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:

The 2014 Daly Dose Of Hoops Mock Draft

Andrew Wiggins lived up to hype as top-ranked recruit in 2013-14, and is consensus choice to do so again in star-studded NBA Draft Thursday night. (Photo courtesy of Fox Sports)

If at first you don't succeed, the old adage urges one to try again; and try again, we will.

For the fifth consecutive year, we will give it the old college try when it comes to predicting how tonight's NBA Draft will turn out just a mere 20 minutes away from Daly Dose headquarters inside Brooklyn's Barclays Center. Once the festivities get underway, our annual tradition of the running draft night diary will commence, but until then, here is our prognostication of the first round as Adam Silver steps into the irreplaceable role of his predecessor David Stern:

1) Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins (F - Kansas)
The Cavs have the top spot for the third time in four years, and much like 2013, no one has any idea of what Dan Gilbert will instruct new general manager David Griffin to do with the opening act. While Jabari Parker may be the more pro-ready pick, word out of Cleveland is that the Duke forward did not impress the high brass in his workout, whereas Wiggins, who enters the draft as the most coveted prospect since LeBron James in 2003, is the object of Cavalier executives' affections. This pick will truly be a gametime decision, but ultimately, Gilbert; who is more partial to Wiggins over Parker, will likely get the man he wants.

2) Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker (F - Duke)
Milwaukee, who once drafted Lew Alcindor out of UCLA, will get a very attractive consolation prize no matter who is still available to them, but Parker will almost certainly be the unquestioned choice should Wiggins go to Cleveland. In the Chicago native, who will have the added draw of playing within a reasonable driving distance from his family and friends, the Bucks get the closest player to LeBron James in terms of both a physical and talent standpoint, as his early-season performances established himself as the player with the highest pro potential.

3) Philadelphia 76ers: Noah Vonleh (F - Indiana)
Australian X-factor Dante Exum could realistically be the pick here for the Sixers, but with Michael Carter-Williams already in the fold, Philly will instead opt for the big man in this spot. Several mock drafts still have Joel Embiid with the third selection, but with his recent medical issues, don't be surprised to see the seven-footer slide a little further down in much the same way Nerlens Noel did a year ago. In Vonleh, the Sixers get a 6-10 forward who alters almost every shot within his reach to complement a rebounding ability miles beyond his years.

4) Orlando Magic: Julius Randle (F - Kentucky)
Another potential landing spot for Exum could be the Magic in the fourth position should Orlando decide to keep the selection. Rumor has it that Orlando is considering moving up to the top spot to draft Jabari Parker, so if the Cavaliers (don't forget, trades cannot be announced until after players have already been selected) draft Parker, one would assume that Orlando would merely be drafting for Cleveland here. For all intents and purposes, we feel the Cavs will hold onto their selection; and with the Magic craving a front line upgrade, they pick John Calipari's latest prodigy in Randle, a 6-9 man among boys who will go a long way toward replacing the hole created by Dwight Howard's trade two years ago.

5) Utah Jazz: Joel Embiid (C - Kansas)
Embiid's downfall ends with the Jazz, who take the Jayhawk sensation to team with Trey Burke in Salt Lake City. Joining Derrick Favors up front, Embiid will be able to put his shot blocking prowess to immediate use once he returns from his foot injury, and should certainly make Jazz fans forget about their last Kansas center, that being Greg Ostertag.

6) Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart (G - Oklahoma State)
The Celtics are looking for a scoring point guard to replace Rajon Rondo, and Smart, despite his slight character issue toward the end of the season that landed him national headlines to go with a three-game suspension, will be a coach's dream for Brad Stevens. Equally as adept a passer as he is putting the ball in the basket, Smart will continue Boston's youth movement, and will have Beantown abuzz with playoff contention sooner rather than later.

7) Los Angeles Lakers: Dante Exum (G - Australia)
Exum will almost certainly go higher than this, but if one thing is to be certain on draft night, it is to expect; and subsequently embrace, the unexpected. Exum, who noted international player expert Fran Fraschilla (more on him later tonight) considers a worthy No. 1 pick, is a combo guard who would not only fit right in among the Los Angeles landscape with his talent, but also a burgeoning star who would get to learn from one of the game's all-time greats in Kobe Bryant for the first several years of his career.

8) Sacramento Kings: Elfrid Payton (G - Louisiana-Lafayette)
The Kings have gambled and lost on Tyreke Evans and Jimmer Fredette as long-term answers at the point while Joe and Gavin Maloof are still negotiating a way to move the team out of California's state capital. Hoping the third time is the charm for Sacramento, they reach out for the fast-rising Payton, who averaged six rebounds and six assists per game to go with 19 points per contest for the Ragin' Cajuns, and will now serve as the prime facilitator for DeMarcus Cousins in the paint.

9) Charlotte Hornets: Doug McDermott (F - Creighton)
The former Bobcats have already made basketball traditionalists proud by reverting to the old Hornets nickname, and Michael Jordan's franchise will do so again by reverting to a throwback player in McDermott, who has already worked out for Charlotte to rave reviews. A 6-8 forward who can do a little bit of everything, "Dougie McBuckets" is reminiscent of Chris Mullin from an efficiency perspective, with a fluid, effortless game that prompted our own Ray Floriani to describe him as "economy in motion."

10) Philadelphia 76ers: Aaron Gordon (F - Arizona)
Despite having already drafted Noah Vonleh earlier in the night, the Sixers upgrade their frontcourt even more with the selection of Gordon, arguably the most versatile forward in this year's draft class. Perhaps the best rebounder among the group, Gordon can play the three, four or even five, with a blue-collar work ethic that fans in the City of Brotherly Love will relate to rather quickly.

11) Denver Nuggets: Jusuf Nurkic (C - Bosnia)
Not much is known around these parts about Nurkic, a 20-year-old who stands 6-11 and checks in at 280 pounds, but his size will certainly make him a force in the post for the Nuggets, who will use the European import to create a two-headed interior monster alongside Kenneth Faried.

12) Orlando Magic: Nik Stauskas (G - Michigan)
Jameer Nelson is getting older, and while Victor Oladipo provided a much greater scoring punch in his rookie season than we may have envisioned, Stauskas is simply too talented for the Magic to pass on in this spot. What makes the Canadian sharpshooter an even more precious commodity is his ball handling ability, turning him into a combo guard that will sneak up on several defenses his first time around.

13) Minnesota Timberwolves: T.J. Warren (F - NC State)
Usually, Minnesota always opts to shake things up on draft night, and this year will be no different as Flip Saunders begins his second stint at the helm in the land of 10,000 lakes. With both Gary Harris and UCLA swingman Zach LaVine still available when the Wolves make this pick, the selection instead will be Warren, who came from a reserve role to step up and lead the ACC in scoring before guiding the Wolfpack to the NCAA Tournament. The uncertain future of Kevin Love will also be a factor in Minnesota deciding to augment their front line at the expense of a guard, and Warren should benefit from Ricky Rubio's passing skills right away.

14) Phoenix Suns: Gary Harris (G - Michigan State)
The Suns get one of the best clutch players in the draft in Harris, who kept the Spartans fighting much longer than most would have predicted last season. Two years in East Lansing may be atypical of a Tom Izzo recruit, but Harris could have come out last year and been a lottery pick as well. He brings a refuse-to-lose mantra and willingness to make an impact in big moments to the Valley of the Sun, and in a coincidental twist of fate, possesses the same instincts (and former jersey number too) of Phoenix head coach Jeff Hornacek.

15) Atlanta Hawks: Dario Saric (F - Croatia)
Atlanta gets a double-double threat to wreak havoc on the boards alongside Al Horford when they select Saric, who averaged 17 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game in his native Croatia last season. At just 20 years old, the 6-10 mountain of a man only has room to grow, and could be a household name in the NBA within just a couple of years.

16) Chicago Bulls: Rodney Hood (F - Duke)
Speculation seems to favor the Bulls as a suitor for Carmelo Anthony, but before the free agent drama ensues, Tom Thibodeau will have an insurance policy in Hood, who brings to the Windy City what fellow former Blue Devils Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer did as well, that being an aggressive mindset with the ball in his hands while at the same time expanding his game on the defensive side of the ball, something that will make him valuable before he even makes his debut.

17) Boston Celtics: Adreian Payne (F - Michigan State)
Boston already has their guard of the future in Marcus Smart, and for his second new piece, Brad Stevens inherits a pro-ready talent in Payne to join Kelly Olynyk on the youthful Celtic front line. Equal parts scorer and rebounder, Payne's underrated outside game sets him apart from some other big men, something that will prove vital as the Celtics make their ascent back to postseason contention.

18) Phoenix Suns: Jerami Grant (F - Syracuse)
If Adreian Payne slides past the Celtics at No. 17, he will be the pick here for the Suns. If not, Phoenix can go in a number of different ways, and will explore each before ultimately reaching just a bit to take Grant, the burgeoning big man from Syracuse who anchored Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone defense in college, and will now anchor the post for Phoenix. Considered a prospect who may have jumped for the NBA too soon, Grant will have mounds of opportunities to prove the skeptics wrong, and will carve out his own niche among the world-class forwards of the Western Conference.

19) Chicago Bulls: Shabazz Napier (G - Connecticut)
Derrick Rose will remain a question mark until he is able to prove that he is 100 percent after his recent injury-riddled history, and when an insurance policy that just so happens to have two national championships among its underwriting is readily available, how can you turn that down? That will be Chicago's rationale for selecting Napier, a vintage Jim Calhoun recruit with a killer instinct and hard-nosed mentality on both sides of the ball who will be the warrior that Bulls fans will embrace for his take-no-prisoners style.

20) Toronto Raptors: Tyler Ennis (G - Syracuse)
Canada's NBA team brings a homegrown talent back home, as Ennis comes north of the border once again after a stellar one-and-done turn as the hub of Jim Boeheim's wheel with the Orange, where his late game heroics kept Syracuse relevant through most of the regular season. Ennis' pure point guard tactics will allow Dwane Casey to play Greivis Vasquez off the ball, something that will pay immediate dividends for the Raptors.

21) Oklahoma City Thunder: Zach LaVine (G - UCLA)
LaVine has arguably the widest range of any prospect tonight, with a projection of anywhere from the end of the lottery to the end of the first round. His freakish athleticism will be a huge asset to fellow ex-Bruin Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, giving the Thunder an X-factor between Westbrook and Kevin Durant in their quest to dethrone the San Antonio Spurs once and for all.

22) Memphis Grizzlies: Kyle Anderson (G - UCLA)
With Anderson still on the board here, the Grizz pick up the first of what will be many steals on this night, adding the 6-9 point guard who can play anywhere on the floor. Anderson will likely project as a shooting guard or small forward at the professional level, but his versatility wins out for Memphis, who gets a building block toward their already bright future.

23) Utah Jazz: Jordan Adams (G - UCLA)
The run on Westwood student-athletes continues on with Adams, who joins Joel Embiid in a deceptively strong haul for the Jazz and new head coach Quin Snyder. In Adams, Utah gets one of the more underrated and explosive players in the draft crop, a proven scorer who made a name for himself in the Pac-12 as a second; sometimes third, option for Steve Alford in his sophomore season.

24) Charlotte Hornets: Cleanthony Early (F - Wichita State)
The one-time junior college standout from upstate New York before Gregg Marshall brought out the best in him for the last two years comes to the NBA off a Final Four and near-perfect season with the Shockers, and joins Doug McDermott as the newest pieces for the rebooted Hornets, who can now start finalizing their build to established playoff contender. For those who have not seen Early, think Kawhi Leonard, only more physically imposing. Just look at how that turned out for the Spurs earlier this month.

25) Houston Rockets: James Young (G - Kentucky)
Much like Chicago, the Rockets have been discussed as a destination for Carmelo Anthony, and even LeBron James should he decide to take his talents away from South Beach. Nonetheless, Young; a Morris Peterson clone who can play both shooting guard and small forward, is gift-wrapped for Houston in this spot, and should blend in seamlessly with Chandler Parsons and Dwight Howard up front, along with James Harden in the backcourt.

26) Miami Heat: Jordan Clarkson (G - Missouri)
Mario Chalmers is reportedly on the way out after the Heat came up short in their quest to win a third straight NBA championship, and Clarkson gets a perfect situation in which to begin his career. A 6-4 combo guard who can open up passing lanes to feed Miami's "Big Three" should they re-sign, Clarkson is a floor general who will make his presence known without having to sacrifice scoring opportunities for his teammates.

27) Phoenix Suns: Joe Harris (F - Virginia)
Harris, a constant among the ACC elite even without North Carolina or Duke next to his name, is a potential dynamite keg waiting to explode on NBA defenses, and someone who Phoenix can use right away to join Gary Harris and Jerami Grant to give point guard Goran Dragic more options.

28) Los Angeles Clippers: Mitch McGary (C - Michigan)
With the prospect of sitting out a year due to a substance abuse ban by the NCAA, McGary couldn't have picked a better time to enter the draft after deciding against it in 2013, and lands with the Clippers, who may be looking to move DeAndre Jordan to make a run at one of the marquee free agents on the open market.

29) Oklahoma City Thunder: Jarnell Stokes (F - Tennessee)
After having picked up a steal in Zach LaVine earlier in the night, the Thunder beef up their frontcourt with Stokes, a power forward that can spell Serge Ibaka while providing a solid complement to Kevin Durant on both sides of the ball.

30) San Antonio Spurs: Bogdan Bogdanovic (G - Serbia)

Another stash pick for the newly crowned NBA champions here, as they can hold Bogdanovic overseas until he is ready to come to Texas and help Gregg Popovich remain atop the Western Conference.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Year In Review: Iona

With Sean Armand gone, A.J. English becomes face of an Iona program that seeks its fifth straight postseason appearance. (Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Last season was supposed to be one of adjustment for Iona, even in spite of the Gaels taking the floor as reigning MAAC champions after surviving an overachieving Manhattan roster to win the conference title in 2013, their first since 2006.

