RTC Summer Updates: Big East Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on July 11th, 2011

With the completion of the NBA Draft and the annual coaching and transfer carousels nearing their ends, RTC is rolling out a new series, RTC Summer Updates, to give you a crash course on each Division I conference during the summer months. Our Big East update comes from frequent RTC contributor Brian Otskey, co-author of Get to the Point.

Readers’ Take

Summer Storylines

  • Connecticut Revels In National Championship Glory: Connecticut’s storybook year continued on into the offseason as the Huskies were invited to the White House for an event with President Obama on May 16. The team presented the president with a #1 UConn jersey and posed for photographs after being lauded for their remarkable accomplishment. Connecticut made one of the most improbable runs ever en route to the third national championship in school history, all coming since 1999, going 23-0 outside of Big East regular season play. Nobody could have predicted the way last season unfolded and the NCAA Tournament as a whole was a microcosm of that. Connecticut’s national title made up for a lackluster performance by many of the record 11 Big East teams participating in the tournament. Only one other Big East team (Marquette) managed to make it to the second weekend’s Sweet 16. Life without Kemba Walker has begun in Storrs and while the Huskies will be among the 2011-12 Big East favorites, it’ll be very interesting to see who steps up and how the team performs without its warrior. Jeremy Lamb appears to be ready to take over but the way Shabazz Napier and Alex Oriakhi handle their larger roles will be the difference between a team contending for a Big East title and one that finishes fourth or fifth.

Kemba & Co. Celebrated in Style (H-C/B.Hansen)

  • The Ed Cooley Era Begins In Friartown: After Keno Davis stumbled to an 18-36 Big East record over three seasons in Providence, the Friars desperately needed someone to revive their moribund program. Providence has made only two NCAA Tournaments since its 1997 appearance and the last one was eight seasons ago in 2003-04. Enter Ed Cooley, a Providence-born 41-year-old with the fire in his belly needed to succeed in arguably the toughest job in the Big East Conference. Cooley will instill a system of discipline and fundamentals with a special attention to defense, three attributes of successful programs that were sorely lacking under Davis. Cooley’s Fairfield team ranked #22 in the nation in defensive efficiency last season and he improved the Stags’ record each and every year he was there. Providence, a small Catholic school with hardly any recruiting base along with limited facilities and resources, is an incredibly difficult job even before you have to go up against bigger schools like Syracuse, Louisville and Pittsburgh along with tradition-rich programs such as Georgetown, Villanova and Marquette. Cooley must spend his first season laying the foundation for longer term success. He won’t turn this program around overnight but more discipline on and off the court and hard work on the recruiting trail can turn Providence into a solid Big East competitor. We can’t think of many people better suited than Cooley to get the job done at Providence. While it will be a long and difficult process, brighter days are ahead for the Providence program with Ed Cooley at the helm.
  • Signs Of Life In The New York Area: New coach Steve Lavin and St. John’s brought the buzz back to the Big Apple last winter as the Red Storm earned its first NCAA bid in nine seasons. “Lavinwood” has moved east, but St. John’s now enters a year full of mixed feelings. Cautious optimism as well as uncertainty rules the day with nine new faces, part of the nation’s second-ranked recruiting class, making their way to Queens in 2011-12. Malik Stith is the only returnee of note after Dwayne Polee, II, decided to transfer closer to home at San Diego State. St. John’s may be the most unpredictable team in the Big East entering this season. The potential exists for a terrific year if Lavin can mold all this raw talent into a cohesive unit capable of playing with any team in the conference. However, issues with young players, commonly involving playing time and egos, are also very possible and it takes only one incident to destroy the locker room and wreck the season. The Johnnies have enough talent to make the NCAA Tournament again, but Lavin will have to totally adjust his approach to make that happen. With hardly any experience on the roster, he can’t simply roll the ball out and hope for the best. This season will be the biggest test of Lavin’s coaching career on the court, but he faced an even more difficult challenge last year, coaching the entire season with prostate cancer while keeping it a secret until this spring. Turning St. John’s around with that constantly in the back of his mind is an a commendable achievement and we obviously wish Coach Lavin the best of luck fighting this awful disease.
  • Across the Hudson River in New Jersey, Mike Rice and Rutgers appear to be building a program to be reckoned with down the road. The Scarlet Knights have been a dormant program for 20 years, never once enjoying a winning season in any of its 16 years as a Big East member. That may be about to change, although it appears unlikely that Rutgers will crack the .500 mark in league play this season. The fiery Rice reeled in a top 25 recruiting class and now must build on a season of close calls and what-ifs. Rutgers was competitive last year, but could only manage five Big East victories. It’ll take time for the new players to adjust to the collegiate level but bigger and better things should be expected from Rutgers in the years to come. Rutgers, a large state school, has the capability of becoming a pretty good program. All it needs is a commitment from the administration, facility upgrades and great recruiting. Rice is taking care of the latter, now it’s time for the Rutgers brass to provide him with the resources needed to build a top flight program. Rutgers needs major facility upgrades (a RAC renovation has been talked about for over a year), but fundraising has been a major problem. With New Jersey Governor Chris Christie trying to get the state’s financial house in order, there is going to be a lot of resistance to an ambitious project such as this one at the state’s flagship university.

