Wednesday Feb. 15, 2012
What a game last night at the Prudential Center as Seton Hall made the young men from St. Johns look like a JV team playing a scrimmage against the Varsity team from the same school. I know what many people are thinking. St. Johns is a very young team and one day those young guys will have experience and more depth on the bench and watch out! One day they will have the Head coach back and watch out! Yes one day!!!!!
But in the meantime they have some very talented freshmen who at this point in the season should not be losing by 30! They also have a person who was considered the best assistant coach in America based on his ability with X and Os. Add to that one of the best teachers of how to play and compete, a Hall of Fame type acting as an on the bench adviser, One of the greatest HS basketball coaches ever to come out of NYC, and a guy known as a great recruiter and this is the result?
I am in no way thinking St. Johns is a better team than SHU this season. But I am also not thinking SJU has an excuse for losing by 30 against a team 35 minutes away. And lets talk future for St. Johns. What happens if 1 or 2 of the current players decide to leave. Oops some left already! OK let me re-phase this. What happens if 1 or 2 of the remaining players decide to leave the ship based on NBA opportunities or at the least frustration from what is happening? I guess that would just open up the gates for SJU to get more super HS Players in school and hope they are eligible to play in October when practice starts. What happens if the Head Coach is offered a great opportunity on the West Coast? Not saying this will happen but will he return to good ole SJU with all the expectations and a group of the most knowledgable fans in America? A group of fans who understand that Lou Carnesecca did it with a few high profile guys with the rest from local NYC, Long Island, and NJ high schools. I guess a Hall of Fame guy like Lou understood chemistry was not about going out and getting the best player as much as it was about getting the best players to complete the puzzle.
Recruiting wise did you read what I said way back when Ron Roberts was forced to back out of his SJU commitment? I said they (SJU) would one day regret this and Roberts would excel! Think they could have used Roberts this season? I and many I know have wondered if SJU would be better right now if Norm Roberts was there? SJU, SHU, RU, and many other high majors who are not in the super 6-8 category always did it with a few studs and the rest very good developing players. Norm was not even allowed to recruit as SJU does now. The budget was nowhere as large in many ways. And remember part of any evaluation process is what you put on the floor and did YOU GO OUT AND GET what was necessary to represent the University? Seven or even eight scholarship players is not an excuse! Especially if you had the tools and supposedly expertise to make SJU what it was years ago.
Seton Hall has had its ups and downs and as I said yesterday, I expect them in a post season event regardless of what happens from here on. But if they win more than they lose the NCAA's are not out of the question. Not bad for a team who no one was discussing in August based on both RU and SJU having great recruiting classes according to the so called experts, and non experts including me since I am far from being an expert. But SHU got up off the ground where they had been the past few games and regrouped to win a few games in a row and regain NCAA momentum. A true sign of a TEAM!
I am and always have been a huge St. Johns fan. I went to many games at Alumni Hall as did many people from all over NY and NJ. They were truly our team! Kids wanted to go there and SJU was selective but far from thinking they were above taking the occasional role player or developing big guy. They sold the Garden out often and were treated like celebrities. I sure hope Lavin comes back and no more players leave and they can add to what they have to get SJU back into the NCAA picture next season. Maybe I want the area teams all to do well so bad I can taste it. I sure love great basketball and hate when I go to Charlotte NC to visit friends and everyone is talking ACC and all the games are close to sold out. One day, one day, one day!
I received a post on this blog from a Plainfield HS Fan teasing me about not writing how they beat Gil St. Bernards. Honestly I am happy as heck because my beloved Teaneck (Yes I am a Homer) now is number 2 in the entire state. And I and many others are thrilled about this.
Now back to Plainfield Gil St. Bernards. Plainfield winning was certainly not an upset.! Plainfield has the better overall talent even though they continue to play like a HS version of the old UNLV teams from years ago. Up and down but the results are what counts. Plainfield is a PROGRAM and one that does it with home grown talent. In fact if a few others who lived in the town attended Plainfield they might have won even more. Just to name two: Jay Williams and Earl Clark. Wow!!!! In fact i heard that Jay Williams Mom, who is one of the best basketball fans I have ever see based on her cheering for both teams and being so personable, taught at Plainfield HS. So Plainfield my hat is off to you and I want you to win every game until you play Teaneck. I will be at that game even if I have to fly in from the West Coast. I will be the guy with the dark shades on eating Popeye's Fried Chicken! I will also be the guy with egg on my face if Plainfield wins! Of course both have to win all state games in the north to get to play each other.
Chris Jones a 6 ft 6 guard playing forward at Teaneck HS will turn out to be a huge steal. I continue to tell anyone who will listen that this wonderful and personable kid with grades is a big-time talent with a great work ethic. He could be the best player that ever played at Teaneck HS. The last person I said this about is now an NBA star and his name is David West who played two years at Teaneck HS and many years in the youth league before moving south to North Carolina. Chris now has interest from Virginia Tech, UConn, Nebraska, Pittsburg, Colorado, and a host of others that recruited him since last summer including Siena, Manhattan, and Hofstra. I am telling you this kid is the real deal. A guy who plays well, plays tough, plays smart, has length, can shoot, drive, dunk, and a guy who if he could not play a lick you would be happy to see date your Daughter! How Rutgers, Seton Hall, and St. Johns are not on him amazes me!
Just want FDU people to know I also want you to do well. I hope you restore that gym and make the venue attractive for potential recruits. I get a ton of emails regarding my FDU thoughts and I tell everyone that even Stevie Wonder can see the potential of that program. But Stevie can also see how down it has gone!
That's it for me today folks but if you need to reach me to yell or complain or to just say hello I can be reached at LFBall@aol.com.