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Season opener a big boost for Holy Cross as they keep growing

by - Published November 17, 2014 in Columns
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BOSTON – The Holy Cross players have believed in what Milan Brown and his staff are trying to do. The buy-in has been there and the team has grown in part by believing in the process and the game plan every time out. The gains have been incremental, with some good wins along the way, but there’s nothing like a big win to really drive it home and make them believe in it that much more.

The Crusaders got that with a 58-57 win over Harvard on Sunday, and in a game that showed how much they have grown up.

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The Morning Dish – Monday November 17, 2014

by - Published November 17, 2014 in The Morning Dish
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There will be plenty of chatter about Kentucky this season; in fact, there already has been. That will always be the case, as Kentucky will be relevant whether they win a national championship or have a losing record. Ever since several players decided to pass on early entry to the NBA Draft last spring, the hyperbole surrounding this team has been non-stop given the talent they have. And on Sunday, that was demonstrated even more.

Buffalo led Kentucky at halftime 38-33. The Bulls didn’t succumb to an early run, either, as Kentucky scored the first nine points of the second half only to see Buffalo rally to regain the lead. The Wildcats eventually won going away, but that’s not the big headline to take out of this game.

A lot of people are talking about how John Calipari didn’t go with a platoon in the second half. The talk is that he’s already abandoned it. The reality, of course, is a bit more complicated.

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Holy Cross is trying to take the next step

by - Published November 8, 2014 in Columns
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WORCESTER, Mass. – Milan Brown says the mantra for Holy Cross is “Take the next step.” Since he arrived on campus, the program has taken many steps to get to where they are now, entering the season as Patriot League contenders once again.

It’s been a long road back to this point.

When Brown took over in 2010 following a one-year stint for Sean Kearney, the program was a far cry from what it was at the beginning of the century. At that time, Holy Cross and Bucknell ruled the Patriot League, with the Crusaders going on a roll first. But as Ralph Willard’s tenure came to a conclusion, the rest of the league was getting better and made up a lot of ground.

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2013-14 Patriot League Post-Mortem

by - Published May 15, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
patriotleague

Times are good in the Patriot League right now. The league just completed its first season with ten schools, and not only was it a success overall but there is plenty of reason to like what is ahead. The early verdict on the league’s expansion is that it is definitely a net plus.

Three teams saw postseason play, and all three had at least 20 wins. That marked the third time in league history that happened, with the previous instance being two years earlier. This season didn’t top that one overall, as that year two teams topped Boston University’s 24-win mark this season and both of those teams won a game in their postseason tournament, but there is reason to believe that the best is yet to come.

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For Holy Cross, the mentality makes a big difference

by - Published January 22, 2014 in Columns
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WORCESTER, Mass. – It’s all about the mentality at Holy Cross of late. The last week has seen two good wins and the team play good basketball to get there, and with it a commensurate confidence boost. While there’s still a hill to climb, the Crusaders look to be in a good place in terms of how they are going about everything.

Holy Cross has had to deal with injuries, and while they haven’t had to as much as some teams have, they have had to adjust a good deal along the way. They had to go without Cullen Hamilton early on due to a knee injury, and just when he appeared to be coming into his own he then came back and aggravated it. They had to shut him down for a stretch so he can heal enough to play the rest of the season.

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Holy Cross Crusaders 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 7, 2013 in Conference Notes
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Holy Cross Crusaders (12-18 overall, 4-10 league)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Justin Burrell
So. G Cullen Hamilton
Jr. F Malcolm Miller
Jr. F Taylor Abt
Sr. F-C Dave Dudzinski

Important departures:

Among starters, F Phil Beans (9.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg) and G-F Jordan Stevens (5.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.5 apg) are gone, and F Eric Obeysekere (4.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and G Dee Goens (2.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.6 apg) have also departed.

Returning:

68 percent of scoring and 66.9 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F Malachi Alexander
Fr. G-F Robert Champion
So. F Riley Criswell
So. G-F Eric Green
Fr. C Matt Husek
Fr. G Anthony Thompson

Schedule Highlights:

The non-league slate will be a tough one, especially with just three home games. They also open against Harvard at the Boston Garden. They play in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off at North Carolina and Fairfield before two games at Mohegan Sun Arena, the first of which is against Belmont. Later, they close the slate at Michigan. They open and close Patriot League play with Boston University, and in between they have corresponding road-heavy and home-heavy portions, though five of the last seven are at home.

