Last Move Ever, I Promise…

•August 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

You need to go here from now on. Our new and final resting place, as it is, will now be at

Please update links, etc. to that address. I’ve finished jumping around.

And it’s cool stuff, too. I hope.

Well This Is Interesting…

•August 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

First, a Q&A I did with Tom Yeager for Virginia Sports Now.

Second, over the weekend I got an email from Dustin Dopirak, JMU beatnick at Harrisonburg’s DNR. Dopirak is headed to Bloomington to cover Indiana football and basketball.

I note this because Dopirak was good at his job, and importantly knew what he was talking about when it came to CAA basketball.We wish him the best.

His replacement is a guy named Mark Selig. Get to know the name, and the jokes about his surname are beneath us.


Then, there is this bubbling up. The SEC–the conference not the money grubb…wait, I need something to actually differentiate the two…the sports-playing collegiate entity–is putting into play some very harsh restrictions on newspapers.

Among them: No use by newspapers of video and audio game highlights on their Web sites; Time-limited restrictions on use of post-game and pre-game video and audio; No blogging on newspaper Web sites of game events during games.

Now this is very interesting for a number of reasons.

Thought number one: the conference and its universities know they can do just as good a job distributing their asset as the newspapers, and their plan is to do it themselves and they are therefore limiting their competition.

Thought number two: I can’t think of any other logical reason for this, other than thought #1.

Here’s the biggest statement I’ve written in two years: you will find out tomorrow why this is particularly interesting to me, and to you.


Dave Winer Friday…

•August 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

We’re fairly jacked up in these parts today. It’s Friday, sunny (for now), and at the same time there’s college basketball chatter and college football is imminent. Today’s goal is to finalize the September beach trip.

Plus, our little lab experiment is nearing launch. Quick teaser–CAA:LAMM is relaunching in version 3.1416, or something like that. We’re going to FINALLY choose a direction that makes us all comfy and informed, and we’re going to use social media to get us there.

Our Frankenstein monster has its brain and its heart. Stay tuned on that front.


One of the relaunch items is going to be a teaser for the Blue Ribbon coverage. For those unaware, Blue Ribbon is considered the Bible of college basketball preview mags.

You will get 1,500 words on all 12 CAA teams, and it isn’t only my opinion. I spoke to all 12 coaches and their commentary is in there.

For instance, I spoke to Matt Brady last night, and he told me, among other things, that Dazz Thornton is back down to about 260 pounds and they plan to have him at 250 for the season.

Brady admitted neither he nor Dazz did a good job managing that last year, but both did a better job this summer, and Brady is looking very forward to Dazz’s impact once he returns from his injured shoulder.

Brady also said this of Trevon Flores:

“He’s going to have an impact as a freshman. He’s a big time shooter with three point range and an outstanding passer. He’s a guy that can play defense well beyond the foul line and keep smaller players in front of him. He’s going to be a really good college basketball player.”

That’s the kind of stuff you can expect from Blue Ribbon, and from this blog all season.

It’s also the kind of tease you can expect until the magazine comes out and you buy it to get everything. Dog’s gotta eat.

Passion Play…

•August 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

College basketball is a passion industry. We all know it. How else do you explain 40-year old men screaming epithets at other 40-year old men wearing striped shirts who clearly cannot see that it was a charging foul.

Or, 20-year olds taking off their shirts in order to paint the alphabet.

Anyway, that passion was stoked in me this morning. It forced me to drop my work that actually allows me to send a check to the mortgage company in order to bring you this…

Jim Larranaga tweeted that the NCAA has passed a new compliance rule that permits coaches/schools to provide bagels to players, but–and wait for it in the true NCAA punch line mode–not butter or cream cheese.

Reaction #1: A true McEnroe “You cannot be serious!”

Reaction #2: Are you serious?

Reaction #3: I want to know who at the NCAA is paid to study, recommend, and propose the bread/condiment dividing line?

Forget moving to Wilmington, getting a place on the beach, and running that athletics department. That’s the job I want.

NCAA staffer: “You know, a soft drink refill is quite extravagant. One is enough. And 12 ounces.”

