Monthly Archives: July 2009

#59…Seth Greenberg..Va Tech

Coach Greenberg has done an admirable job at Va Tech, taking a team that was a bottom feader in the Big East into a solid ACC squad year in and year out. In fact he was won ACC coach of the year twice, in 2005 and 2008.

At age 53, it does appear this is Greenberg’s last high major option, and in the ACC area and close to Big East country as well, it is tough for Greenberg to land eltie talent. While it always appears Va Tech gets mentioned on impressive school list, Greenberg has had trouble breaking through, to no fault his own.

Greenberg is a solid coach who will run a stable program for years to come.

Reggie Redding

philly.com

Villanova guard Redding charged with pot possession

Villanova guard Reggie Redding was arrested early Tuesday morning on campus and charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to Radnor Township police.

Redding, 21, was released and issued a summons to appear in court.

Villanova Public Safety officers told Radnor police that a traffic sign had been struck by a car. The car was found parked in one of the dorm lots and later identified through the student database as being owned by Redding.

The Public Safety officers interviewed Redding, who subsequently removed from the car two plastic bags containing suspected marijuana and a grinding device. Field tests indicated the bags contained marijuana.

Villanova officials did not return messages last night.

Redding, from St. Joseph’s Prep, averaged 7.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists as the Wildcats reached the Final Four.

#60…Craig Robinson..Oregon State

I almost positive I am selling Coach Robinson and the brother in law of Obama short here, and he will prove it again this season. However, there is not much of a track record yet to push him further.

Brown (Ivy League) (2006–2008)
2006–2007 Brown 11-18 6-8 5th
2007–2008 Brown 19-10 11-3 2nd CBI First Round
Brown: 30-28 17-11
Oregon State (Pacific 10) (2008–-)
2008–2009 Oregon State 18-18 7-11 8th CBI Champions

What he accomplsihed last season was nothing short of a miracle. Further more, Robinson is proving he can get it done on the recruiting trail. Talent is the #1 thing the OSU program has been missing for years and it will come with Robinson.

At age 47, it is possible that this is not his last stop.

ACC Preview

This should be a crazy league this season, from 3 to 9 it was incredible difficult to rank and that grouping is almost interchangeable at any spot.

1. North Carolina – Even with all of the losses, there isn’t much debate. Carolina still will return; Marcus Ginyard, Ed Davis, Deon Thompson and Larry Drew. Coupled with an impressive recruiting haul consisting of; Leslie McDonald, John Henson, Dexter Strickland, and the Wear twins. The twins might be overrated depending on who you ask, the rest, legit. Simply stated, there still is a whole lot of talent and Roy Williams will have his guys ready. A lot will depend on Ed Davis’ development to a go to guy.

2. Duke – Yes, they have almost no back court left to speak of, and we know the front court has not been a strong point in recent years. But Coach K is still around, and in conference play, that can be enough for this spot. Andre Dawkins is enrolling early to provide a lift in the back court next to Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith. This will be Kyle Singler’s team and he must step up in all facets of his game to keep Duke near the top of the league. Zoubek, Thomas, Ryan Kelly and the Plumlee’s are bodies up front, how good is the question. Almost all must get stronger and more explosive. Losing their two best athletes this off season will not being doing the Blue Devils any favors. Due to Coach K and Cameron Indoor, I slot them 2nd, but that may be subject to change.

3. Wake Forest – Despite the losses of Jeff Teague and James Johnson, Wake returns a nice core. Star in the making Al Farouq Aminu returns a long with Chas McFarland, Ish Smith, LD Williams, Tony Woods and Ty Walker. Also added are Ari Stewart and CJ Harris. It did appear opponents figured Wake out a bit at the end of Dino Gaudio’s first year, but they should be in for a nice season again resulting in a tournament birth.

4. Maryland – There is still not much of a question Gary Williams can X and O. Talent has been the problem, and while it still is lacking, it all returns this season. Greivis Vasquez, who can be terribly inconsistent, must become more under control this season. The Terps found their way last season, and while they still may drop a game or two to below average teams, they should find more consistency this season.

5. Clemson – Oliver Purnell returns one of the league’s best post players in Trevor Booker and adds highly touted freshmen Milton Jennings. The losses of KC Rivers and Terrence Ogelsby in the backcourt will hurt, forcing improvements from Demontez Stitt and Andre Young. Purnell should find a way to gather wins as he has since he came to Clemson.

6. Georgia Tech – While they finished dead last a year ago, #6 may be selling the team short this season. Derrick Favors is an absolute stud and a top 3 pick whenever he chooses so. Gani Lawal, another future pro also returns along with standout guard Iman Shumpert. Mfon Udofa will add a toughness and solid demeanor to this team. The talent retiring is above average and the incoming class is very good. Potential to be this years Wake Forest.

