Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hoop Happenings


Looks like Earl Pettis is actually leaving the Rutgers program. What a shocker! Well not really because coaches all over have been contacted since January in an attempt to see who was interested. In fact my understanding is Pettis Mom wanted her son to leave mid season and it was close to happening but the staff at Rutgers convinced him things would work out. From that date Pettis played more and was more involved in all aspects of the team. But deep inside he knew he wanted out.

Despite what many think, this kid is not scared of the competition for minutes at Rutgers. He is most likely scared by what he has seen happen to others who came back after playing solid minutes. The new guys do not scare this kid. He just wants to make sure he attends a school that will allow him to play more than he sits and not have him in and out of the dog house for various reasons that might or might not be related to his effort and commitment.

Pettis chose the correct time to leave. He will sit out one season and get stronger and better before suiting up for his new school in the 2010-1011 season. And even though folks are throwing around small school names, there is nothing wrong with transferring to a non Big east or A10 school as long as the school is reputable and has a strong basketball following. Monmouth with the new building will be a great place for many kids. Delaware years ago and now getting back is another. Binghamton has a solid following and is an excellent academic school with sold out games in a 5000 seat plus arena. LaSalle has great tradition. Marist has a great following in upstate New York. Siena is a big time program in Albany playing to large crowds despite being a small school. I can go on and on about the benefits of those schools over certain BE schools when kids are not concerned with peer pressure and prestige.
Not sure where Pettis will go, but I would bet he had something in the fire before just announcing he was leaving. I also will not be surprised to see other players from area schools jump ship for greener pastures.

WE all hope Rutgers will be competitive next season and realize how hard it is when the RU Staff has to go against real barracudas at other programs who do anything necessary to get certain players. When you do it right and do not cheat, it takes a long time to build a program. As I have always said, strong programs at RU, SHU, and SJU make college basketball very interesting as does solid programs at places like Iona, Monmouth, FDU. St. Peters (almost impossible based on certain factors), and Manhattan.

Lance Stephenson

Again I say this entire situation is crazy. I understand he wants to get out of the area and play 1 year before turning professional. Maybe not going to Kansas was a blessing in disguise because he would have had to deal with serious discipline while playing serious team basketball. He would have also had to earn his playing time early on even though he was "born ready." I still remember Russell Robinson being a great player at Rice HS who never ever passed and shot first, 2nd, and 3rd. Last time I looked he was a pass first role playing PG at Kansas who was given an ultimatum. Pass the rock or ride the bench before leaving town! He passed the rock and played on a national championship team.

At St. Johns Lance would have walked into a starting position and been treated like royalty. He would have been able to play through his mistakes, etc. But that is water under the bridge now. It looks like Arizona, Memphis, and maybe Kentucky will get his signature if he does not do a Prep year or go to play abroad for a season. Remember anything is possible. But one thing for sure, most folks could care less based on this thing dragging out so long. And when he does decide, the party is over for alot of folks who have enjoyed his journey and the perks that came with it.

AAU and Travel Team

AAU and Travel Team season is here and it is so exciting. My plans are to get to the huge Bob Gibbons event in North Carolina over the Memorial Day Weekend. It is interesting walking into Cameron Indoor Stadium on the Duke campus and feeling as if you are in the auxiliary gym or a gym they used years ago. It actually looks like a big HS gym. Funny how folks always say the reason all the students stand all game is because if they sat down they all could not fit. Great campus but the gym is definitely a historic treasure. Now UNC is totally different. Great facility as well as a great campus. Hope to see many folks down in the Chapel Hill/Durham area.

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