What's up everybody?

Quick check-in for me tonight, as I'm dusting off some old websites of mine (Myspace, LinkedIn, etc.) and remembered -- oh yeah, I've got a BU hoops blog.

Preseason starts next week, and I'm a bit more excited for this season than last for a couple of reasons, No. 1 obviously being that as of last week, Kevin Broadus is officially gone from Binghamton University, after settling for more than $1.2M. You know, there's so much to say, but at least it's over. (And by the way, if you want some interesting reads, look back at my blog posts here from when the Kevin Broadus era was just beginning, and tell me I didn't see this coming.)

No. 2 is that I was able to use some vacation days here and there so I should be able to make it to most of BU's games this fall, including next Wednesday's exhibition game. With that, No. 2A I suppose, is news that Tim Sansone, co-owner of The Ale House, might be able to hook me up with some tickets, as he is a season-ticket holder who often cannot make it to the games.

No. 3, as it happens, would be optimism on the court. I must admit I don't follow the team as closely as I used to, though I still live just a few miles from the Events Center. Life's a lot different these days, and college basketball just hasn't been a priority, especially since the Broadus era really soured me on my alma mater.

But I'm going to make it to at least a few games this year, and who knows? Maybe I'll stop in here afterward and let you know how I think things are going. I doubt anyone even reads this anymore, much less cares what I think, but it's nice to sit down and write once in a while.


It hits the fan

If you wonder at all why I have become so discouraged about the program that I had been so passionate about, read this, and you'll know.


Mayben arrested on drug charges in Troy

It's hard to see how BU head coach Kevin Broadus is going to make it through this chaos.

Similarly, it's difficult to stomach my school, a school I am so immensely proud of calling my alma mater, continuing to be the laughingstock of the Southern Tier, the America East and now, to an extent, college basketball.

We'll see how this turns out.


Another one bites the dust

Theo Davis quit the team today.

That's right -- the same Theo Davis who sat out a full year waiting for eligibility; the same Theo Davis who originally committed to Texas, had interest from UNC and ended up "playing" a "season" at Gonzaga; the same Theo Davis who everyone thought would be the final piece of our guard-centric puzzle.

Instead, Theo did nothing this year at all, missed the last few games as a healthy scratch/didn't-travel-with-the-team, and decided he was done today.

When Davis didn't make the trip to Vermont, Broadus deemed it 'academic reasons.' When Davis quit the team today, Broadus insisted that Davis is 'in good academic standing.'

Um, coach, you're contradicting yourself.

Whatever, this doesn't come as any surprise to me these days. This team could win out and I've still lost almost all faith.

Press & Sun-Bulletin Digital Editor Jeff Platsky went to Monday's Albany game and told me the team looked good, but they looked tired near the end of the game. I told him hey ... that's no surprise -- when two major pieces of your team (Davis and the indefinitely-suspended-for-reasons-still-unknown four-year-senior guard Dwayne Jackson) aren't playing, you're going to get winded.

Just ridiculous. Go Bearcats, yeah whatever. KB has literally spoiled my enthusiasm for my alma mater. Tremendous.


Comeback win vs. Maine

Nice little come-from-behind victory today as the team celebrated the five-year anniversary of the Events Center.

Brian Moritz writes that he began covering the 'Cats shortly after they moved to the Events Center. It's a shame -- that Jan. 31, 2004 game is probably one of my top-five BU basketball memories. Brandon Carter really, really lit it up that night. I still have the commemorative placard thing they gave out that day hanging on my wall.

Good win. Glad to see the students back.

Clearly, however -- no sign of Dwayne Jackson. I can hardly express how disappointed I am with D.J. -- who had always seemed like the model citizen, in the mold of Carter, Sebastian Hermenier and Mike Gordon.

Now the word is that Jackson is getting unique treatment in the media guide and annual statistics. Today's media guide doesn't even list Jackson on the roster anymore, although he does get a mention in the news section:
Senior wing Dwayne Jackson suspended indefinitely

Senior wing Dwayne Jackson was suspended indefinitely from the team prior to the Hartford game on January 19 for a
violation of team policy.

