Monday, July 30, 2012

The Power Of Buzz

No one can find a diamond in the rough as well as Buzz Williams, and now Marquette's fifth-year coach has the stats to back it up.  (Photo courtesy of Casual Hoya)

Unless you were familiar with Marquette basketball in 2008, chances are you did not know who Brent Williams was.  An assistant to former coach Tom Crean, the affable and fun-loving Texan affectionately known as "Buzz" became the coach of the Golden Eagles after Crean left the program to replace the embattled Kelvin Sampson at Indiana.  While Crean has resurrected the Hoosiers and now has them in position to contend for a national championship in Bloomington, what his successor in Milwaukee has done with the former Warriors that Crean once guided into battle has also been nothing short of impressive.

Marquette has never been a school to sign McDonald's All-Americans or players who will blow you away with their gaudy statistics.  Rather, the Golden Eagles are a true program; one built with the premise of finding players and coaching them into future stars who become tailor-made for a professional career, be it in the NBA or overseas.  Buzz Williams' first four years at the helm have reflected this, with some of Marquette's best recruiting classes ever to serve as an influx of talent to a team that has now produced selections in the NBA Draft over each of the last three seasons, including two in the same year for the first time in the Williams regime after consecutive years of first-round picks out of Marquette.

What makes Buzz so successful, you might ask?  Our friends over at Cracked Sidewalks (a portal for all things Marquette with stats and numbers whose value cannot be defined by a price tag, I suggest you take a look at the great work they turn out) outdid themselves once again in this piece that crunches the numbers to prove that Williams not only knows how to effectively recruit, but also knows how to make his team evolve over the years:

Marquette's incoming class is just as solid this year, with Jamal Ferguson and Arizona State transfer Trent Lockett joining Steve Taylor, a power forward who ranks as the No. 14 overall prospect at his position.  Buzz is primed for an even bigger encore in 2013, as he has picked up verbal commitments from nationally regarded homegrown guards Duane Wilson and Deonte Burton, who will fit right into the rich tradition of the Marquette backcourt while proving that the Golden Eagles' leader; as unassuming as he is, is one of the best in the business at running a team and improving it with each passing day.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Michael Haynes Killed; Was To Play For Iona

Michael Haynes, one of Iona's nine incoming recruits, was tragically murdered last night outside his Chicago home.  The promising prospect was only 22.  (Photo courtesy of NBC Sports)

Sadly, no matter how much we would like it to happen, it seems as though the world cannot escape inexplicable tragedy and gun violence that really has no place in society.

Less than a week after James Holmes opened fire in a Colorado movie theater and killed twelve people during a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," a gun is responsible for the death of yet another completely innocent person; this one in the sports world, one who was just four months away from living his dream and playing college basketball at the highest level.

Michael Haynes was a 6-7 power forward whose road had been a much-traveled one, committing to the University of Texas-El Paso after playing for three different high schools and prep schools.  The Chicago native resurfaced last season at Indian Hills Community College in Iowa, the same junior college responsible for exporting future Big East stars Dwight Hardy (St. John's) and Dwight Buycks (Marquette) to Division I.  Just two weeks ago, Haynes was announced as one of the nine members of a blockbuster recruiting class signed by Tim Cluess at Iona College as the Gaels come off an NCAA Tournament appearance, but must replace all-conference players Scott Machado and Mike Glover.  It was Haynes who was going to be one of several newcomers to go a long way toward filling the massive void Glover's graduation left in Iona's frontcourt, and he seemed like a perfect replacement considering both his potential and the similar long and winding road to redemption that the two faced.

Sadly, fate intervened and made sure such a fairytale was not to be.

Haynes was shot and killed outside his Chicago home last night in an attempt to resolve a dispute involving a stolen necklace.  He was 22, with the rest of his life still ahead of him.

"It's just so hard," said Iona coach Tim Cluess, no stranger to tragedy himself after having lost two of his brothers to cancer and leukemia.  "I don't know how to describe it.  Once you got to know him, you just couldn't wait to coach him.  He was just looking for a chance to change his life."

