News, notes and stuff

I'm probably a little late on all this by the time I get to sit down and write, but wanted to give my thoughts 0n a couple of things on the coaching front.
WFAN reported this afternoon that Pecora to Fordham is all but signed.
Now this is just me speculating, but here's what I think happened. Mike Rice either cost himself a job or never wanted the Fordham gig.
Scenario 1, which has been speculated on around the web, is that Rice was set to go to Fordham, then backed out when he thought he could get one of the Big East gigs. Since it sounds like St. John's is going to go with Hewitt and I don't think there's any way Seton Hall hires a fiery guy like Rice after the Bobby G disaster, Rice would be right back at RMU next year.
Here's why you should care: While coaches moving around isn't a new thing, it can't help RMU's recruiting this summer and next to have Rice's name in the mix for every job. If I'm, for example, Howie, I say to a kid "I'm going to be your coach for as long as you're here, he won't be."
Also, if Rice gets, say, the St. John's job, does he take players with him like what happened to my school, Northeastern, a few years back? Or do players just not like the new coach and transfer?

Scenario 2 is that Rice didn't want to go to Fordham, and is perfectly happy staying at RMU until the right gig comes along. Again, purely speculating and guessing, but does he figure he can win a couple of more NEC's with Abraham and eventually end up at Pitt? If he keeps winning, the possibilities are endless.
I still think there's no way he goes to Seton Hall, the timing is awful.

By the way, in our neck of the woods, there's a good piece from the Staten Island Advance on Wagner's search. I think Jim Engles is a nice get for someone. You should check it out. I can't link it here for some reason.

Btw, on the subject, I can't remember if I put this in the paper or on here, so if not I'll mention it, and if I already did, it's old news. One of the things I talked to Howie about was how long he wanted to stay, and he said he was still loving it and he'd stay "until they told him to go."
Don't expect that to come anytime soon, ans the Blue Devils will be one of the favorites to win the NEC next year.

2 things

JJ you're right. I didn't count Depaul because I don't consider them in the NE (legally yes, they're in the big east, but they're a midwest school to me), and 2nd, they've announced that they're blowing big money on a big name.
Maybe Bruce Pearl? That's the level they're going for.

Btw, relevant to nothing, I was thinking about next year's tourney, should CCSU get there. Here are the sites for next year (even if they go to 96 that fast, I think they just add a weekend, not more sites): PIG is in Dayton as always. The first 2 (3? 4? How will this even work?) rounds are in Tulsa, Tuscon, Denver, Cleveland, Tampa, Charlotte, Chicago and DC.
The regionals are in S.A., Anaheim, New Orleans and Newark at the new Meadowlands. The Final Four is in Houston.

Mail time!

Hey guys, sorry I didn't check in with an update that the first off-season story was going to be posted. To be honest, I was watching the games all day yesterday and forgot to hop on here.

There's always more questions after a story, but I wanted to add that there will be more stuff this off-season, hopefully answering more of them. Particularly about recruiting. Got a lot from Howie on the general process, and things like that, but I'm going to save a bunch of it for what I hope is an interesting longer recruiting feature sometime this offseason.

With that, let's hit the bag. And as always, send me more questions on things I didn't cover to

Got a couple of questions from another Matt (still a great name).
Since his email (while very good) was long, I'll just put the answers in;
From what I've been able to gather about Alexander, I'd guess his offense next year comes mostly on offensive rebounds and layups. Basically I think he can put up Dave-like numbers right away if he can understand the offense well enough to play and can play defense without fouling. Those last 2 are huge ifs, however.
As for Allen's style, I'll let Howie answer: "Runner, jumper, athlete who can make a 17-foot shot. He’s more inside than outside.”
He went on to say he might use him more of an outside player next year as CCSU can use shooters.
Also this from Howie about him: "I'm not sure where he’s going to play, but you need competition in practice. And if he wants to beat out some of the veterans, fine. It’s only going to make us better to have players working even harder for playing time.”
As for Efese... I didn't mean to "push him aside." I've written a lot about his improvement of late, thought we'd kind of covered that topic... at least until the start of next year when we see how he fits in. This is the most underrated part of what a coach does. He must figure out, in this case, how to keep developing Efese while playing Kenny. Like I said before, CCSU will be VERY deep next year up front. Someone is going to get a big cut in time.

My early thoughts on a rotation: Devan and Shemik in back, Robby, Ken and Dave up front to start. Markeys, Joe E, Justin and Chris off the bench along with Vince. Tull and the other two freshmen that come in might be the odd men out. But we didn't see much of Tull this year because of injury, and he is athletic. Could be useful in an Aaron Hall way sometime.
Again, that's just me talking.
Positionally, it might fit better with two guards and Ken and Joe E both up front, but Devan became a solid ball-control guy and I can't imagine sitting Shemik, so I think Robby plays the 3.

One other thing I saw mentioned today that was wrong (according to Howie), and it's a mistaken belief I held as well. He said he doesn't do much scheduling based on team strength, so the idea that a bigger schedule mean he thinks the team is better isn't necessarily true.
While I did get a more upbeat vibe from him than I have in a couple of years about next year, he said the schedule is based more on money and who will play you than anything else. Still, I think it's fair to say they're more likely to take an extra guarantee game in a year when they expect to be good like next year.

That's all I can think of to add at the moment, feel free to ask more questions if I missed something.

Oh, as for RMU: 2 thoughts. 1) While I don't believe in conspiracy theories involving refs, I will say I've seen better officiating in the WWE than I saw in that game. 2) Mike Rice earned himself a better job next year, but I'm not sure the openings are there for a big jump. The only Big East job open is St. John's. While it's not out of the realm of possibility, I'm not sure that's where they go.
I could see Fordham since he's from there, but he might want a better situation. My guess is he ends up in the MAAC, especially if the Iona or Siena coaches move up. The St. John's job will flick all the dominoes in the Northeast this year.

I didnt forget about you

With all the high school stuff, ads and our new computer system we're installing, it's going to be another day or two before we start running CCSU stuff, except for Friday when I'll be doing something on Jason's charity race. Then we get ready for Spring Football.

Whoever said there's always delays was right

First season recap story won't be in Monday... so much local playoff and NCAA stuff that it wouldn't fit. Will let you know when it will run.
Also working on a deeper look at recruiting this offseason, this one will just be talking about the kids that are coming.

mail questions

heard that the email wasn't working... but I just tested it and I got one through.
Maybe I put it wrong in here?
Someone do me a favor and send me something so we can check if it's working.

PS: I think that was the problem, I posted it incorrectly the other day. I've editied it in the previous post that was wrong. It's 2 b's, one for my name and one for blog.

recap preview

Yes I can use those two words at once!
First off, this is my last of a few posts today, go back and read them, especially CT Hoops. You comments were posted, I was right. They're listed as "1 comment" under the posts they are responses to. I think that's why you didn't see the one you thought I didn't post. Go back and look, as well as to see my rebuttal. I do appreciate the response, as well as the critical but respectful tone. I wish everyone did it that way. I'm happy to debate all day if we can be civil and intelligent about it.

Thinking my talk with Howie today will run Monday, will let you know when I know for sure.
But for now, I thought I'd give you some highlights:

I did ask about the recruiting. He said one of the reasons there hasn't been a lot of in-state recruits of late is because the state has been way down. He said only a couple state players have signed so far this year.
As we know, (and this is me talking now) another in-state kid is expected to come, Darius Watson. Though when I checked into that with a high school recruiting source it sounded like less of a lock than I had originally heard from my colleagues. It still very much could happen, however. They're trying to add a couple of more kids, but they will be guards.
I did ask about whether he thinks his aggressive style makes it tougher to recruit. I have to go back and listen to his answer, it was in depth, so I can't really sum it up in one sentence. That quote you'll want to read.

Since I was asked earlier this year, I asked Howie how long he wants to coach. Since I don't think this one will make the story I'll put it here: "Until they tell me to go," was his answer. He sounded as geared up as I've heard him in awhile. Certainly there was no sign of slowing down. Just a hunch, but I got the vibe that he thought next year was going to be a very good year.

He's very excited about next year. He called this class coming in "one of the best recruiting classes we've had since I've been here." We'll have to see how it plays out of course, but that's encouraging. Of course no coach is going to say "man I think the class we have coming in stinks" but he spoke much more highly of it than usual. I'll have some interesting details on the two recruits that have signed.

I'll also have the return date for Kenny. I was half right. Also got some schedule stuff, will put the info here if I don't get it in the paper. You'll be excited if it comes true.

railing against conference tourneys

My brief, annual tirade:
Conference tournaments are evil. The Hartford women, who already won their league in the regular season, have to play a tourney and lose one of their best players to an ACL. A team like Miami can stink all year, get hot, and end up with a legit chance to make the tourney with one more win. Not only would that get the Canes an undeserved berth, but it would knock another bubble team that spent the year getting close enough to be considered out.
The Quinnipiac men win their league over three months, lose one game and they're out.
I just use these teams as examples, there are numerous others. It drives me nuts. Not to mention that the NCAA doesn't think football players can handle one more game a week after its scheduled bowl because of classes, but it can ask Notre Dame to try and win four straight games in four days in New York.
Ridiculous. And they'll be even more ridiculous next year when they don't matter, because everyone will be in the big dance anyway. Will that stop them from being played? Of course not!
I like them because a team like Central, which lost the regular season title by January, have something to play for. But man, there's a lot of reasons they really tick me off.
Ok, off my soap box.

CT hoops

First, I did post your comment. Look at the "1 comment" listed under the post you commented on. It's yours. And I've posted the one you left today.
Second, I appreciate your specifics, let me respond to them.
First, you left out the things I wrote about in that list about the men, particularly the turnovers and the need for a point guard. Also, I forgot to mention there was the series of stories about the lack of heart after Howie's "not a Blue Devil" speech.
As for the antics of the coach, that's not exactly news. Howie yells at his players. So does Jim Calhoun, Jim Boehim, Frank Martin, Bob Huggins and Mike Rice off the top of my head. John Calipari consistently talks about his team being bad to the press despite the fact that it's about to get a 1-seed. Plus, this is a fact that's well-known, it's not like he only does it in practice. I've said how tough practice can be. So I'm not sure what it is you want reported there. If you're asking me to criticize it, I can't because that's the kind of coach I want my kid playing for, someone who's tough but gets the most out of his kids. If you want to say you think a coach shouldn't yell at his kids, say so and I'll be glad to post your opinion. I just don't agree.
About the technicals: I only remember a couple this year. If they're relevant, I mention them. Like if the other team goes on a 10-0 run after, I mention it. I only mention the other coaches' T's if they lead to a momentum swing, too.
I don't want to put words in your mouth, so let me know if I'm not understanding you right, but I think you're saying you don't like Howie's antics and don't think a coach should get a T. And that's a totally valid opinion, even if I don't agree.
About the kids leaving the program: We touched on this last summer. Tamir wanted playing time if I remember correctly. Aaron, and this is just my opinion, left because he didn't like Howie's style. Shemik mentioned last week that only "tough players" make it through Central. That's accurate. But again, that's not exactly anything new. Yes, there's higher turnover at places with "hard-nosed" coaches, but it's not unusual.
As I mentioned last year, the kid that went to Farifield, from what I heard various places, didn't have the attitude Central looks for. Yes, the style scares some kids off and runs some others out. The question is if that's a good or bad thing. But with kids changing their minds about where to go, that's extremely common at this level. That's one of the many reasons I don't talk much about recruiting. Kids get what they consider to be better offers. But much more of that has to do with playing time than whether or not they're going to be yelled at. They know that when they agree to come in the first place.
I think I got it all, but if there's something I didn't cover, as I said, feel free to let me know. I'm happy to discuss anything.

One more night

Before I forget, congratulations to Mike Rice and Robert Morris for a well-earned title, and to Tom Moore for turning that Quinnipiac program from an underachiever to a player in the NEC. And to those kids, who played their butts off all year. I'm thrilled the NIT went to the automatic system and the regular season champs get in. That's the ONLY thing I like about the 96-team tourney possibility... that Quinny would dance under next year's expected format.

I'm going to hold off on doing the season recap blog stuff until I talk to Howie, which I'm going to do Friday. We were both running around a bit and haven't gotten together.

CT hoops:
I certainly don't mind criticism, but I'd love if you were a bit more specific. I can't argue or agree with your point when you're so general.
However, let me try and defend myself a little in the meantime.
First, remember that I am a beat writer and not a columnist. If you read the Courant stuff about the UConn men for instance, think of me as Mike Anthony, not Jeff Jacobs. It's very rarely my job to tell you what I think (that's what the blog is for) in a story, it's my job to tell you what Howie thinks and to analyze why something happened.
Along those lines, you should read some old stuff I used to write about the CCSU women, I can be quite critical. This year, I (along with help from Lisa Backus) wrote repeatedly about the Shontice Simmons arrest this year.
I spent a good part of this year talking about how the men turned the ball over too much, and I make the same remark about coach Mac flip flopping about the offense by Week 2 of every season. Yesterday I said something bad about CCSU's pitching staff... I don't remember the specific line. I just got done criticizing two CCSU fans for "shirtgate", and I frequently rip CCSU students for not having enough of a presence at games.
Other than that, not sure what you think I was too soft about. I do write from a CCSU perspective, but that's because that's what my readers are interested in. But if there's a topic you don't think I've asked enough about, ask me and I will ask the appropriate person there. My email is
For example, I'm going to ask coach about the recruiting stuff tomorrow to try and get some questions I've been asked by you guys answered by coach.
One thing I won't do is lie to make myself seem controversial. I do truly believe that the men were 2 injuries away from competing for an NEC title, and I think they will be in the top 2 next year. I was disappointed with the way the women finished this year, but I think you have to be fair and attribute some of that to losing their point guard and the distractions that came with it. I stand by my statement that Beryl should have been national coach of the year last year.
I won't bash a team just to pep up the writing.
Again, I'm not even saying you're wrong and I'm right. Just give me some details and we can debate stuff. But remember, a big part of my job is to try and give you a sense of the emotions of the team, so a loss is going to reflect that and vice versa. But if you disagree with me about something, tell me. I love debating, and I don't hide from bad things said about me. I could have deleted your comment, but I post them all unless they're vulgar or something that can't be substatiated like "my roomate told me this coach hates this player..." etc.

