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Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 26, 2018

by - Published January 26, 2018 in Columns, Podcasts

Welcome to the latest edition of Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis. With the weekend approaching, we have a lot to look forward to, but there’s a lot that has just happened to talk about as well.

We start with the Big Ten, where Thursday was a wild night. Purdue stayed on a roll, holding off Michigan in an entertaining game with great three-point shooting by both teams. The Boilermakers ultimately sweep Michigan and remain undefeated in conference play. The same could not be said for Ohio State, though, as the Buckeyes lost on a buzzer-beater.

… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Monday, February 20, 2017

by - Published February 20, 2017 in The Morning Dish

Through plenty of changes, including on the bench and in the league, Bucknell has been the Patriot League’s signature program for well over a decade. The Bison being contenders in the league has become one of life’s certainties, and they are on their way once again after clinching the top seed for the league tournament on Sunday and being on the verge of another outright title.

The Bison went to Boston and blew out Boston University 86-66 on Sunday, sweeping the second-place Terriers and going two games up with two to play. For the sixth time in seven years, the Bison will be the top seed in the league tournament, and the first five titles have been outright titles while the sixth appears to be a mere formality with two home games left. More than that, though, they have won 11 regular season titles in the Patriot League’s 27 years of existence, and no other school has more than five. During this seven-year stretch, no other school in the league has finished in the top half every single year.

… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Sunday, December 27, 2015

by - Published December 27, 2015 in The Morning Dish

As mentioned a few days ago, college basketball really could stand to improve its presence in the days immediately after Christmas with some long-lost holiday events. That said, if there was only going to be only one college basketball game the day after Christmas, there weren’t many better picks than Louisville at Kentucky.

 Rick Pitino at Rick Pitino’s former school. Rick Pitino against protégé John Calipari. Eleven combined national championships. A bitter state rivalry. A national TV audience on CBS with Bill Raftery as part of the call.

Saturday’s latest meeting provided a result that has been familiar in the series of late, with the Wildcats defeating the Cardinals 75-73. That’s now eight wins in the last nine for UK over U of L. And-oh yes, small note-that run coincides with Calipari taking over as Kentucky coach in 2009.

… Continue Reading

2015 USBWA awards: one man’s vote

by - Published March 12, 2015 in Columns

About a week ago, I shared how I voted for the CAA’s postseason awards. While that was quite an exercise this season, casting my USBWA ballot was a little different challenge and not just because of the scope. There’s also timing – right as conference tournaments pick up. On the national level, we vote for ten All-Americans, five freshman All-Americans, the Oscar Robertson Trophy (a national Player of the Year), the Wayman Tisdale Award (the nation’s top freshman), and the Henry Iba Award (national Coach of the Year). More locally, we also vote for ten All-District players, a district Player of the Year and a district Coach of the Year.

With that settled, in all the votes involved for this were probably not quite as challenging as the CAA postseason honors. That is in large part a testament to how competitive the CAA was this year and that included for the postseason honors.

… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Monday November 17, 2014

by - Published November 17, 2014 in The Morning Dish

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.

… Continue Reading

It’s time to recognize John Calipari’s coaching

by - Published April 5, 2012 in Columns

Let’s give John Calipari his due as a coach. This would be needed even if Kentucky lost on Monday night, but now that they have done what a team with that talent should do by winning the national championship, we need to give him his due and put an end to all the things that have been said about him to dismiss his coaching ability. It’s time we stopped saying the common lines that have been uttered about him that stop short of giving him credit as a coach.

Let’s stop saying he’s just a great recruiter.

… Continue Reading

Stepping back to look beyond basketball

by - Published December 13, 2011 in Full Court Sprints

This past weekend has reminded us that there are bigger things than basketball. Most teams are off for final exams for some/all of this week, and a major brawl on Saturday also brought out that sentiment. While we’ll have more on the brawl later, right now there’s something else to think about in keeping with the theme.

I’m sure others have said it, but I remember ESPN’s Buster Olney once remarking that when you’re in the media, you become a fan of the game instead of a particular team. It’s very true, and part of that is being a fan of the people involved in the game. This is a people business in every respect, and those who succeed the most in this industry, no matter what capacity they are in, know how to deal with people.

