Like most people who enjoy basketball, the past two weeks was a great time to watch the game we all love. But this weekend provided a bit more with the exciting games that really started with the 6 overtime Syracuse thriller against UConn on Thursday. Again I say what a game!
Also like the championships I had an opportunity to catch on TV. Loved watching Binghamton sell out their beautiful on campus arena for the American East Championship against Maryland-Baltimore County. What a great atmosphere for college basketball. Funny how I thought including the two state university schools from New York, Albany and Binghamton, would hurt that league. I could not have been more wrong. In addition to academic excellence, they also brought great facilities and very good basketball teams to the conference. Now Binghamton plays Duke in North Carolina. Wow! But any player who loves the game should love getting an opportunity to go against one of the best college programs in America. a side note about this game was the way Randy Monroe the Maryland Baltimore County Coach loved by many around the country based on his calmness and gentlemen quality at all times turned into a wild man on national TV. He was totally out of control and if I did not know him I would have thought he was under pressure or something. Wow!
I am stunned that Seton Hall was left out of the NIT field. Just shows the lack of respect some people have for certain big east programs. I remember when a BE team could finish 1 game above 500 and be a lock. See St. Johns history. Still remember Digger Phelps getting his ND team in with a barely winning record. Could this had been a Bobby G snub? I also think it is important that teams show great fan support during the season because potential ticket sales at away games impress the NIT committee. When Rutgers went to the NIT finals under Waters and the Garden was almost red, it made a statement. Thus RU would get consideration points just based on a decent record above 500. Folks seem to forget the NIT is still a business looking to make money. Which is why the early rounds go to sites that can draw fans.
Went with my Son, John Cano, and a few other Teaneck fans to the RAC to watch the Group 3 championship. Teaneck was totally out hustled and outplayed by a good Neptune team. Oddly Shabazz fans in attendance must have been kicking themselves because Shabazz might have been much better than both teams playing talent wise.
Though Teaneck lost I want to thank them for bringing Teaneck back to the program category after being just a team for the past few seasons. I really enjoyed them this year and maybe they will return next season if they put in the mental work to make them competitive. I honestly felt so bad for these kids because though they had the skills, they proved that lack of heart and toughness will always result in a loss against good teams with toughness.
I still think Javae King-Gilchrist is a very good player. But he really needs work from the shoulders up much more than skill development. A great kid and great competitor, he did not take advantage of the stage he had yesterday. It was a time most good players look forward to. He has all the skills in the world but lack of strength and desire to go at this team early in the game by him and his teammates set the pace and resulted in the loss. The Neptune team was impressed with Teaneck from films, but Teaneck came out so soft and non aggressive it was over in the first half.
In the second half Teaneck was back within 10 with about 5 minutes to go in the 4th quarter when King-Gilchrist had an opportunity to make something happen. He missed a shot he would have made in past games. The Teaneck team was just so tentative it reminded me of when my son's teams played at the RAC and did the same thing. And My son was a good player but he too played soft and attentive.
For kids to be real ballers it takes more than skills. It takes heart and desire as well. Teaneck has some very good players coming back although I still think they are soft. The returning players seemed to be scared and at times did not even go after loose balls. One player, Blue, never ever goes after balls and seems to live on the perimeter. I call him out because he has a chance to be very good next season with work and mental toughness. Maybe John Cano and I will start up our Teaneck work-out program again!
Well Coach March, again I thank you for all you continue to do. Just remember my Chicken saying as well as my too much meat in the refrigerator saying. You know what I mean lol.
Took a good look at the RAC and here is the LFBall plan to make it better. Not really an expensive plan, but a plan to make it a nicer place. My son by the way agrees with many Rutgers Fans about a better arena does not do as much as a winning team would do. The plan:
Re-do the ceiling in the RAC UGLY and worn
Take the student bleaches out and put in scarlet colored ones to give arena uniformed look. Or at the least have them painted
Purchase a new scoreboard with video and a decent sound system attached. Could barely understand what was being said.
Video Monitors in corners
Replace the upper bleacher type seats with same chair back type just below
Fix the chairs on lower level that are ripped and warn with padding coming out. There were many like this.
Lastly go to a regular basketball floor. That Boston Garden look is ancient.