Checking In On… the NEC

Posted by rtmsf on December 9th, 2011

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.


Looking Back

The pre-2012 portion of the Northeast Conference schedule didn’t give us a whole lot to discern, with a couple of exceptions. Defending conference champ Long Island will once again be a tough out for rival foes. Central Connecticut State appears to be a threat with more players stepping up to help standout guard Ken Horton. Robert Morris has its young talent playing well and Wagner, despite having the “luck” to open the conference season at LIU, gave the host Blackbirds all they could handle. At the start of the season, I labeled Wagner (7-2) as a dark horse for the NEC title. Now, they are getting referenced in the same sentence as “contender.”

Leading Off: On December 6, Wagner defeated a talented Hofstra squad (58-43) in Staten Island, signaling another solid non-conference win for Danny Hurley and company. Meanwhile, King Rice earned win number one on the season as Monmouth nipped Navy (69-67) in Annapolis on Tuesday.

Player of the Week:  Ken Horton, 6’8″ Sr. F, Central Connecticut State – Has averaged 31 points in the Blue Devils’ two NEC games so far, highlighted by an impressive 32-point outburst against Bryant. Horton was dangerously effective inside (nine rebounds) and out (6 of 10 from three).

Rookie of the Week: Lucky Jones, 6’5″ Fr.  G/F., Robert Morris – Jones averaged 12.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in the Colonials’ two wins. Ironically, a product of New Jersey and famed high school national power St. Anthony’s, Jones face off against the Garden State’s two NEC schools.

Central Connecticut State's Ken Horton is averaging a conference-best 22.5 points per game so far this season (

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RTC Conference Primers: #20 – Northeast Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 17th, 2011

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC.

Reader’s Take I

Top Storylines

  • Coaches Enjoy Honors: In September, Mount St. Mary’s coach Robert Burke coached in the Congressional County All-Star Classic. Burke coached a team of members of Congress while George Washington mentor Mike Lonergan guided a team of lobbyists.  The game was at GW’s Smith Center. Hopefully Burke did not allow his ‘club’ a lengthy recess. In other news, Wagner assistant Bobby Hurley was inducted into the Duke University Hall of Fame in September. Hurley scored over 1,700 points, handed out an NCAA record 1,076 assists and led Duke to two national titles during his playing days (19989-93).
  • A Long-Awaited Repeat In The NEC? Long Island is attempting to become the first NEC school in nearly two decades to successfully defend its conference title. The last? Current  MAAC  member Rider, which captured the NEC crown in 1993 and 1994.

Can LIU Capture the Blackbird Magic Again? (credit: NY Post)

  • The Numbers Game: Among starters lost, FDU and Quinnipiac lead the way with three each. It’s a matter of perception. FDU, coming off a five-win season, can look at this as a fresh start. Quinnipiac, a 22-win team from a season ago, has spots to replace. Tom Moore has options as he has the Bobcats primed for another run. The program with the least amount of starters lost? Wagner. The Seahawks, coming off an encouraging 9-9 conference slate good for a sixth-place tie, have every starter back on board.
  • Sacred Heart Mourns Loss Of Former Star: On a sad note, Sacred Heart is mourning the passing of Chauncey Hardy, a prolific player for the Pioneers from 2006-10. Hardy scored over 1,200 points during his Sacred Heart career and was playing professionally overseas in Romania at the time of his tragic death, which came after Hardy was assaulted in a pub.

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Quinnipiac Keeps Two Players Charged With Assault On The Team

Posted by nvr1983 on September 21st, 2011

One of the major tenets of the American legal system is the concept that an individual is innocent until proven guilty. It is a principle that is commonly cited by defense attorneys and supporters of the accused. However, in the world of college sports, most programs keep this principle confined to the legal system and usually suspend the athletes while the school and legal system investigate the charges. Quinnipiac apparently is not one of those programs. Early Sunday morning, James Johnson, who was 1st team All-NEC while averaging 16.1 PPG last year as a junior, and Ike Azotam, who averaged 5.2 PPG and 5.5 RPG last year as a freshman, were arrested after allegedly assaulting two other students during a fight on-campus.  Johnson and Azotam were both charged with third-degree assault and second-degree breach of peace and detained before being released on $5,000 bond.

Azotam (L) & Johnson (R) Are Due In Court On Monday (Credit: Hamden Police)

While this is an unfortunately not uncommon occurrence on college campuses it was strange to hear that the school has reportedly decided to keep the two players on the team while they are investigating the matter. In reality, this is probably a trivial matter as the two players are due in court next Monday, September 26, but the standard protocol in college sports over the years has been to suspend the players while the investigation is on-going regardless of how light the penalties may be (see the recent cases of Erik Murphy and Jerime Anderson). For their part, neither Azotam nor Johnson have alluded to the incident on their Twitter accounts although Azotam has kept tweeting as if nothing had happened (unless you count this) while Johnson has been silent.

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