More on Martzloff

Two days after getting beat on a RazorSharks story by the local alt weekly, the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle has a story on the city's new ABA team, with a lot of it talking about Scott Martzloff, who played high school ball in the Rochester area before playing collegiately at Holy Cross.

Among the Martzloff tidbits:
Martzloff has Saturdays off, but he's plenty busy Monday through Friday as an assistant principal at Edison Tech.

The 7-foot-1 Martzloff was part of a terrific McQuaid team that featured sharp-shooting Greg Woodard (who went on to play at Villanova) and won the school's first state basketball title in 1988.

. . .

Martzloff, 35, went on to play Division I ball at Holy Cross after McQuaid and landed a tryout with the NBA's Detroit Pistons in 1992. He played in Hong Kong in 1994 and in Holland briefly the next year before deciding to focus on his teaching career.

Now married with two daughters-- and a son on the way in January -- the Henrietta native has been an administrator administrator at Edison since 2001.

He caught the basketball bug again this past summer and played for a team in the Los Angeles Summer Pro League. He tried out for the RazorSharks in September and signed a contract last week.

"I'm really excited about it," says Martzloff, who is down to 254 pounds after topping the scales at 296 a year ago. "I wish they had something like this quite a while ago."

Martzloff expects the Edison students to "razz" him if he makes a bad play tonight.

"I also think they'll be really excited about it," he says.

Read more!

Army can only go up

(Note: This is the first in a series of team-by-team previews we will post over the next week or so. They are in no particular order. Not alphabetical. Not predicted order of finish. Like the universe, they will be quite random, so don't read anything into your team's spot in the rotation.)

Jim Crews says his Army basketball team will be better this year.

Even hardcore Navy fans hope he is right.

Last year’s Black Knights were not just bad, they were awful. Army finished with a 3-24 record, just one of those wins – what can only be described as a freak upset over Navy—against a Division I team. The Cadets were outscored by an average of 12 points per game (67.9-55.9), a margin that grew even wider when they got into league play (67.8-53.7). This despite a weak non-league schedule that included only three teams in the top 200 in the RPI (195 Albany, 168 Fairleigh Dickinson and 73 Notre Dame).

Suffice to say the Cadets final RPI of 327 (out of 330) was a surprise only because it is hard to imagine three teams being worse.

For the league’s sake, Army simply has to be better. And it should be, at least on paper. If for no other reason than the fact that Crews has some size this year. Last season’s roster included only one player, 6-11 junior Jimmy Sewell, over 6-6. Sewell started only 14 games, and averaged only 15 minutes per game last season. His lack of contribution meant most of the time Army had 6-6 Colin Harris on the floor surrounded by four undersized guards.

The guards, led by second team all-league pick Matt Bell (14.3 ppg) will still be Army’s strength. Bell, junior Cory Sinning(7.6 ppg) and 6-4 sophomore swingman Corban Bates (7 ppg) give Army a decent returning backcourt, with several other players who saw lots of playing time providing some depth.

Out of eight freshmen, four are out of U.S. Military Academy Prep School., making them the equivalent of redshirt freshmen. Three of those MAPS newcomers are frontcourt players (6-7 Doug Williams, 6-9 Brandon Brandewie and 6-5 Kenny Brewer). Another 6-7 regular freshman, Curtis Koszuta, is also on board, giving Crews some badly needed size.

“We got some good size with that (the MAPS freshmen) and a little more athletic ability and a little more bulk, especially for freshmen. They have nice bulk for freshmen,” said Crews.

“Collectively, we have a lot better size. But what is interesting, as you start putting five guys out there, maybe we are not as tall as we want to be. But when you look at our whole team, we have size right now. But a lot of it is young.”

Even the returnees are young. Army has only one senior on its roster.

Still. compared to last season’s roster, which included 11 sophomores and six freshmen, this year’s Army squad is a veteran crew.

“We are still young, but not as young. We still only have one senior, but we have six juniors,” Crews said.

Despite the added size, it is tough to envision Army doing much better in the league. Realistically, the most optimistic prediction would be that the Cadets might manage to scrape past Lafayette to escape the league cellar. But doubling last season’s one league win will be a challenge, given the strength of the top six teams in the league.

Army's strength is in the backcourt, but the Black Knights guards simply are no match for Bucknell's, or Holy Cross', American's. Colgate's. Lehigh's, Navy's or even Lafayette's.

