Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tough Thoughts and Message to Minority Coaches Tap Dancing

Greetings everyone! That was the nice part of my post today. Here comes the bad part. I am really concerned with a few things I have noticed over the past few months concerning the sport we all love and adore.

Lets start with the transition from college or HS to the NBA. Has the transition been a smooth one for most players? Does that NBA Rookie Program really work? Are they monitoring players and those around them carefully? Are players changing for the bad once they enter the NBA? These are interesting questions, but a better one might just be does anyone really care? Does the NBA care about anything other than the product on the floor at the present time? Yea Yea I know about all the good will, and special programs done by both the NBA and the NBA Players Association. But do they really make a difference? Are they putting efforts into making sure players in the league do not waste away or waste the money they earn?

My thoughts on this are based on talking to many people over a 3 month period as well as reading articles about ex NBA players who were rich and now are broke, in jail, or in some cases died way too early. Recently read how Ray Williams, ex toast of NY and a guy who made a lot of money went from living in Englewood Cliffs in a million plus dollar home to living in his car in Florida. Now he has to take some of the blame. But who were his mentors? Who guided him from his rookie time in the NBA? Oddly I remember Ray Williams as  a hard working nice young man growing up in Mount Vernon NY in a loving family. What happened?

How about the 5 time NBA All Star who was an avid Church goer throughout HS growing up in Connecticut. His family was very religious as was he. He even sang in the Church Choir and might have played an instrument or two. This guy was such a great and nice young man! His story? He got caught up in the NBA lifestyle! He went from home to playing at a low D1 college and grew into a first round draft choice. He made over 120 million in his career and now has almost nothing. He went from Church boy to hiring hookers, to blowing one million dollars gambling, to just being out of control. Remember this was a GREAT KID who went to church and more. Did he participate in a rookie development program when entreating the NBA? I am sure he did! But evidently he and others like him needed more.

How about all the bankrupt ex NBA players back living at home with Mommy and Daddy? How about all the great kids who have been swept off their feet by slick agents and groupies? What is in place to stop this from happening?  And agent wise, most are in it as a business and that is OK. What is not OK is the players are treated like cattle or something to use only for a financial gain. Trust me I know many, and the majority of the ones I know have done a lot of illegal stuff to gain introductions and eventually represent the potential first and second round draft choices as well as those destined for large European contracts.

What is really interesting is how they continue to trot out ex players like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan as success stories. For every Magic Johnson there are 10 ex players who made money and have very little or nothing to show for it. For every clean cut Larry Bird there are many who suffer from depression, drug habits, and often turn to crime. For every successful Michael Jordan there are many unsuccessful ex Stars working for minimum wage.

Maybe it is time for the NBA to re-think the programs for players. Maybe there should be programs in place for every player with one mandatory session each year at the All Star Break in each NBA City? Maybe the NBA needs better security and a better agent policy? I know for certain the NCAA and NBA need to work better together to control agent activity on college campuses. Maybe there should be an open period for agents and those affiliated with agents to attend games on campuses. Have them sit in a certain section and require them to leave shortly after conclusion of the game. All should be screened by the college athletic department, etc. And to do a contract for a player an agent should be approved by the Players Association and the NBA!

I am so concerned about this based on what  I have read as well as what I have seen. I continue to see ex players walking the streets of America without jobs, careers, money, and often in poor health. I see them using past history to gain favors and even beg for loans, One ex NY NBA darling is known for showing up at HS games that bring out college coaches to beg for money he used for a special habit if you know what I man. And this guy was a great guy who volunteered and coached kids even when he was a College 1st Team All American. We need to fix this system now and not later. It is almost like the Romans and Gladiators in the arena. Great entertainment but at what expense!


A Message To The Black Coaches Association and Black Coaches who read my Blog.

I am asking everyone to bear with me on this posting that is open to everyone to read. But I must call this group out over recent developments. So nothing personal, just my feelings and thoughts.

Let me start by saying what the heck are you folks doing? What is your purpose? I am not only talking about the BCA, I am talking about Black Coaches in general! Why are you guys so scared to assist those in need?

