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.