What Tim Cluess did for an encore in New Rochelle was nothing short of impressive, both before and after Iona's bid for a repeat net-cutting ceremony was denied by the same Manhattan team they had defeated one year prior.

Iona's 22-11 record may not go down in the annals of Gaels history as the most gaudy mark on the all-time ledger, but what the Maroon and Gold did along the way was worthy of accolades: A MAAC record 17 regular-season wins against only three losses to clinch the program's second regular season championship in three years, earning Cluess his first conference Coach of the Year award.

When he entered his senior season, Sean Armand was finally the face of a program he helped build in the shadows of Scott Machado, Mike Glover and Momo Jones en route to back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths, and the Brooklyn native embraced the added expectations; all the while deflecting the praise heaped upon his shoulders toward his teammates, intimating his desire to make one last run and "do it the right way."

Armand's 17.5 points per game led the Gaels and were good enough to land him a spot on the all-MAAC first team, but more importantly, his offensive skills and all-around ability as something more than a shooter were enhanced thanks to his new backcourt partner, A.J. English, who missed Iona's run to a conference championship with a broken hand.

English joined Armand on the all-conference first team with averages of 17.2 points and over five assists per game, displaying a ball handling talent beyond his years as he rose from out of the clouds to become arguably the best point guard in the MAAC aside from eventual league Player of the Year Billy Baron. Joined by David Laury and Isaiah Williams up front, not to mention the clutch shooting of Tre Bowman, the Gaels left an 8-8 start and skepticism of their chances to remain a contender in the dust, winning eleven straight games toward the end of the regular season before a close loss to Manhattan in double overtime at a sold out Draddy Gym.

The Gaels rolled through their MAAC tournament opener, defeating Rider by 23 before narrowly escaping Canisius to set up a third and final matchup with Steve Masiello's Jaspers, which ranks as one of the games of the year among the New York metropolitan area, even though Iona's repeat bid fell short at the buzzer after Laury's game-tying three-point attempt bounced off the rim. Following the loss, Iona accepted their automatic bid to the National Invitation Tournament, where they were defeated by just one point at the hands of Louisiana Tech.

Nonetheless, Tim Cluess' streak of reaching the postseason every year he has coached Iona remains intact, and the coach's proven formula of blending experienced transfers with incumbent players who are well versed in his uptempo system will continue in the form of Kelvin Amayo, the guard who sat out last season while completing a year in residence upon transferring from Marshall; as well as Brooklyn native Jeylani Dublin, a graduate transfer who is able to play immediately and penetrate opposing defenses after earning his degree from Longwood. Those two newcomers, combined with the Gaels' recruiting class and their returning core, will almost certainly be more than enough to ensure that the road to a MAAC championship will at least make a stop in New Rochelle if it does not end there.

Flores, Lappas Among Newest Jasper Hall Of Famers

Arguably the greatest player in Manhattan history, Luis Flores earns rightful place in Jaspers' Hall of Fame, as the Dominican guard is among newest inductees. (Photo courtesy of Manhattan College)

Before Manhattan broke a ten-year NCAA Tournament drought this past March when Steve Masiello led the Jaspers to a MAAC championship and near-upset of Louisville, the northwest corner of the Bronx was still buzzing with the ghost of Luis Flores, the Dominican scoring machine who was the centerpiece of the back-to-back MAAC championship teams Bobby Gonzalez led out of Riverdale to become the crown princes of New York in the mid-2000s.

Today, Flores was finally recognized for his accomplishments, headlining an eight-member group that becomes the Manhattan College Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2014.

The Jaspers' all-time leading scorer after he was recruited from Rutgers, Flores was also a two-time MAAC Player of the Year and Haggerty Award winner as the best player in the New York metropolitan area when Manhattan reached the NCAA Tournament in 2003 and 2004, narrowly losing to Syracuse before returning one year later and upsetting No. 5 seed Florida and Billy Donovan before being eclipsed by Wake Forest in the Round of 32. This will be the second notable accolade Flores, once a second-round pick of the Houston Rockets in the 2004 NBA Draft, has received within the last year, as he was also elected Manhattan's representative in the MAAC Honor Roll this past March.

The Jasper basketball program landed a second inductee this year, as former head coach Steve Lappas joins Flores among the octet of honorees. In four years at the helm before departing for Villanova, Lappas guided Manhattan to the school's first-ever MAAC championship game appearance in 1992, also reaching the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament.

Manhattan's Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, November 8 on the Riverdale campus. More information on the event can be found by clicking here.