Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Coaches Bring Excitement

College Basketball Returns to the NY Tri-State Area

I don't know about anyone else but I am very excited about area basketball for next season and beyond. New coaches at St. Johns, Seton Hall, Iona, Fordham, Hofstra and Wagner should bring interest back to the game we all love. It is almost a total area wide face lift. It is as if all the area ADs decided to make a huge move together. I cannot remember ever seeing this many local hires at one time.

From all indications Coach Willard at Seton Hall seems to be a person the players will love playing for. Without going into detail I will say how things happen for a reason. Years ago Willard was all signed sealed and delivered to a CAA school who at the last moment pulled the plug on him for the DUMBEST REASON! Fast forward we saw him go to Iona and do well enough to obtain the Seton Hall Job. If he went to that CAA school, this would never had happened. In fact that CAA school has not done well from the time they went back on hiring him. Reflecting back I am sure he is thrilled how things worked out.

If Iona gets a guy like Fran Fraschilla they will continue to move back towards where they were years ago. By the way the Jeff Ruland story is something that has been whispered all over the country during his tenure there. Ugly situation especially if true and done to a guy like Ruland who put Iona on the map. Guy turned down Kentucky to attend Iona and they do this to him? Back to basketball. Fran would do a nice job there. Personally I feel he would be a bases loaded home run for Iona. I love what Fran brings to the table and always have. I also hear whispers that Kentucky Assistant Steve Masiello could get this position and is being pushed hard by his Godfather Rick Pitino.

Hofstra is an interesting situation. Seems the AD at Hofstra is an ex UConn guy which explains the fact Dave Leitao, Karl Hobbs of George Washington, Tom Moore and other UConn guys are listed as candidates. I am a huge Dave Leitao fan but feel he needs to take the huge salary at St. Johns as opposed to trying to step down to a Hofstra level. He seems to excel at higher profile programs with money to spend as opposed to those with limited budgets and resources. Furthermore, Hofstra needs a NY guy like Van Macon to lead them and continue the great job done by Jay Wright and Tom Picora. If not Van Macon they should strongly consider Al Skinner who was wrongly fired this week from Boston College and is a Long Island native.

Speaking of Al Skinner I need to point out all this guy did was win, never get into trouble with the NCAA, graduate his players, defend his kids, and find hidden jewels and develop them into very good Big East and ACC players. Someone needs to call him right now! If Tom Picora did not take Fordham he would have been the perfect fit. I might have said Iona as well but after hearing what Ruland and his assistants went through I am not so sure it would be safe for him there.

Tom Picora is the type of guy who will lead Fordham back to some sort of post season play. He deserves the money he received if for no other reason than he left much better facilities than he will have at Fordham. Using the A10 as a selling point, he will work very hard to sell Fordham to recruits. Now all they need is to commit to improving the facilities in a huge way. Fordham really needs a new gym and practice facility in the worst way. Maybe a joint project with the City of New York to build a place in the Bronx to generate revenue when there are not Fordham events being held in the building and a place to use for events similar to how Temple University does it.

I hear Wagner has guys like Darren Savino, Danny Hurley, and a few others being considered. Wagner is interesting because they really have an opportunity to become Staten Islands team and capture fans from all over the boro. No reason they should not have a season ticket waiting list in that nice 2500 seat gym. If you have never been to Wagner, I will tell you it was much better than I imagined when I attended a few games there years ago.

With all of the local college basketball activity going on, the one that brings it all home is St. Johns! As I have always said, on the college level you need a Coach and a Salesman to attract great players and fans to fill up the arena when you play games. Hiring Steve Lavin is like getting a coach and PR person in the same deal.

Not sure he will get the Manhattan Coach or Dave Leitao, but if he does and also gets Jay (I remember when he was Jason lol) Williams or Jared Grasso from Fordham, WATCH OUT!!!!! Again this brings it all together for a great 2010-2011 college basketball season and one that will see many more HS players from NY, NJ, and even Connecticut attend college in the area.

Lastly, could this be a version of the Philadelphia Big 5 if they play each other?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Interesting Time Of The Year

Steve Lavin

The more I think about it the more excited I become. I only hope Lavin and St. Johns come together on a contract because if they do not it will be devastating to their program. Honestly I am shocked Steve Lavin wants to come east to continue his coaching career. Why?

Lets start with the fact St. Johns is really one of the top 8-10 programs nationally when it comes to history of the game. Remember it was not too long ago that St. Johns was mentioned with places such as Kansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina as super programs with history. How soon we tend to forget that at one time playing for St. Johns was like playing for the Knicks because of the huge following they had with sold out games at Madison Square Garden and the many groupies who followed the program. Yes they really had groupies!

How about nowhere to go but up? Coach Lavin would be loved based on just getting St. Johns back to the NCAA's. The great thing is the talent is there to do just that next season.

Playing Broadway is a great thing and that's just what Lavin will have as St. Johns returns to the glory years.

It seems there is now a huge Money Person (Vitamin Water) behind the program. That alone makes life easy for travel, recruitment, off season jobs, and maybe jobs for a few parents if they happen to be qualified to work in the soft drink industry lol.

With all this I still feel Lavin will need great assistants and the way it seems to be going he will get them. Smart man taking a few dollars less to hire outstanding assistants. Not sure who he will get, but it sure will not be a person without great experience and KNOW HOW!

Again I would jump up and down with the St. Johns fans if this happens. It really would help all the area schools because no matter what anyone says, when St. Johns is very good, college basketball in the tri state area benefits.

I wonder if they still serve those cold pretzels at Alumni Hall with the mustard packets. If so I will take two please.

Seton Hall

OK it has been confirmed by many of the people I know. Kevin Willard is supposed to be an outstanding individual, and a very good coach. In fact many of my friends who follow the game very closely feel Seton Hall also hit a home run and that Willard will be a great face for the University.

