RANDOM THOUGHTS
 

04.29.11

The NBA Playoffs have been interesting. They are about to get even more interesting with the Heat/Celtics series getting ready to start. The Heat struggled with the Celts during the regular season and I expect that to continue in the playoffs. The Celts do a great job defensively on the Heat. They take away driving angles from James and Wade and force them to shoot jump shots. The Celts can hurt you in so many ways. Keys for the Heat will be 1. Can they contain Rondo? 2. Will James and Wade be able to get to the rim? 3. Will the Heat get consistent production from anybody not named James, Wade, or Bosh? I am going to say Celts in 6!

04.28.11

We are very happy with our 2011 recruiting class. Depth was the biggest area we wanted to address. We signed some talented perimeter players who can all put the ball in the basket. Practice should be very competitive next year as we should have guys battling for minutes. We added some toughness up front and a combo forward who we think can be a match-up problem at the PF spot because of his offensive ability. However, the key to our success will be how much better our returning players get during the off season. They need to get better since they have the experience of playing at the D1 level.

04.27.11

We just finished up our individual workouts for the spring semester. It was a very productive spring as our guys gave maximum effort and were focused on getting better. The key is for them to continue to work hard between May-September. We will have our players on campus June 20-August 1 taking classes, working with our strength coach, and playing. Unfortunately the NCAA does not allow coaches to work with players during the summer.

04.26.11

Today was the first day back from Spring Break for our players. We got right back at it with individual workouts. They players were sluggish after being home for 10 days but worked very hard. The workouts have been very player specific. We are really trying to cater to each player and help them get better. We have 2 players working out together so they will get a ton of reps. The small group atmosphere has really helped the players improve their overall skill level. We have really kept things simple for our 5 men. If they can provide some scoring for us next year we will have a chance to be very good.

04.04.11


UConn is the National Champion! It was meant to be! The first half might have been the ugliest in NCAA Tournament history. Neither team was able to get in to a flow. However, UCONN was able to get in a flow during the 2nd half and found ways to get easy baskets and Butler continued to struggle offensively. Butler had a great run and it was fun to watch. UCONN's run has been remarkable and one that will go down in history.

04.03.11

Left Houston this morning. It was great to get home and see the family. I always come home on Sunday so I can watch the championship game Monday evening with my family. Butler vs. UCONN should be an entertaining game. It will be interesting to see if the experience from last year will benefit Butler. I have a feeling that this is destiny for UCONN. They won 5 games in 5 days to win the Big East Tournament and carried that momentum throughout the NCAA Tournament.

04.02.11

Found myself right back at Lucky's watching the Final Four games. Butler looked awfully good against a VCU team that had been beating teams pretty comfortably throughout the tournament (minus FSU). Butler did another tremendous job defensively. It was difficult for VCU to even get off a 3 point shot. VCU had been dominant from beyond the arc. Butler advanced to another National Championship Game.

UCONN vs. Kentucky was a battle. Both teams have good young talent. Kentucky had a trio of veterans that were playing well and UCONN had Kemba Walker. Neither team shot well from beyond the arc and Kentucky missed several FT's. In the end UCONN proved to be the better team.

04.01.11

April Fool's Day! Nothing funny from my end. Another 80+ degree day in Houston. I picked up my credentials and tickets. After that I made sure to buy my wife and 2 sons a few Final Four shirts. I have to get that out of the way so I did not forget. The America East Party was from 2-4 at Lucky's which was fine establishment. Good food and atmosphere!

03.31.11

Just arrived in Houston, TX for the Final Four. It is 80+ degrees in Houston. Glad to leave the Albany weather behind for a few days. Especially since the forecast calls for snow tomorrow in Albany. Getting ready to check in to the Hilton Americas Hotel which is the host hotel for the coaches. It is usually a zoo all weekend at the host hotel. My flight was delayed 2+ hours in Baltimore so I am not going to be able to get my credentials and tickets today. Will have to get up early tomorrow and head over to the Convention Center. Hopefully I can find a good restaurant to grab a bite to eat.

03.28.11

VCU stunned Kansas. They jumped on Kansas early and never let up. I was shocked as I thought Kansas was the best overall team in the tourney and had too much size for VCU. VCU shot 12/25 from 3 and never let up. I think VCU surprised many with this win. VCU and Butler will play in the Final Four for a chance to compete for a National Championship.

Kentucky continues to play well as they place 5 players in double figures and beat a young and talented UNC team. Kentucky placed 5 in double figures as they advanced to the Final Four.

03.27.11

Butler continued its run with an impressive OT win vs Florida. Florida dominated the interior early in the game. Macklin was spectacular for Florida. Butler made some nice adjustments defensively and Shelvin Mack got it going on the offensive end. Butler was able to hold on and advance to the Final Four a second consecutive year.

UCONN beat Arizona. Derrick Williams got in bad foul trouble in the first half and only played 26 minutes for the game. The trio of Walker, Lamb, and Napier dominated the perimeter of Arizona as UCONN advanced to the Final Four. UCONN has continued to get better and better with each game. Not sure anybody expected them to make it to the Final Four a few weeks ago.

03.26.11

Another great day of games. VCU continued its run with an impressive OT run against Florida St. FSU might have been the best defensive team in the country this year. The way VCU attacked them was impressive. VCU shot 12/26 from 3 which will win you a lot of games. Burgess was 6/7 from 3.

Kentucky pulled off the upset by beating arguably the best team in the tourney in Ohio State. The young kids at Kentucky are talented but the veterans have really played well for Kentucky late in the season.

03.25.11

The NCAA games were fun to watch yesterday. Florida beats BYU in OT. If seemed that BYU ran out of gas in OT. Florida jumped on BYU in OT and made the important plays down the stretch. Jimmer Fredette had an unbelievable career at BYU. He is fun to watch and will enjoy a long career in the NBA.

Kemba Walker was terrific as UCONN beat a very long and athletic San Diego St team. It is amazing how Walker has carried a very young and talented team in through the Big East Tournament and deep in to the NCAA Tournament.

I was most shocked by Arizona beating Duke. Derrick Williams is a tremendous talent but I thought the addition of Kyrie Irving would propel Duke to a National Championship. Obviously I was wrong as Arizona played a flawless 2nd half and dominated Duke.

03.22.11

I was up late last night watching the NIT. Three games were on last night. One right after another. The Washington State/Oklahoma game did not start until 11:30pm EST. I fell asleep early in the 2nd half so I missed the end. There are some good teams in the NIT and some very competitive games. I just enjoy watching other teams and coaches. I like to see different styles and what other teams do in certain situations. Unfortunately college basketball will end soon and all that will be on is the NBA and baseball. I can watch the 4th quarter of NBA games but baseball puts me to sleep!

03.21.11

We completed our first day of Individual Workouts. I was impressed with the focus and effort. The spring is about skill development and getting better. I thought every player got better yesterday and worked at game speed. We have been challenging the returning group in the weight room and will continue to do the same on the court. This group wants to be successful and realizes how hard they have to work if we are going to achieve our goals. I am looking forward to the next set of workouts on Wednesday.

03.20.11

I went up to the New York State Championship Games today. I saw the Class A and AA finals. Neither game was close but both games featured some talented players. I was surprised that the Civic Center was so empty. I stopped at Fitzgerald's Irish Pub and Restaurant in Glens Falls for dinner. Good burgers! I was able to catch the end of the Duke/Michigan game. Michigan put up a tremendous fight. Style of play is a factor in the NCAA Tournament and Michigan is unique.

03.19.11

The Butler/Pitt game was such a good game. It is a shame it had to end the way it did. Pitt dominated every statistical category but 3 point field goals made. Butler made 12 3's in the game and that was the difference. I thought the officials did a nice job late in the game. That cannot be an easy situation to be in and you have to make judgment calls quickly. You feel bad for the players that commit the fouls. You wish the game did not have to be decided like that but those are the situations that can make or break you as a team. Pitt had a great year and Butler advances. Butler is so tough and they play the right way.

03.18.11

I am a big sports radio guy and I get a kick out of the great debate about Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette. One station in particular was killing Fredette saying he can't guard, he won't make it in the NBA, he shoots it every time, etc. Are you kidding me? The kid is the National Player of the Year. He has carried BYU to the Sweet 16 and possibly further. He is a big time shooter, can get to the rim, and is an underrated passer. He scores from 3, mid-range, at the rim, and from the FT line. They were killing his defense. He cannot afford to guard because he cannot get in foul trouble if BYU is going to win. The kid will be a high draft pick and will have a good NBA career. With that being said, Kemba Walker is outstanding as well. They are two different types of players.

03.17.11

I have been in Hutchinson, KS since Monday watching the NJCAA D1 National Championships. I was in the gym from 10 am til 10pm on Tuesday and Wednesday watching games. The games were very competitive and I was impressed with the overall talent. Hutchinson, KS is about 1 hour from Wichita, KS. I flew in to Wichita and made the hour drive to Hutch. It is an interesting ride. You see nothing for about an hour and then all of a sudden you arrive in Hutchinson, KS. I had no luck finding an Olive Garden or Outback. I had to settle for Freddy's Steakburgers and Custard both nights. They did have an Applebee's! I lived off soft pretzels and popcorn during the day. Nothing like arena snacks!

03.16.11

Congratulations to Tim Ambrose, Mike Black, Logan Aronhalt, Luke Devlin, Jacob Iati, and Billy Allen for being recognized by the America East Conference. Tim was 1st Team All Conference and Logan and Mike both made 3rd Team All Conference. Luke made the All Rookie Team. Logan, Billy, and Jacob were selected to the All Academic Team. We had 3 of the 5 selected for the All Academic Team. That is a tremendous accomplishment for our program. I was very happy that Tim was selected to the 1st Team. He had a very good senior season. He was consistent which we needed. Logan and Mike beign recognized is a credit to them and shows that our future is bright.

03.15.11

I went down to the Big East Tournament with my father. It was a good opportunity for us to spend some time together. The two games that we saw were Pitt/UCONN and St. John's/Syracuse. Kemba Walker is really good on TV but he is even better in person. He has such an impact on the game. It doesn't matter how you try to defend him. He is going to score and he is going to make his teammates better. It almost reminds me of the Danny Manning led Kansas team that won the National Championship. I would not be surprised if he led UCONN to the Final Four or further. The freshmen at UCONN are very good as well!

03.14.11

The NCAA Selection Committee has a tough job. The non-BCS conferences want more teams in the tournament. The BCS Conferences want more teams in the tournament. It is a no win situation. I do feel bad for Virginia Tech. I did think that they should have been selected. The #1 seeds were fairly easy to pick. I was happy for my friend Jamie Dixon as Pitt was given a #1 seed despite a tough 1st round loss in the Big East Tournament. He left me tickets for the game vs. UCONN. I must have been bad luck. I think they have a legit shot at getting to the Final Four this year. Boston University has to play Kansas who might be the best team in the tournament. We played Kansas a few years ago. They are so efficient offensively. They can beat you in a variety of ways. Hopefully BU plays well and enjoys the experience!