Army’s best hope for increasing its win total this season probably lies in its weak out of conference slate. Aside from a preseason NIT meeting with Temple and a November 29 date in Hartford with UConn, the Cadets non-con schedule would be considered cream-filled if Army was even a middle of the pack sort of team.

The seven other opponents (VMI twice, The Citadel, Columbia, Sacred Heart, Cornell, Brown and Dartmouth) had a combined record of 64-119 last year, with an average RPI of 268. None of them finished higher than 210 in the RPI and two – VMI (316) and Sacred Heart (325) were in the bottom 15.

Four foes-- VMI (Big South), The Citadel (Southern Conference), Sacred Heart (NEC) and Columbia (Ivy)—are picked to finish last in their conference. Brown is picked seventh, just ahead of Columbia in the Ivy.

Certainly the opportunity to improve on last season’s futility would seem to be there, though Army is probably at least another year away from making serious noise in the Patriot League.

Still, said Crews, “We are excited. We are excited about the young guys and we are excited about the guys who have invested a couple of years in the program. We are making some strides.”

Army schedule
Army roster

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Look who we found!

From the e-mail in box:
I'm a student at HC, class of '07, and I was working out on Monday at the Hart Center, and who do I see running on the treadmill? Mr. Neil Fingleton. He looked to be in pretty good shape and he's still 7'6. I didn't get a chance to talk to him, unfortunately, so I have no idea what his next move will be, basketball wise.
Well, apparently he was on the treadmill getting ready for this:

According to a story on the Austin Toros picks in last night's NBDL (NBA's development league) Draft:
Neil Fingleton, a 7-5 center from Holy Cross, will control the paint for the Toros this season.

"He's a piece of work, but that late in the draft -- why not?" (Toros coach Dennis) Johnson said. "He can be a pleasant surprise. You can't teach height, and 7-5 is 7-5."
The Toros took Neil in the fifth round of the draft.

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Where have you gone? (lights, cameras, action edition)

Holy Cross fans might remember Kevin Kerwin as a guy who lettered for four years with the Crusaders in the late 80s and early 90s.

Kerwin is hoping to gain a wider audience these days, having transitioned from the hardwoods to the silver secreen.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Kerwin, who went on to study film at Columbia after graduating from HC in 1992, is screening his latest production, "Filmic Achievement," at the Pittsburgh Film Festival:

Kerwin is a 1988 graduate of Seton-LaSalle High School, where he played on the state championship basketball team. He was awarded a basketball scholarship to Holy Cross University in Worcester, Mass., from which he graduated in 1992.

The Mt. Lebanon native moved after college to New York City, where he attended Columbia University film school and lived for eight years. He wrote and directed 'Filmic Achievement' there, not in imitation of, but clearly with enthusiasm for, 'Waiting for Guffman' and 'This Is Spinal Tap.' His wife, Kate, a fellow Holy Cross alum, produced it.
Can "The George Blaney Story" be far behind?

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Nothing new here (other than the reporter)

The latest to jump on the Bucknell bandwagon is the Associated Press, which sent a reporter to the Bison's media day Wednesday. Could be wrong, but over the years we have been to a lot of these affairs, and we can't ever recall the AP being there.

A good sign for the league? Perhaps. Increased media coverage will help in a lot of ways; ticket sales, recruiting, recognition from poll voters and, not that hoops fans care, increased admission apps.

There is really nothing new in the AP piece, but we know some folks cannot get enough, so we figured we'd toss a link.

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Like hotcakes

Word out of Lewisburg at yesterday's Bucknell media day luncheon: The Bison's Dec. 6 home date with No. 4 Villanova is a sellout. School officials said tickets for the game were gone in 55 minutes after they went on sale Monday.

About 2,500 tickets in the 4,000-seat Sojka Pavilion are reserved for students, faculty and staff. Some of those could become available to the public at a later date if they go unclaimed.

That does not appear likely. The game falls on the final day of classes for the first semester and is the first chance for students to see the team at home since the home opener with Yale falls on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend.

Fans who do not get tickets for the Villanova game can catch the Bison 11 days later when they host Cornell for the annual Community Day game. Admission to the general public will be free for that game.

Last year's Community Day came on the heels of upsets over Saint Joseph's and Pittsburgh and filled Sojka for the Bison's league opener with Holy Cross. The Crusaders will again be the guests for the Bison's league home opener when they visit Lewisburg on Jan. 14. School officials decided against having Community Day for that game, banking on students returning from winter break to help swell the crowd. The second semester begins the following Monday (Jan. 16).

