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January 3, 2008
Kevin McNamara's college hoops chat transcript
Kevin McNamara: Hello hoops fans. Happy to be with you again. I certainly am not heading outside. It's about 5 degrees here in Milwaukee. I'll answer as many questions as I can in the next hour or so.
THL: By your article in yesterday's projo, neither Sharaud or Dwain will be available for Marquette or DePaul. What is the cut off date for the possibilty of using a medical redshirt for either, or both players...and do you think it may be used, especially in Sharaud's case?
Kevin McNamara: The Friars play Marquette tonight and Sharaud Curry will not play. We may not see him all season and a decision on that front is right around the corner.
The NCAA redshirt rules state that if you play in a game that’s beyond 50 percent of the team’s schedule – the halfway point – you cannot apply for an injury redshirt. PC plays 30 games so if Curry plays in any game past No. 16, which is next Saturday against South Florida, he cannot redshirt. More on this in Friday’s newspaper.
Dwain Williams is nursing an ankle injury but he will return this season
THL: Obviously, it is now 2008 and the early signing period for 2009 recruits is 10 months away. Although we, at this point, will be looking for six recruits for that season, we have a grand total of zero commitments. In your opinion, is this because recruits are shying away from PC because no one knows if TW will be coaching PC at that time? To follow up, do you know if there is at least one verbal that will be coming shortly? Thank you.
Kevin McNamara: PC does not have any commits from the 2009 class right now. They’ll need 5-7 to fill out the roster so working the junior class is a major priority right now. The Friars are in good with several juniors but they rarely secure commitments from young players at this early date.
Does this have anything to do with the head coach’s contract situation. I can’t imagine that it helps. The PC administration made a decision to have Tim Welsh work with two years left on his deal and they have to live with the consequences. That’s bound to effect recruiting.
Is a verbal coming shortly? Not that I know of. I think the staff is still considering whether to add another player for 2008-09, which is possible with only Chuck Burch graduating
friardad: what is the reason for the lack of playing time for jonathan kale?
Kevin McNamara: Jon Kale started and played a lot of minutes early in the season but that was before Randall Hanke was healthy and productive. Now that Hanke is playing very well again, Kale has disappeared. But he’ll be back. If Hanke and Geoff McDermott are playing well and don’t get into foul trouble, Kales minutes will be limited. But frontcourt depth in Big East games is always important and I see him getting time, as early as tonight.
The emergence of frosh Greedy Peterson has also hurt Kale. Right now he’s behind the freshman because of Greedy’s ability to finish plays close to the rim
DustyC: Kevin, in your opinion, why has Tim Welsh had such difficulty getting his teams to play defense. We were told for the second year in a row that defense was going to be emphasized and yet, this team appears to be just as inept as ever defensively. Is it the players? Does Tim Welsh and his staff have the ability to teach defense? What is the problem? You have to know that this is a burning question for many PC fans.
Kevin McNamara: Dee-Fence. It’s been an elusive quality for the Friars for three years now. Obviously, the coaching staff has emphasized defense every day since practice began. More than at any time, as far as I can recall. But it is not catching on consistently. I think it will be very interesting to see if the Friars defend better against the Big East teams, which sounds crazy but when your back in pushed against the wall, players do seem to respond better.
Tim Welsh has had some good defensive teams in his 9 years at PC so he knows how to coach defense. But that was with different players. He feels this group can be much better defensively and right now the focus in on the perimeter trio of Jeff Xavier, Weyinmi Efejuku and Brian McKenzie. They’re going to play a lot of minutes and are the first `wave’ of defense.
joey the ram fan: kevin whats the truth about sharod curry??is he coming back??when??also how can the pc staff give Ray Hall a scholarship??? Im not friar bashing but if this team doesnt make the nit how can welsch keep his job????
Kevin McNamara: Joey is fired up this morning. He should be after the Rams whacked another foe last night in Kingston. See above for Curry. Not a mystery. He's hurt and it's looking like he will not return this season. That's a major, major loss for PC. Kind if like URI losing Parfait Bitee for the year. How would that play in Kingston? I won't justify the Ray Hall question. He's a sophomore and a project and it's good to have your projects be 6-11 and 270 pounds. He'll contribute before he's done at PC. I know Joey The Ram fan would never `Friar Bash' but we'l see how the season plays out - NCAA/NIT/Nowhere - before we make a call on Tim Welsh's job status.
Jeff: Hi Kevin, I first want to say that I really enjoy reading you this time or year and its great to have someone as good as you following the Friars. Do you think the Friars can realistically compete for an NCAA tourney bid without Curry in the lineup? As good as I think Ekejuku can be, his inconsistent play tends to wear off on this whole Friars team (think Brown last year).
