Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A few thoughts before the New Year.

Seton Hall loses a game by a wide margin. Totally unacceptable regardless of how shorthanded they were. I do have to say I did not see the game but the box score tells the story.

I have always frowned on players just looking to stay on the court to boast stats, etc. In no way should any of Seton Hall's Guards had finished that blow out game with less than 4 fouls. Heck they all should have fouled out from clawing at everything in an attempt to get back into the game. For Harvey and Hazell to have less than 4 fouls, and Theodore to have 1, in a blow out game sends a message in my opinion. Says to me they were just on the court after a certain point attempting to score points or just play the game. Maybe I am wrong about this but NO ONE ON SHU SHOULD END A GAME LIKE THIS WITHOUT 4 FOULS AT LEAST! You should play hard until the final whistle blows. Guys playing safe defense in a game where they are down 30 is crazy!

Enough of this. SHU needs to pull it together and fast. Maybe Gonzo was greatly missed. But I think preparation plays a huge part in games such as these. Well lets see what happens next!

I Was thinking about a few guys around the area who continue to fly under the college coaching radar. Today I need to shout out Ron Neclerio of Cardoza HS in Queens NY.

We all see Ron running around 100 miles an hour coaching his team and promoting his players. Many think he is over the top with his actions. But honestly he is doing exactly what a REAL COACH should do. He pushes his players on the court and loves them off the court to the point he will do anything in his power to get his players into a good college and will talk about his players until he is blue in the face in an attempt to get them recognition and a scholarship. He has done it so well we cannot even keep track of the kids he has assisted. Its that many!

Coaching wise he remains one of the best HS Coaches in the entire tri-state area. He also is not scared to hire assistants with skills and personality. He welcomes excellence and proves it by hiring Robert Holford, ex Assistant at Providence, Hofstra, FDU, and Head Coach at NY Tech, St. Thomas Aquinas, Medgar Evers, and Hostos CC where he was National Junior College Coach of The Year. Ron did not even blink about hiring Robert.

Training and working out players? Ron Neclerio could be the best around. He along with Sandy P (sp) of Essex County NJ are guys who are considered two of the best along with the guy who does workouts in the Suffolk County area on Long Island.

This brings me to Why Ron is not on the college level. For a brief period I thought Ron needed just a bit of polish to step into the college ranks. How wrong I was. This guy is the needed ingredient for a program like St. Johns. I would be willing to bet he would have every single great HS player in the tri-state area considering a BE school he is associated with. It would be such an easy bet for me because I see how kids from all over are attracted to him. He is like a pied piper lol. Work wise he lives and sleeps basketball 24 hours a day.

I say have him put on a suit next year and put him on the sideline of an area BE or A10 team. Anything lower would be a waste of talent if you ask me.

My New Years Wish List

An Improved economy

Universal Health Care

Employment creation

All Area Schools end the season with a winning record

Bobby Holford, Ray Haskins, Ron Brown, and Julius Allen get recognized for the great skills they bring to the table on the college level.

FDU gets a marketing person in place in the near future to help improve crowds

St. Peters turns it around

NJIT wins a game or two or three

Rider gets its new gym

JR Inman has a great BE season at Rutgers

Mike Davis and Brandon Walters play better at SHU

Norm Roberts gets to a post season at St. Johns.

Norm Roberts gets a real contract extension

Fordham turns it around and gets better in A10

Teaneck HS wins the Group 3 North Championship

Jay Sofman and Javae Gilcrst get scholarships to D2 and D1 schools respectfully

Delaware gets to CAA Championship game

Bobby Gonzalez gets along with the SHU AD

Fred Hill and Bobby G hug after the next RU vs SHU game and the picture goes on the Star Ledgar sports front page.

St. Antony's plays a game against St. Benedict's in Boys Basketball

The Tournament of Champions in NJ changes format to bring in two extra teams eliminated in state tournaments, eliminating the two byes awarded higher seeded teams.

A Tournament of Champions field of St, Anthony's, St. Patrick's, St. Benedicts included with the winners of the various group tournaments.

A return of the old Doc Turner HS Classic at City College of NY bringing in teams from NJ, NY, Pa., Conn., Maryland, etc.

A new RU Arena and practice facility, or at least an improved RAC.

Selling My Home in Pa. for a good price (Just in case someone might be looking lol)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday Thoughts

Well tonight is a big game for Seton Hall University. They go into the Carrier Dome to play a Syracuse Team with very tough kids who can play. When a team combines the toughness with skill they become very dangerous. SHU does have a chance but I hate to say it but if The Hall had the guys sitting out it would be a heck of a physical and talent match-up.

Speaking of SHU. I said two years ago that both Rutgers and Seton Hall needed to get involved with Terrence Roderick from Allentown Pa. Terrence is a 6 ft 5 wing/point/slashing guard with GAME! Kid is a real winner and has toughness based on playing alot in Philly with Sam Rhines Teams on the AAU circuit and at a prep school run by Sam.

I remember talking to his Dad at a Allen HS game when his son was playing. Dad is originally from Newark NJ if I remember correctly and really wanted the NJ schools to recruit his son. So though Terrence grew up in Northern Pennsylvania, his roots are in Newark where he has alot of family. This would be a tremendous pick-up for Seton Hall because this kid makes folks around him better. I was stunned he did not go to a higher profile program in the first place.

Rutgers plays 3 tough games in a row. I think it is a great thing. It should be used as a recruiting tool especially after the soft pre conference schedule they played. And again I need to shout out Fred Hill for the tremendous job he did against North Carolina despite the final outcome. As I always say I only call it AS I (just me) see it. That's why this blog is called LFBallonHoops.

I need to pass on a name to all the mid major guys who visit this blog. Some of you can expect a call from me on this soon. Teaneck has a kid named Javae Gilcrest who is a very good mid major type point guard. In fact, with better exposure he could be a high major guy. According to many who have watched him, his ideal stats are 18 points and 15 assists. When I watched him he seemed to make everyone around him better. In fact I had heard alot about this kid who is a Queen of Peace transfer now playing for his home town HS team, Teaneck. Coaches need to call his coach, Curtis March at Teaneck HS ASAP. This kid could be special in the future.

Manhattan loses again. All I can say is wow! Hopefully they will get it going.

Did anyone else see the Younger Curry clips during the Davidson vs College of Charleston game? The younger Curry kid looked more fluid and athletic than his older brother. WOW! How did coaches miss two in a row. Oops I forgot it's about the ratings and he was only a 3 star HS player! I just hope he has a ESPN game soon. Curious to see if Mom and Dad are at his games also. Hard to make games when both sons are on separate teams.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

RU and Area College Happenings

Well I just finished watching the Rutgers vs North Carolina game. I honestly was pretty impressed by what I saw from the Scarlet Knights. But it was definitely a tale of two programs with very different support and cast of characters.

I honestly feel Rutgers played this game very well and looked extremely well coached. I have to give credit where it is deserved. Fred Hill had his team prepared! They just did not have the power or talent to beat North Carolina, the number 1 team in America, on their home court. I would bet most teams in D1 basketball and even a few lower tier NBA teams would lose at the Dean Dome. So though it was not a moral victory, as many wish it to be, it was a great effort.

Let me just be a bit controversial again. I find it amusing how certain folks can do no wrong. I read on the RU board, which is a very good board I might add even though they get on my case, that Greg Echenique "Was A Man" on the court. What game were they watching? he had a nice solid freshmen type game and he shows flashes of potential. But 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 turn overs, and 5 fouls are hardly "Being A Man" on The Court type stats unless you mean man as in being of the Male persuasion. Nice player but come on call it for what it was, a nice effort!

Rutgers played well because they were well prepared and well coached on Sunday evening. They also played well because Anthony Farmer, JR Inman, and Corey Chandler played well. Those are the 3 guys who really will make a difference in BE games along with Mike Rosario, Greg Echenique, and The Big Fella who just needs to rebound and make layups and he will one day get paid well for playing the game. Rosario scored alot of points and had a good game. But it will get tougher as folks realize he rarely scores off the dribble. But again all the people mentioned were the difference in RU playing well despite the loss.

Other College Happenings

Looks as if St. Peters has a long road ahead based on a tougher than folks realize MAAC conference schedule. I can only imagine the crowds getting smaller and smaller in Jersey City for St. Peters games. Will the coaches survive? Would someone such as Bob Hurley want to coach there eventually based on it being Jersey City? Danny Hurley? Kevin Boyle? Not pushing current guys out, just wondering what would happen in the far or near future.

