September 24th, 2012
It was a very busy week last week as I hit the road recruiting. I completed an ambicious Prep School tour that included 8 Prep Schools in 4 days all across New England. As always, NCAA rules don't allow me to talk about specific schools I went to, but it included schools in New Hampshire, Massachussets, and Connecticut.
Pretty awesome to have so many of the top Prep programs in the country within driving distance. It's a unique part of the country here in New England, and we are definitely lucky to have this much talent close by!
Saturday was a big day as well...we hosted a tailgate for Men's Basketball before the home Football game vs Albany. Definitely was a hit with everybody who came by and was the best tailgate I've ever been a part of for sure. The highlights were the lobster rolls, chili, wings from the Roost & cupcakes for desert...BIG TIME!
The major news event in the College Basketball world was the resignation of Billy Gillispie from Texas Tech. It was obviously a difficult situation there and I hope things work out for their basketball program, the players, and of course Coach Gillispie. One of my former players Dejan Kravic transferred there last year and will be eligible to play this season. Definitely rooting for him and hope that brighter days are ahead for Texas Tech.
Have a great week everybody!
September 14th, 2012
Huge news yesterday as Jim Calhoun announced his retirement after 26yrs at UConn and 40yrs total as a DI Head Coach. I absolutely had to talk about the news as Coach Calhoun is truly a legend in this business, and built UConn up from very little, to a National power and one of the premier programs in college basketball.
My boss, Ted Woodward, was an Assistant Coach at UConn under Jim Calhoun from 1986-89, which makes me a part of the extended UConn family coaching tree, so definitely have to pay my respects to one of the all-time greats.
Coach Calhoun, without question, is one of the most intense, fiercely competitive, and hard-nosed coaches I have ever seen. The staples of his teams have always been to dominate the backboards, lock-down defensively, and combine gifted interior scorers with high-level guard play.
As a fan, I will always remember Coach Calhoun running up & down the sidelines with the excitement of a child on Christmas morning as the clock wound down on his 3 National Championships in 1999, 2004, & 2011. As a coach, I will always remember our matchup with UConn last season on November 17th, 2011. After a 1st Half in which UConn had a tough time with our 3-2 zone, and shot the ball poorly, he left the bench before the end of the half (furious with a slim 5pt lead). I can only imagine what the halftime speech looked like, and at the start of the 2nd half, called a timeout 5 seconds in, which has to be a record!
The 2nd Half was a completely different story, and UConn's guys crashed the glass harder than anyone I have ever seen in my 18+ years as a player/coach. They ended the game with a +27 rebound margin, and 30 Offensive rebounds, including 11 from Andre Drummond (Pistons).
His accomplishments speak for themselves, and there is no question he will go down as a Hall of Famer, and one of the greatest of all-time. Congratulations on a phenomenal career Coach Calhoun, you are truly an original cut from a different cloth!
September 11th, 2012
Very busy week last week as we are now officially Back to School! This is definitely a very exciting time of the year with students starting classes, fall sports starting up, and the start of fall workouts for us!
Campus, and the town of Orono, are completely different during the school year, and it's great to have all the students back on campus. There is an exciting buzz in the air, and campus is definitely hopping.
We also now get a chance to get back on the floor for individual workouts, and start preparing our guys for the season. Week 1 of workouts have been tremendous so far, and we're extremely excited about our team. Our guys came back in great shape, and have brought excellent focus, intensity, and passion to get better to workouts so far.
There's no doubt that our length and athleticism at every position gives us a chance to do special things this year. Our schedule was released last week as well. Our non-conference schedule will definitely challenge us, and do a great job of preparing us for conference play. The biggest tests will be on the road vs 2012 ACC Champions, Florida State Seminoles, and 2012 NIT participants, the BIG EAST's Seton Hall Pirates.
Awesome time of the year for sure, and the air is filled with excitement and potential. Welcome back to all of our UMaine students & GO BLACK BEARS!!
September 3rd, 2012
Happy Labor Day everybody! I meant to write a blog entry last week, but things where hectic here with students arriving on campus. All our new guys are officially now here and settled in to dorms and off-campus housing, so have a little time to catch up.
Had to talk about the Canadian Senior National Team camp that took place last week (here's a cool behind the scenes look). It's extremely exciting to see the level of talent that was a part of the camp, and it is a sign of great things to come for Canada Basketball. Of course I talked about UMaine's own, Justin Edwards, taking part in the camp...Justin had a tremendous week there and it's an experience that will help him take steps forward and build on an excellent freshman year.
Also have to mention some of my former players that were part of the camp: Tristan Thompson (Cavs), Cory Joseph (Spurs), Myck Kabongo (Texas), Brady Heslip (Baylor), Dwight Powell (Stanford), and Nick Stauskas (Michigan) all took part as well! These guys, along with Andrew Nicholson (Magic), Kris Joseph (Celtics), and the rest of the extremely talented group, form a core that will put Canada Basketball back on the map internationally!
It's a very exciting time for Basketball in Canada, and I am so happy to see how far it has come, and where it is going! Happy Labor Day and have a great week everybody!