Kevin McNamara: The loss of Sharaud Curry is a huge one for PC and cannot be overstated. He’s Levance Fields and Eric Devendorf, the two key injured players for Pitt and Syracuse. Without him I think the Friars are hard-pressed to make the NCAA’s. I’d be surprised if they can win more than 7-9 Big East games. Now a PC team that’s 9-9 in the league would finish 18-12, which is more than pretty good. The key is who you beat. Will it be DePaul, Rutgers and St. John’s or those teams with an upset of Marquette, West Virginia or Georgetown thrown into the mix? That would get PC into the NCAA discussion, for sure
friar1: Kevin - who raised Tim's ire after the St. Peter's game w/ the questions about playing time?
Kevin McNamara: I'm not going to bash another media member but let's just say it was someone who mis-pronounced Jon Kale's name when he asked the question. Don't think that got Welsh off on the right foot. I could see his point, too. If the Friars lost or a big man didn't play well, then why didn't Jon Kale play? But they won the game, they needed their best players in because it was a tight game and Randall Hanke had 23 points and 14 rebounds. You want to take him out
THL: This is a bit premature, but I heard that the Friars will play in a Thanksgiving weekend exempt tournament in Annaheim next season. Joining PC in the field will be Arkansas once again. Do you have any info on who else will be competing?
Kevin McNamara: You are correct. The Friars will be in Disney next Turkey Day. Book your flights now. I can't recall some of the other teams but this is an ESPN event so the field will be good. I believe there are a few Western teams involved like New Mexico and Utah State, perhaps. I'll check on this and get it in somewhere for you guys.
Jeff: kevin, is there anyway hanke can take over the roll of Herbery Hill from last year's squad? Pc used to have a great rebounding team last year, and that could help alot in the Big East.
Kevin McNamara: Hanke and Hill are very different players. The emergence of Hill as an offensive force was the key to last year's NIT finish. PC needs that inside scoring and Hanke is capable of providing it more than anyone else on the team. Hill was not a defender. Neither is Hanke. That is a major issue for the team. Both players are good offensive rebounders but Hanke needs to hit the defensive boards more. That is a major concenr heading into the Big East. PC was a plus-6 rebounding team last year. Right now they are plus-4.8. Needs to be better.
PC78: The Friars are 9 - 3 at this point and need to get into the NCAA in order for Tim W to return(in my opinion). My guess is they need another 10 wins to make the tourney, even with the strength of schedule working for them. Every game is crucial. On paper they should not have much of a shot tonight, but this game will tell us a bunch about a)if Timmy can get these guys motivated, and b)if these kids really want to get it done. Playing in front of 18,000 screaming fans will be interesting. McDermott and Efejuku have their typical strong showings and Xavier goes a little nuts from beyond the arc... Friars by a bucket at the wire. 2008 off to a very good start.
Kevin McNamara: Like your enthusiasm, especially since this may very well be THE toughest road game of the season for the Friars. They are 11.5 point dogs. If they get this one, the Big East season will be off to a GREAT start. How many wins do they need for the NCAA's. If they get to 19 heading to New York and some come against NCAA-bound teams (GTown, Marq, WVirginia, Pitt all look good now) then you are right on. I'd be surprised if they come out `flat' tonight but remember, Marquette can make a good team look flat. Watch for UM to really pressure PC and try to exploit its lack of a proven PGuard.
Friar91: Is it a policy not to recruit any JUCOs for PC now, Gillen had some good luck there now it seems dried up?
Kevin McNamara: PC has backed off of JUCO's of late, for a few reasons. One prominent JUCO wanted to enroll a few years back (Quinton Hosley) and was denied admission. That spooked the coaching staff away from JUCO's. I think Providence needs to take JUCO's and non-qualifers (like St. John's has done) in order to win big in the Big East.
RayC: Has PC lost the upcoming generation of fans and if it isn't too late, can they be won back?
Kevin McNamara: How have they been lost? I see young adults and children at every game. Not sure what you mean. I did read Bill's column and agree with him that college BKB in our state is over-shadowed by the Patriots/Red Sox. It's apples and oranges right now. We have the best football team ever and the World Series champs playing in our region. Everything else (college BB & FB/ Celtics/Bruins) pales in comparison. But there are college basketball fans out there and plenty of them. URI attendance will be strong the rest of this season (it better be) and PC has several games sold out already. Don't regard talk radio as a barometer of fan interest. If this was the case, the NFL and MLB would be the only sports in the universe.
mgreul: Kevin - why isn't Marshon Brooks getting a chance to play? It seems with PC down two point guards they may need a little depth. Is he just not ready or are they looking to red shirt him for this year?
Kevin McNamara: I would've liked to see Marshon in the Sacred Heart-Saint Peter's games but they were tight and I'm sure the coach wasn't eager to experiment much. Marshon is a good prospect and may yet get his chance this season but with vets like Efejuku, McKenzie, Xavier and Williams, his chances are limited. I don;t see them redshirting him.
friarfan: how does PC counter if Marquette goes with a 4-guard line-up? I read that they actually played with 5 guards at times this year.
Kevin McNamara: PC can counter with four ballhandlers and Hanke. Geoff McDermott plays like a guard the way he handles and passes. I don't see Marquette going small because Tom Crean is very concerned about Hanke's scoring ability.