And so it goes for a program that has seen more heartbreak among its players, coaches and alumni than should be permitted by law.  First came former coach Jim Valvano's passing to cancer at the far too premature age of 47 in 1993.  Cluess, who was brought to New Rochelle to replace Kevin Willard two years ago after Willard replaced Bobby Gonzalez at Seton Hall, lost his two brothers a decade apart in the 1970s and '80s.  Now, Michael Haynes; who was seemingly destined to overcome the odds and succeed playing the game he loved, is now unfortunately the third in a trifecta no one in their right mind ever wants to see being cashed in.  Life just isn't fair sometimes.

When news of Haynes' death was publicized late last night, it quickly gained attention via Twitter, where Iona guard Sean Armand dedicated the upcoming season to his fallen future teammate.  "More motivation," the junior guard tweeted.  "Long season ahead, this one for Mike Haynes," using the hashtags #MH and #ICMBB.

Saint Michael the Archangel is defined in the Roman Catholic religion as the leader of the Army of God and the guardian of the Catholic Church.  If the world really is a just place, then Michael Haynes will be the angel on the shoulders of the Iona Gaels this season.  There would be nothing more fitting for a kid who deserved the chance to live his dream.

Until then, and for all eternity, may Michael rest in peace.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fordham Takes Its Show On Road For Nonconference Season

Junior guard Branden Frazier will help lead Fordham into nonconference schedule in which just three of Rams' opening games will be played at Rose Hill Gym.  (Photo courtesy of New York Daily News)

Last season. St. Francis College played its first nine games on the road in a campaign that ultimately ended with the Terriers hosting a Northeast Conference tournament game and head coach Glenn Braica receiving NEC Coach of the Year honors.  Fordham University does not have as daunting a task as St. Francis did last year, but the Rams will have the same opportunity to show the nation their dynamic offense and stifling defense by playing all but three of their nonconference games away from Rose Hill Gym in the third year of the Tom Pecora era.

Fordham tips off the 2012-13 season on November 9th by returning the favor with Texas State, who played at Rose Hill last season.  It will be the Rams' first trip to the Lone Star State since facing Texas A&M in 2006.  From there, Fordham will head to Pittsburgh to take part in the preliminary rounds of the Preseason NIT.  Contingent upon what happens at the Petersen Center, the Rams could either play a consolation round at a site to be determined or advance to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden during Thanksgiving week.

Fordham's home opener for the 111th season in program history takes place on November 29th, and it could not be a bigger game.  Fordham will host Manhattan in the annual "Battle of the Bronx," where the Rams will look to avenge a 34-point loss to Steve Masiello's Jaspers last December at Draddy Gym.  The 104th meeting between Fordham and Manhattan makes the Jaspers Fordham's most frequently played opponent.  The homecoming will be brief, however; as the Rams hit the road again for a return match with Harvard, who Fordham resoundingly defeated at Rose Hill last year when Tommy Amaker's Crimson were a Top 25 team, and Lehigh on December 4th, where the Rams will face do-it-all guard C.J. McCollum, who was instrumental in guiding the Mountain Hawks to an upset of Duke in the NCAA Tournament.

Fordham returns to New York four days later for a matchup with St. John's in the Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden, which has now become an annual tradition.  Last year, the Rams played a Red Storm team with just six players on its roster tough, taking their intra-city rival down to the wire before ultimately falling by the final of 56-50.  Fordham did defeat the Red Storm 84-81 in 2010 in what remains one of the greatest games played at Rose Hill in recent memory, with the image of Rams fans rushing the court still easily ingrained in the minds of anyone intimately acquainted with the program.

From there, the Rams will help christen the Barclays Center on December 15th, when they face Princeton in a tripleheader as part of the Brooklyn Winter Hoops Festival.  Matchups between St. Francis and St. John's, as well as Michigan and West Virginia, are also on the card.  The Rams will next head to Gampel Pavilion for a meeting with Jim Calhoun and Connecticut on the 21st of December before returning to Rose Hill to meet Siena two days later in what will be Fordham's final game before the Christmas holiday.

Fordham gets a chance to make up the matchup with Georgia Tech that was canceled two years ago by heading to Atlanta to face Brian Gregory's Ramblin' Wreck on December 29th, with the Rams' final game of 2012 taking place on New Year's Eve when Monmouth University and second-year coach King Rice make their way to Rose Hill.  The Rams will open 2013 with their final nonconference game taking place on January 4th in Oxford, Mississippi against Andy Kennedy and Ole Miss.

