Interesting basketball news all over America. Lets start with college basketball.
Seton Hall beats St. Johns at The Prudential Center!This is not an upset in my mind. This is how many people expected Seton Hall to play this season. Yes, again I understand the injuries that have happened in South Orange. But the SHU team has still under achieved all season long. I honestly expected a NCAA birth this season or at the least a high NIT seed! The talent is there, but the team just never seemed to jell. Those who disagree with me should only look at the performance against St. Johns last night. They beat the same St. Johns team that has beater some quality opponents and highly ranked teams. Name of the game is consistency, and Seton Hall showed very little consistency wise this season.
Now on the other hand, I would not want to play Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden in The Big East Tournament. The Rutgers vs Seton Hall game, if that is a matchup, will definitely be worth watching. The winner will be a hard out for the next opponent. And if the winner is Seton Hall, they just might go on a serious roll and surprise a lot of people. Remember this team really has good players.
St. Johns should recover well. St. Johns is back and how they do next season will provide a glimpse of future years to come. It will be the time to reclaim NYC and all the fans they had at one time when the Garden was sold out for St. Johns games. The new kids coming in are all highly rated and one or two will even be older freshmen from what I hear. But what they have in talent might not measure up to this years team experience wise. The Big East remains a Mans league and young players not named Carmelo Antony do not always come in and dominate.
All I will say about Rutgers is they are sneaking up on many people. Very good recruiting class but I am not convinced they are killers who can come in and dominate. Than again the coach seems like the type of guy that can make an average player into a household name! He gets his team to compete! He gets them to compete everyday, every week, and every month. Rutgers with Mike Rice is quite scary to many!
Monmouth job is on the lips of many. Like I have said to many, that job is one of the best mid major jobs in America based on program potential. Only thing that hurts the job is the lame conference they compete in with many schools who really do not even know they have D1 basketball programs. Teams like FDU (Saddest D1 program in America hands down), St. Francis Brooklyn, St. Francis Pa., are a Horrible group of schools. Tom Green must be sick to his stomach watching what has happened to a program he built. I am not pointing at one coach in the NEC. I am pointing at the ADs and Presidents because Coaches are committed much more than the schools. I often wonder why kids would turn down quality schools in the MEAC (Historically Black D1 Conference with Hampton, Florida A&M, Del State, etc.) to attend some of those schools that are like JV to the HS and AAU programs kids they are recruiting come from?
Back to Monmouth. This job could really be great if there was a plan, even a secrete plan, to change conferences. I honestly think the Patriot League with Lehigh, Bucknell, Lafayette, Holy Cross, etc. is a better conference. The Patriot is a conference that is competitive with fan and school support. This is such a great opportunity for Monmouth to get the right person as coach and not just do the good ole boy thing with a local golden boy or favorite son. But if they plan on just averaging 1000 people in that nice building, playing FDU tough at FDU in front of 185 real fans, and at home in front of 700, than just do the usual and hire the local HS coach, the one not names Hurley. I still feel they could have a long term plan for the MAC, The MAAC, The CAA, etc. Football or no football, it would not make a difference.
Looks like Manhattan will make a change. Again I am telling people the AD at Manhattan loves Tony Chiles, the current St. Johns Assistant. Columbia grad, connected in NYC, NJ, Pa, Delaware, DC, (which is why Steve Lavin hired him), kids love him, experienced, personable (No One Dislikes TONY), and hard working! Plus he is a NYC CHSAA guy who played at All Hollows, and coached at Manhattan for a few years before going to Iona. Thats a story to share after he is named coach at Manhattan. This is a real no brainer! Time for Manhattan to do the right thing! Manhattan would never be sorry.
Look at how this all falls into place. Tony goes to Manhattan and guess who takes his place? You got it, the current Manhattan Coach who is a 5 star Assistant Coach and Recruiter.
I hope Marist stays with Chucky Martin. Nuff said!
Ditto the coach at Siena. Good guy who has coached at Fairfield, and even Cleveland State. But Siena fired Rob Lanier after one losing season last time out.
Here are other things I have heard over the past few days. Jamie Dixon leaves Pitt for? You got it right if you said he will be the next coach at North Carolina State for $3,000,000 per season. Gary Williams is about done at Maryland. Maybe not after this season but in the very near future. Guess who replaces him? Again you are right. It is none other than Mike Brey! Remember Mike is from the area and attended Dematha and even was an Assistant there. Watch as the puzzle falls into place.
Back to Monmouth. This is a guess, but it could happen. If Bob Hurley wins the NJ Tournament of Champions, I feel he would have done all he could on the HS level. Hall of Fame, wins nationally, helping kids in Jersey City, and much more. This is the time when he could retire to his home on the shore and guess what job awaits him? You got it right if you say Monmouth. Only problem is his Son Danny is coach of Wagner in the same boring conference. But maybe Danny moves on after this year to a position on the North Carolina State Staff, and Bobby joins his dad at Monmouth. Ummmmmmmmm! Very interesting!
High School Basketball
I am really looking at all the schedules in the tri state area for games to attend. Now everyone knows I will be at Teaneck games before I go anywhere else. And if you have not seen Teaneck, you are missing out because they are very good with at least 3 mid major or higher talents on the team. And all are home grown and UNDERCLASSMEN! They also have some pretty good seniors who those NJAC teams should be knocking on the door for. Are they blind? How could they not be pushing up on those talented kids who really are good enough to start at Teaneck but are caught up in numbers.
If I was a tournament organizer I would be reaching out to this team for next season because they will be special regardless of how they end the year. They really should be the 3rd ranked team in New Jersey.
I am so excited about watching St. Anthony's vs St. Patrick's next week. WAIT! I am also excited about watching Gil St. Bernard's play St. Patricks. Gil St. Bernard's just might the best backcourt in New Jersey. Better than Seton Hall, Rutgers, and The Nets! OK that is a stretch but they are the best underclass backcourt in NJ hands down. This game could be an exciting one. The suburbs vs the city lol. Almost like Hoosiers the movie. Do not sleep Gil St. Bernard!
The St. Anthony;s vs Hudson Catholic game could be a good one as well. Only problem is how to get into that small rec. gym St. Anthony's plays games in. I am sure people are on line right now.
When the smoke clears, we could be in for the biggest HS basketball game in the history of NJ HS Sports. A game that should sell out. In fact I need to head over to buy my tickets right now because I do not want to miss this game.
Over in NYC they are in the quarter finals of the city PSAL championships. My prediction is Boys and Girls will win it all. But a Lincoln and Boys and Girls championship game at Madison Square Garden will be huge as well. When those two play, anything can happen.
I still look for a final of Christ the King vs Rice in the CHSAA championship game. Interesting how schools like Lincoln, Boys and Girls, Cardozo, Kennedy, Wings, and Jefferson has knocked the CHSAA out of the automatic best NYC league category. The teams mentioned have held serve and convinced kids who in years past would have ran to Rice, Christ the King,etc., that PSAL programs are on the rise and in most cases even better programs.
Well, now off to plan my schedule for the next 8 days. What an exciting time of the year!