Thursday, February 28, 2008

EXTRA! EXTRA!


New York, NY: This just in – beloved Seton Hall Head Coach Robert “Gonzo” Gonzalez has reportedly got himself in trouble once again. Having graduated from yelling and screaming at officials, Gonzo recently took his passion to a new high as two independent sources claim that Gonzo got into a half time fight with one of his assistants at last week’s West Virginia game.

Unfortunately, Seton Hall Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Communications Matt Sweeney had no comment on the situation. But fortunately, Ben and I were at that game, and naturally, it is the two of us who are breaking you – our beloved readers – this gripping story.

Not a whole lot is clear in this Setonian mystery, but one thing should be clear to all the other BIG EAST coaches reading this: DON’T MESS WITH GONZO! If he has this much energy and passion to take a swing at one of his own coaches during halftime, imagine what he would do if Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boheim got in his way. Now, I’m not sure what kind of punch Gonzo packs, but I am pretty sure that his patented foot stamp could probably bruise those Orangemen into submission.

So while assistant coaches everywhere are busy buffing up and getting crash courses in martial arts and tae-kwan-do, lets only hope that Gonzo’s ferociousness translates into a win on Saturday.

(One of our sources)

ESPN's "Team" Responds to Criticism


Ben and I have frequently lamented the quality of ESPN's coverage of Seton Hall. The announcers obviously know nothing about the team, and the camera work is shoddy at best. It's the reason why Ben and I mute the TV, opting instead for the high-caliber insights of Cohen and Popkin on WABC 770.

Well, a little over a month ago, I decided enough was enough. I wrote an email to ESPN, complaining about their coverage. Here was the email I sent:

Subject: Disappointing coverage/commentating

Message: I am writing in regards to the 1/24/08 coverage on ESPN2 of the Seton Hall-Providence basketball game. The commentators were incorrect in many of the statements they made – twice, Mike Davis was confused with Larry Davis, a mistake which is understandable except for the more than 8 inches that separate them. Additionally, you once referred to JAMAR Nutter as JAMAL Nutter – another unforgivable offense. Also, several times live footage was blocked by pop-up stats (that were also sometimes incorrect) and other similar features. Several times plays were missed and not seen. And because the two commentators were so atrocious in their coverage, the lack of visuals made the experience all the more painful.

My roommate and I live for Seton Hall basketball, and we very much look forward to those few rare games a season that make it onto national television. It’s important for us personally, as well as recruiting. Please find announcers familiar with this team, because it’s a very special team with an illustrious history, and your coverage does a true disservice to that legacy.

Ps. If you’re looking for said announcers, here’s a place to start: Dick Vitale ’62 and Bill Raftery ’73.

Today, they sent a response:
(Click above to view the response)

Thanks for writing, David.

Being a national network, we do our best to select announcers who are fair and neutral to the games that they cover, yet offer insightful and entertaining analysis.

We'll be sure to address your thoughts and concerns with our producers.

Sincerely,
ESPN Viewer Response Team


Umm...thanks for the great, ahem, response. If you were a real "Team" as you claim, you would know what it's like to endure a grueling 19-game in-conference schedule, scrap out 7 gritty wins against vastly more talented opponents, and then huddle with your teammates around one singular dream - that one day, we might ascend to the highest echelons of the sport, attain the fame and recognition that our hard work certainly deserves. That one day, we might become a big name school. That one day, ESPN might cover our games with the regularity of a Duke or a Louisville.

Thanks a lot, "Team." I'll stick with Popkin and Cohen.





Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gary Cohen, Dave Popkin Will Seton Hall to Victory


Wow. Wowsers. Wow-a-mania. Whatever form you choose, one thing is unanimous – what a game. Seton Hall traveled down to South Florida tonight (which is actually not located in southern Florida but is instead on the western coast of the state) and literally turned off the lights as they won 79-75.

Led all night by the unconscious performances of senior captains Brian Laing and Jamar Nutter, Seton Hall turned to their big man Johnny Garcia down the stretch to lead them to victory. Not even a state-wide power outage could stop Johnny as he out muscled and out milked USF big man, Kentrelle Gransberry. Not only did Cherry post his fifth double-double of the season, but something about that Florida sun transformed him into the second coming of Reggie Miller as he sank two free throws late in the game to help seal the deal for the Hall.


