That exempt tournament in Albany never came to be, but Bucknell will be making a trek to the New York capital anyhow, taking on Albany in what looks like the season opener for both teams on Nov. 11.
It should be a dandy matchup. Both teams return three starters and seven of their top 10 scorers from teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season. The game is part of a home and home, with the Danes visiting Lewisburg in the 2007-08 season.
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Bucknell's Chris McNaughton is one of 15 players chosen to Germany's preliminary squad for this year's World Championships, which get underway in mid-August in Japan.
McNaughton's selection does not guarantee a trip to Germany. The 15-man squad will be trimmed to 12 for the World Championships. At least one player on the current squad is destined to be replaced when Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki joins the team in late July.
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It's not unusual for Billy Taylor to make mention of the incoming student-athletes' grade point averages or SAT scores in his welcoming press release. Go back in the archives and do your homework before poking fun at us. We are justifying proud of the students we bring onto the team. It would be refreshing to see all Division 1 programs make such an announcement. It makes you sit back and appreciate the play of those athletes even more. I compare it to your column a few months ago (at least I thought it was your report) that compared the graduation rate of the Bison to that of Arkansas and Memphis during the NCAA Championships. Wasn't it something like 100% to 29%?
We assume that like most of the Lehigh fans we have heard from in the past year, you think we take great delight in poking fun at your alma mater.
That is not entirely true, though. We take great delight in poking fun at any target that is easy enough for us to poke fun at. We love a good poke now and then, and as many of your fellow Lehigh alums have pointed out, we are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. That is why easy targets, like the Joe Knight situation, class presidents who rob banks, the Bucky Bison mascot, Bucknell's pep band and pseudo-television networks like CSTV always seem to get our attention.
It's the same reason we pick e-mails like yours for our occasional mailbag features.
See Bill, it is always a good idea to check the archives before telling someone else they ought to do the same.
Matter of fact, of the three players listed in that release, only Bryan White's high school GPA (3.2) was mentioned.
That is not out of the ordinary. The release announcing last season's four freshmen also only mentioned one player's high school grades (John Gourlay - 4.0). For those keeping score at home, that is two of seven, or about 29 percent, of Lehigh's recruits in those two years.
Patriot connection -- Who will fill the vacancy on coach Dave Leitao's staff at Virginia? According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, it is down to two candidates, each with strong Patriot League connections.
The Times Dispatch identifies American assistant Jason Williford or Providence assistant Bill Courtney as top prospects for the job. Williford played at UVa under Jeff Jones. Courtney was a two-time All-Patriot League point guard at Bucknell.
All about academics -- Interesting twist to the press release out yesterday from Lehigh touting its incoming recuriting class. In addition to listing the hoops achievements of its five recruits, it also includes each one's high school GPA.
That wouldn't be in response to any criticism of the school's admission standards for other recent recuits now, would it? Just asking.
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Here's a quick recap of some of the headlines from the past week;
Cruzing the Philippines -- Holy Cross guard Kyle Cruze has been chosen to an Athletes in Action team that will take a 12-game tour of the Phillipines beginning June 23. In a related column, Cruze told his hometown paper, the Knoxville News Sentinel people in the northeast are more generous and hospitable than folks in Tennessee think they are and that the biggest on-court challenge he has faced at HC is learning to be a more complete player after building a rep as a three-point shooter in high school.
The young and the inbred -- After losing his top two assistants, Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon has retooled his staff. Former No. 3 guy Drew Dawson, a 2003 LC grad, has been promoted to the top assistant spot. New to the staff are 2003 Penn grad Andrew Toole and Mike Farrell, a 2004 Lafayette grad. Dawson, who has been a Division I assistant for two seasons, is by far the most experienced of the three. Toole has never worked as a coach (though he comes to Lafayette with a network of recruiting contacts developed as director of the Eastern Invitational Basketball Clinic). Farrell spent the past two seasons as a graduate assistant at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, an NAIA Division II power in Daytona.
Scheduling woes -- Bloomberg News columnist Scott Soshnick's piece on the scheduling challenges facing mid-major teams has a decidedly Patriot slant. It features three schools -- Bucknell, Holy Cross and George Mason.
Our favorite quote comes from HC great Bob Cousy, who pulls no punches: "All the powerhouses want to book the patsies."
Wachen McNaughton -- If your only interest in German basketball is Bucknell's Chris McNaughton, you'll want to scroll right to the last question in this interview with German national team coach Dirk Bauermann. That iswhere he mentions McNaughton as one of two young players expected to get a longer look as Germany puts together its team for August's World Championships in Japan.
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