NBE Basketball Report
Lauren Kirschman

Mernagh: Hoop Musings As We Head Into Summer –and a big Thank You to Lauren Kirschman

June 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Jabari Parker Overexposed?

Scott Powers wrote about Jabari Parker the other day. Powers did a good job, as is the norm with his daily ritual of updating us on big stories from the Windy City. And well, with the Bulls exiting the Playoffs prematurely, the biggest hoops-related story in the basketball-mad Chi-City has been Jabari Parker, the 6’9″ basketball talent from the legendary program at Simeon. Parker is pretty much unchallenged at this point for the #1 spot in the high school class of 2013. Throughout the piece Powers quotes Parker’s father — Sonny — lamenting the exposure his son is receiving and how it’s negatively effecting his sons ability to just be the normal kid he wants to be. Now, I would be the first to argue that if you don’t want your son to be inundated with media exposure then it’s probably best to say “no” to Sports Illustrated when they ask him to pose for a cover story that hypes him as the best HS player since LeBron James, a piece that IMHO really went out of its way to brand Jabari, at an extremely young age, as a sort of Mormon Tim Tebow. Sonny Parker makes some good points, especially when he argues how social media has really brought all kinds of new and not so great attention to young ballplayers. The following quote — shown below from Powers piece that is linked above in the first sentence — is where Parker completely loses me however.

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April 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Isaiah Whitehead, of the top guards in the Class of 2014, said that Syracuse is currently at the top of his list of schools.

Whitehead said that Arizona, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, St. John’s and UCLA are also very involved while Arizona, Pitt, St. John’s and UCLA have all offered.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard cited Syracuse’s fan base, system and atmosphere when explaining why the school is currently his favorite. He added that he’s looking for a program with a good coach who is also a good teacher.

“I want a program that will be good down the road, not just good right now, because I won’t be in college next year,” he said.

As for style of play, Whitehead said he wants to play on a team that is uptempo, but that is also balanced because he likes to run through plays and screens.

While his list of schools stretches across the country geographically, he said that location will not be a deciding factor.

Whitehead added that he wants to make a decision by the end of his junior year.

Whitehead, who said he will play two-guard on college, averaged 18 points, five rebounds and five assists for Lincoln High School in New York City this season.

He said the strength of his game is his pull-up jumper, while he needs to work on driving to the basket under control.

Broad-shouldered and strong, Whitehead didn’t play particularly well on Saturday for the Juice All-Stars after earning high praise for his Friday night showing, but showed that he could get his shot off at will. He was impressive when driving to the basket, but often struggled to finish.


March 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

March 13, 8:28 PM:
Gracious sakes alive in the name of John Wooden.

I can understand your dislike for this event I mean, dang, it’s not like some team from the CAA will get in unexpectedly, get routinely bashed by everyone from Joe Lunardi to Jay Bilas and, in-spite of all the negativity, still win five games to get to the final four….oh wait.

Iona vs BYU
Machado vs Carlino — two great guards with really good support. This could be a great game and the winner has a chance to win 1-2 “real” games afterwards.

Vermont vs Lamar
My hope for this one of Lamar’s seniors to hit a deep three from the corner to win it at the buzzer, dig a blunt out of his sock, light it up and blow the smoke in Pat Knight’s face. Would that change your un-American view of the First Four?

Need tickets for 2012 NCAA Tournament?

Our partnership with TicketNetwork.com allows you to pick the seats you want from their tremendous inventory at great prices. See below for 2012 NCAA Tournament Sites and tickets available:

The First Four (Round One) – University of Dayton Arena
-Mississippi Valley State vs. Western Kentucky
-Lamar vs. Vermont
-BYU vs. Iona
-California vs. South Florida

ROUNDS 2 & 3 (Various Sites):
PITTSBURGHConsol Energy Center — Thurs/Sat
–Syracuse vs. UNC-Asheville
–Kansas State vs. Southern Miss

–Gonzaga vs. West Virginia
–Ohio State vs. Loyola (MD)

LOUISVILLEKFC Yum! Center — Thurs/Sat
–Kentucky vs. Miss. Valley St/WKU winner
–Iowa State vs. Connecticut

–Murray State vs. Colorado State
–Marquette vs.BYU/Iona winner

ColumbusNationwide Arena — Fri/Sun
–Michigan State vs. LIU-Brooklyn
–Memphis vs. St. Louis