Then you check out the 2008-09 statistics:

|---TOTAL---| |---3-PTS---| |----REBOUNDS----|
## Player GP-GS Min--Avg FG-FGA Pct 3FG-FGA Pct FT-FTA Pct Off Def Tot Avg PF FO A TO Blk Stl Pts Avg
02 Rivera, D.J........ 21-19 719 34.2 151-308 .490 31-93 .333 94-144 .653 47 80 127 6.0 56 0 17 37 8 36 427 20.3
03 Alvin, Malik....... 18-14 553 30.7 69-166 .416 13-45 .289 77-96 .802 13 46 59 3.3 48 3 80 59 6 28 228 12.7
21 x-Jackson, Dwayne.. 17-2 423 24.9 63-151 .417 33-96 .344 40-54 .741 23 42 65 3.8 37 1 15 15 4 11 199 11.7
25 Fuller, Reggie..... 21-19 645 30.7 75-140 .536 0-0 .000 33-49 .673 48 88 136 6.5 72 5 14 27 32 18 183 8.7
32 Mayben, Emanuel.... 21-16 645 30.7 62-152 .408 19-46 .413 37-55 .673 15 60 75 3.6 61 2 88 62 4 19 180 8.6
22 Watson, Sean....... 2-2 54 27.0 4-17 .235 0-5 .000 4-8 .500 3 5 8 4.0 3 0 0 2 0 4 12 6.0
34 Lukusa, Chretien... 16-2 322 20.1 21-56 .375 5-18 .278 15-31 .484 17 36 53 3.3 34 1 13 25 1 14 62 3.9
01 Camara, Moussa..... 14-5 168 12.0 15-35 .429 12-27 .444 11-13 .846 4 8 12 0.9 16 0 4 6 0 5 53 3.8
04 Herbert, Brandon... 20-5 228 11.4 21-57 .368 16-39 .410 2-5 .400 5 22 27 1.4 25 0 15 9 1 9 60 3.0
33 Sutton, Kyrie...... 17-12 223 13.1 12-36 .333 0-0 .000 7-19 .368 22 32 54 3.2 37 1 4 9 25 1 31 1.8
15 Fine, David........ 10-0 51 5.1 6-12 .500 1-3 .333 1-4 .250 0 1 1 0.1 4 0 3 9 0 4 14 1.4
50 Montgomery, Jaan... 19-9 130 6.8 7-19 .368 0-0 .000 3-7 .429 12 14 26 1.4 36 1 2 13 3 2 17 0.9
23 Davis, Theo........ 6-0 57 9.5 2-13 .154 0-0 .000 0-2 .000 0 11 11 1.8 11 0 9 12 5 2 4 0.7
24 Mullins, Matt...... 3-0 7 2.3 0-2 .000 0-1 .000 2-2 1.000 2 0 2 0.7 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0.7
TEAM............... 37 32 69 3.3 0 4
Total.............. 21 4225 508-1164 .436 130-373 .349 326-489 .667 248 477 725 34.5 440 14 265 289 89 153 1472 70.1
Opponents.......... 21 4225 477-1133 .421 118-359 .329 373-525 .710 257 497 754 35.9 412 - 274 311 78 130 1445 68.8

x-Inactive player
Inactive player!? Not even Devon McBride got that sort of treatment!

Trust me when I tell you that I have absolutely no idea what Dwayne Jackson did, but if history provides any indication, he did something very, very bad. Pipe Dream's Cyril Cheriyan got this quote out of SID John Hartrick: “We can’t say anything much right now other than the fact that [Jackson] will not be back anytime soon.”

There's no doubt it's extremely embarrassing for the program to suspend one of its senior leaders "indefinitely." In my mind, it's more embarrassing for the athletics department to continue to cover up whatever it was that Jackson did. Silence does nothing but propagate more rumors and give the impression that you are trying to make things go away. Not that the BU athletics department would EVER try to stay silent on important legal matters -- oh wait, there's that whole Miladin Kovacevic international clusterf*ck that, of course, the BU athletics department has never said a peep about.

