Morning Dish

by - Published October 26, 2004 in Columns




The Morning Dish – Tuesday, October 26th

Boo Gone for Halloween: Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan has announced that junior guard Boo Wade has taken an indefinite leave from the Badger basketball program, citing personal reasons. Wade has had some trouble in the past, and was suspended for two games last season. During the offseason, he pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct charges for allegedly choking his girlfriend. He later was charged with jumping bail because he kept contacting the woman after the charge. Wade averaged 6.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 28 starts last season, and was expected to be a big contributor in the Wisconsin backcourt that lost first-round draft pick and Big Ten Player of the Year Devin Harris.

Seahawk Suspect Suspended: UNC-Wilmington has announced that junior forward Beckham Wyrick has been suspended from the Seahawk basketball program for the theft of a fellow student’s bicycle. On October 1st, a student filed a report with UNCW police that a bicycle was stolen from the Trask Coliseum bike rack, and eleven days later the bike was found in the possession of Wyrick. According to the Wilmington Star, Wyrick will be allowed to practice and lift weights, but will miss the Seahawks’ two exhibition games and at least five additional games until the end of the semester, and won’t be allowed to travel with the squad. After final exams on December 9th, head coach Brad Brownell and AD Peg Bradley-Doppes will re-evaluate his status. Wyrick played in 30 games for UNCW last season, making 14 starts and averaging 3.2 points and 2.9 rebounds.

Aggies Lose Simpson: New Mexico State interim head coach Tony Stubblefield has announced that freshman Delbert Simpson has left the program due to personal reasons. Simpson, a 6-8 forward from John Tyler High School (Tyler, Texas), was expected to contribute this season off the bench and lend a hand inside. No explanation of his personal reasons were provided by the university, nor were his future plans.

Xavier Gets Finn Back: Xavier junior guard Dedrick Finn has finally been reinstated to the team, following a suspension three weeks ago for violating team rules. Finn, the most experienced guard on the young Musketeers will immediately solidify the backcourt upon his return today. Finn was suspended indefinitely by new head coach Sean Miller on October 4th, and was not allowed to travel with the team during their exhibition series in the Bahamas in early October.

No Redshirt: South Carolina head coach Dave Odom has announced that freshman Dwayne Day will not be redshirting this season, as was previously expected, and will assist the Gamecocks off the bench. Day, a 6-7 forward from Montgomery High (Mount Vernon, Georgia), will be fifth on the USC depth chart at small forward, behind sophomore Renaldo Balkman, and upperclassmen Tarence Kinsey, Rocky Trice, and Josh Gonner. There had been speculation that Day would redshirt to not only add bulk (he’s only 177 pounds) and gain experience.

Morning Dish

by - Published October 20, 2004 in Columns




The Morning Dish – Wednesday, October 20th

Price Released from Hospital: UConn freshman point guard A.J. Price, who has been in Hartford Hospital since October 4th for a brain hemorrhage, was released from the hospital yesterday. Price was in critical condition for 10 days in the hospital’s neurological intensive care unit. Price returned to his family’s home in Amityville, New York, where he is expected to stay for at least an additional week. Husky head coach Jim Calhoun did not speculate on when Price might return to school or to the team, but we’re certain he’s getting the redshirt paperwork ready. There is a possibility that Price can return to school this semester and complete his academic work.

Pearl Inks a Deal: Wisconsin-Milwaukee head coach Bruce Pearl has agreed to a five-year contract extension reportedly worth over $1.5 million. Pearl, a two-time Horizon League coach of the year, has a 60-32 record in three seasons at Milwaukee, where he replaced current Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan after the 2000-2001 season. Since then Pearl has taken the Panthers to the NCAA Tournament as the Horizon Tournament champion in 2002-03, and a Horizon League regular season crown and an NIT appearance last season. Pearl has a 291-78 record overall as a head coach, including a D-II championship and a runner-up at Southern Indiana, and was an assistant for 14 seasons at Iowa and Boston College, his alma mater.

Bull Extended: University of Buffalo head coach Reggie Witherspoon has signed a contract extension that will keep him on the Bulls sideline through the 2008-09 season. Of course, terms were not disclosed. Witherspoon was the Mid-American Coach of the Year last season, and led the Bulls to a 17-12 record. He has a 41-97 record in five-plus seasons in Buffalo, having been named interim head coach midway through the 1999-2000 season. Buffalo is Witherspoon’s first D-I coaching assignment, though he was head coach at nearby Erie Community College for several seasons in the 1990′s.

Two Cougars Injured: They are falling fast for Dick Bennett’s Washington State Cougars. First, freshman center Chris Henry dislocated his right ankle in a pickup game last week, and Sunday freshman point guard Derrick Low broke a bone in his foot during practice. Low is scheduled to have surgery on the injury today, and it’s expected that he’ll miss six to eight weeks. Henry’s injury will keep him out for the beginning of the season, with a return of December 1st likely. Bennett had planned on using Low as his starting point guard, taking over for Marcus Moore, who graduated.

49er Down: Charlotte head coach Bobby Lutz announced that point guard Mitchell Baldwin will miss the next 2-3 weeks, due to a dislocated shoulder he suffered in practice Monday. As Baldwin was coming down from a layup drill, he collided with a teammate, causing the injury. Baldwin, a junior, will initially wear a sling for his arm, and then will start practicing again in two weeks with a shoulder harness. Baldwin averaged 5.7 points and 2.1 rebounds per game last season as a reserve, though he played in all 30 games and averaged 19 minutes per contest.

Cardinal Guard Injured: Similar to the NFL, there should be cries to outlaw the preseason, as it only leads to injuries. The latest victim? Defending Pac-10 champion Stanford is without junior point guard Chris Hernandez, who suffered an ankle injury two weeks ago. New head coach Trent Johnson indicated that there was no timetable for the recovery of the oft-injured Hernandez. Hernandez missed the 2002-03 season with a broken left foot, which was re-injured later in the season, and he suffered from chronic back spasms last season, though he did average 10 points and 4.3 assists per game on the season.

Deacons Center Still Not 100%: Wake Forest junior center Eric Williams is causing concern in Winston-Salem, as he still has not been able to complete practices. Williams was in the hospital over the summer during the USA National 20-and-under tryouts for what was then described as food poisoning. The ailment caused the 285 pound big man to lose 15 pounds in one day due to severe dehydration, and head coach Skip Prosser is concerned that Williams is still feeling the effects. Williams averaged 12.4 points and 5.6 rebounds last season for the Demon Deacons, leading them to a 21-10 record and an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.