Tickets do remain for the St. Joe's game on Dec. 21. Sales have been brisk, officials say, but because the students will be on break, more are available for that game, which will be Bucknell's final home non-conference game of the season.

For the first time in memory, the school actually appears to be trying to market the team. There is even a Bison basketball billboard along Route 15 just south of campus.

Read more!

Where have you gone? (Non-Fingleton HC big man edition)

Stumbled across and interesting article in the Rochester alternative weeklyCity Newspaper about the Western New York city's new entry in the American Basketball Association.

For those unfamiliar with the relatively new ABA, this is not anything like the old Julius Erving-Connie Hawkins ABA. This is basically a has-been, never-been league where 50-year-old Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, a former NBA player and father of Kobe, averaged over 13 points per game last season after adding the player-hyphen to the front of his coach title with the Boston Frenzy for eight games last season.

You might recall, the Frenzy's roster included former Holy Cross big man Neil Fingleton for part of last season.

The new Rochester Razor Sharks are one of 48 franchise in the league, which includes teams in Tijuana, Beijing and-- our favorite -- the horse barn in Upper Marlboro, Md. What the league lacks in talent and level of play, it makes up for in gimmicks. Players are awarded an extra point if they score off a backcourt turnover. Post guys can only dribble three seconds before either shooting or passing (to discourage that NBA standard "backing and opponent down" play).

Why should Patriot League fans care about the RazorSharks. Well, aside from just the fact that it is a fun story about a fledgling basketball team, this piece also includes this PL hook:
Also expected to make the final roster is Scott Martzloff, a towering center who played on McQuaid's 1988 state title team and later suited up for Holy Cross. After playing for various teams in Europe and Asia for several years, Martzloff, like Stewart, was ready to return to the hometown stability the RazorSharks offer.
By the way, the search for Neil Fingleton is on again. Last spotted working out for the New orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets prior to the NBA Draft, a Google news search showed a link to a story that looked as though he was in negotiations with another ABA team, possibly the Frenzy again. The story did not show up when we clicked, so we are not sure.

If you spot Neil, drop us a line with an update.

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Bison ranked 8th

Bucknell opens the season ranked No. 8 in the Mid-Major Top 25. The Bison are the only Patriot League team ranked in the top 25. Holy Cross (52 votes), and Colgate (1) also received votes in the poll.

The Bison closed last season ranked No. 18 in the Mid-Major poll. Their No. 8 ranking is (I think) the highest ever for a Patriot League team (feel free to e-mail me if that is incorrect, I am going strictly on memory from last season).

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Big surprise: TSN picks Bucknell

In its Patriot League preview, The Sports Network picks Bucknell to win the conference. TSN sticks pretty much with the league's own preseason predicted order, with the exception of flipping Colgate and American, with AU picked for fourth, the 'Gate fifth.

Included with their capsules on each team, a nice intro that includes notice of the league's improvement:
With at least half of the eight teams that make up the Patriot League almost guaranteed to post winning records in 2005-06, the rest of the country should stand up and take notice of the little conference that could.

Read more!

Hoop Time Notebook (Media Day edition)

A couple of notes from Thursday’s media day event:

INSOMNIAC – American coach Jeff Jones is worried about his team’s chances in the Patriot League this season. With five freshmen and a couple of transfers, his team is a mystery to him at this point.

“I really don’t know a whole lot about my team,” said Jones. “It is safe to say we are, and will be for some time, a work in progress.”

Jones said worrying about the rest of the league is costing him sleep.

“The other night I woke up at 3 a.m. thinking about how good Bucknell was going to be, and Holy Cross and Colgate,” Jones said.

Bucknell coach Pat Flannery, who missed a few games last season due to now well-publicized stress related ailments had some advice for Jones.

“The docs told me just take a couple Paxils,” Flannery said with a laugh.

NEWBIES – With the recruitnix crowd, it is fashionable to speculate on how good some of the freshmen in the league this season might be. With the league getting a higher grade of recruits now that most schools give athletic scholarships, and with several teams needing some of those freshmen to step up and make a contribution if their team is to contend for the title, that is understandable.

Those folks expecting big things out of freshmen might be wise to remember that when freshmen play a lot, it usually tells you more about the weaknesses of your upperclassmen than it does about the strengths of the freshmen.