Fordham's Atlantic 10 schedule will be released later this summer, and it is headlined by a home-and-home series with Saint Joseph's University; as well as road trips to Xavier and A-10 newcomer Virginia Commonwealth, and a home game against Brad Stevens and Butler.  A Daly Dose Of Hoops will keep you updated on all things Fordham throughout the season, so be sure to check back with us for breaking news concerning Tom Pecora and the Rams.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Scott Machado Summer League Recap

Scott Machado saved his best for last with 20-point, 6-assist performance that all but assured him stronger chance of playing in NBA next season.  (Photo courtesy of Adam Zagoria via

The Houston Rockets' recent acquisition of Jeremy Lin seemed to hinder the opportunity for their Summer League point guard to earn a spot on the roster.  However, as he has done seemingly throughout his career, Scott Machado has let his performance speak otherwise.

As was the case during his four years at Iona, Machado got better the more he saw the court, even starting the last two of his five games for the Rockets' squad in Las Vegas this week.  After starting out somewhat slow, which can be attributed to not playing competitively since Iona's NCAA Tournament loss to Brigham Young in March, Machado improved his productivity and playing time gradually in every game.  Following his two-point, five-assist debut in 19 minutes against Toronto, Machado turned up the volume to the tune of four points and three rebounds in 21 minutes against Washington, and six points and ten assists in 23 minutes against Sacramento in his final outing off the bench.  When Scott finally replaced Courtney Fortson in the Rockets' starting lineup, he not only excelled, but made backcourt partner Jeremy Lamb into a more efficient player.  Machado's initial start against Portland resulted in an eight-point, six-assist, three-steal outing in 31 minutes, while his grand finale against Chicago was something Iona fans were accustomed to seeing on a weeknight at the Hynes Center.  In 34 minutes, Scott put together his finest performance at the professional level; going for 20 points, six assists and four steals on 6-of-14 shooting, while also managing to procure two offensive rebounds in Houston's 99-88 win over the Bulls.

With averages of eight points and 5.6 assists per game, Machado's 39 percent shooting clip is not only offset, but it gives him solid numbers for an NBA point guard of his caliber and potential.  For those still skeptical of what Machado can do for you offensively, just remember that All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo averaged just over six points and under four assists in his rookie season while shooting 42 percent from the field.  On top of that, former two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash did not average more than ten points or six assists per game until his fifth year in the league, and both Nash and Rondo are still regarded to be among the best at their position in the professional ranks.

This may have been a five-game tryout, but the numbers indicate that should he be fortunate enough to make it onto an NBA roster; something that should not be hard to do, Scott Machado has the bright and promising future that anyone who saw an Iona game over the last four years was able to conclude almost instantaneously.

Now, we just have to wait for the cream to once again rise to the top once Machado gets another chance to show off his talent in the preseason.

Monday, July 16, 2012

What Can 'Cuse Do For You?

Carrier Dome will still host Syracuse basketball, but its court named after Jim Boeheim will undergo a mild makeover when Orange officially leave Big East for ACC next July 1st.  (Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Over the last few hours, I am sure you have seen reactions; some of which could be best described as "restrained jubilation," to Syracuse's settlement with the Big East.  For those of you scoring at home, or for those who were unable to notice today's big headline in college basketball, Syracuse will pay a $7.5 million exit fee to the conference they were a charter member of to depart the Big East and officially join the Atlantic Coast Conference effective July 1st.

For the Orange, who spent last season proving that the rumors of their impending exodus; coupled with the allegations against former assistant coach Bernie Fine, were no distraction based on their 34-3 record and advancement into the East regional finals, the move represents more than just a conference affiliation.  In fact, the switch to the ACC is a win-win situation for both the conference and university for some of the following reasons:

Football: It's no secret that this was one of the main catalysts behind Syracuse jumping ship, as well as what Louisville coach Rick Pitino termed a "basketball decision (made) to strengthen the ACC."  The Orange football program may have had a better shot at a BCS bowl game (playoff system or not) in a perennially wide-open Big East, but Doug Marrone's program can be more competitive in a stronger football conference in the years to come.  In addition, the ACC gets a program that; although they may not be able to stay with the likes of Virginia Tech and Florida State at the moment, adds to the depth of their league, and should bring additional revenue to both parties with the prospect of playing in higher-level bowl games annually.

Recruiting: Jim Boeheim has proven over his illustrious 36-year career that he is among the best talent evaluators in the Northeast, but the Hall of Famer has not had many prospects from below the Mason-Dixon Line in his tenure.  This can (and will) change with an ACC affiliation.  Syracuse is already a national brand that every prospect knows regardless of geographics, as is the ACC.  The Orange should have an easy time getting players out of the coveted Washington, D.C. area, as well as the greater Atlanta region too among others in an effort to expand their program to a legion of fans and players unaware of just how good the Orange's world-famous 2-3 zone defense is.

New York's College Team: The moniker that is heavily disputed around the Big Apple actually benefits the ACC more than it does Syracuse.  While the Orange will be taking its talents to new territories, the conference builds a market share in an enemy locale that will instantly help close the gap in overall basketball strength between the ACC and Big East even before Pittsburgh is welcomed into the fold.  Syracuse's new home has already seen how well Duke and North Carolina have drawn in their nonconference visits to New York, and with the Barclays Center also getting into the mix with the Atlantic 10 Tournament, the ACC has a chance to establish itself among the college hoops authorities of the Northeast.

Madison Square Garden: No team has made a neutral court into a second home venue as much as Syracuse has transformed the "World's Most Famous Arena."  As early as an hour before tipoff, the Mecca of basketball becomes a small Carrier Dome, complete with "Let's go Orange" chants and the Syracuse tradition of standing and clapping until the first Orange basket is scored.  The prospect of potentially playing teams such as North Carolina, Duke and Maryland at the Garden would be appealing to both Syracuse and the ACC if both sides are able to pull it off without too much of an objection from St. John's and the Big East, not to mention it would be a huge selling point to recruits unfamiliar with the magic of the Garden.  The Orange will almost certainly continue to play nonconference events there, so the annual trip(s) to midtown Manhattan will not be sacrificed.

Homecourt Advantage: The sheer size of the Carrier Dome instantly ranks it with the Dean Smith Center, Cameron Indoor Stadium and Comcast Center among the ACC's most imposing home venues.  With the exception of NCAA Tournament games, no school in the ACC has played in a 30,000-plus seat arena.  Having to go to Syracuse for a regular season game tips the scales in the Orange's favor immensely, not to mention it boosts ACC attendance figures.  Moreover, Syracuse alumni of the Mid-Atlantic will be able to see the Orange on the road more often just as graduates who still live in the Northeast do, creating a well-traveled fan base that will rival that of the long-standing top three schools in Syracuse's new conference.  Hey, some of them may even camp out outside the Carrier Dome before games similar to Krzyzewskiville on the Duke campus in Durham.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Scott Machado Summer League Update

Just two games into his Summer League tryout, Scott Machado is already improving, but his chances of playing professionally may have taken a hit with Rockets' pursuit of Jeremy Lin.  (Photo courtesy of Houston Chronicle)

Scott Machado has already played two games at the professional level in his Summer League stint with the Houston Rockets, and the man who was arguably the best point guard in the nation this past season at Iona College has improved as expected with the additional minutes he has seen.

In his first game Friday night against Toronto, Machado only managed two points and as many rebounds; but demonstrated his second-to-none passing ability with five assists, the bulk of which came in the fourth quarter.  Last night, the guard only had one helper, but showed more of an offensive touch with four points and three rebounds in Houston's loss to the Washington Wizards.

No one is as critical of Machado's performance as Scott himself, and this was proven shortly after his debut Friday, when he tweeted that he was "unsatisfied" with his performance.  However, the reigning MAAC Player of the Year remained thankful for the opportunity, and his realization of it being his first professional game may have been an admission that perhaps Machado was being just a little too hard on himself.  Yet if anyone can turn skeptics into believers, Machado is that player, even in a five-game tryout.  His biggest success over the past two nights lied in the intangibles that do not show up in a box score, such as his ability to read and break down a defense, which he did well against Washington.  In addition, Jeremy Lamb's presence at the shooting guard position gives Machado even more of an opportunity to show what he is made of, and should allow for Scott to do what he did for a whole season last year with Momo Jones and Sean Armand at Iona.

