Tag:St. John's
Posted on: April 11, 2011 12:03 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:41 pm

Jakarr Sampson still on track to qualify

Posted by Jeff Borzello

On Sunday, rumors swirled regarding St. John’s-bound forward Jakarr Sampson and his plans for the fall.

One site in New York reported that Sampson would be doing another year of prep school at Brewster Academy (N.H.), and would not suit up for the Red Storm next season.

Sampson’s prep school and AAU coaches refuted the story.

“Jakarr is a senior and will graduate in May,” Brewster head coach Jason Smith said. “He’s signed with St. John’s and looks forward to joining them this summer/fall.”

Added Don Anderson of the King James Shooting Stars: “No truth to it whatsoever.”

The story seemingly centered on Sampson not qualifying and needing additional course work in order to be eligible to play at St. John’s.

However, a source close to the Red Storm program told CBSSports.com that another year of prep school is not necessary.

“Whatever [Jakarr] can get in prep year he can get done in summer school,” the source said.

Sampson is ranked as the No. 31 prospect in the country by Scout.com. The 6-foot-7 forward originally hails from St. Vincent-St. Mary (Ohio) – the same high school that produced LeBron James.

Posted on: March 10, 2011 12:09 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:21 pm

Three Big East refs voluntarily withdraw

Posted by Jeff Borzello

In the wake of Wednesday’s controversial finish to St. John’s vs. Rutgers, the three referees responsible for the non-calls have voluntarily withdrawn from the Big East tournament, the conference announced on Thursday. 

With 1.7 seconds remaining in yesterday’s game, St. John’s forward Justin Brownlee picked up a loose ball, took three steps without dribbling and also went out of bounds before rifling the ball into the crowd. No violations were called.

Jim Burr, Tim Higgins and Earl Walton – the three officials – were the subject of much discussion for their failure to blow the whistle.

John Adams, the NCAA’s national coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, expressed his displeasure to Andy Katz of ESPN.com.

“Not officiating to the end of a game is unacceptable,” Adams said.

Focusing on the final two seconds of the game doesn’t even begin to look at the judgment calls from the previous eight seconds, when there were no-calls on a drive by Rutgers guard Mike Coburn, an over-the-back by St. John’s and a potential foul at mid-court when the Scarlet Knights’ Gil Biruta lost the ball.

Even if those calls were questionable, they were judgment calls nonetheless. If the referees didn’t think there was a foul on any of the three plays, that’s their opinion.

What isn’t a judgment call is a player picking up a loose ball and running with it before stepping out of bounds and throwing it into the stands with the clock still running.

Burr, Higgins and Walton didn’t deserve to referee another Big East tournament game this season, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if we didn’t see them in the NCAA tournament.

Missing a foul call or swallowing the whistle on a bang-bang play is fine. But a trio of referees can’t simply stop officiating.

That’s exactly what the three referees did at the end of St.. John’s vs. Rutgers. And it’s unacceptable.

The Big East begins its quarterfinal round on Thursday. 

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Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 10, 2011 7:05 am

The Morning Drive: Big East steals the show

Posted by Jeff Borzello

As we get closer and closer to Selection Sunday, players are starting to realize that the next game could be their last. As a result, we’re seeing more and more big-time performances in conference tournament games, as well as hard-fought finishes. It’s perfect for fans. Follow me for all conference tourney updates on Twitter: @jeffborzello

Conference Tournament Updates:

Big East: The quarterfinals of the Big East were jam-packed, to say the least. Matt Norlander penned stories on Georgetown’s poor effort against Connecticut; the debacle that was the St. John’s – Rutgers ending; and Marquette locking up a bid against West Virginia. In the other quarterfinal, Cincinnati hammered South Florida, 87-61. Top performers: Yancy Gates, Cincinnati (25 points, four rebounds); Kemba Walker, Connecticut (28 points, six rebounds); Junior Cadougan, Marquette (15 points, five assists)

Big 12: Check out the tourney update for first-round summaries and second-round preview capsules.

