The RTC Interview Series: One on One With Tim Abromaitis

Posted by rtmsf on May 27th, 2011

Rush The Court is back with another edition of One on One: An Interview Series, which we will bring you periodically throughout the offseason. If you have any specific interview requests or want us to interview you, shoot us an email at

In a culture of one-and-dones and low academic performance ratings, it is always refreshing when there is an instance of a student-athlete who gets the job done on the playing court and goes above and beyond in the classroom. Notre Dame forward Tim Abromaitis thoroughly fits the description of one of those instances. Abromaitis has been a starting forward for Mike Brey’s Fighting Irish for the past two seasons and he flourished on the court as the team’s second leading scorer in both seasons as a starter. While it is well-known that Notre Dame carries stringent academic requirements for their student-athletes, the Big East Scholar-Athlete of the Year’s academic career is among the most impressive of all the students on the South Bend campus.  The  Unionville, Connecticut, forward graduated cum laude from the Mendoza School of Business (Business Week’s top rated undergraduate business school for the past two years) in just three years. Following his graduation, he enrolled in the school’s ultra-competitive one-year MBA program and will continue to take courses in 2011-12, his final season as a member of the Fighting Irish program.  RTC correspondent Walker Carey recently had the pleasure of speaking to Abromaitis about his remarkable academic career and the plans for his future.

Abromaitis is a Beast Both On and Off the Court

Rush the Court: For two years straight, Notre Dame has had the top-rated undergraduate business school in the country. Tell me a little bit about your major and the challenges you faced in such a competitive classroom setting.

Tim Abromaitis: As an undergraduate finance major, I took a variety of classes in the area such as Behavioral Finance and Investment Theory. With high-level classmates, it meant that courses would progress at a high speed and you had to stay on top of your game for every class.

RTC: Graduating in four years is an accomplishment, but graduating in three? How were you able to accomplish that? What was your workload like? Was it difficult to balance academics with basketball?

TA: Part of the reason why I was able to graduate early was the fact that I had a lot of credits from high school advanced placement tests. In addition to this, being on campus with the team for summer school and usually taking the normal full load of courses meant that I was able to graduate a year ahead of schedule. Balancing academics and basketball was challenging at times, especially when we would be traveling and missing classes. I have learned to manage my time well and focus on the right things to get the job done on the court and in the classroom.

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Around The Blogosphere: May 27, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on May 27th, 2011

If you are interested in participating, send your submissions to as we will be updating these posts throughout the day.

General News

  • Ryan Harrow Chooses Kentucky, Eligible to Play in 2012: “With his commitment to Kentucky, Harrow gives the Wildcats their de facto point guard for the 2012 class, and it is now doubtful that Calipari will choose to pursue any other high school options at that position.” (A Sea of Blue)
  • DeAndre Liggins Part of ESPN Investigative Report about Indiana Elite & IU: Liggins may be at the center of an investigation that could leave Indiana in quite a bit of trouble. (A Sea of Blue)
  • ESPN on Indiana Elite, Hanner Perea and A-Hope: The same investigation could jeopardize Perea’s eligibility. (Inside the Hall)
  • The Hoyas Are Going to China and You’re Invited!!!: Preliminary details of Georgetown’s trip to China this summer. (Casual Hoya)
  • An interesting quote from DeAndre Liggins: The former Wildcats suggests that John Calipari was more willing to let the star recruits have an opportunity to shine than others on the team. (Kentucky Sports Radio)

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Morning Five: 05.27.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on May 27th, 2011