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Around The Blogosphere: Draft Day Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on June 23rd, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com. We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

General News

  • Rotnei Clarke Gets His Release: The Arkansas star has been granted a release after a rather complicated discussion with Razorback staff. (Kentucky Sports Radio)
  • Kevin Broadus Rejoins the Georgetown Staff; Hired as Special Assistant to John Thompson III: The controversial former Binghamton coach will join the Hoyas next season. (Casual Hoya)
  • Ed O’Bannon and Baron Davis Return to Westwood to Finish Classes: The former Bruin greats are back on campus taking classes. (Bruins Nation)
  • Tim Hardaway Jr. Makes USA U19 World Championship Team: “USA Basketball announced today that Tim Hardaway Jr. made the cut for 2011 USA U19 World Championship team. That means that Hardaway will spend the next three weeks training in Colorado and traveling to Europe to participate in the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championships.” (UM Hoops)
  • FIBA Americas Cup 2011 — U16 Americas Cup Field is Set: An overview of Team USA’s competition. (Villanova by the Numbers)
  • Georgia Tech Transfer Brian Oliver Thinking Big East, Maybe Syracuse: “According to Adam Zagoria, Georgia Tech transfer Brian Oliver is thinking about moving to a Big East school in the Northeast and that puts Syracuse on the list.” (Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician)
  • Keith Urgo Lured to Penn State: “Patrick Chambers has plucked a Villanova coach for his staff at Penn State. Keith Urgowho was an Assistant Coach last year for Villanova will be heading to State College for the same role.” (VU Hoops)

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Morning Five: 06.23.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 23rd, 2011

  1. It’s NBA Draft day, and depending on where you stand in the American basketball landscape, one of the best or worst days on the calendar.  As college hoops fans, we’re obviously very disheartened to see players we’ve watched closely for the last one/two/three/four years moving on to the next phase of their lives, but as people who like to root for good kids following their dreams, we have nothing but love for the players who will hear their names called by David Stern or Adam Silver tonight.  Hopefully every one of them will realize just how amazing an opportunity they’re receiving to play this beautiful game for big-time money and will make the most of it.  The very best of luck to all the draftees tonight.
  2. To that end, here’s a link to our 35 NBA Draft profiles of the top collegians who are most likely to hear their names called tonight.  From Kyrie Irving to Iman Shumpert and everyone in-between, they’re all there.  We break down their games, discuss their strengths and weaknesses, predict how they’ll be doing in three years, and project which teams would be best served picking them.  As writers who have followed these players as closely as anybody the last several years, we bring a somewhat different perspective on these prospects than your typical NBA-centric sites.  Take a look.
  3. If you don’t like our profiles, or don’t have the patience to wade through nearly 25,000 words this morning, head on over to Seth Davisannual breakdown of the top 40 prospects as relayed to him from six anonymous NBA scouts and one coach at the next level.  As always, there’s some insightful stuff in this piece, but it’s up to the players to perform — not the scouts to evaluate — after tonight.
  4. Former Binghamton head coach Kevin Broadus has found a place to land after his ugly resignation in the wake of a program meltdown under his watch in 2009 — John Thompson, III’s Georgetown staff.  Previously an assistant under JT3 from 2004-07, he will become the Hoyas’ fourth “assistant coach” even though his actual title is “aide” and he won’t be able to “coach, attend meetings involving coaching activities, or scout opponents.”  What exactly Broadus will be doing other than acting as a “sounding board” to Thompson is currently unclear, but the local product who grew up in the DC area will undoubtedly help the Hoyas work the fertile talent pool there.
  5. Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar stated unequivocally to Percy Allen on Wednesday that he is not a candidate for the Minnesota Timberwolves job despite persistent rumors to the contrary.  With the talent pipeline and relative job security that Romar has up in Seattle, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for him to take a dead-end NBA job like Minnesota, unless, of course, he has lingering memories of Kevin Love spurning his Huskies for the sunnier skies and warmer climate of southern California and wants another shot to coach him.
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Morning Five: 10.29.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 29th, 2010

