HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's a new year and everyone has set goals for the year. Some are attempting to lose weight while others are trying to gain weight. Yes, it certainly is that time of the year when many of us look to make that change we have thought about for some time.
In the world of basketball much of the goal setting has been geared to competing and winning more games. This is from grade school programs to the NBA. It all comes down to winning at the end of the day. On a side note I feel youth basketball should not be about winning as much as it should be about development through teaching. But we all know the business starts at an early age for many players because of the recruiting of kids even on the Junior High School level. Don't believe me? Allow me to tell you about a wonderful program at Mt. Carmel School off 120th Street on the east side of Harlem. Not sure about recently but a few years back this was the school that often had many of the top NYC and NJ HS Coaches in attendance at games. I guess these coaches really just wanted to see a good JHS basketball game (smile).
Yes, it remains about winning and thus far the areas Bigger universities seem to be on the verge of being better for years to come. At least a few of them seem this way. Seton Hall looks like the best area team to me thus far. Potential wise Rutgers will be right there as well. Interesting to me is the fact St. Johns, despite being short handed, has not done better. Is it only me but does others feel something is in the air about the future of the SJU program? It could be an explosion or it could be a celebration. They are prime for one or the other!
Honestly the game that excites me almost as much as the 4 games I will see today at Hackensack HS, in Hackensack NJ, is the Rutgers vs Seton Hall game for the NJ Gov. Trophy. Well, maybe it's not called the Governors trophy, but that would be a great idea. I still think an annual triple header for charity at MSG or The Prudential Center as a season kick-off for the 3 BE teams in the area against top comp from ACC, SEC, etc. would be great.
I blog alot about the three big college programs in the NY/NJ area to the point I often forget about the other D1 programs. Question is should these other programs even be D1? Some D1 programs provide individual Tutors, great pre game meals, training tables, first rate travel to and from games and more. Others do similar but not on the same scale. But than there are others such as FDU! Now you know I had to discuss them (smile) . Not sure if they still do this but I remember years ago waiting for my buddy Bobby Holford, who at the time was an FDU Assistant Mens Basketball Coach. I have been in many college locker rooms after games and have always seen a buffet laid out for players including hot and cold dishes and soft drinks. I was stunned to see one of the FDU Assistants distribute hero sandwiches and 1 can soda. I was stunned and said any kid who sees this will work his butt off to get to a school who treated the players better.
I still wonder why schools stay D1 and lose money? I wonder if there should be a D1A as they do in football? When you are only drawing 450 to a game, and even that is exaggerated, someone will eventually look at how feasible is it to continue? Well, allow me to talk briefly about a few local D1 teams and/or programs:
I have to start with the team from Hackensack NJ Notice I said team and not program! Boy could they have used Gene Marshall when they were looking for an AD. Though I am no longer even friendly with my ex summer player Greg Vetrone, I understand what he is facing and the lack of support given at FDU. By the way Gene is the AD at Iona last I heard. Ummmmmmm! Thus far FDU has lost every game played with the exception of St. Peters. They even lost to that national power NJIT. You know, that famous team that lost every game over a two year period. Was at a game and a person asked me if FDU was better or worst after firing Tom Green? Someone emailed me and asked why I do not say anything positive about FDU allow me to say The Website Is Nice!
This has to be the second hardest school in America to recruit kids to. By the way the most difficult is St. Francis of Brooklyn which is almost housed in office buildings in Brooklyn Heights. So far SPC is 2-11 but did beat Siena College, a traditionally good program in the MAAC. Not sure where they are going in the future or what the potential is to make it happen there unless they start going after transfers needing a last chance. Pretty good staff including a CPA who if nothing else could help put together a college wide financial plan. Just saying....... !
Still one of the best campuses and facilities in America for a mid major D1 program. I sure hope King Rice is the right person for this job because it really is a sleeping giant similar to what Delaware University was when Mike Brey was the Head coach there. Record is currently 3 and 10 with North Carolina up next so unless the coaching staff including King Rice, Brian Reese, and Derrick Phelps suit up, they will be 3-11 very soon. I will say when they get it going at Monmouth the support is great. New gym/arena is awesome!
Believe it or not they are no longer the worst program or team in America. Please do not ask me to tell you who gets that honer! In fact they seem to be getting better and are currently 5 and 7 beating even FDU. Ummmmmmmm! Two things for certain is this school needs to evaluate the advantage of being in Division 1, and if a kid attends and graduates he will surely be prepared for a great future employment wise.
Sometimes I forget all about these guys. I still remember looking at the plans for the new facility years ago. I guess they still have those plans but most likely the building codes are different now. So it's back to the drawing board for both the gym and basketball team. They are currently 3 and 11 and looking uphill schedule wise. It really does not help them by playing in a HS Auxiliary Gym.
I really like Tom Pecora alot. I also think he could have waited for a better job as opposed to making a lateral move from Hofstra to Fordham. I know the increase in salary was great but the facilities and team seem nowhere as good as he had at Hofstra. Anyway they are doing decent but the fans at Fordham are demanding after being spoiled by Digger Phelps years ago when he had Charlie Yelverton, Kenny Charles, and many others. Fordham has a guy on its staff named David Duke! Are you kidding me lol? Could you imagine this coach calling a Black or Jewish recruit with great grades in the South who follows civil rights and politics? Phone rings and the caller says hello this is David Duke! We all know who David Duke was years ago when he ran the southern KKK.
I still remember Steve Masiello as a HS player spending time playing with the Gauchos. He had serious style than and has the same style now. He also is smart enough to put together a great staff to get it done at Manhattan College. So far they are 9 and 5 but better yet the future remains bright for him and his entire staff. One negative is no matter how hard they try, Manhattan College needs a new facility for basketball.
Wagner hiring Dan Hurley proves you do not need alot of college experience to be a successful College Head Coach. Steve Lavin might get it done at St. Johns, but Mark Jackson would have been a home run.
Thus far Wagner College, the pride of Staten Island, has a 10-3 very impressive record. They have done so well that a few people are starting to network with the AD anticipating Dan Hurley getting offers from larger programs. Also a great staff at Wagner! They could be some PROGRAM based on being Staten Islands Team!
Interesting how they drew 3000 fans when they visited Georgia Tech of the ACC and at home had around 8 or 9 thousand for a game against Albany. Wow! People in that area really support this team but the HC Mitch Buonaguro has to really get this thing moving. This could be his last HC opportunity in D1. We all know he was a GREAT ASSOCIATE HC, but the jury remains out on him with his own program. I have an ex player on this staff as well in Craig Carter, who really works hard and kids seem to love.
Could be the best team in the entire area. I still am not big on the staff make-up but have to give props to Tim Cluess, who many say is the best coach in the area. They are 10 and 3 with some very good players. Good players plus good coaching equal success. Iona also is famous among those who really understand what the final outcome should be, for the employment rate and positions the players get upon graduation. I have never met an ex Iona player who was/is not successful.
I have left off a few such as Hofstra, Marist and Fairfield that will be covered next time. Right about now it is time to start getting ready to travel to the Playaz New Years day Jump-off which starts at 3 PM . Meeting a few friends for brunch before heading over to Hackensack HS.
Hope to see many of you at a future game!