Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Crosstown Date Set!

Saturday December 13th the Sean Miller Blue/White Army will descend on Clifton and slap the happy crap out of Mick Cronin and company. Seriously there will be no mercy.

I am happy that it is on Saturday and after the main portion of the college football season has wrapped up and before the 100 or so bowl games begin. I am hoping it will be a featured game for ESPN.

One other scheduling note: Kansas State has asked that we push our return date to Manhattan back to the 09-10 season. Not sure why but hey no biggie. Also Toledo has been added to our home schedule and there will be a couple of more 'buy' games added soon.

Cheekz Highlights

Cheekz Video

Very Interesting

X fans will find this very interesting (thanks to Dustin Dow): Tom Herrion has been named Associate Head Coach at Pitt. Tom has been a head coach at College of Charleston and was successful. So much so his name came up for some other jobs and they want to keep him in tow. Tom was an assistant for the Panthers this past season. This is a good thing for Tom and Pitt I assume. IF Dixon were to leave early they would have a natural successor. You see more and more schools interested in continuity for recruiting (see Marquette) and I think Pitt was very proactive in this regard. Sean, of course, held the same title at X and there was some bumps his first year. Part of it was the loss in talent (Chalmers, Sato) but alot of it had to do with Sean's learning curve also. The Panthers would be in a position to have a proven commodity move up one seat if that scenario (Dixon leaving) were to play out. And of course this is all assumption. Much like assuming Sean would bolt for Pitt if he was offered the position. But still it does provide a little assurance. My personal belief is he is waiting for a position to open up in the historically best basketball conference (ACC) with the right school but that is just conjecture on my behalf.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bengals Draft Reaction

I would grade the Bengals draft as a 'B' overall.

Here is a quick run down and a line or two on players reported strengths:

Keith Rivers 6-2 241 OLB Southern California: accelerates to the ball quickly and has the speed to chase down ball carriers. Should be an every down linebacker and a cornerstone for our defense. Consistently pressures the quarterback and is never out of position in zone coverage.

Jerome Simpson 6-1 199 WR Coastal Carolina: has the largest hands in the draft and was state tournament MVP on his basketball team in the North Carolina 2A tournament. Will not be utilized as a kick returner but catches anything thrown his way.

Pat Sims 6-2 310 DT Auburn: The Sporting News rated him as the hardest hitter of all the defensive tackles in the draft. He does a very good job of exploding into the quarterback or the ball carrier. Consistently shows aggressive closing burst to the ball.

Andre Caldwell 6-0 204 WR Florida: Has the hands to reach out and catch tough passes. Runs sharp routes and has the burst to seperate. Is explosive, elusive and fast.

Anthony Collins 6-5 317 OT Kansas: They will let AC play some guard to I believe. He shows the quickness to meet speed rushers on the outside. Shows strength to drive defensive linemen down the line on side blocks.

Jason Shirley 6-5 335 DT Fresno State: Has a massive frame, is agile and athletic. Can control the line of scrimmage and plays well in the one gap system.

Corey Lynch 6-0 205 S Applachian State: Michigan football fans will always remember this guy. But he also blocked a couple more kicks and made plays at his level. Has good size and is physical and should be an asset to special teams.

Matt Sherry 6-3 245 TE Villanova: He is the first tight end Lewis has drafted. He is known as more of a pass catcher. Offense looks to mixing it up next year for #9 with addition of Utecht and Sherry.

Angelo Craig 6-4 252 DE Cincinnati: He is a 'hybrid' and will have to earn a spot on special teams. He could be a valuable addition if we do in fact play some 3-4.

Mario Urrutia 6-6 220 WR Louisville: Nice big possession receiver. Another former basketball player who will handle the crossing routes and possibly be the guy for the jump balls in the end zone.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

First Day NFL Draft Reaction

I am very excited about Keith Rivers and what he will bring to this team at the linebacker spot. He seems to be a ready made pro and a good one and great person from everything I have read about him. Jerome Simpson is a head scratcher mainly because we don't view Coastal Carolina as a top notch football school and most had him as a middle round (3-5) kind of guy which scares me a bit. But he is another with high character and maybe they are seeing him as a potential punt returner. The ESPN highlights had him jumping completely over a guy which gives insight to his atheleticism. More importantly they sent a message with that pick. The Bengals have had historically good luck with receivers and skill guys in general in the second round Collinsworth, Pickens, big mouth, Boomer Esiason, and Corey Dillon quickly come to mind so I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

I threw up in my mouth a bit when I saw Drew Rosenhaus' comments from his appearance on ESPN today. Hey 'shark' the bengals have taken care of 'big mouth' very well. We look forward to Chad doing what he agreed too. Keyshawn Johnson said this was purely financial decision and Steve Young quickly pointed out the value of his contract and the fact that he has a great deal. Key then said TJ will get a big deal from the Bengals next season and big mouth couldn't tolerate that at all. Chris Mortenson then added TJ should because he is the better receiver. Big mouth can sure polarize folks with the best of them. Right up there with Hillary IMO. I love what has been reported that would get Mike Brown to pull the trigger on a trade for big mouth. Two number one picks, a proven defensive player, and for big mouth to return 5 million dollars in signing bonus money. The most likely scenario is they deal after June 1 and spread the cap hit over two seasons and send him to the highest bidding NFC team with an owner not named Jerry. Also I hear now that Levi Jones would like to be traded but will report for all mandatory camps but won't make the volunteer workout and forfeit $200,000. DAMN must be nice to just walk away from that kind of money. That is why I have such venom for these 'professional' athletes some times. Do they really understand the gift and the opportunity they have been given?

