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Some notes from the National Prep Showcase

by - Published November 28, 2014 in Recruiting

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – In between college coverage on the busy weekend that was, I had a chance to check out some of the National Prep Showcase at Albertus Magnus College. The event brought a number of prep schools from around the country to a region full of such schools.

Here are some notes from some early games on Friday and Saturday before the college games took over.

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Houston is trying to find an identity early on

by - Published November 28, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – An 84-63 loss is not usually a game you would think a lot of good will come out of. For Kelvin Sampson and Houston, Tuesday night’s loss at Harvard, a game the Crimson won going away, will serve as just that. The result didn’t surprise him at all, but he knew he wanted more out of this game than just the final score.

Houston has a new look this season all over. Sampson took over as head coach after James Dickey retired, and his first team has over a half dozen newcomers. Two of the newcomers, both junior college transfers, start for this team. With that comes an adjustment period for everyone, in stark contrast to the other bench in the gym. Sampson said he’s trying to figure his players out as much as they’re trying to figure him out.

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This career game was better than the last one for LaDontae Henton

by - Published November 26, 2014 in Columns

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The last time LaDontae Henton scored a career high, the ending wasn’t so good, although it was dramatic. His coach had nothing good to say about him after the game. It wasn’t a good night, really.

“After that game, I went to my room, cut the lights off and went to sleep,” the senior recalled. “I was mad. I hate losing. It doesn’t matter how many points I scored, it’s about winning at the end of the day.”

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Florida State’s early record isn’t the most important thing

by - Published November 25, 2014 in Columns

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The 1-3 start is certainly not good, but that wasn’t troubling Leonard Hamilton much. That was the case for good reasons, and it’s not necessarily cause for alarm, either.

“I’m more concerned about getting my team back healthy,” said the Florida State mentor. “It’s not the first time I’ve started 1-3. I’m not overly concerned about that.”

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The Morning Dish – Monday, November 24, 2014

by - Published November 24, 2014 in The Morning Dish

Sunday was the big day in several early season tournaments, so they lead the way once again. This time, though, three of them crowned champions.

We start with the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, which was an old Big East matchup. West Virginia made a strong start stand up, leading by 15 points at the half en route to a 78-68 win behind 21 points from tournament MVP Juwan Staten. Connecticut suspended four players before the game for a violation of team rules, two of whom are walk-ons and only one of whom has seen the court for the Huskies this season.

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Led by Cook, Duke is more balanced and tougher this year

by - Published November 23, 2014 in Columns

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – When Tyus Jones committed to Duke, the analysis included much more than just how good adding the stud point guard made the Blue Devils’ recruiting haul or how good he would be. It even went further than just how good Duke would be this year, although that seemed easy: most figure this would make Duke more like a national title contender than they were last year.

Some understandably wondered what it meant for Quinn Cook, the senior guard who had spent a good deal of time at the point in his career. The past week has given an early answer to that, as well as something more important about this Duke team: they are very different than last year, in a good way.

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Young UNLV team grows in Brooklyn

by - Published November 23, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Sometimes a young team grows up in an early tournament. There is reason to believe that happened with UNLV in Brooklyn this time around. A night after the Runnin’ Rebels were humbled by Stanford, they used a strong second half to beat Temple 57-50 in the consolation game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

“It was a character win for us,” UNLV head coach Dave Rice said. “I think, certainly, with a new group the stage was pretty big last night and we got off to a tough start and we, quite frankly, panicked and tried to hit home runs.”

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Texas has come a long way from the “Chaminade Crew”

by - Published November 22, 2014 in Columns

NEW YORK – Texas has come a long way from a couple of years ago. There were bad memories then, and there will be good ones from right now.

Two years ago, Texas had fallen on hard times. A consistently very good program, with a Final Four run in 2003, the Longhorns lost to Chaminade in the Maui Invitational. That was the start of a bad year, and the continuation of a downward trend for the program from one that was a consistent big winner. The year before, they barely made the NCAA Tournament. It got so bad that there was speculation that Rick Barnes’ job may be on the line.

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Simply put, Syracuse needs to improve offensively

by - Published November 22, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

NEW YORK – Jim Boeheim’s responses to questions are almost legendary. He had one on Friday that basically said it all about his team, despite few words.

“Very little,” was what Boeheim said when asked how much offensive progress he saw from his team over the two days in New York at the 2K Classic. Asked a short time after that where he thinks the offense needs to improve, he then added, “I don’t think we have time.”

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The Morning Dish – Saturday, November 22, 2014

by - Published November 22, 2014 in The Morning Dish

Early season tournaments continue to lead the way, and will for much of the next week. Friday featured plenty of such action leading into the weekend, setting the stage for what’s to come. In one of them, a champion was crowned.

At Madison Square Garden, Texas won the 2K Classic 71-55 over California, frustrating the Golden Bears with their defense all night long, especially the 10 shots they blocked. In the consolation game, Syracuse held off Iowa 66-63 behind a career-high 20 points and nine rebounds from freshman Chris McCullough, who also got the game-sealing steal in the final seconds. More coverage on this is coming soon, so stay tuned.

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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:

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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."
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