A couple of interesting moves within conference programs of late ...
- Marial Dhal, a 7-foot-3 center, has given a commitment to join Canisius for the upcoming season. Dhal, a native of Kampala, Uganda, played the past two seasons at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla., leaving him two seasons of eligibility with the Golden Griffins.
At 7-3, it is believed that he will be the tallest player to ever be part of a MAAC program.
Then again ... big men, especially those who transfer into the MAAC, rarely have made a significant impact, so it remains to be seen how effective Dhal can be.
Dhal did originally sign to attend the University of Houston, but was allowed to break that commitment after Houston coach Tom Penders left the program in March.
"Marial is someone who can ghange a game for us at obvious reasons," said Canisius coach Tom Parrotta in a release issued by the school. "... he'll provide us with a versatility defensively that not a lot of teams enjoy. He can run and rebound effectively and it will be our job to catch his offensive game up to his defensive game."
This past season at Hillsborough CC he was fifth nationally at the NJCAA level in blocks (5.1 per game), while averaging just 3.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
- And, then, there has been a recent personnel loss with the decision by star-crossed guard Rico Pickett to give up his final year of elibility at Manhattan to pursue professional opportunities, likely overseas.
In his one season with the Jaspers the 6-foot-4 Pickett averaged 17.7 points per game to lead the MAAC in scoring in 2009-10.
And Pickett also likely led the league in acts of unsportsmanlike conduct in his short time at Manhattan. The most noteable was after making a steal that would eventually lead to a breakaway dunk in a post-season tournament game with Siena he detoured to dribble near the Siena bench to stick his tongue out at the Saints' bench. It was arguably the most-unsportsmanlike act this blogger has ever seen in more than two decades around MAAC basketball.
And that was the proverbial tip of the iceberg for the volatile player who quickly established himself as Public Enemy No. 1 throughout the MAAC with a series of antics that also brought about a mid-season two-game suspension from Manhattan.
Pickett had originally declared himself eligible for the NBA draft before later withdrawing his name, likely upon the realization that his chances to actually be picked in the tw0-round draft weren't much different from winning the top prize in a New York Lotto drawing.
And, now, he is officially gone from Manhattan. For those keeping score, his upcoming "adventure" will be his fourth stop in four years: He spent the 2007-08 season at Alabama, the 2008-09 season at Miami Dade Junior College, and last season at Manhattan.
Farewell, Mr. Pickett. You will not be missed.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: A much promised review of some of the top players from the recent GymRat CHALLENGE AAU basketball tournament for boys in New York's Capital Region, plus a preview of the upcoming GymRat event for girls.
And, after that a full list of incoming recruits to MAAC programs complete with some analytical insight.
Thanks for reading, and please keep doing so.