Friday, July 30, 2010

Downey Brothers Team Up for ESG Gold

They might not be quite as accomplished as the Thompson brothers (current NBA Sacramento king Jason Thompson and younger brother Ryan, who is hoping for his own professional career) of Rider, but the Downey brothers aren't that far behind.

Call former Canisius standout Kevin Downey and current Siena junior Kevin Downey the "second family" of the MAAC.

For those with short memories, Kevin was one of the better players to wear a Canisius uniform, a versatile 6-3 guard who scored 1,578 career points there while averaging 3/5 assists and 4.3 rebounds over his 116-game four-year career that concluded with the 2005-06 season.

Kevin has been a key reserve for Siena for the past two season, although his sophomore season was injury plagued. Now healthy, he appears to be in contention for a starting role in 2010-11 or, at worse, be the team's top backcourt reserve.

But, with an age gap of six years, the Downey brothers had never before played together as teammates at any level.

That changed recently when they teamed up as members of the Western region's men's basketball team in the Empire State Games held in Buffalo. The result was that they helped the Western squad capture the event's championship.

Prior to the Games your blogger talked to Kyle Downey about the upcoming Games, and the Siena player admitted he was very much looking forward to playing there.

"It will be fun to play with Kevin," said Kyle. "I'm pretty sure he'll defer to me when we play. I'm still building my college career. He's pretty much done with competitive situations."

Kyle wound up as his team's leading scorer in the Games, including a 21-point effort in an 86-81 victory over a team from the Adirondack region in the July 25 championship game. Kevin, playing through an ankle sprain, added six points and four assists in that contest.

The brothers had hoped to play together in the 2008 Games, but Kyle was recovering from a back injury and was unable to participate. The Empire Games were cancelled in 2009 due to budgetary concerns.

"We're usually fighting with each other and now we're trying to play with each other," Kyle told the Buffalo News. "We had no choice but to get along but it was a lot of fun."

"Being a six- or seven-year age difference it's the first time we've been able to play on a team together," Kevin said. "It's a little different, but it was definitely good. We both knew what the other was doing so it was a good feeling."

Kevin works as a sales rep for G&G Fitness in Rochester and in the past served as an assistant coach for Nazareth College. He didn't coach this year so he could watch Kyle play at Siena.

"This is the first summer I've been healthy enough to play with him and it helps that we're brothers because we both know what we're doing," Kyle said. "Usually we don't have a lot of practices so the team with the best chemistry usually goes far. Basically, me and Kevin have the same game."

And, now, they each have an Empire State Games gold medal.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Niagara Men/Women Recruiting Update

Here's the latest installment looking at incoming players to conference programs.

Up now ...


Skylar Jones, 6-3 guard, Mount Vernon H.S. of Alexandria, Va.

He averaged 19 points, six rebounds and three steals per game this past season.

“Pun intended, the sky is the limit for Skylar," said Niagara coach Joe Mihalich. "He’s athletic, rangy and can do a lot of good things.”

Marvin Jordan, 5-11 guard, Manual H.S., Peoria, Ill.

No senior season statistics available. He averaged 11 points and 4.1 assists per game as a junior.

A true point guard who originally committed to Ball State but that school controversially withdrew its scholarship offer this spring when denied Jordan admission to the school for what it termed academic reasons. Jordan's high school coach, though, contends, Ball State pulled Jordan's scholarship to give it to a player it liked better.

Malcolm Lemmons, 6-3 guard, Gonzaga H.S., Washington, D.C.

Lemmons averaged 11.1 points anbd 6.3 rebounds per game this past season.

Accounts in D.C.-area newspapers actually list Lemmons at 6-4 and his position as a wing forward. He played at Gonzaga alongsise two other highly recruited guards, Duke-bound Tyler Thornton and Richmond signee Cedrick Lindsay.“He kind of played in the shadows of those guys,” Mihalich said. “We got a steal.”

Antoine Mason, 6-2 guard, New Rochelle, N.Y.

Mason averaged 18.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game this past season.

The well-built Mason is the son of former NBA player Anthony Mason and, reportedly, has his dad's well-regarded work ethic. "He is a hard-shell guy, extremely competitive," said Mihalich. "The bigger the game, the tougher he gets.”

Joe Thomas, 6-7 forward, Michael M. Krop H.S., Miami, Fla.

He averaged 13 points, 11 rebounds and four assists per game this past season.

Thomas is already a strong inside player at 220 pounds. "He's an inside, back-to-the-basket player whose rate of improvement has been astronomical considering he hadn’t played much basketball up until the ninth grade,” Krop coach Marcos “Shakey” Rodriguez said. “Wide body, long arms, does most of his damage close to the basket. When he fills out, he’ll be about 240, 245 pounds. He’s very athletic, raw, still in the developing stages. Excellent rebounder, has to improve his shooting. He runs the floor, he can guard perimeter players. He loves the game and works hard. I think his best days are ahead of him.”

ANALYSIS: Niagara lost three standout perimeter players in Bilal Benn, Rob Garrison and Tyrone Lewis, so it's only natural that it would reload with an incoming group mostly devoted to perimeter performers. Jordan, according to reports, should be a nice addition to the program. Mason is also likely to be an immediate contributor.


Jazmyne Frost, 6-1 forward, Charles F. Brush H.S., South Euclid, Ohio

She averaged 8.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game this past season.

