Monday, November 23, 2009

Weekend Thoughts


I know there have been multiple hits on this site looking for what I am saying about the Rutgers loss to Vermont. Some folks are assuming I will tear into the coaches at Rutgers especially Fred Hill Jr. Well, I am sorry to say I will not do that. Just too easy for me and I like to fight for the underdog and cheer him on.

Now I will say a Big east School should never lose to a middle of the pack America East School. NEVER! I would guess Rutgers will not have an AE school on future schedules after losing to Binghamton last season.

Was the coaching really that bad? I did not see the game but I would think it was not. Did the players really play that bad? I would guess not! Should Fred Hill be fired right now? HECK NO! Who knows this might turn everything around. A few good wins and everyone will forget Vermont. Do not believe me? Check out Syracuse who loss to that upstate power......Technical College of Broome County....oops my bad, it was LeMoyne College or University. But you get the picture. Everyone was stunned but now folks are saying how good Syracuse is after beating North Carolina. Now I do not expect Rutgers to beat North Carolina, but a few solid wins and RutgersAl will be again predicting a national championship. That's what fans do. Dream and become hurt from disappointment.

But lets honestly assess the Rutgers basketball program. Forget Fred Hill because this is way bigger than him and goes straight to the University President. Folks do not want to hear it but Rutgers might not have a winning record even if Rick Pitino was coaching considering all that goes into creating a winning program.

Let me be more specific without folks throwing items at the computer. RUTGERS WILL NEVER do that friends of the Program thing that many schools do. OK do not act as if you do not know what I am talking about. Rutgers offers all that every school should offer. They do it the right way! Problem is many others do not. Especially those schools way out of the way and seeking success right away. I do not blame RU for doing it right, I salute them.

However I do not salute Rutgers for having horrible and old facilities in a top notch basketball conference. I saw seats at the RAC that were broken and shabby a few years ago. Sure the locker room is nice, though not as nice as many others. Sure they have a media room that would make a 2 star and 3 star player say wow! But the 4 and 5 star players want glamour and a nice arena filled with thousands of fans and a top notch practice facility with all the bells and whistles. In fact the next announcement from Rutgers about athletics should be that of a new arena, or a totally refurbished RAC with an attached practice facility. Heck play all the home games at the old gym for two years until the new place or new RAC is completed. Big east Games could be played at The Medowlands for next season.

I do need to comment on the basketball staff. These guys really need to get it together in many areas and hopefully they will. They are in many doors but even if Lou Carnessecca was the closing coach, and he did this well, they might lose many recruiting battles based on what they can offer facility wise and other wise if you know what I mean. Just keeping it real!

Lastly on Rutgers. The players are solid but far from very good! The JC PG transfer playing 12 minutes? Greg E getting 9 points and 5 rebounds? Will he ever in his career be a double figure scorer? The big Fella has not improved in 4 years. Remember he was a top 65 type kid. Was the scouting services wrong? Or has RU failed him? maybe he has failed himself and is just happy to be in America? Coburn was recruited to be a role player and has taken over the role of PG lol. Shows what can happen when you take advantage of an opportunity.

I could go on and on but the bottom line is Rutgers Basketball needs a timeout. And to blame Fred Hill for everything is totally wrong. Some things yes! But everything heck no! Rutgers is now on life support regardless of how many cup cake games they win in the next few weeks. Where is the overall plan?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tobias Harris and Tidbits

Tabias Harris to Tennessee

No surprise to me. I knew, but could not say, this was the program to beat. They had everything going for them as a program to land this kid who has great upside. Folks can hate on him all they want to but anyone who can go from being a good HS player to a Great HS player ranked 5th in his class in one summer must be a hard and determined worker. Please allow me to set the record straight as I see it regarding the schools who recruited him. This is my opinion!

Syracuse was never a true factor for him. Visit was decent to good with nothing special. That's what happens when the Coach is a Hall of Famer. You come or you do not come. If not they get someone else. They might have started out as the team to beat but that laid back attitude they often exhibit when it comes to recruiting and player development might have hurt them.

Kentucky was a good visit but Coach Calipari did not press any of the kids at the midnight madness to sign. Might have even told them to make the decision right for them. But if they did not pick Kentucky they could be making a mistake. The lack of real diversity seen on the campus might have also hurt them more than anything else. No problem for a one and done player. But if you will be there for 2 years or more it becomes a factor.

Louisville was a true contender for Tobias who loved what he saw. The family might have been truly impressed by Pitino and staff. This is a case of other factors away from basketball that could have played a huge role.

West Virginia might have been the team that came in 2nd for Tabias. They had everything going for them and the family most likely loved Coach Huggins. It might have just come down to loving Tennessee more.

Maryland and Georgia Tech were courtesy visits that the Family might have taken based on relationships, etc. Never thought they would be true factors.

