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Tag:St. Joseph's
Posted on: January 4, 2012 11:34 pm

Video: Seth Davis interviews Todd O'Brien

By Matt Norlander

The issue's not going away, Phil.

Todd O'Brien appeared on "Courtside with Seth Davis" Wednesday night, the latest push to free the grad student who wants a little more time in uniform before leaving organized hoops behind for the rest of his life. O'Brien resubmitted his information to the NCAA and is awaiting the latest word to see if his case can merit an override from them, since St. Joe's isn't willing to talk or budge on his release.

I originally snagged O'Brien's first media interview in the wake of his piece re: Phil Martelli and St. Joe's not letting him off the hook. Seth, using barrels of fewer words, did a much better job than I in getting information and bringing more light to the problem. O'Brien handled himself well, too.

Seth also has an accompanying column
up about this. If some think this is continued bludgeoning of a story that doesn't deserve this attention, they're missing the point. College players already wield too little power. When the system screws the little guy, we always take notice. It doesn't have to be some prominent figure; America likes to stand up for itself and fight on behalf of the person that was -- or could be -- us in some way. O'Brien represents that. Here's the interview.

Posted on: December 20, 2011 1:05 pm

Podcast: Todd O'Brien speaks about Phil Martelli

By Matt Norlander

Todd O'Brien's story has created quite a stir, and rightfully so. His piece had more than ripple effects; it's created waves in the college sports community.

O'Brien wrote eloquently on his situation, but we wanted to hear more, so we were able to get him on today's podcast, his first interview (of what will be many; O'Brien's about ot do a media tour de force) since the piece went live. I ask him about his relationship with Phil Martelli, why he decided to leave, when he decided to leave, the laptop-theft issue from last February, and if that has any connection to the situation he finds himself in now.

And to be clear here: Martelli has, for perhaps the first time in his career, been muzzled on this issue. I'd be eager, willing and anxious to have him on the podcast if he so pleases.

What to hear where:
  • From the beginning: A reset and introduction to O'Brien's situation, for those not fully understanding the rare circumstances he's involved in right now.
  • 2:45: O'Brien explains when and why he approached Martelli about leaving.
  • 6:23: Who is Phil Martelli, and did the relationship between he and O'Brien sour quickly?
  • 10:18: O'Brien details when and why he last spoke to Martelli. And the discussion was much more positive then. "Seemingly a good talk," O'Brien said.
  • 12:40: How O'Brien's involvement (minimal or otherwise) in a laptop-theft incident from February plays into his leaving the school and his fractured relationship with Martelli.
  • 17:51: Why should we believe this isn't about athletics and O'Brien being frustrated over a depletion of playing time? He states his case, and admits the lack of playing time did give him incentive.
  • 20:18: Why UAB? O'Brien is from Pennsylvania, and attended Bucknell and St. Joe's, after all.
  • 23:25: Why won't Martelli let this happen? That's the crux of the issue. What's O'Brien's perspective on this?
  • 26:20: We know O'Brien hopes he'll play again, but does he believe Martelli will actually go back on his word?

You can listen to the College Basketball Podcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The podcasts are posted here and simultaneously through iTunes (link below). Each Wednesday national writers Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish hop on to banter and bicker. Mondays and Fridays are reserved for the most prominent voices in and around the game. Here's the iTunes subcription link. We also have an RSS feed for you to track. I don't believe they are making Zunes anymore, but nonetheless, I've been instructed to link you on how to listen via that device, too.

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Posted on: September 1, 2011 10:10 am

St. Joe's leaving the Palestra -- for now

By Matt Norlander

On the surface it seems wrong and unholy. St. Joe's and Villanova not playing in the Palestra? The Holy War moving off sacred grounds?

It's going to happen. Needs to, according to St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli. Why? Because the Hawks have been sputtering for most of the past six seasons, and the fanfare for the program in no way resembles what was happening at the middle of the last decade. That's a little surprising, considering the Hawks have been the definition of average; the team has won 15.6 games per season the past five years. It's not great, and there hasn't been NCAA tournament appaerance mixed in there, but it's not been dire, either.

St. Joseph's hasn't been terrific, but the fans have dropped off so expeditiously in that time too? Surprising.

There are many programs, a cluster embedded within the Atlantic 10, even, that are doing much worse. But Martelli's always been an active coach who tries to his best for the program in pretty much every facet. Winning 15.6 games per season isn't even close to good enough for him or that community. So he's moving the team's home games 15 minutes north -- right on campus. The Hawks will play on the Hill this year, at Hagan Arena, most notably in the Holy War against hated Villanova.

It will be the first time in the history of the Big 5 that St. Joseph's hosts Villanova at Hagan Arena.

"This," Martelli said, "might get people's attention."

It will do that.

"There's been a lot of discussion at the highest levels on campus about creating the buzz, getting the fervor and the fire back," Martelli said. "How do you do it? The easy thing is to say win games. To get the building where it's kind of bursting at the seams again."

And there is this.

"It's a way to get people to sit up and pay attention again," Martelli said.

Hagan holds four thousand and change. It will be a sweatbox and a band box -- just what Martelli wants. In time, I'm sure St. Joe's makes its way back to the Palestra and schedules a healthy portion of its games there again. But Martelli's got just a few more years of coaching in him, and he wants to build a program that can make another really good NCAA run. He can do that, but admits fan support is so huge. So here's a proactive step.

The irony is, if the team gets really good this year, tickets are going to be really hard to get. That's the problem Martelli wants to face in 2011-12.

Photo: AP

Category: NCAAB
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