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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Manasquan O-lineman Art Forst committs to Rutgers

Art Forst wanted to wait before committing to the college football team of his choice. The original plan, the Manasquan High School rising senior lineman said, was to take five official campus visits before finalizing his decision.
But a funny thing happened when he evaluated the decision this past weekend.
"Honestly, I didn't see myself at any school other than Rutgers,'' said Forst, who notified Scarlet Knights football coach Greg Schiano late Saturday evening of his decision to join the Scarlet Knights' incoming 2008 recruiting class.
Forst, a 6-foot-8, 305-pound offensive tackle, chose Rutgers over more than a dozen scholarship offers. But ultimately, he said, he didn't want to string out the other schools that sought his service namely defending national champion Florida and Notre Dame.
""Basically I didn't want to waste the University of Florida's and Notre Dame's time anymore,'' said Forst, a four star (out of five) prospect according to and and a consensus top-5 New Jersey recruit. ""I thought the world of Notre Dame's coaches, especially (offensive line) Coach Latina. I just didn't see myself at Notre Dame.''
Forst is believed to be one of Schiano's top targets in the '08 class. He's the seventh recruit to pledge, and he joins a group that's shaping up to be even better than Rutgers' consensus top-30 class of this year.
""I know they brought in a lot of quality linemen this past recruiting class,'' Forst said. ""I think one trait I have is the desire to not let anyone outwork me. I'm not going to shy away from hard work.
Forst said he envisions the day when he's bookending Anthony Davis, the highly-touted lineman from Piscataway who will join the Scarlet Knights when they report to camp this Thursday, on Rutgers' offensive line in the future.
""Coach Schiano, when he was recruiting me, said something interesting,'' Forst said. ""He told me when he was at Miami, the most grueling day of the week wasn't Saturday. It was Tuesdays and Wednesdays because there was so much depth and the second and third teams were a lot times as good as the teams they were playing.''
For now, Forst is looking forward to the start of Manasquan's camp on Aug. 13.
""We're going to be very good this year,'' he said.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Blake on tour

thought I would put this on the blog now.. It will run in the Press Friday or Saturday

Blake Hamilton has delivered dunks in Poland, hauled down rebounds in Portugal, blocked shots in France, and won a championship in Austria.
For Hamilton, 2004-2005 Northeast Conference Basketball Player of the Year for Monmouth University, who now resides in Long Branch, playing the game he grew up with has turned into a professional job the last two winters.
A fun job to be sure, he said, but none the less a job.
""The process is business,'' said Hamilton earlier this week after a Jersey Shore Basketball League game.
His 21.7 points and 8.9 rebounds a game this summer helped Stern's Trailer gain a top seed in the league playoffs and an 8:30 p.m. game Tuesday at St. Rose High School, Belmar.
""It's (basketball) still a game but you have priorities to take care of, responsibilities, it's a job,'' he said. ""You have to be a good player for the team you play for. You've got to work, you've got to produce.''
And if you don't perform to your bosses' liking the result can be unemployment. Since leaving Monmouth as the school's No. 11 all-time scorer with 1,433 points (No. 6 in Division I), the 6-7 Hamilton said he has twice been cut. That part, he said, was not fun.
""It's a like job when you get fired,'' he said. "'Once you're fired you go home for a day, you put your head down, but after that it starts all over again.
"'It's like basketball. You know you play a crummy game and then you have to come back and play a good game.
"'You don't lose confidence ever,'' he said. ""You keep shooting.''
Michael Hart, Hamilton's agent and president of Hart Sports Management Group LL.C, Point Pleasant, has kept Hamilton shooting.
That's what Hart did last winter when he landed his client, who had been cut in France, a roster spot with Austria's Allianz Swans Gmunden.
Hamilton had 13 points when Gmunden won its third consecutive Austrian League title downing Macabido Gunners Oberwart, 88-70, to complete a three-game sweep of the final round.
"'He did a good job for them,'' said Hart. ""He made a definite impact on the team where they didn't lose too many games after he got there.''
In France, Hart said, "'I think offensively they didn't utilize him like they should have. Overseas you lose three-four games in a row and they just make moves to make moves as opposed to make moves to get better.
"'The team definitely made a mistake releasing him. Luckily he was able to go somewhere else, regroup, and win a championship.''
Hart said he's now trying to find Hamilton a team in a higher caliber league. "'A better league for more money,'' said Hart. ""When you're playing in Europe you're always trying to move up and make as much money as you can in the time frame you have to play.
""His old coach in Poland, who he played good for, went to a new team (in Poland) and wants him,'' said Hart. ""And there are some possibilities we're exploring in Asia.''
At age 24 Hamilton appears to have plenty of time to enjoy his job of playing basketball, where ever it may be.
""People go to jobs from nine to five and they hate it or would rather not be there,'' said Hamilton. ""Me? I'd rather be there. I love it.
"'If I stay away from it long enough I'll end up right back in the gym. It's good.''

