7/2/15

Seton Hall Completes 2015-16 Roster With Three Transfers



PHOTO: Derrick Gordon, right, of the Massachusetts Minutemen goes up for a shot against Josh Richardson of the Tennessee Volunteers in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 21, 2014.
Derrick Gordon is Leaving UMass for Seton Hall/gettyimages.com
by John Fanta
@John_Fanta

The 2015-16 Seton Hall men’s basketball roster has been finalized. 

The program officially announced on Thursday afternoon that transfers Derrick Gordon, Braeden Anderson, and Jevon Thomas have been added to complete the team’s roster. Along with the news of the additions, Chier Ajou has transferred from the school, which opened up the scholarship for the Pirates to attain Gordon. 

“We are excited to welcome Braeden, Derrick and Jevon to the Seton Hall Basketball family,” said head coach Kevin Willard, who will enter his sixth season at the helm. “We have identified three talented individuals who each bring different skill sets and a wealth of experience to our team, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that they have chosen to continue their educations and basketball careers at Seton Hall.”

Gordon and Anderson will both be eligible immediately while Thomas will sit out for the 2015-16 season due to transfer regulations. 

Gordon, who comes in from UMass, is a 1,000-point scorer over his three-year career with Western Kentucky and the Minutemen. The 6-foot-3, 205-point shooting guard will give the Pirates an added defensive boost and complementary scoring. The Plainfield, N.J. native has been a part of two NCAA Tournament teams in his career. With the Hilltoppers in 2011-12, Gordon contributed 11.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest, landing a spot on the All-Sun Belt Third Team and charging his team to a conference tournament title. After transferring to Massachusetts and sitting out a year, Gordon helped get the Minutemen to the 2014 NCAA Tournament, averaging 9.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game. In 2014-15, Gordon was tallying a mark of 9.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game. 

Gordon will enter graduate school at Seton Hall after coming away from UMass with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. 

“Derrick is already an accomplished college basketball player, a winner and a leader,” said Willard. “He will be a hard-nosed, lock-down defender for us and someone who attacks the rim on offense. We’re excited he’s come home to New Jersey as he pursues both a Master’s degree in the classroom and excellence on the basketball court.”

Anderson asked for his release from Fresno State in February during this past season because he wanted to focus on getting into a law school. Coming from Okotoks, Alberta in Canada will also attend the law school at Seton Hall University, ESPN's Jeff Goodman reported along with breaking the news of his transfer.

In his redshirt sophomore campaign, the 6-foot-9 Anderson averaged one point and 1.8 rebounds per game. It was Anderson's first season after a car accident before the 2013-14 campaign forced him to miss the entire year due to a displacement of his C-5 through C-6 vertebrae.

Anderson has already earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology – Forensic Behavioral Sciences from Fresno State. 

"Braeden is one of the most determined young men I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting,” Willard said. “He has a clear goal of succeeding both in law school and in basketball, and we’re excited that he’s chosen Seton Hall to pursue both of his dreams. He is a strong defender and rebounder and is going to be a major asset for the team on the court.”

Thomas, a 6-foot, 185-pound point guard, appeared in 52 contests at Kansas State, tallying a mark of 3.7 points and 3.0 assists per game. Thomas will provide The Hall with a presence in practice in the upcoming year, as the orchestrator compiled a team-best 52 assists in Big 12 play in his sophomore campaign. 

A Queens, N.Y. native, Thomas is in the middle of pursuing his bachelor’s degree. 

“Jevon is a gifted athlete and a very intelligent young man,” Willard said. “He has tremendous vision on the court, which helps make him a great passer and playmaker. He will make our team better in practice this upcoming season and will be an important player for us in 2016.”

The three transfers join incoming freshmen Dalton Soffer, Amaveer Singh, and Myles Carter. 

The six commits will look to help a rising sophomore class try to bounce back from a 16-15 2014-15 season.  

6/30/15

Fanta Report: A Legend Leaves in Madison; Mullin Making Moves in Queens


Image result for bo ryan
Bo Ryan Leaves a Winner/uwbadgers.com

by John Fanta
@John_Fanta

We’ve seen the best of the best athletes and coaches try to prolong the conclusion of their careers to try to end with a bang. Michael Jordan came back to play for the Wizards. Kobe Bryant keeps trying to find the magic he had half a decade ago. Mike Holmgren took a front office job with the Cleveland Browns, ripped the fans, and rode off in his motorcycle. And Phil Jackson…well, Knicks fans, I don’t need to explain the damage he’s done in New York while at the helm. 

Those are just four of many cases that pop into my head. 

And that’s exactly why Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Tom Izzo, and the coaching greats in the college basketball world should be jotting down notes watching Bo Ryan’s approach to retirement. 