I'm going to stop short of making any bold declarative statements about the program this evening, but do take notice that the game results are far from the focal point of this post. My frustration with my alma mater is mounting. And, fellow ex-Bearcats I don't blame you if yours is, too.


Barn-burner in progress at the Events Center

74 seconds left at the EC, with the BU women leading SBU 83-79. There's been more contact in the last minute than the entire B-Sens game I watched Friday night.

Andrea Holmes has 27 points with two free throws pending. If anyone else has been following this game ... that was certainly a foul on Laura Franceski, and the SBU coaching staff has a right to be flustered by the non-call.

The game is being televised on Channel 23 in the Binghamton area.


BU d. UVM, BU loses to Utah Valley

Great win Thursday night. When push came to shove, I decided to stay home and watch Oklahoma/Florida instead of making the drive to the Events Center. I've got it DVR-ed.

Tough choice, yes. The UVM game is always huge for Bearcat fans, although it's sort of lame to schedule it with no students on campus. It sounds like Thursday's game was certainly no exception.

But really, the whole conference schedule gets me down a bit. While it's great to have so many AE games at home now, it's going to suck bigtime for the student body when they get back. The Bearcats could continue this great run, but without a nice lineup of home games, it'll be difficult to get the students behind them 100%.

Furthermore, what the hell was KB thinking scheduling this Utah Valley game on Jan. 10? ... in Utah?

Brian Moritz described this game in his preview as an obvious possibility for a letdown game. (Shockingly, Broadus denied that idea).

As usual, Brian was dead-on. Utah Valley led most of the way in a game that understandably would lack motivation for a team that's leading the America East. A Saturday night game, in January ... in Utah?

Did Broadus think that Schafer Jackson was still around or something?

I'm glad the Bearcats are getting to travel around the country and play some different teams. Good for them, really. But January is America East season. This team has not earned the right to go out and show off like this. Especially when teams like Cornell and Northeastern are erasing dates from the schedule during the preseason.

Once AE play starts, that's it for non-conference play, gang. I'll make an exception for the Bracket Busters. But this is just another example of bass-ackwards logic from the KB camp.


Bing beats SBU, 67-60

My first impression from following the Gametracker from my lovely corner desk at the Press & Sun-Bulletin last night was that BU pretty much had this game in hand from rail-to-rail.

The Bearcats jumped out to an early lead and seemed to never look back against an inferior Stony Brook team.

A late hiccup, though, allowed the Seawolves to climb to within a point.

There are two ways to interpret that late hiccup -- 1) The Bearcats fought off a tough SBU comeback to persevere and earn the 'W,' or 2) The Bearcats nearly choked away a win that it sure look like they had locked up for the whole game.

A bit surprising to me is that SBU attempted only eight threes the whole game, despite trailing from the start. It's a testament to coach Pikiell's patience -- although it appears that Chretien Lukusa's three to stretch the lead from 3 to 6 right before the half was a pretty big backbreaker for the Seawolves.

All things considered, it's another win for the Bearcats, although the string of conference cupcakes ends Thursday night with Vermont coming to town. Although I'm off from work, I'm on the fence about this one, considering the BCS Nat'l Championship Game will be played that night. Regardless, I'll be back soon to offer some more thoughts.


Local Sports on Demand

I just discovered the 'Local Sports On Demand' channel way up there on Time Warner's list of channels.

The channel offers the Bing vs. Buff State game from early in the season. I turned it on, and was immediately told in the pregame by Roger Neel that coach Kevin Broadus was looking to build on his success from last season, when he "led the Bearcats to the America East conference tournament."

As if it was a success that the team was not banned from the postseason it automatically qualifies for annually.


I'll have some feelings on the Bing/SBU game (I promised a Bing win, and I was right) tomorrow. (I did not have a chance to attend this game as I was working -- can you tell how happy that makes me.)


I'm back - White-hot Bearcats win conference opener

Four straight wins, seven of nine -- the Bearcats are riding high as the conference schedule kicked off Saturday afternoon in Orono, Maine.