Let me start with the BCA. it seems to me that there is little or no concern about the large number of coaches losing jobs at colleges all over the country. Do you even care or do you just like having a convention to get away and relax and party while gossiping? How could you guys have an organization and sit back and watch many of your colleagues suffer mentally and financially despite being good and decent people. How come there is not any REAL employment referral system? How come you guys continue to look the other way as many of your colleagues are mistreated and scorned for no apparent reason? I guess the old saying "Give Them Positions and some money and they will be quiet" is real and alive!

It is a great thing to see when a non minority loses his or her position and gets hired by a friend the next week. I look at the ex Seton Hall assistant who was hired by another local D1 school when the SHU Head Coach was fired. Oddly Dermon Player, another SHU Assistant, who just happens to be Black, cannot even get a return phone call from guys in the BCA as well as Black coaches he assisted for years while coaching Riverside Church. What did Dermon do that makes a BCA member not even return his calls?  Dermon needs to have a great memory on this because he will rise again and be around players others want to recruit. You would think he would get at least encouraging words from BCA members who are in position to hire or influence.

How about Todd Boozeman? Out of coaching for 10 years by following the footsteps of others he learned from. No help! No assistance! He had to start coaching AAU to stay in the game. Now he has built a great program a Morgan State, a perennial loser in the MEAC conference and still cannot get a bite from other schools in larger conferences. Are you kidding me? Guy is a winner and made some mistakes. Yet his fellow minority coaches never even bothered to reach out to assist him by offering him a job.

Let me show you the way it should be done. Jim Calhoun is a winner at UConn. he was a winner at Northeastern. He developed kids and built programs. But he had a friend who lost big at Seton Hall because he might not had been right for the job. That friend was fired and attended camps all summer looking for opportunities. What did Jim Calhoun do? He hired George Blaney as an Assistant. Blaney is now the Associate Head Coach at UConn. His friend saved him! And George has become a coaching model others have tried to duplicate.

No such story with BCA members! Very few Minority coaches who are successful tend to reach out and assist other minority coaches in  trouble. It is a saying that if you make a mistake as a minority coach you could be out for 10 years (Todd Boozman). Make a mistake as a non minority and you land on your feet very quickly through your friends network (Larry Eustacy).  Bob Knight can call people all type of names, throw chairs, and cuss like a sailor at press conferences and his fellow coaches, especially the non minority ones, still embrace him and are proud of him. Let a minority coach do something embarrassing and other minority coaches will run away like they are trying to qualify for the Olympics and hide out like they are on the $10,000,000 version of that new TV show called Basketball Coaches Hide and Seek. It is almost like you guys are scared to be seen or work with people who look like you! I am shocked when I see a minority coach hire two minority assistants.  They hopefully are hiring people who are  the most qualified and Not just friends. And that is the way it should be! But I am still shocked!

Wayne Morgan worked all over the country. He has a tremendous track record of accomplishments. Helped Syracuse get almost every good NYC player they wanted as an Assistant. Went on to become a Head Coach at both Long Beach State and Iowa State. Wayne was out of the business for a while. Not sure if that was his doing or he could not get a sniff. Where were all of his friends from The BCA? He would have been a great candidate to become the Associate Head Coach to many of the so called super minority coaches. He could have been to them what Blaney is to Calhoun. Never happened! Now he is 2nd Assistant at Hofstra and they will benefit from having him there.

How about Ray Haskins the ex LIU Head Coach who took LIU to the NCAA and NIT in back to back years? He cannot get a sniff. Even the MEAC and CIAA schools which are predominantly Black have not accepted him. What did he do but win and develop a program to the point they had to build a new gym/arena to handle the crowds that were attending games. Funny thing is he was hurt by people inside because they wanted his job based on it becoming attractive, which it was not prior to his arrival. LIU has not won since he left! And most likely will not!

I can go on and on about this and the lack of respect Minority Coaches have for each other. I could also give names of some who have really turned their backs on others because they are and have always been tap dancing and  scared of their shadow type individuals who after getting high level positions became paranoid. Heck it is easier for a non minority to get a job at a MEAC or CIAA school than it is for a person of color.

Those that fall into this category, and you know who you are, need to be ashamed of yourself! To NOT return phone calls, to not offer advice, to not help those that look like you and are good at what they do you in your profession gain employment, and to just smile and tap dance as coaches suffer is wrong.