Conference-USA: The first round of the C-USA featured three double-digits wins and a one-point squeaker. UCF finally ended its three-month freefall by losing to East Carolina by 15, while Southern Miss kept its hopes alive with a 63-47 win over Tulane. Marshall advanced with a 97-87 win over Houston, and Rice held on to beat SMU by one. Top performers: Arsalan Kazemi, Rice (24 points, 13 rebounds; Damier Pitts, Marshall (28 points, 10 assists)

MEAC: In the lone first-round game on Wednesday, Norfolk State handled Howawrd with ease, 68-53. In the quarterfinals, top-seeded Bethune-Cookman beat South Carolina State by 16, while No. 2 Hampton dominated Maryland-Eastern Shore, 77-55. Top performers: Darrion Pellum, Hampton (23 points, seven rebounds); Kyle O’Quinn, Norfolk State (25 points, 12 rebounds)

Mountain West: TCU won the right to face BYU in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament, defeating Wyoming, 70-61. Going into the game, the ninth-seeded Horned Frogs had lost 13 in a row. Ironically, their last win was over this same Cowboys team. Top performer: Hank Thorns, TCU (16 points, nine assists)

Pac-10: Overshadowed by the Big East and Big 12 tourneys, the Pac-10 had some excitement. Oregon State held off a rally from Stanford in the final 30 seconds to win their first tournament game since 2006, while Oregon knocked down 11 3-pointers to beat Arizona State, 76-69. Top performers: E.J. Singler, Oregon (22 points, five rebounds); Jared Cunningham, Oregon (24 points); Jeremy Green (25 points)

Southland: In the most wide-open league in the country, it came as no surprise that three games were decided by seven points or fewer. No. 1 seed McNeese State defeated Nicholls State by seven, but second-seeded Northwestern State wasn’t so lucky. Texas-San Antonio’s Jeromie Hill had a dunk with two seconds left to give UTSA a 97-96 win over the Demons. Sam Houston State handled Stephen F. Austin by 16, while fourth-seeded Texas State came back to beat Southeastern Louisiana, 72-68. Top performers: Devin Gibson, Texas-San Antonio (28 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists); Anatoly Bose, Nicholls State (25 points, nine rebounds); Ryan White, Texas State (26 points)

SWAC: The top two seeds in the SWAC advanced, as regular-season champ Texas Southern came back to beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 50-45, while No. 2 Jackson State beat Prairie View by 12. Top performer: Travele Jones, Texas Southern (19 points, nine rebounds)

WAC: There were two first-round games played in Las Vegas on Wednesday. No. 8 San Jose State upset No. 5 Hawaii when Adrian Oliver nailed a pull-up jumper with five seconds left to give the Spartans a 75-74 win. No. 6 Nevada held on in the final minute to beat Fresno State, 90-80. Top performers: Malik Story, Nevada (34 points, six 3-pointers); Greg Smith, Fresno State (14 points, 20 rebounds); Adrian Oliver, San Jose State (29 points, seven rebounds)

Punching Tickets

Big Sky: Northern Colorado used a late 13-3 run to pull away from Montana down the stretch and advance to the NCAA tournament. The second-seeded Grizzlies had three players foul out, while Northern Colorado got 27 points from Devon Beitzel, including a clutch 3-pointer to put the Bears up seven in the final minute.

Northeast: Jamal Olasewere had 31 points and 11 rebounds to lead top-seeded Long Island to its first NCAA tournament since 1997, knocking off Robert Morris in overtime, 85-82. RMU used a 10-2 run late in regulation to force overtime, but it could not get similar heroics in the extra session. Russell Johnson had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer for the Colonials, but it fell short.

Photo: US Presswire

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Posted on: March 9, 2011 5:15 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 8:45 pm

Refs overshadow terrific Rutgers-St. John's game

Posted by Jeff Borzello

A back-and-forth game between area rivals St. John’s and Rutgers should have been remembered for a fantastic finish or, at the very least, a hard-fought 40 minutes.

Instead, the only being talked about is the ending. More specifically, the refereeing debacle that took place in the final five seconds of the game.  

For now, let’s ignore the no-call on Mike Coburn’s potential game-winning attempt with seven seconds left and a missed over-the-back call on an offensive rebound with under six seconds remaining.