I honestly thought he needed more experience for a job as big (in my eyes) as Seton Hall. I felt SHU needed a great Coach and a Salesman to put bodies in the seats at around 14,500 per game. From what I am told this could happen if SHU does it's part marketing wise. I personally want to see 18,000 next season for the Battle of New Jersey with a preliminary game featuring the Seton Hall Women against Rutgers as well. Everyone from the Governor to State reps should be there. What a day it will be.


I think Rutgers needs some good press right about now. This is the time the RU AD needs to release detailed information about the New and improved Rutgers Athletic Center. Talk it up and keep RU in the news because right now everyone is getting full doses of St. Johns and Seton Hall.

Hope they understand that positive press of any type helps recruiting and attendance.

NBA Draft

I am stunned that Herb Pope, Jeff Robinson and Maybe Jeremy Hazell are all considering entering the NBA Draft. Must be more to this because none are guaranteed to be a first or second round draft choice. Maybe I need to introduce them to Omar Cook. I am sure Omar is doing fine in a country far away. But if he would have stayed at St, Johns he would be in the NBA today.

I still feel the big fella from Rutgers will be drafted in the 2nd round and make a team as a back up or at the least be put on injured reserve. He really brings some things to the table.

AAU Season is upon us. Look out for my HS and AAU rankings of Coaches, Administrators, and programs. As soon as I can get with my guys Jon Cano and Bobby H, we will get this done. It was quite controversial when we did this a year ago. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 29, 2010

What A Weekend

St. Johns

People are talking about the possibility of Steve Lavin going to St. Johns as Head Coach. Many love it and a few hate it. I happen to love it and feel he would bring the buzz necessary to fill Madison Square Garden again as well as sell out Alumni Hall for the season as it was years ago. This is a home run if I ever saw one. If Lavin is hired it erases all the failed efforts with Hewitt, Greenburg, etc. In fact, it could be a better hire than anyone mentioned.

I had an opportunity to sit with Lavin at the ABCD Camp years ago when he was at UCLA. He was very outgoing to all the fans who would not let him watch the game because they asked so many questions and requested so many autographs. He was a true super star and humble and personable as well. What a nice guy!

If Lavin takes the St. Johns job and convinces Dave Lateo to join him, WATCH OUT. Dave is LOVED BY EVERYONE in the NYC Tri-State area. He recruits well, and really is a good coach just as Lavin is. Now if they get any of the others mentioned they become as good a staff as West Virginia and I feel West Virginia is the best Big East Staff currently.

But the real big thing is these guys would be Fan Magnets and everyone will be drawn to them. I know I would be very excited about St,. Johns basketball with those guys aboard.

I still remain a Al Skinner fan as well as a Jim Baron fan. But Lavin and his staff would be Broadway, Carnegie Deli, Apollo Theater, Central Park, and yes Madison Square Garden all over again. In fact that staff would be so good it would only help bring back excitement to area college basketball, something that has been missing for many years.

Seton Hall Hires Willard

Hard to compare this hire with what St. Johns is talking about. I just hope it works out. I also hope this was not done because Rick Pitino pushed it? In all fairness Willard does seem like a very good coach. I am sure he will bring Seton Hall Favorite Shaheen Holloway with him. The big question is who else will he bring? Sha will do well but now Willard needs that other Big East Recruiting type with experience in GETTING IT DONE Big East style. I would hope he would also bring his Dad with him as an Assistant to help with the X and Os. Doing this makes the hire a very impressive one. Bringing the type of staff he used at Iona would be dangerous when it comes to really getting it done recruiting, Big East preparation, program management, and x and o wise.

What a huge weekend in college basketball. Butler winning and going to the final four is as close as we will get to watching Hoosiers on TV. The one real difference is Butler is a very good basketball team that has been very good for a while and has a tremendous history dating back many years. Butler in the Final Four has everyone in Indianapolis buzzing with excitement.

Still enjoy watching the Butler Head Coach, who is very good, working the sidelines. If he wins it all, Disney will definitely come calling for the movie rights. He actually looks like he is 21 years old.

West Virginia is my choice to win it all. I still feel they have the best staff in the entire country experience wise, recruiting wise, and knowing how to get it done when it comes to building a program into a TRUE national contender.

Duke............... Here we go again. After being absent from the final four for a long time they return and ............. Here we go again.

Michigan State is a great story and is coached by a true underrated SUPER COACH. I did not say underrated Coach, I said Underrated SUPER COACH! They might just be the favorites to win it all. But again I am pulling for West Virginia and if they win, Billy Hahn might just get that next Head Coaching Job he deserves. Although I am sure WVU compensates him and Larry Harris well enough for them to stay forever.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Coaching Searches and The NCAA

Interesting Developments and Games

This years NCAA tournament has been full of surprises. However, some things you could see before they really happened.

Anyone other than me see Syracuse losing to Butler before it happened? Typical Syracuse with all that talent losing to a very good Butler Team from the Horizon Conference which is kind of a Midwestern mixture of the A10 and MAAC combined depending on who is playing who. But again many could feel from the opening tip off this would not be Syracuse day.

Did anyone else see the baby face young guy coaching Butler? And this guy has done a great job for a few years it seems. But his face was straight out of a Disney Movie where the young JHS guy gets an opportunity to coach and leads the team to glory. I would bet he will be the next coach at Indiana when they decide to make a change. Or at the least if Tubby leaves for greener pastures he could slide in at Minnesota. Or maybe he will stay at Butler forever and become a true Indiana Legend. But one thing for sure, he will be one of the top coaches in America if he is not already.

Kansas State beats a very good Xavier team. Were people paying attention? What is it with Xavier? They just win and win, year after year as a private college that at one time was second fiddle to The University of Cincinnati. Not to mention it seems they continue to develop big men who eventually wind up in the NBA. Maybe it's because they made a commitment to the basketball program starting with the building of a nice arena years back. Or it could be they have the correct formula when it comes to identifying coaches.

