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2013-14 MAAC Post-Mortem

by - Published June 6, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
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The MAAC underwent a membership change in 2013-14, and one that appears to be a net positive. What hasn’t changed, and surely won’t anytime soon, is how fiercely competitive the conference is. That was demonstrated right up to the end this past season.

The conference had several teams right there in the race for the top until late in the season. Iona got hot and pulled away, but even so only three games separated first from fourth place and just two separated fifth from eighth. The real question going forward is if anyone can break into that top group, as Iona and Manhattan seem set to rule the conference for a while, with Quinnipiac having a lot of potential based on its first year in the conference. There are some who could join them, but questions abound in all.

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New-look Fairfield shows promise in season opener

by - Published November 10, 2013 in Columns
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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The box score will tell you Fairfield won their season opener by 13 points over Sacred Heart, 67-54 on Saturday. The box score will also tell you they did that despite 26 turnovers. But what the numbers won’t tell you is that the Stags have a lot of newness about them but will be a team worth watching this season and one the coaching staff is going to enjoy all the way around.

Last season’s team had an interesting personnel dynamic to it with the mix of seniors and freshmen. This season’s team is simply young, as they have just one senior and nine freshmen and sophomores. The interesting dynamic is that six players were in uniform last season and six weren’t. But that also means there’s a lot of opportunity to mold this group into something, and it’s clear that they’re already at work with that on one end of the floor.

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2013 MAAC quarterfinal notes

by - Published March 10, 2013 in Columns
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The MAAC quarterfinals are in the books. The afternoon games saw the seeds hold to form, while the evening started off with an upset that was also a game for the history books, but not in a good way. The last game followed its predecessor with the lower seed pulling off the upset.

With that, some leftover thoughts from the MAAC quarterfinals played on Saturday:

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Needham, Fairfield seniors live another day

by - Published March 9, 2013 in Columns
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Derek Needham didn’t want his career to end on Friday night. A classmate felt the same way and a teammate at the opposite end of the experience spectrum helped him out, and in turn they helped Fairfield move on with a 54-47 win over St. Peter’s.

Needham isn’t the only senior on Fairfield, as fellow guards Colin Nickerson and Desmond Wade are also coming up on the end of their college careers. But he’s the big name on the team, the program’s third all-time leading scorer, the guy who has been an impact player from the minute he arrived on campus and scored in double figures in all but one game of his freshman campaign. He’s the charismatic young man who is well-known around the campus and not just because he’s a basketball player. He’s the star guard who didn’t play in the conference tournament last year due to a broken foot.

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If freshmen develop to complement veterans, Fairfield could surprise in the MAAC

by - Published November 11, 2012 in Columns
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WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Fairfield is one of the more interesting teams in a conference that itself is always interesting.  The MAAC is known as a very competitive conference, one that often has a team that can sneak up on others, and Fairfield might be that kind of team this season.  The Stags’ season-opening 64-63 overtime win on Saturday night in the Connecticut 6 Classic was illustrative of this and possibly just the start this team needs.

Taking a glance at the roster, one can see that the stags have five upperclassmen and a lot of freshmen in the mix.  The upperclassmen are all very experienced, having played significant minutes since their freshman year save for Desmond Wade, who transferred in from Houston but has played significant minutes since he arrived.  One can easily guess that this team will largely go as their freshmen go, as having some depth is always important.

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Quick Hitters – January 27, 2012

by - Published January 27, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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Quick hitters as we get ready for the weekend:

 

  • Boston University was not rebounding well in the early portion of their seven-game winning streak. But in the last two games, the Terriers have dominated the glass, and keeping that up will only help. Granted, it came against two of the worst teams in the conference, but one of them (UMBC) is normally a decent team on the glass. Part of that has come from an emphasis on rebounding of late, but not just at the defensive end. … Continue Reading

Fairfield fulfills missions in Springfield and gets better

by - Published December 10, 2011 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Like fellow MAAC counterpart Siena, Fairfield looks like they got better in their trip to Springfield for the Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase on Friday. The Stags have had some ups and downs in non-conference play, but one of the MAAC favorites looks to be improving as final exams near and showed it in their 59-51 win over Old Dominion on Friday.

 

Friday’s game was far from a thing of beauty, especially in the second half as it was tightly called and neither team shot well. Fairfield won despite shooting just 37.3 percent for the game, but the bright side along with the win was that they won the rebounding battle 41-40 and got just about every loose ball.