Draft Day

Today is draft day for the NFL and while we spend most of our time postulating on our chosen favorite college basketball teams; the Cincinnati Bengals is one passion me and Dastardly share. So naturally we are interested in who we get today. I think we end up with a defensive player in the first round from USC either way and I would be happy with either Sedrick Ellis or Keith Rivers who is supposedly a 'high character' guy and we could use a few more of those. I think in the second round they go for an offensive 'skill guy' but I am not even going to pretend whom that might be. This day would be absolutely fabulous if big mouth was sent somewhere else. But if we add draft picks and have an 8 million deficit on the cap hit this year that may not be financially possible. From what I have seen the past few days the support for Mike Brown has grown in media circles and former players because they all realize how retarded big mouth is being. It's not Mike's fault you spent all your money. And please remember you signed a contract which should still mean something, especially considering you are the top 5 in terms of pay scale at your position. I would be so, so very happy if we could part ways with big mouth, can you tell? Anyway I will be in front of a television set around 4 today to see what we end up with. Surely another highlight on the annual sports calender for me. Tomorrow I will chill out the whole day (that is what Sunday's are for) on the couch and dream about how these new guys are going to get us back to the playoffs.

Friday, April 25, 2008

UC, APR, and rebuilding the right way

I meant to say something about this about a week ago in response to the Bill Koch post below

I think the fact that Mick ALREADY has more graduates than the previous 3 seasons says alot about what he is trying to do. In todays game with APR being stressed the way it is it is impossible to field a team the way Huggs was doing it. Don't get me wrong I loved Bob Huggins and was an apologist for him when he was forced out.

That being said I think one of the signs of a top program that is/was being run cleanly is that when a coach leaves or gets fired the program turn around quickly if not immediatly. I know that this was a different situation than most. I also know that it was handled badly by everyone involved. My feelings have changed the farther removed from it we get. I put a lot more blame on Huggs than I ever thought I would. If he was doing things the right way UC would be a much better team after he left.

I am rehashing all of that mess to say this. Mick Cronin is doing a hell of a job digging out of the hole left by years of doing things the "Huggs Way". Obviously the Bearcats aren't back to the level they were @ before all of this and maybe they never will be. It would be more than a stretch to say that UC can someday dominate the Big East the way they did C-USA and the Great Midwest. As a UC fan I have had to adjust(read lower) my expectations of where they should finish in this league. I have decided that consistently finishing in the top half of the conference and receiving an at large bid is good enough for me and I believe that Mick can get there.

He faces far more challenges and FAR more scrutiny BECAUSE of the programs past dicressions and has continued to bring in top talent despite that. More graduates from his first class than the three previous combined says more about the previous regime than it does about Cronins. It seems to me that the "right way" is just the regular way for Cronins program. As a fan its refreshing to think that I can be proud of my team on and off the court.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Updated Schedule-Xavier 08-09

I just learned that we have signed a home and home with Louisiana State beginning at their place next year. So far this is what I have down for next season with a few other updates:

Miami (OH)
Ohio U. (apparently this is a 'buy' game for us with no return date)
Home tournament to start the season. At least that is what is posted at which is a cool website if you have time to check it out. Coaches basically post 'want' ads for basketball games. We have one unnamed school committed and we are looking for two more. Do you think Belmont or Bowling Green would be interested?

Kansas State (BTW they just signed Abdul Herrera so I am shaking in my shoes about that one)

Duke @ the Meadowlands
Puerto Rico Shootout which will have VA Tech and USC among others.

Nice schedule overall. We are really setting the bar high.

One other note. Miller and Mack were in Georgia yesterday and returned home last night. I wouldn't be suprised if we have our first verbal to be announced for '09 in the next couple of days and it to be one of three guys: Ari Stewart, Kammeron Hosley, and Mfon Udofia (no crap that is his name) all high majors who reside in GA.

A few notes on the incoming freshman class @ UC

As I'm sure you all know by now on Saturday Varez Ward let UC know that he had changed his mind and will not be signing with Cincinnati. Not much info is available about why but I would guess he ends up someplace that can offer him more playing time right away.

This opens up a scholarship slot and I'm curious what route Mick and his staff will take. Do you go Juco or reach for a guy or sign a guy with possible isssues? I guess we'll see.

