Floriani: Behind The Scenes At Big East & A-10 Media Days

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 25th, 2010

Ray Floriani of NBE Basketball Report and College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC, but he also covers many events and games in the NYC metropolitan area. He had the opportunity to attend the Big East and Atlantic 10 Media Days last week and snap a few photos.

Big East Media DayWednesday, October 20 – New York City

The media days are upon us, a sign as indicative of the first leaves falling that the opening tip is not far away. Last Wednesday, the Big East had their day at Madison Square Garden.

The media days often provide a host of scripted quotes. “We have a big challenge… our seniors must step up… there are no nights off in the (fill in your league) conference…” Despite their regularity, they serve a purpose of promoting the conference and they afford the chance to renew acquaintances. For us media types,  it is great to see friends you haven’t seen since March and to discuss the game with the coaches in a calm environment. All coaches are 0-0 and optimistic (for the most part) about the upcoming campaign. With games a few weeks away, you can actually get a chance to engage in some small talk if there isn’t a big media crush at that coach’s table.

The day started with everyone in a theater-type seating area. Commissioner John Marinatto gave a short “state of the conference.” Marinatto opened with a call to remember Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand, injured a few days ago, in everyone’s thoughts. Marinatto said renovations at MSG will make the “Big East postseason tournament the premier conference tourney in the country.” The commissioner also noted that since expanding to 16 teams, NCAA bids have increased by 20% for the Big East. Austin Freeman of Georgetown, the preseason Player of the Year choice, addressed the group on behalf of the players.

Marquette head coach Buzz Williams fields questions at the Big East’s Media Day at Madison Square Garden

The working media session was broken into two parts. Each school had its own table where the head coach and a few players were present to field questions. The first half saw eight coaches interviewed by electronic media as TV affiliates. The other half stayed at their tables with a few players from their team as print media ascended. After about 90 minutes, the procedure was reversed. Following the work session a luncheon was provided before everyone adjourned.

A few short notes from someone in attendance:

  • Buzz Williams’ methods of attention to detail and organization always intrigued me, as the Marquette leader is an advocate of maximizing each possession, even if it means limiting them. We discussed the concept of possessions and points per possession. As I discussed the four factors often seen on this site, which include free throw rate, offensive rebounding percentage, turnover percentage and effective field goal percentage, Williams dutifully made extremely meticulous notes in his book. Turnover rate is something of paramount importance to the Marquette mentor. “We have been outstanding in taking care of the ball,” Williams said. “It is something we emphasize.” Looking at the turnover rate (percentage of possessions ending in dreaded TOs) the last two seasons, Marquette’s TO rate has been 15.3% and 14.8%. I noted that 20% is the threshold that teams want to avoid; hitting it, or even worse, exceeding it, is unacceptable.  “If one-fifth of your possessions end in a turnover, your offense is not good,” Williams added. Amen.

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Checking in on the… Atlantic 10

Posted by nvr1983 on March 4th, 2009

College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference.


By CCT Staff | March 2, 2009


Damian Hollis (Jr.), George Washington

Hollis had a memorable week in what has been a rather forgettable season for the Colonials, averaging 20 points and 14.5 rebounds over two contests.  The junior led GW to two wins, as he scored 25 points and pulled down 13 rebounds against Charlotte and then tallied 15 points and hauled in 16 boards against Richmond.  The junior showed off his hot hand by shooting 57% over the two games, connecting on 12-for-21 from the floor.  Hollis also was efficient from deep, hitting three of his five attempts from behind the arc.

HONORABLE MENTION:   Ahmad Nivins (Sr.), Saint Joseph’s; Kahiem Seawright (Sr.), Rhode Island

(Note: College Chalktalk’s week runs from the previous Monday through Sunday, given the release of ‘This Week in the A-10′ each Monday morning.)

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Holy Schmidt! St. Bonnie is on the Rise.

Posted by rtmsf on January 9th, 2009

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC Conferences.  He enjoys spending evenings tooling around The Bronx.

BRONX, NY – They have some of the most passionate fans around but there hasn’t been much to cheer about in recent years. Now, the St.Bonaventure faithful are excited  and as enthused as ever. Wednesday night’s 78-65 win over Fordham at Rose Hill put the Bonnies at 10-4 for the season. It was their third straight road victory and started their Atlantic Ten season with a W. It’s been seven years since the Bonnies last reached double digits in wins.


The reversal in fortunes has been the work of Mark Schmidt. He arrived last year after getting Robert Morris on track. The going was rough (8 wins) but the latter part of the campaign saw signs of life, like a twenty point win at St.Louis. 

On Wednesday evening the Bonnies had five players in double figures. Arguably their most impressive player has been 6-9 Andrew Nicholson, a virtual recruiting steal out of Canada. Nicholson had a nice 13 point 9 rebound effort in 23 foul troubled minutes. Still, this team is a work in progress. The Bonnies shot 67% (30 of 45) from the line and committed 19 turnovers. The Rams trimmed a 17 point deficit with 6 minutes to a two possession game in the stretch before Bona regrouped. “We handled their press like an elementary school team,” Schmidt said afterward. “It wasn’t pretty and I don’t’ think we will send the tape to the hall of fame but it’s a win.”

The second year Bona mentor is tough yet a player’s coach. He is a genuine ‘people person’ whom the Olean and Bona community have warmed up to. Schmidt learned a great deal of Xs and Os and personal skills from one of the best and classiest, the late Skip Prosser. Schmidt assisted Prosser at Xavier and to this day remembers the night Xavier was upset by the Bonnies during Prosser’s tenure. “I never heard a place as loud in my life,” Schmidt said of the Reilly Center. “This (Bonaventure) place is unique,” Schmidt said after the Fordham contest. “There is passion and a tradition we are trying to bring back.” There are those who say he has brought it back already. And largely due to his passion.

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