Sunday, June 30, 2013

Momo Jones Update

A Daly Dose Of Hoops has just learned that former Iona guard Momo Jones HAS NOT reached a deal with the Boston Celtics, contradicting the report from SNY's Josh Newman that was used as a reference for our piece on Jones signing in Boston and playing for the Celtics' Summer League team next month in Orlando.

Brian Heyman, who covers the Gaels for The Journal News in Westchester County, spoke to Jones' agent last night, and was informed that he is in talks with several teams after the proposed agreement with the Celtics fell through.

When Jones does agree to terms with a team and it becomes official, A Daly Dose Of Hoops will relay the information as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Anosike To Play For Nuggets In Summer League

O.D. Anosike has taken next step after one of greatest careers in Siena history, signing with Denver Nuggets and competing for their Summer League team. (Photo courtesy of the Albany Times Union)

Another Saint has come marching the professional ranks, that is.

O.D. Anosike, whose four-year career in Loudonville produced some of the greatest seasons in the history of Siena basketball, as well as a streak of consecutive double-doubles that led the nation, has agreed to terms with the Denver Nuggets, and will play for their Summer League team in Las Vegas. The Staten Islander's first game will take place on July 13th, when Denver's Summer League squad; which included Kenneth Faried and Jordan Hamilton last year, takes on the Milwaukee Bucks.

"The organization is moving in a new direction, with a new head coach (Brian Shaw) and GM (Tim Connelly) that wants to bring in young, exciting players, so I thought it would be the best fit," Anosike said. "I really want to showcase my other underrated skills, like my ball handling and shot blocking. They all know I can rebound."

The younger brother of former Tennessee star Nicky Anosike, O.D. led the nation in rebounding in each of his last two seasons, averaging 12.5 boards per game in his junior year and 11.4 caroms per game this past season. His 23 double-doubles, including 17 consecutive, are a school record; and he leaves Siena as not only a multiple-time all-MAAC honoree, but also one of the most well-spoken and articulate players in the nation. An academic All-America candidate last season, Anosike's 1,076 career rebounds rank second in Siena history, trailing only former teammate Ryan Rossiter.

Please continue to follow A Daly Dose Of Hoops for additional news related to Siena College and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference throughout the offseason.

Friday, June 28, 2013

2013 NBA Draft: Winners, Losers & Somewhere In Between

Anthony Bennett greets NBA commissioner David Stern after Cavaliers make Canadian power forward UNLV's first No. 1 overall selection since Larry Johnson 22 years ago. (Photo courtesy of

Following this year's latest 60-player extravaganza featuring another unusually high amount of stash picks and enough drama for every network soap opera a few times over, one more NBA Draft has come and gone. As we try to do every year in its aftermath, we'll take a look at some of the big winners, and those who could have done a little better:

Sacramento Kings: The team with a home they're openly trying to leave might be a team on the rise next season. Sacramento only had two picks, but made the most of each despite not drafting frontcourt help for DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings had Ben McLemore fall into their laps at the No. 7 spot when he was projected within the top three and was considered the best player in the draft by several experts, and drafted underrated point guard Ray McCallum in the second round to form an effective platoon with Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette.

Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazers' first move was to draft a partner for rookie sensation Damian Lillard, which they did by taking Lehigh's C.J. McCollum at No. 10. From there, the Blazers slowly moved further up in size, acquiring Cal swingman Allen Crabbe in a trade from Cleveland before beefing up the front line with Kansas' Jeff Withey and burgeoning big man Grant Jerrett of Arizona. The Blazers' other draft pick, Marko Tedorovic, can easily be stashed overseas until he is ready, and Portland is hoping he turns out as well as one of their most notable international stars, Arvydas Sabonis, did.

Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers may have traded Jrue Holiday to New Orleans, but they get back a defensive star in the making in Nerlens Noel, whose torn ACL caused five teams to pass on him before the Pelicans grabbed the Kentucky standout at No. 6; and then Philly used their own pick on Michael Carter-Williams of Syracuse five spots later, giving them a point guard who can steal just as well as he can pass and score. If that wasn't enough, the Sixers got great value in their second round pick, fortifying their backcourt with Baylor's Pierre Jackson, whose breakout stretch run carried the Bears to an NIT championship.

Dallas Mavericks: Mark Cuban worked the phones to perfection last night, turning Kelly Olynyk, who the Mavs drafted at 13, into trades with Boston and Atlanta that brought back Miami point guard Shane Larkin at No. 18, while Ricky Ledo; the superstar whose academic ineligibility precluded him from playing at Providence, ended up coming back to them in the second round. With these swaps, Dallas has a point guard of the future in Larkin to feed two scoring wings in Ledo and Jae Crowder, which eases the pressure on an aging Dirk Nowitzki.

Chicago Bulls: The Bulls also had just two selections, but hit home runs on each one. With the future of Luol Deng in doubt, Chicago drafted the extremely versatile Tony Snell out of New Mexico at No. 20, giving Tom Thibodeau a dual threat on both sides of the ball; and backed it up in the second round with Erik Murphy arriving in the Windy City to help ease the transition from Carlos Boozer, whose tenure in Chicago may be coming to an end.

Deshaun Thomas: Described in our mock draft as a consummate pro's pro, the bruising Ohio State big man looked for all the world like he would be an undrafted free agent, a shame for a player of his caliber. Fortunately for Thomas, not only did he get drafted, he walks into a dream situation in San Antonio, who selected him 58th overall. Thomas' arrival gives Gregg Popovich another versatile big man to place into the Spurs' rotation, and it fills the future task of having to replace Tim Duncan. Between Thomas, DeJuan Blair and Kawhi Leonard, the reigning Western Conference champions do not need to rebuild right away, but rather reload and evolve.

Fran Fraschilla: Of all the ESPN analysts last night, Fraschilla was far and away the most valuable on the microphone. His scouting reports of international players were the most refreshing and informative segments on draft night, and underscored the fact that someone out there should really take a look at him when the next college coaching carousel rolls around.

David Stern: The commissioner will always be a lightning rid for better or worse, but the NBA is really going to miss him when he rides off into the sunset next February. Let's face it, no one could work a crowd like Stern, and the Brooklyn native spared no expense in stealing the show, pulling out all the stops in front of his hometown crowd.

Orlando Magic: The Magic get an incomplete grade for yet another draft in their continued effort to rebuild post-Dwight Howard, first passing on Ben McLemore and Nerlens Noel to take Victor Oladipo of Indiana second overall, opting for the flashy shooting guard who will have to work harder to exploit professional defenses, and then taking Oklahoma's Romero Osby in the second round when they could have had Deshaun Thomas, or even a guard like Peyton Siva, who went to Detroit.

