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Tony Graham

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sorry about not blogging lately. First, blog was down for a bit. Since then have been busy with high school baseball which is my main responsibility in the spring along with keeping tabs on Monmouth.

Talked with Dave yesterday (Wednesday) who said he has not been contacted by anybody regarding other college jobs. Of course, lots can happen at the Final Four.

Realistically it's hard to see him becoming a major player at Seton Hall unless a bunch of other candidates don't work out. It's not that he couldn't be successful there , but I think he needs another NCAA trip or two and, wins a game or gets very close again, to climb significantly higher on the list for a "big time" job. And, I don't beleive he's really looking very hard to leave MU.

Might be interesting if Fran Dunphy leaves Penn for Temple. Dave is a South Jersey/Philly guy. That (Penn) would seem a little more in the ball park. This is based on my rambling thoughts, only. Have never spoken with Dave about Penn.

By the way, MU is recruiting one of the forwards that played for NJCAA Division II champ Cecil, Md. The kid averaged about 13 ppg and 9 rpg for 33-2 Cecil I am told by Cecil coach Greg Lewit.

In MU football, look for that deal between the NEC and Pioneer league regarding a bowl game to probably be announced later this spring.

High School baseball opens Saturday with several clashes of teams in our Top 10 that will be published in the Press Saturday morning. Who do you think should be No. 1 in preseason .....CBA, TR East, Ocean, TRS? Others?


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Neptune - With MU hoops concluded I'll blog on various topics including MU and local high school sports.

Will be interested to see how MU recruit Jhamar Youngblood does for St. Pat's in tonight's TOC final. If St. Pat's wins I believe Youngblood will be the first MU recruit to play for a TOC champion. Others, Marques Alston and John Giraldo, played for teams which lost in the final.

MU men's hoops has one scholarship left. As they are pretty well set for 2006-2007 I think they will hold onto it for a while... maybe see if a transfer becomes available.

Some speculation on whether Calloway will leave MU for another job. I don't see it. Not that he couldn't do it but it would have to be, in my opinion, a significant step up from the NEC for him to even consider it. and have a beach handy.

With the new MU arena in the wings..MU may be upgrading itself within a few years. For what it's worth, here via, is the list of current job openings, their former coach, years, and his record:

Arizona State
Rob Evans
Ball State
Tim Buckley
Mike MacDonald
David Henderson
Danny Nee
Tim O'Toole
Bobby Collins
Larry Harrison
Leonard Perry
Mike Davis
Kansas State
Jim Wooldridge
Billy Tubbs
Rod Barnes
Quin Snyder
Montana State
Mick Durham
Morehead State
Kyle Macy
Paul Westphal
Gary Waters
John Chaney
Texas-Pan Am
Robert Davenport
Weber State
Joe Cravens
Wright State
Paul Biancardi

Word is that former MU assistant Ken Dempsey (UMKC), out of Monsignor Donovan High School, may, stressing - may - be in the mix for an assistant's post under incoming RU boss Fred Hill.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Calloway on CBS 2 at midnight
Neptune - Calloway will be on later..around midnight..but he will be on
Neptune - Youngblood will be playing in the TOC Wednesday.
Neptune, NJ 1 am, Mar. 19. As I leaf through the NCAA record book I note that since 1985 seeds 14 (2-12) and 13 (3-14) are rarities to make it out of the second round and only one seed as low as 12 (1-3) ever won a game in the Sweet 16. The highest seed to win a game in the Elite Eight has been 11 and that was done once (1-2) by Missouri in 2002 (if I am reading this correctly). No. Ones are 281-72 with 12 championships.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Neptune..March 18, 836 pm...Also..the 6-10 kid they signed from Canada, Adam Dobrianski, is averaging 21 points and 12 rebounds for a 32-4 team that is playing tonight for the Provincial (Manitoba) championship. I am wiring eskimo villages for additional news ...kidding!! I really am aware of no scouting service, etc. that covers Candian kids..if anyone reading this does.. please e-mail me at ..Remember..Corey Hallett had gaudy HS numbers in Novia Scotia so I take all these Candian stats with a grain of salt...But, the MU players who saw him on his visit thought he was pretty good..TG
Neptune, Saturday March 18, 8 p.m.

