St. Joseph game at the Palestra

June 30, 2008

When the Jays go to PA this fall to play the St. Joseph Hawks, they will be playing the Hawks at the storied Palestra on the campus of Penn University. All 15 of the St. Joseph home games this season will be at the Palestra as the Fieldhouse/Hagan Arena is being renovated and expanded. In a letter to St. Joseph season ticket holders, it details the situation and lists the rest of the non-conference and conference teams playing there this season. As expected, the details confirms the Jays playing the return game from last season this year.

It sounds like their season tickets are one price all the way across the board at $450, but will change when they move back to Hagan Arena due to the demand for tickets. I don’t know, with a non-conference home lineup for St. Joes having Cornell, Creighton, Drexel, Penn, Rider, and Siena, the Jays home schedule doesn’t sound too bad though I’m sure St. Joseph will try to load up at home in the 09-10 season with the renovated arena even though it will have only 4200 seats.

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Arkansas knew Altman wasn’t staying

June 29, 2008

A report from the AP and the Sporting News talks mainly about how the Arkansas chancellor, John White, is stepping down and it coincides with the day their contract ends with Nolan Richardson, the successful coach who was ran out of town almost 6 years ago. So Nolan was getting paid $500,000 for the past 5 years without even coaching. What a deal! With Athletic Director Frank Broyles stepping down/retiring this past year and the chancellor stepping down, it has been an opportunity for Arkansas to start the healing process an rebuilding of their programs.

Anyway, partway down the article former chancellor White talks about Coach Altman’s hiring at Arkansas and that they knew it wasn’t going to work out right away:

Also, White said it was obvious nearly from the beginning that Creighton basketball coach Dana Altman had “buyer’s remorse” after accepting the Razorbacks’ job in 2007, replacing Stan Heath.

After Altman’s hiring was announced, “we had them (the Altman family) to dinner and he hardly ate a bite. It was obvious to all of us, “this isn’t playing out how we thought.”‘

Some in Altman’s family were upset about being uprooted from Omaha, Neb., so when White heard the next morning that the new coach was thinking he had made a mistake, he wasn’t surprised. White said he had no regrets about letting Altman back out.

“It could have been a miserable situation if he had stayed,” White said.

That sort of coincides with the story we all were all told that Coach Altman was calling right away to see about returning to Creighton. We all know this is old news, but a new side of the story we had not heard before. At least we as fans are able to focus on basketball and moving up to the next level instead of trying to determine if our new coach is doing the things needed to rebuild the program. We are lucky to have coach Altman. He is the Eagle Scout we all need.

  • Oh, and remember in my Scheduling answers post where at the end I was talking about Duke dangling that TV game out there for about 2 months and wondering who they were going to play?  Well wonder no more as Duke is taking on Duquesne to fill that spot on ESPN2.  It is not the exact date as the listing was for, but it was a “flexible” scheduling option.  I guess no Duke either this season, even though it could have been on National TV.

Bomb, Bomb, Dunk, Bomb, Dunk, Dunk, Massive Dunk

June 26, 2008

Tonight was the first time I was able to go to the summer league games. I was eagerly anticipating the matchup between Shanks and PCS Phosphate as I mentioned when the rosters came out. LIttle did I know it would be such an entertaining game. On one side you had P’Allen Stinnett and Kenton Walker. On the other side you had Rodney Buford, Booker Woodfox, Josh Jones and Kenny Lawson. Well, unfortunately Kenton wasn’t able to play due to a cast on his hand from the incident at last week’s games and Buford wasn’t there. But that is okay, I was hoping to see a dunk or two from P’Allen and some long 3’s by Booker. What we were in store for was a scoring and dunking exhibition.

The game tips off and Booker hits a three pointer deep. Down the court, P’Allen hits a three from deep. Back the other way, Booker takes a few steps back and drains a three. P’Allen comes back down and launches, but misses and back the other way, Booker takes even a few more steps back and launches from Council Bluffs and drains it. A few trips up and down the court with a little action and then the dunk fest kicks in. Lawson gets a dunk–P’Allen steals it once with a one-handed dunk, steals it again almost immediately for another one-handed dunk. Booker hits another 3. Jones hits a 3. Lawson has another dunk. But then P explodes for a few more impressive dunks including an in-traffic off the backboard pass to himself dunk. You knew P’Allen was having a night when he puts up a long distance 3 as he is getting mauled and banks it in! He was on fire. By half, P’Allen had 32 and Booker had 15. I lost track of everyone else.