"Jazmyne is a great athlete who will to battle on the boards for us,” said Niagara coach Kendra Faustin. “She will bring energy every time she steps on the court with her intensity, passion and emotion.”

Lauren Gatto, 6-2 center, Illinois-Chicago College

Gatto is a transfer after averaging 3.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game this past season for Illinois-Chicago.

Gatto will sit out the 2010-11 season and will have three remaining seasons of eligibility beginning in 2011-12. She played a game against Niagara this past season, grabbing a career-high seven rebounds in the contest. “Lauren is incredibly talented offensively,” Faustin said. “She will add a scoring and rebounding presence to our post game.”

Kaitlin Gattuso, 6-1 forward, Seton La Salle H.S. of Pittsburgh

No senior season statistics available, but she averaged 15.7 points and 14.0 rebounds as a junior.

“Katie is the epitome of a team player,” Faustin said. “She is a great passer, rebounder and a true competitor.”

Chanel Johnson, 5-10 guard, Plainfield (N.J.) H.S.

Johnson averaged 21 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals per game this past season at Plainfield.

“Chanel is an athletic scorer and rebounder who can really defend,” Faustin said. “She will be an asset on both ends of the floor.”

Noelle Zletni, 5-10 point guard, St. Theresa of Lisieux School in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

No statistics available.

Zletni has been part of the 2008 and 2009 Nike All Canada Prospect Camp Top 20 and was selected to the Team Ontario U-17 Development Team in 2008. Zletni was recently selected to play in the 2010 All Canada Classic at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, an event equivalent to the McDonald’s All-American Game. Zletni was a member of the Classic’s “Rising Star” team as a sophomore and junior and will now be featured on the “Rumble” team this season.

“Noelle is a versatile combo guard,” Faustin said. “Her mid-range game is remarkable and she is great at getting others shots, too.”

ANALYSIS: Niagara was the surprise team of the conference last season, and a strong incoming group should keep the Purple Eagles moving forward. Sources indicate that Zletni could be an immediate contributor, and that Gatto, who will sit out this season as a transfer, will also be a nice addition eventually.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nolan Named Women's Coach at Lafayette

She's Back.

That would be Dianne Nolan, the longtime women's coach at Fairfield. Nolan, in case you missed it, is in charge of a program again, this time at Lafayette of the Patriot League. Nolan was introduced as the Leopards' head coach last month.

The veteran and well-decorated coach had been an assistant at Yale for the past three seasons. Prior to that she had directed Fairfield's program for 28 years before her dismissal after the 2006-07 season.

At Fairfield she guided the Stags to five MAAC championship titles and four NCAA tournament appearances. She is one of just two MAAC coaches to record more than 400 victories. Nolan ran up a 439-324 record at Fairfield while that school was a conference member from 1981-82 through the 2006-07 season. Only former Saint Peter's coach Mike Granelli had more wins (483) while coaching a MAAC team.

Nolan's program, though, had six straight seasons without going over the .500 mark prior to her dismissal from Fairfield.

"I am extremely excited for the opportunity to coach the women's basketball team at Lafayette College," said Nolan, at the time of her hiring by Lafayette. "The real meaning and purpose of intercollegiate athletics can be found on College Hill. I look forward to continuing Lafayette's tradition of athletic excellence as we move the program to the top echelon of the league and beyond."

Nolan's 28 overall seasons at Fairfield involved that program's transition to the Division I level in 1981. Her time there remains the ninth-longest head coaching stint at one school in NCAA Division I women's basketball history. She was named the MAAC's Coach of the Year five times, the most recent being after a 25-6 finish in the 2000-01 season.

And, there's another MAAC connection on the new Lafayette staff.

After her hiring, Nolan added Shireyll Moore to her staff as an assistant.

Moore played four seasons 2005-06 through 2008-09 at Fairfield, the first two of those when Nolan was still the coach there.

A native of Mount Vernon, N.Y., Moore is the daughter of Lowes Moore, who played parts of three seasons in the NBA in the early 1980s and several more years in the Continental Basketball Association.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Women's Title Game Gets Nat'l Audience

Not only will the MAAC basketball women's tournament's championship game have a new date (on Monday, instead of its traditional Sunday slot, as reported in early June), but it was announced today that it will be broadcast to a national audience.

The women's title contest will televised on ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network. It will be live coverage of the game that will be played this coming season on Monday, March 7 at 1 p.m. at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn.

Since 1991, when the men’s and women’s championships were moved to the same site, the women’s championship game has been played on Sunday during the MAAC Basketball Championships. The format change, which gives the women’s championship game participants a day off following the semifinals, was approved by the MAAC Council of Presidents in June.

“It’s a great opportunity for the MAAC to move its premier championship game from a regional network to a national platform like ESPNU,” said MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor. “We look forward to the network’s 72.5 million viewers tuning in for MAAC Women’s Basketball.”

This will be just the second MAAC Women’s Basketball Championship Game shown nationally and the first since March 3, 1996, when the game appeared on ESPN2. Manhattan defeated Fairfield, 92-66, at Knickerbocker Arena (now Times Union Center) in Albany, N.Y. to claim its third of four titles.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Canisius Men/Women Recruiting Recap

Here's the latest list of recruits, and an analysis, of players joining men's and women's MAAC programs for the coming season.

Up now ...



Marial Dhal, 7-3 center, Hillsboro (Tampa, Fla.) Community College

Dhal averaged 3.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.1 blocks per game as a sophomore at Hillsboro CC last season.