Bearcat Departs: Cincinnati head coach Bob Huggins has announced that sophomore forward Mike Pilgrim has left the team. Pilgrim, a 6-8 forward, will transfer to another school. Pilgrim sat out last season to focus on academics, and had not played for the Bearcats. A Cincinnati native, Pilgrim was an all-conference selection in the New England Prep School League, averaging 13.5 points and 9 rebounds in 2002-03 for Brewster (N.H.) Academy.

Jaguars Dealt a Blow: The University of South Alabama has announced that senior forward Michael Phillips is academically ineligible for the fall semester. Phillips, USA’s fourth-leading scorer last season with 8.7 points per game, was expected to contribute as one of three returning starts from last season’s 12-16 squad. Phillips will miss at least six games prior to the end of the semester, including the December 2nd game against Mississippi State. The first game he’ll be eligible to return will be December 12th against Arkansas-Monticello.

Now Comcast is Getting Involved: When did college sports become so trendy on the tube? Or are we now getting close to the 500 channels of television everyone predicted in the early 90′s before we discovered the internet? Comcast has announced plans to launch a sports-only channel called Comcast SportsNet West, and will feature 52 Sacramento Kings games along with Fresno State, UC-Davis, and Sacramento State hoops games. Targets are that the channel will reach 700,000 households in north-central California. Fresno State officials are hoping the added exposure for the program in the state can raise the profile of the school and assist recruiting.

Now it’ll be His Fault: The successor to Iowa AD Bob Bowlsby at the helm of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has been announced, and it will be Virginia AD Craig Littlepage. Littlepage’s term will start September 1st of 2005. Littlepage, who has been the athletic director at UVA since 2001, is an accomplished coach, having led Penn (his alma mater) and Rutgers for several seasons. Littlepage was also an assistant at Yale and Villanova, in addition to Virginia. So when your team’s bubble bursts, you’ll know who to call.

Morning Dish

by - Published October 19, 2004 in Columns




The Morning Dish – Tuesday, October 19th

Nicholls State Coach Resigns: Nicholls State head coach Ricky Blanton resigned unexpectedly yesterday, a few days after the start of practice for his third season. In a statement through the university, Blanton cited family issues as the reason for his departure. Blanton’s record at Nicholls State, his first D-I head coaching position, was 9-46 in two seasons, including a 6-21 record last year. Blanton, who played on LSU’s 1986 Final Four team, replaced current LSU assistant Rickey Broussard in June of 2002. Athletic Director Rob Bernardi did not announce an interim head coach.

Tiger Finished: Princeton forward Spencer Gloger has seen the end of his collegiate career come early. Gloger was denied a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA prior to Princeton’s start of practice Saturday. Gloger, a native of Santa Margarita, California, first appeared on the Princeton campus for the 1999-2000 season, setting an Ivy League record with 10 3-pointers against Alabama-Birmingham. After that season, several assistant coaches left for greener pastures, including current head coach Joe Scott, so Gloger transferred back near home to UCLA, where he sat out a year. Missing Princeton, he then transferred back to Princeton, sitting out another year. Then he was declared academically ineligible midway through the 2002-03 season, and then got into an offseason car accident, causing him to miss last season with a severed wrist tendon.

Vitale Follows Through: Everyone remembers Cory Clouse’s half court shot at Cincinnati’s Midnight Madness ten years ago, where ESPN paid for the Cincinnati student’s tuition and housing, and Dick Vitale promised to pay for Clouse’s books. It turns out that Vitale had never paid Clouse, though not from a lack of trying. Vitale had been trying to contact Clouse to find out the amount owed, and Clouse’s efforts at contacting Vitale were stymied by ESPN gatekeepers. When an article ran in the Cincinnati Enquirer with Clouse’s plight, Vitale contacted the paper and made arrangements to get a hold of Clouse and complete payment.

Achilles Knee for Trojan: Southern California point guard Dwayne Shackleford injured his knee Saturday in the Trojans’ first practice, and will now miss up to five weeks. Shackleford, a JuCo transfer from Allegany College (Cumberland, Maryland), will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery today to repair his lateral meniscus. Shackleford may be able to return in time for UC’s season opener is November 22nd against UC Irvine.

Husker Don’t: Nebraska suffered a key injury to junior Wes Wilkinson in practice Saturday. Wilkinson, a 6-9 forward who averaged 2.3 points and 1.4 rebounds, broke a bone in his foot during drills, according to head coach Barry Collier. Wilkinson, a former Nebraska Mr. Basketball, is expected to miss at least a month with the injury, making him questionable for the season opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on November 23rd.

Closing Ceremonies: Southeast Missouri State will hold a ceremony this weekend officially retiring the Indians nickname, and the Otahkians nickname for the women’s teams. The Indians name has been associated with the program since 1922, and the Otahkians name was first used in 1972 by women’s teams to honor a Cherokee woman who died on the Trail of Tears march to Oklahoma in the 1800′s. The university board of regents had announced in June that Redhawks would be the new name for all school teams effective January 1st, following a study that found the old nicknames offensive to some American Indians. Native American musician Bill Miller, a Mohican Indian from Wisconsin, will perform at the ceremony Friday night, which is intended to retire the nicknames with dignity, rather than at halftime of a football game. Also scheduled to perform are the Intertribal Native American Dancers from Oklahoma, and activist Carol Spindel, author of “Dancing at Halftime” will speak. Spindel has long been attempting to stop the University of Illinois from using their Chief Illiniwek mascot.

Providence Midnight Madness

by - Published October 19, 2004 in Columns




Midnight Madness at Providence

by Phil Kasiecki

PROVIDENCE, RI – College basketball fever is alive and well in the capital city of the smallest state in the country.

Friday night, Major League Baseball’s biggest rivalry was the big game about 50 miles north in Boston, before rain cancelled it. Professional sports are always at the forefront in Boston, but in Providence, the big game in town is Providence College and that was evident on Friday night. Instead of navy blue and some red like at Fenway Park, black was the color of choice in Alumni Hall as fans packed the arena for the Providence College Friars as they held Late Night Madness for the 20th time. It was not unlike a regular season game at “The Dunk” as the Dunkin’ Donuts Center is now affectionately known; the Friars routinely pack the building with screaming fans.

Of course, it’s only natural that one couldn’t completely escape pennant fever, being just a short drive from all the action. There were a select few fans with Red Sox or Yankees memorabilia, including a participant in one of the contests with his Yankees t-shirt. Seeing the jersey led a few fans to make a chant popular in Boston that won’t be repeated here.

The lower section of the arena filled up quickly, while the upper section was eventually about ¾ full by the time midnight rolled around. The crowd was active throughout, with many fans dancing in the seats and cheering their team on, and they gave plenty of support to the dance team and cheerleaders. The cheerleaders particularly impressed when four groups each held up a cheerleader, then each one tossed the cheerleader counter-clockwise to the group on their right.