St. Joe's in Philly remains a favorite school of mine based on the great tradition and support they receive. They have a losing record but still draw 7500 to a game at the Palestra where they play home games this season while their on campus facility is being renovated and expanded. They were smart to increase seating by only 1000 to keep it tight and a true home court advantage.

St. Francis in Brooklyn has a real challenge with its D1 basketball team. I often wonder why schools like St. Francis and NJIT have D1 programs that they do not adequately fund. In fact I feel that way about most smaller D1 programs who draw 400 people to games and have no chance of ever winning a NCAA game. But in the case of St. Francis of Brooklyn, they also have no dorms, and kids at one time stayed at Bishop Ford HS in the building the Priests lived in. They took the subway to campus which is really a big building in Brooklyn Heights. But one of the huge mistakes made by Brooklyn Son and well connected Brian Nash, is him listening to the wrong folks and not hiring Robert Holford who could have gotten him coach and get very good players to help him win games at a place not normally attractive to area players.

Marist picks up Drummond. Great program for this young man. He should have a very good career at Marist. Funny thing about big guys is they can often have better careers at programs in smaller conferences while guards who are outstanding on one level will often be as outstanding on any level with confidence and playing time. On the other hand a guard that struggles at the highest level could also struggle at a lower level. Not saying they are not good players. Just saying just because you were at a BE program and transfer to a MAAC program because of a lack of playing time does not mean you will automatically start. Big guys yes based on strength factor. Guards no because guards are everywhere including D2, and D3, with game.

Fordham is 2 and 8 with a few St. Anthony kids on board. Wow! I really thought the Rams of Fordham would be better. But I am sure they will get it together and the future is still bright for them.

Folks are still down on St. Johns. But I honestly still think they are in position to make minor noise this season and much more in the future. Not sure what has happened to Rob Thomas, but if he ever regains his health, and gets his confidence up, he could be a huge factor for them. This kid was a person we all felt was a future star! Coach Roberts is hanging in there and I hope he gets an opportunity to continue what he has started. By the way, I continue to get great reviews about the renovated arena.

According to message boards my beloved Teaneck HS lost to Bergen Catholic Sunday evening. Though I am disappointed, I remain optimistic about Teaneck future. But it is easy to beat public high school teams when you can recruit kids from 10 towns and two states as many Private and Catholic schools do. Go Teaneck!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thoughts and Refections

Well today is a new day and time for aa new topic. Today I have chosen to recognize a great person from a town I lived in a few years ago.

One if the great things about having your own blog is you get to chose topics to write about. Today I have decided to talk about Teaneck, New Jersey. Teaneck is a wonderful town that has always (along with Montclare NJ) been a blue print for diversity. Teaneck was the first school district to voluntarily integrate the school system many years before it was considered the thing to do. As you drive through this beautiful town of tree lined streets and nice homes, you might notice that there is not really a "Bad Part." Now there are some parts more desirable than others, but nowhere is there a section that would be off limits. Just a nice place to raise kids with wonderful sports opportunities in every sport from baseball to soccer.

I write about Teaneck after attending my first Teaneck basketball game in over 4 years. I have been very down about this HS program I really love. The program talent had fallen off based on people in the town strongly encouraging kids to attend the area Catholic high schools as opposed to attending Teaneck HS. Years ago young 7th and 8th graders dreamed of playing at Teaneck for Coach Curtis March. Funny thing is many of the kids who choose to attend area Catholic schools were not wanted at those schools until the coaches saw the writing on the wall when Englewood, Teaneck, and Hackensack beat up on those schools on a regular basis. Now they are wanted with open arms. Well at least doors were open. But the kids at the Catholic schools and Public schools always respected each other. It was others keeping the doors closed.

Well on my way home from Connecticut I had to drive on route 287 which leads to route 80 and my home. I spoke with John Cano who really follows North Jersey hoops when he is not working at his full-time job as a Producer at NBA Entertainment. He informed me Teaneck was playing in the Indian Hills Holiday Tournament that day. I decided to take in the action and watch Teaneck. Walking into that Indian Hills gym really brought back memories.

I arrived after Englewood had lost to St. Joe's Regional. Boy times have changed. I still remember when St. Joe's was an automatic W for area teams. Than it was Teaneck taking the court against Passaic Tech. I was extremely impressed with what I saw. I saw two very good teams with strong guard play as Teaneck won a very exciting and close game. Both teams were uniformed with matching sneakers, warm-ups, etc. I Loved It! Plus both teams had talent.

But what I loved about Teaneck was the way they played. They were extremely un-selfish and moved the ball around to open players. Great shooters and passers with 2 or 3 who could be D1 players with exposure. One such player was Javae Gilcrest (I know I am spelling his name wrong and his Mom will kill me lol). This kid transferred back to his hometown HS, Teaneck, from Queen of Peace HS. I am telling you, this guy has game! Funny thing is you never know who knows who. I was just at a huge event in Pa. with his Mom 2 months ago. She came right up and asked what I was doing at the game. After explaining some history she asked me to spread the word about her son and the other players on the team. I told her I would and I am always keep my word.

Well this team is similar to a team years ago that featured Adie Edwards, Kasib Powell, and Marcel Williams. That team won the Group 4 Championship and could be one of the best teams with no one over 6 ft 4 in the states history. This team is very similar. I am sure they will lose a game or 2 or 3. But they still have a great chance of getting to the state finals in Group 3 based on terrific guard play from 4 to 6 guards. I just wonder what might have been the case if other Teaneck kids had stayed home as opposed to attending Patterson Catholic, St. Benedicts, St. Patrick's, Blair, etc. Just shows the talent coming out of that middle class town without a true hood lol.

The basketball is really good because of community involvement and the RODDA Rec Center with two great gyms and a youth league that is as good as any on the East Coast. This program has sent many kids to D1 and D2 basketball via Teaneck HS, and now some of the Catholic High Schools. The town and rec league even has NBA connections with ex player Tony Campbell, current NBA All Star David West (Who was on a Teaneck team so talented he was a bench player as a sophomore), NJ Nets Coach Lawrence Frank (Who played but I would bet also kept books in league), NBA Commissioner David Stern, and superstar agent Andy Miller. Teaneck has a rich history and now it seems they are back on track for a very productive season. I look forward to watching them play Bergen Catholic at Indian Hills on Sunday. Should be a very good game regardless of the final score.

With all this Teaneck reflecting I really need to acknowledge a person who meant so much to ALL the kids in Teaneck. He coached every sport with area youth. He was there for all the kids often driving at the speed of light to get home and work with his two sons. I am referring to Mr. Ralph Constantine. Ralph and his Wife Rita always were perfect role models for parents raising kids. They did wonderful things and the results speak for itself. One son graduated from Harvard University and the other son graduated from William Patterson. Both are outstanding human beings who are making a huge difference in society just as Ralph raised then to do. In fact Brandon, his youngest son is a area basketball coach who coaches on the college level if I remember correctly.

I was stunned to find out Ralph passed away to a better life. All I could do is reflect on what I remember about him. I remember a strong man who raised his kids right. He also took time to raise alot of other town kids in his own way. He never turned his back on anyone needing help. He coached little league baseball, helped in biddy basketball, was a strong advocate at the HS, and even at one time ran the township little league baseball program and made sure all kids were treated fairly.

As a hot headed parent, he was always a voice of reason for me. In fact I was a true idiot on many occasions and was almost legendary in Bergen County lol. I have learned from my mistakes and one of the people who made me see what I was doing wrong was Ralph Constantine. I think back to when our kids were 7th graders and learning the game. I think back about how Ralph said to me at my home as we discussed the options both my son and his son Brandon had for high school (and they were recruited), "Our Kids need To Be At Teaneck HS because that's the real world and a great school with wonderful diversity!" Because of this, they enrolled and had A GREAT ACADEMIC and Athletic experience.

Honestly I think I was a great dad to my son. But when it came to dads, Ralph was MVP of all dads and all the rest of us did not even qualify for 3rd team all league in comparison to him. Gosh I wished I could have told him what he meant to me and my son before he passed. Rest in peace Ralph. You did your thing and can feel proud of the great job you have done.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong


Now that I am left with the folks who really want to hear what I have to say let me start by saying I am so disappointed when I see kids put their trust in a university and a system and give there all only to be criticized in private and humiliated in public. I am so upset with what is happening at Rutgers. It is to the point that I am not sure what I can say when a few folks with kids being recruited ask my opinion on the program. Here is what is pissing me off.

