Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Iona's Machado Makes Rockets' Roster, Despite Call

One can only imagine the case of nerves former Iona standout Scott Machado was having over the past week as NBA teams made their final cuts and Machado was uncertain about whether or not he would make the Houston Rockets' opening-day roster or be looking for work elsewhere.

And, then, his phone rang Saturday night. On the other end was Rockets' starting point guard Jeremy Lin, calling to say goodbye and good luck.

Fortunately for Machado, as the two quickly realized, Lin was calling the wrong rookie.

Lin had thought he was calling Jeremy Lamb, the Rockets' top draft pick from UConn, who had just been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the trade that brought James Harden to Houston.

No other calls came over the weekend. And, then, when Machado got through Monday unscathed, he knew for sure that he would begin the season on the team's 15-player roster and in the NBA.

"I was like, `Hey, it's Scott ... it's not Jeremy,' " Machado told the Houston Chronicle newspaper about his conversation with Lin. "Did you hear something about me? I was all nervous. He was like, 'Oh, I apologize, I apologize.' It all worked out."

Machado, who led the country in assists last season, made the Rockets' opening-night roster when the team waived veteran guard Shaun Livingston on Monday.

For sure the team's decision was a huge relief to Machado, who had a non-guaranteed contract and many nervous moments, including Lin's phone call.

"I was a little nervous even before the recent trade," Machado told the Houston newspaper. "We had four good point guards here and I was the newcomer, the undrafted one. I was here (at the team's training facility) on Monday and nobody told me anything. I came out to practice and it felt good. I feel like it's a true blessing. It's something I always wanted. I've been working hard to get where I wanted to go. It feels real good."

Machado will be one of the team's two back-ups, along with Toney Douglas, behind starter Lin.

Machado did more than enough in the team's seven-game preseason schedule to solidify his start.

He played in six of the seven games and accumulated 32 assists against just seven turnovers playing about 70 total minutes. His assist total was second among Rockets in the preseason (Lin had 36), and his assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.6-to-1 was the best of any Houston player.

According to databasebasketball.com, Machado becomes the sixth Iona player to make an NBA roster, and the first since Sean Green played in the NBA in 1994. The others were Steve Burtt Sr., Richie Guerin, Jeff Ruland and Bob Santini.

Friday, October 26, 2012

MAAC Represented on "Big Four" All-Star Squads

For almost as far back as they have all been playing basketball ... and that has been a long time ... the Western New York basketball programs of Canisius, Niagara and Saint Bonaventure have had an affiliation, of sorts, although they have never been together in a league structure.

Yet, they had been "The Little Three," until, several years back, the University of Buffalo joined the Division basketball ranks. Now, Canisius and Niagara of the MAAC, St. Bona's of the Atlantic 10 and Buffalo of the Mid-American Conference are known as "The Big Four."

It is a nice moniker for teams from the same proximity and helps promote college basketball in the Western New York area.

The four-team affiliation even has a formal "media day" (something the MAAC discontinued this season), and had its earlier this week at a downtown Buffalo pub location.

One of the featured presentations is the announcement of the preseason "Big 4" all-star teams, and the MAAC was well represented. Votinng for the teams was done by members of the school's respective athletic communications offices and local media.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Your Hoopscribe has been campaigning for years to allow media who regularly cover the MAAC to vote on pre- and post-season all star selections. Instead, all pre- and post-season awards are determined by a vote of coaches. And, past history has shown that not all coaches are objective in their selections.)

On the men's side, Juan'ya Green and Antoine Mason of Niagara, and Harold Washington of Canisius were named to the first team. Billy Brown and Alshwan Hymes of Canisius were selected to the second team. Buffalo's Javon McCrae was named the Big Four's preseason Player of the Year.

On the women's side, Niagara's Kayla Stroman was picked as the preseason Player of the Year, and joined on the first team by teammate Lauren Gatto as well as Jamie Ruttle of Canisius.

Second-team picks for the women's preseason all-star squad include Ashley Durham and Kayla Hoohuli of Canisius and Meghan McGuinness of Niagara.

NCAA Rules for Sledge, Lindsey; But Against Pankey

The Iona men's basketball team might only have four returnees from last year's regular-season conference championship team, but that doesn't mean the Gaels won't be loaded again in 2012-13.

The program learned of another significant addition earlier this week when the NCAA ruled that sophomore point guard Tavon Sledge has been granted a hardship waiver and will be eligible to compete immediately. Sledge played last season at Iowa State.

There, he only played eight games this past season, getting 18 total minutes and scoring just eight points.

Just a thought here, but it seems dramatically easier for college players to transfer between programs and receive the so-called "hardship" waivers that enable them to play immediately for their new program rather than sit out a season as per the traditional transfer rule.

Sledge becomes the second Iona player in two years (Momo Jones last season) to get a hardship waiver.

Sledge, a Rockland (N.Y.) County native, did not appear to have any particular "hardship" related to his transfer closer to his roots, and admits his primary motivation was to be able to play in a setting where his family could easily watch him play.

"That was the main reason for coming back," Sledge told the New York Daily News. "The opportunity for family and friends to see me play again ... it's a blessing."

Just speculation here, but the 5-foot-9 point guard might also have been motivated to leave Iowa State since it did not appear he was going to get significant minutes again this coming season.

Sledge, though, gives Iona's likely starting backcourt of Jones and long-range shooter Sean Armand a highly talented back-up.

As a senior at Half Halllow Hills West High School in the 2010-11 season he averaged 25.3 points and 5.2 assists per game.

He is one of nine new players on Iona's roster this season as the Gaels have restocked in non-traditional fashion. Iona's newcomers include four junior college transfers, three players coming in from other four-year programs and just two players coming in directly from high school programs.

Sledge isn't the only high-level talent joining a MAAC program from a four-year school and getting a waiver to play immediately.

Rider recently learned that the waiver it filed in order for prolific guard Nurideen Lindsey to be immediately eligible was also approved.

Lindsey played nine first-semester games at St. John's last season (11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists per contest) and, under traditional transfer rules, would not have been able to play until the start of games after the upcoming first semester ended.