03.13.11

Congratulations to Boston University! I did not watch the game but I did follow the score. Apparently it was quite a game with Stony Brook leading for 39+ minutes. I guess John Holland took over the game in the 2nd half. He is so talented and was an easy choice for MVP of our conference. I did see the foul call on ESPN that evening. No comment from me. Both teams played well in the tournament and it is a shame that one team has to lose. Our conference only gets one bid so that is a big reason why the tournament is so competitive. Best of luck to BU in the NCAA Tournament.

03.07.11

Another well played game by Stony Brook. They dominated Vermont in every aspect of the game. I thought it would be a close game and a physical game but I was surprised by the final score. I was not surprised by the outcome. This time of year anything can happen. Next week Stony Brook will play at Boston University for the right to go to the NCAA Tournament. Hopefully it will be a very competitive game. Congratulations to both teams for advancing.

03.06.11

A very tough and frustrating loss for us. I thought Stony Brook played very well. We had plenty of opportunities to win this game. We allowed Dougher to hit some 3's early which energized Stony Brook. Martin really hurt us in the 2nd half. He is a senior and made the plays that you would expect an experienced senior to make. We made some young mistakes late in the game that were costly but I was proud of our overall effort. We had a lot of momentum heading in to the tournament but just couldn't make enough plays in this game. I thought the tournament was wide open and we would have a legit shot at winning it if we could somehow get this game.

03.04.11

We had a good week of preparation heading in to the America East Conference Tournament. Stony Brook will be a tough challenge for us. They are very good defensively and well coached. We need to understand why we were successful against Stony Brook during the regular season. Also, we need to understand what Stony Brook did to cause problems for us during the regular season and make the necessary adjustment. This time of year the intensity level rises and every team has the same opportunity to get to the NCAA Tournament. It is a one and done scenario. Kids are playing for careers and seasons. It is very important for us to execute the game plan and not get caught up in the moment. Teams that find ways to get easy baskets and points are usually the teams that have success in conference and NCAA Tournaments.

02.28.11

We had to endure the long trip up to Maine. This is always a difficult game. It usually takes us 6-7 hours. We watch 8-10 movies over the course of this trip. We were pleasantly surprised as it was actually warm in the hockey arena. We got off to a good start but cooled off quickly. Maine hit a few 3's and we were down at the half. We lost Luke Devlin early in the game. He had his head cut open and needed a few stitches. That hurt as he was playing with great energy which we lacked the last 10 minutes of the first half. We were a different team in the 2nd half. Our energy was tremendous and Mike Black was dominant. He was really aggressive and made big play after big play. Ralph Watts made a nice play to tie the game and send it in to OT. We were resilient and made big plays in OT to get a tough road win. This was a gutsy effort by our group and we have momentum heading in to the AE Tournament.

02.23.11


Today is Senior Night and the last regular season home game for Fran Urli, Billy Allen, and Tim Ambrose. It is always difficult when careers wind down and the kids move on. You are excited for them but you also know that you will miss them. You just hope that they are leaving your program more mature and ready for the real world. You hope that you had a positive impact on them on and off the court. All three are great kids! Fran had to deal with a very serious injury and surgery. He came to practice every day and worked the clock for us. He will get his degree in May. I am confident that he will be successful in life as he is a smart kid with a good work ethic. Billy Allen had to deal with several injuries throughout his career. The most serious being major back surgery during his freshman year. He is a coach's son and has a good feel for the game. He is a great teammate and has made some big FT's. Billy has represented our program and the athletic department on several university, athletic department, and America East student committees. A true student-athlete! Tim Ambrose has grown immensely during his stay at Albany. He will have his degree in May. He is having a tremendous senior season and I am very happy for him. He has really worked hard to improve his understanding of the game. This year he has done a very good job of slowing down, reading the defense, and making the smart basketball play. This has been his biggest area of growth. I feel he should be rewarded by being named 1st Team All Conference. All three of these young men have been great for our program and hopefully we can get a win vs. UMBC!

02.21.11


This was a same day travel game for us. We have not responded well to same day travel games. We were very sluggish in the first half. Binghamton came out ready to play and they were very aggressive defensively. I thought they played extremely hard and well in the first half. We were a step slow and committed 12 TO's in the first half. We responded in the 2nd half and played with great energy, poise, and composure. Especially during the last 10 minutes of the game. We found a way to get a W on the road! The Events Center is a great place to play. They always have a great crowd and it is a first class facility. Logan Aronhalt hit some big shots, Billy Allen hit 2 big FT's, and Luke Devlin had a double double! Next game is Wednesday vs. UMBC.

02.15.11


Stony Brook came in playing very well. They had won 3 in a row. We knew this was going to be a physical defensive minded game. I thought we did a tremendous job on the defensive end. We forced them to shoot contested jump shots. We were very patient offensively and attacked at the right times. Our kids did a nice job executing the game plan. This was a much needed win because our kids were down after the BU game. Off to Binghamton on 2/20/11 to play the Bearcats!

02.11.11

The trip to Madison Square Garden was a special one. Unfortunately we did not play well but it was a good experience. We did spend some time at the Hope Lodge which hosts cancer patients who are receiving treatment in NYC. We learned about how the Hope Lodge operates and all of the good work they do for the cancer patients. The American Cancer Society is a wonderful organization and we appreciate what they do. Anthony Marino was the driving force behind the visit. I cannot thank Anthony enough for the experience. Later that evening we attended the Knicks vs. Clippers game. Our players really enjoyed the game. They were looking forward to seeing Blake Griffin play.

Last up was the game. We played solid defense in the first half but did not make any shots. We were down 11 at the half but missed a few opportunities from the FT line that would have narrowed the gap. We made a run in the second half and cut the lead to 4 but wasted the next few possessions and then John Holland decided to take over the game for BU. We did take too many jump shots but most of them were good open looks. We did not attack the rim enough in the 2nd half and that really hurt us! Overall a great experience and we would do it again!

02.06.11


We had a great crowd for the Hartford game. They are so tough to play because they spread you out and shoot a lot of 3's. When they are making 3's they are very difficult to beat! We did a solid job overall on the defensive end. We did lose Zieglinski a few times down the stretch and he made us pay. He hit some 3's from the parking lot! This win was a team effort as our bench gave us a nice lift. Luke Devlin had another double digit rebounding game. Up next is BU in Madison Square Garden.

02.03.11


A true battle at UNH. A very difficult loss to swallow. Our kids fought for 45 minutes. We had several opportunities to put this game away in the last few minutes of regulation. I feel especially bad for freshman Ralph Watts who missed 2 FT's with 3 seconds left in regulation with the score tied. He played very well overall and made some big plays for us. We played the last few minutes and OT without leading scorer Tim Ambrose who had fouled out. Luke Devlin grabbed 14 rebounds. UNH just made more plays than us in OT and got the W! Our next game vs. Hartford becomes a very important game for us!

01.30.11


Tough loss at home to a good Vermont team. We really struggled offensively. We did not have a run in us. We missed some open shots but Vermont also did a nice job defensively. They are big and physical and really did a good job closing down driving lanes. UNH is up next and it is always tough to get a win at UNH. They play very hard and do a nice job defensively. Hopefully we learn from the Vermont loss and we are able to steal one in New Hampshire.

01.27.11


We had a good road win vs. UMBC on Wednesday night. We were very sluggish in the first half and I felt that UMBC played with great energy and enthusiasm. We dug ourselves a hole and got down 15 in the first half. We were down 14 early in the second half. Tim Ambrose carried us offensively in the first half and Logan Aronhalt took over in the second half. Our defense was very good down the stretch. We made plays when we needed to make plays. It is so difficult to win on the road. Even more difficult when you get down by double digits. This was a gutsy win for our kids. We hung around until we were able to find some energy in the tank.

Unfortunately we were stuck in Baltimore because of a snow storm. We had to stay overnight and leave on Thursday morning. A win the night before made the long trip tolerable. We stopped in Philly and grabbed some cheesesteaks at Abner's. I made sure I checked with former Hartford Head Coach Dan Liebovitz and current Hartford Coach John Gallagher before we stopped. They are both Philly guy's and gave me the thumbs up! It was a great choice!

We finally arrived back in Albany around 4:30 and we immediately went to the locker room to go over the Vermont scout and edit. We play Vermont on Saturday night. These games are always very competitive. We are looking forward to playing them in the SEFCU!.

01.20.11

We play Binghamton tonight at the SEFCU. They have 4 talented seniors led by Greer Wright. He is as talented as any player in the AE. They are a very dangerous team. We will have to play well to win. Hopefully we will continue to defend at a high level and be patient on offense if we don't have an easy opportunity in transition. Our young BIGS keep getting better and better and we need to throw them the ball. Going inside/out will also make life easier for our perimeter players. We've enjoyed two good days of practice and will need great energy and enthusiasm in order to get a win.

01.18.11

It is always good to go on the road and get a win. Wins are tough in conference play. Winning on the road takes tremendous effort, focus, and execution. We were tied at the half with Stony Brook 33-33. We made 1 or 2 adjustments defensively in the 2nd half and it was of great benefit to us. We played very good team defense and pounded the glass hard. The first 10 minutes of the second half we did a nice job on the offensive end as well. The last 10 minutes is another story. We missed FT's, lay-ups, and had some lazy turnovers. We became impatient again and forced action instead of reversing the ball and playing inside/out. Too many quick shots (suspect shots) and individual play almost proved to be costly. The good thing is we were playing defense and rebounding at a high level. We were able to get stops and that is what won us the game. Binghamton is up next.

01.16.11

A tough home loss against a talented Boston University team. We played very well in the first half. We were patient and shared the ball on offense. Our communication was excellent on defense. We had a 16 point lead at the break. We never could get anything going in the 2nd half. The things we did well in the first half we did not do well in the 2nd half. We were not able to make a run of our own in the 2nd half and BU just kept chipping away. Holland and Partin hurt us. Holland in particular with his 3 point shooting. We were very impatient offensively during the final 8 minutes of the game. Too much 1 on 1 play and not enough patience. We needed more ball reversals and needed to play inside/out which we did in the first half. We talk to our players about
playing 40+ minutes. Whatever it takes! This game is a prime example. No lead is ever safe in conference play. 20 minutes is a long time and a lot can happen. We did not take advantage of a tremendous opportunity and a lot of credit has to go to BU. We have to regroup and get ready for a Stony Brook team that really defends and plays very hard.

01.13.11

A tough loss last night to a very good Maine team. Maine had very good non-conference wins at Penn State and at UMass. I watched Penn State beat Michigan St and Illinois this past week which makes that win even more impressive for Maine. Maine outscored us 12-2 to start the game and 8-0 to start the 2nd half. They outscored us 20-2 during that stretch. The other 32 minutes we won by 16. Basketball is a crazy game! This was a back and forth game. Maine is big and physical up front and can really shoot the ball from the perimeter. We had plenty of opportunities down the stretch but could not get that big basket when needed. Maine is also a very experienced team. They started four seniors who they can rely on for leadership and productivity.

Our young big men played well. The trio combined for 20 points and 18 rebounds which is a plus for us. We have emphasized getting the ball inside more and it was to our benefit. We also revamped our offense some to make this possible. It was nice to see Mike Black be more aggressive. We need him to take double digit shots. He has been very unselfish and that needs to change because we will benefit from him taking more shots.

We have to get ready for a talented and experienced Boston University team. Holland is the most talented player in our league and is an experienced senior. They also have three players who are 4th year juniors and a tremendous shooting power forward in junior Jake O'Brien. Hopefully we get a good crowd on Saturday and we play well!

01.10.11

The game at Hartford was our worst outing of the season. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. We were slow to get out of the gate and gave up 4 early 3's to Hartford which energized them. Our offense in the first half was very similar to our offense at UVM. Very impatient and poor shot selection. Our biggest issue defensively was communication. Hartford does a good job of spreading you out. When you break down they make you pay with a 3 or a back door cut. They really make you look silly if you don't communicate because of the way they play. Our fg% defense at the half was very good. The problem was the uncontested 3's because of a lack of communication or the 3's that they got off the offensive glass. Hartford had all of the momentum as the half ended.

The second half was not much different from the first. Hartford played with a ton of energy and played mostly 1-3-1 zone. We expected to see some 1-3-1 but not as much as they played. We struggled against the 1-3-1 in practice and it carried over to the game. We were very passive and did not attack. We were down 45-35 with 9 minutes to go and had 3 opportunities in a row to chip away and could not put the ball in the basket. Hartford then proceeded to go on a run and the rest is history. Another game where we held our opponent in the 30's for fg% defense. Hartford is playing very well overall. They start 4 seniors who have a ton of experience in AE play and it is obvious that the seniors are leading that team.

We sit at 1-2 in AE play with 2 losses on the road. We host a very deep Maine team on Wednesday who has quality road wins at UMass and at Penn St. It will be nice to get back to the SEFCU. We have to be focused and have a few good days of prep before Wednesday.

01.07.11

A tough loss on the road at Vermont. We were up at the half but really did not have any flow offensively. We were solid defensively but very impatient on the offensive end. UVM did a terrific job of beating us up on the glass in the 2nd half. Rebounding and our reluctance to run offense were the biggest issues for us. We played too much 1 on 1 basketball and did not spend enough time on offense to be successful. We did a good enough job defensively in order to have a chance to win. When you go on the road and hold a team in the high 30%'s from the field you should be in good shape. You cannot guard for 25-30 seconds every possession and then turn around and shoot in 7 or 8 seconds. Especially if you are not making shots. We need to learn from this as we move forward. UVM is good and did what was necessary to get the win. We need to be more patient and not panic.

We need to have a few good days of practice and get ready for a senior laden Hartford team who is playing very well. They had a big win at Maine.

01.03.11

We opened up conference play against a tough and well coached UNH team. We played solid overall and received solid contributions from several players. It was a good solid overall effort. UNH came in to the game playing very well on the defensive end. We were fairly patient offensively and did a nice job defensively as well. Our balance is what impressed me the most. We need to continue to get better each day take care of all of the "LITTLE THINGS" that will allow us to be successful.

Our next conference game will be at UVM who is playing very good basketball. They were the most consistent team in the AE throughout the non-conference. They are fundamentally sound and a very physical basketball team. Especially on the glass. We will have to play physical and well to get a win on the road.

01.01.11

The non-conference season is finished and we won 7 games. We made a lot of progress over the course of the non-conference schedule. Especially for such a young group. We really played the first 5 games without starting point guard Mike Black. He is our engine and will be a very integral part of our future success as a team and program. We had many challenges during the non-conference schedule. We played 3 games in 3 days in Detroit. On two occasions we played 2 games in 3 days. We had travel/weather issues heading to Cincy for our game at Xavier. We had to take a 12 hour bus trip with Xavier player Mark Lyons on the bus with us in order to get to Cincy. That was a pretty unique experience. He proceeded to hit 6 3's against us. That was not a nice thank you! LOL! We left Cincy and took a flight to Newark, NJ for our game against Wagner. We landed in Newark and our bus was MIA. We sat in the Newark Airport for 2 hours waiting for our bus to arrive. Our practice was now pushed back 2 hours. Very eventful!

We have some good young players who just have to learn how to win. Any time you have a young group you are going to encounter some "GROWING PAINS"! We just cannot ever get too high and we cannot ever get too low. We need to just continue to work hard and get better every single day.

12.31.10

When we landed in Newark, NJ we had to wait 2 hours for our bus to show up. We had to mover practice back 2 hours as well. This was a very long trip for us. We played well in the first half but started to fade late in the half. It was a very physical game and was called closely in the first half. In the 2nd half they let us play and that was of great benefit to Wagner. We fatigued quickly and the aggressiveness of Wagner really bothered us. Our tank hit E with about 11 minutes left in the game. Mike Black led us with 18 points and Devlin had 10 rebounds. We need to get some rest and get ready for conference play.

12.29.10

What a nightmare of a trip! Flights were cancelled because of snow so we had to drive 13 hours to Cincy. We also had Xavier guard Mark Lyons on the bus with us. He was stranded in Schenectady so we decided to help him and Xavier out. This was a homecoming game for Billy Allen and Logan. Xavier was very big and physical. They have a tremendous pg in Tu Holloway. Mark Lyons decided to say thanks for the ride by hitting 6 3's against us. We were competitive in the first half but Xavier opened the game up in the 2nd half. They hurt us inside plus Lyons hitting 6 3's didn't help. Ambrose led us with 24. Hopefully our travel to Wagner is easier than our travel to Xavier.

12.23.10

We were playing very well in the first half. Logan Aronhalt was undercut and lost for most of the game. We were playing well and felt good about ourselves at halftime. We knew that Colgate had a run in them. They play well at home. As we struggled offensively in the 2nd half, Colgate was able to make a run at us. Blake Metcalf made some huge FT's down the stretch and we were able to hold on. It is so difficult to win on the road. Our guys will get a few days off and will be able to spend Christmas at home.

12.19.10

We were in control of the Mt. St. Mary's game from the beginning. We were focused and executed well. Our defense was very good in the first half. Aronhalt and Ambrose led us with 19 points each Ambrose had 8 rebounds. One more game at Colgate before the Christmas break.

12.12.10

Central Connecticut is always a tough game. They are well coached and play very hard. We opened up a big first half lead. Central came out in the 2nd half and really played with great passion. We were on our heels for much of the 2nd half but found a way to hang on and get a W. This was a game we easily could have lost but we showed great resiliency. Ambrose finished with 21 points and Devlin had 11 rebounds.

12.07.10

This was a poorly scheduled game on my part. We were not ready to play this quickly after the Siena game. We needed a few more days. We were okay in the first half but had nothing in the tank for the 2nd half. You have to give Yale a lot of credit because they played very well and with great energy.

12.05.10

The Siena game is always intense. Throw the records of each team in the garbage. This is always a tough game. We blew a late lead and held on for an OT win. The crowd was tremendous as always. Ambrose and Aronhalt were very good offensively and Mike Black hit some big shots down the stretch. Ryan Rossiter is a big time player. He really hurt us in this one. Our players showed great heart and character as we were able to get the W! This is a physical and emotional game.

11.29.10

Bowling Green is up next and this will be our 3rd game in 3 days. Bowling Green plays all 2-3 zone so we really needed to be aggressive and attack the zone. We were definitely tired as we missed several shots that we would normally make. We settled for too many jump shots but they were open looks. Logan led us with 18 points and Devlin, Ambrose, and Metcalf all had 7 rebounds. We left Detroit 2-1 in the Classic! The players did a great job!

11.28.10

Logan Aronhalt put on a shooting exhibition against Niagara. He finished with 30 and was in the zone. It did not matter what type of defense Niagara played. Logan had it going! Niagara was talented and had good overall athleticism. We did a good job of forcing them to shoot jump shots. We kept our composure down the stretch and got a much needed win.

11.27.10

We opened the Classic with Detroit who was the host school. They were the most talented team we had played. They had talent, size, quickness, and athleticism at every position. This was a tremendous game that we lost in 2OT's. This game gave our kids a tremendous amount of confidence. We executed well at key points of the game and we made some big plays. We also received key contributions from our bench. Ambrose and Aronhalt had 18 each and Devlin had 10 rebounds. Time to get ready for Niagara.

11.24.10

Iona shot unbelievably well. They killed us in transition as we were having major trouble setting up our defense. They were a tough match-up as they were so quick and athletic. Our goal was to force them to shoot jump shots. Unfortunately they were on fire! We were so focused on stopping Glover that we were late to get to some shooters. Logan had another good offensive game as he scored 25. We are off to Detroit to play 3 games in 3 days. Should be a huge test for us.

11.20.10

FDU felt like a must win situation. It is difficult to win on the road but we needed a W. Jacob Iati did a terrific job running the show for us and we got a convincing win on the road. Logan Aronhalt had a double double with 27 points and 10 rebounds. He was in the zone. This was a good win for us. Now we head back to the SEFCU to play a really talented Iona team.

11.18.10

We headed down to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech. They were coming off a tough loss so we knew they would be ready to play. They really got after us defensively. The full court pressure bothered us as we were without Mike Black. GTech got too many easy baskets off of our turnovers. We were very lazy against the pressure and did not attack it. We need to take a deep breath and get ready for FDU.

11.16.10

We struggled to score against an experienced and well coached American team. The post players for American were tough. We had to pay so much attention to them that the other players were able to get some open looks. The bottom line is we could not score. Tim Ambrose led us in scoring and rebounding. Mike Black sat out with an ankle injury and we are still unsure of how many games he will miss. I would not be surprised if American won the Patriot League.

11.13.10

Last night was the season/home opener against a very skilled Cornell team. We were playing very well early and Mike Black was dominant. Unfortunately Mike hurt his ankle around the 10 minute mark of the first half and missed the rest of the game. He was getting in the lane at will was putting a lot of pressure on the Cornell defense. Cornell hurt us with the three ball and was able to get the win on the road. Tim Ambrose led us with 20 points and freshman Luke Devlin had 9 rebounds. We need to get ready for a very good American team.

10.19.10:

Last Friday was the first official day of practice. We enter this season with 9 freshmen and sophomores on our roster. We are young so I am very anxious to see how we grow as a team. Great effort is the focus! We need to consistently compete! We should have plenty of energy and enthusiasm. Defense is a concern as that was our major weakness last year. We just could not get STOPS! Defense and rebounding has always been our identity.