He has two remaining seasons of eligibility. He will not only be the tallest player in Canisius history, but the tallest ever to play in the MAAC.

"Marial is someone who can change a game for obvious reasons," said Canisius coach Tom Parrotta said. "At 7-foot-3, he'll provide us with a versatility defensively that not a lot of teams enjoy. He can run and rebound effectively and it will be our job to catch his offensive game up to his defensive game. He's a big, long individual, obviously. Can he play? What we look for is can he run and can he catch the ball, and he can do those things. Can he defend? Absolutely. He can block shots and can change things defensively. Is his defense ahead of his offense? Absolutely."

Chris Manhertz, 6-5 forward, Cardinal Spellman H.S., NYC

Manhertz averaged 18.5 points and 13 rebounds and four blocked shots per game this past season.

"He fits the mold of what we look for out of the forward position," said Parrotta. "Chris is a very tough competitor with good size and a great motor. He can change ends of the floor very well, and we expect him to excel in the system we have in place here at Canisius. If there's anything around the rim, he'll get there. He's a very physical player, but he needs to expand his game a little. Rim-rattling dunks are great, but he needs to expand beyond that. From a strength standpoint, though, he's college-ready."

Ashton Khan, a 6-1 guard, Brewster Academy, Wolfeboro, N.H.

Kahn, a native of Scarborough, Ont., averaged 10.0 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game this past season.

"He's a pivotal piece for us," said Parrotta. "He is extremely quick. He might not be quite as quick as Frank Turner was for us, but he's not far behind ... and that's quick. His speed and athleticism will compliment our offensive and defensive systems immediately. We fully expect him to contribute from day one."

Gaby Belardo, 6-2 point guard, South Florida University

Belardo is a transfer from South Florida of the Big East where he played just 50 total minutes and scored 13 points in 18 games as a freshman in the 2008-09 season.

He practiced with Canisius this past season and is eligible to play for the coming season. He has three remaining years of eligibility. "He didn't play much at South Florida, and didn't play for us last season so he's got two years of playing rust that we hope he can shake off very quickly," said Parrotta. 'But there were many days (at practice) when our coaches looked at each other and said that he was our best player on the floor. He can play."

David Santiago, a 6-4 guard, transfer from American University in Bayamon, Puerto Rico

Santiago averaged 14 points, five rebounds and two assists per game at the Puerto Rico school this past season playing against other member schools in the Inter University League of Puerto Rico.

As a transfer Santiago will sit out the current season but will able to practice with Canisius. He will have three seasons of eligibility beginning with the 2011-12 season. "We are thrilled to have David join our program,” Parrotta said. “He is very athletic and he can really shoot the ball. What we really like is that he understands the game and he will have this year to get bigger and stronger. I feel that he will contribute greatly to our team when he is eligible to play.”

ANALYSIS: Canisius has four solid veterans returning to the starting lineup, but need Belardo to step in as Turner's replacement at point guard and really contribute if it hopes to move into the conference's upper level this season. And, indications are that Belardo, who can produce points himself but is reported to be more of a distributor than Turner, can do that. Manhertz and Khan should both provide considerable athleticism off the bench. Obviously, the 7-3 Dhal is an intriguing newcomer but appears more of a role player than a program changer.


Jennifer Lennox, 6-3 foward, Kitchener, Ontario

No statistics available for Lennox, who spent a year with the National Elite Development Academy. She was also a member of the Team Canada squad, along with current Golden Griffin Stephanie MacDonald, that participated in the U19 World Championships in Thailand last summer

“At 6-foot-3 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan, Jen is a difficult matchup as she can post up and play on the perimeter,” said Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. “We’re looking forward to taking advantage of those skills and using her in a variety of ways.”

Jennifer Morabito, 5-9 guard, Binghamton, (N.Y.) H.S.

No senior season stats available, but she averaged 19.5 points per game as a junior.

"I’ve watched Jen’s development during her career, and I’ve always been impressed with her tremendous work ethic and dedication to the game,” Zeh said. “She brings with her an outstanding skill package that will help us in a variety of ways.”

Jamie Ruttle, 6-3 foward, Notre Dame High School, Burlington, Ontario

No 2009-10 stats available, but Ruttle averaged 22 points per game in the 2008-09 season.

“Jamie has tremendous hands and great feet, and at 6-foot-3 it makes her very difficult to guard in the post,” Zeh said. “When you couple that with her improved ability to shoot the 3-point shot, we’re excited to see her continued development.”

Courtney Bovenkamp, 6-1 forward, General Amherst School, Amherstburg, Ontario

No 2009-10 stats available, but she averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds per game in the 2008-09 season.

VandeBovenkamp has played four seasons at General Amherst and was her league's MVP for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. “Courtney’s skill package for her height allows her to score in a variety of ways,” Zeh said. “She has a craftiness about her game that is very mature for her age.”

ANALYSIS: Lennox was recruited at higher levels, including by Wisconsin, mostly because of her height. With two 6-3 front-court players joining the program there might eventually be a change in the Golden Griffin's reliance on 3-point shooting at some point. Canisius graduated its top two scorers and three of its top four point-getters, so the incoming recruits are likely to get a good look and an opportunity to get into the playing group. Morabito appears to be the primary candidate for early playing time, although Lennox's length almost ensures that she'll be able to contribute relative soon, too.

Loyola's Patsos Another "Ring Bearer"

OK, so your blogger missed at least one "ring bearer" among those with MAAC connections.

