Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

As we continue with this crazy basketball season watching teams we love fight for wins it occurs to me that changes must happen in many ways for certain programs to be successful. After all,  it sure is not about only the glitter because much of that has a tendency to turn into litter!

St, Johns of the once all powerful Big East  Loses to The University of San Francisco? Oh well they are still sporting a winning record so does anyone really care about this loss? Will St. Johns sell out the next home game regardless of this past performance? Would be a nice thing but I doubt if we will see St. Johns sell out another game anytime soon unless they change all home games to St. Joseph by The Sea HS located in somewhere NY?

OK maybe I did not get the memo but I was certain that Big East Teams were supposed to beat up on all others outside of other high D1 and power conference teams. What the heck is happening? Millions of dollars in coaching salaries and even more getting recruits from all over the country except the NY Tri-State Area and playing like they have with no purpose on the court is very interesting. Lets see how they do from here out but when all the changes were announced years ago we actually thought St. Johns was back!  This now seems like Bob Hill at Fordham all over again! Anyone else remember when Fordham was going to compete with all the big boys and hired the high level staff who were supposed to, according to rumors, each get a Range Rover as a recruiting vehicle to impress recruits?  We all thought Fordham was taking over. Ditto St. Johns with the new staff they have in place! Right now no one is in fear of playing St. Johns of the powerful Big East Conference. In fact the other local college teams are not in awe of any Big East Program between New York and Pennsylvania. with the exception of Syracuse who is running as far away from the Big east as they can.

Interesting that the Big East Program that does seem to be heading in the right direction is Providence College. Just proves what happens when folks hire substance as opposed to glitter.  And locally teams are itching to play the big boys. I hear D3 Lehman College has reached out to play home and away against St. Johns, RU, Seton Hall, and Villanova but turned down alot of money to play Providence (smile).  I am sure they will get the FDU game on the schedule because a win is a win for teams such as Lehman.

Speaking of Seton Hall I would be concerned and far from satisfied that NJIT could play the Pirates so close yesterday. Maybe it was close because they both have used the Prudential Center as a home court in the past. SHU plays all home games there and NJIT has played one or two some years. Maybe NJIT is just a better team and program now as opposed to what we remember when they were ranked the worst D1 team and program in America a few years back,  going winless for the season. Regardless, all Big East teams should win those type of games by no fewer than 20-25 points and the opposing team should be sprinting to the locker room with smiles on their faces realizing the beating could have been by 50 if they did not play as well as they did.  In a nutshell I will only say un-acceptable!

Speaking of Fordham with a coaching staff I really like, what the heck was that about going into Pa. and getting seriously whipped by Lehigh of the powerful..........heck I cannot even remember the name of the conference they play in and they are right down the road or highway from my home in Pennsylvania.  But than again I could say the same thing about Villanova losing to Columbia earlier in the season. Yes,  powerful Columbia of the powerful Ivy League!  Maybe the Big East should extend invitations to Columbia, Lehigh, and NJIT to join the conference with San Francisco also being strongly considered as well?

I am scared to even look at what other colleges and universities in the area are doing. It is just that type of year thus far. None of the very good kids want to stay home it seems. I guess they feel it is just to close. Yea right, I doubt that! The local programs just do not have it going on. Believe it or not Seton Hall has more glamour about their program this season than SJU, RU, VU, and definitely more than a place like Penn State who has all the facilities and tools to be successful but remains at the bottom of the BIG conference that continues to get even bigger.  The Prudential Center at least has atmosphere that would be impressive to recruits.

Speaking of recruits please allow me to give my take on what it takes to land the top guys and win in the year 2012, 2013, and even 2014.

Recruits want to play in front of a lot of people at home. They want the arena or gym full with fans being supportive.

Recruits want to see committed coaching staffs consisting of people who can get them better and most cases good enough to make money one day playing basketball. Or in some cases maybe I should say to continue making money!

Recruits want luxury accommodations in where they live, how they eat on campus, how they travel to games, and where they work out.

Recruits want respected coaches who command respect and have a track record of winning. By the way thats winning and not whining!

Recruits want to be impressed as they are wined and dined during the recruitment process.

Recruits want to feel as if they are a priority as Dexter Strickland did when he watched North Carolina play a home game in Chapel Hill at noon on TV and Roy Williams still showed up at his 4 PM game at Madison Square Garden arriving to the area via private jet.

Recruits want to see great player development across the board and not watch other kids they once idolized treated unfairly, and not living up to their potential.

Recruits want glitter and substance including first rate tutors, computer access, dedicated learning labs, wonderful practice facilities not shared with the women's team or used for intramurals.

Recruits want to see other high impact recruits considering the colleges recruiting them. Think it was not impressive to Kyle Anderson that other highly rated recruits were considering UCLA? By the way does anyone really feel SHU had a real chance at the time? OK folks read between the lines.....At-the-time!!!!   Remember I still say Kyle Anderson is the real deal and a future NBA Star! Put him on Kentucky and they are undefeated!

So whats the formula for a quick fix and in some cases, but certainly not all, quick births to the NCAA tournament?  Do I really need to say this? You mean you really do not know the answer? You really do not know the one thing that most schools other than the local schools do to attract players? You do not understand what many schools have done with AAU and travel team coaches as well as HS coaches from places such as Chicago, Detroit, etc. going back many-many years?  You mean you have never heard the stories about how certain schools that at one time were spitting images of what FDU was last year becoming national type programs? You mean you honestly thought it was all about coaching?

Lets change up a bit. Or are we? Ummmmmmmmm!  Does cheating actually happen all over America in athletics? What role does the sneaker companies play and how much influence do they really have? Is it true certain Sports Agents have so much access they actually support certain travel teams with under the table contributions? Is it true that on certain campuses there is even an un-official lounge for certain sports agents to come and go as they please? Is it true that on some campuses certain sports agents are almost treated like staff?

All of the above could just be rumors? Or some or all of it just might be true. Many have said that in no way except on years when the stars and moon align  just right will teams from non power conferences, or teams without winning traditions, or teams who do not cheat, make it to the final 4. Just saying what I have heard!

Locally I have heard some interesting rumors that are borderline unbelievable especially considering how certain teams have competed and played. In no way could these rumors be true based on what I have seen thus far. Not only locally but on the national level as well.  During my travels I love going to games and watching what happens off the court while the game goes on. Trust me often the real game takes place in the stands. The deals that are struck you would not believe.......according to what I have been told as well as what I THINK I HAVE HEARD AND SEEN.  But to this day I will never ever understand the NCAA because what we have in place is a system that hinges on amateur athletic destruction as we know it. A system that makes everyone go out and do all they can regardless of committing recruitment violations in an effort to keep up, compete, and to win.   A system so corrupt that kids are completing 4 years of eligibility with 41 earned credits and than returning home with low self esteem and a bunch of free athletic gear that one day will turn yellow and too small to wear as they become bigger from not playing the game as much any longer. Will schools such as FDU, St. Peters, LIU, Marist, Manhattan, and Monmouth, ever really have a chance to be successful and go far in the NCAA's? Ditto SHU, RU, Fordham, Penn State, and others? Do we need to go to a system of D1, and D1AA for the schools who really do not have the resources, commitment, or even deep pocket boosters (wink-wink) to allow them to compete with the big boys?

Lots to think about and remember it all could be just a dream, or at the least just rumors. But despite it all, change needs to happen across the board including the local programs with coaching, player development, facility upgrades, commitment,  event marketing, and other areas that will make local great players as well as some national players consider attending good ole local university!

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