Bearcat Country has been on hiatus for about five weeks as I weathered an illness, a financially challenging holiday season and my general disdain for a team that I, unfortunately, consider an off-the-court embarrassment to my alma mater.

But as the saying goes, winning solves everything. D.J. Rivera has been the toast of the town, lighting up opposing defenses Andre Heard-style. Rivera, who I gushed about after watching him do a little bit of everything against Buffalo in an exhibition game (Full disclosure: I have not seen a BU game since that night), now leads the America East in scoring and, as Maine coach Ted Woodward said after yesterday afternoon's game, could be a legitimate POY candidate if he keeps at his current pace through conference play.

The team's win streak inspires me to praise the team's on-the-court success before breaking down some of the off-the-court BS.

Early-season success is not unprecedented in the team's D-I history. The greatest buzz I remember was 2005-06, when BU reeled off six straight conference victories after losing the AE opener at Albany. Win No. 6, a 61-60 2OT victory over Vermont, was perhaps the most dramatic sporting event I've ever attended.

Fans need to remember the position the Bearcats are in. Year after year, expectations have been high. This year, with a slew of high-risk, high-reward transfers filling the roster, the potential for success is probably even higher than it has been in the past. But season after season of postseason disappointment finally convinced fellow coaches to temper their preseason expectations.

This is a team that needs to at least reach a conference championship game to regain respectability, from the on-court perspective. (Most) coaches will play their media day interviews politically correct, but don't misread me here: Nobody fears playing Binghamton in the postseason ... nobody. This is a team that has never accomplished anything in the postseason; in fact, that may be an understatement. This is hardly the same team that failed in last year's tournament, and barely the same team that choked hardcore in Boston in March of '07.

Of course, the coaching change has a lot to do with that inconsistency since '06-'07 ... but if Dr. Joel Thirer had played things a bit more conservatively, he would've installed a coach who would've solved that sort of problem. Instead, Thirer theoretically pushed his chips all-in (I hate poker cliches, but I'm out of practice with my writing, so get over it). Choosing Broadus over, say, the hometown boy King Rice, Thirer, along with President DeFleur, gambled on a coach whose high-risk, high-reward qualities mirror those of the troubled recruits he's continued to bring in.

Sure, bringing in talented freshmen -- sans rap sheets -- would cause short-term consternation and probably not immediately deliver the conference championship that the BU men so desperately need.

But look what happened with Mike Gordon. He walked on campus an unheralded, six-foot-on-his-tippy-toes bench-warmer. He worked his ass off for four years -- and graduated a 39-minute-a-night, wish-you-had-five-of-him, community-loves-him, not-quite-MVP-caliber-but-you-could-mention-him-in-the-conversation-and-not-get-laughed-at model citizen -- someone who made you proud to be a Bearcat fan, a Binghamton resident or a BU alum (or in some cases, all three).

If Al Walker was going to keep his job, Mike Gordon was going to be the reason why.

Instead, Al Walker lost his job. To put it simply, he couldn't succeed in the postseason. But look a little deeper, and you identify two major underlying issues that Thirer, in the end, couldn't stomach: a pair of bad knees, and a troubled transfer.

You could write a 500-word novel about Nick Billings and not tell the whole story, but you can sum up his downfall in a five-letter word: knees. If Billings' career had continued on the upswing that blessed his freshman and sophomore seasons, Walker probably would've cut down the nets at the Events Center. But the lanky Alaskan's knees deteriorated to a point where he could not be the same guy he was from 2002-2004.

But Billings' troubles weren't limited to his knees. Billings flourished in an offense run by true point guard Brandon Carter -- another man you'd be proud to call a fellow Bearcat. When Carter graduated in the spring of 2004, Darel Lucas, a transfer student, was slated to start at the 1 the following season.

When Lucas' career evaporated that fall, a freshman named Troy Hailey -- a terrific young talent at the 2 -- moved to the point, thrust into the spotlight he should've been eased into over the next two seasons.

Hailey turned out to be an all-time great Bearcat. He's the program's all-time leading scorer -- undoubtedly in part because he got a lot more playing time than Walker originally planned.

But he was never the true point guard Carter was -- or Lucas was supposed to be.