I dont know exactly what this means but today released their final 2008 recruiting rankings. UC recruit Yancy Gates has been moved up to the # 22 spot and is now a five-star recruit. I cant wait to see him in a Bearcat uniform no matter how many stars he has. My hope is that he is the first in a long line of local top recruits for Mick.

A few notes on the incoming freshman class @ UC

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Miller Extended

Sean has agreed this afternoon to the longest term deal for a coach at Xavier University. He has signed a ten year agreement. The numbers haven't been released (and being as the University is private may never be disclosed until the tax documents come out) but unofficially we are looking at 1.1 million in base I believe. Please remember this does not include shoe revenue, camp money, or the radio show deal. His total compensation is probably pushing closer to 1.4 which is a lot of money to live and play in Cincinnati. Also he negotiated better salaries for his assistant coaches. There is also a significant rumor that he his trying to get the Board of Trustees to relax the 'nepotism' rule so his brother Archie (on Thad Matta's staff at OSU) can join his staff. Great news.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Derby City Festival

The Derby Festival All Star game was held last night in Louisville and X and UC both had a recruit on the Gold team. I would rate this All Star Game right behind the McDonald's All American and Jordan Classic in terms of prestige and competetion. There were several McD AA's in this game. Holloway and Gates were not on the floor together until the closing minutes as they stayed with a pretty clear cut rotation. Gates is as good as advertised and will be a star if he realizes that he needs to stay within 10' of the goal. He runs the floor very well, can handle a little bit, and has the 'soft' hands you love on a big guy. He will go to war for a rebound. No questions about his intensity last night as he was the best big man on the floor for the Gold team. Holloway was my main interest as this was my first time seeing him play. He is a pass first point guard and won me over right at introductions when he ran to mid court crossing his arms in the glorious 'X' sign. He was 2-5 from the field by my count with one three being made. He slings his jumpshot but I was most impressed with his quick hands and reactions on defense. He tied up the opposition on a three on 1 break early in the game. As the guard entered the paint to dish to either his right or left Holloway locked up the ball for a change in possession.

Miller was quoted recently in the Xavier Newswire saying that Dante' Jackson will not being play at the point next year. I think DJ is in line for starting at the '2'. After last night I would say Holloway is the early leader for the job followed by 'Cheeks' and then Redford but we'll see.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Advice for Mike Brown

Trade Chad Johnson. Period. End of story.

I would talk to the Dallas Cowboys who have two first round draft picks this season. I would take their 22nd overall pick in that round and a third rounder to ship this turd some where else. I used to love Chad and the energy he brought to the team. But let's be honest the guy walks around with money falling out of his pocket and I would bet what I have that his account is not keeping up with his life style or his girlfriends, baby mama's, and children's lifestyle for that matter. It all strikes me as a kid who is not getting his way. HE WILL BE A DISTRACTION and I don't see him contributing to what this team is trying to do and that is getting back to the playoffs. I will lay it on the line now: I GUARANTEE THE BENGALS WILL BE IN THE PLAYOFFS THIS SEASON IF CHAD IS GONE BEFORE THE FIRST MANDATORY MINICAMP.

OSU Update

As I said in my last post they finally got their man. Travis Ford agreed to a deal just six days after extending his contract at UMASS. Do contracts mean anything in the sports world anymore? Anyway, He is what I thought they would end up with, a young guy on the rise who some say wasn't thrilled with being in the northeast. In a funny twist he is taking over from another former UK point guard who he actually took over the point when Suttons dad left UK after his envelope incident. Small world huh? I hope Travis can make balloon animals.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Them Damn Duke Boys!!!!!!!!

How much money does it take to buy the NCAA tourney championship? T Boone Pickens may be starting to wonder. It seems that having the most generous booster of all time doesn't mean that you can buy a top notch college coach. It also doesn't guarantee that you will be able to lure top notch talent. 

So, what does it mean?

So far since the coaching search began it seems to have meant as much bad as it has good. See,really good coaches are smart guys. They know that having a guy around who has and will continue to throw money at OSU in the hundreds of millions means that his way is the only way. Imagine Bob Huggins taking orders from some booster who doesn't like the defense he runs.  My com-padre Deck put it best "If T-bone wants you at his kids birthday party you better be there".  Apparently Bill Self didn't want to invest in a pair of clown shoes. 

Remember Boss Hog from the Dukes of Hazard? He was always throwing everything he had @ them damned Dukes. No matter what scheme he came up with they always got away. Well good Ol' T-bone can throw as much money as he wants at OSU candidates but all the smart guys keep getting away. Who would want to work for Boss Hog? Stupid people like Roscoe and Enis thats who. 

Don't get me wrong. I'm sure Mr. Pickens is a wonderful guy. He throws tons of money at good causes like animal rights, Katrina relief, and alternative energy solutions. OSU is very fortunate to have him and the nearly 300 million he has donated. The problem is guys with that kind of investment have an awful lot of stroke. The best coaches in the business tend to have egos the size of a Buick. the two are like oil and water. 

Really soon they will find their guy. My guess is it will be a young guy or a guy who is very unhappy in his current spot. Either way they better pack some clown shoes. 