Charlotte Bobcats: In his first autobiography, pro wrestler Mick Foley wrote that the great Ric Flair (ironically, one of the most famous Charlotte residents) was "every bit as bad on the booking side of things as he was great on the wrestling side." The time may have come to start saying the same about Michael Jordan. For everything MJ has done on the court, he has proven to be in over his head in the front office, and the selection of Cody Zeller at No. 4 does nothing further to help his cause.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Remember how everyone lauded Sam Presti for fleecing the Rockets in last year's James Harden trade? Yeah, that was a long time ago. One year later, Harden has emerged as a star in Houston, and all the former Sonics have to show for it are Jeremy Lamb, an aging Kevin Martin, and No. 12 overall pick Steven Adams, a center from Pittsburgh who is a project to say the least. The Thunder will get great mileage from Andre Roberson, who was acquired in a trade, but their night could have gone much better.

Boston Celtics: Kelly Olynyk, Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans could end up being the new big three in Beantown after the Celtics traded for Olynyk, and then struck a deal to pry Wallace and Evans from Brooklyn for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, an agreement that will be announced on July 10th after the start of free agency. The Celtics did get three first-round picks from the Nets for the future, but in the short term, it will be a long road ahead in Boston.

Momo Jones Likely Headed To Celtics

Momo Jones has more reason to celebrate tonight, as MAAC Player of Year is receiving strong interest from Boston Celtics. (Photo courtesy of Iona College)

When Lamont "Momo" Jones arrived at Iona College two years ago, he showed up in New Rochelle amid controversy and criticism. He left two years later with a conference championship, consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, MAAC Player of the Year honors, peace of mind, and most of all, his infant son.

You may be able to add an NBA contract real soon, as SNY's Adam Zagoria reports that Jones will be signed as an undrafted free agent by the Boston Celtics shortly after the draft, once the moratorium on roster transactions is lifted by commissioner David Stern. Jones would become the second consecutive Iona player to follow this road to the NBA, as Scott Machado was signed by the Houston Rockets in the days following the draft, embarking on a rookie season that ended in the Western Conference playoffs as a member of the Golden State Warriors. Zagoria's SNY colleague Josh Newman has now confirmed that Jones will not only sign with Boston, but also play for the Celtics' Summer League team next month.

Jones' senior season goes down in the annals of Iona history as one of the program's best ever, a campaign in which the Harlem product was second in the nation in scoring, averaging 22.6 points per game en route to MAAC Player of the Year and MBWA Haggerty Award honors, capturing both recognitions one year after Machado did the same at Iona. He also averaged 3.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game as the Gaels' point guard, and will be remembered for starting Iona's rally to the NCAA Tournament by overcoming nagging injuries to score 35 points off the bench in the Gaels' 90-86 victory over Loyola, a win that ended a spell in which the Gaels lost six of seven games, each by three points or less.

Please follow A Daly Dose Of Hoops for further updates on Momo Jones during the offseason.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

2013 NBA Draft: A Running Diary

Last year, we made a conscious and rather enjoyable decision to avoid Twitter and the endless scooping of draft picks to try something new, a Bill Simmons-inspired running diary of draft night, which we reprised again last March for Selection Sunday. With this being David Stern's final draft, a lot more than his usual chorus of boos should be expected when he takes the stage in his hometown of Brooklyn, and ESPN already had a couple of notable moments on its pregame show. So, here it is, as we take you through the first round, and (time permitting) maybe some of the second too:

7:26 - Rece Davis, anchoring the studio coverage, throws to Fran Fraschilla for a nutshell analysis of the international players expected to be taken in the first round. Sign me up. We need more of this throughout the night, as Fran's coverage of these guys that we never even heard of before this week is always a highlight of the festivities. Gotta love the scouting reports from the former Manhattan, St. John's and New Mexico coach.

7:28 - The "Worldwide Leader" spits it up shortly after the Fraschilla segment by introducing Shane Battier as a guest analyst. Maybe it's the North Carolina fan in me, but has anyone else shared my thought process when it comes to Battier, thinking to themselves "why won't this guy go away" after the last 15 years? Maybe it's like this clip from the great Austin Powers movies:

7:33 - David Stern makes his final entrance to his standard boos that make John Cena's entrance at ECW One Night Stand in 2006 look tame by comparison.

7:34 - Massive boos when Stern name drops the Miami Heat. All that's missing, especially given Stern's sarcastic responses to his reception, are chants of "a**hole" from the crowd in Brooklyn.

7:36 - Jay Bilas makes his first on-camera appearance, and yes, we're tracking a time for his first mention of "wingspan" and the drinking game that usually accompanies it. We have 7:38, friend of the site David Rochford had 7:34. Looks like we're both over no thanks to the late start from ESPN.

7:39 - First mention of LeBron and his rumored return to Cleveland. Still don't see it happening.

7:41 - Stern takes another three minutes after Cleveland gets off the clock to come out, and announces that the Cavaliers have taken Anthony Bennett of UNLV first overall. The hand movement by the commissioner instructing the crowd to raise the volume was just epic. By the way, Bennett is one of the most complete players in the draft, and coming out of the Mountain West Conference, this was a GREAT pick by Cleveland. It also shoots our mock draft to pieces, considering we had Alex Len going first and most others had either Len or Nerlens Noel. Finally, a team lives by the "best available" mantra.

7:43 - First "wingspan" reference by Mr. Bilas, accompanied by a "tip one back" to acknowledge the drinking game. We gotta go to work.

7:45 - Bennett becomes the first Mountain West player selected first overall since fellow UNLV product Larry Johnson, who Bennett is essentially a lighter version of, went No. 1 to the then-Charlotte Hornets in 1991. Now it's time for the Magic to get on the clock.

7:47 - Stern back out for the Orlando pick, who turns out to be Victor Oladipo of Indiana. Seemingly overrated all year except when he (much to our dismay) singlehandedly defeated Michigan State on two occasions, Oladipo seems more likely to end up being the next Calbert Cheaney than he does the next Isiah Thomas. Another blown pick by the Magic, who cannot get out of their own way anymore.

7:49 - Oladipo with Shane Battier. KILL ME NOW. This year's draft hats, by the way? BRUTAL.

7:50 - Bill Simmons screws up for the first time when declaring that Orlando stole Tobias Harris from Miami for J.J. Redick. Ummm, the Magic traded Redick to Milwaukee.

7:51 - Washington keeps the festivities going, but not before a sarcastic "I can't hear you" from Stern. Wizards select Georgetown's Otto Porter, allowing him to remain at the Verizon Center after he spent two years at Georgetown. It's great that he's out of the Big East, and congratulations should be extended to friend of the site Mex Carey, the Hoyas' sports information director who is one of the all-time greats.

7:54 - Bilas adds to his already sky-high entertainment appeal by saying Porter could play for the Reggie Cleveland All-Star team while his highlight video plays. For those of you who don't know what that means, it's the term used for a player whose name is atypical of their ethnic background.