JR Inman, Anthony Farmer, and Jeron Griffin all made a pact years ago to attend college in the state where they played HS basketball. Believe it or not they had other options yet they decided to invest in the State University of New Jersey. They were laughed at for that decision by many other players in the state. They faced great peer pressure about attending Rutgers. Yet they enrolled with the hope of being a part of a new beginning. Well this is a great case to show kids what loyalty will provide. It is a great case to me as a person who has pushed and pushed for kids to stay local as opposed to going away. How wrong I might have been.

The treatment received by Anthony Farmer, JR Inman, and even Jeron Griffin is
nothing short of embarrassing and wrong! This is the way I feel and if folks wish to disagree, and I know they will because Freddy can do no wrong at Rutgers as a NJ Son, they have a right to their opinion. But in this case it is so obvious what is happening. The treatment of these kids in regard to playing time, shots, ball touches, and treatment is almost criminal and straight out of the Movie "Blue Chips" minus the physical treatment the high level recruit received at the hands of the big walk-on the coach sent to beat on him during a one on one drill in an attempt to get him to quit.

Funny part is all 3 kids, along with Corey Chandler were considered the future at Rutgers at some point. They all could have transferred yet none did. They hung around believing in Fred Hill much more than he seems to believe in them. Are they perfect? No! Are they young men still in need of development and guidance? Yes! Is this happening? No!

Does anyone actually feel Mike Coburn, and Earl Pettis are better than Inman and Farmer? Heck no and we who follow basketball know they both were recruited based on getting some decent players with some sort of name. Mike Coburn did not have alot of options. If he did I am not sure he would have chose Rutgers. He was at a game years back to see Pitt because they had a HS teammate of his. I am sure he did not have the options that Farmer had. Yet Farmer is his back-up? Mike is a solid player and an asset to RU. But farmer he is not! Pettis was a bench player at his prep school. Not a bad player, just a solid kid who should be getting 12 minutes at the BE level at a school like RU. Yet he plays over JR Inman who has averaged double figures over the past 3 years? Please! And if anyone believes JR is this bad apple they are so mistaken. He might have made a mistake or two and maybe 3 by attending Rutgers, but he is far from a bad seed or apple. Chandler? No need to even comment about his career at RU thus far. He took major abuse by attending Rutgers. He did it with more options than ANYONE on the RU roster. He loved FHJ and his State University. Now he backs up guys he clearly is better than.

I look at the minutes the four of them played against NJIT and became very upset. This was a game not only for the highly rated freshmen, but a game to get these guys on track for the BE season. yet they play behind these kids and barely get touches.

Now I am a TRUE DANNY and BOB HURLEY Fan. Trust me! But I will also say I have watched them enough to know they are not easily fooled. And if folks think that by kissing the butts of players from St. Ben's and St. Anthony's will make them become Rutgers feeder schools they are wrong. These guys are watching what is happening as much as anyone else. So are other coaches I know. And they are watching how players can go from double figure guys to bench guys as Seniors. I can only imagine what is being said by RU coaches when this comes up in home and school visits. I have been in such visits in the past years with various college coaches.

Why should anyone believe in a program that takes starters who had at the least honorable mention all BE potential and bury them on the bench making them lose confidence and the desire to compete and play? When a kid starts for 3 years and than get his time cut in half with very little encouragement it speaks volumes. Funny thing they were all warned this might happen. I knew JR was going to have a senior year like this. But now it is too late for the FIG class. I guess the kids that transferred saw the writing on the wall.

Now allow me to be clear about one thing. I am not saying Rosario and Greg E are not good players. They are. But I also think they arrived with privileges from day 1. I also think they chose the right school for their freshmen year because anything can happen in years 2,3, and 4 as you can see with FIG. They also chose RU because they knew they would get playing time THEY WOULD NOT have gotten at Duke or similar programs. Smart of them!

I also want to talk about Griffin shaking his head about entering the game against NJIT. He was wrong but I understand. He has been relegated to the bench and against the worst team in D1 was humiliated by the playing time he was going to get. Wrong, wrong, wrong of the RU coaching staff's part. It is the old what have you done for me lately syndrome.

Well the BE season and the NC game are upon us. Rutgers has a good record to date after playing one of the worst and easiest pre conference schedules in the history of the Big East. Looks good at this point. Here is what looks bad. Player development, home attendance, commitment to excellence, and putting team in position to have excuses for up-coming loses based on YOUNG PLAYERS! Smooth!

Well as I mentioned FIG is done after this season. Wonder what type of reception they will receive on Senior Night? Will folks applaud or continue to hurl insults as they do now forgetting the commitment these 3 kids on track to graduate made when they choose RU! We will see and in the meantime when folks find fault they should always remember and attempt to see what is going on mentally with these kids. A true sad situation camouflaged by a win loss record that does not paint an accurate picture of the program.

Lastly. This is not as much a criticism of coaching and recruiting. It is more about human behavior and the treatment of young men. Believe it or not I have always been a supporter of Fred Hill Jr. But I am now just so disappointed in his behavior towards kids who are part of his program. I am stunned at what has happened despite the won and loss record!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Thoughts 2 Days Before Christmas

Many will disagree but that is the story of my life. I am one very misunderstood guy....... at least to me lol.

But here are my thoughts on a few items locally.

Seton Hall Loses to James Madison

This was a hard game for Seton Hall because playing away at a Mid Major program can be tough. My question is why did they even schedule this game ? But the harm is done and the Hall has now lost two games to teams they should have beat on paper. But at least we know who James Madison University is. Who are they? JMU is the university located in Ralph Sampson's home town. JMU is the university you see on your way down to Charlotte NC or Georgia. JMU is the place where the old Future Stars Basketball Camp was held each summer. But best of all, JMU is the ex D2 school that became good some years ago with very aggressive recruiting and a place where local NJ Legend Ken Culuko (sp) from Mahwah NJ choose over St. Johns, RU, and SHU.

James Madison has history, but still should not beat SHU. Everyone shares in this defeat. The person who scheduled a big city BE Team for an away game at a mid major. The coaching staff for not getting it done. Yes they have to take some blame. The kids on the team for not getting it done on the court. Yes it is another bad loss but not the end of the world. Who besides the selection committee will remember the loses against IUPUI and James Madison at the end of the season? Well I guess many who read the boards and follow college basketball!

But honestly, this season at SHU is only the pre season for next year. I know fans want to win now! And they should as should the team and coaches. but with a short bench, and three impact players sitting out, next year will be the no excuse season for everyone. SHU wins both IUPUI and JMU games by double figures with the players sitting out.

lastly on SHU. Everyone knows about the AD and Basketball conflicts at SHU. I have even heard one prominent local basketball person who has the ear of a few HS stars say he would not send a kid to SHU based on the turmoil he thinks is on the campus. He also mentions lack of big men developing as a reason not to encourage kids to consider the school. But same guy said he would not send kids to Rutgers either based on issues I will not even get into on here. At least at this time or until they piss me off lol.

SHU will never be all they can with the internal conflicts happening that discourages kids from considering school there. Rutgers with a new AD coming could shake things up quite a bit as well. This season has turned into quite a story in regards to the future of both programs.

Area Mid Major Programs

A few coaching friends of mine who read this blog asked why I rarely discuss the smaller D1 programs in the area. So here goes a quick overview of a few.

As I look at them I really see they are way down. Will Manhattan ever get it together? Is the HC more of a recruiter than a HC? By the way I am talking about Manhattan lol. What's the deal with Iona? Where are the alums who helped past coaches get it done? Or is it just the market is so bad on Wall Street they have no time. But I remember Iona being a great place to attend and the games in the 3200 seat gym were special. How about Fordham? I think Derrick Whittinberg (sp) could have gotten bigger jobs after last season. Wonder if he has any regrets. Great guy who will get it done at Fordham. What has happened to Tom Picorra? Remember him? he was the guy SHU wanted badly based on Jay Wright's success at Villanova. Many figured he would leave Hofstra and make SHU a power similar to the job Jay has done. Tom is still a good coach and continues to do a solid if not spectacular job at Hofstra. Marist seems to have a good one in Chuckie Martin who has always been a players coach. Loved watching him pat kids on the back and encourage them during the blowout loss to SJU in the Holiday Festival at The Garden. FDU has a great coach in Tom Green and a great Assistant in Ron Brown. But it is hard when a college has zero marketing in an area that should have thousands of fans coming to games. It is so odd watching these guys in past years play in front of 250 people. And they were pretty good and very well coached. When I lived in the area it was a great place for me to watch games. LIU will never ever get the magic back. They could hire John Calipari and Rick Pitino together and it would not be as great as it was when Ray Haskins was the coach there. In fact, the new gym should be called Ray Haskins Court because he built it along with his than assistant Julius Allen. Ray gave opportunities to many including small sports companies trying to do business on the college level. LI WHO?

