Black Cager Newsletter, Vol. 1, Issue 2

Newletter - Vol. 1, Issue 2 -page-0

Newletter - Vol. 1, Issue 2 -page-1

 

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When Your College Coach is Fired Before Prom…

Almost seven years ago to the day, the headline in the NY Post’s sport section read “St. John’s fires basketball coach (Norm) Roberts.”

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As we are currently witnessing, the grim reaper is a busy muthafucka in March… Washington axed Romar… Indiana fired Crean… UMass cut ties with Kellogg… LSU dumped Jones… The grim reaper ravages coaching staffs across the country with no mercy…

Often overlooked in the carnage are the young people who’s fledgling careers are disrupted before they have a chance to begin.

My youngin, Ronald Roberts (pictured below left), got caught up in this particular firing…

NCAA Basketball: Atlantic 10 Confernece Tournament-VCU vs St Joseph's

No bullshit… My youngin can kiss the sky… His vertical is easily 40 inches+… He’s agile, explosive and extremely aggressive when attacking the basket… Time after time after time, I’ve seen him have to tilt his head to avoid banging it against the rim… These attributes plus the fact that he is a first class young man and a very solid student made him a HIGHLY desired college prospect in 2010…He was one of the top schoolboys coming out of North Jersey…

Roberts had reputation for dunkin’ HARD on dudes! Watch yo muthafuckin head!! A lil’ raw in the skills department coming out of high school, he was a relentless and tenacious rebounder… He was destined for the Big East, St. John’s and Madison Square Garden…

A few months earlier, Norm Roberts texted him non-stop… Came to his house suited and booted, sat in his living room, ate dinner with his parents, visited his school and chopped it up with his AAU coaches… Roberts did everything necessary to convince him to come to St. John’s.

Roberts committed…

Then St. John’s fired Roberts… Before he went on his prom, Roberts had to regroup…

The new St. John’s coach, Steve Lavin wanted to go in another direction… Fortunately, one of the new assistants, Tony Chiles, was a man of the highest integrity. He made sure that the Roberts family was appropriately informed and facilitated his connection with his long time friends on the St. Joseph’s staff…

Roberts went on to have a wonderful collegiate career at St. Joseph’s… I got see him dunk on at least a hundred victims!

Roberts and St. Joseph’s lived happily ever after…

Phil Martelli and St. Joseph’s were there to provide a soft landing for Roberts…

Same shit just happened to Clifton Moore and Tom Crean!

What will happen with Moore? Will the new coach value his skill set? Will he want his “own guys”?

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Should Moore reopen his recruiting?

Should the AD release him from the Letter of Intent?

This is the type of shit families need to think about when committing…

The things they don’t tell you are IMPORTANT!

Enjoy your prom youngfella…

Wanna Recruit Philly? Hire One of These Guys!

Real shit I’ve heard in recent months…

From a PAC 12 Head Coach, “Yo man… we gotta get tougher! Who should I be recruiting in Philly?”

From a Patriot League Head Coach, “I really FUCKED UP passing on Ryan Daly (pictured below)… We could have really used his toughness this year!”

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From a C-USA Head Coach, “I love Philly guards… Anybody like Kyle Lowry coming up?”

From a Big 10 Head Coach, “Close the door… real talk… How the FUCK did Charlie Brown (pictured below) end up at St. Joes?”

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These types of interactions are a daily occurrence…

One thing for sure… Philadelphia’s basketball community is complex, challenging and, at times, highly dysfunctional. Successfully recruiting Philly is badge of honor in the college coaching ranks. A lot of coaches can’t get it done…

Shit ain’t easy in the BIG markets…

Philly, Chicago, New York/North Jersey, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Houston, North Carolina, Los Angeles and Detroit… Each area has it’s own set of unwritten rules and traditions…

Make mistakes at your own peril… One bad move can KILL a program recruiting-wise in the region…

Violating these unwritten rules can result in a program and it’s staff being ostracized for years! Gotta know know what to do… Who to see… What to say… When to say it…

In every major market across the country, one will hear local basketball HS/AAU coaches explicitly say, “We don’t FUCK with them… They can’t get NONE of our kids…”

These HS/AAU coaches HOPE you will relay the message to the program in question… They want the college coaches to know they “don’t FUCK with them…”

In most cases, the coaching staff at a particular program has either mistreated one or more of the beloved local schoolboys or they have, in some way, disrespected some of the more important local HS/Grassroots coaches.