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

2007 Lindy's college basketball annual

I just spoke with one of the editor's of the magazine. It will hit the news stands Sept. 4 . He said I could run my NEC picks, etc. prior to that.....sooo..

Starting in early August I will run the capsule/prediction of one team every few days (sort of what Greg Viscomi is doing on the MU web site re: football) - in this case in order of predicted finish......

at the end we'll review the predicted picks and then name our preseason NEC First and Second teams...Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year.....

We'll see how they compare with the NEC coaches picks which come out in November...let's put it this way..I can't possibly do any worse than the NEC coaches.....

Blake Hamilton update story coming

After the game Tuesday I had a nice chat with Blake Hamilton and his agent, Michael Hart of Point Pleasant, for a story on Blake's pro adventures that will run in a few days. I have to find out when . I'll run it here on the blog the day before
it runs in the Press.

Blake has now played for four teams in two years and is looking to play again this winter, and probably will according to Hart.

On a personal note.. what a pleasure it is to always talk to Blake. What a personable young man, always smiling, always working. A class act all the way.

Sterns' coach Ron Pastore can't say enough good things about all these current and former MU players on his JSBL team.

Monday, July 23, 2007

JSBL news - big game Tuesday for "Jet" and Whitney - also, Qa'rraan Calhoun maybe hasn't left St. John's

Calhoun, the former Raritan high school star, an Asbury Park Press Co-Player Player of the Year (2004) - left the Red Storm and is looking to transfer - according to our Jersey Shore Basketball League beat writer Josh Newman who said he got his info from Calhoun's JSBL coach. Today (Thursday) I heard from a Big East source this hasn't happened. Such is life in the blogosphere.

We do know (barring anyone leaving the MU program) the Hawks have no scholarships available until the 2009-2010 season.

In the JSBL - Stern's Trailer (""Jet" and Whitney Coleman of Monmouth U ) play Seaview Jeep 845 p.m. Tuesday for the North Div. title in which the winner earns a likely first round playoff matchup with winless Rod's Tavern...

Also...T.J. LaFalce of the 2007 Freehold Twp. Shore Conf champs and John Romero and Andre McKenzie - both from Asbury Park HS - are heading to Brookdale Community College, according to Josh.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Billet to CBA Poll - what do you think??Yes? No? Maybe so.

I know this isn't an MU topic per se, but Geoff certainly does have MU ties. Cast your vote..!!!.

Rob Kennedy tonight told me - contrary to a Dick Weiss blog - that he has not been in touch with anyone concerning buying the Wiz basketball camps (and then having Geoff run them as reported on the blog).

But Rob said if Wiz wants to sell - he'd sure be interested!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Billet to CBA?? - Latest rumors - yes and no - in high gear

Those long bandied about rumors about Geoff returning to CBA have reached a peak this weekend..below are blog entries from NJ Gannett Seton Hall men's basketball beat writer Jerry Carino and writer J.P.Pelzman of the Record who is departing the SHU beat to take over the Jets.... and a late entry I found from Adam Zogaria (Herald News)....

First - from me -

As of this morning (Saturday) I called CBA athletic director AD John Przygocki and left a message which so far has not been returned. I did speak to John yesterday (Friday) and he said there was "nothing to report."John has been very good about all this and - he probably cannot speak without approval from his bosses and I under stand that..

This morning (Saturday) I talked with former coach Ed Wicelinski who basically said he has not been part of the hiring processs.

As for those camps everyone speaks of - which he owns - not CBA - he said - "since no head coach has beeen announced I haven't made arrangements with any one.''