  1. Greg Paulus started for three years at Duke, played a year of quarterback at Syracuse, was an assistant coach at Navy last season, and already has landed his fourth gig. Thad Matta hired Paulus as Ohio State’s new video coordinator yesterday, which makes that Big Ten-ACC matchup that has the Blue Devils traveling to Columbus next season all the more interesting. Wonder if Coach Matta will be hitting up Greg for a little insider breakdown of Duke game film ahead of that little get-together?
  2. Props to the PROP! And by that we mean the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel. Yesterday they approved the addition of an arc to be drawn on the floor three feet out from the basket inside of which a charge will not be called on an offensive player. There are also now two categorizations of certain types of hard fouls. Flagrant 1 means an intentional foul, and Flagrant 2 signifies a flagrant foul. As for the arc, we’re glad they added it, but are we to assume it theoretically extends to the baseline as well? And if so, why not just draw it? Guarantee you that will come up in at least one big game before New Year’s. And what’s the official name? The “three-foot arc?” We think that’s the best (and only real) option.
  3. A few weeks ago we posted an article about how researchers at the University of Washington found that Division I men’s basketball players had a greatly higher incidence of sudden cardiac arrest compared with college athletes in any division or any other sport, a fact that speaks to the necessity of pre-participation screening as well as availability of automatic defibrillators in gyms/arenas. Next month, researchers from several sites in Kansas will publish a study on student-athletes they screened (though it doesn’t look like any of them were college basketball players) that resulted in the same recommendation. We haven’t got our hands on their data yet, but we hope solid research and public outcry both continue to force schools’ hands on this.
  4. Mac Engel writes a sports blog for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Yesterday he published a conversation he recently had with Louisville head honcho Rick Pitino about how schools like TCU joining the Big East adds value to both Louisville and TCU, explaining to Engel that, “When I came to Louisville we were a top 10 program. In terms of value according to Forbes, there is only one basketball program among the top 50 money-making athletic programs in the country that is basketball. The rest are all football. We’re the one.” That’s not exactly true. That would mean U of L is the nation’s most valuable college hoops program, and, according to Forbes (which Pitino cited), the value list has gone 1) North Carolina, 2) Kentucky, and 3) Louisville for the last three years. Louisville has been the most profitable team in several Forbes surveys, but UNC recently took that distinction as well.
  5. St. John’s would love to tell NCAA bylaw 11.4.2 where to stick it. It’s been a tough week for Steve Lavin and that particular provision; first, Arizona transfer Lamont “MoMo” Jones was prohibited from transferring to SJU because of that rule. Yesterday it was revealed that incoming big-time recruit Maurice Harkless might not be able to play there, either, because of the same rule. Harkless played a little AAU ball with the New York Gauchos, a team that employs St. John’s Director of Basketball Operations Moe Hicks as an administrator. Rule 11.4.2 says a school that employs someone associated with a prospective player “in any athletics department noncoaching staff position” can’t recruit that player for two years. Still, St. John’s is optimistic they’ll be able to smooth this over and welcome Harkless in the fall.
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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Nikola Vucevic

Posted by rtmsf on May 26th, 2011

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 23, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night. There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Nikola Vucevic

School: USC

Height/Weight 6’10, 240 lbs.

NBA Position:  Power Forward/Center

Projected Draft Range Late First Round

Overview: USC center Nikola Vucevic may have been the least hyped all-Pac-10 first team center that the conference has ever had.  It’s a guarantee that when his name is called on draft night, most people around the country will assume “another European player” without any knowledge that the athletic 6’10, 260-pounder played college ball in sunny Los Angeles for the last three years.  One of the reasons for that is because the Trojan program has spent the last two seasons recovering from the OJ Mayo/Tim Floyd debacle, and this year, even though USC ultimately made the NCAA Tournament as a #11 seed, they were summarily dismissed in the First Four by a soon-to-be-Cinderella VCU Rams.  But don’t let that fool you — Vucevic was the lone offensive bright spot on a team that scrapped and defended its way to 19 wins and a berth in the postseason that most west coast observers thought unlikely.  His consistent post game, shooting range, care with the ball and knack for rebounding anchored a Trojan team that had little else to hang its hat on; but it could count on a double-double from the big Montenegran almost every night out (22 last season).  He averaged 17.1 PPG, 10.3 RPG, and 1.4 BPG in nearly 35 minutes of action each night, and his efficiency in both shooting the ball (75% of FTs; 54% of twos; 35% of threes) and rebounding (he grabbed 26% of boards on the defensive glass) makes you wonder why a guy with such a nice low-post game isn’t getting more buzz as a sleeper pick this year. 

Vucevic is Fairly Unknown But Showed an All-Around Game at USC

Will Translate to the NBA:  You certainly can’t teach size, and Vucevic has a body built for banging around in the paint at the next level.  His draft measurements put him at the very top of this year’s class in terms of height (just a shade under seven feet with shoes on) and reach (nearly nine-and-a-half feet).  His draft weight is also ideal because he’ll ultimately be asked to hold his position defensively against some of the elite NBA bigs inside, and although he can stand to become a bit stronger, he’s already very far along in this area.  The other area where he’s already at an NBA level is his exceptionally nice touch with the ball in terms of shooting ability.  He has an established and consistent mid-range game and shoots the ball well from the foul line.  After making only eight three-pointers in his first two seasons at USC, he nearly quadrupled that number last season (29).  There’s no reason to believe he can’t become an excellent shooter when he finds openings in the defense.

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Examining Ed DeChellis: Why Are Some Coaches Trading Down?