Like Run said… “It’s Tricky!”

So…while the sports world is once again focused on HIGH MAJOR Head Coach hiring and firing, we want to take a deep look from a different perspective… The Head Coaching carousel is widely covered by National sports media… When Cuonzo decided to head to Missouri everybody knew within minutes… Same thing with Romar’s termination at Washington…

Far more interesting to the Black Cager, is the following scenario:

Say… a head coach is hired this spring and he wants to recruit Philly… Or, a coach has an opening on his staff and he feels a need to penetrate the Philly market… What should he do? How does the program establish a foothold in the area? How does the staff avoid those nasty Philly potholes?

Here’s my suggestion: Hire somebody from the area that knows what FUCK they are doing!

Let me provide a concrete example…

Take a program like Bowling Green University Men’s Basketball… Bowling Green located in Wood County, Ohio…

Where the FUCK is Wood County, Ohio? I still don’t know…

There’s no significant history of Bowling Green successfully recruiting Philadelphia… How does a program like that reach into Philly and get some quality kids?

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That’s exactly the situation faced by Michael Huger (pictured above) when he was hired as the Bowling Green head coach in April 2015. In May 2015, Huger hired Kevin Noon as Director of Basketball Operations. A year later, he promoted him to Assistant Basketball Coach.

Noon (pictured below) is an unassuming and quiet guy from the Greater Philadelphia Region (Cherry Hill West graduate). He’s also extremely bright and a relentless worker. Noon played at Rider where he walked on to the team as a senior after serving as a team manager for three seasons. Following his senior year, in which he posted the highest GPA in the MAAC, Noon was awarded the Richard H. Bubacz Award for leadership, sportsmanship, and scholarship.  He graduated Manga Cum Laude from Rider in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in English writing. Great hire!

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Next thing you know…

Daequan Plowden (pictured below) one of the top players in the Philadelphia Public League committed to play at Bowling Green in November…

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Then…

Matiss Kulackovskis (pictured below) one of the top players in the Philadelphia Catholic League committed to play at Bowling Green in February…

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Bowling FUCKIN’ Green! Where the FUCK is Wood County again?

Coach Noon is a clean slate… No basketball enemies… Just an earnest hardworking college assistant coach that was given a chance. As an alum and former staffer at Rider, he has keen awareness of the fertile nature of the Philadelphia region… He’s seen Mike Ringgold (Roman Catholic), Brandon Penn (Robeson), Danny Stewart (Neumann-Goretti), Novar Gadson (Bartram), Junior Fortunat (Roman Catholic), Anthony Durham (Abington) and others have success at the collegiate level. He knows how to relate to Philly… He knows how to talk to Philly…

In a very short period of time, Noon has helped Bowling FUCKIN’ Green become a player in the Philadelphia region!

Who’s next? Who will be given an opportunity like the one that Huger gave to Noon?

Who is the next Horace Owens? Geoffrey Arnold? Ashley Howard? Aaron McKie? Mark Bass?

Who should Head Coaches be interviewing if they want to recruit the talent laden Philadelphia Catholic, Philadelphia Public, Inter-Ac, Del-Val and Suburban One Leagues?

Who can land players from K-Low Elite, Team Final, Philly Pride, WeRone and the Jersey Shore Warriors?

Black Cager held a roundtable discussion and considered 25-30 guys that could help a college staff right now. Participating in the discussion were Delgreco Wilson, Amauro Austin, Kamal Yard and Paul Gripper. While I appreciate the input from my Black Cager colleagues, the blame for any errors and omissions lies with me… The final list was my call…

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Sean Colson (pictured above)… An extremely successful high school coach, Colson has taken a moribund Martin L. King, HS program and built it into one of the top 3 in Philadelphia’s Public League. He can be found at or near the top of the standings and playing for the Public League Championship every year. He is also one of the top grassroots coaches in the region. Two years ago, his Philly Pride 17U (Under Armour Association) featured Charles Brown, Jr (SJU, A10 All-Rookie), Stevie Jordan (Rider, MAAC All-Rookie), DeAndre Hunter (Virginia), Jaekwon Carlyle (Hampton), Tyere Marshall (Rider) and Lapri Pace McCray (Putnam Science-Prep). Colson’s teaching ability is evidenced through his role as a national trainer for Under Armour which allows him to work with elite scholastic players at Steph Curry’s Camp and Under Armour All-American camp. Colson is a proven basketball coach and skills trainer. He would be an asset for any program looking to establish relationships and recruit in Philadelphia.

