The good news? College hoops are back, we have a brand new arena to play in, and we are celebrating 100 years of Hawk basketball!
The bad news? Everyone thinks were going to stink this year ;-(
Perennial doormats LaSalle and Duquesne are picked to finish higher, much higher, than our Hawks. Fordham and St. Bonaventure still promise to be doormats though.
Of course I remember back in '02 when, after an embarrassing loss to Ball State at home, all were predicting our demise as we were losing O'Connor, Crenshaw, Reid and Phillips -- 4,000 points, and 80% of our offense. Know what we did the next year? We got better.
Similarly back in '04 when we lost three fellows to the NBA, and again, the naysayers told me despair would greet me the following November. Guess what... with the exception of the Kansas game sans Carroll, no despair as we won 24 games and went to the NIT Championship.
So I'll remain an optimist. I think we have to have a better point guard despite the lack of experience. Many on Hawk Hill become obsessed with statistics; assists, turnovers, offensive rebounding, blah, blah, blah. While they are useful they seem to become the domain of those who never played the game, but like to act like coaches. Our obsession to pour over mounds of stats to explain what we just witnessed. Basketball is a rather simple game. John Stockton dished out an NBA high 15,806 assists and Karl Malone became the second leading point scorer in NBA history on basically one play; the pick and roll. Like Lombardi's Packer Sweep -- you knew it was coming, but they did it well, and you couldn't stop it.
PUT THE BALL IN THE BASKET.
PLAY DEFENSE LIKE YOU DON'T LIKE IT PLAYED AGAINST YOU.
LOVE AND RESPECT THE GAME AND YOUR OPPONENTS.
When we had a four guard offense no one worried much about offensive rebounding statistics. Why? Because we shot well. Fewer opportunities on the offensive glass when the ball keeps going in ;-)
So another season of b-ball on Hawk Hill... our 100th. And we will be back in our traditional role as underdog. So be it. If anything was missing last year it was that Philly Catholic-Public League never say die, never give up, it ain't over 'til it's over attitude that has always been part of St. Joe's basketball. We may not win on talent alone this year... it may require hustle.
Here are two stats I l do love -- diving for loose balls and taking the charge. Be tough, play right, play with pride, keep your head high, and remember you are only renting the uniform and it's a privilege to have Saint Joseph's on your chest. Represent us well.
THE HAWK WILL NEVER DIE!
So what do we know about the Atlantic 10, aside from the fact that it will now, for whatever reasons, be headquartered in Newport News, Va.?
Well, Dayton has been picked as the team to beat in men's basketball, having received 33 of a possible 57 first-place votes.
Xavier, which has won the regular season the last three years, is the only team with a new coach. Former top assistant Chris Mack takes over for Sean Miller, who went to Arizona.
Richmond, under Philadelphia's own Chris Mooney, is the third choice. Springfield-Delco's Dan Geriot, who missed last season with an injury, returns. As does almost everyone else, from a team that won 20 games without him for the first time since 2004.
Temple, which has to replace Dionte Christmas and two other starters, is trying to become the first team to win the conference tournament three consecutive times since Massachusetts (1992-97). The Owls finished in a tie with Duquesne - the team they beat 7 months ago for the title - for fifth in the balloting. Lavoy Allen was a first-team selection.
Saint Joseph's, where Phil Martelli just became a first-time grandfather, went 17-14 with Player of the Year Ahmad Nivins. Without him, the Hawks have been picked 10th. They'll open Hagan Arena Nov. 13 against Drexel.
The title, for the fourth consecutive March, will be decided in Atlantic City. But the final will be played on Selection Sunday afternoon, instead of Saturday night. On CBS rather than ESPN. And only eight teams will get there. The format now calls for first-round games to be held on campus sites earlier in the week. The bottom two teams will still stay home.
Philly teams gearing up for Atlantic-10 hoops schedule Philadelphia Daily News
Times are a changing in the Atlantic 10. Or at least a little bit.
First the league moved its offices south from Philadelphia to Newport News, Va., a shift no one can quite explain. Now the conference is set to start another basketball season, and for the first time in three years, Xavier isn’t picked to win it all. And how about traditional also-rans La Salle and Duquesne residing in the top five?
“It’s been a maturation process [in which] over time teams have taken their bumps and now they’re ready to take their turn at the top,” said Phil Martelli, the longtime coach at Saint Joseph’s. “Very aggressive scheduling and very aggressive recruiting has helped. It’s an exciting and special time for this league.”
No coach has patrolled the sidelines in the league longer than URI’s Baron. He points out that the depth of teams has never been more impressive, in part due to the depth of coaching talent. For example, respected veterans such as Martelli and Rick Majerus of St. Louis have teams pegged to finish in the bottom four of the standings.
A changing landscape looms as league matures University of Rhode Island The Providence Journal
St Joe's senior Garrett Williamson, who had 49 steals last season, is a preseason all-defensive team selection.
The Hawks return three starters in Williamson, senior guard Darrin Govens, and junior forward Idris Hilliard. They lost their leading scorers in Ahmad Nivins and Tasheed Carr.
The team's early success will depend on how quickly the players mesh.
"Every single guy on our team has to contribute," said coach Phil Martelli, whose Hawks finished 17-15 last season. "Every single guy on our team has to improve. And we are going to have to grow mentally, physically, and emotionally to compete in this league."
But the play of Williamson and Govens will ultimately determine the Hawks' fate.
"They will have to leave their mark on a program that has had significant success in the past eight or nine years," Martelli said.
Improving La Salle picked to finish fourth in A-10 Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's has been picked to finish 10th in the Atlantic 10 according to a poll of the Atlantic 10's head coaches and selected media released Thursday during Men's Basketball Media Day. Senior Garrett Williamson was named to the Preseason All-Defensive Team.
The Hawks return three starters - Williamson, Darrin Govens and Idris Hilliard - from last year's team which went 17-15 and finished fifth (9-7) in the league. With four starters and 10 of its top 11 scorers returning from last year's 27-8 team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Dayton has been selected as the team to beat in the Atlantic 10 men's basketball race. The Flyers (27-8/11-5) received 33 of the 57 first-place votes cast by the panel of coaches and media members.
Xavier (27-8/12-4) received 18 first-place votes and placed second in the preseason poll. Xavier will be under the direction of first-year head coach Chris Mack. The Musketeers seek to become the first A-10 program to win four consecutive regular season titles since Massachusetts captured five straight from 1992-96.
Richmond (20-16/9-7) was picked third with five starters returning from the program's first 20-win campaign since 2004, and garnered four first-place votes. La Salle was tabbed fourth and received a pair of first-place votes.
Having won the past two A-10 Championships, Temple (22-12/11-5) finished tied with Duquesne (21-13/9-7) for fifth in the poll. The Dukes return four starters from last season's 21-win squad that advanced to the NIT for the first time since 1994.
Charlotte (11-20/5-11) was selected seventh in the poll, while Rhode Island was picked eighth. The Rams (23-11/11-5) have advanced to the NIT in each of the past two seasons while amassing 44 victories. Massachusetts (12-18/7-9) was selected ninth, followed by the Hawks (17-15/9-7), St. Bonaventure (15-15/6-10), Saint Louis (18-14/8-8), George Washington (10-18/4-12) and Fordham (3-25/1-15). In that same poll, the coaches and media selected the preseason All-Conference teams.
Hawks Picked 10th in Atlantic 10 Preseason Poll - SAINT JOSEPH'S