Chet: Kevin, i have not been to the rebuilt Dunk - what should i expect when i attend a game there in February....will i be pleasantly surprised?
Kevin McNamara: The Dunk is a work in progress. That's what you should expect. If you want the Full Monty, come back next November. The place is a work zone with construction literally going on during games but out of the public's eye. I trust that the building will be done very well when it's finally done. Right now it is a construction zone that's open for business.
Chet: What is the likelihood that PC buys out Welsh if they don't make the Dance this year.....do they have the funds to do so?
Kevin McNamara: If the Friars have a miserable Big East season, a decision on the coach will have to be made. I think Curry's injury clouds this issue quite a bit. PC does have the money to make a change if one is needed.
movo42: i beleive that we need a new coach. coach welsch has only one style of coaching. and that is okay for some coaches coach k, williams, knight, and others it seems to me the best coaches coach to the style of talent they have. not the other way around. what do you think about this?
Kevin McNamara: You have to clarify this a bit. Not sure what you are asking.
RayC: Just an opinion, but I prefer this setup for basketball chats, i.e. all PC basketball or all URI basketball, over a general chat for basketball. PC fans aren't likely to sit through a bunch of questions about URI and vice-versa.
Kevin McNamara: We'll take that under advisement Ray. I prefer a banter between both sets of fans, but it's not my call.
THL: maybe I can ask that aborted Q once again. If Burch is the only player leaving, and he has already been replaced by Bilal Dixon, Another player will have to leave if the Friars aare going to add another freshman for the 08-09 season. Any opinions?
Kevin McNamara: Another play does NOT have to leave for PC to add another recruit with Dixon. It's a bit confusing but many schools (Louisville for one) have players with scholarship ability paying their own way. That could happen here. Someone could always leave, of course, but right now I don't hear any rumblings on that front.
friarfan: did you get a chance to see Marquette's practice facility? That's what PC needs to stay competitive in the BE
Kevin McNamara: I can't disagree more. Go up to Alumni Hall right now. There's your practice facility. The Friars have a great locker room, a great practice floor, a new weight room and a state-of-the-art training room that is about 70 percent complete. The focus for spending now should be on additional recruiting budget, jobs for players in the summer and charter flights to games in order to keep up with the rest of the Big East
Chet: do you know what game PC will be offering a Marvin Barnes bobblehead doll?
Kevin McNamara: Can't wait to get my Marvin bobble. It's going right in the Sports Dept. I believe it was the Seton Hall game, Jan. 24. Look for additional ads in the Journal. I saw one last week.
RayC: With Dwain and Sharaud both out, do you think that Brooks will get more playing time or is he just too inexperienced for the upcoming portion of the schedule?
Kevin McNamara: I think the focus will be on Efejuku and McDermott to do most of the playmaking. Obviously Jeff Xavier and Brian McKenzie are important here, too. I'm sure Tim Welsh is leery about playing a little-used frosh at point guard in the Big East. That is not Marshon's natural position right now but he's getting a lot better in that area.
THL: Thank you---Just a note re:Dixon---He is off to an outstanding HS season. His team just won a tourney in NJ, defeating two teams from a higher rated league. He played like he is the real deal.
Kevin McNamara: I took note of Bilal's good start. Seems like he's on a good team which is most important. I hope to catch up with him later in the season.
Chet: do you think it was warranted for Welsh to complain about not having access to the Dunk over the Xmas week.....what message was he sending, especially by stating he'd consider playing at the Ryan Center. What was his agenda?
Kevin McNamara: I do think it is warranted. PC has many issues with the Dunk but finding play dates may be number one. It is a major, major issue and adversely effects the team's chances of wining games. The problem is it probably isn't going away. The Dunk has to book money-making events and as many as possible. Then it fits the Friars and PBruins into the schedule. That squeezes dates for the Friars and makes it very difficult to find non-league opponents who can play on those dates. It also hurts in the Big East. PC has started its BE sked on the road 7 of 8 years. That hurts. Also, because the PB's play Fri-Sunday, the Friars have to play Thursday-Saturday twice this season instead of Thurs-Sunday. That hurts, too.
Kevin McNamara: Guys, we're set to wrap it up here. Any buzzer-beating questions?
(Note: Last question was somehow lost, so we're not sure who asked it, but the question was:) Any players on the team who have a shot at making the NBA?
Kevin McNamara: I'd say no although Hanke, McDermott and Efejuku all have a shot.
Kevin McNamara: Gotta fly everyone. Sorry if I didn't get to your question. Hope you enjoy the game tonight. It's at 9pm on Cox 3.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 1:08 PM | Permalink
Hey Kevin, first I want to say I've enjoyed your Sunday column since I was a teen. I just watched the Marquette/Friar game and I can't help to think that Tim does not know how to use are all BE forward Geoff M. Is it that or is the opposition to focused on him and he needs some help? Some time I cant help think that he is a little overrated and just a good player on a mediocre team. What do you think?
Posted by: JOE at January 4, 2008 2:03 AM