Unfortunately, Ben and I were unable to actually see the game as Time Warner Cable looked more like Nunu on the fast break than a legitimate cable company, so we had to turn to our trusted friends the Honorable Gary Cohen and Sir Dave Popkin. So while Ben was busy frolicking around, tossing ping pong balls into plastic cups during the first half, I was strapped to my seat listening to the gospel of Gary and Dave. And what a sermon it was – Gary delivered his usual poignant play-by-play and Dave added his timely game analysis. Because of them, I was able to survive this television blackout.

Next step: the Pirates take their ship into the Red Storm of St. John’s as they look to get closer to clinching a bid to the Big East Tournament. Afterwards, perhaps an afterparty with Davis and Hazell at Galway Hooker? They may be attending…

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hall Edges Depaul; Looks to USF



Forget the fact that we squandered a ten-point lead. Forget that our perimeter defense was lackluster. Forget Paris. The bottom line is that we won: Hall 73, Depaul 71. Despite some truly terrible officiating from AARP-pariah “Higgins,” we persevered. Even Jamar Nutter’s uncle, who happened to be sitting next to us, was impressed with the effort. Depaul Head Coach Jerry “Rufus” Wainwright was left shaking his head.

Now we look ahead to tomorrow’s battle with USF. Earlier in the season, this would have been a typical Okosun put-back slam dunk. But given that USF has been playing very well of late, it’s more like a contested bank jam from Walters. That’s not to say it’s not going in – it’s just a bit confusing.

Still, I like Setonia’s chances. Our interior defense was very good against Depaul, and the week off did them a world of good. Hazell was cutting to the hoop effectively, and Laing got his legs under his shot. Okosun gave some impassioned minutes off the bench, and Mike “Praline” Davis had a couple nice blocks. Also, the press looked rejuvenated – nice work, fellas.

Although Dave and I can’t afford the trip to Florida, you can bet we’ll be watching.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lessons for Life




Well, we’re back. It was one of the greatest roadtrips of all time, and now we must resume our daily routine. Get up, feed the crayfish, go to work, come home, feed the crayfish, then dream all night about Seton Hall…



But it’s important not to forget the lessons we learned while in West Virginia, because those lessons were critical.



Lesson #1: Visit parts of the country that tourists never visit.



Dave and I were not tourists in West Virginia – we were West Virginians. While we were there, we completely immersed ourselves in the culture, everything from attending a Morgantown high school musical production of High School Musical, to catching a ride back to our hotel with the pizza delivery boy (or was he truly a man?). We rode Rt. 250 at sunset. We met Bob Huggins in a bar (twice). All in all, it was the experience of a lifetime.



Lesson #2: Always carry a pen.



The number of autographs we received on this journey was nothing short of staggering. Bob Huggins, yes, but nearly the entire Seton Hall team as well!!! Armed with a pen he found in the lobby, and his two functional arms, Dave successfully waved down player after player and convinced each to sign his Waterfront Plaza Hotel notepad. If Dave hadn’t found that pen, would the signatures even exist? If Marty’s parents hadn’t kissed at the Under the Sea dance, would he even exist?!?!?!



Lesson #3: Mike Davis must have done something stupid during warm-ups.



Mike Davis must have done something stupid during warm-ups. You know how we know this? Because he didn’t play the entire game. Not a single minute. And he was listed as a starter on the scoreboard just a couple seconds before tip-off. Also, he could have potentially helped Seton Hall a lot in that game, as West Virginia doesn’t have that many big bodies to match up against the 6’10 Davis. (Except perhaps Jamie Smalligan, whose last name sums up the lilliputian aspect of his game). My guess is that Gonzo wanted to send Davis a message (in a bottle?)



Lesson #4: Crayfish should be fed multiple times per day.



Although technically “unnecessary,” and “potentially harmful for the PH level of the tank,” it’s always better to be safe than sorry.




So with these lessons learned, we now look forward to the next game. Seton Hall is desperate for a win in this upcoming contest for Depaul, and you can bet Depaul is going to be hungry as well after losing a squeaker against UConn. Expect an epic battle in this match-up of major Big East tournament implications.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Post WVU Syndrome


What do you do when all your hopes and dreams have finally been realized? What do you do when everything you have been planning your life around ceases to exist? How do you react knowing that a long lasting goal of yours has been completed? These are just a few of the feelings and sensations that Ben and I are experiencing upon our return from our road trip to West Virginia.

