Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Morning

What a weekend in local College basketball! lets start with Seton Hall University.  Never thought they would get off to such a bad start despite losing Hazell for the first part if not the entire season. Thought they had a good enough and tough enough point guard in Theodore, good players on the front line in Pope and Robinson, and very good young talent.  Honestly I am not surprised, I am stunned!  This team should never lose to Richmond or other similar teams. What player on Richmond was even recruited by a Big East Team?

Well here goes folks rolling eyes at me again and people hurling insults. But I have to be honest with my thoughts and feelings. Seton Hall, The Seton Hall Community, The Seton Hall Alums, and the Subway Seton Hall Fans deserve much better than they are receiving.

Lets start with the talent. I still say the talent is above average and capable of a post season tournament. Will it happen? Well it sure does not seem it will at this point. But anything can happen.

How about the coaches? I feel they have to take some of the blame because they have not done the job YET! I say yet because they can still get it together. But what are they really capable of doing? Are they the right guys for this job? Honestly I love the loyalty Willard showed with his hires. He also wanted folks he felt he could trust and that is understandable. But to bring a mid level MAAC staff to a Big program in a major media market was shocking. At least Willard's Dad could have provided necessary stability and insight!  But what is in place at SHU is a result of SHU not being committed to competing at the highest level basketball wise.

I and no one should be blaming Willard for anything except not putting together a better staff. Sorry, just my opinion! But SHU and the head folks are the ones who let this proud program down. Why play in a state of the art building that seats over 18,000 with no higher attendance expectations than 10,000 a game. They should be pissed at the number and looking for a marketing team to fill the arena up. Why settle for a coach at salary they offered when they needed a media darling with outstanding skills to take over this program. This SHU program had all the ingredients that a very good hire could have turned into a true NCAA contender. Good guard play, plus athletic and skilled front court guys, plus heart, could just be the correct formula once you add very good and experienced coaching and motivation.

So the staff is what it is, and the arena is where it is, and the talent level is what it is and I doubt it will be better after this season, so what is next?  I will wait until halfway through the BE season before actually saying what I feel needs to happen although I know what will definitely happen one way or another!

Rutgers is doing a much better job than folks thought they would. Recruits are interested and committing although I am not convinced some are real program changers are good program maintainers if you know what I mean. From what I have seen it will still be about development at Rutgers and I feel Mike Rice and his Staff will develop those players and by the 2012 season we will see a totally different Rutgers program.

Now I still feel they are not getting it done administration wise. Where are the plans for the practice facility? Where are the REAL plans for the RAC renovation project? When will it actually start? Who do they have in place marketing wise to start getting fans out. This team has only lost 2 games and could actually be undefeated at this time, though the schedule thus far is far from a real competitive one.

Looking forward to the North Carolina game this week. I honestly feel Rice will have them playing hard enough to steal the game or at the least be very competitive. In fact I will be stunned to see this team, despite the lack of fire power, be blown out against anyone.

Looking at St. Johns I see they only have 3 losses. Not bad but I expected them to have zero loses at this time with a veteran team back.  The losses are to St. Mary's, St. Bonaventure, and Fordham.  All three were winnable games and the Red Storm should be undefeated at this point.

Well now it is almost time for the Big East Season to kick in. Games against the top teams should be competitive and they should be able to handle the local challenges. If this SJU team does not make it to a post season invite, it should be considered a bad season in Jamaica Estates.

Attendance wise, something I always look at, they seem to be where they were last season. Thought the on campus arena would average at least 5000 a game if not sell out for the season. At this point games at MSG might just be similar to past years. And boy do many of us hunger for the days when SJU packed the Garden and proved college basketball could sell in NBA cities.  

Saw St. Patricks play on TV the other day and finally caught Michael Gilchrist in action. Well, I was really impressed with him and the entire roster of future scholarship athletes. I now see what everyone means by him not excelling in one on one all-star type games. In a team setting he is OUTSTANDING! Playing with others trying to gain reps, he might look a bit lost based on the selfish play of others.