We had a good Fall and I expect that to carry over to the season. We are going to get after it every day that we step on the court. This group understands that we are going to challenge them on a daily basis. We are going to get them out of their comfort zone. I am anxious to see how they respond.

Let the season begin!

06.21.10:

Today is the first day of summer school for our players. This is a great opportunity for them to get ahead academically and to really improve as players. It gives our new players a chance to get acclimated to the campus before the fall semester begins at the end of August. Poor Luke Devlin encountered delay after delay as he was flying from Australia to Albany. He had flight troubles and now he has to adjust to the time difference. Russell Moore was driving to Albany and his car over heated on three different occasions. His dad just decided to have the car towed and they rented a car to finish the trip to Albany. The rest of the players had an easier time getting to Albany!

The July recruiting period is right around the corner. We are allowed out on the road July 6-15 and July 22-31. We will have 3 coaches on the road at all times as we watch a few 2011 kids with our main focus being the 2012 class.

It was tough watching the Lakers beat the Celtics in game 7. The 4th quarter was tough to watch as the Celtics struggled on offense and continued to bail the Lakers out by putting them to the FT line for free points. It was a very physical game. I grew up a Celtic fan during the years of Bird, Parrish, and McHale. That is when the NBA was tremendous. You had the Lakers with Magic, the 76ers with Doctor J, the Trailblazers with Drexler, and the Celts with Bird. It was a more enjoyable game to watch.

My wife and I have survived 8 weeks with a newborn at home. Our older son is 8 so it definitely has been an adjustment for all of us. My wife deserves all of the credit as she handles the sleeping duties with our little guy.

Our schedule is done. We are just waiting for a few contracts to be signed. The schedule is a balanced one. As always we will need to win games at home and steal games on the road.

Our 3rd Annual Golf Classic is Monday September 13, 2010 at Pinehaven Country Club. The Classic continues to grow and this year will be no different. You can contact Brent Wilson at 442-3036 for more information.

05.03.10:

Final exams are right around the corner. Our student-athletes have always done a nice job in the class room. I don't expect this semester to have been any different when grades are released. It comes down to effort and taking great pride in everything that you do on and off the court.

Our spring has been a challenging one and a demanding one for our players. Competition has been the focus and we need to "COMPETE" in everything that we do. It has to become a habit. We have good young talent that we really like. However, if you don't compete you will get lost! The quicker we all embrace the mindset the better we will be!

Technically we are done with our 2010 and 2011 class. Recruiting never ends and that is how we approach it!

This is the best time of year to watch the NBA! Playoff time is very entertaining and competitive. During the regular season I usually just watch the 4th quarter!.

04.30.10:

We finished up Spring Individual Workouts on Wednesday per NCAA rules. The post season workouts were very productive as our players got better each week. Consistency is the key! The players are getting ready for final exams and then will head home for a few weeks. We will have them back on campus for a 6 week summer session.

Although recruiting is always ongoing we did sign a nice 3 man recruiting class. The class will add versatility, talent, and hopefully production to our program. We already have a commitment from a very talented perimeter player from the Chicago area for our 2011 class. He has enjoyed a terrific spring on the AAU circuit.

04.12.10:

The signing period begins on April 14. We had two young men visit this past weekend and we have two more visiting this upcoming weekend. We are excited about the possibility of finishing up our recruiting in the next 7-10 days.

Our young players are getting better and we would like to add some more talent and experience to the line-up.

04.07.10:

We have two recruits arriving on campus today. Our players do a tremendous job with recruits. Our goal is for the recruits to learn as much about our university and program as they can in a 48 hour period. The NCAA allows a recruit to be on campus for a maximum of 48 hours during an official visit. We have our recruits go to class with our players and meet members of the faculty, support staff, athletic administration, and university administration. We want them to get a strong feel for the university in such a short period of time. A lot of meetings, time with our players, and of course some quality meals! Delmonico's and Lombardo's seem to be the favorites. Well, maybe my favorites! LOL!

I just received an e-mail from former Great Dane Jason Siggers and he is doing very well in France!


04.07.10:

I watched the Women's National Championship Game last night. The halftime score was 20-12 with Stanford leading UConn. UConn pulled ahead in the second half and built a comfortable lead late in the game. The difference was Stanford could not take advantage of UConn shooting 18% in the first half. Stanford had the opportunity to be up double figures at the break. You saw the real UConn team in the 2nd half. They are fun to watch.

We received our first commitment yesterday for 2010. We are excited as the young man is a quality student-athlete and will fit in well at UAlbany.


04.06.10:

The college basketball season is long and it is a grind. The student-athletes must learn the time management skills necessary to be successful. I was impressed when I saw that the Butler players went to classes the day of the National Championship Game. I give credit to the Butler coaching staff and administration for sending a strong message about the importance of academics. Especially during the most important time in Butler Basketball and maybe Butler University history!

We have a few players currently playing overseas. Jamar Wilson is in Belgium, Jason Siggers is in France, Brian Connelly is in Australia, and Levi Levine is in Romania. They are getting the opportunity to play professionally and to enjoy another culture.


04.06.05:

Usually the the first workouts after Spring Break are sluggish. Today was no different! Most of the players went home and probably hung out with family and friends and ate a lot of home cooking. That is what they should have done! I am sure they enjoyed the break. We are glad to have them back on campus and looking forward to the next few weeks. We need to keep plugging away!


04.05.05:

What a game! Butler kept hanging around and had 2 attempts in the closing seconds to win the game. The defensive intensity from both teams was impressive. It was tough for each team to get off a good shot!

Zoubek was HUGE all tournament long. He did all the dirty work and kept balls alive and gave Duke extra possessions.

Singler probably played himself right in to the lottery. A lot of similarities to Mike Dunleavy Jr.
 

04.05.05:

That was a great first half. Butler out rebounded Duke and defended the 3 very well. Duke did a nice job of scoring in the paint.

Avery Jukes gave Butler a huge lift in the first half with Howard on the bench with 2 fouls.

Should be a great 2nd half!


04.05.10:

Just got back in to the office after spending most of the weekend in Indianapolis. We had new carpet installed in the offices while we were gone. The office looks a lot better! I am looking forward to watching the championship game tonight. Hopefully it is an outstanding game. Butler has been defending at a very high level. I was so impressed with Duke against West Virginia. If they play close to that level again they should win the game. However, Butler has been proving everybody wrong since the NCAA Tournament began.

This is a busy week for us as we have three student-athletes visiting. We are excited about the possibility of receiving a commitment or two in the very near future. We are looking to add toughness and talent with this recruiting class. We really like our returning players and we are excited about the future!


04.04.10:

As a basketball junkie I often watch the UConn women's team when they are on TV. I am watching them play Baylor in the Final Four. It is amazing how many games in a row they have won. They are fun to watch and Maya Moore and Tina Charles are outstanding.

Brittney Griner of Baylor has to be the future of women's basketball. She is 6'8 and dunks in games! Even UConn is struggling to guard her. Not sure anyone can guard her 1 on 1!

Spring Break ends tomorrow and we will resume workouts on Tuesday. I am looking forward to getting the players back on the court!
 

04.03.05:

Not sure Duke could have played any better. They were physical on both ends and shot the ball very well. Especially from 3! They have the best perimeter trio in the country.

You have to feel for De'Sean Butler. He is a very talented player and you hate to see a player get hurt. Especially in such an important game. Hopefully he will be okay.

You have to appreciate how Butler plays the game. However, if Duke plays even close to the level that they played at tonight then they will win the National Championship!


04.03.10:

One semi-final in the books. It was not a pretty game but both teams played physical and defended at a high level. It was an impressive win for Butler as Hayward and Mack were limited in the 2nd half. It will be interesting to see if either will be at full strength for the championship game. You have to give a lot of credit to the Butler role players for stepping up!

Michigan State had a great run. Especially since Kalin Lucas was lost for the year.

Duke and West Virginia should be a good one!


04.03.10:

I went to watch the four practices that were open to the public. Butler had over 30,000 fans at practice. They will have a huge home court advantage! Don't know how much it will phase a veteran Michigan State team but it can't hurt!

I had a chance to spend some time with former Great Dane Brian Lillis last night. He drove in from Chicago. He is doing very well for himself.


04.02.10:

I was able to watch the NIT Championship Game. Dayton looked very good. They are extremely quick and athletic. I think they would have been just fine in the NCAA Tournament. The Atlantic 10 was a deep and talented conference this year.

It was nice to see Marques Blakely win the Slam Dunk contest at the Final Four. The interesting thing is Blakely can do the same dunks in a real game. Not sure many others can make that claim!


04.01.10:

I made it to Indianapolis for the Final Four. A lot of Butler fans floating around. Indianapolis is a very convenient place for us coaches. My hotel is across from the Convention Center and Lucas Field.

I am going over to watch some of the open practices tomorrow. The teams don't really do too much. It is more for the fans to get a look at the teams and players. The coaches are usually pretty good when it comes to catering to the fans. They usually have the players dunk for the crowd. They usually have over 20,000 people at the open practices. It is pretty neat!


03.31.10:

I am watching the McDonald's All American Game. This might be the most competitive game I have seen in years. Usually this game is similar to the NBA All Star Game.

I have an early morning flight to Indianapolis. This is a chance to relax for a few days. I am really looking forward to next week when we start having recruits visit Albany!


03.30.10:

The NIT final is set. North Carolina and Dayton will play in the championship game. I am looking forward to watching the final.

We are getting new carpet in our office on Thursday. Need to get everything situated before I leave for the Final Four.

McDonald's All American Game is tomorrow night. You get to see the next wave of talent that will be entering the college game.


03.30.10:

Just got done watching the other NIT semi-final. The game was played at a fast pace. UNC has so much young talent. They did a great job of pounding the ball inside.

This was the first time I had seen URI play this eason. They are very quick and athletic.

I was able to watch two very good NIT games tonight!


03.30.10:

The NCAA Tournament is the biggest sporting event in the country. They call it "March Madness" for a reason. With that being said, the NIT is a great tournament as well. The NIT is down to four teams. I just watched a great game between Dayton and Ole Miss. Some talented athletes on the floor. Dayton advanced to the finals!

I am looking forward to the other semi-final which will be Rhode Island/North Carolina. Should be another fantastic game!


03.30.10:

I am trying to get as much work done as possible before April 21. My wife and I are expecting our 2nd child on the 21st. It is an exciting time for our family and I am sure it will be a crazy one as well! The national signing period begins on April 14th and we are involved with some quality student-athletes. The two weekends after the Final Four will be very critical to the success of our recruiting class. We are excited and the visits cannot happen soon enough!

I am anxious for our Spring Break to be over. We are in the middle of individual workouts and the players are working very hard. This is a fun time of year as we get to spend a lot of 1 on 1 time with our players on the court trying to help them improve. Each player is different and that is probably why it is so enjoyable.
 