Here’s what I want to ask the NCAA: Why isn’t jelly considered an improper benefit? Does the rule include toast? Are we vacating November exempt tournament wins if we lavish eggs and bacon on that bagel? What are we to do with the AAU handlers and their access to shoe company butter, you know, the good stuff with the herbs?

We just don’t have enough information, dammit. How are we to save the precious minds and ethics of our student athletes if we cannot tell them the dividing line of right and wrong nutrition?

I hope this gets fleshed out before the weekend.


Because related notes are the key to long blog posts, I bring you this bit of hypocrisy from the NCAA, courtesy of Gregg Doyel.

We love Doyel around these parts. Sure he may be way over the top at times, but Doyel is consistent in one area that we appreciate and desperately need more of: he calls it as he sees it.

The Janning Plateau…

•August 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

One of my goals here is to get you to think about mid major basketball and your fandom differently, smarter. I completely believe it adds to your enjoyment if you have more to offer than “we have to trap more” or “you can’t shoot.”

Smarter is always better.

Every now and again (aka: daily) even I learn something. On Friday, I was giving Bill Coen a hard time about Matt Janning. Basically I wanted to know what you tell a kid going into his senior year when the kid was the freshman of the year in the conference; then second team All CAA; then first team All CAA.

So Coen patiently took me through what we will heretofore call the Janning Plateau. What is the Janning Plateau, you ask?

Simple: you are freshman of the year and that’s great, but really it could be a function of playing time and not talent. You prove during your sophomore year that it was indeed talent, but you still have holes in your game and it took awhile for the talent to show itself.

Your junior season comes and every opposing coach puts that big fat bullseye on your jersey. You still post numbers, but it is a grueling season both physically and mentally. You are standing on the Janning Plateau.

Some guys in their senior seasons fight through it and become superstars, posting the sexy numbers but also doing the things to make their teammates better and more confident. Being a leader that allows the team to accomplish great things.

Some lay down and become merely good, or post huge numbers but their teams don’t fare well.

Recent examples of not making it through the Janning Plateau: Alex Loughton, Frank Elegar, Nick George.

Pushing through the Janning Plateau: Loren Stokes, Will Thomas.

More fun: When Janning turns around, he can see Charles Jenkins and Cam Long staring him in the eyes.

And that is what Bill Coen taught me on Friday while I was busy being a smartypants. It is therefore my duty to pass that nugget along, and I’ll throw out some additional really smart things I didn’t say in the coming weeks. (i.e., Rod Barnes).


Related: Chase Allen has launched his own website. You read that right, and Allen has done a fine job.


Related, part 2: Saw this from Rivals…seems they like ODU and Northeastern for next year’s dance. From the mouths of babes…


Not really related, but kinda: Mark your calendar. CAA Media Day is October 20 in DeeCee.

Because Dave Winer Said So…

•August 14, 2009 • 1 Comment

That means nothing to you, but a great deal to me.


Ten coaches down and two to go. I always save Bruiser until the end, because I usually need a laugh at this point. There’s so much information and so many standard issue quotes to sort through to get to the good stuff, I get worn out. Bruiser is always fresh and funny.

Some themes have emerged. You can guess who the other coach that is not yet on the  record.

Old Dominion: Cowboy Up. Yeah that’s old and quite stupid, but Blaine Taylor is the best with old west analogies so it fits. ODU has everything but a dependable swish man. He knows it. The Monarchs will also have to deal with the mental aspect of being the league favorite, but there will be ups and downs. That isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Northeastern: The Experience Paradox. What? Four senior starters and Chais Allen, who is a junior but has started all 64 NU games since he walked onto campus. After that, Bill Coen has Baptiste Bataille and a bunch of freshmen. The Huskies have no sophs or juniors with “some experience.” However that should allow for some youthful enthusiasm.

Mason: “At first base, Bugs Bunny. Shortstop, Bugs Bunny. Third base, Bugs Bunny.” You know you remember that one. same holds true here. Mason has a ridiculous amount of talent, but a lot of the same guy. Pearson, Morrison, Foster, Birdsong, new guys, etc. Don’t split hairs. You know what I mean. They might need a specialist at some point.

Georgia State: Five Alarm Chili. Rod Barnes admitted his seniors didn’t lead as much as he’d like last year, and that hurt them. Stat of note: the Panthers won five of their last seven games and the only two losses were to VCU. It took awhile for the ingredients to cook down, but look out this year.