Instead, Lindsey (who played a junior college season before moving to St. John's) gets on the court immediately for the Broncs with two full seasons of eligibility remaining.

Meanwhile, another MAAC program, Manhattan, didn't fare as well with its attempt to secure a hardship waiver for an incoming transfer.

The NCAA, this week, did not approve the hardship waiver for 6-9, 240-pound center Ashton Pankey,  who transferred to the Jaspers' program after playing his freshmen year at Maryland last season. There, he played in all 32 games, got 17 starts and averaged 4.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest.

Pankey's addition to this year's team might have made Manhattan, which lacks only a real inside force otherwise, the preseason favorite in the conference this season.

Manhattan, though, isn't ready to give up yet on having Pankey for this season.

"It's not the news we were hoping for," Manhattan coach Steve Masiello told the Daily News. "But we're going to pursue an appeal ... I've been here before while I was at other institutions where I've seen waivers denied and, then, go the other way on appeal. So, it's not over yet."

Manhattan's roster lists Pankey as a "sophomore." But, the post player already sat out a season at Maryland (2010-11) as a medical redshirt. If he sits out another season as a transfer, he would appear to only have two remaining seasons (players traditionally only have five years to complete four seasons of eligibility once they begin attending a Division I-level school) when he begins playing for the Jaspers.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Preview Issue Is Out; Our Long Blog Looks Coming

Warning ... the following could be considered to be a "commercial endorsement."

While perusing the newspaper section of a favored market earlier today your Hoopscribe saw, and purchased, USA Today's "College Basketball's Special Edition," its seasonal preview issue. Purchase price is a reasonable $4.95.

Much of it is well done, particularly for fans of the major-college version of the sport. Included is a lengthy preview of the Michigan men's team, accompanied by a half-page photo of old friend John Beilein who, once upon a time, turned some good seasons at Canisius into his personal launching pad.

But, if you're a mid-major level fan ... well, there's some meaningful information there, but it's pretty bare bones. It is relatively up to date as the deadline for submission was early September, close to six weeks later than the magazine annuals require of their contributors.

Still, each mid-major league only got half a page of copy, much of that space taken up by a photo, preseason all-star selections, don't-miss games and the upcoming season's predicted order of finish.

Your hoopscribe was the author of the MAAC's preview (so, you know it's well done!), but the amount of copy submitted got cut nearly in half for space purposes.

Still, it is enough to whet the whistle, so to speak.

The good news is that there is plenty more coming, and you can find it right here very soon.

College basketball season begins on November 9th, and that's slightly more than two weeks away.

Within the next couple of days we'll start providing team-by-team previews, for both men's and women's conference programs. They won't be done in any particular order ... basically I'll get to them shortly after I can make contact with the teams' respective coaches for updates, insight, etc.

As in past years, the previews will be lengthy, up-to-date and as comprehensive as anything a fan can find anywhere about his or her favorite MAAC team.

So, check in to this particular blog early and often in coming weeks.

And, as always, thanks for reading.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Women's Recruiting: Canisius Adds Strong Group

Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs this season.

Up now ...


- ASHLEY GOMEZ (5-7 guard, Murray Bergtraum H.S., Brooklyn): Gomez was at Canisius last year and looked good in preseason workouts until she suffered a knee injury and had to be a medical redshirt. She is healthy now. She averaged 11.6 points per game in high school and is capable of playing either guard spot.

- TIAHANA MILLS (5-5 guard, Binghamton, N.Y., H.S.): She averaged 12.7 points per game as a junior, but there are no senior season statistics available. She is a true point guard who, according to reports, is very athletic and gets by defenders with ease.

- JASMINE MUNGO (5-10 forward, Riverdale Baptist School, Upper Marlboro, Md.): She averaged 8.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game at the high-powered Riverdale program that saw seven players from last year's team secure Division I scholarships. Reports indicate she is capable of playing either forward position.

- CRYSTAL PORTER (5-10 forward, Elisik H.S., Houston): She averaged 14.1 points and 10.8 rebounds per game as a high school senior and is a two-time all-state selection (2011, '12) in Texas. Reports indicate she is a strong, in-the-paint power forward.

- EMIL WEBER (5-9 guard, Shenendehowa H.S., Clifton Park, N.Y.): She averaged 17.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 2.8 assists per game as a high school senior. Your Hoopscribe saw Weber play several times over her scholastic career. Her strength is as an exceptional outside shooter. She is also a good distributor for a tall guard who doesn't play the point.

ANALYSIS: Gomez and Mills will ensure the program's point-guard position has depth this year and more-than-capable players there in the future. Weber is a perfect fit for a program that has long relied on long-range shooting, and she will be one of the league's best from beyond the bonus stripe right from the start of her career. Mungo is a multi-talented forward, while Porter is a strong inside player.

Men's Recruiting: Transfers To Help At Canisius

Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs this season.

Up now ...


- PHIL VALENTI (6-7 forward Aquinas Institute, Victor, N.Y.): He averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds per game as a high school senior last season and was named the Greater Rochester area's Player of the Year by the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle Newspaper. A skilled, yet solid post player who should develop into a significant contributor when he adds bulk/strength to his current 195-pound frame.

- DOMINIQUE RANEY (6-4 sophomore guard, transfer from Navarro Junior College of Oklahoma): He averaged 3.7 points and 1.7 rebounds per game in his one season of junior college play.
As a high school senior (Putnam City, Okla., H.S.), he averaged 17.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

- JORDAN HEATH (6-10 center transfer from Robert Wesleyan College): Already a mature inside/outside player,  he averaged 14.7 point, 7.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game as a sophomore at Robert Wesleyan, a National Christian College Athletic Association school. He sat out last season as a redshirt at Canisius and has two remaining seasons of eligibility. He is effective both inside and on the perimeter and is also an athletic shot-blocker.

- FREDDY ASPRILLA (6-10 center, transfer from Kansas State): He averaged 4.9 points and 4.9 rebounds as a junior at Kansas State. He redshirted as a transfer at Canisius last season and is a senior, meaning this will be his only season of eligibility. He will miss the team's first three games due to a rules' violation committed last season. A much-traveled player, he played one season at Florida International, attended two junior colleges, and played one season at Kansas State before coming to Canisius. A true "big," he is listed at 280 pounds.

