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La Salle’s non-conference run could get them into the Atlantic 10 conversation

by - Published December 10, 2012 in Columns
lasalle

BOSTON – In conversation about the new and improved Atlantic 10, the first schools in the conversation tend to be preseason favorites Saint Louis and Saint Joseph’s, as well as newcomers Butler and VCU. All of that is understandable, and right now St. Louis probably comes up more in light of Rick Majerus’ unfortunate passing. Another team that wants to be in the conversation is La Salle, and after pulling out a 66-64 road win at Northeastern on Saturday night, the Explorers go into final exams looking like a team that could be in that mix.

The Explorers are not exactly a veteran team, but they’re certainly not inexperienced. They could be a year away from peaking with the core they have, but this year’s team looks pretty good right now. Ramon Galloway is the only senior who plays significant minutes, but they have a very experienced junior in Tyreek Duren, one of the most underrated point guards in the country, and classmate Sam Mills has played plenty of minutes as well in part because he’s an excellent defender.

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St. Francis Brooklyn suddenly a place of potential

by - Published December 9, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
stfrancis-ny

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – St. Francis College is not a school that might naturally jump out at the casual fan as a place of potential. While it is located in Brooklyn, where there is in theory a natural recruiting base, it doesn’t seem to have much going for it at first glance. The home gym has been widely panned as not even being a bandbox, although teams in their conference don’t need to have big, state-of-the-art facilities and probably can’t support such a facility financially. In other words, it would seem to be a difficult place to win – and as such it’s easy to forget that the school actually has a pretty rich history in Division I basketball.

But now in his third season, Glenn Braica is trying to change all of that, and with some early results, can see potential perhaps even better than when he left St. John’s to take the job. The Terriers are one of five member schools that have never made the NCAA Tournament despite being members of Division I since the modern re-classification in 1948.

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Connecticut will go as far as Napier, backcourt will take them

by - Published December 9, 2012 in Columns
connecticut

STORRS, Conn. – There’s no question Connecticut will ride their guards as much as possible this season. Given their personnel, that’s about their only choice as they are far deeper on the perimeter than up front and more talented there. It’s also where their most natural leaders are, in particular the one who didn’t score for much of Friday’s 57-49 win over Harvard largely because he was busy helping others do that.

The easy pick as the star on Friday night would be DeAndre Daniels. The sophomore forward, a talent who simply got buried behind more experienced players a year ago, had a long-awaited breakout game with 23 points on 9-12 shooting. He had a career high by halftime, as he scored 15 points in the opening frame, and if he can do that more, it would be a big development.

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Providence starts out 7-2, but not the way some might have expected

by - Published December 8, 2012 in Columns
providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – If you envisioned Providence being 7-2 as they head into a break for final exams, you could easily have been right. There are plenty of games on the schedule to date that were winnable ones. But chances are, you didn’t think they would look the way they have thus far. You probably figured they would have a few more than five scholarship players healthy to go. After Thursday night’s 72-57 win over arch-rival Rhode Island, the Friars are defying logic, and one wonders if they have to continue it and for how long.

Before the season, freshman Kris Dunn was known to be out for about a month or so of games. Then Ricardo Ledo was deemed a partial qualifier by the NCAA, meaning he would sit this year aside from practice. It was once the season came that it got out of hand. First, it was Vincent Council, the senior point guard who was the anchor of the team, going down with a hamstring injury that will ultimately shelve him for about six weeks. Bryce Cotton has played hurt at times, including Thursday night when he was clearly limited from a knee injury suffered the prior game.

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Turnovers become a new issue for Rhode Island against Providence

by - Published December 7, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
rhodeisland

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Last year, Rhode Island looked like they may have hit rock bottom when they played arch-rival Providence. In an 80-61 loss, the Rams were not very competitive and the game didn’t seem as close as the final score. This time around, the Rams looked better and were more competitive, but they lost to a Providence team that suited up six scholarship players, one of whom had a very gimpy knee. The Rams also looked like a team that has notable shortcomings and struggles.

Turnovers haven’t been a big problem all season, but they certainly were on Thursday night, especially in a key stretch. URI was staying close, but inside of ten minutes Providence scored ten unanswered points to open up a 52-39 lead. The Rams finished the night with a season-high 20 turnovers.

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History doesn’t repeat itself for Yale to start big road stretch

by - Published December 6, 2012 in Columns
yale

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – For a while, it looked like Wednesday night could be a bad case of deja vu for Yale. The second half basically belonged to them for stretches, and they had the game’s biggest lead at 60-51 with just over seven minutes to play. Before long, though, that lead was gone, the victim of an 11-2 run by Bryant. History might repeat itself in a milder – but no less heart-breaking – fashion.