A journey that only Jack Kerouac can properly capture, we managed to visit three universities and two casinos in five different states in just over 72 hours. We drove through the wealthiest state in the country (big ups NJ!) and the poorest state in the country (WV). We drove through what is affectionately known as the armpit of America all the way down the right arm to the literal right hand of America (WV looks like a right hand with an extended middle finger). And that only begins to describe our journey.

We ventured through two Newarks, two Bethlehems, went southwest past a town called North East, and even saw an accident near Accident, PA. Shortly after passing Friendsville, we entered Morgantown where everyone lived up to the name: “Morgan.” We spent a short while on the Mason Dixon Highway before approaching Cottontown, WV. We even passed a town in West Virginia with its own Indian Royal Palace made of gold.

We lived like kings in Morgantown, partied with the local students, took a tour of the university, met Coach Hug-a-bear (twice), and even spoke to and got autographs from most of the players before the game. We rode the WVU Public Rapid Transit system, watched the game at the Coliseum, and played craps at the Wheeling Casino (worst place ever).

In short, everything we set out to do, we accomplished – except of course for the win. It was the journey of a lifetime and it only leads me to believe that I am a changed man. But now, I am only left wondering…now what???

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Taste...of Victory?


With yesterday’s blowout still fresh in our memory, Dave and I cried pretty much the entire day, respectively. Nevertheless, we found cause to celebrate! Our weekend plans for West Virginia are actually becoming a reality!! We’ve already purchased two tickets for the game, and we’re scheduled to take a prospective student campus tour on Saturday morning! Then, on Sunday, after our prospective win, we’re going to drive up to Wheeling, WV and spend the night at a casino! What could be better!?!?!? So even though we were still stinging from yesterday, Dave and I decided to treat ourselves tonight - on this most special Valentine’s Day Eve – to a truly upscale dining experience.

We debated for quite some time which restaurant we should patronize, in the good way, and then, all of a sudden, it hit us – we would go to “Gonzo!” Tucked away in a trendy West Village neighborhood, “Gonzo” has a reputation as a first-rate Italian bistro (read: recruiter). What better place to discuss the details of our forthcoming journey!!

We both started off with appetizers; Dave had the eggplant caponata, and I had the butternut squash soup. The caponata had a delicious vinegar tartness, and came with a helping of garlic toasts. My soup was also a delight – a splash of cumin and maple syrup tickled the palette, and the butternut squash, though a bit sharp, was like a refreshing elbow to my jaw.

For the main course, Dave ordered the homemade ravioli with duck, sage, and ricotta, served in a brown butter sauce. Though very well-seasoned, the sauce was a bit on the heavy side, requiring slightly more rigorous conditioning and discipline. My dish was a tad predictable, but delectable nonetheless: an old-fashioned Margherita pizza. Ironically, the crust proved too thin for my lacking, and stood to gain roughly twenty pounds of muscle, particularly for a power forward.

Lastly, dessert. Here, Dave made a great decision, ordering the Pecan Praline Ice Cream Sandwich. Like Mike Davis holding a basketball, the two oversized praline wafers cupped the ball of ice cream tenderly, as if about to hand off to a streaking Hazell. Finish that!!! I also made a great decision, opting for the Espresso Float. With two scoops of Tahitian vanilla gelato, a generous pouring of espresso soda, and a dollop of fresh whipped cream to top it off, the dish was an impressive triumph, from start to end – the sort of statement win over Florida that sticks with you forever.

Overall, Gonzo was a wonderful experience, though a bit noisy at times. We give it 3 and ½ stars, for its romantic atmosphere, superior service, and occasional vulgarity.


Stay tuned for more details on the West Virginia excursion…

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Broken Hearted, With a Broken Jaw


Boy, that was rough.

After an absolute old-fashioned beat-down by Marquette, Dave and I were left shaking our heads, in rhythm. We thought the Notre Dame game was terrible – well, this was even worse. Tonight, we were outrebounded and outhustled on both ends of the floor. Gonzo picked up another technical, as usual. Nunu played lackadaisically on defense, as usual. And, to top it all off, in a gesture of true classlessness, Nutter threw a late-game intentional elbow into the jaw of Dominic James, resulting in the senior’s ejection. Just like the popular childhood candy “Jawbreaker,” this game failed to live up to expectations, even though technically James probably did suffer a microscopic fracture of the jaw.