- JERMAINE JOHNSON (5-10 guard, St. Christopher's H.S., Richmond, Va.): He is a "scoring" point guard who averaged 20.0 points, 5.0 steals and 4.0 assists per game as a high school senior. An extremely quick, smaller guard who is expected to eventually have a big role with the Golden Griffin.

- BILLY BARON (6-2 guard, transfer from Rhode Island): He is the son of new Canisius head coach Jim Baron, transferred in to play for his dad and was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA, meaning he can play this season as a junior and has another year of eligibility after this one. He averaged 13.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game last season at Rhode Island. A very capable guard, capable of playing either backcourt position, but more likely to be the team's point guard.

- ISAAC SOSA (6-3 guard, transfer from Central Florida): He averaged 8.0 points and 1.8 rebounds in 2010-11 as a junior at Central Florida, after averaging 10.3 points there as a sophomore. A terrific long-range shooter, he made 45.2 percent of his three-pointers as a freshman, 42.7 percent as a sophomore and 39.2 percent as a junior. He sat out last season as a transfer and has only this year to compete for Canisius.

ANALYSIS: Canisius was loaded with eligible transfers already and, then, Billy Baron was a late addition coming aboard not long after the his father was named coach. Asprilla, Baron, Sosa and Heath will all compete for major minutes and three of them, if not all four, could be in the starting lineup a the season progresses. The front-court transfers allow Valenti to develop as a bench player this season, but expect him to be a nice piece of the program's future in subsequent years. Same goes for Johnson, who appears to have a playing style similar to former Canisius standout Frank Turner.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Women's Recruiting: Peahens Add Height, Athletes

Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs for the coming season.

Up now ...


- BRIDGET WHITFIELD (5-7 forward, La Costa Canyon, San Diego, Calif.): She averaged 13.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game as a high school senior. Highlight clips indicate that she is a strong, albeit slightly undersized, inside player with a nice shooting touch out to about 17 feet. She also looks to be a strong on-the-ball defender.

- NEECHELLE INGRAM (6-2 center, Pocono, Pa., Mountain East H.S.): No high school statistics available, but she did have a career-high 27-point game as a high school senior and box scores indicate she is a consistent double-figure scorer. A long, lanky inside player.

- EMILY BROWN (5-9 guard/forward, Waterford, Ohio, H.S.): She averaged 19.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game as a high school senior. Reports indicate that she is a versatile and very athletic player.

HALA EL SHAARAWY (6-1 center, Modern Namier Language School, Cairo, Egypt): No statistics are available, nor is any background information about her.

ANALYIS: The Peahens, who have been struggling in recent years, really need an infusion of talent and the incoming group could provide some of that. Both Whitfield and Brown, based on video and published reports, would seem to be ready to contribute relatively soon. Ingram, according to reports, is a good inside player, and should fill a need there for the program. Shaarawy, at least here, is an unknown commodity but she does add height.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Men's Recruiting: Peacocks' Transfers Should Help

Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs for the coming season.

Up now ...


- PATRICK JACKSON (6-6 forward, transfer from Kent State): The well-traveled Jackson attended two high schools in his last three scholastic seasons and, now, is on his third college. He began his college career with two seasons at Rutgers (averaging 2.4 points, 1.6 rebounds as a sophomore) and, then, transferred to Kent State (2.5 points, 2.8 rebounds per game last season). He is able to play immediately with the Peacocks since he graduated from Kent State and is taking graduate courses at Saint Peter's in a degree program not offered by Kent State.

- CHAZZ PATTERSON (6-2 guard, Trenton, N.J., Catholic H.S.): Patterson originally committed to Mount St. Mary's, but opted out there after the school fired its former coach, Robert Burke. Patterson comes from a strong program and is said to be fundamentally sound, although no high school statistics are available. He is said to be a tough, hard-nosed player who works hard on the defensive end and has a good outside shot.

- DESI WASHINGTON (6-1 guard, transfer from Delaware State): He redshirted at Saint Peter's last season and is eligible for the coming year as a sophomore. He averaged 13.1 points per game as Delaware State's second-leading scorer in the 2010-11 season, shooting 43 percent from the floor and 37 percent from beyond the three-point line. He is a more-than-capable scorer and could put up big numbers for the Peacocks.

- ELIAS DESPORT (6-6 forward, Stockholm, Sweden): Desport is a slender face-the-basket player capable of playing either forward position. He was on Sweden's under-18 national team in 2011 and played eight games in the European Championship tournament, averaging 2.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per contest. Originally expected to be a role player this year, but due to a lack of inside players on the roster he might get meaningful minutes.

- JAMAL FIELDS (6-1 guard, transfer from Fairfield): Fields played two seasons as a reserve guard, but was a member of the playing group for the Stags. He averaged 3.5 points and 17 minutes of playing time per game last season. He will be a redshirt this season with two years of eligibility beginning next season. A graduate of Cheshire Academy, he also attended Albany (N.Y.) Academy, where your Hoopscribe saw him play several times. He is a strong combo guard who plays hard and has a decent outside shot. He'll eventually be a contributor for the Peacocks.

- MARVIN DOMINIQUE (6-7 forward, transfer from Fordham): He played two seasons at Fordham, averaging 2.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 12.2 minutes per game last season. He is a redshirt for the coming season with two years of eligibility remaining starting next season. A strong inside player, he should be a nice addition, eventually, to the Peacocks' frontcourt.

ANALYSIS: Saint Peter's didn't lose much from last season, has a decent nucleus returning and gets some help from incoming players, particularly in Jackson, who is likely to be the team's starting power forward, and Washington, who will pick up a good portion of the team's scoring load. Patterson should also get into the playing group and Desport could help out in a reserve role at some point. After that, Dominique and Fields will be nice additions starting in the 2013-14 season. St. Peter's also had a commitment from Lawrence Fejokwu, a 6-9, 210-pound center from Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas, who opted to attend junior college instead. Fejokwu's de-commitment enabled the program to bring in Desport.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Women's Recruiting: Jarosz a 'Big' Help For Marist

Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs for the coming season.

Up now ...


