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Friday, August 20, 2004

Basketball: LaSalle, Olympics and 5 Years of Eligibility

1. The LaSalle Explorers. Mike Jensen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that LaSalle AD Tom Brennan has called far and wide to ask head coaches if they'd be interested in the LaSalle men's job. According to Jensen, he called both Vermont's Tom Brennan (who once assisted Rollie Massimino at Villanova) and BU's Dennis Wolff, both of whom turned Brennan down. As have Fran Dunphy, Fran O'Hanlon and Joe Mihalich. Rumor has it that Maine's John Giannini (whom Brennan recommended, perhaps out of enlightened self-interest) and Brown's Glenn Miller are interviewing for the job. Giannini has been rumored to be LaSalle's second choice for a while, but obviously Brennan wants more choices. Miller has the endorsement of Ivy Basketball (read the first blurb on this link in the righthand column -- the one about Fran Dunphy and you'll see what they say about Miller), which points out Miller's successes at Division III Connecticut College and Brown. And before you dismiss Miller, he was an assistant at UConn, so he knows all about higher level DI hoops. He'd be a great choice for LaSalle. I don't think that Tom Brennan should fixate soley on DI head coaches. He should travel six blocks east from the LaSalle campus, make a right, and then go ten minutes south -- to Temple, where Dan Leibovitz would make an excellent choice. Played at Franklin & Marshall, graduated from Penn (where he didn't play) and has ably assisted John Chaney for years. Talk about a combination of solid academics with great recruiting ties -- that's Leibovitz. He's young, hungry and ready for a big-time job. Brennan should take a chance here -- he just might find another Fran Dunphy in the making.

2. The Olympics. Perhaps the U.S. can win ugly and win the gold medal because it simply has the better athletes and can try to run by its opponents. I had postulated in one of my first posts on the topic that while this U.S. team is flawed, I couldn't find three teams who can win medals and leave the Americans without one. I still can't. Neither can Hoops Junkie, who provides an excellent breakdown of all of the teams. The simple truth: the other teams have some great players, but not enough of them. China has Yao and four JUCO players, for example. Read Hoops Junkie and see what you think. The U.S. team plays Lithuania tomorrow, yes, the team with the Deadhead warmups, and the Lithuanians should be a good test for this team.

3. Yoni of the College Basketball blog ties into The Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy on his five reasons that college players shouldn't have five years of eligibility. Check it out and see what you think. I've been against this extra year for a variety of reasons, and let me make clear what I'm objecting to. I am not objecting to providing the players with an extra year of a scholarship solely for the purpose to get their degrees. That's a no-brainer. Give it to them. But a fifth year of playing? I agree with Mike DeCourcy. The reasons for doing so aren't compelling. After all, while we loved Animal House, we really don't need, as Bluto did, seven years of college? Do we?


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