  1. What’s the adage?  Don’t tweet and rebound, or something to that effect?  Kentucky forward Josh Harrellson learned the hard way yesterday after head coach John Calipari shut down his Twitter page after he ripped the coach for not receiving a compliment in the postgame press conference after a 26-rebound effort.  Color us unimpressed, but neither DeMarcus Cousins nor Enes Kanter were on the floor for the Blue or White team in the UK scrimmage, so we’re not sure that Harrellson should be reserving hotels for NBA Draft night in NYC just yet.  After putting the nix on Harrellson’s micro-blogging, Calipari himself tweeted that his player has not “dealt w/ how to handle success” and he will not be on Twitter until he is “responsible enough to handle success & failure.”  Great stuff out of Lexington.
  2. Good news for Iowa, as it was learned yesterday that star player Matt Gatens will only be out three weeks after surgery to repair a tendon in his left hand.  There was concern that he could miss a significantly greater amount of time, but this will put the Hawkeyes’ leading scorer back in action at the Paradise Jam during the weekend before Thanksgiving.  They’ll need him, too, as the field is comprised of Xavier, Alabama and Seton Hall.  New coach Fran McCaffery has enough problems facing him this season without injuries being another one.
  3. The AP Top 25 came out on Thursday and there were no surprises there either.  Mike DeCourcy has as good an analysis as we could have put together, so here it is
  4. Binghamton’s Kevin Broadus finally got his long-awaited settlement from the university as a result of being let-go without actually being let-go.  Oh, how we wish we too had a government job.  At any rate, Broadus will be paid $1.2M to walk away and never sue the university over his treatment, which included recruiting questionable characters and getting called on it.  Yeah.
  5. Rather than eliminating the whole shebang, the NCAA has decided that it will instead spend a year evaluating the summer recruiting environment before making a decision on what to do about it.  A number of concerns were raised over the issue, so the NCAA once again made a reasoned and logical decision to give it more time and consideration.  We’re starting to get a little frightened by the NCAA’s use of logic and reason in recent years here.
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Morning Five: 10.19.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 19th, 2010