7:59 - Stern returns to reveal the Charlotte Bobcats' selection, that being Cody Zeller of Indiana. Despite all the love we have for his older brother Tyler for winning a national championship as a freshman at North Carolina, this isn't exactly the best pick for Michael Jordan in Charlotte, especially with both Nerlens Noel AND Alex Len on the board, not to mention Ben McLemore, who would form an exciting backcourt duo with Kemba Walker. Time to start wondering what it is that MJ's doing again. (go to the 2:54 mark of the following video for our latest outside reference) On that note, HEY MA! THE MEATLOAF!

8:06 - Bill Simmons makes the startling discovery that maybe Nerlens Noel is still on the board due to medical concerns over his torn ACL. Thank you, Captain Obvious.

8:07 - Noel is still around after Phoenix takes Alex Len of Maryland fifth overall. Not sure if that was the best way to go for the Suns, but maybe friend of the site and huge Phoenix fan Mike Ferraro gets something to smile about over the course of the season.

8:08 - Bilas during Len's highlight video: "He's got a wingspan of about 7-3. Tip it back, America."

8:11 - Noel is now becoming the NBA's version of Aaron Rodgers, with every ESPN voice chiming in on where he would end up and what kind of a fit he would be at each pick. The drama ends now, as Noel lands in New Orleans, going sixth overall to the former Hornets. The New Orleans Pelicans may as well be Lexington South now that Noel joins last year's Wildcat sensation Anthony Davis, who was the 2012 No. 1 pick.

8:13 - Ben McLemore, who by all accounts should have gone to Orlando at No. 2, is still available; and out of all the teams still out there, Detroit would be a solid fit for him if he lands there, allowing the Kansas product to team up with underrated combo guard Brandon Knight.

8:16 - McLemore's slide ends thanks to the Sacramento Kings, who take their second consecutive Kansas player after drafting Thomas Robinson last year, and it moves Jimmer Fredette to the point full-time. McLemore and The Jimmer on the same team should make CBS' Seth Davis a happy man.

8:20 - The Detroit Pistons are on the clock, and would get their third consecutive steal if Michigan's Trey Burke were the choice here. Not coincidentally, ESPN goes to break with Burke on camera. This tipping of picks HAS TO GO. Burke would be an excellent fit in Motown, but what's the sense of dragging this whole night out if you're going to spoil the fun?

8:23 - Andy Katz makes his first appearance to inform us of a possible Nerlens Noel trade to Philadelphia, which means the Sixers are most likely drafting for New Orleans in the eleventh spot.

8:24 - Here comes Stern for the eighth pick, which is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of Georgia, a pure shooter that goes to the Pistons. Brandon Knight most likely shifts to the point with this selection, and we apologize for the whole rant about tipping picks, since Burke obviously didn't go to Detroit.

8:26 - Proponents of advanced stats, including our own Ray Floriani, get their due recognition as Bilas references Caldwell-Pope's 1.22 points per possession, which correlates to an offensive efficiency rating of 122. On a side bar here, having Ray around on our site may allow us to explore the world of advanced stats a little more next season.

8:30 - Chris Broussard reports Jrue Holiday is headed to New Orleans in the Noel trade, which makes us question its validity.

8:30 - Trey Burke is the next person off the board, going ninth to Minnesota. Given that the Timberwolves have Ricky Rubio, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if Burke is traded.

8:31 - If Burke remains in Minnesota, the backcourt pairing with Rubio is one to watch for the next several years. Now we're hearing the Michigan product could be headed to Utah.

8:35 - College basketball insider Jon Rothstein, who usually hits home runs with the late lottery picks, (see Andre Drummond and Austin Rivers last year) said the Blazers wouldn't let C.J. McCollum slip past them if he were there at No. 10. Rothstein just hit his third straight out of the park, and Portland gets an absolute steal to join Damian Lillard in Oregon. Jon, you might have to come join us at the tables in Atlantic City.

8:39 - After hearing his interview, C.J. McCollum is one of the most well-spoken players I've ever some across. Not coincidentally, some of the best interviews are at the mid-major level, as Siena's O.D. Anosike is also a refreshing voice. Maybe it's the initials.

8:42 - Chris Broussard announces Trey Burke will be traded to Utah and the Jazz will draft for Minnesota at 14 and 21. Where are your sources, Chris?

8:44 - After hearing that Jrue Holiday was being shipped to New Orleans, Philadelphia immediately fills their sudden point guard void with the selection of Michael Carter-Williams eleventh overall. The Syracuse product is probably one of the better on-ball defenders as well as a solid passer, which translates to a solid get for the Sixers.

8:45 - With Oklahoma City on the clock, Shabazz Muhammad makes the most sense here with the Thunder still looking to replace James Harden. A big man wouldn't be out of the question either, maybe a Kelly Olynyk or Steven Adams, or perhaps Louisville's Gorgui Dieng, who was talked about in this spot earlier this month.

8:50 - After a longer than usual break, David Stern gets a round of boos reminiscent of Hulk Hogan joining the New World Order. Oklahoma City takes Steven Adams of Pittsburgh, which will most likely be a D-League stash or a trade.

8:53 - We've only managed to get one of the first twelve picks right in our mock draft. Hopefully Shabazz Muhammad turns the tide here at No. 13, where we have him going to Dallas.

8;56 - Chris Broussard says his "sources" tell him it's very unlikely that Dwight Howard re-signs with the Lakers. This went public two days ago, Chris, but thanks for the heads-up.

8:58 - The Mavericks go for Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk instead, which cuts to Andy Katz reporting that Olynyk will be traded to the Celtics for two second-round picks. This confirms Mark Cuban wanting to clear space for Dwight Howard.

9:04 - Can Stern step aside now and bring Russ Granik out? That would really make our day. WE WANT GRANIK.

9:04 - Utah makes their first of two picks for Minnesota, taking Shabazz Muhammad. That choice would actually end up paying off for the Timberwolves, with Muhammad the beneficiary of Ricky Rubio's amazing passing skills.

9:08 - Bill Simmons evading the issue as Jalen Rose verbally wonders when it will be that the former @Sportsguy33 will buy a Kelly Olynyk jersey. This is what ESPN considers solid analysis? Bilas is totally saving this panel a million times over.

9:10 - Simmons informs the world that Milwaukee is rebuilding around Larry Sanders. It's about time some team rebuilds around a former VCU player.

9:10 - The Bucks reach the halfway point with the first stash pick of the night with Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece.


9:12 - Is it wrong that the only reason we love this pick is for Fran Fraschilla's stellar analysis? We've already learned more in 90 seconds about a kid we've never heard of than we did from the booth in the first two hours.

9:14 - Andy Katz turning in an MVP-caliber performance among analysts not named Fran Fraschilla, informing us that Boston will be drafting for either Dallas or Atlanta at No. 16.

9:17 - David Stern starts the second half of his swan song with the announcement of Lucas Nogueira as the 16th overall pick, going to Boston at the moment.

9:18 - A Brazilian, huh? That means it's Fran Fraschilla time again. AWESOME.

9:20 - Nogueira is apparently on his way to Dallas as ESPN cuts to break.

9:21 - Can the Hawks make a stash pick here? More Fraschilla is never a bad thing.

