Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Allan Chaney

Allan Chaney is transferring from Florida. The 6-8 225 power forward was rated #108 overall by Prepstars in the fall of 2007. Adam Zagoria has posted in his blog that Chaney will be visiting St. Joes tomorrow and then Virginia Tech on Saturday. He has also lined up visits to Temple and Providence within the next two weeks. Xavier, Seton Hall, and Rutgers are vying for his last trip. Working against the Musketeers is Chaney wants to play close to home. However he is from Baltimore, MD originally. Can Bino deliver his first player to Xavier? It looks to be a long shot at this point since we don't even have a confirmed visit. Prepstars scouting write up on him indicated he boasted strong post moves, very good free throw shooter, and would work the glass at both ends.

If Xavier doesn't land Chaney they will most likely bank the scholarship for next season and go into the season with only 11 scholarship players, making four available for the very talented 2010 class. Of course Mack and staff may have other options they want to explore.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pat Kelsey

Pat Kelsey today will be announced as the 'Associate Head Coach' and will be the final piece to join Chris Mack's staff. Anytime you can get a guy of this caliber you take him. He just interviewed for Applachian State's head coaching gig and is only 33 years old. He has spent the last nine years on Wake Forest's staff and was promoted to assistant when Mack left Wake Forest to rejoin the Musketeers under Miller. From a recruiting standpoint this is a huge win. He is credited with being the lead man for Wake on the recruitment of Ari Stewart, Tony Woods, Al-Farouq Aminu, Ishmael Smith, James Johnson and Jeff Teague. The team and staff are setting themselves up to hit the ground running for the loaded 2010 class in the fall. Also it appears Mario will be staying in his role and Chris Rounds (strength coach) seems set to stay as well.

In regards to recruiting there is 'buzz' that highly touted Donte Williams (2010) from Georgia will be announcing a decision soon which Xavier fans will be interested in. When you think of Williams think Derrick Brown but only a couple of inches taller. Kelsey really has made a lot of headway in Georgia the last few years. Certainly the ACC is easier to sell than the A10 but we should be in great shape with players from that loaded state for this upcoming class. Of course Kelsey played at XU and graduated in 1998. He may not be here long if he continues to pop up on lower tier schools radar's as a possible Head Coach or he could be the next in line here at Xavier. He becomes only the second Associate Head Coach X has ever had, the first being Sean Miller.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Recruiting Rumors

The coaches contact period is coming to a close for the spring. This is what I have gathered out there on the 'world wide web' with the usual dose of speculation. Again it is much harder to follow the spring recruiting because things tend to happen quickly for a variety of reasons.

We do know Chris Mack was in Georgia recently. Chris has developed some connections there. He had Xavier involved with 2009 prospects Ari Stewart (Wake Forest), Jeremy Olsen (Utah), and Kammeon Holsey (Georgia Tech) among others. Potentially 'among others' included Daniel Miller a 6-10 235 center from Loganville, GA. He signed with Georgia in the fall and is rated the 28th best center by in his class. Georgia released him on Monday and he signed with Georgia Tech today. Nice thought but time to move on.

I read courtesy of Shannon Russell that Bino Ranson has not even met the team yet because he has been out on the road recruiting for the Musketeers since accepting the job. I like this guy already. I will reiterate I think Xavier's chances with Jordan Latham remain strong with Bino joining the staff. No doubt he has a guy or two in mind that may still be available to join Xavier this spring.

Also the class of 2011 seems to be deep in Indiana according to Prepstars and possibly even deeper in 2012. Travis Steele will take the lead there on the recruiting trail due to his extensive connections there on the grassroots scene.

In regards to Kevin Parrom X seems to still have a shot from everything I have read. I would put the chances at about 20/80 that he ever comes to Victory Parkway. Schools like Arizona, Rhode Island, South Carolina, UCONN, and Marquette among many others are reported interested. I take exception to posters on the internet belittling Sean for pursuing King Kev. Why wouldn't he? Also what most of us web idiots are forgetting: it should be the kids choice of where he wants to go to school and play for. I have never been too keen on a kid even having to get a release once the head coach leaves; it shouldn't be a question.

My 'friend' across town Mick Cronin is doing a hell of a job this spring. I mean that with all due respect. Re-securing John Riek could pay huge dividends for them in the Big East battles. He is also swinging for the fences for some help for Cash at the point guard spot. Eric Bledsoe is a big time prospect and is currently rated #23 in ratings. Getting him on campus for a visit can only be taken as a positive. Florida remains high on his list as well as Kentucky and Memphis. Many feel he is waiting for John Wall to make a decision among the three schools listed previously as well. IF that is true I think the 'Cats chances diminish on landing him. CJ Vilarno (the one time PG committ to Kentucky) appears headed to Gonzaga and I am not sure if UC was seriously considered by him. I would imagine sans landing Bledsoe the Bearcats will reel in a JUCO point guard to give depth and keep Deonta at the '2'.

