Morning Five: 11.26.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 26th, 2013


  1. When we mentioned Junior Etou in this space earlier this season we were talking about his NCAA eligibility and figured after we would never mention him here again. It turns out we were wrong, but not for a reason that we could have ever predicted. Now it appears that Etou (or more specifically his high school) misrepresented his age and he was playing high school basketball as a 20-year-old. From the little that we have read about this case it does not appear to be as egregious as the infamous Jerry Joseph case, but it makes Bishop O’Connell High, a nationally respected high school program, look bad. It appears that this development is completely unrelated to the issues that led to his six-game suspension, but the start to Etou’s college career has been one of the more bizarre ones that we have seen.
  2. Towson’s turnaround under Pat Skerry has been nothing short of remarkable. After a 3-2 start that includes a win over Temple, the Tigers will have to overcome a bit of adversity after they suspended starting point guard Jerome Hairston indefinitely for “conduct detrimental to the team”. Hairston, a sophomore was a CAA All-Rookie selection last season, has seen his scoring drop from 9.9 points per game to 5.5 this season. While the loss of a starting point guard is never a good thing, the timing works out well for the Tigers as they have almost six weeks until they start conference play.
  3. While most people have been focusing on fouls and the new rules, one of the things that has caught our eye is the change in pace at Wisconsin. As Seth Davis notes the up-tempo attack is not new to Bo Ryan even if most people associate him with a slow, methodical style based on his time at Wisconsin. Ryan is probably right in that he builds his game plan around his personnel, but he also has some say in what time of player he recruits. We will be interested to see in the coming years if Ryan continues with this trend and personnel going forward or if he reverts to the style that has served his so well during his time in Madison.
  4. We are just getting started with the 2013 version of the Maui Invitational, but on the 30th anniversary of one of the best in-season tournaments around it is as good a time as any to look back at the history of the event. In a weird way, the defining moment of the event has been Chaminade knocking off #1 Virginia in 1982 in a game that was not part of the tournament, but served as the impetus for it. However, to limit the event’s history to a game that wasn’t even part of the event would be greatly underselling the magnitude of some of the early-season games played there. So we were happy to see that they seem to have put together an outstanding field for 2015, which will be headlined by IndianaKansas, and UCLA. Between those three schools, they have 18 championships, which tops any event that we are aware of including the so-called Championship Classic.
  5. There were so many things happening over the weekend that we neglected to mention that Sunday night was the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the class of 2013. Given the depth of accomplishments of those getting inducted we hesitate to call anybody the headliner, but if we had to select someone it would probably be Elvin Hayes. It seems like as time has gone on Hayes’ place in history has largely been diminished because he does not fit into any of the neat historical narratives even if he did knock off Lew Alcindor and UCLA in the “Game of the Century” back in 1968. We want to congratulate all nine individuals and the team (1963 Loyola-Chicago) that were inducted for their accomplishments.
Share this story

CIO… the Colonial Athletic Association

Posted by Brian Goodman on January 30th, 2013

CIO header

Mark Selig is the RTC correspondent for the Colonial Athletic Association. You can also find more of his written work at or on Twitter @MarkRSelig.

Mid-Season Awards

The CAA schedule is roughly halfway over, so it’s time to see who’s leading the race to rack up hardware.

Coach of the Year

  1. Bill Coen, Northeastern
  2. Pat Skerry, Towson
  3. Matt Brady, JMU

All-Rookie Team:

  • R.J. Hunter, Georgia State (ROY)
  • Andre Nation, JMU
  • Jerome Hairston, Towson
  • Chris Dixon, UNC-Wilmingon
  • David Walker, Northeastern

All-CAA Defensive Team:

  • Jerrelle Benimon, Towson (DPOY)
  • Andre Nation, JMU
  • Jamelle Hagins, Delaware
  • Devon Moore, JMU
  • Keith Rendleman, UNCW

All-CAA First Team:

  • Jerrelle Benimon (POY)
  • Sherrod Wright, George Mason
  • Joel Smith, Northeastern
  • Damion Lee, Drexel
  • Keith Rendleman, UNCW

All-CAA Second Team:

  • Rayshawn Goins, JMU
  • R.J. Hunter, Georgia State
  • Marcus Thornton, William &  Mary
  • Devon Saddler, Delaware
  • Quincy Ford, Northeastern

All-CAA Third Team:

  • Tim Rusthoven, William & Mary
  • Jamelle Hagins, Delaware
  • Devon Moore, JMU
  • Devonta White, Georgia State
  • Frantz Massenat, Drexel

Power Rankings

After his team lost its third straight game last week, Delaware guard Devon Saddler said the Blue Hens needed to go to the movies to grow camaraderie and snap out of the slump. If the Hens did in fact share a movie night, it worked. They beat host Drexel last night on NBC Sports Network, despite nearly blowing a late 15-point lead. Every team in the CAA should pop some popcorn and watch a movie. In this week’s power rankings, I’ll suggest which current flicks each team should visit their nearby Regal to see.