The other pieces were there. (Four-year player) Sebastian Hermenier. Billings, with Alex Adediran. Heard. Jordan Fithian (whose misfortunes were more philosophical than physical). But underneath it all, everything disintegrated when Lucas skipped town mid-season.

And that brings us back to the present day. Jan. 5, 2009. The record looks nice. The on-the-court success is reviving old-school talk of BU being a postseason sleeper (although the season really started yesterday -- throw everything else out; an AE team will not win an NCAA tournament game for the forseeable future, and won't/shouldn't be seeded higher than 14, but that's a completely separate discussion).

I digress.

I am concerned that this team is built like a house of cards, constructed on a group of Darel Lucas's, an oligarchy that could collapse at any time. And none of Walker's recruits ever (allegedly) bowled over an old lady after (allegedly) stealing a case of condoms from the local Wal-Mart. Not to mention the Miladin Kovacevic case -- a Walker recruit, yes, but the crime happened on Broadus' watch (and anyone who tries to separate Kovacevic and Broadus because he was a Walker recruit is incorrect). And don't forget about Broadus' own transgressions.

Full disclosure: I attended a BU/Albany game at the Events Center clutching an "I'm a Kevin Broadus guy" sign. But if I was not a BU alum/fan, I could never defend the BU side of the shove-gate argument. (Could you?!)

Maybe I'm being too cynical, or overly cautious because I have seen this team fail in the postseason year after year -- and in my eyes, that's how teams -- especially teams with full funding, a beautiful on-campus facility, tons of student and community support, loads of talent annually, and a hotshot coach from Georgetown and GW -- deserve to be judged.

But I'm worried.

That's not to say I am worried about tomorrow night. I still think Stony Brook is a complete embarrassment to the America East conference, although I can give 'em some dap for toppling UMBC yesterday. The Bearcats should wipe the floor with SBU every year.

But if they win the next 10 games in a row, a part of me will still be worried that the team is just inherently unstable. And it'll be hard to sell me on the idea that building a team full of talented, non-criminal, graduating four-year players is not the proper way to build a program still less than 10 years in D-I.


Bearcats disappoint again in bad loss to CCSU

First off -- please pardon my absence lately. I've been a poor blogger. I'm not at liberty to really discuss the primary reason why, except to say that it has to do with a very tumultuous period at the company that employs me. As much as I love this blog, and discussing the Bearcats in general, rocky times at my job have kept me from enjoying much of anything over the past month or so. Considering the very touchy nature of the subject, I will not comment further on the situation, other than to say I hope that from a personal standpoint, things will hopefully settle within the next couple of weeks.

That said -- I must admit that I have also been a poor fan in the last few weeks. I attended the Buffalo State win, followed with some encouraging commentary -- and then sort of skated through the past week and a half that included a win over a Division-II squad and two losses, including what Kevin Broadus called the worst loss of his life, a 25-point shellacking at Central Connecticut State tonight, featuring the worst three-point shooting display since that goofy frat kid during a promotional giveaway at the Buff State exhibition.

Oh-for-19. NINETEEN! According to Moritz, the dubious NCAA record is 0-for-22.

And, geez, it's not like they were playing Duke! These Blue Devils have squeaked past the Bearcats a few times in the past few years, and one would've expected tonight's matchup to be similarly competitive.

NOT! A 25-point train wreck against a mediocre opponent, with critics describing the loss as even worse than it sounds. I didn't see a second of the game, but I don't know how you can butter up 0-for-19 from three as a step in the right direction.

I can't get over this. NINETEEN misses! How do you miss NINETEEN straight threes? Was there an earthquake in Connecticut tonight? Were the Bearcats shooting at one of those amusement park hoops where the ball is bigger than the rim? Was this played under NBA Jam rules, where CCSU got 'on fire' and could goaltend at will, sans consequence?

Well -- no, no, and no. This was a regulation basketball game, against a team one could consider comparable to the Bearcats, considering their recent close results. And the 'Cats -- a team built around GUARDS, mind you -- missed every single three they took. EVERY ONE!