Also I would be remiss if I didn't mention Terrell Vinson. The 6-6 forward is a four star recruit from Baltimore and rated #90 on Rivals top 150 list. UC was in a battle right up until the end on Monday when Vinson announced for UMASS. Mick lost to another A10 school. Maryland was also right there for Terrell. Interestingly enough he originally committed to Loyola Marymount out on the left coast but gained his release after a coaching change. It would appear UC has been after Kavon Lytch, a JUCO currently at Midland College in Texas. He is an undersized four (6-6) and some compare him to a poor man's Eric Hicks. The depth of schools interested in him is across the board. Justin Brownlee (another JUCO prospect) is also mentioned as a possibility but is more of a small forward which is a need with Mitchell's dismissal earlier this spring.

Finally the Dayton Flyers had a scholarship open when Stephen Thomas transferred closer to home at IUPUI. Brian Gregory landed a very good division 1 transfer in Josh Parker. Josh is a proven commodity and has been a double figure scorer at Drake. He will be a redshirt junior when fellow point guard Juwan Staten shows up on campus for the 2010-2011 season. Juwan is the real deal by the way. I had a chance to see him play in this years D2 state championship game and was impressed. Gregory is building quite the team there in the Gem City. Staten plays with the absolutely loaded All Ohio AAU team that also features Dayton native Adreian Payne. Every school in a 250 mile radius seems to be listed by AP but Dayton has been in on him for a long time.

To be sure you are going to miss out on targets a lot more than you are going to land one. Given how much time and energy coaches give to most often get rejected in the end is amazing.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Orlando 'Bino' Ranson

Shannon Russell is confirming the hire of Ranson. Quick research shows he is a 1999 graduate of Southern New Hampshire. He scored over a 1,000 points during his playing days for the Division 2 school. Previous to this past (and only) season at James Madison he worked for head coach Matt Brady at Marist for a total of three seasons. Ironically enough he replaced Emmanuel 'Book' Richardson on that staff. It is believed he has some strong ties to the grassroots scene in Baltimore and worked the AAU circuit there before beginning his college coaching career.

A quick search of revealed some of the players from the Baltimore, Maryland area for the class of 2010. I would imagine you could see these players show up as targets for Xavier. The best of the bunch is Roscoe Smith. He is a 6-7 small forward who is a consensus top 10 recruit in his class. Will Barton a four star shooting guard is another prospect getting tons of attention from high majors. Of course X fans recognize Jordan Latham and I believe the Muskies chances of retaining him just increased with the hire of Ranson. Other top players from B-More include Eric Atkins, Antonio Barton, Jonathan Graham, Donte Holmes, and Riley Beaumont.

In reading Ranson's bio from the JMU web site he has a young and accomplished family. I am excited about the recruiting prospects he could bring to Victory Parkway.

Staff, Brown; other stuff

The coaching staff continues to come together. We know Travis Steele (25) and Brian Thornton have filled roles already. Mario Mercurio has also been reported to stay in his current position. Chris Rounds (strength and conditioning coach) has done a terrific job with the team and is pondering a move to Arizona. Also I have information that a James Madison assistant will be joining the staff. I would imagine you will see an official announcement when both candidates have been identified and accepted the offer. With Coach Mack visiting Kevin Parrom today you may not see that until early next week. Shannon Russell from the Enquirer did confirm thru Mack that Pat Kelsey will not be joining his staff.

Regarding Derrick Brown and his early entry status, I can't say that I am suprised. What junior who hasn't completed his academic requirements wouldn't want to stick his toe in the water with the NBA? Couldn't hurt to see where you stand. Brown will be earning two degrees this spring; one in Marketing and the other Entrepenurial Studies. He will make the best business decision for himself. Selfishly I hope he stays, but if he works his way into a first round pick this year through great workouts I will be proud as proud can be. That will be another NBA jersey to hang in the locker room hallway which is impressive to young recruits.

Did anybody see Isiah Thomas is going to coach Florida International? Wow. Apparently Isiah has long been interested in coaching at the college level. I am curious as to how that turns out. Apparently FIU's only candidates to take over for their interim coach were former NBA players.