Admittedly, Scott's road to the NBA could have a huge obstacle placed in front of it, depending on the end result of the Jeremy Lin saga.  Houston signed the rookie sensation, whom they had released early last season, to an offer sheet that was suddenly restructured with more of a back-loaded contract that could cause salary cap constraints for the New York Knicks should they match it.  In a late development last night, the Knicks were reportedly close to reacquiring Raymond Felton; who had run the point for the Knicks as recently as two seasons ago before being shipped to Denver in the Carmelo Anthony trade, in a sign-and-trade with Portland that would logically serve as the precursor to New York not matching Houston's offer for Lin.  Bringing this full circle, Lin's arrival in Houston would still allow for Machado to potentially make the Rockets as the backup point guard; but if the Knicks do decide to keep their rising star in the Big Apple, Machado has a shot to be the starter at the point for Houston on opening night.

Scott Machado next takes the court tomorrow night as the Rockets take on the Sacramento Kings in Las Vegas.  The game will be aired on NBA TV at 6:30 pm Eastern, and a channel listing for the appropriate providers is included in the press release on heralding Scott's experience.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Machado Makes Summer League Debut Tonight

Scott Machado gets first chance to prove people wrong at professional level tonight in debut for Houston Rockets' Summer League team.  (Photo courtesy of New York Post)

The point guard that was passed over sixty times just two weeks ago is back in action in just a few hours, and if his performance in college was any indication, the professional ranks may not have any idea of what is about to hit them.

Tonight, Scott Machado makes his debut for the Summer League team fielded by the Houston Rockets when he faces the Toronto Raptors' summer outfit in Las Vegas.  The game will be televised on NBA TV at 6pm Eastern and will re-air at 1am for those of you unable to see it live.  It will be Machado's first official action since leading Iona to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006, where the Gaels were defeated by Brigham Young.  For the point guard who has spent seemingly a lifetime overcoming the critics, tonight represents yet another chance to do the same.

"I was very disappointed," Machado told Sean Brennan of the New York Daily News shortly after not hearing his name called in last month's NBA Draft.  "I heard a bunch of stuff about where I might get drafted, but then nothing happened."

Upon conclusion of the draft, a handful of teams were immediately in touch with Machado's agent about signing the guard.  Machado suddenly was able to pick his own destination as an undrafted free agent rather than be locked into a contract right away with a team that would have drafted him, and settled on Houston because there was, in his words, "opportunity there."  Such opportunity became a reality when the Rockets lost incumbent point guard Goran Dragic to Phoenix in free agency, and followed it up by trading Kyle Lowry to Toronto before signing Jeremy Lin to an offer sheet that will almost certainly be matched by the New York Knicks.

Machado, who led the nation in assists last season with an average of nearly ten helpers per game, intends on making the most of his five-game tryout.  "I know I can play at this level," he said, "and this will give me a chance to show teams what I can do.  It's five games to show everybody what I can do, and I'm ready."  Scott will wear No. 15 this week, a change from his standard No. 3 at Iona, and will have all three of Houston's first-round draft picks as teammates, as Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones will be on the squad as well.

It is normally said that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but don't be surprised to see Scott Machado hit the jackpot this week in Sin City and hopefully cash out with an NBA contract.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Three-Point Schott: St. John's To Open 2012-13 Season Against Detroit

Ray McCallum, who lifted Detroit past St. John's last season, will have a chance to do it again since his Titans will be Red Storm's opponent in November 13th season opener.  (Photo courtesy of Detroit News)

With St. John's nonconference schedule being finalized today, we check in with Jason Schott, who profiles the opening half of the season for Steve Lavin and the Red Storm in his latest installment of the "Three-Point Schott."

St. John’s announces big non-conference schedule
By Jason Schott – Twitter @JESchott19

The St. John’s Red Storm released their complete schedule on Wednesday, July 11th, and it features an opening game as part of ESPN’s 24-hour season opening event.