–San Diego State vs. NC State
–Georgetown vs. Belmont

GreensboroGreensboro Coliseum — Fri/Sun
–Notre Dame vs. Xavier
–Duke vs. Lehigh

–North Carolina vs. Lamar/Vermont winner
–Creighton vs. Alabama

PortlandRose Garden — Thurs/Sat
–Wichita State vs. VCU
–Indiana vs. New Mexico State

–New Mexico vs. Long Beach State
–Louisville vs. Davidson

NashvilleBridgestone Arena — Fri/Sun
–Cincinnati vs. Texas
–Florida State vs. St. Bonaventure

–Temple vs. California/South Florida winner
–Michigan vs. Ohio

OmahaCentury Link Center — Fri/Sun
–Florida vs. Virginia
–Missouri vs. Norfolk State

–St. Mary’s vs. Purdue
–Kansas vs. Detroit

AlbuquerqueThe Pit — Thurs/Sat
–UNLV vs. Colorado
–Baylor vs. South Dakota State

–Vanderbilt vs. Harvard
–Wisconsin vs. Montana

REGIONAL FINALS (Sweet 16 & Elite 8):
BostonTD Garden

AtlantaGeorgia Dome

PhoenixUS Airways Center

St. LouisEdward Jones Dome

2012 NCAA FINAL FOURNew Orleans Mercedes-Benz Superdome


March 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Lauren Kirschman

After the opening session of the 2012 BIG EAST Tournament saw a pair of 14-point wins registered by Connecticut and Pittsburgh (Big East Tournament 1st Session Recap), the evening session produced even less suspense as Seton Hall and Villanova scored resounding wins to close the first day of action at Madison Square Garden. Here is a look at last night’s results, the schedule for the rest of the BIG EAST Tournament and your links to secure tickets to the remaining games…

No 10 Seton Hall 79, No. 15 Providence 47

Seton Hall is one of several Big East teams trying to earn their way off the bubble and into the NCAA Tournament this week. The Pirates started on the right track, defeating Providence 79-47 on Tuesday night.
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March 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Lauren Kirschman

Big East Tournament Day One

No. 9 Connecticut 81, No. 16 DePaul 67

Last season, Kemba Walker carried the Connecticut Huskies to five wins in five days and a Big East tournament championship. Whether or not the Huskies can move through the gauntlet to earn another title remains to be seen. But if they do win five consecutive contests again, it’ll likely be thanks to Jeremy Lamb.

Lamb led Connecticut with 25 points, four assists and five rebounds in the Huskies’ 81-67 win over DePaul in the first round of the Big East tournament on Tuesday afternoon. Connecticut, the No. 9 seed, started 7-7 from beyond the arc and didn’t miss a 3-point shot until Roscoe Smith was off the mark with 4:40 left in the first half.

The Blue Demons consistently left Connecticut players open on the perimeter, seeming willing to chance the Huskies beating them from the outside. Connecticut took advantage and, after letting DePaul hang around early, closed the half on a 6-0 run that gave the Huskies a 46-33 advantage
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January 29, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Lauren Kirschman

Steven Adams‘ abilities on the basketball court are unquestionable.

He’s 6-foot-11 and already built like a player headed for the NBA. In Notre Dame Prep’s 75-36 victory over Massanutten (Va.) Military Academy in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Legends Classic at Ambridge High School, he finished with 12 points 14 boards and three blocks. He showed exceptional body control and rebounding ability, while also impressing with his capability to run the floor.

He’s already being billed by Pitt fans as a “savior”.

But by talking to him, you wouldn’t know it. That might be the most impressive thing of all.

Adams seemed genuinely surprised to find a sizable cluster of reporters — some with recorders and other holding cameras — waiting for him outside Notre Dame Prep’s locker room.

“Usually it’s only two people or one person with a notepad,” he said. “No cameras or anything.”
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November 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Rob Senderoff might have a long way to go to catch Coach K on the all-time NCAA basketball coaching win list, trailing by 902 wins at this time. However, the first-year Kent State coach is 1-0 in his career and that win was a 70-60 victory at West Virginia on Tuesday morning. Carlton Guyton led four players for the Golden Flashes in double-figures with 17 points as Kent State rallied from a five-point halftime deficit to earn the win on the road.

