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Delaware Blue Hens 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
delaware

Delaware Blue Hens (18-14 overall, 12-6 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Devon Saddler
So. G Jarvis Threatt
So. G Kyle Anderson
Jr. F Carl Baptiste
Sr. C Jamelle Hagins

Important departures:

G Khalid Lewis (5.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.6 apg) (transferred) is the only starter lost, while Kelvin McNeil (2.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg) (transferred) is also gone from last season’s team.

Returning:

87 percent of scoring and 83.5 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Jr. F Carl Baptiste (transfer from Saint Joseph’s)
Fr. F Maurice Jeffers
Fr. G-F Marvin King-Davis (redshirted)
Fr. G Sean Locke
Fr. G Terrell Rogers
Fr. G Troy Thomas

Schedule Highlights:

Monte Ross scheduled like a contending team’s coach would for non-conference play. They open in the NIT Season Tip-Off with Penn and possibly host Virginia in the first two games, and it wouldn’t be a shocker if they advanced to New York. More tough road games await at Temple, Duke and Villanova, while home games include visits from Lafayette and Penn. In CAA play, the most noteworthy stretch comes in February, when a stretch of four games in eight days includes three on the road and ends with these three in five days: at George Mason, Old Dominion, and at Northeastern.

Projected finish and outlook:

This is the season Monte Ross has been building towards since taking over. The Blue Hens have a lot going for them, from two of the best players in the conference in Saddler and Hagins to one who was perhaps the hottest freshman at the end of last season in Threatt to a deeper bench. Hagins has improved steadily every year and is more of a leader, and with Baptiste joining him up front he doesn’t have to carry as much of a load and the Blue Hens shouldn’t get out-rebounded again. Saddler is the team’s clear leader and players like Anderson gained valuable experience as freshmen last season. Ross has enjoyed working with this team thus far, and that was a big reason they had the success they had last season. They enter this season ready to contend and see a better postseason bid this time around.

Next: Drexel Dragons

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Drexel Dragons 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
drexel

Drexel Dragons (29-7 overall, 16-2 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Frantz Massenat
So. G Damion Lee
Sr. G Derrick Thomas
Jr. F Dartaye Ruffin
Sr. F Daryl McCoy

Important departures:

F Samme Givens (11.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.8 apg) is the only player of any significance the Dragons lose.

Returning:

82.2 percent of scoring and 77.8 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F Tavon Allen (redshirt)
Fr. F Casey Carroll (redshirt)

Schedule Highlights:

The Dragons open the season at Kent State before hosting Missouri Valley contender Illinois State. They will play in the Anaheim Classic, starting with Saint Mary’s and then playing either Xavier or Pacific in the second game. The toughest road game the rest of the way is at Ivy League favorite Princeton, as they get Atlantic 10 favorite Saint Joseph’s at home to close out the non-conference slate. In CAA play, the Dragons have a four-game home stretch in February followed by the second three-game road stretch.

Projected finish and outlook:

There’s every reason to pick Drexel to win the CAA. The Dragons lose just one player of any significance, and while Givens is no small loss there is plenty coming back. The Dragons will have the conference’s best backcourt, best defense, a veteran cast and plenty of good candidates to take Givens’ place up front. If Ruffin is more like the player we saw as a freshman than the one we saw last year, Givens’ loss will be minimized, and while long known for their defense the Dragons have become a terrific offensive team with Massenat running the show. They led the conference in three-point shooting last season, among other things, and it helps that they bring high-scoring guard Chris Fouch off the bench. There is good leadership all the way around and the intangibles are off the charts, so the Dragons are going to be very difficult to beat this year.

Next: George Mason Patriots

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George Mason Patriots 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
georgemason

George Mason Patriots (24-9 overall, 14-4 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Bryon Allen
Sr. G Sherrod Wright
Jr. F Johnny Williams
So. F Erik Copes
Jr. F Jonathan Arledge

Important departures:

Three starters are gone from last season’s team, all of them important and not just individually: F Ryan Pearson (17.0 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.8 apg), F Mike Morrison (9.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.9 bpg), G Andre Cornelius (6.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg)

Returning:

55.1 percent of scoring and 54.8 percent of rebounding

Additions:

So. F Anali Okoloji (transfer from Seton Hall)
Fr. F Marko Gujanicic
Fr. G Patrick Holloway
Fr. F Jalen Jenkins
Fr. F Michael Rudy

Schedule Highlights:

The Patriots have one of the better non-conference schedules in the conference. They open at Virginia and at Bucknell before playing in the Paradise Jam. A date with Maryland in Washington, D.C. in the BB&T Classic is sandwiched in between home games against America East contender Boston University and Northern Iowa, and they close the slate with road games at Richmond and South Florida. In CAA play, they end January and begin February with five of seven on the road, and the only home games in that stretch are against Drexel and Delaware.