Lets turn to St. Peters or shall I call it St. Anthony's JV? Sorry!!! But that's a joke in some basketball circles because St. Peters is the 2nd most popular team in Jersey City. They need to get it done by next season or you might see a few guys looking for positions at SHU again. How about Rider and the New Field house they are building? Are they? Seems I saw the plans about 6 years ago. Monmouth will always be solid but this year they seem a bit down. Great place to attend based on being near beaches and the shore. Every weekend in spring is spring break.

Quick story about fan support at games and HS interest level. I still remember coaching at Westchester Community College years ago after I finished grad school. We had a game at Glouster Community College in South Jersey. The coach was Fang Mitchell who went on to Coppin University. Well the prelim game was Camden against somebody. We walked in and the gym was jam packed. About 2500 people. Our kids got psyched as they watched the game waiting to take the court. Milt Wagner and Billy Thompson were the Camden stars. Well we went to the locker room to change and our kids were eager to get it done in front of such a large crowd. Well as they ran to take the court we noticed the gym went from 2500 to 26 people. They all left after the Camden game. Shows how popular HS basketball can be in the Garden State.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I have always said I am an equal opportunity guy and say it only as I SEE IT! Well what happened to Seton Hall University on Saturday at HOME? How does any Big East Team, with top 125 ranked players who are heavy recruited nationally lose to a team with top 400 nationally recruited players? Are you kidding me? Did IUPUI actually feel they would win prior to the first few minutes of the game? I doubt it! They were just looking forward to playing a BE team to enhance their schedule. After all it is very attractive FOR LOW D1 programs to have BE, ACC, PAC 10 and SEC teams on the schedule. They often shy away from Big 10 teams because they usually are way to physical for a low D1 school such as St. Peters to compete with.

What the heck happened? Was it the technical fouls? Coaching? Players? Maybe the IUPUI team was just a better team? OK let me stop on that bogus note. The technical fouls were foolish, especially the warm-up one by Mike Davis. The rule says no dunking in warm-ups. Follow the rule! But as most will say, games are lost over a 40 minute period and single plays or incidents rarely cause loses.

How about the coaching. Well even coaches have off nights and I am not sure this happened because I was not there. But it is the responsibility of the Head Coach and his Assistants to have the team prepared to play and compete hard every game. It is his responsibility to put the team in position to win. Not sure if this happened from the stories, message boards, and stat lines.

Now the players. College basketball players need to have a sense of pride. They are on scholarship to play basketball and for that they do not have to work to pay tuition, room and board, and books. They also receive tons of free gear, get to travel, and play the game they love in nice arenas for the most part. All they have to do is stay focused. I am not sure that happened yesterday. From the stats it looks to me that the players were not focused. That is one of the reasons for the technical foul in warm-ups. If I was a gambling man, which I am not, I would bet some of the players had something totally different on their mind the Friday night, a night that should have been used preparing for the Saturday game. How does Eugene Harvey, who has borderline pro potential, and Walters have stat lines like they did? If I did not know better I would think they were with some coeds the night before. But I am sure that could not have happened because they most likely stayed as a team at a hotel nearby preparing for the game. Well at least I hope they do this. But even then, funny things happen lol. Maybe they just stayed up all night in the hotel talking hoops because they were excited about playing a team like IUPUI at the Pru Center. But the bottom line is THEY SHOULD HAVE WON THIS GAME and all games against low D1 competition. NO EXCUSES!

Now the competition. I would think there are enough local schools to play against. Why bring in that Midwestern power IUPUI? What does a win against them do anyway? It is a no win situation. If you win you were supposed to win. If you lose it looks like the end of the world. Loses against teams like Fordham, Hofstra, Penn, St. Joes, Drexal, Iona, Siena, etc. would be much easier to swallow. Why not play those teams out of conference? But IUPUI? Give me a break! By the way who are they really and what does IUPUI stand for?

Coaching? I guess it is time to start looking for a new coach? PLEASE STOP! It is one game and not the end of the world! SHU and RU are good to go for the next few years with the coaches they have in place as Head Coaches. I think Bobby has SHU on the right track as does FHJ, especially if he listens to Danny Nee. I honestly feel no one out there could do a better job at SHU and RU than they will in TIME. I look back at the firing of Fran Frachillo (sp) at St. Johns. I am positive that right now St. Johns would be a nationally ranked team selling out at home and the Garden if Fran was still the coach. Sometimes we tend to cut our noses to spite our faces. Bobby and and coaches like FHJ deserve time because they are great fits who just need to grow into the positions they have a bit more. But now let me say a few things about FHJ.

I see Rutgers won big yesterday against Bryant College. A great academic institution in New England. Good for them. But again why this game? What a BS opponent! But RU did win.

Now looking at the box score It looks like it was another line-up change. Those who were there would know better than me but I always thought the first 5 guys listed were the starters. Now if this was the case I have to wonder why they went back to the younger starters, especially against such weak comp. UMMMMMMMMMM? Wonder if anyone complained lol?

This also would have been a great game to work on getting the big fella lots of touches down low. I could never understand why coaches do not utilize these type of games to work with players struggling. Those needing more confidence, down low work, shooting, etc. What often happens is guys just play for stats. Memp to Rutgers: This game should not even take place and player stats sgainst a D2 team turning into D1 are not impressive. Get those numbers against Georgetown, UConn, Louisville, and Syracuse. Heck get those numbers against Providence, ND, and South Florida.

I still think as an outsider looking in that JR Inman, The Big Fella, and Corey Chandler need playing time, touches, and shots for RU to be productive in the BE season. But maybe RU just wants to go with the youth movement and that would also make fans accept another losing season much easier.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Basketball Thoughts

Mike Williams

First I need to talk about one of the true gentle giants in NYC basketball circles who passed away last week. I ventured from Pennsylvania to attend the funeral of MR. Mike Williams of HARLEM NY on Wednesday Evening. And the Harlem basketball royalty turned out in force to salute him.

For those who do not know Big Mike, please let me remind you who he was. If you attended a Wheel Chair HS Classic basketball game in past years, he was the person who was in charge of selecting the Bronx team and coaches. But more important he and his Buddy Ernie Morris, a great guy as well, were the two guys who folks often came to see because they put on quite a show in the stands. They would go off at bad calls, dance down the aisles, and just do their thing. It was comical and well worth the price of admission.

But beyond the comedy was a great basketball mind and a real community leader. This guys community resume could be a blue print for young coaches looking to get involved in community sports and make a difference with our youth. You see Mike had no interest in becoming a HS or College coach. All he wanted to do was coach in his community. And this he did and he did it well. he was one of the first Riverside Coaches who took a team of kids from NYC overseas. These were kids who for the most part had never even been out of NYC. This is a guy who ran the Upward Fund program for kids in NYC. This is a guy who ran The Minisink Townhouse Program for The Children's Aid Society. This was a guy who was a TERRIFIC Referee and he could have gotten to the College ranks but he loved working in the community. But most of all this was a guy who lived life at it's fullest. he did it his way and enjoyed life as we all should.

I knew Mike since I was 14 years old. We were competitors in basketball as kids. He was some player at a young age. Tough and took it right to you. He also happened to be my next door neighbor at the complex where I live in Harlem NY. It was not unusual to see him grilling on the side walk as you came in from work. Folks would tease him and he would just laugh as continued grilling next to his Cadillac Escalade truck. He could care less what folks thought of him or others. As long as he liked you and enjoyed what he was doing, everything would be just fine.

Well Mikes funeral was filled with young and old. Ex NBA guys, Riverside's ex coaching staff, folks from the NYC Rucker Tournament, Folks from the Bronx. Folks from Harlem. Folks from The Wheel Chair Classic. The Suboa Referees, Folks from his Sanitation job. Even Derrmon Player from SHU showed up after practice and got mad love from everyone. And by the way, Mike showed the world it was honorable and a great move to be a Sanitation Worker. He made it attractive based on HE WAS DOING IT! Everyone came out and it was a true love feast as Mike was on his way to a better place where I am sure he is Grilling, Coaching, and talking stuff to everyone around. Rest in Peace Big Mike. You did it YOUR WAY and we all have learned from you!