To that end, I give you Ken Dempsey, the associate head coach at New Hampshire. Tuesday is an important day for him.

Dempsey recently shared on the National Coaches’ Diary Series on College Chalktalk that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. On Tuesday, he goes for surgery to address it, and will take an undetermined leave of absence from the basketball team. He is not the first and won’t be the last college coach to have to deal with this dreaded disease, but fortunately the outlook is good and there’s some personal significance.

We all have people who have helped us get where we are. Dempsey has helped many people in that respect in 25 years of coaching at several Division I schools, but it isn’t just players who have benefited from knowing him. I have no better friend in basketball than Ken Dempsey.

When I was an undergraduate at Northeastern, Dempsey joined the basketball staff when Dave Leitao took over as the head coach my freshman year. Dempsey was the first coach I met, and after a badly failed attempt to walk on to the team, he didn’t forget me. I would see him around the gym (back then, Cabot Gym was not only where the team practiced, but also the student recreational facility), especially if I was playing basketball before the team came to practice. He sensed that I liked the game, and encouraged me to join them as a manager. I would stop by the office and have conversations with him and Darryl Hilliard, also an assistant there at the time, and the relationship grew from there.

The next year, I became a manager. My experience in doing that was tremendous for a lot of reasons, from being so close to the game that I love to traveling to places I had never been to understanding what goes into a team’s season. There is not enough space to share how much that helped me to get where I am today, and that’s before I mention some of the things external to my role as a manager. Dempsey gave me access to recruiting reports so I could see what they looked like and start having a feel for the next college stars, and introduced me to Bob Gibbons when he visited Northeastern one time. This was back when there weren’t nearly as many people covering recruiting as there are now, as the Internet was still in its infancy in terms of its effects on athletic media.

That was only the beginning. When Dempsey left Northeastern just before I graduated, we made sure to stay in touch, and have done that. After some time away from the northeast, he’s been back for several years now. Interestingly, I covered what proved to be his last game as an assistant coach at UMKC before coming to New Hampshire – a tough loss in the then-Mid-Continent Conference (now the Summit League) Tournament in Tulsa.

Dempsey is optimistic that his leave from the team will be on the order of weeks. He is well-connected and has been in contact with some people who have dealt with this to learn from their experiences, and has had great support from everyone in Durham. And as he goes in for surgery on Tuesday to start the battle against prostate cancer, I know I am one of many people who is praying for a positive result at the end of all of this.

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

  • About that brawl: Cincinnati and Xavier each suspended four players for their roles in the well-chronicled brawl at the end of Saturday’s meeting between the two teams. Cincinnati suspended Yancy Gates, Cheikh Mbodj and Octavius Ellis for six games each and Ge’Lawn Guyn for one game, while Xavier suspended Dez Wells and Landen Amos for four games each, Mark Lyons for two and Tu Holloway for one.
  • Indiana scored a dramatic win over Kentucky with a buzzer-beater on Saturday. It’s the biggest win for the Hoosiers under Tom Crean.
  • Murray State knocked off Memphis on Sunday night, which improves the Racers to 10-0. But what has unfortunately received a little more buzz from that game than how good the Racers look is Memphis’ public address announcer announcing John Calipari as the Tigers’ head coach, which was greeted with a round of boos.
  • It’s a light week of game action, and Monday night was no exception as the most notable game was probably Oregon’s 79-70 win over Portland State.


Games to watch on Tuesday

  • Wisconsin at Milwaukee, 8 pm EST
  • Belmont at Middle Tennessee, 8 pm EST

SEC Player Rankings

by - Published December 12, 2010 in Columns

All John Calipari does is load teams with winners.

Or at least, so it would seem. The Kentucky coach brought John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton to the Wildcats last season, and they delivered a dominant season and Elite Eight run. This season, Calipari imported Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and Josh Harrelson to keep the Wildcats on top of the SEC and in the discussion for a national championship. … Continue Reading

Kentucky Starts Dancing on Hot Coals

by - Published May 4, 2010 in Columns

Less than 13 months.

