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2013 Playaz Spring Fling, Phase III – players who stood out

by - Published April 23, 2013 in Columns

PATERSON, N.J. – The first stop on a busy basketball weekend was in New Jersey for the Playaz Spring Fling – Phase III. The final part of their series to open the spring is also a qualifier for the Nike Peach Jam in the 16-under age group, so a few top Nike teams were at the event in that age group. There was also an open division with eight teams competing. Pool play took place on Saturday, with playoff games set to go on Sunday.

A trip to Connecticut was on tap for Sunday, so here’s a look at some players who stood out during pool play on Saturday in New Jersey, as well as a few worth checking out again later.

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Team Boston Elite returns to the circuit, holds college nights

by - Published April 22, 2013 in Columns

LYNN, Mass. – Team Boston Elite has returned to the travel team scene. Claude Pritchard has resurrected the program after it went away a few years ago, not long after he had a team that quietly won a few tournaments with the likes of Raheem Singleton and Aaron Williams, and had a younger team in the program with Shabazz Napier before he later made his name playing for Metro Boston. The heart of the travel season is upon us, and this team is an unspectacular group of players that have some potential if they put the work in that they must.

The program held one of its college nights recently to allow a look at who will suit up for them. More will be coming in between their weekend tournament play.

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Looking back on over 100 games in 2012-13

by - Published April 11, 2013 in Columns

The 2012-13 season is in the books, and what a great season it was.  There were many great games, and the national championship game was certainly one of them.

For the fifth season in a row, I covered over 100 games in 2012-13.  This time around, I passed the mark of 118 a year earlier, so it was a busy year to say the least.  In addition, I got to see a lot of teams along the way, even though there were plenty of repeats as would be expected.  There were also a lot of great games among them, so picking a top ten list was a little more challenging for a good reason.  Of the 120 games I covered, 11 went to overtime, with two going to double overtime.

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Playaz Spring Fling once again starts the spring travel circuit

by - Published April 10, 2013 in Columns

PATERSON, N.J. – The non-stop basketball world transitions from college basketball into recruiting at this time of the year, and as is often the case, it started in the northeast with the Playaz Spring Fling in New Jersey. It wasn’t the tournament it has been over the years in terms of depth of talent, but it was nonetheless a good start to the spring recruiting season. This weekend, the 15-under and 17-under age groups competed, with the host Playaz program running a predominately 16-under tournament in two weeks that is also a Nike Peach Jam qualifier in that age group.

In the 15-under championship, DC Assault broke away from the Playaz late in the first half, then scored the first ten points of the second half to take a 41-18 lead en route to a 62-42 win. Ako Adams (6’2″ Fr. SG, Arlington (VA) Bishop O’Connell HS) led a balanced attack for D.C. Assault with 11 points, while Sam Green (6’6″ Fr. SF-PF, Forestville (MD) Bishop McNamara HS) added ten. Jajan Mosley (6’2″ Fr. SG, Jersey City (NJ) St. Anthony’s) led the Playaz with a game-high 16 points.

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At Rutgers, unpleasant history repeats itself

by - Published April 4, 2013 in Columns

They say history repeats itself. Sometimes that happens more clearly and/or more often than one might imagine. A few short years ago, a coaching tenure that began with so much hope, so much promise and a feeling that the school finally had the right guy came crashing down. On Wednesday morning, the same thing happened at the very same school.

Once again, Rutgers had the wrong guy leading the men’s basketball program. Once again, Rutgers is on the search for a new leader, one whose tenure might begin with so much hope, promise and the feeling that they finally have the right guy at the helm. And once again, they are looking for a new leader for the wrong reasons.

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How I voted for All-District 1 and All-America in 2013

by - Published April 3, 2013 in Columns

Right before Championship Week went into overdrive, I had to submit my ballot for the U.S. Basketball Writers Association postseason awards.  This consists of All-District and All-America teams, and a national Player of the Year (Oscar Robertson Trophy), Freshman of the Year (Wayman Tisdale Award) and Coach of the Year (Henry Iba Award).

