October 15th has come (and gone), which means college basketball season is upon us. That date was the first college teams were allowed to hold official practices in preparation for the upcoming season.
Yours truly didn't get to an early practice, instead taking the weekend for a mini-vacation to southern Maine, an annual trip where early Christmas shopping is done, many lobsters are devoured and, surprisingly, some time was spent on beautiful Goose Rocks Beach (just north of Kennebunkport) where the temperature, one day, hit a tropical 60 degrees.
What that does have to do with hoops? Nothing, except that your blogger got to recharge his batteries. Time,now, to reconnect with our favorite sport ... I'm headed over to watch the Siena women practice shortly. Talk about being a basketball junkie.
But, as the season approaches I'll be trying to highlight some preseason tidbits that catch my interest.
Here are three ...
1) Bobby Bevilacqua, known as "Bobby Drinks," is writing a season-long blog about his senior campaign with the Canisius basketball team. You can find it on the Canisius website (www.canisius.edu) by hitting athletics, then men's basketball.
Bevilacqua's initial entry is well-written and gives a little insight to how some drills are run in practice, some things players do in their spare time, and a short rundown on new faces in the program.
The blog promises an "insider's look" at the program. Don't expect "dirt," but do expect some stories about what actually goes on in the life of a college player and his team. If the first entry is any indication, then this should be interesting reading throughout the season.
2) Sports Illustrated's NBA Preview issue is on the newsstands and SI figures that former Rider standout Jason Thompson will be the starting power forward for the Sacramento Kings this season.
Here's what the magazine says about Thompson: "Jason Thompson has a lot of versatility. Though he was foul-prone last year ... give him credit for that because it happened from competing on every play."
Thompson has been strong in the preseason, including a 20-point, 20-rebound effort against the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 17, which was preceded by a 19-14 game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 15. In his most recent game, he had 15 and 5 against the Phoenix Suns on Oct. 20.
And, Thompson is also among the ranks of bloggers. You can find his blog by going to www.nba.com, clicking on the Kings' page and, then, connecting too the blog called "JTTheKid."
There, he offers some general insights about his team and the upcoming season. And, in his most-recent entry, he gave some space to his alma mater, writing ...
"Lastly, I want to give a shout out to everybody at Rider University. Last season when we (the Kings) played the Sixers (in Philadelphia), Rider University Athletics changed the game with how much support they gave me - thank you!
"I want to try and get my Twitter.com/jtthekid followers up to 10,000, so I need your help! Please follow me, if you’re not already, and RT (his brother, current Rider senior Ryan Thompson)! Also, I may host some Ustream videos while I’m on the road this year, so look out."
3) The Sporting News' College Basketball Preview issue hit the newsstands recently, and it's required reading.
Yours truly wrote the page-long preview on the MAAC, something I've been doing for the last nine or 10 years.
Until last season, though, my MAAC previews were published in Street & Smith's College Basketball preview issue. That magazine was one of the best of its kind when it came to season previews. I've got old issues dating back to the late 1960's someplace in my basement.
Two years ago, though, it merged with The Sporting News. Most of the S&S writers now do preview work for The Sporting News. Of course, I'm a little biased here, but my perception is that it's still the best of its kind on the market for season previews.
Its entire group of writers all cover college basketball regularly and all view the leagues they write about regularly. In my case, I see every MAAC team play at least twice annually and that doesn't count all the other televised games I watch
So, go out and buy The Sporting News' College Basketball annual. It truly will be money well spent if you want some good preseason reading.