That would be current Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos, who owns an NCAA national championship ring, courtesy of being an assistant at Maryland for that program's run to the title in 2002.

That reminder comes courtesy of astute MAAC follower Jerry Sherry, a longtime fan primarily of the Siena basketball program.

And, your blogger should have known better to to have overlooked Patsos. As a media member, I covered the first-round game Siena played against Maryland that season. Two years later, Patsos was in the MAAC, beginning his tenure that turned around Loyola's program.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ring-holder Padgett joins Manhattan

There's another "ring' in the MAAC with Manhattan's hiring of Scott Padgett as an assistant coach.

That's "ring" as in an NCAA national championship ring.

Padgett earned his as a key member of Kentucky's 1998 national championship team.

Your blogger believes the only other individual currently working within a conference program with a national championship ring is new Siena coach Mitch Buonaguro, who earned his as an assistant coach on the 1985-86 Villanova national title winner.

Two other former MAAC coaches, both assistants with Buonaguro on Rollie Massimino's Villanova Staff, also have national championship rings. That would be former Manhattan coach Steve Lappas and former Canisius coach Marty Marbach.

If readers can remember any other national championship ring holders either currently or formerly affiliated with a conference program, please leave that information in a "comment."

As for Padgett, he comes to Manhattan after spending last season as an assistant strength coach on the staff at Kentucky, his alma mater.

"I have always wanted to be a head coach in college, so this is a great first step for me to coach basketball in New York City and learn every aspect of running a program from recruiting, to coaching in practice and the day-to-day operations," explained Padgett, in a release issued by Manhattan. "I am very excited to start the next chapter of my basketball career."

Padgett was a 1st Round draft pick selected 28th overall by the Utah Jazz in 1999 and spent eight years in the league. Padgett recorded 1,142 points in four years with the Jazz, before spending the next two seasons with the Houston Rockets. The Louisville, Ky., native played the 2005-06 season with the New Jersey Nets. Padgett began the 2006-07 season with the Rockets before being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, where he finished out his career.

Padgett played at Kentucky from 1995-99. He helped lead the Wildcats to the 1998 NCAA National Championship, where he was named to the NCAA All-Final Four team, as well as the NCAA All-East Regional team and All-SEC during the regular season. In 1997, Padgett helped Kentucky to the NCAA championship game and was named to the All-Final Four team.

Padgett scored 1,252 points over his career, which ranks 32nd on Kentucky's all-time list.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hasbrouck Has Big Summer Loop Game

Starting lineup for the 2010-11 Miami Heat ...

At forward: Chris Bosh and LeBron James.
At center; Udonis Haslem.
At shooting guard: Dwayne Wade.

And, at point guard .... Kenny Hasbrouck?

That's Kenny Hasbrouck, a 2009 graduate of Siena and the MAAC's Player of the Year for the 2008-09 season.

Realistically, there's a long way between now and the regular season and a lot of eyes to open for anyone to believe the above scenario.

In truth, the best that can be said about Hasbrouck right now is that he's chasing a spot on the Heat's 13-man come opening night.

But, he's definitely off to a good start.

Hasbrouck is playing with Miami's Summer League team in the Las Vegas summer session for NBA teams. Playing primarily with other non-roster players, Hasbrouck led all scorers with 24 points (10-of-15 shooting), while adding three rebounds and an assist.

His sharp cross-court pass in the closing seconds to undrafted Jon Scheyer from Duke set Scheyer up for a go-ahead 3-pointer in the Heat's 77-72 victory over the New Orleans Hornets Sunday night.

The game was televised, and your blogger watched a good portion. Hasbrouck looks to have added a few pounds of well-defined muscle since his Siena days and looks considerably more confident and mature on the court than most of his teammates.

And, he should be. After ending his career at Siena, he spent much of last season in the NBA's Developmental League before catching on near the end of the season with the Heat. He is currently an unsigned free-agent, but the Heat are certainly in need of low-priced players to fill out their roster after giving big-money contracts to Wade, James and Bosh that leaves the team without much left to spend under the league's salary cap guidelines.

Currently, the Heat don't have a traditional point guard in place. Hasbrouck did play the position on occasion at Siena and in the D-League last season.

Obviously, a single summer league game doesn't decide anything. But, it should be interesting to see how it eventually plays out for Hasbrouck.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Loyola Men/Women Recruiting Update

Here's the latest installment identifying and analyzing incoming recruits to MAAC programs.

Up now ...



Dylon Cormier, a 6-2 guard, Cardinal Gibbons H.S., Baltimore
Cormier averaged 26.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.6 assists per game this past season. Most reports indicate he is a far better shooter than a distributor.

"He’s just the ultimate basketball player," said Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos, about Cormier. " He wants to win. He can score it. He’s a great kid and he wants to step up on the court, which is what you want. He was, at times, the best player in the Baltimore Catholic League."

Pierson Williams, a 6-5 swingman, Taft H.S. (Los Angeles)

He averaged about 11 points, 3 rebound and two assists per game this past season.

"He can catch and shoot, and he’s growing," said Patsos. "At 6-5, he’s a 3 man. But I like kids from L.A., and the little things they bring to the table. He’s a good athlete and he’s long. He’s got good upside. He’s a flat-out shooter. That’s what he does. So we got him late. Sometimes a late kid is what you need. He’s a great kid, good personality. He comes from a strong program and he’s a kid I like from L.A."

Justin Drummond, a 6-4 swingman, Riverside Baptist H.S., Upper Marlboro, Md.