Oh yes - I also called Billet and he has not returned my call as we speak

From Carino's blog -It's circulated from the message boards to the blogosphere and, now, into common knowledge: Seton Hall assistant Geoff Billet is leaving the college coaching ranks to take over the varsity program at his alma mater, Christian Brothers Academy.This has been the subject of speculation for several weeks, during which time Billet brushed aside the rumors, but it appears as though a change in circumstances over the last 72 hours prompted him to pull the trigger. I refer you to fellow scribe J.P. Pelzman of The Record, who is leaving the Seton Hall beat to take over New York Jets coverage for his paper and goes out with a bang here: for Billet, this is a big loss for Seton Hall. Geoff was the program's New Jersey recruiter and he was starting to build up some big-time momentum, as evidenced by his successful courtship of Mike Davis and Jordan Theodore. He's also a good guy who is well-liked by everyone who deals with him. Best of luck to Geoff as he returns to his roots

.This from the blog of J.P. Pelzman of the Bergen Record:Seton Hall men's basketball assistant coach Geoff Billet is leaving the program, according to sources close to the situation. Billet will become the boys basketball coach at his alma mater, Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft.People in the know had talked of this potential move by Billet since early June, yet through sources, Billet had issued repeated denials. But from what I understand, a deal for him to also run CBA's basketball camp was constructed, making the job more feasible for Billet from a monetary standpoint..

Billet NOT to CBA latest rumor (isn't this fun??)
Below from Adam Zagoria blog (Herald News)

Billet to CBA Update
Seton Hall assistant Geoff Billet denies he has taken the head coaching job at Christian Brothers Academy, despite Internet reports to the contrary.
Various sources indicated that Billet will soon leave South Orange to take the head coaching position at his alma mater in Lincroft. If he were to leave, it would mark the second assistant to depart the program in the last couple months. Former Seton Hall standout Shaheen Holloway left recently to take a position at Iona under new coach Kevin Willard, a former Rick Pitino assistant at Louisville.
Billet, who left Saturday for the AAU tourneys in Las Vegas, helped recruit Mike Davis and Jordan Theodore, and the players had yet to hear anything as of Friday night.
Seton Hall is mum on the situation and we'll update when we hear anything further.

.Billet back ground from me::The former CBA star played his college ball at Rutgers, later served as an assistant coach for one year at Rutgers, for five years at Monmouth, and spent last season as an assistant at Seton Hall.There has been wide spread speculation since Wicelinski retired in April that Billet would land the CBA job if he decided to leave the college ranks.At Monmouth, under Dave Calloway, Billet helped guide the Hawks to two Northeast Conference championships, and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2004 and 2006. A 1999 graduate of Rutgers, the sharp shooting guard finished his career with the Scarlet Knights ranked in the Top 10 in scoring with 1,480 career points.Billet was an all-state selection while playing for CBA and Billet would step into big shoes at CBA....Wicelinski's run that began in 1980-81 marked a career record of 625-116, one of the highest totals compiled by a Shore Conference coach at one high school.He won 14 Shore Conference Tournaments and appeared in 20 of 25 championship games. CBA was also also prominent in NJSIAA Non-Public A competition. It won state championships in 1984, '85 and '95 and nine South Non-Public A sectional titles.

My personal though certainly unofficial take - in sorting though all these rumors - while this is still rumor and speculation - I believe it is going to happen. That's my opinion.

Too many people have too many sources which are leading them to these conclusions.If CBA was going to appoint a coach other than Geoff it certainly would have done so by now.

That's s only common sense. I believe there are some contractual obligations involving Billet and SHU which must be resolved before any announcement is made....

This is getting more ink than the Florida job did for goodness sake!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Did anyone notice the MU mystery fan on ESPN???

I can't believe I did.

As I was watching on ESPN the final outs of the Phillies 10,000th loss Sunday night.. the ESPN cameras were panning the crowd and -as Chase Ultley was batting with two away in the ninth - there was a male fan in a Monmouth University Basketball shirt standing and clapping, etc.

Ah..nothing like national publicity for MU!!!

Anyway..wonder who that was and if he sees this blog he would be so gracious as to identify himself and tell us what it was like to be part of .....well.......dubious history.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

MU Men's hoops Nov.-Dec. schedule/ and should MU open its new arena with Seton Hall in 2009-2010 (and probably lose) or with a more winnable contest ?

Re: the SHU question. I will let this thread run for a while. I am interested in hearing fans' views on this...

Recently - when I was over at Monmouth, Dave gave me this Nov.-Dec schedule (times TBA, Sat night home games at 7 p.m.)

Sun. Nov. 4 William Paterson at MU (preseason)

Fri. Nov. 9 at Colgate

Sun. Nov 11 - at`Seton Hall (opening of Newark arena)

Friday Nov. 16 vs. Notre Dame at 2007 Paradise Jam

That weekend - two more games at 2007 Paradise Jam

2007 PARADISE JAM FIELD (last year's records in parenthesis):

Baylor (15-16, 4-12 Big 12); Charlotte (14-16, 7-9 A 10); #Georgia Tech (20-12, 8-8 ACC); Illinois-Chicago (14-18, 8-10 Horizon), Monmouth (12-18, 7-11 NEC), #Notre Dame (24-8, 11-5 BE), Wichita State (17-14, 8-10 Missouri Valley), #Winthrop (29-5, 14-0 Big South)

# 2007 NCAA Tournament team

please go to
for times, schedules, etc..