Would love to see a charity double header at Rutgers, The Pru Center, or Medowlands involving St. Anthony's, St. Benedict's, St. Patrick's, another Private/Catholic School and 4 of the top Public Schools in NJ in a 3 day tournament for charity. The New Jersey Challenge! Wow.

Or maybe the 4 best from NYC and NJ in a tournament.  Not a showcase, a tournament! Where is Bobby Jacobs when we need him?  lol

Lastly on a sad note it is so unfortunate that Jeremy Hazel was shot in the arm while visiting home for the holidays. What are we doing about this violence and how can we prepare our youngsters to be aware of the hate and opportunistic folks looking to get to them.  Person might have just been jealous of who hazel is and what he has accomplished thus far.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

College Basketball.......Wow!

Looking at box scores from last night shows either parity is really here or some teams are just under achieving. Lets look at some scores that stand out:

Siena over Georgia Tech

Citadel over University of South Carolina

Dayton over Seton Hall

Those 3 scores were not part of the plan when those games were scheduled. They were supposed to be easy wins and nothing else. Now those games become extremely hurtful in the eyes of fans and the NCAA if there was a post season option on the table.

At Georgia Tech everyone must be confused from the Administration and Coaches to the fans and players. Everyone knows Paul Hewitt is a very good coach, but what is going wrong down there with the close games and loses to teams they should be destroying? I for one think the one and done has done that program in. If Paul Hewitt can get some 4 star and even 3 star players and they stay for 4 years, watch out! he is at his best with players he has a chance to develop. These one and done or even guys already with advisors looking at the NBA are very hard to coach or jell as a team. heck even Kentucky with 5 first round NBA draft choices did not win an NCAA Championship.  Hope Paul Hewitt gets another year to right this sinking ship that is in a major media market and very important to the status of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Citadel beats The University of South Carolina or was that South Carolina State? I would understand if it was South Carolina State. But from the box it says South Carolina! Maybe I need to check it again. However if it is South carolina there are a lot of folks very upset inColumbia South Carolina today. None of he South Carolina schools are supposed to be The major University except Clemson on occasion. What a Horrible loss! People are thinking about all the money spent on that great arena, practice facilities, fan support, etc.

Dayton comes to New Jersey and beats a Seton Hall Team that has TALENT! Come on what is going on here? They returned some very good players who should be able to hold it down until Hazell returns from his injury. I mean they have really good talent and it makes no sense losing at home to Dayton. At Dayton I could better understand because that is a great A10 Program with a cult like following. They sell out that arena and when folks pass, the tickets are willed to family members. Just a great program!  Makes me wonder if I was a player rated 4 stars would I choose such a program over places like SHU, St. Johns, Rutgers, Providence, And South Florida? On another note when will SHU wake up and get a true marketing firm to see tickets to the games. How do you not have 8000 season tickets sold with all the businesses in the greater Newark area?  Seton Hall needs major assistance! Coaching wise? Please do not start me. From recruiting on down there seems to be a serious void. Willard might be a premier coach one day soon, but he has a long climb to get there. Big question is what would be the case if Bobby Gonzales was still the coach? ummmmmm! Just wondering!

It is about that time where coaches at schools start looking at what jobs might just become available. And boy have I heard some interesting stuff including jobs in BE, ACC, A10, SEC, Colonial, MAAC, and even the Northeast Conference. Speaking of the Northeast Conference there is a lot of interest in Monmouth! Folks are eagerly watching that sleeping mid major giant. Ditto The University of Delaware! Maybe Mike Brey will say the heck with this and go back to the Blue hens! I doubt that but Delaware has all the tools to be a major mid major power! Just a great place! I do hope Monte Ross will get it together because he is qualified. But the way it is going he makes folks hungry for a return of David Henderson who believe it or not is an OUTSTANDING TEACHER and COACH. Just did not have the public relation skills needed to follow a great PR guy like Mike Brey.

I wonder along with many others what will happen in Atlanta. No not with the housewives, although I would like to know that as well. but with the basketball program at Georgia Tech. According to many friends down there, folks want change but those who know the game only want Paul Hewitt to recruit more 4 year players to give the program experience for the 1 or 2 early NBA entrees they tend to get often.  And even Stevie Wonder knows Paul Hewitt can flat out coach! but again, they are getting very restless in Atlanta!