Posted by rtmsf on May 26th, 2011

Monday’s announcement by Penn State head coach Ed DeChellis that he was resigning from his position in order to take another job isn’t the kind of thing that normally surprises anyone.  After all, fifty or so Division-I head coaching jobs change hands in a given offseason, and DeChellis is coming off one of the best seasons of his coaching career.  His Nittany Lions finished fourth in the Big Ten last season and made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade (losing by two points to Temple in the Second Round).  That he’s taking another job isn’t buzzworthy in itself; it’s that he’s not moving on to greener pastures as the new guy at Miami (FL) or Missouri, to name a couple prominent openings this year.  It’s that he’s resigning from a Big Ten school to take the head coaching position at Navy.  As in… the US Naval Academy, a Patriot League program that hasn’t been relevant since the Reagan Administration (and a gangly center named David Robinson was enrolled in Annapolis).

DeChellis Isn't the First Coach to Move Down the Ladder

It’s certainly an open secret among Penn State faithful and Big Ten watchers that DeChellis, despite PSU’s run to the NCAAs this season, was already on rather thin ice.  His eight-year career in Happy Valley resulted in more losses than wins and his relationship with the Penn State AD, Tim Curley, had reportedly deteriorated to a breaking point.  Still, by walking away from a Big Ten position — even one in the basketball wasteland known as central Pennsylvania — to take the helm at a struggling mid-major, he’s leaving at least a half-million dollars or more on the table, and essentially giving up on every coach’s dream to win and win big at the highest level of college basketball.  We’re not about to sit down and perform an analysis of the last couple of decades of coaching changes to test the theory, but in at least the last couple of offseasons, there seems to be a growing trend of coaches moving laterally or even downgrading themselves for one reason or another.  Here’s three who instantly came to mind.

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Morning Five: 05.26.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on May 26th, 2011

  1. By Michigan State standards, last year was a tough one to say the least. They could use some good fortune, but they’ll have to wait a little longer. Yesterday they learned that Russell Byrd, a 6’7 freshman guard with reliable three-point range who missed last season with a left foot injury, will have surgery on that same foot tomorrow. He should be back and ready in time for the start of practice in October, but MSU had hoped to have Byrd healthy and up to speed by now.
  2. Penn State has hired former South Carolina and Vanderbilt head coach Eddie Fogler to assist with their coaching search. You know, ’cause he helped with previous coaching searches at…Auburn and Georgia Tech. Yeah. Can you imagine this call from PSU AD Tim Curley to former coach Fogler? Curley: “Hey, Eddie, you know we have a coaching vacancy here, right?” Fogler: “Yeeeees…” Curley: “Well, we were wondering if…” Fogler (smiling in anticipation): “YEEEESSSS??” Curley: “Do you know anyone who might be interested?”
  3. “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” Couldn’t agree more with the great Lefty Driesell, who was inducted into the Southern Conference Hall of Fame this past Tuesday. Before moving on to Maryland, Driesell posted a 176-65 record at Davidson over nine seasons, went to the Sweet 16 three times and the Elite Eight twice, won five regular season titles and three conference tournament crowns. He hasn’t totally removed that coaching hat — he regularly advises his son Chuck, head coach at The Citadel. Chuck’s choice for the most important piece of advice his father has given him: “Recruit daily or perish.”
  4. Ryan Harrow decided to leave North Carolina State after his freshman year and the ouster of Sidney Lowe, and late last night he decided that he’ll head to Lexington and play for Kentucky. The 6’0 and 160-pound point guard was rated as the 39th-best overall player on the ESPNU 100 for 2010, and the eighth-best point guard. He averaged 9.3 PPG and 3.3 APG for the Wolfpack in his only season there, and led the team with a 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio. He’ll sit out the 2011-12 season while learning to guard the likes of Marquis Teague and Doron Lamb in practice every day, and will eligible to play in 2012-13.
  5. Four years ago, North Carolina mascot Jason Ray was hit by a car and killed right in front of the team hotel in New Jersey before his team’s NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 game. He was an organ donor. Because of that, he helped save the lives of four people. One of them was Ronald Griffin of Franklin Township, New Jersey, who received Ray’s heart. Griffin lived for four more years. That’s four more birthdays, four more NCAA Tournaments, four more anniversaries, four more whatevers — and everything in between. 1,461 more days he got to enjoy the privilege of breathing, walking, perceiving. Mr. Griffin, who became a big Tar Heel fan after learning whose heart he received, died this week, aged 62. We have nothing to add to this, other than to express our condolences to Mr. Griffin’s family, and our respect to Jason Ray.
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Looking Forward to the 2011 Challenge Week Already

Posted by zhayes9 on May 25th, 2011

Zach Hayes is an editor, contributor and bracketologist for Rush the Court.

It’s about time the SEC and Big East followed suit.