Projected finish and outlook:

The Patriots might have as much talent as anyone in the CAA. The reason they aren’t picked higher is that there are a couple of questions about this team as of now that could be answered affirmatively, and as such it’s not hard to imagine them contending for the top spot this season. They lose three players in Pearson, Morrison and Cornelius that formed the core of last season’s team and won a lot of games together, and that’s not easily replaced. There is undeniable talent among the holdovers, though, starting with Wright, who could easily be an all-CAA player. If he is ready to become the go-to guy, one big question is answered already. Another is who makes up for Morrison’s know-how and presence defensively; Copes could do a lot to answer that question, as could Arledge if he takes the next step. Copes and Vaughn Gray were both suspended for the first three games of the season because of student-athlete conduct violations, which is not a good way to start the season. Allen will be pushed by sophomore Corey Edwards and Patrick Holloway, which gives Paul Hewitt a plethora of options at the point, and Allen could even play off the ball on occasion. Okoloji should get minutes right away, and the freshmen are a talented bunch. Only two teams gave the ball up more than the Patriots last season, and they were a solid team at both ends of the floor as they led the conference in scoring and were third in field goal percentage defense. This team could have similar success to last season’s team and possibly more.

Next: Georgia State Panthers

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Georgia State Panthers 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
georgiastate

Georgia State Panthers (22-12 overall, 11-7 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Devonta White
So. G Cameron Solomon
Fr. G R.J. Hunter
Jr. F Manny Atkins
Sr. C James Vincent

Important departures:

Four starters from last season’s team have departed: G Jihad Ali (12.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.4 apg), C Eric Buckner (10.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 3.5 bpg), G James Fields (9.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.9 spg) and G Josh Micheaux (7.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.5 spg)

Returning:

31.8 percent of scoring and 24.7 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Jr. F Manny Atkins (transfer from Virginia Tech)
Jr. F Denny Burguillos (junior college transfer)
So. G Cameron Solomon (junior college transfer)
Fr. F Marcus Crider
Fr. G R.J. Hunter
Fr. F T.J. Shipes
Fr. F LaRon Smith
Fr. G David Travers

Schedule Highlights:

Georgia State opens the season with a bang as they head to Duke and Brigham Young, but it lightens up a bit after that. They have seven home games, including a visit from Southern Miss, and the toughest road game after the first two may be at Rhode Island just before Christmas. The Panthers will have a chance for a nice start in CAA play as four of the first five are at home before they play four of five on the road.

Projected finish and outlook:

The Panthers enter their final season in the CAA in a similar situation to Old Dominion, and not just because they’re leaving. Like the Monarchs, they don’t have much returning and thus have a lot unknown. What they have going for them is some good young talent, a solid holdover point guard in White, and a coach who knows how to install an edge to his team and showed that last season. The younger Hunter should contribute right away, as should Crider, while Atkins will play right away and help and the junior college transfers should be in the mix right away. There aren’t many expectations for this team, as few are picking them this high, but after what Hunter did last year there is some reason to believe he can get the max out of this team and wind up better than many think.

Next: Hofstra Pride

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Hofstra Pride 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
hofstra

Hofstra Pride (10-22 overall, 3-15 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Stevie Mejia
So. G Taran Buie
Jr. F Jamal Coombs-McDaniel
Sr. F David Imes
Jr. F Steven Nwaukoni

Important departures:

The Pride lose three starters, but two are big losses: conference scoring leader Mike Moore (19.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.7 spg) and the team’s second-leading scorer, Nat Lester (14.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg). Also gone is Dwan McMillan (5.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 4.8 apg), who started 25 games at point guard last season.

