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2013-14 CAA Post-Mortem

by - Published May 9, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
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The new era in the Colonial Athletic Association has begun. While there was plenty of competitiveness, as expected, the conference is in a very different time now with arguably its three signature programs having left over the past two years.

Conference champion Delaware was a study in overcoming adversity all season long. The Blue Hens certainly had enough talent and experience to compete for the title, but suspensions of multiple players, including long ones to Devon Saddler and Jarvis Threatt, could have scuttled this magical season. They were challenged in the conference tournament, including in the title game, but as they did all year, they found a way to win.

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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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Not the ending anyone imagined for Drexel

by - Published March 9, 2014 in Columns
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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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Battled-tested Delaware is on top of the CAA for good reason

by - Published January 19, 2014 in Columns
delaware

BOSTON – Monte Ross has his most complete team at Delaware, and it’s showing up in CAA play more than any other time this season. The Blue Hens have turned a corner the last few years, and as they leave Boston with a 74-70 win at Northeastern and a 4-0 mark early CAA play, they leave looking like as good a contender as anyone.

It’s easy to start by looking at personnel, and the Blue Hens are good there. They have a veteran perimeter unit with a post-graduate, a senior and two juniors leading the way, and they’re anchored up front by a senior who’s been through plenty. But that’s only the beginning.

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CAA newcomers College of Charleston playing through challenges

by - Published January 13, 2014 in Columns
charleston

If CAA newcomer College of Charleston contends for the top spot in their first year in the conference, it shouldn’t surprise anyone. What also shouldn’t surprise anyone is if the journey to that is not a success-only one.

The Cougars are finishing up a trip to the northeast with a visit to Northeastern on Monday night. Two days earlier, a four-game winning streak ended with a 75-71 loss at Hofstra, one where they blew a double-digit lead in part from a bad day at the free throw line as they were 14-27 from there and in part from their own foul trouble as four players fouled out.

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How the conferences shake out as 2014 approaches

by - Published December 31, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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Non-conference play is just about over at this point. Conference games are ready to take over the rest of the slate, with a few having an “opening day” of sorts, including the Big East with its well-publicized day of five games on Tuesday. A few have already had early conference games, with the West Coast Conference having its opening day on Saturday.

How are the conferences shaping up? Which ones look like we thought and which ones look nothing like what we thought before the season? Here is a look at all 32 conferences as conference play beckons.

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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.

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Recruiting Coverage

Holderness has a new coach and some young players with upside

September 22, 2014 by

holdernessschool

The Holderness School has a new head coach, and while the team isn’t loaded with talent, there are some players with clear upside that give this team a chance to compete in time.

2014 Hoop Mountain Fall Classic Showcase Evaluations

September 22, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

Over 200 players competed at the Hoop Mountain Fall Classic Showcase, and we take a look at a few who stood out on the evening.

Brooks School hopes to continue the rise with one more step

September 18, 2014 by

brooksschool

With a less experienced team, the Brooks School got to the NEPSAC Class B finals and won a school-record 21 games last year. Now they hope to take one more step forward.

Phillips Exeter has a team with some upside

September 17, 2014 by

phillipsexeter

Known for academics, Phillips Exeter has won two straight Class A titles. Their quest for a third will involve a team that has some clear upside right now.

Plenty of talent, including a good mix, at Brewster Academy

September 17, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

As one can expect, Brewster Academy is loaded this year. There’s also a good mix of talent, especially on the perimeter, as they try to win a third straight NEPSAC Class AAA title.