Fresh off the win, Senderoff took time out from game preparation of Saturday’s contest with Alcorn State to join Ray Mernagh and Lauren Kirschman for our Episode #3 of The Experience Podcast series.

Coach Senderoff talks about the opening win, his respect for coach Bob Huggins, his career path that took many twists and turns before he landed the head coaching position at Kent State this past spring when Geno Ford left for Bradley. He also spends time talking about this year’s club, recruiting territory and recruiting philosophies for his program. Enjoy…


November 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Virginia Commonwealth University and their head coach, Shaka Smart, took the college basketball world by storm last March reaching the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four. Many second-guessed the NCAA Tournament Selection Committees’ decision to include VCU into the newly expanded Field of 68, but 11th-seeded Rams dispatched “BCS Conference” schools Southern California, Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State and Kansas, the Southwest Region’s No. 1 seed to make the Final Four.

The post-season run catapulted the 34-year old Smart, in his second season at VCU, into one of he hottest coaching commodities in the nation last spring. Even with big-time money and jobs offering additional prestige from the very same BCS Conferences the Rams were able to upset in their tournament run, For Smart, Staying at VCU Was An Easy Decision.

The Rams opened the season over the weekend with a 63-57 victory over St. Francis (PA) and have a tough non-conference schedule ahead. The former assistant at Dayton, Akron, Clemson and most recently Florida before landing his first head coaching job with VCU, took time out from his busy schedule to talk with NBE’s Ray Mernagh and Lauren Kirschman this weekend and coach Shaka Smart is the guest on The Experience Podcast Episode 1.2 below…

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November 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Fresh off an impressive season opening win at Mississippi State, Akron head coach Keith Dambrot joined NBE’s Ray Mernagh and Lauren Kirschman for our inaugural podcast. Beginning his 8th year as the Zips head coach, Dambrot has compiled a 162-75 record, winning at least 19 games each year and 23 or more the last six seasons in Akron.

This season Akron is expected to once again challenge for the MAC title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament field of 68. Ray Mernagh put the Zips right up amongst the league favorites in the NBE MAC Preview.

Coach Dambrot was extremely generous with his time, discussing topics such as scheduling, rivalry with Kent State, recruiting philosophy as well as this year’s squad and the big win on the Mississippi State floor to kick off the season and much, much more with NBE. Be sure to check out the podcast…

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October 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Lauren Kirschman

When Isaiah Epps and Cameron Wright arrived at Pitt (Pitt Tickets) last season, Wright said that neither guard expected to redshirt.

But instead of playing college basketball as freshmen, the two sat out their first year of eligibility. They spent the year on Pitt’s bench—watching and waiting and learning—so that this season, they would be ready to make an impact.

“It was difficult for me,” Epps said. “It was a learning experience…I’m glad I sat out and learned before I got on the court to play.”

Wright said that they both used the redshirt season as a chance to develop.

“We had to know that we had great guards in front of us last year and we respected that, we paid our homage,” Wright said. “This year we are just trying to work hard so we can be out there together.”

Wright still keeps in contact with former guard Brad Wanamaker, a player he said he “learned everything” from.

“I watch film on Brad everyday,” he said. “The things he did for this University both on the basketball court and off the court were tremendous and I respect him a lot.”

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July 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Lauren Kirschman

The first 10-day live evaluation period of July has come and gone in nearly a blink of an eye. Its been a fun trip to Akron (OH) and Morgantown (WV) and points in between, north and south as well as east and west. While the coaches and throngs of media head home to their own beds finally, the Hoop Group’s West Virginia Jam Fest will carry on another day.

Tomorrow morning the event’s Gold Semifinals will take place. In the 17U bracket Team Philly will take on Team Takeover – Hoop Magic in one semifinal. Team Philly got past Long Island Lightning – Blue in one quarterfinal and the Hoop Magic-based squad upset Team 94 out of California in another quarterfinal.

The other half of the last four standing will be a match-up between the NY Gauchos and Hoop Heaven Heat of NJ who got past the Jersey Shore Warriors in a thrilling ending. The Gauchos won a hard fought affair with East Coast Elite in their quarterfinal match-up.

