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Delaware trusted each other to win the CAA championship

by - Published March 11, 2014 in Columns

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

by - Published March 8, 2014 in Columns

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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Battled-tested Delaware is on top of the CAA for good reason

by - Published January 19, 2014 in Columns

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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Delaware Blue Hens 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 5, 2013 in Conference Notes

Delaware Blue Hens (19-14 overall, 13-5 conference)




Projected starting five:

Sr. G Devon Saddler
Jr. G Jarvis Threatt
Jr. G Kyle Anderson
So. F Marvin King-Davis
Sr. F Carl Baptiste

Important departures:

Delaware’s frontcourt starters are both gone from last season: C Jamelle Hagins (11.6 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 2.4 bpg) and F Josh Brinkley (7.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg).


71.4 percent of scoring and 57.2 percent of rebounding


Sr. G Davon Usher (transfer from Mississippi Valley State)
Fr. F Maurice Jeffers (redshirt)
Fr. F Barnett Harris
Fr. G Cazmon Hayes
Fr. F Devonne Pinkard

Schedule Highlights:

Just like last year, the Blue Hens will be tested in non-conference play, and often away from home as only four home games are on tap. The best of them looks to be against Robert Morris at the end of November, while they have a home-and-home with Charleston Southern. The Blue Hens will travel to Richmond, Villanova, Notre Dame, and North Dakota State and Ohio State for the Gotham Classic before playing Bryant at Madison Square Garden. In CAA play, they have an interesting month of February that starts with four straight at home followed by four of five on the road.

Projected finish and outlook:

The Blue Hens took a big hit in the frontcourt from graduation, but they have a very experienced perimeter unit and that is reason enough to think they can contend again. While Hagins’ loss is huge, as he racked up the honors especially for his defense, Brinkley’s departure will be noticeable as well because although he was injured often, he was a warrior, an enforcer and more of an offensive threat than Hagins for most of their careers. Baptiste looks more ready to contribute than a year ago at this time, and late last season he played better when they needed more from him. King-Davis is the only other proven frontcourt player, which means newcomers have to contribute right away, and no one has emerged yet in early practice although they see some potential. The perimeter unit is in great shape with Saddler, one of the CAA’s best and a great leader. He is very driven and will be even more so since this is his last go-round, and he has good help starting with Threatt, who Ross thinks could rack up the assists. Threatt has the physical gifts and will drive often as he’s been known to get to the foul line, and with the offense being tweaked a bit given the personnel losses up front, that may favor him more. Anderson didn’t shoot quite as well last year as he did as a freshman, but he’s improved his skill set to where defenders can’t play him as just a shooter. Even with those three, Usher will have to get minutes as he led the SWAC in scoring last season. The Blue Hens have developed into a good defensive team, but Hagins helped erase some mistakes and the team knows they don’t have him anymore and must be better on the perimeter. They will be tested in non-conference play yet again, and last year they did well at overcoming the adversity from losing some games early. As a veteran team, they are well-prepared to tackle this challenge again and be in the mix for a conference title later in the season, continuing the good work Ross has done rebuilding them.

Next: Drexel Dragons

Back to CAA Preview

New-look CAA trying to find its place in the changing landscape

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

BALTIMORE – As the Colonial Athletic Association goes through more changes, it’s natural to wonder where its place is in college basketball now.  The conference has had major membership changes over the last year and a half, and locations for major events like Media Day and the conference tournament are also changing.  While there is certainly a feeling of newness, one wonders what lies ahead for a conference that had a great run from 2006 to 2012 before things changed drastically.

The CAA is just one conference that is changing in an ever-changing landscape.  In the short term, the conference can be labeled one of the losers in the conference maneuvering.  In the last 18 months, George Mason, Old Dominion and VCU – the conference’s signature programs historically – have all departed, along with a Georgia State program that wasn’t in the conference long but looks like it might be on the rise under Ron Hunter.  What remains starts with five former America East schools and then includes newcomer College of Charleston and three charter members in James Madison, UNCW and William & Mary.  Next year, Elon joins the conference.

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Jamelle Hagins developed on and off the court at Delaware

by - Published March 1, 2013 in Columns

The reality of coaching at a mid-major program is that you have to take chances on players more often than not.  When it comes to big men, that is especially the case, as that even happens at the highest level.  Many coaches recruit a big man who clearly has work to do in the hope that they correctly project what he can become.  Plenty of those players don’t work out – some never really get better, some might be one-dimensional, and some more might never develop physically.  But some of them do work out, and when it happens, it can be quite satisfying.

Delaware senior Jamelle Hagins is one of those who has worked out.  While his is a story of what coaches hope will happen when recruiting a young man with the idea of projecting what he will become, Hagins is more than that.  Perhaps assistant coach Jeff Rafferty sums it up best when he says that Hagins “is one of my favorites.”

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Delaware could finish this season like they did last season

by - Published February 14, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops

BOSTON – Last season, Delaware lost a heart-breaker at Northeastern, a game that they had in their grasp.  The Blue Hens were not deflated, however, although they lost their next game at Drexel, because then they didn’t lose again until the CAA Tournament.  This time around, the Blue Hens pulled out a dramatic 76-74 overtime win at Matthews Arena and hope a different game result is part of the same result after the game.

“I don’t know if that was exactly what I drew up in the huddle, but all’s well that ends well,” head coach Monte Ross said of the game-winning shot, a deep three-pointer by Jarvis Threatt with the shot clock running down.

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For Delaware: They were thankful for the NIT experience

by - Published November 24, 2012 in Columns

NEW YORK – In generalities he knew this was big. Taking a closer look at specifics told how big it was. Coach Monte Ross realized the Pre-Season NIT represented three things for his program:

1. Exposure
2. Competition
3. Opportunity

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Delaware leaves New York with concerns following the great opportunity

by - Published November 23, 2012 in Columns

NEW YORK – Getting to Madison Square Garden in the NIT Season Tip-Off was big for Delaware, as one might imagine. It gave the Blue Hens a chance to play on a big stage and two chances at quality wins, which could matter if they contend in the CAA as they should. Head coach Monte Ross and his staff scheduled for a veteran team in 2012-13, and this only helped. But the trip also had some concern on the health front, and while the Blue Hens haven’t been hit with a devastating injury, they have something to pay attention to going forward.

While Wednesday’s loss to Kansas State and Friday’s 85-59 blowout at the hands of Pittsburgh were both hard to take, more concerning is that two of the Blue Hens’ best players didn’t play every minute they could in New York. Senior big man Jamelle Hagins and sophomore guard Jarvis Threatt both missed time in the first game, and with the way injuries can derail a season this will be something to watch.

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Delaware Blue Hens 2012-13 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2012 in Conference Notes

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.


87 percent of scoring and 83.5 percent of rebounding


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

Back to CAA preview

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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.

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Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by


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


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 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

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City Hoops Recruiting

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Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

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