The spring signing period wraps up on May 20th. The past few seasons you are seeing prospects take longer and longer in the spring to make a decision. The coaching carousel plays a big part in that. Often times the deadline for the spring period passes and players will still show up on campuses in the summer with no formal announcements from schools.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

'Feedin' the Machine'

I like that line. Coach Mack has said it his job to 'keep feedin' the machine'. I think the team should get that printed up for the summer work out t-shirts. After listening to Chris at his presser today I feel even more confident we are heading in the right direction. The team has tremendous talent and another stay past the first weekend of the NCAA tournament seems likely.

As expected Travis Steele has been promoted to an assistant position on the team. His previous three years he worked at Indiana University. Before that from 2001-2006 he was a coach on the Spiece/Indiana Elite AAU team that featured such players as Greg Oden and Mike Conley among others. Recruiting Indiana should be second nature for him.

Also Brian Thornton is going to join the team as Director of Basketball Operations and should make a nice impact on our 'bigs' over the course of the season. BT is a great 'fit' because he values academic excellence. It also looks like Mario Mercurio will stay on in his administrative role with the program.

Apparently Coach Mack is headed to NYC this weekend to talk to Kevin Parrom. Kev is a 6'5" small forward and consensus top 100 level player by all the scouting services I peruse. Keeping him would be a nice start for Mack on the recruiting front. It won't be long before the recruiting momentum picks up for the program at all. Mack has high expectations for the staff he is assembling and I am excited to see who the last two assistants will be.

Feed the machine baby!

John Riek will be a Bearcat

According to the Sporting News Riek is expected to sign a letter of intent today the 1st day of spring signing. It appears that he has jumped through all the NCAA hoops and rehabbed his knee and is ready to play. This is exciting news to all who thought he was never coming and a great get for Mick. Way to stay on top of him coach!

Boals off the board

Jeff Boals, associate head coach at Akron, will be joining Thad Matta's staff at the Ohio State University. This move was predicated because Archie Miller will be joining his brother at Arizona. $ean has no recruiting ties to the west so this should be interesting. has also reported that Kyryl will not be eligible this upcoming season due to playing for a university in Ukraine. Bummer.

It has been confirmed that Travis Steele has been promoted to an assistant coach position on the Xavier staff. Brian Thornton will assume the Director of Basketball Operations role for the team. Brian is XU basketball's only Academic All American. He should be a great fit. The other two assistants hopefully will be announced today.

Finally it appears Kevin Parrom is 50/50 as of now on coming to X. Rumors of him taking visits w/o his release from X are erroneous. Rhode Island, Providence, and of course Arizona are all rumored to be interested if he does gain his release. To me King Kev is gone but X won't release him to play for another A10 school. I imagine Chris will fill one of our two available scholarships this spring and may hold onto the last 1 for a Division 1 transfer to sit out next season. That is pure conjecture on my behalf.

Press conference today at 1 PM should be interesting. I feel like after that things will get back to normal in Xavier Nation.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mack is the choice

The news is now 'official'. Chris Mack will be the next head coach of the Xavier Musketeers. I am not going to re-hash his resume but I feel the 39 year old is ready for the challenge. He clearly understands the expectations of the program and it's fan base. No doubt he will work hard and will make the most of his opportunity. To be clear I am no 'pollyanna', he has to produce. If not he will feel the heat to be sure.

Now on to the fun stuff. Who will the staff be? All kinds of names are being tossed out there. Pat Kelsey seems to be a popular one. He spent time with Chris at X and on the bench at Wake Forest with him under Skip Prosser. Some feel Pat may be ready to come home. I think Travis Steele is a slam dunk for a promotion. He has been around with Mack as the other guys were packing up. He is John Groce's half brother and was on Indiana's staff three years before arriving on Victory Parkway. A plus for him would be strong recruiting connections in the Hoosier state and a healthy understanding of NCAA phone regulations. Brian Thornton looks to be a candidate for an administrative type position. Joel Cornette is at Iowa currently but is a St. Xavier guy. He wouldn't be the first to flee Todd Lickliter's camp this spring as half the roster has declared they are leaving the Hawkeyes at the end of the semester. Jeff Massey at Bonaventure seems to be another natural fit due to his playing days for the Musketeers. One of the biggest rumors out there is Jeff Boals will be a part of Mack's staff. Who is Jeff Boals? He is the associate head coach at Akron. His recruiting ties are strong in the midwest and he is credited with getting class of 2010 studs like Adriean Payne and JD Weatherspoon to list Akron as schools under consideration. He was also the lead assistant for the Zips recruiting Zeke Marshall this year. Also 2011 blue chippers Markus Crider and Stevie Taylor list the Zips and Boals would certainly bring their phone numbers with him to X.

You could also see Mack go after a coach with head coaching experience at the D1 level. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. Or you could see him go after a lead dog from the AAU circuit like Curtis Malone. Who is Curtis Malone? He is the director of the DC Assault program in (you guessed it) Washington, DC. I know people around here will remember James White. Seriously most of the players who come through that program end up in the ACC and other power conferences. Someone along those lines (possibly him) could be in the offing.

Great day to be a Xavier fan. The future is bright. One positive in hiring Mack is the talent in the program knows what he is all about. Many our on record (Frease for sure)that they would stay if Mack was given the job. I just don't want to hear any damn KrissKross songs at the Cintas Center next year.

Monday, April 13, 2009

So Who Will It Be?

It has been one week since Sean made it official with Arizona. In the week since then Sean has taken along James Whitford and Book Richardson as assistants. He also seems to have an offer on the table for Mario Mercurio to be his director of basketball operations for the Wildcats. Finally Kyryl Natazkho made it official Saturday night at the Derby Classic in Louisville and will be joining Sean at Arizona. But enough about $ean. The storm has passed. I think by tomorrow afternoon we will know who the next coach of the Xavier Musketeers will be. With the school being closed today for the Easter holiday no official business will be conducted. Also the season ending basketball banquet is on Wednesday night with the spring signing period also officially getting under way on the 15th. That lends Tuesday as a ideal day for an announcement. Here is my preferences for the job listed in order with the percentage chance they have of getting the nod:

Chris Mack (80%): There is rampant speculation currently that he has been offered the job and they are waiting for the team to all get back from Easter vacation before an announcement is made. I would support Chris getting the job because out of all the candidates nobody would understand Xavier and the current team better. The only drawback to Chris is lack of experience. I take heart that Xavier has done well by calling on guys who were assistants or had only one year experience in the head seat in recent searches.

Brad Brownell (5%): He has done well at basketball only schools UNC-Wilmington and Wright State. His team's are defensive oriented and can struggle to score at times. However you must keep in mind the talent level that he has been able to attract to those schools. I firmly believe having access to the resources Xavier offers it's basketball program Brad would flourish. The down side there is when that happens the big money state schools will come calling.

Keith Dambrot (5%): I am liking the idea of Keith more and more. His connections with Lebron only enhance his reputation. Dambrot landed Zeke Marshall out of McKeesport, PA this past year when he was rated a top 50 prospect by How many 6-11 centers rated that highly end up in the MAC right out of high school? None until now. He also has built up the Zip program to the NIT two years ago and a NCAA appearance this year against Gonzaga. Dan Hipsher was solid as a coach for Akron but no postseasons. The program was never the same after Bob Huggins left in the '80's. Sound familiar?

Darrin Horn (5%): I personally think the Darrin Horn ship has sailed due to money. XU was just getting ready to pay Sean in the 1.1 million range. I believe sources quoted Darrin as expecting a starting salary of 1.25 million to leave South Carolina. I know 'sources' are generally bs but this seems plausible. And he is not lying when he said HE has never contacted Xavier about their coaching search. However I am certain his attorney has spoken to XU officials. Such a tangled web these coaches weave.

John Groce (5%): Yes I know Ohio University finished last in the MAC this year. Yes I know John Groce was a huge Churchill Odia fan. However the man is a hell of a recruiter sans the over sight on Church. He got Kyryl to take a visit to Athens after the Ukranian visited X. His class for next year is very strong and probably the best in the MAC. He runs a system that X players and fans would be very familiar with. His half brother is on the staff currently at Xavier as the DBO. However I think many X faithful and high level donors in AFO have had enough of the Thad Matta coaching tree at this point and time. Nevertheless you never know until an official announcement is made.

In the end I think Mack is the man for X. I could see him retaining Travis Steele (current DBO) as an assistant coach, bringing Pat Kelsey as his lead guy from Wake Forest, and making a offer for Mario to be his DBO. Mario is a St. X grad as well. His final assistant position could possibly be someone with strong ties to the grassroots scene for recruiting purposes. So there you go. IF Mack is the man I think you will see a scenario like that play out. I also think Mack would keep roster turnover to a minimum for the Muskies. Either way tomorrow is a big day for Xavier hoops fans.

Ohio Kentucky All Star Game Review

I did attend the 18th annual Ohio Kentucky All Star Basketball game Saturday evening. Kentucky ended a five year losing streak against the Ohio boys. However I don't go to watch the outcome of the game, moreso to see the talent in the game and here are my thoughts on a few of the guys on both sides:

Ohio All Stars:

Ryan Borden (Oak Hill): He has not selected a college yet but a Division 1 school should invite him as a walk on. He hits from deep very consistently and hit big time shots from there in the Division 4 state championship game this year.

Darian Cartharn (Canal Winchester): This powerfully built guard is headed to Wright State. He seems to be a combo guard instead of a pure 1 or 2 guard. I didn't see much of his jumpshot but his broad shoulders certainly assist him on drives to the basket.

Bill Edwards (Middletown): First team all state Division 1 player is undecided. From Tom Groeschen in the Enquirer he recently visited Central Florida and also is getting interest from Oklahoma State. It should be noted that Travis Ford also liked Bill when TF was at UMASS. Wright State would love to have him for obvious reasons and I think Miami-OH has been involved for some time. My question is does either UC or XU get involved with him? I know Mick has some open scholarships and my bet is Kevin Parrom never enrolls at Xavier for next season. For this reason I watched Bill very closely. He has nice form on his jumpshot. He is a right handed dribbler. He predominately drives to his right, however I saw him switch to his left hand on a shot from the leftside in mid air and draw the 'and one' call. I am not sure if he is 6-7, appears to be closer to 6-6. He also shed some baby fat from his junior year. From what I saw in this game he plays the game in an even demeanor. Why I certainly don't see him coming in a being a difference maker at a high major program, he would look like he belonged. I think by his junior and senior seasons he could be a solid player at that level.

Matt Kavanaugh (Centerville): Matt is headed to UD next fall. In the first five minutes of the game Matt was the MVP. He has great size and runs the floor very well. He is aggressive and every bit of the 6-9 he is listed at. However in his second rotation and in the final period he was inaccurate on his shots to say the least. He showed nice rotation on a three point shot that was missed. To me he certainly was the best recruit on the floor tonight. To show he belongs at Dayton as a big man he was also in foul trouble (sorry couldn't resist one jab). He is already better than Kurt Huelsman on the offensive end and will join redshirt freshman Josh Benson in bolstering the Flyers front line next season.

Danny McElroy (LaSalle): It is easy to see (from this game) why UC backed off of Danny. He certainly passes the look test but his offensive game isn't fluid at all out on the floor. I imagine Louis Orr and George Jackson will keep him in the paint next year at Bowling Green. He has solid attributes to build off of. Danny runs the floor very well and seems to be very active on the glass.

Allen Roberts (Middletown): Powerfully built guard showed off his athleticism with a monster dunk over some Kentucky All Stars. I didn't see much of his jumpshot. However sitting behind the Ohio bench I got to witness plenty of his attitude. He jawed with the officials too much for my taste. As his team was starting to get back into it he was hit with a costly technical foul. I would hope this was an exception to his behavior on the floor and not the norm. Charlie Coles runs a tight ship in Oxford and I am sure he will get the most out of Allen at Miami.

Jon Smith (Grove City): I kept a close eye on this skinny gazelle because he is headed to play for St. Louis next season. Honestly I see him redshirting to get stronger for Rick Majerus. Jon runs the floor very well, is active on the glass, and shows a knack for timely shot blocking. Ideally you would like to see a player of his size and length to have a consistent jump shot and that may come with time. However if he were to grow another inch or two he could develop into a effective post option in the A10 down the line.

Orlando Williams (Princeton): One of the most active players for the Ohio All Stars all night. He took a lot of trips to the free throw line and showed good form and accuracy. He has a good perimeter jump shot and is also effective driving the ball to score. He gets a little loose on his handle from time to time but I see him playing sooner rather than later at Miami-OH. A little more weight on his frame may be the only thing holding him back from doing that.

Kentucky All Stars:

Devin Adams (Shelby Valley): They must use different measuring sticks down in the hills of Kentucky. Seriously, no way this kid is 6-10, more like 6-8. Thus I think Devin's ultimate destination is at the D2 level or NAIA. He did have a nice block on a shot after running all out from one end to the other to get to it. He also plays like a '5' in all other aspects. Overall though his skill set and physical strength look like they place him out of the D1 category.

Darrin Ballou (Adair County): This Morehead State signee is very solid. He hit a couple from three point land and his stroke looked solid and consistent. Darrin also mixed it up down low and is very effective on the glass. He will be a solid four man in the Ohio Valley Conference before his career is done with the Eagles.

Ethan Faulkner (Elliot County): This co-MVP for the Kentucky All Stars lead the team in floor burns. This kid is just a winner. I know NKU coach Dave Bezold was looking on in satisfaction. What Ethan lacks in foot speed he makes up with desire and leadership. He is reputed a good jumpshooter but he scored most of his ten points off of drives to the basket. He could compete for PT right away at Northern.