Well,, was some ride wasn't it. Talked to Dave today. He and Billet went up to Rutgers to see guard Jhamar Youngblood of St. Pat's, who has made a verbal commitment to MU. St. Pat's defeated Haddonfield to advance to the TOC final vs. Linden Wed. Youngblood had six points. He is one of several D I players on the team..sort of like Whitney Coleman was in Conn. last year. If this kid turns into Whitney that would be OK wouldn't it?
What I can do on this blog is provide additional information which we have no space to run in the APP..thus here is the scouting report on Monmouth's two NJ recruits from Steve Keller..
..Editor of the The National Recruiting Report and Director of all Player Evaluations with the Neptune-based Hoop Group

""I think Jhamar is good get for Monmouth. His ability - has got good potential..has some versatility athletic ..I don't think he's a steal. But he plays for a team that contends for the championship of the state every year and he should help Monmouth continue to contend for the NEC title.

On Rickie Crews...I under rated Rickie...he may be a big steal. He's kind of what they don't have which is a little quickness and athleticism with big guys. This kid is long (6-6), he could be the next Jason Thompson who came out of South Jersey and was an all-MAAC rookie last season.for Rider...he could be real good...

As for myself. and I am not shilling for MU..But I would get my season tickets now....I think Monmouth has a chance to be VERY good next season..with who they have back and who they have coming in. Of course, don't go by me. I'm wrong more often than right but I think they are the real deal next season (a lot hinges on Bunch's progress and whether the two young guards fulfill their promise) . MU has one scholarship left which they may hold to see if a transfer becomes available...

Neptune 1228 am Sunday..More internet issues..not really resolved yet...couldn't sign on from Philly after the game.. then having other web woes...anyway sorry for the lonnnnnggggg delay..well..itwas MU's best First Round doubt about it...aside from the game..most substantial news is that Tyson Johnson told me after the game he plans on returning..much speculation abougt the future of this talented young forward..also waiting to see if the guard from St. Pat's verbals to MU ...saw a lot of familiar faces at Wachovia....Glenn Stokes, Tom Kaplan, etc. etc. I'll say this - Nova not winning the NCAAs, '85 will NOT be revisited......more at some point on Saturday ...TG

Friday, March 17, 2006

Halftime. Well, you don't see too many defenses like this in the NEC. MU playing real good defense as well. For a while I thought first one to 21 would be declared the winner. After starting 0-12 MU has hit six of its last 12. That Azzarelli is an NCAA scoring machine (9 points). I beleivre he had 10 vs. Mississippi State. MU has more points in the paint, 8-6. Notice Hawks are doing best when VU presses and doesn't get into its half court defense. MU fans very much evident, loud. Later folks
Philadelphia, 1:46 p.m.
There are hundreds of Monmouth rooters here at the Wachovia Center. Some came on fan buses. Dan Cebarano, an MU junior from Howell, was one of the fans to win a student ticket lottery. Some members of the golf team are present as well. They are all filled with that usual pre-game anticipation of "the upset." Well, at least MU is here. No one else in NJ D I is playing as we speak. Talked to President Gaffney. MU is "hoping", stress that word, to break ground on the new arena by "the end of the year."
March 17, Philadelphia. Noon. Wachovia Center. If you're reading this at home you're destined to spend a long time in the parking lines if you're coming to the game. Met a few folks, Patti Adorna, and others from Monmouth already. They have good seats. They must know somebody! Big story in the Philly Inquirer today on John Bunch. Wonder what MU players reaction will be when they step on the Wachovia floor in front of almost 20,000 fans. Not even in the same galaxy as playing at CCSU or FDU. But it'll be an experience. What kind remains to be seen.
Neptune, NJ 853 am
Mar. 17

Just to let you know unless I get internet access at the Wachovia Center won't be able to blog until tonight, but I will give it a shot.

Anyway ..this is it!. All I know is...while Villanova is no bargain, after watching U Conn work out Thursday the Cats, as Chris Kenny has pointed out, are a better physical matchup. U Conn is ridiculous. On my way home Thursdsay night I called WIP..Sports Talk Radio in Phila. ...they had me on for about five minutes...