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ACC’s hot start could be a harbinger of better times ahead

by - Published November 17, 2011 in Full Court Sprints

After six full days into the regular season, the ACC is the only undefeated conference remaining. And that pretty much guarantees that Maryland will lose to Alabama Thursday night or Georgia Tech will fall against Saint Joseph’s.

No one really keeps track of which conferences go the longest without a loss, but hoops pundits love to banter about which conference is tops in the game. The ACC hasn’t been part of that conversation for a few years now, despite claiming two of the past three champions and a contender or two for this year’s title.

As of this week, the ACC has North Carolina, Duke and Florida State in the top 25. No other team even received a vote from the pollsters. As Rodney Dangerfield often lamented, this conference doesn’t get any respect these days, with everyone focusing on Tobacco Road and ignoring most of the rest of the conference. That would be a mistake this season.

Already, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Virginia have flashed plenty of promise. They’ll need to bring down some of the big boys from conferences like the Big East, Big 12 and Big Ten before they rise into the public spotlight. That’s probably going to start happening in the next couple of weeks as the early season tournaments gain steam and more power conference squads go head to head.

When it’s all said and done this season, don’t be surprised if at least five different ACC teams spend some quality time in the top 25, and the conference once again joins the discussion as tops in the land.

We go coast to coast with other news from the college basketball nation.

  • New Providence coach Ed Cooley and the Friars returned to his former employers at Fairfield Monday, and Providence escaped with a hard-fought 80-72 win, according to a CBS Sports.com report. The Friars’ head honcho had plenty of reason to feel emotionally torn after enjoying success in the MAAC in his first coaching gig and building strong relationships with players such as Rakim Sanders, writes Matt Norlander.
  • UCLA suspended Reeves Nelson for bad behavior after the junior forward blew off a practice Monday and looked selfishly frustrated in the Bruins’ opening loss to Loyola Marymount, writes Peter Yoon for ESPN Los Angeles. The Bruins dropped their second consecutive game Tuesday when Middle Tennessee State handled the Nelson-less squad.
  • After an 0-2 start, UCLA fans must be yearning for the golden age led by the legendary John Wooden. Those days are long gone, but Wooden — or at least a statue bearing his resemblance — will greet every player and fan entering the renovated Pauley Pavilion, Peter Yoon writes on ESPN.com.
  • St. Bonaventure will play the rest of the season without forward Marquise Simmons, who tore his Achilles tendon against Cornell, according to a CBS Sports.com wire report. The junior provided solid depth for St. Bonaventure, averaging about four points and rebounds per game last season.
  • If “best” refers to most talented, CBS Sports.com’s Jeff Goodman explains why Kentucky, not North Carolina, is the best team in the country this season.
  • No sleep till Brooklyn! The Beastie Boys can lend that motto to Kentucky and Maryland next year when the Wildcats and Terrapins meet in the first-ever Barclays Center Classic, to be held at the new arena under construction in Brooklyn, N.Y., according to the Associated Press.

It’s All Coming Together For Fairfield

by - Published January 4, 2011 in Columns

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – It all seems to be coming together for Fairfield. Yes, it’s still early, and head coach Ed Cooley says they’re still figuring things out, but one has to think the Stags have made their way to a good place.

Fairfield’s 70-48 win over Niagara was their ninth in a row and improves them to 3-0 in MAAC play. More than just the win, in what Cooley described as “kind of a strange game” as there wasn’t much flow, the Stags did it largely playing the kind of basketball they will need to in order to win the conference, as many projected before the season. They shut down the Purple Eagles, ran the offense well when they weren’t turning the ball over, and have a number of players improving. … Continue Reading

Fairfield Starts Well Amid Personnel Challenges

by - Published December 14, 2010 in Columns

WORCESTER, Mass. – This was the chance for someone like Fairfield to unseat Siena atop the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Saints aren’t dead, but they lost the core of their team to graduation and the guy who coached them, although an assistant on those teams is now running the program. Meanwhile, Fairfield has some things coming together that might make their selection by many as the preseason favorites in the conference look like a good one.

Fairfield’s 71-60 win at Holy Cross improves the Stags to 7-3 on the season. Included in that record is a 5-2 mark away from home, and during their current six-game winning streak four of the wins have come away from home. Less than 48 hours before the Stags beat Holy Cross, they went to Loudonville and took care of Siena in convincing fashion. … Continue Reading

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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

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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.