check out team GPA's and graduation rates in the BE, ACC, and SEC. Than check out who is on scholarship and of those, how many are former walk-on's? By the way, DC just might re-surface at Louisville. YOU NEVER KNOW!

When I make typos it is a huge thing. Others can do the same thing and it is OK because they might have had a drink lol. OK 6 ft 5 Greg E. Must be another player we did not know about. Heck, it is all good because Hoops has paid dues and we all know he is an exceptional writer and better person. I am no Hoops, and never will be. I am just thankful to be able to check his stuff out daily. Plus he is a GREAT GUY!

Bobby Gonzalez still has not filled his DOBO position at SHU. Bobby, hire Bobby Holford!! That will help you in more ways than 1. Trust me. Right now SJU is in the drivers seat with young NYC Players with their recent hires. Bobby Holford counters this! Plus he can coach and teach his butt off!

What is this new rule allowing some schools to have a huge staff. Memphis must have 10 folks on the bench with non coaching titles. Director of Academic Enhancement, Parental Liaison, Equipment GURU, Special Assistant, Travel Coordinator, Special Asst to the Assistant Coaches, etc. lol. Of course I am making these titles up. But it is an unfair advantage because some schools with huge budgets can just create a position for someone they feel can bring players. Soon, we will see more suits on the bench than actual players.

Last Item. It seems fans often give up on older players in favor of "New Kids." Thus the case with Greg Echenique , the 6 ft 8 player from Ridgewood NJ via St. Benedict's. Well I will keep my thoughts on this to myself since I have watched him and the other recruits very closely for 3 years. Will he be what folks expect? Is he a hard worker? Does he get after it daily? Did he benefit PR wise from attending SBP and playing with great talent? We will see! But it seems some people think he will be better than Griffin, JR, The Big Fella, etc. I for one think he picked the best school he could have despite the Duke rumors Etc. Kid has a great chance of excelling at Rutgers because they love him and did not just want him as I always say. But will he be a star? ummmmmmmmmmmm

Friday, September 5, 2008


Ok lets give credit where credit is due. Fred Hill Junior has done a terrific job since the RU season ended. He has gotten new players who can really play the game. He has already gotten involved with class of 2010 players who can be impact players. But what he has just done is EXCEPTIONAL!

Getting Danny Nee to sit near him on the Rutgers bench is similar to what Calhoun did at UConn with George Blaney. Are you kidding me? Danny Nee!! Danny is an outstanding coach and has years of head coaching experience. This is just what the Doctor ordered and I think it is enough to push RU to post season contention. Nee will be great with JR Inman, Farmer, and Griffin. He along with Hill and the current staff will make everyone on RU better players. And game time and game strategy goes to another level now. This is one of the best hires ever made in local college basketball based on need.

So folks watch out for RU now, and especially in years to come.

Now what does this mean locally? It means we are close to having a great 3 school high major D1 rivalry. Why do I feel this way? Because Seton Hall will be much better than people say. Plus in another year when Mr. pope becomes eligible to go with Keon, Sticks, Hazell, Harvey, Davis, and other kids they will get, SHU seems NCAA bound again. St. Johns will surprise folks this season and be even better next season with alot of new talent attracted in part by some new hires.

But again, when you get a guy like Danny Nee sitting next to you, despite some backage, you have no choice but to improve. Big East Basketball really will be better this season and next because all the local teams in the NY tri-state area are getting better. And a strong rivalry will get many kids to stay home while attracting good players from other areas of the country.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Season Is Getting Close!

Well we are getting very close to another HS and College basketball season. I am very excited about what the future holds for many teams and players on the east coast. I for one feel all three major D1 schools in the tri-state area will be improved. I also feel that Villanova and UConn will again be powerful and hard to beat teams. As far as the mid and low majors are concerned,even NJIT should win a game or two this season.

On the HS front the NJ teams seem very strong, especially teams such as St. Anthony's, St. Patrick's, St. Benedict's, Patterson Catholic, Linden, and maybe Plainfield. In NYC I look for Rice to be Rice, who despite not having a real gym, continues to attract great talent and win games because of a great coach in Maurice Hicks. Many others have lost players for a variety of reasons which will make the NYC CHSAA race wide open. In the PSAL it will be the same folks led by a tremendous team at Lincoln, as well as the usual good teams at Cardoza, JFK, Boys and Girls, and more.

Player wise my area Player of the Year is Lance Stephenson of Lincoln. Outstanding Player and classy person award goes to Dexter Strickland of St. Patrick's. Best future potential wise goes to Dominic Cheek of St. Anthony. Number 1 team will be St. Anthony. Most improved Public School team will be Clifton based on a good coach who will start a true program. Team taking a dip in win column will be St. Raymond's.
Public School in NYC that is fast becoming a program is Jefferson.

Is it me or has NJ passed NYC in turning out High D1 players.

What is the difference between a 5 star and 4 star recruit? I honestly feel the difference is political for 50% of the kids. I always felt Tom Konchalski rated
private school kids higher than public school kids.

Was thinking about how Kevin Bannon will be a HS Coach this season. I honestly feel it is GREAT! Those kids will learn so much from him and if any have D1 potential he will get it out of them as well as provide great advice. I am sure if he stays a few years that HS will be a true program and contender. He is way to competitive to have it any other way. Thank God someone gave him an opportunity!

Herb Pope to SHU! Talk about transfers all you wish, but the transfers at SHU can all ball with the best of them. My friends in Pittsburgh think Pope is a potential NBA player. So lets look at next season at The Hall. Pope, Sticks, Lawrence, Garcia, Davis, Hazell, Harvey, ..................Etc. They will be experienced and very good. Patience SHU Fans. Good things are coming your way.

Rutgers plays University of Delaware in Newark Delaware? All I say is do not sleep the Hens at home, in the first game of the season. The Bob will have close to a sell out for that game.

I spoke to a great D1 assistant by phone the other day. This is a guy I admire and think the world of. He asked me what I was saying to The Dad of Tobias Harris at the Boost Mobile Game. For the record I would love to see him stay local and really think he would add alot to any of the High D1 programs in the area. I did tell Torrel that his son should go where he is LOVED as opposed to where he is just wanted! I also talked about The Louisville saga involving Derrick Character. I was telling him how wrong it was to dog DC in the paper. I told him how Sean Banks received the same treatment from Memphis years ago. Little did I know at the time They were also looking at Louisville as a possible destination.