- MADELINE BLAIS (6-1 forward/guard, New Hampton School, Exeter, N.H.): She averaged 18.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.7 blocks per game last season and some scouting services rated her the top high school player in New Hampshire. Your Hoopscribe saw her play extensively in the upstate New York's GymRat Challenge in 2011. She was selected to the event's all-tournament team and the report on her indicated she is a good shooter with three-point range, a decent ball-handler for a player her size and possessed good court vision.

- SYDNEY COFFEY (6-0 guard, New Hope H.S., Hopkins, Minn.): No senior statistics available for Coffey, but she was rated by one recruiting site as the third-best high school player in Minnesota last season. She did average 10.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game as a junior.

- DELANEY HOLLENBECK (6-5 center, Alpharetta, Ga., H.S.): No high school statistics are available from her senior season, but she finished her career with 430 total blocks. She was rated, by one service, as the 27th-best high school center in the country last season.

- EILEEN VAN HORN (5-8 guard, Waukesa, Wis., South H.S.): She averaged 14.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game last season as a high school senior. Said to be a skilled, versatile player.

- TORI JAROSZ (6-3 center, transfer from Vanderbilt): She sat out last season as a transfer, and will join Marist with three years of eligibility. She only played 15 total minutes as a freshman at Vandy, yet still had eight rebounds and blocked four shots. As a high school senior at Lakeland H.S. in Cortland Manor, N.Y., she averaged 22 points, 16 rebounds and 7 blocks per game. Your Scribe also saw her in the GymRat challenge a few years ago, and she is a try strong post player.

ANALYSIS: As good as Marist has been in recent years, it has struggled, particularly last season, to have a regular contributor from the paint. Jarosz will immediately solve that problem, and Hollenbeck appears likely to help out there, too. And, as if the Red Foxes don't have enough returning perimeter talent ... the three incoming perimeter players all look capable of fitting in immediately. To coin a cliche when it comes to this Marist recruiting class: the rich get richer.

Men's Recruiting: Marist Fills Needs for Height, PG

Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs for the coming season.

Up now ...


- KHALID HART (6-2 guard, The Sanford School, Newark, Del.): He averaged 15.7 points and 5.9 assists per game as a high school senior. His high school team won Delaware's Class D1AA division state title the last three seasons. He was named Delaware's Player of the Year last season, and played for the U.S. Virgin Island's 18-under national team. But, in a tough break, Hart recently had surgery on his right knee and will redshirt this season.

- PHILLIP LAWRENCE (6-7 forward, Mount St. Joseph's H.S., Philadelphia): No high school statistics available, but he had a strong summer of AAU ball last season that attracted numerous mid-major level offers. Said to be a skilled, versatile and athletic player. At 190 pounds, he likely needs to add a little more bulk/strength to be a significant factor.

- ERIC TRUOG (6-10 Center, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, H.S.): He averaged 22.0 points and 11.4 rebounds as a high school senior. At 240 pounds, he already has a college-ready physique. Most recruiting services ranked him either the No. 1, or No. 2 center prospect at the high school level in Ohio last season.

ANALYSIS: Marist had two needs going into the past recruiting season: height, and some help/depth at the point guard position. The Red Foxes appear to have capably filled both needs, at least for the future. Hart, who plays the point but can also score, has just been a proverbial winner and appeared likely to start the season as a key reserve until he suffered a knee injury that required surgery recently. He is expected to be a medical redshirt this season. Hard to tell about big men entering the MAAC, but there's not much out there to indicate that Truog will be anything other than a nice addition to Marist. Initially he'll back up returnee Adam Kemp. But, Kemp had off-season foot surgery and if he's at all limited, then Truog's role becomes greater right away. Lawrence, according to reports, is capable of playing either forward spot. He is long and lanky, has a variety of skills and alters shots as a defender. A year ago, Marist had only one player (Kemp) taller than 6-foot-6 who saw meaningful minutes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Women's Recruiting: Niagara Adds Height, Athleticism

Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs this season.

Up now ...


- VANESSA NEAL (5-7 guard, Pennsauken, N.J., H.S.): She averaged 9.8 points and 1.5 rebounds per game as a high school senior.She is a combo guard with quickness/athleticism to be effective at both ends of the floor. Said to be capable of connecting from the perimeter as well as scoring off the dribble.

- TAYLOR McKAY (5-10 guard, Waverly H.S., Lansing, Mich.): A big guard who averaged 9.2 points and 3.4 rebounds as a high school senior. Also, a three-sport athlete (basketball, track and volleyball). More slasher than shooter, but another athlete who used that skill well on the defensive end in high school.

- SYLVIA MAXWELL (5-7 guard, Waverly H.S., Lansing, Mich.): She averaged 15.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game as a high school senior playing alongside McKay. Another athletic slasher who was said to be an exceptional defender, particularly on the ball. Has drawn compliments for her intensity and high motor.

- SAM LAPSZYNSKI (6-3 center, Jefferson, N.J. Township High School): A legit 6-3 player who already has a  college-ready build. The MAAC doesn't often get good big players, but Lapszynski appears to be one. She averaged 16.3 points and 9.4 rebounds as a high school senior, was her team's MVP as a junior and a senior and was the New Jersey Herald's Player of the Year this past season.

ANALYSIS: Niagara already had a strong returning group of players, and appears to have added to that cast with the incoming freshmen who, initially, not only provide depth but the type athleticism and quickness that should pay benefits, particularly in terms of defensive pressure. And, Lapzynski gives the Purple Eagles much needed height. It should be interesting to see if she plays together with returning post player 6-2 Lauren Gatto. If they can get on the court at the same time, Niagara should be able to cause opponents trouble in the paint on both ends. It wasn't long ago that Niagara was the least-talented program in the conference, but the Purple Eagles now rank among the better conference teams for overall talent on the roster.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

4Guys' Site A Unique Destination for Siena Information

When the Siena men's basketball program recently held its annual media day, an opportunity for local newpaper reporters, TV types and photographers to get a preliminary preseason look at the team, the busiest guys gathering material there were Tom Benoit and Bill Hamm.