There is so much to dissect that it’s almost immobilizing. Why did Seton Hall wait until the game was practically over to press? Why was Nunu smiling on the bench when his team was down by 30? The questions are endless.

Nevertheless, there are signs of hope with this team. Mike Davis shows unbelievable heart, and Hazell started shooting well by the end of the game. Laing finished the game very strong, and even Nunu brushed aside the slings and arrows of melancholy to cap the game off with some nice drives to the hoop. So there are reasons to have hope.

All Dave and I have is hope. We live in a cramped apartment, with a TV and a crayfish. We have dedicated our lives to Setonia, and we’ve come too far to give up now. The season starts anew (Nunu!) with the Hall’s next game against West Virginia. If you thought Marquette was huge, all the hopes and dreams of this season begin and end in Morgantown. So we’re going.

That’s right. You heard correctly. We’re driving to Morgantown, WV.

More to follow…

Hall prepares for #25 Marquette


In perhaps the biggest “must-win” game since Seton Hall tackled the University of Southern Florida about a month ago, the Pirates take on the Golden Eagles of Marquette University tonight at home. Marquette, which is currently ranked #25 in the world and sixth in the BIG EAST, last beat Seton Hall in their home nest 61-56 on January 8th.

But that was a different team, a different species, if you will. Seton Hall was still adjusting to life after PG Paul Gause and they had yet to rattle off five straight victories. The Hall played the Eagles tight that night and Marquette barely squeaked out a victory.
Look for Marquette to try and control the game with their talented backcourt trio of Dominic James, Jerel McNeal, and Wesley Matthews. And Dan “Willy” Fitzgerald will try and stun the Pirates once again with his lethal three-point shooting. Also, watch out for brother-from-another-mother, freshmen forward Patrick Hazel.

But as we all know, this game will eventually come down to the play of Nunu and B’Laing. As Ben and I have said before, Nunu plays some of his best games against big time opposing guards, and look for Laing to have a good battle with sophomore forward Lazar “Skyhook” Hayward. Let’s hope that big men John Garcia and Mike Davis can continue their great play as of late.


In honor of the recent events that took place last night at the University of Seton Hall, there will be no prediction for tonight’s game.
HAZARD ZET FORWARD.

Gunshot Rocks SHU

If you read this blog semi-regularly, it’s a pretty sure bet that you’re a huge Seton Hall hoops fan. But we all have to remember that Seton Hall is a university first, basketball team second. First and foremost, Seton Hall is a tight-knit community of students, faculty, and staff.

Last night, that community was rocked by a terrifying incident. At around 8:30 pm, a gunshot rang out on campus. 22 year-old Anthony Papalia, from Aberdeen, NJ, had attempted suicide in his vehicle near Xavier Hall. Although Papalia is not a student at Seton Hall, he was believed to be visiting a female friend of his who lived on campus.

Papalia was rushed to University Hospital in Newark immediately after the incident, and he is currently in stable condition.

We wish Anthony and his family the best at this difficult time.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What the Gonzo!



With 7.5 seconds left, the game was still very much in sight. Despite a desperation three off a broken play with 12 seconds on the clock, we still felt as though Seton Hall could get a good look at the basket and at least send this battle into overtime. After drawing up a play on our handy etch-a-sketch, and emailing a picture of it to Assistant Coach Scott “Mr. Roboto” Adubato, Ben and I just sat there calmly with all the confidence in the world.


All that needed to happen was for Brian Laing to set a high screen for Nunu at the top of the key. Nunu would then penetrate (deeply), as he had been doing successfully all night long, and either take it to the rim or dish to a wide open Hazell or Nutter Butter in the corners. Simple. Piece of cake. Walk in the park. Can of corn. Pie in the sky.

Then, the unthinkable happened. After a time out – one in which Mr. Roboto certainly had enough time to decipher our etch-a-sketch and relay the play to Gonzo, the Pirates come out looking dazed and confused. Nutter caught the inbound pass in traffic about 30 feet away from the traffic, takes a couple dribbles to get around defenders, leans forward and barely gets off a three that hits wide of the rim.

