Posted on: October 24, 2011 7:09 pm
By Matt Norlander
Channeling his inner metalhead, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey decided "F it, let's do this" and gave up his body to the Irish undergrad faithful at Friday's football pep rally.
Brey gave a brief speech on his team before taking his majestic flight. He landed safely, and as you'll see. The victorious fist pump is spectacular as well, but soon after, he's sucked up by the crowd, never to appear again.
One last thing: beware the BREYBELLLY.
(H/T, Searching for Billy Edelin)
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:35 am
NEW YORK – Conference media days are a dream for writers that want a lot of information and people in one place. Simply put, they provide a treasure trove of nuggets on each team in the league. There were too many leftovers in the notebook to leave out and not share with everyone. Here are some of the more interesting tidbits gathered on Wednesday at Big East Media Day.
- Notre Dame forward Tim Abromaitis was recently suspended for four games after the NCAA ruled on a violation he committed three years ago. “We tried to fight it, but a rule is a rule,” Abromaitis said. “I accepted it.”
- Who will replace Ben Hansbrough at the point guard spot? Sophomore Eric Atkins (above), who led the Big East in assist-to-turnover ratio last season. “He was our sixth man last year, but he’s ready to elevate his game,” Abromaitis said.
- Sophomore Jerian Grant received rave reviews for his work over the summer and in the early part of the fall. “He’s playing really well,” Abromaitis said. “He’s learning things as a player, moving without the ball, guarding his man. That’s what we’ll need him to do.”
- DePaul received three pieces of bad news in the past week. Junior forward Tony Freeland will miss the season with a shoulder injury, while freshman Montray Clemons is done for the year after rupturing a tendon in his knee. Moreover, the NCAA ruled freshman Macari Brooks ineligible. “We thought we were pretty deep,” head coach Oliver Purnell said. “We can’t afford any more injuries.”
- Purnell thinks Cleveland Melvin (right) is somewhat underrated on a national level, after averaging 14.3 points and winning Big East Rookie of the Year honors. “Probably so,” Purnell said. “He had a good freshman year and a really good summer.”
- Rutgers brought in a highly-touted freshman class – and the incoming guards are impressing early on. “Our guards have a little more experience than our big men,” forward Dane Miller said, pointing to Myles Mack and Jerome Seagears. Coach Mike Rice, however, thinks Eli Carter could make more of an impact than both of them. “He might lead my freshman in points per game.”
- Rice is impressed with Kansas State transfer Wally Judge. “He’s a physical specimen. He just has to develop that consistency.”
- Forward Kadeem Jack will likely be out until mid-January with a foot injury. Jack was looking like he would have a major impact in the frontcourt. “He’s somebody where the light was already on,” Rice said.
- Marquette forward Jae Crowder is pegging sophomore Vander Blue (right) as a true breakout performer. “He had a great summer, played in the Pro/Am, played for USA basketball,” Crowder said. “His confidence is up; last year, he lost confidence. A lot of pressure is on him.”
- Out of the freshmen, California native Juan Anderson has stood out the most to Crowder. “He’s athletic, he goes hard, has a great motor,” Crowder said. “Buzz [Williams] loves it, I love it.”
- Despite the loss of three starters from last season, West Virginia forward Kevin Jones thinks highly of this year’s team. “This is the most talented team I’ve been on,” he said – and that includes the Elite Eight group that had Da’Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks.
- Freshman point guard Jabarie Hinds was cleared to play late in the process, but he’s already been impressive. “He had to catch up,” Jones said. “But he’s looking real good, doing the right things.”
- With Czech Republican native Patrik Auda and Latvian guard Haralds Karlis in the fold, Seton Hall has taken a foreign turn recently. “It’s fun,” guard Jordan Theodore said. “I’m trying new foods, trying to teach them slang.”
- Fun fact: Auda knows five languages – Dutch, Spanish, Czech, English and Russian.
- Georgetown forward Hollis Thompson said the Hoyas still laugh about the infamous brawl in China over the summer. “It was a great bonding experience,” Thompson said.
- Roy Hibbert, Jeff Green, Dwyane Wade and other NBA players came back to Georgetown to work out during the lockout. Thompson said the one who benefitted the most was Henry Sims, who played against Hibbert on a regular basis.
Photo: US Presswire (Eric Atkins, Cleveland Melvin, Vander Blue)
Tags: Big East, Cleveland Melvin, Dane Miller, DePaul, Eli Carter, Eric Atkins, Georgetown, Haralds Karlis, Henry Sims, Hollis Thompson, Jabarie Hinds, Jae Crowder, Jeff Borzello, Jerian Grant, Jerome Seagears, Jordan Theodore, Juan Anderson, Kadeem Jack, Kevin Jones, Macari Brooks, Marquette, Mike Rice, Montray Clemons, Myles Mack, Notre Dame, Oliver Purnell, Patrik Auda, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Tim Abromaitis, Tony Freeland, Vander Blue, Wally Judge, West Virginia
Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 9:40 am
By Jeff Borzello
NEW YORK – This year’s Big East Media Day featured the likes of Jim Boeheim, Jamie Dixon and others.
Once the conference shakeup is over, what will it look like? Will we have Donnie Jones, James Dickey and Matt Doherty instead?
The overarching theme of the 2011 Big East media day was, unsurprisingly, realignment. Boeheim, Dixon, Mike Brey, Jim Calhoun, Rick Pitino, Jay Wright, Bob Huggins and the other nine coaches in the conference were each peppered with countless questions about who is going where, when it’s happening and what they think of it.
Many of the coaches clearly were getting tired of the same questions, over and over.
“I think it sucks like everyone else does,” Huggins told a group of reporters. “Yeah, [it’s a shame]. I think it was a shame the first time. It’s got to stop somewhere.”
The only thing set in stone right now is that Pittsburgh and Syracuse will be leaving the conference at some point, but the timeline is still indefinite. Technically, they’re not allowed to leave for more than two years, but that could be an awkward 27 months.
Dixon said the goal of Pittsburgh is not to leave the Big East without a plan for its future as a conference.
“When it’s in the best interest of the Big East for us to move, that’s when we’ll leave,” he said. “Whether it’s 27 months, 12 months or five months.”
The fate of several teams is also still undecided, with West Virginia and Louisville being linked to the Big 12, Connecticut to the ACC, Notre Dame to the ACC (and Big Ten, as always), with Rutgers also thrown around as a potential Big Ten or ACC target.
While the realignment mess could hinder some of the schools, Pitino and Brey are confident their institutions will handle it well.
“Unlike some others, we’re going to land on our feet,” Brey said. “I like the Big East, but we’ll land on our feet.”
“We’ll be fine in the Big East or in the other place,” Pitino said.
Connecticut was expected to follow suit to the ACC after Syracuse and Pittsburgh, and while that’s still a possibility, the Big 12 has also opened up as a potential landing spot for the Huskies.
Calhoun made it clear he is not sitting still and hoping everything just stays the same. He is being proactive as a result of all the changes around him.
“The Big East is special, I am proud to be a member of it. But sometimes what you want is not where you end up being. We are seeing the start of change,” he said. “My obligation to UConn is to be in an advisory capacity and reach out to my friends, particularly in the ACC and Big 12 and see what’s [happening].”
When the realignment carousel eventually stops spinning – whenever that may be – it’s not a stretch to say that the Big East will look very different. There could be a 20-team football conference and a 12-team basketball conference, with some variation of Navy, Air Force, UCF, Houston, SMU and a host of other schools in the mix.
Huggins said the new faces wouldn’t change the way he views his opponents in the conference.
“They were these guys at one time,” he said of younger coaches potentially replacing the Boeheims, Dixons and Calhouns of the league. “Somebody is going to finish last and someone is going to finish first. Whether it’s someone in the league now, or someone new.
“We had 11 teams reach the NCAA tournament last year, and nine of them will still be around. That would still have been a record.”
Not everyone feels that way – Pitino thinks certain intra-conference matchups won’t carry the same juice and luster as they previously did.
“Syracuse is playing Clemson on TV tonight!” he said. “It’s not Syracuse-Georgetown.”
Conference commissioner John Marinatto opened up the media day by saying he was glad that he finally could talk about basketball – but soon was bombarded with questions about realignment. This wasn’t what Marinatto signed up for, he said. It’s not what he wanted.
His comments beg the question – if Marinatto didn’t see it coming, how did we get here?
Dixon pointed to the lack of cohesion between the basketball and football sides of the conference. A 16-team basketball conference and an eight-team football conference clearly don’t align perfectly.
“If that is the best situation, more conferences would do it,” he said. “And we’re the only one that does it.”
When it boils down to it, though, money is the biggest factor in the entire proceedings. Pitino put some of the blame on the greed of the school presidents.
“The big is eating up the small,” he said. “The presidents have always said to put the athletes first. The last thing they’ve talked about is the athletes. So there’s a bit of hypocrisy in the presidents and their answer today.”
With so many questions still waiting to be answered, no one is sure about what is next – not the coaches, athletic directors, presidents, commissioners. The future of several conferences is completely up in the air.
What’s next? Brey summed it best.
“Leagues are listed as day-to-day now.”
Posted on: October 11, 2011 1:56 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2011 2:32 pm
By Gary Parrish
Students ought to be able to trust campus officials.
We can all agree on that, right?
Whether it's a counselor or a professor or even a men's basketball coach, a student should be able to take that person's word as gospel and know that whatever they're being told about a decision being made is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Which is why the NCAA's decision to suspend Tim Abromaitis from Notre Dame's first four games this season is disappointing, because the mistake that caused it was clearly a misunderstanding of a rule that could easily be misunderstood, and Irish coach Mike Brey -- not Abromaitis -- is the one who misunderstood it.
As my colleague Jeff Borzello pointed out earlier, Abromaitis played in two exhibition games as a sophomore, then sat out the rest of the season as a redshirt. That's the mistake. Because though the NCAA allows freshmen to play in exhibitions and still redshirt, it does not afford sophomores, juniors and seniors the same opportunity. The rule is written clearly in the book, but surely you can see how Brey might've got confused because, let's be honest, how often are sophomores, juniors and seniors redshirted at the high-major level? Brey probably didn't understand the difference in the situations because he never had to understand the difference in the situations. So Brey messed up. And he acknowledged it. And it was obviously an innocent mistake ... but the NCAA still opted to suspend Abromaitis for the first four games of this season, and that just isn't right.
Yes, I understand ignorance is no excuse.
I get that.
But I also believe common sense should always trump everything.
And Abromaitis having to pay for something that's so meaningless and not his fault seems to violate common sense.
Posted on: October 11, 2011 10:17 am
Edited on: October 11, 2011 10:22 am
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey announced on Tuesday that forward Tim Abromaitis will miss the first four games of the regular season due to a violation during the 2008-09 season.
In his sophomore campaign, Abromaitis played in two exhibition games and then sat out the rest of the season as a redshirt. The NCAA allows freshmen to play in preseason games and still redshirt – but not sophomores, juniors or seniors. According to the rule, Abromaitis technically used a season of eligibility with those two games.
“This certainly was an unfortunate misunderstanding that I had of the NCAA rule,” Brey said in a statement. “I discovered that I had misinterpreted the rule midway through the 2008-09 season and immediately reported it to our compliance office.”
Abromaitis will use his fifth year of eligibility this season, after sitting out four games against Mississippi Valley State, Detroit, Sam Houston State and Delaware State. He will return against Missouri in the CBE Classic semifinals on November 21. It doesn't seem like the Fighting Irish will have much trouble dispatching any of the first four teams, although Ray McCallum and Detroit could pose a threat. In Abromaitis' place, Jerian Grant will get an opportunity to provide a perimeter boost. The slasher sat out his freshman season, but is very aggressive at both ends of the floor.
Abromaitis, a 6-foot-8 Connecticut native, averaged 15.4 points and 6.1 rebounds last season. He shot nearly 43 percent from 3-point range.
Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: September 23, 2011 2:13 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 2:31 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Some guys just aren't cut out to be head coaches. They make better assistants.
Big East Commissioner John Marinatto may be one of those guys.
"I firmly believe we would manage this a lot better with a different leader," said one Big East head coach, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "He's a good man, a good right-hand man. But I think he's in over his head."
To be fair, Marinatto was thrust into an unenviable situation, following the late Dave Gavitt and Mike Tranghese as the leaders of the Big East.
Marinatto's resume reads as follows: A Providence kid who graduated from Providence College in 1979, then later went onto become the athletic director at the school for 14 years. He was the associate commissioner of the Big East from 2002-2009, when he took over for Tranghese.
"There's just no way it would have gotten to this point if Dave or Mike were still in charge," another Big East head man said.
One thing is for certain: Gavitt and/or Tranghese wouldn't have had the news of Syracuse and Pittsburgh's departure delivered to him in a football press box on Saturday - as has been reported to be the case with Marinatto.
"I'm not sure how it would have worked out, but it would have," a coach in the league said about the overall situation the league now finds itself.
``I doubt it," answered yet another when posed the question whether this would have occurred under previous leadership.
However, with Syracuse and Pittsburgh departing for the ACC at some point (likely prior to 2014) and UConn begging and pleading to join the exodus, Marinatto has come under fire.
While there are certainly those who are skeptical, Marinatto does still have his share of support.
"I think eventually this would have happened anyway," one coach said. "Everyone wants to put it on Marinatto, but this is a league that's been built on instability."
Now the future of the Big East - and the way it'll be comprised - is in jeopardy. Will it add a couple members to replace what is has lost - and may lose - and move forward? Or will it re-shape itself for improved long-term stability and go the route of the "basketball-only" schools, thus going hard after Xavier and Butler?
We'll see what Marinatto does - and whether his fate mirrors that of outgoing Big 12 commish Dan Beebe, who's at left of Marinatto in the photo above.
Posted on: September 22, 2011 12:25 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 12:36 pm
By Jeff Goodman
If Mike Brey has a vote, he'd like to remain in the Big East.
"We've got an identity and we've worked hard to be a presence in this league," Notre Dame's men's basketball coach told CBSSports.com earlier this week.
"The Big East has been really good for our basketball program," he added.
Notre Dame is coming off a 27-7 season and a 14-4 mark in the league, just a game from winning the regular-season title. In 11 years, Brey has won 238 games and has gone to the NCAA tournament seven times.
Brey also said he doesn't want the Big East to lose New York City and Madison Square Garden as the site of the league tournament.
"We've got to find a way to keep the Garden," Brey said.
Brey is concerned about the program's other sports if the league opted to go in the direction of becoming a league of non-football schools (except for Notre Dame, which remains an independent).
"Our other sports play at such a high level, we need the right competition for them," Brey said. "That's a big, big factor."
But Brey is optimistic it'll work out.
"I'm not sure exactly what's going to happen, but my preference is to stay in the Big East," he said. "We've finally got an identity."
Posted on: August 8, 2011 9:06 am
Edited on: August 8, 2011 9:08 am
By Jeff Goodman