St. John’s will open the regular season at Carnesecca Arena on Tuesday, November 13th at 2:00 pm in a matchup against Detroit as part of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. They lost to Detroit on the road last season to commemorate Dick Vitale’s Court Dedication game.  The Red Storm will then compete in the 2012 DirecTV Charleston Classic on November 15, 16, and 18 at TD Arena in Charleston, S.C. Along with St. John’s, the field includes Auburn, Baylor, Boston College, Charleston, Colorado, Dayton, and Murray State.  Each team will play a game per day and advance in a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that are undefeated will meet in the final.

St. John’s Head Coach Steve Lavin said of the Charleston Classic, “Three games in four days at the Charleston Classic in November will allow us to learn more about the makeup of our team.  Baylor returns an outstanding squad from its Elite Eight run last season, Colorado was an NCAA Tournament participant, Murray State is coming off its best season in history and Auburn participated in the 2012 NIT.  The Charleston Classic field looks to be as strong as any 2012 early-season tournament and will prove to be a valuable experience for our young squad.”

St. John’s will them return to Carnesecca Arena for games with Holy Cross on November 21st and Florida Gulf Coast on November 24th.  The next big game on the schedule is on Thursday, November 29th, when Frank Martin and his South Carolina Gamecocks come to Carnesecca Arena in a game that will be shown on ESPN2 or ESPNU.

NJIT comes to Carnesecca Arena on Saturday, December 1st, and then the Red Storm hits the road for a December 4th matchup with San Francisco.  Coach Lavin’s father, Cap Lavin, played for the San Francisco Dons from 1949-52 and played for two Naismith Hall of Fame Coaches, Pete Newell and Phil Woolpert.

St. John’s will take part in the Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden on December 8th. St. John’s will take on Fordham in that for the second straight season as part of a doubleheader, with another game to be announced.  The following weekend, St. John’s will take on St. Francis in the Brooklyn Hoops Festival at the new Barclays Center on Saturday, December 15th. That event will be a triple-header, with the other matchups being Michigan vs. West Virginia and Fordham vs. Princeton.

Lavin said of this event, “To play a local school like St. Francis at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn is a natural fit. Some of St. John’s most-prolific players and loyal fans throughout our storied history have roots that trace back to the borough of Brooklyn.  This game and new venue presents a nice way to pay homage to that dimension of our legacy.”  Their last non-conference game will take place on Friday, December 21st against UNC-Asheville at Carnesecca Arena before Big East play commences in January.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

LIU To Play Kentucky At Rupp Arena

The road to a third straight NEC championship for Jason Brickman and LIU Brooklyn will include a stop in Lexington, where Blackbirds face reigning national champion Kentucky November 23rd.  (Photo courtesy of New York Post)

There will be a different feel at LIU Brooklyn's Wellness Center this season after the Blackbirds promoted assistant Jack Perri to become the program's newest head coach after Jim Ferry was hired at Duquesne.  However, that is the only thing different about the two-time reigning Northeast Conference champions; who return all but two players from last year's team, one that fought Michigan State briefly before falling to the Spartans in their round of 64 matchup in the West regional.

Just as LIU has done under Ferry, the Blackbirds will once again test themselves under their new head man; most notably on November 23rd, when Brooklyn's finest travel to Rupp Arena for a meeting with John Calipari and reigning national champion Kentucky.  After a season in which the Wildcats won their first national title since 1998 behind four first-round NBA draft picks, including the top two selections in Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Calipari's latest group of freshmen will get a strong nonconference opponent that certainly has the edge in experience even if some people feel they are overmatched in terms of talent.  It will be interesting to see senior forwards Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere go up against the imposing presence of Nerlens Noel, who has received rave reviews from those who covered the big man in high school.

For those writing the Blackbirds off in this matchup, don't be so quick to dismiss this bunch.  Not only did LIU contend with Michigan State, but this same group; which also includes arguably one of the best backcourts in both the NEC and nation in junior Jason Brickman and senior C.J. Garner, played North Carolina equally as hard two years ago when scoring 87 points against a Tar Heels squad that yielded an average of just 69 per game.  Throw in the fact that Kentucky has generally played a number of close nonconference games while their freshmen are still getting acclimated to college play, and the chances of an upset; although still realistically slim, improve ever so slightly for a school that has played the underdog role to perfection several times over the past two seasons.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Theodore Latest Pirate To Begin Pro Career, May Join Pope In Turkey

Jordan Theodore's phenomenal senior year pays off as former Pirate has reportedly signed with Turkish club that also brought in teammate Herb Pope, but suddenly had second thoughts on big man.  (Photo courtesy of Newark Star-Ledger)

Say what you want about Seton Hall before and after Bobby Gonzalez, but you cannot deny the fact that the coach has now produced three professional players during his four-year tenure, with Jordan Theodore becoming the most recent to fall into that category.