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Matt Griffin (pictured above)… In his first year heading the storied Roman Catholic program, Griffin quickly established his coaching bona fides in the highly competitive Philadelphia Catholic League. Despite losing 3 Big 10 players, Griffin kept the Cahillites in the running and had them, once again, in the Final Four at the Palestra. He spent time at St. Joseph’s Prep working under Speedy Morris. Perhaps, more importantly, he’s spent a lifetime sitting at the dinner table with his father, former St. Joe’s and Siena Head Coach, John Griffin and his brother, Bucknell assistant, John Griffin, Jr. Griffin is a highly organized and highly motivated coach. He’s demonstrated an ability to get kids to play extremely hard while maintaining their composure.

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Kyle Sample (pictured above)… An old youngbuck, Sample has been coaching with Team Philly/K-Low Elite for more than a decade. During that period, they have produced more than 70 players that have received college scholarships. One of the more highly respected young coaches in Philadelphia, Sample consistently established very strong relationships with players and parents in their program. He is also able to work with coaches and administrators in other Grassroots programs as well. A true gymrat, Sample finds time to work with players ranging from elite D1 prospects to novice players being introduced to the game for the first time. He treats everyone with the upmost respect.

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Donnie Carr (above right)… One of the most well-liked members of Philadelphia’s basketball community, Carr was a legendary schoolboy and Big 5 player. Currently a non-coaching assistant at Hartford University, he has relationships that extend throughout Philadelphia and beyond. Carr has experience recruiting scholarship level players at the Division 2 level from his stint on R.C. Kehoe’s staff at Holy Family. He coached some of the very best players in the Philadelphia region while working with Nike Team Final on the EYBL circuit. There is not a gym or home in Philadelphia where Carr wouldn’t be welcomed with open arms. This Claude Gross protege is the perfect blend of old school tradition with new school awareness. The addition of Donnie Carr would bring instant credibility to any college basketball program seeking talent in Philadelphia.

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Jason Harrigan (above center)… The 2016 Daily News Philadelphia High School Basketball Coach of the Year, Harrigan just competed his first year as Head Coach of the O’Hara Boy’s Basketball team. In his final year at Del Val Charter School, Harrigan led his team to playoff victories over powerhouse Neumann-Goretti and Imhotep on neutral court. Known for extensive game preparation, Harrigan is very meticulous in his approach. He has played a crucial role in the development of some of the finest guards in the Public League including Antwan Butler, Semaj Mobley and Makhi Morris. His players exhibit fierce loyalty to Harrigan and he works tirelessly to place them in college. Harrigan is a rising star within Philadelphia’s scholastic coaching ranks.

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David Anwar (above right)… True Philly hoop heads know and respect the name David Anwar. Casual hoop fans might ask: Who? You see Anwar, a Philadelphia native, has toiled in the hinterlands of Arkansas, Nebraska and Texas… Arkansas-Fort Smith earned a 101-29 record with Anwar on the bench, including a pair of top-seven national finishes in 2001 (fifth) and 2002 (seventh). He then moved on to join the staff at Texas El-Paso (UTEP) before going to Nebraska. For the past 5 seasons, Anwar has been on the staff at North Texas. Incredibly well connected, Anwar would bring a wealth of knowledge to any Division 1 program. Over the years, Anwar has made sure his recruits graduate on time. He is one of the most honest and trustworthy guys in the business.

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Aaron Burt (pictured above)… As the Coach of the Nike Team Final 17U (EYBL) program, Burt has gained an immeasurable amount of experience working with high major and mid major basketball prospects. He is able to help young men understand that they have a specific role to play within an organization with big goals. The importance of that skill cannot be overstated. In an era where every kid and parent is thinking “one and done” Burt is able to adeptly balance individual aspirations with organizational goals. His relationships with HS coaches at the top Philadelphia High School basketball programs and his experience coaching McDonald’s All-Americans and future NBA players makes him an outstanding candidate for any college assistant opening.

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Randy Monroe (pictured above)… Been there… Done that… If you are trying to mitigate risk in your hire, if you want someone with extensive experience… Hire Randy Monroe! He was an Assistant at the D2 level in the PSAC (Cheyney), at the D1 level in the A10 (La Salle), in the SEC (Vanderbilt) and in the America East (UMBC). As a D1 Head Coach, he led UMBC to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2008. Highly respected by everyone in Philadelphia Scholastic/Grassroots basketball circles, Monroe is the clear choice if experience is the deciding factor.

