Received some interesting emails concerning my list of candidates for the FDU job. Some felt I was way off base and I can understand their feelings. Others think I am way too critical about FDU. Here is my response.
FDU needs more than a X and O guy. They need a program builder from the bottom up. Not some great X and O guy with a tweed jacket from Syms who will be a heck of a coach and lead FDU to 12 victories in a HS looking gym with a 300 person fan base. It blows my mind how that school does not understand their potential. It amazes me that the school President does not even attend games. Are the games a secrete? seems like that based on attendance the past few years.
FDU needs changes across the board. Sorry, but I feel this way based on what they should and can be as a university. 11 minutes to NYC, 15 minutes to Newark, and 5 minutes to Paterson NJ. Not to mention being in Teaneck which has had some D1 players and not getting any! The place is just not attractive or exciting. Where is the new campaign? Where is the AD leadership? Does anyone care? Is anyone at home? Should they be D1? Does the President know they have a basketball team? If the President of the United States can attend a Georgetown game, I feel the President of FDU can attend a FDU home game.
Back to the coaching candidates. Maybe I was a bit off with some. But I do feel Darryl Jacobs who has the 20th ranked D2 program in the entire United States of America and is a Paterson NJ native, would be GREAT! I also feel the same way about Steve Masseiello (SP) the Louisville Assistant if they could get him. Even Pat Sullivan who is a TRUE Bergen County LEGEND with coaching experience would be a great coach and attract fans to the games.
Again, the problem with FDU is much deeper than who coaches the team. It also is about the state of FDU athletics.
Rutgers beats DePaul and is 1 game over 500
When Gary Waters was pushed out the door I thought it was so unfair. It was not as much about Gary Waters as it was about being fair in my eyes which made me say what I said and write what I did in defense of his tenure at Rutgers. Waters was not a friend of mine, but I did know him. I felt he had the program going in the right direction and was a good coach. I hated his frowns during the games, but liked how his teams competed and were a family. He was good and that is why it was not hard for him to find employment right after he left Rutgers. He deserved more time and if he received it I think Rutgers would have been further along today.
Fast forward to Fred Hill. Again I can honestly say I have always liked Fred Hill and considered him and I along with Jim Carr to be friendly. This goes way before JR Inman. I was a Fred Hill guy prior to meeting Gary Waters when he was an assistant at Eastern Michigan (or somewhere similar) and he came to NJ to recruit Peter Vignier. I was 100 times more a FHJ guy than Gary Waters guy but felt Gary Waters was being treated unfair. I have always tried to be fair and defend the guy being treated wrongly, thus my comments on the coaching situation at RU during that time. This brings me to right now and my thoughts about Rutgers basketball.
I do not know what will happen to FHJ when the season is over. However I will say there is a special feeling in the air again concerning Rutgers basketball. I think alot has to do with the new AD and the past 7 or so games played. I also have to give it to Fred Hill for staying strong and never giving in to his critics. Guy has a tremendous backside and alot of inner strength. he could have given up, resigned, or not cared. Instead he stayed with his kids and never feeling enough heat to embarrass them during games. he nurtured and taught them each practice and each game.
Now please do not get it twisted. I had issues with how some things went with some players. But as time goes people learn and hopefully Fred Hill and the players I felt were not always treated right or acted correctly have learned from their mistakes. Honestly if they have, it will make all of them better at what they do. I am positive Fred Hill is a better coach now than he was a year ago. He would most likely be even better next season if given the opportunity.
Rutgers won against a bad DePaul team yesterday. Folks are saying they should have won and DePaul is poorly coached. I wonder what they would say if Rutgers lost? Again I say a win is a win. I also would like to point out that as bad a folks feel DePaul is, they still have a number of players who were recruited by alot of Big 10, Big East, and ACC programs. I am also sure they are better than Vermont, a team that Rutgers lost to early in the season.
Seton Hall vs Marquette
Tough game for Seton Hall. If they win everyone will be very happy. If they lose folks will be calling for Gonzos head. Welcome to the world of college basketball and passionate fans! I again say Seton Hall is moving in the right direction. I feel the talent is good but will develop into being even better next season. Trust me no one takes Seton Hall lightly. They know they will have to compete hard to win against The Hall.
Honestly the Marquette game does not excite me as much as the game against Rutgers late next week. I know I am barred from Rutgers most likely (lolol) so I do hope it will be on TV. I think that game will have more meaning than any RU vs SHU game played in the last 5 years. Alot will be on the line for both teams and the atmosphere will be electric. I see the RAC returning to the glory days and a game just as competitive as past year North Carolina vs Duke games. Tickets must be close to sold out and if they are the scalpers will be out because it could be the game of the year for these local teams.
My one request of both Freddy and Gonzo. Fred please wear a Red jacket and Gonzo please wear a royal blue. It would awesome and folks would be really fired up!
My prediction is.....................
St. Patrick's goes to Court
I really hope the Judge rules in St. Patrick's favor. I still feel they did very little to deserve such a harsh outcome. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Northeast Pa, Hoops
Pocono Mountain East beats Freedom
Pocono Mountain East is THE PROGRAM in NE Pa. based on having all the correct ingredients. They have talent in all grades, potential D1 players in all grades, outstanding coaching, outstanding motivation, play team basketball, and seem well prepared. What a difference in the 2 Pocono area programs.
Kaheim Hall, a St. Francis of Pa. recruit, is a patient and outstanding player at Pocono Mountain East. Great player who seems to get better each game and will be a star at St. Francis. But the real good news for Pocono Mountain East is the many younger players with potential in the program. And yes it is a program and a class one at that.
Win or lose Pocono Mountain East is a program to follow in the next few seasons. Would love to see a double header next season over two days alternating between West and east featuring games between them and two opponents from NYC or NJ such as Rice, and Linden. Money could go to a good charity.
Spoke with an Assistant Coach of one of the schools who was extremely impressive. Was very concerned about academic history of HS players and particularly players in Northeast Pa. Assistant I spoke with will be a head coach sooner than later and when he does watch out! As an ex D1 player he understands hard work in the classroom and on the court. After speaking with him I feel much better about the future of many of the kids playing at area high schools.
I can be reached at LFBall@aol.com