Returning:

29.7 percent of scoring and 52.4 percent of rebounding

Additions:

So. G Taran Buie (transfer from Penn State)
Jr. F Jamal Coombs-McDaniel (transfer from Connecticut)
So. G Shaquille Stokes (transfer from Hawaii)
Fr. F Jordan Allen (redshirt)
Fr. G Dallas Anglin
Fr. F Jimmy Hall
Fr. F Darren Payen
Fr. F Kentrell Washington

Schedule Highlights:

The non-conference slate isn’t devoid of tough games, as they head to Purdue, host Marshall and have a road date with Northeast favorite LIU, but all in all it’s a pretty manageable schedule. After opening CAA play with Georgia State at home, three of the next four are on the road and all are tough ones: Delaware, Northeastern and George Mason. They close with three straight at home before a road date with Towson in the regular season finale.

Projected finish and outlook:

Hofstra is another team with a lot of newcomers to integrate, but the added challenge for the Pride is in the transfers that are among the newcomers. The talent level of the transfers will raise expectations a bit, but Mo Cassara already had to suspend Buie and Coombs-McDaniel, which isn’t an auspicious start. There are lots of questions, but if a motivated Mejia stays healthy during his last go-round and Buie and Coombs-McDaniel start playing up to their reputations entering college, the Pride will have a big boost. Imes and Nwaukoni are unspectacular players up front, with the latter likely to be pushed by freshmen Hall and Payen, both of whom could be good rebounders. Anglin is a fine addition who should play right away on the perimeter, and don’t be surprised if he gets a lot of minutes as he went to St. Anthony’s and thus knows what winning looks like and has been well-coached. Hofstra’s first place for improvement is defensively, as they were last in the conference in field goal percentage defense. If they force a lot of turnovers like they did last season, that will give them more chances, but they will also need to shoot better as they were next-to-last in field goal percentage.

Next: James Madison Dukes

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James Madison Dukes 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
jamesmadison

James Madison Dukes (12-20 overall, 5-13 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Devon Moore
Sr. G A.J. Davis
Sr. F Andrey Semenov
Sr. F Rayshawn Goins
Sr. C Gene Swindle

Important departures:

Two starters are gone from last season’s team: G Humpty Hitchens (14.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.7 apg) and F Julius Wells (8.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg)

Returning:

73.6 percent of scoring and 85.4 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F Taylor Bessick
Fr. F Dimitrije Cabarkapa
Fr. G Charles Cooke
Fr. G Ron Curry
Fr. G Andre Nation

Schedule Highlights:

The non-conference slate has some challenges but also some winnable games that would get this veteran team going. They open with the Legends Classic at UCLA and at Duquesne and later play in the Las Vegas Classic against San Jose State and San Diego. The Dukes also take on Richmond at home and head to Miami (Ohio), and they close the non-conference slate at Florida Atlantic. They will be challenged at the end of CAA play as three of the last four are on the road, but a three-game homestand in the middle of the slate could help.

Projected finish and outlook:

Last year was one to forget for the Dukes, and Matt Brady will get at least one more year to get this team going. He comes back with a veteran team, and that term isn’t being used lightly as they have five fifth-year seniors. As Brady noted at media day, they have to use that experience to their advantage. The perimeter can be excellent, as Moore has shown himself to be a good player and leader but now has to take that to another level, while Davis can score and Semenov has battled injuries constantly through his career but is as tough and competitive as they come. Goins and Swindle can give them production inside, with Goins now in better shape. Curry, Cooke and Nation will be too good to keep on the bench for long, and perhaps one benefit of all the injuries last season is that some of the projected reserves this season (Enoch Hood and Arman Marks come to mind) are better since they will be more experienced than had the injuries not happened. The Dukes are a true wild card in that one doesn’t know what to expect based on a lot of conflicting data; this is a team that could wind up in the top three just as easily as they could be in tenth place, but the veteran makeup of this team is reason to think they’re more likely to wind up near the former and quite possibly higher than this selection.

Next: Northeastern Huskies

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Northeastern Huskies 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
northeastern

Northeastern Huskies (14-17 overall, 9-9 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Jonathan Lee
Sr. G Joel Smith
Fr. G-F Zach Stahl
So. F Quincy Ford
So. F Reggie Spencer

Important departures:

F Kauri Black (4.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.2 apg, transferred to Tulsa) is the only starter who departed, while G-F Alwayne Bigby (3.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.2 apg) and Ryan Pierson (1.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg) also transferred (to Rhode Island and Vermont, respectively) and G-F Kashief Edwards (5.5 ppg, 1.9 rpg) graduated.

Returning:

76.2 percent of scoring and 69.3 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. G Derrico Peck
Fr. G-F Zach Stahl
Fr. G-F David Walker

Schedule Highlights:

Northeastern’s non-conference slate isn’t as loaded as it has been in other years under Bill Coen. In fact, they have as many home games (six) as road and neutral site games. They open with cross-town rival Boston University at home, head to Ivy League favorite Princeton and host America East contender Vermont before heading to the Great Alaska Shootout. After that, a four-game homestand awaits, featuring UMass and La Salle. Early on in CAA play, we’ll find out something about this team as four of the first six games are on the road, including trips to George Mason, Drexel and Delaware.

Projected finish and outlook:

The Huskies are a sleeper contender this season, especially after a couple of players transferred this off-season. While Black and Bigby helped, neither lived up to their potential and Pierson didn’t improve from his freshman season. What they return is an underrated and experienced backcourt, with Lee as the team’s unquestioned leader although he’ll miss some early time with a foot injury. Ford’s ceiling is very high, and he’s only begun to show how good he can be. Spencer is the X-factor, as he had some good moments as a freshman but also the inconsistency one expects of a freshman and some offensive limitations. If he makes a nice leap, the frontcourt will be in better shape. The big keys for the Huskies besides Spencer’s development are some freshmen filling in as role players and taking better care of the ball after only Towson committed more turnovers last season. Stahl played well in the Huskies’ summer trip and looks to be the freshman most ready to contribute immediately, while Walker has a bright future and Peck should get minutes. Northeastern can contend, but they’ll need to improve defensively as well, so while the personnel is there to be a sleeper there’s some work to be done. The thinking here is that they will make the improvements and the senior backcourt will drive this team a long way.

Next: Old Dominion Monarchs

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Old Dominion Monarchs 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
olddominion

Old Dominion Monarchs (22-14 overall, 13-5 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Dmitri Batten
Jr. G Donte Hill
Jr. F Richard Ross
Sr. F Nick Wright
Sr. C DeShawn Painter

Important departures:

Four starters are gone from last season’s team, three of them very important contributors: G Kent Bazemore (15.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 3.1 apg, 2.1 spg), F Chris Cooper (10.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 1.3 bpg), G Trian Iliadis (85 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.3 apg 1.5 spg). G Marquel DeLancey (4.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.3 apg) also played in all 35 games last year, starting 29 of them.

Returning:

38.6 percent of scoring and 32.9 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Sr. C DeShawn Painter (transfer from North Carolina State)
Fr. F Ekene Anachebe
Fr. G Aaron Bacote
Fr. G Deion Clark
Fr. F Stuart McEwen
Fr. G Ambrose Mosley
Fr. G Keenan Palmore

Schedule Highlights:

As has often been the case, the Monarchs have a challenging non-conference slate in front of them. They open the season by hosting the Liberty Tax Classic with Holy Cross, Morgan State and UTSA. Later trips include Murray State, College of Charleston and Virginia, while they host Richmond, arch-rival VCU and UCF. In conference play, February begins with a tough stretch that might say a lot about where this team ends up: at Georgia State, George Mason, at Drexel, Northeastern and at Delaware.

Projected finish and outlook:

In the Monarchs’ last go-round in the CAA, there is a big newness factor as seven of their 12 players have never checked into a college game and the all-important point guard spot is wide open since Batten is really more of a wing. There is still some talent, with Hill looking last year like he could become a go-to guy on the wing in the future, which is now, Batten able to score and Ross already back from a broken wrist suffered during the summer. Ross has always been a “potential” player, and there’s never been a better time for him to start realizing some of that. Painter comes with the rep of having played in the ACC, but he’s never been an offensive star and may not give the big boost one might expect right away. The freshmen have talent, although it’s likely that a couple of them (such as Anachebe and McEwen) redshirt this year. The Monarchs were good but could never get over the hump last season in part because of offensive struggles, but good rebounding and forcing over 15 turnovers a game helped them finish fourth. They’ll need to repeat some of that to have another top-four finish this time around, and someone will need to emerge since there doesn’t appear to be much star power at first glance.