  1. Binghamton University announced that the NCAA found no major and only two secondary violations as a result of its investigation into the basketball program.   The two minor violations related to an assistant coach providing impermissible travel to members of the team.  How the school got around a purported email uncovered by the NYT discussing “cash payments and academic fraud,” we’re not sure; but apparently the NCAA was satisfied with what it found (or didn’t find).  Former head coach Kevin Broadus has been on administrative leave for a year as all this played out — Mark Macon took the reins in 2009-10 and led the team to a 13-18 (8-8 Am East) season — but we’d be highly, highly shocked and awed if he got his old job back.
  2. Former Michigan team captain CJ Lee (2007-09) might be taking after former Dookie Reggie Love by finding a role in politics after graduation.  The guard who topped out at 16.5 minutes per game during his senior season when Michigan went to the second round of the NCAA Tournament is highlighted in a television spot supporting Michigan gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder (R) that debuted last week (see ad here).  According to Nate Silver’s aggregate model, Snyder has a 95% chance of winning the position, which means we’ll probably see Lee moving to Lansing sometime this winter.
  3. Former Wake Forest center Tony Woods appears to be set for a transfer to Louisville.  He would begin taking classes there in January and would expect to become eligible to play at the semester break of the 2011-12 season.  Woods of course has to first complete 100 hours of community service in Winston-Salem as a result of a guilty plea to assault for pushing his girlfriend and seriously injuring her during a dispute last month.  All we can say is that we hope Woods has learned his lesson here, and we’ll never feel the need to speak of him again except for his performance on the court.
  4. Virginia’s Sammy Zeglinski, one of the best three-point shooters in the ACC last season, has injured his knee and will be out for an undetermined amount of time.  He’s set to have surgery to deal with what is being characterized as “cartilage work” today and the school won’t know the length of his rehabilitation until after the procedure is completed.  Here’s wishing the guard and Virginia fans good fortune on that surgery.
  5. The SEC media picked Florida to win the conference yesterday, garnering eight of the 16 first-place votes cast.  We’re not so sure.  Sure, the Gators return all five starters and bring in a nice recruiting class, but lest we forget that those same five players lost thirteen games in 2009-10 including five of six down the stretch.  KenPom rated UF as the #45 team in America last year mostly due to a suspect defense, and we’re not convinced that another year in Gainesville automatically means that the Gators are ready to crash the top ten (as many publications and pundits are picking).  Granted, the rest of the SEC East also has question marks.  Kentucky and Tennessee took significant personnel losses, and the up-and-coming Georgia Bulldogs are in the same spot as Florida, just worse (Georgia won five SEC games last year).  Vandy is picked fifth and we can’t figure out how a team that won 24 games (including 12 SEC wins) and brings back a  talented duo like Jeffery Taylor and John Jenkins is getting no love whatsoever.  As for the SEC West, we agree with the media that Mississippi State with Dee Bost and Renardo Sidney eligible should run away with that division.  Of course, this is the same media who last year picked Kevin Stallings over John Calipari  for SEC Coach of the Year — all due respect to the season Vandy put together, but give us a break. As for this year’s individual awards, Georgia’s Trey Thompkins received 18 of the 20 first-place votes for preseason SEC POY.  Vanderbilt’s Taylor, Kentucky’s Brandon Knight, Georgia’s Travis Leslie and Ole Miss’ Chris Warren rounded out the first team.
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Morning Five: 02.12.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 12th, 2010

  1. Bowling I and Theory of Softball??  Pete Thamel of the NYT as usual is all over the Binghamton report that came out yesterday exposing the unsavory lengths that their athletic department was willing to go in order to have an NCAA Tournament-caliber basketball program.  Meanwhile former head coach Kevin Broadus remains on PAID administrative leave at the university awaiting a decision on his future there.  How can he have any future whatsoever given these findings?
  2. Quick, do you know how many teams currently have undefeated conference records?  If you said nine, then you either came here yesterday or you’re fibbing.  John Stevens wrote an article discussing each of those nine teams and the likelihood that they’ll get through conference play without a blemish.  Hint: the Princeton Tigers (4-0 in the Ivy League) will not.
  3. The New York Daily News reported yesterday that Rick Pitino was interested in the Nets head coaching job, which would make sense considering that they’re likely to have John Wall (and possibly Lebron James?) coming to the tri-state area in the near future.  Pitino responded with a great quote — “there’s not an ounce of truth to [the report],” which, knowing Pitino, means that he was clawing at the possibility of leaving Louisville as soon as possible.  We’ve all been to this dance with Pitino before, but Gary Parrish put it in the starkest terms when he compared it to asking the pretty gal to a middle school dance.
  4. UConn’s Jim Calhoun will be back on the bench Saturday when his Huskies play Cincinnati.  His team went 3-4 in his absence, with wins over St. John’s, DePaul, and somehow, Texas.  What shouldn’t be forgotten, though, is that his team was already 2-3 in the Big East prior to his departure, and in the last six games he coached (including a loss to Michigan), the Huskies’ efficiency margin was -3.3 points per 100 possessions.  How did replacement coach George Blaney do in his seven-game tenure?  The Huskies’ efficiency margin on his watch was -2.1 points per 100 possessions.  So before UConn fans start blaming Blaney for any of the team’s inadequacies this season (a la Pete Gaudet at Duke in 1994-95), they should be careful to examine the entire picture first.
  5. We were anxiously awaiting someone to take up the mantle of supporting the idea of NCAA96, and leave it to Gregg Doyel to be the advocate.  Some of his points are solid — in particular, the nearsighted “tradition” argument.  But the one that really doesn’t make sense to us is the explanation he gives for keeping the “crappy teams” in.  He must not have read our seminal work on the matter, published last week.  See, the problem isn’t that “crappy teams” like Vermont, Bucknell and Davidson would get into the Big Dance; it’s that sub-.500 BCS conference teams like Miami (FL), Alabama, Oklahoma and Washington would get in.  And we don’t want them in — those teams are not good enough, no matter how you evaluate them.  If the NCAA96 implementation would reward strong regular season play for mid-majors whom would otherwise be shut out, we could get on board with it.  But you, us, Gregg and the dog all know that’s not why this will be happening — the majority of the additional 31 spots will go to BCS teams.  And that’s truly crap.
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Morning Five: 12.10.09 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 10th, 2009