Kansas State has also built a very good program in recent years. Place use to be half full and now they pack them in. Is it the coaching? marketing? How did they get so good in recent years? I will leave that to others to figure out. But they are now a power team that kids like alot. Coach, who is really a nice guy, looks like he could be Special Forces or at the least a ex Navy Seal. I cannot see any players talking back to him. Heck as big as I am he could get me to run the court and get a few rebounds.

West Virginia wins. Good solid win for the Big East Conferences hope to get a title. Kevin Jones has really done a great job this season as has the others including Ebanks and Butler who should be a 1st round draft choice. Ebanks needs to come back and join Jones for another season.

Speaking of the draft. Tell me why Jeff Robinson would ruin all that he has done this season to enter the NBA Draft? Is he crazy? NO! It is just some of these agent and advisor types continue to provide bad advice. Kid did not get off the bench at Memphis and attends SHU for more PT. Gets it and plays very well. But not well enough for the NBA. Plus he needs to show people that he is solid in the head as well as on the court. It is a very bad look for a kid like him to declare for the draft with more eligibility left.

Kids at Seton Hall need to pump the brakes and not even think transfer. Program should come up with a good replacement for Bobby Gonzalez very soon if not sooner. Although I do not understand why they are not going after more established coaches.

Speaking of established coaches am I missing something? Are people discriminating against older coaches? Why are the local teams not going after people like Jim Baron of Rhode Island? All this guy does is win regardless of where he coaches. He even won at St. Bonaventure and that's a hard job based on location because the school is tremendous with great support. Why has none of the local schools reached out to him?

What about a guy like Jim O'brian? This guy did a great job at Boston College before heading to Ohio State. Are they blackballing this proven winner?

Has anyone ever heard of Al Skinner? Just what the Doctor ordered for a school to turn it around or improve. Guy can coach, recruit, and find great talent under the radar. Has anyone spoken to him yet?

Fran Frachillo should be courted like a guy courts his future wife. Another proven winner.

Tubby Smith? At least reach out to him. Big Time Guy who might just listen.

Here is the guy who would most likely run to the area to coach and do a great job. Yes he is an ex Duke players but would be outstanding! His name is Jeff Capel and he currently coaches The University of Oklahoma. For the type of Money St. Johns is offering and the type of money SHU should be offering he might be interested in coming east.

Wagner Job

What is the hold up or did I miss the announcement? I still feel Darryl Jacobs who was Coach of the Year while leading Clark Atlanta to a great record this season would be outstanding at Wagner. All he needs is an opportunity and the rest would be history. Guy is that good!


How could Fordham of the A10 pay more than SHU of the Big East? Same area but maybe a different understanding of paying for what you get?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Coaching Search Strategy?

Seton Hall Coaching Search

All I will say is you get what you pay for. If you want to pay what a good mid level coach in the A10 or Missouri Valley earns, you will get that type of coach. It could work out well and that coach could be a potential super star. But at the price they wish to pay they might just wind up with what they have always had since PJ left. a good coach who will lead SHU to a middle of the pack finish and celebration.

Lets also talk candidates. Why even settle for a person bringing things to the table you had in the past two coaches. Now is the time to step out of the box and hit a home run. This is a time to invest in your program by taking a chance on someone who might be controversial but will help you take the curtain down at the arena because attendance will increase.

Seton Hall is not a good job on paper, it is a GREAT JOB on paper based on many factors I have discussed in the past. Seton Hall needs a super star coach who will make Seton Hall his final stop. If they do not do this now, the road to recovery will be long and hard. Look at Willard, Rice, HS Coaches, and others who might jump at $500,000 (alot to me but not to coaches in demand). But remember there are some real winners out there including Bob Knight (if he wants to coach), Fran Frachello (sp) who regardless what anyone says will win wherever he coaches and would be great at SHU, Seth Greenburg, Steve Lavin, PJ, and others not mentioned who would bring instant credibility to the SHU basketball program. This is not a knock on the mid major guys mentioned, just high praise for the potential of the SHU Basketball program.


This is why I like the fact Fred Hill was not replaced. Short and simple. If you are not getting a super star replacement, why bother when there is improvement in the program.
AAU and Travel Team People Speak With St. Johns.

This is one of the most interesting developments I have seen in all my years watching basketball. What St. Johns has done is made it clear who they feel are important in the scope of running a successful basketball program. Did they seek out Dick Vitale, Bob Knight, Jay Bilas, Ex Successful Coaches and ADs from successful D1 programs? Not sure if they did but it seems they decided to speak with the guys who are close to the kids and the ones they feel have the most influence. Never thought I would see this happen but it is a new day and some schools are determined to get it right regardless of how they do it.

So what will these AAU and Travel Team guys say? Will they also say that St. Johns and others like SHU and RU need to learn how to bend the rules a bit without actually cheating? Is this the same as puffing a cigarette but not inhaling? Or maybe tasting food you should not eat and not swallowing? I hope they will bring intelligent suggestions to a table that many feel they do not belong. It is a chance to show AAU and Travel Team guys are not what many people think. I have always said many, including Jim Salmon, Gary Charles, Rich Leary, The New Heights People, and many others not mentioned are better than people realize. In fact say what you wish, but I continue to believe and say these guys are doing great things for the most part with our youth and providing opportunities kids would most likely never receive at certain high schools. It remains a huge joke that the real HS season starts in late March.

On the other hand I have to keep it real. Is this a smart move by St. Johns? Will local HS Coaches feel slighted? Why would they meet with the AAU/Travel Team people and not HS Coaches? very interesting and very telling. Personally I think it is a good thing to reach out to the tri-state basketball community including HS coaches and others. But this should be done as part of a State of the Basketball Program Address and Open House. Chance to show off facilities, have a bite to eat, and than have a question and answer. The way it is now set up looks as if the AAU guys are running things, and that might just send the wrong message.