Every member votes for ten players on each of the two teams.  Curiously, they did not have us vote for a district Player of the Year or Coach of the Year, although one was named for each.  One thing that was a bit different in voting this year is that my vote for national Coach of the Year was a little easier in that I felt comfortable narrowing it down to just a couple of finalists.  (If we voted for a District Coach of the Year, Harvard’s Tommy Amaker would get a slight nod over Northeastern’s Bill Coen and Connecticut’s Kevin Ollie.)

I have been a little remiss in sharing my vote, as ballots were due one week before Selection Sunday, but that has been the plan all along.  As I am based in metropolitan Boston, my district is District 1, which consists of the six New England states.  With that established, here is how I voted with some commentary, much like when I previously shared my votes for the CAA postseason awards.  The All-District teams and award winners have been announced, and the national award winners will be announced as usual at the Final Four.

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As Providence advances in the NIT, rebuilding picks up steam

by - Published March 26, 2013 in Columns

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – After his team’s 77-68 win to advance to the quarterfinals of the NIT, Providence head coach Ed Cooley got on the microphone and had a message for the Friar faithful.  It was a “Thank You” message, as it’s their final game in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in 2012-13, and he told them the Friars need them to pack the building like this more often because they are tough to beat when that happens.

A few fans later chanted, “Ledo, Ledo,” to implore heralded recruit Ricky Ledo to stick around for next season.  That’s a conversation for another time.  For now, however, whether Ledo is around next season or not, the Friar faithful have reason to be optimistic based on what this season’s team has done.

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NCAA Tournament is proving how even college basketball is

by - Published March 25, 2013 in Columns

At any point in the season, if asked who I think would be in the Final Four I had a standard response that at first glance might sound like a cop-out: it’s so wide-open and matchups are so crucial that I can’t answer the question at that time.  In January of most years I couldn’t tell you who I think would get there at least for the latter reason, but especially this season because the former has never been more true.

If the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament doesn’t bear this reality out, I don’t know that anything will.

Just look at the highlights of the rounds that led us up to the Sweet 16:

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Charlotte wanted more but feels like they accomplished something

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

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Just minutes after a season ends, it’s not easy to sum up a season in an instant analysis style. Ask Alan Major about this season right now, however, and there’s a clear theme from the Charlotte head coach: pride in how his team handled so much that was thrown at them in the 2012-13 season and a feeling the program is on its way to where he hopes it will be.

Charlotte’s final record this season is 21-12. It’s a good record, although plenty of teams will sport better ones come April 9. They also started off 9-0, so one might wonder what’s impressive about going 12-12 to end the season. Let’s just say that none of it came easily, and along the way this team developed an identity as a team with the chemistry and belief in one another that they can get through anything.

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NCAA Tournament players to watch – Part 2

by - Published March 19, 2013 in Columns

Every year, the NCAA Tournament brings new faces into the limelight.  For some schools, it’s their first time with a large national TV audience even if they have played a conference championship game on TV.  The attention is different from the conference championship because now everyone is watching.  For some players, they aren’t the stars of their team but they make a big shot, big stop or other big play, or have a big game come tournament time that brings them out from behind the shadows.

That’s all part of what makes the NCAA Tournament special, and Louisville head coach Rick Pitino echoed this sentiment when, after his team won the Big East Tournament behind a big effort from Montrezl Harrell, said, “You never know in college basketball who’s going to step up.  That’s the beauty of college basketball.”

Who are the players you may learn about this year?  Earlier, we showed you players on teams playing their first game on Tuesday or Thursday.  Now we bring you players on teams who play their first game of the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday or Friday.

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Your Phil of Hoops

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Hoopville Archives

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.

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.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

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Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by


The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.

2015 Hoopville Spring Finale Notes

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We look back at more from the 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale, where some of the championship games were worth the price of admission.

A big championship day for a local program at the Hoopville Spring Finale

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The 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale saw a number of good championship games on Sunday to close it out, and we start our look back with a look at those games.

Player highlights from Mass Elite and Boston Warriors college showcase

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2015 Massachusetts AAU Tournament notes

June 3, 2015 by


Massachusetts held its AAU championship rounds in a few age groups and its entire tournament for the oldest age group this weekend. We take a look at some of Sunday’s action in Foxboro.