03.29.10:

I am looking forward to the Final Four. I will be heading to Indianapolis on Thursday. Butler must be pumped up as they basically get a home game on Saturday. The match-ups are very intriguing. We will all see some quality basketball.

The Final Four is always a good time. It is basically a coaches convention. Indianapolis is an easy trip. It will give the staff a chance to relax as we will be very busy after the Final Four. We have kids scheduled to visit every weekend during the month of April! This is a big month for us!


03.28.10:

Another great game in the NCAA Tournament. Duke did a great job on the glass in the second half. Big offensive rebounds led to threes for Duke and the offensive glass also allowed Duke to get to the FT line.

Baylor had that Syracuse look to them with all that length and the 2-3 zone.

Brian Zoubek of Duke and Chris Kramer of Purdue might be the hardest working players in the college game.

Congratulations to Scott Aronhalt and Zanesville HS for advancing to the Ohio State Final 4.


03.29.10:

The Michigan State/Tennessee game was a great one. Both teams made plays down the stretch. Free throws usually come in to play in tight games and this game was no different. It is amazing how so many teams and/or players struggle from the FT line.

I am looking forward to watching the Duke/Baylor game. Anxious to see how Duke attacks the Baylor 2-3 zone. Baylor has two terrific guards who are fun to watch.


03.28.10:

Another #1 seed goes down as West Virginia beats Kentucky in the Elite Eight. Kentucky struggled from beyond the arc and at the FT line. The 1-3-1 zone of West Virginia really bothered Kentucky. They were bothered by the tremendous length of the West Virginia players. I saw West Virgina play a few times during the season and they usually go to the 1-3-1 in the last few minutes of a game. However, they went to it early and often against Kentucky. It became the primary defense in the 2nd half.

Duke is the only #1 seed left and they have a tough match-up with Baylor in the Elite Eight. Baylor is quick, athletic, and has great size. Duke will see mostly 2-3 zone from Baylor. I have been very impressed with Baylor. I saw them play in the Big 12 Tournament and they have been very good in the NCAA Tournament.


03.27.10:

Butler advances to the Final Four. They are fun to watch. They really share the ball on offense and play tough team defense. Butler will have a home game in the Final Four. They will be playing in Indianapolis. I believe they will play the winner of Tennessee/Michigan State. Not sure too many people picked any of these teams to advance to the Elite Eight or Final Four.

The success of Butler, Cornell, and N Iowa should prove that the NCAA Tournament is just fine with 65 teams. A lot of parody in college basketball! The mid-majors are doing just fine and stealing some thunder from the BCS programs.

03.27.10:

I went up to Glens Falls today to see Saint Rose Head Coach Brian Beaury get inducted in to the New York State Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. Brian gave me my start in this business. He was kind enough to hire me right out of college. I spent three years working for him and learning the ropes. This is a well deserved honor for a tremendous coach.

I am looking forward to watching the Elite 8 games today. Kentucky and West Virginia might be the two best teams left in the tournament. Unfortunately one of them will not be playing in the Final Four. Should be a great game!


03.27.10:

Most people like to run to stay in shape. My staff has started playing racquetball for a good workout. I don't like to run or jog. I find it very boring so racquetball is a much better alternative. It is an excellent workout. I played a lot of racquetball when I was a junior college coach so the game is not foreign to me.

I am looking forward to heading out to Indianapolis for the Final Four next week. I will be going Thursday-Saturday. I usually go Thursday-Monday but I want to get back so I can spend Easter with my family.


03.26.10:

Our 3rd Annual UAlbany Slam Dunk Golf Classic will be Monday September 13, 2010 at Pinehaven Country Club. We expect the Golf Classic to continue to grow and be even bigger and better this upcoming year. If you are looking for more information please contact Brent Wilson at 442-3036.

Our camp dates are June 28-July 2 and July 5-9. Feel free to contact Brent Wilson for more information.


03.26.10:


The NCAA Tournament has been exciting with several surprises. The Kansas State/Xavier game might have been the best game of the tournament. Both teams made play after play. Kansas State was able to prevail in double overtime. It was a great game to watch. Frank Martin has done a terrific job at Kansas State. It wasn't long ago that he was an assistant for Ron Everhart at Northeastern. He is a good guy and has done very well for himself.

I was surprised that Butler beat Syracuse. I thought Syracuse was going to win the National Championship! Butler does a great job of controlling tempo and spacing the floor on offense. They have tough kids!

Individual workouts continue to go well. The kids are working hard and getting better. We are challenging them every day and they are responding.

Our players are heading home for Spring Break. They will be able to spend a week at home with family and friends.

Recruiting is going well as we plan on adding toughness and talent to our roster. We are taking our time and doing our homework. We are looking for the best fit. We will have several players visit during the month of April after the Final Four.

03.23.10:

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament provided some terrific basketball to watch. The games were very competitive and in many instances big plays had to be made down the stretch to win games. UNI and Cornell have been the best stories of the tournament. Chris Kramer of Purdue is a guy that every coach in America would want on his team!

Back on the road tomorrow. We need to add 3 pieces to the puzzle and we are taking our time in doing so. It is very important that we find the right fit. We have a few more weeks before the signing period begins.

Boston University had a nice win at Oregon State and a home win over Morehead State in the CBI Tournament.


03.19.10:

Day 1 of the NCAA Tournament was very interesting and exciting. Especially from a fans perspective. The games were very competitive and we witnessed a few upsets. They call it March Madness for a reason. I missed the Villanova/Robert Morris game because of a recruiting trip but I heard it was a tremendous game. I just got back in town. I was in Chicago and St. Louis.

Our individual workouts are going well. I like the effort and intensity. We need to stay consistent and continue to form good habits that will carry over.

Recruiting is going well! The spring signing period is right around the corner and we plan on signing three student-athletes.


03.17.10:

We started our spring individual workouts this week. This is the time of year for our players to improve on the court and in the weight room. They do individual workouts 3X per week and will lift 4X per week.

I have been on the road recruiting. The goal is to add three players who will add toughness and talent to our program

03.11.10:

The season ended with a loss in the conference tournament to Stony Brook. We played solid overall. We hit a 10 minute stretch in the second half where we did not score a field goal and that was the biggest difference in the game. Our young kids played extremely well in this game which bodes well for the future. I was concerned because this would be the first conference tournament for the freshmen. They handled it well!

It was a long year but the kids worked hard and gave a consistent effort each day. We are excited about the future and expect to be much improved next year. We have a lot of work to do in the off season!

This is a busy time of year on the recruiting trail. We will sign three players during the spring signing period and the goal is for all three to be able to contribute immediately and make a difference!

03.04.10:

We finished the regular season with a tough loss at Hartford. We had an opportunity to win the game in regulation but Hartford made 2 big FT's in the final seconds to send the game in to OT. We struggled in OT and Hartford made some big plays. I thought we did a solid job overall on the offensive end. We had four players in double figures and we shared the ball. We had some lapses on the defensive end at critical points of the game and Hartford made us pay.

We play Stony Brook in the opening round of the America East Conference Tournament at noon on Saturday. Stony Brook won the regular season title and has been the most consistent team in the conference. We played them tough both times during the regular season but could not come away with a win. Hopefully we will play well!

02.22.10:

We lost a tough game this past Saturday to Stony Brook on Senior Night. We honored our three seniors Brett Gifford, Scotty McRae, and Will Harris. All three seniors played very well in their last game in the SEFCU Arena. We played solid basketball overall. Stony Brook made some key plays down the stretch and El Amin hit a tough shot with 1 second left in the game. We played hard and did a lot of good things on both ends of the floor.

Our next game is Wednesday at Maine. This is the toughest trip on our schedule. It is an 8 movie trip! Four movies up and four movies back! I am sure we will encounter some snow during this trip.

I was able to watch the U.S.A. vs. Canada hockey game last night. I don't know much about hockey but it was an exciting game. That had to be a difficult atmosphere for the U.S.A. but they responded and played great. The Winter Olympics definitely have some interesting events! It has become a combination of traditional Winter Olympic Sports and the Extreme Games!

02.19.10:

Tonight is our last regular season home game against a good Stony Brook team. They are playing as well as any team in our league. We are looking forward to the challenge.

This was a busy week in the NBA with the trade deadline passing. It is amazing to see how many teams just gave players away to create salary cap space for next year. I guess teams are hoping to have the opportunity to get LeBron, Wade, Bosh, or Stoudemire. Teams were trying to obtain as many expiring contracts as possible to free up cap space for next year. It will be interesting to see if the Knicks are able to get one or more of the players mentioned above. The Cavs just got better with the addition of Antawn Jamison.

02.16.10:

It was nice to go on the road and get a much needed win at UMBC. We started strong and were fairly consistent throughout the game. We played well as a team on both ends of the floor. It was nice to see Scotty McRae play so well. We received strong contributions from several players. We had good balance on offense and played solid team defense. The players have been tremendous in practice and have been very self motivated so we were extremely happy for them.

The biggest key for us was our ability to make shots. We have struggled shooting the ball in conference play so we needed to have a game where we consistently made shots. We need to have a good week of practice and get ready for Stony Brook on Friday.

The NBA All Star Game was interesting. Not much defense played! However, it did look like both teams were playing to win in the final few minutes. The attendance was over 108,000 and that stadium is second to none!

Congratulations to Mike Black for winning the America East Conference Rookie of the Week award for the 2nd consecutive week. Mike continues to get better every day and he has a bright future.

We had an excellent practice today with a ton of energy. We were missing a few players who were sick. The focus was good and the kids competed at a high level. This group has practiced hard and with great effort on a consistent basis.

Our final home game is this Friday night against Stony Brook. It should be a good game and we are looking forward to having a good crowd as our seniors will be playing for the last time in the SEFCU Arena.

02.11.10:

We had a tough loss last on Tuesday to UNH. We shot 31.7% overall. That is not going to win you many games. The good thing is this group continues to work hard on the practice court, in the weight room, and in the class room. We have really struggled shooting the ball in conference play. Hopefully we can knock down some shots at UMBC this weekend.

Congratulations to Mike Black for being selected as the America East Conference Rookie of the Week. He is the third freshman in our program to win the award this season. He has progressed nicely and has a very bright future. Great kid as well! We are working hard with him to become more of a vocal leader. It will happen with time as he and the 6 other freshmen continue to grow.

The Super Bowl was very entertaining. The Saints hung around in the first half and had all the momentum after the onside kick to start the 2nd half. This was the best thing that could have happened to the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana.

01.18.10:

It was good to get our first conference win over UMBC on Saturday. We struggled defensively in the first half and made some adjustments at halftime. We did a much better job overall in the second half. Our focus was better defensively and we shared the ball on offense. It was nice to see our freshmen be so productive. Mike Black is getting more comfortable as the starting point guard. Logan is shooting the ball well and feeling better each day. His best basketball is definitely ahead of him. He had to endure two surgeries and a lengthy rehab process. He was basically inactive for more than a year. Blake brings great energy to the court. He keeps balls alive on the offensive glass and can rebound outside of his area.