7. Virginia Tech – Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen should provide a great inside out punch for Seth Greenberg’s team. The only substantial loss of the 19 win team is leading scorer AD Vassalo. Defensively they must improve to make a jump in the conference. The four player incoming class appears solid and balanced.

8. Florida State – Gone is Toney Douglas, the main reason FSU is only 8 here. They certainly have talent, but during Leonard Hamilton’s tenure, that has always not been capitalized. This team has length and a lot of it in, Solomon Alabi, Chris Singleton, Xavier Gibson and incoming Michael Snaer. Derwin Kitchen must prove to be a reliable back court player to equal last seasons success.

9. Boston College – Al Skinner will have to uncover more diamonds in the rough this season as he has done in the past. Gone is floor leader and playmaker Tyrese Rice. Returning is a solid group of; Rakim Sanders, Joe Trapani, Corey Raji, Reggie Jackson and Josh Southern among others. While there may be no top flight talent here, Skinner always gets the most out of his guys. For that reason, I very well maybe selling this team short.

10. Miami – Like BC, Miami losses a top scoring guard, Jack McClinton. Talent does remain for Frank Haith in the form of; Dwayne Collins, DeQuan Jones, Cyrus McGowan and James Dews as a core. McClinton’s spot may be filled by incoming, Durand Scott from NYC. Another solid addition is Donovan Kirk.

11. Virginia – There is no doubt, Sylven Landesberg is a rising star in the conference, problem is, for new coach Tony Bennett there is not much else around him. Incoming freshmen, Tristan Spurlock is a start. Returning players include; Jamil Tucker, Mike Scott, Calvin Baker and Sammy Zeglinski. Similar to Rutgers in the Big East, their young star may be good enough to win a few on his own, the rest will be up to the supporting cast.

12. NC State- Sidney Lowe appeared to have things moving in the right direction two years ago in the ACC Tournament. Since then there have only been disappointments. Now gone are; Costner, McCauley and Fells. Three important pieces. Bright spots are available, in the form Tracy Smith and Javier Gonzalez. Smith is a very intriguing prospect with great athleticism. Help is also on the way; Deshawn Painter and Richard Howell lead a solid recruiting class. But in a middle heavy league, NC State is just on the outside looking in currently.

#61…Mike Lonergan..Vermont

Overall Record by Season
Team Wins Losses Pct
08-09 Vermont 24 8 0.75
07-08 Vermont 16 15 0.516
06-07 Vermont 25 8 0.758
05-06 Vermont 13 17 0.433

I would likely take Broadus to start my program out of any coach out of America East, but Lonergan can not be ignored. He has taken over from Coach Tom Brennan and capitalized off his success. Vermont has been a quality program as of late, well disciplined on the court. He spent the 2004-5 season as an assistant under Gary Williams at Maryland so he has experienced the high major level, and at 43 might be something he will look into soon.

Lavoy Allen Interview

Lavoy Allen will enter his junior season with little fan fare at Temple. Gone is star Dionte Christmas, and his scoring outbursts. A void will be left, and Allen will do his best to fill it, chances are, he will. Lavoy had high major offers out of High School but chose hometown Temple. On first glance Allen appears almost out of place in the A10, he has a Big East frame and game. He stands in at 6’9 225 and shows good footwork, great touch and hands and a very high basketball IQ.

Allen as a sophomore, according to kenpom.com, ranked 30th in the country in offensive rating. Truly an elite number, better yet he came in 18th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage. In Allen’s last ten games, he hit double digits on the glass in nine. For the year, he averaged 11 points and 9 rebounds a game. To boot, he shot 58% from the field, showed three point range and averaged two assists a game.

Allen came to Temple in hopes of restoring a proud program. In turn, they have made the NCAA tournament in both of his first two years, both resulting in first round exits. “The next step is to get further in the tournament and make some noise. We’ve done a good job of rebuilding since (John) Chaney left, but we have to take Temple back to the old days.” Lavoy described some goals for next season, “To make the tournament again and win a couple games. We have a really great out of conference schedule, so it’s an exciting year. Individually to do the best I can, maybe lead the league in rebounds. Whatever I can do to win, but a main focus is rebounding.”

Rebounding is an obvious strength of Lavoy’s game, posting double digit rebounds in 9 of his final 10 games last season. “It’s pretty much all about position. I see when my teammates have a shot and then go get it. Either by boxing out or sneaking behind.”