High School Basketball

Planning on getting around this season to see many HS basketball games. If you know of some good ones anywhere between NYC and Myrtle Beach SC please email me at In the meantime I will be in NY, NJ, and Pa. checking out games and players. I promise to kept real and tell it as I see it. After all, there are a lot of over hyped and over rated kids as well as many more under rated and under hyped players out there. My job? Find them!

Everyone please watch out for Trinity catholic in Connecticut. Just enrolled is a huge 7 ft 4 Freshmen from Africa with skills and the ability to run the court. I am sure UConn is already there. Kid lives in  Portchester NY, which is close to Stanford Connecticut, with legal guardian. And guess what? his 13 year old brother is coming next year and he is already 7 ft 2!

Well over and out. See you at a game near you!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

HS and College Basketball

Greetings fellow basketball junkies! It is a pleasure to again be able to find time to give my thoughts on the sport we all love so much. But before getting into stuff that will again have coaches and fans rolling their eyes at me, let me do an official shout out to all those scouting services who consistently get out to games all over the country covering games.

People such as Jay Gomes of NJHoops, Chuck Meeger, Ed Butler (Saw you Ed but you were busy as usual) Robert "Rebel" Boyd who pisses folks off because he tells it like it is and loves helping all the kids, Steve  who has helped hundreds of kids over he years, and all the others who are grinding all season getting information out to colleges and fans. We all know the Tom Konchalski (sp) and Bob Gibbons type guys and they too are very much appreciated, but the other group does it year in and year out with very few folks actually knowing them.

Now many who have followed my thoughts know I have been hard on certain services over the years based on them not actually understanding talent or ever playing or coaching the game. But after all these years they must know something by now and based on what I see, they really are doing a great job identifying talented players. So a special shout out to all of them!

Went to see the games at Seton Hall last Sunday and was somewhat but not overly impressed with what I saw. Interesting to see a video camera pointed at the court in the SHU basketball offices above the gym. Not sure if it was taping games or there for practices.  But interesting nonetheless!

St Anthony's vs Gil St. Bernard's School

Legendary Coach Bob Hurley vs New Coach Mergin Sina! It was a pretty good game throughout but their was no answer for 6 ft 8 Jr. Kyle Anderson! He is so good he looks bored on the court. He was like a giant playing with ants. He could do a;most anything he wished to do. Inside or outside, he did it effortlessly. I still think if he was 6 ft 2 he would still be a top level player. He was joined by a very stretched 5 ft 10 Sr. Myles Mack who has a long way to go to become a good Big East Player! Sorry, it is just how I feel! He does not pressure the ball, does not seem like a pest on the court or a good on the ball defender which he needs to be at his height, and looks to score more than he looks to make plays. Remember this is based on the few times I have seen him play. Division 1? Yes!!!  Not convinced he is a Big east Type yet!

Now the Guard that really impressed me was a stretched 6 ft. Soph. named Jaren Sina of Gil St. Bernards. Yes the coaches son! Remember the coach is every bit of 6 ft 6 or 6 ft 7 so this kid will have a growth spurt. But even if he does not, what a future he has in front of him. Kid smiled entire game and is way better than I ever imagined. He had Coach Mike Rice of Rutgers following his every move from a court side seat. You could tell he was very impressed. Also impressive was 5 ft 10 Alex Mitola who someone needs to recruit soon! He would be great in the Ivy, Colonial, MAAC. or Northeast conferences. Also keep an eye on 6 ft 7 Dominic Hoffman who is also a Jr.  They also have a 6 ft 8 transfer who will be eligible in 30 days and I hear he is pretty good. They might just be the team to beat in 2011-2012.

Interesting watching Coach Hurley lead his team to victory. Not an impressive bunch as in years past and judging by how calm Coach Hurley was, he understands the makeup and how he has to be more patient than ever before. This did not seem like the demanding Hurley. More like a nurturing Hurley who understands this will take time. Big question is if Paterson Catholic had stayed open, would they have beat St. Anthony's based on the current 2 best players would be in Paterson.

