Monday, September 14, 2009

Another Site Picks Stars, Stirs Debate

My internet travels have turned up an appealing site devoted to college basketball.

It's "Rush The Court," located at

Much of the site is devoted to the high-major level and it's a combination of news/opinion/insight/analysis. As always, it's easy (and, fun) to disagree with opinions (see below).

The site does also touch occassionally on the mid-major level, and it did in a recent feature highlighting five or six "Impact Players" from each of 10 regions of the country.

In the site's first two installments it identified impact players from the Northeast and from the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Familiar names appear on both of the initially released lists. I'm only going to list MAAC players here. For the full list, and honorable mentions, readers can go to the Rush The Court site.

From the Northeast (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Upstate New York), three Siena players were given honorable mention honors: Edwin Ubiles, Alex Franklin and Ryan Rossiter.

From the Mid-Atlantic region's list (NYC, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware), Rider's Ryan Thompson was a first-team "all-impact" pick, while Loyola's Jamal Barney made the honorable mention list.

Now, for disagreements ....

1) How does Siena's Ronald Moore get left off the Northeast honorable mention list?

Moore is unquestionably the MAAC's top point guard. Without Moore, what Siena does doesn't work anywhere near so well. Moore not only led the MAAC in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio last season, but was 12th and 8th nationally in those two categories. I believe he is the only MAAC player to rank in the top 12 nationally in two different statistical categories.

On that topic, we could probably also make a pretty strong case for Niagara's Bilal Benn getting mentioned, too.

2) The site picks Binghamton guard D.J. Rivera on its first-team of all-impact players from the Northeast region. No arguement about that here.

But, then, the site has this to say about Rivera:

"You know the story: the nephew of Philly legend Hank Gathers, Rivera transferred from St. Joe’s after his sophomore year, received a hardship waiver from the NCAA, and proceeded to dominate the America East unlike anyone has, um, ever?"

Say what? Dominated the America East unlike anyone has ... EVER?

Let the debate begin ...

OK, this isn't very MAAC related, although Siena, Niagara and Canisius did spend several years in that league when it was known as the North Atlantic Conference.

But, the league has had more than enough terrific players to make it more than a stretch to perceive that Rivera, a very good player, has dominated the league like anyone ever.

Others more worthy of that designation? Geez, where to begin?

How about, in chronological order (most-recent first):

- Jamar Wilson, UAlbany. That program's all-time best player who finished with 2,164 career points.

- Taylor Coppenrath, a 6-9 forward at Vermont and three-time conference Player of the Year. Only one other conference player ever won its top award three times (see below). He finished with 2,442 career points.

- Craig "Speedy" Claxton, a guard from Hofstra (before it left the league). He finished with 2,015 career points, 660 career assists and is still active in the NBA entering his 10th season in the pros.

- Malik Rose, a 6-7, 260-pound forward from Drexel (before it left the league). He finished college with 2,024 career points and 1,514 rebounds. He played in the NBA for the past 13 seasons.

- Vin Baker, a 6-10 forward from Hartford. He finished college with 2,238 careeer points and played 13 NBA seasons.

- Reggie Lewis, a 6-7 forward from Northeastern (before it left the league). He is universally regarded (well, at least by this blogger) as the league's all-time best player. The first individual to be the conference's Player of the Year three times. He finished with 2,708 career points (several hundred of those, it seemed, against Siena). He played six NBA seasons with the Boston Celtics, averaging 20.8 points per game in his last two seasons before tragically passing from a heart ailment.

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