The Wisconsin head coach has accomplished just about everything in his career, and the best part is that the achievements have grown as he’s gotten older. When the 67-year-old announced on Monday that he would coach the Badgers in the upcoming 2015-16 season and then retire, the reaction was bittersweet. Nobody wants to see Bo go. 

But, what more can he do, besides winning a national title? He just charged the Badgers to back-to-back Final Four appearances and led Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker, and company to beating the mighty Kentucky to end the Wildcats’ run to perfection at 38 wins for a berth to the national championship game this past spring. While Duke came out on top, 68-63, there was no shame for Wisconsin in what was an instant classic for a title game.

While the attention surrounding Ryan has increased to unforeseen levels throughout the past two seasons, and rightfully so, the one thing that the leader of the Badgers has always done is punched a ticket to the Big Dance. In all 14 seasons as the head coach at Wisconsin, Ryan has led the Badgers to the tournament. He is the winningest coach in the program’s history at 357-125, the only one to lead the program to at least 300 victories as well. 

While Ryan will be missed, he could not be leaving on a higher note. In his statement, he made it clear who he wanted to take over the program. 

"I've decided to coach one more season with the hope that my longtime assistant Greg Gard eventually becomes the head coach at Wisconsin,” Ryan said. “I am looking forward to another year with our program, including our players, my terrific assistant coaches, our office staff and everyone who supports Wisconsin basketball here in Madison, around the state and across the country.” 

I would not think twice if I’m Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez. What Bo wants, Bo should get. Gard needs to be the head coach of the program. The Badgers owe that to a true jewel in the history of their men’s basketball program – one that I know we can guarantee will leave it all on the floor entering the 2015-16 season. It’s a story that we don’t want to see end – but the way in which Ryan is already handling it magnifies how great of a coach – and man that he truly has been in developing college basketball players. 

And it’s a story that the other coaches on Mount Rushmore in college basketball should remember. Because if everybody goes out the way Ryan’s closing the door, this will be a bittersweet, but a special time for the game as in the next decade, it likely says goodbye to several legends. 

3-Point Shot:

1. Monday’s winner in the world of college basketball was St. John’s. Italian guard Federico Mussini has committed to the Red Storm over Gonzaga according to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello. The guard is the eighth new addition to the Johnnies’ roster since Chris Mullin took over as the head coach. At the FIBA U18 European Championships last summer, Mussini stood out, scoring 22.6 points per contest while shooting nearly 43 percent from beyond the three-point arc. The day got even better when Scout.com’s Evan Daniels reported that 2015 4-star small forward Maverick Rowan has trimmed his list to St. John’s, NC State, and Wisconsin. With Ryan out with the Badgers, there has to be a slight edge to the Red Storm and Wolfpack. If the Johnnies can reel in Rowan, that would be a major splash. One thing is for certain – from what I hear, Mullin has established a fresh culture already in the program that Steve Lavin was unable to achieve. Ultimately, Mullin knows his win-loss record is what he’ll get judged by – but, the Red Storm’s new head coach isn’t just playing in a bunch of celebrity soccer and softball games. He’s not just building the brand of the program. He’s building an attitude that St. John’s is not going to have the same kinds of coach-to-player issues that were present under Lavin.

2. The NIT Preseason Tip-Off is moving from Madison Square Garden to the Barclays Center, according to sources. Villanova, Stanford, Georgia Tech, and Arkansas will serve as the four regional hosts in the upcoming season’s tournament. The semifinals and finals will be held Nov. 26 and 27 in Brooklyn as the reigning Big East champion Wildcats lead the pack. 

3. Four players have a great opportunity to build their skills and work with the NBA MVP this week. Notre Dame’s Demetrius Jackson, Northwestern’s Bryan McIntosh, Maryland’s Melo Trimble, and Seton Hall’s Isaiah Whitehead are serving as counselors to the top 20 high schoolers in the world this week at the Stephen Curry Select Camp in California. 

6/15/15

Coached UP Podcast Volume 2: Manhattan Coach Steve Masiello


Welcome to Volume 2 of the Coached-UP Podcast Series where we have frank conversations with the best coaches in the nation. Our guest is Manhattan Jaspers Coach Steve Masiello. The Jaspers are coming off back to back NCAA Tournament appearances but have a young team coming into the 2015 season. We always enjoy talking with Coach Masiello as he gives insight on his motivational techniques to keep the Jaspers competitive in the MACC.  We hope you enjoy Volume 2 of the podcast.

Who: Manhattan Coach Steve Masiello

Where: Phone Conversation Brooklyn, NY

When: June 3rd, 2015

Interviewer: Josh Adams, Editor of CollegeHoopsDigest.com