The New Jersey point guard, whose senior season for the ages landed him second team all-Big East honors when he conceivably could (and should) have been named to the first team, has reportedly signed with Antalya BSB in Turkey after a four-year career in South Orange that will not soon be forgotten, especially after he broke the single season assist record while leading the Pirates to the NIT for the second time in three years.  Theodore was slated to join college teammate Herb Pope if the reports of his contract signing are true, as the Pennsylvania native also signed with Antalya recently, along with former Yale center Greg Mangano.  However, Antalya inexplicably backed out of their agreement with Pope, citing medical concerns as the reason why.  Nonetheless, the Turkish squad is no stranger to attracting Big East talent, as former Villanova stars Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher comprise Antalya's starting backcourt.

Elsewhere on the Seton Hall front, prolific swingman Jeremy Hazell has landed a spot on the Atlanta Hawks's summer league roster after two seasons in Spain and a brief stint with the Phoenix Suns' training camp roster.  Hazell was brought in after Atlanta traded Joe Johnson to the Nets in the deal that helped Brooklyn persuade Deron Williams to stick around as the face of the franchise.  The Pirates' third-leading scorer, who could have broken Terry Dehere's scoring record had he not missed half his final campaign recovering from a broken wrist and Christmas night shooting, is not the only former Seton Hall expatriate with summer league ties, as his former coach has also managed to procure an invite to what essentially serves as the NBA training camp.

Now two years removed from his bitter divorce with former Seton Hall athletic director Pat Hobbs, Bobby Gonzalez confirmed to A Daly Dose Of Hoops that he will be a part of the New York Knicks' summer league coaching staff after receiving and accepting an invitation from head coach Mike Woodson.  The 49-year-old Gonzalez, who has spent time at the Knicks' training facility in Westchester in the past, hopes that this could be the start of a comeback that would give one of the game's most brilliant and underrated minds the second chance he deserves.

Be sure to follow A Daly Dose Of Hoops for updates on not only Seton Hall, but other local and Big East programs as well, once they become available.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hardy, Machado To Get Shot In Summer League

Dwight Hardy gets another shot to land on NBA roster, trying out with Miami Heat's summer league team, while Iona's Scott Machado does the same for Houston.  (Hardy photo courtesy of ESPN, Machado photo courtesy of Iona College)

Two local point guards that were inexplicably snubbed in each of the last two NBA Drafts now have a chance to prove the teams that passed on them wrong.

Dwight Hardy, the blue-collar floor general from the Bronx that was the driving force behind St. John's 2011 trip to the NCAA Tournament, will be playing for the Miami Heat's summer league team in Las Vegas after being named the Liga Due Most Valuable Player in his rookie season for Pistoia Basket in Italy.  Should he make the cut, Hardy would be a dynamic and refreshing change of pace to incumbent Mario Chalmers, and will be able to run the ball screen for LeBron James in much the same way he perfected it in college with former running mate Justin Brownlee.  Hardy's teammates D.J. Kennedy, Justin Burrell and Anthony Mason Jr. will also be in action this summer along with Philadelphia 76ers draft pick Maurice Harkless.  For more information on how and where to catch the Red Storm alumni this summer, our friends at Rumble In The Garden have you covered.

Just over the Whitestone Bridge and Hutchinson River Parkway, reigning MAAC Player of the Year Scott Machado will also get a look this summer.  Machado, who was not drafted despite several first-round projections, is playing in Sin City as well, but with the Houston Rockets' squad.  Machado headlines an intriguing group of invitees according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, and would be the backup to Goran Dragic should he make the team, which he has more than a decent chance of doing.  Machado would be perfect for Houston's developing young core, which includes first-round draft picks Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones.

All of the Las Vegas summer league games start on July 13th and continue through the 18th.