We will miss you Stan

Apparently Stan gave one of the best speeches ever at a basketball banquet last night. I really am going to miss that guy. One of the favorites of the night was him talking about his in home visit from Matta and Miller. He said they were going over their spiel of why he should come to X and apparently he was thinking the whole time I should be convincing you guys I should be at X. He also talked about his time at Hargrave and how get got through it just by knowing he would be rewarded at the end of it with a scholarship to X. He also said he was that much better of a person for just knowing Josh Duncan and how it is important for all scholar athletes to realize that they need to be responsible for their actions away from the court and field as well. Brings me to another point concerning Drew. He apologized for his actions Final Four weekend and asked all in attendance not to let that be the only memory we have for him. Sean gave props to Byron Larkin for the 'human traffic cone' reference he laid on Jimmy Binnie and the now infamous line 'Do it BJ, do it' on the game clinching three point shot against West Virginia. All in all good stuff and I can't wait for next season. Oh one other little tidbit I did pick up and Dustin confirms in his blog, Oklahoma State placed a call inquiring about Sean's services and he eagerly turned them down. The man knows the path he wants his career to take and it is not groveling for T. Boone Pickens.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Sky Is Falling . . . In Dayton

Man oh man are things getting crazy in Flyer Land. There are many, many rampant rumors on IU and UK message boards about Flyer 'savior' Chris Wright looking to transfer to either of those schools. Maybe 'Flight' figured out he picked the wrong SW Ohio A10 school to attend perhaps? Anyway there was a very interesting thread up about it on UD Pride and now it has mysteriously disappeared because it made some of the 'die hards' uncomfortable.

Also they are desperate for an upgrade over London Warren at point. Jeremie Simmons has long been a UD target and many feel he is one of the best in the JUCO class. JUCO talent today is not what it was in the mid eighties and early nineties. All the really good talent goes to 'prep' school now so they don't lose any four year college eligibility. Any way the Flyers top comp for this guy was Butler and Valparaiso and now Ohio State and Alabama are calling. Good luck on his recruitment. No disrespect in losing a player to the Bulldogs, we really really wanted Matt Howard this past class and he chose the mystique of Hinkle Fieldhouse (and most likely earlier PT).

And then I decide to read a thread on the Ohio - Kentucky All Star Game (why I do these things I will never know) and several (jack72 and San Diego Flyer) are comparing Ken Frease to Kurt Huelsman? WTF? Then they imply that he 'verballed' to UK before Tubby left. Oh really? When pressed to provide proof (I am sure Rivals or Scout would have been all over it) they have nothing to say. I am sorry but when you are a CONSENSUS top 50 player you are in a little better class than Huelsman who is a hard working kid who gets the most out of his talent.

I want to send a note out of spite to my man Swampy and ask how is it Sean can get three quality points in one class but Gregory is still looking for one? Nah I am too nice.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ken Frease

I had the opportunity to check out the Ohio-Kentucky All Star game last night. The girls game was very entertaining, and on the boys side 'game' had a different meeting. I am not sure if Scotty Hopson was there Kentucky would have done much better. There were a lot of 'undecided' college choices this year and I think that is a reflection of the overall talent. Ohio boys clearly had the better talent and I left with about 3:00 of game time left. These all star games feature 15 players to a side and they play 20 minute halves. At the end of each five minute period they switch out a complete new five. This happens until everybody has a chance to play on the floor twice. After that the coaches are free to sub as they wish. A few players caught my eye last night of course being led off by our blue chip recruit Ken Frease. Here goes my recap:

Ken Frease: I can't say I was overly impressed with his athleticism but make no mistake he is a skilled 5 man. His touch on his shot and his pin point passing are what I am talking about when I say 'skills'. I have not seen a box score and I missed the last few minutes of game action but before I left I had him at about 11 points, 7-8 boards, 2-3 assists, and three blocked shots. I don't think he was facing any Kurt Huelsman types in this game (that was meant to be sarcastic) and he probably only played about 10-12 minutes total. He can go over either shoulder and has great touch on his shot. He knows he is 6'11" and plays accordingly. His frame could add more weight and muscle. When he runs the floor I noticed he takes more short quick steps than long strides. I would not term him as 'fast' by any means but he does hustle up and down the floor.

Chris Johnson: The UD recruit from Columbus Brookhaven is a pure scorer. I was greatly impressed by his game. He is really 6'4" and not the 6'5" you see him frequently listed at. I am not sure if he is a '2' or a '3' but again he can put the ball in the basket in bunches. If I had to compare him to anybody we in the tri state would know I would say Marvin Gentry due to his slight frame. This guy should produce for the Flyers.

Damien Eargle: This Warren Harding product is skinny to be a true post player but that is where he is most effective. He has a variety of up and under moves and is good at timing his jumps for tip in rebound baskets. Easily a MAC level player who was one time committed to UNC-Greensboro but he has since rescinded that.