Then came the stickback. It was just in time. It was by a freshman. Most of all, it meant a 64-62 win for Yale, and one they could use given what lies ahead.

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Kellogg hopes to get UMass playing his way after final exams

by - Published December 5, 2012 in Columns
umass

BOSTON – Final exams may have arrived at just the right time for UMass. The Minutemen are off for 10 days before their next game, and there is plenty to work on in between finishing the semester if Tuesday night’s 72-66 win at Northeastern is any indication. Most of it falls under the umbrella of playing the way head coach Derek Kellogg wants this team to play, and Tuesday night’s game may be a microcosm of that.

In each of their first three wins, UMass needed a buzzer-beater or a late shot to win it. In other words, they had not comfortably beat an opponent yet, or even won a game by a few more points that they sealed with free throws until Tuesday. And on Tuesday, they needed a late run after the final media timeout to take the game over, highlighted by a play that Kellogg would like to see a little more of.

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2012 Hoop Mountain Prep Classic – Sunday notes

by - Published December 3, 2012 in Columns
author_kasiecki

BARRINGTON, R.I. – St. Andrew’s was the destination on Sunday for the Hoop Mountain Prep Classic.  The third and final day of the event had some good matchups in store among the seven games on the slate, and two games were one-possession affairs while another was close to that.  A couple of them were big upset bids in matchups of teams from NEPSAC Class AAA and Class AA, and the day ended with a blowout that might surprise some people.

 

Sunday Scoreboard

Lee (ME) Academy 79, Phoenixville (PA) Mont Clare Academy 66
New Hampton (NH) School 60, Saxtons River (VT) Vermont Academy 58
Wolfeboro (NH) Brewster Academy 84, Worcester (MA) Academy 82
Tilton (NH) School 89, North Bridgton (ME) Bridgton Academy 74
Ashburnham (MA) Cushing Academy 61, Wilbraham (MA) Wilbraham & Monson Academy 41
Barrington (RI) St. Andrew’s School 77, Salisbury (CT) School 73
Putnam (CT) Science Academy 87, Fitchburgh (MA) Notre Dame Prep 66

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Bryant beats Army and a virus in front of a big crowd

by - Published December 3, 2012 in Columns
bryant

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Tim O’Shea described it quite simply after his team scored their fourth straight win on Saturday.  They didn’t just beat Army 70-59; they beat another opponent for the first time, and did so in a home gym that looked nothing like it had before in the program’s Division I history.

“It builds,” said the Bryant mentor.  “We won today with a bunch of guys sick.”

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Mississippi State trying to manage through youth and injuries in Ray’s first season

by - Published December 1, 2012 in Columns
mississippistate

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – At times, one must wonder if Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray has asked himself, “What have I gotten myself into?” In fact, he may have had one of those moments about five minutes into the second half of Saturday’s 73-63 loss at Providence, when his team had a 3-on-1 break and ended up with a blocked shot and turnover out of it.

To be fair to the first-year head coach, this isn’t the first time a new head coach has come into an obvious rebuilding situation, and one where the first year isn’t pretty. He will have time to get the program rolling again. But the young season thus far would appear to be more than a little taxing on the soul, although Ray says otherwise.

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Despite a hit on the bottom line, Stony Brook’s transition continues

December 16, 2014 by

stonybrook

Stony Brook was able to hang with Providence until the roof caved in several minutes into the second half. It’s part of a growing process this team in transition needs, and it continues despite dropping a few games along the way.

Amidst Maine’s rebuilding challenge, there is hope

December 12, 2014 by

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Maine has a long road ahead as they rebuild under new head coach Bob Walsh. Amidst the early struggles, the Black Bears have shown some reason for hope going forward.

Saturday Notes – December 6, 2014

December 7, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at quite a day of basketball, highlighted by early upsets and then some good matchups, plus a few sneaky-good wins for some teams on a busy day.

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Reader Poll

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Ten teams are still undefeated as of December 12. Which team will be the last one to lose their first game of the season?

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Recruiting Coverage

2014 Scholar Roundball Classic recap and notes

December 16, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look at some notes and evaluations from Sunday’s action at the Scholar Roundball Classic, where the blowouts included some noteworthy performances.

2014 Hoop Mountain Prep Classic – Sunday notes

December 9, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at Sunday’s action in the Hoop Mountain Prep Classic, which included an overtime thriller and a couple of lopsided contests, and some prospects who helped themselves out with their play.

Some notes from the National Prep Showcase

November 28, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

The busy weekend that just passed also included a few games at the National Prep Showcase. Here are a few notes from some of the action early on Friday and Saturday.

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.

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.