NBE caught up with a trio of standouts on Friday and below has the latest recruiting information on ’12 Blaise Mbargorba, ’13 Mark Williams and ’13 Elijah Brown for readers to enjoy…

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July 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Lauren Kirschman

The first of two 10-day evaluation periods for the month of July come to a close today. One of the top annual events each year to close the period is the Hoop Group’s West Virginia Jam Fest, predominately help in the Morgantown (WV) area. With recent NCAA legislation preventing the games to be held on the WVU campus local high schools hosted contests as well as other sporting centers, including a local ice rink.

On day one of the event there was a large crowd of assistant coaches tracking down Amile Jefferson at University High School for an evening game and, as usual, the Team Final 16U club had their share of coaches on hand when they played. Below are some recruiting notes from the day’s action on Semaj Christon, Melvin Johnson, Rondae Jefferson, Dashawn Suber and more…
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July 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Lauren Kirschman

Class of 2012 center Adam Woodbury is getting looks from some of the nation’s high profile school.

After performing well at the NBA Top 100 Camp, Woodbury, who is from Sioux City, IA, is receiving interest from Kansas, Duke, Ohio State and North Carolina. Iowa, Wisconsin, Stanford and Minnesota are also interested. He wants to cut his list of potential schools down to five soon.

“It’s an honor,” Woodbury said of attracting the attention of elite programs. “I never dreamed I’d be in this position.”

He doesn’t know how interest in him increased, but he credits the teams he’s played with this summer. He added that he was thankful for the invitation to the LeBron James Skills Academy, saying that he never thought he’d have the opportunity to play with James.
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July 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Lauren Kirschman

Philadelphia product Amile Jefferson is receiving interest from Villanova, Maryland, Connecticut, Ohio State, Stanford, Miami, North Carolina State and Pittsburgh, among others (Penn State, West Virginia, Syracuse and on and on) that he continually adds to his list of schools, a process that has kept the 6-foot-7, 190-pound forward up at night.

“I’ve spent hours laying up thinking about it,” Jefferson said. “Sometimes I wish I could go to more than one school. You want to make sure it’s the right one.”

Jefferson says there are no favorites at this point as he continues to look for the school with the full package that appeals to him.

The Friends Central standout has visited Villanova and Temple because both schools are in the Philadelphia area and he said he hopefully wants to visit Ohio State and Maryland soon.
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July 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Lauren Kirschman

College coaches were allowed at the Lebron James Skills Academy on Thursday for the first time and the turnout was as expected. A who’s who of college coaches were in the stands at the University of Akron’s James A. Rhodes Arena and they were not disappointed as the level of play at the camp has been very high. NBE is finishing up its coverage of the camp this morning and then will be on our way to the next stop on the evaluation trail. After yesterday’s afternoon session we had the opporunity to speak with Gary Harris (’12) and Terry Rozier (’12) as both have been putting in some impressive work this week. Both players have certainly helped their recruiting stock and will likely see an increased level of interest on the trail as they finish out the month and begin to work through the recruiting process.

Rozier lets NBE in on who his leaders are while Harris tells NBE he is continuing to be recruited for football as well as hoops…

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July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

by Lauren Kirschman

Class of 2013 recruit Tyler Roberson is getting plenty of attention from the Big East.

Rutgers, Cincinnati, Seton Hall, Syracuse and Providence are among the Big East schools showing interest in the versatile 6-foot-7 power forward from Union, N.J.

“It’s a real good conference,” Roberson said. “It would be nice to play in the Big East. I’d get to play against the best players in the country.”

Tyler Roberson '13

He added that he’s also being recruited by Kansas and Kansas State. Right now, Roberson doesn’t have a school at the top of his list and he hasn’t taken any visits, but he knows he’s looking for a school with good academics and quality coaching staff.

He also feels most comfortable playing up tempo.

Whatever school Roberson chooses, he said he’ll be able to use the strengths in his game–a midrange jumper as well as the ability to create mismatches, grab rebounds and run the floor–in order to contribute to a team right away.

Still, as Roberson enters his final two years of college, he knows he has to work on getting stronger and playing perimeter defense. He said he’s going to start working out and lifting this summer in order to prepare to play at the collegiate level.


July 7, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Lauren Kirschman

About this time last year Steve Taylor was a mid-major-plus player who had the potential to be a high-level prospect. With good size and length, allowing him to be effective defensively as a result, Taylor was trying to find his position offensively. After a year of development with Simeon High School and an impressive spring on the AAU trail with Mac Irvin Fire he has realized the potential and has very much become a high-level prospect, coveted by two BIG EAST programs in the Midwest as well as many other programs.