UNCW: John Fields of Dreams. The ECU transfer is 6-9, 235 pounds and can block shots and rebound like a maniac. Benny Moss is thrilled someone can defend the post and it changes things. It better: opponents shot 59% of their two point shots last season. Name to remember: Ahmad Grant.

Delaware: Hakim McCullar of Dreams. The Rhode Island transfer, aw, just read the above about needing a big man and getting one.

William & Mary: I Pick Tsetse. You know the scene in Madagascar 2 when Alex mimes raising his hand above and below his mouth, alternating a smile with a frown? That’s this squad. There are parts, very good parts, but are they 10th place parts (frown) or fifth place parts (smile)?

Towson: This is The Year. Yeah, but every year is the year. Is this the year when the year is this?

VCU: Don’t Buy the Hype, But Buy the Hype. Anybody that tells you they know what VCU is going to do is lying. They still have top 2 overall talent in the conference, but no Maynor and a new coach will be very interesting to watch. Basketball fans should enjoy watching this season unfold.

Hofstra: Jenkins? Is he still on the team? The Chuckster is going to do his thing, but I cannot wait to see GWash and Mikey Szabo in the paint, as well as Nat Lester–who I’m told is bench pressing more than 300 pounds. and of course My Man Corny. It’s the other guys.

Couple Thursday Quick Notes…

•August 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Nine coaches down, three to go for Blue Ribbon. The most interesting thing is that they are all feeling good about the season. Granted, it’s middle August and the fall semester has not started, but every single one has been upbeat, chatty, and downright happy.

Once we get a little closer to mid September, we’ll unveil season impressions. I grow increasingly unhappy with predictions–kind of like Captain’s Choice golf tournaments–so I really need to figure out how I want the preseason to play out.


Worth monitoring: the news that Northeastern was going to host Utah State this November was “broken” by Matt Janning via Twitter. Now, I know for a fact that (as of yesterday) the contract didn’t have dry ink on it. But we all know in many cases the actual signature is a formality.

That’s not the point.

The aspect worth monitoring is how things just like this play out. Newspapers cannot possibly keep up with the flow of information, both in terms of what is news and its distribution.


They May Never Get It…

•August 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So ESPN released a memo to its staff (pasted below) that essentially forbids them, as ESPN employees, from posting on message boards, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

This is hysterical to me, because they are making the same mistake as newspapers. They think you are going to get all of your information from because it is, and that’s an ESPN personality delivering me the information.

What’s worse (for them), is that they keep moving content behind a pay wall.

They keep forgetting it isn’t about who delivers the information, it’s that there is information delivered. They don’t seem to understand we don’t need Andy Katz to tell us what Larranaga or Yeager said. ESPN cannot lock up information.

To be clear, Andy Katz is very good at his job. He provides excellent information. But that information, if it is valuable to me, will find me. It is distribution, and we have the means to distribute it ourselves now.

They are underestimating you. They are underestimating technology. They are underestimating the willingness of athletes and teams to offer the information. And they are underestimating this blog, this website, and my plans for us.

Anyway, I’m glad ESPN made this move. It is actually better for all of us.

The memo:

ESPN regards social networks such as message boards, conversation pages and other forms of social networking such as Facebook and Twitter as important new forms of content. As such, we expect to hold all talent who participate in social networking to the same standards we hold for interaction with our audiences across TV, radio and our digital platforms. This applies to all ESPN Talent, anchors, play by play, hosts, analysts, commentators, reporters and writers who participate in any form of personal social networking that contain sports related content.
ESPN Digital Media is currently building and testing modules designed to publish Twitter and Facebook entries simultaneously on,, Page 2, ESPN Profile pages and other similar pages across our web site and mobile platforms. The plan is to fully deploy these modules this fall.
Specific Guidelines
· Personal websites and blogs that contain sports content are not permitted
· Prior to engaging in any form of social networking dealing with sports, you must receive permission from the supervisor as appointed by your department head
· ESPN.COM may choose to post sports related social media content
· If opts not to post sports related social media content created by ESPN talent, you are not permitted to report, speculate, discuss or give any opinions on sports related topics or personalities on your personal platforms
· The first and only priority is to serve ESPN sanctioned efforts, including sports news, information and content
Assume at all times you are representing ESPN
If you wouldn’t say it on the air or write it in your column, don’t tweet it
Exercise discretion, thoughtfulness and respect for your colleagues, business associates and our fans
· Avoid discussing internal policies or detailing how a story or feature was reported, written, edited or produced and discussing stories or features in progress, those that haven’t been posted or produced, interviews you’ve conducted, or any future coverage plans.
· Steer clear of engaging in dialogue that defends your work against those who challenge it and do not engage in media criticism or disparage colleagues or competitors
· Be mindful that all posted content is subject to review in accordance with ESPN’s employee policies and editorial guidelines
· Confidential or proprietary company information or similar information of third parties who have shared such information with ESPN, should not be shared
Any violation of these guidelines could result in a range of consequences, including but not limited to suspension or dismissal.