Tyshwan Edmondson: This University Heights product (team mate of Scotty Hopson) is being recruited by a plethora of schools. In the first half I couldn't figure out why. In the second half he made it clear to me. He has a great touch on his shot and is full of stop and go moves. I would recruit him more for a two guard than a point however.

Kyle Rudolph: This Elder product is going to play football for Charlie Weis and Notre Dame but basketball could have paid for his schooling to. I see him close to Tim Pollitz for a local reference and I think Kyle would have been a star at the MAC level.

Tom Pritchard: The St. Edward's senior is heading to Bloomington and there were a couple of 'Crean and Crimson' t shirt wearing fans in the crowd to watch this big fella. He is a 6'8" 240 pound athlete built for the Big 10 rebounding wars. He is not what I would term a 'high level' recruit but he can play and hustles constantly.

Anthony Hitchens: This 5'9" dynamo has a motor that just won't stop. He is headed to Akron to play for Keith Dambrot and the Zips. He had the best overall quickness on the floor and picked several pockets from the Kentucky players.

Devon Moore: They list him at 6'7" in the program but he is closer to the 6-4, 6-5 range in my opinion. He is paper thin and their is a lot of 'And 1' in his game but this Van Wert product deserves a long look. He caught my eye the most and could easily pass for Lil' Wayne's brother. It wouldn't suprise me if a wide range of schools were after him.

Corey Sorrell: Holy Cross product is headed to NKU and I watched him closely when he was on the floor. He will mix it up on the inside and is supposedly a dead eye shooter from three land but I didn't see him display that part of his game too much. He scraps all over and will be a nice addition to the Norse. Dave Bezold was in the house last night no doubt checking on his progress and trying to evaluate some of the unsigned bigs on the floor. It is very hard to evaluate talent in these All Star settings but there were plenty of 6-7, 6-8 types on the floor who would look good in the black and gold. They need size for their front line but I never got around to asking him if the Charles Bronson rumors were true.

Nick Gagel: This kid from Jeffersontown would be a star at the D2 level. He has a punchers chance at a D1 scholly though based off that pure jump shot. He is only 5'11" and of marginal atheleticsm which will determine his final destination. I had him down as the Kentucky side leading scorer but no box was posted yet due to the late finish of the game.

Overall the talent was much better in this game last year. Kentucky had Ty Proffit (Notre Dame), Jeff Brooks (Penn State), and Steffphon Pettigrew (Western Kentucky) to keep it competetive. The Ohio side had Dante Jackson (XU), Jon Diebler (Ohio State), and man child Aaron Pogue who if he ever got his head right would be a force for some school. But I was there to see Mr. Frease and I did not leave disappointed. He will contribute X fans and I hope his upside continues to grow. He is an aggressive player and when you are that size it only helps. However I would not say him starting over Jason Love next year is a given. He will play and play a lot but freshmen are freshmen. However I am even more excited about his potential now.

Next Sunday I will be off to the Derby Classic to watch Terrel Holloway and Yancy Gates play at Freedom Hall in Louisville. There will be talent galore all over that floor and I am excited to see how these guys stack up against some of the best in the land.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Providence is so mid major

Travis Ford turned down their offer of 800K to stay at UMASS for 500K per year according to an ABC affiliate in Massachusetts. Was Tim Welsh really that bad?

Portsmouth Updates

Josh and Stan both played last night with very, very good results. Lavender is due to play his first game today and we'll see if he makes it. Stan had 13 assists and 1 turnover in 32 minutes of action. By all accounts he focused on getting others involved (obviously) and continued to play great defense. Josh had 14 points and was 5-12 overall shooting. Nice first games guys and hopefully 'Danger Mouse' shows up in the right frame of mind to be successful.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Graves Update

Dustin Dow has updated his blog entry concerning Holloway and is stating Bronson could be headed to NKU for his final season. Most importantly though he reports that Graves has told the XU coaching staff he intends to stay. To me that is great news. Miller spent most of the non conference post game press recaps talking about how AD was the best shooter in practice. I hope he can take a BJ Raymond type step up between his sophomore and junior years. Dow also feels like one of the incoming freshmen will be redshirted. Most feel it will be Redford but I think Walsh is a candidate for that role too. Walsh would essentially be fighting for minutes with Graves, Raymond, and Jackson now. Given he has a knee strain (I hope not too serious) he could be the candidate. But backcourt options of Jackson, Raymond, Graves, Holloway, Lyons, Redford, and Walsh sure seems impressive to this homer.

Terrel Holloway

The one time Indiana commit has verballed to Sean Miller and Xavier University program. This is quite the coup. He is a consensus top 150 player and Rivals has him right at #100. More importantly he is a 'pure' point moreso than 'Cheeky' or Redford. This obviously means the transfer rumor is true and we may lose one or two. really likes him and had this to say in their scouting recap of him:

'Formerly at Hempstead, NY high, this quick, clever passing 175 pound southpaw played this past spring and summer for the New England Playaz. He directs the break with authority and skill, often throwing bounce passes at just the right time. In the half court set, he similarly drives and usually dishes, though he'll finish himself (sometimes drawing free throw opportunities) when the defense plays him to pass. At various events, we saw him try a total of three treys (all when open) and he hit one of them. High major prospect.'