I hope the grass roots people understand what is happening and realize who are really for them and the kids they work with. If anyone reading this wants a list they can contact me at

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Glad To Be back

It has been a long time since I have posted my thoughts. That will change as we get closer to the college and HS basketball season. Those who know and understand me realize I only post when I have something to say. Because I am not a "Real Writer" and this is just a hobby, I tend to not comment much over the summer months. But again we are getting ready to have a great college basketball season in the TRI State area of NY and Pennsylvania. So everyone needs to put on their seat belts for what could finally be a great ride.


I would like to acknowledge Rutgers University and new Coach Mike Rice. I knew Mike Rice years ago when he was a staff member with the Hoop Group. Also remember him playing with a young man I worked with who attended Fordham University at the same time as Coach Rice. That would be Jean Preliou (sp) who was a terrific point guard who played years overseas and now is a D1 Assistant. Just too bad Jean has forgotten his roots according to many. Well none of that this morning but plenty in the future. You folks know me!

Coach Rice was always a hard working and nice guy. My son even remembered him from the days at the Providence Hoop Festival. I am sure Mike Rice does not remember me at all. But one thing for sure, he has left no stone unturned in getting Rutgers back in the positive light with many people who were becoming very non supportive, and yes that included me. I even received a call from an Assistant I always liked who told me the COACHES at Rutgers were not allowed to call or communicate with a certain group of people and I was on that list. Well, it seems Coach Rice has no such list and is making efforts to get RU back on track. And personally I love it, want it, and cannot wait for it to happen! We need Rutgers to be good. They could just develop into a very good program under Coach Rice from what I have heard and witnessed in the past months.

Though I wanted Fran or Skinner for the Job at Rutgers over Coach Rice based on what I felt Rutgers needed, I always felt Rice was capable and a good candidate for the position. Just shows that Rutgers knew what they were doing thus far.  And once Coach Rice was hired, he goes out and gets a great staff that can recruit the entire eastern seaboard. He has a guy who can get in with many people in NYC, and points going north. He has a person who can do well in Washington DC and points south. He has a guy who knows NJ and PA and was loved by EVERYONE for years and now seems back to his old self. He has himself and the many connections he has established over the years. All I can say is RU is heading in the right direction. And they are getting good players to consider and COMMIT!

Now I will do the typical LFBall thing and question the University about commitment to better basketball facilities. FIX UP THE RAC! New floor will be nice but how about better seating, and sound. At least do that!

Seton Hall

Seton Hall excites me beyond believe. I do not care what people say, this team is loaded with talent and toughness. I honestly feel they could beat any team in the Big East. I also feel they will have a rocking good time at the Prudential Center in Newark. That joint will be jumping if the Pirates play hard and together, which is Kevin Willards job to get them to do.

There could be  a problem with multiple guys thinking money contracts and the NBA while playing. If some of them know scouts from NBA teams are watching, and there will be many days of this, it could be problematic unless they realize they have to stay tight as a team. The NBA will be there, but the NBA loves winners. Not too many guys from losing programs are drafted. Especially selfish guys!

The new players along with the returnees make this team one to follow. Honestly I see them in every game they play, no matter who they are playing. This season could be one of the best in Seton Hall history.

Now lets talk recruiting or the lack of it. Seton Hall is doing a very good job. But many kids want to play from the time they step on the court. Looking at the kids in the program, courtesy of Bobby Gonzalez and Demon Player, many would turn down SHU based on feeling the playing time will not be there. Of course the Hall will lose a few starters after this season,  but some of the young players are better than people realize. And the kids being recruited understand this. At Rutgers there is an abundance of playing time available. Thus the early commitments! At Seton Hall the playing time picture is more cloudy.

I still am not thrilled with the coaching staff at SHU. I think Willard will do fine and so will the others who are Assistants. Just do not see that lead recruiter guy who can get after it like guys from other BE schools will. Honestly Shahee Holloway should tear up Northern NJ and NY recruiting wise. Time will tell. The other guys on the SHU staff are very unfamiliar to me. I really think John Morton would have been a great person to get for one of the positions.

This team should do well this season based on WILLARD and his ability to coach talent. And the talent is there to make a huge statement not only locally, but nationally as well.

