Big East M5: 10.30.12 EditionPosted by Will Tucker on October 30th, 2012
- Mike DeCourcy at The Sporting News released his comprehensive Big East preview yesterday. DeCourcy selected Louisville as the league’s top team and Peyton Siva as MVP. Where he strayed from the preseason consensus was in ranking St. John’s last in the conference and heaping praise on South Florida point guard Anthony Collins, who made TSN’s All-Big East team and, DeCourcy argues, single-handedly saved Stan Heath’s job last season. He also contends that Mick Cronin isn’t getting enough credit, calling his Cincinnati tenure “one of the most impressive coaching achievements of the past decade.” The highlight of the guide might be this farewell to Notre Dame: “There’s almost no way to get to South Bend easily, almost nowhere to eat, almost nowhere nice to stay, almost no chance to beat the Irish at home.”
- Yesterday’s Hartford Courant ran a great piece on Kevin Ollie’s newly promoted Assistant Head Coach, Glen Miller, and the circuitous route that led him back to coach in Storrs. Judging from quotes from Ollie’s right-hand man, the coaching transition at UConn has been pretty painless this offseason: “Kevin is not trying to reinvent the wheel. We’re all cut from the same cloth as Coach [Calhoun]. We understand how this program became successful and how it can continue to be successful.” The story offers a rare depiction of the kind of personal adversity a lot of coaches endure in order to seize a great opportunity. In the first year after Miller left Penn to rejoin Calhoun’s staff in 2010, he spent most of his free time driving the nine-hour round trip to visit his family in Pennsylvania and tend to the storm-damaged home they were desperately trying to rent out. Miller’s description of his recruiting trip to Northeastern in the early ‘80s is also worth a read if you enjoy anecdotes about Jim Calhoun’s laconic, Ron Swanson-esque personality.
- In other Big East-related human-interest pieces, Mark Story from The Lexington Herald-Leader sheds some light onto Elisha Justice’s decision to transfer from Louisville to NAIA program Pikeville (KY). At the time, the move had been a head-scratcher to Louisville fans: while Justice may have been buried in the depth chart this year, he had repeatedly articulated an interest in coaching after college and an enthusiasm for learning under Rick Pitino. But as the Herald story reveals, Justice’s primary motivation was a yearning to be closer to his grandfather, who was recently diagnosed with colon cancer. The former Kentucky Mr. Basketball has come to terms with the fact that he may have turned his back on an opportunity to win a national title this year: “I came home for my family, to spend as much time with them as I can, while I can,” he says. “Whatever happens at Louisville [this season], I’ll never regret that.”
- In light of potentially nightmarish post-Sandy travel conditions, St. John’s announced that its season opening exhibition game against Sonoma State has been postponed from Thursday to Saturday night. Elsewhere in Big East country, Villanova and UConn both rescheduled or cancelled practice activities today, as their campuses were shut down by the hurricane. Basketball obviously takes a backseat under these sobering circumstances, but it will be interesting to see if the storm adversely affects the play of any Big East teams in its path as they open exhibition play this week.
- Two Big East programs remain in the running for elite power forward prospect Tyler Roberson, who yesterday announced he had trimmed his list to Syracuse, Villanova, and Kansas. The news might be most encouraging for Villanova fans because his visit to their Midnight Madness last weekend was apparently persuasive enough to lead Roberson to cancel his impending trip to Kentucky: “Although I was only at Villanova for a day I felt at home and knew after the visit that I didn’t need to take my last visit.” The 6’8 New Jersey four-star plans to commit in the next couple of weeks according to Adam Zagoria.