Seriously? What the Gonzo, Gonzo? Is that the best you can do with 7.5 seconds left in a game that witnessed some of the best basketball your team has played all season? How can you not try and get the ball in the hands of your point guard, Nunu, who played one of his best games all season. The Hall had so much success getting to the basket all night long that it seems absurd to not try it at the end of the game. Were you really hoping for Nutter to make a three with two defenders in his face?

Now we all love Gonzo. His passion, his commitment to his team, his energy. All of that is great and has definitely brought a level of excitement to the Pirates this year. After all, he is one of the only Division 1 coaches I know of who has his own intro song. But, he has made some questionable coaching decisions this year. The way he uses his big men when they’re in foul trouble generally leaves me scratching my head. Not playing Brandon “Wawa” Walters is simply puzzling. Maybe this latest coaching blunder just hurts more than the others, as it arguably cost Seton Hall the game.


I don’t want to dig too deep into Gonzo. He has obviously done an amazing job this season with this young Pirates squad. He also is the namesake of this blog. Maybe I’m just a little upset about last night’s devastating loss. Maybe I’m just hungry for another win. Or maybe, and most likely, I just want to start growing my soul patch again.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Nova Wins on Last Second Shot


Coming into this game, Dave and I weren’t feeling too confident. So we decided to change up our routine. Instead of our trademark Gonzone t-shirts, we wore street clothes. Instead of watching the game in our cramped apartment, we watched the game at Dave’s friend’s place a couple blocks away. Instead of listening to the game on 770 WABC, we turned up the volume on Dave’s friend’s television, creating an arena-like atmosphere, which later drew complaints from the elderly neighbors, which was a very PAC 10 move.

Despite our best efforts to mix things up, however, the outcome sadly remained the same: another loss for the Hall, their third in a row. There were a number of positive takeaways from the game, nonetheless.

Firstly, Seton Hall is back to playing quality basketball. Even though they lost, this looked like the team that literally turned people’s heads. Sure, they didn’t shoot well from outside, but they drove strong to the basket, and the ball movement was very good. “Big city” Nunu proved yet again that he shows up for the big games.

Secondly, Mike Davis is a stud. Yes, he should have dunked that rebound put-back instead of attempting a Karl Malone-esque teardrop of a fadeaway from right under the hoop, but he’ll learn to be more aggressive. The bottom line is this: Davis has great hands for a big man, and if he stays healthy, he’ll be the center of the future for this squad.

Thrice, the team played very well without Gause. True, they didn’t get as many steals as they usually do, but the energy was great.

Quatrain, the Hall showed that they can score without senior Brian Laing. During the first half, Laing was struggling to get in a rhythm, but Harvey, Nutter, and Hazell all made major contributions. The question is, will the Hall be able to get rebounds after he graduates (with distinction?)

So, all-in-all, a very tough loss. A number of balls rimmed out for the Hall, and Nova shot the lights out from deep. I like how they played though, and I’m feeling good looking forward to Marquette.

Gause done for season; unresponsive on Facebook

It was only a few days ago during the blowout contest with Notre Dame that Paul Gause fell to the floor, holding his knee, writhing in agony. Although Dave and I were physically restrained by the section ushers from running onto the court, we were right there with him. Now it turns out that the injury was as bad as feared - a partial tear of the ACL requiring possibly 8 months of rehab.

Yesterday, I wrote on Paul's wall: "Man, please tell me it's only a light sprain." Since then, I've been sort of frustrated that he didn't write me back. But knowing what I know now, his silence speaks volumes.

Paul, you're the heart and soul of this team. Get better soon, "Man," and continue to provide the leadership this team so desperately needs. You represent everything that's great about Setonia. Keep fighting.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Hungry Hungry Hippos


After dropping two consecutive games to Georgetown and Notre Dame, Saturday’s affair – or tryst, if you will – with Nova looks like a must-win. Unfortunately, no team in the Big East is as hungry for a win as Jay Wright’s squad. After cruising through their non-conference schedule, Villanova again proved why the Big East is the premier basketball league in the country, dropping games to Depaul, Rutgers, and even the Johnnies. They have now fallen to a dismal 3-6 conference record, falling well short of expectations and turning the naysayers into soothsayers.