- - - - -

Not to get off topic again, but when I know something definitive about my job status, I will post a quick update. I really, really don't want to make this a personal blog, so if you want to know more about what's going on, send me an e-mail and perhaps we can chat.


Exhibition Game - Bearcats 100-and-something, Buffalo State 64

I was impressed tonight with the Bearcats' hundred-point destruction of D-III Buffalo State.

Of course, every exhibition-game report needs the blah-blah-this-game-doesn't-really-count disclaimer at the outset. But there were some impressive things to take from this game.

The big story, to me, was D.J. Rivera. Nine-for-13 from the field for 21 points, Rivera's intensity is unmatched. His rebound-dunk combo about two minutes in energized the crowd and his teammates, and was hopefully just a flash of what's to come.

Ordinarily, I'd be wary about such intensity on the court, especially after watching cool-as-ice Mike Gordon lead the team for the past few years.

But Tiki Mayben's calm-and-confident demeanor seems to contrast Rivera's energy perfectly.

I've written before about Mayben's prior transgressions, and I still think there is a fundamental flaw in Kevin Broadus' recruiting philosophy.

That said, and not to downplay those reservations -- when you give these two guys the ball, special things happen. At least tonight.

There were other positives tonight. Specifically, Dwayne Jackson.

I have always been a fan of D.J. He came in as a freshman and worked his way through the system, doing everything right from the beginning. No legal troubles, no whining, no B.S.

Of course, the kid lit it up tonight, 4-for-5 from downtown, with another make questionably called back after a Jaan Montgomery foul. If D.J. has improved his horrendous rebounding skills, I think he deserves a spot in the starting five.

Having sung the praises of Mayben and Rivera, the spot for Jackson would be the 3-spot that now belongs to Sean Watson, who played the quietest 22 minutes-13 points-7 rebounds I've seen in a long time. At times, you'd just forget he was on the floor. That can be good or bad, but I don't see that style jiving well with the creativity of Mayben and the electricity of Rivera -- at least as a starter.

It felt good to see Jaan Montgomery succeed tonight. When you're five inches taller than everyone on the other team, it makes things a little easier, but it was nice to see him doing the things that I'm sure Al Walker dreamed of five years ago.

As for Reggie -- I wrote last year that I thought he could develop into a top-tier-type player if he could develop that 16-foot jumper. But I don't think that's the case anymore. In this system, I see Reggie becoming a solid role player, but he'll be shooting even less this season with these hired guns -- erm, transfers -- running the show.

I won't be able to make Monday's game because of work (can you tell how happy I am about that?), but I'll likely post some more on this game later tonight or tomorrow.

Thanks, as always, for reading.


Are you ready to rock?

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends ... except for a few months over the summer, when nothing's going on in Bearcat Country.

Well actually, a lot of stuff is going on, of course. Players are working hard in the gyms and on the practice courts, getting prepared for the fall season. And coaching staffs are spanning the globe, looking for the next great prospect to bring their team to the promised land.

Some America East blogs, namely America Least -- perhaps my favorite basketball blog, if not my favorite overall blog -- keep churning out posts all summer long, attempting to keep up with recruiting efforts around the conference.

To be frank, I don't have the patience to keep up with recruiting efforts. I'll take a look at the official Bearcats Web site once in a while to see how the roster is shaping up, but I don't have the time to browse hundreds of recruiting Web sites through the spring and summer. Some fans are fascinated by this stuff -- honestly, I just don't have the patience or the resources to keep up with it.

Obviously, recruiting is an incredibly important part of college basketball. I'm by no means trying to play down the need to recruit talented, well-rounded individuals. And if I were a pro basketball writer, with the time and resources needed to look into it, I'd love to become a high school basketball junkie.

Unfortunately, in reality, I'm holding down a full-time job, albeit at a newspaper. And it has just about nothing to do with basketball.

The cool part, though, is that my full-time job is right in the heart of Vestal, New York -- a frisbee's throw from the Events Center. So when the season starts again shortly, I'll be able to once again keep track of the Bearcats, from the opening tip to the, well ... probably, the first round of the America East conference tournament.

