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NCAA Bracket Contest Winner & Billikens.com Donor
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Everything posted by Taj79

  1. In the immortal words of Dennis Green ... they are who we thought they were. Any Billiken basketball is better than none but short of a few tidbits, little to take away from today's event. Thankful it was available. Sad no Collins and no Parker. Neither were in the building as far as i could tell but Perkins was despite not playing. I think this says loads about Perk's current status and going slow. He is still not one year removed from the injury so I can give it all the time he needs. I really wanted to see what Parker might add to the table. What I did see ....... Thatch is the no-shite glue guy. Distributor. Defender. Disrupter. Team lead. Canned maybe three threes. Held his own on point but he is no penetrator ala Collins. But who is. Thames has potential but is somewhat careless with ball. Needs to shore up that end of the PG game. Had/made some nice shots. Ditto with some assists/passes. Can be a matchup nightmare on defense for smaller guards. Curious to see him on smaller PGs like Fernandes, Smith, Loyer. In the PG distribution, I can see Collins 75%; Thatch 15% and Thames 10%. Jimerson appeared confident beyond belief but near the end, he became 'Jack It Jimerson.' Didn't keep count but missed more than he made. Must've taken at least a dozen treys over the course of the game with a few more mid-range, two dunks, and one sweet back door cut. I thin he can have an even better year than last given the added weapons on this team in Perkins, Parker, and Pickett. Pickett was steady. Nothing flashy. Two or three threes. Decent defense. Nothing jumped out as amazing just consistent. Okoro will be a load in the paint. Had a nice baby hook from about 8 feet but mostly was the same tough-as-nails guy down low. Forrester challenged on a few and registered a block or two but Jake appears an able replacement for Linssen. He had some nice rolls to the basket and I would have liked to see if he could have duplicated the success Linssen had with Collins in there. Cisse is Traore 2.0 right now. Seemed to be rushing things and that's understandable. He has got to just get better and realize that next year, as of right now, he is the Billiken low post game. Hargrove is another glue guy in my book. Yes, he will get the occasional high flying dunk show highlight but he seemed quite content just in the system. I think he hit the first three for the white squad to go up 3 to 0 but later the Blue was up 25 to 5. I see a similar season as last year on the horizon for TJ right now. Kramer has game and appeared fearless. Made a few mid- and long-range jumpers. Had a few shots that were just plain flt. Played some tough defense, had about three steals and two or so breakaway dunks. Hughes Jr. held his own and got abused once or twice as well. Much better showing then recent Billiken walk-ons Courtney, Hines and Eckerle. Missed a three, got a rebound back, reloaded, eschewed another three and steppe din to hit a 17-footer. Kid did not look out of place at all. Some interesting facts: Bills led the A10 in scoring, free throw percentage and rebounding margins last year. Played onyl the ten guys mentioned due to illness and Perk's status. Changed teams at will trading one player for another and going with different combinations. Team leaves for Europe in one week. Corey Tate looks like a house out there. Courtney and Dziagwa reffed. Schedule announcement later this week. Nobody showed badly but the better players appear to be Thatch, Pickett, Jimerson, Okoro and Kramer. Okay marks to Thames, Hughes, Forrester and Hargrove. Work needed for Cisse.
  2. I say the next time Nick steps in the batter's box, the MBM pitching drill him in the ribs and see if they have indeed lost their fastball. No hard feelings; just an experiment. Test Nick's evaluation skills.
  3. Drills are mundane at best. Not having Okoro and Forrester limited things. Will wait for more in-depth stuff come Friday.
  4. I guess it's safe to say that if you want to sell tickets to a semi-useless basketball tournament, hold it in Dayton and make sure you put a Dayton alum team in it. Anybody know what the attendance was for that thing these last two nights? And get me the attendance for tomorrow now that the Red Scare has done and gone.
  5. Has to be Richmond. Burton, Grace, Gustavson all return and that is better than Fernandes. Plus the 7-foot transfer from Lafayette. Short of Fernandes, you could add in TJ Weeks to the Umass roster but the rest are mostly transfers or far-down-the-bench players. Might be tough playing for Frank Martin in such an atmosphere.
  6. I'm a doubter ... still. The contract is nice but other than his size, he never exhibited the skill needed at his position for this next level. At 6'7", he'd be a hand full if he were a true point guard. But he can't really dribble. He didn't handle pressure well. He didn't really set up his teammates with assists. And despite that size, he didn't shoot lights out over anybody shorter. I always thought deAndre Bembry would be better but he's not. Only time will tell.
  7. Olean is literally the middle of nowhere on an East Coast where that is very difficult to find. Some folks like that. Let's remember, to fly there, the Billikens land at Bradford, PA. As for my experiences on road trips, Fordham is great considering all that NYC has to offer. That includes games at MSG and Barclays. Lots of shows, museums, sights, restaurants, etc. Can't really go wrong in NYC but have not been back what with the recent uptick in crime and the like. But any place is dangerous if you are not on your guard. Fordham fans are relatively non-existent. They've been down so long, I don't think they know how to heckle. My favorite experience with a Fordham fan was encountering one wearing a "Fordham Crew" t-shirt. Sculling in the East River says it all. Rose Hill is tiny with little to no amenities but the sight lines are great and you can hear everything. The two Philly schools are almost night and day. St. Joe's Hagan Arena was upgraded about five years ago but it didn't amount to much. It's a bigger Rose Hill and most of the added seats went into the upper decks in both end zones. St. Joe's is easy to get to off South City Line Avenue and the Schuylkill Expressway, just west of the downtown area. Philly fans are knowledgeable but unforgiving. St. Joe's fans will rag more on their coach and offensive sets than the visitors. La Salle, on the other hand goes north on City Line into some of Philly's worst ghetto areas. Way up North Broad Street. Gola is arguably the worst atmosphere in the A10 and I have yet to encounter any real La Salle fans. There are no end zone seats at Gola; the team bench side is all bleachers and the opposite side are reclining seats with seat backs. But there is rarely anyone there. None of these three fan bases have ever been confrontational in all my years of A10 attendance. Duquesne fans are the same. Wasn't the last time the Dukes made the NCAAs like the late 70's? it's a downtrodden program. Every year, Dambrot has at least 10 new faces. Then they leave and it's start all over. The fan base there is also beaten into submission. But as noted, Palumbo/Cooper is a very small place to play. If they ever get decent, it will be a pit of horrors. Mason has a spanking arena out in Fairfax but rarely fills it. I think Mason is mostly a commuter school so there i svery little in terms of atmosphere both on campus and at Eagle Bank Arena. It's a school in the suburbs who embraces it's suburban sprawl atmosphere. Fans there don't say much to the opponents either. George Washington's SMith Center is nothing more than a larger high school gym. The student section tries to get obnoxious and they do sit right behind the bench line in the lower section. But not anything special. Dayton is an anomaly for me because of where I get to sit. I'm down in the front row with the high rollers and they are much more dignified and respectful as opposed to those in the upper regions. They seem to be very cautious with us whenever we visit, almost scared. But the smugness returns once they pull out a win. The students are relatively confined to the Red Scare section and don't really migrate much. We wear our blue proudly when there and it never really has gotten ugly since we vacated using those 400 level seats usually proffered by the SLU AD for alumni gatherings. Ignoring the fans, my best road travel places are NYC, DC, Duquesne, Atlantic City, and lastly Philly. I'veonly been to Duquesne once now, but the South Side Flats, Strip District (not strippers!) and the Hill District are all interesting places I'd like to explore more.
  8. Nope. Literally can't get there from here. There is no direct highway to Olean ---- it's all square .... I76 to I79 to I86 or I81 to I 86 and in both cases, there is a lot of non-sensical travel ---- going too far east or west to then double back. Olean can keep it's place as least possible A10 place to get to. The direct route is 207 miles in about 5 hours over two-lane roads in central PA in the winter
  9. Since I have moved to SoCenPA, my road trips have become more challenging. No longer available are the 60 to 75 minute drives to La Salle, Sgt. Joe's, Mason or Geedubya. I will have to plan more and possibly look at overnight accommodations given the day of the week for games. As for league games, I have been to Mason, Geedubya, Dayton, St. Joe's, La Salle and Fordham. This year, given the aforementioned move, I added Duquesne. I will give props to Duquesne for their re-do of the Palumbo Duct Center. The remodeled UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse was nicely done. It is a much better facility than Gola, Hagan, the Smith Center, and Reilly. Access is easy and clean. I'll go back given the scheduling as much as I can. It seats only about 5,000 but the Duquesne program is in such shambles, this is enough. They can always go across the street to the PPG Paints Arena should such a crowd ever attent a Duquesne game.' As noted, Mason is in the western suburbs of DC while Geedubya is right downtown in Foggy Bottom. Plus the A10 tournament has played at the Capital Center a few times now so I am quite familiar with what's down there. It is a great trip although weather can be tricky in February/March. Lots of things to do in DC, simple transit system, but getting more dangerous as recent times show. Going to Mason is like any trip to the suburbs. Dayton is an outlier for me. With access to a season ticket holder, we are usually fifth row, center court behind the broadcast team. Plus he'sone of those guys with parkign access to Lot B. Buying tickets outright there will send you to the 400 section and that's just not worth it. Few people go to La Salle games, adding to the dreariness of Gola Mausoleum. Plus, La Salle is really in the crumbling section of Philly known as North Philly. And I thought Temple was bad. St. Joe's is on City Line Avenue, closer to downtown and seems much more of a respectable neighborhood. Parking is usually done on the streets in both these locales which always makes me a little nervous when doing so. Neither school has much in the way of hotels in the immediate area as far as I know. Fordham was great. Great seats of course, Dominating travel crowd. But it was a [dead] year and we lost. Saw the handwriting on the wall there --- up close and personal. Last trip stayed in Times Square and trained up to Fordham. Hope we get a weekend there this year to do it all over again. Make it a weekend .... Broadway show and Billiken game. Park in Seacaucus, NJ, and train in. Then subway. For the A10 at Bsrclays, same routine. Impressed with Brooklyn. Lots to do. But again, major city full of unknowns at times. Have also been to Newark/Seton Hall. South Bend/Notre Dame. Madison Square Garden/Va Tech. Freedom Hall (before Yum Center). Birmingham/CUSA tournament. The Old Shoemaker Center (Fifth Third Arena at UC). Heritage Bank Center (old Fifth Third downtown Cincy). The old Markey Square Arena in Indy. Old Hearns at Mizzou. Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. I have Richmond and maybe Chicago in my sights to add to the above. Ditto Iona although that is a Tuesday game and involves negotiating NYC. Don't know if that can be done well.
  10. Some counter words being floated out East include the "C" word ---- contraction. A recent column compared it to a business where certain portions of the business ---- clothing lines, electronics, food items ---- are not profitable and eventually dumped or discontinued. That suggestion was laid up against the current makeup of the Big Ten with UCLA and USC. So who/what lines go? According to revenue figures explored in the article, the following five programs would be prime candidates for contraction out of the Big Ten ---- Rutgers, Maryland, Nebraska, Purdue and Indiana. While I have no dog in this fight, I think it is very safe to say things ain't over by a long shot. Another example coming in a future article is relegation ala English soccer ---- some teams move down while others move up. Such fun.