It is a long season and freshmen are known to be up and down. We need consistency from our veterans so we can allow our young kids to deal with the growing pains involved in D1 basketball. Our next game is at Boston University on Tuesday evening. Boston is an explosive perimeter shooting team. Holland, Lowe, O'Brien, and Strong can really shoot the basketball. This will be a tough test for us. We will have to do a tremendous job of defending as a TEAM. We are looking forward to the challenge!

Congratulations to Logan Aronhalt for being named the America East Rookie of the Week!

01.06.10:

We have played three conference games and sit at 0-3 overall in AE play. The kids are working hard and we need the energy to carry over to the games. We have struggled shooting the ball in conference play. We have shot below 40% in each conference game. That is not going to win you many games. We dug ourselves a hole at UNH and made a nice run during the final 10 minutes of the game. Some missed FT's and turnovers at the wrong time proved costly. It was great to see Will Harris play so well. He was very aggressive. I was most impressed with his work on the glass. That is the Will Harris that we will need the rest of the way. Logan Aronhalt hit some big shots as well. We just never seem to play well at UNH!

Our next game is against UMBC in the SEFCU Arena. Randy Monroe has done a nice job with the UMBC Program. We have played some tough games against UMBC in recent years. I am sure this one will be no different.

01.06.10:

We open up conference play tomorrow night against Binghamton. The kids have been working hard and we are making progress as a TEAM. We have made some changes in regard to style of play and have been working on it for about 2 weeks. It is going to take some time but the kids are focused and they have been working extremely hard. Effort, execution, and progress is what we have been stressing with this group. Those three things will allow us to be very successful. Conference play is always exciting. Every team begins conference play with a 0-0 record and has the same opportunity. It is so important to defend your home court. If you can win at home and steal games on the road you will be successful in conference play.

I have been happy with our bench the past two games. Consistency is what we need from our bench. I am very happy for Billy Allen. Billy has been playing very well. He is a hard working kid who has really been shooting the ball well of late. Our bench is young and young kids always have problems dealing with consistency. However, we have made progress and hopefully the bench can continue to produce.

Three of our first four conference games are at home. It is imperative that we get off to a good start. We had a nice crowd for our Yale game. It was nice to see the community support. We will need that especially since our students will not be back until our home game on Jan. 21.

It is nice and cold in Albany right now. Coach Filien must be loving life out in Phoenix, AZ right about now. I sent him out to see a tournament. I have not checked the weather report but I am sure it is warm! I refuse to ask him about the weather because I don't want to listen to him rub it in!

Alabama and Texas should be a great National Championship Game! We will be playing Binghamton so we will not have the opportunity to watch it. Hopefully we can get a W and catch some highlights later on that night.

Happy New Year!

12.28.09:

I hope everybody is enjoying the Holiday Season! We are getting ready to catch a flight to North Carolina. We play at UNC on the 30th. This will be our last non conference road game of the season. It will be our 8th road game in a row. UNC is very good and they play unselfish basketball. I am not sure that I have seen a team push the ball in transition like UNC. They push it off made and missed shots. They do a great job of forcing tempo.

We have two games left before America East play begins. Practice has been very good of late. We need to use the next two games to help us get better and ready for conference play. The conference is wide open this year and consistency is going to be a key in conference play. We have been working on embracing all of the little things that allow a team to be successful. We cannot stress the word "TEAM" enough with this group.

It has been nice to see some of our former players at games. Jon Iati was at our Iona game. Jimmie Covington and his family as well as Brian Lillis were out in Chicago. Many of the former players have remained close to the program.

After a summer plagued by injuries and inactivity Jamar Wilson is starting to play very well in Belgium. Jason Siggers has been putting up big time numbers in France. It is nice to see the two of them enjoying success in competitive leagues overseas. They are two great young men.

Happy New Year!

11.19.09:

We are off to a 1-2 start. We had a rough opener at Syracuse. We struggled against the 2-3 zone. They have great length and athleticism in the zone. Defensively they are very, very good. They fed off our turnovers. The only good thing was we were able to play a lot of our younger players and they gained valuable experience in a tough environment.

Our second game was against a very strong and physical Morgan State team. They played in the 2008 NIT and 2009 NCAA Tournament. Reggie Holmes is as good of a guard as we will face this season. He was very smooth and efficient offensively. Kevin Thompson was a huge post presence and difficult to stop. This was another opportunity for our young players to gain some valuable experience in the home opener. Morgan State will have a great season. They are men!

The third game was at American. They entered the game with a 12 game home winning streak. They played in the 2009 NCAA Tournament and gave Villanova a scare. American dropped the NCAA banner before the game. American really made us work defensively. They spent a lot of time on offense. They went very small at times and played a 6'4 guard at the power forward spot. They could get away with this since they played a lot of 3-2 zone. Our match-ups were tough. We switched defenses the last 7 or 8 minutes of the game and that really helped us. We did not shoot well and only had 7 FT attempts. It is so difficult to win on the road so I was glad that we could pull this one out.

We are getting ready for the 2K Sports Classic this weekend at the SEFCU. Three games in three days will be difficult. You have to be mentally and physically tough. Depth will come in to play in these this type of format. All of the teams will need support from the bench. Scouting is also very difficult in these events. You have less than 24 hours to prepare for your next opponent. Our players will be forced to stick to our defensive principles. We will really try to get them to understand personnel and player tendencies. It is difficult to get really comfortable with the opponents offensive sets on such short notice. This is why we must stick to our defensive principles.

Fans will have an opportunity to see some good teams and players. Alcorn State has plenty of talent and is coached by an NBA veteran. Detroit has 2 Big 10 transfers (Indiana) and some other very talented players and could quite possibly challenge Butler in the Horizon League. Robert Morris played in the NCAA Tournament last year and has a nice returning nucleus. All three games will be tough for us. We will have to play well and be consistent with our focus and execution.
 

10.24.09:

We just finished our Purple/Gold game. It was a great event. We had a terrific crowd despite the monsoon like weather conditions. The event was well organized. Charlie Voelker and Matt Roche did a great job putting this event together. Our team has a lot of moving pieces this year and we are excited about the potential of this team. We have a nice combination of younger players and veterans.

We are on the bus on our way to our first scrimmage of the season. Nothing like practicing in the morning, Purple/Gold in the afternoon, and then a 4 hour bus trip in the evening. I am tired so I can only imagine how the players feel.

I decided to bring my 7 year old son Jackson on this road trip. My wife Jamie is a nervous wreck! LOL! He is sitting with Blake Metcalf and Derreck Tartt. They are great sports!

I am looking forward to watching us compete against someone else for a change. I am planning on giving everybody a shot tomorrow. The players have all worked hard and I have been impressed.

You can follow our program at Facebook.com/ualbanybasketball and at Twitter.com (uahoopswb) for daily updates. I just opened the twitter account a few days ago and made it public today. This way you will be able to keep up with Great Danes Basketball!

10.21.09:

Our first practice was Friday evening from 7:30-10. We came back and practiced on Saturday from 9-10:30 and 4-6. We practiced Sunday 9-11 and 4:30-6. The difference was we participated in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on Sunday from 12-1. It was a 3 mile walk and for a great cause. We try to expose our players to as many community events as possible. Unfortunately cancer has impacted too many of us directly or indirectly. I was proud of our players because not one of them complained. They enjoyed the walk and had the opportunity to meet a lot of people. It was a long three days, especially Sunday! We are off today and excited about getting back to practice tomorrow morning.

It has been interesting putting together practice plans for 17 players. My goal has been to get every player reps and to keep every player involved early on in practice. The practices have been very competitive and our players have been getting after it on a consistent basis. We like the attitude and the mindset. The newcomers usually have to make the biggest adjustment to a college practice. The level is more competitive and a lot more physical. It can be draining mentally and physically for the newcomers. Our new players are working hard and trying to make the necessary adjustments.

We have our Purple/Gold game on Saturday and a scrimmage on Sunday. We have a lot of work to do in a short period of time!

10.15.09:

It is that time of year again! Another college basketball season is about to begin. We are looking forward to the upcoming year. We had a very productive preseason and we are anxious to get started. We will have 17 bodies available for practice which is a good thing. The last few weeks of the 08-09 season we only had 8 healthy bodies and were forced to have two coaches practice so we could go 5 on 5. This year will be quite different. Coach Friel and Coach Filien will not have to be on the court competing!

We don't have a lot of time as we will open the season Nov. 9 at Syracuse. That leaves us a little more than 3 weeks to get ready. We will need to use our time wisely! The good thing is we will squeeze in two scrimmages before our first game and that will give us a chance to compete against two other programs.

Our strength and conditioning coach Blake Cundiff has done a tremendous job with our players in the weight room. They are leaner and stronger. We emphasize strength and conditioning and our players understand the importance.

We are anxious to start putting the pieces of the puzzle together. This team has some variety and versatility. It will be interesting trying to find the right combinations. We are looking forward to watching them compete. Some players are really good workout guys and others are better structured team type guys. This is why I don't get too excited when we have players enjoy great success in workouts. I want to see how they respond when we have 10 guys on the court and some structure. The three things that we are going to stress to the guys are COMPETE, COMMUNICATE, and EXECUTE! We need them to do this every day! Our early focus scheme wise will be DEFENSE, REBOUNDING, and EARLY OFFENSE. We need to get more easy baskets than our opponents!

Today we held a live practice for the media. We had 17 members of the media participate and more than 30 total in attendance. It was an enjoyable event. We wanted to expose the media to what a typical practice is like for our players. We put them through drills, they scrimmaged, they watched scout film and went over a scouting report, they learned some offensive sets, and got some good exercise! Our goal was for the media to get a better feel for what goes on within a program and hopefully for them to learn a little more about the game of basketball. The practice was a huge success!

My son Jackson is just finishing up his soccer season at St. Pius. He is 7 so the games are quite entertaining. The games are played in a crowd. They all run to the ball. I get a kick out of watching him run from goal to goal regardless what position he is playing! He is having fun and it is great exercise.

The only time I watch baseball is during the playoffs. Hopefully the Yankees can keep it going!

The NBA regular season is about to begin. Several teams made moves in the off season. I am going to go on record and say that the Spurs will win the West and the Celtics will win the East.

The "Basket Ball" was a huge success! We raised over $150,000 for the American Cancer Society. SEFCU was the presenting sponsor of the event. Michael Castellana and SEFCU continue to be generous and support these types of events and our program. We honored my good friend Jamie Dixon who is the Head Coach at Pitt. My wife Jamie spent a lot of time helping the ACS get ready for the event. It was nice to see so many people in attendance as we tried to raise awareness and money to help find a cure for this dreaded disease.