A dancing contest, won by the Board of Multicultural Student Affairs, was another highlight of the evening’s activities prior to the basketball teams coming out. One of the emcees showed off a shirt that said “Wilby” and had the number 3, a reference to the high school of Friar All-American Ryan Gomes. Some of the many black jerseys said “Got Gomes?” on the front, with his name and number on the back.

When the Friars were announced, the place erupted. Head coach Tim Welsh saluted the students in attendance prior to introducing his team. Not surprisingly, the loudest cheers were for Gomes, the senior forward who declared for the NBA Draft before pulling out and returning to school. Welsh called Gomes “the 2004-05 National Player of the Year”. It’s all part of the hope that they and over 300 other programs have entering the season as they vie for the national championship.

The Friars certainly have question marks regarding how they will do this season, but this wasn’t the time to worry about it. The players put on a dunk show after they were introduced, attempting some moves that would never be allowed in a real practice but entertaining the fans (even the misses accomplished that). They didn’t do a scrimmage, limiting the event to about 45 minutes after midnight.

As the only game in town, Late Night Madness brought out plenty of fans to set the stage for the 2004-05 season in Providence. Friar home games will surely do the same starting next month.

     

Kentucky Midnight Madness

by - Published October 19, 2004 in Columns



Live from Lexington – Big Blue Madness

by Thomas Beisner

The Kentucky Wildcats kicked off their 101st basketball season Friday at midnight in a packed Memorial Coliseum with their appropriately named Big Blue Madness.

Ashley Judd and former players Sam Bowie and Larry Conley emceed the festivities but it seemed as if all eyes were anxiously focused in on the newest members of the Wildcats. Randolph Morris, Joe Crawford, and Rajon Rondo, the three incoming McDonald’s All-Americans were the focus of the attention of over-zealous UK fans, and the youngsters did not disappoint.

Fans were pleased with what they saw from the newcomers in the dunk contest as Rondo and Crawford duked it out for the crown. Though it looked like Crawford, a 6-4 shooting guard from Detroit locked up a victory by bouncing the ball, jumping in the air and pulling it through his legs for a silky smooth flush, Rondo stole the show with his next dunk.

After seating fellow freshman Ramel Bradley in the paint in a folding chair, Rondo, a 6-1 point guard from Louisville, bounced the ball off the floor and caught it as he glided over Bradley for a one-handed jam. This sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Western Kentucky transfer Patrick Sparks, the forgotten member of this year’s class of newcomers, reminded everyone that he is a pretty fine player as well by winning the three point contest.

One noticeable buzz kill to the ‘Cats party was the absence of sophomore forward Sheray Thomas who sat out after having a surgery, which UK officials are keeping secret. All they would say is that Thomas would be out up to six weeks recovering from the surgery.

Coach Tubby Smith said that he is expecting a lot out of the youngsters this year. Something he does not typically do.

“I’m anxious to see if this talent level that we’ve been able to recruit can overcome that lack of experience,” Smith said. “It will take a lot of patience early on in the season, so we can help them understand and appreciate our style of play.”

UK students in attendance seemed to share Smith’s enthusiasm.

“This year’s team is too talented to not make the Final Four,” said senior Steven R. Hay, “If they listen to Tubby, there is no reason why they shouldn’t out-achieve his past teams.”

Hay’s enthusiasm was echoed by fellow student Taylor Abrams, although with a hint of that typical UK pessimism.

“I think that Randolph Morris is going to lead this team to the promise land,” Abrams said, “and if they don’t win the title this year, then Tubby should be fired.”

With all of these expectations abounding again in the bluegrass, it sounds as if it is just the beginning of Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness.

     

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Oklahoma State Midnight Madness

by - Published October 19, 2004 in Columns



Cowboy basketball begins practices with Bash

By Kylee Glover – Daily O’Collegian

STILLWATER, Okla. (U-WIRE) — The Oklahoma State Cowboy basketball team kicked off the first day of practice Saturday with their annual Basketball Bash.

After last year’s trip to the Final Four, 12,000 fans came out to support the 2004-05 team in hopes for another run to the championship starting with the season opener against Northwestern State on Nov. 19.

“These guys are loaded,” said Brad Carson, R-Okla., who is currently running for U.S. Senate. “This will not only be another trip to the Final Four, but it will also be the first championship in many years for the Cowboys.”

The Cowboys began the bash with a dunk contest judged by five Oklahoma journalism professionals who cover Oklahoma State sports every year. The competitors were scored based on a 1-10 scale with a score of 10 being the best.

The two finalists in the contest were junior college transfer Aaron Pettway and senior forward Joey Graham, who won the contest with a perfect score after taking off from a foot within the free-throw line.

After the dunk contest, the Cowboys had a 3-point shootout. Seniors Stephen Graham and John Lucas III reached the finals, and Lucas won the competition after hitting 12 3-pointers in 35 seconds.

“I love to shoot,” Lucas said. “We had all those fans out there and I just wanted to give them a show.”

Following the shootout, the team had a Black versus White intrasquad scrimmage, which consisted of two 10 minute halves. The Black team defeated the White team, 45-31.

Senior Ivan McFarlin led the black team with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Lucas added 11 points to the victory.

In a losing effort, Stephen Graham led the white squad with 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting while his brother Joey Graham added 10 points.

“The first time you scrimmage like that, the thing that is most impressive is they played hard,” head coach Eddie Sutton said. “They have a chance to be very good.”

The Cowboys are returning four starters from last year’s Final Four team and also added two newcomers that Sutton said will contribute immediately to the team this year.

Sutton said Pettway, a 6-foot-11 Hutchison Community College transfer, will be a big presence inside the paint for the Cowboys this season.

“It felt good to get out there and play,” Pettway said. “Once you get out there and start banging around a little bit, you get used to it.”

Also added to the Cowboy roster is freshman JamesOn Curry. Curry is the North Carolina high school leading scorer of all-time and is expected to do great things for the team this year, according to Sutton.

“It felt good,” said Curry about his first performance in front of fans in Gallagher-Iba. “That’s why I came here.”

Of the 12,000 fans in attendance, one had recently moved to Stillwater solely to support Cowboy athletics.

“I am impressed with the depth,” said Gordon Biswell of Shawnee. “We have 11 guys that can really play. My wife and I retired from Shawnee just to move to Stillwater and support the Pokes.”

“We are very excited about this coming basketball season. We won’t miss a game.”

© 2004 Daily O’Collegian via U-WIRE.

U-Wire articles appear on Hoopville courtesy of CSTV. U-Wire is a division of CSTV’s CollegeSports.com.

New Mexico Midnight Madness

by - Published October 19, 2004 in Columns



UNM basketball teams give fans something to howl about

By Riley Bauling – Daily Lobo

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (U-WIRE) — Howls and booms could be heard from within the confines of the Pit on Saturday.