Teaneck vs Linden

New Coach Jerome Smart vs Almost legendary Phil Colicchio

This is game I really wanted to see. The new Teaneck HS Program under 1st year coach Jerome Smart. The word was Teaneck had beaten a lot of great programs in fall league ball. They looked great in warmups and thats when it all stopped.

Despite very good coaching including ex Paterson Catholic Head Coach Damon Wright, this team looked like the softest Teaneck team in the past 30 years. They also seemed not to play hard until the 4th quarter. I had heard Teaneck had at least 3 D1 prospects. On this day I did not see 1 D2 prospect on the team. Yes the uniforms were nice, warmups great. and the kids looked impressive until the whistle blew to start the game. It was all down hill.  One bright spot in the loss was Soph Shakir Lindsey who put on quite a show. Others do not deserve a mention.

For Linden it was all about Prigley Mallory and Rodney Sanders who controlled stuff along with the guards who all understood roles. Bad loss for Teaneck who went on and lost to a Hackensack Team on Tuesday with a new coach. Not a good day in the neighborhood for Teaneck!

St. Benedict's Prep vs St. Raymonds

Two good coaches and a lot of good talent. Some feel St. Raymonds might be the 2nd best team in NYC after Christ the King.

St. Benedicts had new coach Rashown McCleod  who will do a great job at the Newark Based school. Talent galore in many of the players. Loved Vaughn Grey who might have chosen his college a bit too soon. He was clearly the best guard I saw at Seton Hall all day.  In fact Rutgers and SHU will be upset about not recruiting him. I liked him much more than I like Myles Mack! I just wonder if he will stay with George Mason of the CAA over getting out and going to a big east type program? Ummmmmmmmmmm. Wherever he goes they will get a solid players and a solid citizen!

Glad to see St. Benedicts and Coach McCleod smart enough to embrace Brian Crawford as an Assistant Coach. Might be most important pickup for Coach McCleod for next 4 years based on Brian Crawfords expertise and connections. This will payoff huge! Loved Tyler Harris who will be a special player in college. His future is very bright and if you watch closely you will agree he will be better in college than in HS. And he is BIG! Got to be 6 ft 9 when it is all done. A great get for NC State!

For St. Raymonds it was a pleasure watching Jr. Daniel Dingle play. He is a Jr. who will choose the right school and be an impact college player. And yes he can play! Just another Dingle at St. Raymonds sent there by his Dad. This guy will be a high level recruit next year. Trust me on this! Joining him upfront was Nkereuwem Okoro who is as talented as Dingle. Another Jr. who will have The Parkchester section of the Bronx hopping with college coaches this and next year.

Did not watch the Seton Hall Prep vs Columbia game but was surprised to see Columbia won by a significant margin. Did meet the family of a player named Dallas Anglin and they were very impressive as a family. Nice to see that type of support on the HS level.

College Basketball

Nice to see John Morton at the games on sunday. What a classy guy who should be welcomed into every living room in America. I am stunned SHU did not attempt to get him back. He told me Fordham was doing well and said when they beat SJU grown men cried. Glad John is doing well and I am sure he will be a tremendous Head Coach in the near future.

St. Johns will be better next season  just not sure if they will be the NCAA team everyone predicts they will be. Losing to teams they have lost to is not a good sign for this once powerful program. But folks must be patient. And so must the SJU coaching staff. I guess it is time to actually buy that home Coach Lavin because you might just be around for a while.

Also want everyone to know I am and always will be a fan of both Tony Chiles and Mo Hicks. I do not know other SJU coaches but those two guys are folks anyone would trust with their sons. Both are Class with a capital C.

Rutgers will steal some games this season. Bank on  it!  Coach Rice seemed very approachable at the games. Not sure he was sincere but nonetheless seemed like a nice person.

Kansas State suspends players? Wow! Does anyone believe hanky panicky takes place there? Come on not at Kansas State with boosters and clothes! Is has to be a misunderstanding!