Next: Towson Tigers

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Towson Tigers 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
towson

Towson Tigers (1-31 overall, 1-17 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Kris Walden
Jr. G Mike Burwell
Jr. F Marcus Damas
Jr. F Jerrelle Benimon
Sr. C Bilal Dixon

Important departures:

Three starters have departed from last season’s team, led by C Robert Nwankwo (12.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.4 bpg). Also gone are G Deon Jones (7.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and F Erique Gumbs (5.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg).

Returning:

38.7 percent of scoring and 24.1 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Jr. F Jerrelle Benimon (transfer from Georgetown)
Jr. G Mike Burwell (transfer from South Florida)
Sr. C Bilal Dixon (transfer from Providence)
Jr. G Rafriel Guthrie (junior college transfer)
Fr. F Barrington Alston
Fr. G Jerome Hairston
Fr. F Marquis Marshall
Fr. F Timajh Parker-Rivera
Fr. G Jeremy Schulkin

Schedule Highlights:

The Tigers don’t have quite the non-conference challenges they had to begin last season, but it doesn’t let up this time around as they play at Georgetown, Temple, Oregon State, College of Charleston and America East contender Vermont. Only two home games are on the slate, against North Dakota State and Coppin State. In CAA play, the Tigers could get going after the first two games are on the road, as they then play five of six at home.

Projected finish and outlook:

It’s easy to say Towson will be better this season when one looks at their record last season. But the Tigers seem poised to make a significant leap thanks largely to a big jump in the talent base, although there will still be growing pains as the many newcomers to integrate add to the challenge. Walden and Damas figure to be joined by three transfers in the starting lineup, one that will have much better ball-handling and scoring ability. Walden led all CAA rookies in assists last season and will have better players like Burwell and Benimon to get the ball to, plus the improved ball-handling means the Tigers can’t be pressed into submission the way they were last season. Dixon gives them an experienced player up front, but he has had his struggles staying out of foul trouble in his career. The freshmen are a talented group as well, with Alston and Hairston likely the most ready to contribute right away. While one shouldn’t expect the Tigers to jump to the middle of the CAA, the future outlook from this season will look much brighter along the way and at the end, and second-year coach Pat Skerry should have them poised for much better days.

Next: UNC Wilmington Seahawks

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UNCW Seahawks 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes
uncwilmington

UNCW Seahawks (10-21 overall, 5-13 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Fr. G Craig Ponder
Jr. G Tanner Milson
So. G Freddie Jackson
Sr. F Keith Rendleman
So. F Cedric Williams

Important departures:

Three starters are gone, all via the transfer route: G Adam Smith (13.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.6 apg), Donte Morales (7.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.5 apg) and K.K. Simmons ( 7.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.9 apg)

Returning:

53.1 percent of scoring and 71.1 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Jr. G Marcus Graham (junior college)
Sr. G Tyree Graham (transfer from Rutgers)
Fr. G Chris Dixon
Fr. C C.J. Gettys
Fr. F Luke Hager
Fr. F Alex Kilmartin
Fr. G Craig Ponder (redshirted)
Fr. F Dylan Sherwood

Schedule Highlights:

The Seahawks won’t have it easy, but it won’t be like last year when they had to travel all over the place. But they have five home games on tap, with road dates at Ohio, Purdue, Davidson, Richmond, Marshall and Georgia Tech. In CAA play, they catch a break by getting George Mason and Drexel just once each.

Projected finish and outlook:

A year after the Seahawks looked to be starting over, they appear to be doing just that again as three underclassmen transferred in part because the program was declared ineligible for the NCAA Tournament due to low APR scores. The Seahawks once again are a team heavy in freshmen and sophomores, and although they have one of the conference’s best players in Rendleman and a rising star in Williams they also have a lot of questions. Ponder returns after redshirting last season, and should immediately run the show as their most talented floor leader. Milson and Jackson are capable perimeter partners, while Tyree Graham could start right away as well as one of the team’s most experienced players despite being a newcomer to the program. The real strength is up front as there is potentially very good depth behind Rendleman and Williams, the latter of whom made big strides late last season. Last season was a rebuilding year, but this season looks to be another one in Wilmington as they try to build for being eligible for postseason play again in another year.

Next: William & Mary Tribe

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