The howls hyped up the UNM men’s and women’s basketball teams and the booms showed 6-foot-7 freshman men’s basketball player Bambale “Boom” Osby just how much UNM fans appreciate seeing him in a Lobo uniform.

About 4,000 people were in attendance at the Lobo Howl, which is held every year the evening before the first official day of practice for both teams. Fans were treated to intrasquad scrimmages, a 3-point contest and the highlight of the night for most, a slam-dunk competition.

The dunk fest, judged by the fans, featured three of the Lobos’ incoming freshmen. Tony Danridge, Darren Prentice and Osby participated in the competition that was eventually judged a tie between Danridge and Prentice.

Osby came in to the dunk competition highly touted after men’s head coach Ritchie McKay told the crowd, “He is going to be one of your favorite players on the team this season.”

Osby failed to impress though, as the three attempts he made to go through his legs and then dunk all ended up with the ball bouncing haphazardly in different directions.

“That was experimental,” Osby said. “That experiment is going to be shelved permanently.”

Prentice, a 6-1 guard from Alamogordo, had arguably the most exciting dunk of the night when right after Osby’s botched second attempt, he went baseline, put the ball through his legs, and slammed it home to a thunderous roar from the Lobo faithful. After the dunk, he flashed an ear-to-ear smile in Osby’s direction.

Senior Danny Granger, a preseason All-American candidate, didn’t participate in the dunk contest, much to the displeasure of the fans.

“We let the freshmen do it,” Granger said. “Me, Al (Neale) and Mark (Walters) told the freshmen we were getting too old for this stuff.”

Senior Lindsey Arndt and sophomore Katie Montgomery squared off in the finals of the 3-point contest against juniors Jana Francis and Judy Vogt. After Montgomery hit six straight, Arndt failed to keep the pace, letting Francis and Vogt come back and beat them by a hair.

Francis and Vogt high-fived in celebration as Francis’ last shot fell through seconds before Arndt’s final one did.

The men’s intrasquad scrimmage saw a fast-paced offensive showdown before the Cherry team finally took down the Silver, 38-33. Granger had a game-high 14 points for the Cherry, outpacing sophomore walk-on Kellen Walter, who nailed four straight 3-pointers to score 12 points for the Silver team.

“This team can score,” Granger said. “We got 6-10 guys shooting 3′s. I am a lot more excited this year than I was last year.”

The Cherry team for the women’s intrasquad scrimmage was also victorious, coming out on top, 22-19.

Senior Mandi Moore led both teams in scoring with 13 points, going a blistering 5-of-7 on 3-pointers and 6-of-9 from the floor overall before taking an elbow in the nose that sent her to the sidelines cupping her bloodied face.

Even with the smashed nose, Moore was still upbeat about what is in store for Lobo basketball fans.

“We’re more athletic this year,” she said. “This being my senior year, I want to go out and have a good year. We have a lot of talent, and we will be able to go far with it.”

© 2004 Daily Lobo via U-WIRE.

U-Wire articles appear on Hoopville courtesy of CSTV. U-Wire is a division of CSTV’s CollegeSports.com.

USF Midnight Madness

by - Published October 19, 2004 in Columns



Practice, cross-dressing kick off South Florida basketball season

By Mark Lennox – The Oracle

TAMPA, Fla. (U-WIRE) — As if homecoming weekend couldn’t get any wilder, the University of South Florida basketball program had to join the mix.

The hoops season officially kicked off at the Sun Dome on Friday evening with the fifth annual Midnight Mania, an event that marks the start of practice for the basketball teams.

A large gathering crowded the entrance of the Sun Dome to listen to hip-hop music and watch as students squared off in a battle of raps.

With an equal blend of crazy skits and raucous prize giveaways, the student government put on a show for the crowd at the Sun Dome.

The festivities began with a skit performed by the men’s and women’s basketball team that involved cross-dressing and a workout routine.

After the skits, prizes including a gold USF parking pass and a $1,000 bookstore award were given.

The atmosphere was electric when the teams took the court.

USF returns eight letter winners, including three starters from last year’s squad, and has more depth than the previous team.

Five players return for their senior season as USF will make its last venture through Conference USA before joining the Big East in the season.

The Bulls are led by senior Terrance Leather, who was No. 3 in the conference in rebounds last season and No. 10 in scoring.

Adding to the senior leadership is Brian Swift, who is coming off his best season as a Bull after averaging 35 minutes per game.

Rounding out the returning starters is Bradley Mosley, the only Bull to start every game last season. Mosley was the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 14.6 points per game last season.

New to the team is freshman Montavious Waters, who is a two-time first-team all-state selection by the Georgia Sportswriters Association. Also new to the mix is freshman Collin Dennis, who averaged 23 points, five rebounds and four assists as a senior in high school.

USF will see its first live action in an exhibition game against St. Leo University Nov. 12.

© 2004 The Oracle via U-WIRE.

U-Wire articles appear on Hoopville courtesy of CSTV. U-Wire is a division of CSTV’s CollegeSports.com.

WAC Season Recap

by - Published October 19, 2004 in Conference Notes



Western Athletic Conference 2003-04 Season Recap

by Joaquin Mesa

When Kirk Snyder was taken in the draft by the Utah Jazz, everyone who supports the WAC conference jumped in joy. A first-rounder! An actual first-rounder! The WAC Player of the Year was probably just as surprised as most of the NBA’s General Managers about the decision by the Jazz head honchos. The Utah Jazz, who have made a living by supporting the likes of good perimeter shooters like John Starks, John Stockton and Jeff Hornacek took an unproven shooter with a flare for the flashy. Nevertheless, the WAC conference was vindicated as it constantly claws its way into the upper-echelons of the college basketball’s major conference hierarchy.

The 2004-2005 college basketball season is upon us, and Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Connecticut, Arizona and Kansas are all prepared to defend their status as championship contenders. True, only one of these teams will win the title, but not one of these teams is questioned as to the high quality of their basketball program. However, most conferences live like the WAC conference, without a standout team ready to perform each and every year as a championship contender. Utah had a run at it for a while, but it wasn’t long enough to declare anything. Then they bolted for the Mountain West Conference, never to be heard from again. The best player to come out of the conference is Tim Hardaway, which speaks volumes about the quality of players that come to the WAC. They do have skills! It’s just that they don’t come with enough friends with them to make good teams. Keith Van Horn, Danny Ainge, Michael Cage and Melvin Ely round out the recently picked 25 Year All-WAC Team. It is a good team that would challenge any other major conference’s first team, but it took them 25 years to organize it.