I can tell in and around Philly, Monmouth is regarded as a speck on the Villanova windshield which is about to be wiped off with a hankie. The host did say he heard Calloway " was a good guy." The Philly Inquirer had a story on him Thursday

Dave and the Hawks have been splendid ambassadors of MU this week, witty insightful, you name it.

Would be fun if MU can stay within 10 or so throughout the first half or longer. Southern gave Duke some problems for a while last night.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

March 16, 2005
Neptune NJ

On at last. Unfortunately I do not have Internet access at the Wachovia Center where I spent much of the day.

MU held its press conference at noon and then a shoot around (termed a practice by the NCAA ) shortly thereafter. Then it went to the Palestra for a real practice.

After a pep rally at the Sheraton (Society Hill) at noon Friday it will receive a police escort to the game.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

10 pm March 15, Neptune Home at last. Sorry this is sooo late. But didn't get back til evening (lost car in airport, etct. etc.)..had stories to write..but anyway...
MU is in Phila after flight out of Cincinnati was cancelled and MU took another flight to LaGuardia then bused to Philly where they were supposed to practice tonight at the Palestra...The schedule for Thursday..Press conference at noon at Wachovia.. then open practice at Wachovia 12-40 pm..then, according to Calloway..another practice he says is open a short time later at the palestra... at team reception at the Sheraton Hotel (Society Hill).. Friday pep rally at the at 250 pm..will be on chs 2,3 to start..if it gets out of other words.. if Monmouth is killing them...the plug would be first pulled on the "out of town" station I would think...ALSO.. Calloway said Ch 6 in Phila shuld have a piece on MU at 11 tonight on the news...Heard Jay Wright on 950 AM in Philly this afternoon...I thought he was talking about Duke..After listening to him MU is a 10-point post probably sometime Thursday afternoon after press conf and practice..if not sooner..
Dayton, Ohio..Mar 16, 955am

Hi. Gotta scoot to catch (two) planes. Info: MU lands at Newark today 2:30 p.m, flight 1114 from Cincinatti. Then buses to Phila. Will be staying at Sheraton Society Hill (will they still hob nob with us peasants?).

Open practice 12:40 p.m. Thursday at Wachovia Center. Then open reception with the team 7 p.m. at the hotel. Friday pep rally at the hotel at noon. Game vs. Nova at 3 pm...Practice for Sunday's game at....?? Hey, what the heck. Why not mention it?

No. 16's are 0-84 vs. No. 1...a mere detail. Talk to you this evening .. at least
that's the plan..

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Dayton, Ohio Mar. 14, 11:21 pm I had a good feeling about this game from the get go. Hampton would be probably a mid range to dangerous team in the NEC (Robert Morris??) but I am in no way demeaning this's in the NCAAs on national TV and now Monmouth has three more days in the national media. They had an opportunity and they seized it. Heck they jumped all over it. If anyone wants to greet the plane today at Newark it's Delta Flight 1114 arriving at around 230 p.m. From there I beleieve the plan is to bus directly to Philly. It was so refreshing to see the players, esp Chris and Tyler, smiling and laughing at last after an NCAA game after the three prior blowouts, one of which (2002) they suffered through. and good for Deki and Marques (they weren't at the post game press conference) who were also on the 2002 team. . I have no illusions about Villanova but this sure was fun, wasn't it? And it continues for at least a few more days... talk to you tomorrow....
Dayton Ohio Mar 14, 825 pm MU is 7 of 13 from 3 at the of its 12 FG are from downtown...MU has blocked eight shots.... Big crowd .close to capacity..they seem to really like Bunch..well..gotta go.. hopefully MU is going to Philly..
Sorry I'm so late with this. Had trouble signing on net from the Arena. Well, am at courtside and it looks like a pretty good crowd. Place holds 13,000. Won't be that full but decent enough. It sort of gave me the chills when the PA man said, ""Welcome to the opening round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament. "
By the way..this is an official NCAA Tournament game.
About 130 fans the estimate at the pep rally. All the bus riders who left Boylan at 4 am seem none to0 worse for the wear.
Monmouth ciach Dave Calloway has allowed suspended forward Tyson Johnson to dress for the game. Calloway said, if he can at the end of the game, he will get every player into the action noting "there is no guarantee" if or when MU makes a return trip which i gotta think is very classy.
Will try for a quick post at halftime. Then sometime between 11 and mid night with wrap up.
3 p.m. Mar 14

Dayton Ohio

On the final shot of today's shoot around at the Dayton Arena Monmouth's Dejan Delic launched a 35-footer. Swish! An omen?

