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The most important players in America – 2014-15

by - Published November 12, 2014 in Columns
hoopguy-divisionII

Every team has a player or two whose performance is a barometer for how the team does – as he goes, they go. It’s not necessarily their best player, although it can be; rather, it’s often someone either playing a key position or having to take over for a departed star at a position. In some cases, it’s a player who seems most likely to step into a larger role.

Certainly, the best players are important ones. If they fall short of what they have done in the past or are expected to do based on their past performance, other players must do more.

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Best players no one knows about – 2014-15 edition

by - Published November 12, 2014 in Columns
author_kasiecki

Last season, UL Lafayette won a terrific Sun Belt championship game in overtime against Georgia State. It was the conclusion of a great season, and at the nerve center of it all was Shawn Long, doing what he did quite often.

In that championship game, the junior had 11 points and 14 rebounds – not quite career numbers, but another day at the office. He was the only player in the conference to average a double-double last season. For good measure, he’s one of just two players in the entire country to average a double-double each of the past two seasons. He could go 4-for-4 in that regard.

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The Morning Dish – Monday, November 10, 2014

by - Published November 10, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Picking up where we left off with conferences, we start today with the best academic league of them all, the Ivy League.

The Ivy League is in the midst of a great up cycle, and league favorite Harvard has a lot to do with that. The Crimson will again be favored, though not to the same degree as last year when they were prohibitive favorites. They have the league’s best backcourt and plenty of options up front. They will be pushed, however, by the likes of Yale (whose own star, Justin Sears, will be in the running for Player of the Year), Princeton and Brown, for starters. Columbia figured to be right there, but the loss of Alex Rosenberg is a big blow and has to knock them back some.

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A new uphill battle for Providence lies ahead

by - Published November 9, 2014 in Columns
providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Since Ed Cooley came home, Providence has largely fought an uphill battle. The Friars weren’t the most talented team in the Big East to begin with, but injuries, suspensions and NCAA issues have constantly left them having to dig deep into their bench. It left them basically never resting Bryce Cotton, the departed guard who was the picture of the program’s toughness, battling injuries and becoming the best player not named Doug McDermott in the Big East last year – far more than anyone would have imagined when he first arrived on campus as a complete unknown.

They completed the great story with a Big East championship last year, one no one saw coming except the people in the locker room. Providence likely needed the Big East championship to get into the NCAA Tournament, as the Friars’ seed was right near that of the last at-large team in the field after they beat a ranked team in Creighton to take home the title.

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Holy Cross is trying to take the next step

by - Published November 8, 2014 in Columns
holycross

WORCESTER, Mass. – Milan Brown says the mantra for Holy Cross is “Take the next step.” Since he arrived on campus, the program has taken many steps to get to where they are now, entering the season as Patriot League contenders once again.

It’s been a long road back to this point.

When Brown took over in 2010 following a one-year stint for Sean Kearney, the program was a far cry from what it was at the beginning of the century. At that time, Holy Cross and Bucknell ruled the Patriot League, with the Crusaders going on a roll first. But as Ralph Willard’s tenure came to a conclusion, the rest of the league was getting better and made up a lot of ground.

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, November 8, 2014

by - Published November 8, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

With the start of the regular season now less than a week away, we’ll now look at a few conferences on some of these upcoming days.

America East has a familiar look among its favorites, as Stony Brook should once again be the team to beat. The Seawolves have had a great run in recent years, but haven’t been able to get over the hump in the conference tournament. They’ll have good competition from a senior-laden Hartford team, as well as defending champion Albany.

Defending national champion Connecticut was chosen as the favorite in the American Athletic Conference coaches poll, but the thinking here is that SMU is more deserving of the nod. The Mustangs bring back plenty from last season, while most of the other top teams in the conference – the Huskies, Cincinnati and Memphis – all lose a lot. Newcomer Tulsa might be the sleeper.

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The Morning Dish – Friday, November 7, 2014

by - Published November 7, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Today, Hoopville begins its 14th year of covering college basketball and everything connected to it. As we celebrate 13 years and get ready for more, times are decidedly different than when we began, both on and off the court.

Back in 2001, there was no opening night for college basketball like there is now. There were games here and there in early season tournaments, and because it was only a handful of teams there was no feeling of a season beginning like there is in other sports. Now, there is anticipation and a feeling of beginning – plus some consistency to the start of the season.

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A lot is unknown about Boston College

by - Published November 7, 2014 in Columns
bostoncollege

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Things are very different at Boston College than a year ago, and that’s about the only thing that is known right now. Quite a bit is not known.

There’s a new coaching staff, as Steve Donahue was let go after a disaster of a season. The Eagles played the fifth-toughest schedule in the country according to Ken Pomeroy, a slate that included ten teams in the RPI top 50. They weren’t ready for it, even though it was a veteran team. Having just four non-conference home games didn’t help.

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New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

by - Published November 3, 2014 in Recruiting
nepsac

In the five-plus weeks starting with September 9, I had the chance to visit over 20 prep schools across New England. It started with Putnam Science Academy on the first day that was live for Division I college coaches and ended with Vermont Academy. There was a wide range of talent and depth to be seen in that time, and the open gym workouts varied in terms of how good the action was on each day.

It’s clear that the action on the hardwood will be as competitive as we’ve come to expect this season. Class AAA will be hotly contested, and Class AA is well-known for its relative evenness from top to bottom. There is plenty to watch in all of the enrollment divisions as well. While a few teams repeated as champions last year, that doesn’t seem likely this season at first glance, but nothing is a given in September and October.

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Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

by - Published October 20, 2014 in Recruiting
marianapolis

THOMPSON, Conn. – Let’s put one thing out there right away: Marianapolis Prep appeared to be in a state of flux regarding basketball when this fall rolled around. That’s the big reason this profile has come out well after the visit to the school for an open gym. Marianapolis debated a move out of Class AA of NEPSAC, and as is always the case when a transition is considered, there is much more than just basketball involved. But they will remain a Class AA school and field a competitive team this season.

Andrew Vitale’s teams in recent years have done well to reach the Class AA Tournament several times since NEPSAC realigned, and the school has a history of postseason success. They were the seventh seed last year and fifth seed a couple of years ago. During the last days of the old alignment, they lost in the Class B final two years in a row during Tilton’s great run, and lost to them again in the first year of the new alignment.

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Growing pains are here for talented Brown team

November 20, 2014 by

brown

Brown has good talent and should be a factor in the Ivy League, but with three sophomores starting on the perimeter, growing pains are in the foreseeable future

New season, same challenge for New Hampshire

November 15, 2014 by

newhampshire

It’s a new season at New Hampshire, and while the Wildcats look like they will defend, they also appear to have the same challenge they have had for a long time now: scoring.

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by

bostonuniversity

Boston University recently saw three players transfer. The impact of the departure of one of them will be felt more than the other two.

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2014 Prep School Tour

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

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by

nepsac

With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by

vermontacademy

Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by

mastersschool

The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by

riversschool

The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.