Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Musings: Another Round of Guru Catch-Up

Musings: Another Round of Guru Catch-Up

 

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA - And now some looking behind and ahead to give you all a reason to visit here

The summer is a bit slower by comparison to a year ago when a collegiate coaching shuffle moved along between May and early July.

Meanwhile, virtually all the media was caught by surprise over the recent coaches-only NCAA mock bracket sessions at headquarters in Indianapolis. It's not that we needed to be there, but we were unaware of the event until a few of the sports information directors sent releases out noting the participation of their respective coachees.

Upon seeing the list of attendees, the Guru's first reaction was that Connecticut's Geno Auriemma and his former player, Hartford's Jen Rizzotti, would be partnered up.

Sure enough, in going to the NCAA web site, the first picture to pop up was -- you guessed it -- the two of them looking at the data in one of the NCAA computers.

Upon reading the NCAA's live blog report (after the fact), it does appear the experiences were somewhat different than the media-dominated sessions the past two years in early February.

We worked with live data at the moment of the two-day session, with the only alteration was we had to make believe the regular season was over and skip a month ahead to selection weekend.

Thus, many of us were tuned into the season as it existed. Two years ago, the competitive dynamic virtually settled in early January so much of what we did came close to what resulted from the committee. Last year because of all the upsets, it was apparent that whatever we produced, short of UConn as the top seed, was going to implode within a week and it did.

The coaches, however, worked with past-tense data and had to go back and re-create the scene at the end of last season. Greg Johnson, the NCAA's blogger who once was an AP voter in Boulder, Colo., noted the result may not   be the same as what the committee produced. Also, each coach played the role of a real committee member.

Thus Auriemma was technically not himself -- what else is new? -- at the session and didn't have to leave the room when anything related to Connecticut was discussed. On the other hand, in the virtual setup, he was allowed to talk about himself, saying he was No. 1.

Time out. -- Off the official USA Basketball announcement on Tuesday, it's nice to see many of Geno's friends in the NBA and men's collegiate side will be his Olympic counterparts at the 2012 Games in London.

But back to the mock bracket, the way the session was  was run, it killed one of the Guru's initial muses when made aware of the event. By the NCAA not producing data projecting ahead, which would be impossible in terms of having to make up an RPI, devious minds didn't have to declare Delaware the CAA champion, which meant so much for placing Blue Hens rookie Elena Delle Donne on a path to an early collision with the Huskies.

Old Dominion's Wendy Larry was a participant meaning she had to live again with Drexel as the CAA champion after the Dragons killed the Monarchs' run of perfection in the conference tournament.

                       Summer League Action

 Speaking of Drexel, senior Gabriella Marginean had another 30-point game last week in the Department of Recreation Women's NCAA  Summer League at Northeast High. Although the Guru got retiring commssioner Dave Kessler's weekly newsletter, he'll wait to update action after attending Wednesday's (tonight) games in the neighborhood. 

The playoffs begin a week from tonight and it looks like a four-team race for the seventh and eighth playoff spots, while the top of the standings are still unsettled.

                          Women's Hall of Fame Announcement Time

    The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame will announce the next class during halftime of the WNBA All-Star game at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Saturday. The only clues provided for the moment are that the next six inductees consist of three former players, two coaches and one contributor.

    It would not be surprising for one of those players to be former UConn star Rebecca Lobo since she already reached eligibility for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., last time around.

  The Guru will be on the scene late Thursday afternoon or early evening in case any of you are around who want to dine. You have the Guru's email address.

                       Will Twitter Meet It's Match?

A recent release out of Rutgers announced that coach C. Vivian Stringer has joined the twitter world.

Now this should be interesting, considering twitter's 140-character limit. Enlisting the Scarlet Knights' legend is like offering a hummer a parking spot in a space reserved for compact cars.

On the other hand, Stringer's addition could be useful if twitter doesn't crash in the process.

Since the folks in Springfield told her she had five-six minutes for her acceptance speech when she's inducted in September, that will seem like an eternity of time compared to twitter rules. On the other hand, her good friend John Chaney, the former Temple men's coach, busted his limited by 20 minutes, but it was entertaining.

In the past, inductees generally have gone in alphabetical order. But considering Michael Jordan is in the class, Stringer will probably go sooner rather than later in the evening, which will help everyone's deadlines who are on hand to specifically cover her latest honor.

        That Was Then, This Is What It Is

  A recent news event out of the WNBA caused the Guru to reach into the archive system and in a major upset find a quote from five years ago from a certain individual.

"One of the big problems is the party atmosphere on many campuses and how it is relatively unsupervised, leaving some women vulnerable.
 
"The college atmosphere is accepted where you go out and you get drunk. That's accepted for some reason. When you go to college, that's what you are supposed to do. So that's what people do, even if it's out of character, out of what they normally do.
 
"However, when people do that, they find themselves in situations they are not used to. So you can get taken advantage of, especially when you're a high-profile athlete. Any college you go to, if you're on the men's or women's team, those are usually the most popular teams on campus, so it's available (drinking) whenever you want it."
 
The quote came from the WNBA's top rookie in 2003. At the time the Guru was the lead reporter on the rape scandal at La Salle here in Philadelphia, which involved participants in former women's coach John Miller's camp and several La Salle men's players, who were later acquitted.
 
As part of the coverage, the Guru interviewed the rookie for a story on campus party culture and how high profile players in high profile programs had to handle themselves.
 
That same former rookie was recently arrested in Phoenix on a dui charge.
 
She'll be on  the scene in casinoland this weekend as a member for the West. For those who believe that her penalty (two-game suspension by the Mercury) also should have included not appearing with the All-Stars, it might be a bigger hardship having to deal with much of the national media (whatever size these days) and especially Connecticut writers, who will have their first access to her since the incident. 
 
                                             40-40-40
 
  Well, this week the 40th anniversary of man landing on the moon was celebrated. Next month it's the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock rock festival. On September 9, the Guru will reach the same number on the anniversary of his hire here. After that -- stay tuned (but don't jump to assumptions just yet.)
 
 -- Mel 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Mel Greenberg Inquirer Sports Columnist
About this blog
Mel Greenberg covers college and pro women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he has worked for 38 years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather. He was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.



Click here for Mel's list of All-Decade players from Philadelphia-area schools.

Other contributors

Jonathan Tannenwald is a producer with Philly.com. In addition to covering the local college scene, he spent two years as the Washington Mystics beat writer for Women's Hoops Guru. He also writes his own blog, Soft Pretzel Logic, which covers men's college basketball, football, and other sports.

Kathleen Radebaugh is a recent graduate of St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. She covered women's basketball for the school's newspaper, The Hawk, and served as sports editor her sophomore year. She was also a four-year member of the varsity crew team.

Erin Semagin Damio covers the University of Connecticut and the WNBA's Connecticut Sun for the blog, and contributes other features. The Storrs, Conn., native also attends Northeastern University, where she is a coxswain on the varsity crew team.

Acacia O'Connor is based in Washington, D.C., where she reports on the Mystics and the college basketball scene in the nation's capital. A graduate of Vassar college, she played on the varsity women's basketball team and was editor of the student newspaper.

Click on any of the contributors' names above to e-mail them.

Reach Mel at poll416@gmail.com.

Mel Greenberg Inquirer Sports Columnist
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