Blond ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews talked to a number of MU players getting tid bits for tonight's game. If she told Tyler Azzarelli once she told him five times, "Tyler you're so cute."

Venerable Brent Musburger of ESPN, who may have called more NBA and NCAA games on TV than anyone active in the field, said he feels tonight's game, "is a wonderful opportunity," he told me.

""Any time you can be the only show in town, I think it's teriffic. Is it tough having to turn around this quickly - you bet it is. Is it tough than knowing you've gotta go play Villanova if you win it? You bet it is. But, you know, life is all about challanges. I don't see anything negative about it. It's a great opportunity for the Monmouth youngsters and the Hampton youngsters.
""Hey, what kind of a chance do you have at winning a game (as the No. 16 seed)? Now you're playing someone you can beat, both these teams. They can say we won an NCAA Tournament game. And that's not all bad.
""I always thought the opening of the tournament belonged to these smaller schools. Once you get to the Sweet 16 the power boys take over. This first week belongs to the underdogs. ''

Musburger knows MU coach Dave Calloway from when Calloway worked as a college basketball researcher for CBS during its selection shows some years ago.
"He became Pat O'Brien's right-hand man,'' said Musburger. "He knew all the schools and all the coaches. Pat O'Brien would ask him, "How about this team, how about that team.
""How about this Duke team. Can they play Dave?" ''.

And yes, Chris Kenny told the story of his game-winning layup for the 3 zillionth time, this time to Musburger and the ESPN crew.

Off to the pep rally..later.
840 am Dayton, Ohio

Monmouth shoots around at noon today at the Dayton Arena followed by a pep rally at the team hotel, Holiday Inn South, replete with pep band and cheerleaders at 430 p.m. Be interesting to talk to anyone who came out here on the fan bus that left Monmouth at 4am. Will they be awake?

Hampton looked very athletic from what I saw of them Monday. Then again, almost every team looks more athletic and usually is (outside of Princeton) than Monmouth, so that's not surprising.

Dave Calloway told me he compared Monmouth to FDU but, maybe, not quite as talented. Hampton finished sixth in the MEAC before winning four in a row in their tournament.

MEAC is ranked 30th of 31 conferences by, the NEC 26th. I've gotten the feeling from the get go MU players are confident about this game, especially since they beat Hampton in the Paradise Jam in 2003, but they can't afford to be over confident.

Talk to you after the shoot around.

Monday, March 13, 2006

It was a long day Monday for Monmouth prior to Tuesday's NCAA Tournament play-in game with Hampton at the Dayton Arena.
Monmouth flew from Newark to Cincinatti (why didn't I think of that) and then boarded a BUCKEYE charter bus for Dayton.
The Hawks first worked out at Wright State, attended a Press conference, and then practiced at the Dayton Arena.
Chris Kenny, Marques Alston, John Bunch, and Tyler Azzarelli were the speakers for Monmouth as well as coach Dave Calloway.
Kenny explained for the 2 zillionth time about his layup that beat FDU. He told me later, maybe in 10 years he'll say he dunked it. Now who would believe that???
The Dayton arena is a big time facility.When Monmouth practiced, MONMOUTH HAWKS, was shown on each of four large scoreboards . It's a little game in a big setting.
There is a fan bus leaving from Boylan Gym at 4am Tuesday. You'll all be on it..right?? It returns from Dayton 7 a.m. the next day.
Monmouth will shoot around again at the Arena Tuesday morning and there there will be a pep rally at the team's hotel, the Holiday Inn South (Dayton) at about 330-4 p.m.
The cheerleaders and pep band are here.
Tip off is 730 pm (ESPN with Brent Musburger). Winner plays 3 p.m. Friday at the Wachovia Center in Philly vs. Villanova.
The Monmouth University men's basketball team practiced Monday afternoon at Wright State near Dayton. It will hold a press conference at Dayton Monday evening and then shoot around at at the Dayton arena.