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2012 Northeast Hoop Festival – Player Evaluations

by - Published April 18, 2012 in Columns
hoopguy-orange

HARTFORD, Conn. – A trip to Trinity College was in order on Saturday to check out action at the Northeast Hoop Festival, run by Hoop Mountain and the New England Recruiting Report. The tournament brought a number of teams from a lot of the east coast to compete in several age groups. As is often the case, the preference here was for the oldest players, and we got a look at a good number of them on Saturday.

With that, here are some thoughts on notable players in the event.

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It’s time to recognize John Calipari’s coaching

by - Published April 5, 2012 in Columns
author_kasiecki

Let’s give John Calipari his due as a coach. This would be needed even if Kentucky lost on Monday night, but now that they have done what a team with that talent should do by winning the national championship, we need to give him his due and put an end to all the things that have been said about him to dismiss his coaching ability. It’s time we stopped saying the common lines that have been uttered about him that stop short of giving him credit as a coach.

Let’s stop saying he’s just a great recruiter.

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Team Takeover repeats at Playaz Spring Fling 16-under

by - Published April 4, 2012 in Columns
author_kasiecki

WAYNE, N.J. – The transition from college basketball to the travel circuit always seems to unofficially begin with the Playaz Spring Fling, and that includes this year.  The event now is broken up into three separate events in northern New Jersey, with this weekend featuring 14-under and 16-under teams.

The 14-under championship was not a very competitive game, as Team Scan ran out to an early lead and never looked back in an 81-50 rout of Virginia-based New Generation.  They would lead by as many as 21 in the first half and later by 32 in the second half.  Devonte Green (SG-SF, North Babylon (NY)) scored a game-high 20 points to lead five Team Scan players in double figures.  Unique McLean (SG-SF, Brooklyn (NY)) was the tournament MVP, scoring 13 points in the final.

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An improbable run by Kansas? That’s what this is

by - Published April 2, 2012 in Columns
kansas

One team was supposed to be here, one team wasn’t. The latter could be said in more ways than one. But as Monday night’s national championship game beckons, Kentucky and Kansas are something of a study in contrasts from the standpoint of how they got to this point. While there will surely be a lot of talk of about recent history between these two teams and head coaches, a better subject is the contrast in the expectations many had of these teams, and how one of them has reached here in what was thought to be more of a rebuilding year than a contending one. In doing so, we find that Bill Self may have done his best coaching job yet.

“We have kind of flown under the radar, by Kansas standards of late, which I think has been very healthy for a team that’s just trying to find themselves,” said Self.

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George Mason and VCU leaving the CAA would make no sense

by - Published March 27, 2012 in Columns
author_kasiecki

Earlier in March, there was rumor going around that the Atlantic 10 might look into luring big-time Colonial Athletic Association schools like George Mason and VCU, and another couple of schools were mentioned as well. No one felt it had any legs, but as we near the end of March, that has gained traction. With CBSSports.com reporting that George Mason, VCU and Butler of the Horizon League are indeed having conversations about it, CAA commissioner Tom Yeager had to address it, just as the CAA schools did.

The question one has to ask, though, is something else: why would George Mason and VCU leave the CAA for the Atlantic 10?

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Ohio State gets a little help and advances to the Final Four

by - Published March 25, 2012 in Columns
ohiostate

BOSTON – Jared Sullinger came back to college for this. He felt his team had this kind of potential, even if many others didn’t. In the end, he proves to be right, as his young Ohio State team is headed to the Final Four, and not on the backs of four players who carried them for a lot of the season.

Ohio State’s 77-70 victory had a little irony in that they won the game a little like the way their opponents often beat teams this season. Ohio State didn’t use a zone defense like Syracuse, but whereas the Orange won a lot of games with their depth, Ohio State did so on Saturday to a different degree. The man of the hour, if there truly is one, was not Sullinger, and it wasn’t surging Deshaun Thomas, feisty point guard Aaron Craft or steady senior William Buford.

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Simply put, Syracuse survives and advances

by - Published March 23, 2012 in Columns
syracuse

BOSTON – It’s not just a cliché that three words are all that matter in March – survive and advance.  That’s what Syracuse did on Thursday night, surviving a game that a lot of teams might have lost against Wisconsin with a 64-63 win.  Indeed, head coach Jim Boeheim was having a hard time trying to remember a similar game that his team has won.

“They made 14 threes, and usually that’s enough,” said the Syracuse mentor.  “I don’t think anybody has ever made 14 threes against us and we beat them.”

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2012 New England Junior Best 40 recap

by - Published March 19, 2012 in Columns
hoopguy-cyan

ROXBURY, Mass. – The New England Junior Best 40 brought out nearly 120 young basketball players from grades 5 through 9 on a busy Sunday of basketball. The Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center played host to the event, and its field house was full of activity for most of the day. The event is a spin-off of last fall’s New England Best 40, which featured exclusively high school players.

Each session began with stretches, then stations to give them some ideas for improving their game. Later, they got a lecture from Bobby Martin, who was a McDonald’s All-American and starred at Pittsburgh from 1987-91. Martin is still one of the top 20 all-time leading scorers in the school’s history and is just outside the top ten all time in rebounds as well, and had a lot to offer to the young players about things that were peripheral to one’s basketball talent. Martin also has a son around their age, and offered them some of the same life lessons he offers his son.

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Spring 2012 Hoop Group Top 100 player evaluations

by - Published March 18, 2012 in Columns
author_kasiecki

MANSFIELD, Mass. – While the NCAA Tournament takes center stage in the world of basketball, Saturday was part of a busy weekend of basketball in Massachusetts. The state finals in high school basketball were part of it, as well as Hoop Group running a pair of showcases at the Mansfield Sportsplex. After the morning saw junior high school kids compete, we took in the afternoon session with over 100 high school players.

With that, we take a look at some notable players that competed in the high school ranks.

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Oliver McNally a consistent leader in Harvard’s rise

by - Published March 16, 2012 in Columns
harvard

Will Wade remembers the first time he saw Oliver McNally play. In particular, he remembers the impression the young guard left on him as he drove and dunked on a defender, and as the defender hit the floor McNally looked right down at him before getting back on defense. Wade, who is now an assistant at VCU, knew Harvard needed a guy like him in the program, and as McNally’s career comes to a close, that first impression wasn’t a false one. That’s fitting, because McNally has been nothing if not consistent as a winner.

McNally was the first recruit for Tommy Amaker after he took the job at Harvard. Amaker had coached at great academic schools before, having played and been an assistant at Duke and more recently at Michigan before coming to Cambridge, so he wasn’t in unfamiliar territory. But this was a little different job for him, as Seton Hall and Michigan had been to the NCAA Tournament before – indeed, each had been to Final Fours, with Michigan winning a national championship. Harvard, on the other hand, had never been to the NCAA Tournament since it was the major postseason tournament. The last time Harvard made it was 1946, back when the NIT was the postseason tournament teams wanted to be in. And as academics go, no school stands above Harvard.

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Saturday Notes – December 20, 2014

December 21, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

A busy Saturday is in the books, and we saw the matchups get better, the results continue to be noteworthy and tell us more, and a couple of the games needed a lot of extra time to decide.

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

maine

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.

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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.