Villanova has an incredibly talented roster, with many players who hail from our great Garden State, which is actually infuriating. Two talented freshmen, Casiem Drummond and Corey Stokes, are from West Orange and Bayonne respectively, and together they account for more than 10 points per game – not bad for a couple rooks. Of course, the biggest challenge for the Hall will be to keep these sorts of talented high school standouts from Jersey in Jersey. This is a theme Dave and I will continue to harp on…it is the Rod Thorn in the side of every NJ college hoops believer.

It’s going to be very interesting to see the spread on this game. Nova is at home, and they have the talent advantage, but they’ve also dropped five in a row! I expect rebounding will be key in this game. Part of the reason Notre Dame absolutely destroyed the Hall was that they hit the boards consistently on both ends of the court. Look for Mike Davis to get a lot of minutes, and hopefully establish a physical presence inside. On the perimeter, the guards for Nova are nasty – Scottie Reynolds in particular – but guard-play (foreplay?) is a strength for Seton Hall as well. Also, Nunu tends to have his best games against higher profile opponents – think Singletary from Virginia.

Seton Hall has a good chance of pulling this one out, but I wish I felt a little more confident. It’s just hard to tell. Like a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos played in the basement, sometimes the table is slanted a little.


Prediction:


Seton Hall: 67
Villanova: 65

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Dark Day for the Hall


Nearly 79 years ago, an event known as “Black Tuesday” sent shock waves through American and International stock markets and saw the world spiral downwards into the Great Depression. Last night, on Ash Wednesday, the Fighting Irishmen came into the Pru and shocked every single fan in Pirate Nation. Yes, the #22 (#2 BIG EAST) were clearly favored in this matchup against Seton Hall. But few thought that Notre Dame would come in and make such a statement.

Ben and I always like to talk about how rare it is to see the Pirates get blown out of games. Even though they are often overmatched, they very rarely get destroyed the way they did last night. Sure, they lack the inside presence and often have trouble defending the backdoor cutter. But because of their scrappiness and relentless defensive play, they rarely ever get blown out of games. Well, that is until last night.

In the worst team loss in the Bobby Gonzalez era, perhaps it is no surprise that this loss came on such a solemn day. A time for repentance, Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent. Up until the 7th century, Lent began on the Sunday (Quadragestima Sunday) six weeks prior to Easter, but the four extra days were eventually added to parallel Jesus' 40 days of fasting in the wilderness.

With fewer and fewer games left in their BIG EAST schedule, Seton Hall has fewer and fewer opportunities to make a name for itself with a statement win. Last night presented a perfect opportunity to do so and the Pirates simply came out flat and uninspired. The mark of a good team is how they rebound from a tough loss. Let’s hope the Pirates repent for Wednesday’s sinful performance with a road victory against Nova on Saturday.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Hall Falls Hard to Notre Dame


After the Georgetown game, I was disappointed. After tonight’s game against Our Lady of Notre Dame, I was disgusted.

In a match-up against the #22 team in the country, Seton Hall was completely outplayed. With no answer for the Notre Dame big man inside, and with Harvey lackadaisically guarding outside shooters, the Hall gave up an atrocious 95 points. It was a truly dismal defensive effort, exacerbated by an injury to one of the Hall’s best defensive players, Paul Gause. After sitting out a number of games earlier this season with a hand injury, Gause may very likely miss some more time – he drove hard to lane midway through the first half and landed awkwardly on his left knee. He would not return.

The Rock was sold out tonight, and the crowd wanted to rally behind Seton Hall. There was simply very little to cheer about. Hazell was the lone bright spot for the squad, picking up 5 steals in Gause’s absence and getting to the line consistently.

There were a number of aspects that made this game highly unusual. For starters, St. Augustine got the start!! After editing our friend details on Facebook only a few hours before, Okosun would be going head-to-head with Brother Luke. And for the most part, Okosun played well. He needs to do a better job catching the ball, but he brings athleticism and energy.

Secondly, Walters appeared in the game! Granted, he really only played during garbage time, as well as a few minutes in the first half, but he was actually fairly effective. He ended with 5 points, and it was nice to see the bench cheering him on.