Nevada had a spectacular season last year, advancing to the Sweet 16 for only the 23rd time in WAC history. They won their first two NCAA Tournament games after having been to the tournament only two other times, in 1984 and 1985. Kirk Snyder might thank his lucky stars that his team made it as far as they did; otherwise he could have been an easy second rounder, or even worse. Ex-Coach Trent Johnson can thank his lucky stars that his team went as far as they did, otherwise he might not be the coach of perennial powerhouse Stanford. There were a lot of people that benefited from the successful season that Nevada had, except for the Nevada program. They lost their best player and head coach. That is very tough to rebound from, even for an established program. Just ask UCLA.

On the other hand, some other notorious WAC teams might just take this opportunity to establish themselves as contenders again. UTEP, which finished second to Nevada in conference play, is poised to succeed in conference play this year. They have their top four scorers returning, and a freshman class that has the WAC talking. This is a team that played Maryland to the buzzer in the first round of the NCAA tournament. It is a no-brainer to pick these guys as the top team coming out of this conference, especially with all of the change that Nevada will be dealing with. Now, some of you might say that UTEP is changing coaches as well, and you would be right. However, they are returning their key players, which makes a change of coaches that much easier. Also, Coach Doc Sadler also acted as assistant coach for the Athletics during last season’s tournament run. Put two and two together and you have a team that is going to make their home crowd raucous.

However, don’t forget about the miraculous run that the WAC teams had last season. It was a glorious season for WAC hoopsters, so let’s take a look!

Regular Season

Nevada beat UTEP in the final conference game of the season to take the regular season title in the WAC by tie-breaker. It was a tough game that propelled Nevada into its first tournament berth since 1985. The final score, 66-60, showed just how hard fought the game actually was. The lead changed hands seven times in the second half alone, but Nevada’s Kirk Snyder took what seeded like every rebound helping the Miners to the victory. Nevada was playing catch up to the Miners for most of the season, as their early losses taught them valuable lessons that would translate to their successful run in the NCAA tournament. UTEP, though beaten in the final regular season game, was granted an at-large NCAA tournament berth.

The regular season saw some big games won by WAC teams. Nevada started the season against Vermont, which it promptly dispatched of 69-49. You might remember Vermont as the team that almost took out UConn in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Okay, not really. But they did make the tournament, a feat unto itself. It was wins over UNLV and Kansas that really sent the Nevada train chugging down its tournament-bound path. The Kansas game was part of the reason that two teams from the WAC made it into the NCAA tournament at all. If you can beat Kansas, you can beat anyone. Oregon State fell victim to Hawaii and Boise State while Washington State fell to Rice and Fresno State. All in all, the lone victory by the Pac-10 over a WAC team, except for Stanford’s wins over Rice (which we won’t count because it was Stanford), was USC’s win over Fresno State, which wasn’t impressive at all. Thus, the final tally against the Pac-10, the WAC was 4-2. This isn’t half bad against a major conference. Southern Methodist, though lacking in conference wins, had one big win against Texas Tech and Bobby Knight. How this happened, I don’t know, but the Mustangs are looking to improve upon this in the upcoming season.

The Runs

Nevada has a glorious run in the NCAA Tournament with a Sweet 16 appearance that was promptly ruined by Georgia Tech. The Wolfpack actually took a lead into halftime, and were poised to win with B.J. Elder of the Yellow Jackets on the bench with a bum ankle, a result of a heavy landing Kirk Synder. However, it was not meant to be as the Yellow Jacket’s defense forced too many bad shots in the second half. Nevada did beat upstart Gonzaga, which proved to be worth less than its weight in gold. However, this is a small prize in comparison to the title.

UTEP was stopped in the first round of the tournament, which was to be expected as they were paired against Maryland. However, it was a tight game that saw Maryland squander an 11 point lead in the second half. In the end, it was the clutch free-throws put in by Maryland that won the game, and sent UTEP back to Texas with a valuable learning experience.

In the NIT Tournament, Boise State, Hawaii and Rice led the WAC to a reasonably successful run in the tournament. Hawaii had one of the most surprising victories over ranked Utah State, a team that was a surprise omission from the NCAA tournament. Their 11 point victory in the first round of the tournament helped NCAA officials make a case for their controversial bubble selections, and it also handed Utah State their fourth loss of the season. Rice bowed out early to an overwhelming Wisconsin-Milwaukee team 91-63, while Boise State beat UNLV and then the very same Wisconsin-Milwaukee team to make it into the round of 16. Hawaii joined them in the round of 16 with a victory over Nebraska.

All-Conference Team

Kirk Synder, Nevada
Michael Kuebler, Hawaii
Aaron Hayes, Boise St.
Michael Harris, Rice
Omar Thomas, UTEP

Coach of the Year:

Billy Gillispie, UTEP

Player of the Year:

Kirk Synder, Nevada

Defensive Player of the Year:

Paul Millsap, Louisiana Tech

I went with the leading scorers on each of the top five teams in the league. I know some people really liked Filiberto Rivera, but I couldn’t justify the selection of a point guard who couldn’t lead his team past the first round of the NCAA’s. Paul Millsap is only a freshman, but he was a monster on the boards, leading the WAC with 12.5 rebounds per game. Add this to his already league leading 1.7 blocks per game, and it is a no-brainer for Defensive Player of the Year.

Nevada Wolfpack 25-9, 13-5

Team MVP: Kirk Snyder

Top Scorer: Kirk Synder, 18.7 ppg
Top Rebounder: Nick Fazekas, 7.6 rpg
Top Assists: Todd Okeson, 4.0 apg

Starters Leaving: Kirk Synder (NBA draft), Todd Okeson (graduated), Gary Hill-Thomas (graduated), Sean Paul (graduated)

Key Players Returning: Nick Fazekas, Kevin Pinkney, Marcus Kemp

Nevada is losing the core of their team, and that doesn’t bode well for first-year Coach Mark Fox. Fox has spent the last four years as the associate Coach for the Wolfpack, and he is going to have a few rough years before this team becomes a tournament team again. This team lost perhaps the best player to have graced the program in Kirk Snyder. He was a true small forward who was as tenacious as he was skilled. If not for the return of Sophomore standout Nick Fazekas, this team would be at the bottom of the WAC this year.

UTEP Miners 24-8, 13-5

Team MVP: Omar Thomas

Top Scorer: Omar Thomas, 15.5 ppg
Top Rebounder: Jason Williams, 6.1 rpg
Top Assists: Filiberto Rivera, 4.8 apg

Starters Leaving: Chris Craig (graduated), Roy Smallwood (graduated)

Key Players Returning: Omar Thomas, Filiberto Rivera, Jason Williams, John Tofi, Giovanni St. Amant

UTEP is returning most of its key contributers, which will help first year Coach Doc Sadler. It is lucky to retain their point guard position, which many people attribute college basketball success to. I like to think that big men get it done, especially if they are motivated. Jason Williams and John Tofi should be a fun duo to watch under the boards. They both averaged around 6 rebounds a game last year, and look to be getting the ball more. With Filiberto Rivera getting them the ball, this team might be a contender again, even with the coaching change.

