Friday, June 18, 2010


Lakers Win

Great win for the LA Lakers over the Boston Celtics. However it still amazes me how people use the "We" when describing NBA teams they follow. We have to win the next game or We will pull it out, etc. Great being a fan but where is the real affiliation? Do these fans actually think those NBA or NFL players really care about representing them as citizens of that city on the front of their uniforms?

Heck Nate Robinson looked like a 5 year Celtic the way he was into the games and that is OK. All the players put alot into the game performance and play with pride. But we should never get it twisted, they are professionals playing for dollars and not good old state university, area high school, or really the city on the front of their uniform. Pick a team to enjoy. Follow the team. Enjoy the game. But keep in mind they represent an organization and owner more than the city.

That brings me to college fans. I fully understand people taking pride by becoming die hard fans. Just attending a college for two semesters gives you a history and a base to support and follow. Graduate and it is really your school playing. This is what is great about college athletics. In the NY area all the schools seem to have sincere and very knowledgeable fans. I would bet many coaches sometimes wish the fans were not as knowledgeable. A great fan to many coaches is that person who worships the coach and sees him as a person who can do no wrong. I would bet most college coaches, especially the younger coaches, read the Internet daily including message boards and blogs. I know for a fact many read this blog and some have even called me on occasion to complain or at the least had someone else call. If it was up to many, there would be no message boards or bloggers.

The true fans are what makes college sports so special. Though many student athletes get perks that we know about but look the other way, most people look at them as amateur's playing for good ole state u. Just young kids competing and representing the University!

However to the University it is big business. It is not as much about developing young men and young ladies as it is about winning and making money for non revenue sports, the new science building and university advertising. It is the reason the transfer rules are ridiculous. Schools need to hold on to certain players they feel will benefit them. They would let a bench warmer on scholarship transfer to a rival down the street. But a star player needs to get a Presidential Pardon to change schools. Thus the case at Monmouth University.

Though I feel kids need to be loyal to schools that give them an opportunity when they were not highly recruited, they should not be held hostage in a program that seems not to care or willing to accept being average at best. I look at the Monmouth situation two ways. For the transferring player the grass might look greener than it really is and he could wind up playing far less minutes and having a much smaller role at the school he transfers to. What happened to staying with who gave you an opportunity when you were not well thought of as a player. Now all of a sudden everyone wants you. On the other hand what is going on at Monmouth for this kid to run like he is doing. What made a kid who loves basketball just walk away from the sport to play intramural frisbee at a D3 school? Very interesting! Maybe it is just a coincidence.

It seems to me no one is really watching what is going on at Monmouth. Waine Szoke where are you? I continue to say Monmouth should be one of the top mid major programs in America. No excuses because they have all the ingredients. Great facilities, great campus, beach nearby, great academics, great college area, outstanding fan base when they do well. So what has happened?

Seems from the outside looking in no one is under pressure to win or achieve. I am sure the Coach knows his stuff, But in no way should they be what they have been for the past few years. Does the President know they have a team? I know that has been the case at FDU for many years. Never figured Monmouth was the same. Why build the new arena if you do not care or expect to win? Just build a huge Rec Center for intramural sports. Make it state of the art, etc. After all, with what they are putting on the floor they could not fill half of the old building and that building was really not that bad. I would bet Rider would love to send special trucks to lift the old Monmouth Facility and transfer it to the Rider campus.

Well, enough on Monmouth. Stevie Wonder can see that they need to change some things. Or maybe Stevie is the actual President.

Kids Visiting Area Colleges

Still waiting for the big bang at local colleges recruiting wise. Will the kids now stay home? Will any stud type players turn down the perks at some of those other places, if you know what I mean, to attend school locally? Or a better question might be will some area schools find ways to offer perks if they have not done so in the past? Lets see what happens. We are watching and listening.

Best Teams in Area next Season

1. Seton Hall
2. St. Johns
3. Hofstra
4. Rutgers
5. Fordham
6. Manhattan
7. Iona

I really think both Seton Hall and St. Johns will be best Big East Teams in NY, NJ, and Connecticut. I feel they will beat both Syracuse and UConn this season. Bobby and Norm sure did not leave the programs without very good talent.