St. Johns

Many people are sleeping St. Johns, which most likely is fine with Coach Steve Lavin. Based on that, I can see, Coach Lavin walking away with Metro Coach of the Year at the conclusion of this years college basketball season.

The talent, thanks to Norm Roberts, is very good and close to what Seton Hall has. The problem is and has been for a few seasons, consistency in how they compete and play. What St. Johns team will show up? This St. Johns team has some tremendous talent and a very good coaching staff. Not as good as predicted, but very good nonetheless. They have all the bases covered recruiting wise, and a marketing head coach who will generate great interest.

My first prediction on this team is they will sell out many games at Alumni Hall or Louie Arena, or what ever they call where they play in Jamaica Queens. I also predict if they get off to a good start they will have some great Madison Square Garden crowds, especially if they are smart enough to play Seton Hall at The Garden this season.

Recruiting wise I am not impressed. I feel they turned down a good local kid and very good player in Ronald Roberts who will wear an NBA uniform one day after his playing days are over at St. Joe's in Philly. The recruits they have coming in are OK. I always loved what John Chaney told me years ago. He said for him to take a kid from further than 2 hours away from Philly, the Kid had to be a hell of a player! He said he could get decent kids all over the greater Philly area, Delaware and NJ. I agree with that and have yet to see SJU get in on many of the better local guys. If they are getting a kid from California, I question just how much potential he has because if he was that great, UCLA and USC would have road blocks at Airports and on all roads stopping him from leaving. No knock on the kid, just wondering if he will live up to the hype?

But all in All I feel St. Johns is ready to climb back to the top media wise in the NY Metro area. The Seton Hall vs SJU game should be great if they are playing this season. I know the BE has so many teams they might do something different schedule wise.

Other Teams

Monmouth, the mid major sleeping giant went out and recruited the type of players they always have recruited. Nice suburban players similar to those they get from Christian Brothers Academy. Good luck to them because a lot of coaches are following them closely for reasons we all understand. New Arena, great support when they win, great location, very good school. Like I said, sleeping mid major giant!

Binghamton made a very smart move by hiring Ron Brown from FDU. Guy is a true gentleman who will assist Mark Macon on and off the court. Ron is loved by everyone and now has worked in the coaching business for over 20 years including a stint as head coach at Florida A&M University. Tremendous pick-up! Too bad he is not there with Julius Allen because the two of them together would have turned NY and NJ upside down. Funny how when one door closes (FDU) a BETTER ONE OPENS (Binghamton). And if people have never seen a Binghamton game they are missing a treat. Those games sell out and they are everything FDU games should be but are not.


All I will say is WHAT HAPPENED? This was the best Mid Major program on the East Coast for years. This is the year or else from what I hear. Same guys watching Monmouth are watching Delaware. Great university, great location, great fan support when they are doing well.


Spoke to a few folks about certain guys not even getting return phone calls when inquiring about open positions. One guy whose name keeps coming up is Dermon Player. Sources tell me he cannot get a single bite. Yet the other Assistant who worked with him at SHU has landed on his feet. I wonder why? I think many are missing the boat with Dermon because he brings a lot to the table. He would be a tremendous asset to many programs. Just funny how he is searching for employment based on feelings about a guy he worked for. Not right in my book! Funny how some guys can get fired and be employed in two weeks by friends who are coaches while others cannot get a sniff, even from people who they assisted years ago. I hope Dermon gets back into the Metro Hawk Program, develop some kids who go on to become Micky D All Americans, and remember the way he was treated and by whom. Honestly, those who have not even returned his calls might just be in trouble because Dermon still has a lot of pull in NYC with the major AAU programs.  He would have been very good at Iona, but they took the HS Assistant instead.

Looks like all that sneaker money from years ago is disappearing. I wonder what happened? Maybe they realized running camps and supplying AAU teams with funding did not necessarily translate to sneaker sales or a guarantee future professionals would wear a certain brand of sneaker. Of course the economy also has played a part in this development.

Well, thats it for now. Look for more thoughts from me on a more regular basis from this point on. I am now on my way to NYC to get some St. Johns tickets. Then it is off to Seton Hall to purchase tickets. And this hurts me to say but...................I will then go to Piscataway to buy a few tickets. Have to squeeze into those tiny hard seats lol.