Boise State Broncos 23-10, 12-6

Team MVP: Aaron Haynes

Top Scorer: Aaron Haynes, 14.6 ppg
Top Rebounder: Jason Ellis, 9.1 rpg
Top Assists: Bryan DeFares, 3.7 apg

Starters Leaving: Bryan DeFares (graduated), Joe Skiffer (graduated), Aaron Haynes (graduated)

Key Players Returning: Jason Ellis, Coby Karl, Jermaine Blackburn

Though the Broncos lose starting players Aaron Haynes and Bryan DeFares, the team is in good hands in Jason Ellis, Coby Karl and Jermaine Blackburn. Jermaine challenged Haynes for the scoring title for most of the year. Though he doesn’t rebound quite as well as Haynes, he is more accurate from behind the line. Haynes and DeFares were the core of this team for over two years. They shared their team’s MVP honors last year, and Haynes received the award this year. He was drafted by the Florence Flyer of the USBL, and this team will miss him.

Rice Owls 22-11, 12-6

Team MVP: Michael Harris

Top Scorer: Michael Harris, 17.5 ppg
Top Rebounder: Michael Harris, 8.9 rpg
Top Assists: Rashid Smith, 4.8 apg

Starters Leaving: Rashid Smith (graduated), Mamadou Yamar Diene (graduated)

Key Players Returning: Michael Harris, Jason McKrieth, Brock Gillespie, J.R. Harrison, Jamaal Moore

Rice will return 4 starters to their rotation this year, two of which have been touring in China with Athletes in Action. Jason McKrieth and Michael Harris will return to the team in good shape and ready to build upon the 20-win season that they put together last year. Rice might be the favorite to win the conference with its depth and experience.

Hawaii Warriors 21-12, 11-7

Team MVP: Michael Kuebler

Top Scorer: Michael Kuebler, 18.4 ppg
Top Rebounder: Julian Sensley, 7.5 rpg
Top Assists: Logan Lee, 3.8 apg

Starters Leaving: Michael Kuebler (graduated), Phil Martin (graduated), Jason Carter (graduated), Haim Shimonovich (graduated), Michael Kuebler (graduated), Paul Jesinskis (graduated)

Key Players Returning: Julian Sensley, Jeff Blackett, Vaidotas Peciukas

Too many players are gone from a team that won 20 games last year. There are three seniors left on the team, with most of the players having only one, two or no years of good experience. Julian Sensley will look to take over the middle with Michael Kuebler gone, but who else will step up as an outside threat? This question will need to be answered in the first few games or Hawaii might be in a bit of trouble.

Fresno State Bulldogs 14-15, 10-8

Team MVP: Shantay Legans

Top Scorer: Shantay Legans, 15.0 ppg
Top Rebounder: Mustafa Al-Sayyad, 7.3
Top Assists: Shantay Legans, 5.6

Starters Leaving: Renaldo Major (graduated), Shantey Legans (graduated), Jonathon Woods (graduated), Marcus West, Terry Pettis, Francis Koffi, Chris Adams

Key Players Returning: Mustafa Al-Sayyad, Dreike Bouldin, Jack Marlow

Now, the key returning players that I have mentioned are nothing spectacular. This team is in complete flux. There will only be three returning players from the team of last year. Coach Ray Lopes is welcoming seven incoming freshman, as well as two redshirt freshman from last year. He got a good Junior College transfer in JaVance Coleman, but other then that, this is going to be a team of the future. Look for the Bulldogs at the bottom of the standings.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 15-15, 8-10

Team MVP: Paul Millsap

Top Scorer: Paul Millsap, 15.6 ppg
Top Rebounder: Paul Millsap, 12.5 rpg
Top Assists: Donell Allick, 3.6 apg

Starters Leaving: JueMichael Young

Key Players Returning: Paul Millsap, Corey Dean, Donell Allick, Wayne Powell, Barry Thompson

This team did not lose too much. In fact, the core of their team is still sophomore star Paul Millsap. Millsap was a consensus Freshman of the Year in the WAC, and the team will be built around him for the next few years. The starters are still all there, so expect to see this team better their .500 record.

Southern Methodist Mustangs 12-18, 5-13

Team MVP: Brian Hopkins

Top Scorer: Brian Hopkins, 17.7 ppg
Top Rebounder: Patrick Simpson, 6.0 rpg
Top Assists: Brian Hopkins, 3.8 apg

Starters Leaving: Kris Lowe (graduated),

Key Players Returning: Brian Hopkins, Patrick Simpson, Eric Castro, Justin Isham

This is another team that will bring back a lot of its roster. It will only lose two seniors, and only one starter. Their top four scorers return, and their team leader Brian Hopkins is ready to take another step towards Southern Methodist Mustang history.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane 9-20, 5-13

Team MVP: Jason Parker

Top Scorer: Jason Parker, 16.9 ppg
Top Rebounder: Jarius Glenn, 6.1 rpg
Top Assists: Jason Parker, 2.9 apg

Starters Leaving: Jason Parker (graduated), Kenneth Kelley

Key Players Returning: Jarius Glenn, Anthony Price, Seneca Collins, Guilherme Teichmann

All the teams that did not have success last year are returning a lot of experienced players. Despite losing team leader Jason Parker, Tulsa has a chance to regain the glory that it has gotten used to in the last twenty years. In the last twenty-four years, Tulsa has won eight regular season conference championships, five post-season conference championships, gone to the NCAA Tournament thirteen times, the NIT five times, and won the NIT twice. They should be poised to continue that success this year.

San Jose State Spartans 6-23, 1-17

Team MVP: Eric Walton

Top Scorer: Eric Walton, 11.8 ppg
Top Rebounder: Eric Walton, 6.5 rpg
Top Assists: Bim Okunrinboye, 3.2 apg

Starters Leaving: Eric Walton (graduated), Bim Okunrinboye (graduated), Brett Lilly (graduated), Phil Calvert (graduated)

Key Players Returning: Marquin Chandler, Demetrius Brown, Michael McFadden

This team might have the most to prove with only one win in conference play last year. It also might have one of the hardest times doing so, with only one returning starter. Now this might seem like a good thing considering how the team did last year, so lets wait and see before we put the fork in the Spartans.

