Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

Interesting basketball thoughts from the weekend!

First of all its a sad day in sports losing Rick Majerus, a great coach who seemed to always do it his way and produced winning teams at many universities.  Rest in Peace Coach!

Also a sad day because Kenny "Eggman" Williamson departed the Earth recently. A memorial service was held for him yesterday at Iona College. A great personality, true character,   and a wonderful person who was from the community and loved by anyone who ever met him. Rest in Peace Coach Williamson!

Basketball wise I am now about to write some things that just might have people up in arms. But as you know and understand about me,  I couldn't care less. I give it to you straight with no chaser! So if you get angry fast please depart this page now.

I will start by including St. Johns, Seton Hall, Rutgers, and FDU in the same category. What category is this you might wish to ask? it is the going nowhere fast category! Sorry, I said it. Than again I am not sorry because  it is what it is.

Seton Hall has had some health issues and things that has kept their best product from being on the floor.  But I have to say where is the depth? Where is the bench?  My thoughts on the direction of this program will be at the end of this part of my post.

St. Johns looks like a team playing a summer league game in the park uptown. Yes, I said it! What the heck? With all the money they spend and continue to spend whats the deal? Plus for the first time since I can remember they actually did not have 1 NYC or Northern NJ kid in the rotation or on the roster the last time I looked. How can you be in the MECCA, close to NJ, Pa., Connecticut, and in NY and do not have an area influence on the roster?  This should be a crime when you think about the SJU history of success. Lucky Marty Markowitz the Brooklyn Boro president is not Mayor because  he would fine them (smile).

Rutgers just seems to be doing the best they can. Unfortunately that is just not enough. What the heck! Is anyone interested? Are they really going to the Big 10? Why? OK it has to be for  Football because no one seems interested in RU Basketball. Sooner or later they will have to win some games. Even than how do they get  8500 fans out for every game. I can see it now: Indiana at Rutgers and the attendance will be 4265. Michigan State 4600, etc.  Unlike UConn, and Syracuse those Big Ten schools are too far to bring a fan base with them,  especially to Rutgers which will not be good enough till they get the formula to attract great NJ, NY, and Pa. players. It will be like traveling to Northwestern years ago. Just did not happen!

FDU is in this category because they are FDU! In  fact they are doing better than I thought they would do thus far. I might even go to a game. I will call my ex player Greg Vetrone and ask him to leave me two tickets. One for me and one for a needed body guard lol.  Maybe I will get the ticket from my good friend James Brown CPA who lives and dies with FDU and Teaneck HS basketball. Wait a moment that came out like I was saying FDU HS basketball. Maybe that's what they should do. Make the program a HS team. After all they made a nice looking facility into a horrible looking HS gym!

So here is what I think about all the programs mentioned. In fact let me say all but FDU which seems to also be doing better and the best they can.  All the programs are lacking attractiveness. They all seem plain with nothing exciting or sexy about them. St. Johns had a great opportunity with the new glamour staff. But they continue to look more like the Milbank Unlimited Team in The Rucker summer league.  What is Seton Hall doing to really get the very good to great area players? Finishing 2nd is not worthy of accolades, especially during a time when it is not uncommon for highly recruited kids to say the correct things to local media people.  St. Johns has attracted highly recruited players as only they can. Unfortunately they seem to not be jelling as a team. Also nothing like that NYC toughness on a team. see Ron Artist reference. Also see Beaver Smith, Frankie Alagia, Chris Mullin, Walter Berry, Mark Jackson, Kevin Williams, etc.

Unfortunately most of the college teams in America are playing to make the NCAA knowing for the most part they have zero chance of winning a national championship. St. Peters knows this as does Manhattan, NJIT, and yes FDU. Unfortunately SHU, RU, and SJU should feel the same way until they figure out how to keep the tremendously talented top 50  type players home, something RU has done in football. Now St. Johns has done what it had to do but the coaching and player development is the same as what is happening at UCLA to date.  But the others?

Lets talk real stuff!   I still say 85 to 90 percent of the college D1 basketball teams cheat in one way or the other. Most commit minor infractions while others are doing major stuff like paying money to players and families, supplying jobs and business opportunities, hooking up rec and even some HS coaches for a home visit, school visit, and a jackpot for a commitment.  So where does that leave most schools? They have no chance of competing. Oh yes there will be the occasional Butler (with 16000 seat arena) VCU (with strong commitment to basketball) and Gonzaga. But for the most part the "Big Boys" know how to get it done. Arriving by private jet, showing up in a limo, playing in front of 20,000 plus, wining and dining student athletes, outstanding training facilities, traveling to away games via 2 or 3 private jets, special training table, etc. Anyone watch that Kentucky recruitment film on TV?

So how do the area teams compete? Or are they just playing to be respectful? I just do not see any light at the end of the tunnel at this point. I do not see sell outs at RU, SHU (I am talking entire building not the curtain thing), or St. Johns on campus or at the Garden. I just do not see what they are doing to make kids grow up hoping to play for one of the power teams in the area. I  remember when St. Johns did not recruit, they selected!

Other Thoughts

Waiting to see what happens to the Head Coach at Hofstra after all the thefts that took place on campus. Now I say everyone is innocent till proven guilty. But I await to see the punishment the head coach will get. The last time I saw similar incidents was at Binghamton, and that was nowhere as serious. However the Head Coach was FIRED! Now I am not looking or pushing for anyone to get fired. Just curious how Hofstra handles this in comparison to Binghamton who in my opinion  handled it wrong and had to pay the ex coach a lot of money when he left.

What is the deal with all the players now sporting beards on the court? Where is Bobby Knight, John Thompson, Dean Smith, and others when we need them?  I always said if I was a HS or college basketball coach a player would have to play like Michael Jordan to get my permission to have corn rows, a beard, crazy hair, a mohawk, super tattoos all over, etc. I know I know I am behind the times. But wow does this new beard thing look ridiculous and some kids look like they are in the Junior .......(fill in the blank) .

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