06.23.09:

Our players will be arriving this weekend for summer school. It is a great opportunity for the veterans and the newcomers to spend some quality time together on and off the court. We will have 16 of our 17 roster players on campus taking summer classes. Yes, we will have 17 players on our roster. Fifteen of the seventeen players will be active, one will redshirt, and one will have to sit out per NCAA transfer rules. I am sure Coach Friel and Coach Filien are excited about the roster size. They had to practice the last few weeks of the season. Especially Coach Friel! He had double duty as he was both coaching and playing on a daily basis.

We received some good news regarding redshirt freshman Logan Aronhalt. He was cleared to remove the boot from his foot and he is allowed to shoot and start doing some lower body lifting. He has not been cleared to run or cut yet. That should happen by August 1. He will spend time shooting, doing pool workouts, weights, and using the elliptical machine. Logan told me he put up 300+ on the bench press the other day. The good thing is he has lived in the weight room since his surgery last August. When he gets cleared in August it is going to take him some time to get back in the flow of things. He is a tireless worker so he should be fine.

We should be releasing our schedule in the near future. We are waiting for one or two more contracts to be signed. It will be a challenging one!

Billy Allen was one of two student-athletes that recently had the opportunity to tour the campus with new SUNY Chancellor Nancy L Zimpher. Billy really embraced the opportunity and did a fine job representing our program and the athletic department.

05.21.09:

The spring semester has come to an end. Our players get a chance to go home and spend some time with family. They will be back for summer school on June 22. We will have 15 of our 16 players on campus for the summer. This 6 week period is valuable because our team will have the opportunity to take classes, play together, lift together, and spend quality time together. This should help us as we get ready for the fall semester.

Our players did another good job in the classroom this semester and we had a very solid year overall. All of our players are on pace to graduate in a four year period. That is the name of the game!

It was nice to see Jimmie, Brian, and Jerel graduate this past weekend. All three are great kids. My wife and I had dinner with Jimmie and his family on Sunday. He had a group of seven come out from Chicago. After dinner we met up with Brian Connelly and his family and Jerel and his mom. It was nice to be able to spend some quality time with these young men. My staff joined us as well. All three are great character kids!

I am heading up to Paradox Lake for Memorial Day weekend. We have some family going up plus our Equipment Manager Kevin Galuski and his wife Shannon will be going up as well our Head Trainer Jay Geiger and his wife Lisa (really his girlfriend but I figured I would bust his chops). The weather is suppose to be great so we should have a good time. My wife and son left today. I will be heading up tomorrow. My little guy wanted to get up north and start fishing.

Recruiting is going well! We signed a strong 2009 class and we are all done with our 2010 class. We will be on the road this summer looking at rising juniors which will be our 2011 class.

Our schedule is just about complete. I have the flexibility to add one more game. I am just not sure if I am going to do that or not. Our schedule is challenging to say the least!

I was very impressed with the Orlando Magic last night in Game 1 vs. the Cavs. They are tough offensively. They really spread the floor well and give Dwight Howard room to operate. It is hard to double down on him because they have so many good perimeter shooters. However, I still think the Cavs will win as long as they don't stand around on "O" and watch LeBron play 1 on 1 which they did in the 4th Qtr.

We are working hard on our 2nd Annual Slam Dunk Golf Classic which will be Monday September 14, 2009 at Pinehaven Country Club.

05.05.09:

It is final exam time and our players have been busy studying. We are hoping to finish the semester strong. Our goal is to have the highest team g.p.a. in the America East for the third straight year. We enjoyed a pretty productive fall semester.

This weekend we received our second commitment for the 2010 class. We are very excited about our recent addition. We will have one more scholarship for the 2010 class and I am confident that we will add another quality student-athlete to our program.

I feel that we have a versatile and talented group coming in as our 2009 class. The 6 weeks that they will spend on campus this summer will really help them get acclimated to the university. We will have the entire team on campus for one 6 week session. Each player will have the opportunity to take a class and work with our strength and conditioning coaches.

Our schedule is almost complete. It will definitely be challenging and will hopefully get us ready for conference play. We open the season fairly early next year. We will really have to maximize our practice time.

The Celtics vs. Bulls series was definitely entertaining. You were able to watch OT games, big shots being made, and some HARD fouls being dished out! It was good to see the Celts advance. Especially since they were playing without Garnett and Powe. A lot of fans forget that the Bulls were playing without Deng who is arguably the most talented player on the Bulls roster. It will be interesting to see if Garnett is able to return. If not, the Celts will be in trouble.

I am looking forward to seeing Brian, Jimmie, and Jerel graduate on May 17!

04.16.09:

We received an NLI (National Letter of Intent) from Mike Black today. We are excited about having Mike join our basketball program. He is a great kid and a talented basketball player. We felt that North Florida got a steal when they signed Mike early. He did not play with a high profile AAU program so he flew under the radar. He had an outstanding senior season for Coach Quinn at Fenwick HS. His well rounded game will be a boost to our program. He can do everything on the court. He just needs to get a little stronger. We were very fortunate that North Florida was willing to grant him a release after they made a coaching change. I am confident that we will be rock solid at the point guard position next year. We will be better defensively at the point and I expect our overall assist/turnover ratio to be much improved.

I would like to congratulate assistant coach Chad O'Donnell and his wife Anna on the birth of Brayden Cain O'Donnell. They are now the proud parents of Declan and Brayden O'Donnell. I don't think Chad will be getting much sleep any time soon!

Brent Wilson is moving back to the area. He just landed a job at SEFCU and will begin his new job on Monday. Now I can start hitting him up for some alumni donations!

04.14.09:

I spent a few days in Detroit attending the Final Four. The games were played at Ford Field which seats over 70,000. I always enjoy going to the practices that are open to the public. The teams usually just have some fun and entertain the crowd. It is amazing that the open practices draw 20,000-25,000 people. The fact that it is free to attend probably helps!

Our players just got back from spring break. It was a good opportunity for them to get home and spend some time with family. We resume our spring workouts today. The first set of workouts after spring break are usually sluggish. The week off does a number on the body!

Our 2009-10 schedule is almost complete. I might add one more game. The schedule will be challenging and will hopefully prepare us for conference play. We struggled on the road in conference play this past season. We will try to improve in that area by testing ourselves on the road during non conference play. Completing a schedule is a tough task. Most coaches want home games and very few coaches are willing to start a series on the road. I happen to be one of the coaches that has no problem going on the road to play. I usually start working on a schedule one year in advance. I started on the 09/10 schedule in August, 2008.

New NCAA legislation prevents us from going to AAU Tournaments during the month of April. This has been very difficult for many low major and mid major D1 programs. We used to be able to attend an AAU Tournament on the weekend and see hundreds of kids in a two day period. Now you basically have to travel from school to school and evaluate prospects. Also, you can only evaluate kids that go to that particular school. It cannot be an open gym with kids from the entire area. They must attend that particular school. Spring recruiting has become very expensive for the non BCS schools.

Recruiting never ends as we will be very busy in the next week going from coast to coast evaluating talent. It is a grind that most of us enjoy.

03.26.09:

This is our first week of spring workouts. We do individual workouts 3x per week and lift weights 4x per week. We do our spring individual workouts a little different than most schools. Our spring IW's are 1 on 1. One coach and one player. We really challenge the players and they get a ton of reps. Each workout is devised to fit the specific needs of each individual player. This is the best way to improve weaknesses.

This is a busy time of year. We are out of the road recruiting trying to finish up our 2009 class and see some players on our 2010 list. I had a chance to see Ralph Watts play in the state championship game up at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Peekskill lost in OT to a very good Jamesville Dewitt team. It was a very well played high school game with a lot of talent on the court. Ralph has a chance to be a very good player for us. He is very versatile and has a good skill set. He has a very high Basketball IQ.

The NCAA Tournament has been interesting. The "Sweet 16" and "Elite Eight" games should be very competitive. I would not be surprised to see all four #1 seeds advance to the Final Four. I would like to see Pitt get an opportunity to advance to the Final Four. Jamie Dixon is a friend of mine and I think his team is good enough to win a national championship.

It is always tough when you have seniors that will be graduating. I've enjoyed some interesting conversations with Jimmie, Brian, and Jerel about what they would like to do as they are getting ready to enter the real world. This is a time of uncertainty and confusion. All three have grown and developed during the time they have spent at Albany. All three will be successful. I have been working very closely with each to make sure that they have options as they move forward. Great kids!.

03.16.09:

The season has come to an end. I was very pleased that we had the opportunity to host the America East Conference Championship Tournament. I thought we did a terrific job as the host school and I really do appreciate the efforts of all involved. The games were exciting. I was proud of our kids. I thought we played very hard and had a big win against a talented Vermont team. We just could not score enough and lost to a good UMBC team who received a big time performance from senior point guard Jay Greene.

Mike Johnson gave us a great lift down the stretch. His assist/turnover ration was excellent and he hit some big FT's against Vermont. He made great strides late in the season and we will continue to work with him on developing a consistent jump shot. That is the missing piece for Mike to take his game to another level. His court vision and defense are his strengths.

I was very happy to see that Tim and Will made the All America East 3rd Team. Jerel Hastings was rewarded for his defensive consistency by making the All AE Defensive Team. He is such a great kid and will be sorely missed. He has been an absolute pleasure to coach.

Brian Connelly and Jimmie Covington both enjoyed very productive careers at Albany. Brian and Jimmie are program kids and enjoyed success on the court and in the class room. They will be very successful in life.

Ralph Watts will be playing in Glens Falls this Saturday at 9 a.m. in the state semi-finals. He has enjoyed an excellent senior season. If they can win on Saturday they will most likely play #1 ranked Jamesville-Dewitt who beat them in the state championship game last year. Peekskill is currently ranked #2.

We begin spring individual workouts and weights next week. This is the time for the returning players to really improve. We are very excited about the potential of our team for next year.

02.24.09:

It was nice to get a win on Senior Day. I was very happy for Jerel, Brian, and Jimmie. We talked all week about competing at a high level and winning this one for our seniors. I thought this game was won in practice. I was proud at how hard we competed all week. Especially with only 8 or 9 bodies capable of practicing. All three seniors played well and helped us get this much needed win. I was really excited for Jerel. His mom saw him play in the SEFCU for the first time and he responded with a career game. The most memorable part of this week was watching Coach Friel take a charge in practice. Coach Friel had to practice all week because of our injury situation.

Mike Johnson did a tremendous job running the team. This is something that we have needed from the point guard position. He was able to push the ball in transition and he kept the ball moving in the ½ court. He did a great job defensively as well.

We will continue to work with him on developing more of a consistent jump shot. This will allow him to be even more effective on the offensive end. Hastings and Johnson are the two best perimeter defenders in our program. They make us a much better defensive team. We need both of them to stay aggressive on offense and keep our opponent's defense honest.

