Random Big East thoughts and links
Some UConn numbers will follow later tonight.
1) HOLA, PENA
UConn will adjust with nine first-year players in the program.
Villanova is in a similar situation with five, including Antonio Pena.
Pena played with Sebastian Telfair at Lincoln High School in Brooklyn then prepped at St. Thomas More. That meant Sports Illustrated covers, a documentary “Through The Fire” which isn’t worth linking, and the adulation of every major program in the country.
All for Telfair.
Pena has entered a pretty good situation at Villanova. At 6-foot-7, he is physical and athletic and fits right into Jay Wright’s system. As a high school sophomore, he led Lincoln to the New York State Federation title after Telfair fouled out. Telfair was given the MVP trophy then passed it off to Pena.
Some people were shocked, including Pena, who has been asked a million times what it was like to play with Telfair. He answered the question as a sophomore. I’m sure he will be asked it again this year and probably when he’s 60.
This story pretty much sums up Pena’s career. Note when he’s first mentioned. This will not happen in Philadelphia.
He was rarely asked what it was like to play with Nyan Boateng, now a wide receiver at Florida. Boateng was one of the most versatile athletes to come out of the city a few years ago.
Nothing on Boateng’s profile about playing with Telfair.
Even though Villanova doesn’t play UConn until Feb. 28, watch Pena’s progress.
Members of the next wave of marquee Big East coaches have started to establish themselves over the past few years. John Thompson III has earned a few accolades. So has Tom Crean at Marquette.
Crean has a job for the next decade in Milwaukee. He penned a contract four weeks ago that takes him through the 2016-2017 season. With his much-publicized workman-like approach, Crean has earned a measure of respect throughout the country.
He is also only 40 years old.
When Marquette travels to Storrs on Jan. 10, last year’s victory over the Huskies in the Big East opener will no longer be fresh. No more Steve Novak.
But the Golden Eagles do have Dominic James.
James, the Big East Rookie of the Year, is now mentioned as one of the top guards in the country.
With an emphasis on guard play this season, the Golden Eagles may look similar to Villanova from a year ago.
3) BIG EAST OF OLD?
Syracuse, UConn, Georgetown and perhaps St. John’s all have been mentioned in various publications as teams which will have an impact in the Big East, but it’s been some time since Providence received a nod.
The Friars do not appear on anyone’s radar this season.
Yes, they have a quality guard in Sharaud Curry, who was a Big East All-Rookie selection along with Geoff McDermott. McDermott, once a top national recruit, may turn in a headline-making performance or two this season.
But then that’s it.
As Tim Welsh enters his ninth season at the school, Providence’s prospects remain somewhat dim. Welsh, a native of Massena (N.Y.), the closest you can get to Canada without stepping into the country, has had an erratic career to date at Providence.
Eighth Year at PC: 12-15/5-11
Seventh Year at PC: 14-17/4-12
Sixth Year at PC: 20-9/11-5
Fifth Year at PC: 18-14/8-8
Fourth Year at PC: 15-16/6-10
Third Year at PC: 21-10/11-5
Second Year at PC: 11-19/4-12
First Year at PC: 16-14/9-9
Overall at PC: 127-114/58-72
Overall at Iona: 70-22
10-Year CAREER: 197-136
BIG EAST TOURNAMENT: 1-7
BIG EAST GAMES: 58-72
NON-LEAGUE GAMES: 69-42
NCAA TOURNAMENT: 0-3 (1998, 2001, 2004)
NIT: 2-4 (1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-99, 2002-03)
Preseason NIT: 3-1 (2004-05)
Maybe a year away?
By the way, this season marks the 20th anniversary of Providence’s last trip to the Final Four. Rick Pitino. Delray Brooks. Of course, Billy Donavan.
And my personal favorite, Marty Conlon.
4) BAD IDEA JEANS
Good friend of mine sent me this.
Yes, it is baseball related. But it also bothered me a bit so I had to share.
This could be the grossest misuse of synthesizers (actually, was there ever a good use for synthesizers?).
It’s nice to see the Detroit Tigers make the World Series. Like Providence, many fans recall the mid-80s as being a golden time in their respective teams’ history.
But this …
It’s safe to say whoever put up the production money for THIS is no longer in the music business (note: so bad I linked it twice. Make sure to check the video as well).
I’ll return later with some UConn numbers.