Book Richardson is getting the credit for landing this kid. In my mind this makes it more likely someone will be redshirted next year, especially if Graves does indeed stay.

So why everybody else was worrying (myself included) about losing Sean; he went about his usual business of building our program for tomorrow. Next year will be interesting as we will have a total of seven new players. When over half your roster is new guys it may take some time for chemistry and player rotations to be formulated. I would really love to see this team take an early fall trip some where to get the extra practices and time together on the court.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

8th in Final ESPN Poll

The Muskies finished 8th in the final ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. That is the highest ranking we ever finished a season with so yes Stanley you have facts to back up this was indeed the best Xavier team to date. In 2004 after our Elite 8 run we ended up 14th. Congrats again to Sean and the team on a job very well done.

Ohio-Kentucky All Star Game

The Ohio-Kentucky high school basketball all star game will be held this Saturday at Thomas More College. This is a great event. The ladies play at 5:30 and the guys tip at 7:30 PM. Kenny Frease will be in the house and Chris Johnson from UD will be there. Last year I attended and it is great to see all the coaches there recruiting whoever has not committed yet. Dante' Jackson was the game MVP last year as he hit a three on a last second shot to win it. I also saw Clark Kellogg of CBS tournament fame there to watch his son Alex who eventually ended up in Providence. Clark has a son that is a sophomore in HS now who is dynamite. In any event I will be there and if you get a chance you should check it out. I would advise showing up for the girls' game because the gym will be packed.

Also keeping up with the coaching carousel it appears Bill Self has turned down OK State today and they are setting their sites on Billy Gillespie from UK. If UK were to lose their coach to OK State would they suddenly become 'mid major'? Just tossing it out there. Anyway I think that would be a move Billy should greatly consider. His success has been in that part of the country (A&M, UTEP) and the folks at OK State won't care too much about his reported jaded personality. I deal with a salesman who is a UK graduate and big supporter of the program and apparently BG has russled more than his players feathers according to him. UMASS' Travis Ford would be the hot candidate for that job. Their fan base also has him going to LSU so we'll see. Nice to be wanted I guess.

Free Throws

Memphis just needed to hit 'free' throws to clinch a title last night but they couldn't do it. Calipari you should check out Dave's advice for Kenny Belton for hitting these. They really clammed up at the end but it was a great game. Great shot by Mario Chalmers to send it to OT also. The Jayhawk bigs were too much for Memphis in the end. But still; hit free throws and we are talking about Memphis' first national championship. Which brings me to another point: when Louisville was winning National Titles out of the Metro Conference in the '80's were they ever termed 'mid major'? UNLV ever have that stigma either? No. When it get's right down to it is all about the individual teams. And the importance of fundamentals can never be overlooked.

Also ESPN is reporting Buzz Williams will be the next coach at Marquette. Buzz had a 14-17 record at New Orleans just two short seasons ago. Is that the best the Golden Eagles could do? Don't get me wrong I am happy about it but still? Buzz Williams? Best of luck.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Drew Lavender = Chris Henry

Do people ever use 'judgement' any more? If I am drunk and standing in the middle of the street with some cabbage on me I am going to do whatever Mr. Police Man asks me to do. I compare Drew to Henry because this is a repeated pattern of behavior and they are not that far off in age (Drew 23, Henry 25).

So now Drew you are hurting your post collegiate opportunities. You are scheduled to be in Portsmouth in 2 days and you can bet all the scouts will know about this. You did a good job of staying out of trouble but I guess the minute all the coaches aren't around (San Antonio this week) to keep tabs on you, you funk up. I know this can happen to anyone (yes I have been arrested) but when you keep doing it over and over and not learning from it I lose patience.

I hope you can get it straightened out #24. The odds are stacked against you already if you choose to play for pay but you are making those chances smaller by doing dumbass things. Time to grow up.


Television news station out of Milwaukee is saying the 'Final 4' for their head coaching position includes: Buzz Williams (Marquette Asst.), Bob McKillop (Davidson HC), Chris Lowery (Southern Illinois HC), and Brad Brownell (Wright State HC). The Marquette message boards are on fire with this obviously. McKillop and Williams seem to be the lead guys. McKillop supposedly was house shopping around Milwaukee from this weekend if you like to quote MB 'insider info' which is about as accurate as our 'intelligence' before the Iraqui war. McKillop has never won an NCAA tournament game before this season in 13 years of coaching. I wonder if Stephen Curry would transfer with him? That would be interesting. Williams had one season as a HC at New Orleans two years ago with a record of 14-17. MU officials like him though because he would give them continuity in recruiting and so forth.

I do believe one or two X assistants are getting play for jobs like Western Kentucky, Detroit, or Toledo. Whitford and Mack is who I am talking about.