Hamm and Benoit directly interviewed every non-freshman on Siena's roster, along with head coach Mitch Buonaguro. The only reason they didn't interview the team's freshmen and assistant coaches is that they had already done that during the summer months.

The beneficiaries of that are Siena basketball fans who can read the stories, insights and observation of Benoit and Hamm at the 4guysinblazers web site (.http://4guysinblazers.com/), where it is all Siena basketball, all the time.

There fans can find not only the traditional news items related to the program, but also interviews with and profiles of current, past and future players (signed recruits), as well as game coverage and a variety of other features.

It's far more about the program than any newspaper can hope to provide. But, Benoit and Hamm aren't competing with newspapers. They don't even claim to be "journalists."

They, along with Angelo Malone and Dominic LeMorta, the other founding fathers of the site, proclaim to be nothing more than Siena fans with a gimmick. They wear Siena-color green blazers at games, thus the catchy name for their site.

What they do, though, goes far beyond the morass of traditional (and, most often anonymous) internet message boards devoted to teams and leagues that have come into vogue in recent years.

Those boards tend to attract more negative commentary from posters since it's always easier to be critical without having to attach one's own name to the messages. One message board dedicated to Siena, for instance, had posters calling for current coach Mitch Buonaguro to be fired after a 1-3 start in his first season.

But not 4guysinblazers.

"We're fans first and not journalists," said Benoit, who graduated from Siena in the mid-1980's. "I've been following Siena since I was little. But we noticed that fans started booing at games, and, then, you look at the message boards ...

"We know the players are true student-athletes and not professional athletes. We wanted to do something, to provide a place where Siena fans could read about the team, that was only going to be positive."

And, that's what 4guysinblazers is, a throwback, of sorts, to when team fans were almost universally supportive and not so critical as the message boards seem to have become.

The site surely is unique within the MAAC -- a forum dedicated to a specific program, operated solely by fans who seemingly spend a much time at it as local newspapers' beat writers yet entirely devoid of criticism -- and, possibly, at any mid-major level.

The 4 guys are season-ticket holders, but are also granted traditional media access at press conferences, etc., and Benoit, the site's primary writer, is rarely absent from a media event.

All four have non-sports full-time jobs and family obligation, yet still find time to keep their site up-to-date and informative. By now,. the site is no secret in the Siena community, and has attracted as many as 20,000 site hits in a week.

The site recently attracted some advertising, but Benoit claims the intent isn't to make a profit.

"We're just trying to make enough to pay for the site, and, maybe, have a little extra to pay to go on the road (Benoit and Hamm attended last season's MAAC tournament in Springfield, Mass.) so we can justify this a little to our wives," he joked.

The 4 guys, though, have done more than just pass along Siena news.

Their most-innovative feature might have come in the summer prior to the 2011-12 season when they all put themselves through two day of conditioning drills at Siena's Alumni Recreation Center not only similar to those team players go through but conducted by the program's strength and conditioning coach Dan Taylor.

The result was an entertaining, three-part series by Hamm, in which he writes:

"We are all fans ... (but) the next time you have the urge to boo at a game, I would ask that you think of the tremendous work these young men put in every day to bring their best to the court ... remember the work and sacrifice these student athletes make the next time you want to take out your frustrations on them. Being in the gym at 6:30 a.m. over a summer break is a foreign concept to most college students ... these young men do it almost every morning to ensure that they are ready once that season starts in November. This was an eye opening experience for us, and I hope that you were able to take away even just a small part of the appreciation for these young men that we gained from putting ourselves in their shoes for just two days."

The 4 guys also conducted a community event this past summer, organizing a one-day clinic for youths at the Schenectady Boys & Girls Club, and used their connections to enlist several former Siena players, including Prosper Karangwa, Ronald Moore, Ryan Rossiter and Kenny Hasbrouck, as clinicians.

About $3,500 was raised to benefit the Boys & Girls club.

And, the site linked with the school to help publicize and promote Siena's summer "Legends Game," a fund-raiser for the Saints' athletic budget that culminated with a game between teams of former Siena players. The 4guys' site conducted on-line balloting that determined each team's starters.

"It's tough for us because we all have jobs," said Hamm, who has a young family, too. "There are a lot of nights when I've worked a full day, spent time with my wife and kids and, then, late at night put in an hour or more working on or writing for the site."

But, the 4 guys aren't complaining. Quite the contrary. It's clear their work is a labor of love. They are true and dedicated Siena fans, and their 4guysinblazers site is proof of that.

Saints, Anosike Get Practice Visit From Bill Parcells

It was expected to be just another Saturday morning practice for the Siena men's basketball team yesterday, a scheduled 8:30 a.m. starting time, usually an hour at which players are still shaking out the last vestiges of sleep.

But when the Saints took to their Alumni Recreation Center practice court this Saturday morning, there was a presence on the sidelines that got their attention, whose attendance surely was an eye-opener that gave them a better early morning jolt than a second cup of coffee.

There, sitting in a chair along one of the sidelines ready to watch the team work out was Bill Parcells, the veteran NFL coaching great; the "Big Tuna" himself.

Parcells wasn't on hand just to get a Saturday morning sporting entertainment, although it wasn't a lengthy trip trip for the former NFL coaching great to attend, just about a 30-mile drive down the Adirondack Northway from the home he owns in Saratoga Springs, and lives in about five months a year.

Parcells' connection with the upstate New York community grew from an affinity for horse racing, and his attendance at the Saratoga throrughbred racing meet for many years. Now 71, Parcells not only is a fan, but owns several horses, too.

And, through racing, came his connection to a certain Siena player.

Siena's players often pick up summer employment at the Saratoga track as waiters. This past summer, the Saints' senior forward O.D. Anosike often waited on Parcells' table.

"He has kept in touch with O.D., likes O.D., and came down to see him," Saints' coach Mitch Buonaguro told the Times Union newspaper.

Not to miss a golden opportunity, Buonaguro asked Parcells to step on the court to say a few words to the Saints.

"That was great, and he also stayed for the whole practice," said Buonaguro, who said that his players were "riveted" when Parcells spoke to them.

"He gave a nice message about making sure the players are committed to each other and committed to winning," added the Siena coach. "He was really good. He spoke for about five minutes. It was a thrill for me, too, to meet him and be able to talk to him."