9:22 - We get our wish, as the Hawks take German point guard Dennis Schroeder. Three straight Fraschilla scouting reports. THERE IS A GOD.

9:28 - Seems like every other word out of Bill Simmons' mouth is "Twitter." Considering he has a seven-figure follower count, (ours stands at 1,043, which we're quite proud of) we really can't argue with the man.

9:30 - The Hawks' second pick is a second point guard to team with Jeff Teague, that being Miami's Shane Larkin, who of course is Hall of Fame shortstop Barry's son. Bill Simmons redeems himself here with his musing "Did David Kahn get hired by them as a consultant?" Cue the hashtag #ProsAndKahns.

9:31 - Simmons makes it 2-for-2 when he calls Bilas out for liking Shane Larkin despite his having a bad wingspan. Andy Katz comes on shortly thereafter to announce Larkin is apparently on his way to Dallas.

9:37 - We finally have another one right in our mock draft! Cleveland takes Sergey Karasev, who they will likely stash. The best part of this pick is, of course, the Fran Fraschilla scouting report.

9:43 - ESPN comes back from break with a plug for the NBA Summer League Live app. Considering Scott Machado is playing in the Summer League again, it gives us a chance to keep track of his progress.

9:44 - The Chicago Bulls get an absolute steal with New Mexico's Tony Snell, drafted 20th overall. This Mountain West guard is the total package, and can defend just as well as he can catch and shoot. Mountain West guru and late-night bracket advisor Andy Glockner of Sports Illustrated has this to say:

9:50 - Utah makes their second pick for Minnesota, and David Stern declares it to be well, no one yet, as he builds up the suspense by just standing there.

9:51 - David Stern: "We've had to explain to our international audience that the boo is an American sign of respect." He would have been better off asking the Barclays Center crowd if they were saying "boo" or "Boo-urns" instead. Utah drafts Louisville's Gorgui Dieng for Minnesota, where he will join Kevin Love up front.

9:53 - As the Brooklyn Nets are on the clock, it goes without saying that Stern will be greatly missed, but only on this night.

9:57 - Forgive us for this, but we totally missed the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce to the Nets trade talks. Speaking of the Brooklyn boys, Jason Kidd's first draft pick is Mason Plumlee, which is a great pick for the Nets despite his Duke connection. Kidd needed height and defense, and he gets mounds of it here, along with a double-double per night.

10:00 - Two guys who killed Carolina for years on my screen. WAY TOO MUCH DUKE OVERLOAD.

10:04 - David Stern: "Your enthusiasm seems to be dwindling." He then goes on to announce a mild shock with the 23rd pick, as Arizona swingman Solomon Hill goes to the Indiana Pacers. Solid pick who played for a great coach in Sean Miller.

10:09 - The NBA's equivalent of the New York Jets are on the clock, as the Knicks actually make a solid pick in Tim Hardaway Jr., who was instrumental in guiding Michigan to the national championship game. He'll just have to wear a different number in New York, as the No. 10 he donned in Ann Arbor to honor his father was retired years ago for the great Walt "Clyde" Frazier.

10:16 - The Los Angeles Clippers also defy convention with a solid pick in Reggie Bullock, who should not have left North Carolina early, at the No. 25 spot.

10:22 - Minnesota drafts for Golden State at No. 26 with Andre Roberson of Colorado, as David Stern works the crowd one more time.

10:26 - Fran Fraschilla makes his long-awaited return with the 27th pick, as the Denver Nuggets take 7-2 Frenchman Rudy Gobert, whose 92 1/2-inch wingspan was a combine record.

10:35 - The NBA's model franchise makes their selection at No. 28 and stashes Livio Jean-Charles (who?) of French Guiana. At least Fran Fraschilla can give us some background on the newest member of the San Antonio Spurs.

10:41 - The latest report from Andy Katz involves Andre Roberson being moved to Oklahoma City, who will draft for Phoenix at No. 30, who will draft for Golden State. Oklahoma City selects Kentucky's Archie Goodwin at 29 for the Suns, who are now on the clock as David Stern's grand NBA Draft finale.

10:49 - David Stern gets a well-deserved standing ovation in his final draft pick announcement, to which he responds "Stop it, you're ruining all the fun." The commissioner's own personal Mr. Irrelevant is Serbian guard Nemanja Nedovic, who gives us a Fran Fraschilla scouting report. Stern then introduces deputy commissioner and his eventual replacement Adam Silver, who is booed just as vociferously as Stern.


10:51 - Thank you, David Stern. No, seriously.

10:59 - After a blockbuster trade was announced wherein Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are apparently headed to Brooklyn in the near future, Adam Silver welcomes California swingman Allen Crabbe into the NBA, as he is the first pick of the second round, 31st overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

11:03 - Taking a look at some of the best players available before we wrap up, and it surprises us that San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin is still there at 33, as well as Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas and Kansas big man Jeff Withey. We'll have a recap of winners, losers and second-round steals sometime tomorrow.

Steve Pikiell Gets Contract Extension At Stony Brook

Steve Pikiell, whose recent success at Stony Brook suggests he may be doing best job of coaches in New York area, received contract extension to remain with Seawolves through 2017-18 season. (Photo courtesy of Newsday)

Every once in a while, good things tend to happen to good people, and this morning, Steve Pikiell happens to be Exhibit A of such an adage.

Pikiell, the affable and well-respected head coach at Stony Brook University, was rewarded; and deservedly so for that matter, with a contract extension that was formalized this morning through a release issued by the Long Island school. The 45-year-old coach, a former player and assistant under Jim Calhoun at Connecticut before setting out on his own and arriving in Suffolk County in 2005, received a multi-year commitment that will keep him at Stony Brook through the 2017-18 season, and gains the added job security just three months removed from a school record 25-win season that included Stony Brook's first postseason victory at the Division I level, a 71-58 road win against Massachusetts in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament this past March.

"I want to thank (athletic director) Jim Fiore, President (Samuel) Stanley, and the entire Stony Brook administration for their committed support and confidence in the program we are building here at Stony Brook University," Pikiell said. "I also want to thank my entire staff for the effort and work they put in each and every day to make us better. I'm honored to work at Stony Brook University, honored to recruit bright student-athletes who contribute more than just wins and losses, and honored to be a member of this community that has truly rallied around this university."

Pikiell enters his ninth campaign at the helm of the Seawolves this fall, and will have to replace five seniors from last season's roster, most notably versatile forward Tommy Brenton, who graduated as the program's all-time rebound and assist leader. However, Stony Brook will most likely still be considered the prohibitive favorite in the America East next season, a credit to its coaching staff working their player development skills to perfection. When we spoke to Pikiell at April's MBWA Haggerty Awards dinner, he informed us that three redshirt freshmen will be taking the court this season to help fill the void, and the coach believes he has a good player in every class.