Finally I do hope Memphis can win it tonight. I would have liked to see UCLA/North Carolina but I would love for a 'mid major' to win the whole damn thing to rub it into the noses of BESPN.

Also Portsmouth Invitational is getting ready to kickoff. I will try and post some updates from the action.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The final four, the end of the season and other stuff

The Final weekend of college ball is upon us and it brings excitement with the crowning of a new champ and sadness knowing that I'll have to wait until November to enjoy anymore games. 

Since Deck made a prediction I will do the same. My pick is Memphis to win it all. Everybody in the world has been coming up with reasons why they cant do it or why they should have lost two weeks ago but they just win. Every game but one. All year. You can stick "mid major" up your ass Jay Bilas(please see the sweet sixteen and the several non BCS schools in it as you being a self loving, ACC touting, big school blowhard who doesn't know as much as he thought). 

I dont know about Deck but in the off season I will give you as much UC stuff as possible(I will leave most of the recruiting and high school player stuff to Deck since he is so much better with it) but I will also be doing some stuff on the other local sports stuff and maybe an occasional pop culture rant. I do promise to you the faithful reader(all 5 of you) That as soon as basketball season comes back around the other stuff will get dropped like a macho man elbow. 

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dayton Daily News

The Dayton Daily news is reporting that Brian Gregory is the #1 candidate for the Marquette job. Chick Ludwig penned this story and I love Chick. Any guy who can make that name seem cool has to be an alright guy. What is 'Chick' short for anyway? He is the beat writer the Enquirer should have for the Bengals. Chick is a very astute individual and he noticed at the coaches convention Thursday BG was the only one not wearing his school logo. Very, very interesting. The Journal Sentinel out of Milwaukee doesn't have BG on their radar and they said Miller and Tony Bennett would be 'home run' hires but both are very comfortable in their current roles and not likely to make a change. Considering their beat writer called Bobo to tell him Sean was in Milwaukee when he was actually sitting across the table from Mike ought to give us a little insight on their investigative reporting. This could actually work in UD's favor if they could land Anthony Grant. AG would be at the top of my list for any potential replacement for Sean but he is a UD grad so that essentially eliminates him. For the record I would also put Fran McCaffery from Siena and Chris Lowery from Southern Illinois in my top 3, but hey I don't think we're going to have to worry at this juncture. But anyway back to Chick he seems to think the Tom Izzo connection is what would make BG attractive to Marquette. This is all hearsay and you will not hear any announcements this coming weekend because the powers to be want nothing to pull away the 'shine' from the final four teams which is cool. However giving some of the abuse BG took from the Flyer faithful this year it could make his decision that much easier if offered. Selfishly I want him to take that job if offered because 'mini me' has stacked the coffers for UD for '09 and '10. Juwan Staten will probably end up being a top 5 point guard in his class if he keeps developing. It may take a new guy a couple of recruiting cycles to take hold with the Ohio kids.

Mike Montgomery has filled the California position and LSU is leaning towards Travis Ford. Ford's style of play (he is the most like Pitino in that regard out of all Rick's disciples) makes him very attractive. UMASS conspiracy theorists are actually saying TF only wanted to come to the Northeast to develop recruiting contacts there which really isn't a bad idea. Also Fran Fraschilla all but begged Providence to give him a call during the NIT championship game to return to coaching. They were turned down by one of their own alumnus (Jim Larranagga) who decided the grass was greener at George Mason. Billy Grier at San Diego turned down Oregon State. So that leaves only the Oklahoma State job as one you would even think Sean might like over Xavier and then not really. T. Boone Pickens donates millions and millions to the Cowboys each year but when you have a booster like that paying for the coaches that puts some pressure on a coach. I mean if your working at OK State and Boone wants you to go to his grandson's birthday party, your going.

Ah the offseason is almost officially upon us. I'll stick with my guns and say North Carolina will win it all this weekend. Hopefully the games live up to the hype because the talent on the floor will be awesome.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Portsmouth Invitational

Dustin Dow reports on his blog that Duncan, Lavender, and Burrell have all received invites to Portsmouth, the first NBA tryout camp of the season. If they do well there and can get invited to Chicago then I think they have a great chance of getting selected. We'll see. I wish them all the best with their pro endeavors.

Also you are going to hear quite a bit about Marquette and Sean Miller in the coming days. I think the folks in Milwaukee will lay out the full court press for him so to speak. But if you evaluate where the two programs are today Miller will choose to stay in Cincy. Marquette has won one NCAA tournament game since joining the Big East. The Musketeers have been to two Elite 8's in that same time period. They are holding onto their national championship from '77 like Linus holds onto a blanket. Quick who was the coach at Marquette before Tom Crean? Yeah it takes a minute (Mike Deane) to come up with. They do have an on campus practice facility but they play in arena that used to be played in by the Milwaukee Bucks. Most midwest kids see themselves in the Big 10 rather than the Big East and that has made recruiting tough. The fat man in St. Louis would be the choice if he would have kept his trap shut this year about abortion and so forth but hey there are always consequences for our words and actions. Tony Bennett (Wisconsin native) would be a logical choice and their fan base would also love to get Bruce Weber we shall see. IMO the carousel won't stop on Victory Parkway to be picking anybody up any time soon.