Again I ask why is Nate Archibald not coaching in the NBA?

Again I ask why Ray Haskins is not coaching in College?

These two guys not coaching proves we have so far to go in the world of sports. Guys with little or no experience getting Assistant jobs and these two guys with a wealth of experience remain on the outside looking in. Crazy. I cannot believe the Knicks could not have used Nate Archiblad. I would bet Stephon Marbury would still be a Knick and very productive if Tiny was there. I cannot believe St. Johns , Rutgers, or SHU could not use Ray Haskins. His Brooklyn Connections and understanding of zone press defenses alone make him worthy. Not to mention he TAKES NO CRAP FROM PLAYERS YET THEY ALL LOVE HIM! When will this change? Young in-experienced ex walk-on's or managers getting positions before these guys is just wrong. Just as looking at guys like Ron Brown at FDU not being considered for higher level positions. Ditto my guy Julius Allen. How about my guy Bobby Holford coaching with Ron Neclerio at Cardoza HS in Queens because no college, including perennial losers like St. Francis in Brooklyn would give him an opportunity. Well it is a good thing some guys coaching are part of the ole boys network or have Fathers who get them hired and keep them in position. And I am not talking about Rutgers in case folks are getting confused.

Rutgers Beats Bishop College, or was it St. Augustine? Oops, it was Delaware State! Sorry but it makes no difference. They all are the same based on resources for athletics. All are good schools but sports wise there is no comparison. These games are supposed be blowouts. In fact when a Big East Team has a close game with these type of teams, which also includes Bryant this Saturday, it is almost a letdown. Recruits look at this. Alumni look at this. And other teams look at this and come into your building feeling invincible and play with great confidence. What has happened to the Rutgers RAC home court advantage? Against Bryant RU should win by 16 points or more to make a semi statement.

So I hear rumors that Christian Morris Mom had enough of her son not playing thus the transfer out. Good move and I am sure the RU folks are not that upset, even though they should not want to lose any kid because it sends a negative message. But I do hope young Mr. Morris can find happiness. I think any kid who just accepts sitting is a kid destined for life challenges. They should never be disruptive, but it should bother them that they're not playing. The Morris family will move on and Christian will play where he attends, graduate, and have a very good life hopefully. And in 10 years no one will care where he or anyone else attended or where they played or what they did as players. Hollis Copeland, John Morton, and Bernard Rencher could all sit together at the BE Tournament and very few would stop by and take pictures. Yet all are very successful in life.

So Seton Hall is becoming transfer university? Well that is what Lou Carnesecca did years ago with transfers. Right off the top I can think about the great back court of Bernard Rencher (Notre Dame) and Reggie Carter (Hawaii). Many others could be included as well. But I do think it is time for SHU to step it up HS wise and get some area recruits to commit. Though I understand with the guys sitting out, it looks like a hard sell to kids convincing them they would get playing time. And most kids want to play!

St. John's is off to a good record. I really hope they can keep it up and win a few BE games that would allow them to finish with a winning record. When SJU is good, everyone benefits based on media coverage on college basketball.

New Jersey HS Basketball kicks off Today according to my man Jon Cano. Teaneck, a school I love for obvious reasons plays Bergen Catholic. Should be a good game. Bergen has a very underrated coach who I know takes heat from many because of his stance to take kids not normally seen in Bergen uniforms years ago under the ex coaching regime. Teaneck should be back with a very improved and young team. I/We need Teaneck back in the mix. Come on Coach Curtis March, lets get that energy back like you had it years ago when you were a TRUE PROGRAM! You should be as good as Linden, and Plainfield at least. I will be at a few games this year and really look forward to seeing the Kennedy game. Heck, might even send a check if the energy level of the coach is back to where it was lol.

Doc Turner Classic

When will we get another version or at least bring back the Doc Turner Christmas Classic. Come on!!! I am seeing new events spread like wildfire and none, I repeat none, is on the same level as The Doc Turner was. Sell out crowds, great food, and top notch HS boys and girls basketball. Lets get a committee together and get this up and running by next season. It would be fantastic!

Monday, December 15, 2008

RU AD and More

AD at Rutgers

I do hope Rutgers gives an opportunity to one of the true super star AD's in college basketball. By this I mean Gene Marshall from West Point. This is the guy for RU! He is both a football and basketball guy who would be the best assistant the Football and basketball teams at Rutgers ever had. He is a tireless worker who is results driven and knows what it takes to make RU competitive on the field and on the court. Remember the name: GENE MARSHALL. A true NJ Native who would make a real difference.

Folks are starting to question recruiting rankings and why kids choose certain schools. Please allow me to provide a few quick answers.

Attendance at games
Coaching Staffs
Won and Loss Records
Chances of getting to the NCAA
Campus Life
Development Opportunities
Ability of Coaching Staff to Teach
Peer Pressure
Connections after College

Now without getting specific. Think about your local teams and see where they fall in place in comparison to ACC, Bog East, SEC, and Big 10 teams.

For fun lets look at a school like Wisconsin. Cold as heck and a real gray campus that takes up most of Madison Wisconsin. But it is a true college town and going there is fun year round.


Kohl Center 17,500
Practice facility is state of the art and right next door attached to Kohl
Attendance sold out every game
Coaching Staff Outstanding
Won and loss record NCAA every year
Campus Life A big party
Development Opportunities so-so Not alot of kids get to NBA
Teaching Very good
Academics OUTSTANDING a true tier 1 university nationally
Peer Pressure Kids are impressed when they find out a player is headed to Wisconsin
Connections after college Great even in Northeast

I use Wisconsin even though they usually get the Midwestern kids much more than Northeastern kids. But the same could be done using schools such as UConn, Syracuse, Louisville, Maryland, North Carolina, etc. Funny thing is kids really like that crowd support and facilities.

Schools such as Rutgers would need Rick Pitino or John Calipari clones running the show in slick ways to get those high profile recruits without a better and larger place to play games, better attendance at games, and a true practice facility. Fred Hill could be a genius Coach, but until he gets those great facilities that RU should have, he will always have to fight to get true blue chip players. And say what you want but if RU sold out all 8000 seats for games in the BE season, Cheeks might have more of an interest. I think he and others like Dexter Strickland, want the entire package which is noted above. Even Villanova's 6500 seat facility is sold out for early games. It looks outstanding on TV. Ever see that place during the day lol. But they used the St. Johns model of playing games at a downtown arena and getting close to capacity crowds. The marketing guys at Villanova are outstanding.

Now Seton Hall has a great downtown facility and was wise enough to put curtains above the 10,000 mark. It looks sold out and oddly with way less alumni, they get larger crowds than Rutgers does and they are the official university of NJ. Well I guess we can say the same about Villanova who gets larger crowds than Penn State. Speaking of Penn State. If they ever get it going or get the right Pitting clone in there watch out! That program should and could be as big and better as Wisconsin.

Back to Seton Hall. The program at Seton Hall will continually get better and the Arena has alot to do with this. Although a few of those early games should be played at a smaller gym similar to Villanova. How about gutting and expanding Walsh Gym to 4500-5000 seats? Sell 2 packages for games. Yes I have been told that they make money by selling more season tickets based on the Prudential Center seating. But would it not be wonderful for that program to sell out all the time including the 10,000 available seats at the Pru? That would make recruits notice and when they notice they come/attend. I still remember when SHU was getting 15,000 at the Meadowlands during PJ's tenure.

Now St. Johns has done a very good job with Alumni Hall. My friends who have attended games there this season say it is outstanding. I was not impressed based on the pictures I saw. But they tell me the pictures did the facility no justice. Now keep in mind SJU is really suffering from the lack of winning and DRAWING FANS which is a result of not winning. Remember at one time St. Johns was New York's Team! They were getting 18,000 at the Garden, and selling all 6500 seats at Alumni Hall. They were the glamour team of the area and they choose kids as opposed to kids choosing them, which is the case today. I still remember ex Assistant Ron Rutledge telling me who they WERE GOING TO TAKE, not recruit, TAKE! They had it going like that. SJU players were almost celebrities in the City and on Long Island. My gut? They will start attracting better players especially with the smart, though weak, out of conference games which they have won, and the new facilities including practice facilities. With the right bounce here or there SJU could be back in the mix and it could not happen to a better person than Norm Roberts.

Back to Rutgers. RU has put so much, and rightfully so, into the football program, that the basketball teams have taken a back seat. I now read about bad sound systems on the RU message boards. I see attendance at 3500-4500. I see no practice facility and not one on the way. I see an arena with seats so small a thin person (which I am far from being) is uncomfortable. I see a need for upgraded scoreboards. But most of all I see a need for BETTER MARKETING! Maybe they can get a person off the Villanova marketing staff.