Finally, Eugene. Oh, Eugene. “Nunu,” as we like to call him, is truly one of the smoothest point guards in the Big East. Not as quick as most point guards, Nunu has a nasty crossover and dribble step which allows him to glide to the tin with ease. Unfortunately, Harvey has a habit of not always finishing. St. Benedict’s coach Bobby Hurley has an expression: backboard, or dunk. The point is this: if you’re not going to dunk it, you’re best advised to use the glass. As a St. Benedict’s alumnus, it’s simply unconscionable that Harvey misses as many lay-ups as he does. Harvey, if you’re listening, please, I implore you: teach Okosun how to catch the ball, and maybe he’ll teach you how to bank-jam.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Student Loan Scandal Shocks Our Lady of Notre Dame


Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves reportedly stole $58,984 last year in eight months as director of Student Loan Corp., a lender to ND's students and parents. That firm is tied to Citibank, which Notre Dame "strongly" recommends to students.

This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that something has been stolen from Our Lady of Notre Dame. Tomorrow evening, when the BIG EAST Fighting Irish step inside the Rock and do battle with our beloved Seton Hall Pirates, they’ll be lucky if they come away with their socks on. Because not only will their pride be gone, but their shoes, jerseys, and shorts will surely be missing by halftime.

In honor of National Signing Day tomorrow, I would like to revisit a former Notre Dame star who has completely lost all dignity – Brady Quinn. Without taking a single meaningful snap in his entire career, Mr. Quinn has managed to land wonderful commercials which feature him throwing subs to fans (ironically the same number of sandwiches he throws is the exact number of completions he has had in his bleak, professional career) to drinking some form of steroids, er, muscle supplement. Congratulations Marsha, you’ve really made it.









So as the Pirates get set to prove who’s boss in this battle of elite Catholic universities, look for Seton Hall to steal the ball from Haranchode-y because he’ll be too busy pulling up his shorts…?


Prediction:
Seton Hall – 84
O.L.N.D - 1

Robert Montgomery Knight


I almost can’t believe my ears. Bobby Knight has stepped down as Head Coach of Texas Technical University.

There’s no way to replace a legend like Robert Knight. However, his son, Pat, likely named after the mildly popular Saturday Night Live character, will try to do just that. Though less traditionally masculine than his father, Pat will no doubt earn the respect of players simply by virtue of his fine lineage and short-lived television career.

So congratulations, Bobby. The fans of Seton Hall basketball wish you well.

Life is a Journey



In many respects, the Georgetown game was disappointing. Hazell struggled to find his game from outside; Chokosun once again fell through in the clutch. Yeah, the energy was great, and the fight was there, but overall the team let me down. This was the huge road victory they needed to have -- the kind of victory that would get NCAA officials to stop scrutinizing the validity of Michael Glover's AP exam scores, and actually get them to take notice of the Hall's accomplishments To quote Leslie Nielsen, "Hey, look at these!" But alas it was not to be. So yes, I was more than a little disappointed. I had traveled all the way to an actual district, only to sit amongst a bunch a hair-parted politicos, more interested in the primaries than the anomalous sneakers on the feet of the coaches. (It was to support cancer research.)

But life is the journey, my friends. Life is the journey. And this particular journey proved a magical one indeed. I was resting comfortably on the vastly overpriced Acela train, and next thing I knew the train was pulling into Washington. As I gathered my things --and my composure -- I heard something rather unusual. It was the unmistakable raspy voice of Gonzo!! At first, I thought it was only God's voice. But when I turned around, there I was face-to-face with the entire squad!!! Turns out they happened to take the same train as me! What are the odds, Las Vegas?!?!?!?!

First thing I did was profess my love for Gonzo. I told him I was so proud of everything the team had achieved. Then, I asked for his autograph. He said he didn't have a pen on him, but thankfully Assistant Coach Scott “Mr. Roboto” Adubato came to the rescue. Next thing I knew, Gonzo had signed my notepad, wishing me all the best:

Best Wishes, Coach "Gonzo"




What a gentleman, what a class act. His use of the quotations -- simply flawless.

After that, I attempted to start conversation with some of the players, which was met with milder success. True, I'm Facebook friends with most of them -- umm, Mike Davis, what will it take withyou? -- but I'm pretty sure they didn't recognize me at all. After wishing the boys good luck against G-town, I bid them farewell. But then I realized my mistake. I needed photographs, or else Dave would never believe me. Sure, I had the Gonzo autograph, but who would
really believe that Gonzo actually included quotations in his signature?!?!?! Umm...I smell a forgery! So I did the only thing I could do: I ran after the players and followed them outside to the team bus.



