Well we are very close to the start of what most of us hope will be a interesting and successful college basketball season for local teams. Unfortunately some area schools are entering the season short handed and with controversy.
Lets look at Rutgers University. JR Inman and Jeron Griffin will be suspended indefinitely. No matter how the RU fans spin this, it is a huge loss and puts the Scarlet Knights at a huge disadvantage. Both these players deserve a suspension and really owe it to their teammates to come back strong and focused. On a personal level I am disappointed in JR, but will NEVER GIVE UP ON HIM. And this has nothing to do with him ever playing for money. I just want him to have a very productive season and shut a few critics up. Unfortunately the latest incident from the past year only gives those critics fuel for the fire.
Both JR and Jeron have a long road ahead after they sit out some games. They might never re-gain what is needed to help the RU team. They might have to sit and watch younger players develop and carry the load. Or they might come back very focused and lead the team to victories no one expected. It is up to them! But again, this will be a difficult road. One point of caution. I honestly think the new players at Rutgers are very good. But I question if they are good enough to actually take minutes away from Inman, Farmer, and Griffin. As I have said on a few occasions, I have thoughts on a few of the new RU players folks are raving about. But I will save that for another time.
Now I really think as much as RU did the correct thing by suspending the 2 RU players, I question if Seton Hall did the correct thing as well. Personally I think it was a bone headed decision. Taking Mitchell off the team for a national tournament is borderline sabotage. If I did not know better I would think someone is betting the spread in Vegas.
Here you have a chance to be good, and the school takes a kid off the team for a violation that the NCAA would have only given a slap on the wrist. And not the first two games, but national games in a TV event. I mean come on, what is this about? I question if this is a move to just hurt the coaching staff and set them up for failure. If I was them, I would be on top of the waiver process that a few players are seeking. Heck, who knows the real effort that is going into getting those waivers for Pope, and Lawrence, as well as getting the clearing house to approve the eligibility of the big fella. Just thinking out loud...... ummmmmmm.
Let's look at next season if the waivers are not granted and the clearing house rejects the eligibility of the big fella. Bobby G has a decent year at best because of internal fighting with the administration, and Mitchell never gets on track. Also Glover makes a deal with the NCAA that allows him to play, but he has to sit out this season. So the team at SHU is decent and does not go to a post season tournament. What happens next?
Well if the let Bobby G go it will be almost criminal! He has put together a program built to succeed in the long run. Next years SHU team will be TOUGH! Who should coach them? Bobby Gonzalez of course. But if they get rid of him, who ever is hired would inherit a team that even I could coach to a post season tournament. And the powers at SHU understand this.
Folks do not really understand what Mike Glover will mean to SHU. He is that good and real warrior! Add Pope and Lawrence and it is WOW! Put them with Hazell, and Harvey, and Davis, and Garcia,and Mitchell and you have........Are you kidding me!!!!!! That's what Dicky V will say as he does a game from the Pru Center. Great arena, great school, talented team equals kids wanting to be part of the magic. This could be a positively explosive situation in the future. I would put that talent against any talent in the BE. And this is not a RutgarsAl comment lol.
Jimmy Solmon presents the Eddie Griffin Challenge at the Barn Gym on the RU campus. I really look forward to this game because it is usually a very exciting game. The match-ups are great and the turnout of fans should be exceptional.
Another great event is the Jim Couch All-Star games at Kennedy HS in the Riverdale section of the Bronx this Saturday. Great talent for a great man who gives so much to the kids who are under exposed and under appreciated. Still remember a team from years ago that he had. 12 nice kids on a junior team that lost every game. They stayed together and became very good years later. 9 of the 12 went on the D1 schools on basketball scholarships because Jim Couch never gave up on them.
Just a bit on the low and mid major schools acting like they can wait on certain kids when they have talented kids ready to commit. Do they really think a kid who is being recruited by the A10 is going to the America East or North East Conference? I know of one kid who is 6 ft 9, runs the floor well, great shot blocking ability, hits the outside shot. bangs down low, makes free throws, and is a good student. Kid is a true baller! Yet the school he and his parents love, has not offered because they are waiting on other kids. Crazy? Stupid? Prediction: When this kid signs with a school, and gets worked out from June to the first game, he will be 60 percent better. Kid can play. Maybe he needs a tattoo, long braids, gold teeth, and be from the hood. Or better yet, once other schools start recruiting him hard he will become a priority recruit. I think I will contact the University of Delaware for this kid. He would be perfect for Monte Ross and Monte would know what to do with him.
This is why I love the programs at St. Peters, Monmouth, Rider, Siena, Bucknel, Lehigh, etc. They know when they have a good one in reach. And that is why they are always competitive!