Drummond averaged 23.3 points and close to 10 rebounds per game this past season.

"He’s a big guard that’s not grown into his body," said Patsos. "He played the 4 this year, but he’s young at 17 years old (at the time of his high school graduation). He’s really smart and he can really score the ball. He’s going to be a good player. It’s going to take him a year to catch up to his size this year, but he’ll eventually be a 2/3. Is he a guy with a lot of versatility? I think that’s what he does bring – versatility. He’s going to do a little bit of everything. He can catch and shoot at our level. You’ve got to learn and be ready to score at the speed of our game. Once Justin catches up, that’ll be the difference. But he can do all the little stuff for a guard. He’s a tough player and he gets after it as a defender.

Erik Etherly, 6-7 sophomore forward, transfer from Northeastern

Etherly, listed at 184 pounds on Loyola's website, likely needs to add a little bulk and strength. He played in just 12 games as a freshman at Northeastern during the 2008-09 season, scoring a total of 12 points and getting 10 rebounds.

"He’s going to be a 4-man at our level," said Patsos. "He can run and post up, score from the foul line. He’s tough. He has a little Ron Artest in him to be honest with you. He’s not as big and tough, but he’s like him in a lot of ways. It was a tremendous signing for us. He’s stronger, he’s quicker, and I know he’s happier. His energy level is good and I know he’s going to start for us. That guy’s starting for us."

ANALYSIS: Loyola only graduates one key player, guard Brett Harvey, and has pretty much everyone back. Etherly, at least according to Patsos, will be an immediate contributor. He's clearly ready having played (albeit sparringly) for a season at Northeastern and, then, practiced with Loyola last season. Cormier is also likely to get into the playing group and should benefit greatly by having senior Brian Rudolph ahead of him for a season before taking on greater responsibility. Drummond and Williams, according to reports, are both "projects," initially but are both appear capable of helping Loyola at some point, although not necessarily this coming season.


Nicole Krusen, a 6-0 guard, Georgetown Visitation School, Washington, D.C.

Krusen is a pure shooting guard who averaged 14.4 points per game this past season, with much of her damage coming from long range. She made 74 three-pointers in 25 games.

Nneka Offodile, a 6-1 center, Walsh Jesuit H.S., Cuyahoga, Ohio

Offodile averaged 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game this past season. She is described as an athleti8c front-court player in most reports.

ANALYSIS: Loyola's biggest loss (literally) was inside player Kaitlin Grant, and it needs some post position help for the coming season. Offodile should get a good look and might contribute almost immedately. Krusen joins an already talented group of perimeter players in the program, but it never hurts to have another shooter, and Krusen is definitely one of those.

Thompson Solid in NBA Summer Loop

The NBA's summer league, in which teams are comprised mostly of incoming rookies and free agents, just concluded its five-game run, and former Rider standout Ryan Thompson competed as a member of the Boston Celtics.

Thompson, a 6-foot-6 guard, saw action in four of the five games the Celtics' team played. His best performance came in the team's first game when he had 13 points (9-of-9 from the foul line) in 15 minutes of playing time.

Overall, he averaged just under 20 minutes of playing time per contest, 9.7 points (9-of-20 shooting form the field, 18-of-20 from the foul line), 2.5 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 1.0 turnovers.

For now, Thompson remains an unsigned free agent.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Latest Gonzo Woes Likely Mean The End

It's almost a shame to see what Bobby Gonzalez, who was once a promising young college basketball coach, has become over the course of his career in the sport.

After several years at Manhattan, where he more than wore out his welcome, he moved on to Seton Hall where he was fired this past March. There have been any number of off-court incidents, run-ins with media/administrators/support staff, etc.

And, now, he was recently arrested on an alleged shoplifting charge. Here's a link to that incident and a recounting of some of Gonzalez's other misteps:

Your blogger, while a beat reporter for Siena at an upstate New York newspaper for many years, has the "pleasure" (and, yes, that term is most definitely made in a sarcastic manner) of dealing with Gonzlez over his entire tenure with the Jaspers. And, yes, I had my share of run-ins with the former Jasper coach.

And, through it all, I often wondered just how as volatile and divisive an individual ever got hired by a college basketball program.

But, recent events have all but ensured that Bobby Gonzalez's time in college basketball is over. It seems fairly certain that he will never again coach at the college level.

And, that's a good thing.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Manhattan Men/Women Recruiting Recap

Here's the latest in look at recruiting in the conference for the coming season. Each report includes a look at a school's incoming players for both men's and women's programs.

Up now ....



Torgrim Sommerfeldt, 6-7 guard/forward, NTG Sports Academy, Oslo, Norway.

No statistics available, but Sommerfeldt has a reputation as a standout long-range shooter who can play the two-guard spot. Although Manhattan lists his height at 6-7, most other sites have him at 6-6. He originally committed to attend Wake Forest prior to the 2009-10 season, but never fulfilled that commitment after suffering a knee injury in March, 2009. It was his third knee injury in the past four years. He had surgery on both his knees late in 2008. He did also make a recruiting visit to Seton Hall and, reportedly, also considered Rutgers, Fairleigh Dickinson and Florida International although it is uncertain if any of those schools offered a scholarship before he opted to attend Manhattan.

"Torgrim provides good size and length for his position, and he has demonstrated a strong ability to shoot the ball," said Manhattan coach Barry Rohrssen.