Wed. Nov. 28 at St. Peter's

#Sun. Dec 2. (H) vs. Sacred Heart

#Thursday Dec. 6 at FDU

Sat Dec. 8 (H) vs. Penn

Tuesday Dec. 11 at Hartford

Sat Dec. 15 (H) vs. Rider

Sun. Dec. 23 (H) vs. Fla. Atlantic

Fri. Dec. 28 at Lehigh

Sun. Dec. 30 (H) vs. Princeton

#NEC game

NEC post season football berth in 2008?

If this happens now much more siginificant do you feel MU football will become on campus, and in the community??

And then do you feel it will be able to eventually challenge men's hoops as the school's flag ship sport??

Friday, July 13, 2007

Major NEC football news

Northeast Conference nearing automatic bid to NCAA football playoffs.
NEC champ may be participating by 2008

Hopefully this will run in the Press tomorrow (Saturday). Meanwhile I thought many on the blog would be interested in this latest development....


At long last the Northeast Conference appears to be gaining major yardage in its football quest to automatically become a participant in the NCAA post season.
The gain is so substantial that if Monmouth University wins the 2008 NEC football championship it could be competing in that fall's Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division 1-AA) playoffs.
At June 25-27 meeting in Savannah, Ga. the NCAA Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet issued a directive to the FCS committee to provide by mid September a plan for access into the championship for all eligible conferences. Over recent years the NEC has been the lone eligible conference to be snubbed.
Monmouth last season, for the first time since it launched football in 1993, was said to be considered for an at large bid to the 16-team event which includes eight automatic qualifiers.
Until now the NCAA had refused to budge from its field of 16 and had rejected prior NEC appeals, including one for 2007, to gain a berth as an automatic qualifier.
""There would have to be bracket expansion some way,''said Ron Ratner, NEC Associate Commissioner.""That would either be a play-in or opening the bracket up to more teams.''
Ratner said once a plan is in place some additional approvals would be required along the NCAA chain of process, but said he is looking at 2008 as the first year a plan could be implemented.
""Our hope is by 2008 a solution has been reached that allows us access to the FCS playoffs,'' Ratner said.
Kevin Callahan, Monmouth football coach, called the latest development a ""huge step in a positive direction.
""It's good to see progress being made and (NEC Commissioner) Brenda Weare and the NEC deserve a lot of credit for moving this along,'' he said.
""The entire NEC is excited about the possibility of having an automatic qualifier for the 2008 season.''
Meanwhile, Ratner said, plans are for the NEC and Pioneer League to continue the GridironClassic beyond this season's second game of a two-year agreement matching its two champions.
PL champion San Diego defeated NEC champion Monmouth in last December's inauguralgame in West Long Branch. The 2007 NEC champion is scheduled to visit the PL winner this season.
""We will be extending the Gridiron Classic for another two seasons (2009, 2010),'' Ratner said.
Under terms of the deal should one or both of the championship teams receive a berth in the FCS playoffs, the second place team or teams would meet in the Classic.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

MU hoops (Sterns) tops Rider (Alley Oop) in Summer league shootout

Please read Josh Newman's game report in today's Press if you can for quotes, etc.

With the Sterns team comprised mainly of current (Jet and Whitney Colemen) and former M U players and same for Rider (6-10 Jason Thompson, rising junior guard Harris Mansell) I went over to last night's game at St. Rose High School and was treated to an entertaining shoot out.

True, while defense is a rumor in the JSBL, this was a dandy. In what MU only hopes will be a preview of a Dec. 15 Sat. night meeting at Boylan Gym ""Jet"" strafed the Broncs (er, Alley Oop) for what may be a career high at any level 43 points with 28 in the first half when he hit six 3's in Monmouth's (er, Sterns) 131-124 come-from behind win.

Somehow, don't think that will be the score Dec. 15.

Whitney Coleman added 20, 10 in the decisive fourth quarter.

Thomspon, who could be the MAAC Player of the Year in my opinion, was awesome with 41 points and`13 rebounds.

Blake Hamiltion had 29 for Sterns while for AO Mansell had 18 and Seton Hall incoming freshman Chris Smith (originally from Lakewood) had 13 in his JSBL debut.