Lavoy describes himself as a quiet person by nature, but this year must embrace a leadership role, “At the end of the season, coach called my into his office and let me know there will be more opportunities this year and I’m now one of the more experienced guys. I’ve been known as a quiet kid, so I might have to force it sometimes. In tough situations when my team is down, I’m going to have to pick them up.” Being a quiet kid and a 2nd option the past two seasons, can be seen in the amount of touches Allen has had. This year he must be more assertive and he feels he can adapt, “It was mental. I would give open shots or miss a couple and be afraid to shoot again. This year everyone is looking for me to score more.” Scoring the ball for Lavoy, will be done inside and outside. Lavoy stepped out to the perimeter more frequently last season and will continue to do so, “The main thing I’m working on is extending my range. Getting more arc on my shot to get better inside and out.”

To expand his game to the next level, it’s a change Lavoy feels will be needed, though he will always be a post player. “Being my size, I do need to work on more of an outside game. I don’t have an average build of a 4 in the NBA. So I need to work on my ballhandling, too. I started playing in High School my sophomore year so I didn’t follow much NBA, but lately I try to model myself after Lamar Odom a little.”

To get to that point, Lavoy is currently in Boston working out several hours a day and will remain in Boston for the next four weeks. “I’ve been working really hard in the weight room and on my shot. We have individual workouts, pickup and weight room time.” Lavoy arrived in Boston after taking summer courses back at Temple.

For the Owls this season, an improvement must be made on both sides of the ball. “Offensively we didn’t move the ball as much as we should. Plays broke down a lot. Defensively we took some possessions off and we need to do a better job of helping out and rotating.” Filling the loss of Christmas will not be an individual task either. “It would be impossible to fill that scoring with one person. We all have to give a little bit more. And the loss of Sergio (Almos), those are big shoes to fill.” Lavoy pointed out a few players capable, “Ryan Brooks is going to be a senior and I know he’s been working hard this summer. Micheal Eric has a chance to step in, with Almos leaving there are a lot of minutes left there. And Ramone Moore played a few games for us last year before he was ineligible but he’s known as a scorer.”

The A10 appears to be in for a solid year. Lavoy sees Xaiver and Dayton coming in as the favorites, but in a wide open league with a lot of returning players. “Xavier is always there, Dayton has lot of guys back that played well in the tournament. Richmond has all there guys back, Umass, it should be another tough year.” With Lavoy Allen on Temple’s side, there is no question it will be a tough year for the opposition.

Phoenix

Some good talent in Phoenix for the next couple days..

Josh Smith
Tony Wroten
Terrence Jones
Quinn Cook and Chris Martin
Joe Jackson
Jelan Kendrick (not playing..bumped knees with an opponent in vegas and informed he will be resting it)

The Memphis Magic are fresh off their win in Vegas, but may find more of a test here without Jelan suiting up.

many more talented players in attendance. updates to follow.

#62…Gary Waters..Cleveland State

Kent State (Mid-American Conference) (1996–2001)
1996-1997 Kent State 9-18 7-11 7th
1997–1998 Kent State 13-17 9-9 T-2nd
1998–1999 Kent State 23-7 13-5 2nd NCAA, First Round
1999–2000 Kent State 23-8 13-5 2nd NIT, Quarterfinals
2000–2001 Kent State 24-10 13-5 2nd NCAA, Second Round
Kent State: 92-60 55-35
Rutgers (Big East Conference) (2001–2006)
2001–2002 Rutgers 18-13 8-8 5th NIT, First Round
2002–2003 Rutgers 12-16 4-12 7th
2003–2004 Rutgers 20-13 7-9 9th NIT, Championship Game
2004–2005 Rutgers 10-19 2-14 12th
2005–2006 Rutgers 19-14 7-9 10th NIT, First Round
Rutgers: 79-75 28-52
Cleveland State (Horizon League) (2006–present)
2006–2007 Cleveland State 10-21 3-13 9th
2007–2008 Cleveland State 21-13 12-6 T-2nd NIT, First Round
2008–2009 Cleveland State 26-11 12-6 T-3rd NCAA, Second Round

Waters left Kent State to take a difficult job in the Big East with Rutgers, which looking back now, it appears he did not do a completely awful job. At age 57, he now has found a home in Cleveland and will likely retire there.

Remembering Lance Stephenson

“Admiration and familiarity are strangers”

The leading scorer in New York state history. Led the Lincoln High team to four city championships in four years. Built like a tank at 6’5, with scoring ability, great court vision and a unique feel for the game, Lance Stephenson accomplished all one can do on the high school basketball level.

Forget about, “Born Ready”, forget about Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair and even Jesus Shuttlesworth. The Under Armour tour, sexual assault case and the dismissal from the U18 USA Team can not be forgotten or ignored, but for a few minutes put those most recent memories in the rear view.