With 4.7 seconds left, Rutgers had the ball under its own basket, down by two. A half-court pass to Gil Biruta was knocked away – another potential foul that was missed.

And this is where the confusion began.

St. John’s forward Justin Brownlee picked the ball up with 2.3 seconds left, takes three steps without dribbling, steps out of bounds and then rifles the ball into the crowd. Nothing was called. Not a travel, not him stepping on the sidelines with 1.7 seconds left, not a potential technical for throwing the ball into the crowd during a live game.


If you give the referees the benefit of the doubt on the Coburn shot, the offensive rebound or the pass deflection, that’s questionable but understandable. But something needed to be called in the last 1.7 seconds. A travel, an out-of-bounds call. Something.

Unfortunately, no whistle was blown and the buzzer sounded. Jim Burr, Tim Higgins and co. quickly scurried into the locker room.

As a result, no one will remember the tremendous Big East tournament game between St. John’s.

The post-game discussion will focus on Burr and Higgins. And, who knows, that might be how they wanted it. 

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Posted on: March 9, 2011 4:37 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 4:38 pm

It's Gene Keady's world, we just hoop in it

Gene Keady could have a huge influence on this year's NCAA tournament

Posted by Eric Angevine

How bloggy is this post going to be? Very bloggy.

The West Lafayette Journal and Courier started it, though, so there's that.

The paper put out a list of Gene Keady assistants who are expected to be in the NCAA field due to strong at-large resumes, a list we'll share:

  • Former Purdue guard Matt Painter has the Boilermakers (25-6) at No. 8 in this week's RPI.
  • Former Boilermaker graduate assistant Steve Lavin comes in at No. 22 in the RPI with red-hot St. John's (20-10). Keady is back on the bench with Lavin, serving in an advisory capacity.

  • Kevin Stallings, who played at Purdue and later served as an assistant coach, has Vanderbilt (21-9) at No. 26 in the RPI.

  • Bruce Weber, Keady's Purdue assistant from 1981 through 1998, has Illinois (19-12) in the RPI's No. 40 slot.

  • Finally, former Boilermaker player and assistant coach Cuonzo Martin's Missouri State team (25-8) comes in at No. 42 in the RPI.
  • Of course, Keady himself is in there, albiet as a wise Yoda to Steve Lavin.

    The last two slots there are dubious, of course. Weber and Martin are very much on the bubble and sweating it. It does raise the interesting question of coaching trees. Which coach has the most influence on this bracket? We won't know for sure until all the decisions are made, but this list makes a strong case for Keady. It does get a bit confusing at times, though. For instance, Stallings was also a Roy Williams assistant at Kansas, so who claims him? I suppose both.

    This will be a fun game to play on Selection Sunday, though. We'll be doing an epic live chat that afternoon, so maybe we can all keep track of the coaching ties after the bids are announced.

    You have to do something while you're waiting for the First Four to tip off, after all.

    Photo: US Presswire

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    Posted on: February 26, 2011 4:49 pm

    St. John's joins Big East elite right on time

    Dwight Hardy was onunstoppable at Villanova

    Posted by Eric Angevine

    I'll be honest here. I thought Steve Lavin might get St. John's back to .500 in Big East play this season; give the most New York of college hoops teams a good foundation to build on as the recruits poured in.

    He's done me several digits better on that prediction. After garnering a huge 81-68 road win at Villanova, the Red Storm are 11-5 in the Big East, on an inside track to lock down one of the four double-byes in the Big East tournament, which is played in their house. Sound preposterous? It's not. The Johnnies end their regular season with winnable games at Seton Hall and home against South Florida.

    Emerging superstar Dwight Hardy earned a new career high with 34 points with a balanced approach, hitting 9 of 17 from the floor, 11 of 13 at the line, and 5 of 9 from deep.

    In fact, the entire Red Storm team more or less out-'Nova'd 'Nova in the first half, roaring out to a quick 18-4 lead to open the game on a flurry of made three-pointers. As the game wore on, more of the action took place inside the arc, where D.J. Kennedy's 14 boards were nearly double what any other player on either team contributed.

