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.