"Coach Pikiell represents the university exactly the way that we want to be represented," Stony Brook athletic director Jim Fiore said. "For eight years, he has guided our men's basketball program on an unprecedented upward trajectory of success both on the court and in the classroom. Equally as important, he has represented Stony Brook with unparalleled class and integrity."

Stony Brook will travel to Virginia Commonwealth this season for a meeting with Shaka Smart and the Rams as part of the Seawolves' nonconference ledger as they prepare for one more year at Pritchard Gymnasium before the opening of their newly renovated on-campus arena in 2014. For more information about Steve Pikiell and Stony Brook University, please continue to follow A Daly Dose Of Hoops throughout the offseason.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The 2013 Daly Dose Of Hoops Mock Draft

Despite not playing in NCAA Tournament, Alex Len still did enough over two years at Maryland to justify being considered for No. 1 overall pick in tomorrow night's NBA Draft. (Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated)

For what is now the fourth straight year, we are once again attempting the improbable, that being to come off as something of an expert on NBA Draft night.

Yes, tomorrow night is that one night a year where David Stern gets booed louder than John Cena at WrestleMania, and deputy commissioner Adam Silver still plays the hero that some of us still hope will eventually be Russ Granik once more. For those with selections, it is a chance to right the wrongs of seasons past, (see: Jordan, Michael; Wade, Dwyane; Durant, Kevin; etc.) but also potentially set your franchise back several years. (see: Bowie, Sam; Brown, Kwame; Milicic, Darko; Oden, Greg; etc.) In addition, it is also a chance to tap into gold mines that those in the college ranks got to see on a regular basis. So, without any further ado, here's how we see the first round playing out, with the hopes of potentially seeing a local kid like Momo Jones hear his name called like his former teammate Scott Machado should have a year ago:

1) Cleveland Cavaliers: Alex Len (C - Maryland)
Even with the uncertainty of this year's draft class, it's being widely speculated that the 7-1 Ukrainian will be Cleveland's choice here, making him the first Terp to be taken No. 1 overall since Joe Smith went to Golden State in 1995. A skilled shot blocker with a deft touch around the rim, Len becomes the newest piece to a young core that includes Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson in the second act of the Mike Brown era.

2) Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore (G - Kansas)
Rumor has it that the Magic are really high on Victor Oladipo, and the Indiana guard could very well be the pick in this spot. However, McLemore is much more NBA-ready despite only playing one season under Bill Self, and his combo guard ability provides the perfect complement to Jameer Nelson off the ball while simultaneously giving Orlando a much-needed scoring punch out of the backcourt at either position.

3) Washington Wizards: Otto Porter (F - Georgetown)
With John Wall and Bradley Beal already in the fold, the Wizards don't necessarily need a guard per se, despite Victor Oladipo being considered in this spot. Therefore, it comes down to Porter and Anthony Bennett, and Washington plays it safe by selecting the reigning Big East Player of the Year Porter, a lanky 6-9 wing who is already familiar with the Verizon Center from his two seasons at Georgetown, and is believed to be more pro-ready than Bennett.

4) Charlotte Bobcats: Nerlens Noel (C - Kentucky)
Still considered by some to be the best player in the draft even four months after a torn ACL prematurely ended his rookie season, Noel falls into the laps of Michael Jordan and general manager Rich Cho, and instantly becomes the centerpiece of the Charlotte frontcourt. Although still raw, Noel's defense is unparalleled among this year's draft class, and receiving tutelage from assistant coach Patrick Ewing will only help him develop faster.

5) Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo (G - Indiana)
Oladipo's breakout performance in last month's scouting combine is what shot him up draft boards, and the Suns would be foolish to pass on his explosive talents here. Already set for the next couple of years with Goran Dragic and Kendall Marshall at the point, Oladipo will give the platoon a solid partner that each can feed off of and make the others better.

6) New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Bennett (F - UNLV)
Much like Nerlens Noel two spots prior, Bennett is gift-wrapped for the former Hornets, who get a clone of former franchise great Larry Johnson to join rising second-year stars Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers. Perhaps the most complete player in the nation last season, Bennett's experience in the Mountain West Conference only underscores his versatility, and will serve the Pelicans well at either of the two forward positions.

7) Sacramento Kings: Trey Burke (G - Michigan)
Burke could go as high as No. 2, but he lands with the Kings to join Jimmer Fredette in a backcourt that becomes one of the best in the NBA. The reigning Big Ten Player of the Year becomes Sacramento's best passer since Bobby Hurley, and his ball control is already better than half of the professionals at his position, giving new coach Michael Malone an offensive anchor to build around.

8) Detroit Pistons: Michael Carter-Williams (G - Syracuse)
Don't be surprised if Burke and Carter-Williams flip-flop here, as both Sacramento and Detroit are high on each player. With Jose Calderón not getting any younger, the need for a new point guard in Motown is greater than in years past, and Carter-Williams' pure ball handling allows for the Pistons to shift Brandon Knight off the ball to create more opportunities for both himself and burgeoning big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.

9) Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum (G - Lehigh)
David Kahn is no longer in charge, but the T-Wolves shake up the draft in his honor here to grab the mid-major wonder McCollum, whose scoring prowess is unrivaled. A combo guard who can run the point if he has to, McCollum will be able to flourish off the ball alongside Ricky Rubio, giving him the freedom to create his own scoring opportunities. In other words, think this year's version of Damian Lillard, only with fewer assists.

10) Portland Trail Blazers: Kelly Olynyk (C - Gonzaga)
Yes, the Blazers drafted Meyers Leonard last year, but Olynyk is primed to continue his breakout success from last season at the next level, and gets to stay in the Pacific Northwest to do it. A little bit of everything on both sides of the ball, the seven-footer will give Portland an imposing interior duo alongside LaMarcus Aldridge that will push the one-time threats of the Western Conference back into postseason contention.

11) Philadelphia 76ers: Cody Zeller (C - Indiana)
Assuming the rumor of Orlando taking him second overall is merely just a smoke screen, Zeller fits in right around the end of the lottery, and falls to the Sixers, who scoop him up in an attempt to recover from the Andrew Bynum debacle. Philly can also go for a guard here, but with Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner already entrenched in the backcourt, Zeller; or any other big for that matter, is the safe pick.

12) Oklahoma City Thunder: Gorgui Dieng (C - Louisville)
College basketball insider Jon Rothstein mentioned this as a possibility recently, and after hitting the Andre Drummond and Austin Rivers picks to perfection last year, we'll take Jon's word for it once again here. Coming from a Rick Pitino defense, Dieng provides instant credibility on that side of the ball, and when he's on all cylinders on offense, he'll average a double-double per night, especially with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook at the controls for the Thunder.

13) Dallas Mavericks: Shabazz Muhammad (G - UCLA)
Mark Cuban has expressed a desire to trade this pick, but with Muhammad; once considered a lock at No. 1 during the regular season, still on the board, he gets yet another steal in Big D. With O.J. Mayo expected to leave via free agency and Shawn Marion nearing retirement, Muhammad can step into the Mavs' offense right away and provide both continuity and a second option behind Dirk Nowitzki.