Last week, those two esteemed conferences made it official: they plan on following the path set by the ACC and Big Ten, expanding their annual showdown to include (nearly) all members in a nationally televised spectacle creating enticing matchups that most cautious coaches would normally eschew (exception: Tom Izzo). The ACC/Big Ten Challenge, buoyed by ESPN’s services and the strangely captivating quest for the Big Ten to finally upend their ACC counterparts, has been a roaring success since its inception even through peaks and valleys in terms of talent level.

The lone saving grace once the excitement of the Thanksgiving tournaments have died down is remembering that the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and all it offers is right around the corner. Next December, the SEC and Big East have agreed to double our fun, expanding to 12 teams each. Although the dissection of each game won’t fully get underway until well after the leaves change colors, here are some of the matchups, individual and team, that jumped out to me as soon as the games were announced:

Florida backcourt vs. Syracuse backcourt – Two teams with Final Four aspirations next season for one primary reason: the strength of returnees and newcomers in their backcourts. Florida, periodically to their detriment, are overly reliant on their diminutive backcourt duo of point guard Erving Walker and three-point gunner Kenny Boynton, a trend that won’t recede with the departure of both Chandler Parsons and Vernon Macklin from the front line. Two-guard extraordinaire Brad Beal might be the best of the pack the minute he steps on campus as a pinpoint shooter and ace defender and Scottie Wilbekin saw ample time as an underage freshman. Syracuse has Big East title aspirations mostly due to their experienced backcourt returnees and double digit scorers: two-year starter Brandon Triche and fifth-year senior Scoop Jardine. Throw in combo guard Michael Carter-Williams, a McDonalds All-American that can spell Triche at the point and also fill it up, elite shooter Trevor Cooney and scorer Dion Waiters (provided he smoothes things over with his coach) and the Orange are even more stocked than the Gators in their backcourt. As it almost always the case: it’s a guard’s world, we’re just living in it.

Scoop Jardine spearheads a loaded Cuse backcourt

Jeffery Taylor vs. Kyle Kuric – Other than possibly Duke-Ohio State (couldn’t Carolina have paid a visit to Columbus or was Roy Williams not too anxious to embark?), the best matchup set by the powers-that-be are potential #1/#2 seeds Louisville and Vanderbilt butting heads. This winter is shaping up to be the most exciting season in Vandy basketball history provided they tighten up their defense and avoid yet another first round collapse. Those expectations were set when John Jenkins, Festus Ezeli and Jeffery Taylor, the latter a possible lottery pick, elected to skip the draft waters and return to Nashville. Taylor’s offensive repertoire has expanded since arriving on campus, but he’s always been known as a star defender because of his outstanding athleticism, length and ability to guard multiple positions. He may not face a more imposing threat in 2011-12 than Kyle Kuric, the sneaky quick and bouncy sharpshooter from Louisville that connected on 45% of his treys as a junior. Watching Taylor chase around Kuric for 35 minutes should be a sight to behold.

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Reggie Jackson

Posted by Brian Goodman on May 25th, 2011

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 23, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night. There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Reggie Jackson

School: Boston College

Height/Weight: 6’3/208 lbs.

NBA Position: Point Guard

Projected Draft Range: Late First Round

Overview: Reggie Jackson came to Boston College all the way from Colorado Springs as a heralded shooting guard. Making an early impact for former head coach Al Skinner, Jackson averaged seven points per contests in 20 minutes in his freshman season, including a season-high 17 on the road against North Carolina during the Tar Heels’ run to a national title. With surprisingly long arms for someone his size (his wingspan has been measured at seven feet), Jackson pulled down more rebounds than you would typically expect from a 6’3 guard. Juggling an increase in playing time with new full-time starting point guard responsibilities, Jackson improved steadily in his sophomore season, though he struggled shooting the ball (especially from the perimeter) where he failed to crack 30% beyond the arc in both of his first two seasons. His floor general skills shone through, however, as he posted one of the ACC’s top assist-to-turnover ratios in 2009-10. He continued to improve, but few could predict his spectacular 42% performance from beyond the arc in 2010-11, which played a major role in his shooting percentage rising from 43% from 50% last season. With several seniors graduating, Jackson decided to leave school a year early rather than play out the first stage of a massive rebuilding project in Chestnut Hill in 2011-12. Without a strong supporting cast, a return to BC would have spelled a rather strenuous workload as a senior.

Jackson is an Athletic Guard With Substantial Upside

Will Translate to the NBA: Jackson’s appeal stems from his athleticism and wingspan, which makes him a very explosive player on both ends of the court. Once he adds more muscle to his frame, scouts are confident that he’ll be good to go. He’s already a very good finisher on the break and can succeed in half-court sets as well, especially in the pick-and-roll. Jackson worked hard to improve his jumper last season, which will help him get by as he adds the weight necessary to drive and absorb contact in the lane.