    Throughout, the Johnnies displayed poise and patience, resetting the offense at times in the second half when offensive rebounds gave them second and third chances. It was no surprise to see St. John's score successfully on runouts, but the newfound ability to get gritty and hold on for a win against a determined opponent says a great deal about how this team has grown over the past month.

    The conversation surrounding Steve Lavin has evolved at light speed. It went from "Is he too rusty?" to "Can he recruit?" to "Can he win a few Big East games?" to "Is this team going to get a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament?" in one season. After this big road win, doubters will be very difficult to find.

    Photo: US Presswire

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    Category: NCAAB
    Posted on: February 21, 2011 10:07 am
    Edited on: February 21, 2011 1:27 pm

    Coach Speak: Billy Clyde Gillispie to Wyoming?

    Could Billy Gillispie make his coaching comeback at Wyoming?

    Posted by Eric Angevine

    Coaching Search

    I’m happy to report that, as of this morning, no other coaches have been fired. Wyoming’s Heath Schroyer is the only DI head man to be sent packing in such a disrespectful – and, it should be said, damaging to the school’s reputation – manner. I thought today I’d look and see who the locals are hoping to hear from regarding the vacancy.

    Robert Gagliardi, who writes the Cowboy Chronicles blog for the Laramie Boomerang, lists former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie (above), current Kansas assistant Joe Dooley, Florida assistant Larry Shyatt and BYU assistant Dave Rice. Let’s rate the likelihood of each:

    Billy Gillispie: Low

    I firmly believe Billy Clyde will coach again, and probably do quite well, but this is not the job for him. Things went wrong for Gillispie – a native Texan -- the minute he stepped foot outside of his home state. Even a great recruiter is going to have difficulty selling the high plains experience to talented players. Gillispie seems tailor-made for C-USA, where image rehabilitation is all the rage.

    Joe Dooley: Low

    Slick-haired Dooley is Bill Self’s top assistant, and as such, he can afford to wait for an offer from a front-running mid-major program. He was considered for several low-profile rebuilding jobs over the summer and chose to stay at KU. He’s probably much better off waiting out the Jayhawks’ tourney run and hoping for a shot at an established bracket buster.

    Larry Shyatt: Medium

    Bringing back a former head coach to the same job is not unheard of (see South Alabama’s Ronnie Arrow) but it is incredibly rare. Shyatt left Wyoming on a high note in 1998 to take over for Rick Barnes at Clemson, and is now a highly valued assistant to Billy Donovan at Florida, but he is a little over a month away from his sixtieth birthday, and may be interested in returning to Laramie to finish out his career.

    Dave Rice: Medium

    This is another case of an assistant who might be better off waiting for a better gig. The factors in favor of jumping now include the fact that BYU is headed to the WCC next season, and the certainty that the Cougars have all eyes on them as the Jimmer Fredette era winds up. It could be tough to decide how best to use that mojo.

    Interestingly enough, Rice was the only member of this short list who responded to Gagliardi’s inquiries. His email was as noncommittal as you’d expect, but it was a response:

    I was part of 2 interim staffs during my 11 years as an assistant at UNLV and so I understand that Coach Langley and his staff are working hard to help the players have a strong finish to their season.  In my mind there is currently a staff in place at Wyoming.  The players and staff don’t need the distraction of coaching speculation.  While I know that is inevitable, I have always made it a point to never comment on a job that is not available.  Likewise my entire focus now is helping Coach Rose and our staff prepare our team to play TCU on Saturday.

    Coach Langley is Frank Langley, who was named the interim coach when Schroyer was fired. Interim coaches rarely take over full-time, and the scenario that seems most likely is that Wyoming will court some rainmakers, though they will give Langley the courtesy interview. Obviously, nobody is going to express open interest in the job as long as there's basketball left to play, so the value of making the early move seems negligible, if it exists at all.

    Obviously, I can't rank any current candidate as High probability. This is a tough job in a conference in flux, and a coach with juice isn't going to be thrilled at the notion of working for an employer who just pulled the rug out from under another member of the coaching fraternity. Someone will eventually take the job, but this has the potential to be an embarrassing, drawn-out process for the Cowboys brass if they don't act decisively.

    Quotable Coaches

    Today's quotes belong to the coaches who made a twisted mess out of the top 5 this week.

    "We had time to work on things when Rob was injured. There really wasn't an adjustment. There was an adjustment last year because of the timing. As a coaching staff, we adjusted at the first practice. This is who we have. This is how we have to push forward."

    -Matt Painter still has to downplay the impact of Robbie Hummel's season-ending injury in the wake of a win over No. 2 Ohio State
    "No one ever asked him to play in the low post before he got here. He couldn't catch the ball last year. Last year we never passed it to him. He could be unguarded and nobody would pass him the ball. Now people are frustrated because he's not finishing. Well, that means that someone is throwing him the ball. That's because guys are starting to trust him and he's learning how to play in there."

    -Frank Martin talks about sophomore Jordan Henriquez' sudden emergence in a huge upset of No. 1 Kansas
    "My hope was that by March we'd have a dangerous, scrappy, opportunistic team that could beat anybody in the country if they didn't bring their 'A' game or if they overlooked us. It appears we've hit that in late January and February."

    -Steve Lavin discusses his rapid turnaround of St. John's following an upset of No. 4 Pitt

    “With us making only four 3s, I'd have said ‘No way,' and I thought if it got out of the 50s, we'd be in trouble.''

    -Nebraska coach Doc Sadler still can't believe his team's 70-67 home victory over No. 3 Texas

    Photo: US Presswire

    Posted on: January 24, 2011 1:39 pm
    Edited on: January 24, 2011 1:53 pm

    Three teams that need a big week

    Posted by MATT JONES


    No team has a bigger week upcoming than the Golden Eagles, who will host UConn and then Syracuse in Milwaukee, before heading on the road next week to Villanova. Marquette sits currently at 13-7 and 4-3 in the Big East, and is firmly on the NCAA bubble going into the heart of Big East play. The problem for Buzz Williams’ team is that it currently holds only one victory over a ranked team (Notre Dame) and its chances to score quality wins early in the year have all ended in defeats.

    A late loss at Vanderbilt and a total collapse against Louisville (in which Marquette blew an 18 point lead with 5:44 remaining) have left the Golden Eagles with a resume that needs at least one more signature win for comfort. As Virginia Tech fans can surely attest, a team can’t simply beat all of the bad teams on its schedule, while losing to every team with NCAA Tournament hopes, and expect to make the Big Dance. But this week’s games against the Huskies and Orange provide a chance to get a top ten victory to offset the games Marquette has let slip away. Buzz Williams probably can’t expect to pull off both upsets, but getting at least one is crucial.


    The Buffaloes likely had the worst last week of any of the potential NCAA bubble teams, losing two winnable road games at Nebraska and Oklahoma. The losses leave the Buffaloes at 14-6 and come on the heels of two signature wins against Missouri and Kansas State that had created some momentum around the program. This week, Colorado will play a suddenly shaky Kansas team in Boulder and then go on the road to Waco to play Baylor.

    Both games will be difficult and at the beginning of the season, neither would have been likely considered a place to steal a resume win. But after dropping two games that an NCAA bubble team must win, the Buffaloes need to offset those losses by stealing at least one of these two. The rest of Colorado’s schedule only gets more difficult and thus if this week brings two more losses in a row, the likelihood of a rare March dance in Boulder becomes much slimmer.

    St. John’s

    Steve Lavin’s team has to find a way to stop the bleeding. After losing a crucial game at home to Cincinnati on Saturday, the margin for error to get the Red Storm in the NCAA Tournament is shrinking. This week provides two chances for Lavin to get a third quality win for its March resume as the Storm play at Georgetown and then host Duke. St. John’s sits 14-7 overall and 4-4 in the Big East at this point, but the end of the schedule provides the opportunity for some easy wins against the likes of Rutgers, Seton Hall, Depaul and South Florida. Thus getting one more top-level victory might be enough to propel Lavin’s group to 20 wins and a likely NCAA berth. The Storm has already beaten Georgetown once this season and any win over Duke is sure to get noticed nationally. With what is to come in the rest of the season, the magic number for St. John's this week is one.

    Photo: AP

    Category: NCAAB
    The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com