I won't claim to know everything about the Bearcats, especially at this point in the preseason. And I certainly can't claim to know everything about all the new blood around the conference at the moment.

But what I can deliver on this blog is a unique game-by-game perspective of the team that I have come to love over the past six years. I attended my first Bearcats game back when the team played in the West Gym in the fall of 2003 -- and here I am, five seasons later, still wearing the same green BU ZOO t-shirt to each and every home game.

The '08-'09 festivities kick off Friday night with Late Nite Madness, which, if history repeats itself, promises to be an underwhelmingly disappointing train wreck. I've always thought the athletics department could put a little more pizazz into the annual event, and I don't think this year will be any different.

The season opener is still about a month off, when the Bearcats will kick off against powerhouse Buffalo State. (Full schedule) As that epic showdown approaches, I'll try and piece together a more poignant season preview, and give my thoughts on how I think the season will shake out. (Hint: Not great.)

I know I've said this a few times now, but ... stay tuned.


Bearcats overseas

A comment left on the last post by 'justin' (do I know you?) wondered on the whereabouts of Bearcat alums, in light of the photo of Duane James and Nick Billings I posted a few days ago.

I can't claim to know too much about what's going on with all the old guys, but here's a few tidbits I do know:

--Duane James and Nick Billings were playing together somewhere in Denmark

--Sebastian Hermenier, last I checked, was playing with Besancon Basketball Club in France, but it appears he has left that team

--Troy Hailey had planned to play ball somewhere but his contract fell through

--According to his Facebook, Mike Gordon is heading to train overseas.

I'll try and post more later; I'll check things out and see what's going on. Hope that quenched a bit of your thirst for now.

BTW -- I will be back, soon, to posting on this blog regularly. I promise.


ESPN.com rankings

ESPN.com ranked D-I programs from top to bottom. The Bearcats are ineligible for this list, having played less than 15 years of D-I.

Here's the rest of the AE rankings:

America East
108. Boston University
159. Vermont
T-256. UMBC
270. Hartford
T-278. Maine
297. New Hampshire


Minja's mug on CNN front

This has become a truly global story now.

(Thanks to Brendan Dischinger for pointing the CNN.com story out to me)

If you haven't seen this video of Minja's parents being interviewed, it's worth a watch (1:21)

... and here's a link to Minja's Interpol Arrest Warrant.


Vacation week

I'm off from the Press & Sun for a week, and I'm not allowed to blog for them off the clock, so I figured I'd check back in at the real Bearcat Country and catch up a little bit.

First off, a few people have asked whether or not this blog is done for. The answer is no -- I just don't have much time to follow much of the off-season recruiting like some other bloggers do. (And if that's what you're looking for, this is another great opportunity to plug America Least, where Drake's doing a terrific job following recruiting efforts by all nine AE schools.)

Once the season starts up again, I'll be back with preseason predictions, game-by-game analysis, etc.

The big topic surrounding Bearcats basketball, of course, has been the Minja Kovacevic case -- one of the most revolting cases of blown justice I've ever heard of. (Personal, unpaid blog = Strub can let the leash out a little bit here.)

Joseph Cawley needs to lose his job over this. Letting Kovacevic go on bail, and not properly monitoring a man who very nearly killed someone, is absolutely inexcusable for someone entrusted so deeply by the public. He needs to at least be publicly reprimanded for his actions in the case.

I'm sort of surprised that no one has contacted ex-coach Al Walker about this case. I'd be interested in hearing more about what made him think Minja would be a good representative of Binghamton University when he offered him a scholarship. It was obvious from just one look at Kovacevic's Facebook profile -- which has since either been taken down, or made private, or he just de-friended me -- that he was an, as we say, accident waiting to happen.

Another part of the case that's burning me up is the ethnic divisions being drawn in the sand. As I wrote in my professional blog on pressconnects.com (here), the whole thing has nothing to do with Kovacevic's ethnic background. NOTHING. Clear enough? This punk -- pardon my Daily News-ism -- is hiding from justice, then having Mommy and Daddy tell the reporters to blame the U.S. for his troubles.

