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Pittsburgh’s consistent identity leads to consistent results

by - Published January 23, 2013 in Columns

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Pittsburgh is nothing if not consistent in who they are.  The Panthers’ identity has not changed since Ben Howland was roaming the sideline, continuing into current head coach Jamie Dixon’s tenure.  With Tuesday night’s 68-64 win at Providence being their third straight, the bottom line is keeping up with that consistency.

Pittsburgh is playing the same style that has made them a big winner in recent years, but now they are more mature after being less experienced last year.  The big staple of this team from its physical play is defense, and this year’s team might be the best one they’ve had during their big run the last 12 years.  There is still a lot of basketball left to be played this season, but the Panthers are surrendering 54.5 points per game, the best scoring defense number in the program’s history.

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Prep schools lead the way on Sunday at the Hoophall Classic

by - Published January 21, 2013 in Columns

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Sunday was a day with mostly prep games at the Spalding Hoophall Classic. The only game that stood apart from it was the middle game between two powerhouses. That game was followed by a matchup featuring two big stars that never quite materialized, and ended with a battle between two local prep schools that went to the team with less talent but more experience.


Sunday Scoreboard

Tilton (NH) School 71, Saxtons River (VT) Vermont Academy 67
Wolfeboro (NH) Brewster Academy 88, South Kent (CT) School 55
Newark (NJ) St. Benedict’s 63, Rockville (MD) Montrose Christian 51
Huntington (WV) Prep 56, New Hampton (NH) School 47
Worcester (MA) Academy 69, Wilbraham (MA) and Monson Academy 62

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Offensive issues plague Yale again in Ivy League opener

by - Published January 20, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – “Pass the ball.”

Those are three words often uttered by coaches and even fans at basketball games everywhere. For much of Saturday night’s game, Yale had some difficulty with that, at least doing so for the desired end result of a basket. The end result: 32.8 percent shooting from the field in a 65-51 loss in the Ivy League opener at Brown.

Yale didn’t have a single assist in the first half of Saturday night’s game. In fact, their first one didn’t come until nearly seven minutes into the second half, and they finished the evening with just four. While that number will jump out at you from the box score, the reasons for it go beyond simply passing the ball or not. The problem wasn’t that they had ball hogs or shot the ball too early; it wasn’t simply the ball not going in on some good looks, as sometimes happens. Both ball-handlers and those without the ball were at fault.

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Offense, especially turnovers, a key concern for Villanova

by - Published January 20, 2013 in Columns

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – There’s no question Villanova had their chances on Saturday afternoon at Providence. In fact, both teams did, since host Providence was 29-48 at the foul line. But Villanova gave the ball away too many times and gave up too many offensive rebounds in their 69-66 loss, their third straight after a seven-game winning streak.

Villanova has struggled on offense, with their 69 points per game being a deceiving statistic. The Wildcats barely top 40 percent from the field and give the ball away 16 times per game. The latter was a big reason they had a tough time on Saturday, as they turned it over 25 times against the Friars, including 17 in the second half. They shot just under 45 percent from the field, so when they held on to the ball they shot a reasonable percentage for a win.

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An unusual hero helps Bryant pull out another one

by - Published January 18, 2013 in Columns

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Tim O’Shea knows there’s a long way to go. But the Bryant mentor also has enough experience to know that a game like Thursday night’s 79-78 overtime win against Mount St. Mary’s could be a difference-maker for a team that may be having a magical season.

“These are the games that make your season – when you win the two-pointer at Boston College, the one-pointer at Lehigh, the one-point overtime game tonight,” said O’Shea. “That’s a powerful swing in your confidence and your momentum as a team.”

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Mount St. Mary’s shows a lot in tough loss at Bryant

by - Published January 18, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – With Mount St. Mary’s, you saw it all on Thursday night. You saw the reasons why the team is a few games below .500. You saw the stamp the new staff is putting on the program. You saw a team that has a new level of energy. You saw some hope for the future.

Unfortunately, you also saw a great effort come up short in a tough 79-78 overtime loss to Northeast Conference leader Bryant. You saw a loss that could have been a big win that might turn the season in a different direction.

New head coach Jamion Christian has started to get some life in the program again. The Mount was one of the top teams in the NEC during much of Milan Brown’s tenure following legendary coach Jim Phelan. Christian is an alum of the school, he’s personable and knows the school and is doing all he can to get it going again. It won’t happen right away, but his team almost got a big boost on Thursday night.