We have a big game on Thursday at UNH. We took a beating from UNH last week. This game is very important. If we win this game we would have a strong chance to play in the 4/5 game in the America East Conference Tournament. We must do a better job defending dribble penetration and the 3 point line. Also, UNH beat us on the glass. That does not happen often. Regardless of the outcome we usually control the glass. We need to dominate the glass on Thursday. This is a very meaningful regular season game for us. We won the Maine game in practice and we need to win the UNH game in practice. We will continue to make practice harder than the games. I need to make sure I give the players enough water breaks so Coach Friel can get some rest!

We will most likely suit up 8 players for the UNH game. All 8 need to be ready. I thought Billy Allen gave us a great lift in the 2nd half. He had 3 rebounds and 5 assists. He is our best passer against a zone. He also did a nice job on Socoby.

The league is wide open at this point. Binghamton is winning a lot of very close games. I think Vermont is the best team in the league. The conference tournament should be interesting. Nothing would surprise me!.

02.10.09:

Well, we are in the midst of a 3 game losing streak. We lost to the three teams that are ahead of us in the standings. We really struggled in the first half of each game. That is something that we need to focus on and improve as we move forward. The biggest statistic that is hurting us is our opponents points off turnovers. When we turn the ball over it is not a travel or a bad pass that goes out of bounds. Our turnovers lead directly to points for our opponent and that is killing us.

The Boston University game was played at Agganis Arena which is a tremendous facility. BU plays a few games each year at Agganis which is the hockey facility on campus. BU is playing the best basketball in the conference right now. They have two dominant players in Lowe and Holland and some others who really understand and embrace their roles. They have been playing 40 minutes of zone and we struggled attacking it in the first half. Plus, our defense was not as solid as it needed to be. It was a one possession game with 2 minutes to go and they made plays down the stretch and we did not. Lowe really hurt us in the 2nd half.

We hosted Vermont for the Big Purple Growl. They are currently in 2nd place in the conference. Again, we got off to a slow start. Vermont did a nice job running the offense through Blakely who is the reigning POY in our conference. He makes everybody around him so much better. Trimboli and McIntosh played well and made big plays that you would expect of veterans. It was a 1 possession game with 2 minutes to go and we missed the front end of a one and one that would have given us some momentum. It was nice to see Louis have a great game. He is a hard worker and has been struggling with an injury to his achilles. He has been dealing with it for about 2 months. He has really shot the ball well in practice when he has been able to practice. The game was a sell out and the crowd was great.

The Binghamton game was the worst 1st half of this three game stretch. This game was a sell out and the crowd was great. Binghamton played with great energy early and consistently made jump shots. Our game plan was to play 40 minutes of zone and take away driving lanes and force them to stand and shoot jump shots. It worked when we played them at the SEFCU. They hit some uncontested 3's but also hit some deep 3's. We could have done a better job in the zone but what killed us were our turnovers. We shot 50% for the game but had 19 turnovers. We had 12 turnovers at the half and that was the biggest reason for a 16 point deficit. We had 11 turnovers for the game the first time we played Binghamton. Binghamton scored 26 points off our turnovers and we scored 6 points off Binghamton turnovers. As well as they shot the ball we did not help ourselves at all. We started the 2nd half in man to man but Binghamton presents poor match-ups for us. They played very small. They went with 4 guards and a power forward. Our best defensive line-up is with Johnson and Hastings on the floor. The problem is neither is very offensive minded so we need to pick and choose our spots as to when they play together. They exposed us in man and we went back to the zone and they only hit 2 3's in the 2nd half. We did do a much better job in the 2nd half in the zone but we had too big of a deficit to make up. Rivera and Tiki played very well.

We have a big game at Stony Brook on Thursday. We have no excuses. We need to regain focus and try to help ourselves as much as possible. We are really trying to help this team improve its overall basketball IQ. This is probably our biggest weakness. We need to improve our feel for the game. I really think this is why we commit so many silly turnovers. This is not an easy task but something that we need to focus on each day.

We need to gain some momentum down the stretch and take it one day at a time and one game at a time. We have 5 games remaining and we will be feeling much better if we can get a win at Stony Brook. Stony Brook is much improved and they play very hard. We lost to them at home earlier in the season. We were up 5 at the half and fell apart in the 2nd half. It should be a tough game.

The overall health of the team is not going to improve any time soon. Raffa is struggling with the turf toe and Will is battling the tendonitis in his knee. Some days they will practice and some they will not. They could not practice this past week as we played 3 games in 5 days. Timmy has been difficult to guard and he has played with great energy the last two games. Mike Johnson has also given us a great lift off the bench. He is playing excellent defense and he gets his teammates open shots.

We are not in panic mode. We lost three in a row to three good teams. We will be just fine. The way we lost is the big concern and we will continue to work on the slow starts and careless turnovers.

01.30.09:

We have hit the half way point of the conference season and sit at 5-3. We have won our last two and do not play again until Feb. 5 at Boston U. We were off yesterday and did a lot of individual work today. The players took a lot of shots today. We spent a good 11/2 hours doing individual work and then finished up the practice working on our offensive sets.

I was happy to see our bench contribute as well as they did the past two games. Mike Johnson provided a nice spark for us against UMBC and Hartford. He has really been working hard in practice and it is starting to pay off. Jerel Hastings has played some impressive defense, Billy Allen has done a lot of the things that just don't show up on a stat sheet, and Jimmie Covington has been very physical up front. We will continue to get better if we can get consistent production off the bench.

Anthony Raffa has been shut down from practice until Monday. He needs a few days for his toe to heal. He was in a lot of pain after the Hartford game. It has been nice to see Will Harris play with such energy and passion. He has been outstanding in conference play. It seems that he is slowly becoming a crowd favorite.

I am heading down to Mt. Saint Mary's College in Newburgh tomorrow to see 2009 signee Ralph Watts play against Newburgh Free Academy. Peekskill High is undefeated and considered a favorite to get to Glens Falls this year. Ralph is having an outstanding season. I am looking forward to seeing this game because it should be a good one. Ralph has only been playing about half the game because Peekskill has won so many games in convincing fashion.

Coach Filien will be in 4 states over the next 6 days and Coach Friel will fly to Florida tomorrow morning and should arrive back on Sunday in time to watch the Super Bowl. Recruiting never ends as we are always looking for quality student-athletes who can help us continue to grow as a program.

We are fortunate to have so many loyal supporters and fans of the program. I would really like the thank all of the people who came out during the snow storm to support the team against Hartford. The players and coaches really do appreciate it. Hartford is very difficult to play against because they shoot so many 3's and play all match-up zone.

We hope to see some of you in Boston. This is a big game for us and Boston U is playing very well. The backcourt of John Holland and Corey Lowe is the best that we have in the AE. We will have our hands full.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the Super Bowl!

01.09.09:

It was nice to be back playing in the SEFCU. We found a way to survive against a BU program that I respect greatly. BU played a very big line-up against us. John Holland was playing the shooting guard spot at 6'6 and Matt Wolff was playing small forward at 6'6 with 6'8 Jake O'Brien at the power forward spot and 6'9 Scott Brittain at center. Once I saw that line-up I knew that we would be seeing 40 minutes of zone defense. BU is a man to man team but I expect most teams will play a ton of zone against us this season. Basketball is a funny game. We shot 13/27 (48.1%) in the 1st half and we were down 3 at the half. We shot 9/30 (30%) in the 2nd half and won the game. The offensive rebounding was huge for us in the 2nd half.

Until we start making shots we will need our decision making to improve. We are spending a lot of time with our players watching film. We are trying to improve our overall team basketball IQ which will help us eliminate careless and unforced turnovers. We need to get as many shots as possible and cannot afford to have wasted possessions. Communication has also been an issue. We struggle to consistently talk on both ends of the floor. Once our communication improves we will become an even better defensive team.

Our schedule continues to get tougher. We are at Vermont on Sunday afternoon. Vermont features reigning AE MVP Marcus Blakely and All AE player Mike Trimboli. Patrick Gymnasium is always a tough place to play. They basically have the same team as last year. Just plug in Maurice Joseph for Kyle Cieplicki who I thought was a very underrated player. Vermont is a veteran team that has played well this season.

I was very surprised by the presentation by Dr. Lee McElroy after the BU game. I had no idea that was my 100th win at Albany. All the credit goes to the quality student-athletes that I've had the opportunity to coach and to my staff for doing such a great job. Hopefully we can win another 100 in a lot less time. I'd also like to thank our loyal fans who support the team and program.

Last week we had the opportunity to participate in a SAFE Clinic at the Clifton Park YMCA. SAFE stands for Sports Are For Everyone. We helped run a basketball clinic for 50 special needs children. It was a very positive and rewarding experience for the players and coaches. I was very proud of the way our players embraced the opportunity. They really did a nice job working with the children and the children seemed to really enjoy spending time with our players.

01.02.09:

Happy New Year! We finished the non-conference with a record of 8-5. I thought our non-conference schedule had pretty good balance overall. We lost a tough one at Kansas the other day. That was definitely the toughest environment that we've played in since I have been the coach at Albany. The Kansas fans celebrate every basket as if it was the game-winning basket. The atmosphere was very impressive. Kansas was coming off a tough loss to Arizona and they played like a team on a mission against us. They have tremendous size at every position. Even point guard Sherron Collins is physically imposing. We continue to struggle making open shots. The tough thing is that we are getting some wide-open shots within the flow of the offense. We need to pass up some early 3's in the offense and continue to attack the basket and develop more of a consistent low post game. We shot 0/15 from 3 against Kansas but we should have only taken 8-10 of those shots. Regardless, we have to make open 3's or teams are going to continue to clog up our driving lanes and dare us to make open 3 point shots. We were able to get some shots at the basket early on but the length of the Kansas big men bothered us and we became hesitant near the basket. I do think we are a better perimeter shooting team then our statistics indicate but until we start making jump shots with regularity we need to continue to attack the rim and pound the offensive glass. Also, two of our better 3-point shooters are sitting out this year. Logan Aronhalt can really shoot the ball and Jake Lindfors is a very skilled kid at 6'9 who is comfortable shooting beyond the arc.

We open up America East Conference play at Hartford on Saturday January 3rd. Hartford has just about every player back from last year. We split with Hartford a year ago. They are one of the tougher match-ups in our league because of how they play. They spread the floor on offense and shoot a ton of 3's. Defensively they play mostly match-up zone. Nobody else in our league plays a similar style. Penn is the only team that we have played that has some similar tendencies.

If you are going to be successful in conference play you must win your home games and steal as many road games as possible. It is important to get some momentum early on in the conference season. The conference is improved this season and each game will be a battle. The good thing is each team is now 0-0 and we all begin a new season with new challenges. Hopefully we can get healthy and enjoy a successful conference season.

 
 
 

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