When Kentucky hired coach John Calipari in April 2009, skeptics rhetorically asked how long it would take controversy to follow him to Lexington. And now we have the answer.

The Lexington Herald-Leader discovered that of nine SEC teams that reported GPAs for their men’s basketball teams, Kentucky’s squad came in last with a 2.025 GPA for the fall semester. Collectively, that’s a solid C average for every player on the team.

Calipari and the Kentucky athletics department deserve an F.

It’s no secret that Calipari has been present during controversies at past jobs. The NCAA vacated both of his two trips to the Final Four because of ineligible players. In 1996, the NCAA discovered that Marcus Camby had received money from an agent, which compromised his status as an amateur player.

More recently, the NCAA found that a Memphis player — later revealed to be Derrick Rose — had someone else take his SATs in high school. Because of “knowing fraudulence or misconduct,” the NCAA decided that Rose was ineligible even though the fraud was discovered after Memphis’ run to the championship game against Kansas in 2008. In both cases, the NCAA did not peg the blame on Calipari.

Yes, this is America, and we cherish our justice system’s central tenet: People are innocent until proven guilty. But Kentucky athletic officials should know better.

With so much baggage accompanying Calipari to Lexington, it was important for Calipari and Kentucky to have a clean first year. Technically, he’s been on the job for more than a year. But his first academic year with the Wildcats won’t end until June 30. And thanks to some educationally disinterested players, Calipari will have to yet again answer questions about how he runs a program.

But Calipari shouldn’t have to field all of those questions. For a program as financially well endowed as Kentucky’s, it’s impossible to believe that the Wildcat players didn’t have plenty of resources at their disposal to help them with their studies. In addition, there should be at least one person who is responsible for monitoring the weekly and monthly academic progress of each player. More likely, Kentucky has a team of staff members in charge of monitoring academics that is large enough to double as a scout squad at practice.

With tutors, academic advisers and regulators, Kentucky has no excuse for allowing student-athletes to slip into such mediocrity. Calipari delivered a bounty of talented freshmen, many of whom clearly are destined to play in the NBA by fall 2010. That makes it especially shameful that Kentucky’s academic team didn’t keep a watchful eye on the players’ progress.

Not to diminish personal accountability, the players who earned a bunch of C’s and D’s should be embarrassed by their academic indifference. But imagine being an 18- or 19-year-old who constantly hears that he’ll be a millionaire in less than a year. That makes studying for a boring subject’s exam a lot less enticing. College students with far less affluent futures often struggle with their academic discipline when they arrive on campus.

The difference is that most students don’t have the extensive support network that student-athletes have, especially men’s basketball players at Kentucky.

This incident won’t be the downfall of Calipari at Kentucky. But it is an early opportunity for the coach to set the tone for his tenure with the Wildcats.

Kentucky: Calipari Masters the Art of Managing One-and-Done Players

by - Published April 11, 2010 in Columns

NBA point guards Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans’ success stories have only served as encouragement for a decision that didn’t need much thought for Kentucky freshmen John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins after their first college season came to an end: Bye-bye Wildcats, hello NBA lottery.

Rose and Evans, starters for the Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings, respectively, have transitioned fantastically into the pros after spending only one season in school under coach John Calipari at Memphis. Calipari, now with Kentucky, is some kind of first-year player virtuoso. Wall, a point guard, figures to go No. 1 overall, and Cousins, a forward, is expected to be off the board not long after.

And what about the two other Kentucky freshmen and a junior who also declared themselves ready for the NBA? First-round picks, too.

Junior forward Patrick Patterson is the only player who’s left the door open for a return to the Wildcats next season, saying he’s “half in, half out,” while guard Eric Bledsoe and center Daniel Orton look confident in going for the leap. They can all opt to change their minds by May 8 as long as they don’t hire agents, but that seems unlikely. Calipari, while happy for his pupils, will have to work some more recruiting magic to make Kentucky (35-3 in 2009-10) a powerhouse again next season.

