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Shabazz Napier grew into a championship leader

by - Published April 8, 2014 in Columns
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Shabazz Napier wasn’t always the easiest kid to root for. He was rough around the edges and could let his competitive streak get the best of him on occasion. Early on, he was an underachiever in the classroom. It would be easy to watch him and see him as a selfish player at times. You could be excused if you wondered if he wasn’t going to be one more example of a city legend somewhere who flamed out when it came to college.

If you knew him back in those days, you knew none of that was who he really is. And if you have followed him over the years, you know that none of that has been true for quite a while now. He wakes up on Tuesday morning with an incredible college legacy that includes two national championships, and one that is the product of tremendous growth into the player and person he always had the potential to become. That he is a two-time champion does not change him from what he was into something else; rather, it is his evolution into the person he is that changed him into a champion.

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2014 East Regional Final notebook

by - Published April 2, 2014 in Columns
author_floriani

NEW YORK – The 2014 Final Four is set. One of the last teams to advance was Connecticut, 60-54 winners over Michigan State at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

Some notes from what was a classic in every sense:

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A Garden Party for the Huskies as UConn advances to the Final Four

by - Published March 30, 2014 in Columns
connecticut

NEW YORK – Riding a wave of momentum, UConn advanced to the Final Four by virtue of a thrilling victory at Madison Square Garden. The 60-54 decision over Michigan State in the East regional final was a thrilling contest that electrified the storied edifice. The possession numbers saw a 61-possession (slower) game, with UConn owning a 98-90 edge in offensive efficiency.

Three points of emphasis:

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Napier makes like his former teammate in New York to carry UConn

by - Published November 23, 2013 in Columns
connecticut

NEW YORK – A Boston kid did it in New York. Even if he channeled some of a New Yorker to do it, considering the two cities’ long-time rivalry with each other in so many respects, it’s quite a story. And they don’t get much more “Boston original” than Shabazz Napier, the hero in Connecticut’s championship in the 2K Sports Classic by virtue of a thrilling 59-58 win over Indiana.

One of the last times Connecticut was on this floor, they were celebrating the end of an amazing run in the 2011 Big East Tournament. Then, Kemba Walker led the Huskies to five wins in five days as the start of an 11-game winning streak that ended in the 2011 national championship. Napier was part of that team and had two years of playing together with Walker, and the resemblance is a sign of the influence Walker had on the confident senior guard.

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UConn 72, Boston College 70: A second look

by - Published November 22, 2013 in Columns
author_floriani

NEW YORK - UConn defeated Boston College 72-70 in the 2K Sports semifinal on Thursday evening. The meeting at Madison Square Garden brought back memories of some of the last battles these two waged in their Big East days. On this evening, the Garden crowd saw the Huskies pulled out a thriller.

Three points stand out:

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In a tough loss, Connecticut shows tremendous heart

by - Published February 28, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
uconn

STORRS, Conn. – Kevin Ollie wanted to make sure those covering Wednesday night’s game do at least one thing above all else.

“I hope y’all write that we’ve got heart – at the end of your articles, this team has got heart,” said the UConn head coach.

He’s right.  This team has heart.  It was fully on display Wednesday night in a game they had no business even getting to overtime, let alone a second overtime where they led 78-71 with just over two minutes left.

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St. John’s holds off UCONN 71-65

by - Published February 8, 2013 in Columns
author_floriani

NEW YORK – One of those “typical” nights in the Big East. Significant runs, intensity and a game going down to the wire. St. John’s defeated UCONN 71-65 before 8,441 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. The 71-65 decision improved the Red Storm to 7-4 (15-8 overall) in conference while the Huskies, a solid 15-6 overall, dropped to 5-4 in conference play.

The pace:

UCONN 68 possessions
St. John’s 69

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Missed opportunities make for a missed opportunity for Providence

by - Published February 1, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Thursday night was a missed opportunity for Providence.  The Friars had a lot of those on the evening, actually, but that’s what the 82-79 overtime loss to Connecticut amounted to as a result.

It was a missed opportunity to get back above .500 overall and simultaneously send Connecticut below .500 in the Big East.  It was an opportunity to stop a two-game losing streak and to do so against their rivals from one state away, at a time when they are very beatable.  And most of all, it was an opportunity to win a game where effort wasn’t the biggest issue.

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Connecticut will go as far as Napier, backcourt will take them

by - Published December 9, 2012 in Columns
connecticut

STORRS, Conn. – There’s no question Connecticut will ride their guards as much as possible this season. Given their personnel, that’s about their only choice as they are far deeper on the perimeter than up front and more talented there. It’s also where their most natural leaders are, in particular the one who didn’t score for much of Friday’s 57-49 win over Harvard largely because he was busy helping others do that.

The easy pick as the star on Friday night would be DeAndre Daniels. The sophomore forward, a talent who simply got buried behind more experienced players a year ago, had a long-awaited breakout game with 23 points on 9-12 shooting. He had a career high by halftime, as he scored 15 points in the opening frame, and if he can do that more, it would be a big development.

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The Jimmy V: Analysis and teams headed in opposite directions

by - Published December 6, 2012 in Columns
author_floriani

NEW YORK – It was a doubleheader with a little of both. The Jimmy V Classic featured one lopsided game followed by a close, down to the wire affair.

Scores:

Georgetown 64, Texas 41
NC State 69, UCONN 65

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College Basketball Tonight

COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, who will be joined by former Manhattan and Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show will air on AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on every Sunday from Selection Sunday to the Final Four. You can listen to the show here.

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.

2013 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: St. Andrew's
Sept 10: Tilton
Sept. 11: South Kent School and Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 12: Putnam Science Academy
Sept. 16: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 17: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 23: New Hampton School
Sept. 24: Brimmer and May
Sept. 25: Proctor Academy
Sept. 26: Notre Dame Prep and Cushing Academy
Sept. 29: Worcester Academy and Vermont Academy
Oct. 6: Charlestown High School and Milton Academy
Oct. 13: Tabor Academy
Oct. 15: Brooks School

Hoopville Archives

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

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

Cesar Fulcar commits to Wentworth

The senior guard led Watertown to the state semifinal this past season

Travel team profile: Bay State Magic

Bay State Magic doesn’t have much size on their junior team this season, so they’ll have to win with execution and intangibles

Travel team profile: Mass Elite

Mass Elite is one of the largest travel teams in the state despite being relatively new

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is already 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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter