Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rider Releases Nonconference Schedule

Trips to Kansas and Orlando highlight a promising nonconference schedule for Kevin Baggett and Rider. (Photo courtesy of Rider University)

In an offseason where programs across the country are finding it harder and harder to schedule games for a myriad of reasons, one Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference school has released its non-league slate, the first MAAC member to do so this summer.

Kevin Baggett and Rider broke the ice this week, unveiling a slate that will see the Broncs visit Allen Fieldhouse before returning to Florida for the Orlando (formerly Old Spice) Classic in an intriguing schedule for the Lawrenceville, New Jersey outfit.

A November 8 exhibition against Kutztown at Alumni Gym precedes Rider's season opener on November 14 against local rival Princeton at Jadwin Gym. Four days later, the Broncs travel to the Palestra to face Penn before hosting Lehigh on November 21 for their official home opener.

The aforementioned trip to Lawrence to battle Bill Self's Jayhawks takes place on November 24 as the guarantee game that Rider will play prior to the Orlando Classic, a tournament that includes the likes of Michigan State, Marquette and Tennessee among others, and will be played over Thanksgiving weekend in the Sunshine State.

Howie Dickenman and Central Connecticut State make their way to Lawrenceville on December 3 before a ten-day hiatus leading into the Broncs' trip to Hartford to meet John Gallagher's Hawks. Rider's final pre-Christmas contest is a December 18 home tilt against Morgan State, with their last nonconference game coming at Wagner on December 29.

***Click here for Rider's nonconference schedule release, featuring a link to the schedule as well as quotes from head coach Kevin Baggett.***

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wagner Releases Full Schedule

Bashir Mason enters third year at Wagner with younger group eager to return Seahawks to top of Northeast Conference. (Photo courtesy of the Staten Island Advance)

A year ago, Wagner was at the center of the preseason universe in the Northeast Conference, returning the most experienced roster in the league to Staten Island en route to being selected as the favorite in the annual coaches' poll, a credit to Dan Hurley building for the future before being tabbed to lead Rhode Island out of a morass that landed them in the lower rung of the Atlantic 10.

Hurley, as well as a senior-laden roster led by shooting guard Latif Rivers, forward Orlando Parker and 6-10 shot blocking extraordinaire Naofall Folahan, have all since departed, but third-year coach Bashir Mason; still the youngest head man in the nation at just 30 years of age, remains with a group that will enter the year hungry to validate their former standing as the Seahawks rebound from a 19-12 campaign that ended with the Verrazano Warriors' third consecutive loss in the semifinals of the NEC Tournament.

Mason, who can now finally put his own stamp on this year's roster; a collection of talents headed by senior point guard Marcus Burton and explosive junior wing Dwaun Anderson, opens the season at the Comcast Center in College Park to take on Big Ten newcomer Maryland on November 14 before invading Levien Gym four days later for a clash with crosstown rival Columbia. Division III program Old Westbury serves as the first visitor to the Spiro Center in 2014-15 on November 20 before Wagner travels the Belt Parkway into Long Island to take on Joe Mihalich and Hofstra in their final pre-Thanksgiving tuneup on November 23.

A home game with Penn that the Quakers are returning from last season's meeting at the Palestra precedes a three-game road swing to open December against the likes of Maine, Lafayette and Vermont. Following the excursion, the Seahawks' former NEC rival Monmouth comes to Staten Island on December 20 before a road trip to Cincinnati and a home matchup with another former NEC program in Rider close out the non-league portion of Wagner's ledger.

Northeast Conference play will begin for the Seahawks on the road against Saint Francis University on January 3, 2015, and in a reversal of last season; where Wagner had the bulk of their home league games toward the end of the year, Mason's team will contest four of their first seven league tilts in Richmond County, starting on January 5 against reigning conference champion Mount St. Mary's in a three-game homestand that will also see last year's regular season titleholder Robert Morris and former three-time champion LIU Brooklyn tip off inside the Spiro Center before the Green and White head to Rhode Island and New Jersey for meetings with Bryant and Fairleigh Dickinson, respectively. Saint Francis completes the back end of their home-and-home on January 22 in Staten Island as the NEC returns to an 18-game schedule this season, playing a double round robin with their 10-team setup.

Five of Wagner's next eight following their home matchup with the Red Flash are also on their Grymes Hill campus, with Sacred Heart and Central Connecticut State making the trek to New York after the Seahawks skirmish with Howie Dickenman's Blue Devils in New Britain first on January 24. A rematch with Sacred Heart on the 31st sends the Staten Islanders into February, where they open the month with back-to-back matchups against Glenn Braica and likely contender St. Francis Brooklyn, with the Terriers hitting the road first on February 7 before Wagner returns the favor five days later in Brooklyn Heights.

Home duels with Fairleigh Dickinson and Bryant precede a three-game road trip to conclude the regular season, as Wagner travels to LIU Brooklyn on February 21 before wrapping up with journeys to Pennsylvania and Maryland for Robert Morris and Mount St. Mary's.

***For Wagner's full schedule, click here***

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Masiello, Manhattan Already Focused On Encore

Following MAAC championship and near-upset in NCAA Tournament and tryst with South Florida, Steve Masiello has returned to Manhattan focused on maintaining success in Riverdale. (Photo courtesy of USA Today)

Mid-July is usually not a time when college basketball programs are in midseason form. Between the lull of the offseason and the start of the live evaluation recruiting period, there is not much going on until schedules get released and the calendar draws ever closer to the start of practice in October.

Then again, Manhattan College has never been like everybody else, a uniqueness that has served the Jaspers well over the years as they enter the 2014-15 campaign retooled to some degree, but still a formidable threat to defend their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship, which returned to Riverdale this past March for the first time since 2004.

The Jaspers' latest summer workout this past Wednesday at Draddy Gym confirmed their difference when compared to some other local programs, as the intensity exhibited was reminiscent of an early January MAAC contest.

"They're in the middle of a 'mini-hell week,'" head coach Steve Masiello declared as he greeted us before putting his players through the gamut of on-court drills. "They've been up since 5 a.m. every day this week doing Navy SEAL training and tactics. It's going to mentally grind them out as much as possible."

The struggle will only serve to strengthen Manhattan as the year goes on, especially considering the need to replace seniors George Beamon, Rhamel Brown and Michael Alvarado, who combined to account for over half of the Jaspers' offensive productivity.

"We're going to really miss Rhamel," Masiello intimated shortly after commencing the proceedings. "If we can get Jermaine (Lawrence, who transferred from Cincinnati) eligible, I think we'll be okay. Our talent's probably better than last year. I think we're right there."

The "big three" may be gone, but Manhattan's young core returns having garnered much-needed experience in last season's run to the NCAA Tournament and a near-upset of Louisville, coached by Masiello's mentor, Rick Pitino. Expect senior forward Emmy Andujar, Masiello's first recruit upon replacing Barry Rohrssen in 2011; as well as fourth-year junior Ashton Pankey, to lead the charge up front while RaShawn Stores and Tyler Wilson reprise Manhattan's two-point guard system with Shane Richards and sophomore Rich Williams on the wings, the latter of whom has already drawn high praise.

"He could be a first-teamer this year," Masiello said of Williams. "Whether he is or he isn't, I'm not sure, but that's what his impact will be for us."

Swingman Donovan Kates and forward Carlton Allen also return to Riverdale this year, as does walk-on Trevor Glassman, with Manhattan welcoming a quartet of freshmen that Masiello hopes will fill the voids left by Beamon, Brown and Alvarado. Early on, it seems as though the coach has found yet another diamond in the rough, his latest gem coming in the form of 6-9 Calvin Crawford, who impressed in his showing on both sides of the ball.

"He's going to be really good down low," Masiello said of his prospect. "He really knows how to play, and we hope he's our heir apparent for Emmy."

Just as it was last season on the road to a conference championship and NCAA Tournament appearance, depth is once again abundant on this year's Manhattan roster, as is a hungry group of players that were unable to celebrate their success the way they had hoped to.

"It's been more about me, and it should be more about the players," Masiello stated with regard to his pursuit of the then-vacant coaching position at South Florida making headlines for unintended reasons. "Regardless of what has gone on or hasn't gone on, the players achieved what happened last year, not me, and they should be rewarded for that."

When asked of the possibility of a championship hangover, Masiello was emphatic in pointing out that this year's team will be different, but also that there is unfinished business to settle.

"We're not looking around to celebrate or hang banners by any means," he proclaimed. "I think everyone's aware of who we are because of the success we've achieved. Although we feel we had a good year last year, we didn't achieve what our goals were, what our destination was. That loss (to Louisville) has got to be fertilizer for our success. It's got to set the ground, set the bar for what we need to do, and anything less than that, we won't be happy with."

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Year In Review: Manhattan

What began in promise ended in celebration as Manhattan ended their 2013-14 season with first MAAC championship in ten years. (Photo courtesy of Jaden Daly)

When we made our first trip of the 2013-14 season to Draddy Gym for an early November practice before eventually getting to see Manhattan in 22 games, what stood out was the depth that Steve Masiello had built for the Jaspers, making them into not just a tough mid-major, but a roster that could stand up to any program in the nation. Two season-opening victories, a double-overtime thriller at La Salle followed by George Beamon's last-second heroics against Columbia only confirmed that suspicion.

A valiant loss to Fordham dropped Manhattan to 3-2 on the young season, but what happened from there only solidified the Jaspers as a threat on any given night, as the pride of Riverdale ripped off an eight-game winning streak highlighted by a convincing win at South Carolina, the first win for the program against a team from the Southeastern Conference since Bobby Gonzalez and Luis Flores led Manhattan to the biggest victory in school history, their 75-60 upset of nationally ranked Florida in the 2004 NCAA Tournament.

Then, the 2014 version of Flores, senior shooting guard George Beamon, landed hard on his shoulder while diving for a loose ball against Quinnipiac and did not return to the game. Manhattan fought on gamely without their leader, falling short by just five points to the Bobcats before managing to go 2-1 in Beamon's absence from the lineup, including a tour de force effort from fellow senior Michael Alvarado to erase a 10-point second half deficit against Marist to defeat the Red Foxes 86-79 in overtime.

"Adversity reveals who you are at all times," Masiello instructed those assembled for his postgame press conference after Alvarado's 33 points guided the Jaspers to an improbable comeback. "When you can survive when you're supposed to go down, you're going to live a long time."

Losses in three of four games, most notably a shocking defeat to a Fairfield team previously winless in MAAC play, dropped Manhattan to 7-4 in the league, two games behind bitter adversary Iona, whose win over the Jaspers on January 31 made it seem as though the Gaels would run away with the regular season championship. Yet the Jaspers, perhaps spurred by Masiello's adversity comment of three weeks prior, would only lose once the rest of the way going into the MAAC tournament in Springfield, capturing nine of their ten final regular season contests in a stretch that saw Emmy Andujar kill Iona yet again in a dramatic overtime victory two days before RaShawn Stores shut down conference Player of the Year Billy Baron to seal a sweep of Canisius, giving Manhattan the No. 2 seed going into the postseason.

Wins over Saint Peter's and a demon-exorcising victory over Quinnipiac set up a dream rubber match between the Jaspers and Iona, one in which Masiello made a case for both teams to be included among the NCAA Tournament field before the opening tip.

Each side played like they were deserving of such an honor, with neither the Jaspers nor Gaels giving in after inefficiency at the free throw line kept Iona alive even as Manhattan threatened to drive away. With the score 70-68, Tim Cluess called a timeout following an A.J. English dunk, leading to a foul on Jasper swingman Donovan Kates; a normally reliable free throw shooter, but in this moment, only successful on the first of two attempts.

With no timeouts and only 16.3 seconds remaining, Iona drove the length of the floor, but was unable to get a decent look at the basket due to Manhattan's suffocating defense against both English and Sean Armand, forcing forward David Laury to take an off-balance three-pointer that grazed the rim as time expired, avenging a 60-57 loss the Jaspers had suffered to these same Gaels on this stage one year prior.

"I can't even put it into words," a jubilant yet humble Masiello remarked after the win. "We've just been through so much."

The best was yet to come, however, as Manhattan was rewarded for its efforts with the No. 13 seed in the Midwest Regional and a matchup with reigning national champion Louisville, whose Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino groomed Masiello for six years prior to his return to Riverdale in 2011. For over 38 minutes, however, the team described as a mirror image of the Cardinals executed the Louisville playbook step by step to the tune of a 60-58 lead late in the second half. Louisville took the lead for good with four unanswered points preceding two Luke Hancock threes, the first coming after a pump fake fooled Beamon into jumping prematurely, the second an uncontested shot with 27.5 seconds left to vault Louisville to a 71-64 win. However, the star was Masiello, who was praised by his mentor Pitino on national television for "one of the best coaching jobs" he had seen in his 39 years in the game.

Beamon, Alvarado and Rhamel Brown may be gone from a team that embodied their New York roots and embraced its role as the scrappy underdog who stands with Goliath shot for shot, but that does not mean Manhattan has faded into the sunset. The core of last season's team is back for an encore, and, with a coach who has now proven that he can make some magic happen, a return to the field of 68 is possible once more.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Liberty 87, Lynx 80: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

NEW YORK CITY – About 40 minutes prior to game time, players were on the court, stretching, practicing ball handling and shooting to get in rhythm with the rim. A normal pre-game routine. Virtually everyone exited for the locker room. An exception was Tina Charles. The New York Liberty center stayed outside to spend about 15 minutes working on free throw shooting.
Charles received the ball from a ball boy, bent the knees, kept eyes on the rim and shot. She continued and stayed focused. It was an exercise bringing back memories of years past.
Back a few decades, not years, teams in high school gyms on cold nights would shoot around prior to game time with someone always on the charity stripe working on free throws. Why did they warm up this way? Because the pros and college teams did and they were simply following the example that was set.

Today, unfortunately, it is rare to see an individual take time to work on free throws. Those days have gone the way of Chuck Taylor Converse and sweaters on cheerleaders. Thank the highlight reel mentality with an assist from beyond the arc. Kids want to make fancy moves and bury treys, not worry about cashing in on the point the uncontested shot from the line will give you. 
On this afternoon at Madison Square Garden, the Liberty upset the Minnesota Lynx 87-80. Charles led the way with 32 points and 10 rebounds. Sound in her game prep, it was no surprise the fundamentals carried over to the game: Setting a target in the post, catching, pivoting, shooting and securing rebounding position. 
It was not all Charles, as Cappie Pondexter added 18 and 11 boards while Anna Cruz played a solid floor game (10 points, 3  assists) and coach Bill Laimbeer noted, “the role players gave us what we needed.” 

Now the Liberty, at 7-11, have a three-game win streak and the momentum of four wins in their last five contests. One added stat of note, Charles was a perfect four-for-four from the line.

Our entrance to Madison Square Garden, off 33rd Street:

Seeing is believing: Tina Charles during her pregame workout regimen, concentrating on free throws:
Minnesota assistant Jim Peterson relaxes about 45 minutes prior to tipoff:
Yours truly with Cecil King. A coach with the highly successful New York Gazelles, King was awarded a community service honor by the Liberty. I had the honor of officiating with King and later wrote a story about him coaching Tina Charles during her Gazelle days: (Photo courtesy of M. Saidra McLaughlin)
Tina Charles meets the media in the Liberty locker room:
A familiar face, former St. John's star Nadirah McKenith is now with the Lynx, and chatted about her new club and love of St. John's:

We're Still Alive

Just wanted to check in with everyone to inform you that all is well despite the lull in content over the past few days. Throughout the week and holiday weekend, yours truly has been in the process of moving, so between the endless hours of packing and transport to the new Daly Dose headquarters, (around the corner from where I grew up in Woodhaven, New York...still in Queens) to not having an available Internet/cable/landline installation until Tuesday, activity has come to somewhat of a halt. Fear not, my friends, as that will soon change once business picks up again. In fact, Ray Floriani has another photo essay from yesterday's New York Liberty game that will be posted on here soon, plus we'll have more nonconference schedule updates and other miscellaneous offseason nuggets as they become available.

Until then, in the words of my former WSJU broadcast partner Reginald Bazile: Be safe, stay focused; and as always, may God be with you.

Enjoy what's left of the summer.

Jaden Daly
Founder and Managing Editor

Monday, June 30, 2014

Seton Hall Nonconference Schedule Analysis With John Fanta

Earlier today, Seton Hall released their nonconference schedule, a 12-game slate in which Kevin Willard presents the most challenging ledger that he has comprised for the Pirates as a prelude to Big East play as he enters his fifth season as the captain of the ship in South Orange. Included on the appetizer platter before league contests are a trip to the Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam, as well as the December 9 headliner at Koch Arena against Gregg Marshall and Wichita State, not to mention the resumption of Seton Hall's annual in-state rivalries against Rutgers and Saint Peter's. The Hall also welcomes reigning NCAA Tournament participants such as Mercer, George Washington and Mount St. Mary's to the Prudential Center, while hitting the road to take on South Florida and Georgia just before Christmas.

As we did last season and will continue to do during this offseason, we will provide complimentary analysis of each schedule release to break down every team just a little further. Pinch-hitting for Kevin Willard in this instance is the omnipresent and all-knowing John Fanta, whose meteoric rise has seen him cover the Pirates for a multitude of outlets, including WSOU, the Setonian, and the Pirate Sports Network. A contributor to our companion site College Hoops Digest as well, John was gracious enough to help us build a realistic set of expectations for Seton Hall as the mounds of hype laid upon the Pirates converge with the most highly touted recruiting class to walk out to the strains of "Onward Setonia" since Andre Barrett and the late Eddie Griffin took the floor at Continental Airlines Arena. You can listen to our own Jaden Daly's interview with John below:

Seton Hall Releases Nonconference Schedule

Sterling Gibbs heads into junior season intent on shooting Pirates into upper echelon of Big East just as he did against Villanova in Big East tournament. (Photo courtesy of CSN Philly)

In his first four years at the helm at Seton Hall, Kevin Willard had faced criticism, mildly perceived as unjust by his most ardent of supporters since the 39-year-old was hired to replace Bobby Gonzalez in 2010, of not playing a challenging nonconference schedule as the Pirates adjusted to Big East play later in the year, with lackluster results over the past two seasons following the Hall's National Invitation Tournament appearance in 2012.

This season, however, Willard is intent on responding to his detractors, and took the first step toward doing so with an opening ledger that ranks as arguably the strongest non-league slate he has scheduled in South Orange, befitting of the star-studded recruiting class making its way into the Garden State.

"This is a well-balanced schedule that will challenge us in a variety of settings," Willard stated in a release issued by the university earlier this afternoon. "We believe this mix of opponents will challenge our team early in the season as we look to build towards Big East play."

Seton Hall will christen its 2014-15 season at home on November 16, when the Pirates welcome reigning NCAA Tournament darling Mercer into the Prudential Center to return a home-and-home series started last season. In that first game in November of 2013, the Hall traveled to Georgia and gave Bob Hoffman's Bears all they could handle in a narrow double-overtime loss that set the tone for Mercer during a Cinderella season highlighted by the Atlantic Sun Conference champion's upset of Duke in the Round of 64 four months later.

Following the Mercer opener, the Pirates will play three games in the Virgin Islands as part of the Paradise Jam, their first appearance in that tournament since Willard's first season at the helm in 2010, when he inherited a senior-laden squad from Gonzalez led by all-time program great Jeremy Hazell. Seton Hall will open the Paradise Jam on November 21 against Nevada before facing either Clemson or Gardner-Webb next, with their third and final game in the event coming on November 24 against a team to be determined.

Home games against 2014 NCAA Tournament participants George Washington (November 29) and Mount St. Mary's (December 2) precede the Pirates' annual in-state clash with bitter adversary Rutgers, who comes to the Prudential Center on December 6 for the first time as a member of the Big Ten Conference. Following the clash with the Scarlet Knights, Willard embarks on his most ambitious nonconference opponent when the Hall travels to Kansas on December 9 for a meeting with Gregg Marshall and Wichita State for the front end of a home-and-home series that will see the Shockers come to Newark during the 2015-16 season. Seton Hall returns from the Midwest on December 14 to renew their rivalry with former Pirates assistant coach John Dunne and Saint Peter's, who scored an upset in overtime against the Hall on the same day in 2013, aided by a dramatic display from shooting guard Desi Washington, who returns for his senior season along with forward Marvin Dominique.

The Pirates resume their non-league schedule with road games at South Florida (December 18) and Georgia, (December 21) with the latter being the first half of a home-and-home series with the Bulldogs, before returning to their on-campus home of Walsh Gym for their final tuneup before Big East play, a December 27 tilt against Maine and new head coach Bob Walsh.

2014-15 Seton Hall University Nonconference Schedule (all times TBD)
Sunday, November 16: vs. Mercer
Friday, November 21: vs. Nevada (Paradise Jam)
Saturday, November 22 or Sunday, November 23: vs. Clemson or Gardner-Webb (Paradise Jam)
Monday, November 24: TBD (Paradise Jam)
Saturday, November 29: vs. George Washington
Tuesday, December 2: vs. Mount St. Mary's
Saturday, December 6: vs. Rutgers
Tuesday, December 9: at Wichita State
Sunday, December 14: vs. Saint Peter's
Thursday, December 18: at South Florida
Sunday, December 21: at Georgia
Saturday, December 27: vs. Maine (Walsh Gym)

Liberty 67, Sun 65: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

NEW YORK CITY­- The effort comes first. Then the fine tuning. Bill Laimbeer was satisfied with the work ethic his club displayed . The New York Liberty coach had a few other things to address. The Liberty edged the Connecticut Sun 67­-65 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. For a team entering having lost six of the prior seven contests, a win was a combination of satisfying and necessary.

In the aftermath of the victory, Laimbeer stressed two key points to his team, ’playing smart’ and ’value 2 points.’ The two actually go hand in hand. Playing smart means making good decisions and not forcing the issue. The latter issue of valuing two points simply equates to maintaining care on offense and defense to protect the one-possession lead. In specific terms, Laimbeer stressed better rebounding on the defensive boards and eliminating turnovers.

The Liberty were beaten 15­-6 on the offensive glass. The turnovers, 15, for a rate of 19%, did not appear to be excessively damaging. When those turnovers occur is, especially if they happen late and appear as careless unforced errors when the game is on the line.

In the end result, the Liberty numbers were not great. Cappie Pondexter and Tina Charles shared scoring honors with 14 but both shot under 50% from the floor. The team eFG was a lukewarm 43%, while the offensive efficiency was only 80. The one metric that ultimately mattered most was the number one, or the total that went as an addition to the win column, bringing the record to 5­-10. More importantly, for the time being, victory halted a downward slide.

 A view of Madison Square Garden from 8th Avenue. During the college season, this view is quickly snapped amid sub-freezing mercury. Today, the 80-degree high temperature allows time to compose and enjoy:
The face painters are hard at work, set up just outside the media entrance:
The Garden view at halftime:
Officials explaining a call and situation with Tina Charles (back to the camera) an interested participant:
Bill Laimbeer attentively answers questions after the game:
The memorable hockey season has ended, but a trip to the nearby Ranger locker room rekindled memories of the season and seasons past:
Liberty players obliging postgame autograph seekers:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

2014 NBA Draft: A Running Diary

David Stern may have retired, but his draft night memories still remain. Here is the former commissioner's priceless interaction with a Celtics fan in the crowd during the 2012 NBA Draft. (Photo courtesy of Jaden Daly)

Two years ago, what started as a way for us to maintain our sanity on draft night has now become an annual tradition.

We are proud to present to you our third running diary of NBA Draft night, as the Bill Simmons-esque method of capturing the moments has become much more enjoyable than following via Twitter, where picks are announced before ESPN can convey the same information, thereby spoiling the proceedings for fans.

Nonetheless, we will be here to bring it to you as it happens live from Daly Dose headquarters, just 20 minutes away from the festivities in Brooklyn, where Adam Silver takes the Barclays Center stage for the first time as commissioner, replacing David Stern. Quite frankly, he has a hard act to follow:

7:27 - Rece Davis brings ESPN's coverage back from break and throws to what the Boston Celtics might do with the sixth overall pick before profiling the Los Angeles Lakers, who are immediately following Brad Stevens and the Celtics on the clock.

7:28 - Andrew Wiggins gets some major style points for his bow tie. The blazer that goes along with it? Not so much.

7:31 - Not a bad opening montage to officially christen the proceedings.

7:32 - Adam Silver makes his first draft entrance as commissioner to a slightly mixed reception, but mostly applause from the Barclays Center crowd.

7:33 - Silver's first boos come when he congratulates the San Antonio Spurs for their NBA championship. We're only two minutes in, but Stern would have already captivated the crowd a hundred times over by now.

7:34 - The Cleveland Cavaliers are now on the clock with the top pick for the third time in four years. Brad Daugherty, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Anthony Bennett have been No. 1 choices in the lottery era by the city on the shores of the Cuyahoga River.

7:35 - Will the newest Cavalier inspire Cleveland's residents to run through the streets like their other, more notorious native son? Only time will tell.

7:37 - Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose are starting out slow for the second consecutive year on the panel, while Jay Bilas has come out firing yet again. We gotta go to work, and we're still waiting for the first "wingspan" and drinking game mentions from college basketball's coolest attorney.

7:38 - Bill Simmons: "I don't think it's realistic that LeBron James goes to Cleveland. I really don't." Neither do we.

7:40 - Cleveland is off the clock, but Adam Silver has yet to receive the card. Let's see what Dan Gilbert and David Griffin do with their pick, which could be traded, but not announced until after a player has been selected.

7:41 - Here is Adam Silver to end the suspense. With the first pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select Andrew Wiggins, forward from Kansas University.

7:41 - Wiggins now becomes the second straight Canadian to go No. 1 overall, joining the aforementioned Anthony Bennett.

7:42 - This year's draft hats aren't great, but they're not brutal either. Consider us indifferent to them so far.

7:43 - Jalen Rose compares Wiggins to Tracy McGrady, which is a pretty accurate analogy when you consider Wiggins' build and vast skill set.

7:44 - Jay Williams conducts the post-selection interviews this year, replacing Shane Battier. Doesn't matter. Still a Dukie, which is never good for the soul.

7:45 - Hey Durham, remember this?

7:46 - Milwaukee is on the clock, but there's no doubt of who they get here, as the Bucks select Jabari Parker.

7:47 - Parker is arguably the most pro-ready player in this year's draft, and perhaps one of the few Duke players that can actually be appreciated by everyone. If you haven't seen him, as we did live on two separate occasions this past season, he's the next LeBron James. No, that's not hyperbole.

7:48 - Jay Bilas gives a nod to proponents of tempo-free statistics, including both yours truly and our staff "Renaissance Man" Ray Floriani, by mentioning Parker's 1.2 points per possession around the rim, which correlates to an offensive efficiency of 120. That's exceptional for those of you who have no knowledge of how advanced stats work.

7:49 - Here a Dukie, there a Dukie. STOP THIS HEARTBREAK OVERLOAD!!!

7:51 - Breaking the fourth wall here, Parker going to Milwaukee, just a short drive from his hometown of Chicago, is awesome. Considering his father's medical problems, being close to home is a blessing for him.

7:52 - Speaking of Chicago and breaking the fourth wall...Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? (GOOGLE IT CRAIN)

7:53 - Still no wingspan mentions from Bilas. That makes us sad.

7:54 - Philadelphia goes for Joel Embiid despite his broken foot that was just recently surgically repaired.

7:54 - "...with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, enjoy your favorite beverage, there will be more to come." God bless you, Jay Bilas.

7:55 - Embiid is visibly displeased with the news that he was selected by the Sixers, (Photo courtesy of the Newark Star-Ledger) but not quite at the level of this guy after Brock Lesnar beat the Undertaker at WrestleMania: (Photo courtesy of Jaden Daly)

7:58 - Here are the Orlando Magic in the No. 4 spot, or as I like to call it, "how will they blow it this time?" Still not over Fran Vazquez, so if they take Dante Exum, the pick won't be applauded at Daly Dose headquarters.

7:59 - There's the first shakeup on draft night: The Orlando Magic select Aaron Gordon, power forward from the University of Arizona. You can never go wrong with a Sean Miller recruit, especially one that plays like a young Blake Griffin. This kid will be something special alongside Andrew Nicholson if given the opportunity.

8:03 - First break of the night, with the Utah Jazz on the clock.

8:05 - Andy Katz makes his first appearance of the night. Usually, that means a trade, but this time, the former Sacramento Bee writer is suggesting that Australian import Dante Exum will be the choice for Utah here, which he is. Here's Adam Zagoria's piece that showcased just how much of a superstar Exum can be:

8:07 - FRAN FRASCHILLA!!! The best part of the draft, year in and year out. The former Manhattan Jaspers coach (he also coached at St. John's and New Mexico for those of you scoring at home) is as good as it gets when it comes to international scouting reports.

8:09 - Jay Williams calls Exum an "international man of mystery." That can only mean one thing:

8:10 - Cue the Boston Celtics on the clock at No. 6. We'll be sure to provide reaction from our resident Celtic fan on staff, that being Jason Schott, as soon as we can.

8:13 - Boston makes the right pick by taking the best player available, Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart, who instantly steps in as a more than capable replacement for Rajon Rondo. Next up, the Lakers, who should be considering Julius Randle if logic holds to form. Back to Smart for a moment: His willingness to learn and humble roots, Texas Tech fan incident notwithstanding, make him a perfect floor general for head coach Brad Stevens.

8:17 - The boos for Adam Silver increase mildly as he announces the Lakers' selection of Julius Randle, who extends the streak of John Calipari recruits turned lottery picks to seven consecutive years.

8:20 - ESPN mentions Shake Shack while discussing Randle, the reasons for which, I'm not sure. However, if my former colleague Mike Francesa is a fan of Shake Shack, it has to be good:

8:22 - Now that ESPN has made us all hungry, the Sacramento Kings get the first major steal of the draft, taking Michigan's Nik Stauskas eighth overall. Personally speaking, I would have loved to see him end up with the Magic.

8:23 - Bill Simmons astutely points out that Noah Vonleh has turned into the basketball equivalent of Aaron Rodgers, Brady Quinn and Johnny Manziel. In other words, he's still in the green room.

8:24 - Some Michigan fan in the stands just unveiled a maize and blue Canadian flag. That's pretty awesome.

8:25 - Nik Stauskas: "A lot of the guys who come to Michigan, they're pretty underrecruited." A testament to the coaching ability of John Beilein, who is, pound for pound, the most underrated coach in America.

8:28 - The Charlotte Hornets are on the clock, with a pick they received from the Pistons for Ben Gordon two years ago. Highlights of Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning would have been more appropriate. The first draft pick of the second Hornet era? Noah Vonleh, whose slide down the board comes to an end.

8:29 - Many people had the Hornets taking Doug McDermott at No. 9. You know where he would fit in real well? Orlando. Two more spots await before the Magic return to the clock, though. The 76ers are the next in line, with the Denver Nuggets to follow.

8:35 - Here are the Sixers once again, using their pick they received from the New Orleans Pelicans in the Jrue Holiday trade last season to take upstart mid-major point guard Elfrid Payton out of Louisiana-Lafayette, much to the surprise of those in attendance.

8:37 - With the eleventh pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Denver Nuggets select...someone who should stay away from 6th and Federal. Anyone who went out there when St. John's played Gonzaga in the 2011 NCAA Tournament knows what we're talking about.

8:42 - Denver McNuggets, meet Dougie McBuckets. Doug McDermott, described by our own Ray Floriani as "economy in motion" and by yours truly as the next Chris Mullin, is headed to the Rocky Mountains as the No. 11 pick.

8:44 - Jalen Rose on Doug McDermott: "He reminds me of Wally Szczerbiak." Nice of the former Fab Five star to steal college basketball insider Jon Rothstein's comparison.

8:46 - Only one international pick among the first eleven. Not enough Fraschilla. Not good.

8:49 - Jeff Goodman, who is much better on the TV side than people think, reports that Doug McDermott is headed to the Bulls. Chicago's two first-round picks, No. 16 and No. 19 overall, will go to Denver, but the Bulls will draft for them.

8:51 - With their second pick of the draft, the Magic select Croatian center Dario Saric. Considering their track record with international players, the jury is still out, but that's what Fran Fraschilla is for!

8:52 - And your NBA Draft Most Valuable Player is once again Fran Fraschilla. Loved the breakdown of the rules for stash picks and the option for Saric to change his mind after two years and opt to remain overseas.

8:53 - Bill Simmons mentions Fran Vazquez. KEEP RUBBING SALT IN THE WOUND, BOSTON BOY.

8:55 - Minnesota only takes half their time on the clock at No. 13, and the Timberwolves go for freakishly athletic swingman Zach LaVine of UCLA. That makes two straight Bruins to take their talents to the Target Center, as the Wolves ended up with Shabazz Muhammad a year ago.

8:56 - "I'm a little bit thirsty," says Jay Bilas, who references LaVine's 6-8 wingspan. With Stern out of the picture, this is as good as it gets when it comes to playing to the crowd and fans.

8:57 - Chris Broussard, and his pronunciation of LeBron James' first name, (LeBRAAAAAAAN) have to go. Bottom line.

9:01 - Andy Katz reports a trade between Philadelphia and Orlando. The Sixers get Dario Saric, the Magic get Elfrid Payton to be the successor to Jameer Nelson. Payton is really reminiscent of Damian Lillard in a lot of ways, so that's a huge plus for Orlando.

9:03 - At No. 14, the Phoenix Suns go for T.J. Warren of NC State, a pick that will make friend of the site and Suns fan Mike Ferraro optimistic for what lies ahead in the Valley of the Sun. Surprised that Gary Harris, who is now being referenced on the ESPN panel, didn't go in this spot, but Phoenix can grab him at No. 18 if he's still around.

9:05 - Our colleague David Menze, who was an integral part of yours truly's broadcasts at St. Francis over the years before doing a great job of covering the Atlanta Hawks despite his Brooklyn home base, had McDermott in this spot, while we had the aforementioned Dario Saric.

9:10 - Atlanta has been kind to the international players in recent years, but they go for Adreian Payne of Michigan State at No. 15. Lacey just smiled down upon her "Superman," who is now a steal of the draft.

9:15 - Adam Silver introduces Baylor's Isaiah Austin, whose career was tragically cut short due to Marfan syndrome before it could even begin. From someone who got to cover Austin in the 2013 NIT, this is tragic on so many levels, never mind the one where the 7-1 center played like a young Kevin Garnett.

9:19 - Chicago, drafting for the Nuggets, draft Bosnian center Jusuf Nurkic at No. 16 with the first of two picks going to Denver in the Doug McDermott trade.


9:20 - Fraschilla in response to Bill Simmons announcing his latest scouting report: "Bring 'em on, guys. Bring 'em on." We concur, even before hearing that Nurkic "has a little WWE in him" in the sense that he has to mature.

9:21 - Since we're on the subject of WWE, (thanks, Fran!) rest in peace, Warrior:

9:25 - The Boston Celtics are on the clock again. This is the part of the night where Bill Simmons becomes intolerable. The panel wants Gary Harris out of Michigan State. The card is in, and Adam Silver announces Kentucky swingman James Young as Brad Stevens' newest player.

9:26 - Friend of the site Jon Alba must be proud of Silver's trolling of Simmons. After all, the voice of Q30 television and musical genius behind Bobby Mahoney and the Seventh Son (Google them, my friends) is a heel pretending to be a face. That's just the way it is.

9:28 - On that note...

9:28 - Bill Simmons after realizing his Celtics have drafted Marcus Smart and James Young: "Let's do shots!"

9:29 - That's the first time we've mentioned Bruce Hornsby since December 21, 2012, when his son Keith; then a shooting guard for UNC Asheville, helped his Bulldogs to an upset of St. John's at Carnesecca Arena in a second half filled with yours truly and friends/colleagues Gary Moore of The College Hardwood and Jerry Beach of Defiantly Dutch exchanging Hornsby references via Twitter. PLAY "ACROSS THE RIVER!!!"

9:31 - Getting back to the former @sportsguy33...

9:32 - The Suns take a point guard with their second pick, taking Syracuse's Tyler Ennis at No. 18 and leaving Gary Harris on the board. Warren and Ennis isn't a bad haul for Phoenix, who gets a pair of all-ACC players.

9:35 - Chicago drafts for Denver one more time, with the Bulls sending Gary Harris to the Nuggets. Absolute steal here, as Harris gets to team up with North Carolina legend Ty Lawson in one of the Western Conference's best backcourts.

9:38 - To recap: Denver will receive Jusuf Nurkic and Gary Harris from Chicago in exchange for Doug McDermott. Solid exchange on both ends.

9:40 - We just looked back and noticed that we missed another Chicago/breaking the fourth wall reference. With that said, PIPE BOMB!!!

9:41 - One more Chicago reference, and this one is right up Gary Moore's alley!

9:42 - ESPN cuts to Shabazz Napier as the Toronto Raptors finalize the 20th pick in the draft. Very subtle form of tipping it by the "Worldwide Leader In Sports," but whether or not it gets very far will be figured out momentarily.

9:44 - Toronto, only three years removed from taking Jonas Valanciunas, take Bruno Caboclo at No. 20.


9:46 - Fraschilla, the international expert, has already considered Caboclo to be the Brazilian Kevin Durant in a "swing for the fences pick."

9:51 - Oklahoma City makes their first appearance of the night, on the clock at No. 21 with Houston's pick from the James Harden trade. The Thunder use it to take Mitch McGary of Michigan, which is a solid pick that solidifies their front line.

9:56 - Rece Davis says that "Bruno will return" at some point. Cue John McClane's most memorable non-film moment:

9:58 - The Memphis Grizzlies get a steal at No. 22, taking UCLA's Jordan Adams, who was the most complete player on both sides of the ball in Westwood last season, with all apologies to Kyle Anderson. Really love this pick for the Grizz.

10:03 - Utah goes for a Dukie with their second pick, prying Rodney Hood out of Durham at No. 23. At least Hood won't be around to cost Syracuse big games in the ACC anymore.

10:05 - Hey Durham, remember this?

10:07 - The winner of "biggest first-round steal" is the Charlotte Hornets, who drafted a two-time national champion in Shabazz Napier to reunite with former UConn teammate Kemba Walker in their backcourt after taking Napier with the No. 24 pick.

10:08 - And it feels so good...

10:09 - Or not...Andy Katz has just reported that Napier will be traded to the Miami Heat, which means the four-time reigning Eastern Conference champions will draft for Charlotte at No. 26.

10:11 - Bill Simmons, the voice of the people, verbalizing his displeasure with teams helping Miami for the last four years.

10:14 - The Houston Rockets salvage the last few picks by taking Clint Capela of Switzerland at No. 25. Of course, the best part of this pick is the analysis from Fran Fraschilla.

10:16 - Miami on the clock, but as mentioned before, the Heat are drafting for the Charlotte Hornets in the 26th spot after Shabazz Napier was taken for Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra at No. 24.

10:19 - Have we mentioned that Adam Silver isn't getting a decent reaction?

10:20 - Drafting for Charlotte, Miami takes North Carolina expatriate P.J. Hairston at No. 26 after the swingman spent last season in the NBDL.

10:27 - Pick No. 27, the third for the Suns, is Serbian guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, who can team with Goran Dragic if he comes over soon enough.

10:28 - Nothing is better than Fran Fraschilla extolling the virtues of players 95% of the viewing audience knows absolutely nothing about.

10:33 - The Clippers, on the clock at No. 28, take Washington swingman C.J. Wilcox, generating a reaction that couldn't even be heard at the CBI game Hofstra hosted several years ago to an intimate gathering of 952.

10:39 - Oklahoma City throws somewhat of a curveball with their second pick of the first round, taking Stanford swingman Josh Huestis at No. 29. A double-double threat in college for the Cardinal, Huestis now gets to learn from one of the best in Kevin Durant.

10:41 - Adam Silver wraps up his first round with the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, on the clock at No. 30.

10:46 - The new commissioner concludes a less than spectacular first round with the Spurs' selection of Jersey City product and UCLA superstar Kyle Anderson, the latest in a long line of typical Spurs picks.

10:47 - Deputy commissioner Mark Tatum takes over for Silver, but there's one man we miss seeing at this stage that can never be replaced.

10:48 - #WeWantGranik

10:49 - #WeWantGranik

10:57 - The Milwaukee Bucks start the final of two rounds with the 31st overall pick, using it to select Damien Inglis, a French Guiana native who played in France last season after Mark Tatum's introduction did not go over well.

10:57 - Fran Fraschilla. This is the part of the night where he really earns his money.

11:00 - The first of two second-round picks for the Philadelphia 76ers is used on K.J. McDaniels of Clemson, who we got to see in the NIT this past April. The reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year lived up to the hype against SMU at Madison Square Garden, and can back it up offensively as well.

11:05 - Cleveland drafts Joe Harris of Virginia to pair up with Andrew Wiggins, taking the swingman 33rd overall, five spots before the Pistons could scoop him up to the delight of Detroit fan and friend of the site Matt Cerilli.

11:06 - The New York Knicks are on the clock. Isn't that impossible?


11:08 - Cleanthony Early, a native of Middletown, New York, is the 34th pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, headed to the New York Knicks.

11:10 - Utah takes Jarnell Stokes of Tennessee at No. 35, and while ESPN is away on a commercial break, Milwaukee adds to their haul by taking LSU big man Johnny O'Bryant with the 36th overall selection.

11:15 - The Raptors tap into Storrs for the 37th pick, grabbing UConn swingman DeAndre Daniels after his tour de force performance in the East Regional semifinals and final at Madison Square Garden en route to leading the Huskies to a national championship. The Detroit Pistons follow suit at No. 38 by taking Colorado guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who will be a force in Motown once he recovers from his torn ACL.

11:17 - Back to Cleanthony Early, if I may: Here's the piece we wrote on Gregg Marshall in 2013:

11:18 - The fourth pick for the Sixers is a Syracuse product, that being burgeoning big man Jerami Grant at No. 39.

11:20 - Two-thirds of the way through after the Timberwolves take Glenn Robinson III of Michigan at No. 40.

11:21 - Denver takes Serbian power forward Nikola Jokic 41st overall, which means we get a Fran Fraschilla debriefing coming back from ESPN's latest commercial break.

11:25 - Houston takes Arizona guard and Pac-12 Player of the Year Nick Johnson 42nd overall.

11:26 - In the No. 43 spot, the Atlanta Hawks go for 7-3 center Walter Tavares of Cape Verde, who played in Spain last season. Here's Fran Fraschilla!

11:27 - "I may need three drinks," says Jay Bilas when informed of Tavares' 93-inch wingspan.

11:29 - Andy Katz scoops the latest happenings by informing us that Minnesota has drafted Oklahoma State's Markel Brown on behalf of the Brooklyn Nets, who have purchased the 44th overall pick for the sum of...

11:32 - During the break, Charlotte steps in at No. 45 to take 6-11 Stanford big man Dwight Powell. Love this pick for the Hornets if they keep it.

11:32 - The Washington Wizards are on the clock! May their newest draft pick have a celebration somewhere that is comparable to this guy:

11:34 - Les Wizerables, as yours truly and our friends at Gheorghe: The Blog call them, get a steal for the 46th pick, taking Missouri combo guard Jordan Clarkson.

11:36 - Utah has traded Jarnell Stokes to Memphis for a 2016 second-round pick while the 76ers use their fifth pick of the night, No. 47 overall, on Louisville guard and Queens native Russ Smith, who played for the late Jack Curran at Archbishop Molloy.

11:37 - Milwaukee takes Pitt shooting guard Lamar Patterson 48th overall, much to the delight of our colleagues Dexter Henry and David Greenwald.

11:39 - The Bulls take a New Mexico player for the second year in a row, taking forward Cameron Bairstow 49th overall after using their 2013 first-round pick on another of Los Lobos, that being swingman Tony Snell.

11:41 - Ten picks left after the Suns take 7-1 center Alec Brown out of Wisconsin-Green Bay at No. 50. The Knicks are on the clock once again in the 51st spot.

11:44 - The Knicks go for Thanasis Antetokounmpo of Greece, whose younger brother Giannis was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks last year. FRAN FRASCHILLA FOR THE WIN!!!

11:46 - Jeff Goodman reporting Russ Smith has been traded to New Orleans for Pierre Jackson, while Lamar Patterson, while Lamar Patterson will be traded from Milwaukee to Atlanta for a future second-round pick.

11:47 - Pick number six for the Sixers is Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic. Only eight more to go.

11:51 - During the break, the Timberwolves used the 53rd pick on Italian guard Alessandro Gentile. ESPN returns to find the 76ers on the clock yet again for their seventh pick, No. 54 overall.

11:52 - The Sixers take Serbian forward Nemanja Dangubic, which cues a Fran Fraschilla scouting report. Nothing wrong with this pick at all.

11:54 - We're down to five after the Heat take Xavier point guard and budding superstar Semaj Christon 55th overall.

11:57 - The surprising run on college players continues as the Nuggets take Iowa forward Devyn Marble 56th overall.

12:02 - After Indiana takes 6-10 Frenchman Louis Labeyrie during the break for the Pacers' lone selection, San Antonio uses the 58th overall pick on Tennessee guard Jordan McRae.

12:03 - The penultimate of the 60 selections is San Diego State point guard Xavier Thames, who goes 59th to the Toronto Raptors before San Antonio wraps it up with Mr. Irrelevant.

12:04 - X gon' give it to ya.

12:07 - Last, but not least, with the 60th and final pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs select Cory Jefferson, forward from Baylor University. We got to see Jefferson during the Bears' run to an NIT championship in 2013, and all he did was put on a clinic. At 6-9, Jefferson is a factor on both ends of the floor, and will have Tim Duncan for a mentor. What more could you ask for?

From Wiggins to Jefferson and so many diversions in between, we thank you for putting up with us, and hope we were able to keep draft night entertaining for you. In closing, here's one final memory of David Stern: