Ok, so things got messed up a bit with the schedule thanks to snow storms number 807 and 808 of the winter, but here's the mail I promised.

I got one question about Central stopping its attack vs. Wagner during what was nearly an infamous collapse.
Howie Dickenman said just that, that they didn't attack. But I don't think he was referring to the half court offense, as the email I got asked, when Central was running clock. I think he meant that they could have driven the ball more. Sometimes when you go at a press hard, if you break it in the back court, you actually have numbers and a layup in the front court. It's not always easy to pull off, but if you can do it, that's often the best way to go. That works with long passes, too. Since Central was just trying to pass its way into the front court more with short passes, I understood wasting clock once it got there. Especially since Wagner was scoring every time it touched the ball. The mission became try not to let Wagner score more than get Central to score.
The Blue Devil players and coaches alike admitted that wasn't the right mental approach after the game. Robby Ptacek said Central was playing not to lose, not trying to win.

My question is, can Central avoid presses better this week? Word gets around the NEC pretty quickly, and I'm quite certain the PA teams have heard about the trouble Central had with the press. It's been a longstanding issue for Central going back to my first year covering the team, 2005. Not sure if it's a guard thing or a coaching thing. Or just that presses, when done was well as coach Hurley's team did it, are very effective.

Also got one from Matt, who I've deemed the 2010 E-Mailer of the year, about the intentional foul rule that played a role in the FDU win. I knew as soon as the play happened what the call would be, I even passed a note to my buddy Paul Dottino, who was doing the game on FDU radio right next to me.

I only remembered the rule because I had just seen it in a TV game a couple of days before. I want to say it was Kansas (I watch WAY too much basketball to remember sometimes what game was what). If you use your elbow to clear space either while pressured or while grabbing a rebound, and you catch the opponent's head, it's automatically 2 shots and the ball.

Matt asked what I thought of the rule, and contended that if you swing your elbows as part of your body to clear space, it's the defender's problem.
Here's the difference, and I hope this comes across well on my blog. If not, maybe we'll add some video. My goodness, I think we've just come up with an idea for a segment on the blog, probably for next year. We'll see.

Anyway, remember the principal of verticality, one of the main rules in basketball. Simply, if you're standing straight, the space from the top of your head up to the ceiling is yours. If I (the offensive player) grab a rebound or turn my body to prevent you from stealing the ball while keeping my arms within that cone from my chest to the ceiling, then any contact created is the defender's fault. If I stick my elbows out from my chest (not sideways, but forwards) outside of that cone and sweep my arms (think of how every NBA center grabs a rebound) and I hit you, that's a foul on me because I've gone outside of my cone and into yours.

That's what happened in the FDU case. The kid didn't keep his arms tucked into his chest and turn, he stuck them out and turned. (Boy I hope any of that made sense, someone please comment on here or email me at and let me know)

Now, here's my theory on the rule. Sports are becoming obsessed with concussions. Before I retire, every sport will require helmets. Concussions are a bad, bad thing, and players getting bigger and stronger are only going to cause more of them. The only other solution is to put weight limits on all levels of sports like they do for pee wee football. Even the "small" kids in basketball these days are jacked. Robby Ptacek could beat me in arm wrestling, and I promise you I'm a big guy. The games we love are getting dangerous for the participants, and that's why rules are being put in place to try and keep kids healthy.

Matt also added that he was concerned about the freshmen. More specifically, he asked about Howie's statement before the year that this might be the best class he's had here.
His concerns are valid in that, other than De'Angelo Speech, none of the frosh have blossomed yet. But I will say this. Shemik Thompson averaged eight points a game his freshman year.
Yes, none of these kids are near that number, but my point is, players get better. It's way too early to determine if Howie's statement is going to be true or not.
Now, I'm not defending it either, mind you. He might be dead wrong about them. My point is that, in February of their first year, we just can't tell. If any of us are still here in Feb. of 2014, I will be happy to answer this question.

The other thing I would say about comparing this group to say, Shemik and Kenny Horton, is that this team has more options. There aren't as many chances for the freshmen to shine when the three best players are all vets who are going to take most of the shots. If in two years when the CCSU version of the big 3 are gone, Terrell Allen and Justin Alexander are still not doing anything, then you can say they were busts. Let's give them time to grow, then get the ball more before we decide.

Richard, I got your question about the hoops recruits. Truthfully, with football signing day today, I haven't put much time into hoops recruits. After we get through the football signings I will. I have a really good in on one of them, I can probably even get an interview. I went to school with one of his relatives (how old am I?). But we'll get back to that later.
Like I said in the chat: The coaches can't acknowledge the kids' existence until they sign, and even then CCSU doesn't like to put much out on the until they get to practice. But we'll write some on them here.

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