At the end of the day I still wonder if it makes a difference? What can be said that is not already known? You need a coach who is out in the community and can relate! You need to be more visible! Your facilities should be made available to community groups so that kids will become acquainted to the SJU campus and feel a connection! You need a good X and O Coach! You need to hire a local AAU/Travel Team guy for your program! You should provide free tickets to community groups so they can attend games!

Yes we all know the information that will be shared. But here is what St. Johns could do to get the most out of this somewhat controversial meeting. They need to have a list of 5-7 candidates for the open St. Johns Job and ask opinions on each candidate. They could also ask the people in attendance to rank them based on set criteria. That would provide some telling information.
I still remember a high major program hiring a very well known HS coach from a inner city neighborhood as an assistant coach. The person in question had a great HS program and everyone assumed he had great connections. little did they know other coaches respected him as a coach but hated him as a person and would never allow a player to attend the school he coached at. And the rest is history at that particular school.

The same thing applies to coaching candidates at SHU, St, Johns, Fordham, Wagner, and other places. Some of the candidates are not viewed favorably by the local Rec, AAU, Travel Team, and HS Coaches. Hiring the wrong person who has not been right in treatment of local players, etc, is a bad move and a focus group of tri-state basketball people helps with eliminating someone sneaking through the cracks. Just an example is one coach who is excellent had a reputation of being uncomfortable around certain types of players. Great guy and I am not sure it is true, but it has been said.

Well I look forward to seeing how this plays out. Stay tuned!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Questions and Thoughts

I wonder if the current SHU Assistant Coaches are in touch with Stix Mitchell?

I wonder if Bobby Gonzalez is concerned?

Has Seton Hall at least done it's own investigation? If so they could just find out the true story behind this.

I think alot of potential recruits and advisers are watching how SHU handles this support wise as a University. Not saying SHU should defend Stix Mitchell's actions, just saying he was at SHU for 3 years and is a current student.

Is it normal for a university to just turn their back on people based on an accusation even without doing an investigation or the person in question being proven guilty? Legit question!


Now that Fred Hill Jr. is returning what will Rutgers do support wise for him to help him become more successful? After all it takes more than the coach to create a winning program and atmosphere!

Will Fred Hill retain all of his assistants?


Who will get the Wagner Head Coaching job? I hear alot of local guys including a few local Big east Assistants have applied. On that level recruiting and LOCAL connections are extremely important, Playing on Staten Island is such a plus if they make this team Staten Islands Team. Still remember how huge Evan Pickman, current NBA Scout, made little College of Staten Island into a national D3 contender playing in front of sell out crowds and on local TV. Could be a great low/mid major job.

Seton Hall Coaching Search

This will be a very important hire. I honestly feel the position is much more attractive than people think. Great University, Great Arena, a few sellouts last season, room to go up, returning players are very good, NY area potential for stardom, closeness to NYC, Philly, and Washington not to mention GREAT BASKETBALL in New Jersey. This job is a very good one and Seton Hall needs to get the right person and not settle.


All I will say is FDU could be a much better program if they put money in the pot. What a sleeping giant. All they need to do facility wise is bring in all new bleachers and make the seating capacity 4500. Half chair backs and half colored bleachers.

They than need to put money into marketing and advertising in an effort to become North Jersey's team. Honestly they should claim the title and use it in advertising.

Mike Rice

Loved what Mike Rice did this season and what he brings to the table. If I remember correctly he is another Hoop Group Guy and that's not a bad thing. Also remember him from Fordham. Maybe Fordham needs to get this guy very soon before someone else gets him/

Tom Picora

All I will say is I am a Picora fan. I know he would work his butt off and get results wherever he coaches. But wherever he goes will require very good assistants. Honestly Jay Wright was very similar to me when he was at Hofstra. Plus it is hard to compare Hofstra to any Big east school based on what a coach has to work with.


A few upsets and today could be the same. Let the games begin!

Thursday, March 18, 2010



What a day in local basketball. At a time when all focus was on what would happen with Fred Hill Jr. and Norm Roberts, who would have figured Seton Hall would fire Bobby Gonzalez? Just shows what goes on behind closed doors. It also shows what happens when an employer really wants to make a change and get rid of someone.

As I mentioned with the Binghamton situation, what a player does off campus might be linked to the their college Coach and program but is it right? Did Mitchell ever commit a robbery prior to this accusation? If not how could the SHU administration hold Bobby Gonzalez responsible for such actions? It would be the same if a player on summer break punches a person while on spring break at the Jersey Shore. Would the Coach be accountable?

Now on the other hand the on court behavior of players are a direct reflection of the coaches and the type of program a university has. So Bobby has to take a hit for Popes actions during the Texas Tech game unfortunately. That has to be something looked at regardless of win/loss records. Unfortunately some universities could care less which is why The University of Kentucky's big guy is allowed to take cheap shots and often play dirty without being reprimanded. Despite all of this I still feel Bobby Gonzalez did not deserve anything other than a reprimand for the events in question. Maybe I am just a bit more tolerant than others.

I will not say much more on this except it is easy to kick a person when they are down. I will not do that. In fact it is really sickening watching people jump on the kick Bobby Gonzalez in the butt band wagon because it is now very popular. Bobby made mistakes but so did many others who are still holding jobs and looked at as hero's on campuses across the country. One thing for sure, despite not getting to the NCAA, Bobby continued a winning tradition at Seton Hall and the caliber of players he recruited who could play were not different than many of the players recruited all over the country. Pope was not a criminal when he was recruited. Neither was Robinson, or Lawrence. Who on Seton Hall was such a bad apple that no one wanted them? NO ONE! I honestly feel Jealous Coaches put out alot of negative stuff about Bobby in fear of him becoming successful. It even started when he first got the SHU job when they floated names of potential Assistant Coaches as a way to discredit him.