Evan Faulkner (Elliot County): Ethan's twin was less impressive too me. On paper he would seem to be the better player because he is going to D1 Radford University to play for Brad Greenberg. However in this game he never got into a good flow.

Eric Mosley (Louisville Moore): This guy is a very heady player and a good scoring point guard. He is no where near the 6'0" they list him at and probably closer to 5'10". That doesn't mean a whole lot to me and I could see Eric doing well at a CUSA or a SUN BELT type school.

Jordan Reves (Jeffersontown): This big fella is a legit 6'10". He has committed to UT-Arlington over limited interest from other programs. Jordan will need to get stronger as it looks like he goes about 210-215 now. He shows good insticts but drifts a little too much away from the paint. Granted this was an all star showcase I was viewing him in but he shows enough upside to warrant his scholarhip at the D1 level.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ohio/Kentucky HS All Star Game

The annual Ohio/Kentucky HS all star game is due to be played at Thomas More College tomorrow night at 7:30 PM. High school players are allowed by NCAA rules to participate in two of these all star/post season invitationals. I have attended this event the past several seasons and even had a chance to talk to Clark Kellogg a couple years ago. You will see many D1 assistants, D2 coaches, NAIA coaches, and JUCO coaches dotting the stands and sidelines hoping to land one of the uncommitted players. Generally the talent in Kentucky is less than Ohio (although the 2010 class in KY is loaded!) and not all the best players come. This year Jon Hood (a UK commit) from Kentucky and Garrick Sherman (Michigan State) from Ohio are not participating as an example.

Of interest to me on the Ohio team is Bill Edwards from Middletown. His father was a star at Wright State in the late '80's. He is receiving attention from a wide range of schools including Central Florida and Oklahoma State. He has been listed between 6-5 and 6-7 and was a first team all state Division 1 player this past season. He will be joined by team mate Allen Roberts who is headed to Miami-OH. Other D1 commits on the Ohio team include Damian Carthan (Wright State), Matt Kavanaugh (Dayton), CJ McCollum (Lehigh-2009 Gatorade Ohio POY), Danny McElroy (Bowling Green), Jonathan Smith (St. Louis), and Orlando Williams (Miami-OH). Besides Edwards, Jared Porrini from Canton Timken HS is receiving D1 interest to my knowledge.

On the Kentucky side we have Darren Ballou (Morehead State)and Evan Faulkner (Radford) already committed to D1 schools. Evan's twin brother Ethan is also participating and he is headed to Northern Kentucky. Jody Demling of the Louisville Courier Journal has stated the Faulkner brothers are two of the best shooters in the 2009 class. There are several UK football commits playing in this game including Larod King, Ridge Wilson, and Leonard Macon. There is also several players uncommitted on the blue team that are receiving D1 interest. Included in that group are Chris Dowe from Louisville Eastern HS (Wright State, Southern Illinois, Fairfield, Western Carolina, and Eastern Kentucky), Jacob Jenkins (he battled foot injury early in the season which slowed his recruitment), Steven McFarland out of Boone County HS (Belmont, Bucknell, and Eastern Kentucky), Eric Mosely a dynamic scoring combo guard out of Louisville Moore HS who was getting interest from Billy Gillespie's UK staff but now seems more likely to choose from a school like Louisiana-Monroe or Tulsa. Last but not least is Jordan Reeves. He is a 6-10 center from Jeffersontown HS who has added weight this season. At the beginning of the year he was only receiving D1 interest from Texas-Arlington but that list has grown to include others.

If your a hoops junkie like me I would recommend catching this event. As mentioned previously you can see a lot of local college coaches and luminaries like Byron Larkin over there catching the action.

Portsmouth Invitational/Coach Rumors

I just wanted to speak on BJ Raymond's outstanding performance last night at the Portsmouth Invitational. His team won and will play again tonight at 9 PM. If they win that game they will be in the championship tomorrow at 8 PM. Portsmouth has long been a camp for senior college players serious about a pro career in basketball. Usually the players that do well here are invited to NBA camps in Orlando and Chicago at the Moody Bible Institute. Mostly scouts from foreign teams occupy the stands. BJ made an impression with 19 points off of 4-5 from three point range in 31 minutes off the bench. I hope he follows up with another strong performance tonight. Raymond has a good chance to make good money playing a game he loves.

