Archive: December, 2008
I really like the opportunity to have extended practice time durung the holidays. It is a chance to do a lot of teaching, make certain changes, get a lot of repetitions and practice with high energy. When we have a game every few days we try to conserve some energy, stay healthy and work on some game-specific strategy for our next opponent. Lately, we have been able to focus on us and go all out. We are hoping it helps us against a tough 7-4 Manhattan team at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Their four leading scorers are perimeter players who can drive and shoot. Defending them will be key.
At 6-5 we are off to a solid start that would be much better if we would have won close games against Florida State and Southern Mississippi. We are focusing on constant effort and focus in practice to make the difference in close games. Vernon Goodridge is feeling better after playing with bruised ribs. With health, better conditioning and added game experience we feel he will have a strong A-10 season. We are especially pleased with the consistency of Kimmani Barrett. All our other players are aware of where they need to improve and are working hard at it. Finishing with a good non-conference record is key with games left against Manhattan and Howard before the A-10 starts.
1. North Carolina (12-0): Tar Heels dumped Rutgers, 97-75, last night.
2. Connecticut (11-0): Big East season gets serious quickly with tonight's game against Georgetown.
3. Pittsburgh (12-0): Big men Sam Young and DeJuan Blair average a combined 34.8 points and 18.8 rebounds.
The holiday season is the time of year where we are thankful for all that we have been blessed with in life. It is also a time of giving, and at Temple, we look to instill in our student athletes a sense of being part of the overall community.
I think it is important for all teams, all college athletes, to find some type of community service that they can attach themselves to. For us it has been our great relationship with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program where we can
actually make an impact on a young person’s life.
There is only one person who is going to be more impacted than that young child from inner city Philadelphia and that person is the student athlete himself. He is going to get a sense of what it means to give back and it will make a great impression on him. He is a pretty lucky guy and he has to give some of that luck back to the community and that is what we hope to do when we do our community service work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
A win was there for the taking for La Salle Saturday afternoon at Cornell, but a huge second half surge by the Big Red dropped the Explorers to 5-5 on the season.
Coach John Giannini was shorthanded for this one as center Vernon Goodridge sat out with injured ribs. Goodridge suffered the injury in last Wednesday's win over Rider when he attempted to draw a charge on a layup, and was hit in the ribs by a knee.
Goodridge's injury was critical in Saturday's loss. Cornell 7-footer Jeff Foote went off for 25 points against the smaller Explorers. La Salle led by as many as 14 in the first half, but faltered after the break, due in large part to just 9-of-26 (34.6 percent) shooting from the floor. Cornell shot 12-for-22 (54.5 percent) in the second half and outscored the Explorers by 52-32.
1. North Carolina (11-0): People are already talking unbeaten season. That is a bit much, but nobody has been close yet. Beat Valparaiso in Chicago, 85-63.
2. Connecticut (10-0): Overcame an 11-point deficit with 12 minutes left at Seattle's Key Arena and beat Gonzaga, 88-83, in OT.
3. Pittsburgh (12-0): Won, 56-48, yesterday at Florida State, their first road game.
Freshman Samme Givens started his first game for Drexel in place of Kenny Tribbett on Thursday night against Niagara. Dragons coach Bruiser Flint said the 6-5 Givens started because Niagara plays four guards. Givens swept a season-high 12 rebounds. His eight points came at crucial times for the Dragons. Tribbett only played 3 minutes.
Senior Tramayne Hawthorne scored seven points for Drexel, but he continued his shooting woes: 3 of 10 from the field, 1 for 6 on threes. Hawthorne entered the game shooting 25 percent from the field and 19 percent on treys.
Last season, Hawthorne averaged 11.2 points as he shot 38 percent from the field and 35 percent on threes.
Watched all three of St. Joe’s games in Hawaii on television and, other than the second half against Indiana, did not like much of what I saw. Too often, the basketball looked a medicine ball. Passes were an adventure. Nothing looked remotely cohesive.
Certainly, the Texas loss was understandable, but I just did not like how the Hawks were playing. I don’t think much of Alabama and SJU was never really a factor in that game either.
The Lehigh win and Creighton loss did not inspire much confidence. This looked like a team playing without much joy.
Then, I went to Towson last week to a gym about a mile from where I grew up. And I saw a different St. Joe’s team. Ball movement, shooting, spacing, running, everything. Given that it was Towson, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.
Last weekend we played at Fairfield, one of the best teams in the MAAC, and lost a close game. Our guys battled hard and took care of the ball, but we just couldn’t make a shot when we needed one. We had 22 offensive rebounds and only five turnovers, but if you shoot 32 percent you’re not going to beat too many people. That is something we need to work on as the season progresses.
We’ve got a pretty tough stretch ahead of us over the next two weeks. It seems like we went for months without playing and now we are looking at playing three games in a five-day stretch against some pretty good teams. It starts off on Thursday when Niagara comes to the DAC. They just won at South Florida and we know this will be a hard-fought game.
The next morning we practice and drive up to Bucknell where we play on Saturday. Bucknell has played a lot of close games and beat Old Dominion earlier in the season in Lewisburg. As soon as we finish there, we hop on a plane and head to Memphis to face Coach Cal and his Tigers. I don’t have to tell you how good they have been over the years. This will be the first time I have coached against Cal, so it will give people something to talk about. I just want to make sure our guys don’t play like we did at Georgetown and play to a level that I think we can. But we have to shoot it better.