Hawks' season off and flying


College basketball is opening earlier and earlier every year. I’m not certain that this is a good step for the game. Practice preparation is cut short so we can compete but the product is flawed in my opinion.

At Saint Joseph's we have gotten through all of the excitement of the spectacular dedication of the Hagan Arena. A great night for historians of the program – Dr. Jack,  Matt Guokas, Mike Bantom – all in attendance along with many former players. The Hagan Arena and Ramsay Basketball Center are second to none in providing comfort and class to our history-rich men’s and women’s programs.

The opening game with Drexel brought the SJU basketball experience back to Hawk Hill. Many thanks to Bruiser Flint and his Drexel Dragons for the hotly contested battle played out in front of a standing-room-only crowd, including more than 1,200 students.

Exempt tournaments in exotic locations have become a part of pre-Thanksgiving basketball. My program got a unique opportunity to participate in the Paradise Jam along with the likes of Boston College, Purdue and Tennessee. Many people ask what the tournaments provide along with the obvious - high-level opponents on neutral courts.

The experience allows your players a true chance to get to know each other, a real reaction to playing away from the comforts of home and the needed knowledge of what it feels like physically and mentally to compete on back-to-back nights.

My players might be getting spoiled with Maui in 2008-09, the Virgin Islands in 2009-10, so next year we return to Philly and the Palestra in the Hoop Group Classic.

Best wishes to all of our teams in Philadelphia for great health throughout the season.

Talk with you soon.
Phil Martelli