For MU Press JSBL beat writer Josh Newman likes to say, was "electric," (first hitting from deep ) and then slashing to the hoop in the second half.

Game highlights included: some vicious dunks by Thompson who MU will no doubt be double, triple, teaming, etc. in the match up zone Dec. 15. But Thompson has medium to 3-point touch which makes him even more prolific.

Youngblood beating Smith off the dribble for a 3-point play, Coleman and Hamilton dunking over Thompson - Coleman may have unleashed his most aggressive showing of the summer in the fourth quarter including a dazzling, floating jumper down the stretch ...

I'm expecting Youngblood to build off his NEC Rookie of the Year` campaign and Coleman has to be much more consistent (he has the ability) than last year for this team to make a run at - at least returning to the NEC Tournament...

Talked to Blake after the game....he most recently played in Austria..hopes to hook up over seas again this year..also may probably run with MU in practice again if he's not playing over seas..Blake also hit 3-4 3's in the game...did he ever even shoot that many 3's in a month at MU???

Mustapha Barksdale hit several big 3's for Sterns.. In the fourth quarter in one stretch missed 3 of 4 from the line..good thing that didn't happen in '96!!!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

MU football chat

While it is always a worth while past time to discuss MU season is right around the corner.

Though I do not write for Street and Smith's College Football issue (how I have been overlooked remains a puzzle for the ages - kidding) they are - at least - one of the few college football publications (the only I have found) that previews 1-AA (now football subdivision championship or whatever the heck it is - wasn't it a lot simpler to be called 1-AA??) and I thought I would mention here their NEC predictions and a few other nuggets:

Their picks by Steve Amedio of the of the Schenectady, N.Y. Gazette (last year's records in parenthesis) and my always semi-illuminating comments:

1. Albany (7-4, 5-2) - By the way, they just got a tackle from Boston College (see the NEC web site press clippings for the story). LB Colin Disch returns to lead an impressive defense
(is this guy in like his 8th season or what?)

2. Monmouth (10-2, 6-1) - Seems a little high for me losing nine defensive starters. Time for those highly regarded redshirt fresman from 2006 to begin to make their mark.

3. CCSU (8-3, 4-3) - Running machine Justise Hairston is gone, but injured QB Aubrey Morris who tortured MU in 2006 is slated to return

4. Robert Morris (7-4, 5-2) - Several key skill players return including the QB.

5. Wagner (4-7, 0-7) - QB and top receiver return. But still, too high here as well? They got D 3 Western Connecticut (5-5, 2-5) NJAC) to replace St. Peter's on their schedule. Last I heard MU and SFPA still looking. MU is determined to not schedule a D3 opponent.

6. Sacred Heart (2-9, 1-6) - solid ground game returns, QB graduated. Probably a good thing men's hoops is on the upswing.

7. SFPA (3-8, 2-5) -last year a big let down with a senior team. You know what? Maybe MU will be in the hunt!!!

MU non-conference foes:

Duquesne (7-3, 3-1) the incoming 2008 NEC member is the easy pick to win the rubble of what's left of the MAAC.

Maine (6-5, 5-3, A-10 now the Colonial Athletic Association): Picked fourth in new CAA North. Punishing team vs. the run which could be MU strong point this season.

Delaware (5-6, 3-5, A-10 now the CAA): Picked to win the new CAA South. Suffered only second losing season since '87 last year when it fell to Albany in one of several 2006 headline non-conference wins by the NEC. It has 10 offensive starters back to test that green MU defense.

Is there an MU mystery football coach out there?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Lindy's college basketball annual

I have finished reviewing all the NEC teams for my men's hoops preview which I will shortly be submitting to Lindy's for their publication which comes out in October. I have spoken with either every head coach or a school's sports information department.

Yes...the deadline is actually the middle of this month. Obviously things can change over the ensuing weeks/months but usually nothing major develops, though I believe when MU got John Bunch it was in late summer.

Anyway...since I don't think Lindy's would be real happy if I ran everything on our blog here in July - I will none the less place some skeleton info on the NEC teams here later this month. But I will save team summaries and my predictions until Lindy's hits the news stands.

It's safe to say this....MU is definitely in for the rebuilding year most everyone has envisoned , especially in comparison to what many NEC teams have returning.

MU, CCSU, and FDU appear to have the fewest players of significance returning even including MU's Jhamar Youngblood, FDU guards Manny Ubilla and Cameron Tyler, and Tristan Blackwood of CCSU.

On the other hand - Sacred Heart, Wagner (with Durell Vinson returning as a RS senior) and RMU are deep in experienced talent.