14) Utah Jazz: Shane Larkin (G - Miami)
The Jazz have needed a point guard desperately since trading Deron Williams, and unless they move up to draft Burke or Carter-Williams, Larkin could be their guy. The son of Hall of Fame shortstop Barry, Shane has proven to be more than just a famous surname after guiding Jim Larranaga's Hurricanes to the program's first-ever Sweet 16, and although he may not immediately follow in the footsteps of John Stockton and Williams before him, he's still an upgrade at the hub of the wheel.

15) Milwaukee Bucks: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (G - Georgia)
The Bucks will most likely look for a pure shooter to learn under Monta Ellis, and Caldwell-Pope fits that mold after a sensational campaign for Mark Fox's Bulldogs in which he became one of the most feared players in the SEC. He could be off the board in this spot, and Milwaukee could also go for C.J. McCollum if he's still around.

16) Boston Celtics: Jamaal Franklin (G - San Diego State)
The next Kawhi Leonard, just a little smaller. That's Franklin in a nutshell, as he; like most highly regarded Mountain West prospects, are too versatile for their own good sometimes. This jack-of-all-trades reputation makes him a perfect fit for Boston, where he can learn from the aging Paul Pierce and Jason Terry while also contributing at the point as Rajon Rondo recovers from a torn ACL.

17) Atlanta Hawks: Lucas Nogueira (C - Brazil)
Don't be surprised if Atlanta stashes both of their first-round picks overseas. Nogueira, a seven-footer, looks like a center but plays like a point guard. In other words, he's got the body of fellow countryman Tiago Splitter, but the instincts of Tony Parker.

18) Atlanta Hawks: Glen Rice Jr. (F - Georgia Tech)
Friend of the website David Menze, who covers the Hawks for Soaring Down South, has been on top of this potential selection for weeks, and Rice would get to stay in the Peachtree City if it happens. The son of a prolific outside shooter, Glen Jr. has more of an inside game, and if thrust into the right situation, will make everyone forget about his father's infamous tryst with Sarah Palin.

19) Cleveland Cavaliers: Sergey Karasev (F - Russia)
Cleveland will most likely look for a swingman with their second pick, and based on preliminary scouting reports, Karasev may not even need to be stashed, as most feel he can contribute right away. At 6-7 and 200 pounds, he can slide in between Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson to give the Cavs a formidable wing for the first time in the post-LeBron era. Described by Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix as a catch-and-shoot player, Karasev seems like he has a little Andrei Kirilenko in him, which is not a bad way to start your pro career.

20) Chicago Bulls: Mason Plumlee (F - Duke)
Addition by subtraction for the Bulls here, who will use Plumlee to replace their aging ex-Blue Devil Carlos Boozer, who has become an amnesty candidate. An Indiana product, Plumlee gets to play relatively close to home in Chicago, not to mention match up against older brother Miles, who plays for the division rival Pacers.

21) Utah Jazz: Rudy Gobert (C - France)
Gobert does not necessarily have to be stashed, and Utah can use a big man to join Enes Kanter since Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson may be on the way out. The only "true" seven-footer in the draft, the 7-2 Frenchman can alter shots with the flick of a wrist, thanks to a 92 1/2-inch wingspan that will make Jay Bilas gush over his potential.

22) Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey (C - Kansas)
New head coach Jason Kidd already has mounds of offense as he takes command in Brooklyn. Now, he just needs some proven commodities on the other side of the ball, and who better to start with than one of the nation's leading shot blockers last season? Withey will provide the perfect complement to Brook Lopez in the paint, and can be just as effective with the ball in his hands too as the Nets assert themselves as one of the teams to watch next year.

23) Indiana Pacers: Dennis Schroeder (G - Germany)
The last time the Pacers had a German import, it worked out pretty well, as Detlef Schrempf joined Reggie Miller, Rik Smits and company to keep Indiana at the top of the Eastern Conference throughout the early 1990s. Schroeder isn't Schrempf, but what he does bring to the table is a quick, pass-first game that is still developing on the shooting end. With George Hill still in the fold, Schroeder can even be stashed if need be until he is NBA-ready.

24) New York Knicks: Allen Crabbe (G - California)
Arguably one of the best pure shooters in the draft, and this year's John Jenkins, Crabbe would be a major steal for the beleaguered Knicks if they can get him here. Being that Raymond Felton is declining alongside the enigmatic J.R. Smith, Mike Woodson can use a knock-down shooter to score the points that Carmelo Anthony will leave on the table, and the long and freakishly talented Crabbe can pick up the pieces there while also clamping down on the perimeter.

25) Los Angeles Clippers: Mike Muscala (C - Bucknell)
Who would have thought two Patriot League players would be first-round draft picks? Anyway, Muscala provides insurance should Los Angeles ship DeAndre Jordan off, either to Boston or anywhere else for that matter. A double-double per night player, Muscala will take the pressure off of Blake Griffin while also being able to withstand the bigger and more bruising competition he'll be up against, which should make new Clips coach Doc Rivers smile with pride.

26) Minnesota Timberwolves: Steven Adams (C - Pittsburgh)
Most college basketball fans know Adams shouldn't have left Pitt after one year, but his raw talent is still enough to get the New Zealander into the first round, even if Minnesota will likely send him to the NBDL with Kevin Love not giving up his starting spot anytime soon. Adams may be soft from a professional perspective, but will be better served going to a team who will take its time bringing him along.

27) Denver Nuggets: Tim Hardaway Jr. (G - Michigan)
This pick will likely dictate what happens to Andre Iguodala long-term, but even if Denver's All-Star wing stays, Hardaway steps in as his backup to keep the offensive flow at the same high level between Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari. Hardaway could go a few spots earlier to Atlanta, but will likely fall into the twenties, where the Nuggets will be happy to scoop him up.

28) San Antonio Spurs: Tony Snell (G - New Mexico)
After his disastrous Game 7 against the Heat, it's clear that Manu Ginobili doesn't have much time left, so Gregg Popovich will enable him to help mentor one of his replacements in Snell, who becomes the latest player who will instantly fit the San Antonio system, much like his Mountain West compatriot Kawhi Leonard. A swingman who can shoot, facilitate and defend, Snell is the total package. If you don't believe us, just ask Sports Illustrated's Andy Glockner.

29) Oklahoma City Thunder: Ricky Ledo (G - Providence)
If Oklahoma City goes for a shooter like Shabazz Muhammad or C.J. McCollum if either are available at No. 12, then the pick here will likely be spent on a big man, but if they go for the big first, then Ledo is a solid selection here. Despite never being able to play for Ed Cooley at Providence due to eligibility issues, he remains a lethal shooter that will be OKC's replacement for James Harden, albeit a year later.