     

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Metro Atlantic Season Recap

by - Published October 19, 2004 in Conference Notes



Metro Atlantic Conference 2003-04 Season Recap

by Jesse Ullmann

The Manhattan Jaspers for the second straight year finished atop the leader board with a 16-2 (25-6) record with the two conference losses coming on the road to Iona and Rider. Iona and Rider meanwhile had their fare share of problems this season. The Gaels (8-10, 11-18) never found a rhythm losing their two leading scorers during the season to off-the-court issues. The Broncs (10-8, 16-13) finished fifth but lost momentum heading into the tournament losing three of the last four.

Fairfield managed to catch a late season surge winning an impressive 10 of their last 12. The Stags finished with a 12-6 (19-10) record, good for third place. In second place was Niagara, picked by many (including myself) to win out this year over Manhattan (didn’t happen). The Purple Eagles (13-5, 19-8) finished strong with just two losses in February while St. Peter’s, led by the nations leading scorer Keydren Clark (NY, NY), finished fourth with a record of 12-6 (17-12).

Siena did not win a single game in December but the team hung tough and the Saints finished above .500 for the second half of the season, earning sixth place and a 9-9 (14-16) record. Canisius struggled as well but picked up victories over Fairfield and non-conference rival St. Bonaventure. The Griffs finished eighth with a 5-13 (10-20) record. Marist finished the season 4-14 (6-21) in eighth place while the Loyola Greyhounds, as expected, rounded out the conference finishing dead last with a woeful record of 1-17 (1-27).

All-Conference Team

G – Luis Flores, Manhattan (MVP), 24.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg
G – Keydren Clark, St. Peter’s, 26.7 ppg, 4.3 apg
F – Tremmel Darden, Niagara, 17.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg
F – Michael Haddix, Siena, 15.6 ppg, 9.0 rpg
C – Rob Thomson, Fairfield, 13.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg

Metro Atlantic Tournament

The three first round games in Albany at the Metro Atlantic tournament went as expected with all the higher seeds advancing. Loyola was eliminated with a 75-67 loss to the Rider Broncs while Siena, led by Michael Haddix (Philadelphia, PA), defeated Marist 73-64. Coach Jeff Ruland and the Iona Gaels stole a 68-66 victory knocking out Canisius.

Second round action at the Pepsi Arena featured three nail biters including two overtimes. No. two Niagara defeated Iona 106-92 in overtime, and then St. Peter’s won in OT versus Rider, 79-69. Tim O’Toole, named the 2004 MAAC Coach of the Year, watched his Fairfield Stags lose a 66-63 down-to-the-wire battle with Siena.

Facing off in the semifinals would be Manhattan and St. Peter’s followed by Niagara and Siena on Sunday afternoon. Niagara proved too much for a smaller Siena Saints squad winning 79-74 and advancing to the championship game Monday evening. The Manhattan Jaspers received the bye all the way into the semis where they defeated Clark and his Peacocks, 83-72.

Manhattan, the 2004 MAAC tournament champions, saw a contest from the Purple Eagles. On the Deuce in front of a national audience the Purple Eagles actually put up a shot at the end of regulation to potentially win the game in thrilling fashion but the shot fell way short. The Jaspers celebrated their second consecutive championship title and the automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.

NCAA and NIT

The Manhattan Jaspers and the Niagara Purple Eagles continued their winning ways in postseason action. After last year’s first round loss in the NCAA tournament versus Syracuse, Manhattan had a sour taste left in their mouths. This year the Jaspers received a higher seed (12) in Raleigh, North Carolina and would face No. five Florida. Gonzalez knew he had a shot and his team came out fierce defeating the Gators in game one on day one of the NCAA tournament. Led by Flores’ 26 points, the Jaspers won 75-60 and awaited a Saturday, second round clash with Chris Paul (Lewisville, NC) and his fourth-seeded Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The Jaspers hung tough until the very end but would end their season with an 84-80 loss, an intense game featuring an exceptional performance from the freshman Paul.

The runner-up for the MAAC regular season and tournament titles, Niagara received an invitation to the NIT. The Purple Eagles defeated Troy State 87-83 in their first win since 1987 in the tournament. Senior guard Tremmel Darden (Las Vegas) scored a game-high 26 points, leading Niagara to a second-round appearance at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers eliminated Niagara by hitting free throws to close the books on a 78-70 victory. The Purple Eagles finished the season with a 22-10 overall record.

Defensive Player of the Year

C – Juan Mendez, Niagara Purple Eagles

Niagara’s 6-foot-8, 240-pound center had a stellar season and was the reason many opponents changed their strategy in games against the Purple Eagles. Mendez (Montreal, Quebec) averaged 8.6 rpg, half of them coming off the offensive glass. Mendez ranked second in the conference in blocked shots averaging 1.7 blocks per game for a total of 51 on the season. Mendez is well versed on offense as well, averaging 20.3 ppg and finishing third in the MAAC in field goal percentage (52%).

Freshman of the Year

G – Shane Nichols – St. Peter’s

Peacocks freshman Shane Nichols earned my pick for the Freshman of the Year award. Though Nichols (Radford, VA) will play the next three years in the shadow of backcourt teammate Keydren Clark, Nichols has accepted his title as a role player. The 6-foot guard averaged 10.6 ppg while shooting nearly 40 percent from three-land this season. Nichols has done a decent job distributing the ball to his teammates averaging nearly three assists per outing. He was one of just two players to earn multiple MAAC Rookie of the Week honors in 2004.

Coach of the Year

Tim O’Toole – Fairfield

Tim O’Toole is under investigation for giving “gifts” to players. He lost his star athlete junior forward Deng Gai to a season-ending injury and then O’Toole lost his leading scorer Terrence Todd to academic problems midway through the season. With plenty of problems surrounding the program, the Fairfield Stags managed a 19-11 overall record and a 12-6 record in conference. In his sixth season with the Stags, O’Toole produced back-to-back winning season for the first time since 1979.

Manhattan Jaspers

Before, during, and after the season, heading the campaign in the MAAC was Manhattan College. They finished with a stellar record of 16-2 in conference play posting a 25-6 mark overall. Luis Flores (NY, NY) was by far the playmaker finishing the season with averages of 24.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in 27 starts. Flores ran the floor exceptionally well and it sure helped to have wingman Jason Wingate (2.4apg) in the half-court offense. David Holmes (D.C.) was the team’s leader on the glass pulling down 8.5 rpg including 12 caroms versus Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Jaspers will have a new-look team next season as starters Flores, Holmes, and Jason Benton are all graduating. Wingate, Peter Mulligan, and Mike Konovelchick will be counted upon in making Manhattan contenders again.

Niagara Purple Eagles

The Purple Eagles finished the season 13-5 in MAAC competition, 22-10 overall. Forward/center Juan Mendez (Montreal) was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder with 20.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Tremmel Darden had a phenomenal senior season and Puerto Rican native Alvin Cruz was a nice surprise at guard averaging a team-high 6.1 assists per game.