Also I wanted to speak quickly on the coaching rumors. Darrin Horn is saying he is not interested and no contact was made. IF I was a South Carolina basketball fan I would be more worried now than ever. That statement of 'no contact, no interest' is usually a harbringer that something is indeed going on. Another name that keeps surfacing that is intriguing to me is Jim Christian from TCU. Also xavierhoops has several interesting names being chatted about including Ron Everhart from Duquesne and Chris Collins at Duke. Hot rumor is Coack K called pumping Chris up. If we are going with an assistant coach the only choice there in my mind is Chris Mack.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Horn in town today

Multiple media outlets reported Darrin Horn was in town today interviewing for Xavier's head coaching position. Again I think Darrin would be a great choice but I remain excited about Chris Mack as well.

I also have read that Doug Wojick (head coach at Tulsa) may be getting an interview. Gary Waters from Cleveland State is another name that keeps surfacing from guys like Jeff Goodman from FoxSports. I am not that big of fan of Wojick but I wouldn't mind Waters.

Whoever is ultimately hired will be stepping into a nice situation and to a job that is going to pay them well. Basketball is king at Xavier. The players, staff, and administration are supported accordingly. Bobinski will not speak on any candidates other than internal ones. I imagine he will interview another person tomorrow and make a decision sometime this weekend and an offer will be made to whom he decides is the best fit.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Some Other Names

The interest in the Xavier position is generating quite the internet 'buzz'. There are a couple of other names I heard today that I thought I would share my thoughts on.

KEITH DAMBROT (Akron Head Coach): Believe it or not this guy would bring a hell of a lot of street cred to our program. Far better than anything Book Richardson could accomplish. When your tight with Lebron James young ball players will listen to what you have to say. I have read that he has a 'Bob Huggins type of personality' which may not be an ideal fit for Xavier's administration.

JIM CHRISTIAN (Texas Christian Coach): He built up Kent State to a sustained level over a good period of time before taking the TCU gig. He hasn't been there long and has strong midwest ties. The ceiling for basketball success is quite a bit higher here on Victory Parkway over Fort Worth, TX.

TIM BUCKLEY (Assistant Coach at Indiana): A news station out of Louisville is reporting Tim has an interview lined up later this week. Two years ago he was asked to leave Ball State after an average five year run there. Last season he was at IU and the year before he was at Iowa. My hope is we can do better than this guy but in Bobo I trust.

RON EVERHART (Duquesne Head Coach): This one is getting a lot of play over on the A10 forum. The Dukes are scared as hell we will come calling. In my mind Everhart has been a program builder everywhere he has gone. First he turned around McNeese State, then Northeastern, and now Duquesne. I don't really see Xavier as a program that needs to be 'rebuilt'. You never know, but I just think this is internet jibberish.

BOB KNIGHT (Legend): No 'effin way!

As I type this Sean is having a press conference in Tuscon. If anybody sees the footage tell me his family looks happy to be there because from what I have seen they don't seem too damn happy. Also the state of Arizona does not approve seven year contracts, the max the state will allow is five. Further there will be no chartered flights for PAC 10 games, they view that as a competetive advantage. On top of that the board of regents in Arizona are mad as hell they have to pay a $2 million dollar buyout to Xavier. Sean I hope you aren't real close to the AD there (Jim Livengood) because his arse is about to be run out of town. After the twenty five year streak of consecutive NCAA tournament runs is over for the Wildcats next year I think you will find the 'heat' from the fanbase light years away from anything you felt here. Also the facilites in Tuscon are second rate and Arizona is strapped for cash. I wonder what your impressions were of them today as you seen them for the first time. My point? You shouldn't be feeling 'giddy' about this gig outside of the cash.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Next Coach?

Who should the next coach be? This decision will be made by Mike Bobinski here the next several days and it wouldn't suprise me if we have another coach in place by this weekend. Who are the candidates?

CHRIS MACK (current Xavier assistant): this hire would certainly be welcomed by many in 'Xavier Nation' including the current players. There is no question our roster turnover would be minimized by hiring Chris. He is also a 'Xavier guy' who graduated from the school in the nineties and is a native Cincinnatian. He may be inclined to make X his lifetime job. The question would be is he ready?

FRAN MCCAFFERY (Siena Head Coach): Fran was in play when Skip Prosser left. Back then he was the coach at UNC-Greensboro. His Saints squad destroyed Vanderbilt in the NCAA tournament two years ago. He also beat Thad Matta's OSU squad in this years NCAA first round. He has been a program builder everywhere he is gone. Questions I would have for Fran would be how long would he stay? Of course that seems to be the question with every Xavier coach but in Fran's case Notre Dame is said to be his dream job. Mike Brey is lucky Charlie Weis is around to take some heat off his seat currently in South Bend.

