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Quick Hitters – April 22, 2011

April 22, 2011 Columns, Your Phil of Hoops No Comments

A few quick hitters as we head into the holiday weekend:


  • Miami‘s hire of Jim Larranaga is an excellent one, and an interesting move for the 61-year-old coach. Larranaga was thought to be in his final job after turning down opportunities a few years ago, at a school where he could win every year and a conference in which he was the dean of coaches. The school paid him well and he made money as a motivational speaker after leading George Mason to the Final Four. But as one person pointed out, there’s no risk here. If things don’t work out and he is let go, he can retire in 4-5 years anyway and after picking up more money.
  • Princeton should have never let Sydney Johnson get away. Remember the emotion he showed after the Tigers knocked off Harvard in the one-game playoff at Yale? Every last ounce of that was genuine. That man genuinely loves his alma mater, but they wouldn’t up the ante enough to keep him from going somewhere else. It would be one thing if he left Dartmouth for Fairfield, but Princeton is one of the Ivy League’s signature programs and has a great tradition. They shouldn’t be losing one of their own because they won’t pay competitively.
  • VCU‘s run to the Final Four was just the start. First Shaka Smart signed an extension, and the Rams got more good news as they signed Teddy Okereafor earlier this week, and he will come to the school a year earlier. The 6’3″ point guard was continuing to play with his travel team prior to signing, as if the plan was to be a senior next season, and should give the Rams an immediate boost as he knows how to run a team. When he was on the floor for his team, the offense just seemed to run so much better. With Joey Rodriguez among the departed Rams this year, Okereafor should get minutes right away.
  • Don’t be surprised if Reggie Jackson stays in the draft, and not because Boston College will be in rebuilding mode next season. Jackson has great length for being 6’3″, is very quick and has started to fulfill some of the potential one could see he had when he first got to Chestnut Hill. He had a breakout year and can still get better, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if someone likes him enough to want to take him in the first round.
  • Already, there are some school changes happening for next year, and talk of more is going on. St. Mark’s will add Aaron Falzon (Fr. SF, Newton (MA) North HS) and Aaron McLean (PF, Southborough (MA) Fay School) next year. Falzon will repeat his freshman year, while McLean will enter high school as a member of the class of 2015. Additionally, Tyler McFarland (6’6″ SF-PF, Rockport (ME)) will head to Cushing Academy for post-graduate year and Drew Crudup (6’1″ SG, New Haven (CT)) will head to Lee Academy for a fifth year.
  • Northeastern picked up a local talent as point guard Marco Banegas, who is finishing up a post-graduate year at Brimmer & May, verbally committed to the school. The Dorchester native has plenty of talent, and if he plays like a pass-first point guard he can be an excellent pickup for them. The Huskies had a difficult season with a very young team, and they lost their leader in Chaisson Allen. Banegas will have an opportunity to play right away if he puts the work in, especially since Alex Harris is transferring.

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