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Around The Blogosphere: May 25, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on May 25th, 2011

If you are interested in participating, send your submissions to as we will be updating these posts throughout the day.

General News

  • Ed DeChellis Leaves Penn State for Navy: In one of the more shocking moves of the offseason DeChellis decided to leave the Big East to take over at Navy. (The Daily Gopher)
  • Big East Tournament Changes?: “Among the topics up for discussion at the Big East meetings this week is how to handle a 17-team tournament. It is easily one of the biggest issues of contention for the basketball coaches to discuss. The 16 team tournament has it’s own drawbacks, of course, but has been a favorite of coaches, to whom it allows a late-seas0n redemption.” (VU Hoops)
  • Big East’s NCAA APR multiyear scores for men’s basketball: A look at the APR for all 16 teams. (Rumble in the Garden)
  • Mark Turgeon Meets with Media: May Not Add Another Player, Wants to Play Up-Tempo: Some notes from Turgeon’s press conference. (Testudo Times)
  • Olu Ashaolu Picks Oregon Over Texas: “In another cruel twist of fate for Texas basketball fans, UT lost on on Louisiana Tech transfer Olu Ashaolu when he decided on Oregon late this morning.” (Burnt Orange Nation)
  • Washington State Football, Basketball Post Improved APR Scores: “In what was an actual welcome piece of off-the-field news for Washington State University athletics, the football and men’s basketball teams both posted improved scores Tuesday in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate, with the WSU football team meeting the NCAA’s minimum score of 925 for the first time in four years.” (Coug Center)
  • Brandon Bender: “I’m telling everything”: “Everyone’s favorite…I don’t even know what noun to use here….anyway, Brandon Bender has thrust himself back into the summer news by stating that he plans to “tell the whole story about Rick Pitino” tomorrow evening on a radio station in Orlando.” (Card Chronicle)
  • The Momo saga continues: The rumors of Momo Jones heading to St. John’s may not be true due to a NCAA rule that may prevent him from being recruited by the school. (Rumble in the Garden)
  • More Details on Villanova’s European Preseason Tour: A look at Villanova’s summer trip to Europe. (VU Hoops)

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RTC Interviews Exclusive: A Conversation With Linda Gonzalez

Posted by nvr1983 on May 25th, 2011

Last Friday, Linda Gonzalez, the older sister of former Manhattan and Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez, posted a column (link to our post because she took her original post down) that drew a lot of attention across the Internet and within coaching and journalism circles. In that post, Gonzalez listed ten columnists (some local, but mostly national) whom she felt wrote with an agenda and often did not report the facts as they are, but instead tried to twist them to fit the story. After the post started a mini-firestorm online, we reached out to Linda Gonzalez to inquire about her thoughts and reasoning. What follows is a 25-minute interview with Gonzalez that touches on her reasons for writing the piece, thoughts on the media in general and specific individuals, and her impression of what led to her brother’s firing at Seton Hall. We have to admit that Linda Gonzalez turned out to be a lot more reasonable than we expected over the phone based on her initial post and some of the rumblings that we had heard from various media members before we spoke with her. She also makes some salient points about the media as a whole and about the perceived agenda that some media members have.

Gonzalez has been a controversial figure in the media for years

Rush the Court: By now, most of our audience is aware of  your post listing the 10 writers you consider the most corrupt or biased in the country, but we don’t know much about you other than the fact that you are Bobby Gonzalez’s sister. Could you provide us with a little background information on who you are?

Linda Gonzalez: Before we start let me make something clear. There is a difference between a public and private person. I am not a public person. I used to be a public person because I was a columnist for a newspaper. That was a long time ago. Now writing is a hobby. I have a personal blog that I write. In fact, I have two. One I keep for notes and whatnot, but I have a personal blog that I write that people are welcome to read, but it is still a personal and private blog. I am a private person who lives in upstate New York. I am involved with my family. I live a quiet life.

I am a daughter, sister, aunt, substitute mom, nana, niece, and friend. I want for my family the same as you want for your own. I want my family to have  love, success and to live a meaningful life with purpose. I do what I can, whenever I can to help them and myself to achieve that. I’m sure anyone would do the same.

I have a mother who is 84 and a brother who is a disabled Vietnam Vet. My sister died 20 years ago and she had four children. Now her children are starting to have children so I have got my hands full. Bobby is a part of the picture, a big part, because when one suffers, we all suffer.

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