Projected finish and outlook:

Year four under Milan Brown has arrived, and it’s a crucial one for this program from a progress standpoint. Holy Cross has just one senior in Dudzinski, but the sophomores and juniors are the key to where they are headed. Burrell will have the keys to the offense again, and while he shot the ball better from deep and was second in scoring, his turnovers were up from his freshman year. Hamilton looks like more of a complete player, which should help him shoot better than he did last year. Thompson will be the primary backup at the point and at times play with Burrell for a quick lineup, and his competitive motor will energize the second unit. Green sat out last year but is ready to go after being one of their best players in practice and could play as a third guard as well. Up front, Abt and Alexander will be the main complements to Dudzinski, while Christopher Morgan started some games late last year but is not as good as the other two. They like Husek’s potential, but he isn’t physically ready to play significant minutes. Miller is the team’s X-factor on the wing, and while Alexander may see time there Champion could be in the mix as well. While Holy Cross could still stand to improve defensively, they were a solid bottom-half team at the offensive end last season in shooting and turnovers, and as a result scoring suffered. If the offense gets better and they at least maintain their defensive performance from last season, they can move up in the standings.

Next: Lafayette Leopards

Back to Patriot League Preview

In a crucial year, Holy Cross has some potential

by - Published November 3, 2013 in Columns
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WORCESTER, Mass. – The fourth season for a head coach at a program that was not winning when he took over is often a very crucial one, if not a do-or-die season for his tenure. Milan Brown is now in that year at Holy Cross, and while no one thinks he’s in any danger if the Crusaders don’t win this year, the team’s personnel is such that this year will tell a lot about where they are headed.

Holy Cross isn’t lacking talent or experience, although they have less of the latter since senior big man Dave Dudzinski is the only senior on the team. They return over two-thirds of their scoring and rebounding from last season. In addition, it’s a team full of his players as no one currently in the program played for a prior coach at the school. The classes that will determine where this team goes are largely the junior and sophomore classes, all of whom have pretty good experience for where they are in college and thus need to show good growth.

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Quick Hitters – September 29, 2013

by - Published September 29, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
author_kasiecki

It’s a great time of the year. Prep school visits are winding down and college teams have started practice, signs that the season isn’t far away. Also, college schedules are finally coming out, with a few more game times to be determined due to television.

Before getting back to some of the final prep school visits, here are some quick hitters from around college basketball.

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Holy Cross hopes end to losing streak is the start of something better

by - Published February 13, 2013 in Columns
holycross

WORCESTER, Mass. – Holy Cross needed a win, simply put.  They came into Tuesday night having lost five in a row.  But more than that, they could have used a good, convincing win, especially since they at one point looked like they might have a chance at just that.  They’ll be content with their 66-57 win over Navy, but not content with how they had to hang on at the end.

“You definitely would rather win ugly than lose pretty,” said sophomore guard Justin Burrell.  “We’re definitely not content with the way we played in the second half.  We talked about some of the mistakes that we made.  We’re not satisfied with our play, so we’re going to continue to build off of that with these couple of days that we have in practice, and hopefully we can get better.”

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Holy Cross could use some production on the wing

by - Published December 30, 2012 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
holycross

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – For much of the first half on Saturday, Holy Cross stayed with Boston College and led at times. The Crusaders had something to do with Boston College’s offense not looking good for most of the first ten minutes, although BC also looked like a team that had not played in a week and had a few days off from practice. But in the second half, Boston College was the more aggressive team and also shut down the Crusader offense for a big stretch, and in the 70-60 loss to the Eagles, some of Holy Cross’ offensive issues were there to see along with some hope.

Holy Cross isn’t without room for improvement defensively, and that was where Milan Brown got started after the game. In particular, the Crusader mentor noted that they knew how Boston College plays but didn’t defend quite according to the game plan, which was to make sure that BC would shoot more than drive to the basket and create. The Eagles were able to do that, however, and it was a key component of the win.

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Young UNLV team grows in Brooklyn

November 23, 2014 by

unlv

Teams often grow from early season tournaments, and that appears to be what UNLV did in Brooklyn. The young Runnin’ Rebels need the experience.

Simply put, Syracuse needs to improve offensively

November 22, 2014 by

syracuse

Jim Boeheim didn’t have many things to say about his team’s offense, but that said it all. It’s at that end of the floor that Syracuse’s fate this season will be determined.

Growing pains are here for talented Brown team

November 20, 2014 by

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Brown has good talent and should be a factor in the Ivy League, but with three sophomores starting on the perimeter, growing pains are in the foreseeable future

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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.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by

nepsac

With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

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.