Friday, December 4, 2009

Hall Hits the High Notes, Wins 89-56

In a game full of highlights and high notes, Seton Hall took care of business against Hartford last night, keeping their undefeated dreams alive. Eugene Harvey had a double-double and a career high 14 assists, JT dropped 17 points, Jamel Jackson continued giving us hard data for our soon to be formed field goal to three point attempt theoreom, and even crowd favorite Darnell Gatling registered his first career points! Nice job, mini-me!

While the game finished with a personal highlight for Darnell Gatling, the game couldn't have started any higher. Ben and I have been riding the SHU athletics department the last few years to have better in-game entertainment, and they appear to have accepted the challenge. Not only have they introduced a thundering intro video that would make Frank Capra blush, but they also managed to find the best eight year old falsetto singer in the country who gave us a rousing rendition of the national anthem. Take that Frankie Valli!

All in Hall, it was a great game and Seon Hall did what they needed to Maybe next game the Seton Hall mascot can do flips through a flaming hoop...? Hey, just a thought.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hall Sends NJIT Back to the Lab; Win 93-53

In my first game back from scouting the finest basketball talent in Europe, SHU sent the NJITechnicians back to the Highlands, dismantling them 93-53. Although the tryptophan was evidently still sitting heavy in the players' stomachs for the first few minutes, Theodore entered the game with a much needed shot of cranberry sauce. After that, it was all gravy.

Pope posted his fourth straight double double, Hazell added 21 points, and JJ is well on his way to creating a mathematical sequence that would make even Fibonacci blush. So far this season, Jackson is 11 of 25 from the field and - you might have guessed it - 11 of 24 from three point range. Although he's thrown in a few free throws here and there, Ben and I are sure that given more hard data we will be able to devise a Jackson theorem a la the Mel weight-minutes ratio. Stay tuned Mr. Blaskopf!

But there was more to being back than just watching basketball. It was also about reconnecting with family. It was about looking ahead to Cancun, hearing how tequila ferments in cactus fields in Mexico. It was about catching up on all the Cornell trip shenanigans. It was about hearing outlandish rumors about the players, recruits, and the coaches. Yes, it's good to be back.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Long Night for Long Island; Hall Cruises

Last night was a battle between Pirates and the Downeaster Alexa. Let's just say the piano man isn't thrilled.

With the Long Island fishing industry still reeling, SHU delivered a crushing blow, sinking the LIU ship and catching all "stripers" in sight. Not only did the Hall sail on to victory with ease, but they did it in style!! For the first time in recent memory, a first mate within the cheerleading squad sang the national anthem! And finally a student won the SHU shotclock challenge, although his pants were down at his ankles while he did it -- better pull those up when you go to McLoones!

As the LIU players swam frantically like guppies, Pope soared high to grab every rebound in sight. Harvey was confident, feeding a gorgeous alleyoop pass to Hazell, and Stix used his legs like oars to beat down the opponent. Even Long Island-native Matt "Juice" Cajuste got into the game! It was a tough night for Fero, however, who found himself frequently pushed out of position, but we think he'll bounce back. Freshmen have nights like that.

But is there not always a twinge of sadness in every victory? Yes, while the Pirates looked buoyant last night, it might have been because they were carrying less weight. Due to poor academics, Mel has been asked to take a leave of absence from the team. It's bad news to say the least, since the Hall needs Mel come Big East time. His talent is undeniable... let's hope lack of discipline doesn't hold him back.

For now, let's enjoy the blow out. Sail on, Pirates!! Sail on... And Dave, if you're reading, bring me back some Moroccan couscous!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Romarsi Feast

Sitting through the raffle drawing at the booster club preseason dinner a few weeks ago, there was only one thing I set my eyes on winning. No, not the team autographed basketball. No, not the "Dream Seats" to an upcoming out of conference game. And no, not even a free lunch at Bunny's with Gonzo and the coaching staff. Rather, the one thing, and one thing only, that I set my eyes on was Romarsi's famed basil sauce and olive tapenade. So when Vince announced my name as the winner of the Grand Prize, I could not believe my luck!

Then, it occurred to me. What better way than to kick off the season than to have Ben over to my new apartment for a Romarsi feast? As the first guest to eat at my newly assembled Ikea dining room table, Ben and I chowed down on some gnocchi with basil sauce and olive chabatta bread with the olive tapenade, reminiscing about our apartment, fine Italian specialty foods, and, of course, Wawa.

After briefly discussing how a simple basil leaf could produce such an amazing sauce, the conversation quickly turned to tomorrow night's exhibition game against Carlton and the upcoming season. What would the starting five be? How many minutes would Big Mel play? Would Garcia get through the game with both knees intact? With Lisa subconsciously writing the name and number of her new favorite player in her dinner plate, Ben and I could not be happier. We were finally back in our element, discussing the ins and outs of Seton Hall basketball and, perhaps just as importantly, how we would get out to the game tomorrow night.