I personally have always liked Bobby and that will continue. Yes I will say when I think things are wrong, However, I really saw much more good than bad! No need to say what I feel were short comings again. I will use that space to say I feel he will survive and do well in his next position. I also think there is no way that Seton Hall will not have to pay him based on his contract. They can try to use "Cause" if they wish. But only time I have seen cause work is with the ex coach at Iowa State who was caught drinking alcohol and partying with under grads while he was on a road trip. And even than I think he still received some compensation.

So good luck Bobby. I know this is a hard time for you but hopefully you have learned from your experience so that you will do well at your next COACHING job!


Odd that the NY Times piece came out when it did and now Bobby Gonzalez is fired. Was this in the works and was it planted by very connected people? I also am disappointed that coaches who are legends are now coming out and dogging this guy. If they did not comment in the past, why comment now?

Saw ex Indiana Coach Kevin Sampson on TV coaching in the NBA. All I can say is wow! The NBA, the place where even.................................

St. Johns Loses

I really know people will kill me for this. I want Norm Roberts to keep his job. He is right on the edge of turning St. Johns into a top notch program. What makes it even better is he is doing it the hard way and doing it with class.

Anyone can see that St. Johns is better than they were a year ago. Ditto Rutgers and Seton Hall although that did not help Bobby Gonzalez. How good these programs can be at a time where some college basketball programs nationally have all you can spend bank accounts available is up to debate. Will all 3 have a win at any cost mentality? Are the fans really realistic? I honestly feel all 3 will soon be programs playing in sold out arenas again.

The NCAA Starts

I love President Obama's picks and I agree with Kansas as the National Champion. Great guard play with big guys who know their role equals success. I also love the fact our President really understands college basketball. I wonder if his Brother in Law gave him some insight?

Interesting that there are so many ex college players on the Presidential staff. I heard a long time ago that people who play college sports make good leaders and employees. But in the case of this Presidential Staff, they could win a local adult tournament and even do a great job in the Pelham Fritz Adult league in Harlem NY that is 35 and older with many ex NBA, college, and tri state street legends participating including Gus Williams, Mike Bantum, Ed Pinkney, Kyrie Irving's Dad, and many more.

Well let the games start. Off to buy some snacks to eat as I watch! Enjoy the games.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Guess I Should Comment .......

I guess it is time for me to give my take on a few happenings around college basketball. From the various post season tournaments to happenings off and away from the court here are my thoughts.

The NCAA's

Honestly not a bad job. A few local teams might be upset but how many Big East teams could they take? For a conference to get 14 out of 16 teams in either the NCAA or NIT is a huge accomplishment. The two who were left out must feel a certain kind of way if they did not turn down the NIT behind closed doors. They must realize with a win here and there they too could have been still in the gym preparing for the next game.

The number 1 seeds seem a bit interesting based on Duke being a number 1 seed and the number 3 overall seed in the entire NCAA. I guess the name Duke means we will always give you the benefit of the doubt.

I wonder how hard it was to keep The University of North Carolina out of the NCAA. I would bet they tried all kind of ways to justify including them. After all they are North Carolina and the games they lost were all flukes lol.

Was it only me or was that Joe Lombardi (sp) bracket show confusing considering it was not the actual selection show? They had it set up like it was the real thing. Computerized touch screen brackets, guy standing there with all the answers looking official. Heck why have a committee when he could do the entire thing and have it done a day earlier.

One question I have, because I am way too lazy about this, would be how accurate was his brackets? I know I will not do an actual comparison. And if he is close he must have a person on the inside of the war room where the committee made the choices. Impossible to have 90% accuracy when you have to duplicate what a committee of many are thinking. If he is that good he needs to join the amazing Randy (remember him?) on tour.

Locally the only NCAA teams are Siena and Cornell. Wow! And both are at least 2 hours from NYC! Maybe we can claim Temple? Also Hofstra accepts an invitation to the College Invitational? Are they kidding? Who will be watching? St. Johns and Seton Hall to the NIT? St. Johns travels to Memphis to play against a good but under achieving Memphis team that has some good players. But than again St. Johns also has good talent. And because St. Johns has underclassmen, this will be a good way to start getting the players ready for next season.

I really felt Seton Hall would be a NCAA team this season. The talent really is there. I just felt it took longer than many expected for the talent to jell together so they could become the team we all expected. Lets see what happens in the NIT?

Here is where they start hating me at Seton Hall. I always say what I mean and mean what I say. This is based on what I have read and not facts behind the scene. If there is more to the story I do not know. All I know is what I am writing about and it is only about dismissing a player from a team. And in the case of Robert Mitchell, the decision to throw him off the team was a horrible one and something that could have been worked out with a suspension, which he really deserved for his newspaper comments.

I have defended Bobby Gonzalez on my blog when I think he is right and I have said when I think he is wrong. You cannot have it both ways as a coach. You cannot be forgiven for saying things others felt was wrong or even dumb and continue doing your job as a grown up adult while holding a frustrated young man, yes a young man, super accountable for expressing his feelings after seeing his numbers drop across the board and in his eyes his NBA chances, if he had any, completely diminish. Why not have a talk with him? Why not suspend him? Why even do it now? Heck people have said much worst about SHU on message boards and in corridors. Maybe you can get their season tickets revoked if we get you names.

I am not saying what Robert Mitchell did was right, In fact it was very wrong and I expected Bobby Gonzalez to suspend him right away. But to kick a player out the door after he was one of the first to commit to you and leave an environment where he was a star because he believed in you will always be something brought up in recruiting circles and something that will bite the SHU program on the butt, especially if this young man is connected in Brooklyn because those guys can on occasion get together and close you down recruiting wise. Ask Mike Jarvis about that? And when you do stuff like this, I hope there's no dirty laundry in the background.And if you did not release Keon Lawrence from the SHU program for driving the wrong way and getting into an accident on the Garden State Parkway, rightfully not, this also should not have resulted in a termination. I thought Bobby Gonzalez would know better if anyone would. Bob Huggins would have cursed the young man out and moved forward. Bobby you have to reconsider this move especially based on eligibility issues for the young man, the fact he has game, and it is the right thing to do.