If RU gets this together I am sure in time Fred Hill Junior could get the team to the promised land. But he cannot do it alone. He needs facility and PR support as well as a solid fan base. When this happens watch for the true blue chip kids to consider RU strongly. By this I again mean program changers.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday Morning Thoughts

I was still waiting for confirmation on the Dominic Cheek to Villanova verbal. I had not heard or seen 1 story saying he actually pulled the trigger last night. Did he or did he not? That is the question I had on my mind.

It seems like Villanova is the place he will play his college basketball. I just wanted to read about his press conference.

Now as I said earlier, he seems Nova bound. But I had a hunger to find out what was happening. For some strange reason no one had it posted. Than I went to the Newark Star Ledger and there it was. Cheek to Nova.

Great pick-up for Jay Wright. Great place for Cheek. Not too far and not too close. Great academics and wonderful atmosphere to play ball.

HS Game

I attended the big Stroudsburg vs Pocono Mountain West basketball game on Friday evening. And what a disappointment it was. The game was the equivalent of a NYC, or Northern NJ JV game. In fact the game was so bad talent wise (not that the kids did not have skills, they were just NOT DEVELOPED by the coaching staff's) it makes Teaneck vs Kennedy in Northern NJ seem like The Boost Mobile Shootout.

I am really sorry to even post this but I am based on me making such a big deal of it on my blog yesterday. How any kid with potential could play for these schools is beyond me, but hey at least they are having fun and enjoying playing the game. Before I left, which was 2 minutes into the 3rd quarter, I watched Riley Moye, the 6 ft 9 post player from Stroudsburg, very closely to better assess where I feel he could play.

As I mentioned yesterday, this kid has ability and game. Problem is he needs to develop a hunger for the ball and learn to bend down when playing the game. He does everything standing straight up. Now he CAN run, shoot, pass, rebound, and block shots. He just does it in a way he almost looks un-interested. If this kid ever attended a St. Patrick's, St. Anthony's, Cardoza, Kennedy (NYC), or even Plainfield or Teaneck, he would already be a better player based on hunger for the ball and ability to compete on every play. If he just opened his mouth more and demanded the ball he would look 50% more aggressive and be recruited by schools at a much higher level. I still think schools should be all over him because once he gets better instruction and shoulder up motivation, he will be just fine. He did score 20 points in what was a 10 point or so loss. But at this time he is definitely in the lower "B" league of NYC competition wise. Oddly 3 schools called me yesterday after reading this blog to say they are going to watch him play closely in the next few weeks. I am sure they will see great potential.

More College Basketball

Is it just me or does it seem the local college basketball scene is getting a bit boring. The Big East season cannot arrive quick enough. Thus far alot has been such a downer!

Rutgers situation with JR Inman and Corey Chandler

SHU suspensions that could have cost them a game

RU losses to Lehigh, St. Bonnie's, and Binghamton

RU AD loses his job

Local kids looking out of the area for college and local colleges under recruiting local kids who could help them

Where is the press coverage? Where is the positive stories?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fridays Thoughts

Good Morning Basketball Fans.

Well today is a huge day at St. Anthony's of Jersey City. Today or shall I say this evening, Dominic Cheek selects the college he will attend for the next 4 years. Yes I said 4 years because at this time I see him as a 4 year player although I do feel he has NBA potential. Some might argue that he is more of a 2 and out guy. Time will tell.

Now where will he go? Why has he eliminated Rutgers? After all Rutgers has his buddy Mike Rosario who is having a very good freshmen season based on getting great minutes, and lots of confidence from the RU coaching staff. It is like they are telling Rosario to do what he wants because THIS IS YOUR TEAM! This is great for Rosario but hurts when others who also were stars in HS are not getting the same encouragement. But who knows maybe Mike will become the next Corey Chandler as soon as another guard with potential is signed.

My understanding from reading stories and message boards is Cheek will sign with either Villanova or Kansas. Both schools have it going on in a bigtime way. In fact Kansas has a ton of alumni working in the NY/NJ area that could be beneficial to him after his playing days are done. Villanova? They have a program every bit as good as UConn which is nothing short of amazing since they are not the official University of Pa. They sell out the local arenas! They sell out all 6000 seats at home games! They have a great guy as a coach in Jay Wright who the players seem to love and respect. Villanova is a very good academic school in a very upscale area on the Mainline of Philly that attracts very wealthy students.

So Mr. Cheek has two great options. One is considered a super high major D1 program often looked at as a top 5 program nationally regardless of wins and loses. The other is considered one of the top programs on the east coast and a place kids often fall in love with on visits. My guess is he will choose Villanova. But do not take my guess to the bank lol.

I do question why he eliminated Rutgers. Coming from a Hurley program he would have gotten great respect from day 1. Just as Rosario has received. But maybe we all are wrong and he will come out and declare for Rutgers after his Friday afternoon practice. That would be a great thing for us folks who really want to see the local schools keep the kids home. But if he goes to Nova, that will still keep him in the neighborhood.

This leads me to point out what alot of kids and their coaches look at when choosing a college. They look at the current situation and how it impacts future recruits based on treatment of current players. Cheek might surprise us and walk in and choose Rutgers, but that would be the type of surprise that would make FHJ faint because it would be un-expected. But watching what Corey Chandler is going through this season had to make him take notice.

I am still stunned that Corey is getting less and less minutes. Last season folks were raving over him. Similar to how they raved over JR Inman, and Ollie Bailey before him during their freshmen seasons. Is it not odd that all three were predicted to be great players and thus far it seems NONE has ever reached their potential. Yes blame it on the 3 kids! But it has to be more than that. I am not saying anyone is an Angel, but what has happened on my eyes is stunning. Especially development wise!

In the Princeton game JR Inman took 1 shot yet he played around 20 minutes. Corey Chandler played limited minutes. Last time I looked at the RU roster both needed to get looks and shots for the team to be successful. Well both look as if they are finished. Like the life has been sucked out of them. Like they are scared to play the game in fear of being snatched off the court. JR is done and has to finish out his career at Rutgers because he is a senior. Hopefully he will regain some confidence. The question is will Corey? Will he stay? Will he ever feel the love he once had?

Corey Chandler is a very good talent who could play at alot of places and start. I am talking other Big East Programs as well as the ACC and the SEC and Big 10. Hopefully things will come together for him and he will get that fire back. But FHJ and his handling of Corey and others needs to be fixed. Because no matter how folks wish to paint it, this kid is a great talent who chose Rutgers at a time his basketball buddies laughed and teased him because there were so many other places he could have attended. He committed as a Sophomore and trust me I know alot of bigger schools still tried to get him prior to him signing during his senior year. He loved FHJ and he loved Rutgers. He was every bit as good if not better than Rosario and Cheek as a senior. He chose where he was loved and not just wanted. Right now he must be wondering if he chose wrong.

Before anyone accuses me of being anti FHJ or anyone else, I am not! However I do know the signs of a kid looking for encouragement more than a hook at the first mistake. As I mentioned in the past, this is the time to build up the JR Inmans, Farmers, Corey Chandlers so that they can compete in the BE portion of the season. Alot of folks are even predicting that the NJIT game could be closer than expected based on current roles and the RU team not jelling as a unit. I now retreat to my bunker waiting for the attacks lol.

HS Game Tonight

Tonight I will be attending a HS game in the Pocono Mountains. I am going to the Stroudsburg vs Pocono Mountain West game up in the Mt. Pocono Area. Now this is an area with great players for mid and low D1 programs. In fact Riley Moye, 6 ft 9 and a polished big guy who only lacks fire, will be on the court for Stroudsburg. If I am St. Peters, Monmouth, Iona, LIU, Fordham, Drexel, Delaware, Hofstra, Binghamton, and Marist, I would be all over this very young senior. Because if Mr. Moye decides to do a prep year he will be than pursued by the big boys in the BE and ACC. In fact I think I will call Boston College and Delaware today for this kid who runs, blocks shots, dunks, shoots well, and looks very coordinated. Just needs that fire and desire!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Recruiting Thoughts

Seems to me as I continue to read and hear folks speak about impact recruits, we have gotten away from finding that jewel who has gone un-noticed. The guys that need development and an opportunity to grow into their body as they learn the game. Guys like Charles Oakley, Karl Malone, Steve Nash, and many more who I have not mentioned.