That's right, Minja. Blame Binghamton University for offering you four free years of education that some of us -- myself included -- will be paying for for the next 20 years. Blame Binghamton for welcoming you with open arms, giving you standing ovations when you pulled off your practice jersey and represented our school and our area.

Let me try and take a "fair and balanced" view of this story for a second. Let's assume Bryan Steinhauer actually did pinch a girl's ass, at 1:30 a.m., at the Studio 54 party at the Rat.

That party is traditionally one of the biggest drunk-fests of the year, without a doubt. I went to the 2007 version of that particular party, and would've been at the '08 version had I not been stuck at work until 1:30 a.m. that night. I don't know Bryan, and don't know his drinking habits, but even if he was off-the-wall, blacked-out drunk, pinching a girl's rear end at the Rat is nothing out of the ordinary. It's almost harder *not* to pinch a girl in the disgustingly, obscenely close quarters of the Rat -- especially at 1:30 a.m., especially at Chrissy's Studio 54 bash, when a couple hundred kids are packed in there like sardines.

A pinch is a pinch. And nobody's saying that Steinhauer did anything more than that, if he was even "guilty" of this mere faux pas. Miladin Kovacevic -- allegedly -- stepped up and battered this kid within an inch of his life.

Assuming that this wasn't just a random act of hatred, I wouldn't be as upset if Kovacevic had simply punched the kid in the face, maybe given him a shiner or something. Heck, maybe Softic and Dzubur were friends with Minja, and there was some disrespect. You throw a left hand, or maybe a shot to the gut, to let him know you're there. One simple punch from Minja would have been, trust me, WAYYYYY more than enough to alert ANY drunken soul that they need to skedaddle.

But Minja felt the need to keep going. It's hard to believe that he did something like this consciously, which leads me to believe he was under the influence of something -- although I can tell you that I never, ever saw the kid with a drink in his hand. He must have not understood his own strength -- that, or he just didn't care about any possible consequences.

I need to get off this topic. It angers me to just think about it.

I wish all the best to Bryan Steinhauer and his family. I only write about this topic because I feel it is such a horrific injustice to Steinhauer.


Minja makes Daily News cover

Holy crap.


Seabass a solid sixth man

Looks like Sebastian Hermenier is doing okay for himself lately as a sixth man for Besancon Basket Comte Doubes in France.


Minja jailed

I've got plenty of thoughts on this subject. I guess most importantly, I hope the kid he attacked is okay. I have not heard any word, official or unofficial, on his condition, nor his identity.

Let me get back to you on this one.


Conover gets the ax

According to inside sources ... BU women's head coach Rich Conover has been fired.


Final Four

So this is the first year in a while I've gotten 2/4 Final Four choices right, and even picked Kansas to go to the 'Ship.

Now if Texas can somehow pull out a victory on Monday night, I'll be in great shape ...

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I'm starting to focus more on MLB these days; I ordered mlb.tv from mlb.com the other day, and it's well worth the $120. Just think of how many times over the summer you'll hear of a guy being perfect through six and be dying to watch?

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Additionally, I'll be launching a new, official Press & Sun-Bulletin blog within the next two weeks. Stay tuned for more details.


Laz is officially transferring


I know that there are growing pains associated with getting a new coach, but couldn't it be ANYONE but Laz?

But don't worry ... I'm sure Broadus will quickly replace him by giving another fallen star a fifth or sixth opportunity at Division-I. /sarcasm

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For the record, I'm still bugging Christine about writing a guest viewpoint for me ... Granted, she was busy, as the women's team at UH made it to the second round of the NCAA's in Louisiana. I'll keep pestering her ...


An open question to Mark Macyk

... Still think UMBC wins its first-round matchup? :)

Also in the "ouch" department: Cornell draws Stanford in Anaheim.

The Hartford women, on the other hand, could land a 12 seed and as close to home-court advantage as possible with a first-rounder in Bridgeport. Congrats to the Hawks, who have become one of the most dominant women's programs in the America East the last few years.
ping Bearcat Country www.bearcatcountry.blogger.com