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Brian Daly (pictured above)… While he’s been a D1 assistant in the Patriot League (Boston) and the Big 10 (Penn State), he’s probably best known as Ryan Daly’s Dad these days. Daly is highly regarded by everyone in Philadelphia. He was awarded the prestigious Markward Award as the best player in the Philadelphia Catholic League in 1989 while playing for Monsignor Bonner. He competed collegiately at St. Joseph’s University. As a HS coach, he developed a reputation for caring about the academic and social well-being of his players. An excellent communicator, Daly is able to help parents understand and navigate the recruiting process. His relationships with Philadelphia’s basketball community served him well at both Boston University and Penn State. Both programs witnessed a surge in Philadelphia recruits while Daly was on staff. Most importantly, Daly is laser focused on making sure his players matriculate. Whenever, he decides to jump back in, he should be high on the list of anyone seeking a Philly-based assistant coach.

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Jazz Williams (above center)… Quietly, Williams has established himself as one of the premier young basketball coaches in the region. For a few years, he was the only Black head coach working in the Philadelphia Catholic League. Williams has an excellent rapport with young men and their families under his tutelage. Currently, he is on the coaching staff at The Haverford School and K-Low Elite (Adidas Guantlet). Williams has been extremely valuable in helping young men transition into a highly competitive academic institution. A very intelligent and thoughtful young man, Williams would be an ideal assistant coaching candidate in the Ivy and Patriot League programs or any program committed to placing educational development on par with athletic competition.

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Bobby Jordan (pictured above)… If a Head Coach wants to get in every gym and become acquainted with everyone in Philadelphia, then he should hire and walk in with Jordan. Currently, serving as the Athletic Director at Girard College, Jordan is a Bruiser Flint protege. He played for Flint, at Drexel, after graduating from Roman Catholic. Jordan is high-energy and extremely engaging. A true “hoophead” he will discuss middle school girls basketball just as quickly as high major college men’s college basketball. He has an extensive network of acquaintances and confidants that keep him tapped directly into the artery of Philadelphia’s basketball talent. Passionate about Philly hoops, Jordan consistently works hard to help kids even when he has no skin the game. This makes him a very attractive assistant coaching candidate for those that need to make an immediate impact on the recruiting trail in the Philadelphia region.

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David Butts (above left)… Every year young people develop new ways of communicating… The slang changes… The greetings change… The technology changes… It can be very challenging to keep up. Within Philadelphia’s coaching community, Butts may have the best handle on what the kids are thinking, saying and doing. He is immersed in grassroots community. Butts knows what the kid’s aspirations are… He knows what they are trying to achieve through basketball… He’s able to engage and communicate with Philly’s young players in way that is truly admirable. He’s currently an Assistant Coach at Rosemont College just outside Philadelphia.

Of course, there are others equally, if not more qualified, to recruit Philadelphia. But these guys have excellent jobs or are just starting on their respective gigs. But hey… It don’t cost nothing to reach out… Andre Noble (Imhotep Head Coach) is the most decorated coach in the Public League over the past 20 years. Jamie Ross (Frankford Head Coach) has been a part of three state championship teams in recent years. Skip Robinson (WeRone Coach) is an integral part of an emerging grassroots dynasty. Larry Yarbray (Chester Coach) fields ultra competitive squads year in and year out. Mike Scott (Paris JUCO, TX) has quietly emerged as a top flight recruiter in a superb JUCO conference. Marvin Stinson (Audenreid Assistant) has helped build a strong Public League program and continues to run one of the premier middle school grassroots programs (Bottom Ballers) in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Lou Daniels (Manor JUCO Coach) has done an exceptional job in his first year as a Head Coach after assisting at Scotland Prep. Al Crockett (K-Low Elite Coach) is recognized as one of the top developers of basketball skills in Philadelphia. Terrance “Nip” Cook (Mastery Charter North) is building a powerhouse Public League program and developing scholarship players. Justin Scott (Arcadia Coach) is one of the premier small college coaches in the Greater  Philadelphia Region. Ellis “Chuck Ellis” Gindraw is the founder of “Chuck Ellis Workouts” and long-time small college assistant.

Wanna recruit Philly? Hire one of these guys!

Seriously…