Buonaguro said Parcells is hoping to help Anosike's chances of playing professionally after the player graduates this spring. Anosike, a 6-foot-8 front-court player, led the nation in rebounding as a junior last season.

"I think he just connected with him (Anosike), likes him and thinks he's a nice kid," Buonguro said. "He's got a lot of friends in the NBA, and has talked to them about (Anosike). That's a person (Parcells) that it can't hurt to be a friend of."

Parcells won Super Bowl titles with the New York Giants in the 1986 and 1990 seasons and accumulated a 172-130-1 record in stints with the Giants, New England Patriots, New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys.

Parcells isn't the first celebrity meeting enjoyed by Anosike while at Siena. Last season, while at a Baltimore-area restaurant prior to playing a game there against Loyola, the Saints were able to meet former NBA star center Wes Unseld.

Unseld was told that Anosike, at the time, was the nation's rebounding leader, and posed for pictures with Anosike.

Unseld, according to Anosike, asked how many rebounds a game the Siena player was averaging.

"I told him I was at about 12 per game," said Anosike. "He told me that he used to get that many in a game with his left hand alone."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Men's Recruiting: White's Recover Key For Niagara

Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs for the coming season.

Up now ...


- T.J. CLYNE (6-8 forward, Plane, Tex., H.S.): He averaged 16.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game as a high school senior last season. The son of former women's great Nancy Lieberman, Cline is reported to be a high-skilled, versatile forward.

- TAHJERE McCALL (6-4 guard, Engineering & Science H.S., Philadelphia): A very slender 160-pounder as he begins his college career. He averaged 15.4 points per game as a high school senior, but the best part of his game might be his work as a point guard. He is reportedly a very good passer with good court vision.

- DEVON WHITE (6-8 Center, transfer from La Salle): A bruising, 240-pound inside presence, he averaged 5.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game as a part-time starter for the Explores last season. He averaged 4.3 points and 3.7 rebounds over three seasons at La Salle and, then, graduated from that school a year early in May. NCAA rules allow graduates with remaining eligibility to transfer to a school that offers a masters-degree program not available at the player's original school without having to sit out a redshirt season.

- RAYVON HARRIS (6-5 guard/forward, transfer from Rhode Island): He only played 80 total minutes, averaging 1.5 points per game at Rhode Island in 2011-12. As a transfer, he will redshirt at Niagara this season and be eligible for the 2013-14 seasons with three remaining seasons of eligibility. Prior to college he attended Flora MacDonald Academy in Red Springs, N.C., and averaged 18.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game there as a senior.

ANALYSIS: The Purple Eagles are well set with perimeter players, but really needed a post presence. The hope is that White, who played three seasons fairly well in the Atlantic 10 Conference, can give that to this team. However, White, though, had surgery on his Achilles tendon in early June and might not be ready to play right away, although he is expected to get on the court fairly early in the season. Without White right away it could mean that the multi-talented Clyne will play a significant role early, but he is more a skilled player than a power one. McCall, a talented point guard from the tough Philadelphia area, surely has a bright future at Niagara, but currently has talented upperclass perimeter players ahead of him this season. Harris, an athletic wing player that coach Joe Mihalich seems to attract and put to good use, should be a key addition a year from now.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Women Recruiting: Siena Adds One, Center Kelly

Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference teams for the upcoming season.

Up now ...


- SYMONE KELLY (6-2 center, Wyandanch, N.Y. H.S.): No statistics available for her senior season, but she is reputed to be a strong inside player with some athleticism and spin moves in the post. She is Siena's only incoming player and is currently the tallest player on the Saints' roster.

ANALYSIS: Kelly was highly regarded by former coach Gina Castelli and her staff, which recruited her before the sideline change at the school. The Saints are well set inside for the coming season, particularly with senior Player of the Year candidate Lily Grenci. But Kelly will likely provide solid depth for the coming season and, then, have a chance to be a significant contributor in subsequent seasons. The Saints, though, lost an expected newcomer this summer when point guard Janine Davis, a transfer from George Washington who sat out as a redshirt last season, opted not to return to the program. She instead transferred to Fisk University, an NAIA school in Nashville, Tenn. Had she remained at Siena she would have been one of the MAAC's top two or three point guards.

Men's Recruiting: Siena Adds Much-Needed Depth

Here's another in the series examining players joining conference programs for the coming season.

Up now ...


- BRETT BISPING (6-8 forward, Morton, Ill., H.S.): He averaged 16.4 points, 7.6 rebounds per game as a high school senior while shooting .525 percent from the field. Said to be a tall, lanky combination forward with a nice outside shooting touch.

- RYAN OLIVER (6-3 guard, Northfield Mt. Herman, Mass., Prep School):  Oliver, who played pre-school ball in California, averaged 14.0 points per game at the prep school level. Highlight tapes of him show that he has a nice stand-still jump shot from long range. He made 82-of-194 three-point attempts (.423 percent) in prep school.

- RICH ADU (6-4 guard, Regional Elite Developmental Academy, Mississagua, Ontario): An athletic, tall guard who can also play some small forward. Had also gotten offers from some lower-level A-10 programs. He averaged 16.0 ppg. as a junior. No stats available for Adu from this past season.

- LIONEL GOMIS (6-8 forward, Blair Academy N.J.): Originally from Senegal, Africa, Gomis was a redshirt at Siena last season due to an NCAA ruling that he did not complete his high school eligibility in the allowed time frame. Gomis, though, suffered some personal hardships while in Africa that prohibited him from attending school for two years. He played three seasons at Blair, which he came to the U.S., and averaged 9.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game there two years ago. He is a defensive-minded big-man with shot-blocking skills. He has three remaining years of eligibility.

- IMOH SILAS (6-8 center/forward, Holderness, N.H. Prep School): Like Gomis, Silas is a native of Africa (Lagos), and was redshirted by Siena last season due to the same rule concerning completing high school eligibility as Gomis. He is said to be a strong defensive player/rebounder with rapidly developing offensive skills.

