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Survive and advance: Seton Hall edges Butler in first round of the Big East Tournament

by - Published March 12, 2014 in Columns
author_floriani

NEW YORK – On many occasions this season, Seton Hall has seen its fate decided in the last few possessions. Wednesday night, it was on the final one.

The pirates edged Butler 51-50 in the first round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden. With just over three seconds remaining, Butler inbounded under its own basket. A long pass allowed for a shot just inside half court. The shot was off, and the Hall survived to face Villanova at noon in the quarterfinals.

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Delaware trusted each other to win the CAA championship

by - Published March 11, 2014 in Columns
delaware

BALTIMORE – Trust. It’s something we all wrestle with in a variety of situations in life, both personally and professionally. It is not easily earned, but is very easily lost. When it isn’t rewarded by those who earn it, the tendency is to trust less easily later on. There are many notable quotes about it.

For Delaware, trust is a big key to why they are CAA champions, and not just in the way it’s normally talked about in basketball. The trust from one player to another is there, certainly, and was shown in the game-winning play in Monday night’s win that sent them to the NCAA Tournament for the first time as members of the CAA. But there’s also the kind of trust you don’t often come across – the trust a coach has in their team.

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Manhattan didn’t have to look far to become a champion

by - Published March 11, 2014 in Columns
manhattan

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – When a team beats a neighborhood rival for a championship, you might expect a lot of bragging rights-type of talk from the winning team. You might expect them to not have high words for the opponent in between basking in the glow of the championship. That all gets magnified by it being a championship game, with an NCAA Tournament bid on the line, as well as a rematch of the title game from a year earlier.

And yet there was nothing but respect for Iona coming from Manhattan, located less than ten miles away, after the Jaspers’ 71-68 win in the MAAC Championship game. It speaks to the character of the young men in the program and why they went from going 6-25 and a tie for the bottom of the MAAC to being champions in three years.

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Not the ending anyone imagined for Drexel

by - Published March 9, 2014 in Columns
drexel

BALTIMORE – The way Chris Fouch headed to the bench said it all. It wasn’t the way a guy who scores 30 points in a tremendous effort normally would.

This wasn’t how the season was supposed to end for Drexel. Not in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament with a senior-driven team. Not with a 90-81 loss that didn’t feel that close and where there was a good stretch the team looked out-classed. Not in a game where the opponent set a season high for points in a game, and it wasn’t an overtime game. Not in a game where the Dragons scored 60 points in the second half, but allowed the opponent to shoot 65 percent.

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Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

by - Published March 9, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
hofstra

BALTIMORE – Little was expected of Hofstra this season. The reasons for it are clear and have been talked about, and they can be rehashed more at a later time. Joe Mihalich and any underclassmen had every reason to just look ahead to next year, when some of this season’s issues go away instantly, but there was none of that. Now it’s on to getting ready for next year, but the season that ended with Saturday’s 87-76 loss to Delaware in the CAA Tournament is a necessary part of the process, difficult though it may have been.

The easy thing is to look at the Pride’s final record of 10-23 and dismiss it as the kind of year that could be expected. Perhaps along the way, they competed, they pushed better teams to the limit like they did on Saturday, but just couldn’t quite break through. While that happened, that’s only the bottom line and not the whole story for this team.

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Through new life challenges, Devon Saddler is a driven player and family person

by - Published March 8, 2014 in Columns
delaware

If you just look at some of Devon Saddler’s statistics, you might get an impression of Delaware’s all-time leading scorer. Seeing his numbers, mainly his scoring, shooting and assist numbers, might leave an impression that he’s been your classic gunner who has scored from taking a lot of shots, and you might wonder about him as a team player and a young man.

Stop right there if that’s the impression you get. It’s about as false an impression as you can get.