BRAD STEVENS (Butler Head Coach): He is a fast rising young (32) star in the coaching ranks. He has been at Butler since 2000 and he just signed a contract extension. We know how much those mean to coaches these days. I like his approach on the sidelines and he seems to be solid on the X's and O's. Another plus with Brad is that he plenty of recruiting connections right here in the midwest. I would say he is a 'longshot' to get away from the Bulldogs. A couple more years in Indianapolis like his first two and programs at the highest levels will come calling.

JEFF BATTLE (Wake Forest assistant): Jeff knows Xavier as he was an assistant here during the Skip Prosser years. He is a fabulous recruiter and I will always remember he is the guy that turned Skip onto Mr. David West. His reputation as a recruiter has not been sullied during his time in the ACC. Reportedly he was considered before Sean was hired but his wife had grievous health concerns at that time. The only down side is Skip and that coaching tree has never won much in the NCAA tournament. I don't think most people realize Skip only won one NCAA tournament game in his seven years at X.

BRAD BROWNELL (Wright State Head Coach): Brad was white hot during 'carousel season' last year. A sub par year at WSU cooled him a bit this year. However he is another coach who has several intangibles that would make him attractive to X.

JOHN GROCE (Ohio University Head Coach): John is in his first year at Ohio U. after serving under Thad Matta all the way back to Thad's Butler days. He was not overly successful his first year with the Bobcats, but Miller wasn't overly impressive his first year with X either. Also John is bringing high level recruits to Athens already. He conceivably could bring along a few of those guys if he comes.

MARK SCHMIDT(St. Bonaventure Head Coach): I think 'Schmitty' is a dark horse candidate after being away from campus for 10 years. He left when Skip went to become Wake's head coach. He served 8 years at Robert Morris in a rebuilding project and he has been in Olean only two.

MIKE RICE (Robert Morris Head Coach): This guy deserves a loooonnnnggg look. He was an assistant at Pitt under Jamie Dixon and has done very well with the Colonials the last two seasons. He is an intense, fiery competitor (sound familiar) whose teams are built on defense.

Certainly there are others out there and I heard Jerry Wrainwright from DePaul has called to express interest. I say NFW to that guy and if Bobo hires him he truly is tired of the coaching carousel because that jokester (JW) is past his prime. My preference would be for our new coach to be more defensive minded versus offense because I think defense produces wins in March. I am excited to see what the future of X basketball holds. As always it has been about the program on Victory Parkway and I am sure several guys in the coaching ranks are excited about the opportunity to coach it.

Thanks Sean

Earlier today I thought this post would be 'thanks' for staying and turning down Arizona. Now it is 'thanks' for the great job you have done the last five years with the Xavier program. Many of us loyal fans are hurting with the news you are indeed leaving for Tuscon. Sincere best of luck resurrecting the program for the Wildcats. You are one of the top 10 college basketball coaches in the country in my opinion and now you are certainly paid like it. Of course this has happened to me before and I knew you wouldn't stay forever. As a matter of fact this morning I thought 'great he turned down Arizona, could UCONN be calling next?'.

Again many 'thanks' and the only thing disappointing to me is how our current players were handled during this whole situation. I am sure that is not how you envisioned that going down. Ten minutes before a press conference -and why in the hell did we do a press conference anyway? - is not the way they should have been told. However things seemed to be happening very fast today and again the point of this post is to say 'thanks'. I hope you and your family nothing but the best. Good luck in the PAC 10.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Famous Visit/Other Updates

Jarrid Famous is set to visit Xavier on the weekend of April 10th. Adam Zagoria has reported this is in his blog. Famous has already visited Seton Hall, Missouri, and most recently South Florida. He has also 'unofficially' visited UCONN, St. John's, and Villanova. Famous is quoted in zagsblog as saying he will make his decision after the X visit.


This is what we know so far about next year's nonconference schedule:

Louisiana State
Cleveland State
Miami (OH)
Kent State

Old Spice Classic at the Milk House in Disney (Florida State, Marquette, Alabama, Iona, Michigan, Creighton, & Butler)

Kansas State
Wake Forest

I would imagine you will see a couple more 'guarantee' games added to the home schedule. Also there is a hot rumor that we are working on a series with Billy Donovan's Florida Gators. Big time baby, big time.


BJ Raymond will play in the annual NABC all star game before final four weekend this year. The game will be played this Friday at 4:30 and be televised on CBS College Sports (Time Warner Ch. 176). Bruce Weber will coach his team with Matt Painter assisting.