What is he deal with St. Johns? What is the deal with the NY Post? Will Norm keep his job? Are they just making him suffer? Will they allow him to coach the good players he recruited? Easy decision but one that will not be popular regardless.

Lets talk Rutgers. What is happening with Fred Hill Jr. Did they make a deal already and just have not announced it yet? Will he be back? Will they hire a new person who will not be as good as Fred Hill? Again I will say the only announcement I would be excited about from Piscataway would be that they will start redoing the RAC this summer and start building a new basketball practice facility as well. That's the good news that will really help Rutgers. Also great would be a new advertising and media campaign with whoever the coach is reaching out to fans. First step is a letter to the fan base and potential fans via billboards, email, snail mail, newspapers, and statewide Cable TV.

Quick Hits

Why is there even a College Invitational?

When will Rider build a new gym?

FDU has a permanent coach, but are they committed to D1 basketball or just fooling around?

Will Marist give Chucky Martin more time?

Will the Siena Coach change zip codes?

Will Richmond be able to hold on to it's current Coaching Staff?

Will Fran leave Broadcasting and return to college basketball coaching?

Will Gonzo do the right thing and bring Mitchell back with a suspension?

Will Rutgers fans go ballistic if Fred Hill is retained?

If Fred Hill is retained will the RU staff remain the same?

Who will Wagner hire?

Is Wagner a better job than FDU?

What is the worst job in the NEC?

Worst job in the MAAC?

Worst job in A10?

Worst job in Big East?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Few Things On My Mind

Just a few things on my mind

I love how some college basketball fans worship certain coaches who can do no wrong regardless of their teams performance and season record. Such is the case of many of the name coaches out there. Please understand a few do alot for their communities and many others charity wise. But what they have done to be successful basketball coaches has much more to do with factors outside of X and O's and great personalities when it comes to recruiting.

If people think many, not all, of the top recruits sign on to programs based on 1 home visit and 1 campus visit they are wrong. I am stunned not many people to this day see what is going on in NCAA basketball. George Mason has been a true exception to what I am saying based on getting to the final 4 with a team that was developed and coached as opposed to a team put together by any means necessary. I guess many see the direction I am going with this.

When it comes to the recruiting game I have heard that many coaches nationally turn up the heat to get players by providing extra incentives. No I am not talking about extra tutoring and a king size bed. I will not go into more detail on this but will say just because a coach is charming, does not mean it is enough to get that signature. And though tradition can be a great factor, it often can come down to a top level recruit seeing some great incentives to attend the school in question.

This brings me to the 3 local schools in the Big East. All three are coached by hard working guys with different personalities. One is smooth and calm, the other gets after it and has very good local connections, the other is a tenacious competitor who has been to the NCAAs at his former school. All three bring something to the table. All three are so different it is refreshing. In fact I love the fact that 2 of the 3 seem to hate each other. I LOVE IT because it brings good drama to the basketball scene. Heck they could sell 19,000 seats if Don King promoted the games they play.

Unfortunately all 3 have played the recruiting game with pea shooters while others have used cannons. Despite this they all have recruited fairly well and next year should be a great one in the NY Metro area. All 3 will be a hard game for anyone next season and most coaches know this. Coaching wise they all have grown, even though one was a pretty good coach at his past school anyway.

At a time when schools are making changes because the grass might look greener, I hope the 2 schools that are seriously thinking change will consider who they would hire as replacements. Why trade your Chevy for a Ford? Why move from Alpine NJ to Franklin Lakes? What makes Burger King so much better than Wendy's? Now if you have a choice of Wendy;s or Morton's Steak House that is a difference. Or a nice NJ neighborhood like Ridgewood vs Alpine, that's a difference!

It will not be as easy as people think to get the right coach regardless of where the opening is. I again say if it is not a super home run why not provide time for coaches to complete what they started, especially with the returning talent they have.

Congratulations to all 3 area BE Teams for improved seasons from a year ago. At one time that is what really mattered.

Lots of talk about coaching changes and if they do happen schools better look for the right fit. They also need to remember winning at a mid major does not mean they will be successful in the big time. However I do agree with many that it has been done and sometimes people deserve an opportunity. But in all fairness, coaching in the NY Metro area requires a certain type of personality. You need to not only be a very good coach, you need to be media smart and well connected in more ways than one.

HS Basketball

Looking forward to a great salad at Salad Works and than two great games at The RAC tonight. I guess I will sit inn the cheap section so that I can stretch out and enjoy the games. Hope everyone has a great day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday Thoughts

The Big East

Believe it or not I was really pulling for Rutgers to beat Cincinnati in the last game of the opening round of the BE tournament. As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, I felt all the area teams had a great chance to win. Seton Hall and St. Johns won games even though SHU had a major meltdown. I am so glad they pulled the game out because the heat Bobby Gonzalez would have had to take would have been severe. Hopefully that effort will make Seton Hall more focused for tonight's game, which they can also win.

St. Johns blew out UConn and everyone is talking about how bad UConn played without acknowledging the great play of St. Johns. Where is the respect for what they accomplished? Where is the respect for St. Johns as one of the best programs in the history of college basketball? Say what you wish, but Norm Roberts had his team prepared!

Rutgers loses to a team they could have beaten. But despite the loss I still feel the Rutgers kids have shown improvement. If they played this game 10 times I honestly feel Rutgers would win 7 of the 10. Unfortunately yesterday was one of the 3 times that would result in a loss. Again I will get heat for saying this but Fred Hill is much better than he was in the past. His team look organized, and much more disciplined than in the past. I also think he is doing a very good job developing his players and based on their youth, he is very patient.

