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Notes from Sunday at the Northeast Exposure Showcase Championships

by - Published October 28, 2013 in Columns
author_kasiecki

DERRY, N.H. – BST Hoops held its Northeast Exposure Showcase Championships and New England Prep All-Star Game this weekend.  Now in its fifth iteration, the event was held at the SportsZone just off Route 28 in Derry and included some of the best players in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, along with some prep school players in one particular game.

Teams from the four states played in scrimmages on Saturday to set up seeding for the tournament portion on Sunday, then a semifinal and championship game was played, with the NE Prep All-Star Game in between.

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It all seems to be coming together for Towson right now

by - Published October 26, 2013 in Columns
towson

BALTIMORE – It didn’t take long for Towson to go from outhouse to penthouse, at least in terms of perception. It was only a couple of years ago that Pat Skerry had taken the job and started off with a depleted roster for the ages, then had a record to match it. Now, the Tigers are the pick to win the CAA title this year, and although there will be some fierce competition, it’s an understandable selection. It’s also the latest indication that the program may be on the verge of turning a corner at last.

For much of their CAA existence, Towson has struggled. The Tigers never had a winning conference record until last season’s 13-5 mark, and had bottomed out the prior two seasons with records of 0-18 and 1-17. The last time they had a winning conference record (and overall record as well) was in their first season in the America East Conference in 1995-96, when it was still known as the North Atlantic Conference.

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New-look CAA trying to find its place in the changing landscape

by - Published October 23, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
colonial

BALTIMORE – As the Colonial Athletic Association goes through more changes, it’s natural to wonder where its place is in college basketball now.  The conference has had major membership changes over the last year and a half, and locations for major events like Media Day and the conference tournament are also changing.  While there is certainly a feeling of newness, one wonders what lies ahead for a conference that had a great run from 2006 to 2012 before things changed drastically.

The CAA is just one conference that is changing in an ever-changing landscape.  In the short term, the conference can be labeled one of the losers in the conference maneuvering.  In the last 18 months, George Mason, Old Dominion and VCU – the conference’s signature programs historically – have all departed, along with a Georgia State program that wasn’t in the conference long but looks like it might be on the rise under Ron Hunter.  What remains starts with five former America East schools and then includes newcomer College of Charleston and three charter members in James Madison, UNCW and William & Mary.  Next year, Elon joins the conference.

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Brooks School has a young team with good potential

by - Published October 16, 2013 in Columns
hoopguy-cyan

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Brooks School is known much more for academics than athletics. Academically, it’s in a class with few peers among the NEPSAC schools, and it has a campus that’s right up there with the best of them in the very nice suburbs well north of Boston. The basketball program has had some notable players in recent years, including former Connecticut and Missouri forward Alex Oriakhi, and while they don’t have an individual talent on quite that level in 2013-14, they will be a team to keep an eye on.

Brooks will field a young team this season, but figures to be competitive if their younger and more talented players grow up. They have made the NEPSAC Class B semifinals three years in a row and hope to take at least a step further this time around.

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Even with a key departure, Tabor Academy feels they can contend in Class A

by - Published October 14, 2013 in Columns
author_kasiecki

MARION, Mass. – Tabor Academy figures to be a contender in NEPSAC Class A this year.  That might be quite a statement when you consider they lost their best player from last year as Jarred Reuter transferred to Brewster Academy, but the Seawolves have enough talent and a suitable replacement for how they will play to be in the mix when March rolls around.

The Seawolves have a couple of players recovering from off-season injuries, so Sunday’s open gym didn’t showcase the full team.  Everyone should be ready to go come November, with plenty of perimeter players to go with their new post presence.  Because of that, head coach Chris Millette wants to run often this year.

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Milton Academy has plenty of guards to build around Brennan

by - Published October 8, 2013 in Columns
author_kasiecki

MILTON, Mass. – In recent years, Milton Academy has emerged in the world of NEPSAC basketball, becoming a consistent tournament contender under Lamar Reddicks. Last season, Reddicks’ fifth at the school, they reached the Class A championship but were out-classed against an excellent Phillips Exeter team. There’s no shame in that, although it was a stinging defeat and one that holdovers of this year’s team will surely have in mind to help drive them for a better result this time around.

Milton lost a few key players from last season, including Ike Ngwudo, who is now a freshman at Dartmouth. But they return some veterans and a couple of players who may break out as part of the support cast to their go-to guy. How they play will determine if this team can make another run toward a championship.

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Charlestown looks ready to rebound from last season

by - Published October 7, 2013 in Columns
hoopguy-yellow

CHARLESTOWN, Mass. – Step outside of Charlestown High School and you find you’re in a place with some noteworthy sites.  In one direction is the Bunker Hill Monument, in another you can see the Tobin Bridge that connects Chelsea and Boston.  In another direction is the Schrafft’s building, which can easily be seen from the nearby highway, and a major Hood plant is just around the corner.

The school itself has some history on the hardwood over the past couple of decades, as it has been a powerhouse in the city.  Last year was not one of those years, but Edson Cardoso’s team is planning to make that an aberration.  The Townies have a good deal of talent and the veterans know why last season’s team, inexperienced though it was, disappointed with a 6-14 mark.  They are primed to turn that around with a much more experienced group.

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Vermont Academy fully reflects their new coach

by - Published September 30, 2013 in Columns
author_kasiecki

SAXTONS RIVER, Vt. – Teams usually reflect their coach for obvious reasons.  A coach shapes a team with things like style of play and overall character, as well as personality, and at levels before the professional ranks the coach often shapes the team much more than a pro coach does.  In the case of Vermont Academy, the idea of a team reflecting its coach takes on even more meaning because of who their coach is: the youngest in Class AA.

Jesse Bopp left the school to join the staff at VCU, and in his place is former assistant Cody Hatt.  Barely half a decade out of college, Hatt has been fortunate to land in such a spot at this juncture, and he has a similarly young group with many underclassmen, including his best players.

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Sullivan excited about the team he has put together at Worcester Academy

by - Published September 30, 2013 in Columns
hoopguy-orange

WORCESTER, Mass. – You get the sense while talking to Worcester Academy head coach Jamie Sullivan that he will love coaching his team even if they lose every game this season. That’s a highly unlikely scenario for a lot of reasons, and he’s happy to brag about why he’ll enjoy this team.

Talent is only a small part of the equation. The Hilltoppers have it, but are not going to win many games on that alone. By and large, this is a team full of players who have something – a scholarship or a level of college – to play for. Many have either under-achieved, under-recruited and/or are late bloomers who will get chances to show how good they can be. It’s also a team with good students all around and a low-maintenance group, and all of that makes Sullivan’s job easier.

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Quick Hitters – September 29, 2013

by - Published September 29, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

It’s a great time of the year. Prep school visits are winding down and college teams have started practice, signs that the season isn’t far away. Also, college schedules are finally coming out, with a few more game times to be determined due to television.

Before getting back to some of the final prep school visits, here are some quick hitters from around college basketball.

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