Niagara will lose two key starters in Darden and James Reaves but Mendez is back as well as Cruz and Lorenzo Miles who will all be key contributors.

Fairfield Stags

With all of the ongoing off-the-court issues, Fairfield managed to finish the season with the most impressive run to the top in the conference. The Stags finished 12-6, 19-11 overall. When Deng Gai (Sudan) went down with a season-ending injury, Rob Thomson (Hellertown, PA) approached the challenge and relished in it averaging 13.7 ppg and 8.1 rpg. He led the team in both categories and earned himself an All-Conference team selection. When DeWitt Maxwell (Newark, NJ) left the team at the season’s midway point because of academic problems, Ty Goode (Brooklyn, NY) had to make the appropriate adjustments at point guard and the instant camaraderie looked to take the Stags deep into the conference tournament. However they would fall just short in the second round to Siena 66-63.

Thomson is the one key ingredient who will not return next season but Gai should be ready to go. Goode is small and Maxwell had academic issues so with all this combined with the Stags late-season surge last year, this team has some questions to answer come tip-off for 04-05.

St. Peter’s Peacocks

The Peacocks earned some national attention. Not particularly because of a 12-6, (17-12) record but mainly because they held the nation’s leading scorer in Keydren “Ki-Ki” Clark. Clark, who averaged 26.7 ppg to go along with 4.3 apg was at times unconscious from the perimeter, nailing three-pointers at his own will. The much-anticipated Flores -Clark meetings were excellent battles between the two ferocious guards. Clark will be a junior and is young but the problem is his surrounding teammates. Jamie Sowers (Newark, NJ) is a force on the glass as the team’s leading rebounder with 6.1 rpg. Shane Nichols was named the MAAC Rookie of the Year but unfortunately they do not have the depth on offense and will lose starter Amir Ali (U.K.). Clark, Nichols, Corey Hinnant, and Ron Yates can make this upcoming Peacocks team a heavy player come tournament time.

Rider Broncs

The Broncs finished the season 10-8 in conference play, 17-14 overall. Rider was led by MAAC All-Conference selection Jerry Johnson (18.7 ppg, 3.9 apg). Johnson (Lancaster, PA) had season high’s of 35 points against Niagara and 31 versus Loyola. Rider’s big man on the glass was Steve Castleberry (Mullica Hill, NJ/6.5 rpg). Next season Niagara will return all but one starter in that of Laurence Young. Johnson should be a conference player of the year candidate plus Ed Muniz and Castleberry will make a strong starting five for Rider.

Siena Saints

Siena finished at .500 with a 9-9 MAAC record, 14-16 overall. Michael Haddix was the team’s leading scorer (15.6 ppg) and rebounder (9.0 rpg). Jamal Jackson, who is graduating, ran the point dishing out 4.4 apg. Haddix likes to compare himself to Sir Charles Barkley. He has the potential to be the best big man in the MAAC. He will need some help as two of his starting mates in Jackson and Justin Miller will both graduate. Haddix and Philadelphia product Antoine Jordan along with Tommy Mitchell will make a strong starting five.

Iona Gaels

“Less than mediocre” is the best way to describe the season for the Gaels. Iona finished with an 8-10 conference record, 11-18 overall. You would be hard-pressed to find anything positive to take away from last season however there were a few bright spots. Ricky Soliver (NY, NY) looked tremendous in post-season action.

With just two seniors lost to graduation and any major transfers, nearly everyone is back and this team can get the fresh start it has needed. Nestled in coaching controversy and player’s allegations of each other, DeShaun Williams (14.8ppg) has been dismissed from the team and Greg Jenkins (12.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg) is on of the two players graduating. The losses will hurt on both ends but Soliver and Marvin McCullough (4.1 apg) will lead a steady backcourt and junior Steve Burtt will hurt opponents from downtown.

Canisius Griffs

The Griffs finished 5-13, 10-20 overall. Toby Foster (Candor, NY) finished his career at Canisius with a nice season averaging 10.4 ppg and 6.2 rpg. The forward was also a contributor from three-land shooting 41% from outside. The main three-point threat, Kevin Downey (Livonia, NY), led the team in scoring and assists with 13.1 ppg and 3.7 apg. Foster graduates along with starter Jon Ferris but Downey is back and 5’10″ point guard Dewitt Doss should do a solid job of getting his teammates the ball.

Marist Red Foxes

In what was announced to be the final hoorah for head coach Dave Magarity, Marist finished 4-14 in the MAAC and 6-22 overall. Will McLurkin (Medford, NY) led the way with a team-leading 10.8 ppg to go along with 5.7 rpg. Chris Handy (Salt Lake City, UT) led the team on the glass with 6.3 rpg and Brandon Ellerbee (East Plano, TX) had a team-high average of 3.1 apg. Handy and Dennis Young both leave the 04-05 starting rotation with two gaps to fill in. McLurkin and Ellerbee are back however if Marist plans on finishing the season ahead of Loyola, new head coach Matt Brady will have to pull some tricks out of his sleeves.

Loyola Greyhounds

Just about the only thing Manhattan and Loyola have in common is before, during and after the season we know where they’re going to finish. The Greyhounds finished the season 1-17, 1-27 overall. A 31-game losing streak was snapped with a 63-57 win over Marist on January 29th. Charlie Bell (D.C.) scored 25 points and was really the only bright spot in what was another poor season for Loyola basketball. Bell averaged 15.3 ppg and 5.3 rpg. Bernard Allen (Houston) led the team on the boards with 6.3 rpg while Shane James was the top assists man averaging 2.8 apg. Lindbergh Chatman is the lone starter graduating however 2-3 players are expected to transfer. Scott Hick’s contract has not been renewed so Bell, and James will work under the tutelage of first-year head coach Jimmy Patsos.

     

College Basketball Tonight

COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, who will be joined by former Manhattan and Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show will air on AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on every Sunday from Selection Sunday to the Final Four. You can listen to the show here.

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2013 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: St. Andrew's
Sept 10: Tilton
Sept. 11: South Kent School and Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 12: Putnam Science Academy
Sept. 16: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 17: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 23: New Hampton School
Sept. 24: Brimmer and May
Sept. 25: Proctor Academy
Sept. 26: Notre Dame Prep and Cushing Academy
Sept. 29: Worcester Academy and Vermont Academy
Oct. 6: Charlestown High School and Milton Academy
Oct. 13: Tabor Academy
Oct. 15: Brooks School

Hoopville Archives

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

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Travel team profile: Bay State Magic

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Travel team profile: Mass Elite

Mass Elite is one of the largest travel teams in the state despite being relatively new

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is already moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

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