And oh yeah Chris Henry is a jackass and a wonderful waste of God given talent. Grow up please.

Chris Henry is a Jackass

At least Pacman Jones got paid some 7 figure money b4 getting kicked out of the league.


That is all.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Post Season Honors

Xavier seniors Josh Duncan and Stanley Burrell have picked up some post season honors. First JDunc will be playing in the NABC senior all star game this Friday at 6:00 PM on CSTV. He will be coached by Oliver Purnell and play on the National team. Stan picked up defensive all american honors which is alot like getting named to the all Big East team in terms of number of guys who actually receive the honor but still it is nice to get the recognition.

08-09 Non Conference Schedule

The non conference schedule for 08-09 is still more than a few games from being completed but this looks like what we are looking at for next season:


at Virginia
at UC
at Kansas State
Puerto Rico Tournament (USC, Missouri, and VA Tech will also participate)


-vs- Duke in the Coaches -v- Cancer Classic at the Meadowlands
Wooden Tradition (Purdue or Notre Dame)

I imagine we would fill out remaining spots with a few 'cupcakes' for some wins. I also feel strongly that this team will take a tour of Canada or Ireland in the early fall to give the staff some extra time to mesh all the new faces and inexperience with what we have. I think schools are allowed to do this once every four years or so. I have also heard that West Virginia is looking for a home and home maybe for 09-10. Huggs likes to come back to town every chance he gets. Also a long, long term deal was once thought to be on the table for Wake Forest. That is one series I would really love to see.

In conference play we are surely looking at a home and home with UD but St. Joes and GW may change.

To be clear the aggressive non conference schedule will remain a part of this program. The benefits you reap from playing tough comp early are key for solid play in February and March. This is a great recruiting tool also.

Many people on campus are hypothesizing Sean Miller will have an extension in the very near future from the University. Most feel it will be in the 1.4 million per range with an increase on the buyout. I am sure Sean would like to negotiate a deal that their is no buyout for say Pittsburgh or certain ACC schools.

I am loving this offseason coaching carousel. Of course Marquette is open and our man Miller is being bandied about by their fan base. I am also hearing Bruce Weber from Illinois which would cause concern for UD fans. Gregory is an Illinois guy and surely a Big 10 kind of coach. He would love to join Crean in going head to head against his old boss at Michigan State who reportedly loves both guys. Others include Lon Kruger, Mike Montgomery, Mike Anderson, Tony Bennett, and Brad Brownell. You could cut and paste this list for all the other major job openings in the country (California, OK State, and Oregon State presently).

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tom Crean to coach IU

Unlike the post below this is not some lame attempt at an April Fool's joke. Andy Katz is reporting that IU is waiting paperwork from Tom and it will be a done deal. Apparently Miller was asked and apparently so was Lon Kruger. I don't know what TC will be looking at roster wise and he will probably not take too many of his committs from Marquette if any at all.
Here are some other tidbits out there on the 'net:

  • The Muskies are close to finishing a deal to play Duke in the 'Coaches -vs- Cancer' classic on ESPN.
  • Taylor King (recent transfer from Duke) is listing Villanova, Gonzaga, and XU as potential destinations. This kid is a phenomenal shooter and has excellent length for the wing. My question for Taylor would be his defense and toughness. This seems to be a natural for all guys who played at Duke this season.

Cronin a Candidate for OK State Job?

Jeff Goodman from Fox Sports is reporting that Sean Sutton is out as coach at Oklahoma State after two short seasons. He also includes a candidate list that has (laughable) Bill Self and Billy Gillespie on it. I guess there is a notorious deep pocketed booster who makes this seem plausible to Cowboy fans. Then he sets up his 'b' list that has guys like Keno Davis, Brad Stevens, and Mick Cronin. He gives his reasons for each and of most interest to us is his take on Mick: 'He has realized how tough rebuilding the Bearcats to prominence will be in the Big East. He has also realized the fractured fan base (read Huggs apologists) will never totally support him.' WOW! I think there is a chance (albeit very small) that the OK State job is attractive to Mick. What do the Bearcat fans think?

IU Speculation

After reading Dustin Dow's blog this morning and looking at some other things it seems it is open season on IU players. Armon Bassett and Jordan Crawford were recruited hard by X staffers and this may be a good destination for one of those guys to transfer too. I am also hearing Graves may be looking at Bowling Green where Louis Orr and George Jackson would love to have him. If AD decides that is what is best for him, all the luck in the world. One internet journalist also speculated UC would take a look if he became available. Also Bronson has issues with his knees and if he were to transfer I would imagine it would be D2 so he could play right away. Or he may just stay.

Bottom line this IU job is looking more and more unattractive by the minute. I have also heard the report that the buyout was too high is a way for Indiana to save face. Many believe (and this is all just rumor and hearsay which makes the internet great!) that Miller told them he was not interested.