Taylor’s inside-out game at the forward position is a tough match-up and he continues to develop into a classic small forward that has certainly drawn his share of observers at the Lebron James Skills Academy this week and one can be certain coaches will follow him throughout this July. Taylor spent some time with NBE this afternoon to give us his thoughts on his recruitment and game…

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July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

High-scoring junior guard embodies Buzz Williams’ tenacity that is expected from Golden Eagle players

By Lauren Kirschman

The Marquette Golden Eagles surprised plenty of onlookers when they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen last season as a No. 11 seed.

But they didn’t surprise themselves.

And this year, junior Darius Johnson-Odom and the Golden Eagles are ready to go even further.

“We just play so hard that we give ourselves a chance,” Johnson-Odom said. “We were a very undersized team last year and we’ll be undersized this year.”

He added that this year, the team won’t be satisfied with just making it to the Sweet Sixteen again.

“We want to go further than that and I think we have the right nucleus to do it,” he said.

At the LeBron-James Skills Academy and other summer skills camps, Johnson-Odom is working to develop his abilities as a point guard. He mostly plays shooting guard for Marquette.

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July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Lauren Kirschman

The Lebron James Skills Academy took it up another notch on Thursday as college coaches were allowed to watch the action at the James A. Rhodes Arena on the University of Akron campus. After getting their feet wet with several workouts and the opportunity to play with and against King James himself in their first day and a half of the camp, now the players are playing for scholarships.

Right out of the gates the big name coaches arrived. By the time the first morning high school workout had finished names and faces we all know populated the viewing areas like Tom Izzo, Coach K, Jim Calhoun, Jim Boeheim, Billy Donovan, John Thompson III, Thad Matta, Bill Self, Matt Painter, Lorenzo Romar, Anthony Grant, Josh Pastner, Bruce Weber and many more with others planning to be here before the day is done.

After the morning workout Willie Cauley (’12) and James Robinson (’12) spent time with NBE Basketball Report to fill our readers in on the latest with their recruitment…

James Robinson (DeMatha HS/Team Takeover DC)
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July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

New Jersey big man in Akron looking to show colelge coaches his talents and looking for a family atmosphere in his college choice

By Lauren Kirschman

Class of 2013 power forward Austin Colbert describes himself as a poor man’s Kevin Durant.

Long and athletic, the 6’9”, 195-pound Colbert is a quality passer and shooter with some range—two qualities he counts among his major strengths along with his high basketball IQ.

But during the summer, Colbert is still intent on improving those skills along with some aspects of his game he believes could use some work: ball handling, stamina and speed.

An invitation to the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio—something Colbert referred to as “a crazy opportunity”—offered him the chance to continue to develop as a player and take his abilities to the next level.

“It’s a great experience,” he said. “I know guys get to come back, but being here for the first time it’s just like wow. You are really invited to such a big, well known camp.”

He added that the invitation to the camp encourages him to keep working hard.

“[It means] our dreams are starting to shape a little bit,” he said.

Plenty of college coaches are hoping to get a look at Austin Colbert at 2011 LJSA this week

For Colbert, those dreams could take him to any number of universities as the forward is being recruited by Seton Hall, Oklahoma, Baylor, North Carolina, Marquette, Stanford, La Salle, Georgia Tech, Miami, Xavier, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Florida, St. John’s, St. Joseph’s, Harvard, Princeton, West Virginia and Ohio State.

He’s taken an unofficial visit toGeorgetown.

Right now, he said North Carolina, Baylor, Pittsburgh, Harvard, Miami and Georgetown are the leaders—mainly because the teams seem so family-oriented.

“They were really circled around each other and that’s what really kind of got to me,” he said. “I didn’t think it was going to be like that, but it’s special. I think they each have their special qualities and that’s what kind of struck me a little bit.”

While Colbert is attracted to North Carolina’s fast break and transition game, he’s also intrigued by Ohio State’s four-out/one-in offense.

For now, though, Colbert has two more days of the skills camp to complete and he’s focused on playing well.

“You want to do good, you have to do good—you never know who’s coming out to watch you,” he said.

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