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At Drexel, two different guards from different places try to extend their careers

by - Published March 7, 2014 in Columns
drexel

This weekend, Drexel will attempt to prolong a season that began with a lot of promise. It hasn’t quite gone as many had hoped, but two senior guards will try to lead them to a longer season. It is those two guards, who come from different places, who have had different journeys to this point, and who have become like brothers while learning plenty about dealing with adversity, who will try to lead them one last time in the Colonial Athletic Association.

From a basketball standpoint, the backgrounds of Chris Fouch and Frantz Massenat aren’t all that similar. Their careers have been quite different as well, but as teammates they have been a big part of how Drexel has done. Through adversity, they have forged a strong bond that Massenat points out during interviews of both. It is perhaps only fitting that they will finish right next to each other on the school’s all-time scoring list.

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2014 CAA awards: How one person voted

by - Published March 7, 2014 in Columns
colonial

The Colonial Athletic Association handed out its postseason awards on Thursday night, as usual a day in advance of the conference tournament. As one of the voters in the conference, I always find it a worthwhile exercise to share how I voted and some of the thoughts behind it.

The most notable highlight is that the Player of the Year vote was a tough one. I debated that more than anything else, even finishing my ballot other than that award at first so I could ponder it more. A couple of the other awards were relatively easy this time around, and at the margins it was a tough call in a couple of cases for the last person on one of the teams.

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For Bryant, especially the seniors, there are no words right now

by - Published March 6, 2014 in Columns
bryant

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – What do you say to the players who have meant so much to your program after a heart-breaking loss likely ends their careers? What do you say to the players who gave all they had, even transformed themselves, for the betterment of your program at a crucial stage?

In truth, there are no words. Tim O’Shea, who has seen plenty in the world of basketball, had a hard time finding them after Bryant lost a 55-54 heart-breaker to Saint Francis in the Northeast Conference Tournament on Wednesday night. And you can’t blame him. His lack of words says nothing about him and everything about the situation.

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Saint Francis scores a big, unlikely win

by - Published March 6, 2014 in Columns
stfrancis-pa

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – When the final buzzer sounded, Ronnie Drinnon turned to the students and raised his arms, even though his team was on the road. His coach could barely contain himself a couple of minutes later. And if you know a little of the history of Saint Francis University, including recently, along with how much the coach knows about that history and the makeup of the team right now, you can understand why.

It might be one of the biggest quarterfinal wins in a mid-major conference tournament in some time. Drinnon had just played the game of his life, and a program that hasn’t tasted a great deal of success got a big win that can be a big momentum boost even if they get thumped in their next game on Saturday.

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Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by

bostonuniversity

Boston University recently saw three players transfer. The impact of the departure of one of them will be felt more than the other two.

Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

March 9, 2014 by

hofstra

The first year for Hofstra under Joe Mihalich is in the books. Many expected that wins would be hard to come by, and they were, but this season was about more than that and is hardly a throwaway year.

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 by

cornell

Cornell has had a rough season, as could be expected given some personnel losses. It’s almost in the books, and the future at least looks brighter.

Hoopville Archives

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.

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors hold college showcase

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors, two of the largest programs in Massachusetts, teamed up for a college showcase on Wednesday night. Here are some evaluations from that event.

Massachusetts 11th grade AAU Tournament recap

Teams gathered at Mass Premier Courts to chase the state title in the oldest age group, and one champion was a familiar one.

Travel team profile: All For One

All For One has been one of the better travel programs in Massachusetts for players before they reach high school

Travel team profile: Blackstone Valley Chaos

Size and options on the wing are not lacking for this year’s junior team

Travel team profile: Expressions Elite

Expressions Elite has quickly become one of the deeper programs in New England

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

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.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by

vermontacademy

Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by

mastersschool

The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by

riversschool

The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.

Tabor Academy looks to have more depth this time around

October 13, 2014 by

taboracademy

Tabor Academy will once again be headlined by a frontcourt player. This time around, though, the Seawolves appear to have a deeper support cast than in recent years.