So close

So I actually started a series of what was going to be long blog posts, but office work called.
I will get a bunch of stuff up here this week. In the meantime, I'm heading over to CCSU's first home baseball game in about 3 years Wed. afternoon. Can't wait to see the new place


Lots of men's review to do, likely next week, but for now I wanted to correct myself on one thing. The women play at 8 tonight. It's wrong in the paper cuz I screwed up. If they win today, the semifinal would be Sunday at 4. That's where I got 4 from.

2 very quick things

1) Apparently from what I've heard, the Devan thing was feared to be serious at one point, so I don't think this was a case of a team inventing an injury to mess with the other team. I will say that I've been used before in that way (not by Howie) in my career, so it is possible. But I really do believe this was legit. I'd tell you if I didn't.

2) And this is going to be very quick because this is probably the most insignificant argument we've ever had here that went on for a while (though I will say that I appreciate that so many apparently read what I wrote here). My point wasn't that the gentlemen (who I've probably interacted with on here and have nothing against personally) didn't have a reason to be upset, they did. It's that they handled it poorly. That's all I was saying.
It's like when I get an email on here. If someone disagrees with me, great, I love a good debate. Tell me why I'm wrong in a semi-respectable way and I'm happy to respond. But when I get yelled at or if I were to be called classless, I just delete the email. That was my point on this. There's a right way to object to something and a wrong way. All I'm saying.
I will tell you a quick story, then we're dropping this, at least I intend to. A few years ago I had a flood on my street, got evacuated and had exactly two clean outfits. Without thinking about it, I wore a UConn hat to a CCSU soccer game. One of the coaches teased me about it, I explained the situation and it was never brought up again. My point is, unless it happens regularly, it's not a big deal. I promise. I'm really right about this one, trust me. There are many, many more important things for us to focus our energy on. NEC Tourney talk anyone?
Now, let's get back to a big ball game. I talked to Marc, the bus arrived safely. I'm not physically in PA, but will talk to people after the game and have a full report and reaction over the next couple of days. I will be at the semifinal unless it's at the Mount.

Good news

So I just heard that Devan not only made the trip today, but was feeling better. MIGHT even play. MIGHT.

Devan update

Just got back from the Hoop Group lunch, after which I talked to Howie for a few minutes for a preview that will run Thursday morning.
I can add a few details regarding the Devan situation. Apparently he's being quarantined and has to wear a mask, so (and I'm purely speculating here) he must have some kind of awful and highly contagious flu bug. I'm not even going to guess what kind, and they're not supposed to be specific in a case like this, so I didn't even ask.
Coach did back off slightly, saying it was "highly unlikely" that Devan would make the trip instead of "he won't." Also, Devan told the team he'll be ready for Thursday, so he's trying. Though that appears to be a pipe dream.
Also, coach sounded quite sick himself, and Shemik was very sick last week, so something is going around again like it was early in the year. Awful timing is all.
That's all that's new from Stanley.
As for the other question about the Jason Page thing... I don't really want to comment more as it wasn't my business, I only said something because he mentioned it on the air so I figured it was fair game. Besides, I wanted to actually back him up because I knew some people would just assume he was being anti-CCSU. His account was accurate, I was two seats over.
Polite ribbing over the shirt would have been funny... I kidded him about it. But these guys were WAY, WAY out of line. A drunk college kid I'd have expected, but these were two older gentlemen. Bad, bad job by them.
And trust me, Jason's a good dude, I can personally vouch for that. He's been very good to me personally, and trust me, it's not because he needs career help from me. For an outsider to both like him, it's possible to be pro CCSU (which he has been) and pro Quinny. For those who aren't, however, do me one favor. Remember, root for your school, but be a human about it.
Get on Quinny for being overhyped, fine. Lord knows I have, and I'm objective. But if they win, be classy. Your school has three. Giving Tom Moore (also a nice guy by the way) credit doesn't mean you're ripping Howie.
Ok, I'm off the soap box. Wanted to get you the Devan stuff, but didn't want you to think I was ducking the questions about Jason.

Brekaing news

Howie just told Jason Page on his weekly spot on Jason's radio show on 1410 that Devan likely won't play Thursday due to the flu. I'll be talking to Howie tommorow, so I'll get more info then.
On a side note, I thought Jason handled the fan incident properly on his show today, going after the two guys without picking on a whole fan base. I was two seats from him and can vouch for his account of the events. He should have expected good-natured ribbing for the shirt he had on, but these two guys were way over the top.