Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

New season, new challenge for Fordham’s Jeff Neubauer

November 12, 2015 Columns No Comments

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Media day seems far removed. The season is upon us, with the opening tip reduced to hours as opposed to weeks or days. There is a significant task ahead in this new season. Jeff Neubauer knows this and accepts the challenge. The new Fordham coach realizes the road ahead and admits, among all that is facing him and the staff, job one for his team is defense. The Rams were subpar on offense last season posting a 96 offensive efficiency in Atlantic 10 play. On defense, the efficiency was 103, a figure over the norm of acceptability to moving up in this competitive conference.

“We are challenge our team to take it up and become an Atlantic 10-level defensive team,” Neubauer said back at the conference media day. “We want our defense to be a man to man and become a aggressive in half court.”

You can sense the new coach’s emphasis on the defensive end even in discussing Jon Severe. Besides discussing the great relationship he has with Severe, the Fordham mentor praised the junior guard’s ability to defend. “His athleticism on defense is at a high level,” Neubauer says, “just what we want.” That defensive theme also surfaces as Neubauer discusses the conference in general. As he notes, “every successful team in this conference has shown they have the ability to defend.”


Fordham head coach Jeff Neubauer at Atlantic 10 Media Day (Ray Floriani photo)

In early practices, Neubauer senior guard Mandell Thomas as “terrific”. He believes Thomas could emerge in this his final go round, as an elite player in the conference. Nemanja Zarkovic, a sophomore guard from Montreal, has practiced well in the early going.

While the Atlantic 10 provides a distinct challenge of its own, Neubauer’s first concern is non-conference. The Rams have 11 non-league meetings prior to A-10 play, which begins just after New Year’s. Nine of those contests are in the friendly confines of Rose Hill. Home courts do not guarantee a “W” but all things considered the familiarity of home is better than taking to the road. Among those venturing into the Bronx are Queens College, FDU, Colgate, Manhattan in the “Battle of the Bronx”, LIU and St. John’s.

“The non-conference schedule gives us a great chance to develop individually and as a team,” Neubauer said. A good non-league showing can boost the morale heading into Atlantic 10 play.

The Rams lost leading scorer Eric Paschall (15.9 ppg) to a transfer to Villanova. Neubauer makes no mention of this, choosing to concentrate on developing the personnel reporting to practice on a daily basis. He does concede the offense will be “more of an equal opportunity, sharing the ball and cutting down on turnovers,” he notes. If a “go-to” guy can emerge, fine. For now the focus will center on balance.

In a decade at Eastern Kentucky, Neubauer built one of the most formidable mid-majors in America. There were five twenty-win seasons, including the last three. Five post season tournaments were on the resume; including the memorable 2014 NCAA where the Colonels threw a scare into second-seeded Kansas in the second round of the tournament.

Neubauer realizes the life blood of the rebuilding effort is recruiting. An offensive/defensive system may border on flawless, but without players, you are in a struggle to tread water. “We believe in New York players and the talent here,” Neubauer said. “We want to recruit in New York, but we will recruit in Philadelphia, overseas, wherever we can find players.”

The newest mentor to accept this daunting challenge keeps plugging, undeterred by the struggles of the past at Rose Hill. Good coaches coming in with missionary zeal only to come up short and/or not being allotted time by the administration. Neubauer’s vision is on the road ahead, looking toward what Fordham faithful hope will be a bright future. “I love New York,” Neubauer says. “I love the city, just walking around it is so exciting, it’s just a great place to be.”

For Neubauer, this appears to be a dream job. And challenge as well.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

College Basketball Tonight – March 19, 2017

March 20, 2017 by

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is in the books, and after two rounds that could not be more different. Ted Sarandis leads the way as we break down the first two rounds, as well as coaching news that emerged over the weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 18, 2017

March 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we look back on the first round games in the NCAA Tournament, starting with a couple of terrific performances on Friday night.

College Basketball Tonight – March 12, 2017

March 13, 2017 by

We bring you College Basketball Tonight, a comprehensive look at the 2017 NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran broadcaster Ted Sarandis. The NCAA Tournament field is set, and we break down each region as well as some big picture subjects.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 10, 2017, Part 2

March 10, 2017 by

In Part 2 of our podcast, we talk about the ACC Tournament and others that have found new homes in light of comments made by a prominent coach that got quite a reaction, then we talk about the NCAA Tournament bubble as that subject begins to dominate conversation for a couple of more days.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 10, 2017, Part 1

March 10, 2017 by

In Part 1 of the podcast as Championship Week rolls on, we look at some important games in New York, as well as surprises in the Big 12. Also, more coaching changes are happening, and we talk about some of the news there.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale preview

June 24, 2016 by

We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.

At the 2016 Boston Shootout, host BABC has a big day

June 8, 2016 by

Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by

The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.