  1. Northeastern (13-7 overall, 8-0 in the CAA): A skilled team of experts taking down targets on a regular basis, the Huskies might as well buy tickets for “Zero Dark Thirty.” Zero, after all, is Northeastern’s total of CAA losses through eight games. The Huskies are just the seventh Colonial team to begin a season 8-0. The last two to do so won the CAA title. Five of the eight wins have been by five or fewer points, but not the most recent one. NU smacked George Mason on Sunday, sweeping the series with a 20-point home win. The televised game was Northeastern’s announcement to the league that it’s the team to beat. Only one school earns a bye in the seven-team CAA tournament this year, and NU is already three games in the loss column ahead of next-best Mason/James Madison. Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story

CIO… the Colonial Athletic Association

Posted by Brian Goodman on January 23rd, 2013

CIO header

Mark Selig is the RTC correspondent for the Colonial Athletic Association. You can also find more of his written work at or on Twitter @MarkRSelig.

A Spotlight On Towson Athletic Director Mike Waddell

It’s Sunday morning and I send a direct message via Twitter to Towson athletic director Mike Waddell. It’s probably not the most conventional way to request a five-minute interview that will turn into a half-hour, but Waddell isn’t the most conventional A.D. Minutes later, Waddell messages back: “Call Now,” along with his cell phone number. And seconds later, another message: “6 minutes response time. Lol.” Think of Waddell as a first-responder – the fire-truck bowling down the street, sirens blaring, a crisis to confront. His emergency here is public relations. The most accessible athletic director in Division I athletics – unofficially, at least – lives to market the once-sorry program that he’s helping turn around in a blink. His impact since taking over Towson athletics in September 2010 is far-reaching, but let’s just focus on basketball, which, as he notes, is “the one sport that can be a revenue generator” in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Towson AD Mike Waddell Has Stuck With Pat Skerry, A Move That Has Paid Dividends With The Tigers Making Noise.

Towson AD Mike Waddell Has Stuck With Pat Skerry, A Move That Has Paid Dividends With The Tigers Making Noise.

After a 26-point win over James Madison on Saturday, Towson is 10-9 and 4-1 in the CAA. The school hasn’t had a winning record this late in the season since 1999-2000, which, technically, is last century. Bill Clinton was still in the Oval Office, not at the Golden Globes. The Tigers are not eligible for the CAA Tournament or any postseason play this season because of academic sanctions which go back to the previous regime. It’s a shame too, because Towson could be one of the best stories in college basketball. After a 1-31 season, the Tigers are one of the top teams in the CAA. Who knows if they’d win the league title, but CBS would practically explode if it had the chance to craft one of those feel-good segments you see every March. Inevitably, that segment would have to start with the vision of Waddell.

Following the 15th consecutive losing season for Towson hoops, Waddell said goodbye to coach Pat Kennedy. He looked at his own athletic program, at the coaches in charge of the sports that were succeeding, and aimed to fill the men’s basketball opening with a gritty, like-minded candidate. “Who are we going to bring in who can grind the way these people grind?” Waddell asked himself. The A.D. says the first person on his wish list was Pat Skerry, then an assistant from Jamie Dixon’s staff at Pittsburgh. Skerry grew up just outside of Boston and has the hearty accent to prove it. More importantly, he expected success and knew there wouldn’t be shortcuts to attain it. Waddell hired Skerry, who hopped into a kitchen lacking any utensils last season. Year One was an expected disaster, but Skerry has quickly brought in enough talent – including three Big East transfers – to now compete.

The roster isn’t home grown, but it looks scary good for the future. Barring the unforeseen, only fifth-leading scorer Bilal Dixon will be gone next year, which could be a new era for Towson basketball. In addition to boasting a deep roster featuring do-everything forward Jerrelle Benimon and flourishing guard Jerome Hairston, Towson will open a sparkling 5,200-seat arena, it will be eligible again for postseason competition, and it will have the CAA Tournament in its backyard for the first time. George Mason, Delaware and Drexel will again be among the favorites to win the CAA next year, but Towson will be more than just a dark horse pick to claim its first Colonial title, at First Mariner Bank Arena in Baltimore.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story