I really think all the talk about Fred Hill going might just be talk because any replacement for him would need to be a MAJOR Hire or a Home Run Choice. To replace him with a mid major guy no matter how successful could be a waste of time. The BE is the best conference in America even if it does not provide some of the benefits other conferences provide if you know what I mean. So coaching in the BE is a totally different situation than coaching at a winning mid major program. Even the schmoozing is different not to mention the game prep, bench coaching, and player development.

It is much better to assist who you have based on knowing what they need, than to go and get a similar model and have to start from scratch. So again if it is not a head coach WHO has won from a top 3 conference, or a person with serious credibility and connections who might have been away for a year or two, WHY BOTHER?

Ditto with St. Johns and Seton Hall. I again say Bobby Gonzalez is doing a very good job and should be at SHU for at least 5 more years if not longer. And that is despite the meltdown his team had yesterday. But as I always say, stuff happens and at least they held on for the win. Yes folks, I again say he is the face of Seton Hall Basketball and that is not a bad thing. Trust me, recruits all over America know who he is and about Seton Hall University.

I also need to point out I spoke with several long time basketball people in NYC all day yesterday. 100 percent of them said Bobby can be difficult based on being so COMPETITIVE and eager to win. But 100 Percent of them also said THEY LOVE HIM and what he brings to the table. Some of these guys are people of major influence. Personally I again say I am a Bobby Gonzalez fan and have been for many years even if I often spell his name wrong. You see Bobby is like many of us who have had to fight and claw to make it. He has never forgotten the people he met on the way up. He has always been available to assist the little people who try to run youth basketball. He lives, eats, and sleeps basketball and if he made a mistake here in there it only proves he is human. He also knows how I, and many others feel about his communications with people who work with him. I would bet his Sister has even spoken to him about that. But from what I hear even that has improved. If he gets SHU back to the sweet 16, I am sure many will jump back on his band wagon including the NY Times. Speaking of the NY Times, I am still shocked they ran a story like they did on Bobby. They were always the paper with great credibility. I guess in this recession they are turning to sensational stories to attract readers.

Norm Roberts is anything but a sleazy guy. Many college teams that are successful have sleazy guys leading them. The guys who are illegal, paying kids, having kids in majors that require little or no studying, and graduating less kids than a one room school house in 1932 Mississippi. Norm is building a program that will make SJU folks proud. He seems like a great role model and by the way they took UConn apart yesterday looks as if he is a pretty good coach as well. And everyone can see the talent is getting much better at SJU.

I really feel any highly rated area kid watching closely will have to sit back and realize playing for Rutgers, St. Johns, or Seton Hall is a great thing and not a fall back option.

Back to Rutgers. Now is the time to really step up and provide a date for the start of renovating the RAC in a MAJOR WAY, building a great practice facility, and re-marketing men's basketball!


Read where FDU might retain Greg Vetrone. OK if that is the case what are you going to do to make the program attractive to kids and fans? Are you going to renovate the gym? How about marketing the team to attract fans and have a attendance goal for next season of 2800, and the following season of 3500, and topping off at 4000 in year 3. The head coach cannot do it alone. I am curious to see how it plays out. If things stay the same, they might be secretly working towards downsizing to D2 or D3. Just my opinion.

Thursday games at the RAC will be very good. Think I will arrive in the area very early to hit that Salad Works place for a good meal. Looking forward to some great basketball today. I would love to see SHU and St. Johns advance.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Today In basketball

The 2nd season is about to start. But first lets look at a few developments:

One of the classiest young men to ever play the college game from our area is Rashawn McCloud (sp). This guy was such a role model for many despite leaving St. Johns for Duke. But seeing him fired from Indiana was very odd. I cannot believe even that arrogant Indiana Coach would do just a thing. If there is not more to this area High School programs should close the door on Indiana if they try to get in on players. But honestly they have never been a recruiting force in the tri-state area anyway. But still it is a bad look!

People can say I am crazy, weird, and even a blog know it all and they might just be right. Well here is something to reinforce how folks might feel about me. At the expense of sounding like Rutgersal from the Rutgers message board, I feel Rutgers, excluding the last game, has played well enough to make a statement in the Big East Tournament. There road to the championship goes through 3 very beatable teams. In fact all area teams have a great chance of doing better than people really expect.

Rutgers can beat Cincinnati
Rutgers can beat Louisville but it will be tough
Rutgers can beat West Virginia but it will be tough

Seton Hall can beat Providence
Seton Hall can beat Notre Dame
Seton Hall can beat but it will be hard Pitt

St, Johns can beat UConn but it will be difficult especially with all the UConn Fans
St. Johns can beat Marquette
St. Johns will have a hard time against Villanova

What would really help the 3 area teams is a large fan turnout and the 3 teams cheering for each other similar to what the Big 5 did years ago in Philly. But we all know this will not happen. But of Rutgers gets half of what they brought to the NIT finals a few years back, it will make a huge difference.

SHU is 15 minutes from MSG. If they can get 8000 to the Pro Center there should be 5000 to this event! Do that and things will become very interesting.

St. Johns plays at MSG. No excuse not to get the fan base out.

All 3 have a very good chance of winning first round games! OK let the attacks begin lol.

Gonzo in The NY Times

It continues to amaze me how people can dig deep to find out things they feel will hurt a person. It also amazes me how the Manhattan AD, who has always been a very classy guy, would be used as he was. He came off looking worst than he was trying to make Bobby Gonzalez look. The NY Times did what most other newspapers do, they used him to make the story sensational.

We all know these stories so what was printed was old news and stuff that might have happened in the past. After all we all grow up. Unfortunately they did not dig deep enough to show Gonzos good side. The volunteer work he did for years, the low pay to coach a HS JV team, the sacrifices he made to get where he is because he had no godfathers initially. Sure Pete Gillen, a great man, gave him an opportunity and the rest is history. But if you believe 100 bus drivers would not drive Manhattan College please meet me at The George Washington Bridge for your deed to the bridge. Just bring your $350,000 in cash,

Lets also talk about the purpose of such articles when a team is on a winning streak and other area coaches are fighting for their lives. Could it be to take the pressure off others? Could it be to take the spotlight off many on the hot seat and make BG the center of attention in an effort to take others off message boards, blogs, and AD notes?