It seems everyone is looking at the same players from the same type of HS or travel team programs. If a kid is from a known power house travel team or HS program, the recruitment is enhanced and everyone wants them. Sometimes the same player would not be recruited highly if they were not part of the types of teams I mentioned. Parents and advisors know this and push kids in the direction of those type of programs. Can anyone blame them?

But what happened to the days where a college assistant would find that very good player at a HS in the middle of Ohio that no one noticed, Which was the case with Charles Oakley when he went to Virginia Union. I honestly wonder if this practice needs to be implemented by some teams in an effort to catch up with the higher level high major teams. For example does anyone honestly think local D1 University with the nice campus can really beat North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, UConn, UCLA, Duke, etc. for players those programs actually want? Yes I know Rutgers beat out Duke for a current player and barely lost to Duke for a player a few years back. But as you can see that lost player is a role player at best for Duke. Also, I wonder if the role player at Duke had an affect on the player from his HS choosing Rutgers. Maybe he saw what happened to the role player and decided he wanted to play!

But in a nutshell very few players the power programs want seem to get away. Sure Iona beat out Kentucky years ago for Jeff Ruland. But that's a story to be shared during a non Jimmy V week. Sure St. Johns use to beat out larger programs. But there are a few reasons that happened and most who read this blog know them. Plus Lou Carnessecca was a heck of a closer. Lou could walk around the block with a kid wearing a University of Virginia sweatshirt and when they returned he would have a St. Johns cap and polo shirt on lol.

I say all this because I have thought of all the jewels who become much better than the so called experts predicted. Can anyone say Brevin Knight from Seton Hall University.....oops I mean Stanford University. He wanted to go to Seton Hall but they were not that interested. How about his little Brother Brandon Knight? Well all he did was get away and become The Big East Player of The Year during his Jr. season at Pitt. How about Mr. Nevins at St. Joe's. He should be at least a 2nd round pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Fooled the heck out of me! This is what happens when you get playing time and a chance to develop your game. Maybe Mr. Cheek will feel this way? maybe not? We all will know on Friday.

This brings me to a story I wish to share with you about time I spent in North Carolina, a place I hope to have a home very shortly. I like attending a HS basketball event called the Bo Jingle Shootout, named for the sponsor, a chicken restaurant chain popular in the south. Great event sponsored by a organization in the Charlotte NC area headed by Jay Bilas (TV Guy), a Football guy whose name escapes me, and Dell Curry, retired 15 year NBA vet. Great games and great atmosphere. But even the Dukes and North Carolina's of the world have missed on players participating in this event. Maybe because many of the kids are from nice schools such as Charlotte Christian, which at one time was coached by ex NBA player Bobby Jones.

This is the case with the Curry family of Charlotte. We all know the story about Steffen Curry and how he has tore up everyone in his way with a smile and a face belonging to a 14 year old. I would bet many missed out on him because of his young looks and small frame. But look what has happened. He had a so so game at MSG and he was still the best player on the court as small Davidson College beat The University of West Virginia last night. Yes the same University of West Virginia with a HS All American or 2, a coaching payroll of over $1,000,000, and a budget we do not even need to discuss. I am not here to talk bad about WVA. I happen to be a WVA Fan from my days attending school at little Davis and Elkins College, in Elkins West Virginia. I am just comparing the programs and showing what happens with good coaching and finding that Diamond in the Rough player. Still remember Steffons Dad attempting to get Va. Tech to recruit his son. But as I always say, things happen for a reason. I wonder if he would be as good had he attended a larger school?

This brings me to something alot of folks have forgotten. Steffen has a younger brother who I saw play in the BoJangle Event. You could tell he had game. but guess what? Just as the Knight family went through recruiting wise, so did the Curry family. The Knights have a dad who was one of the best ever out of NJ until an injury at Seton Hall. More to that as well, but that's another story. The Curry's have a Dad who was a heck of a shooter and 15 year NBA vet. Both stories involve the sons of ex players. But here is the part most have missed or forgotten.

Steffens Brother Seth attends Liberty University where he leads that Big South team in scoring and minutes played as a true freshmen. He is averaging over 20 points a game with highs of 26 in a win over The University of Virginia, and 24 in a close loss to Clemson. Neither school recruited him. This kid is in his brothers shadow but even back when I saw him in HS, you knew he had potential. Just had that young look and smaller frame. Did schools not learn from the Brevin Knight experience? Did they not learn from the Stefan Curry experience? Heck, if Momma Curry has another baby I would sign the kid at his 2nd birthday party.

Area schools really need to get away from the ranking stuff and fill needs by actually watching kids play and understanding what is needed for them development wise. Sure it is great getting the Micky D type guys, but there are so many kids out there similar to the NBA draft pick from Rider University who go under the radar. That's real recruiting! Finding that diamond! The kid who turns out being a stud and discovered by your staff. Remember rankings are nice for scrap books, but once a kid gets on campus he has to continue to develop and perform.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Am Back

Just arrived home from Barbados where I had business since Thursday. What a nice country with alot of kids playing hoops in the 85 degree temperature. But it looks like alot has been going on since I left.

Rutgers loses to Binghamton. WOW!!!! Are you kidding me? Well in all honesty Binghamton does have some good players and a coaching staff that gets the best out of the players on the team. And even though my man Julius Allen, who should have been grabbed by Rutgers, SHU, or St. Johns because he is that good working with players, and well connected from New England to Oklahoma, works at Binghamton, in no way should any Big east Team lose to a team from the America East! No way! And Rutgers lost to Binghamton on a day Tiki maybin scored something like 1 or 2 points and Theo Davis did not play since he will not be eligible until the 2nd semester at Binghamton.

What do I think? I think Rutgers needs to take the player leases off the kids in the program and allow them to play. It cannot be worst than what it is presently. I did not see the game but I continue to get reports that kids are playing not to make mistakes. They are scared, except Rosario, to even take some open looks. Rutgers is the last team that should be over coached.

What is this I now hear about Farmer being taken out of the starting line-up? Does anyone else realize that alot of basketball is mental. And at this time the RU team is mentally beat up. Questions remain if Corey Chandler will rebound back this season or is he lost until next season. Also I wonder what he is thinking about...ummmmmm? Is he happy? If not what happens next? I have somewhat of an idea how he is thinking but I will not share here. Inman is playing scared of the coach. Why? Because it is his senior year and he knows he has to be just as they want for him to see court time.

I agree about Greg E. A nice player but RU needs studs on the block who can step out and score as well. 9 points and 12 rebounds are great stats. But sooner or later scoring needs to tale place. Inman and Chandler both need to be in the starting line-up as well as Rosario and Farmer with the big fella in the middle.

Rosario should not be commenting on squat since he is only a freshmen. This is not his team yet. Who is he to make statements and more?

But again, losing to a school that was D2 about 6 years ago is un-acceptable. Will this impact future recruits. I say yes and not in a good way. Maybe Cheeks might commit based on feeling he will be the star year 1 lol.


Morris Leaves Rutgers and I am not convinced it is an actual loss. Sure you do not want players leaving. But in this case Mr. Morris is looking for playing time. I for one always thought he was not BE ready but could grow into the role of a BE player lol.

Will Cheeks sign with RU? I might be very wrong but I say NO. Peer pressure alone about kids attending the "local school" that lost to a former D3 school could be damaging. But than again he might just to be a star and not far from home.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Basketball Happenings and Stuff!

Received alot of emails over recent information I posted on this blog. Let me share some of the information I received:

First off people are following Rutgers, St. Johns, and SHU closely in regards to encouraging kids to consider them. They are watching development, game coaching, player support, shots allowed, coaching support from administration, and wins and loses. I have got this first hand from some, and 2nd and 3rd hand from others. But as I said, people are watching closely

Many fans are very upset with the Corey Chandler situation at Rutgers University. Though they are Fred Hill Jr. fans, they feel the RU starting 5 and player rotation is not in Rutgers best interest. My take? Again I feel you might be mentally losing the best backcourt talent on the team. Yes, I do feel he is more talented than Mike Rosario even though I feel Mike will be a heck of a player in the Big East. I just happen to feel Corey is the better of the two. Folks are raving over Rosario and Greg E. and rightfully so. But it is so easy to adopt the new kids as the best players based on hope and dreams for the future.

I take you back to Ollie Baileys Freshmen year. he was a future stud! he was tough! He would be a future star often talked about in the same vain as past RU great big guys. Fast forward and the fans all but gave up on him. He was now not a BE player to many, despite being an All BE Freshmen selection. Why the change? What happened? Coaches and fans saw more potential in JR Inman who was in many folks eyes the future of RU basketball and one of only a few real BE players on the roster, even though Ollie had a great freshmen season before JR arrived.