Why Tennessee? The Vols were chosen because they have everything going for them facility and coaching wise. As a program they play in front of 20,000 fans all the time. They also play a competitive schedule against Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and other SEC schools. And if folks think the SEC is not a tough league they are mistaken. Academically Tennessee is a very good choice. Facility wise they have as much if not more facility wise than anyone else. Also Bruce Pearl is LOVED by every player in his program. The coaching is very good as is the player development. Pearl has paid dues and is excited about getting the number 5 player in America. Lastly Tennessee is the place where a good friend of Torrel Harris, Tabias Dad, attended school . That friend is very close to Torrel and could keep watch on his son from the stands when he is in the area on business. By the way that friends name is Bernard King! My thought? GREAT CHOICE!!!!!

North Carolina vs Syracuse at MSG

Great game tonight. Kind of makes me want to take out my old HS GO card and get down there for the game. Anyone else remember those HS discount cards? Might be something needed to boost attendance at Knicks games if they continue to play as they have.

More Tidbits

Is it me or does it seem all is quiet with a few local colleges recruitment wise. What are they doing? Any new developments?

I am still waiting for the local teams to get to a level where each game is a war similar to the Big 5 games in Philly.

NJ Tech and a few others need to seriously consider returning to D2 status.

Some teams need to seriously consider other leagues if the administration is not prepared to provide better support. Hard to compete with schools that have so much to offer student athletes.

Monmouth is still on my mind. If they make a change after this season that will be a great job for a person with vision and great coaching ability. Again I feel that is the best area place after the local big east schools in regards to campus, location, facilities, and a great potential fan base.

Hofstra is sneaking up on folks. Might be Picora's last season in Hempstead because the way they are playing someone will come after him. I wonder who?

Delaware was at one time the dream mid major job. What has happened? Every game was close to a sell out. Wow!

St. Peters has really improved. No excuses for others considering they have a 3 block campus in Jersey City, a HS type Gym, and small weight room, etc. despite this the staff there has worked hard to make the Peacocks competitive. Great job thus far. Another Coach who could be somewhere else if he keeps showing great improvement.

Looking forward to the HS games at the Pru Center. Laughed at comment that Morgan Wooten was coming out of retirement to coach DeMatha. Funny!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Thoughts

The college basketball season is fully up and running. What a great time of the year. Time to start providing thoughts on various subjects ranging from recruiting to critiques on what various colleges and coaches are doing.

Lets start with Seton Hall University. So what the first game was a tight one. So what they did not completely dominate the second game. This team will be fine. In fact I can see them going 10-0 heading into the West Virginia game which will be the game to establish them as a legit NCAA contender.

Lets also look at Hall Line, the SHU Student run talk show. I continue to love listening to those young college students, yes STUDENTS, cover the Seton hall basketball team. Folks tend to forget they are students. I am sure Marve Albert and others at Syracuse were not what they are now when they attended school there. I also knew mike Kay when he was a college student at Fordham (I Think) and he was an announcer for the NY Summer Pro basketball league. His best line every game was "This Buds For You!" In other words he was not what he is now. People should take that show for what it is and stop expecting to hear the FAN. Honestly, it still is more interesting than the fan to me because I think the callers help make the show interesting. Call in and participate!

Tobias Harris is set to make an announcement this evening. I am so glad his dad took him to see The University of Tenneesee again without the coaches knowing they would be coming (Please see my last post). I told them this would be a great opportunity to get the real picture without staging. Again I say more kids and parents/advisors should do this. Now where will he go? I would be surprised if he does not attend Tenn. West Virginia, or Louisville, although I have no idea how the Maryland visit went. OK I know lol. I am just leaving the announcement stuff to those who fight to have breaking recruiting news. But I will say there is more to his decission than basketball. Tobias Mom and Dad really understand the process. His Mom is very interested in having her son in an comfortable environment socially and academically.

So Jayvaughn Pinkston will wait until the spring to commit to a college program. UMMMMM. Does that open doors for local Big East schools to make a better impression? Does it mean he is waiting for Tobias Harris to make his decission? Will St. Is he waiting to see how SHU, SJU, and even RU does this season?

Still stunned by Devon Collier picking Oregon State. Rain, Rain, and Rain with a good coach who might just move on after the season.

Hofstra really played UConn tough. Shows Tom Picora will again be in demand for high level D1 jobs again.

Morgan State with Head Coach Todd Boozeman, who had to wait 10 years or so to get another college job after being the Head Coach at California, beat Maryland BC, and Savana State from Georgia beat Central Conn, and Norfolk State beats Maine.
Shows the D1 schools considered HBCU's (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) are catching up with the low and mid D1 schools they have lost to in the past.

Providance wins by 2 at Mercer. Wow! Shows how easy it was to win with Tim Welch players a year ago. makes Tim welch a strong candidate for future jobs.

Monmouth seems to be on the verge of a horrible season. I really thought this could be the start of a season that could lead them to a stronger conference. New Arena, nice area near the Jersey Shore, Good academics, good fan support in the past. This is the time to start developing future fans while satisfying those already on board. Not sure the current Head Coach can survive a losing season considering the new building was not built for low attendance at home games. Monmouth should be hard to beat when it comes to players after Seton Hall, Rutgers, St. Johns, in the NY and NJ area.