The article was extremely one sided and I would bet alot more positive stuff was said, but just did not make the final cut. Newspaper reporters have favorites as well........always remember that.

HS Basketball This Week

Looking forward to seeing Teaneck on Wednesday if they win Monday night.

The big double Header will be Thursday at Rutgers with St. Peters vs Seton Hall Prep and St. Anthony's vs Paterson Catholic. Should be a huge crowd and I hope to be in attendance if they let me in lol.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Thoughts


Waited for two days to watch the Seton Hall vs Rutgers basketball game. Honestly I might be in the minority on this but I really enjoyed the game.

I now understand why college coaches in leagues such as the Big East, ACC, and SEC get paid the big bucks. The abuse they have to take from many folks is unbelievable. I guess many would put me in the abuser category though I feel I am pretty fair.

I must not have seen the same game others saw last night because I honestly felt both teams represented themselves well.

I have been back and forth with thoughts on Rutgers for 4 years. Here are my latest thoughts.

Rutgers is a much better program right now than they were 3 years ago

I think Fred Hill Jr. has been patient and never gave up on his players and staff,

I feel Rutgers is really moving in a positive direction

I feel many are unfair regarding FHJ based on him losing last night in a game that was really closer than the box score indicates.

Everyone wanted RU to be competitive in games, win some BE games, get the RAC jumping, and establish the team as a legit high level program. Honestly I think all of this has been accomplished.

Now if Rick Pitino, John Calipari, or similar type coaches are available to coach Rutgers, I would say you have to look. But to replace any local coach doing a decent job with some mid major guy does no good. Why not stay with what you have if you are not prepared to pay the big bucks for a home run selection that would be national news.

By the way Dane Miller might just be BE Rookie of the Year. Boy does he look like a future great player!

Lets talk Seton Hall.

Different team when Pope shows up. Wow he looked good. When he scores to go along with rebound, he looks like a guy who will make a great living playing basketball somewhere.

Jeff Robinson is much better than anyone thought. All he does is compete. score, rebound, and did I say win? He might be the SHU MVP!

My MVP on the SHU Team is Jordan Theodore. Boy does he hold them together. He hits big shots, directs the team like a conductor, and makes things happen. Honestly I knew he would be good, but not as good as he has played. Long way from his wonderful Mother putting him on the ground and putting her knee in his chest at a summer league game in NYC when he was younger because he talked back to the summer league coach lol.

Lets talk Gonzo and his coaching. I think Gonzo is a very good coach. I feel he loves his players and wants them to do well. Alot of his emotions is based on his climb to the top which is a result of his hard work on the streets of NY for no money, his coaching HS in NYC for no money, his going to every game he could in a beat up car and working every camp he could. In other words he did not get where he is via a shortcut. This is why most NYC basketball guys love him.

I know he looks like a cry baby during certain games. I know he has to learn to treat the staff a bit better (He complained to someone that I said this and the person said I was right lol). But most of this is a result of his COMPETITIVENESS!! I remember another area coach who is a Hall of Famer running around the sidelines like Gonzo does. His name was Lou Carnessecca, who is a wonderful man.

Bobby Gonzales is at the right place at the right time.

I think both SHU and Rutgers look much better when the offense goes through multiple people as opposed to only Mike Rosario or Jeremy Hazell.

I really love the Hamady Ndiaye development at Rutgers. I still feel he will be in the NBA as a back-up next season. Eager to learn, runs the floor, dunks, blocks shots, and is about team. I would bet the potential agents are all over him.

If Seton Hall's team all return (except Garcia), watch out! Seriously! They are learning to be a family and will only get better. They just need one of those summer or pre season trips abroad.

Is it me or does Seton Hall have a Jim Carr lookalike on the bench? He even acts like Jim Carr during timeouts.

The only 2 blemishes I feel happened last night were:

The Assistants at Rutgers going at THE HEAD COACH of SETON HALL! What gives a assistant coach the right to even have a conversation with the Head Coach of a opposing team? This is why Gonzo needed a guy like my man Julius Allen. He would have squashed that right away. Shows the respect they have. They would have never done this to other BE Head Coaches. And some BE Head Coaches are really not nice people. Bobby Huggins would have went off on them. So would Calhoun. They would have been too intimidated to do that to Pitino. If it was done to Norm Roberts they might have saw Anthony mason come out of the stands lol. No excuse or reason for that behavior. Gonzo did not dunk the ball at the end. The players did and I would bet they meant no harm.

The 2nd was The RAC not being completely sold out. Are you kidding me? This is why kids run to schools out of the area. 6500 in a 9000 seat building? It should have been a scalpers dream situation. RU has more to worry about than who is coaching the team.

Lastly, nice touch for FHJ to wear the Red shirt honoring his graduating senior. It is stuff like that and a great game like last night that will draw recruits to both Rutgers and SHU. Especially if they ever sell the joint out!

FDU loses to LIU

It looks as if the season is over for FDU. What next? Will the current coach be retained? Will a new coach be named today or by Monday? We all know the answer. Just hope they take time to talk about what they will do with that barn gym, and also introduce the new marketing and promotional Director and staff. Wonder if the staff will stay aboard if a new guy is named? I will say the guys there including Vetrone and Brown are BE level assistant coaches and would be tremendous assets to any new guy! Still think Darryl Jacobs would have been a perfect fit. Their loss!

I wonder what will happen at Marist and The University of Delaware? Monmouth Coach seems to have a life time contract lol. But he is a good coach. Lets see what happens next season.

Will Fordham keep the Temp Coach? He did recruit well but what about coaching etc.

Wagner needs to stop playing and offer Derrick Wittenburg the HC Job TODAY!

Interesting time of the year with the many coaching changes and transfers as well as the Big Dance.