morning5

  1. Rutgers inside force Gregory Echinique will miss approximately a month due to eye surgery to correct a pre-existing condition recently.  Which begs the question – if it was pre-existing, why not have the surgery during the offseason?  Did it become aggravated?  The 6’9 forward is averaging 13/8/2 blks on the season, and the Scarlet Knights will undoubtedly miss his presence in upcoming games against beefy frontlines at North Carolina, Cincinnati and West Virginia.
  2. This is rich.  Binghamton continues to pay coaching disaster Kevin Broadus his full $230k yearly salary while interim coach Mark Macon draws one-quarter as much money for, you know, actually coaching the remaining players on the team.  At least Macon is getting a raise, although the amount of the increase was not disclosed by the university.  As for Broadus, the “job” he’s earning six-figures for right now is to assist SUNY with their investigation into the Binghamton athletic department.  What does that mean exactly?  Get coffee?  Make copies?  Do both at the same time?
  3. Luke Winn probably knocked this article about the first Irianian player in D1 basketball out in fifteen minutes while surfing his blackberry iPhone and eating a bran muffin, which should probably tell you something about the talent he has for research and writing.  It would take us three straight weeks just to pen the first paragraph.
  4. Memphis filed an appeal against the NCAA’s decision to vacate its 2008 season based on the Derrick Rose SAT scandal, even with the distinct possibility that the school could face a harsher punishment than currently imposed if they did so.  We’re not really keen on the NCAA Committee on Infractions using this heavyhanded method of leverage to try to force schools to swallow their initial decision just because they said so.  Memphis correctly argued that this creates a “chilling effect” for schools that wish to use their legal right to appeal, and even cited language from a 2001 case against UNLV to that effect.  We’re starting to wonder if someone at the NCAA lost a lot of money on Memphis that season, because this is taking the appearance of vindictiveness.
  5. Jumping back to Tuesday’s discussion on Expansion 96, Andy Katz weighed in yesterday on his blog.  He noted that recently deceased NCAA President Myles Brand was steadfastly opposed to expansion along with several of the other traditionalists, and we’re wondering if the power vacuum in Brand’s absence hasn’t created a bit of a money grab among some of the dissenters within the NCAA heirarchy.  Let’s hope tradition wins out, or at worst, the option that Katz describes (four play-in games, pushing the Tourney up to 68 teams) is the preferred result if things must change.
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Backdoor Cuts: Vol. II

Posted by rtmsf on December 2nd, 2009

backdoorcuts(2)

Backdoor Cuts is a college basketball discussion between correspondents Dave Zeitlin and Steve Moore that will appear every Wednesday in Rush the Court. This week they review the horror film Binghamton: 2009.