JR also was all Big East Freshmen and even Freshmen All American. Fast forward and now there are some who say he is not even a BE player. He was the future just as Ollie Bailey was a year before him. Now he is playing in mechanical mode scared to take a jump shot.

We now look at Corey Chandler. My only problem with him last season is I thought he was out for himself more than he was for the team. But guess what? he was definitely the BEST guard on the RU team. I even thought he was NBA material. Still think he is with more development and confidence. Now we see fans turning on him! Now we see him getting 17 minutes against St. Peters! Now we see a kid also playing a bit scared and seeking support to be able to play his game within the system and not having to look over his shoulder.

Its good to establish discipline and make the program look as you wish it to look. But no one will care that the kids work hard, and sprint to the bench, etc, if you are losing many more games than you win. I have seen some of the best organized programs with kids looking like clones get humiliated by teams of guys looking as if they have zero discipline. In other words it is good to make a point, but another thing to not know when to let stuff go. Just my opinion.

So that's the last 3 all BE Freshmen from the Rutgers program. Makes you wonder about player development, etc. Will Mike Rosario become the forth All BE Freshmen who will have a worst sophomore season than he did as a freshmen? Will fans be on him and Greg E based how they play and are used after this season? Question to all. Was Ollie Bailey playing as well or better than Greg E. at this stage of his freshmen season? UMMMMMM!

So Mr. Drummond is leaving the Main-line? I honestly thought he was a great 9th grader at Bloomfield Tech, where he attended from his Newark Home. In fact I was wide mouthed when I saw him the first time at Kennedy HS in Patterson during either an AAU event or actual game. It is the same time I saw Courtney Nelson who also was recruited hard to Rutgers after announcing he was leaving Richmond where he played behind NYC's Daon Merritt. We all know what happened to him. I still think Courtney was one of the best HS guards I saw and was even NJ HS Player of The Year.

Back to Mr. Drummond. This transfer shows me that Mr. Drummond really has a hunger to play basketball. maybe he will sit out and get even better conditioned at a school where he could make a difference. At one time I thought he was very overrated based on zero development at Bloomfield Tech after his freshmen year. I received numerous emails about my Drummond thoughts and after he had a decent few games as a freshmen, I went public and said I would now call him Mr. Drummond out of respect for the way he was performing and proving me wrong.

I for one am shocked at this development. But when I step back I realize this could be a great thing for him. He gets a fresh start with a year to work hard followed by 2 years to get it done on the court. Not sure where he will attend, and I am sure not interested in being the first to know or scooping anyone. I will say he needs to find a program that has enjoyed success with transfers who had to sit a year because that sit-out year could hurt you as well as help you. Some kids never get the fire back to compete and wind up being just role players despite the level of D1 school they transfer to. It would be great if he could get a partial redshirt for this season and play 2 and a half at his new school by only sitting out the first semester next season. Where will he go? I would think he would consider the following schools who would welcome him with open arms: Rhode Island, Temple, Fordham, Iona, Delaware, Hofstra, UMass, VCU, Siena, George Mason, etc. Good luck to him.

Kraidon Woods never attended Villanova. Went to the Hill School for a prep year and than to Arizona State where he is fighting for playing time. I personally would love to see him join Drummond at his future destination. I have to keep it real here. I like Kraidon alot and think the only thing keeping him off the court is strength and weight. Boy if only I had that type of weight problem lol! But the writing is on the wall to me. Kid also needs a change of address if he wants to play basketball as opposed to just watching the game from the best seats in the house. Just my thoughts and not those of his family.

So fans at SHU think Mitchell shot too much the last game? Maybe so but what Bobby Gonzalez is doing is allowing the kid to get on track in a game that was already won. he wanted the kid to get looks and shots as practice for the BE games and similar contests. I am stunned other coaches do not use these early games for similar reasons. Bobby Gonzalez most likely gave him a shot goal and told him to work to get those shots without fear of being yelled at. Interesting strategy that could pay off big in the future.

St. Johns has really snuck up on us with a great early season record. I also think they have a cupcake type schedule. But this schedule will help them prepare in the long run while teaching the kids on the team the feeling of winning. It is the same thing Rutgers is doing with its schedule. But as I said about Rutgers, this could backfire when The Red Storm get to the BE portion of the schedule. But the record is good thus far.

Well it will soon be time for the area early season and holiday HS tournaments to start. Looking forward to some great match-ups. But I still miss what was the best ever in the tri-state area. The Doc Turner Classic at CCNY in Harlem. That event had crowds of over 3500 each session and the championship games always had standing room only. Wish they would bring it back.

I like the Prime-Time shootout alot but really feel they have gone so commercial the games are not as exciting. Wonder if they are still well attended? But this 2 state format with 3 locations is a bit too much. I really think it is nice that Lolypop Prep from Edgewater is playing Bubblegum Tech from West Orange in the Saturday finale. But does anyone really care about those no name HS tilts that seem designed to be end of the day allow the fans to leave safe with no emotion contests? Bring back the great games and put them all at That arena in Trenton. Boy they need Bobby Jacobs to come out of hiding and retirement to do the match-ups. But really the Prime Time is a nice event that will have some good games. Just would like to see 2 days of national type events in an arena setting.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Adam Z........... and They Win!

Before getting into today's post I need to say something. I have never met Adam Z. However I honestly feel he is great at what he does. I know I read his stuff daily and really enjoy what he writes. I do hope folks will not hold him to the stake over 1 incident with Bobby G. Both are grown men who will be laughing at what happened next summer. having an opinion is hard because for will always attack you for your thoughts. You can never please everyone. trust me I know lol. SHU folks think I am pro RU and RU folks think I am pro SHU. And the real truth is I am a huge supporter of NJIT lol. I really am! Why? because when a player graduates from there, they will be prepared for life and a very good job. No one will remember they lost every game a year ago when those past players are leaders in business and industry. They will be the ones buying luxury boxes at the Prudential Center along with grads from SHU and other schools in 15 years!

The local teams in the NY Metropolitan area are winning again. Even the Knicks....I think. Lets look at what happened.

Seton Hall beats The University of Delaware at the Prudential Center. Seems a few folks are disappointed in the performance of the Pirates. Me? Not at all! I agree with those who say a win is a win is a win. Every 1 point win counts as much as a 20 point win. No one gives extra points based on how much you win by.

Good to see Jordan Theodore play well. This kid has heart and game and made a huge decision committing to Seton Hall University knowing he might not start for 2 seasons. Kids usually do this at schools like North Carolina and Duke and wait there turn to star and start. Most good HS guards would opt for a place they feel they could start right away, even if in the back of their mind they knew it would be a hard thing to accomplish. Jordan is just accepting his role and playing well.

Mike Davis will play better. I honestly feel he just had one of those games. It might have been hard on him going against a real undersized team he could not bump with.

But in a nutshell, SHU has a record they know is very acceptable as they continue the out of conference portion of their schedule.

Rutgers Wins

From what I have read and heard, the game was quite ugly. But as I said earlier a win is a win is a win. Rutgers could have lost this game also but found the strength to win despite not having a game fans wanted them to have. But it is OK.

Games like this gives this young team an opportunity to grow as a unit and team. Not so sure about the 9 starter stuff FHJ is talking about. I think win, lose, or draw, kids need to know and accept their roles. Nothing different here. It is what it is, and it is the Coaches decision and not the players.

However I still feel a coach on the college level needs to also be an advisor and maybe a therapist. It is so important to know your players inside and out. It is not just coaching games and running practices. Certain kids accept roles better than others. And if role reversals do not hurt the team, it is what you do to get the most out of players.

This brings me to Corey Chandler. I honestly feel Rutgers could lose him mentally for the season because it is so hard for him to accept playing 17 minutes off the bench looking over his shoulder until Coach Hill sits with him and tells him to just play through the mistakes. He also is starting material. And coming off the bench is harder for him than it would be for Mike Coburn. Maybe Mike could accept that role better than Corey. If RU wants to get all gears running correctly they need to figure this out very soon. It is no better time to do this than the early out of conference games.

As far as line-ups. I still like Farmer, Rosario, Chandler, Inman, And Hamedy, with Greg E and Mike C first off the bench. I think that would provide more early scoring and a serious anchor in the middle on defense.

The Knicks

Forgot all about them again.........oooooops