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!
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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!
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
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!
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.
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!
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
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!.
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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
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
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
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!.
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.
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.
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
I just received an e-mail from former Great
Dane Jason Siggers and he is doing very well
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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
Should be a great 2nd half!
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!
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
Spring Break ends tomorrow and we will
resume workouts on Tuesday. I am looking
forward to getting the players back on the
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!
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!
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
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.
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!
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!
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
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
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
I was able to watch two very good NIT games
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!
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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
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
Happy New Year!
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
The only time I watch baseball is during the
playoffs. Hopefully the Yankees can keep it
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
I am looking forward to seeing Brian, Jimmie,
and Jerel graduate on May 17!
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
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!
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.
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
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!.
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
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
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.
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!.
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
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.
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
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
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
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!
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
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.
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.