30) Phoenix Suns: Deshaun Thomas (F - Ohio State)
Phoenix brings down the curtain on David Stern's NBA Draft career with a potential steal in the fundamentally sound Thomas, who is every bit as strong on the defensive side as he is on the offensive end. A consummate pro's pro, Thomas is not afraid to bump and bang all game long, and will always find a way to fill the box score, something the Suns would appreciate alongside Luis Scola.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

St. John's To Revert To SJU?

Latest rumors in St. John's rebranding initiative have university reverting to its former "SJU" initials, a move that would harken back to past glory days of Lou Carnesecca and Chris Mullin. (Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated)

As a St. John's University alumnus who is both a lifelong Queens resident and old enough to remember Lou Carnesecca coaching, (my first college basketball experience came as a 5-year-old in 1991, when I watched several minutes of a St. John's win at what was then Alumni Hall, and a team led by the late Malik Sealy) my first reaction to my alma mater supposedly reverting to its former "SJU" abbreviation was a simple one, one of relief and a commitment to finally embrace its history that seemed to have been forgotten more and more with each passing season.


For people like myself, and other, older alumni, SJU was more than just an abbreviation. Rather, it was a tradition, a correlation to the greatest successes of St. John's University athletics, and not just basketball for that matter. Yes, Mullin, Jackson, Berry, Wennington, Lopez, Lapchick and Carnesecca were all integral parts in intertwining the SJU fabric deep within the roots of New York City and its surrounding areas, but the Frank Violas, John Francos and Rich Aurilias (yes, even though he had a marginally solid Major League Baseball career, he will forever be recognized as one of our own) of the world were just as instrumental in incorporating SJU into a household name.

When Saint Joseph's University used their longer existence (the Philadelphia institution was founded in 1860, ten years before St. John's) to claim the SJU title, St. John's then relaunched themselves under the "STJ" abbreviation after being allowed to still use SJU for a brief period of time by virtue of a written agreement between the two universities. The STJ rebranding initiative was officially publicized in its athletic programs in the summer of 2006, shortly before I started my junior year there. While STJ is all the current student body knows, (more on that later) let's be honest, the new initials haven't gained much traction outside the campus. Most alumni, who are the lifeblood of a college or university, especially those whose significant donations are the impetus for many a new endeavor; be it athletically or scholastically, still acknowledge St. John's as "SJU."  ESPN even did the same in their recap of St. John's NIT victory over Saint Joseph's this past March in what may now qualify as a Freudian slip: (photo courtesy of friend of the website David Rochford)

As part of their latest attempt at rebranding, which was mentioned in passing through the St. John's basketball Twitter account during the offseason, the university has already ditched longtime athletic apparel supplier Nike for a much more lucrative arrangement with Under Armour, who rose to fame as the backer for the University of Maryland, in a six-year contract that starts this Monday. (Under Armour's founder, Kevin Plank, is a Maryland alum and a former high school football teammate of Eddie George) As part of the agreement, Under Armour will most likely put their own spin on the St. John's jerseys, and a prototype that Quinn Rochford, one of our friends at Rumble in the Garden, linked to, suggests not much of a major cosmetic overhaul.

The latest rebranding twist broke last night, when the St. John's campus activities office tweeted the following:

Exactly 31 minutes later, St. John's student newspaper, The Torch, confirmed this:

Yet, in a move that should be celebrated because of its apparent signal of an embrace of what made the athletic program(s) at St. John's notorious, several members of the student body voiced surprising displeasure at the decision, claiming a connection to the "STJ" moniker, as well as a failure to be informed of such a move. Rather than criticize the people whose position I was in no less than five years ago, I will simply hope that the future St. John's alumni eventually come around and see things from the other side of the fence, that "SJU" will reintroduce the past to the present, and together, the two groups can build for the future.

In another, somewhat lesser, matter, some others have argued that the only way St. John's can justify the switch back to SJU from a basketball perspective is to also revert to the Redmen nickname that they used for decades until officially becoming the Red Storm in 1994. Again, as a somewhat older alum who vividly remembers the Redmen, and even heard several "Let's go Redmen" chants while doing play-by-play, I tend to agree. However, I understand the reasons why such a change would not occur, primarily due to the politically correct nature of society and not wanting to offend Native Americans by adopting a nickname with negative connotations. I get that. It's the same reason why Stanford, (Indians to Cardinal) Siena, (Indians to Saints) Marquette, (Warriors to Golden Eagles) and Miami of Ohio (Redskins to RedHawks) all eschewed their former names. Then again, you still have the Florida State Seminoles; coupled with the use of Native American-themed names still exists in professional sports, with the Atlanta Braves closing in on another National League East title, the Cleveland Indians flaunting their Chief Wahoo logo throughout Progressive Field, Robert Griffin III leading the Washington Redskins back to prominence, and the Chicago Blackhawks only ten hours removed from their second Stanley Cup in the last four years. Professional sports is held to a higher standard, yes, but all of those teams would still be household names even if they weren't currently successful. Even after the Mike Jarvis and Norm Roberts regimes, St. John's still carries a larger name and brand cache than most may realize, especially with Steve Lavin at the controls, so a return to the Redmen would certainly have its fair share of support.

Forgive me for going off in another rambling tangent here, but most of the true supporters of St. John's University come from the SJU era. Nothing against the current students, but how many of them show up at what is now Carnesecca Arena and/or Madison Square Garden every game? The fact that the university isn't as much of a commuter-based school is irrelevant. When you look at the attendance numbers, most of the patrons are of an older demographic, which would explain why university administrators cater more to them, since they are the ones generating the most revenue. It may not be right, but it is a sad truth.

Long story short, if such a rebranding does go this far, and the university returns to its roots, it is a step in the right direction, which will only yield positive benefits in the long term for all parties involved, even if this is a process that has more than a few detractors.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Breaking Down Fordham's Atlantic 10 Opponents

Jon Severe, shown here in high school playoff game at Rose Hill Gym, will now call nation's oldest venue his home as Fordham freshman will help lead Rams into strong Atlantic 10 schedule. (Photo courtesy of the New York Post)

Last week, the Atlantic 10 revealed its 2013-14 basketball schedule, which provided Fordham with several high-profile home games as the A-10 downsizes from a 16-team conference to a 13-team league that adds 2006 Final Four participant George Mason. As we mentioned when highlighting the Rams' conference ledger, we would have a breakdown of their Atlantic 10 opponents, which is provided in detail here:

Away Games
Duquesne: Jim Ferry's Dukes gave Fordham a stern test on January 9th at Rose Hill in a matchup the Rams were able to win behind one of Branden Frazier's best games in a Fordham uniform. This year, the competition between these two will be just as intense, and will make for yet another close matchup at the Palumbo Center in Pittsburgh. Duquesne will more than likely still project toward the bottom of the conference standings, but Ferry picks up the services of UAB transfer Ovie Soko going into next season to replace Andre Marhold up front, and sophomore point guard Derrick Colter is a mid-major version of LIU Brooklyn's Jason Brickman, a proficient passer who can score equally as well.