Fortunately, the front facade of Union Station is rather picturesque, so it makes sense that someone might be taking photographs there anyway. Because, however, it was the dead of night, my case was somewhat more suspect. Also suspect was the fact that I was aiming the camera right at them. (Also, I think I may have told Paul Gause to smile, which he didn't.) After freaking them out I think, I watched as they boarded the bus, and out of my life.


Looking back, would I have played it differently? Do I have any regrets? No. Considering the circumstances, I'm pleased with how things went. I had the chance to meet my idols in person, and even though the moment didn't last as long as I would have liked, it taught
me one thing: while incredibly overpriced, and unconscionably subject to delays, the Acela is actually God's favorite mode of transportation.




Also, be sure to check out the slide show for additional photos of the Georgetown invasion.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Gandhi Not Enough as Hoyas Top Pirates


First of all, I just want to apologize for all those in the blogosphere patiently awaiting another Gonzone production. It’s just that for the past 10 hours, I have been so emotionally distraught that I could not properly express myself without using a slew of profanities.

Well, in this modern David vs. Goliath, Georgetown just simply proved why they are one of the best teams in the country. The two headed combination of big men Roy Hibbert and Patrick “Daddy’s Boy” Ewing, Jr., coupled with stifling perimeter defense, forced Seton Hall into its worst field goal shooting game of the year. To think, if only Hibbert had followed his parents’ guidance when they “tried to get him to play tennis, golf, and then the piano.”


People can point to a lot of key factors that led to the Pirates downfall in this game. Not having a dominant big man to compete with the likes of Roy Hibbert & Co. definitely hurt the Pirates. The Hoyas’ perimeter D severely limited the impact of Pirate sharpshooters Jamar Nutter and Jeremy Hazell.


However, I think Seton Hall must take solace in the fact that they were even predicted to be competitive in this game. Two months ago, if people said that Seton Hall might have a chance to upset the sixth ranked team in the country, people would look at you like you’re wearing sneakers with a suit! The Pirates have made leaps and bounds this season and have proven that they are not to be taken lightly in the BIG EAST.


So although I am shaving my soul patch that I have been growing during the Pirates’ five game winning streak, I hope to be growing another one rather soon after Seton Hall does battle with Our Lady of Notre Dame this Wednesday.

Gandhi Provides Spiritual Inspiration to Pirates


Lost. Confused. Alone. As Ben, or as he is affectionately known in the Blogosphere – Beast of the East – is most likely currently en route to the Verizon Center to watch top ranked Georgetown battle our beloved Pirates, I am left alone in our small apartment, contemplating my dreary existence. Ever since Ben and I embarked on this spiritual journey of ours, we have done everything in sync. Purchasing the Gonzone ticket package was a two man operation. Starting the blog was a joint decision. Now, Ben is in Georgetown and I am in New York. The big question: how will the Hall respond?

Will senior leaders Brian Laing and Jamar Nutter step up their games in the face of adversity? Will John Garcia continue to throw his weight around with vengeance? Can St. Augustine Okosun continue to throw up prayers at the stripe? Two of the team's most devout followers have been separated. But SHU has rebounded before and has made a living this season coming back from unthinkable deficits. Down double digits twice against Louisville, who thought the Pirates could come back and win? We did. Did anyone give the Hall a chance to win down 19 points against James Madison? Yes, we did.

So even though the Beast is frolicking in our nation's capital and I am stuck in Gotham City, separated we are not. We are united by the faith we have in Setonia and are confident that through faith, and faith alone, we can withstand this separation and only grow stronger. For as my good friend Mahatma Gandhi always said, "Unity to be real must stand the severest strain without breaking."

Now, you may be asking yourself: “Was Gandhi a basketball fan?” For a country known more for its samosas and tandoori chicken than its basketball stars, Gandhi could “hoop it up” with the best of them. After all, how do you think India gained its independence from Great Britain? All differences were settled on the hardwood.

Back to Setonia…

So as I mute the television to block out the ignorant and often oblivious announcers and tune into 770ABC to listen to the brilliant minds of Gary Cohen and Dave Popkin, I only wonder, can the Hall endure its biggest challenge of the season and prove that through unity and teamwork they can "stand the severest strain without breaking?"