Second half, a few other guys on each of the teams are scoring for the most part. Then Booker takes over and starts scoring like a mad man with several jaw dropping shots that were amazing. (One other note–during warmups before the game Booker was shooting and draining left handed. He is the ambidextrous shooter!) Kenny had several powerful dunks. P’Allen sort of stayed back and toned it down in the second half, but then exploded for a few more dunks including a 360, one-handed windmill, and double-handed windmill behind the head. When all was said and done, P’Allen had 42, Booker had 38, Lawson had 32 and Josh Jones had 23. Yes the defense didn’t show up, but it was a fun game and makes me want to come back next week to watch the games. I don’t even know who won. I didn’t look at the score. When this one was over, the majority of the crowd hit the exits with smiles on their faces.

I didn’t make it to the early game so I don’t know how those went, but Anthony Tolliver from my understanding played in that game as well as the 6:30 game on the team with Cavel Witter and Tom Whitehead. I saw the 6:30 game and AT looked very good. One thing I noticed since he left Creighton is that he has developed a jump shot from 3. No more set shots for him. Very athletic looking. Cavel was distributing the ball for the most part tonight versus the scoring he had last week. Tom Whitehead looks like he will be a good addition to the Jays. Not dominant, but very confident and seems to fit in very well.

Casey Harriman and Antoine Young were not there tonight. I don’t know if Chad Millard was there or not since I missed the 5:30.

If you haven’t had a chance to go to the games yet. Make sure to try and go sometime. Entertaining.


Summer League Preview-Week 2

June 25, 2008

This week, it has been a pissing match on the BluejayCafe with stories going around that Justin Carter is having trouble making grades to come to Creighton vs. someone with Doc Sadler license plates vs. Aaron Brandt transferring out of Creighton to Nebraska to do track and field. Good luck to Aaron. I am sure it was hard to give up basketball, but definitely could shine in track. And how that information got tucked into a thread about Justin Carter is beyond me, but I guess that is how things work. It is great how you have morons throwing Justin under the bus and he isn’t even here yet. At least the veteran posters at the ‘Cafe put the morons in their place. And for the Sadler plates, the dude that got them probably thought that since he probably couldn’t get what he wanted to represent Nebraska football, he knew he could probably get them for the basketball team since no one gives a crap about them.

But let’s get to something that is real—Metro Summer League Basketball week 2 for the Jays:

5:30–Court 1-Narmi group (Dotzler?, Tolliver, Millard) vs. McGinn, Court 2-Porter, Tautke, Eske (Sitzman) vs. Buena Vista.–Should be a couple of competitive games to start the evening Update:  Sounds like Anthony Tolliver will be playing for the Narmi Group.  Should be fun to see after the successful season overseas.

6:30–State Farm (Korver, Young, Harriman) vs. EQ Hair (Witter, Whitehead)–A good Creighton filled matchup. We’ll have to see if Cavel Witter keeps his scoring up this week as he went for 41 last week. I’ll be excited to see if Antoine Young and Cavel will guard each other.

7:30–PCS (Stinnett, Walker) vs. Shanks (Buford, Woodfox, Jones, Lawson)–Wow, this should be a fun game. Between seeing former Jay Rodney Buford, the new guy Josh Jones, Woodfox’s shooting, a Lawson-Walker matchup and P’Allen’s dunking ability, there should be plenty of electricity for this one.

Those are the games matching up the current and former Jays playing this week. With the CWS being over after tonight and the guys that played last week, hopefully everyone will be there. I’m planning on being there to take in the games. Should be fun. Be sure to stay late to watch the late games too to see some local colleges in action. Yo, if Hastings, Doane or UNK players see some Husker basketball players on the side of the road, ask them if they need a ride. They will probably tell you that daddy Sadler won’t let them go out and play.

Remember, for more information on the Metro Summer Basketball League, you can go to http://metrobball.com


Around the Rim, 6/20/08

June 20, 2008

Here are just a few little nuggets of interest:

  • Last night was the first night for summer league basketball. The local newspaper did a story on P’Allen Stinnett and his performance last night. Sounds like a good all around game for P’Allen (12 pts. and several assists) and also a reason to go watch the games if you are considering it. Watching him dunk is a sight to see. Sounds like Cavel Witter also had a big night of play. I hope to make it next week to take in the games. Should be fun
  • I was reading some stuff on the Utah Jazz the other day and ran across the story about Kyle Korver and his socks. Now many of you reading this probably know the story behind it, but I guess Kyle said that during college he and his friend tried to think of something that they could wear to the game that would be sort of different. They decided to wear knee-hi socks. Well, Kyle went on to have his best game ever, so of course he wore them to the next game as well. This time, he had an even better game, and the socks have been with him ever since.
  • Speaking of Kyle Korver, Jazz teammate Deron Williams says Kyle has a pretty mean golf game. A 6 or an 8 handicap. Better he than I since I never golf. Maybe he can do that after basketball is done.
  • Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt has been around the game of basketball for some time, but maybe he should just retire. He seems to think it would be a good idea to shorten the college basketball season and not start playing until after the fall semester. He was speaking in front of this Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. He knows that will never happen, but is still proposing a later start date and taking a game off the schedule. I know these places act like they are concerned about the students and time away playing games and all, but there is way too much money at stake for people to really go for this. Also, they just moved the opening weekend up a week a couple of years ago which allowed for an extra game. But stay tuned, you never know what may end up happening.
  • Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our old buddy and former Southern Illinois coach Bruce Weber. He was speaking at a “Fighting Illini Meet and Greet Tour.” Now I understand that the point of all of his statements was for some type of ‘comedy’ thing, but really, no matter what you say, people will quote it and make bulletin board material like I am going to do right now. First he talks about Alex Legion who just transferred to Kentucky– “The players have nicknamed him ‘Kobe.’ He has a ways to go, but I understand the comparison. He can score, but he doesn’t guard anybody and we just had to teach him a new word. Pass. When he gets his first assist, everybody should give him a standing ovation because that will be his first one.” and then he goes on to talk about the Big 10 race next year and says, “The league should be wide open and we can be right in the middle of it. I do know one thing, though. I think Indiana will suck. Don’t put that on the Internet.” Does he understand that even though he is joking, several people will take those comments out of context and was he really joking about Alex Legion. I could see him saying that about one of his players he has had for 4 years, but a guy that just got to Illinois? Man, no wonder he is hanging on the cliff this season. I always hated him while he was at SIU anyway.

Scheduling–some answers

June 18, 2008

After the full release of the field for the Las Vegas Classic that the Jays were playing in, many fans have felt this is a missed opportunity for the program to play some higher “name” teams. The debate on the BluejayCafe has been raging for weeks over not only this field, but Creighton scheduling in general. Some people think that it is just magic that Creighton can request what ever game they want and get it scheduled. Some think it is a conspiracy by bigger name schools to not even want to play the Bluejays. Others think coach Altman or AD Rasmussen aren’t working hard to try and get these games. Well, it seems like it is quite the combination of things going on. Let me explain.

A couple weeks ago, I launched conversations with 11 (12 if you count the Missouri thing) different schools and the people that schedule for those teams to see if Creighton has been approached, if they have ever approached Creighton to play a game or what is keeping them from playing Creighton. I also kept it to Home-Home series to rule out the 2 for 1 or 1 and done things. These were “Bigger Name” schools that were still advertising for games to fill on their schedule on Basketball Travelers as recent as this week. I contacted:

  • Duke
  • Alabama
  • Marquette
  • Oregon
  • Maryland
  • Memphis
  • Georgetown
  • Wisconsin
  • Gonzaga
  • Kansas
  • Purdue

At this point, I have had responses to my inquiries from Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Kansas, Maryland, Memphis, Marquette, Alabama and Purdue. Basically what these teams do for their schedule is based on these main factors:

  • TV
  • Recruiting
  • Alumni Reasons
  • Never been approached

With Wisconsin and Kansas coming into the Qwest Center this past season as part of the NCAA Tournament, they know what our facility was like and know the environment that the Qwest Center creates. They both loved the facility and the hospitality they received, but when it comes to actually playing a home and home series against Creighton, Mr. Larry Keating from Kansas told me “We have basically only played home and home series against teams that are selected for network television and in as many cases as possible that get us into areas that we would like to play for recruiting and/or alumni purposes. (California, New York, Atlanta, etc.)” So I guess the state of Nebraska isn’t the happening place for KU recruiting :) But I appreciate his honesty. Mr. Greg Gard from Wisconsin also expressed the great time they had in Omaha at the Qwest Center and he basically said the same thing– “At this time we have our home/home series games already contracted and that is usually done years in advance for TV purposes.”

Okay, so lets take a former Valley coach, Matt Painter, at Purdue and check with the Supervisor of Basketball Operations, Mr. Elliott Bloom, to see if they would give back to the Valley. No such luck. Since they play in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Wooden Tradition, and the Preseason NIT this season against possibly Boston College, Arizona or Oklahoma before the Big 10 season, that they have to be careful of over scheduling. “If Creighton or a very good quality team like Creighton is ever to make it’s way onto our schedule, we would have to be very careful about over scheduling.” So, at least the respect is there, but again, don’t have a reason to schedule the Jays.

One positive response came from Gonzaga. Mr. Jerry Krause, Directory of Basketball Relations, who is a Nebraska native said that he was interested in a series between the Zags and the Jays. “Creighton has approached and is open to play. We have not been able to get together yet, but am hopeful for the future.” So are the chances good for 09-10? I guess we will have to see.