ANALYSIS: With only six players that head coach Mitch Buonaguro used extensively last year, and with three of those having graduated this past May, the Saints needed plenty of help. They get it not only with the return of injured players (guard Rakeem Brookins, and forwards Davis Martens and Trenity Burdine), but the eligibility of Gomis and Silas inside and the long-range shooting abilities of Bispring, Oliver and the all-around game of Adu. Gomis and Silas are likely to get siginficant minutes this year. The three true freshmen, Adu, Ryan and Bispring, will likely be role players and get their chance for bigger minutes as their respective careers progress.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Women's Recruiting: Pellet Could Be Help At Point

Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs for the coming season.

Up now ...


- TAYLOR WENTZEL (5-7 guard, Baldwin H.S., Pittsburgh): She averaged 14.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game as a high school senior. She was named to the Pittsburgh Gazette's South Fab Five Squad. "She is a truly versatile guard that can do many things for us," said Rider coach Lynn Milligan, via a press release issued by Rider's sports information office.

- LASHAY BANKS (5-10 guard, transfer from University of Cincinnati): As a transfer, she will sit out the upcoming season, becoming eligible for 2013-14 with two remaining years of eligibility at Rider. In two seasons at Cincy she played sparingly, averaging only 0.6 points and 1.1 rebounds per contest. While in high school at Prep Charter School in Philadelphia she was the Philly Public League's Female Player of the Year.

- JANINE LOUTZENHISER (6-1 forward, Miramonte H.S., Orinda, Calif): A standout long-range shooter, she set her high school's record with 10 three-pointers in one game and is her school's career leader with 127.

- MIKAL JOHNSON (5-8 guard, Osbourn H.S., Manassas, Va.): She is her high school's career scoring leader with 1,417 points scored over four varsity seasons. Led her region in three-pointers last season with 56. Also, a four-year letter-winner in track and a two-time state qualifier in the long-jump as well as earning a varsity letter in cross country.

- MANON PELLET (5-7 guard, Montpellier Academy, Vt.): She suffered a torn ACL and set out last season as a medical redshirt, but was expected to be a contributor before suffering the injury. Originally from Marseille, France and wa selected among the best 16 player in France at her age at one point. Was invited to the FIBA International Camp in July 2008 in Slovenia, where she was MVP. A versatile backcourt performer who is capable of playing point guard.

ANALYSIS: If healthy, Pellet could be an impact addition for a program that hasn't had a standout at the point-guard spot in several years. Rider is well-stocked elsewhere, and seemed on the verge of one its best seasons ever in 2011-12 before a variety of injuries. Loutzenhiser and Johnson are both long-range shooters, and both should get into the playing group this year.

Men's Recruiting: Lindsey Key Among Rider's Group

Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs for the upcoming season.

Up now ...


- KHALIL ALFORD (6-4 guard, Fishburne Military Academy, Raleigh, N.C.): He averaged 15.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists at Fishburne, a prep school, last season. Prior to that, as a high school senior, he averaged 19.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists during the 2010-11 season. He is also an exceptional athlete, having also competed in football and baseball in high school.

- SHAWN VALENTINE (6-7 forward, Phelps School, Malvern, N.J.): He averaged 15.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.4 steals per game last season, and was named his program's Defensive Player of the Year.

- DERRICK STEWART (6-5 forward, Neumann-Goretti H.S., Philadelphia): He was the Philadelphia Catholic League's Defensive Player of the Year this past season, although no offensive statistics are available. While at Neumann-Goretti, his team won four consecutive PCL titles and put up a 111-11 record over his four seasons. He joins his older brother, Daniel Stewart, on the Rider roster.

- JAMEL NWANIEMEKA (6-4 guard, Conwell-Egan Catholic H.S., Philadelphia): He led the Philadelphia Catholic League in scoring with a 24.4 ppg. average in PCL games last season. He also averaged 10.2 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 2.3 assists and 2.1 blocks per game and wa named the Bucks County Player of the Year last season.

- ZEDRIC SADLER (6-2 guard, Cody H.S., South Kent, Mich.): He averaged 18.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 3.2 steals and 2.1 blocks per game this past season and was named "Mr. West Side" of Detroit.

- NURIDEEN LINDSEY (6-3 guard, transfer from St. John's): He averaged 11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.9 asists in nine games at St. John's last season. A graduate of Overbrook H.S. in Philadelphia, he played a season at Redlands Community College before attending St. John's and averaged 22.3 points (sixth nationally at the junior college level), 5.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.5 steals per game. At Overbrook, he averaged 35.8 points per game over his sophomore and junior seasons. His application to play immediately at Rider was recently approved by the NCAA, and he has two full seasons of remaining eligibility.

ANALYSIS: Lindsey is the key addition for the program, giving the Broncs a potential all-league caliber player who is already experienced at a higher level at college play. A friend who is a former assistant coach at the mid-major level who saw several of Lindsey's games at St. John's last season describes him as "a quick, scorer/slashing guard who will have an impact at Rider." Otherwise, Rider's other five incoming players bring a little bit of everything to the program, including immediate quality depth and a strong group to build with in future seasons.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Women's Recruiting: Fairfield Fills Forward, PG Needs

Here's another in the series looking at incoming players to conference programs for the coming season.

Up now ...


- LIZZY BALL (5-7 guard, New Hampton, N.H., Prep School): She averaged 12.7 points, 8.3 assists and 7.2 rebounds in her prep season at New Hampton. A stat-sheet filler, she is reported to be a standout point guard capable of going past defenders for pull-up jumpers or dishing off to open teammates. Your Hoopscribe saw Ball play extensively in the 2011 GymRat Challenge AAU tournament in New York's Capital Region, and was highly impressed. She is not only talented, but an extremely hard worker. A very good point guard who could be an immediate starter and is likely to be a very significant contributor throughout her career.

- CHRISTA SCAGNAMIGLIO (5-10 guard, Pearl River, N.Y., H.S.): She averaged 16.7 points per game this past season, while making an average of 1.8 three-pointers per contest. She had a school-best 1,685 career points over her career. She was a three-time Rockland County Girls' Player of the Year. An outstanding shooter, she reportedly developed the rest of her game throughout her scholastic career.