DAVE ZEITLIN: So I have this friend who’s about as optimistic a sports fan as they come. How do I know this? Because he watches nearly every single Kansas City Royals game, and is convinced each summer they have a good team. (They’ve had only one winning season since 1994.) It’s no different when he talks about the college basketball team at his alma mater. He’ll text me as soon as the schedule comes out, claiming the mid-major he roots for will surprise some big-name squads. He’ll predict big things from players I’ve never heard of. He’ll take moral victories out of 20-point losses. If you ask me, rooting for an underdog with that kind of attitude is admirable. But the last time I talked to him about his favorite college basketball team, he took a different tone. It was jarring but predictable. “They should just cancel the season,” he said with a sigh. His favorite team is Binghamton, and this is the point of the story where you should feel bad for my friend, who after these all years may finally need to look for the It’s-time-to-give-up switch.

binghamton hoops 1

By now, everyone knows the almost unfathomable plight of Binghamton basketball. From Division I newcomer to Division I upstart to Division I laughingstock, the Bearcats managed to follow the program’s first NCAA tournament berth last season with the kind of disaster that terrifies even John Cusack and the little girl on his back. After just about every impact player was dismissed from the program (RTC gives a nice recap here) for juicy stuff like stealing condoms, getting in bar fights, selling crack, the head coach responsible for bringing these guys in was put on paid leave for essentially giving high school players his business card a day after the NCAA contact period ended — which almost seems akin to Al Capone getting arrested for a speeding ticket. (Also, paid leave? Can I get paid to destroy a basketball program and then do nothing all day? Is there a listing for that on Monster?)

While the Binghamton implosion has faded somewhat from public view, there are still many things to discuss here. There’s the issue of the right and wrong ways to build a program (guess which way Binghamton did it) and there’s the issue of how Binghamton was even able to field a team this season (though these guys did pretty well with just a handful of players) just to name a couple. But first I’ll let Steve, a fan of a rival America East school, take his digs. Just try to remember my poor friend.

STEVE MOORE: Back in college at Boston University, I covered the men’s hoops team for the school paper during one of Binghamton’s first seasons in Division I. They struggled a little then, but they seemed to have everything in order, and were far ahead of their don’t-call-us-SUNY-school brethren — Albany and Stony Brook — who joined the America East at the same time. They had a beautiful on-campus facility being built, some solid recruits in the pipeline, and a seemingly bright future. They locked up the rights to host the conference tourney for a few years, and everything seemed on track.

But the stories in the last few seasons had gotten a little different, at least from what I read from afar. Friends I knew who covered the team recently told stories about the arrogance and insanely huge ego of head coach Kevin Broadus, and anyone who looked at their roster knew it had more than a few shaky names on it. There’s nothing wrong with scooping up transfers from other schools, but to do so with total disgregard for personal history is irresponsible. And it ended up setting this program back by five or 10 years.

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10.16.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 16th, 2009

The countdown clock is under 12 hours, and we’re all absolutely dripping with giddiness for real games in the next month…

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2009-10 Conference Primers: #21 – America East

Posted by rtmsf on October 16th, 2009

seasonpreview

Michael Hurley is the RTC correspondent for the Patriot League and America East Conference. Click here for all of our 2009-10 Season Preview materials.

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Boston University  (13-3)
  2. Stony Brook  (11-5)
  3. Vermont  (10-6)
  4. Albany  (10-6)
  5. New Hampshire  (8-8)
  6. UMBC  (7-9)
  7. Hartford  (6-10)
  8. Maine  (5-11)
  9. Binghamton  (2-14)

All-Conference Team:

  • Corey Lowe (G), Sr., Boston U.
  • Joe Zeglinski (G), Jr., Hartford
  • Marqus Blakely (F), Sr., Vermont
  • John Holland (F), Jr., Boston U.
  • Will Harris (F), Sr., Albany