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Miami continues to win without Johnson during a tough stretch

by - Published January 17, 2013 in Columns

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Miami continued to do what they have done since Reggie Johnson fractured his left thumb in practice over three weeks ago. They had other players come up big, they survived a close call, and most of all, they won. Their 60-59 win at Boston College wasn’t very smooth or memorable, but it is a win and it is big for this team for multiple reasons.

Since Johnson went out, Kenny Kadji has taken his play to another level and Julian Gamble has been the biggest beneficiary of his minutes. Gamble has made the most of the extra minutes, although he wasn’t a big factor on Wednesday night as the Hurricanes went smaller at times to guard the Eagles’ lineup with four perimeter players. They’ve tried to get something out of both Raphael Akpejiori and freshman Tonye Jekiri as well, though neither has distinguished himself just yet as an offensive factor.

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Peyton Siva makes a deep and talented Louisville team go

by - Published January 15, 2013 in Columns

HARTFORD, Conn. – Rick Pitino said it all early in his post-game press conference about the biggest factor in his team’s 73-58 win at Connecticut on Monday night.

“We did a good job of weathering a Peyton Siva storm with him out,” the Louisville mentor said. “Once he came back and we weathered that storm, we were able to play much better defense and much better offense.”

The first half of Monday night’s game wasn’t quite what Pitino wanted, one figures. Siva sat about four minutes in with early foul trouble, and while Russ Smith was scoring and Gorgui Dieng was rebounding, they were alone. Pretty much no other Cardinal was much of a factor, especially offensively, even though Wayne Blackshear had seven points. Chane Behanan was on a milk carton.

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Charlotte uses balance and defense to keep winning

by - Published January 13, 2013 in Columns

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – Charlotte was one team in the Atlantic 10 that was a little tough to project coming into conference play. They had a nice non-conference run, winning the Great Alaska Shootout as part of a nine-game winning streak to open the season. They have opened Atlantic 10 play with two straight wins, the latest a 58-50 win at Rhode Island on Saturday that showed how this team will win some games this season.

Charlotte didn’t play the toughest non-conference schedule around, but they won most of their games and some were against good teams that aren’t NCAA Tournament locks. Their only losses came at Miami and at home to Florida State. While there’s no shame in losing to those two, they also represent missed opportunities for significant wins for their NCAA Tournament resume. They also played just two true road games, although the wins in Alaska, much as none were against powerhouses, have some value as well.

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Even on a good offensive night, Quinnipiac’s offense a key reason for a loss

by - Published January 11, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – If you looked at the box score, your first thought is probably that there wasn’t much defense played. You would be correct. You might also think it wasn’t a bad night for the losing team, a team that has been offensively challenged this season. But there’s more than just the reality of not desiring moral victories that would explain why the numbers don’t tell the whole story for Quinnipiac in their 103-95 loss at Bryant on Thursday night.

There’s the reality of how they got to a couple of those numbers and how the game was decided in the second half. In sum, the night was a good one for a team whose confidence at the offensive end has been flagging at times. But that wasn’t all there is to it, and in the end some old demons came into play.

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Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is 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.

Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by


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

Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

March 9, 2014 by


The first year for Hofstra under Joe Mihalich is in the books. Many expected that wins would be hard to come by, and they were, but this season was about more than that and is hardly a throwaway year.

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 by


Cornell has had a rough season, as could be expected given some personnel losses. It’s almost in the books, and the future at least looks brighter.

Hoopville Archives

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.

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors hold college showcase

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors, two of the largest programs in Massachusetts, teamed up for a college showcase on Wednesday night. Here are some evaluations from that event.

Massachusetts 11th grade AAU Tournament recap

Teams gathered at Mass Premier Courts to chase the state title in the oldest age group, and one champion was a familiar one.

Travel team profile: All For One

All For One has been one of the better travel programs in Massachusetts for players before they reach high school

Travel team profile: Blackstone Valley Chaos

Size and options on the wing are not lacking for this year’s junior team

Travel team profile: Expressions Elite

Expressions Elite has quickly become one of the deeper programs in New England

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by


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


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


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


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.

Tabor Academy looks to have more depth this time around

October 13, 2014 by


Tabor Academy will once again be headlined by a frontcourt player. This time around, though, the Seawolves appear to have a deeper support cast than in recent years.