Talking about conferences: here are my top northeastern leagues (NC to Maine) :
1. Big East
2. ACC
3. Atlantic 10
4. CAA
6. America East
6. NEC
7. Ivy

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Season Is Here

Well, kids are choosing schools but I strongly suggest they refrain from signing letters of intent until the fall signing period. Watch the team play and make sure the Coach will be around next season.

I recently suggested to the Dad of a top 10 player that he and his son sneak back to his final two schools to get a look at what really takes place. I do not understand why more folks do not show up unannounced? Than you get to see the real stuff!
Also talk to the 9th man on the team and not the new kids who are still wet around the ears. But make sure you separate BS from real concerns to think about.

Yes, I feel Collier choose the wrong school! Yes, I also feel Robinson is a rising coaching star. But from the Bronx to Oregon and all that rain? This is usually the case when a kid has few local options. Heck even Gary Peyton only went to school in Oregon when St. Johns turned him down. He even cried!!! True story.

FDU has Sonny Vacarro speaking to all the student athletes today. He will be a fantastic speaker. But it makes you clearly see what happened at FDU. They are now officially part of the network lol. First they hire ex UNLV assistant Vetrone over the Associate Head Coach Ron Brown, than Vetrone hires a California HS Coach as an assistant when they really only recruit east coast. Trust me if FDU gets a California kid he will not be even a 3 star player. more like a 2 star if that. Now Vaccaro speaks. Again he will be fantastic and I wish I could be there to listen. But it still makes you wonder. I wonder if the AD will one day be at a higher level D1 school? Interesting!!!

Watched North Carolina play. Freshmen received limited minutes. Strickland looked OK but will he play 10 minutes a game? Will he be a 20 minute guy next season? Will they still go out and recruit studs who play his position? This kid is a great talent, great kid, and has a great family support system. Just hope he gets his opportunity to shine. When you choose a super D1 program, you need to be sure you will play good minutes as a freshmen and much more as a sophomore. Alot of top 15-20 guys have rode the pine at places like Duke, NC, UK, etc.

Cannot wait to see Rutgers and SHU start the season. Wish both well. I wonder if I am allowed to attend a game at Rutgers lolol. Expectations seem high for both teams. Now they have to do it on the court.

I really think St. Johns will be improved. Just a gut based on personnel and kids in program along with an improving coaching staff.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday Thoughts

Its been a while since I have been on my blog. However I have followed what has been happening and even talking to various coaches and families. Well, here are a few thoughts for today.

Lets start with Devon Collier. His Dad was my HS Teammate and a very good player. I guess it is where Devon gets his ability lol. Unfortunately I feel Devon could not have chosen a worst destination for college. After watching him in The Eddie Griffin Challenge a few weeks ago I am even more convinced of this. Let me respectfully say why. This has less to do with basketball than with life after basketball. The NBA is not a guarantee for this kid. Nice player with great upside but hardly NBA at this time. Now if Craig Robinson is a great developer of talent, than maybe its the correct choice. But from what I understand and have seen, Craig has a very small resume when it comes to developing future professional basketball players. Now he might be able to get Devon to Wall Street after basketball. That's a great selling point. But I cannot believe a kid has to go a thousand miles away to gain future Wall Street connections. Heck, Iona College does better than most in regard to this with their great ex player corporate connections which could be the best in the area. Plus, Coach Robinson might just bolt after this season if Jerry Wainwright is let go at DePaul. Red, listen to your old buddy, take a better look at this. Oregon State is a great school, even though it rains most of the time. But do you want your son that far away based on the Coach being our wonderful Presidents brother in law? Honestly I am shocked at the signing. Thought Providence was barely leading Seton Hall for his services. Will this stand? Will he reopen? Is it a great fit there? I honestly thing St. Johns, and Seton Hall would have been great for him. Even Providence. Maybe Red will get a White House Appointment. But what ever Devon does we wish him well because he does have great potential and Oregon State plays in the Pac 10, which is a finesse conference as opposed to a rough and tumble conference.

Had a nice talk with Torrel Harris yesterday while driving through the mountains of Pennsylvania. Seems Tobias Harris really enjoyed his visit to West Virginia. Torrel says Huggins was outstanding during the visit. I asked about facilities, etc. Told me that the facilities were very good. But to me, and this is my opinion, West Virginia has the best coaching staff in the entire big east when you combine coaching and recruiting. I guess Tobias has a difficult choice between West Virginia, Tennessee, Louisville, Kentucky, Syracuse, and two more visits that are unofficial to Maryland and Georgia Tech. I think I know where he is leaning but it will be all over soon.

Quick thought about Tobias younger brother Tyler. Recruiters better remember the Harris phone number on Long Island. Tyler might just be better than Tobias when he graduates in 2012. From what I have seen and heard, he is a 6 ft 7 pure shooting lefty wing who could grow to 6 ft 11. Watch out!!!