Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Around the Big East

Before taking a look at some stories across the Big East, let’s head south to Lubbock, Texas.

If you want to understand the basketball coach and more importantly, the person that is Bob Knight, go back to 1981 and read Frank Deford’s Sports Illustrated piece on him, “The Rabbit Hunter.” Even though John Feinstein did a quality job in portraying Knight in “A Season on the Brink” (and even before Brian Dennehy dropped the “Tommy Boy” routine to play the coach in EPSN's monstrosity of a movie), Deford did more in a few pages than those two ever will.

By now, everyone has seen the replay of Knight giving a little knock to forward Michael Prince’s chin the other night. In standard time. In slow motion. In reverse. In slow motion again.

Knight has the support of Prince, the player’s parents and even his AD. So where’s the problem? Move on.

We’re living in different times and sometimes, that’s unfortunate.

Now, some Big East snippets.

A few weeks ago, just by looking at the Providence men’s basketball roster, it was apparent that the Friars are in trouble this season. Remember Marty Conlon?

Anyway, the rumblings are beginning early in Providence and Tim Welsh is under the microscope. Again. He has a few years remaining on his contract, but after losing a few recruits early in the signing period to other programs, the next few years may be tough for the Friars. It’s November. Check out Jim Donaldson’s piece from the Pro-Jo.

Next, Northeastern travels to Syracuse tonight. Aside from watching all the video clips that Syracuse.com provides with freshman Paul Harris sporting the dress shirt and green headband look (probably won’t catch on like Stephen Thompson’s rat tail), the Post-Standard has always done a quality job with the Orange.

Here’s a good piece from central New York, though. It’s about 60-something Tom Murphy, now an assistant at Northeastern. Murphy is synonymous with Division III hoops in upstate New York after winning 600-plus games at Hamilton.

But Murphy was forced out a few years back and most people close to the situation do not talk about it publicly. Murphy took the high road in this piece and has moved on to coach under one of his former players.

Murphy said he was offered Division I jobs in the past, but has taken on a role much like George Blaney at UConn. Good read about a coach moving on in the twilight of his career.

Also from the Post-Standard, this story on Gerry McNamara ran in their preview section. The kid from Scranton has left a mark on the program. After reading this story, it sounds like sophomore Eric Devendorf may step in – the pride of Bay City, Mich., and not the Bay City Rollers (By the way, they were Scottish).

Dug this up from a few months ago about Pitt assistant Orlando Antigua, a former Panther and Globetrotter. This Q and A tells a good story that never gets old. Antigua will spend some time on head coach Jamie Dixon’s bench, then you’ll see him as a head somewhere in a few years.

This ran in the Louisville Courier-Journal. Aside from suspended freshman Derrick Caracter, there are other freshmen to note at Louisville. Sounds like expectations are high in Kentucky much like they are in Connecticut.

Expectations also exist at Rutgers. The football program has not raised them, even though the athletic department will see a huge boost in budget and revenue this year that goes beyond football billboards in south Florida. But first-year basketball coach Fred Hill has set them for himself and his team. Good luck.

Some recruiting news that may not have an impact now, but Jay Wright may have become giddy after last year’s success with so many guards.

Villanova has signed three this week
.

Finally, every team needs role players and Georgetown believes it has found one. Marc Egerson will play in Roy Hibbert’s shadow this season, but he will learn and then excel next season.

Role players should take note
.

Lastly, if you have any questions, comments, gripes (love those) or points about UConn and/or the Big East you would like to make or discuss, feel free. It's open.

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