Wall was a favorite to go pro even before the season began, and he backed up the hype. His mind-blowing play that generated 16.6 points and 6.5 assists per game led the Wildcats to regular-season and conference tournament championships before they fell to West Virginia in the Elite Eight. He set a single-season school record with 241 assists. Many of those went to Cousins.

Cousins was at his best when not in foul trouble, something he struggled with mightily — along with a temper problem — early in the season. He averaged 15.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per game and book-ended Kentucky’s monster guard/forward duo.

But if it wasn’t Wall or Cousins dominating the game, it was Bledsoe or Orton, the two other excellent freshmen who lived in their teammates’ shadows — hence the mild surprise when they announced the move to the NBA. The speedy Bledsoe averaged 11.9 points per game and was one of the Wildcats’ best three-point threats. Meanwhile, Orton kept Kentucky’s paint safe when Cousins was in foul trouble. He was a shot-blocking machine.

Patterson averaged a career-low 14.3 points per game, which might be one of the reasons he’d like to come back next year, along with the possibility of an NBA lockout. However, he backed out of the NBA Draft last season when many thought he was ready, which only tilts the balance in favor of him leaving this time around.

Patterson’s dipping numbers, down from 17.9 points per game last season, are a reflection of the kind of talent Calipari brought along after signing with Kentucky. A star alongside guard Jodie Meeks last season, Patterson was only the third-leading scorer this season. It’s a misleading statistic because — as with Bledsoe and Orton — if he had been the program’s featured player, he would have been a standout. There would be no “half in, half out” decision to make; it’d be an all-in while holding a full house.

Luckily for Patterson, Bledsoe and Orton, NBA scouts will see beyond their numbers, which should be a huge sigh of relief for Orton and his modest 3.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. They’re as good as gone. Calipari will be left with only five returning players from this season’s team.

But if anyone can rebuild a team, it’s Calipari, someone who transformed a team not good enough to make the NCAA Tournament one year into one of the Big Dance’s No. 1 seeds the next. The coach, who was a Mario Chalmers’ desperation three-pointer away from winning a national championship with Memphis in 2008, lost Rose to the NBA as the No. 1 pick in 2008 only to replace him with Evans in 2009, keeping the Tigers among the elite teams. He then left to Kentucky, where he turned an NIT team into a championship contender.

Calipari’s 2010 recruiting class, as usual, is among one of the top in the nation. Six-foot-10 Turkish center Enes Kanter has verbally committed, as has 6-5 slashing shooting guard Stacey Poole. Kentucky still doesn’t have an answer from point guard Brandon Knight, a crème-of-the-crop recruit, but the Wildcats, along with Kansas and Connecticut, are in the mix for his services.

Having Calipari at the helm certainly won’t hurt the Wildcats in their hunt to replace their departing young guns with other fresh-blooded talent. Kentucky will be back as one of the top teams next season. But before that — and a la North Carolina in 2005 — several Wildcats will hear their name called aloud on June 24, date of the 2010 NBA Draft.

Happy endings for everybody.

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Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 26, 2018

April 27, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we spend a lot of time looking at what the Commission on College Basketball came up with, as their report was just produced. We also look at the NBA Draft and transfers, which have many rosters potentially in flux for next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018 by

In our first podcast in the postseason, we look back one more time on the NCAA Tournament, which was just what we needed at this time. We also look at the NIT, CBI and CIT, as well as important transactions with players leaving early for the NBA Draft and coaching changes.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018 by

The 2018 national championship is in the books, and with it another season of college basketball. We break down the national championship game and some of its implications to wrap up the season.

College Basketball Tonight – April 1, 2018

April 2, 2018 by

Welcome to our Final Four edition of College Basketball Tonight. In this edition, we look ahead to Monday’s national championship game, and bring on two guests – long-time Villanova radio play-by-play broadcaster Ryan Fannon and Radford head coach Mike Jones – to get their thoughts and insights on the game.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 1, 2018

April 1, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we break d own the national semifinals, where one game went back and forth while the other was never really a ballgame thanks to an impressive performance for the ages by the winning team.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.