6th Man. Muhammad El-Amin (G), Sr., Stony Brook

Impact Newcomer. Luke Apfeld (F), Fr., Vermont

am east logo

What You Need to Know.  This offseason has been a rocky one for reigning America East champion Binghamton to say the least.  The Bearcats went through one of the biggest roster changeovers due to disciplinary reasons in history of NCAA basketball.  They are returning only four players as nine from last year are now gone. Out of those nine players, six were dismissed for disciplinary reasons including three starters and two all conference selections. Talk about a rough offseason for Binghamton fans. The latest blow (probably not a blow after how much trouble he got this program into) is that Coach Kevin Broadus has been placed on paid leave and assistant coach Mark Macon will take over in the interim. My humble opinion is that Coach Broadus will never be back.  The school will try to work out some type of settlement and they will ultimately part ways. It is crazy to think that Broadus could stay with the program after all the public relations damage already inflicted. Mark Macon is going to have a tough first season to say the least. This team should not be expected to win more than two or three conference games, which is even a stretch.  In other news, Boston University fired Coach Dennis Wolff, the all time leader in wins for the BU program, after 15 years. They hired Villanova assistant Patrick Chambers to lead the Terriers back to the top. With the roster he walked into, Chambers has it easier than most first time coaches. This season Vermont’s Marqus Blakely is going for his third consecutive America East Player of the Year award which would put him in the select company of only two others in history, Reggie Lewis of Northeastern and Taylor Coppenrath of Vermont. Blakely also has a shot at his third straight America East Defensive Player of the Year, which would be unprecedented.

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09.30.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on September 30th, 2009

You know what tomorrow is, right?  Yeah, October.  Us too. 

  • Scare at Tennessee.   A very frightening story out of Knoxville earlier this week was that Vol sophomore forward Emmanuel Negedu collapsed while lifting weights on Monday and reportedly had to be revived by UT medical staff prior to his transport to the hospital.  He’s spent the last two nights there under watch, and doctors continue to perform tests on him to make sure that he’s not suffering from something deadly.  We all know the stories over the years, from Len Bias to Hank Gathers to Reggie Lewis, and these are always scary incidents.  RTC wishes Negedu the best of luck and wishes for a full recovery. 
  • Cleaning up at Binghamton...  Two ugly incidents put an early stain on the 2009-10 season, as we discussed in separate posts when they happened last week.  Both were stories capable of sending shock waves through college basketball this week, though, as Binghamton yesterday fired an adjunct lecturer who claimed in a NYT article last February that basketball players were receiving preferential treatment in the classroom (grade changing, independent study, and the like).  The Binghamton program is now in shambles on the court, but we continue to be shocked and amazed that Kevin Broadus, the recruiter of all the problem children who ended up dismissed (and arrested), is skating on this one.  Seriously, think about this – Binghamton cans the whistleblowing prof but not the coach who orchestrated the entire mess?  How is this possible?  Isn’t the SUNY chancellor now the same woman who stood on the library steps and shouted “no more” to the Cincinnati faithful when she 86ed Bob Huggins four years ago?  And yet she’s curiously silent (along with BU’s president, Lois B. DeFleur, for the most part).  Something’s not right here, and we figure there’s more to come.  If there is, we can rest assured the NYT’s Pete Thamel will figure it out.     EDITED TO ADD: Yep, the AD is gone, can Broadus be far behind?
  • …and Kansas.   Perhaps the uglier incident last week was the three fights between members of the KU basketball and football teams.  Much was written about how embarrassing this was to the university, the athletic department, the coaches and players involved, and Thursday’s public, formal apologies did little to defuse the PR hit that Bill Self’s program took last week.  The word is that players were fighting over (what else?) girls and rep, but KU football players shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that just because they’ve had a nice run in that program the last few years that Kansas will ever be anything but a basketball school.  The question now is what will Bill Self do to punish the guilty parties?  We already know that Tyshawn Taylor was involved due to his dislocated finger that’ll hold him out of workouts for around a month.  We also know that one of the Morris twins pushed a football player down the stairs, a very dangerous act of battery (this would be Markieff’s second, btw) that was mitigated by another player catching the falling player as he made his way downward.   News outlets all report that there were some other hoops players involved as well.  We think that, for the sake of his program, Bill Self has to take a very serious stand on this one.  You simply cannot have the players on a preseason #1 team running around campus fighting indiscriminately with players from the football team.  Not only can your own players get hurt, but with so many big bodies involved, run-of-the-mill students can also get hurt.  Luckily, that didn’t happen here, but Self needs to show that he’s totally in charge of his program.  Anything less than a several-game suspension for all of the players involved would reveal that early-season Ws are more important to him than discipline.  If it were us, we’d sit the Morris who threw the player down the stairs for ten games and the others for five each.  No questions asked.  If Kansas loses an early game or two versus Memphis and/or UCLA because of it, well, too bad.  The good will that Self engenders as a no-nonsense coach will provide far greater benefits over time in terms of recruiting and public reputation than it will by letting these players off easy.    
  • Non-BCS Schools Receive Harsher Penalties Than BCS Schools – No Way!!  This jewel made it into our inbox last week from the Orlando Sentinel.  The Michael Buckner Law Firm performed an analysis that showed that the average years of probation meted out to non-BCS programs was longer than those handed out to BCS programs over a 4+ year period in the late 2000s.  The average amount of probation time for a non-BCS program was 2.74 years versus 2.58 years for BCS programs.  There’s no accounting for whether the difference is simple error or actual bias, but what is more damning from this study is the finding that the HBCU schools (historically black colleges and universities) were given 3.83 years of probation versus the aforementioned 2.58 for BCS schools.  That seems a little ridiculous to us.  Of course, the NCAA predictably dismissed the study on statistical grounds, and we understand their complaint.  So here’s our suggestion to the NCAA: hire an independent researcher to examine your enforcement policies and practices for consistency and bias, and get back to us.  Something tells us we’ll be waiting on that for quite some time.
  • Quick HitsBlue Ribbontop 25 and all-americansJames Ischgood luck, sir.   Billy Clyde: offered a plea bargain in Ky.  Gary Williams: one-year extensionNolan Richardson: the descent continuesMVC Nonconf Schedulestremendous analysis.   Gonzaga:  are they reloading or rebuilding in Spokane?  Luke Winn: charting peaks and valleys of the offseason.  Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger: get to know themCvC: pushing for healthcare reform on Capitol Hill.  Goodman: top 20 backcourts and top 20 frontcourts AND his Big 12 previewTyler Smith: who will be the first person he follows on TwitterJim Crews: fired at Army after 7 years.  Herb Sendek: busily not gloating in TempeDemetrius Jemison: Bama forward out for the season with a ruptured Achilles.   Shocker: Derrick Rose says he took his own SATA Decade Ago: Harold “The Show” ArceneauxRay McCallum, Sr.: walking the fine line between parent and recruiter