Iona at number 7? We are watching Iona very closely lol. Have some thoughts but will wait to share after watching more closely.

Teaneck HS Basketball Coach

I have gotten at least 5 emails from various people asking me my thoughts on Jerome Smart being named Head Coach at Teaneck HS.

I have known Jerome for many years from a distance. Never had much to say to him since Jimmy Solmon was my real contact and a person I spoke with often. But from what I have seen Coach Smart is very impressive. I never even considered him as a candidate when we were trying to figure out who would get the position. We thought it would be the ex Bloomfield Tech guy and that excited many of us. We thought it would be Donald Osbourne the Dwight Morrow girls coach and that also was an exciting thought because this guy will be legendary one day. We even felt the job could go to a college assistant. But no one even thought about Jerome Smart.

One thing we all wanted was a guy who could continue and expand on what Curtis March did at Teaneck. He made Teaneck HS a state wide name and one that college recruiter respected. Teaneck, a middle class community was the first school district in America to voluntarily integrate it's school district many years ago, always had good teams. When Coach March took over they became a GOOD PROGRAM with many kids going to D1 and D2 schools after Teaneck. They also won State and sectional titles and were regulars on state top 20 lists. We were scared that Teaneck would just name a care taker of the program, or someone who would not put time and effort into keeping the program on at least the level it is currently on.

To our surprise Jerome Smart is named the Head Coach. And WHAT A GREAT SURPRISE IT WAS. I say it was an OUTSTANDING CHOICE, and Teaneck really hit a home run with this. Yes a Home run!!!!!!!! Jerome will do all that Curtis did and maybe more based on college contacts, AAU contacts, style of play, level of competition, schedule they eventually play, and placement of kids in college. I am so excited I might have to move back and get my grandson Logan to enroll in 14 years since Danny Hurley is no longer at St. Benedict's.

If you watch Coach Smart coach his all star 17 and under Playaz teams you will notice a fairness and loyalty factor. You will see a bunch of kids who respect him and want to play for him. It will be no different at Teaneck. This guy is loved but more importantly admired. The days of kids running off to the Catholic schools could be over. Teaneck will continue in the great tradition of Curtis March and remain a serious state contender.


Portside said...

It's obvious Jerome was not the first choice for the job so I'm interested to see how it works out. I just hope you don't get into a situation where you have 2 6'9" kids from Paterson living in a "uncle's" home in Teaneck.

My one criticism of Curtis is that his communication with kids often times was horrible. I know this turned off many parents and kids. The kids who had options often times did not go to Teaneck and the way he communicated was a factor in some of those decisions. If Curtis would gave changed the way how he communicated with kids he would have been able to keep more of home talent and instead of barely winning a county title in his later years, he could have been winning state titles. I know someone who played Calipari at Umass and was close to his Memphis teams. He told me how Coach Cal doesn't scream and say the harsh things that Donta Bright and Lou Roe used to get at Umass anymore. One, he said top recruits won't play for coaches like that anymore. Two,"repeat" top recruits will not play for anyone that screams at them. Three, all constant screaming gets you is a team that tunes you out at the end the season.

LFBall said...

Portside. I understand your concern. However I cannot imagine who would have been a better candidate than Jerome Smart unless Kevin Boyle, Danny Hurley, and Bob Hurley all applied. I did like Donald Osbourne as a future coach but not sure if he was really interested. Jerome brings alot to the table and will continue wwhere Curtis left off while providing more post HS opportunities as well as exposure for his players. This was a great choice.

By the way I often thought like you concerning Curtis screaming etc. In later years I realized how wrong I was and what an impact he made on the kids. I am so grateful for all he did for my son in many others as a caring coach who took Teaneck to heights not imagines by anyone. I for one an sad to see him go.

Lastly those kids that did not attend Teaneck went other places for reasons other than Curtis. They were pushed by people with no real idea of what they were doing. They were also looking at the grass being greener. Patterson Catholic is nowhere near the academic school Teaneck is, and we understand Teaneck has issues.