Roberto Colonette, 6-7 forward, ASA Institute (Brooklyn).

Colonette was named the Junior College Region XV Division I Player of the Year at ASA Institute in Brooklyn this past season, averaging 12.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. He played two seasons at ASA Institute, and has two remaining years of eliibility.

Rhamel Brown, 6-6 forward, Transit Tech of Brooklyn.

Brown, a rugged 220-pounder, averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds per game this past season. He also has a reputation as a strong shot-blocker, with a single-game high of 12 and several other double-figure games of blocks.

Joel Wright, 6-5 forward, CJEOTO Academy, Somerset, N.J.

No stats available from his post-graduate season at CJEOTO. He is nicknamed "Air Jamaica" for his leaping prowess and electrifying dunks. He averaged 23 points and 17 rebounds per game in 2008-09 playing for Transit Tech School. He originally committed to Fordham before asking for a release after the Rams had a coaching change.

Robert Martina, 6-8 forward, Miami Dade Junior College.

Martina averaged 5.0 ponts and 3.0 rebounds per game this past season and still was named to the all-Southern League's second-team all-star squad.

Mike Alvarado, 6-2 point guard, All Hallows H.S.

No statistics available from his senior season. As a junior, he averaged 13.2 points per game. Most reports list his height at 6-1. A number of sources describe Alvarado as a "throwback" point guard, more concerned with passing than shooting, although he does have a nice outside touch. Reports also indicate Alvarado needs to add some bulk and strength to be more effective at the college level.

Kidani Brutus, 6-1 shooting guard, Carl Albert State JC (Oklahoma).

Brutus averaged 11.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and nearly one steal per game in his first year at Carl Albert State. Brutus, said to be a pure shooter with good range, shot 49% from the field, 42% from 3-point territory and converted 70% of his free-throw attempts in 25 games this past season while averaging 8.7 points per game. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining. His Carl Albert website is listed at 6-foot-0.

ANALYSIS: Manhattan lost plenty last year, including its top three guards. And, it wasn't real strong inside, although the majority of its inside players are returning. In short, Manhattan needed plenty during the recruiting season. Head coach Barry Rohrssen has a reputation for being a standout recruiter, but that skill hasn't been in strong evidence during his previous four seasons with the Jaspers. The best player he brought in was Rico Pickett, who played one year and, then, opted to pursue a professional career. While Pickett led the MAAC in scoring, he did not do much for Manhattan (10-19 last season), and appeared to be more trouble than he was worth. How much will the incoming players help? Hard to tell, but Rohrssen isn't bringing in a bunch of freshmen who need to develop. Three of his incoming players are from the junior college ranks and will be counted on to contribute immediately. The two direct-from-high school players, Alvarado and Brown, might also get into the playing group. Brown, according to sources, is the type player ... an undersized, but powerful forward ... who often has success at the mid-major level. And Alvarado is a true point guard, which Manhattan hasn't had in recent seasons. If Manhattan hopes to escape being around the bottom of the MAAC standings, at least three or four newcomers need to be significant contributors, and that's a lot to ask.


Allison Skrec, a 5-6 guard from Roselle (N.J.) Catholic H.S.

Skrec averaged 18.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists this past season. "Allison played for an outstanding championship school, and I feel that she can add plenty of important intangibles to our program,' said Manhattan coach John Olenowski. "She is a very fundamentally sound, versatile player who can really help us at multiple positions."

Jazmine Jarvis, a 5-8 point guard from Green Valley H.S. in Henderson (Nev.)

Jarvis averaged 22.1 points, 7.2 assists, 4.9 steals and 3.9 rebounds per game this past season. A four-year starter, she accumulated more than 2,000 points, 700 assists and 500 steals during her high school career. "Jazmine is an outstanding point guard who also has the versatility to play the shooting guard position," Olenowski said. "She has great court vision and makes really good decisions in transition. Defensively, Jazmine averaged nearly five steals per game, and we feel that she has the ability to excel in our full-court pressure defenses."

Brandone Roberts, a 6-3 center from Hammond H.S., Columbia, Md.

Roberts averaged 16.1 points and 15 rebounds per game this past season. 9.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks as a junior. "We are thrilled that Brandone will join (Manhattan)," said Olenowski. "She is a strong rebounder and shot-blocker, and also has great potential offensively."

Monica Roeder, a 6-0 guard/forward from Cherokee (Pa.) H.S.

Roder, a four-year starter, averaged 13.6 points and 5.0 rebounds this past year after averaging 15 points and 7 rebounds as a junior. "We are delighted to have Monica become a Lady Jasper," Olenowski said. "She is a strong inside/outside player who is fundamentally sound, both offensively and defensively. In addition, she is a top notch rebounder."

ANALYSIS: The Jaspers haven't have a winning overall record since the 2002-03 season, but if Manhattan can get some rebounding help and find a point guard, it could get there this season. It's hard to count on freshmen, but the 6-3 Roberts certainly adds some needed height, and Jarvis was a standout point guard at the high school level.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Marist Men/Women Recruiting Roundup

Recruiting season for 2010-11 is over, for the most part. There might still be a late addition, or two, before the start of classes in the fall semester, and if that happens you can read about it here.

But, for the most part, recruits are in place and ready to go when conditioning drills begin in early September and, then, full practices get going in mid-October.