- KRISTIN SCHATZLEIN (6-0 guard, Tolland, Conn., H.S.): She averaged 18.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game as a high school senior, earning Connecticut's Player of the Year honors. Another well-round player with the ability to score, she scored 1,700 career points at the high school level.

- CASEY GRACE (6-1 forward, Dawson Community College of Glendive, Mont.): A native of Ireland, she averaged 14.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game at Dawson CC. She also played for the Glanmire Basketball Club in Ireland, and was named the Female under-18 International Player of the Year by the Irish Examiner newspaper after leading her team to a national championship.

ANALYSIS: Fairfield graduated standouts at forward (Taryn Johnson ) and point guard (Desire Pina), needed replacements and might have found them in Grace, an athletic forward; and, Ball, who already has a post-high school season playing at the point against high-level competition while in prep school. Those two each have a chance to play significant minutes this season. Scagnamiglio and Schatzlein both get the benefit of playing behind veteran perimeter players, but each fits the Fairfield mold of being able to score points from the perimeter and should provide bench strength immediately and a continuation of the program's ability to have numerous good shooters on the court in future years.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Men's Recruiting: Fairfield Gets Much-Needed Height

Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs for the coming season.

Up now...


- MARCUS GILBERT (6-6 forward, Academy of the New Church, Bryn Athun, Pa.): He averaged 17 points and eight rebounds per game as a high school senior. Reports indicate that despite a relatively slender (185 pounds) build, he has the ability to play inside but can also step out and connect from the perimeter. He shot 56 percent from the floor as a high school senior, including 67 percent from inside the three-point line.

- COLEMAN JOHNSON (6-6 Forward, Paul VI School, Oak Hill, Va.): He averaged 12 points and nine rebounds per game as a high school senior. At 215 pounds, he has a college-ready build. He was a four-year starter for a very strong Paul VI program. He is also a good shot-blocker (3.5 per game last season) for his height.

- JOSIP MIKULIC (7-0 center, North Broward (Fla.) Prep): The native of Croatia originally made a commitment to attend North Carolina State before opting, instead, for Fairfield. Most sites list him as a 6-10 power forward, although Fairfield's roster lists him as a 7-footer. At 228 pounds, he is a slender big man with a variety of skills, including the ability to step out and make shots from the perimeter. He averaged 12 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks per game as a high school junior. There are no stats available for his senior season.

- AMADOU SIDIBE (6-8 forward, Cardinal Hayes H.S., the Bronx): He averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds per game as a high school senior, after a senior year in which he averaged 19 points and 13 rebounds. Also a good shot-blocker, averaging three rejections per game last season.

- JUSTIN JENKINS (6-2 guard, Wings Academy, the Bronx): He averaged 18 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game as a high school senior against high-caliber competition in the New York City area. Capable of playing either guard position.

- SEAN GRENNAN (6-3 guard, transfer from Seton Hall): A highly sought-after recruit after a 1,400-point high school career, he had early physical woes (appendicitis) at Seton Hall last season and only appeared in 18 games, scoring 10 total points. He will sit out the upcoming season due to transfer rules, and have three seasons of eligibility left starting with the 2013-14 season.

ANALYSIS: The Stags, without a single player taller than 6-5 who saw action last season, needed height and got plenty with four incoming recruits between 6-6 and 7-0. Mikulic showed enough to have originally been recruited at a higher level. Although he is more a "skilled" player than a "power" inside performer, his skills should fit in well with coach Sydney Johnson's Princeton-style offense. Although the program has three strong returnees in the backcourt (Derek Needham, Colin Nickerson and Desmond Wade), Jenkins looks ready to get into the playing group. And, Grennan will be a nice addition a year from now. The Stags had also received a commitment from 6-2 guard Lincoln Davis (20.2 points per game this past season at Pittsburgh Central Catholic), but Davis opted, instead, to attend prep school for the coming season but has indicated he plans to join the Fairfield program for 2013-14.

Monday, October 1, 2012

MAAC Preseason Shows To Get ESPN3 Coverage

It's a new world, and the MAAC is reacting to it with the result being a greater visibility for conference fans.

The latest case is the event that, at one time, was known as the MAAC's basketball media day, an exercise that brought together all 20 coaches (men's and women's) and a few select players to be available for a sizeable media turnout. Preseason Player of the Year picks, as determined by a vote of coaches, will also be revealed.

Preseason all-star selections, though, will be revealed earlier, on Oct. 30 through the traditional media outlets. Players named first-team preseason all-stars will be eligible to be named as preseason Player of the Year choices.

For many years the event took place in New York City. Last year, the day, which no longer went by the name Media Day, but the "MAAC Basketball Preseason Awards Show," took place in Springfield, Mass.

The evolution now, though, is that the show has moved to television, which makes it available not just to those in attendance, who spread the news of happenings of the day via the variety of media outlets, but, now, to any fan who cares to tune in.

This year's MAAC Basketball Preseason Awards Shows will be held on Friday, Nov. 9 and will air live on ESPN3.

The women's show will at 5:15 p.m. that day and be held at Marist's McCann Arena. The Red Foxes will display their 2012 MAAC Championship banner. The traditional coaches' preseason poll, all-star selections and preseason Player of the Year choice will be announced. Following the completion of the show, the Marist women will take on Vermont in their season home opener (6 p.m.), a non-league contest.

The men's show will begin at 8:15 p.m., live from Iona's Hynes Athletics Center. The Gaels will display their 2012 NCAA tournament at-large appearance banner, and the preseason polls and award choices will also be revealed. The show will be followed by an Iona men's game in which the Gaels open Denver to open their season.

"The shows are the next step in the evolution of the league's relationship with ESPN3," said conference commissioner Rich Ensor, in a release issued by the league. "The opportunity to showcase the men's and women's basketball programs to a national audience builds upon an event that, in the day, was limited to media and a few guests and now reaches into over 73 million homes.

"The public will become better acquainted with the MAAC student-athletes and coaches, who are leaders and educators of their programs. In addition, the MAAC will honor teams from the 2012 season that participated in NCAA post-season competition and will immediately have an opportunity to measure their 2013 potential as the teams compete in key non-conference match-ups on the first official day of competition for the 2012-13 season."