  11. Updated the comings and goings on the first page of this thread. To date, 506 of the 1745 entries into the transfer portal have yet to find homes. This is the six guys from the A10: Ahmad Harrison (Fordham), Michael Gray and Sam Shelton (Mason), Kyle Thompson (La Salle), Kolton Mtchell and Javohn Garcia (Umass) and Pedro Rossi (Bonaventure). Thompson, Shelton and Rossi are all former walk-ons. Lots of recent signings with JUCOs across the list. Tine is running out. EJ Clark, listed above, is a 5'11" point guard. Geedubya still light some talent and some players.
  12. @JMM28=== agreed. I however was limiting my interpretation to making money in the sport you played, i.e. basketba;;. JR Smith is a great example.
  13. Opting out means turning down money. Considering most of these Juan Bid leagues need their basketball team to be their anchor for fund raising and capital inflow, who is going to turn it down?
  14. I believe once you play for pay you revoke your amateur status forever. NIL is not play for pay but capitalizing on your own NIL. Kids coming in from overseas have to be properly vetted and cleared before they can play college ball. No one is going overseas, getting paid, then coming back to play college ball. Plus the five-years-to-play-four window will easily close.
  15. The real question might be who does he pass to? And he's not a transfer.
  16. There are different degrees of injuries ..... there is the Collins'/wrist injury where he plays through it. The Collins leg issue where he misses the Northern Iowa game. Then there is the Javonte Perkins torn ACL season-ending injury. Each level takes the stakes up a notch; each opponent amplifies or lessens those stakes. Playing through is obvious. Missing a game or two is likely not as catastrophic playing SIU-E as it would be against Maryland. And I'm ignoring the last one because no one wants to see that again. According to Verbal Commits, Yuri is the only point guard on our entire roster. Even Thames is listed as a shooting guard. We've offered four point guards for next year, all but one under 6' feet tall. Thames is listed at 6'6". This makes his development all the more intriguing to me. And that development would take pressure off any and all freshmen point guards coming in to a degree. If there are no injuries, I fully believe we can withstand a 5 to 10 minute period with Yuri out and a collection of Perkins, Thatch, Thames, and/or Hughes doing enough to weather the storm. If I were game planning against SLU, job #1 would be to wear Collins down and out as quickly as possible. As the rosters stand now, I can only see Dayton, Umass and VCU having the rotation of players to do it.
  17. We and Charlotte left CUSA for the A10 in 2005-06 right as Louisville, DePaul, Marquette, South Florida and Cincinnati left for the Big East; TCU joined the Mountain West and Army went back to independent in football. We've never been "kicked out" of a conference to my recollection.
  18. Smart move. Not a good player all in all.
  19. Coach say. Is that the new coachspeak? Can I use that from now on? Some didn't like my use of coachspeak but if coach say is a-okay, I'm in. Everything is preseason babble right now. From Ford to Bracketology to Top 144 and so on. Just generating interest. But again I am happier knowing Ford at least knows the issue might be there and he might believe he has it licked. I will always think back to a home game against Northern Iowa and the complete collapse we had without Collins in there. Good thing it was our last game of the season to find out Deandre wasn't it.
  20. Sounded to me that Coach is quite happy with Kellen Thames and LHJ as potential PG subs for when Yuri is in need of a rest or in foul trouble. Hearing that makes me think the need for a backup PG is not as crucial as some of us believe.
  21. Almost 13,000 students currently call SLU home. We can't get 7% of them to come fill the student section at Chaifetz each night? Almost 4,000 live on campus. So 75% of them have better things to do than go down the street to a free basketball game on most given nights.
  22. Right now, Lunardi has the Aq10 as a two bid league with Loyola the first four out. Dayton is a 5 and we are a 7. VCU was in that projected group out but have now disappeared. Which means all four of our preseason top four are in the running. This is far from a Juan Bid League but you have to perform and rack up wins. Yes, you coudl argue another game gets you another win. But what if #1 loses to #16? I think 5 through 16 can play and then bring the top four in to face the leftovers. I like a reward for winning the league and then some.
  23. SIU-E was 11 and 21 and 5 and 13 in their league last year and now they are rated #1??????? How far has that conference dropped?????
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