The Saints Marched In…

•August 3, 2009 • 2 Comments

So I was thinking a little about scheduling over the weekend–specifically nonconference scheduling and how a mid major can best earn an at large berth.

Keeping in mind this is a scheduling discussion, not an at large discussion, here’s where I landed:

1. Yes, this is only a tangent: it’s hysterical that the selection committee has come out and said they will not strictly enforce “last 12 games” in evaluation. Everything is subjective, and they will trot out a measure when they need it, specifically RPI. We all know that. Bank on it–somebody will be left out next March, major or mid major, and the quote will surround “didn’t finish strong.”

2. The bottom of the conference has to schedule wins. There is no ground to make up when conference season rolls around, so get business done early. It is vital to have no (4-14, 7-24) teams.

3. Schedule aggressively. This is my main point.

Last season Siena took on all comers. The Saints played–and lost to–Tennessee, Wichita State, Oklahoma State, Pitt, and Kansas.

Had Siena not won the MAAC championship, they would’ve been a very interesting at large study, because they had zero top 50 wins but still sported a top 20 RPI, a gaudy record, and recent history of success as a conference champion.

We’re not going to debate at large here. No, the point is scheduling: Siena beat nobody of significance in its nonconference season. Nobody. But they still scheduled them, lost, and maintained a very good RPI despite that fact.

Is the message play as many good teams as you can, because a loss to a good team isn’t exactly a death knell?

Life is Better With Color…

•July 31, 2009 • 2 Comments

We’re spoiled in the CAA. We have some of the most quotable coaches around. Sure, Anthony Grant was a cliche-machine in his three years and even though I love Bill Coen his comments make you wonder if he thinks his team could go .500 in a Boston YMCA league–but in the grand scheme we’ve got it good.

For instance, Tom Pecora could say that he needs Corny Vines to be more consistent. Blah, blah, blah.

No, Pecora tells me: “He obviously plays with a green light and can play with a red light, but he’s one of those kids that needs to learn how to play with a yellow light.”

(Side note: Vines makes my All CAA:LAMM first team, which is judged not by ability but by how much I like and enjoy watching them play.)

Blaine Taylor–on the complementary skills of his frontcourt of Lee, Hassell, and Carter–could’ve bored me to sleep with a version of they play well together.

Or, what Taylor did say: “You are looking at a straight flush, not three-of-a-kind.”

Larranaga is a good quote, Moss and Ross will laugh along with you, and Barnes is straightforward and incisive. Brady ducks nothing.

And to think, I haven’t yet spoken to Bruiser, the best of them all.


One final clarification on the whole Brady/Marist thing…I had it correctly pointed out to me that Marist is not taking the low road, that I was a bit harsh.

This is correct–Marist isn’t doing anything underhanded or unethical. They are doing what they believe is right for Marist, and that is fine. My main point that still holds true is that I cannot see what they are getting out of this.

Yes, they can have a $100K check and it will pay some bills, and mail from Harrisonburg (even with a paper cut opening the envelope) is a lot easier than a bus trip to Syracuse for a 25-point beating and the same check.

But in the grand scheme, I wouldn’t want to be “that school.” The thing that gets me is that this also seems to be a pound-of-flesh issue. It could not have been an easy breakup between Marist and Brady. It was sudden, and it was followed by the player movement.

It isn’t that Marist did anything untoward, but if I were looking at a place to work, I’d see this situation and wonder.