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The Implosion Continues: Binghamton AD to Resign

Posted by nvr1983 on September 30th, 2009

When we brought you the news that Binghamton was releasing 5 more players last Friday we speculated about how high up the administration would go to clean house. We felt that the administration was punishing the players rather than coach Kevin Broadus because of a buy-out that likely would have approached $500,000, but we knew  that there would be others who would be affected by the fallout of the scandal. The first to feel the effects of the scandal was the Binghamton Zoo, who responded angrily when journalists and school officials compared the basketball program to a zoo. The next in line was Sally Dear, a lecturer in human development at Binghamton who was critical of the program and the pressure she felt to change grades for players. Dear was fired yesterday under the pretenses of an “uncertain fiscal environment” and “strategic reprioritization of resources across the university”. However, Dear noted that the chairman of the department, Leo Wilton, is a big supporter of the basketball program and that their relationship changed significantly after the Dear spoke out about the program.

(photo credit: bubearcats.com)

(photo credit: bubearcats.com)

While those are certainly significant events (ok, the Zoo thing is more humorous than anything else), we had been waiting for the other shoe to drop. And today that shoe has certainly dropped very hard as Joel Thirer, the athletic director at Binghamton, has announce that he will resign today. Thirer (LinkedIn resume here for programs that are looking for a new AD) has served as an athletic director at Binghamton since 1989  helping them transition from a Division III program to a Division I program. While we usually would suspect that this would be a move forced by the university president, it appears this move may have been of Thirer’s own volition as he was surprisingly candid about his responsibility in the situation. With all this fallout we may end up getting more information on what actually happened than we originally anticipated (assuming Binghamton’s lawyers haven’t already drafted a strict nondisclosure agreement). Given Thirer’s candidness about the situation he may well be the one to eventually give us the details about what actually went on behind closed doors (if the lawyers don’t get in the way first). The question now is how much longer does Kevin Broadus have before he will need to have a similar press conference.

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