UMass: The good news for Fordham is that former Tom Pecora recruit Chaz Williams graduates after next season. The bad news for Fordham is that Williams, whose explosiveness was too much for the Rams to handle in the first half on January 13th at Rose Hill before a late comeback turned a double-digit deficit into a four-point loss, graduates after next season. The Minutemen also lose swingmen Freddie Riley and Terrell Vinson, both of whom burned the Rams from long range last year, and will be much more reliant upon Trey Davis to provide a second scoring punch beside Williams in the backcourt. Western Kentucky transfer Derrick Gordon is also eligible for UMass next season as Derek Kellogg's team attempts to make the jump from two consecutive NIT appearances to the NCAA Tournament.

Saint Joseph's: Phil Martelli's Hawks were among the bigger disappointments of the conference last year after being picked to win the Atlantic 10 in the preseason poll, only to finish tenth in the league despite giving VCU all it could handle at the Barclays Center. Carl Jones has graduated, leaving Langston Galloway and Chris Wilson to anchor the backcourt for St. Joe's, while former Pecora recruit Halil Kanacevic becomes a bigger part of the Hawks' offensive game plan; along with Ron Roberts Jr., as C.J. Aiken has left for a professional career. In Fordham's two meetings with the Hawks last season, they were soundly defeated on the road at Hagan Arena, but nearly upset St. Joe's on January 30th at Rose Hill before a costly Branden Frazier turnover in the final seconds sealed the win for the Philadelphians.

Saint Louis: The reigning conference champions do not lose much from their rotation other than guard Kwamain Mitchell and sharpshooting forward Cody Ellis, (much to the satisfaction of our friend Chris "Pav" Crowley) but return with the preseason Player of the Year favorite in forward Dwayne Evans, who took his game to another level in the A-10 Tournament last March in Brooklyn. Guards Mike McCall and Jordair Jett provide the trademark offense/defense punch that the late Rick Majerus recruited to perfection over the years, giving head coach Jim Crews the ammunition he needs to defend his title.

Home Games
Dayton: The Flyers are certain to sell out Rose Hill just as they did in 2012 with their enthusiastic and passionate fan base, a group who takes over every game they travel to. Archie Miller's team loses Kevin Dillard and Josh Benson, and will probably be projected within the bottom five in the standings this season as Georgetown expatriate Vee Sanford becomes the de facto team leader. Senior forward Devin Oliver will likely grow into a double-double per night player, and outside shooting threat Dyshawn Pierre takes a 46 percent clip from beyond the arc into his sophomore campaign on a somewhat undersized Dayton team, with no player on the current roster taller than 6-9.

George Mason: The newcomers to the A-10 bring a young and deceptively talented roster to their new conference, along with a coach in Paul Hewitt who has a proven track record at both the mid-major and high-major levels from his tenure at Siena and Georgia Tech, the latter of whom he took to the national championship game in 2004. Local guards Sherrod Wright and Corey Edwards, who played for well-known coaches Bob Cimmino and Joe Arbitello at powerhouse programs Mount Vernon and Christ the King, respectively, anchor the Patriots' backcourt, with senior forward Jonathan Arledge on the precipice of a big year in the George Mason frontcourt. Point guard Bryon Allen returns after leading the Patriots in assists as a junior last year, as does leading rebounder Erik Copes, who enters his junior season.

La Salle: The Cinderella story of the conference after their improbable run to the Sweet 16 last season returns nearly everyone from Dr. John Giannini's regular rotation, save for Ramon Galloway, after D.J. Peterson announced he would remain with the Explorers despite announcing earlier in the offseason that he intended to transfer. Peterson will join Tyreek Duren and Sam Mills alongside Tyrone Garland (he of the "Southwest Philly floater" that defeated Mississippi in the NCAA Tournament) in the backcourt, while Steve Zack and Jerrell Wright come back to a front line spiced with local flavor. La Salle will likely be among the favorites in the Atlantic 10 this season, and dealt Fordham one of their more lopsided defeats on the road last February. However, the Rams defeated the Explorers the last time La Salle invaded Rose Hill.

St. Bonaventure: The alma mater of our own Ray Floriani will be looking to avenge a bitter defeat on their home floor to the Rams on the last day of the regular season, a result that sent Chris Gaston out a winner, but knocked the Bonnies out of the A-10 Tournament. This year, head coach Mark Schmidt still retains most of the core from his NCAA Tournament team of two seasons ago, led by guards Charlon Kloof and sharpshooting Canadian Matthew Wright. Senior forward Marquise Simmons and seven-footer Youssou Ndoye should make a bigger impact on the Bonnies this season as the western New Yorkers look to improve on a 14-15 campaign.

Home-and-Home Matchups
George Washington: Mike Lonergan's Colonials nearly upset UMass in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, and brings a younger group into the nation's capital this season. Former Villanova forward Isaiah Armwood has one more year remaining after transferring from the Main Line, while Argentine swingman Patricio Garino is primed for a breakout campaign following a rookie season in which he and fellow freshman Kevin Larsen of Denmark were the Colonials' third and fourth-leading scorers. George Washington will be banking on an improved offensive game from Nemanja Mikic as he and point guard Joe McDonald will be counted on to increase their productivity on both sides of the three-point line.

Rhode Island: Dan Hurley was realistic and brutally honest last season when he replaced Jim Baron in the Ocean State, understanding that it would be a multi-year process to turn the Rams around. Rhode Island only won eight games last season with an undermanned roster, but the three transfers that Hurley signed last season are all eligible this year, starting with Rutgers castoff Gilvydas Biruta, who returns to the court for his junior season alongside sophomores Jordan Hare and Mike Aaman. Rice expatriate Jarelle Reischel should step into the small forward position instantly, while Mike Powell and leading scorer Xavier Munford anchor a backcourt that welcomes Texas Tech transplant Deshon "Biggie" Minnis to its ranks.

Richmond: Chris Mooney's Spiders lose the services of last year's starters Darien Brothers and Greg Robbins, but still return a competitive core of players, including one of the league's best backcourts in Cedrick Lindsay and Kendall Anthony. Derrick Williams, who played for Bob Hurley in high school at St. Anthony's in Jersey City, patrols the paint for the Spiders and will serve as a mentor to burgeoning big man Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, who made headlines early in the season by boldly predicting Richmond would defeat Butler, Saint Louis and VCU in a tweet that has since been deleted.

VCU: Shaka Smart and the patented "Havoc" defense loses its on-court leader in Darius Theus, but will not miss a beat with Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year Briante Weber replacing him and Jordan Burgess (younger brother of former VCU star Bradford) stepping into Weber's former role on the bench. Long-range marksman Troy Daniels has departed, but Rob Brandenberg is still around to make clutch shots as he enters his senior season, and Melvin Johnson only adds to the Rams' guard depth as he enters his sophomore campaign. Up front, Juvonte Reddic and Treveon Graham will continue to provide VCU with the same physicality and athleticism that makes the front line a threat on both sides of the ball, on a team that looks like the strongest in the league on paper from top to bottom.