People tend to love success, to then only tear it down and watch it collapse away. Lance Stephenson was discovered before he became a teenager and his name was at the forefront of high school basketball for the past five years. Over time when you hear and see about one so often, you begin to pick out the weaknesses, you look for why he might fail, instead of why he will succeed. For comparison, OJ Mayo was deemed a selfish, arrogant player headed to USC and into the NBA, thoughts changed as those who once fell in love with his game, fell in it right all over again.

We will see that with Lance Stephenson this year, as long as he leaves his past troubles behind. They are legitimate concerns, from the sexual assault case to having his own reality show on the Internet. Perhaps we’ve just seen too much of Lance and only the negative lately. Perhaps, his father, “Stretch” became too involved and got in the way of what was most apparent all this time, the kid is a damned good basketball player.

We’ve long forgotten now about Lance standing toe to toe with OJ Mayo at ABCD camp. The reported 5:30 am workouts on Coney Island, which have included running two miles in sand, 500 push ups and sprinting up 15 flights of stairs in a Coney Island housing project. How thought? Lance still was at the forefront winning state titles and breaking records, outdoing what Telfair and Marbury once accomplished.

“The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity”

At 6’5 220, Lance can seemingly play the 1-3 with ease, his handle, jumper and passing ability have been well advanced for his age for years now. Selfishness is an issue he must rid himself of on the court, as well as the bickering. When he does, he can match any player in the country in his class, yes, even John Wall. Does his game translate as well to the NBA? No, but then again, it’s not about that. Lance will offer Cincinnati a play maker to go next to Deonta Vaughn and take pressure off he and Yancy Gates. If Mick Cronin can channel his new stars abilities into a team focus and concept, the sky is the limit. This is not some egotistical player that has only looked out for self over the years, Lance’s ability to conform into a team game and find his spots has forever shown as a strength of his game.

“Here I am again. And the familiarity feels more uncomfortable than comfortable. It’s time to make a change. And, now, I have what we need to make it.”

Lance could have found his way to Queens and played for the local Johnnies, where he instantly could have become their top player and leading scorer. At UC, neither may be guaranteed this coming season. At home, there would have been plenty of distractions from family and friends, to the local media that has grown familiar with Lance. In Ohio, there still will be media surrounding Lance, as there would be in Montana, but all else there will be is basketball. What gained him his fame will be most prevalent. He can be a piece to the puzzle, a piece to push the Bearcats into the NCAA Tournament. Why was it Mick Cronin that took the shot? Perhaps all other coaches did indeed back out of the sweepstakes, looking to avoid any trouble. They may turn out to be correct, and Cronin gets burned by this chance. What is Tyreke Evans known for more currently, the shooting in which he was involved and his at times selfish high school play, or becoming a NBA lottery pick while leading Memphis to a terrific season?

“You need to have a redesign because familiarity breeds a kind of complacency.”

Is it wrong to offer an 18 year old a shot, to make good on his wrongs? Lance has been given his opportunity, and must make good on it. For he, his family, for New York, for Mick Cronin and the UC program. That pressure has always been there, something Lance has embraced time and time again.

But for once, New York do not anticipate and force the next star of Coney Island and the NYC blacktop. For his father, Stretch, enjoy the ride, Lance’s talent has and always will speak for itself. Mick Cronin, take a stand, do not let a one and done freshmen run wild. Teach, coach, inspire. You have a wonderful talent on your hands, if you can have him see the bigger picture and team basketball it will only be enhanced. For the basketball world and followers, take a look at what Lance is and always has been on the court. The off court incidents will take care of themselves, for right or wrong. Lastly, for Lance. Understand what is right, the world is at his feet, he must decide on and off the court how to approach every day life and find success. Something he has done and we have forgotten. Odds are, he will remind us.

#63..Steve Fisher. San Diego State

Of Fab Five fame, Steve Fisher has found a home with the Aztecs and has produced a consistent winner recently.

1999-00 San Diego State 5-23 0-14
2000-01 San Diego State 14-14 4-10
2001-02 San Diego State 21-12 7-7 NCAA 1st Round
2002-03 San Diego State 16-14 6-8 NIT 2nd Round
2003-04 San Diego State 14-16 5-9
2004-05 San Diego State 11-18 4-10
2005-06 San Diego State 24-9 13-3 NCAA 1st Round
2006-07 San Diego State 22-11 10-6 NIT 2nd Round
2007-08 San Diego State 20-13 9-7 NIT 1st Round
2008-09 San Diego State 26-10 11-5 NIT Final Four

At age 64, this will be his last stop and he is making it a good one. Getting talent has never been much of an issue for Fisher and at SDSU has coached some standouts such as Brandon Heath and Lorenzo Wade among others. Perhaps a younger coach Fisher could find his way higher up this list, but he is solid nonetheless. It will be a rebuilding job this season losing numerous starters, and Fisher will rely on defense to get the job done, which his Aztecs ranked 24th in nationally last season.

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