Memphis scheduler, John Robic says that they are limited on their road games because of their contract with their facility and how they have to have so many games at home. Therefore they only play a few games away each year.

Mr. Jeff Dunlap from Alabama said that a lot of their home-home series are mapped out years in advance, so that is a factor about setting up a home-home. Also Creighton has never contacted them about playing. He goes on to say “I’m quite certain Creighton would not want to come here for a guarantee, so that limits our options.”

Then you have some some teams who won’t go on the road. Of course, I had to include the University of Maryland and our favorite coach Gary Williams. His cohort, Mr. Robert Ehsan said that Maryland schedules only one home-home per season. One freakin’ home and home. You have to be kidding me. He said that “Creighton has never contacted me nor have I ever contacted them personally.” Really. . well it looks like Coach Williams wasn’t the right person to contact, it should be Mr. Ehsan.

So the big thing seems to be that if you can get TV to buy into a matchup, it is more likely to happen. If you live in an area that is a recruiting hotbed, then you are also more appealing. Or, if you schedule like Maryland and Syracuse and never leave your state, then I guess that is okay. It is just funny that over the past few years, teams like Maryland and Syracuse complain that they don’t make the NCAA Tournament or that they are on the bubble while trying to convince everyone that they have such a tough conference season. I don’t feel sorry for Maryland at all especially since I read today that the ACC is sort of not showing that great of basketball prowess since they probably won’t have a player drafted in the NBA draft in the first round this season.

Let me leave you with one last thing. I have contacted Duke multiple times without any response. Apparently they don’t want to talk about their scheduling techniques. Accounting in the factors listed above, TV seems to be a big thing. Just updated yesterday, Duke is still looking for a game to fill that they have had listed on Basketball Travelers since April:

Duke University-Mens
Type: Game
Dates: 11/24/2008 to 11/25/2008

Duke University is seeking an opponent for a game on either November 24 or November 25, 2008. We would be interested in a flexible scheduling arrangement and pay a highly competitive guarantee. We have the potential for extensive television coverage as well. Please contact Associate AD Mike Cragg at 919 613-7501 or mcragg@duke.edu.
Contact: Mike Cragg, 919 613-7501
mcragg@duke.edu
Date Posted: 04/28/2008
Last Updated: 06/17/2008

Obviously, they are not getting that team they are looking for that is a “guaranteed win” and at the same time it seems as though there are not that many programs ready to jump in the pond and play Duke on National TV. I’ll mark my calendar for November 24th or 25th and see who they are playing. It should be worth it for sitting on this game for 2 months.

I hope this answers some people’s questions on scheduling a “Big Game” and what the reasonings are. I appreciate the honesty of the people I talked to and hopefully that will garner some respect in the long run if the Jays ever are able to schedule games against these teams. I’ll try to put something up on Marquette soon. I have a call to make to them. Georgetown and Oregon, I’m disappointed.


Summer League Ball Starts Thursday

June 18, 2008

As a basketball fan, today is a sad day. The last game of the NBA finals was last night, the NBA early entrants are decided and College Basketball has long since finished. So while we sit and wonder what to do now until basketball starts again, we only have to wait until tomorrow. Thursday starts the Metro Summer Basketball League and we get to see some of our Jays and other local colleges and players suit up for some entertaining times. Most if not all of the Jays will be involved at some point during the summer in the league. Opening night may not have all, but should have a chance to see some of the newcomers.

The Omaha World Herald actually has a story about the summer league starting tomorrow, but as of right now and almost on a weekly basis, omaha.com is not available to actually read the article. Anyway, it sounds like Josh Jones (7:30) and Antoine Young (6:30) will be playing this week, UPDATED:  It looks like Kevin White and Nick Rubek a the Omaha World Herald don’t talk to each other because as an astute reader points out  in this other article published in the same paper next to each other, Josh Jones and Antoine Young are playing in an exhibition game with this AAU tournament, so they can’t be at too places at once and unlikely playing Summer League on Thursday. Justin Carter will not until July.  P’Allen will be playing at 5:30. It was also posted on the BluejayCafe that Kaleb Korver and Chad Millard are working the CWS and may not be playing. And of course they cite Mr. Isaacson and how current Huskers won’t be playing in the league due to transportation issues. Yeah, I touched on that a few weeks ago. So it looks like in most cases if you make it to see at least one of the games, you should see some Bluejay probably playing. I can’t make it there this week due to some family commitments, but if someone is interested in posting a report, give me a shout at wildjaysATgmailDOTcom.

Also, I hope to have a posting up later today to discuss the whole scheduling thing. I had some conversations with some people at schools that you think we might be able to schedule but for some reason cannot. I have some interesting information regarding that. Stay tuned.