While the mystery of the basil leaf is still unresolved, one thing is for sure. Tomorrow marks the first game of what should be an unbelievable season. With all the prep work done, it's finally time for the games to begin. All the waiting is done. The curtains are drawn.

See you tomorrow night.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hall Escapes Fifth Third With a Win

Dave and I expect the very best from our players. We want them to give 110% every time. 

On this particular day, however, 110% would not be enough. Given that it was senior day on Cincinnati's home floor, we would need at the very least 5/3 effort, or 166.67%. (Go ahead, check my math, Pete!!)

Yes, that's correct. It took overtime, but our team battled and battled to leave Ohio's famous Fifth Third Arena with a win. Now, it wasn't easy, and even getting to the game proved a challenge. 

After sleeping through our alarm, Dave and I had to high-tail it out of Kentucky. Stopping by Sonic for a little fast food on the way, along with a quick thirty second reenactment of our favorite "reality-style" commercials, we pulled into the arena parking lot just in time. 

You can only imagine our exhilaration when we picked up our tickets at Will Call to find we would be sitting on the floor directly behind the bench!! Yes, there is a God! 

I can say with some certainty we were a part of the team today. When Paul Gause ran out of bounds, chasing a loose ball, Dave was there to give him a high-five. When John Garcia tossed his dirty sweat rag during a time-out, I was there to catch it in my expectant mitts. 

The game was a classic thriller, with a number of blown lay-ups later redeemed with clutch free throws. And while Dave and I were drastically outnumbered, there were a couple other Hall fans in attendance, most notably Sister Stix. Let's just say it's genetic!

For those of you who couldn't make it to arena, here a couple things you might have missed:

- Pistol Pete stands up and claps all the time. So much so that the UC student section would actually scream "Sit down Pete!!" Falcon, if they're calling your name, you must be doing something right!!

- After Stix missed a critical open lay-up at the start of overtime, Coach Bobby G very calmly and soothingly screamed in a earth-shattering voice "RELAX!!!!" Psychology students, this is what we might call a textbook case of the double bind.

- Although the crowd got very noisy towards the end, it was actually a pretty poor showing. Lots of empty seats.

- Nunu missed a couple of shots driving the hoop when it was very clear he was fouled. (From where we were sitting, we could hear the slaps.) Just showin' Eu some love...

All in all, a lot of heart. Okay, well soon our roadtrip adventure will draw to a close, as we prepare for a Big East tourney matchup with South Florida. But not before Dave and I hit up Ohio's famous Camp Washington for the world's best chili. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Love

Love and basketball - two peas in a pod that seem to go together even beyond its famed movie title. Just as Seton Hall is always trying to recruit the best players to join their team for the following season, I am also always trying to court the best local prospects in an attempt to join forces with them for my own future.

Upon sending a text message to my top recruit letting her know that I will be in Kentucky until Sunday, I received the following response:

"Oh my god I cant believe it's already Kentucky. You and Ben must be flipping out. I hope that hezel guys hits his threes and gets the foul call...And that sticks performs and that garcias legs stay strong. And who knows maybe Davis wont foul out in two minutes and actually grab a rebound or two. Go shu!"

What do you think? Does she pass the test? Sure, there were some typos, but who ever said love was perfect?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hall "Blues Out" St. John's; Irving Photo

Seton Hall has not had a single comfortable win against a Big East program in a long, long time. This game came close.

With the arena buzzing, and a "blue out" declared, the fans had a lot to cheer about. Unfortunately, while the night was a great success, there were a couple minor mistakes by the Seton Hall organizers.

A couple tips for the next "blue out:"

1. If you're the guy handing out blue t-shirts to the people sitting courtside, maybe the guy wearing all red with a St. Johns' hat doesn't deserve one.

2. At the Trivia stand, there was a man handing out white Seton Hall t-shirts. At the blue out.

3. The impact of the blue out is a little diminished when the entrance to the Prudential Center is illuminated with 1,000 watt red light bulbs.

But these are just little peccadilloes. On the whole, Dave and I had a great time. He wore blue war paint, and I had a balloon pirate sword. It was the best day of a 7 year old's life.

The game was also quite interesting. Putting aside the player performances, clearly Flagman was inspired by our poll question, as he set a record 8 laps!! Our options only went up to 7, big guy!! Take it easy!! Even though that flagpole is about as skinny as a Mitchell tibia, you know it's got to weigh a lot.

On the court, Garcia played a great first half, moving up and down the floor with relative agility, and even blocking a lot of shots. Hazell had a great shooting night, and Theodore gave a great spark off the bench.

It was also nice to see Kyrie Irving in attendance. One of the Hall's top recruits, Irving sat in the section next to us, and seemed to enjoy the game. Forgetting the fact that he formerly attended MKA, and Dave and I both graduated from rival high school Newark Academy, rest assured that we would happily "squash the beef" between our respective alma matria just to let this kid play the point.

I snapped this shot of Irving after the game, heading into the locker room, where he would surely be greeted with a sweaty hug from Gonzo and a cool handshake from SYMS fashion model, Adubato Roboto.

Check it out!