Rare is the freshman that makes a big impact his first season. In fact, in 15 seasons, only one frosh has made the All Patriot League team (Adonal Foyle in 1995). Only five (Foyle, Navy’s Brian Walker in 94, Colgate’s Pat Campoleita in 99, HC’s Kevin Hamilton in 2003 and Lehigh’s Jason Mgebroff in 2004) have been on the all-tournament team at the end of the season.

Army coach Jim Crews has eight first year players on his squad, and he knows he will need some of them to contribute if the Black Knights are to improve on last season’s dreadful 3-24 season.

At the same time, though, Crews is realistic.

“They are freshmen and it is a whole new ballgame for them. The floor is 10 feet longer. All the other guys on the team are Division I players. They are not the top dog anymore,” Crews said.

Jones understands the concern. American has what Holy Cross coach Ralph Willard called the best recruiting class in the league, with five well-regarded freshmen on the roster. Yet Jones said realistically, his goal is to have the Eagles competitive enough to “surprise some people” come tournament time.

“We are very excited to have (the five freshmen) in the program. But taking that step from high school to Division I sometimes takes a while,” said Jones.

That is one reason Bucknell is such a prohibitive favorite this season. While every other team in the league, with the exception of Colgate, which has only one freshman, is going to need some freshmen to step up if they are going to be contenders, Bucknell has six guys back who started at least 13 games last season and nine of last season’s top 10 in the rotation return.

‘RAY BUCKNELL – None of the league’s other seven coaches are willing to concede the title to Bucknell without playing the games. All seven of them, though, were full of praise for the Bison and all seven are quick to anoint them the favorites.

It’s not because the Bison are head and shoulders above the rest of the league in terms of physical talent. Yes, they probably are the deepest team in the league and there is no shortage of outstanding players in that lineup. But it’s the mental attitude they expect the Bison to have after a year like last season that elevates Bucknell in most coaches’ eyes.

After a season like that, said Colgate coach Emmett Davis, a team develops a different outlook.

“It is an expectation that every time you step on the floor you are going to win. . . . It just becomes a belief,” Davis said.

Davis said all the top teams he has been around over the year that have been very good have all had that mental edge.

That difference, said Willard, “is huge.”

“They have proven they can go in and beat people. They are certainly not going to be intimidated by anyone,” Willard said.

PICKING A WINNER – Bucknell’s win over Kansas surprised a lot of people. Ralph Willard was not one of them.

“In my estimation, that wasn’t a big upset. I told a bunch of kids on my team I thought Bucknell would beat Kansas,” Willard said.

“I thought they would have a great opportunity to win that game because of their defense”

Willard said in his estimation, when you play that kind of defense, the difference between the top 20 and the Patriot League is not as great as folks might think.

Read more!

Give me a break

In Andre Williams' Morning Call story from Media Day, Lehigh's Jose Olivero actually had the cahones to complain about he and teammate Joe Knight not making the preseason all-league team:
"I think it's definitely a little slight, for whatever reasons, but if our team is successful those accolades will come," Olivero said.
. . .

"With the success Holy Cross and Bucknell had from last season it's just expected that they are going to get the players on their teams," Olivero said of the preseason picks. "You take it for what it's worth, and just keep it in the back of your mind."

Here's a newsflash for you Jose: Bucknell and Holy Cross had that success because of guys like Chris McNaughton, Charles Lee, Kevin Hamilton and Keith Simmons, each one of which would get picked before Olivero and Knight if you held a draft of Patriot League players.

Could you make a case for Knight being picked ahead of the fifth member of the preseason team, American's Andre Ingram? Maybe, but certainly not enough of the coaches and SIDs voting in the poll thought so.

Read more!

Man on fire

Charles Lee had a big night Friday in Bucknell's Blue-White scrimmage. Lee was 11-for-13 from the field, finishing with 29 points to lead the White team to an 81-60 win.

One interesting note that might tell a little about who will fill the Chris Niesz role this season: sophomore Andrew Morrison led the Blue team in scoring, shooting 6-for-7 from the floor and finishing with 15 points and a team-best 10 boards.

Read more!
Saturday, November 05, 2005
More on Martzloff
Friday, November 04, 2005
Army can only go up

Look who we found!

Where have you gone? (lights, cameras, action edition)

Nothing new here (other than the reporter)
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Like hotcakes

Where have you gone? (Non-Fingleton HC big man edition)
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Bison ranked 8th

Big surprise: TSN picks Bucknell
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Hoop Time Notebook (Media Day edition)

Give me a break

Man on fire

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