In coming weeks, we'll provide a list of incoming recruits focusing one post on each school, listing both men's and women's incoming players (recruits/transfers). Included will be whatever other information is available, much of it coming from either the respective schools or other internet sources. In some cases, your blogger will have seen the recruits in AAU tournaments or will have acquired additional insight from talking to MAAC coaches, and will also pass along that information.

And, now, the traditional word of caution: Recruiting is an extremely inexact science. It is difficult even for the so-called experts to predict how incoming players will convert to the college game.

Then, there's this ... we'll include some comments from MAAC coaches, when available, but those also come with the warning that it certainly is NOT in the best interest of these coaches to portray their incoming players in anything but the most favorable light. The next negative word a coach has to say about one of his or her incoming recruits will be the first this blogger has ever heard.

We'll do it all in reverse order of finish last season (of men's teams),and try to provide a little analysis about the recruits of each team.

So, first up is ....



Jay Bowie, 6-5 guard/forward, Tampa (Fla.) Prep School.

Bowie averaged 16,.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game this past season.

"He is a versatile wing with tremendous upside," said Marist coach Chuck Martin, in a press release. "He's a slasher, driver and relentless finisher around the basket. He has the potential to be one of the best defensive players on our team and he will generate offense through his defense."

Adam Kemp, 6-9 forward, Winchedon (Mass.) Prep

Kemp averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds per game this past season. In the 2008-09 season he played a Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School in central New York, where he was a role player. Sources familiar with Kemp describe him as a "Division I project."

"Adam brings us much needed size and strength," said Martin. "He will provide an inside presence offensively and defensively, but his greatest impact will be on the defensive end. He has the ability to come in and help us."

Pieter Prinsloo, 6-10 forward, Dover (Del.) H.S.

A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, Prinslo averaged eight points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks per game at Dover High this past season. He has spent the last six years in the U.S.

"I'm excited about pieter's skill level," said Martin. "We welcome his much-needed size. It's an asset to have someone of his size and skill level. He is a terrific addition to our Marist family."

ANALYSIS: Marist didn't lose anything of significance from last season, but still will be possibly the youngest team in the conference. It needs its freshmen from a year ago to continue to develop. If the incoming class adds anything, Marist might start turning things around by the 2011-12 season. The Red Foxes, though, were definitely offensively challenged last year, and none of the incoming recruits appears ready to help in that area right away. Bowie is a perimeter player, and that's already where Marist has its best returnees. But, he's likely to get into the playing group right away because of his athleticism and defensive prowess. The team definitely needs height, and while Kemp and Prinsloo are both tall, both are considered by sources within the league as "projects" and likely not ready to provide immediate help.


Emma O'Connor, 6-0 forward, Kellenberg Memorial H.S., Lynbrook, N.Y.

O'Connor averaged 14 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, four steals, and three assists per game at Kellenberg Memorial High School.

"Emma is a 6-foot post playr who can score inside as well as shoot the three," said Marist coach Brian Giorgis. "She is a strong rebounder, who can go up in a crowd and come down with the ball. She is also guard-like, being a good passer and ball-handler."

Leanne Ockenden, 5-10 guard, Christial Brothers Academy of Syracuse.

Ockenden averaged 19 points, seven rebounds, and six assists per game for Christian Brothers Academy. She is a standout long-range shooter who twice has hit 72 three-pointers in a season.

"She is an outstanding 3-point shooter," said Giorgis. "She has has improved her ball-handling ability, as well as her ability to attack the basket. She also will help us defensively with her length. At 5'10", Leanne gives us great size at the guard position and will help us do what we want offensively."

Casey Dulin, 5-9 guard, Jonathan Law H.S., Milford, Conn.

Dulin has scored over 1,300 points in her high school career.

"Casey is a very versatile guard," said Giorgis. "She can play the one, two, or three. Casey will be one of the faster kids in the program. She gives us good size and has a great knowledge of the game and is a great penetrator."

Kristina Danella, 6-1 forward, transfer from UMass.

Daniella transferred to Marist this spring and will serve the NCAA-mandated year in residency this season before being eligible to play for the Red Foxes in 2011-12. She then will have two years of eligibility.

Danella has already had considerable success in the Atlantic 10, and appears to be the type player capable of playing at an all-MAAC level and ensuring that Marist remains strong in future seasons.

At UMass she was the A-10's Rookie of the Week four times in the 2008-09 season. This past season she averaged 11.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. She is a career 39.8% 3-point shooter, and tied a UMass single-season record with 58 made treys this past season.

ANALYSIS: Marist graduated 6-0 forward Rachele Fitz, arguably the conference's all-time best player. But, everyone else returns a year older and, theoretically, a year better. O'Connor likely has the best opportunity for playing time, picking up some of the minutes left by Fitz. But Ockenden and Dulin, according to league sources, are both capable players who will give the Red Foxes valuable depth. Danella, who can't play this season, looks like she'll be an all-conference caliber player when she becomes eligible in 2011-12. And, things keep rolling for the MAAC's most-dominant program.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Former Stag Coach Fuller to Louisville

It has been a very good off season for former Fairfield coaches, the latest being Tim Fuller (Stags' assistant 2006-07 season), who recently was named an assistant coach on Rick Pitino's staff at Louisville.

Fuller has 10 years of experience in basketball coaching, marketing and admininstration. A 2000 graduate of Wake Forest with a degree in communication, he has been an NBA sports marketing field representative for Nike for the past two years.

"Tim has come highly recommended to me by people I respect in the business," said Pitino, in a press release issued by his school. "He has experience in coaching and the private sector with the game of basketball. He has the potential to be an outstanding recruiter and will add a totally different dimension to our staff. We're excited to have Tim as a part of the Cardinal family."

The Winston-Salem, N.C. native began his career as a volunteer assistant basketball coach at North Carolina A&T while also serving as an intern for the Atlantic Coast Conference (2000-01). After a year as an assistant at West Forsyth High School in Clemmons, N.C. where he worked with current New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul, he accepted a position as an assistant coach at Elon under Ernie Nestor in 2003. He advanced to associate coach at Elon for the 2003-04 season before briefly serving as Director of Basketball Operations at the University of Miami (Fla.) under head coach Frank Haith.

He returned to his alma mater in 2004 as Director of Basketball Operations for two seasons on head coach Skip Prosser's staff. He moved to Fairfield (Conn.) University as assistant coach for one season under Ed Cooley (2006-07).

"Tim is a tremendous young man with a lot of passion and energy," said Cooley. "He's very well-mannered and will be a great asset to Louisville's coaching staff. He will bring a lot to Louisville through the connections he has made throughout his career."

Fuller, 32, participated as a non-scholarship athlete at Wake Forest under Dave Odom and helped the Demon Deacons rise to as high as No. 2 in the national poll with current San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan as a teammate. He completed his career as co-captain of Wake's 2000 National Invitational Tournament (NIT) Championship team.

Fuller certainly isn't the only individual with past Fairfield connections to move into a new and better position this past off season.

Two former Stag head coaches are running programs again.

Mitch Buonaguro (Fairfield's head coach from 1986-91) became Siena's coach after serving there the previous five seasons as associate head coach under Fran McCaffery.

And, Paul Cormier (Fairfield's head coach from 1991-98) became Dartmouth's coach. It's Cormier's second stint in that position, having been there from 1984-91. In recent years Cormier had been an NBA scout.

Your blogger can't profess to knowing Fuller, but I've had considerable interaction with Buonaguro and Cormier during their years in the MAAC. Each is among the nicest individuals I've encountered, and their two respective programs are in good hands.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Sneak Preview of the League Preview

OK, your blogger just sent in the MAAC's season preview to The Sporting News for its College Basketball Annual that will hit newsstands at some point in mid-September.

While it's a labor of love, it most definitely is a "labor." With a reputation as the best of its kind in terms of national newsstand-available preview magazines, The Sporting News justifiably demands the best information. And, in the interest of ensuring the publication does sell, it prohibits writers from duplicating efforts in other places.

But, we'll provide a very brief preview here. If you want the details ... please purchase The Sporting News early and often when it comes out, and not just for the MAAC preview but the best college basketball information of every Division I conference and team that will be out there.

Anyway, here's this correspondent's predicted order of finish, with brief comments:

1) Fairfield. Derek Needham is the best player in the league, and he's got a terrific supporting cast and a terrific head coach.

2) Saint Peter's. Toss-up with Iona, but the Peacocks have a little more experience, plus a returning head coach.

3) Iona. Still relatively youthful, and a new head coach. Those are the only very minor questions.

4) Siena. Ryan Rossiter is the league's top big man, and might be its preseason Player of the Year. Capable of better, but only if its two freshmen come up big.

5) Loyola. Everyone but Brett Harvey is back, including head coach Jimmy Patsos. Shane Walker could be an outstanding big man.

6) Niagara. It needs contributions from its younger players, but never count out a Joe Mihalich team.

7) Canisius. If someone can take over at the point (Gaby Belardo?), it could finish a couple of spots higher.

8) Rider. Four starters back, but was only .500 in the league with Ryan Thomson. Expect a drop without him.

9) Manhattan. The loss of Rico Pickett hurts. Almost no returning offense. George Beamon poised for a break-out.

10) Marist. Can't do worse than last year's 1-17, but still way too young and almost no inside game.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Your blogger will produce comprehensive team-by-team previews just prior to the season. Look for those in early November.

Canisius Sets Men's/Women's Openers

There are worse ways to open a college basketball season ... truly, we can't think of too many better ... than with a doubleheader by your hometown men's and women's team. Come to think of it, it's something more college basketball programs should do.

And, that's what Canisius is doing to kick off its 2010-11 season on Friday night, Nov. 12 with its two teams hosting opponents in the Koessler Athletic Center.

The women's team begins the season with a 6 p.m.. contest against Kent State, followed by an 8:30 p.m. contest between "Little Three" rivals Canisius and Saint Bonaventure.

The only thing better than that would be a pre-doubleheader trip to the Anchor Bar, or to Duff's, whichever is your favorite for chicken wings, Buffalo's culinary delight.

This will mark the first home opening doubleheader since the 2006-07 campaign for the Canisius basketball programs. The Canisius women’s team went 12-19 overall and 6-12 in MAAC play last season and head coach Terry Zeh will bring back two starters and eight letterwinners to this year’s roster. The meeting with the Golden Flashes will be the third in school history and the first since Nov. 27, 1989.

The Canisius men’s team went 15-17 overall and 8-10 in league play last year, with the 15 wins standing as the most for the Blue and Gold since the 2000-01 season. Head coach Tom Parrotta will return four starters and eight letterwinners to this year’s team, which is looking to build off its first home winning season since 2003-04. The meeting with the Bonnies will mark the 159th all-time contest between the two schools, but this will be just the fourth time since 1968 that the two long-time foes have played on the Koessler Athletic Center court.